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Dateline Disneyland

Opening Paradise Park, Pier Tunes, California Construction, River Refurb, MORE

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by , 04-12-2010 at 02:33 AM
The big news this weekend was the opening of the new Paradise Park area at Disney's California Adventure park. The new Victorian-style 1920s public park-themed plaza will be able to accommodate 9,000 guests for the upcoming World of Color nighttime water show, and will offer an interactive play fountain and and a new multi-purpose state for performances during the day. Elsewhere in the park, the first section of steel framework has gone up for the new Little Mermaid dark ride, and Cars Land construction continues. Elsewhere in the Resort, work continues on Disneyland's Rivers of America refurbishment, and Ridemakerz begins its remodeling and expansion project in Downtown Disney.

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.

We've got a big update today. Many thanks to Fishbulb for his help with Paradise Park photos this week. Let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort

Disneyland message boards were buzzing across the internet last week as work crews put the finishing touches on California Adventure's new Paradise Park area.

Walls came down overnight Friday, and guests got their first wall-free look at the new area on Saturday. Barricades blocked guest access until Sunday when the new park was opened up to the public.

Bronze plaques mark Paradise Park entrances

Speakers throughout Paradise Park now play period-specific music to match Paradise Pier's new time period.

The new background music really makes the new Paradise Park work. It's part of what California Adventure's been missing all along: the ability to transport you to a different place and time. It can be pretty surprising when you're around Paradise Park and hear the new period-appropriate background audio and then just across Paradise Bay the old carnival-style Beach Boys music can still be heard. The transition (or lack thereof) is jarring, to say the least. It'll be great when the Paradise Pier transformation is complete and appropriate background audio is heard throughout the area.

You can sample the new Paradise Park audio below:

Paradise Park - Background Audio Clip
[Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]Audio © Disney

Workers put finishing touches and last-minute touch-ups to the area on Saturday

Rope for extended queues and crowd control was being measured and cut for future use.

Paradise Park utilizes a seashell motif along with elegant stonework.

Trailers being used for after-hours World of Color programming and testing are still in place.

Barricades block guest access to the trailers

The new interactive play fountain is still yet to be turned on for guests

Fountains, expected to be incorporated into the new World of Color show are located in Paradise Park planters.

Trellis lanterns

The new lower-level boardwalk is not yet open to guests

Spikes prevent guests from climbing over the railing onto new lighting tower boxes in Paradise Bay

Paradise Park is well-lit at night

Stair handrails include nighttime lighting

A view of the completed Paradise Park from Mickey's Fun Wheel:

Compare the new area with the model on display in the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar

All-in-all, the new Paradise Park is quite nice. Is it better than the old Golden State Amphitheater? It's hard to say. The new 1920s thematic touches are far better than the modern aesthetic of the old Amphitheater, but sadly, the new Park has even less shade and places to sit than the old Amphitheater. The lack of shade is a disappointment, especially because this has been such a problem for the park since it first opened. On the other hand, the absence of shade trees is understandable; the area has to have clear sight lines into Paradise Bay so that guests can see the new World of Color show. One thing is for sure, Paradise Park is quite nice, but some benches and umbrellas are definitely needed.

As Paradise Park opens, construction presses on throughout the rest of California Adventure as the $1 billion remodel and expansion continues...

The Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar will be closing later this spring as major displays are switched out from previewing the upcoming World of Color show and focusing on the under-construction Little Mermaid ride. Until then, Imagineers have updated a small case in a corner of the Cellar with some photos of construction going on behind construction walls.

Work continues on the new Silly Symphony Swings boardwalk

Vertical construction has begun at the new Little Mermaid attraction across from Paradise Park.

Work continues on the Radiator Springs Racers test track in the upcoming Cars Land.

New period-appropriate light posts have begun going in down Hollywood Blvd. in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot to compliment the new 1920s-era Red Car Trolley.

Old lampposts:

New lampposts:

Much improved!

Over in Disneyland, work continues on the major Rivers of America refurbishment...

Rebuilding the Raft dock

This weekend will be the your last chance to see the iconic Electrical Parade before it is sent to Walt Disney World as part of their version of the "Summer Nightastic!" promotion.

The parade is leaving to allow for more breathing room for crowds this summer as the new World of Color show opens with expectations of creating major crowd control chaos in California Adventure.

The parade is confirmed to stay in Florida for the summer season, and expected to stay for at least a couple years.

Back in Disneyland, new posters are up at the Main Street Opera House for "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln."

Over in New Orleans Square, the Jewel of Orleans is now closed. No announcements have been made for a replacement.

Down the street, the Princess and the Frog store, Le Bayou Magique, has been closed for a while now, but no replacement has taken its place.

Repurposed Mickey's Fun Wheel walls are up around California Adventure's Wine Country Trattoria as the refurbishment on the restaurant and wine bar continues.

In Downtown Disney, walls have gone up around Ridemakerz and Sanuk as work gets underway gutting the space for the Ridemakerz expansion

Disneyland Hotel work...

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
APRIL 12 - 18, 2010
Disneyland Park
Disney's California Adventure
Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 11 pm
Friday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm
Friday - Saturday: 9 am - 9 pm
Sunday: 9 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 through April 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 21 and 22.
  • Minnie's House: 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.
  • Splash Mountain: Closed May 17 - 27.
Disney's California Adventure
  • Princess Dot's Puddle Park: Closed April 12-16, April 19-23 for refurbishment.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed through May 20 for refurbishment.
  • Princess Dot Puddle Park: Closed through April 16 and April 19-23.
  • Award Wieners: Closed through April 13.
  • Wine Country Trattoria: Closed through April 26.
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Opens 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.

The New York Times had a great article on Disney CEO Bob Iger and his triumphs and struggles in leading the company into the future. The article also included an interesting bit about Iger's hands-on approach with DCA's upcoming World of Color.

Is Disney’s Chief Having a Cinderella Moment?

LATE February at the world’s largest media conglomerate was a particularly challenging time for Robert A. Iger: problems were sprouting all around him.

On a Friday, staffers gave Mr. Iger, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, a 30-minute rundown of final plans for a new multimillion-dollar attraction at the Disneyland Resort. He hated it.

By Monday, a British theater chain had stepped up threats to boycott “Alice in Wonderland” over Mr. Iger’s decision to fast-track the film’s DVD release. And then, at about 1 a.m. on Wednesday, he got an e-mail message: “URGENT: Dancing Mickey.” A new electronic toy, a boogie-woogie Mickey Mouse, had encountered a hiccup, threatening its availability for Christmas.

In each case, Mr. Iger found a solution, sometimes cajoling his people to do more and sometimes intervening more directly. “I like our people to solve problems on their own, and they usually do,” he says later. “But I will do a deep dive if there is a lot at stake or if there are creative challenges.”

Deep is not a word that most people used to describe Mr. Iger when he took control of Disney five years ago. In fact, he was widely dismissed as little more than a stuffed suit who might have had the skills to fix a highly dysfunctional company but lacked creative sizzle or big-picture brilliance to raise its game. His predecessor Michael D. Eisner endorsed him, but faintly — at least according to “DisneyWar,” the 2005 book that chronicled Mr. Eisner’s fall from power.

The new take on Mr. Iger? Let us count the ways: One of the most aggressive dealmakers in media (the $7 billion purchase of Pixar, the animation studio, and the $4 billion acquisition of Marvel, the comic book publisher and movie studio); a risk-taker who isn’t afraid to make decisions that rankle Disney’s own troops (ripping apart the wiring for how the company does business in Europe); and a guy who, more than any of his big-media counterparts, is retooling antiquated industry practice, particularly when it comes to movie-making.

In short: blockbuster C.E.O.

[ . . . ] THE next morning, Mr. Iger is relaxed — or as relaxed as a perpetual motion machine ever is. And the three problems that engulfed him over the last few days had been solved.

That Disneyland attraction, a high-tech water show set to music called World of Color (think the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas on steroids), was being reworked. He felt that the attraction over all was outstanding, but he worried that the music was all wrong. So he had written notes about each song on how to make the show more modern.

“Ninety-five percent of the decisions made at the company are made by other people,” he says. “But this is a big show, and I felt opportunities were being lost.”

For the full article, visit: NY Times: Is Disney’s Chief Having a Cinderella Moment

From the Around Disney blog, a look at the new General Manager of the Grand Californian Hotel's signature restaurant, The Napa Rose:

Restaurant manager leaves Las Vegas for Disney
Disney restaurant manager Philippe Tosques led an upscale Las Vegas eatery when it grabbed attention for a pricey menu item: a $5,000 burger combo.

He created the idea for the foie gras and Kobe beef sandwich — which came with wine — along with head chef Hubert Keller, a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”

Through most of his career, Tosques enjoyed working behind celebrity chefs, including Keller. But recently Tosques decided that it was his turn to take center stage.

So last month Tosques took over as the general manager of Napa Rose, one of Orange County’s top restaurants that sits inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.

“I decided I needed to find something that would work for me where I’m in the spotlight,” Tosques said.

Tosques, 44, began his new job March 1, following Michael Jordan who had opened the restaurant in 2001 and departed in September.

The Napa Rose job culminates about 25 years in the business, starting as a teenager in French culinary school.

Weekly family gatherings, usually at his grandmother’s house, inspired Tosques to get into the food business.

Tosques enjoyed his grandmother’s “crazy, wonderful meals,” sometimes prepared at a moment’s notice, including roasted chicken, chestnuts, potatoes and tiny radishes dipped in hot butter and salt as appetizers. But more than that, he appreciated the camaraderie.

“There was so much energy around the table,” Tosques said. “I could see a lot of good things happening around the table.”
For the full article, visit: Around Disney: Restaurant manager leaves Las Vegas for Disney

The troubled Anaheim GardenWalk mall has gone back to the bank after nobody bid on the property at a foreclosure auction last week.

Bank takes over ownership of GardenWalk mall
The original owners of Anaheim's GardenWalk lost control Thursday of the outdoor mall as a bank assumed control after a foreclosure auction.

No bidders for the mall, on Katella Avenue in the shadow of Disneyland, stepped forward at Thursday morning's auction in front of Placentia City Hall after an opening bid of $70 million was announced.

Ownership of the mall is set to go back to the bank, Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp., said David Bark, who came to the auction as a representative of the title company, First American Title. The switch, effective immediately, becomes official in about two weeks.

The previous owner, Anaheim GWII, LLC, based in Delaware, fell behind on a $210 million loan.

The mall, at 321 W. Katella Ave., opened in 2008 and includes more than 60 stores and restaurants, like P.F. Chang's and California Pizza Kitchen. But GardenWalk opened as the economy took a dive and has struggled to attract customers

The estimated value of GardenWalk was $194 million, according to the notice of sale.
For the full article, visit: Around Disney: Bank takes over ownership of GardenWalk mall

Alrighty, that will wrap up this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks, as always, for reading, and thanks again to Fishbulb for his extra help this week!

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- Andy

Dateline Disneyland

FTC-Mandated Disclosure:
Promotional consideration for this, the April 12th edition of Dateline Disneyland, was provided by
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel
Anaheim Resort

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  1. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    Paradise Park and the Disneyland Hotel look great! So do the HPB lampposts, which are news to me.

    Great update!
  2. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    How exciting this all is! Can't wait for the World of Color to open!!
  3. BaronVonReed's Avatar
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    That bit about Iger writing notes on how to make the music for the show more "modern" sends a cold chill through my blood.
  4. TheDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaronVonReed
    That bit about Iger writing notes on how to make the music for the show more "modern" sends a cold chill through my blood.
    Same here... reminded of Eisner changing steps through time.
  5. TacAlert's Avatar
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    Interesting how you mention that trees (etc) were left out so there would be unobstructive views for the new show. However, looking at the pictures, those big white globe lights seem to be blocking a lot. Can't wait to start hearing all the complaints about those. They weren't even in the concept art.
  6. MickeysImagination's Avatar
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    I like the brief snippet of the new area loop for Paradise Pier. It's what I expected and sounds like it could be the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra who have a few songs in the Main Street Loop.
  7. SpcMtn77's Avatar
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    Paradise Park = Lovely Can't wait to see it!
  8. Big G's Avatar
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    Wow! What great coverage.
  9. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  10. whamo's Avatar
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    The old must make way for the new. Disneyland is going to come alive again, reborn, this summer, after a long, cold winter.
  11. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. The sound clip sounds great. I had it playing while I was browsing the photos of Paradise Pier. The only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb now is the Maliboomer.
  12. Happiestcruiser's Avatar
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    Great update. Paradise Park is more beautiful than I thought -- although I hoped for more tall trees between the "Park" and the walkway next to "Ariel". This would've stopped the "gawkers" along the sidewalk from seeing the WOC from outside Paradise Park, but if what Disney threatened (that Paradise Pier would be closed 1 hr before and during both performances) -- blocking a view from the 'sidewalk' along "Ariel" would not be an issue. BTW: Can I say how DUMB it is (in my humble opinion) to close the Paradise Pier just because they do not want the lights and noise interfering with the show?
  13. RedHandedJill's Avatar
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    This is all SO exciting. Thank you all so much!
  14. Hildy's Avatar
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    What a great update! I loved seeing the walls come down. I agree with you on the seating and shade. Hope they put in some benches along the way. At least near the play fountain. The track for the new music is much better than the old beach boys CA themed music. Last time I visited the parks the music really got on my nerves. It was really loud and overwhelming. Not very "background" like. By the end of the day I just wanted to scream, "Turn off the record!" It kept playing over and over again.

    I am anxious to see the little mermaid updates in the Blue Cellar. I know it is going to be animatronic - My question is how much animatronics. I hope it is more like Pirates and Splash - completely animatronic and not like Toy Story Mania or Buzz Lightyear. Those rides are fun and I enjoy them, but the other ones have more personality and draw for me.
  15. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    1920's period theme is definitely what Paradise Pier needs, now if only they could make PP Hotel into a 1920s high rise...
  16. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    I love how the pictures capture the details of the new park. After viewing these and Mac Daddy's I almost feel like I've been there. I do hope that benches and umbrellas make their way to that area soon.

    I liked that you showed the old lanterns vs. new lanterns in Hollywood Backlot! Great update, guys.
  17. Kidgenie's Avatar
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    Very interesting Bob Article, I found it too but thought to myself that "He felt that the attraction over all was outstanding, but he worried that the music was all wrong." does not equal "He hated it" as the article first said.

    Also, this was in feb. So the music in the utubes of the April testing sound ok from a distance. I did wonder what Bob meant by all that "make it more modern" stuff. I feared the worst.... And 2010 equivalent to The Pointer Sisters singing Yo Ho.

    I also did not like Bob's comment about "the Luggage of Tradition" But overall, his first five years have been better then I expected all around. For someone who would like to lighten up the weight of the baggage called "Traditions", hes done some amazingly traditional stuff like get Oswald the Lucky Rabbit back into the Disney Family. Then again, there is Marvel which calls into question the strategy of "we can't dominate a market, then just buy the market!" Overall, hes done better then I would have assumed, but I don't know that I am crazy about him yet.
  18. FredSimmons's Avatar
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    I notice that all of the ugly mechanical stuff that will make up the inner workings of the World of Color show is still visible (in the photos). Can I safely assume that this is going to eventually be covered by the water? I hope the park isn't going to be premanantly blighted by that mess.
  19. JADP's Avatar
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    Things are looking up in DCA! Thanks for the pics!
  20. Joshnyah's Avatar
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    Very awsome.....
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