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Dateline Disneyland

Deconstructing California Adventure, Moving trees, No turkey for Thanksgiving, +MORE!

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by , 11-22-2010 at 03:41 AM
Disneyland is covered in Christmas lights and garland to celebrate the season but California Adventureconstruction crews continue on the major $1 billion overhaul and expansion of the park with little regard to the holiday crowds. The second half of the park's entrance mural continues to be removed, and trees from the now-demolished Sunshine Plaza are moving elsewhere to help shade to park guests from the bright California sun. As progress pushes on at DCA, Disneyland will no longer host the "Happiest Turkeys on Earth" and Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine has been recognized for her work in the Disney theme parks.

Thanks to our photographers this week: Fishbulb, Ron W, and Mac Daddy.

As always, more information on the construction projects featured in today's update can be found in the MiceChat Project Tracker threads — just look for a Project Tracker watermark and click that photo for more information and to join the on-going discussion.

There's always a lot to see at Disneyland, so let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

News broke last week that Disney was ending its partnership with the White House and wouldn't host the turkeys pardoned by President Obama for this year's Thanksgiving holiday. The pardoned turkeys have been calling Disneyland (and Walt Disney World in 2007) home since 2005, as part of Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration. Below are photos of the 2009 turkey at Disneyland. Below are photos of last 2009's pardoned Thanksgiving turkeys.

The OC Register's Around Disney blog has more on the turkeys:

Disneyland stops hosting pardoned turkey
This year’s president-pardoned turkey won’t be the Happiest Turkey on Earth.

After five years, Disney has decided to stop housing the National Thanksgiving Turkey and an understudy after they are pardoned by the president. Following the traditional ceremony, an official turkey has served as the grand marshal in a Thanksgiving parade and then lived at Disney parks since 2005.

“It’s been a wonderful partnership. We’ve had a lot of fun doing it. We’re just not continuing with that,” said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman.

The turkey event started as part of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration, when the bird was called the Happiest Turkey on Earth. Disney continued the festivities. Disneyland hosted the official turkeys in all but one year — 2007 when the birds went to Walt Disney World in Florida. See slideshow of the 2009 Thanksgiving birds above.

This year, Disney officials decided that the turkeys don’t fit with the parks’ new promotional theme, called “Let the Memories Begin” which is based on visitors’ memories, said Brown said.

Dating back to 1947, the U.S. president is traditionally presented with a turkey to pardon so it doesn’t become Thanksgiving dinner.

In recent years, the president has pardoned an official turkey and understudy. The past five years, the birds got motorcades after the ceremony and were taken on first-class flights to Disney parks.

This year, the turkeys will live at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estates and Gardens in Virginia, said Sherrie Rosenblatt, National Turkey Federation spokeswoman. President Barack Obama is expected to hold the ceremony next week.

“The only thing we heard is that they are going to focus on their new marketing campaign, and then we decided to work with George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, where the National Thanksgiving Turkey will reside after the ceremony,” Rosenblatt said. [ FULL STORY ]

Over in California Adventure, Disney has been honored by the Themed Entertainment Association for the work done on World of Color. Also honored was Imagineer Kim Irvine for a "lifetime of distinguished achievements" when presented with the Buzz Price Award.

Thea Awards Announced for ‘World of Color’ and Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine
[...] The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced that this year’s Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement-Nighttime Spectacular goes to “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park. “World of Color” is recognized by TEA as “a visual and technical marvel,” that combines stunning Disney and Pixar animation with music, lights, fog, lasers, fire and nearly 1,200 programmable fountains spanning an area that is bigger than a football field. Please join me in congratulating the hundreds of talented people from around the world who worked on this project for the past five years!

And that’s not all. Longtime Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine was recognized for a lifetime of distinguished achievements with The Buzz Price Award. Kim began her career at Walt Disney Imagineering in 1970, where she worked alongside many of the Walt Disney Imagineering legends such as John Hench, Mary Blair, Marc Davis and Claude Coats. She worked on many attractions for both Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World before joining Imagineering’s Disneyland Design Studio team in 1980.

Kim has long been the Art Director for Disneyland park and was responsible for projects such as Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration, including a new look for the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. Recent projects include adding ‘new magic’ to classic attractions such as ‘it’s a small world’ and in locations like the Rivers of America. Kim also created designs for the new Disney Gallery and interiors for the new The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction on Main Street, U.S.A.

Imagineer Kim Irvine with Mickey Mouse:

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

The eastern side of California Adventure's entrance mural continues to come down, with demolition plastic and construction walls now surrounding the portion of mural inside park gates.

Work continues tearing out the old Sunshine Plaza planter and sun fountain area.



Looks like the Little Mermaid building will be nicely detailed

Nearby, the old Corn Dog Castle and Souvenir 66 area has received new trees, transplanted from the former Sunshine Plaza.


Work continues on removing the Disneyland Hotel's waterfalls and prepping the surrounding area for new guest restaurants and pool features.

The World of Color platforms are once again fully submerged in California Adventure's Paradise Bay. Hopefully they will remain fully submerged for the foreseeable future.

Back in Disneyland, the Village Haus continues its refurbishment

Facade refurbishment tarps are down from the Fantasyland restrooms connected to the Village Haus

Over in Tomorrowland, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters has reopened after a brief refurbishment.

Gray carpet has replaced the linoleum flooring in the queue and exit areas.

Not sure if this is an upgrade or not.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
NOVEMBER 22 — 28, 2010
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday - Sunday: 8am - 12midnight
Monday - Sunday: 10am - 10pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park

  • Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin: Closed through December 16 for refurbishment.
  • Village Haus Restaurant: Closed until December 19 for refurbishment.
  • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride: Closed November 29 through December 2 for refurbishment.
  • Star Tours: Closed for Star Tours 2 overhaul. Reopens May 2011.

Disney California Adventure

  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed through November 29 - December 16 for refurbishment
  • Muppet*Vision 3D: Closed December 9
  • Maliboomer: Removed. Space will become new park-like area.
  • Mullholland Madness: Closed to be rethemed. Reopens May 2011 as Goofy's Sky School.
  • Pizza Oom Mow Mow: Closed for retheme to Boardwalk Pasta and Pizza
  • Burger Invasion: Closed for retheme to Paradise Garden Grill. Reopens May 2011.
  • 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.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Arcade, Jungle Cruise Remote Control Boats, Hook's Pointe, The Wine Cellar, The Lost Bar, and Croc's Bits & Bites (Disneyland Hotel): Closed permanently for removal as part of Disneyland Hotel remodel.

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Check In at Disney Parks with Gowalla
[ . . . ] There’s a new way to explore and experience Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. We’ve teamed up with location-based web service Gowalla to make ‘checking-in’ to your favorite Disney places a lot more magical.

The fun starts with our new digital Passport Stamps. Hundreds of locations within Disney Parks will feature these exclusive Stamps created by Gowalla – it’s the largest number of custom Stamps ever developed for a brand. The Stamps can be collected and kept as a virtual scrapbook by using Gowalla and checking-in around the parks.

You’ll also be able to view park happenings with custom Disney Passport pages at each park that include maps featuring a check-in stream, a list of popular places and Trips.

News from the Around Disney blog:
Cab drivers take Disney, hotels to court
Taxi drivers upset that two major Anaheim hotels prohibit them from picking up fares are about to be barred from Disney properties, too – and are headed to court Wednesday looking for a judge’s help.

About a dozen taxi drivers – and an attorney – unsuccessfully urged the Anaheim City Council Tuesday night to help them regain access to the Hilton and Marriott and to prevent Disney from working with just one cab company.

Wednesday afternoon, attorneys for the cab drivers – from A-Taxi and California Yellow Cab Co. – are expected to ask an Orange County Superior Court judge for an injunction that would allow them to pick up fares in all Anaheim Resort destinations until the legal issues can be ironed out.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, a judge decided to allow the taxi drivers to serve the hotels and Disney property for now until he can hear full arguments.

For the full story, visit: Around Disney: Cab drivers take Disney, hotels to court

Alrighty, that wraps up this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and please be sure to discuss in the comments section below! Please remember that we're only here because of your support. If you enjoy Dateline Disneyland every week please consider helping us out by donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal — click here!

Thanks again to Fishbulb, Ron W, and Mac Daddy for their help with photos this week.

Also, remember that MiceChat has loads of new content all week long! For even more Disneyland news, photos and information check out the In the Parks column on Fridays. And MiceChat's Weekend Update, tours the world of Disney theme parks and other worldly sights and landmarks!

Join us on Twitter and Facebook for great Disneyland news and information throughout the week!

See you at the parks!
- Andy

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  1. bamato's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update everyone!
  2. FerretAfros's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that the trees by the Corn Dog Castle have always been there, and aren't from the Sunshine Plaza. The Plaza only had tall palm trees, and it looks like the ones in the photos are the relatively-short willows that have been next to the small building for years. Unless there are some other ones that I wasn't looking at.
  3. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  4. SleepingCorgi's Avatar
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    great update as always!!! thanks so much!

    would anybody happen to know where all the props go when they are taken down? They surely arn't just trashed, are they? seems like such a waste. Maybe they could reuse some of it (like tiles from the mural or something) to decorate a new ride? For example, how recycled glass was used on the Nemo Sub Voyage. Just a thought since so much is being done!

    on a random note, I'm having difficulties posting pictures in my messages. I use shutterfly. any suggestions? thanks :P
  5. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    What's the deal with the cabs? I'm guessing you can still catch one, they just can't hang out...right?
  6. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update! The best thing about Mondays.
  7. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    Hope those trees being transplanted doesn't mean Corn Fog Castle and Souvenir 66 are sticking around...
  8. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    MarkTwain, I was thinking the same thing about Corn Dog Castle. At least not the way it looks now. The fact that the building is still there has me wondering though.

    I think the carpet in Buzz is an upgrade, the flooring in there was looking pretty bad. Wish they would have had a longer refurb because I'm sure they weren't able to fix all of the paint peeling in the cars, etc.
  9. LuckyJack65's Avatar
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    Great, great update! Thanks!!!
  10. rage's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!
  11. Claybob's Avatar
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    On a side note...OK, I'm now really EXCITED ! ! ! Why? ? we just booked our flight to Long Beach on December 1st. and heading to DISNEYLAND! My wife and I can't wait! ! ! ! Dole whip, Mr. Toad (my all time favorite) here we come! We're in countdown mode up here in Seattle! OMG!

  12. RedHandedJill's Avatar
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    Lovely update. I can't wait to see all for this for myself!
  13. bayouguy's Avatar
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    Was thinking about going to Disneyland on Tuesday but AL's warning has me rethinking. But the park indeed looks very decked out. We definitely will be there Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
  14. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Congratulations Kim Irvine on your THEA Award and many more years to come. "PD"
  15. GoBotDotCom's Avatar
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    Great update! Looking forward to re-upping our expired APs soon ...
  16. lighttragic's Avatar
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    Any word if during the buzz lightyear rehab they repainted the railings and the vehicles, the last time i saw them , paint was chipped all over the place..
  17. ojeilatan's Avatar
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    @lighttragic - the walls inside the queue got fresh paint as well as the railings. Only a few cruisers did though, quite a few of those are still suffering from chipped paint jobs. Several that have been down for awhile were fixed, some blasters replaced, etc.

    However, a lot of show effects that have been missing for some time including Boxobot's moving arms, Zurg's arm in the last scene, and the "electrocuted" robots after the first Zurg. There's also fresh paint inside the ride as well.
  18. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisWedWay
    Congratulations Kim Irvine on your THEA Award and many more years to come.
    I'll drink to that! She's one amazing lady and absolutely deserves the recognition!
  19. Internitty's Avatar
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    What's the deal with the cabs? I'm guessing you can still catch one, they just can't hang out...right?
    You can still catch a cab they are only allowing one company the right to pick up fares though. This is a restrictive trade practice and hardly seems to fit the free enterprise model.

    The Hilton and Marriott Hotels have been using one cab company as "preferred " carrier since mid year and Disneyland Resort has decided to join them, there's probably a kick back deal going on with the company that is allowed to pick up fares.

    As stated in the update a judge has put a temporary injunction on allowing Disney to restrict which carrier's can pick up fares in the resort but under the law they really can't stop them.

    I don't live in the USA nor do I use cabs when I am in the USA but I do feel for these cab drivers, restriciting trade like that really doesn't seem fair or very American. If these hotels and resorts are getting a percentage of each fare is the small amount worth the bad publicity and ill feeling it creates, is Disney that desperate for money?

    Does anyone know anything else?
  20. LAZ-E's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!