View RSS Feed

Dateline Disneyland

Getting ready to go under the sea, Critter Country returns, Downtown Disney, +MORE!

Rate this Entry
by , 03-14-2011 at 01:26 AM
This weekend, the first spring break guests of the season were treated to an amazingly unobscured view of Disney California Adventure's new Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure attraction building—and what a view! New, exciting details continue emerge throughout California Adventure, including exciting changes at the newly re-named Disney Theatre — the future home of the upcoming Disney Junior stage show in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot and nearby, vertical construction has begun in the area that the majestic Carthay Circle Theatre will soon occupy. Over at Disneyland, Critter Country has reopened, even as Splash Mountain remains closed for an extended refurbishment, and new shops get ready to move into vacant Downtown Disney retail space. Meanwhile, Tokyo Disney Resort closes to evaluate the Resort's safety following Friday's devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan.

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.

We've got another full update, so let's get started!


Inside Dateline Disneyland


Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.




WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Disneyland saw fantastic off-season crowds all week, but Friday saw a heavy spike in attendance that climbed even higher as the first weekend of Southern California's spring break season kicked off and brought big crowds to the parks. Our friend Fred at TouringPlans.com has the weekly attendance break-down:

Unlike Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort does not experience a crowd increase during the Mardi Gras festivities. Louisiana families out of school tend to flock to the closer, Florida Resort. Spring break however, does greatly affect Disneyland and we witnessed the first day of Spring break crowds on Saturday, March 12th when crowds were in the top 20% of all days. We expect those higher level crowds to continue through the week.

Big thanks to our Disneyland Research team and our fabulous LINES users who reported wait times throughout the week. Here’s how their submissions compared to what our professional statisticians predicted on the Crowd Calendar.
— Fred Hazelton Statistician, TouringPlans.com

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Actual Crowd Levels
DISNEYLAND RESORT
DISNEYLAND PARK
CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
DISNEYLAND RESORT
DISNEYLAND PARK
CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
Sun. March 6
4/10
2.9/10
5.1/10
6/10
3.6/10
6.3/10
Mon. March 7
2/10
1.0/10
2.2/10
2/10
1.4/10
2.8/10
Tue. March 8
3/10
1.8/10
5.1/10
3/10
2.0/10
5.1/10
Wed. March 9
2/10
1.0/10
2.2/10
2/10
1.4/10
1.6/10
Thu. March 10
2/10
0.9/10
2.2/10
2/10
0.9/10
3.9/10
Fri. March 11
6/10
4.7/10
5.1/10
5/10
4.5/10
4.6/10
Sat. March 12
10/10
8.5/10
9.2/10
9/10
8.9/10
8.0/10
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
See crowd predictions for the next 365 days and get wait time predictions on your Mobile Phone. Do More. Wait Less.




Inside Disneyland, Critter Country has reopened after being closed since late January. The land's reopening included The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the Hungry Bear Restaurant's restroom facilities and the area's shopping locations. The Hungry Bear Restaurant will resume foodservice later this week and Splash Mountain is set to remain closed until late May.






















Over in Tomorrowland, walls are down around the new UFO Disney Vacation Club booth. The UFO itself is great looking, it's just a shame that its only purpose is to sell time shares.










CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION
Work continues at California Adventure as it prepares for another big summer.

SUNSHINE PLAZA & HOLLYWOOD LAND
Work continues on the new main entrance turnstiles at Disney California Adventure, modeled after Los Angeles' Pan-Pacific Auditorium.

















Inside DCA, walls have been moved around and vertical construction has started where the new Carthay Circle Theater will be constructed...









Over in Hollywood Pictures Backlot, new signage for the Disney Junior — Live on Stage! show has appeared, including some of the new "Disney Theatre" marquee signage.


Looks great!






We're still not sold on the purple color, but overall it all looks a lot better than before





CARS LAND
Construction continues on Cars Land...

















THE LITTLE MERMAID ~ ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
Disney gave a sneak peek at the new Ursula Audio-Animatronics figure that was recently installed at t
the new Little Mermaid attraction. The seven-and-a-half-foot tall animatronic truly looks impressive.

Ursula Moves Into Her Lair at Disney California Adventure Park
The infamous evil sea witch, Ursula, has taken her place inside The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction opening June 3 at Disney California Adventure park. When you’re on the attraction, you can’t miss her. She’s 7 ½ feet tall and 12 feet wide! Of course, the Disney Parks Blog was there to capture this exciting day! Come with us behind-the-scenes as we show you Ursula being installed, and meet some members of the amazing team of Walt Disney Imagineers who brought Ursula to “life.” [ FULL STORY ]


Outside, scaffolding came down on much of the new Little Mermaid attraction facade last week, revealing an elegant, impressive structure where an underwhelming Golden Dreams Theatre once stood.



























The view from across the bay is stunning











GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL
& PARADISE GARDEN DINING AREA

Work progresses at the new Paradise Garden dining area and Goofy's Sky School, also set to open alongside the Little Mermaid later this spring.






















DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Outside of the parks at the Disneyland Hotel, work continues on remodeling the Magic Tower into the Fantasy Tower as well as construction on the new Monorail-themed water-slide play area and Tangaroa Terrace dining facility.






























THIS AND THAT
Festivities are planned for this Thursday's St. Patrick's Day holiday in Downtown Disney.


Last week, Disney announced new tenants for the vacated Basin and Anne Geddes retail spaces in Downtown Disney. A permanent home for the popular Sanuk footwear shop will replace Basin and a pop-up denim shop called BLINK will take over the Anne Geddes space. The OC Register had details on the new stores:

Two stores set to open in Downtown Disney
A denim-focused store and footwear shop are set to open later this spring in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Disney officials announced Monday.

The stores are: Blink, a denim-based store by Wet Seal, and Sanuk, a footwear location. Both companies are based in Orange County.

The two stores will fill spots that were vacated in recent months in the Disneyland Resort‘s entertainment-shopping district.

Blink is slated to open in April, said Betsy Sanchez, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman.

The temporary “pop-up” store will carry trendy denim items, as well as tops and accessories, as an extension of the Wet Seal brand. The store will employ “denim experts” to help people learn about different brands and styles, according to a Disney press release.

Wet Seal launched the Blink concept in June when it opened its first store aimed at ages 13 to 19 year olds, according to the OC Retail blog.

Wet Seal Inc., which is based in Foothill Ranch, runs 533 stores, including 450 Wet Seal locations and 83 Arden B stores. Three Blink by Wet Seal stores are also open, according to the BLINK website.

Blink will go in the spot where the Anne Geddes store ran until it closed Feb. 28.

Sanuk is set to return to Downtown Disney in June in a permanent location, which will be the flagship store for the Irvine-based company. It will go in the spot where a bath products store, Basin, ran until Dec. 31.

Sanuk previously had a temporary lease to run its first store from November 2009 to March 2010 before it close to make room for the expansion of Ridemakerz, a custom, toy-car shop. At the time, Sanuk was hoping to stay or move within Downtown Disney, where it was a top seller, but no open spots were available. [ FULL STORY ]

Future home of Sanuk:





BLINK will open here in the spring:



Back inside Disneyland, the Fantasia Gardens seating area is no longer a smoking area — a nice change for folks looking for a place to eat their turkey legs from the nearby Edelweiss Snacks.





The festive Mardi Gras decorations have been removed from New Orleans Square






AROUND THE PARK
We'll wrap up today's photo update with some photos from around the park...














Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort.
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.
Experience Disneyland at home with the HoJo Mattercam!
See Disneyland from home via a live rotating video feed of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park from the rooftop of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort! The HoJo Anaheim's newly upgraded Disneyland webcam now features new views including video feeds of Disneyland's nightly fireworks! Check it out now!




WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
Weekly Theme Park Hours
MARCH 14 — 20, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Tuesday: 8am - 11pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 9am - 11 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8am-12midnight
Monday-Sunday: 10am - 10pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by TouringPlans.com
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
MEDIUM/HIGH 6.7—9.0 out of 10
HIGH 8.4—9.5 out of 10
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

For daily crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park

  • Hungry Bear Restaurant: Closed through March 17 for refurbishment.
  • Star Trader: Closed for refurbishment through April 30
  • Stage Door Cafe: Closed for refurbishment May 2—26
  • The Golden Horseshoe: Closed for refurbishment May 9—26
  • Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed for refurbishment May 17—18
  • Splash Mountain: Closed through May 26 for refurbishment.
  • Star Tours: Closed for Star Tours 2 overhaul. Opens June 3, 2011.

Disney California Adventure

  • Playhouse Disney — Live on Stage!: Closed through March 24 for retheme.
  • 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 June 3, 2011.
  • Souvenir 66 and Corn Dog Castle: Store and dining location closed for remodeling through May 2011.
  • Red Car Trolley: Attraction set to open spring 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Tangaroa Terrace Restaurant and Trader Sam's Bar: Replacing the former Hook's Pointe, Wine Cellar and Lost Bar, the new tiki-themed dining complex will open Spring 2011.




Japan struck by earthquake, Tokyo Disney Resort closes
As you know, Japan was struck by a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake Friday. For information on the event and to find out how you can help, click here. Also affected during the disaster was the Tokyo Disney Resort, which is now closed while the Resort's operator, the Oriental Land Company, inspects the property for safety.

MiceAge's Al Lutz also posted a Tokyo Disney update over the weekend sent in by MiceAge readers at Tokyo Disney Resort during the earthquake. Click here to read the update.

We here at Dateline Disneyland and MiceChat hope for Japan's speedy recovery from this terrible event.

Tokyo Disneyland Closes for 10 Days Following Japan Earthquake
Tokyo Disneyland will be closed for several days in the wake of Thursday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan, Japan news network Kyodo News reported.

Operator Oriental Land Co. on Saturday closed Chiba-based Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea to carry out safety checks, saying the two parks -- which are Japan's most popular amusement facilities -- will probably be closed for a total of about 10 days.

On Friday, Disney Parks social media director Thomas Smith wrote on the company's blog that damage and injuries were minimal at both parks. He added that Tokyo Disney Resort employees were providing blankets, food and water to guests stranded at the resort.

For the full story, visit: Hollywood Reporter: Tokyo Disneyland Closes for 10 Days Following Japan Earthquake




Alrighty — That's it for another edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thanks again to our fabulous sponsors at TouringPlans.com!

... and thanks to you for reading! We love to see your comments in the discussion section below, so please join in!

For even more photos from this week, visit the Dateline Disneyland Smugmug where all of the unedited photos we shot for this week's update can be found for your browsing pleasure.

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!

Also, remember that MiceChat has tons 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!

See you at the parks!
- Andy
Please support our sponsors





Keep the updates coming!
Please support us





FTC-Mandated Disclosure:
Promotional consideration for the March 14, 2011 edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by
TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.

Submit "Getting ready to go under the sea, Critter Country returns, Downtown Disney, +MORE!" to Digg Submit "Getting ready to go under the sea, Critter Country returns, Downtown Disney, +MORE!" to del.icio.us Submit "Getting ready to go under the sea, Critter Country returns, Downtown Disney, +MORE!" to StumbleUpon Submit "Getting ready to go under the sea, Critter Country returns, Downtown Disney, +MORE!" to Google

Comments

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
  1. bamato's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Excellent night-time photos of the castle, really enjoyed those! I can't beleive how fast the turnstyles are taking shape in front of DCA, seems like at this rate, they will be finished within in the month!!

    Can't say how glad I am that the smoking area in Fantasia Gardens has been rendered non-smoking. It's such a nice place to sit and relax and even more so now sans smoke

    Thanks for the wonderful update!
    Updated 03-14-2011 at 05:11 AM by bamato (spelling.. :-/)
  2. jcruise86's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I'm confident the Japanese will come back strong.
    I'm glad we have this Disneyland connection with such wonderful people,
    especially at this tragic time.

    *****

    When Ursula breaks down,
    will Disney just put a strobe light on it?
  3. WheresMickey's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Nice update!
  4. StevenW's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    The UFO reminds me that "
    [B][URL="http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/03/14/mars-needs-moms-may-be-one-of-hollywoods-biggest-bombs/?amp&amp"][COLOR=#0044cc][B]Mars Needs Moms[/B]’ May Be One of Hollywood’s Biggest Bombs[/COLOR][/URL]"[/B]
  5. TodAZ1's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I'm a smoker and am pretty dang happy about the smoking area being moved from the Fantasia Gardens area. Smokers don't need that big of a space to smoke and the current area by the Autopia track is more than enough.

    I am AMAZED at how beautiful the Mermaid attraction is. And I love how good Triton looks at the top! What a happy accident that the apex of the building needed some 'OOMPH!!' (I think the original plan called for a giant clam shell up there. That wouldn't have provided the dramatic look the building has now) and the King needed a place to go! Kismet. Very much kismet.
  6. DubiousEndeavors's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    DCA progress looks great, and TLM facade is AWESOME! I hope TDA keeps up the good work, and the rest of Phase 1 will look as good

    Thanks for the update. Love the nighttime castle pictures
  7. DarthBrian's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Thanks for the update.

    Did I miss one? Cuz I have no idea what that big thing is in the middle of the rotunda.
  8. dbr9tifosi's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Killer update. Am I the only one that thinks the exterior of Little Mermaid looks horrible? Why can't they build it to be more nature related. Currently looks like an entrance to a mall. Totally lacks personality. Putting small mermaid motifs on the walls doesn't do much. There's no design/theme relevance from the movie to this ride.
  9. TodAZ1's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I think, if anything, it looks like a museum.
  10. Seawolf's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86
    When Ursula breaks down,
    will Disney just put a strobe light on it?
    I'm not sure why people keep comparing the Yeti and Ursula, but anyone who believes this could happen to the Little Mermaid attraction doesn't understand the underlying issue which caused the yeti to stop functioning. The yeti has a cracked foundation because the figure was so powerful; there is nothing wrong with the animatronic itself. Now that the damage requires major work to inaccessible foundation areas, this forced the imagineers to put a strobe on the figure and not aggravate the issue further. Without major down time and major funds to fix the issue, this is out of the hands of the Imagineers. Ursula is not only far smaller but has insignificant load forces and is in an accessible area.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbr9tifosi
    Killer update. Am I the only one that thinks the exterior of Little Mermaid looks horrible? Why can't they build it to be more nature related. Currently looks like an entrance to a mall. Totally lacks personality. Putting small mermaid motifs on the walls doesn't do much. There's no design/theme relevance from the movie to this ride.
    Personally, I don't think building contractors have the necessary artistic skills to create ornate buildings anymore. Most of their work is for the general public and projects like these are very few and far between. Disney is having to learn all over how to create buildings like these. I've noticed a trend with how many of Disney's new buildings look like they were created with Home Depot materials. The only thing impressive about the front of this building are the towers, and the mermaid molds. I still would have liked to see more detail, better molding, a better paint scheme, and something other than stucco. The stained glass in front also conflicts with the style of the building; I would go with something more traditional in that sense. First thing I would do is completely repaint this building with an aged look and provide far more contrast, increasing the number of copper patina elements.
    Updated 03-14-2011 at 11:25 AM by Seawolf
  11. DisneyTrains's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great update!
    My best wishes to all in Japan, and those with families there.
    The Little Mermaid building is B-E-A-UTIFUL!! I just hope the ride will be as good. Ursula looks pretty dang good as well.
  12. dbr9tifosi's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    The exterior looks like it belongs on the Vegas strip serving seafood buffet. So sterile. As a designer this building is an eyesore. No emotional connection to the movie whatsoever. This design would of never got the green light if you know who were in charge. Ride inside looks interesting tho.
  13. MasterGracey's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by dbr9tifosi
    The exterior looks like it belongs on the Vegas strip serving seafood buffet. So sterile. As a designer this building is an eyesore. No emotional connection to the movie whatsoever. This design would of never got the green light if you know who were in charge. Ride inside looks interesting tho.
    In person, I really feel that the building itself looks fantastic. Photos do not do it justice and make the structure look a lot more sterile and plain than it really is. You're right, though, in saying that the design of the attraction facade has no emotional connection or relevance to the film. Unfortunately, that's the decision Disney made when they opted to add more characters and popular film franchises to the park, even when these characters are thematically irrelevant to the park. Truth be told, the Toy Story Midway Mania building is gorgeous, but it also has absolutely no connection to the Toy Story films. Mickey looks great on the Fun Wheel, but he also really has no business being there. Same goes for the Silly Symphony Swings and the upcoming Goofy's Sky School.

    None of these characters, films, and franchises really have anything to do with Paradise Pier or the pier theme in general. Essentially, Disney is putting completely out-of-context characters in buildings and areas themed to a 1920s pier and saying that it is correctly themed.

    The Little Mermaid is out of place on a 1920s southern California pier, but the building that she resides in looks pretty great and fits the area's theme nicely. I guess we can't have the whole theme cake and eat it, too.


    - Andy
    Dateline Disneyland
  14. Barbossa's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Thanks for the weekly update.

    Thoughts and prayers to those in Japan. Be strong.
  15. SleepingCorgi's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Best wishes and my thoughts going out to those in Japan

    Thank you for a great update, as always. I agree, the building doesn't look much like anything from the film. I wish that they took Prince Eric's castle or maybe the outside area could have been themed to look like the town that Ariel and Eric ride around in. I think that could have been incorporated into the landscaping.

    thanks again! wonderful photos!
  16. StevenW's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    How much more money should be spent on the building as opposed to the ride itself?
    [QUOTE]As a designer this building is an eyesore. No emotional connection to the movie whatsoever.[/QUOTE] Neither to the Palace of Fine Arts. You're getting nothing except for perhaps an excellent ride.
  17. ReptarBrew88's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    The Mermaid Building is looking awesome! This park is coming a long so nicely! I think Disney is really smart for letting people see how the magic is done. I feel like DCA is more crowded at times then Disneyland because everyone wants to see what's coming.
  18. ismith21's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Hello all! Does anyone know why the picnic area, lockers, restrooms, and Guest Services area was closed yesterday around noon? They had cast members lined up like barriers preventing anyone from going into the area. Also, when our tram dropped us off in area 4, Disney security came over to escort us across the street suspending tram services for trams waiting to pull into or out of the drop off. Any info would be appreciated.
  19. Timekeeper's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by ismith21
    Hello all! Does anyone know why the picnic area, lockers, restrooms, and Guest Services area was closed yesterday around noon? They had cast members lined up like barriers preventing anyone from going into the area. Also, when our tram dropped us off in area 4, Disney security came over to escort us across the street suspending tram services for trams waiting to pull into or out of the drop off. Any info would be appreciated.
    Um, post this info on the Disneyland Forum. Thank you.


    As for the Little Mermaid Exterior, It's really nice and I am just glad that we even got an Little Mermaid Dark Ride (if it makes you feel any better, wait until the Extreme Makeover: Fantasyland Edition is over at Walt Disney World.)



    Timekeeper
  20. TodAZ1's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    A question. Isn't the area over where TLM building is more of the San Fran area than the victorian area of Paradise Pier?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast