Easter holiday crowds flooded the Disneyland Resort theme parks last week as the spring break season hit its peak before dropping back into off-season levels this week. On Friday, Disneyland rolled out two of the shiny new floats from the new Mickey's Soundsational Parade last week for commercial filming, giving guests a sneak peek at the lavish new procession that debuts late next month. In Disney California Adventure, work continues on the huge new Carthay Circle Theatre taking shape in the park's main entrance plaza. Further inside the park, more of the new lights at the Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure attraction were turned on and the new marquee installed (although it's currently covered up by a blue tarp). And at the Disneyland Hotel, more progress on the property's new water slide pool and re-themed dining facilities.
Big thanks to MiceChat's Fishbulb and Disneyland 1951 for help with photos this week!
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.
We hope you had a great holiday weekend! Let's get started on this week's update!
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Last week, while not as busy as expected, still saw peak spring break crowds throughout the Resort. Our friends at Touring Plans have the full crowd level re-cap:
The TouringPlans.com Crowd Calendar reflects how long you will wait in line for attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, on average. Easter-week crowds were slightly lighter than predicted, but still were very heavy. Expect the first few days of the coming week to maintain the high crowds, making it 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 HazeltonStatistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction
Actual Crowd Levels
Sun. April 17
Mon. April 18
Tue. April 19
Wed. April 20
Thu. April 21
Fri. April 22
Sat. April 23
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
SOUNDSATIONAL SNEAK PEEK
On Friday, Disney filmed some promotional footage for the new Mickey's Soundsational Parade during park operating hours. The filming included the lead Mickey Mouse float along with the Princess and the Frog-themed float and gave guests a first look at what the new parade will offer when it debuts in late May.
So far the new parade looks fantastic. It's a far cry from, and a very welcome improvement over the garish and obnoxious Celebrate! A Street Party.
"it's a mary blair world"
On Main Street, the Disney Gallery will close May 11 to install its next exhibit celebrating the art of Disney Imagineer Mary Blair and Disneyland's "it's a small world" ride.
The Art of Mary Blair celebrating 45 years of it's a small world
In 1964, Walt Disney introduced a concept for a new attraction at the New York World's Fair that would celebrate children from around the world. More than four decades later, "it's a small world" continues to be one of the most beloved theme park attractions of all times.
Artist Mary Blair is among those who played an integral part in the development of this classic attraction. Chosen for her child-like style and adventurous use of color, Mary designed all the concepts from toys to dolls, and to sets inside and out. Fellow Imagineers, Rolly Crump, Marc Davis and Alice Davis, among others, collaborated to bring us the children of the world living happily under one big sun! Mary's artwork remains, to this day, an inspiration to our Disney artists and Disney fans. Her designs have captured the hearts of many and can be seen throughout each "it's a small world" attraction at Disney theme parks worldwide.
Until today, there has never been an opportunity to showcase the collection that inspired it all. On May 13, for the first time, we will showcase concept artwork from "it's a small world," along with other concept story board art from such classic Disney films as Cinderella, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland and various other installations for projects around the world including tile murals for Tomorrowland, Adventure Through Innerspace, Disney's Contemporary Resort and the never realized Western River Ride. [ LINK ]
In Tomorrowland, work on Star Tours continues...
The entrance marquee for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters has its Fastpass signage covered up now as work continues on changing the Buzz Lightyear Fastpass service into Star Tours service.
Over at the Star Trader, window displays advertise the shop's build-your-own Lightsaber offering, but no signs yet of the new Star Tours collectibles and souvenirs that the Disney Parks Blog previewed last week:
Star Tours – These Are The Souvenirs I’m Looking For
If I had a nickel for the hours I spent as a child playing with my Star Wars toys, I would be living on a beach in Maui right now. Luckily, my parents saved those toys (thanks Mom and Dad), and my son now spends hours pretending he is in a galaxy far, far away. Soon, he will have a few more toys (among several awesome things) to add to his Star Wars collection, especially with the launch of “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” on May 20. But wait! I get to photograph and write about merchandise created for Star Tours? Sign me up! After reviewing the more than 40 items we’ve created, I have selected a few of my favorites to share with you.
First up is the incredibly detailed Starspeeder 1000 Spaceliner Collection. This boxed set features die-cast metal vehicles representing six spaceliners that are involved with the new Star Tours story. I spoke with Brad Schoeneberg, Product Developer for Toys and Games, to learn more about the toys.
“We’ve been working on the Star Tours toys for about two years now,” explained Brad. “During the past two years, we have had a great relationship with Walt Disney Imagineering. They provided us with tons of reference material for the Starspeeders and other new characters. That partnership helped us capture wonderful details including the tiny droids seen on top of each of [the Starspeeders].”
This set will retail for $22.95. Brad also shared with me the packaging for the “Ambush at Star Tours” and the “Star Tours Travel Agency” action figure sets (both will retail for $39.95 each). Favorite figures include the Sky Troopers who were created specifically for the attraction. I also loved how the droid who is “fluent in over six million forms of communication,” C-3PO, turned out.
But toys aren’t the only thing I loved seeing (or should I say “playing with?”). We are releasing a variety of shirts for launch. I particularly liked the stylized travel posters shirt, as there is no better way to say “I love space travel” than with that one. How I wish I could visit Bespin and hang out with Lando Calrissian!
There are a few items, however, that neither my son nor I can get – we are not Passholders (unlike many of you and I’m bummed). These Passholder Exclusive items will include a commemorative coin, a limited edition pen (not to be confused with a “pin,” which will also be released), a Darth Vader T-shirt and, what I consider the most awesome drinkware in the galaxy, a 20 oz. tumbler featuring Darth Vader. [ FULL STORY ]
Work continues on California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...
BUENA VISTA STREET
Green tarps have gone back up on the Pan Pacific Auditorium-style towers at the new main entrance turnstiles as work continues on the structure.
Inside the park, the Carthay Circle Theatre continues to take shape...
As you walk toward A Bug's Land, work behind construction walls on the right hand side of the walk way has started. Lots of rebar poking up over the fence line
Construction continues on the new Red Car Trolley tracks at the entrance to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot...
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, part of the new Cars Land expansion, is making progress where the former Bountiful Valley Farm area once stood
THE LITTLE MERMAID ~ ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
The new stained-glass marquee for the new Little Mermaid attraction was installed last week, but hidden behind a blue covering before any park guests could see.
It'll be exciting to see the new signage when it's finished.
The Disney Parks Blog will be hosting a Disney fan meet-up with Disney Imagineers and animators working on the new attraction May 10 at the Grand Californian Hotel. You can enter-to-win tickets to the meet-up through April 28 over at the Disney Parks Blog:
We’ve given you a glimpse of how impressive Ursula will be when she gets settled into her lair.
And we’ve shown you the beautiful “clam shells” – the vehicles that will take you “under the sea.”
Now we’re inviting you to join us for a very special meet-up, featuring Walt Disney Imagineers Lisa Girolami, Larry Nikolai and Chris Crump from the attraction’s creative team, as well as Walt Disney animators Andreas Deja and Mark Henn who worked on the animated feature film on which the attraction is based. Their tales will also be featured in an article in the May issue of D23 Magazine.
Through April 28 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT), you can enter for a chance to attend our meet-up.
Those selected will be among an exclusive group at our panel discussion with the Walt Disney Imagineers and animators. The meet-up will be held May 10 at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The team is still hard at work getting Scuttle, Sebastian and their friends ready to perform, so you will NOT be able to ride or visit the attraction.
Please carefully read the details on the form when you enter. As a reminder: You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, the meet-up does not require theme park admission and you must appear in person with a valid ID and your guest. If you are one of the 150 people randomly selected from our entries, you will be able to bring only one (1) guest. We will notify you by email if you are selected, with check-in details. All elements of this opportunity are subject to change without notice. Click here to register and learn more. [ FULL STORY ]
The attraction's facade archway had its popcorn lights turned on over the weekend, giving guests another preview of how the attraction will look lit up at night. Look's great!
The nearby souvenir stand is getting repainted. Looks like it'll be matching the Little Mermaid's color scheme...
It will reopen as Seaside Souvenirs when the Little Mermaid opens June 3.
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL
& PARADISE GARDEN DINING AREA
Work continues on Goofy's Sky School, which is now slated to open June 3. The Paradise Garden dining complex will open later this summer.
The new Bayside Brews beer stand is coming along...
REDWOOD CREEK CHALLENGE TRAIL
Last week MiceAge's Al Lutz reported that the Brother Bear theming in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail will begin its removal today. Elsewhere online, rumor has it that characters from Pixar's "UP" will move in here, and a Wilderness Explorer's overlay will be added.
Of course, we'll keep you posted on whatever happens in this area of the park as it quietly transitions from its extreme-sports theming to a classier 1950s-era National Park theme.
Bye-bye Sprit Cave?
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Over at the Disneyland Hotel, the new retro Disneyland sign has been added at the top of the new Monorail water slides.
Stone work on the new pedestrian bridge over the pool area is looking nice
THIS AND THAT
Back in Disneyland, Splash Mountain remains closed while its refurbishment runs through late May...
...and work continues on the new building next to the Mark Twain dock in Frontierland
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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
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.
Night entertainment keeps guests in DCA extra 90 minutes nightly The nighttime entertainment is paying off for California Adventure — so much so that the new fountain show and the Tron dance party have boosted attendance numbers as much as three major new rides would have. Wow!
Nighttime entertainment boosts Disney business
The company is keeping Disney California Adventure open late every night for the first time because visitors are staying longer for new nighttime entertainment, the Disneyland Resort president said.
Last summer, Disney debuted the “World of Color” water-and-light show and Glow Fest, a street party and performances — the first major nighttime entertainment features at California Adventure. Glow Fest since has been replaced by ElecTRONica, based on the “Tron: Legacy” movie.
Since the nighttime entertainment started, visitors now are staying at the park an average of 90 minutes later, said George Kalogridis, the resort president, in a speech earlier this month.
That’s the same as building three major rides, he said.
“Because of this, for the first time since it opened over 10 years ago, we have committed to keep Disney California Adventure open late every night of the year,” Kalogridis said in his State of the Resort speech April 8. “This, in turn, increases stays at the Resort and means more jobs and more economic activity for the entire area.”
Disney expected “World of Color” to be popular: The massive fountain show is part of a major $1 billion makeover of the park. Click on the photo, above right, to see pictures of “World of Color.”
California Adventure’s attendance went up about 20 percent during the summer season, a boost that Disney credits with “World of Color. More than 2 million visitors have watched the show since its June debut.
The first Tinker Bell Half Marathon events are scheduled for January 27 to 29 in Anaheim. Men are allowed to register, but the half marathon is mostly targeted at women.
The cost is $120 before June 12. See the Disney half marathon registration page for more information.
Anaheim already hosts the annual Disneyland Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend. The new Tinker Bell race will be a second half marathon. It is expected to be held every year and will be on a new course.
Disney announced the new race on its runDisney Facebook page early Tuesday morning.
An official announcement event was held 11 a.m. at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Actress Megyn Price of “Rules of Engagement” on CBS participated in the announcement. Price was the first to register for the race — her first half-marathon. She plans to run with her best friend and also bring her daughter, who will be 4 years old, to a kids’ race.
“When I had a little girl, it was important to me to set an example,” said Price, who has participated in triathlons. “It’s fun to do sports. It’s not a punishment.”
Marvel president: Comic characters in parks is "biggest dream of all" Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has some high hopes for Marvel super heros in the Disney theme parks. Let's just hope they are used appropriately. Tomorrowland or DCA don't need to become a Marvel dumping ground.
Marvel's Next Step: Disneyland— The studio boss on Marvel's theme park aspirations
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, has big hopes for Marvel now that they're part of the Walt Disney family, including having Marvel's stable of iconic characters become fixtures at Disney theme parks around the world. We've got an exclusive advance look at a new interview Feige did for the upcoming summer issue of Disney twenty-three magazine, the quarterly publication of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club.
"It's the biggest dream of all. We get to tap into this spectacular team that is better than anyone else on the planet at bringing fantasy to life, not only on the big screen but in the real world," said Feige.
He continued, "The notion of walking into a theme park and going into Asgard or the X-Mansion—Disney does this better than anyone. That is why I've gone to Disney parks multiple times every year for my whole life. It's that next step in fully immersive storytelling, whether it's a dark ride, a stunt show, or a thrill ride. The options are endless when it comes to how Imagineers can turn our characters, our adventures, and our films into amazing experiences."
The next issue of Disney twenty-three magazine hits stands May 3.
Philip Doyle, 58, of Corona died of natural causes, Deputy Coroner Larry Esslinger said Friday. Doyle had been under a doctor's care for a previous medical condition.
Doyle, who worked for food services, was making a delivery just after 1 p.m. from a kitchen near the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction; co-workers grew concerned when Doyle didn't immediately return to his post.
Anaheim paramedics got a call at 1:18 p.m. and treated Doyle in a backstage bathroom where his breathing was very shallow, said Anaheim Fire Dept. spokeswoman Maria Sabol.
Doyle was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died at 2:16 p.m., Esslinger said.
"Philip was a longtime member of our Disney family," Disney officials said in a statement. "As we grieve his loss, we also offer our deepest sympathy to Philip's family, friends and loved ones."
Doyle was a member of Workers United Local 50. A man who answered the phone at the union office declined comment, saying only that "Phil was a friend to many."
Alrighty, that's it for this week's column. Thanks to our sponsors at TouringPlans.com. And thanks again to Fishbulb and Disneyland 1951 for their help with photos this week.
Many thanks to all of you for reading! What do you think about those cool new Star Tours toys? And what about that new parade — it's a lot better than that tacky Street Party they had running, huh?
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See you at the parks! - Andy
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