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Dateline Disneyland

Countdown to World of Color, Test Cars, Star Tours sets closing date, Swings, + MORE!

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by , 05-16-2010 at 10:21 PM
Last week came and went and World of Color continued testing, but didn't make the jump to public soft openings. Disney's official word is that no soft openings will happen, but with a show this big and with expectations so high, it's hard to imagine public test runs not happening. In any case, the Dateline Disneyland team is keeping an eye on the show as signage around California Adventure's Blue Sky Cellar touts the "Countdown to World of Color." Meanwhile, other big projects around the park continue at full speed, and scaffolding has started to come down around the Silly Symphony Swings as that project nears completion. And over in Cars Land, keen-eyed Mickey's Fun Wheel riders can spot the new Radiator Springs Racers test car on the track as the major new 12-acre land continues to take shape. Over in Disneyland, spring has officially sprung as the first baby ducks of the season are now wandering the walkways and waterways of the park.

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.

Many thanks to Fishbulb, Ron W and Hot Sauce 1 for their excellent photos this week.

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Set-up for the annual Grad Nite events is now present in Disneyland's Central Plaza (the hub). One of the event's many dance areas is stationed in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

A few steps back, at the end of Main Street, the Little Red Wagon corn dog cart has returned with new signage and fully refurbished. Corn dogs will remain a permanent menu item now at the Stage Door Cafe and Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland, after proving to be extremely popular at these locations when the corn dogs were temporarily moved here during the Little Red Wagon's refurbishment.

And one of the many charms of Disneyland is seeing the first ducklings of spring walking and swimming through the park.

Construction continues at various Disney's California Adventure projects as the countdown begins on the new World of Color

Testing of the new World of Color show continues on a regular basis, even when the park is opened as the show's debut date draws closer.

No public soft openings for the show have happened yet, despite rumors that they could begin as early as last week. Disney has officially said that there will be no soft openings for the show, but things are always subject to change at Disney and it's hard to believe that a show of this magnitude will not have any public test runs prior to opening.


Over at the Blue Sky Cellar, signage and light posts in the area now tout the "Countdown to World of Color" and inside some of the video screens have a live countdown clock to the show.

Work progresses at the Silly Symphony Swings, and scaffolding has come down around the attraction's new boardwalk.

The attraction is still on track to open May 29.

Fancy new light posts around the attraction - some feature classic Band Concert characters.

Work continues on the show building for the upcoming Little Mermaid ride

The first test car arrived at the site of the Radiator Springs Racers test track last week, and Disney released some publicity photos of the new ride vehicle being put on the track.

Park guests won't get much a view of the new car except from high above on Mickey's Fun Wheel.

Test car on the track:

Steel framework for Cars Land rockwork is becoming more and more of a visual obstacle for guests wanting a sneak peek at construction.

A look at the Cars Land steel framework from the parade route, rising behind Pacific Wharf.

Work continues on reopening the walkway in front of Playhouse Disney after some alterations were done to the walkway when the Red Car Trolley tracks were being installed.

Disney announced last week that Star Tours in Disneyland will close July 27 to begin work on Star Tours 2, nearly three months earlier than its original October date.

Disneyland’s Star Tours set to close early for rehab
Disneyland’s Star Tours will shut down about three months earlier than scheduled so workers can begin revamping the ride as a 3-D attraction, Disney announced Thursday.

Star Tours will close July 27 for a nearly year-long project. Originally, work was set to begin in October.

In September, Jay Rasulo, then Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman, announced the major overhaul, including the October shutdown date, to the 1987 ride during the D23 Expo. Read a story about the Star Tours announcement.

But Disney officials have since decided that they need more time to upgrade the “Star Wars”-based ride that simulates a journey through space. The ride will reopen in 2011.

“They want to take all the appropriate time to make it a really spectacular attraction,” said John McClintock, a Disneyland Resort spokesman. [ FULL ARTICLE ]

It's likely that the attraction will be pretty busy this summer as guests look to take their final (first) flight with Captain Rex before the attraction closes for its remodel.

Meanwhile, over at California Adventure, Aladdin was set to take his final flight on his magic carpet later this summer so Disney could bring in the poorly reviewed Toy Story musical from the Disney Cruise Line.

On Wednesday, Disney officially announced that Aladdin wouldn't be leaving after all, and touted the announcement as result of a "by popular demand" reaction from fans. Conspicuously left out was any admission that the earlier announcement of the Toy Story — The Musical got quite a bit of criticism from fans.

A new arbor roof is going up at DCA's Wine Country Trattoria outdoor dining patio. It'll be a nice addition and make the area a more attractive dining location during the hot summer months.

Last week we mentioned Toy Story 3's Lots-O-Huggin Bear is now making appearances in the park, including DCA's Pixar Play Parade. Here's Lotso as he appears in the Toy Story section of the parade:

And over at Grizzly River Run, Walt Disney Imagineering has quietly been replacing the contemporary extreme sports theming with 1950s-era National Parks theming. So far it looks great and is a much welcome change from the tacky contemporary and "edgy" theming the attraction opened with in 2001. Below, wooden paddles replace brightly colored modern paddles.

Period-appropriate thematic touches.

There are only two weeks left of the 2010 run of Disney's California Food and Wine Festival. Here's this week's schedule:

MiceChatter Hot Sauce 1 is back with some spectacular photos from around the park. More of his beautiful photos can be found at his Flickr Photostream.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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Weekly Theme Park Hours
MAY 17 - 23, 2010
Disneyland Park
Disney's California Adventure
Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 9 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
  • Disney Gallery: New exhibit — Day One Disneyland — opens May 22.
  • Fantasmic!: Closed through May 27
  • Splash Mountain: Closed through May 27.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures: Closed May 18 - 20.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed June 1 and 2.
  • Tomorrowland Terrace: Restaurant closed through July 2 for refurbishment. Stage will remain open for shows and performances during restaurant closure.
Disney's California Adventure
  • Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar: Closed to install new Little Mermaid attraction exhibit June 3 - 9.
  • Wine Country Trattoria: Closed through June 9 for refurbishment.
  • 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 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror — Disney's FASTPASS Distribution: Distribution area closed and Fastpass service not offered through August 15 for nearby construction related to upcoming Red Car Trolley attraction.
  • 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.

The sequel to the popular "Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real" book hit stores on Tuesday. The hardcover, 192-page book promises to be a great addition to any Disney fan's collection, and is a steal at only $37 on Amazon.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real Product Description:

How can you make dreams come true? Or transform a fantasy into a colorful, exciting world that visitors can move through, touch, and enjoy? Such fabulous work is the daily business of Walt Disney’s Imagineers, a core group of creative and highly skilled professional wizards who combine imagination with engineering to create the reality of dreams that are the Disney theme parks.

In this sequel to the bestselling Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real, the Imagineers serve up another dose of magic with an even closer look at who they are, what they do, and how they do it, illuminating their theories and explaining what tools they use, and where and how they use them. Contained within this deluxe tome are rough drawings, conceptual models, and behind-the-scenes stories showcasing Disney's newest attractions and innovations from the inside out. There’s also an exclusive peek into the Research and Development Lab to see what new magic will soon be appearing.

The Imagineers will tell their own stories, as well–how they got there, what they do on a daily basis, what they show their friends in the parks, and how you can learn what it takes to become an Imagineer.

Presented in a large, lavish format, this book is sure to be a must-have for every Disney collector.

For more information, or to purchase, visit: Amazon: Walt Disney Imagineering — A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real

A bomb scare caused by an unattended bag briefly closed Tomorrowland Wednesday afternoon. The bag turned out to be harmless and full of food, but the scare resulted in the evacuation of Tomorrowland and the assistance of the Anaheim Police Department.

Tomorrowland briefly evacuated

Several hundred people were evacuated from the Tomorrowland area of Disneyland for more than an hour Wednesday because of an unattended bag.

Disney employees received word of the unattended bag outside the Tomorrowland Theater around 4 p.m. and immediately called Anaheim police in to evacuate Tomorrowland and investigate the suspicious bag, said Suzi Brown, a spokeswoman for the Disneyland Resort.

The Tomorrowland Theater is where “Captain EO” is shown.

Sgt. Tim Schmidt of the Anaheim police said “the circumstances were suspicious enough” to merit calling in the Orange County Sheriff’s bomb squad.

After a few tests, the bomb squad determined that the bag was a soft-sided ice chest with wheels, containing parishable food items, Schmidt said.

For the full article, visit: Around Disney: Tomorrowland briefly evacuated

From the Orlando Sentinel's Daily Disney blog:

Disney profits surge thanks to movie blockbuster, but parks still struggle

After more than a year of using deep discounts to prop up traffic in its theme parks, the Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it is prepared to absorb a short-term attendance hit to restore pre-recession prices.

The company said it expects to cease widespread discounting beginning this fall.

“We are determined and confident that we can take our pricing back to normalized levels,” Walt Disney Co. Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said during a conference call with stock analysts.

The comments followed Disney’s announcement that companywide profit surged 55 percent during the its fiscal second quarter, as the Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant reaped a windfall from its hit 3-D movie Alice in Wonderland.

Disney said it earned $953 million during the three months that ended April 3, up from $613 million a year ago. The gain was driven in large part by the company’s movie studio, which rebounded from a moribund performance a year ago thanks to the strength of Alice.

The film, directed by Tim Burton and starring actor Johnny Depp, has rung up $962 million in global ticket sales so far, making it the second-highest-grossing film in Disney history.
The company’s total revenue rose 6 percent to $8.6 billion.

Disney’s theme parks continued to struggle, however, despite an improving overall economy. Operating profit at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts sank 12 percent for the quarter, falling from $171 million a year ago to $150 million. Sales inched up 2 percent to $2.4 billion.

Rebounds at Disney’s theme parks typically lag broader economic recoveries because of the lead time involved in booking vacations.

The parks unit was also hurt by declines at Disney Cruise Line, which was squeezed both by rising fuel costs and greater promotional activity to stimulate bookings.

Attendance fell 4 percent at Disney’s U.S. theme parks as the head count was down 6 percent at Walt Disney World but flat at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The decline was partly the result of a shift in Disney’s fiscal calendar that stripped from the second quarter the typically busy week around New Year’s. Without that shift, Disney said, domestic attendance would have been flat.

Hotel occupancy also fell, sinking eight percentage points in Orlando to 81 percent and two percentage points in California to 67 percent.

Disney has already begun reducing the size of available discounts in recent months, and the effect was clear in the second quarter. While attendance and occupancy fell, guest spending climbed from a year ago, when Disney was offering its steepest promotions.

Average guest spending rose 5 percent in Disney theme parks, while per-room spending in its hotels jumped 8 percent.
For the full article, visit: Daily Disney: Disney profits surge thanks to movie blockbuster, but parks still struggle

Alrighty! That wraps up another big edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks as always for reading, and thanks to our great photographers this week: Fishbulb, Ron W, and Hot Sauce 1.

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  1. nonob88's Avatar
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    Another great update! Thanks, and a big thank you to the contributing photographers as well
  2. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!!
  3. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. Those boxes on the poles around Silly Symphony Swings, what are those? Lights?
  4. D.O.M.'s Avatar
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    Those pictures by Hot Sauce at the end are spectacular.
  5. Disney fan 24's Avatar
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    Another Great Update can't wait for next's week's
  6. mark's Avatar
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    Nice update- DCA keeps getting better and better!

  7. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    One of the best Dateline editions ever. The photography this week was absolutely superb. Outstanding work everyone! Hot Sauce....those around the park shots at the end are amazing. Ron and Fishy....same to you for your update shots. Really well done!
  8. michael darling's Avatar
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    Final shots by Hot Sauce 1 are amazing. Did you use "vivid color" or "standard color"? If you used standard....then Disneyland is by far the most colorful park of them all. Talk about a World of Color! The teacups area looks like it's right out of Wonderland.
  9. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  10. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    Amazing stuff...great photos and intel.

    Does anyone know if WDW Star Tours has the same scheduling for the renos as D-land?
  11. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    I love of all the positive changes going on at DCA--the little ones like the paddles being replaced truly do make the "Disney Difference"
  12. JADP's Avatar
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    Now the positive changes of the Silly Symphony Swings, are very obvious. The que are goes really well with the surroundings and victorian board walk feel.
    Those pictures are wonderful! Part of the miracle of those photos is that, there are no people in the back ground, (I always dream of having my own free time in the park to take pictures and explore).
  13. Concieved@DL's Avatar
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    Super Duper stuff, 144 hours till DLand !!!! WoooWHooo for me. I hope that they will hva some soft openings for WOC, but I notice that DCA closes early all next week though. Oh well, I am stilll have a blast.
  14. ykiki's Avatar
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    Can't wait to take a spin someday on the Michael Schumacher Ferrari!
  15. TDLFAN's Avatar
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    Awesome evening shots hot Sauce.
    In regards to the Lots-of-Hugging bear.. Is it me or does than name sound more suitable for a pimp or his working employee?
  16. SpcMtn77's Avatar
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    Glad the Little Red Wagon is back...Love their corndogs! Also, the detailing on/around the Silly Symphony Swings is beautiful! I'm glad their doing it right this time around. Thanks for the update
  17. Joshnyah's Avatar
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    Yep, great reporting and great Pictures. Thank you.
  18. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Sad that Star Tours is closing sooner than later.
    But happy that Aladdin is staying in DCA.

  19. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    I'm loving the little boardwalk area under the swings. Looks FANTASTIC!!!! Just wish we would have gotten the full boardwalk treatment for the Fun Wheel.
  20. whamo's Avatar
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    Great update. Can anyone tell me about the Gumball Rally? Please email me if you wish to share any information.
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