Disneyland turns 56, California Adventure's new entrance, Bye-bye Golden Gate, +MORE
by, 07-17-2011 at 10:25 PM
Disneyland celebrated its 56th Anniversary this weekend, marking the occasion with a small ceremony on Sunday featuring numerous classic Disney characters and a broadcast of Walt Disney's historic dedication speech. Meanwhile, Disney California Adventure pushed onward, firmly looking into the future as it unveiled its new main entrance gates, which mark a major milestone in the park's re-theming project. The new streamline-moderne turnstiles, modeled after the famed Pan-Pacific Auditorium; will help create a Disney-quality and theme-appropriate entrance to Buena Vista Street, the 1930s-era Los Angeles streetscape that will welcome guests in 2012. Nearby the new Pan-Pacific gates, the Golden Gate Bridge replica that decorates the Monorail beam in the park's entrance will soon be coming down to make way for a recreation of Los Angeles' famous Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. Yet, these changes at the park's entrance are only a taste of what is soon to come. As Paradise Pier enjoys the completion of its major construction projects, work on the park's hyper-themed Buena Vista Street area is only beginning.
Big thanks to MiceChat's Fishbulb today for help with photos of Disneyland's anniversary celebration.
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.
Ready? Let's get started!
Inside Dateline Disneyland
- Welcome to Disneyland!
TouringPlans.com crowd level forecast
- Happy Birthday, Disneyland!
Disneyland celebrates 56 years of happiness
- California Construction
A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
- Disneyland Hotel Remodel
Disneyland Hotel remodel continues
- This & That
Matterhorn closes for refurbishment
- Weekly News and Information Round-Up
Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments
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WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Our partners at Touring Plans have a forecast for this week's Resort-wide crowd levels:
Expect moderately high crowd levels all week long as we continue during the summer season. Note that the two lowest levels of Annual Passholders will be blocked out everyday, so these numbers are greatest impacted by vacationers descending upon Disneyland. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!
Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.
— Fred Hazelton Statistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction Crowd Tips DISNEYLAND RESORT Mon., July 18 9/10 Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
- Disneyland park's least busy day will be on Tuesday with an 8.4 out of 10.
- There will be 9s across the resort until Friday, where it'll be 10s through the weekend.
- There will be full AP blockouts on Saturday.
Tue., July 19 9/10 Wed., July 20 9/10 Thu., July 21 9/10 Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DISNEYLAND!
Disneyland celebrated its 56th anniversary on Sunday. The park hosted a small re-dedication ceremony in Town Square at 2:30 Sunday afternoon. The short and sweet event included a broadcasting of Walt Disney's original opening-day speech over the park speaker system and a cavalcade of numerous Disney characters that positioned themselves around Town Square, led the crowd in a round of "Happy Birthday" and then handed balloons to children in the crowd before disappearing again backstage. A nice little tribute to the park on its special day.
Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip emerge from backstage
Characters line up around Town Square
Happy Birthday, Disneyland!
Handing out balloons to park guests
This year's Cast Member birthday button.
Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...
BUENA VISTA STREET
On Friday, Disney unveiled the new main entrance turnstiles at Disney California Adventure. The new entrance is modeled after the streamline-moderne facade at Los Angeles' historic Pan-Pacific Auditorium and marks a major milestone in the park's remodel.
The Disney Parks Blog shared some history on the Pan-Pacific venue and its Disney connection as the park's new entrance opened on Friday.
New Turnstiles Open at Disney California Adventure Park
Inspired by the iconic Pan Pacific Auditorium, the turnstiles will set the stage for the new Disney California Adventure park entrance. Buena Vista Street will transport guests to Los Angeles as Walt Disney found it when he first arrived in California, with buildings inspired by structures that existed during the 1920s and ‘30s – including the Pan Pacific Auditorium. A landmark structure in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, the auditorium was the premiere location for indoor public events until it closed after almost 40 years in 1972.
Designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm Wurdeman and Becket, the auditorium itself was a modest wooden structure with seating for only 6,000 people; however, the building’s façade was hailed as one of the finest examples of Streamline Moderne architecture in the United States. The four stylized towers and flagpoles were meant to evoke upswept aircraft fins.
One of the principal architects on the Pan Pacific Auditorium, Welton Becket, was a neighbor of Walt Disney’s and went on to become very influential in future Disney projects. It was Becket who suggested to Walt that he use his own artists – not an architectural firm – to design, plan and build Disneyland, and it was this advice that led to the creation of WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering). Later, Welton Becket Associates (formed in 1949 after Walter Wurdeman’s death) designed Disney’s Contemporary Hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort, though Becket himself did not live to see it completed.
On May 1, 1989, a nearly full-size replica of the Pan Pacific Auditorium façade opened as the main entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Sadly, little more than three weeks later on May 24, the original building was destroyed in a fire.
As Buena Vista Street continues to take shape at Disney California Adventure park, there are more exciting transformations that will be taking place. On Sunday, the Golden Gate Bridge, which guests now pass underneath when entering the park, will begin to make way for a re-creation of the historic Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. [ FULL STORY ]
The new entrance is a breath of fresh air after years of entering through the park's original stripmall-and-tile-mural entryway. The structure is fresh and new and feels like a proper entrance to a Disney theme park. While the Pan-Pacific theme has been criticized by fans as being a simple copy of the Disney's Hollywood Studios entrance in Florida, the architecture well in the Main Entrance Plaza and will fit the theme of Buena Vista Street. It might have been nice (or even better) to have an original idea for the park's entrance as California Adventure works to create a unique identity of its own; but the Pan-Pacific gates are still a very big step above their predecessor and a job well done.
Signage continues the Pan-Pacific theme.
On the eastern side of the gates, the old Guest Relations area is back out from behind construction walls (for now).
We showed you the re-located Guest Relations services at Ticket Booth 8 in last week's column. A sign directs guests to the new location at the Resort.
When entering the park, guests will emerge into what's left of Sunshine Plaza. The previous turnstiles are now gone, but their shade structures remain for now.
Walls surround the area where the western side of the old turnstiles were previously located. Soon, upon entering the park, guests will make a hard right turn and pass behind the Soarin' Over California attraction and emerge between Condor Flats and the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area. The re-routing of traffic through these backstage areas is to accommodate the heavy Buena Vista Street construction as the project races toward its summer 2012 completion.
Also leaving is the Golden Gate Bridge; which will be replaced by a recreation of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, which will properly suit the Los Angeles theme of Buena Vista Street. The Disney Parks Blog noted that the Golden Gate would start coming down Sunday, July 17. It's likely we'll see progress here happen quickly over this week.
At the end of the future Buena Vista Street, the new Carthay Circle Theatre continues to take shape.
Nearby the on-going Carthay Circle construction, the shops and dining on Sunshine Plaza's west side are set to close August 1st. Now is your last chance to build a custom Mr. Potato Head in Engine Ears Toys, grab a delicious Malibu Mocha Frappe in Baker's Field Bakery or cool off with an ice cream cone at Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream.
A last look at the toy train depot theme of the store
A look at Baker's Field Bakery, located in the train car next to Engine Ears Toys
The train these shops are located in is a replica of the historic California Zephyr. Zephyr photos and memorabilia line the walls.
At the head of the train is the Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream shop.
Sunshine Plaza's ice cream queue — a DCA opening-day attraction!
The ice cream counter.
The train leaves the station August 1st!
On the east side of Sunshine Plaza, the huge Greetings! from California gift shop and the Candy Shoppe are also set to close in August.
We'll take a closer look at these shops next week.
Heading out of Sunshine Plaza, the Condor Flats marquee is now behind scaffolding and tarps. Hopefully this is more than a re-paint and this sign will come down or at least be re-themed.
A look at Carthay Circle-area construction from the Bug's Land area:
The new Carthay Circle fountain pumphouse looks great
Cars Land construction continues...
Work on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree presses on with a new structure rising up above the construction walls.
The Cozy Cone Motel:
The view from the Golden Vine Winery terrace:
Radiator Springs Curios
Luigi's Flying Tires
At the end of the street, the Courthouse has started taking shape
This building will mark the entrance to the Radiator Springs Racers queue
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Work at the Disneyland Hotel continues. The Fantasy Tower remodel seems to be getting closer and closer to completion every day.
E-Ticket pool and surrounding area construction
THIS & THAT
Back inside Disneyland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds are now closed for a refurbishment that will keep the bobsleds out of commission until the beginning of September.
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WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP Weekly Theme Park HoursJuly 18 — July 24, 2011
Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure Daily: 8 am - 12 midnight Daily: 10 am - 10 pm For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Expected Crowd Levels presented by TouringPlans.com Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure HIGH 8.4—9.8 out of 10 HIGH 8.7—9.7 out of 10 Closures and Refurbishment Schedule Disneyland Park
- Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for refurbishment July 11—September 1.
- Space Mountain: Varied operating hours July 11—26: Opens late at 10am Mondays and Wednesdays, Closes early at 10pm Sundays and Tuesdays.
- Haunted Mansion: – Closed to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay August 29 — September 15.
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed September 6 — 7 for refurbishment.
- Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed September 7 — November 23 for refurbishment.
Space Mountain: Closed to install Ghost Galaxy seasonal overlay September 9 – 15.
Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed September 26 — 28 for refurbishment.
Disney California Adventure
- Engine Ears Toys, Baker's Field Bakery and Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream: Retail and dining locations close permanently August 1. Space will reopen as new offerings in 2012 as part of Buena Vista Street.
- California Screamin': Closed September 6 — October 14 for refurbishment.
- 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.
Ok! That wraps up today's Dateline Disneyland. Be sure to check out our sponsors over at TouringPlans.com and the HoJo Anaheim!
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