Rainy days, Roger Rabbit reopens, Orbiting again, California Construction, +MORE
by, 12-20-2010 at 12:57 AM
Heavy winter rains soaked the Disneyland Resort over the weekend, washing out both crowds and construction crews in both parks. Still, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin and Tomorrowland's Astro Orbiter reopened after refurbishments. Over at California Adventure, guests could still see construction-in-progress throughout the park even as rain temporarily stopped the Imagineers. Meanwhile, as the fledgling California theme park finds itself in the middle of a multi-year remodel and expansion, the Los Angeles Times gives a speculative sneak peek at what could come to DCA after Cars Land opens in 2012.
More information and on-going discussion 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!
Thanks to Fishbulb for his help with photos today.
Join us as we take a quick and damp tour of the Disneyland Resort in today's update!
Inside Dateline Disneyland
- Welcome to Disneyland!
Rainy days, Astro Orbiter takes flight again, Roger Rabbit reopens
- California Construction
A look at the park's on-going $1 billion expansion and remodel.
- Disneyland Hotel Remodel
Work progresses at the Disneyland Hotel...
- Weekly News and Information Round-Up
Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments, Disneyland to offer 30% off dining deal, Epic Mickey creator defends game design choices
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
The parks were hit hard with rain this weekend that just wouldn't let up. The rain resulted in smaller crowds, but surely a wet time for those who braved the rain.
At the entrance to Tomorrowland, the Astro Orbiter is running once again after the ride abruptly went down for some unscheduled maintenance work earlier this month.
Back in Mickey's Toon Town, Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin is once again open after a lengthy refurbishment.
The ride's previously cramped load area has been reconfigured. It's now roomier and allows for better crowd flow in the area.
LA Times theme park reporter Brady MacDonald wrote an interesting piece looking beyond the completion of Cars Land in 2012 and what could be in store at California Adventure after this first phase of expansion.
Disney California Adventure: A peek into what the future may hold
As Disney California Adventure reaches the midway point of a $1.1-billion expansion, I'd like to take a speculative look at what Walt Disney Imagineering might have in mind for Phase 2 of the massive renovation project.
DCA's extreme makeover was necessitated by the on-the-cheap, off-the-shelf nature of the nearly decade-old theme park that even Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger now calls "mediocre."
Phase 1, which began in 2008, fixes about a third of the flawed park. What I'm interested in looking at here are the possibilities for the other two-thirds.
Most of the proposed plans that have come to light remain firmly in the "what if" stage. In some cases, Disney announced and then postponed attractions. In other instances, the ideas have filtered out into the online community. In all circumstances, Disney remains officially mum, guarding future projects as closely held secrets.
Quite naturally, any sequel to the wholesale reimagineering of DCA remains contingent on the success of Phase 1, which wraps up in 2012. So far, the crowds have responded positively to the uptick in quality (Toy Story Midway Mania dark ride), spectacle ("World of Color" water show) and attention to detail (Silly Symphony Swings wave swing).
And the best is yet to come. Crews have broken ground on Phase 1 projects that demonstrate Disney's commitment (the $100-million Voyage of the Little Mermaid dark ride), ambition (the 12-acre Cars Land) and heritage (Buena Vista Street entry plaza).
Mouse watchers believe if Phase 1 continues to pay dividends, Iger will pony up more money for Phase 2 starting in 2013. The operative word here is "if."
So far nothing has been announced for Phase 2, but Imagineers have been busy dusting off old plans and dreaming up new ideas for the re-emergent Anaheim theme park. As any Disney fan knows, these "blue sky" proposals can change repeatedly over the course of development – and many never see the light of day.
What follows is a land-by-land compilation of possible attractions and thematic changes for Phase 2:
Buena Vista Street
(An idealized vision of a 1920s Southern California streetscape when Walt Disney first arrived in Los Angeles.)
- Original plans for the Carthay Theater called for the screening of a "Walt Disney Story" biographical film. The latest plans have the Blue Sky Cellar preview center moving into the space.
- An exclusive Carthay Circle Club on the upper floor of the Carthay Theater. Disney has quietly put out feelers to Club 33 members and those on the long waiting list for the private Disneyland club. The Interior of the DCA club would replicate an idealized version of an early Disney animation studio on Hyperion Avenue in Hollywood.
(A 1920s and 30s seaside amusement park-themed land with Victorian architecture.)
- An E-Ticket ride next to California Screamin', with an entrance in the helix of the roller coaster track leading to a new backstage attraction.
- A D- or E-Ticket attraction in the other helix where Maliboomer once stood. The area is currently being turned into a character meet-and-greet location. The tacky strip mall-themed Man Hat n' Beach souvenir shop façade likely remains unchanged in anticipation of this forthcoming attraction.
- An E-Ticket ride in place of Goofy's Sky School, itself a rethemed version of the Mulholland Madness wild mouse roller coaster. Current proposals for the location include an original thrill ride or a character-based attraction. An early concept called for a Ratatouille coaster to occupy the space.
- Disney's original plans called for the since-removed Maliboomer drop tower to become a Green Army Men parachute drop ride. The same "Toy Story" theme could replace the nearby Jumpin' Jellyfish ride, which was originally scheduled for removal in Disney's initial plan.
- Early plans called for the Fun Wheel Ferris wheel and the California Screamin' queue to get entrance facades to match the Paradise Pier area's new Victorian seaside theme.
- Imagineers have previously discussed Halloween and Christmas holiday overlays for the Toy Story Midway Mania dark ride.
(The existing Hollywood Studios Backlot becomes Hollywoodland, representing the 1930s Golden Age of Hollywood.)
- Transform the space around the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride into the Golden Era of Hollywood (expanding the footprint of the area into the Timon parking lot).
- Add an enclosed lobby to the Hyperion Theater and a street façade to close off the view of the outdoor queue area. Disney announced and then rescinded plans to replace the current "Aladdin" stage show with a "Toy Story" musical.
- An E-Ticket attraction in the former "Who Wants to be a Millionaire – Play It" sound stage.
- Several replacements have been floated for the "MuppetVision 3D" movie, including "Mickey's PhilharMagic" from the Magic Kingdom (which apparently won't fit in the DCA theater) and a 3-D story based on the "Chronicles of Narnia" (a film franchise recently dumped by Disney).
- Removal of the modern pop-culture signage above the shops along DCA's Hollywood Boulevard.
- The unused Hollywood & Dine food court in Stage 12 remains empty for future expansion.
(The former Condor Flats and Golden State lands combine to form a single land themed to a 1950s-era Yosemite-like national park.)
- Grizzly River Rapids receives animatronic bears, condors and other creatures once envisioned for the raft ride. Animatronic characters under construction for the Grizzly Trail area at Hong Kong Disneyland would fit perfectly.
- An E-Ticket ride in place of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Proposals for the location include an outdoor adventure attraction or a mine-train ride.
- A circuitous train ride around Grizzly Peak as envisioned in concept art featured in the "Disney Mountains: Imagineering at its Peak" book.
- The Soarin' Over California hang-gliding tour makes way for the long-awaited Soarin' Over the World replacement.
- Convert the Cannery Row-themed Pacific Wharf food court to a San Francisco motif and combine the eatery area with the already-existing but unrealized San Francisco block. [ FULL STORY ]
We've still got a ways to go before Disney will officially announce any additional plans after the 2012 opening of Cars Land and work continues in the park to finish its current remodel and expansion projects, including the complete transformation of Sunshine Plaza into Buena Vista Street. Part of this includes the removal of California Adventure's tile murals, which are now completely history as the final sections were removed last week.
Dirt continues to be pushed around where the former sun fountain once stood.
Back in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, the walls are down between the Tower of Terror and the Hyperion Theatre.
The rain slowed down construction this weekend on major projects, but work continued earlier in the week on Cars Land before the storm clouds moved in...
THE LITTLE MERMAID: ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
Tarps went back up on the San Francisco Street-side of the Little Mermaid building, covering up the facade that had been revealed just a couple weeks ago.
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL & PARADISE GARDEN
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Work continues at the Disneyland Hotel's major remodel
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WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
Weekly Theme Park HoursDECEMBER 20 — 26, 2010 Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure Monday - Thursday: 8am - 12midnight
Friday: 8am - 9pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8am - 12midnight
Monday - Thursday: 10am - 10pm
Friday: 10am - 8pm
Saturday - Sunday: 10am - 10pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule Disneyland Park
- Haunted Mansion: Closed to remove holiday overlay January 3 - 13.
- "it's a small world": Closed to remove holiday overlay January 18 - 27.
- Horse Drawn Streetcars: Closed January 18 - February 15 during Main Street repaving.
- Main Street Vehicles: Closed January 18 - March 4, 2011 during Main Street repaving.
- Splash Mountain: Closed January 18 - May 26 for refurbishment.
- King Arthur Carrousel: Closed January 31 - February 2 for refurbishment.
- Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed February 3 - 17 for refurbishment.
- Star Tours: Closed for Star Tours 2 overhaul. Reopens May 2011.
Disney California Adventure
- Grizzly River Run: Closed January 4 - 21.
- Animation Building: Closed January 18 - 21.
- Playhouse Disney — Live on Stage!: Closed January 24 - March 24 for retheme.
- It's Tough to be a Bug!: Closed January 28 - March 3
- 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.
DISNEYLAND HOTEL UNIION TAKES FIGHT TO HOLLYWOOD
While I can sympathize with the needs of the Disneyland Hotel workers, this union battle making their case look more and more desperate.
Disneyland Hotel Workers Urge Academy Award Members to Not Vote for Toy Story 3 as Best Picture
I don't really go to movies anymore, but I don't think Toy Story 3 is on anyone's short list of nominees for the Academy Award for Best Picture, even with its expanded roster--it's a cartoon*! [Editor's note: Actually, it is on several people's short list for the award, and Disney is actively campaigning for it.] [Editor's note note: See the asterisk below.] But that isn't stopping UNITE HERE Local 11, the union representing the Disneyland Resort's hotel workers in a bitter labor dispute, from protesting a screening of the film tonight at the Disney studios in Burbank and bringing their brilliant guerrilla protests (where people dress up as Disney characters) to the House of Mouse.
For the full story, visit: OC Weekly: Disneyland Hotel Workers Urge Academy Award Members to Not Vote for Toy Story 3 as Best Picture
DISNEY CONSIDERING ABANDONED DISNEYLAND CONCEPT FOR BIG SCREEN
An interesting bit of Disney theme park movie news from the LA Times:
Disney gets weird
EXCLUSIVE: Disney theme-park attractions couldn't be hotter as Hollywood source material. "Pirates of the Caribbean" is about to crank out its fourth installment. Jon Favreau is turning "Magic Kingdom" into a family-friendly extravaganza. "Haunted Mansion" will be an on-screen spookfest courtesy of Guillermo del Toro.
In fact, they're so hot that even an attraction that was never built could become a movie.
The Museum of the Weird, an idea that Walt Disney liked back in the 1960's but that never got off the ground, looks to be headed for the development pipeline.
Disney is in discussions for a movie based on the museum with screenwriter Ahmet Zappa, according to a source close to the project. (Zappa, son of Frank, is also developing a movie for Disney that may or may not be inspired by its Enchanted Tiki Room attraction.)
A half-century ago, well-known Disney theme-park creators Rolly Crump and Claude Coats designed the Museum of the Weird with the idea of spotlighting a parade of ghostly organists, magic carts, talking chairs and other surreal exhibits. Walt Disney wanted to use the museum as an adjunct to the Haunted Mansion, complete with its own restaurant. But the museum was never built, though some of the more ambitious pieces were incorporated into the mansion itself.
Zappa's idea is for the museum to be refashioned as a film — given the kinds of whimsical creations Crump and Coats planned, it's hard not to think of "Night at the Museum" or "The Mummy" — with an attraction to follow. It's still very early development, though, so don't expect it in multiplexes anytime soon.
For the full article, visit: LA Times: Disney Gets Weird
DISNEY PREMIERES TRAILER FOR 'PIRATES 4'
Speaking of themepark-inspired movies, the new trailer for Pirates 4 has been released:
'Pirates of the Caribbean' runs out of treasure [trailer]
From the moment Disney began contemplating a fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean,” there was a lot of talk about how the movie would scale down in budget and scope.
Judging by the trailer, Rob Marshall's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," which opens May 20, managed to do that without changing much about the big action sequences for which the franchise is known.
Unfortunately, Marshall doesn’t seem to have changed much else either. This time Jack Sparrow has a new quest searching for the fountain of youth, but it’s all in a very familiar context. Sparrow gets mouthy. Blackbeard swears vengeance. There’s swashbuckling, and supernatural elements, and nautical set pieces. Marshall has retained the spirit of Gore Verbinski, who directed the first three films, but without offering much reason for why there needed to be a new movie in the first place.
Should the Johnny Depp franchise have been retired after the last film, “At World’s End”? Jerry Bruckheimer has said he originally conceived ”Pirates” as a trilogy. He and Disney obviously changed their tune, but much of what’s here still just seems like the new packaging of old plotlines.
For the full article, visit: LA Times: 'Pirates of the Caribbean' runs out of treasure [trailer]
Alright, that finishes this rainy edition of Dateline Disneyland. I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas holiday and we'll see you here next week with our annual Dateline Disneyland Year-in-Review!
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