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Dateline Disneyland

Gumball Rally, Making mountains, New river residents, DCA construction, + more!

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 05-03-2010 at 01:32 AM
What a week! As new Frontierland residents move in along Disneyland's Rivers of America and major construction continues in Disney's California Adventure park, MiceChat hosted its annual Gumball Rally event, bringing in hundreds of Disney fans racing to see who could ride the most rides in Disneyland in a single day. The event consisted of three different races — a 12-hour race and two four-hour races and concluded with a big awards ceremony and party at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel across the street from Disneyland.

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, Mac Daddy and Capt Phoebus for their help with photos this week. Let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad went down for refurbishment on April 26 and work began quickly on applying a new coat of slurry to the walkways surrounding the attraction.

Last year much of Big Thunder Trail was repaved to co-incide with the reopening of Big Thunder Ranch as the Celebration Roundup and Barbecue dining location (now Big Thunder Barbecue). After that repaving, the area from Big Thunder's queue entrance to the Big Thunder Trail bridge was one of only two portions of Frontierland that retained the old painted slurry that used to be found throughout the park.

Over in New Orleans Square, work continues on the Club 33 balcony refurbishment.

The Rivers of America were scheduled to begin refilling on Friday, but on Sunday crews were working overtime in the construction zone to get the River projects completed.

The OC Register's Around Disney blog had an interesting article on items found in the drained river:
Workers find unusual items in Disneyland river
Disneyland last drained its Rivers of America seven years ago, so workers found a lot of accumulated stuff when it drained the green-dyed waterway in January.

But the most unusual item by far was a computer tower, said Dan Chambers, a project manager at Disneyland. Workers are unsure how the plastic box for plugs and discs got in the water path around Tom Sawyer Island.

Here are some of the other items found:
  • Half of a canoe from Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoe ride.
  • Plastic swords.
  • Mardi Gras beads. The items were part of Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee, a show on the Mark Twain Riverboat on the rivers in the fall.
  • Hundreds of cellular phones and walkie-talkies.
  • Hundreds of baby pacifiers.
  • Mickey Hats.
  • Sunglasses.

Chambers said there was a rumor that a bowling ball was found, but that was false.

Workers also discovered a bunch of fish, including koi, which were relocated to the Bear Creek area, another body of water. Some of those fish have now made their way to the moat around Sleeping Beauty Castle. Oysters and clam shells also accumulate in the rivers. [FULL ARTICLE]

On Sunday, the newly rebuilt Island raft dock was still unfinished.

The Mark Twain's paddle wheel is being rebuilt

Also newly rebuilt — Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes dock. Looks good and ready to go.

New plant life going in along the river

The Gullywhumper is all aged and fully themed. Looks great

New deer drink from a trickling stream along the river's edge

And new Native American figures scout the deer from the other side of the River

A look at California Adventure's ongoing $1 billion remodel and expansion...

Disney released another video last week giving another sneak peek at the upcoming World of Color nighttime water show.

Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis was spotted filming in Paradise Park over the weekend

Work continues on the Silly Symphony Swings project

The area surrounding the walkway-side of the attraction is coming together nicely and looks like it will be a great little landscaped park-like area after construction walls come down. It's a welcome change after years of being one half of the tacky S.S. rustworthy.

In just a few quick weeks, the major steel construction seems to have already been completed at the new Little Mermaid attraction as the crane that was on-site for steel construction is now gone.

Despite Ariel's speedy progress, the Cars Land crane hasn't gone anywhere! But that doesn't mean the Cars Land project isn't progressing. More steel framework for Radiator Springs rock work has gone up and while these pieces are just the beginning, it's starting to give us an idea of just how big this project is.

The steel framework is climbing higher above the Paradise Pier bridge

Steel framework will is obscuring views of Radiator Springs Racers construction

Cars Land construction from the Pacific Wharf food court

Construction walls are still up in front of Playhouse Disney in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot as work finishes up on some repaving of the street in that area following recent Red Car Trolley track construction

MiceChat held it's fourth-annual Gumball Rally event at Disneyland on Saturday. The purpose of the Rally? To find out who can ride the most rides in one day at Disneyland. MiceChat's DustySage kicked off the event at the La Brea Bakery at 8 am Saturday morning.

Over 100 teams and more than 500 players raced through Disneyland in three events: the four-hour "Lite" Rally, the four-hour "Family" Rally, and the big 12-hour Gumball Rally. Along the way, teams had to correctly answer questions about attractions they visited in order to gain points. The team with the most points at the end won!

Even as a MiceChat columnist, I had yet to participate in the Gumball Rally until this year and now I wonder what took me so long to sign up. The event is completely exhausting and even frustrating at times, but it's all part of the fun, and it is truly more fun than I could have ever imagined. My team didn't win — we didn't even place in the top 10 — but that isn't stopping us from getting excited about next year's Gumball Rally. Our feet are sore, but we're ready!

For more coverage of the event, check out these threads on MiceChat:
Gumball Rally Official Team Photos
Gumball Rally Finish Line Photos
Full results will be posted later this week in MiceChat's Meets and Events section.

Here's a look at this week's Disney's California Food and Wine Festival schedule

A variation on the recent DisneyParks castle logo is being featured on embroidered tees and polos now available at Disneyland. Luckily, the "DisneyParks" brand has been dropped and the shirts feature the "Disneyland" name

In Downtown Disney, work continues on the Jamba Juice remodel and the Ridemakerz expansion.

We'll finish the photo portion of today's update with a few shots from around the park...

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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Weekly Theme Park Hours
MAY 3 — 9

Disneyland Park
Disney's California Adventure
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 6 pm
Friday - Saturday: 9 am - 9 pm
Sunday: 10 am - 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park

  • Little Red Wagon: Popular Main Street corn dog cart will be closed through May 4 for refurbishment.
  • Rivers of America: Opens May 7 following a major refurbishment. The closure of the river will result in the necessary closure of the following attractions:
    • Sailing Ship Columbia: Open May 7
    • Mark Twain Riverboat: Open May 14
    • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes: Open May 8
    • Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island: Open May 7

  • King Arthur Carrousel: Closed May 8 - 10.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Closed through May 16.
  • Splash Mountain: Closed May 17 - 27.
  • Tomorrowland Terrace: Restaurant closed through July 2 for refurbishment. Stage will remain open for shows and performances during restaurant closure.

Disney's California Adventure

  • Wine Country Trattoria: Reopens April 27.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed through May 20 for refurbishment.
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Opens May 29.
  • Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: New show under construction. Debuts June 11.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure: Under construction. Opens Spring 2011.
  • Souvenir 66 and Corn Dog Castle: Store and dining location closed for remodeling through May 2011.
  • Red Car Trolley: Track under construction in Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Attraction set to open spring 2012.

Disney announced last week that the Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction at Disney's California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios parks will get a new game and other changes in late May featuring new characters from the upcoming Toy Story 3 film. The new game, Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts, will replace Bo Peep's Baa-loon Pop and is expected to be the same game concept — a balloon pop game.
Disney adds first new game to Toy Story ride

For the first time, Disney is adding a new video game to its Toy Story Mania! ride as a way to promote the upcoming movie sequel.

On the Disney’s California Adventure ride, visitors go on carriages that transport them to compete in front of a series of 4-D video games based on the movie series.

Creators designed the ride so that games could easily be swapped out or updated, possibly for holidays. Next month, a new game will be added for the first time since the ride opened in June 2008, said John McClintock, a Disneyland Resort spokesman.

The new game is called “Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts,” which has riders shoot virtual darts at balloon targets. The game will replace “Bo Peep’s Baaa-loon Pop” in late May. A firm date has yet to be released, McClintock said. Trixie is a new dinosaur character in “Toy Story 3″ who will befriend Rex.

Other new characters from “Toy Story 3,” set to be released June 18, also will appear in different scenes within Toy Story Mania!

In addition to the new game, a new character from “Toy Story 3,” called Lotso, is set to join the cast at Disney’s California Adventure starting Sunday. Lotso, short for Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, will join the Pixar Play Parade and greet visitors.
For the full article, visit: Around Disney: Disney adds first new game to Toy Story ride

Also from Around Disney:

Disney’s craft employees get 3 percent raises
The Disneyland Resort plans to give 3 percent raises annually to about 1,100 employees — including plasterers and machinists — over the next five years.

The Craft Maintenance Council, which represents employees from 13 unions, approved the agreement on the first vote — the first time it has done so in more than two decades, according to Disney.

“This is a great example of labor and management working collaboratively and cooperatively for the good of our (employees) to reach a fair and competitive agreement,” said Steve Eisenhardt, vice president of labor relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in a prepared statement.

Jim Adams, the council’s chairman and chief negotiator, said the employees are happy with the agreement, which was approved swiftly.

“Any kind of increase in today’s economy is pretty good,” Adams said.
For the full article, visit: Around Disney: Disney’s craft employees get 3 percent raises

The LA Times ran a nice feature story on what happens in Disneyland after dark on Sunday:

After dark, the dirty work at Disneyland begins
When the last Jungle Cruise boat docks for the night and lights fade to black on Sleeping Beauty's Castle, the real work begins.

At lush Pixie Hollow, gardeners don miner's headlamps as they begin uprooting stubborn weeds. On Main Street, custodians scrape chewing gum off the sidewalk. And over at Mickey's Toontown, painters sand and recoat chipped handrails.

Few see it happen, except perhaps for the dozens of feral cats that emerge from their hiding places to prowl the park after hours, stalking rodents.

Welcome to the dark side of Disneyland.

Gone are Mickey and his friends. In their place are about 600 custodians, painters, gardeners and decorators, working to ensure that the 85-acre park meets the squeaky-clean ideals that Walt Disney himself extolled even before he launched the park 55 years ago.

During a recent overnight shift, Disneyland provided a rare glimpse into the work that goes into maintaining the world's second-most-popular theme park. Though park officials wouldn't divulge how much money is spent on Disneyland's overall upkeep, they said most is spent on the night shift.

And although most guests will never witness the after-hours work, theme park experts credit the park's continued success to its cleanliness and tidy conditions.

"Disney and many other parks recognize that keeping it clean and refreshed, with all of those little details that you don't notice until they are missing, are important to the park's success," said Gene Jeffers, executive director of the Themed Entertainment Assn., a nonprofit organization of designers and builders of theme parks and attractions.

It's one of the many reasons attendance at Disneyland jumped 8% last year despite the economic downturn, while the crowd numbers dropped at Southern California competitors like Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott's Berry Farm, according to a recent estimate.

To keep the park in good order, it takes a crew that works 365 nights a year, toiling under portable floodlights. "It's a city that never sleeps," said David Caranci, the manager of resort enhancement and decorating. "There is something always happening."

And for nearly every nighttime task, there is a specific worker.

Three workers are responsible solely for repairing and replacing the 800 umbrellas, 25,000 chairs and about 7,000 tables in the restaurants and snack bars in Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure Park.

Four certified divers collect submerged trash and make repairs on water attractions like Finding Nemo and the Jungle Cruise.

The work can often be tedious and occasionally bizarre. At the Enchanted Tiki Room, a 17-minute musical show features 225 robotic birds, plants and singing tikis. Patrick Pendleton, the show's primary mechanic, has seen it more times than he can count.

To make sure the characters work properly, he plays the show repeatedly, watching each closely. "It's hard to catch everything in one show," he said.

Sometimes, the jobs require ingenuity, even for some of the more distasteful chores. For example, the Indiana Jones Adventure ride relies on nearly 1,000 black lights that shine on painted mesh screens to create floating ghost images.

But the effect is marred when guests sometimes spit at the ghosts, and the saliva ends up on the screens where it glows under black lights. Because typical cleaning products bleach the screens, David Graefen, the ride's service manager, said his crew created a special saliva-cleaning solution.
For the full article, visit: Los Angeles Times: After dark, the dirty work at Disneyland begins

Okay! That will wrap things up for this week's Dateline Disneyland. Thanks to our photographers this week — Fishbulb, Mac Daddy, and Capt Phoebus. And of course, many thanks to you for reading!

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See you here next week!
- Andy

Dateline Disneyland

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Anaheim Resort

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  1. orbitalpunk's Avatar
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  2. oo_nrb's Avatar
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    I really like the look of those new Disneyland polos and tees. That, and anything looks better when it says "Disneyland" instead of "DisneyParks"
  3. Vashsky666's Avatar
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    Great Update, thank you for posting it as always!!!
  4. Disney fan 24's Avatar
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    Another great Update and can't wait for next week's
  5. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    Great update!
  6. michael darling's Avatar
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    The new figures along the river are good, especially the crouching hunter. Part of the river floor look very shallow, as in the photo of the new plant life along its edge, and parts look deep, like where Fantasmic operates. Interesting. Long after CarsLand and Ariel are finished, they'll still be working on the swings.
  7. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update as usual.
  8. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!!!
  9. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Awsome update!
  10. Conncr's Avatar
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    I used to work 3rd shift custodial... nice to see these guys getting some attention.
  11. RedHandedJill's Avatar
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    Beyong wonderful update! I'm excitedly counting down my trip in 25 days
  12. aimster's Avatar
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    Dusty stole my rhinestoned Mickey ears!!!
  13. Fukai's Avatar
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    The new Indian figures along the river are copies of those that have been in Tokyo Disneyland for years.
  14. Indiana Joe's Avatar
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    Hey Andy, I did not know you were at the Gumball Rally. What was your team name?
  15. DonDuck's Avatar
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    Fantastic update!!!
  16. kirbilicious's Avatar
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    Am I the only one wondering how you just discover fish in your water? Those fish just didn't magically appear. I'm assuming they would have had to be placed there intentionally, or did they migrate from another connected waterway?
  17. DISNEYLOVER2009's Avatar
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    Love the update great as always keep it coming
  18. JADP's Avatar
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    We are so excited about the new Toy Story updates. My kids can't wait to meet Lotso, and ride TSM! Thanks as always for the info and keeping us updated. TGIM
  19. JerrodDRagon's Avatar
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    Great update, cant wait to see the rivers filled with water again.
  20. Baloo's Avatar
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    The fish eggs are carried by other animals according to the full article. They say they get caught up on ducks feet and then moved from one watery way to another.

    I'm surprised to hear about the clams though. i know there is a lot of crayfish in those wateryway along with turtles and other interesting creatures.

    its good that they noticed them before they got sucked into the pumps. The Koi look great in their new home in the moat
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