Last week saw a whirlwind of news and activity at the Disneyland Resort culminating with the star-studded world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in Disneyland park. The fourth Pirates premiere on Disneyland's Rivers of America went off without a hitch, despite a few sprinkles of rain Saturday evening. The fan turnout was as impressive as ever, with some having camped out as early as midnight the evening before to get a glimpse of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. Still, pirates weren't the only thing keeping the Resort abuzz over the week. Disney reopened the Star Trader gift shop in Tomorrowland after a three-month refurbishment and announced the menus of new dining locations in Disney California Adventure and the Disneyland Hotel. Meanwhile, construction got even more serious in California Adventure, as work crews began removing more of the lackluster features from the park's Sunshine Plaza entrance area.
Before we get started, many thanks to MiceAge's Sue Kruse and Flickr user Loren Javier for photos from the Pirates of the Caribbean black carpet in today's update.
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 plenty to see yet again this week, so let's get started!
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
It was a picture-perfect off-season week when discussing crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort theme park. Inside Disneyland, however, set-up for the Pirates of the Caribbean world premiere heavily impacted Main Street, Frontierland and New Orleans Square making the park feel a little more chaotic than it normally would have with such low crowds. Our friends at Touring Plans have the complete crowd break-down:
Thank you 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. May 1
Mon. May 2
Tue. May 3
Wed. May 4
Thu. May 5
Fri. May 6
Sat. May 7
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
PREMIERE STREET, U.S.A.
The set-up for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean premiere brought the normal headaches to Disneyland last week. More bleachers were added to Main Street viewing areas this time, giving more guests lining up along the red carpet a better opportunity for viewing the red carpet arrivals.
On Friday, all of the set-up for the premiere event had yet to be finished... but by Saturday Main Street USA was ready to host Hollywood's finest.
The park was all decked out and ready for the event on Saturday.
Guests for the World Premiere entered through Frontierland after the black carpet on Main Street.
Photo ops in Frontierland
MiceAge's fantastic Sue Kruse had a full report from the black carpet event. Below are a couple excerpts from Sue's great column, but I urge you to click the link and read the full report that contains more photos from the black carpet and great stories of just how dedicated Johnny Depp is to his fans —
Another Pirates film, another Pirates premiere at Disneyland. Much the same as the last three, this one was chaotic good fun for the fans, filled with pirate performers, pirate musicians, Johnny Depp look-alikes (good enough that the audience was fooled more than once), free pirate Mickey ears, and lots of famous folks.
I watched the parade of those famous folks, the not so famous, and the famous wannabes, right where I wanted to be — nestled amongst a crowd of real Pirate fans, many of them dressed like a certain illustrious Captain. While I’ve been on the press line in the past, I have to tell you, it’s a whole lot more fun watching all the hoopla with the fans.
[ . . . ] The best part of the night though, for me was, yeah, I’m gonna say it — Johnny Depp, but not for the reasons you might think. Okay, yeah, he’s nice to look at. I admit it. I really do like looking at him. The guy’s got style. But what I really liked ... was his soul. He treated the fans so wonderfully, no famous person-diva-ness from Mr. Depp, no sir. I ran up and down Main Street flitting in and out of the crowd, watching the action and that man put all his energy into his fans.
Once he hit the area around the Emporium, he didn’t even go over to the press side of the street. He signed autograph after autograph, even bringing his own pens so he didn’t have to waste a moment handing off one fan’s pen and taking another’s.
[ . . . ] And that’s what I think I’m going to take away from this Pirates premiere, the memory of a very big movie star acting like his fans mean the world to him and at that moment in time, nothing else was of any importance. He was just a regular guy with a whole lot of friends. [ FULL STORY ]
Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer
On Stranger Tides star Penelope Cruz
Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp! For tons more photos from the black carpet, check out our friend Loren Javier's Flickr Photostream.
The new Pirates film may not even be in theaters for the general public yet, but a script for the fifth installment in the franchise has already been submitted to Disney by screenwriter Terry Rossio. Yet, you might have to wait a little longer for the fifth film, as Johnny Depp wants to hold off a while before becoming Jack Sparrow again. The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop:
'Pirates 5' Script Delivered to Disney But Johnny Depp Wants to 'Hold Off for a Bit'
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides doesn't hit U.S. theaters until May 20. But screenwriter Terry Rossio has just turned in his script for a planned fifth installment in Disney's most lucrative film franchise.
Rossio tells THR that the still-untitled script -- his first penned without Ted Elliot, who collaborated on the first four Pirates scripts -- was delivered to Disney this past weekend. It's the initial step in putting together the key creative pieces for another Pirates film. Disney would like another installment, given the $3 billion in worldwide grosses for the first three films and the likely huge returns for the fourth movie, the first to be released in 3D.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has said he's in to make a fifth Pirates. And sources say Disney has made overtures to Rob Marshall, who took over directing duties on Pirates 4 from Gore Verbinski, who helmed the first three pictures, to return for another go-round (though no deal is in place for Marshall).
But they key question mark is star Johnny Depp. Will he sign on for a fifth installment in the franchise?
In an interview published in the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine, Depp says he hasn't seen the new Rossio screenplay but he isn't opposed to reprising his iconic Jack Sparrow character yet again.
"It boils down to story, script and filmmaker," Depp tells THR. But the actor isn't clamoring to jump back into the puffy shirt until a little time has passed after Pirates 4. He didn't relish the brutal schedule that saw him making Pirates 2 and Pirates 3 back-to-back in order to meet studio-mandated release dates in summer 2006 and 2007, respectively.
"It's not something where I would say, 'Let's shoot it next month to get it out by Christmas 2012,'" he says. "We should hold off for a bit. They should be special, just like they are special to me." [ FULL STORY ]
To co-incide with the new film, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have replaced Davy Jones with Blackbeard on the ghostly waterfall in the attraction. Guests attending the premiere were able to see the reworked special effect Saturday night, but regular park guests will have to wait until May 20 to see Blackbeard in the attraction (as depicted in an artist rendering below).
Captain Blackbeard will make his appearance on the ghostly waterfall in the grotto scenes of the park attractions beginning May 20, coinciding with the release of the new film, “Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides,” in which McShane plays a starring role.
Walt Disney Imagineering writer Michael Sprout (who wrote the script for Bill Nighy as Davy Jones several years ago) was on hand to direct the special shoot with Ian McShane. Michael said, “He came in wearing his complete Blackbeard costume, including the sword, saying it helped him stay in character!”
Look for Blackbeard soon in this classic attraction, and the return of Davy Jones later this year. [ LINK ]
Disney unveiled the new Star Tours attraction poster last week, and a "coming soon!" version of it is now on display in Disneyland's main entrance tunnels.
May the Fourth Be With You!
Today, May 4, we unveiled a stunning new piece of Star Tours art which serves as the attraction poster at Disneyland park and the marquee at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Designed by Imagineer Scot Drake, the piece features the new Starspeeder 1000 surrounded by many of the planets, vehicles and characters from the show. Look for Darth Vader lurking in the shadows. [ FULL STORY ]
In Tomorrowland, Disney reopened the refurbished Star Trader souvenir shop, two days later than originally scheduled.
The first taste of new Star Tours merchandise is already available to purchase
The shop got a top-to-bottom refurbishment and all of its check-out counters have been re-worked and relocated. The large central cash wrap has been removed completely and a few smaller check-out areas have been placed against walls around the shop.
The huge X-Wing model that was previously located in the second level of the Starcade has been relocated here.
The store looks great and fresh, but feels very chaotic. The colors, lighting, and placement of thematic elements around the store compete and clamor for your attention.
Multiple themes are at play here, and its questionable whether or not they mesh coherently. The Star Tours space terminal theme is seen with this new effect. Silhouetted characters from the Disney and Star Wars universe move by as if on their way to baggage claim after their Star Tours flight. This effect covers up the dormant windows that once gave guests aboard the Peoplemover a view into the store.
The UFOs throughout the store seem out-of-place here with the Star Wars theme. They don't look like they're from the Star Wars universe at all, and clash with the X-Wing centerpiece.
These retro space terminal ads are also strange. They don't seem to fit in the Star Wars universe, either, nor do they seem so go alongside the invading UFOs seen throughout the store.
The small area immediately after the Star Tours exit ramp is sleek and clean. It may be waiting on some final decorations, but the blue lighting and clean lines of the space are pleasant compared to the visual chaos of the main store space.
Overall, the refurbishment brings some welcome change. New cash wraps that free up valuable floorspace in the middle of the store, nice new display fixtures, and a refurbishment that has all of the lighting effects working again. Still, it's a shame that the theming here couldn't offer a more coherent experience. For now, the Starcade still has its merchandise racks... hopefully this doesn't become permanent.
Work continues on California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...
BUENA VISTA STREET
Outside park gates, the Guest Relations window and locker area will soon go behind walls as work gets underway on this area as part of the park's major remodel.
Work continues over at the new main entrance gates inspired by Los Angeles' old Pan Pacific Auditorium. Paint was being applied on Friday.
Further inside the park, walls have gone up around the shaded seating area in front of Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream and Baker's Field Bakery. The food locations remain open along with the Engine Ears Toys store, but if you want a place to sit while you enjoy your ice cream sundae, you'll have to walk over to the Taste Pilot's Grill dining area.
The California Adventure information booth is also behind walls, awaiting removal.
A temporary information booth has been set up nearby
The points where the decorative metal archways connected to the train station facade from the dining patio have been covered up.
Signage lets you know the food and retail locations are still open
The seating area is already being removed behind walls...
The new Cars Land expansion is progressing nicely...
THE LITTLE MERMAID ~ ARIEL'S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
Cast Members were treated to unannounced previews of the new Little Mermaid attraction Sunday and reports trickling in are saying that California Adventure has a big hit on its hands — finally, the family-friendly ride the park has needed since day one is here.
The hooks that were here are now gone. Just holes are left
Disney released a time-lapse video showing the construction of the new ride:
Disney also announced a new merchandise location next week that will be home to Little Mermaid attraction merchandise when it opens this June. With the announcement, a couple preview images of new Little Mermaid attraction merchandise were released.
Add a Splash of Color with New Disney California Adventure Park Merchandise
With just under a month to go before the opening of Disney California Adventure park’s newest attraction, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, I thought I’d show you some of the treasures, thingamabobs and whatchamacallit’s that you can look forward to finding in some of our nearby stores.
First up on the list of ‘must have’ items would have to be the apparel. Not only will you make a splash when you hit the streets in your Little Mermaid inspired clothing, but now your little ones can, too! Like to accessorize? My pick is definitely the Little Mermaid scarf. There’s something for almost everyone, or at least everyone who considers Ariel among their favorite Disney characters.
Where can I find these, you ask? Here are a few insider tips:
Embarcadero Gifts is a new location, located right across from The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction. The location will open to park guests in early June. Passholders take note here, on May 31 and June 1, you’ll have the ‘first look’ at the new location and merchandise, including a special commemorative coin, created just for you. In search of other who’s-its and what’s-its then be sure to dive in to Treasures in Paradise. [ FULL STORY ]
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL
& PARADISE GARDEN DINING AREA
Over at Goofy's Sky School, Disney has officially announced the attraction will now open July 1, after previously announcing it would open alongside Little Mermaid on June 3. The delay gives the ride extra time to finish installing its Goofy-themed overlay as well as complete construction on the re-themed eateries nearby which are now set to open July 1 as well. From the OC Register's Around Disney blog:
The ride will open alongside a new restaurant and shopping complex, which will mark the completion of a major section of the park’s $1-billion renovation project.
The redecorated Paradise Pier area is set to be ready in time for the Fourth of July weekend, the company announced Thursday on the Disney Parks blog.
About two weeks ago, Disney announced that the Goofy’s Sky School ride would debut June 3, along with other new attractions for the summer season.
But officials have since determined that the ride needs more work, said John McClintock, a Disneyland Resort spokesman. “Goofy needs a little more flight training,” McClintock said.
Crews have been working since October on the transformation of Goofy’s Sky School, which used to be Mulholland Madness. Disney is giving the roller coaster a new theme, based on the 1940 cartoon, “Goofy’s Glider.” [ FULL STORY ]
The Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill restaurants are set to open July 1 now, along with the completely overhauled outdoor dining area.
At Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, on-stage kitchens will turn out flatbreads, pastas and freshly tossed salads. Flatbreads run the gamut from a traditional cheese or pepperoni to a Portobello mushroom and spinach flatbread with pesto, artichokes, mozzarella, ricotta-salata and Pecorino Romano (two fancy cheeses).
Pasta fans can dig into classic spaghetti and meatballs, pasta tossed with chicken in a sun-dried tomato cream sauce, or five-cheese ravioli with pesto and toasted pine nuts. Hearty salads include a chicken Caesar; Mediterranean chef salad with provolone, salami, capocollo, fresh mozzarella, cured ham, roasted peppers, olives and greens in a red wine vinaigrette; and a field greens salad with Craisins dried cranberries, raisins, caramelized pecans and a basil vinaigrette.
Next door, Paradise Garden Grill has a healthful Mediterranean spin with a variety of skewers and kabobs – lemon-oregano chicken, Mediterranean, grilled steak or veggie and tofu served with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and grilled pita, with your choice of sauces to make it your own: Moroccan chili tomato, chimichurri, tandoori-spiced yogurt and tzatziki (a yogurt-cucumber-garlic sauce). A classic Greek salad with grilled pita also is on the menu. For kids, there’s a grilled chicken skewer or a beef kabob, both served with choice of sauce. [ FULL STORY ]
Corn Dog Castle will also reopen July 1.
Seaside Souvenirs is getting a very minor re-theme — some new paint colors and popcorn lights.
This is the best they could do with this eyesore?
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
A look at Disneyland Hotel progress...
The new Tangaroa Terrace restaurant and Trader Sam's bar are now set to open May 25 and feature very promising menus.
What’s on the Menu at New Disneyland Hotel Restaurants, Opening May 25
We’ve been sharing details here on the Disney Parks Blog about the new Disneyland Hotel restaurants, Tangaroa Terrace – Casual Island Dining and Trader Sam’s – Enchanted Tiki Bar, and today we’ve got even more to share with you. The biggest news is that both restaurants will open on May 25!
Tangaroa Terrace – Casual Island Dining will feature a tropical setting complete with tiki torches and island music setting the stage for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can start the day with signature breakfast items such as French toast with bacon and warm banana-caramel sauce and grilled cinnamon-spice oatmeal with island fruit.
For lunch and dinner, Tangaroa Terrace – Casual Island Dining will offer a 1/3-pound Angus Hawaiian cheeseburger with teriyaki sauce, bacon, grilled pineapple, Havarti, tomato and lettuce burger on a multi-grain bun. (Can you imagine taking the first messy bite?) For the health conscious, the Asian chicken salad has lots of greens (lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet peppers and cucumbers) with chicken breast, cashews and rice noodles in a sesame vinaigrette. The Kalua pork flatbread is topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, red onion and fresh cilantro.
Every evening, a different “Island Plate Dinner” will be on the menu. Look for miso-crusted salmon, tamarind-glazed pork shanks or panko-crusted chicken, each served with jasmine rice, panko-crusted long beans and green papaya slaw.
If you’re in a hurry, a “Grab ‘n Go” selection includes yogurt parfait with tropical fruits and house-made granola, a tropical fruit plate, house-made pastries, sandwiches, veggie with dips, a sweet potato cake with guava cream cheese icing, pineapple-lilikoi pie, and “Trader Sam’s Dessert Flight” with pineapple upside-down cake, layered passion fruit with pineapple-coconut crème and chocolate coffee cake.
Trader Sam’s—Enchanted Tiki Bar is adjacent to Tangaroa Terrace – Casual Island Dining, with substantial “bar food” – sweet ‘n spicy Asian wings, chicken lettuce wraps, panko-crusted Chinese long beans with Sriracha mayo, tamarind-glazed pork shanks with green papaya slaw and ahi poke (sushi-grade tuna) with avocado, green onion and crispy wontons.
But it’s the vintage island cocktails in kitschy glassware that we can’t wait to try. How about Krakatoa Punch with reserve aged rum, light rum, tropical juices, almond syrup and hibiscus grenadine? Or Uh Oa!, with light rum, spiced rum, guava, orange, passion fruit, grapefruit, fresh lime juice and cinnamon? Serious rum lovers will want to try the HippopotoMai Tai with two shots of light and dark rums, orange curacao, almond syrup, organic agave nectar and fresh lime juice.
The non-alcoholic Schweitzer Falls is a refreshing blend of pineapple, guava, orange and passion fruit juices with all-spice syrup and a splash of Sprite. [ FULL STORY ]
Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar concept art
The Hotel's Sorcerer Mickey hat at its Downtown Disney-side entrance is getting some fresh paint.
THIS AND THAT
Cars 2 banners up in Downtown Disney
Now that Disney owns Marvel, the new Thor film has big banners up at the Downtown Disney AMC theater
Kitson Kids is closed. Apricot Lane Boutique is moving in
You can get a free scoop of ice cream at Haagen Dazs in Downtown Disney this Tuesday!
Back in Disneyland, Splash Mountain has water again and logs are being sent through. The ride reopens later this month.
We missed it last week, but the Innoventions sign is back with a new color scheme.
Over in California Adventure, handrails are being repainted... These just got a fresh coat
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Disney shortens return policy at theme parks An official notice from the Art of Disney Parks website:
Merchandise Refund Policy Change Special Reminder:
Beginning May 2, 2011, a new merchandise return policy will be implemented for merchandise purchases made at any Disney-owned-and-operated store within Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Please note: the return and exchange policy time period will change to 30 (thirty) days.
Alrighty, that wraps up another big edition of Dateline Disneyland! Please be sure to check out our sponsors at TouringPlans.com and see what they've got to offer.
Thanks again to Sue Kruse and Loren Javier for their help with Pirates premiere photos. Be sure to read Sue's report from the event here, and check out more or Loren's photos from the black carpet here.
And many thanks to you for reading. Be sure to share Dateline Disneyland with your friends and family and don't forget to join in the discussion below! Are you excited to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie?
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See you at the parks! - Andy
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