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: http://su.pr/18ynhv
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!
Weekly News and Information Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments, Ed Grier retires, Parking prices go up, Main Street gets new Magic.
WELCOME TO 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.
DOWNTOWN DISNEY SHOPS
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.
THIS AND THAT
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
AROUND THE PARK
And finally, we'll finish up the photo update with a few photos from around the 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
CURRENT ATTRACTION CLOSURES & REFURBISHMENTS
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:
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.
ED GRIER RESIGNS AS DISNEYLAND RESORT 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.
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.
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.
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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