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
Welcome to Disneyland! TouringPlans.com crowd level recap, Critter Country reopens, Tomorrowland alien invasion
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 HazeltonStatistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction
Actual Crowd Levels
Sun. March 6
Mon. March 7
Tue. March 8
Wed. March 9
Thu. March 10
Fri. March 11
Sat. March 12
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.
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.
We're still not sold on the purple color, but overall it all looks a lot better than before
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:
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...
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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
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.
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.
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.
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