View RSS Feed

Dateline Disneyland

Spring Break crowds, Toy Story parking, Rivers of America, DCA construction, +MORE

Rate this Entry
by , 03-21-2010 at 09:28 PM
Spring break crowds have hit the Disneyland Resort and just in time Disney has opened up 2,500 new parking spots in the new Toy Story Parking Lot but just hope you don't get stuck parking in the off-site lot. Meanwhile, in the parks work continues on the major Rivers of America refurbishment in Disneyland, and construction continues on various projects in California Adventure's on-going $1 billion expansion, including World of Color and Cars Land. We've got another big update this week with lots of great photos from Mac Daddy and MonstersGoBoo!

For more information on any of the construction projects featured in today's update, just look for a Project Tracker water mark and click that photo for more information on the project and to join the on-going discussion.

There's a lot to get to in this busy spring break edition of Dateline Disneyland, so let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

The comparatively-quiet winter off-season has ended at Disneyland as spring break crowds hit the parks.

Add holiday crowds with local 2fer crowds and you've got yourself one busy Magic Kingdom.

Don't expect crowds to lighten up too much anytime soon — the lull after spring break will go by fast and then summer crowds will fill the park once again.

The big Rivers of America refurbishment continues through May...

Construction continues throughout California Adventure as the park undergoes a multi-year $1 billion remodel and expansion.

Work continues on bringing together the final pieces of Paradise Park, the 9,000-guest World of Color viewing area.

New lanterns on the Paradise Park trellises

Disney's new World of Color show is now expected to officially open June 11th when the popular Summer Nightastic! promotion returns to the Disneyland Resort, according to a recent Disneyland Resort press release [NOTE: The official press release was later edited, removing the June 11 date. Below is an excerpt of the press release as it was originally issued].

“Summer Nightastic!” Returns
Beginning June 11, “Summer Nightastic!” returns to the Disneyland Resort, featuring exciting evening events that will electrify the night at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks.

Headlining the entertainment is the new nighttime water spectacular – “World of Color” – at Disney’s California Adventure park. Surpassing all previous water productions, “World of Color” brings Disney animation to life with powerful fountains that are the stars of the show, forming the world’s largest projected water screen. In the making since 2005, “World of Color” combines hundreds of magnificent fountains, LED-produced dazzling colors, and an all-new kaleidoscope of audio and visual effects to take water-infused entertainment to a new level of artistry.

Located in Paradise Bay, Disney’s newest production features an unprecedented infrastructure of water effects, larger-than-life projections, lasers, fire, fog, surround sound and stunning images. This technical wizardry, combined with classic, animated Disney and Disney•Pixar film sequences, creates an emotional experience for guests as jaw-dropping effects sweep across the lagoon and soar into the sky. [FULL PRESS RELEASE]

The DisneyParks Blog gave another sneak peek into World of Color last week and the special cut paper stop animation created for the show
27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="437" height="265" id="viddler">

Work on the Little Mermaid foundation continues...

Over in Cars Land, a crane is up to start work on the towering Radiator Springs rock work.

A crane has also moved into the Silly Symphony Swings site as construction continues on that project.

New trees for much-needed shade have been going in around the Swings

Over in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, brick pavers are now being laid down Hollywood Blvd. around the new Red Car Trolley tracks.

A look at Trolley work new the Tower of Terror:

Disney opened the new Toy Story Parking Lot on Friday, adding over 2,500 new parking spots for theme park guests. The OC Register's Around Disney Blog shared more information on the new lot and created a great interactive map showing the location of the lot in relation to the theme parks and other Resort parking.

New Disneyland Resort parking lot opens
The parking lot was built on land Disney bought 12 years ago with the intention of constructing a future theme park. For now, Disney has an agreement with the city to run a parking lot there for up to 10 years.

The lot, called Toy Story, sits east of the Anaheim Convention Center on Harbor Boulevard south of Katella Avenue. The lot will have 2,678 new spaces, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. Another 1,000 spots were already there.

Regular-car parking will cost $14, the same as at other Disney lots, Brown said. Visitors can take free shuttle buses to the parks. The lot is expected to be open every day. [FULL STORY]

Around Disney also had an interesting story on laid-off bus drivers being re-employed by Disney to shuttle guests to and from the new Toy Story lot:

Laid-off drivers hired for new Disney lot
At least 15 laid-off bus drivers are going back behind the wheel of the public vehicles that they used to run.

But in their new jobs, they will shuttle visitors to and from Disney theme parks — all paid by Disney.

For its new parking lot that opens Friday, Disney arranged to hire some laid-off drivers and lease public buses that were out-of service because of budget cuts by the Orange County Transportation Authority.

George Kalogridis, the Disneyland Resort president, got the idea after reading about cutbacks at the transportation agency. He knew that Disney was about to contract for shuttles for the upcoming lot on Harbor Boulevard, so he asked his staff to look into using OCTA’s buses and possibly their out-of-work drivers.

“We had a need. There was an opportunity,” Kalogridis said. [FULL STORY]

Looks like koi fish have been added to the Castle moat

Sanuk, a popular sandal store in Downtown Disney, has finally closed to allow its neighbor, Ridemakerz to expand. Both stores occupy the space previously used by Department 56.

Sanuk is hoping to find a permanent location in Downtown Disney soon.

Ridemakerz will reopen in June in its remodeled space.

Work continues on the Disneyland Hotel remodeling project.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort.
A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Disneyland with nearby dining and freeway access. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit

Rooms now available for as low as $59 per night!
Now through June, the HoJo Anaheim is offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn't listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.


Weekly Theme Park Hours
MARCH 22 - 28, 2010
Disneyland Park
Disney's California Adventure
Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 9 pm
Friday: 9 am - 10 pm
Saturday - Sunday: 10 am - 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed April 12 - 16 and April 19 - 23.
  • Tomorrowland Terrace: Restaurant closed through July 2 for refurbishment. Stage will remain open for shows and performances during restaurant closure.
  • Little Red Wagon: Popular Main Street corn dog cart will be closed through May 4 for refurbishment.
  • Disneyland Monorail: Closed April 19 and 20.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Closed April 26 through May 16.
  • Rivers of America: Closed through May 6 for a major refurbishment. The closure of the river will result in the necessary closure of the following attractions:
    • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed through May 6
    • Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed through May 6
    • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes: Closed through May 6
    • Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island: Closed through May 14
  • King Arthur Carrousel: Closed May 8-10.
Disney's California Adventure
  • Golden Zephyr: Closed through April 2 for refurbishment.
  • Princess Dot's Puddle Park: Closed April 12-16, April 19-23 for refurbishment.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed April 12 - May 20 for refurbishment.
  • Award Wieners: Closed through April 18.
  • Wine Country Trattoria: Closed through April 26.
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Orange Stinger is now closed for retheming. Reopens as the Silly Symphony Swings May 29.
  • 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.
  • Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: New show under construction. Debuts Spring 2010.
  • Paradise Park: Former Golden State Amphitheater area is closed and a new, larger viewing area for Disney's World of Color viewing under construction in same location. The new viewing area is scheduled to open this spring as Paradise Park.

The OC Register's Around Disney blog had a great feature story on Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis, giving a look at the kind of work George is doing at job as Disneyland Resort President
New Disneyland Resort president gives inside look

Five weeks into his job leading the Disneyland Resort, George Kalogridis traded in his suit and tie for a white custodial uniform.

On Thanksgiving, Kalogridis emptied trash cans, swept litter along a parade route and sorted recyclable plastic and glass from the garbage in Disneyland.

He answered visitors’ questions about parade times and restroom locations. And he took his break with the custodians, joking about the difficulty of cleaning up popcorn and cotton candy.
Kalogridis wanted to see the perspective from the ground floor at his new job – especially on a busy holiday.

“I always respect the fact that cast members (employees) work in the park, typically giving up (holiday) time with their families and friends,” Kalogridis said. “It’s important to send a message that I respect that and I would do the same thing.”

Kalogridis, 56, is paying close attention to details while keeping an eye on the big picture. He leads Orange County’s largest private employer, with about 20,000 workers who serve 20 million annual theme-park visitors.

He strolls Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure often. He says he can’t help looking at the small stuff – he has since starting at the company’s bottom.

[ . . . ]

Customer satisfaction
Michael Crawford, an Epcot visitor from North Carolina, said he wrote a letter to every Disney official from then-President Michael Eisner on down about his disappointment with the rehab of an attraction in 1999.

Kalogridis, a vice president, called him at home.

“I was floored,” Crawford said. “He must have been hearing from hundreds of people. For him to make the rounds, I was really impressed by that.”

In the early 1990s, Kalogridis was manager of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. An event planner causally mentioned that she wished the dew had disappeared before an outdoor convention meeting had started.

Meg Crofton, now the Walt Disney World Resort president, recalled how Kalogridis had crew members dry the grass with towels.

“That’s the attention to detail – and how he’ll do everything possible for guests – that George is famous for,” Crofton said.

Miller said she once walked around Epcot with Kalogridis. She was impressed how he greeted many employees by name, asking about their families.

“He just touches so many lives in ways that’s really personalized,” Miller said.

For the full article, visit: Around Disney: New Disneyland Resort president gives inside look

The Around Disney blog also has the final dates for the Electrical Parade before it moves to Florida
Last chance to see Disney’s Electrical Parade

Disney’s Electrical Parade will begin its last run in Disney’s California Adventure starting this weekend.

After spring break, Disney plans to ship the light-covered floats and costumes to Walt Disney World in Florida, where the parade will appear this summer.

“We are hopeful that we will get it back eventually, but they have it for the summer at least,” said Denny Newell, senior show director at the Disneyland Resort.

The remaining dates for the California parade are [now] through April 11 and April 16 to 18. The parade will begin at 9 p.m. nightly.
For the full article, visit: Around Disney: Last chance to see Disney's Electrical Parade

Television icon Fess Parker, known for his role as Davy Crockett passed away last week. D23 has more on the life of this legendary star.

03.18.10 - Fess Parker, the enormously popular actor who launched a coonskin cap craze in 1954 when he starred as Davy Crockett in the first of five hour-long episodes for Walt Disney's Disneyland TV series, passed away at his home in California's Santa Ynez Valley today, March 18, from age-related causes. He was 85 years old. Parker went on to play another iconic American hero in the popular Daniel Boone NBC TV series that lasted for six seasons and 165 episodes. In addition to his numerous successes in the world of entertainment, Parker became a phenomenally successful businessman, developer, and vintner through his Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort (in Santa Barbara), and Fess Parker Winery (in Los Olivos). Commenting on Parker's passing, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger said, "Like many kids growing up in the 50s, Davy Crockett was my first hero, and I had the coonskin cap to prove it. Fess Parker's unforgettable, exciting and admirable performance as this American icon has remained with me all these years, as it has for his millions of fans around the world. Fess is truly a Disney Legend, as is the heroic character he portrayed, and while he will certainly be missed, he will never be forgotten."

Noted film critic and author Leonard Maltin, added, "Fess had an enormous impact on a whole generation of kids. It's almost impossible to overstate how popular Davy Crockett was, and it made him an overnight star. The nicest part about meeting him in later years was discovering that he was just as genuine and likeable as he seemed on screen."
For the full article, visit: D23: REMEMBERING FESS PARKER

Alrighty, that finishes up the March 22nd edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks to our photographers Mac Daddy and MonstersGoBoo! for their help this week. Thanks, as always to you, for reading. We're here every week thanks to your readership and donations. If you read and enjoy Dateline Disneyland every week please consider helping us out and donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming your way. Without your support, these updates could not happen! You can donate safely and privately with PayPal by clicking here. Thanks so much!

Be sure to discuss this week's column in the comments section below!

Don't forget to join us on Twitter! We now have 6,200 followers! So see what you're missing out on and recieve updates throughout the week with links to breaking news, mini updates, photos, and links to newsworthy MiceChat discussions. Visit now!

See you here next week!
- Andy

Don't forget everything else MiceChat has to offer, including:
In the Parks
News, photos and more from Southern California entertainment offerings including Disneyland Resort, Knott's Berry Farm, and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Weekend Update,
Tour the world of Disney theme parks and other destinations around the globe!

Submit "Spring Break crowds, Toy Story parking, Rivers of America, DCA construction, +MORE" to Digg Submit "Spring Break crowds, Toy Story parking, Rivers of America, DCA construction, +MORE" to Submit "Spring Break crowds, Toy Story parking, Rivers of America, DCA construction, +MORE" to StumbleUpon Submit "Spring Break crowds, Toy Story parking, Rivers of America, DCA construction, +MORE" to Google

Updated 03-22-2010 at 10:11 AM by Dateline Disneyland (Fixed date typo, added column banner)

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


Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
  1. rstar's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Wonderful update & pictures, as usual. Thanks!
  2. MarkTwain's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    What an update! Paradise Park looks great, and using brick for the new Hollywood Backlot is an interesting choice. And the more I hear about George Kalogridis, the more I like him.

    Great update!
  3. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great Update!
  4. MrToadOfToadHall's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    May 8th Edition? Oops! Great update though! Thanks!
  5. Orcatime's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    What a great article about George!

    Getting excited about WoC. Hopefully they will be able to hold to the June 11th date. Still expect to see it on YouTube before I'm even close to be able to see it in person.

    RSR is coming along excitingly as well.
  6. Crazee4mm's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    The Electrical Parade now starts at 9:00pm (instead of 8:45) in DCA which effectively eliminates the stampede of guests rushing over to Disneyland between the conclusion of DEP and the beginning of the fireworks at 9:25. The fireworks begin at Disneyland about the same time that the final float enters the parade route. Most of the crowd stayed in the Sunshine Plaza area and viewed the fireworks from DCA rather than running over to DL to make it in time for the beginning of the pyro. It is nice that the directin of the parade now begins at the front of the park. It was a traffic nightmare when the parade started back in Paradise Peir. Thanks Disney for finally listening.
  7. WheresMickey's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great update!
  8. RedHandedJill's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Wonderful update! I am really going to miss EP Farewell for now!
  9. kitchv's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I'm trying to plan a family reunion trip this June...what do you think the odds are of the June 11th date sticking for the World of Color show. I'd really hate to miss it! :S
  10. jcruise86's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Thanks for the excellent update, Andy!
    I'm glad George Kalogridis is off to a good start as president of Disneyland! How do you say his last name?
    And it was good those bus drivers who had been laid off got those jobs.
  11. jcruise86's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by Crazee4mm
    . . . It is nice that the direction of the parade now begins at the front of the park. It was a traffic nightmare when the parade started back in Paradise Pier. Thanks Disney for finally listening.
    Don't they have it run one direction one night, keep the floats parked where it ends overnight, and then come back the other direction the following evening?
  12. SouthHrbrBlvd's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Will the nozzles in Paradise Bay eventually be submerged? They're ugly.

    Great update!
  13. Joshnyah's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Were losing the electric parade for a while? Im glad we cancelled our trip to Disney next weekend, that would of been a nightmare. Im gonna hold off for the gumball rally.
  14. FerretAfros's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Don't they have it run one direction one night, keep the floats parked where it ends overnight, and then come back the other direction the following evening?
    That was the way (kind of) that the parade ran in DL, but it never worked like that in DCA. In DL, they would run it from it's a small world down to Main Street, and then keep it backstage behind Main Street. On nights when there were two parades, they would run it in the opposite direction later in the night. If there was only one parade that night, they would return all the floats to the backstage area north of the park after the park closed. Due to the limited storage space between Main Street and Tomorrowland, it would have been impossible to run the daytime parade with the MSEP floats back there, since there would be no room to park it. Since DCA was designed with parades in mind, there is a backstage route that connects both ends of the parade route, with the storage buildings along the route (one is next to Screamin and the other is behind the boardwalk shops and games).

    In DCA, DEP originally ran from the Sunshine Plaza to Paradise Pier. Once Remember debuted for the 50th, there was a nightly stampede of guests who tried to see DEP in DCA and then run over to DL for the fireworks. To try to make it more difficult to do this, they reversed the direction of the parade, so it ran from the Pier to the entrance. This made it close to impossible (though still doable) to see the entire parade and make it over to DL for the fireworks, as there were just a few minutes between the two. Knowing that the guests who were going to parkhop would be in the entrance, they delayed the arrival of the parade until it was just about too late, reducing the number of guests trying to switch parks just before the fireworks started. Whether you liked it or not, it was an intentional crowd control 'nightmare' to avoid the real nightmares they had when the parade was running the other way.

    It's also interesting to see how much vertical construction they've already done for RSR. That looks like the steel frame for the show building (which would need to be built before they can start the rockwork), which means they're pretty far along. I'm always a little surprised by how quickly the construction is moving, but then I realize that 2012 isn't that far away, and I'm sure they're expecting some technical difficulties (TestTrack anyone?), so they're leaving extra time in the schedule to deal with that.
  15. MasterGracey's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by MrToadOfToadHall
    May 8th Edition? Oops! Great update though! Thanks!
    Oops, indeed! Thanks for catching that, it's been fixed

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthHrbrBlvd
    Will the nozzles in Paradise Bay eventually be submerged? They're ugly.

    Great update!
    Yes, the World of Color show platform will be completely submerged when not in use. It will be raised to "show level" during show performances, and there is a higher "maintenance level," which is what we often see right now in the park and in photos.

    - Andy
    Dateline Disneyland
  16. Supernova07's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great update, as always.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86
    I'm glad George Kalogridis is off to a good start as president of Disneyland! How do you say his last name?
    I keep wondering the exact same thing, I am really curious how to pronounce it correctly.
  17. Oathkeeper's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    great update! Paradise Park is looking really nice with all the new greenery, and its nice to see life back in the moats with the added koi (though I do miss the swans). Excited to see the rockwork start in CarsLand too!
  18. dl3000's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great update. I'm really impressed with George.
  19. cablubber's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Very nice update. I hope it's not too crowded at the DLR when I go duriing the summer.
  20. MickeyMousePal's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    June 11-13 will be super busy.
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast