Little Mermaid lights, Star signs, Hollywood changes, Poolside Monorails, +much more!
by, 04-18-2011 at 01:08 AM
Spring break crowds continue to ramp up as the Disneyland Resort enters the final week of the spring vacation season. This week before the Easter holiday will be the busiest of the season before Disneyland enters a brief period of off-season crowds into May before the big summer premieres of the new Star Tours and Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure attractions. Despite the intense crowds, this week saw continued progress at both new attractions opening in June as well as construction on the new main entrance gates at Disney California Adventure and the park's new Cathay Circle Theatre icon. Over at the Disneyland Hotel, Monorail Red has been installed on the new Tomorrowland-themed water slides and the Polynesian-style Adventureland-themed Tangaroa Terrace dining location continues to show progress as it nears its opening this summer.
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.
It's another busy spring break update! Let's get started...
Inside Dateline Disneyland
- Welcome to Disneyland!
TouringPlans.com crowd level recap, Main Street refurbs
- Star Signs
Advertising Star Tours, Facade progress, FASTPASS signage
- California Construction
A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
- Disneyland Hotel Remodel
Monorail Red arrives at the Disneyland Hotel, Tangaroa Terrace progress...
- This & That
Splash Mountain work, New Frontierland building construction, Pirates 4 merchandise...
- Weekly News and Information Round-Up
Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments, MiceChat's Gumball Rally, Tokyo Disneyland reopens, Apricot Lane to open in Downtown Disney
Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Main Street refurbishments continue....
Our friends at Touring Plans are here with their weekly re-cap of crowd levels as spring break continues to bring big crowds to both Anaheim theme parks. Expect this week, the final stretch of the annual spring break season, to be especially busy!
Our accuracy rate being within one index point 90% of the time continued this week. This was the last week of pre-Easter crowds and we expect the week to come to be one of the busiest of the year. A great time to try out an optimal touring plan. Trust us, they work!
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. April 3 8/10 7.4/10 7.9/10 8/10 7.5/10 8.7/10 Mon. April 4 9/10 7.7/10 8.9/10 10/10 8.6/10 9.5/10 Tue. April 5 9/10 7.4/10 8.8/10 8/10 7.6/10 8.0/10 Wed. April 6 9/10 7.5/10 8.8/10 9/10 8.3/10 8.0/10 Thu. April 7 9/10 8.2/10 9.3/10 9/10 7.6/10 8.5/10 Fri. April 8 9/10 8.0/10 9.4/10 10/10 8.3/10 9.7/10 Sat. April 9 10/10 8.9/10 9.5/10 10/10 8.9/10 9.6/10 Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
The front Star Tours marquee now has its chrome frame installed. Looks good.
Last week, Disney announced Annual Passholder previews for the revamped Star Tours attraction. Annual Passholders who enter will be randomly selected to be among the first guests to experience the new attraction on select dates in late May. Details on the Passholder Preview can be found on the MiceChat boards.
The new queue entrance with FASTPASS signage is going up
Star Tours had lost its FASTPASS service a few years ago, but with the expected crowd levels for the revamped ride, FASTPASS is being reinstated. The Buzz Lightyear FASTPASS machines have been removed and will be repurposed for Star Tours.
Disney has started promoting the attraction's re-launch with new ads on the Main Entrance Plaza billboards:
Star Wars star Anthony Daniels recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex blog about the new ride experience and his role in bringing it to life:
Star Tours 2.0: Anthony Daniels explains C-3PO’s role in ‘extraordinary’ new Disney ride
The new and improved Star Tours attraction at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida will be a force to be reckoned with, including 54 “truly amazing” variations that give riders an ever-changing experience, according to Anthony Daniels, the actor who portrayed C-3PO in the “Star Wars” films and revisits the role for the theme-park attraction.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is the name of the reimagined attraction, and Daniels put an emphasis on the plural: “It’s adventures, not adventure.” It speaks to the variable nature of a ride that will take visitors through different landscapes and scenarios in the Jedi universe — be it the frozen tundra of Hoth, the gleaming spires of Coruscant or the unfinished innards of a still-under-construction Death Star space station.
Work is still underway on both attractions, which have been billed as state of the art. The Florida ride opens May 20, while its Anaheim counterpart takes flight June 3. For Daniels, the first Star Tours — which opened in 1987 — set a high standard for innovation, and the coming version carries that to new heights.
“It’s remarkable, just extraordinary,” Daniels said Wednesday during a visit to Los Angeles. “We did the first Star Tours almost 25 years ago, and I rode it in October [in Florida] just before we closed and blew the place up. It was huge pyros. And they’ve been really, really busy, and they’re busy, in fact, today working on the pre-show. The ride is finished, but the pre-show is being put in.”
Signature characters such as Darth Vader, Yoda, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Boba Fett will appear in the new narratives, but Daniels was especially enthused to find out that his “old friend” C-3PO would be the pilot of the ship that takes Disney park visitors on their intergalactic escapade. Daniels has (in body and/or in voice) inhabited the role of the persnickety protocol droid in all seven theatrically released “Star Wars” feature films. He is also the narrator of “Star Wars: In Concert,” the live-music, multimedia show that makes its only scheduled North American stop for 2011 at the Hollywood Bowl on June 3 and 4.
Daniels said he was giddy when he found out that his gleaming, gold-colored alter ego would be at the controls.
“Threepio is the pilot, and it’s huge for me,” the 65-year-old native of Salisbury, England, said. Senior Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering “Tom Fitzgerald, who sold me the concept [of the first Star Tours attraction] 20-some years ago, sat across a desk and acted out the whole ride for me — he’s that kind of guy and just one of my favorite people. He came to England about two years ago, and we were sitting there having drinks when he said, ‘I want to tell you about the new Star Tours,’ “ Daniels recounted as he walked through the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday. ”The bit you’re going to really like is that C-3PO gets to be the pilot. I kept it a secret for a while, but we had to admit it. As soon as the build started and C-3PO was put in the flight simulator, the news was going to get out.”
He offered a tip for riders: “I won’t tell you why, but all I’m going to say is when you’re in your loading position about to get on the Starspeeder 2000, just watch the monitors. Please pay close attention. There’s a lot of footage there that we spent months creating and this whole storyline is going on, so don’t miss it because you’re looking at the floor. The pre-show is something you’ll want to enjoy before you reach the cabin. And then when you’re inside, of course, and the doors close and you have your seatbelt on, you’re off on the adventures of a lifetime.”
There is no aspect of the attraction that is more intriguing than its “branching” variables. Essentially, the ride is divided into three acts, and each of them has multiple variables, so riders could find a completely different experience on the second, third or fourth run through the George Lucas universe.
“It is beyond inventive,” Daniels said. “You’re going to much love it, and you’re going to much love it 54 times. You may never see all of it. It’s completely random. So you may see the same thing three times or you may have three different [ride sequences]. So there’s this extraordinary sort of slot machine effect, isn’t there? You don’t know what’s going to come up in the rows in those windows. It could be triple cherry. Each ride is gorgeous within in its own light. You will go back more than once.” [ FULL STORY ]
Walls are down from the Star Trader, but the shop remains closed until it reopens on May 4.
Construction continues on major projects throughout Disney California Adventure...
BUENA VISTA STREET
Work continues to progress quickly at California Adventure's new main entrance turnstiles. Flagpoles for the new Pan Pacific Auditorium-inspired structure have been installed.
A look at the construction from inside the park:
From the Monorail:
Further inside the park, the new Carthay Circle Theatre continues to grow. The structure will really help cap the Buena Vista Street area and give the entrance of the park a very nice "weenie" to draw guests in. It's just too bad no attraction is planned for inside the Theatre.
From Condor Flats:
Construction view from the entrance of Hollywood Pictures Backlot
Carthay construction from the Monorail:
You can spot the beginnings of the new Carthay Circle fountain in the lower right corner of this photo
Last week the entry arch to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot was removed over the course of one night. Walls sprung up in the area quickly after that and installation on a new section of Red Car Trolley tracks began.
For now, the elephants inspired by those in the 1916 silent film "Intolerance" remain. Word on the street is that they will also eventually be removed as the land transitions from a faux Hollywood studio backlot to a "real" 1940s-era representation of Hollywood.
It looks like there's a lot to do back here, but nearly half of the list consists of gift shops and restrooms.
THE LITTLE MERMAID ~ ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
Last Monday, Disney released a behind-the-scenes video on the making of the music for the new Little Mermaid attraction.
The Music Behind The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
For those who saw “The Little Mermaid” back in 1989, you know the music in the movie was just as magical as a mermaid falling in love with a prince and living happily ever after. Remember “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “Kiss the Girl”? You’ll hear all these classics throughout the new attraction, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, set to open at Disney California Adventure park in June.
More than 20 years ago Alan Menken wrote the movie score that won an Academy Award, and he collaborated with Howard Ashman on the songs. For the attraction, the music needed to be arranged somewhat differently, so well-known musical arranger and orchestrator Danny Troob, who has worked often with Menken, took on the challenge. In this video, we go into the music studio and give you a front row seat in a session with Troob and a 65-piece orchestra, as they recreate the amazing Little Mermaid music we all know and love. [ LINK ]
With less than two months before the Little Mermaid's grand opening, work continues on finishing touches along the attraction's facade and queue.
Parade route lighting posts have been installed along the front of the Mermaid building.
The queue coverings are all painted blue now and popcorn lighting along the top of the shade structures has been installed.
The load area lighting fixtures are now being turned on in the evening, giving a first taste of how this attraction will appear at night.
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL
& PARADISE GARDEN DINING AREA
Work continues at the new dining courtyard and Goofy's Sky School attraction re-theme.
The new Bayside Brews beer stand has gotten new paint
The Paradise Gardens entrance near Silly Symphony Swings has gotten a new entry arch
Nearby, the new landscaping near the Corn Dog Castle is coming along...
...and the Souvenir 66 retail location has started its minor re-theming to Seaside Souvenirs.
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Over at the Disneyland Hotel, work progresses on the Magic Tower (future Fantasy Tower).
Monorail Red has been installed at the new water slide pool
Note the new stonework on the pedestrian bridge over the new water area that will connect the water slide pool and the Neverland Pool
Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam's Bar progress
The lobby of the Dreams Tower (future Adventure Tower) remains closed.
A peek through the glass shows that work on re-theming the lobby has begun
THIS AND THAT
Back inside Disneyland, Splash Mountain's refurbishment continues through late-May
Work continues on the new structure by the Mark Twain and Columbia dock in Frontierland
In California Adventure, new metal brackets and tarps have gone up along a section of the metal fence that surrounds California Screamin' supports on Paradise Pier. More of the cheap-looking wooden fence from the Maliboomer Park area will likely be installed here soon.
New Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides merchandise has infiltrated gift shops in both parks.
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.
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WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP Weekly Theme Park HoursAPRIL 18 — 24, 2011
Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure Monday-Sunday: 8am - 12midnight
Monday-Saturday: 9am - 10pm
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 HIGH 8.9—9.8 out of 10 HIGH 9.5—10.0 out of 10 Closures and Refurbishment Schedule Disneyland Park
- Star Trader: Reopens May 4
- 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 summer 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 summer 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.
DON'T MISS OUT! MICECHAT GUMBALL RALLY ALMOST SOLD OUT!
The ever-popular MiceChat Gumball Rally is almost here and tickets are going fast! Don't miss out on your chance to join in the fun! Less than 50 tickets remain!
Are You Ready To Roll? May 14, 2011 is our next world famous Gumball Rally!
When: May 14st, 2011
Where: Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California
Cost: $25 per person
How Do I sign up? MiceChat Events Store
Our Gumball Rally just keeps getting bigger and better every year. This year, we are including a lite breakfast at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney and have nearly $2,000 in prizes and giveaways (Sponsored by the amazing folks at Fairy Godmother Travel) for our Award Party at HoJo (AND a special game show to help keep you entertained while we wait for the results).
Due to the limited availability of ESPN Zone and Howard Johnson, we will only be able to allow 500 participants in this year’s event and will not be able to offer the Half Rally (however, we’ll plan a special Half Rally for the Fall).
For more information on the event, CLICK HERE!
TOKYO DISNEYLAND REOPENS WITH REDUCED HOURS
On Tuesday, the Oriental Land Company announced Tokyo Disneyland would reopen on Friday with reduced hours. Tokyo DisneySea remains closed, for now:
Reopening of Tokyo Disneyland Park
URAYASU, CHIBA— Tokyo Disney Resort® announced today that it will reopen Tokyo Disneyland Park on April 15, 2011. Both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea® Parks have been temporarily closed from March 12 following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Tokyo Disneyland Park will reopen while making every effort to conserve the use of electricity in its operations. Furthermore, a portion of the ticket price will be donated toward the relief and recovery of the disaster-affected areas.
Tokyo DisneySea Park remains temporarily closed for the time being, but we are aiming toward the earliest reopening of this Park as well.
Finally, Oriental Land Co., Ltd. would like to send our heartfelt condolences to all who have been affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our apologies and gratitude to all who have been concerned by the temporary closure of the Parks. We will continue to strive toward providing an experience filled with dreams and happiness to as many guests as possible, and will make our best corporate effort to answer the needs and expectations of as many people as possible.
Tokyo Disneyland Reopening Details
Reopening Date: April 15, 2011
Operating Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Ticket Prices: Regular prices - For each guest admitted to the Park through May 14, 2011, 300 yen will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society toward the relief and recovery of the
Other: The operating conditions of the Park may change without prior notice depending on the situation of the power supply at the time. Also, some facilities may be temporarily closed for regular inspections or for minor earthquake-related repairs.
For the full story, see the PDF press release: Oriental Land Company Press Release: Reopening of Tokyo Disneyland Park
FASHION BOUTIQUE TO OPEN IN DOWNTOWN DISNEY
Fashion boutique Apricot Lane is coming to Downtown Disney Anaheim, taking over the space currently occupied by Kitson Kids. Kitson will close by early June.
Apricot Lane to Join Downtown Disney District
ANAHEIM, CALIF. April 12, 2011 – Disneyland Resort today announced that fashion boutique Apricot Lane will join Downtown Disney in early June 2011.
“We always look to add unique locations that provide our guests a shopping experience unlike anywhere else – Apricot Lane certainly fits that mold,” said Tony Bruno, vice president of Disneyland Resort hotels and Downtown Disney. “Our guests are going to love the fashion collection Apricot Lane has to offer.”
Apricot Lane, an International Council of Shopping Centers “Hot Concept” award winner, carries an impressive collection of branded fashion apparel, jewelry, handbags, and accessories to create the most current looks at an affordable price. Brands carried include trend-setting lines such as Miss Me, Free People, Vintage Havana, Chaser and Good Works Make a Difference.
“Many of the designer labels found in Apricot Lane are worn by celebrities and seen in the pages of current fashion magazines,” said Founder and CEO Ken Petersen. “We are excited to give Disneyland Resort guests a place where they can replicate those looks.”
Since opening in 2007, Apricot Lane has grown to include nearly 75 franchises in 25 states across the country. The company doubled its size in 2010 alone and continuously appears in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Franchise List. With new items arriving almost daily, Apricot Lane is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind outfits and unique gift items for women of all ages. The store carries a limited number of each item to ensure customers have a sense of individuality when making a purchase.
Apricot Lane joins approximately 50 retail, dining and entertainment venues that comprise Downtown Disney. Also coming to Downtown Disney in June is Sanuk, a footwear shop offering flip flops, surf sandals and other beach footwear, such as their signature yoga mat flip-flops. Earlier this month Blink, a denim-focused pop-up concept, owned by Wet Seal, opened to guests.
For the full story, see the press release: Press Release: Apricot Lane to Join Downtown Disney District
That wraps up this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thanks again to our sponsors at TouringPlans.com.
Many thanks to all of you for reading! What do you think about the Little Mermaid attraction's new lights? ...and what about the continued progress at Star Tours?
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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