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Dateline Disneyland

Gearing up for Christmas, Bye-bye Ed, California Construction, Downtown Disney, more

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by , 10-12-2009 at 01:48 AM
It was announced after we went to press last Monday that Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier announced his retirement in an e-mail sent out to Anaheim Cast Members. The sudden announcement followed the recent trend of a three-year term for Disneyland Resort Presidents, but unlike previous President Matt Ouimet, nobody seemed to really care about Ed leaving. Mr. Grier's last day in Team Disney Anaheim was on Friday.
BREAKING NEWS: George Kalogridis has just been named the new Disneyland Resort President:
Meanwhile, construction continued on California Adventure's $1 billion expansion and remodel, two shops opened in Downtown Disney, and the first signs of the holidays started popping up in Disneyland.

More information and ongoing discussion 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.

I'd like to give my thanks to three MiceChatters who leant their talents and time this week and take the photos in today's update, after I was unable to make it to the Resort. Join me in thanking MiceChat's Abominable Snowman, CaptPhoebus, and Matt "2DieFR" Gottula for helping out this week!

Alright, let's get started -

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle's moat is getting some work done as Christmas lights start creeping in on nearby bushes and trees for the seasonal Wintertime Enchantment lighting overlay at the Castle.

Meanwhile, over at "it's a small world," Christmas lights are already going up for the attraction's big seasonal overlay.

New lighting for World of Color has been now been installed in the pits around Paradise Bay as work continues on the new Paradise Park viewing area and on the World of Color show platform.

The new centerpiece in DCA's former Christmas Tree Point has gotten some faux stonework applied to it. It's looking pretty sharp.

These lights are huge - as tall as the Imagineers working in the Bay.

The new, permanent location for LittleMissMatched opened last week, giving the store a proper home after a few months of using leftover Department 56 shelving and displays. The temporary location is now closed.

And nearby, the new RIDEMAKERZ store has opened up in the other half of the old Department 56 store. RIDEMAKERZ is a build-your-own radio control car store. It's a boy-friendly alternative to the nearby Build-A-Bear Workshop.

A new villain photo op has sprung up in Small World Promenade for Halloween Time.

Back in Mickey's ToonTown, Gadget's Go Coaster is out from behind tarps after a fresh coat of paint.

The attraction reopens later this month.

The French Market entrance is still getting work done

And construction continues at the Disneyland Hotel as it undergoes a major multi-year remodel.

More and more blue glass is replacing the old sliders and faux balconies.

Big Thunder Ranch's Halloween Roundup always has amazing carved pumpkins during Halloween Time

Enchanted Tiki Pumpkins

And finally, we'll finish up the photo update with a few photos from around the park.

For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Theme Park Calendar
Disneyland Park
Monday: 8 am - 11 pm
Tuesday - Wednesday: 9 am - 9 pm
Thursday: 9 am - 11 pm
Friday - Saturday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Sunday: 10 am - 12 midnight

Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday: 10 am - 8 pm
Tuesday - Wednesday: 10 am - 6 pm
Thursday: 10 am - 5 pm
Friday: 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 10 pm
Sunday: 10:30 am - 9 pm

Disneyland Park
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed through October 15.
  • Disneyland Railroad: Closed October 13 - 28
  • Gadget's Go Coaster: Closed through October 26.
  • Big Thunder Ranch: Closed through November 19.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats: Closed through November 19.
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed through November 19.
  • The Enchanted Cottage: Closed through November 4.
  • "it's a small world": Closed October 26 - November 12 to insatll holiday overlay.
  • King Arthur Carrousel: Closed December 8 - 10.
  • 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
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish: Attraction remains open while towers rotate through refurbishment.
  • 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. Expected to be refilled mid-October 2009.
  • Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: New show under construction. Debuts Spring 2010.
  • Golden State Park and Amphitheater: Closed. New, larger viewing area for Disney's World of Color viewing under construction in same location. The new viewing area is scheduled to open February 2010 as Paradise Park.
UPDATED 10/12 11:30 AM PST

Disney has announced George Kalogridis as the new President of the Disneyland Resort:
Disneyland Resort names new president

George Kalogridis, who previously oversaw Anaheim theme parks’ operations, today took over as the new president of the Disneyland Resort — the largest private employer in Orange County, Disney announced today.

Kalogridis, 55, is replacing Ed Grier, who announced his retirement last week and had his last day Friday.

Kalogridis most recently worked as the chief operating officer for the Disneyland Resort Paris.

But he served at the Anaheim resort at a crucial time — serving as senior vice president of Disneyland Resort operations from 2000 to 2002 when Disney’s California Adventure and Downtown Disney opened.

Kalogridis was brought in specifically for the addition. Now, California Adventure is in the middle of a $1-billion expansion, which began two years ago.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Disneyland, particularly during this exciting time of significant expansion,” said Kalogridis in a prepared statement.

“I look forward to working with the cast who make the magic for our guests every day and partnering with the Orange County community to ensure the Anaheim Resort Area continues to thrive,” he said.
For the full story, visit the OC Register's Around Disney blog: Around Disney: Disneyland Resort names new president

News that Ed Grier retired starting hitting the Disney blogosphere late Monday morning, with MiceChatters discussing the news on the boards and Al Lutz here at MiceAge/MiceChat giving details in his Editor's Note. The Orange County Register's Around Disney blog confirmed the news shortly thereafter.

Disneyland president’s last day is Friday
Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier plans to retire effective Friday after three years of leading a major theme-park expansion and weathering a stormy debate over housing near theme parks.

Grier today announced he would leave his job overseeing Orange County’s largest private employer with about 20,000 workers at two theme parks, three hotels and a retail-entertainment complex. A replacement has yet to be named, said Lisa Haines, vice president of Disneyland Resort communications.

“I have been humbled and honored during the past three years as I’ve watched your hard work create smiles and laughter, and delight our Guests. The power of Disney magic never ceases to amaze me, and your passion will always be a source of inspiration,” Grier wrote in a memo to employees.

He declined interview requests today (To learn more abut Grier, click here for a short bio).
The Disneyland Resort job concludes a 28-career with the company, where he started as a senior auditor at Walt Disney World and ended up working in nearly every Disney theme park.

Grier, 54, stated that he has been considering the move for about a year in the memo. Haines said Grier has been discussing the possibility over the last few months with his superiors.

“One defining moment came when my wife and I moved our youngest son into his dorm at Stanford this fall. It was an opportunity to reflect on the past and consider the next chapter of our own lives,” said Grier, who has three sons. “I have had a long and rewarding career with the Walt Disney Company, and am excited to explore what’s next.”

Grier plans to help his son, Michael, who is in film school at Chapman University, with a post-production company that he recently started in Orange.
For the full story, visit the OC Register's Around Disney blog: Around Disney: Disneyland president’s last day is Friday

Also from the Around Disney blog:
Disney parking prices increased by $2 or $3
Motorists had to start paying $2 or $3 more per vehicle to park at Disneyland Resort lots this week.

Disney increased its parking prices for its theme-park lots effective Sunday, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman.

Here are the old and new prices:
  • Cars: $12 to $14.
  • RVs and oversized vehicles: $17 to $20.
  • Buses and tractor trailers: $22 to $25.

Brown released this statement: “As part of the normal course of doing business, we regularly evaluate and adjust our pricing.”

Despite the slumping economy, Disney has increased both parking and ticket prices in recent months. In July, theme-park tickets went up by $3 per person.

The Disneyland Resort has nearly 29,000 parking spots for its two theme parks, shops and hotels, according to city documents.

Disney recently started construction on a new parking lot on Harbor Boulevard across from the Anaheim Convention Center. The lot for overflow parking is expected to be completed sometime this winter, Brown said.
For the full article, visit Around Disney: Disney parking prices increased by $2 or $3
And news about the Main Street Magic Shop's new vendors, also from the Around Disney blog:
Magic returning to Disneyland magic shop
The tricks and magicians are set to return to the classic Main Street Magic Shop at Disneyland next month.

Houdini’s Magic Shop is slated to take over as a private operator of the retail outlet when it re-opens in about a month, but it will keep the same Main Street Magic Shop name, Disney announced this week.

The shop closed Sunday so the store could be remodeled for Houdini’s takeover.
But even before it closed, the shop had lost its magic. Only generic Disney merchandise sat on the shelves in recent months, blogger Sally French reported.

Magic shops have a long tradition in Disneyland.

The first one — Merlin’s Magic Shop — opened near the Sleeping Beauty Castle on the park’s first day in 1955. The Main Street Magic Shop opened two years later. After Merlin’s closed in 1983, the Main Street location remained. Actor Steve Martin got his start at Merlin’s and briefly worked at the Main Street shop.

While Disneyland has run the Main Street shop since 1965, it was previously run by an outside operator.

Houdini’s was selected because of its strong reputation and the fact that it holds rights to key magic tricks, said David Gill, a Disneyland spokesman. Plus, Houdini’s will employ certified magicians to do tricks for guests inside the shop.
For the full article, visit Around Disney: Magic returning to Disneyland magic shop

Alrighty, that should wrap up this week's Dateline Disneyland. Thanks again to our amazing guest photographers this week: Abominable Snowman, CaptPhoebus, and Matt "2DieFR" Gottula.

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 10-12-2009 at 03:33 PM by Dateline Disneyland (Added column banner, formatting fixes.)

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


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  1. orbitalpunk's Avatar
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    Nice work Mice Chatters
  2. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    Great update Andy, and thanks to your photographers who helped out as well. Great shots, everyone!

    The parking increase caught me by surprise on Saturday. I had the AP parking, so I was ok, but FOURTEEN dollars just seemed steep to me.

    Also...warnings up all weekend about capacity issues, and the park closed down on Friday night. Keep an eye on the park this Friday to see if they hit capacity again. Crowds have been WAY up lately.
  3. peoplemover1's Avatar
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    Great Dateline Andy!!!!
  4. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  5. b236en's Avatar
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  6. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    Great job! LOVE the villians meet and greet area!
  7. JerrodDRagon's Avatar
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    Great update as always.
  8. xalesa's Avatar
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    Wonderful update! I love the photos!!! Nice work everyone!
  9. RedHandedJill's Avatar
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    Splendid photos! Everything is coming along quite nicely! I can't wait for my December visit!
  10. Athlonacon's Avatar
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    The Disneyland Presidency: Where Disney careers go to die. Disneyland presidents sure need a lot of time with their families after 3 years, haha. I doubt anyone will even realize Ed is missing, let alone be affected in any way by his departure. Another Rasulo puppet will be along shortly to take his place, filling photo ops and passing along whatever Jay Rasulo tells them to.

    Those lights for DCA's World of Color are really confusing from a scale perspective. When I saw them in the photo, I assumed they were average size (3 feet tall or so) but I had no idea they were so big until I read Andy's note. It's weird how "small" everything looks compared to such a HUGE lagoon! The scale of DCA's lagoon really makes things look a lot smaller than they are. I really don't think anyone is going to be able to even imagine the true scale of World of Color until they see it for themselves in person. Photos clearly don't do it justice (although they are MUCH appreciated!) and even being there now won't really reveal the scale since these fountains shoot up so high.
  11. SouthHrbrBlvd's Avatar
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    Awesome update!
  12. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    as always..Love those pumpkin carveings espically the R2D2 one
  13. disneyDragon923's Avatar
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    Great update, as always. Ohh yeah, I'm doing the CHOC Walk this Sunday through the Disneyland Resort and if anyone wishes to follow me while I walk, I'll be twittering and posting some twit pics of the event. Follow me at Darin Munnell (BigD923) on Twitter
  14. MickeyMousePal's Avatar
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    Great Update Andy.
  15. Fantasmic4's Avatar
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    wow great update! Hopefully Small world Holiday will open up early if all they have to do is decorate inside and hang up garland and the clock's santa hat outside!
  16. NAQUITO's Avatar
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    Glad to see Gadget´s go coaster getting all nice and really needed it!
  17. Sleepy505's Avatar
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    Andy great pics as always, sad to see the price go up in parking though.
  18. DonDuck's Avatar
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    Fantastic update and pics!
  19. bayouguy's Avatar
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    So may empty pools!!
    There's so much happening. Sort of good craziness!
  20. disney-fan-reborn's Avatar
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    :!$#%:IT!!! The DLRR is closed?!!! My son (not this little guy>>>, but his big brother) is going to be P.O.ed when he finds out! We are going to be there all of next week and he was wanting to ride it around the park AT LEAST three times! I even had plans to try and get us on a ride with the engineer and in the Lilly Belle! The DLRR is one of the major attractions that says "Disneyland", not only for me, but for my son and millions of others as well! I cannot express how dissapointed I really am. :(

    BUT, I do realize that work must happen on it SOME time, and they are CERTAINLY NOT going to schedule their maintenance closures around my vacation schedule. We can live with it. There's always next year.

    :!$#%: IT!!
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