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Dateline Disneyland

Star Tours destinations, Carthay construction, Tacky in Paradise, Mermaid work +MORE!

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by , 04-04-2011 at 03:14 AM
Disney has officially announced the six new intergalactic destinations that guests will travel to on their Star Tours journey beginning June 3. Meanwhile, work continues at Disney California Adventure's Little Mermaid attraction, also set to open June 3. However, getting to the new Little Mermaid attraction this summer may be a little difficult as guests will have to pass through corridors of the ever-present construction walls throughout the park, including the main entrance area where vertical construction on the majestic new Carthay Circle Theater has begun. Elsewhere in the park, construction continues on the massive Cars Land project and the new park area that replaced the former Maliboomer thrill ride on Paradise Pier has opened, but leaves much to be desired. Outside the parks, two new stores get ready to open in Downtown Disney and Monorail Blue has been installed at the Disneyland Hotel's new water slide pool.

UPDATE APRIL 4, 11:55 AM: We've added the video Disney just released of the new Ariel Audio-Animatronics figures that will be featured in the new Little Mermaid attraction. Video and details in the DCA construction section of today's update.

As always, more information on the construction projects featured in today's column 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 a lot to see this week, so let's get started right away!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by | Do More. Wait Less.

Crowds continue to arrive at the Disneyland Resort through the 2011 spring break season. The weekends are especially busy, even this past Saturday saw crowds in the Resort at a 9.0 level on Touring Plans scale, and if it weren't for the gloomy weather and the threat of rain, crowds would have likely been even higher. Fred over at Touring Plans has the full re-cap:

Last week was another week with crowds in the highest 20% at Disneyland Resort seeing 8s and 9s on the Crowd Calendar. Our predictions for the overall resort level were accurate within one index point every day but the wait times from Wednesday through Friday were slightly higher than expected. Watch out for long lines and busy crowds right up through Easter.

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,

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Actual Crowd Levels
Sun. Mar. 27
Mon. Mar. 28
Tue. Mar. 29
Wed. Mar. 30
Thu. Mar. 31
Fri. Apr. 1
Sat. Apr. 2
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.

Scaffolding and tarps came down from the Star Tours facade last week, revealing a brand new paint job that relies heavily on the new blue color scheme that first started being introduced to Disneyland's Tomorrowland during the park's 50th anniversary celebration in 2005. All of the bronze accents that were leftover from the land's failed 1998 remodel are now gone, and shades of blue, silver and purple have taken over.

An interesting geometric design has been added to the main Star Tours facade spire. It doesn't look terrible, but there are a lot of competing lines here that make it look less interesting than it does poorly planned.

These flat walls along the sides of the Star Tours building now have clean "futuristic" line designs. A simpler, cleaner design choice. Nice.

Last week on the official Disney Parks Blog, Disney Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald announced the six new destinations guests will visit on their Star Tours journeys when the ride relaunches June 3.

Star Tours: Where in the Galaxy Are We Going?
It won’t be long now before Star Tours re-launches and “The Adventures Continue” at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California! But where in the galaxy are we going?

We know a lot of you have been wondering and asking, and today we are happy to reveal the final destinations you can expect to visit when Star Tours resumes service. You already know we’re going to Tatooine for the Boonta Eve Podrace and to Coruscant.

Additional destinations include a visit to the beautiful planet of Naboo, a rare tour of the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk, and a trip to the icy planet Hoth (seen above in a still image from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back).

Of course, no Star Tours adventure would be complete without an unexpected visit to the Death Star, this time above the planet Geonosis.

In addition, we’ll be departing from a spectacular new Spaceport, created just for the new Star Tours voyages.

As revealed earlier, these destinations will be combined in more than 50 different story adventures, so you’ll never know where the Force will take you! [ FULL STORY ]

Nearby, the Star Trader is completely behind tarps now as that retail location continues its refurbishment.

Construction continues on major projects throughout Disney California Adventure...

Construction continues on the new Pan-Pacific Auditorium-themed entry gates at California Adventure.

Inside the park, vertical construction on the new Carthay Circle Theater, the new central icon of the park has started. It's just some steel at this point, but exciting nonetheless.

Photos don't really do it justice — this steel framework is already huge, a far cry from the empty openness of Sunshine Plaza.

A look at the work from Condor Flats:

And a view from the Monorail:

With construction ramping up at the Carthay Circle Theater, the ElecTRONica pre-show stage has been moved from its previous location in front of the Carthay Circle construction walls. A new small countdown stage has been set up to the left of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot main entrance...

The main ElecTRONica marquee has been completely removed from the Hollywood Pictures Backlot entryway, as rumors swirl that the arch will soon be removed as the land transitions away from its backlot theme to an idealized Hollywood of the 1930s. This theme change will include the land being renamed "Hollywood Land."

Inside Hollywood Land, a larger ElecTRONica pre-show stage has been set up between the Off the Page art shop and the Disney Theater.

The new neon signage at the Disney Theater is now being turned on regularly, despite some having some neon still missing from the marquee. It looks great, even if the purple color still seems a bit mis-placed.

Signage themed to the Disney Theater advertise showtimes for the Disney Junior show. It's a great little touch, as the signage could have easily had bright Disney Junior graphics instead.


Even the stroller parking sign looks good with the Disney Theater theme.

A minor fire temporarily halted construction in Cars Land Wednesday afternoon. Construction crews were evacuated and the Anaheim Police Department was called in to put out the fire. Luckily no one was injured and the fire didn't affect theme park operations. The OC Register's Around Disney blog has details:

Firefighters put out small blaze on Disney site
Firefighters extinguished Wednesday a small fire on a construction site behind Disney California Adventure.

Construction workers were evacuated from the site while firefighters put out a plastic tarp that ignited over steel framework about five stories high, said Maria Sabol, an Anaheim Fire Department spokeswoman. Firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the blaze.

Welders were working in the area at the time and sparks might have started the fire. However, the investigation is continuing, Sabol said.

The fire began about 3:15 p.m. and was out within 45 minutes.

Park visitors were not affected by the fire, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. No injuries were reported. [ FULL STORY ]

The mesh that will become the detail work on the rock radiator is taking shape:


UPDATED APRIL 4, 11:55 AM: Disney released a preview of the new Ariel audio-animatronics figures that will be featured in new Little Mermaid attraction. Take a look:

Walt Disney Imagineers Get Creative With Ariel’s Hair at Disney California Adventure Park
We are just a couple of months away from the official opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure park. Walt Disney Imagineers are working hard to make sure you feel transported into Ariel’s world through every detail – the water, the fish, the hair….yes, the hair! Ariel’s hair posed a particular challenge for Imagineers, one they hadn’t encountered before – how do you make hair that’s technically out of the water look like it’s floating underwater? Take a look at their progress. [ FULL STORY ]

Over at the new Little Mermaid attraction, the scaffolding has come down from the Palace of Fine Arts rotunda, a leftover part of the former Golden Dreams attraction. The new paint job strays dramatically from the coloring of the real-world San Francisco landmark that the DCA counterpart is modeled after.

The new color scheme also varies significantly from the facade for the new attraction. The contrast is a bit jarring. Are they intending for the structure to appear separate from the Little Mermaid building, or are the color combinations just poorly planned?


Things continue to look promising for the re-designed Paradise Garden dining area.

Walls have opened up, allowing for a new pathway along the Paradise Garden construction site.

The new water tower for Goofy's Sky School and posts for a new Paradise Garden entryway...

Work around Corn Dog Castle...

The "lush new park" that Disney advertised on construction walls as a replacement for the former Maliboomer attraction has opened. On first look the space appears serviceable, but the reality is that the area is an ugly fit for a Disney theme park.

The new walls covering the safety fences surrounding California Screamin' supports are a nice idea, but the execution is quite bad. Throughout the park, the walls are attached to the metal safety fences instead of being custom-designed to sit on the ground. The result is that the new walls float above the ground, making them look like an obvious cheap, quick fix.

The floating walls really make the area look that much cheaper and incomplete.

The handrails for the Maliboomer queue remain intact, just painted white. They disappear into another floating wall.

Queue to nowhere. This is simply bad show.

The cement platform for the Maliboomer is still here. Three trees in wooden boxes sit in the place of the attraction's three launch towers and a new planter with small trees surround the platform on ground level.

A couple benches are available, but who would want to spend time here? Shade structures for the Maliboomer queue can be seen in the background. They're just green now.

The area isn't so much a park as it is a wide thoroughfare past the grave of a former attraction that has some new trees planted around it.

The entire area is a mess. The long-term plans for this space call for a new attraction to absorb this space as well as the nearby Paradise Pier gift shops. Still, even being a temporary solution, this "park" does not belong in a Disney theme park. It looks painfully cheap and it is clearly obvious that the space is the site of an attraction that was removed and not replaced. Of course, this isn't the first time the remains of a closed attraction have lingered for years at Disney California Adventure (Superstar Limo, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?, Hollywood & Dine), but this is the first time the remains of a shuttered attraction has looked so glaringly bad in the park. At a Resort where money is routinely spent on nicely decorated construction walls surrounding construction zones and painted scrims to hide simple repainting projects; this half-hearted "park" area is an embarrassment, especially considering it will be seen by guests for years. Let's hope this "lush new park" doesn't last very long. It's a regrettable corner in a park that is finally starting to look good.

The Maliboomer's exit path has been converted into a smoking area.

At the Disneyland Hotel, the first Monorail has arrived at the new water slide pool.

Monorail Blue!

Holes in construction walls between the Dreams and Wonder Towers give curious guests a look at construction:

Work continues on the Magic Tower (future Fantasy Tower).

The new BLINK denim shop by Wet Seal is getting closer to opening:

Work continues on the permanent new Sanuk footwear store

Easter merchandise is available throughout the Resort

Main Street's Candy Palace is offering its chocolate Easter eggs several varieties

Also available are Easter bunny apples and cookies

In DCA, Duffy-themed ear hats are now available

And the Grizzly River Run bear continues to get color scheme tweaks -- this time the tarp on the raft got painted a lighter color

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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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

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
APRIL 4 — 10, 2011

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

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
HIGH 7.5—9.1 out of 10
HIGH 7.5—8.9 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

  • 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

  • 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.

To take some weight off popular restaurants in the parks during peak spring break days, Disney is once again offering a voucher that gives guests 25% off if they eat during non-peak hours:

Save 25 Percent with Voucher When You Dine Off Hours at Disney Parks
Back by very popular demand, a voucher for 25 percent off dining with the purchase of any entrée at select quick-service restaurants – this time, from April 17-23 at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

To save money – and alleviate wait times during one of the busiest seasons – you must dine before 11:30 a.m. or between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Alcohol is excluded.

At Disneyland park, it’s a great opportunity to try out the new fried green tomato sandwich and other new menu items at Hungry Bear Restaurant. The full list of restaurants is below.

You can print out the voucher from this website. At Disneyland Resort, it’s on the Entertainment Times Guide or on select merchandise receipts.

Sorry, can’t be combined with any other offer or promotion. Theme park admission is required and taxes and tips are not included.

Participating quick-service locations:
Disneyland Park
French Market Restaurant
Village Haus
Hungry Bear Restaurant
Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante
Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port
Tomorrowland Terrace
For the full story, visit: Disney Parks Blog: Save 25 Percent with Voucher When You Dine Off Hours at Disney Parks

Alrighty, that ends this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors at

Of course, thanks to all of you for reading! What do you think about the new Maliboomer Park at Disney California Adventure? Or the new paint jobs at Star Tours or the Little Mermaid's Palace of Fine Arts rotunda? Let us know by joining the discussion in the comments section below!

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

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Promotional consideration for the April 4, 2011 edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by | Do More. Wait Less.

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Updated 04-04-2011 at 04:44 PM by Dateline Disneyland (Added Little Mermaid audio-animatronic video/news story. / Fixed typos.)

Disneyland Resort , Disney's California Adventure Remodel/Expansion , Disneyland Hotel , Downtown Disney


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  1. Trevor's Avatar
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    I don't know if I agree with scathing the new "park"... Yes, the resort does often get scrims and nice construction walls in order to cover up glaring offences like construction, but in this case they are simply trying to keep a pathway open without wasting money. With over a billion going into making the rest of the park better, just getting this path open while they wait to do something more with the area makes sense and is fine. The park is a construction site, not a completed project and until that changes years down the road, views like this will remain the norm. If the park still looks like this then, then we can definitely take offense.
  2. bamato's Avatar
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    Great update everyone. The "park" doesn't look very fascinating, nor is it "lush", but what I really don't get is that if it's just a place holder, why didn't they just leave the maliboomer there?? Seems counter-productive...
  3. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update
  4. StevenW's Avatar
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    Criticising the former Maliboomer area, along with the raised wall, is a bit much. It certainly deserves a new attraction (Tilt-A-Whirl comes to mind), but not having anything there for awhile is no big deal. Turning it into a smoking area is genius. It's the perfect place to have it. People will avoid going there precisely for this reason.

    The monorail blue at the pool is intriguing. I wonder how it will be utilized as a water ride.
  5. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update.
  6. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    I just wish that if they didn't have anything for that area of the park, they would have just kept Maliboomer until they had something to replace it.

    Replacing an attraction (as "Non-Disney" as it was) with a "park" is ridiculous.
  7. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    I agree with your opinion about the floating walls, the walls themselves look nice, but the floating makes them look temporary. They should have either grounded them or made them obviously floating, with a less heavy design.

    Star Tours facade - not that impressed, they should have replaced the neon electrical thing, I always thought it looked cheap (along with the Buzz Lightyear one), unless they improved the technology. The future of the 1960s was all white, the future of the 1990s was all bronze, now it seems like the future of the 2010s is all blue. Over in DCA, the retro of Victorian design is all tan. Shouldn't they mix it up some?

    Little Mermaid facade - Actually I like the greenish copper accents, although not on the columns (too dark), actually I like the color combination better than on the teal/tan larger building.

    Monorail water slide - if they were going to go retro, shouldn't they have the original 1959 Monorails (with the bubble on top of the front)? Also I see large palm trees planted around it, not very Tomorrowlandish, is it? I do like the Tangaroa Terrace, though.
    Updated 04-04-2011 at 07:35 AM by Disneykin Kid
  8. readandburn's Avatar
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    Can you just start calling these "Complaint Reports"?
  9. Hildy's Avatar
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    the new maliboomer area does look very temporary. I was wondering why they decided not to take down the handrails, platform and umbrellas? Could be they just wanted to get the area open as soon as possible so you could walk all the way around instead of dead ending at Silly Symphony. That was a terrible bottle neck with all the walls and limited walking space. The greenery is nice. I am sure the smokers are liking it too. Looks like a cool, quiet place to get out of the heat and away from the crowd.

    Any news on the Corn Dog Castle? Kinda sticks out. I'm sure they are planning at least some small renovations to it.

    As I have said before, the LM building is so beautiful. I can't wait to see the inside. What a tremendous addition to the park. Disney at it's best.
  10. HUH?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by readandburn
    Can you just start calling these "Complaint Reports"?
    Just do what I do. I stopped reading the majority of Dateline Disneyland awhile ago. Now I just look at the pictures to get my updates, and then if I need to I will read the complaints about the work going on
  11. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the above opinions of the criticism of the 'park'. I for one would much rather have Disney put money into actual stuff rather than wasting it on eye candy which will be removed (hopefully) in the near future. I think the cheapness is fine, as if to say...'nothing to see here, move along'. Of course, if the powers that be leave the area as is for a long while, then I will agree with the original criticism. Furthermore, I totally disagree with the notion that a park does not belong in Disney parks...I hope they include more. Now, if I didn't have young kids, I would probably not like parks within parks. But I relish an area to sit and let the kids play with other kids as a nice break from the hustle and flow of rides.

    I think the Star Tours linear theme is supposed to induce the idea of the Death least it does for me.

    Enjoy every sandwich.
  12. Baloo's Avatar
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    Great picture update, i am not sure if i agree with all the comments in regards to bad decisions with color schemes and designs both with the Star tours facade and Mermaid Rotunda.

    The color scheme work great in both occasions and just for fun i have shown the pictures to people in our art department here at work and they also agree with what i see.

    As for the park, i do agree that some more could have been done especially when it comes to the walls not be settled completely down to the grown since they do look like they are floating. I have a few ideas of why they could have been placed that way. The rest of the park i think works for what it is a place to relax and transition from the main boardwalk to the rest of the land and it seems to be working because every picture has shown people already using the benches not sure if the words "bad show" is something i would use because bad show would have been more in the lines of just putting up walls and hiding the area behind them for years like they did with the hollywood and dine and millionare building.
  13. Monorail Man's Avatar
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    +1 to the terrible looking "Maiboomer Park".

    Rumor has it that the base couldn't be torn out, due to the additional pads supporting Screamin'. However, I would have rather seen the old Maliboomer platform used as Meet and Greets, which would be a perfect use for the queue that's still there. Using a wall to hide the existing switchbacks just seems like a bad move. Also, looks like the planters were added to hide the cut-off rebar for the supports of the old signs and platforms.

    I understand that it's temporary. But when you're re-launching a park next year (and an over $1 billion redo), having a temporary-looking area doesn't speak well to the relaunch.

    I like the Star Tours new look and facade. Can't wait to see what they do with Star Trader.
  14. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    It's not a park, it is just a landscaped walkway. Maybe they will turn the upper terrace there (where the attraction was) into a more park-like atmosphere and open it up to guests? Maybe some brick-work, flowers, benches and a fountain?
    I don't know if there is enough room for that up there, though.

    The rotunda looks awful next to the main TLM building. Cream, green, and dark orange next to the beige and bright blue of the main building. Blech. Too much contrast and it clashes. It just looks like a hodge podge of ideas. I hope they are not done.

    I'm excited to see more transformation of the area around GSS. Is this place really supposed to open up in just a couple months? It looks like there is so much to do, yet.

    I like the paint job at Star Tours. I like blue/silver/white for Tomorrowland.
  15. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    Double - post.
    Updated 04-04-2011 at 09:28 AM by Tinkbelle (Computer doubl-posted.)
  16. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great update, Andy! I agree that the new "Park" looks buttly and unfinished. I was expecting them to demo out ALL of the junk left over from the Maliboomer, plant some serious shade trees, some grass, and make it look much more PARK like. Perhaps they aren't done yet. If THIS is the finished product, they really struck out on their attempt. Blech.

    As for the new pool, BOOOOOO! The Peter Pan theme left this buttly mess in the weeds. I don't care HOW much they dress up the old's just a weaker and JUNKIER looking theme! Why on God's green earth did they feel the need to re-do the pool, spending all of that extra cash on something that looks so trashy? Sorry to be such a curmudgeon, but I've never liked the old monorail design, and I think slapping them in the middle of the water slides was a huge mistake.

    Other than that, I am very excited about all of the new changes coming in to DCA and Disneyland!
  17. GoBotDotCom's Avatar
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    I always look forward to the Monday updates!
  18. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Andy, I agree with you on the "Lush park". It is a mess of fences, platforms and benches. While I'm glad to see the Mailboomer removed, they could have done a MUCH better job of hiding the old attraction. I think your photos actually make this area look better than it really does in person.

    However, the rest of the construction at DCA looks pretty impressive. I don't think they are done with the paint and color schemes on Mermaid. There are a couple of spots where they have color test patches up on the side of the building with both versions of the beige. So, they are clearly trying to decide which way to go. The columns are also in an incomplete state. They'll work it all out. I doubt the project managers will let the attraction open with that many competing colors on the building (though someone did approve that hideous purple on the Disney Jr. building).

    As I took my stroll through DCA yesterday, I couldn't help but be impressed by all the new greenery and big advances in the construction projects. This park is well on its way to a beautiful new beginning.
  19. Tomorrowland Tourist's Avatar
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    First of all, great update. I think the layout and editorial notes of Dateline Disneyland set your update apart from any other ones out there.

    There are certainly polarizing opinions, but I still prefer the park as opposed to the MaliBOOMer. I only really recall short lines and an annoying spiel about that ride, and I don't think any color scheme or foliage could have salvaged that hideous eyesore and truly unimaginative attraction. I think it might come down to the use of the word "lush." Marketing it as a "lush new park" was a means of captivating everyone's imagination as opposed to saying "we are planning a new park." That being said, those walls are horrid! It really breaks the illusion. Then again, I'm sure resources were limited, and here's hoping it is truly a temporary solution .

  20. dbr9tifosi's Avatar
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    Finally, some constructive criticism. I applaud you Andy and I do agree with most of your points. If Disney is charging me $100+ just for annual parking then they better justify it by producing a better product when I visit. Star tours fascade is a major improvement over the last one. Now if they would just ditch the rest of the gaudy bronze Metroplis theme in Tomorrowland then we're in good shape. Never understood that remodeling effort. Art decco is anything but futuristic.
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