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!
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
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 HazeltonStatistician, TouringPlans.com
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.
GETTING READY TO LAUNCH
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...
BUENA VISTA STREET
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:
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:
THE LITTLE MERMAID ~ ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
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?
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL
& PARADISE GARDEN DINING AREA
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.
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
At the Disneyland Hotel, the first Monorail has arrived at the new water slide pool.
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
THIS AND THAT
Easter merchandise is available throughout the Resort
Main Street's Candy Palace is offering its chocolate Easter eggs
...in 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
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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!
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
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.
DINE OFF-HOURS AND GET 25% OFF AT SELECT THEME PARK RESTAURANTS 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:
Alrighty, that ends this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors at TouringPlans.com.
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.
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See you at the parks! - Andy
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