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Dateline Disneyland

Fantasyland construction & refurbishments, Disneyland Hotel remodel, DCA work, +MORE

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by , 08-30-2009 at 04:50 PM
Disneyland's Summer Nightastic! is officially history now, as the Resort gears up for it's annual Disney's HalloweenTime promotion that kicks off at the end of September. Meanwhile, the three weeks between summer and HalloweenTime is enough time to get two classic Fantasyland attractions in for refurbishment, build a new permanent vending structure near the Matterhorn, and put the finishing touches on the new Disney Vacation Club units at the Grand Californian Hotel. Meanwhile, work has begun on the multi-year Disneyland Hotel remodel, and construction continues to chug along at Disney's California Adventure.

More information on many of the various construction projects featured in today's update can be found in the Project Tracker threads on MiceChat. Simply click on a photo with a Project Tracker watermark and you'll be linked up to the latest news and discussion on the various projects underway at the Resort.

Before we get started, BIG thanks goes out to MiceChat's Fishbulb for being our photographer this week, while I was away from the Resort. Fishbulb's great eye is responsible for all the photographic handiwork this week, unless otherwise noted.

Late breaking news: The pre-dawn press event for the Fantasmic dragon has been canceled. No official word on why or what this means for tonight's performances. You can follow the MiceChat dragon tracker thread for more information.

however, video has leaked out online:

Alright, let's get today's update started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

With the Summer Nightastic! promotion finally over, theme park maps have gone back to Fab 5 characters in party hats to coincide with the still on-going Celebrate Today! promotion.

The inside flap promotes recent additions, including the Big Thunder Barbecue, which changed its name from the Celebration Roundup and Barbeque after the continuous stage show was cancelled and prices were lowered.

A quick look in the California Adventure map shows that the park's parade route has been cut in half, as more and more construction walls line the previous route, cutting back on guest viewing space. Also cut from the map - the Orange Stinger, which has been completely removed as it undergoes its transformation into the Silly Symphony Swings.

The Silly Symphony Swings are now listed as a "coming soon" attraction. We'll check in on California Adventure construction later in today's update. First, let's head into Disneyland park.

Construction walls have gone up around the Casey Jr. Circus Train and the Storybook Land Canal Boats as the two attractions get a routine refurbishment through mid-November.

Across from the Matterhorn queue, in front of the old Motorboat Cruise dock (currently Fantasia Gardens smoking area), a new building has gone up over the last week. Likely for a more permanent outdoor vending location, the new structure has gone up relatively quickly.

Over in Disney's California Adventure, construction continues on a various projects in the park's big $1 billion makeover.

Work seems to be moving slow at the new 9,000-guest Paradise Park viewing area, but in reality, things are changing in the area constantly, as construction teams turn the space into a multi-leveled Victorian-styled seaside park.

Work continues on the massive World of Color show platform

The new wooden railing alongside the California Screamin' launch has been painted and weathered.

It doesn't seem like there's enough space for a big new Little Mermaid E-Ticket dark ride, but the Imagineers sure think so.

Work continues on the acreage that will become Cars Land over the next couple years.

Work continues on the old Orange Stinger, as it becomes the Silly Symphony Swings by Spring 2010.

Mirrors continue to be removed around Mickey's Fun Wheel.

The multi-year remodel of the classic Disneyland Hotel has begun, and rooms are now being gutted in the Dreams tower.

The Dreams tower is set to be fully remodeled by June 2010, with the whole Hotel remodel to be finished by 2012.

As the Disneyland Hotel begins its big remodel project, the Grand Californian Hotel's expansion is winding down as the new wing featuring the first West Coast Disney's Vacation Club rooms prepares to open on September 23.

The pool and spa areas look ready for guests.

A look inside the Disney's Vacation Club Grand Californian model units gives a sneak peek at what DVC members staying in the new wing can expect later next month in the 1-bedroom suite.

...And a look at the Studio unit:

The new Toy Story Midway! iPhone game ($4.99) was recently reviewed by MiceAge's Kevin Yee who had great things to say about the new pocket version of the popular California Adventure ride. The game is advertised in the iTunes App Store as including a special bonus feature that is unlocked when iPhone users launch the game while visiting the attraction at California Adventure in California or Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.

The bonus feature is simply a set of iPhone wallpapers that you can only get if you unlock them at the theme parks.

It's not worth making a special trip to the park for, but I guess it's a nice touch.

Over in DCA's Hollywood Pictures Backlot, the Gone Hollywood shop has been converted into a Halloween costume shop for the fall season.

Work continues on the new storefront in Downtown Disney.

And back in Disneyland, the bridge near Sleeping Beauty Castle, across from the Carnation Plaza Gardens stage has reopened after some much needed TLC.

And we'll finish up the photos this week with some shots from around the parks...

For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Theme Park Calendar
Disneyland Park
Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 9 pm
Friday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday: 9:30 am - 12 midnight
Sunday: 9 am - 12 midnight

Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 6 pm
Friday: 10 am - 10 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 8 pm
Sunday: 10:30 am - 8 pm

Disneyland Park
  • 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 October 3, 2009 in the Bank of Main Street
  • Pirates of the Caribbean & Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed September 28 through October 2.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed October 5 - 7.
  • 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
  • Lucky Fortune Cookery: Food service location opens in original Cocina Cucamonga location with new Asian-style menu September 3.
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish: Attraction remains open while towers rotate through refurbishment. West tower currently closed.
  • 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.
The folks at D23 have released the third, and final, installment in their "D23 Expo Uncovered" series as the big D23 Expo rapidly approaches.


UPDATED 8/31 - 3:40 am: The 5 am media preview of the new Fantasmic! dragon was cancelled around 3 am PST. As of this posting, details are still emerging. Please check the homepage for the latest information.

Finally, after a summer-long promotion featuring its flame-spewing face, the brand new Fantasmic! dragon will finally debut today, Monday, August 31 at the 8:15pm showing of Fantasmic!, following an early-morning press preview at 5 am. MiceAge's Al Lutz broke the news late last week in an Editor's Note:
Editor's Note 8/28-29: Murphy the Dragon UPDATED - With my last note, I was trying to defer to traditional media invited to the top secret 5 AM performance of Fantasmic on Mon, but the boards started buzzing with leaks from the Entertainment Dept.. Murphy will debut at the early morning media event for invited guests, then generate buzz all day on SoCal TV, radio and newspapers, and finally make his first public debut 15 hours later at the 8:15 PM show. Expect extended park hours and a second show each night through Thur, with a 3rd show added over Labor Day weekend. - Al Lutz

In case you missed it, Al Lutz shared a lot of new info and behind-the-scenes plans for Disneyland in his August 25th column on MiceAge, including updates on Captain EO, the return of the Haunted Mansion's Hat Box Ghost, and a possible new Tinker Bell dark ride.

Hat Box Ghost - as seen in big figure form,
designed by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.
The Reluctant Dragon: Expo Expectations
[ . . . ] There's already a short list of things in final design and approval stages for Disneyland that would put fans in a frenzy at D23, such as Captain EO being shoehorned back into the old Magic Eye Theater for a limited run. There's also the imminent return of the Hat Box Ghost to the attic in Haunted Mansion (after this year's Holiday overlay is removed in January), with slick digital technology improving the clunky mechanical effects of 1969 that evicted that ghost and his hat box from the house in the first place.

Assuming that Consumer Products and the Studios can keep the momentum going on the young Fairies franchise, a Tinker Bell and Fairies themed dark ride is now slated for the old Motor Boat Cruise lagoon early in the next decade. And this winter when the Rivers of America is drained for several months, Tony Baxter is looking forward to adding back a lot of the animatronic wildlife and storytelling drama that has slowly been removed from Frontierland over the last two decades. [ . . . ]
For the full article, visit MiceAge: The Reluctant Dragon

From Around Disney: Disney Channel star Mitchell Musso of Hannah Montana fame will be signing autographs in Downtown Disney on Thursday, September 3. Julie Andrews also visited the Resort on Saturday for a book release event.
‘Hannah Montana’ star, Julie Andrews heading to Disney
[ . . . ] Mitchel Musso, an actor and singer, will sign autographs of his album in Downtown Disney. Musso plays Oliver Oken in the “Hannah Montana” show on the Disney Channel and movie. Musso also is set to perform that night at the House of Blues Anaheim.

Musso’s appearance is set for 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 at Studio Disney 365.
For the full article, visit Around Disney: ‘Hannah Montana’ star, Julie Andrews heading to Disney

The popular Disneyland Half Marathon returns this weekend for its fourth annual run through the resort, and continues to grow in popularity. The event is sold out for the fourth year in a row.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Reaches Capacity Fourth Consecutive Year
ANAHEIM, Calif. (Aug. 24, 2009) - A full field of more than 18,000 participants is gearing up for the fourth annual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Sept. 4-6. The weekend features activities for the whole family, including a Health & Fitness Expo, Mickey's Main Street, U.S.A. 5K, Kids' Races and the main event -- a 13.1-mile half marathon affectionately dubbed "The Happiest Race on Earth."

Participants from all 50 U.S. states and 13 countries are set to compete in weekend races. More than 13,500 are registered to participate in the Half Marathon Sept. 6, and 5,000 are registered in the Family 5K and Kids' Races Sept. 5.

The Disneyland Half Marathon features a course unlike any other in the world. Passing through the two Disneyland Resort theme parks - Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure - and the streets of Anaheim, participants will experience a race full of inspiration only Disney can provide. There are flaming cannons at the start, live entertainers along the route and Disney characters as cheerleaders. Many participants come dressed in costume, and some might even stop mid-race to pose with their favorite Disney characters.

"We've had tremendous success with the Disneyland Half Marathon, reaching capacity months before the race for the fourth year in a row, said Ed Grier, president of the Disneyland Resort. "In partnership with the City of Anaheim, we provide a unique and entertaining Half Marathon course, giving participants another reason to celebrate during this year's 'What Will You Celebrate?' initiative."

In 3 1/2 hours or less, runners will pass Disneyland icons such as Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn, and Anaheim landmarks such as the Anaheim Convention Center, Honda Center and the Angel Stadium of Anaheim, before finally crossing the finish line in the Downtown Disney District.
For the full press release, visit Disneyland News: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Reaches Capacity Fourth Consecutive Year

Alright, that wraps it up for this week's Dateline Disneyland. I'd like to thank MiceChat's Fishbulb for his generous assistance with this week's column. And of course, thanks to all of you for reading. Be sure to discuss this week's update in the comments section below!

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Updated 08-31-2009 at 11:07 AM by Dateline Disneyland (Fixed typo in news section, added D23 Expo video.)

Disneyland Resort , Disney's California Adventure Remodel/Expansion , Disneyland Hotel , Downtown Disney


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  1. DisneyBoi805's Avatar
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    wow i always look forwrd to these updates thank you for the updates
  2. Petchaurus's Avatar
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    I am with you on the space issue over in Disney California Adventures. I E ticket comparable to the Haunted Mansion for Little Mermaid is going to fit in THERE? WHA????

    I really hope they do a tink dark ride. I think its brilliant. Tinkerbell is classic and has been a staple for a long time. I can only begin to imagine the different things they can with fiber optics etc.

    Great update as always. Monday and Friday are my FAVORITES!
  3. StrikeYerColors's Avatar
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    From Around Disney: Disney Channel star Mitchell Musso of Hannah Montana fame will be signing autographs in Downtown Disney on Thursday, September 6. Julie Andrews also visited the Resort on Saturday for a book release event.
    Thursday is indeed the 3rd of September, as is stated in the article you quoted. August 6th was a Thursday, so you were just looking at the wrong month!
  4. StrikeYerColors's Avatar
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    Not thrilled with this news of a Tink ride; she's way overexposed (speaking of, nice upskirt shot of her on the giant hat! HAHA), and I like Tink from Peter Pan, not from Fairies. They could've used the funds and space to build a ride dedicated to another movie that is not yet represented in the parks but belongs in Fantasyland (many would rally for a Beauty and the Beast attraction, I'm sure, among countless other favorites that are often mentioned as being "missing").

    I am kind of excited about the hatbox ghost though, as he seems to fit right in with the redo of the attic.
  5. MickeyMousePal's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. Just like everyone else I can't wait to see the dragon either.
    Dragon I don't do that tongue thing.
  6. disneymademoiselle's Avatar
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    I am not thrilled about the Tink ride in the least! I loathe Tinkerbell and agree with twobluestripes on the fact that she is already represented twice in the park. My guess is that this ride will have nothing to do with Peter Pan and will entirely relate to her with the fairies. I wish they would have thought of a ride that would make use of the water as the Motor Boats did, because I just don't see that happening if they're building a dark ride.

    I must say I'm also pretty baffled as to how they are going to fit Little Mermaid and the queue in that tiny area. Isn't a play area going there too?

    Great update! Can't wait to see everything on the 10th
  7. artastic's Avatar
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    Great Update. I enjoy the fact that someone in the Art department bothered to tweak the dca map. I have been collecting maps for years and watching the subtle changes gets me hyped up!
  8. TravisMT81's Avatar
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    Great Update!!! Thanks for sharing!
  9. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!
  10. disneyland255's Avatar
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    I gotta be honest, the pictures of the new DVC Rooms at the Grand Californian do not even begin to do them justice. Fishbulb, you took wonderful pictures of them, but they are even more beautiful in person. These rooms are high class and I can't wait to use our points to stay there!
  11. xalesa's Avatar
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    Great Update!!! And thanks for the photos Fishbulb!!!
  12. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  13. C. Andrew Nelson's Avatar
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    Thank you Andy for another excellent update, and thank you Fishbulb for all the wonderul photos. I don't get to Disneyland as often as I'd like these days. Whenever I come down to the southern end of the state it always seems to be for business with precious little time for a side trip to Anaheim. So I "vacation vicariously" through your reports.

    I'm not entirely opposed to a Tinkerbell dark ride, but I too would rather see another film represented instead. To me Tink is a supporting character who has been pushed into a starring role. This is going to be a ride based more on a marketing campaign (the fairies) than on a feature animated film. Personally, I'd rather see an attraction based on Bambi, Robin Hood, or Beauty and the Beast before another Tink-related addition to the park.

    But here's a novel about a Fantasyland attraction that isn't based on any established characters or film? Other than It's a Small World is there a Fantasyland attraction with no ties to Disney film or TV properties? (I know, I know, Small World has ties to the films NOW, but it didn't when it was originally designed.) How about something totally original? Just a thought.

    At any rate, thanks again for the update!
  14. Sparky's Avatar
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    The new vending structure that has gone up adjacent to the Matterhorn was built backstage. That is why it went in so fast. I saw it back there from the tram a couple of weekends ago, noting the distinct angle of the roof, and wondered what it was for.
  15. Eagleman's Avatar
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    Tink ride,Does any one have Ideal what it is?
    and How Big would it be......?
  16. Eagleman's Avatar
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    seeing the hatbox ghost would be neat......
    It's been missing for so long........!
  17. Dustysage's Avatar
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    The Grand Californian rooms are VERY nice, especially the 1 bedroom units.

    I'm not thrilled with the tiny hot tub they built, but the rooms themselves are so much bigger and nicer than the original hotel rooms!

    Great park photos Fishy, and amazing update as always Andy!!!
  18. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    Saw the Dragon video at OC Register - okay, that's pretty sweet, and I think long overdue, it looks more like the original commercial when Fantasmic first premiered, at the time I thought it was false advertising to show such an articulated figure when the real thing was just a head on a cherry picker arm...

    But the new dragon is holding onto castle turrets? On Tom Sawyer Island? I always thought they should not have the 'Lafitte's Tavern' or whatever that building is, but just have a rock outcropping or something for the stage of Fantasmic. They should have just made it generic, because it's kind of weird that all the fantasy action is taking place in front of this 1800s type American frontier building. One more nit pick - the wings are on the neck, rather than the back like the original character, but I guess I can forgive that for 'artistic license' and 'better staging'. Overall though, it looks like a well done improvement.
    Updated 08-31-2009 at 09:34 AM by Disneykin Kid
  19. Eagleman's Avatar
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    Andy ,Great Update!
    THANK YOU for Shareing.........!
  20. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    Tink ride - I agree with other posters that it might not be the best choice, Beauty and the Beast dark ride I think is a more classic choice that Fairies. Fairies does smell more of marketing than classic animation. Or my preference that I expressed before - a Star Wars E Ticket on the scale of POTC in the Motor Boat area (or cut down on the Autopia space) - it's still kind of connected to Tomorrowland.
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