It's been a surprisingly busy news week for the Disneyland Resort. While Disneyland's summer promotion doesn't kick off until June 11, the long Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of the summer season, and all over the Resort doors are opening and changes are getting underway. Last week Disney announced a major overhaul and expansion of the Disneyland Hotel's pool area bringing in nostalgic thematic touches to replace aging, but classic features on Hotel grounds. In the parks, the Silly Symphony Swings have opened in Disneyland's sister park: the newly re-named Disney California Adventure. DCA also got a brand new logo that has received a lot of mixed reviews from fans. And in Disneyland, Fantasmic! and the Magical fireworks shows have returned as two shops (re-)opened in Fantasyland and New Orleans Square, getting some dead space in the park in working order for the impending summer crowds.
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.
A big thank you goes out to our team of talented photographers who made this week's column possible: Fishbulb, Mac Daddy, Macro, lighttragic, and David Yeh.
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
This week new shops opened in Fantasyland and New Orleans Square. In Fantasyland, a Candy Shoppe (the official DisneyParks Blog called it Gepetto's Sweet Shoppe) opened in the space formerly used for Wishing Star Crystals, between Pinocchio's Daring Journey and the Village Haus Restaurant.
The store features a lot of the pre-packaged Disney-branded snacks and candies found elsewhere throughout the Resort. You won't find any fresh candy here like you do on Main Street or back in Critter Country.
Over in New Orleans Square, a high-end women's accessory store has opened in the former Jewel of Orleans shop. The new store retains the old name, but you won't find antique estate jewelry here, just pricey handbags and accessories.
On Friday, the former Orange Stinger, which is now the newly re-themed Silly Symphony Swings, soft opened in California Adventure. The ride doesn't officially open until June 11 along with World of Color, but you'll likely see it open for business if you head into the parks from here on out.
The new ride is the same as the Orange Stinger, but the theming and the overall experience (thanks to the excellent theming here) is much improved than the attraction's Orange Stinger days.
A clever conductor stand -themed ride control booth
Baskets to store your bags and loose shoes around the perimeter of the ride platform.
On Friday, May 28 Disney officially unveiled the new park logo for California Adventure, and slightly changed the park's name. Officially, the park's name is now Disney California Adventure, dropping the possessive in Disney's California Adventure Park. The name change is interesting, and while a lot of folks on the message boards think its a meaningless marketing move, it is interesting to consider what this name change could mean. Does the change from the possessive "Disney's California Adventure" signify a change in the park's theme? Are we moving away from a Disney-created representation of California (Disney's recreation of California) and moving to a Disney-themed California Adventure? The influx of Disney and Pixar characters in new attractions would seem to support this idea, and a name change would make sense.
Below is the new logo Disney released publicly and a variation on the logo with Mickey Mouse that was released to Cast Members.
Below are the previous two park logos. The top logo is the most recent logo that has been in use for several years now, and below that is the logo the park debuted with featuring Grizzly Peak.
With the park taking on early 20th century themes, the new logo makes sense for the park's new direction. The new logo borrows from early Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck cartoon title cards, which fits with the time period and the new infusion of Disney characters at California Adventure.
Work continues at various Disney's California Adventure projects as it gets closer to the debut of the new World of Color water and light show.
DISNEY'S WORLD OF COLOR & PARADISE PARK
Also on Friday, Disney debuted the new World of Color TV commercial on the official DisneyParks Blog. The spot features Mickey in a spin on his Sorcerer's Apprentice role, donning a conductor's robe and learning the World of Color conductor's baton brings Paradise Bay to life in unexpected ways.
The big debut of World of Color is less than two weeks away and the fan anticipation on the MiceChat boards is at fever pitch. The programming trailer has been moved out of Paradise Park and rumors of unannounced soft openings are resurfacing. So far, the first official viewing of the show will be for the KOST/MyFM radio event on June 8, followed by the media preview and official public debut on June 10 and 11, respectively. Could there be soft openings this week? While it's looking somewhat likely, it's also wise not to get your hopes up too high.
The show is finalized: Imagineering's programming trailer for World of Color has moved away from Paradise Park.
The DisneyParks Blog gave readers another sneak peek at the new show last week with a look at how live choreography was used to bring the fountains to life.
A snazzy new website for World of Color has also opened and it gives a bit of preview at the characters and music featured in the upcoming show.
Also worth taking note of — Disney Dining is now taking reservations for World of Color dining packages. They're available at two California Adventure dining locations: Ariel's Grotto and the Wine Country Trattoria. The prix-fixe meals will include tickets to a special World of Color viewing area for dining package guests. The location of the dining viewing area has yet to be finalized, but dining package guest will recieve their World of Color tickets after they've completed and paid for their meal. Reservations can be made by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-3463.
Ariel's Grotto Adults: $36.99 Children: $20.99
Includes a sharable appetizer, main entree, and sharable dessert.
Wine Country Trattoria Adults: $39.99 Children: $ TBD
Includes a sharable appetizer, main entree, and sharable dessert.
Attention all you MiceChat photo bugs and citizen journalists! We're hosting a couple couple of really exciting contests which could earn you one of two $100 Amazon gift card or one of four $25 Amazon Gift Cards. That's six chances to win!
Write a World of Color review or snap a spectacular photo and you could win!
World Of Color Review
Be the first person to post a review of World of Color on MiceChat and you'll win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. The 2nd and 3rd person to post a review will each win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. To be eligible, your review must contain a minimum of 15 photos and at least 250 words of text.
Best World Of Color Photo
Throughout the month of June, we'll be keeping track of the best photos posted to MiceChat from World of Color. On June 26th, we'll post a poll with the top 10 photos (as selected by a panel of MiceChat judges) and let the members of the site vote on their favorites. The winning entry will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers will each receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
For full terms and contest rules visit the MiceChat contest thread by clicking here.
THE LITTLE MERMAID: ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
The building for the new Little Mermaid ride continues to progress.
Cars Land continues to see progress as well, with testing taking place on the Radiator Springs Racers test track.
RED CAR TROLLEY
The Red Car Trolley track-related street work near Playhouse Disney at the entrance to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot has finished up.
Further back in the Backlot, work in front of the Tower of Terror continues as Red Car Trolley track is installed.
Even with all of the World of Color news, the new park logo, and the opening of the Silly Symphony Swings, Disney had even more news last week when they unveiled a brand new pool area for the Disneyland Hotel. New Monorail-themed water slides, a new kiddy pool, and a completely reworked dining area and bar will be built. The Neverland Pool will remain, but it will lose its Peter Pan theming and name.
The pool area redesign and expansion will take over a substantial portion of the Hotel grounds.
The OC Register's Around Disney blog has details on the remodel:
Makeover planned for Disneyland Hotel pool area
Visitors will be able to splash in water slides that look like Monorails, dine and drink in a new Polynesian-themed restaurant area and slumber in newly themed towers when renovations are done at the Disneyland Hotel.
Disney has announced major plans to remodel the pool and outside areas of the classic Disneyland Hotel, which is already undergoing room renovations. Construction is expected to start in August.
A new water play area and dining locations are set to be finished in summer 2011, while other sections will be completed the following year.
“We are taking this chance to take every part and piece of the property to make it cohesive and one part of a special story,” said John Mauro, development manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, who oversees hotel design.
While additions are coming in, the Disneyland Hotel will lose some long-time features: the Koi pond, the waterfalls, the “Peter Pan” theme at the Never Land Pool area and existing water-side restaurants.
The overall design is meant to be an homage to the early Disneyland years and resurrect the original mid-century style of the hotel, which first opened in 1955 with two-story bungalows. The first tower was added seven years later.
Disney declined to release the cost of the upgrades, but the project is part of an ongoing expansion and renovation of the Disneyland Resort, costing $1 billion and mostly at Disney’s California Adventure.
The pool area, surrounded by three hotel towers and convention center space, will get a major makeover.
The dining area next to the pools will be redone with Polynesian architecture, similar to the Tahitian Terrace restaurant that used to be inside Disneyland starting in 1962. Demolition is planned for buildings housing the Lost Bar, Croc’s Bits ‘n’ Bites, an arcade and shop. Hook’s Pointe Restaurant and Wine Cellar will be gutted, even though the restaurant recently got a new seafood menu. Read a story about Hook’s Pointe changes.
A fast, casual restaurant and enclosed bar with 1950s, retro Tiki looks will take their place, Mauro said.
The three hotel towers will be renamed after Disneyland lands: Adventure, Frontier and Fantasy. Each tower will have marquees featuring artwork from each of those lands. Many of the rooms already reopened in the Adventure Tower, formerly the Magic Tower, which is due to be completed in June. All towers are set to be finished by 2012.
Mauro said the waterfalls and pond use too much water and energy, take up space and fail to fit in with the theme of the hotel.
“We know it’s a good part of the hotel and an element of the hotel that people enjoy,” Mauro said. “It wasn’t making sense, to be quite honest.” [ FULL ARTICLE ]
The Hotel Towers will also be renamed to match classic Disneyland lands: Frontier, Adventure, and Fantasy.
The dramatic and romantic waterfalls will soon be a thing of the past.
THIS & THAT
In Downtown Disney, Ridemakerz is set to open in June.
Tables for the store were being moved in last week.
Back inside California Adventure, the Wine Country Trattoria refurbishment and enhancement will finish early next week just in time for World of Color crowds.
And at Disneyland, Splash Mountain has reopened after its brief refurbishment.
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 HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat.
Rooms now available for as low as $59 per night!
The HoJo Anaheim is now 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 NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
Weekly Theme Park Hours
MAY 31 - JUNE 6, 2010
Disney's California Adventure
Monday: 8 am - 12 midnight Tuesday - Wednesday: 9am - 11pm Thursday: 8 am - 9 pm Friday: 9 am - 12 midnight Saturday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday: 9 am - 10 pm Tuesday-Wednesday: 10am-7pm Thursday: 10 am - 6 pm Sunday - Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm
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.
Silly Symphony Swings: Soft-opened. Officially opens June 11.
Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: Unannounced soft openings may happen before debut date. Officially 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.
TV & DISNEY LEGEND ART LINKLETTER DIES AT 97
Disney Legend and the host of Disneyland's opening day ceremony on July 17, 1955 died on Wednesday at the age of 97. Art Linkletter was an entertainment legend in the truest sense of the word, and as someone so integrated into the fabric of Disneyland's history, he will be missed.
Art Linkletter (L) with Walt Disney, hosting Disneyland's opening day broadcast on July 17, 1955
Art Linkletter, a legendary star of radio and television who served as Master of Ceremonies for the opening day of Disneyland in 1955, died peacefully at home with his family on Wednesday, May 26. He was 97 years old.
Born in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan in 1912, Art was abandoned as an orphan and later adopted by a traveling minister and his wife. Fully intent on becoming a college professor, Art majored in English and Psychology and graduated from San Diego State College in 1934 with a B.A. degree. However during his last year in college, Art was offered a job as a radio announcer at Station KGB — a CBS outlet in San Diego. By the time he graduated, he was promoted to chief announcer and decided to remain in broadcasting.
Art was a star in show business for more than 75 years. His best-known shows established records for longevity. People Are Funny ran on NBC-TV and Radio for 19 years and was rated in the Top 10 for more than 11 years. House Party ran on CBS-TV and Radio for 26 years and was one of the top daytime shows from the day of its first broadcast in 1945. It won two Emmy Awards®, as well as numerous other nominations for awards. In addition, Art starred in and co-produced many television specials, as well as acting in half a dozen dramatic shows and motion pictures. Art also performed as the Master of Ceremonies for the opening day of Disneyland in 1955. He returned decades later to officiate at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Park on his 93rd birthday.
"Throughout Art's 60 years in show business, he remained one of the most respected and beloved media personalities in America," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "Art had forged a great friendship with our founder Walt Disney, which led him to host Disneyland's groundbreaking live opening day broadcast on ABC in 1955. Art had remained a good friend to the company ever since, and we honored him with the prestigious Disney Legends Award in 2005. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we are saddened by Art's passing and extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones"
Whew! That wraps up another edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thanks again to our fantastic team of photographers this week: Mac Daddy, Fishbulb, Macro, David Yeh, and lighttragic. Of course, thanks to all of you for reading! Happy Memorial Day to all of our readers in the U.S.! Enjoy your holiday!
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See you here next week! - Andy
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