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Dateline Disneyland

Pirates premiere, Lighting up Little Mermaid, Glow Tours, Goofy construction +MORE!

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by , 05-02-2011 at 03:02 AM
Work continues on completing new rides set to open at both Disneyland Resort theme parks June 3. In Disney California Adventure, the Little Mermaid has brought new light to Paradise Park as the finishing touches are put on the new family attraction. Nearby, construction progresses at the the re-themed Goofy's Sky School roller coaster which will open with the Little Mermaid at the beginning of June while the nearby Paradise Gardens dining complex works toward its opening later this summer. Meanwhile at Disneyland, Star Tours has an updated mural and new neon that matches the ride's blue color scheme. But of course, the big news item this week is the construction along Disneyland's Rivers of America as crews build the massive outdoor theatre that will host the star-studded world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on Saturday, May 7.

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, busy week at the Disneyland Resort. Let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by | Do More. Wait Less.
and Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel — Anaheim Resort.

Before we jump into this week's crowd recap from our friends at Touring Plans, I'd like to make a personal note regarding our sponsor. When we launched our partnership with Touring Plans nearly three months ago, Dateline Disneyland was given a complimentary Touring Plans membership to test out. I had never used Touring Plans before then and actually wasn't sure if it would be useful to me as a frequent visitor that knows my way around the park and its crowds. But after testing out the Touring Plans LINES app for iPhone while in the park, I am now a believer. The LINES app is really great, and has actually helped me save time in the parks, especially when planning the right time to ride Mickey's Fun Wheel or the Monorail to get all of those Cars Land and Buena Vista Street construction shots for our weekly updates. After three months of using Touring Plans in the parks, I'm confident that you will also find value in their services, whether you're a casual park-goer or a weekly visitor like myself. So, if you haven't given our friends at shot yet, click on one of the links in their crowd recap below and see what they have to offer — Dateline Disneyland highly recommends it.

Okay, enough with my soapbox, Fred is here again this week to update us on last week's crowd levels:

Easter crowds held steady until Wednesday which matches the trend we have seen historically although wait times on Monday and Tuesday weren’t as high as Sunday and Wednesday. Particularly at Disney California Adventure the wait times were lower than expected during the beginning of 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 Hazelton Statistician,

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Actual Crowd Levels
Sun. April 24
Mon. April 25
Tue. April 26
Wed. April 27
Thu. April 28
Fri. April 29
Sat. April 30
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.

Do more. Wait less.

Main Street's facade refurbishment has wrapped up.

Over in Frontierland and New Orleans Square, the Rivers of America have been taken over by the huge state-of-the-art outdoor 3D theatre that will serve as the location for the world premiere of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film.

The Mark Twain dock is closed during the premiere set up. The closure of the Mark Twain dock includes the closure of the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia along with other river traffic and attractions.

Disneyland closes attractions for ‘Pirates’ premiere
Disneyland [ . . . ] temporarily closed five attractions as the park prepares for [the] celebrity-studded premiere of the upcoming “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” movie.

Crews are building a screen and seating along Rivers of America for the outdoor viewing of the “Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides” for celebrities, invited guests and ticket holders following “black” carpet arrivals May 7.

The attractions were shut down starting Monday and will stay closed for about three weeks. Crews will dismantle the equipment after the movie premiere.

The closed features are: Sailing Ship Columbia, Mark Twain Riverboat, Tom Sawyer’s Island, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes and the Fantasmic! show.

The attractions are set to reopen May 12. The Fantasmic! show will resume May 14, said David Gill, a Disneyland Resort spokesman. [ FULL STORY ]

Adventureland, New Orleans Square and Frontierland have crowd control and directional signs throughout the day now while the premiere set-up clogs up the riverfront.

The bridge over the Pirates of the Caribbean queue is divided for easier crowd flow.

In Tomorrowland, the neon on Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters has been changed from its orange and red colors from the Tomorrowland '98 remodel to more appropriately match the attractions.

Star Tours now has blue and purple neon.

Buzz Lightyear now has green and purple neon.

At Star Tours, the facade mural has been updated to include the the StarSpeeder 1000s

Peeking through the walls surrounding the former Buzz Lightyear FASTPASS distribution area reveals re-themed FASTPASS machines, designed to look like GONK droids

Work continues on California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...

Tarps are back up at the new main entrance turnstiles at California Adventure as construction progresses...

Carthay Circle Theater construction continues as well...

A new wall adjacent to the Carthay Circle has sprung up

A look at the Theater construction from the "It's Tough to be a Bug!" queue

...and a unique view of construction from the top of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror:

In the former Timon Parking Lot, Cars Land continues to come together...

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree construction:

Last week Disney gave a sneak peek at the wedding dress that will be worn by one of the Ariel Audio-Animatronics in the upcoming Little Mermaid attraction:

First Look at the Royal Wedding Dress – Ariel’s, That Is
As anticipation builds for the British royal wedding on Friday, so does speculation about what Kate Middleton will wear when she weds Prince William. We have another princess getting ready to debut her wedding gown here at the Disneyland Resort, on June 3. That’s when Ariel and Prince Eric will debut in The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, an attraction inspired by the classic animated film, including the film’s wedding scene.

To find out more about Ariel’s dress and Prince Eric’s attire, I talked to the clothing designer, Gloria Bowls. She collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineer Larry Nikolai to create a look that reflects several periods of British history. Ariel’s gown, similar to the dress in the film, was largely influenced by the royal wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981 (“The Little Mermaid” film debuted in 1989).

“What was amazing about Diana’s dress was that no princess had arrived on the scene with such grandeur – larger than life,” Gloria said. “Ariel’s dress has some of that grandeur, a fantasy come to life – and larger than life. The big poof sleeves are almost as big as her head.”

Gloria designed custom wedding gowns and evening wear before taking on the challenge of designing costumes for Audio-Animatronics figures and consulting for Disney. She credits Larry Nikolai’s vision for encouraging her to let this dress express Ariel’s mermaid personality (i.e., she has this thing for “thingamabobs”).

“Ariel’s dress is made very much like a regular bride’s dress in that the bodice is fully lined, interlined and extensively boned – it practically stands up on its own,” Bowls said. “My favorite part is the front inset of the skirt … an underwater seascape with a shell, a starfish, a seahorse, all beaded and appliqued on, with seaweed lace.

“I hope each little girl will come off the ride inspired and dreaming of having a dress like Ariel’s for her own wedding day.” [ FULL STORY ]

The new Little Mermaid stained-glass marquee is still covered while the final details are put on the new ride

Mini lights have been added to the new Mermaid queue awning.

Decorative seashells and lighting fixtures can be seen:

At night, the facade lighting is now being turned on for park guests to see. It looks great!

Backlit stained glass - looks gorgeous lit up at night.

Disneyland fireworks create a stunning view from across Paradise Bay at night.

A look at the load area


Work continues around the clock on the Pradise Garden dining area and Goofy's Sky School

Details emerging on the Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta facade

Bayside Brews progress:

The former Souvenir 66 merchandise stand has gotten some paint.

Scaffolding has gone up at Corn Dog Castle. Hopefully that tacky billboard gets some new graphics instead of just a repaint of the old

Nice new decorative fencing around the planters

The Corn Dog Castle signage is being dismantled... It would be great if this little foodservice location got a new properly-themed marquee as well...

Over at the Disneyland Hotel, work continues on remodeling the main hotel tower along with the new dining location and water slide pool

In Downtown Disney, Kitson Kids closed Sunday. The store had been having a 50% off store-closing sale as it prepared to close.

Back in California Adventure, new floating walls have been installed at the gates around some California Screamin' supports next to the Hot Dog Hut.

More handrails in Paradise Park are getting repainted

Graduation Duffy and Patriotic Duffy are now available in DCA

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

Rooms now available for as low as $59 per night!
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Weekly Theme Park Hours
May 2 — 8, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Thursday: 9am - 8pm
Friday: 8am - 11pm
Saturday: 7am - 5pm
Sunday: 8am - 12midnight
Monday-Thursday: 10am - 8pm
Friday: 10am - 10pm
Saturday: 10am - 11pm
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
LOW/MEDIUM 0.6-4.9 out of 10
LOW/MEDIUM 2.3—6.8 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: 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.

No plans for 'Iron Man' attraction to replace Disneyland's Innoventions
The Progress City, U.S.A. blog has put to rest the rumor of an Iron Man attraction taking over Innoventions.
Stark Raving Rumors
So, there's this rumor that seems to be spreading everywhere…

People keep suggesting that Imagineering has a plan to – at last – replace the unfortunate Innoventions exhibit at Disneyland with some sort of attraction modeled on the Stark Expo from last year's Marvel release Iron Man 2.

Yeah, that's totally not a thing.

For those of you who haven't seen the film (and you really should), amongst the film's many Disney references is the Stark Expo – a fictional event held in Flushing Meadows, New York, that is heavily based on the 1964/65 New York World's Fair. Many of the actual event's iconic buildings and features can be seen in the layout of the fictional, computer-generated fairgrounds in the film. Stark's expo even has a theme song written by Richard Sherman, who wrote all those catchy ditties for Disney's real World's Fair pavilions. There is, therefore, a lot of thematic crossover between Disney's real-world efforts and Stark's fictional celebration, and of course Disneyland's Innoventions is housed in the building where the Carousel of Progress once turned. The building looks like it's ripped straight from the old fairgrounds, so it seems like it would be a thematic match.

But it's not going to happen.

I'm not saying that no one at WDI has considered this, or sketched it on a napkin, or what-not. I have no idea. But I can tell you with a pretty good degree of certainty that this is not on anyone's radar and not going to happen.
For the full story, visit: Progress City, U.S.A.: Stark Raving Rumors

Professor brings Disneyland to University students
From Around Disney:
Professor turns love of Disney into a class, book
Andi Stein's fondness of Disney began as a child in the 1960s when she watched live-action films, such as "Mary Poppins" and "The Love Bug," in her hometown of Philadelphia.

Now, the Cal State Fullerton communications associate professor has incorporated her admiration into her career, teaching a graduate class and writing a book.

Stein's new book, "Why We Love Disney: The Power of the Disney Brand," was released last month. Students use the book in her class, called "Deconstructing Disney."

"I think it is a fascinating company to study because there are so many aspects to it," said Stein, 50, of Buena Park.

Becoming a fan
While Stein's appreciation came from Disney movies, she became a theme-park fan in her teens after visiting Walt Disney World for the first time in 1976. Three years later, she traveled to Disneyland, which disappointed her initially because it's so much smaller. After visiting most parks worldwide, Disneyland now is her favorite.

"I love the fact that you can walk in the gate and your biggest stress of the day is how long it will take to get on your favorite ride, instead of all the things we worry about on a daily basis," Stein said.

She also loves the toys, becoming obsessed with "Toy Story 3″ when it came out. Her office is filled with dolls, stuffed animals and statuettes of mostly Disney characters, ranging from Tigger and Aladdin to Enchanted Tiki Room birds and a Matterhorn yeti.
For the full story, see the press release: Around Disney: Professor turns love of Disney into a class, book

Okay, that's it for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Be sure to check out our sponsors at!

Big thanks to you for reading! Doesn't the new Little Mermaid attraction look great at night? Will you be lining up on Main Street, U.S.A. for the Pirates red carpet arrivals this weekend? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Don't forget that MiceChat has lots of new content throughout the week! 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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  1. Ukulele Guy's Avatar
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    Great update! Amazing that they can construct that seating area so quickly.
  2. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Amazing work Andy! This update was FULL of good info and photography.
  3. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    I love how things are coming together! That shot of the fireworks over TLMM is STUNNING! Can't wait for it to be finished and for those walls to come down!
  4. socalkdg's Avatar
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    Where exactly where you standing when you shot that photo of the fireworks over the TLM building?
  5. StevenW's Avatar
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    I'm glad a robot is wearing that stiff wedding gown.
  6. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  7. DOMINGUESS's Avatar
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    GREAT UPDATE & PICS! I love how they have themed the fast past machines to match the Star Tours ride (thanks for taking a peek!) Also, I appreciate you pointing out the neon that was replaced with a matching color scheme. I cant believe I never noticed that!

    Thanks again for the update!
  8. rubalcava's Avatar
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    Good Update! I love how the Little Mermaid ride looks at nite. I can't wait till it opens. Star Tours needed that update. Looking forward to the summer at the Disneyland resort.
  9. Sleepy505's Avatar
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    Great update always, my family and I will be there on June 3 which is opening day for Little Mermaid, can it get any better than that. The funny thing is that I didn't even know that about until reading Micechat.
  10. AliKzam's Avatar
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    I think I'm going to be torn between which is my favorite building, the Haunted Mansion or the Little Mermaid ride building.
  11. D.E.1955's Avatar
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    WOW!!!! The pyro looks BEAUTIFUL!!!! Behind the facade of the Little Mermaid!!!!
  12. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    I wish they could have changed the neon on ST and Buzz, it looks like the lamps you can buy at Spencer's Gifts.

    I'm not really a fan of the huge show building for LM, Disney usually makes the entrance to a ride less conspicuous and hides the show building in the back, but I have to admit I like the details on the building. And I guess the trees partially hide the fact that it's such a huge building.

    I do like the buildings in the Paradise Dining area, and Cars Land is going to be awesome.
  13. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    I don't understand why they are putting up these walls all over Paradise Pier. To block the view of the bay? To give you that closed-in feeling? I just don't get the point.
  14. bamato's Avatar
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    Awesome update!
  15. dizneedoll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkbelle
    I don't understand why they are putting up these walls all over Paradise Pier. To block the view of the bay? To give you that closed-in feeling? I just don't get the point.
    I was wondering the same thing. What's the point? It looks uglier with the madame leota walls than without.

    It would be nice if they could fill the bay in to cover those WOC thingys then a person could take some really great pictures of TLM show building reflecting in the water at night.
  16. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Excellent update!
  17. Notoriousdan562's Avatar
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    Mainstreet is looking better than ever!!!!!
  18. Myahlove1's Avatar
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    I can't wait to go on our trip in June. There are so many things to look forward too!!!
  19. bluefairy's Avatar
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    Thanks again for a great update!
  20. Concieved@DL's Avatar
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    Thanks for a great update. Less than 3 weeks till my week at DLR for a week. Main street looks awsome, and the spring flowers look like, well... spring. Any Idea when the main entrance to DCA will open ? From the pictures, that seems to be moving very slow.
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