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Dateline Disneyland

Pan-Pacific gates, Sky School readies for takeoff, Wilderness Explorers move in, MORE

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
by , 06-20-2011 at 12:11 AM
Disney California Adventure's new Pan-Pacific Auditorium-inspired entrance gates were revealed on Saturday as tarps came down on the new streamline moderne structure. The new entry gate isn't quite finished yet on ground level, but the removal of scaffolding and tarps marks the completion of major work on the main construction. Inside the park, finishing touches are being applied to the new Paradise Garden dining complex and the Goofy's Sky School roller coaster. The new dining area and rollercoaster open July 1st, a week after the Wilderness Explorers from Disney-Pixar's Up make their debut in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail on June 25. Over at Disneyland, summer crowds continue to line up for Star Tours as minor refurbishment work continues in Frontierland and Tomorrowland.

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.

Thanks to Fishbulb for some additional help with photos today.

There's plenty to see! Let's jump right in—

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Billboards at the Mickey and Friends tram stop advertise the Summer Soundsational offerings:

Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly re-cap of the summer crowd levels below:

Last week saw higher crowd levels than anticipated, a possible harbinger of the busy summer to come at Disneyland Resort. Because of this, now more than ever it's a good time to subscribe to to let us help you plan your strategy to avoid the crowds! The Crowd Calendar rankings are based on wait times for all days on record. Because choosing the least crowded days to visit, but not having a good plan of attack for avoiding crowd concentrations is like ordering Diet Coke with three Big Macs, especially with the high Summer crowd levels anticipated, we highly recommend that you follow a Touring Plan. You can now access these Touring Plans on the go with our Lines Mobile Wait Times app!

Here’s how the observed wait time submissions of our Lines Mobile Wait Times app users and our data team compared to what our professional statisticians predicted on the Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton Statistician,

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Actual Crowd Levels
Sun. June 12
Mon. June 13
Tue. June 14
Wed. June 15
Thu. June 16
Fri. June 17
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.

Inside Disneyland, the gift shop next to the Guided Tour Gardens in Town Square is once again open. We missed it last week, but the shop has received a complete refurbishment with a re-design of its retail space. Similar to Seaside Souvenirs at Disney California Adventure, Disney took out much of the merchandise counter that wrapped around the gift stand, allowing guests the ability to walk in and pick their own merchandise. This change seems like a good idea for sales—seeming to make the shop more inviting with the new ability to walk in and choose your own items, rather than wait in line at a counter for a Cast Member to get your T-shirt or hat on the wall display behind them.

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

Over at Disney California Adventure, the new Pan-Pacific Auditorium-inspired main gate was revealed over the weekend when work crews removed the scaffolding and tarps covering the new structure.

The new streamline moderne turnstiles will mark the gateway to the park; including Buena Vista Street, the park's new 1920s Los Angeles-themed entrance plaza.

Inside the park, work continues slowly, but surely on the new Carthay Circle Theater and its surrounding area. Behind walls (but not pictured here) Red Car Trolley track installation has begun through the Carthay Circle area

With construction ramping up in the area, walls now block the main thoroughfare between Sunshine Plaza and A Bug's Land.

Walls continue around the rock work at the entrance to Condor Flats. Hopefully the walls here mean that we'll be seeing some re-theming around this area so it thematically blends in with the Carthay Circle/Buena Vista Street area in 2012.

The view of the blocked path from the Bug's Land-side.


Over on Paradise Pier, Goofy's Sky School was open for Cast Member previews during the weekend, which means the ride is more or less ready to open. Still, be advised that the attraction isn't set to officially open to park guests until July 1st.

The new animated billboard that features the lesson on how to turn was turned on for Cast previews.

The new animated billboard is nothing terribly special, but its a minor upgrade from the tacky pun-filled billboards that lined the Mullholland Madness track. Still, the attraction looks and feels very temporary, and we hope that it is. Even with Goofy, this ride does not belong in a Disney theme park. Video of the new animated billboard in action:

The new Paradise Garden dining courtyard is nearing completion as well, as it is also set to open July 1st.

Overall, the area looks nice. It's definitely a huge improvement over the tacky Route 66-theme previously seen here.

The marquee is now up at the Paradise Garden Grill

Looks a lot better than a giant hamburger spaceship, doesn't it?

The new Bayside Brews beer stand

Almost ready!

The Upcoming Pixar Blog recently interviewed Pixar artist Jay Ward, who is in charge of overseeing the entire "Cars" franchise. In the interview Jay discussed a couple details on Cars Land, which we've excerpted below. If you're a fan of Cars and Pixar, be sure to check out the entire interview by clocking the link.

Upcoming Pixar Interviews Cars Franchise Guardian Jay Ward!

UPCOMING PIXAR: The Cars franchise is much more than just the films. What can you tell us about Cars Land, for example?

JAY WARD: Cars Land is going in at Disney California Adventure, it opens in the summer of 2012. Cars Land is sort of a snap shot in time, it’s after Cars but before Cars 2. It’s going to have the classic Lightning McQueen in it, not the Cars 2 McQueen, and the reason we have that is that Doc is in Cars Land. Doc Hudson is passed away in Cars 2 because Paul Newman passed away. So we wanted to have this classic, iconic thing; Doc Hudson has the headset on telling you to get ready to race in the ride. If we have Doc Hudson, we have to have classic McQueen. [Cars Land is] going to feel like being in Radiator Springs two years after the original film. [ FULL INTERVIEW ]

Meanwhile, work continues on building Radiator Springs at California Adventure:

Nearby the main entrance to Cars Land, all signage for the Mission Tortilla Factory is now gone following the attraction's closure. Disney has yet to officially announce the new Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory tour, which is rumored to open next year.

No more "Maseca!"

Over in the Golden State's Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, changes are coming to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail as Brother Bear moves out and characters from Disney-Pixar's "Up" move in.

Disney officially announced the addition of "Up" characters here last week on the Disney Parks Blog. Also included in the announcement was a new Phineas and Ferb show coming to the park next month.

New Characters Coming to Disney California Adventure Park
There are new friends coming to Disney California Adventure park this summer! On June 25, the Wilderness Explorers’ Camp will open at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar film, “Up.” The Ahwahnee Camp Circle will be the place where guests can participate in a special ceremony with Russell and graduate to Senior Wilderness Explorers. Also, as guests enter the trail, they will be met by Dug, the friendly dog. The trail will feature Wilderness Explorer activities through which young guests can earn merit badges.

On July 9, Phineas and Ferb will debut their new show, “Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party,” also at Disney California Adventure park. The show will be an interactive dance party featuring the Disney Channel favorites. Guests will have the chance to join in on dances and activities while a DJ spins songs from the series. [ LINK ]

Russel and Dug from "Up" debut at the Challenge Trail this Saturday, June 25. Phineas and Ferb arrive July 9.

At the Disneyland Hotel, the names of the towers officially changed last week.

The themed marquees for the towers are not yet installed, but temporary signage points the way to the Fantasy, Adventure and Frontier Towers while construction continues.

Work continues at the former Never Land Pool which is currently being overhauled and will re-open as the E-Ticket Pool.

Captain Hook's pirate ship has been removed and on Friday all that remained was Tic Toc, the alligator.

Back inside Disneyland, tarps around the Golden Horseshoe have come down, but work walls remain for now...

New walls around outdoor vending space near Zocalo Park

In New Orleans Square, Mlle Antionette's Parfumerie was offering custom engraving on perfume bottles over the weekend, a special offering for the Father's Day holiday.

A table selling the service was set up outside of the shop. With a nicer set-up, this sort of thing could add to the atmosphere in New Orleans Square with the nearby caricature and watercolor painting carts scattered around nearby, but the overall effect this weekend felt a little tacky. We wish the third-party vendors at Mlle Antionette's Parfumerie the best of luck and hope they can establish themselves as a unique offering in New Orleans Square like the former Jewel of Orleans antique estate jewelers did.

In Tomorrowland, the Moonliner rocket is still behind tarps while it gets some new paint.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
June 20 — 26, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Sunday: 8am - 12midnightMonday-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
MEDIUM/HIGH 4.2—8.0 out of 10
MEDIUM/HIGH 4.1—8.3 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

  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed the following periods for refurbishment: June 20—24, and July 11—September 1.

Disney California Adventure

  • Goofy's Sky School: Opens July 1
  • Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta: Opens July 1
  • Paradise Garden Grill: Opens July 1
  • Red Car Trolley: Attraction set to open spring 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Never Land Pool: Area closed for remodel and re-theming.

The temporary return of Captain EO continues, and Disney has yet to announce a replacement for the attraction or if it will eventually become a permanent fixture in Tomorrowland:

No end date yet for ‘Captain EO’ at Disneyland
Nearly two years after Michael Jackson’s death, “Captain EO,” is still playing at Disneyland.

The “Captain EO Tribute,” the 3-D film and music video featuring Jackson, originally ran from 1986 to 1997 and was revived on a temporary basis in 2010.

Recently, the Oriental Land Company, which operates the Tokyo Disney Resort, indicated the scheduled end date for “Captain EO” has been eliminated.

Disney has not said whether “Captain EO” will become a permanent addition to Tomorrowland or when its run will end.

Disney spokeswoman Michele Himmelberg said there is no update on a decision either way.

When the attraction was revived at Disneyland in February 2010, lines ranged from 40 to 90 minutes in length. On a recent day, the line was only long enough for the 17-minute movie to end.

The movie is the story of how Captain EO, played by Jackson, and his crew of various space creatures travel to a planet of dark, twisted metal to give a gift to the planet’s Supreme Leader.

Jackson stars, sings and dances to transform the world from evil to good. The film features the songs “We Are Here to Change the World” and “Another Part of Me,” both written and performed by Jackson. The latter song is 0n Jackson’s “Bad” album in 1987.
Link: Around Disney: No end date yet for ‘Captain EO’ at Disneyland

From the Orange County Register:
State probes 284 O.C. theme-park medical problems
Amusement-park-goers reported 284 issues that required medical attention over two years at Orange County venues and were investigated by a state agency, an analysis by The Orange County Register has found.

Theme parks and venues with permanent rides, including Disney’s and Knott’s, are required under a 2000 law to submit state reports every time a patron seeks care beyond first aid for medical issues on rides. The state investigates the most serious reports, roughly two-thirds of them.

In seven Orange County locations in 2009 and 2010, about half of the 284 incidents involved medical problems to the head area – such as chipped teeth or chin lacerations – or to the torso and the spine, including neck and back pain.

No deaths were noted in the reports. A few dozen of the riders had pre-existing conditions, such as seizures and back problems.

In reviewing the 284 reports, the Register found:
[list][*]Ten rides, out of 76 rides that were investigated countywide, had 10 or more medical issues that prompted state investigations. The Ghost-Rider roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm had the most – 28.
[*]The state ordered venues to make changes in 33 cases, such as ride adjustments or employee training.
[*]The number of medical problems was small compared with the number of rides taken by visitors. For example, the state investigated five medical issues out of every 10 million rides taken at Disney's two parks – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Knott's Berry Farm, home to a lot of roller coasters, had 17 medical-issue investigations out of every 10 million rides taken.

The seven locations where the investigations were conducted: Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, Knott's Soak City, Adventure City, Wild Rivers Waterpark and Westfield MainPlace mall.

The most investigations were at the two Disney parks, which together had 168; Knott's Berry Farm had 89.

"The permanent-ride parks, especially theme parks, have overall records of safety, given the number of people who ride in the state of California," said John Robinson, chief executive officer of the California Attractions and Parks Association. "It's one of the safest things you can do, statistically."
Full story: Orange County Register: State probes 284 O.C. theme-park medical problems

Woman arrested for selling fake Disneyland tickets
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Disneyland ticket scammer arrested in Pleasant Hill
51-year-old Pleasant Hill resident Lisa Marie Cassinelli has been arrested by the Walnut Creek Police after selling fake tickets to Disneyland to at least seven different families in Northern California, acccording to WCPD.

The following information is from the Walnut Creek Police....

The Walnut Creek Police Department recently investigated several cases of fraudulent Disneyland Park passes being sold on Craigslist. The suspect arranged to meet victims in person and sell them the passes at a discounted rate. A young female the suspect identified as her daughter always accompanied her when meeting victims.

The suspect often included a fraudulent receipt to show she had purchased the park passes. Victims usually paid several hundred dollars for the passes and only discovered they were fraudulent when they tried to use them at Disneyland. Walnut Creek PD has three confirmed cases involving the same suspect. The investigation uncovered two more victims in San Ramon and an additional two victims in Pleasanton. Officers from these three agencies identified Lisa Cassinelli of Pleasant Hill as the suspect in this case.

On 6/11/11 Walnut Creek officers served a search and arrest warrant at Cassinelli's Pleasant Hill residence. Officers recovered additional Disneyland Park passes and information indicating there may be other unidentified victims of this scam. Most of the evidence indicates the victims are likely from Contra Costa County and the greater Sacramento area.

Cassinelli was arrested and is currently in the Contra Costa County Jail with a bail of $60,000.

If you or someone you know purchased fraudulent Disneyland passes from Cassinelli please contact your local police department or Walnut Creek PD Officer Gabe Mauro at 925-943-5844.
Full story: SF Gate: Disneyland ticket scammer arrested in Pleasant Hill

Alrighty, that wraps up today's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Be sure to say hello to our sponsors over at!

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- Andy

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  1. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    I like the Pan Pacific gates, but I wonder if it's not quite the right time period? Buena Vista St. is supposed to be Hollywood as Walt saw it when he arrived in the 1920s, but the Pan Pacific Auditorium wasn't built til 1935. It also looks 1940s-ish, and maybe it doesn't quite complement the Main Street Station across the way - maybe being picky, but thought it's worth the comment.
  2. DARTH MAUL's Avatar
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    I sure would love to see a unbiased update that doesn't tell us what does or doesn't "belong" in a Disney park. Some of us are actually satisfied. A bit more maturity and professionalism, please.
  3. MasterGracey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellerose75
    The biggest thing to me in this update is how he mentions " Tic Toc the alligator"...he's a crocodile! LOL
    Whoops! My mistake! Thanks for the correction

    Quote Originally Posted by DARTH MAUL
    I sure would love to see a unbiased update that doesn't tell us what does or doesn't "belong" in a Disney park. Some of us are actually satisfied. A bit more maturity and professionalism, please.
    Thanks for the note, Darth Maul. Dateline Disneyland has included editorial content from the start. In fact, the column is described as a "Photo update and commentary" every week on the homepage. We don't expect you to agree with everything we say here, but please be aware that Dateline Disneyland is, by design, a weekly photo update that includes commentary.

    Thank you for reading!

    - Andy
    Dateline Disneyland
  4. Kamerun's Avatar
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    I love the weekly updates. I have always enjoyed watching buildings being built. Disneyland was built long before I was born and your weekly updates give me the chance to see California Adventure move from a badly themed parking lot to a beautifully crafted theme park of the diversity and style of California.

    There is still much work to be done to flesh out and fix many of the Eisner Era "value engineering" that took place to get the park to open. I sincerely look forward to watching this final push to 2012. i look forward to watching Buena Vista Street come in and replace the lack luster entry into the park. As usual, I am sure it will be fascinating to watch Disney perform a slight of hand to help guests ignore the construction walls and see the completed parts of the park.

    Personally I will be happy to see Captain Eo go. Perhaps it will end up staying until Imagineering works out the make over that Tomorrow land has needed for close to thirty years now.

    Keep up the great work Andy! Monday is now my favorite day of the week!
  5. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DARTH MAUL
    I sure would love to see a unbiased update that doesn't tell us what does or doesn't "belong" in a Disney park. Some of us are actually satisfied. A bit more maturity and professionalism, please.
    I actually enjoy the commentary given by you. If I disagree, it gives a nice conversation spark or debate ignitor! Keep up the good work.
  6. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    Wow, did Touring Plans mess up big time. It predicted that crowds in Disneyland would be only in the 4.6 range on June 14, the day I went, and the crowds in reality were in the 8.3 range. If they can't do any better than that, then I'm going to ignore them from now on.
  7. StrikeYerColors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredSimmons
    I don't like the new paint job on the Golden Horseshoe (or at least not what I can see of it in the photo). It's too gaudy for the Old West. This isn't supposed to be the Barbary Coast (we're not in DCA), it's supposed to be Frontierland.
    Quote Originally Posted by DisWedWay
    What happened to the Victorian Golden Horseshoe in it's trademark white facade? I always liked the white as it fit with the MarkTwain and not the Columbia as it does now. Is that a primer coat? PD
    Guys, the horseshoe hasn't changed colors... the paint before the refresh had just faded. It's been this light gold color for many years (I didn't know it was once white until you mentioned it, and I googled it to find some very old photos of it with the white paint).
    Here's an image for comparison:

    In this update it just LOOKS really yellow because the photo was taken right before sunset. You can tell by the loooooooong shadows coming off the Mark Twain and the dock. All the light is very yellow at this time so it is distorting the paint colors, which are basically the same as before. Not to worry folks.
  8. StrikeYerColors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not My Real Name
    Wow, did Touring Plans mess up big time. It predicted that crowds in Disneyland would be only in the 4.6 range on June 14, the day I went, and the crowds in reality were in the 8.3 range. If they can't do any better than that, then I'm going to ignore them from now on.
    I still don't think this crowd predictor understands the difference between crowds (number of people in the park) and wait times (how long you wait for the ride)... They are two different things that are sometimes related, sometimes not.
  9. mickeyfan4ever's Avatar
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    the new turn tites look thir almoast done i cant to see the fished the fisherd and walk thoghogh them
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