Welcome to the August 17th edition of Dateline Disneyland! As crowds of un-blocked Annual Passholders pour back into the parks this week, we'll be checking in on the on-going construction in Disney's California Adventure park, as well as work on a new stroller rental shop in the Main Entrance Plaza, and other odds-and-ends around Disneyland and in Downtown Disney.
Of course, you can track the progress of the projects you see in this week's update by clicking on the photos with Project Tracker watermarks. MiceChat's Project Trackers are where you can find the latest news and discussion on the current projects going on around the Disneyland Resort.
Weekly News and Information Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments, Haunted Mansion anniversary news, Save $400 on a Disneyland vacation, New parking lot, Big crowds return this week.
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Construction walls went up near the Disneyland Kennel Club, reportedly for construction of a new central stroller rental location, which will replace the current in-park locations by February 2010.
The walls obscure the Kennel Club, but don't block it off completely. It's still open.
Inside Disneyland, the Main Street Opera House is getting a bit of entry work done.
The former Route 66 area is still behind walls. In recent weeks, more walls went up immediately around Corn Dog Castle and Souvenir 66. These two establishments will eventually be re-themed to properly suit the Victorian theme this area will adopt.
SILLY SYMPHONY SWINGS
The Orange Stinger is now fully peeled as work continues to transform this off-the-shelf eyesore into the aesthetically more appropriate Silly Symphony Swings.
The old Orange Stinger marquee still hides behind the construction wall, but should be "glowing away forever" soon enough.
LUCKY FORTUNE COOKERY
The new home of the Lucky Fortune Cookery now has its big neon sign. The old-but-new-again restaurant is set to reopen early next month.
INCREASED ATTENDANCE ALERT: As Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders are freed from summer block-out dates, the theme parks will become increasingly busier. Please plan your visit accordingly; expecting increased crowds, including possible crowd capacity at Disneyland Park and off-site parking. For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday - Friday: 10 am - 10 pm
Saturday - Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm
CURRENT ATTRACTION CLOSURES & REFURBISHMENTS
The Enchanted Cottage: Closed through November 17.
Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed August 24 through November 19.
Storybook Land Canal Boats: Closed August 24 through November 19.
Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed September 8 - 10.
Space Mountain: Closed September 8 - 24 to install "Ghost Galaxy" Halloween overlay.
Minnie's House: Closed September 9
The Haunted Mansion: Closed September 10 - 24 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay
Big Thunder Ranch: Closed September 14 - 24 to install Halloween overlay
Gadget's Go Coaster: Closed September 14 through October 26
The Disney Gallery: Opens September 26, 2009 in the Bank of Main Street
Pirates of the Caribbean & Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed September 28 through October 2.
Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years/Main Street Opera House: Closed. Reopens as The Disneyland Story: Featuring Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln December 17, 2009.
Disney's California Adventure Park
Orange Stinger: Closed for retheming. Reopens Spring 2010
Cocina Cucomonga: Food service location closed June 18, when new location opened. Original location reopens with new Asian-style menu September 14.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure: Under construction.
Souvenir 66 and Corn Dog Castle: Store and dining location closed for remodeling through May 2011.
Paradise Bay: Drained for construction of upcoming Disney's World of Color show.
Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: New show under construction. Debuts Spring 2010.
Golden State Park and Amphitheater: Closed. New, larger amphitheater for Disney's World of Color viewing under construction in same location. The new amphitheater will open December 2009.
HAUNTED MANSION ANNIVERSARY MAKES NEWS
With the Haunted Mansion's big 40th anniversary on August 9, it's no surprise that there was a lot of reading on Disneyland's haunted New Orleans estate early last week. From the details on the Mansion's 40th anniversary sleepover, to the updated edition of The Haunted Mansion: From the Movies to the Magic Kingdom, it's all here:
The Sutton family survived an overnight’s stay in the room with no windows or doors at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. But they didn’t get much sleep.
The mansion’s occupants simply wouldn’t let them: They stuffed the family with chocolate and soda. They groaned, screamed and cackled. Hitchhiking ghosts and a butler serenaded the visitors. A video camera was on the four family members all night.
And when the Suttons finally dozed off, the butler startled them awake.
But the family didn’t mind.
“Sleeping is for rookies,” said Jessica Sutton, 12.
The Sutton family of Santa Clarita won a night’s stay inside the classic attraction in a 95.5 KLOS radio station promotion for the Haunted Mansion’s 40th anniversary. Read a story about the Haunted Mansion celebration HERE.
Daughters Jessica and Stephanie, 10, got the most votes among kids in a talent contest for singing “Happy Birthday” with a dog singing in the background. The girls brought their parents, Tim and Cyndi Sutton.
The family moved in at midnight after the park closed Sunday and left at 6 a.m. this morning.
OLD DARK HOUSE, NEW DISNEY MAGIC: RE-IMAGINEERING THE HAUNTED MANSION
08.09.09 - Very few shows can run for 40 years and still maintain their "must see" status. Hit films could once run for a year or more if they were true blockbusters. A number of TV shows and Broadway musicals have passed the 20-year mark. But so far no entertainment has come close to the 40-year runs enjoyed by classic Disney attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Only their original home, Disneyland itself, has them beat with its 54 happy years of making dreams come true. And one of the reasons these particular shows have endured and flourished is that Disney Imagineers are constantly reinventing them — or re-Imagineering them — to keep them fresh and engaging for an ever-changing audience.
[ . . . ] As the Happiest Place on Earth approached its golden anniversary, Imagineers began to brainstorm new ways to polish up the Park's crown jewels in an effort to refresh and revitalize them for Disneyland's next 50 years. The Haunted Mansion was one of the first attractions earmarked for a not-so-extreme makeover. The attraction had enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the premiere of the seasonal "Haunted Mansion Holiday" enhancement in 2001, and the Imagineers decided they should create something a little more permanent, and in the process reward loyal fans for their patience during the downtime it took to install and strike the holiday show.
The Imagineering team in charge of this "new magic" first turned their attention to Séance Circle, longtime home of the disembodied clairvoyant, Madame Leota. They decided that, impressive and convincing as the original Leota projection effect was, it would be even more magical, more supernatural, if the crystal ball containing Leota's spectral visage actually floated around the room as she recited her plaintive incantations. Imagineers designed an ornate bookstand supporting an ancient spell book to shroud some of the additional technology required to create the illusion. They also added another special effect in which a ghostly face slowly materializes from out of the gloom as Leota calls forth the restless spirits.
1. The Haunted Mansion is the only attraction located in four different lands in four different Disney Parks: New Orleans Square at Disneyland; Liberty Square at Walt Disney World; Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland; and Frontierland at Disneyland Paris.
2. Eddie Murphy had been looking to do a ghostly comedy in the vein of Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello when he learned about Disney's Haunted Mansion film and asked to see the script.
3. Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats briefly developed a water ride version of The Haunted Mansion in which guests would float through the ruins of an old plantation house partially submerged in a Louisiana bayou.
4. A "live" Caretaker character was featured in almost every draft of the Haunted Mansion film script, but was ultimately cut in favor of a ghostly cameo appearance in the graveyard, complete with cowardly canine companion.
5. Imagineers produced the Audio-Animatronics® figures, props and set pieces for both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of The Haunted Mansion at the same time, knowing that the Florida attraction would open less than two years after its Anaheim predecessor.
6. The Disneyland Haunted Mansion was largely inspired by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, Maryland, pictured in Decorative Art of Victoria's Era, a book found in the Walt Disney Imagineering Resource Center in Glendale, California.
7. Legendary creature designer Rick Baker originally modeled the Haunted Mansion film's singing busts after Marc Davis, Thurl Ravenscroft, Blaine Gibson, Paul Frees and even Walt Disney himself! Only the Frees and Ravenscroft busts made it into the film.
Haunted Mansion Celebrates 40 Years of Happy Haunts!
Its been 40 years since the Grim Grinning Ghosts first opened their doors and invited guests into the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Take a look back to the beginning with Walt and the Imagineers who created the beloved attraction. From stretching rooms to hitch hiking ghosts the 999 Happy Haunts never disappoint and always invite guests to hurry back!
The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies -- Updated
Jason Surrell's incredible book on the history of Disney's Haunted Mansions has been updated and re-released. From Amazon:
The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies illustrates how the Mansion's 999 "grim grinning ghosts" moved from sketches to reality, evolving from earliest story concepts through adaptations and changes as it moved into each of the parks, to the very latest ideas for show enhancements. This book also confirms and dispels the various myths and rumors that have surrounded the mysterious Mansion since its opening. And now new history has been added as the attraction continues to evolve. This updated edition now includes photos and text of the new "Mysterious Staircases" and "Glowing Eyes in the Wallpaper" effects that have been added, as well as the re-concepted attic scene, which includes the history of Constance the bride and the several husbands who have lost their heads (literally) over her.
The book is only $13.57 on Amazon, and is a must-have for any Disney fan. If you don't have a copy of the first edition on your book shelf, now is the time to order this book -- and if you're a big Haunted Mansion fan, now is the time to complete your collection with the updated edition!
SAVE $400 ON DISNEYLAND RESORT VACATION
Disney has rolled out the details on their latest vacation promotion for the fall's HalloweenTime festivities.
From Aug. 12 through Dec. 19, 2009, guests will save $400 when they book a 4-Day/4-Night Disneyland Resort vacation package, featuring Disneyland Resort hotel accommodations – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier – and park hopper tickets. The offer is valid for arrivals Aug. 23 through Dec. 20, 2009. Pricing starts as low as $87 per person, per day, at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.*
Each package includes four-day park hopper tickets and many extras, such as one Magic Morning admission per person. Magic Morning admission allows families to enjoy select Disneyland attractions – including Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and King Arthur Carrousel – before the park opens to the general public. The new package also provides guests the opportunity to interact with some classic Disney characters in Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness one hour before Mickey’s Toontown opens to the general public. (Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness and Magic Morning early entry do not operate daily and are subject to restrictions.) Preferred seating at select attractions and restaurants in Disney’s California Adventure are also included.
STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOR PARKING
The OC Register's Around Disney blog broke the news last week that the old strawberry fields that Disney acquired for a future third theme park are now in the process of approval to become Resort parking for the next six-to-10 years.
That means that a new park likely would be at least six to 10 years away when the lot is no longer needed.
Disney wants to add 2,570 new parking spots for guests to the Harbor Boulevard site, eating up the majority of the remaining open space on a former strawberry field that the company bought about 11 years ago in anticipation of building a third theme park.
The new parking lot plan is set to go before the Anaheim Planning Commission at 2:30 p.m. Mondayat City Hall, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd. City officials are recommending that the plan be approved, said Sheri Vander Dussen, the city’s planning director.
The extra temporary parking space is needed during the Disney’s California Adventure expansion through 2012, said Suzi Brown, a spokeswoman for the Disneyland Resort.
Already, Disney closed the 2,226-space Timon parking lot where it is building the 12-acre Cars Land as part of the $1-billion California Adventure expansion. See a full map of California Adventure expansion plans.
“The presence of a temporary parking lot at this location in no way enhances or discounts the potential of future investment at this location,” Brown said. ”We’ll grow business when and where it makes sense to do so. But our focus at this time is on the expansion of Disney’s California Adventure.”
GOOD-BYE BLOCK OUT DATES, HELLO BIG CROWDS
As the summer season winds down and the seasonal Annual Passholder block-out dates start opening up, be prepared for big crowds at the theme parks. Al Lutz summed up what you should expect this week in his 8/16 Editor's Note on MiceAge.com:
8/16: The summer blockouts for the majority of the 800,000+ Annual Passholders end on Sunday and Monday, and Disneyland is battening down the hatches for a huge jump in daily attendance. If you have to go to the park this week expect off-property parking, extremely long lines, and potentially closed turnstiles for a few hours each afternoon. And, Murphy the Fantasmic! dragon won't be there either.
Alright, that should wrap things up for this week's column. Thanks, as always for reading - and be sure to discuss the update in the comments section below.
Don't forget that MiceAge and MiceChat has loads of new content weekly! If Dateline Disneyland isn't enough to satisfy your Disneyland itch, then don't miss David "Darkbeer" Michael'sIn the Parks column which runs here every Friday and is packed full of Southern California theme park news, photos, and gossip. And if you want even more Disney theme park goodness, don't miss MiceChat's Weekend Update, which takes a look at Disney theme parks and other international landmarks, curiosities, and oddities every Saturday!
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See you here again soon! -Andy
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