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Goofy takes flight, Wilderness Exploring, Fourth of Color, Carthay construction +MORE

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by , 06-27-2011 at 02:14 AM
Goofy unofficially opened the gates to his new Sky School in Disney California Adventure this weekend, giving guests a sneak preview at the remodeled roller coaster as final touches were being applied next door at the lavish new Paradise Garden dining courtyard. Meanwhile, visible work is gearing up again at the park's new Carthay Circle Theater and work continues finishing the new Pan Pacific Auditorium-inspired gates at the park's main entrance. Over at Disneyland, most of the Main Street Emporium interior is behind walls while the store undergoes a major refurbishment. Finally, Disney is gearing up for the Fourth of July holiday with scheduled nightly fireworks and special World of Color shows through the long holiday weekend.

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've got another full update today, so let's get started.

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A major refurbishment is now underway inside the Main Street Emporium as most of the store's interior is behind construction walls.

Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd recap:
Expect high crowd levels all week long as we head into the July 4th weekend. Due to 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 19
Mon. June 20
Tue. June 21
Wed. June 22
Thu. June 23
Fri. June 25
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
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The store's main entrances are closed off as the central portion of the retail space is closed.

Side entrances, such as the Carriage Place Clothiers doors and the Crystal Arcade are the only way to access the shop right now

Shelves are up on the refurbishment walls.

Disney announced a special Independence-day themed World of Color pre-show for this year's Fourth of July weekend in addition to the traditional holiday fireworks show at Disneyland. The World of Color pre-show will feature fireworks along with utilizing the show's fountain and light infrastructure and will run immediately before all World of Color shows July 1—4. Disneyland's holiday fireworks show will run once nightly July 1—4 as well, but will be a shorter version of the show the first three nights. The complete show will only run once on July 4. The regular summer fireworks show, "Magical," will not be offered July 1st through July 4th.

Celebrate America with Special Independence Day Shows at the Disneyland Resort
We’re celebrating July 4th in a very special way at the Disneyland Resort! From July 1-4, guests can experience special nighttime spectaculars celebrating America. At Disney California Adventure park, we’ve got an all-new Independence Day “World of Color” pre-show which will run prior to each showing of “World of Color” and will combine video, water effects, lighting and fireworks to create a spectacular celebration of American independence.

At Disneyland park, guests can commemorate Independence Day with “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” This special fireworks show combines patriotic music with bursts of red, white and blue to celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave. [ LINK ]

Independence Day Entertainment Schedule
July 1 — 4
Disney's Celebrate America!
A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky

Disneyland Park
9:30 PM
World of Color
with special Fourth of July pre-show

Disney California Adventure Park
9:00 PM, 10:15 PM

This won't be the first time World of Color has offered a special holiday show. New Year's Eve was the first time a special holiday show was offered and it did not disappoint. We hope the Fourth of July show is as well-produced as the New Year's Eve offering (pictured below):

Contact [email protected] or [email protected]!

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

Work continues on finishing the new main entrance turnstiles at Disney California Adventure.

Inside the parks, work is ramping up again at the Carthay Circle Theater. In front of the new building, the Red Car Trolley tracks are being installed.

Scaffolding is up around the Carthay tower

Framing in architectural details behind construction walls

The new pump house is coming together nicely.

It looks great so far!

A look at the backside of the new pumphouse, as seen from the It's Tough to be a Bug queue in A Bug's Land:


On Saturday, Disney soft-opened the re-themed Goofy's Sky School roller coaster. The attraction, previously known as Mullholland Madness and themed with roadsigns and a giant cartoony fold-out road map, has new become Goofy's chicken-farm-turned-flight-school where Goofy teaches student pilots how to fly. Animated billboards along the roller coaster track give Goofy's step-by-step lesson on how to fly.

Little details: a new weathervane atop the Sky School water tower

After the nice new water tower entrance, the main queue for the attraction is largely the same as its Mullholland Madness version. The colors here are different and now posters and framed pictures and certificates tell the story of how Goofy turned his chicken farm into a flight school.

The extent of the theming here is framed items bolted to the wall. They're full of clever in-jokes and references, but they fail to make the experience particularly immersive.

The load area has some nice new props and a new mural.

The ride itself loses the green-and-orange color scheme of Mullholland Madness and the cheap and tacky road signs. The coaster is now painted sky blue and cartoon cloud cut-outs have replaced the traffic signs. More billboards have been added as well, several of which are animated.

The net effect of this attraction's makeover doesn't amount to much. It looks nicer than Mullholland Madness, to be sure, but the overall improvement here is negligible at best. The animated billboards are just barely adequate, but don't even compare to the simplest of Disneyland's Fantasyland dark rides. The floor of the roller coaster is a sand pit, unchanged from Mullholland Madness; and most of the experience amounts to nothing more than zipping through a maze of steel. There is no ride soundtrack or sound effects except for the obligatory safety spiels, delivered by Goofy himself. This remodel makes no great strides in creating an immersive Disney-quality experience, but it isn't a complete loss. If nothing else, the Goofy overlay is more aesthetically enjoyable than the garish Mullholland Madness theme, and that's a win. Yet, it's a bit of a shame that a classic character such as Goofy has been reduced to such an attraction. We hope that the lifespan of this overlay is very short and redevelopment gets underway here in just a few short years and not decades from now.

Below is complete video ride-through of the attraction.

Meanwhile, work is wrapping up at the new Paradise Garden dining area next to Goofy's Sky School. The exit stairs at Goofy's Sky School give a good view into the new area while construction walls are still up.

This area is set to officially open this Friday, July 1.

Nearby, Bayside Brews is still behind walls, but a new sign has appeared on a lamp post but is currently covered up.

A look at Cars Land progress...

A new awning is up at the Curios shop

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree construction:

Over in the Grizzly Peak Recreation area, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has welcomed Russell and Dug from Disney-Pixar's "Up." The new overlay offers six tasks young Wilderness Explorers can complete to earn "badges" so they can graduate as Senior Wilderness Explorers in a small ceremony at the Ahwahnee Camp Circle.

Wilderness Explorers can grab their activity map at the entrance to the Challenge Trail.

The inside of the map has scratch-off circles that Explorers scratch off to reveal their "badges" once completing each task.

The map at the entrance to the Challenge Trail has been updated with the new "Up" theme.

The Ahwahnee Camp Circle Wilderness Explorer Ceremony show happens several times daily and features Russell and Dug honoring Wilderness Explorers who successfully earned all of their badges.

Over at the Disneyland Hotel, work continues on the Fantasy Tower's remodel as well as the overhaul of the former Never Land Pool.

The old entrance area to the Never Land Pool

He's still here... for now.

Back in Disneyland, walls have come down around the Golden Horseshoe following the restaurant's refurbishment.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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Weekly Theme Park Hours
June 27 — July 3, 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
HIGH 7.3—8.8 out of 10
HIGH 8.4—9.2 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 for refurbishment 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.

Al Weiss, President of Worldwide Operations for all of Disney Parks and Resorts, has announced his retirement. The Disney Parks Blog has his retirement announcement:
Al Weiss Announces Retirement
We have some news to share today regarding a key member of the Disney team. Al Weiss, former head of Walt Disney World and current President of Worldwide Operations for all of Disney Parks and Resorts, has decided to retire after almost 39 years with the company. Al started off working at Walt Disney World as a teenager and will leave his imprint on so many aspects of our business. Some of the highlights of his tenure include launching Disney Cruise Line, opening Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World and integrating worldwide park operations. Al’s official retirement date will be November 1 of this year. (Below is Al's retirement announcement.)

Fellow cast members,

After careful thought and consideration, it is with both pleasure and sadness that I announce after 39 long and wonderful years I will be retiring from The Walt Disney Company. Thanks to all of you who have been part of my unforgettable career with this amazing company.

I began my time with the Walt Disney World Resort as a teenager doing “z runs” in Magic Kingdom park. After many years and much hard work, I am proud to finish my career as president, Worldwide Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. There are very few companies like Disney that give individuals an opportunity to grow and develop so much in their careers. Disney is truly an organization that promotes from within and allows our talented cast members to follow their dreams.

Over my long history with Disney, I have seen the opening of so many exciting things: theme parks, resorts, attractions, shows and now even cruise ships. I have had the great pleasure and honor to work beside such great talent and leadership, and I feel confident the company will continue to thrive and do magical things for many years. The best is yet to come …

While I will miss the great people, exciting projects and stellar vision of Disney, I am very excited to begin the next chapter of my life. I will not miss my weekly Monday morning commute to California, but I will look forward to spending time with family, grandchildren and friends and traveling this great big world in which we live.

Thank you for almost four decades of fun, challenges, good times and bad. Most of all, I thank you for the magic that I know each of you and Disney will continue to create for our cast and guests every day.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
~Walt Disney

Best wishes and God bless,
Al Weiss
President, Worldwide Operations
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Full story: Disney Parks Blog: Al Weiss Announces Retirement

Some big changes for Grad Nite are coming soon... Details from the Disney Parks Blog
Disneyland Grad Nite – New Twists on a 50-Year Tradition Coming in 2012 and 2013
As our 50th Grad Nite season comes to an end, we are excited to announce new twists and enhancements coming in 2012 and 2013 to this traditional rite of passage so many of us experienced as high school graduates.

In 2012, Grads will have more time, more flexibility and more room for their celebration at the Disneyland Resort including the opportunity to enter Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park at any time during their Grad Nite visit. Students will receive a park hopper ticket allowing them a full day to experience both parks!

In addition, 2012 Grads will now receive a special FASTPASS option to use during their visit and a private showing of “Fantasmic!” to kick off the exclusive private party that begins when Disneyland park closes.

Beginning in 2013, the private party will move to Disney California Adventure park where Grads will enjoy all the newest offerings including an exclusive “World of Color” viewing and the new Cars Land.
Full story: Disney Parks Blog: Disneyland Grad Nite – New Twists on a 50-Year Tradition Coming in 2012 and 2013

From The Telegraph, via the OC Register:
Thieving postman traumatised by Disneyland rollercoaster accident spared jail
George Ramplin, 43, told Chelmsford Crown Court that the ride induced flashbacks to a fatal road accident he was involved in as a 10-year-old.

Judge Laura Harris said was prepared to take an exceptional decision and not send him to prison.
Instead she imposed a six month community order with a six month curfew between 7 pm and 7am and ordered Ramplin, of Harwich, to pay £350 towards the Royal Mail's legal and investigation costs.

Judge Harris said the post traumatic stress disorder provided an explanation "for this completely irrational" behaviour, adding: "This is a tragedy for you and your family."

The court had been told that Ramplin's ride on Thunder Mountain triggered a childhood memory of a fatal school minibus crash 30 years earlier and that it was this that led to him turning to stealing parcels.

Ramplin survived the May 1978 accident near Harwich when he was just ten. However, the court was told that seven children and one teacher died and he spent weeks in hospital having to undergo several operations for serious head injuries.

But the court was told that memories of it flooded back during and after the Thunder Mountain ride during a family holiday last August and triggered post traumatic stress disorder in him.

And as a result it was claimed that over a five week period leading up to last Christmas he stole parcels containing DVDs and computer games from Harwich delivery office.

The court did not hear whether the family visited the Thunder Mountain roller coaster at Disneyland, Paris, Disneyland, California or Magic Kingdom in Florida. All three parks feature the ride.

His barrister Katrina Jamieson said : "Thunder Mountain is a very fast, frightening roller coaster ride. After being on there Ramplin was terrified and worried there was going to be an accident and all of a sudden memories of the accident when he was ten came flooding back.

"He was having flashbacks to the scene of the accident, dead children's bodies, and he lost two and a half stone in weight and his confidence disappeared. He was experiencing sleepless nights and was snapping at everyone."

After his arrest for theft from Royal Mail, Ramplin, 43, of Oaklands Road, Harwich, was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and is now receiving therapy, she said. But she added that his mind was clearly very muddled at the time he took the parcels.
Full story: The Telegraph: Thieving postman traumatised by Disneyland rollercoaster accident spared jail

OK—that wraps up this week's Dateline Disneyland. Be sure to check out our sponsors over at and see predicted crowd levels and wait times when planning your Fourth of July visit!

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Updated 06-27-2011 at 12:13 PM by Dateline Disneyland (Touring Plans correction)

Disneyland Resort , Disney's California Adventure Remodel/Expansion , Disneyland Hotel


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  1. mark's Avatar
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    Paradise Pier looks terrific with these changes! While Goofy's is a minor improvement with the new color schemes alone, I have to remember it is a placeholder for ten years or so. Still better than Mulholland Madness. The greatest changes to DCA are yet to come- but Buena Vista Street and Carsland will finally make DCA a Disney worthy park! Bring it on- one year left!
  2. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update.
  3. kcnole's Avatar
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    Goofy's sky coaster definitely meets my expectations, at least as a fix up for the awful Mulholland Madness that was there before. The only thing I would like to see them do is add a few Goofy sounds at some of the turns, maybe announcing what they're learning or the like. Aside from tearing down the coaster completely, there's not much else that can be done here.
  4. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  5. NetteNutt's Avatar
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    My son has always loved Redwood Creek, I'm so excited to take him back this fall so he can become a Wilderness Explorer!
  6. bamato's Avatar
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    Not impressed with Goofy's Sky School. Even with the re-theme, it's still just a boring old carnival ride.

    Excellent update anyway! Look forward to Monday's for this report!
  7. cmv's Avatar
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    Great update, but I agree that the Sky School retooling isn't so bad. With that ride system and space, their options were limited. Looks alright to me.
  8. StevenW's Avatar
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    The farm theme of the Sky School was a bit of a twist. I thought they gotten rid of the farm, only to have it back in a round about way.
  9. BugsBunny's Avatar
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    Another great update. Yes, I am a bit disappointed with the limited "upgrade" given to the coaster, but the rest of Paradise Pier is looking mighty spiffy!
  10. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    I agree with Nutt, I think kids will love getting Wilderness Explorer badges. Goofy's Sky School is what it is, at least they did something to perk it up.

    I'll ask again, have the plans for the new pool theme been made public? I don't recall seeing anything.

    Enjoy every sandwich.
  11. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Goofy's Sky Sky may be an "off the shelf" coaster, but it's not a "carnival" ride.

    Interesting that you don't hear the same comparisons for the similar "off the shelf" rides like Gadgets Go Coaster, Goofy's Barnstormer and even rides like Dumbo and the Rocket Jets. They are essentially the carnival plane rides you see at fairs across the country.
  12. QuiGonJ's Avatar
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    A soundtrack woulda been nice, but since I never rode it as MM, it will seem like a new ride to me anyway.

    I was kinda disappointed with the new gates though. Saw em yesterday. In my head, I always thought they would be a bit taller and painted with some kinda clear coat to give it the sheen the design paintings made them look like they would have.. as it is, they look like painted concrete and still kinda cheap. Oh well... cie la vie. It's an improvement over the old turnstiles.
  13. Golden Goofy's Avatar
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    The new Wilderness Explorer trail is super cute! Kinda awkward that they still have a Koda and Kenai statue there even though their presence has been stripped away...

    Goofy's Sky School is exactly what I thought it was going to be. It's still a wild mouse ride with a cute, at best, Disney overlay. It's not supposed to be this amazing attraction now that Goofy's incorporated and whoever designed it probably knows that. I'll take it as it is for the time being.
  14. Crazy Larry's Avatar
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    Thanks for the video.
    Rather underwhelming with or without the make over.
    Now let's go ride California Screamin!
  15. Internitty's Avatar
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    I'd like to say a few things about Goofy's Flight School.

    I have ridden the same wild mouse coaster at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom where it is completely un-themed (if that is a word) and seriously GFS is not much better.

    As a senior ride operator at Australia's Dreamworld (before they closed all the cool rides) I operated the same mouse coaster, it was located inside a mountain and contained animatronics and lighting effects as well as taking you through a pitch black area then thrusting you out into the daylight it was completely disorienting, entertaining and the one of the best uses of this type of coaster I have seen, one of the greatest tragedies for theme park goers in Australia is that Dreamworld closed it down and boarded it up.

    Warner Brothers Movie World also has the same mouse coaster (although it has been tweaked), they called it the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, it is themed as a spooky castle, you travel past ghosts, monsters, swinging blades, the coaster actually uses an elevator to rise up then you go backwards before heading into a rock and roll laser show with blazing Scooby music! I have issues with some of Warner's policies but I cannot fault them on this ride (or their version of Superman The Escape)

    I found the video of the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster below on youtube it was taken 2 hours before park opening with the lights turned on so you can clearly see what is happening, normally this ride is dark and awesome.

    My point is that 2 Australian theme parks have done a brilliant job with this ride and Disney (who I have worshipped as ride gods my entire life) can't even come close to what they have achieved. I see so much potential for GFS I know EXACTLY what I would do with it! If GFS is the best the latest batch of Imagineers can come up with then I WANT A JOB!!! I guarantee you wouldn't be wanting my version closed and rebuilt as soon as possible!

    Updated 06-27-2011 at 08:54 AM by Internitty
  16. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    Goofy - I think they did about the best they could with a temporary retheme. The farm doesn't fit though, this is a seaside pier. I always thought they should enclose it and make it a fun house theme, although an idea like that probably needs to be built from the ground up, not a retheme. Maybe they could do it in the space left by Maliboomer.
  17. AliKzam's Avatar
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    It's a great update, bit that last article about the British postman is bothering me due to the math. If the bus accident happened 30 years ago when he was 10, he cannot be 43. This is why editors are important.
  18. pineapplewhipaddict's Avatar
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    That thieving postman story is...bizarre to say the least. It's amazing how drastically a person's psyche can turn on them.

    Anyway, great update! I'm happy to hear that UP is now a part of the Redwood area and that we still get to find out what our animal spirit is.
  19. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice update!

  20. peoplemover1's Avatar
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