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Dateline Disneyland

Golden Gate comes down, California detour, Paradise Blues, Greetings & Goodbyes, MORE

Rating: 5 votes, 3.20 average.
by , 07-25-2011 at 04:05 AM
Work is underway at the main entrance to Disney California Adventure to get a new guest detour ready that will take guests past Buena Vista Street construction and through the backstage corridor behind the popular Soarin' Over California attraction. This long-term traffic re-routing is a small price to pay while Disney Imagineers and work crews move into the former Sunshine Plaza and transform the space into the Los Angeles that Walt Disney saw in the 1930s. Meanwhile, work continues to get the area ready for heavy construction, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge has been removed from the stretch of Monorail track that crossed the park's main entrance. Elsewhere, construction in Cars Land continues, Disneyland's Matterhorn continues its refurbishment, the Disneyland Hotel's remodel progresses, and the Paradise Pier Hotel get the first signs of a new color scheme.

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 to see what's new at the Disneyland Resort? Let's get to it!

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Decorative flags, missing for several years now, are back atop Disneyland's main entrance turnstiles. They look good.

Our partners at Touring Plans have a forecast for this week's Resort-wide crowd levels:
High crowd levels are again predicted all week long this week. The two lowest levels of Annual Passholders will be blocked out everyday, so these numbers are greatest impacted by vacationers descending upon Disneyland. 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 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,

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Crowd Tips
Mon., July 25
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 Monday, when it's an 9.3 on the Crowd Calendar. Obviously, "least busy" is relative!
  • Expect 10 level crowds over the weekend.
  • There will be full AP blockouts on Saturday.
Tue., July 26
Wed., July 27
Thu., July 28
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.
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A welcome return

Inside the park, the Main Street Emporium continues its refurbishment does the Matterhorn Bobsleds

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

Contact [email protected] or [email protected]!

Over at Disney California Adventure, work is now underway on the new temporary entry corridor that guests will use when entering the park starting this fall.

Guests will enter the park through the new Pan-Pacific main entrance, make a hard right turn and pass through the backstage area behind the main entrance restroom and locker building, Taste Pilot's Grill and Soarin' Over California. The new thoroughfare will dump guests out between the Soarin' Over California attraction and the Grand Californian Hotel.

Temporary lighting structures and overhead string lights will help light the new entry path at night.

Inside the park, the old western ticket booth coverings are now gone, clearing space for guests who will pass through this space when taking the new backstage route to enter the park.

The eastern-side of the old turnstile awnings remains for now.

Looking into the park, the biggest change over the course of last week was the removal of the Golden Gate Bridge. It came down in sections over the course of several nights and by Saturday nothing was left of the towers and bridge cables.

With the Golden Gate now part of Yesterland, Disney will transform this stretch of Monorail beam into a representation of Los Angeles' historic Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. The new theme will complement the new 1920s/30s-era Los Angeles street that Buena Vista Street will depict when it opens in 2012.

The Disney Parks Blog discussed the thematic change in a blog post last week as work on dismantling the Golden Gate was getting underway:

Historic Los Angeles Landmark Inspires New Disney California Adventure Park Landmark
As we mentioned on Friday, work began yesterday at Disney California Adventure park to transform the current Golden Gate Bridge at the park’s entrance into a re-creation of the historic Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. The rendering above shows what the new bridge will look like when it is completed as part of the new Buena Vista Street area.

This new area will bring guests back in time to a classic era in the history of Los Angeles – when Walt Disney first arrived in California. You will practically walk in his footsteps through an environment inspired by iconic Los Angeles buildings and structures of the 1920s and ‘30s, like the Pan Pacific Auditorium (which served as the inspiration for the new park turnstiles that opened on Friday) and the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.

In January 1926, Walt and Roy Disney moved the newly renamed Walt Disney Studios into its new facility – a one-story, white stucco building at 2719 Hyperion Ave. During the next few years, another Los Angeles landmark was taking shape just a few blocks down Hyperion Ave. – the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. The bridge is a large, complex structure – still standing today and spanning Interstate 5 from Glendale, Calif., to the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.

[Artist renderings] show the bridge as it will look next year when it is part of Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park, with the Southern California Red Car Trolleys passing underneath and the Carthay Circle Theatre in the distance. [ LINK ]

Meanwhile, work continues on the new Carthay Circle Theater

With the Golden Gate Bridge gone, the Disney's PhotoPass photographers no longer have a major icon at the park entrance to photograph guests in front of. Instead of the bridge, PhotoPass photographers are now using the southern Greetings! From California gift shop marquee as a backdrop.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, except that with plans to re-theme these shops in the near future to fit Buena Vista Street, the buildings and signage in Sunshine Plaza haven't received proper refurbishments in some time. So, not only are guests passing through the Plaza with peeling paint and fading signage, Disney is now trying to sell them photos of them doing this.

This sort of thing is simply in poor taste. With the Golden Gate gone, it's time for Disney to give up trying to sell overpriced souvenir photos of guests in this part of the park. After all, do you really want a sign that looks like this to be the backdrop to your family vacation photo?

Last week we gave you a last look at the shops and dining locations inside the California Zephyr train on the other side of Sunshine Plaza. So, while we're here, let's take a final look at the interior of the huge Greetings! From California store as it prepares to close later this fall when major Buena Vista Street construction gets started. These photos of the Greetings! store and the attached candy shop were taken July 15, 2011.

This back room features Mickey on the wall with sunglasses. His hand no longer moves, but it used to move as if he were taking the glasses off. The circular room's walls and entryways are also distinctive for spelling out the word "CALIFORNIA" in giant stylized lettering.

The flash used to go off on the giant camera. Also notice the large window — you may spot a Monorail pass by while shopping.

The "underwater" room, located under the Monorail track, is home to pins and Disney's PhotoPass.

This room featured the names of numerous California piers and beaches around the room.

The forest room:

Back on the other side of the store, the Hollywood room has merchandise displays at a Hollywood movie premiere.

The connected Candy Shoppe is decorated with stylized California poppies.

A look at the Sunshine Plaza shops at night:

Compare the old shops to the great new Pan-Pacific Auditorium entrance gates:

Heading out of Sunshine Plaza, the Condor Flats marquee is still partially behind tarps. Looks like just a repaint here, unfortunately.

Over on the other side of Soarin' Over California, lighting is set up where guests will enter the park after taking their backstage detour from the main entrance.

It might not be the most glamorous way to enter the park, but it'll work until Buena Vista Street is completed.

Work continues on the major Cars Land expansion...

Outside the parks, the Disneyland Hotel continues its remodel...

Almost done at the Fantasy Tower!

Looking good here

Over at the recently completed Frontier Tower, walls are back up around the Tower's main entrance.

Nearby at the new Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, a new addition to the signage now clarifies that the venue is a bar. This should help guests avoid the mistake of assuming the location is a restaurant.

Little coconut cocktails were added as well.

Around the corner at Tangaroa Terrace, the decorative spear arrowheads and tassels keep falling off without being properly replaced.

We were wrong! Nothing is missing from the Tangaroa Terrace sign. Sorry for the error and thank you to our readers for the correction. — Andy

Across a couple parking lots, the Paradise Pier Hotel may soon start a much-needed overhaul. The first sign of a new blue color scheme can now be seen on the back of the hotel, near the swimming pool.

Hopefully a major overhaul is in the works for this hotel once the Disneyland Hotel remodel wraps up. The Paradise Pier Hotel not only feels dated and could use a fresh, modern look... but the hotel is covered with conceptual artwork of Paradise Pier as it was seen in 2001 when the park opened. Art is littered with depictions of the now-gone orange-peel cover of the Orange Stinger and the sun face on what is now Mickey's Fun Wheel. With so much effort to completely change Paradise Pier and the public's perception of the entire park, it would only make sense to include the hotel that park guests will be staying at.

An aerial view of the park's former Route 66 area (now the gorgeous Paradise Garden) is on display here, complete with the terrible S.S. rustworthy water play area.


There's so much on this billboard that is no longer in the park!

Back in DCA, California Screamin' had to be evacuated Friday after a guests' backpack fell on the track. Luckily, nobody was injured. Disney confirmed the coaster had reopened Sunday via Twitter.

An empty queue on Saturday as the coaster was closed following the backpack incident.

Disneyland is now offering Soundsational-themed cupcakes:

The Disney Gallery has a couple new Mary Blair/it's a small world-inspired collectibles available to tie in to the current gallery exhibit. Tea pot and mugs:

New plate set:

New prints of classic Walt Disney photos are now on sale as well

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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Weekly Theme Park Hours
July 25 — July 31, 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 Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
HIGH 9.3—9.9 out of 10
HIGH 9.4—9.9 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 through 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.

Imagineers take you on a ride aboard the 'Carousel of Projects' at the D23 Expo
Looks like Walt Disney Imagineering has cooked up another show-stealing exhibit experience for this year's D23 Expo. Their pavilion at the 2009 Expo was a huge hit with theme park fans, and this year's presentation is sure to be another amazing display.
Drawing inspiration from a classic attraction that debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair and has made stops at Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites attendees to hop aboard the "Carousel of Projects" for a sneak peek at concepts, designs, models, storytelling tools, and technologies currently being developed at Walt Disney Imagineering for Disney parks around the world.

Throughout the weekend, exclusively at the D23 Expo, fans will get a look at the latest details for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' 11 parks and five resorts around the world, as well as Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club, including:

  • Actual figures, props and ride vehicles for Radiators Springs Racers, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the building of Cars Land, the newest land at Disney California Adventure which opens next year.
  • The opportunity to meet a classic Disney icon in an entirely new way.
  • Concepts, models and plans for Fantasyland, one of the most ambitious expansions in the 40-year history of Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
  • What's new at Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club.

In addition to the pavilion, D23 Expo attendees will also have the chance to attend numerous presentations and panel discussions. On Friday, August 19, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs will give guests in the 4,000-seat main arena an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest projects currently underway at Disney parks, featuring a few surprises along the way.

Imagineers and cast members who create and operate Disney's parks, resorts, cruise ships, and other vacation experiences will take fans behind-the-magic with nine exciting presentations including:

  • Radiator Springs Reality: Imagineering Cars Land for Disney California Adventure—Join Disney/Pixar's John Lasseter and a panel of Imagineers and Pixar creative talent as they share the twists and turns through the real-life development of Radiator Springs.
  • The Making of Star Tours - The Adventures Continue—Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald will share the inside scoop on how Walt Disney Imagineering and George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic began laying the groundwork for a new version of Star Tours.
  • A Good Look at Buena Vista Street—Imagineers Lisa Girolami, Ray Spencer, and Coulter Winn provide a preview of the new entrance to Disney California Adventure, an idealized depiction of the Los Angeles Walt Disney lived and worked in throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Imagineering the Dream and the Fantasy—Imagineers Joe Lanzisero and Bob Zalk talk about charting the design course of the two newest Disney cruise ships.
  • Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering—Disney Legend Marty Sklar will lead a celebration of the careers and accomplishments of Walt Disney Imagineering, including Alice Davis, Orlando Ferrante, Bob Gurr, and Don Iwerks. With special guest and current Imagineer Kim Irvine, daughter of Disney Legend Leota Toombs.

In addition, and for the first time, the Parks and Resorts pavilion will also feature Mickey's of Glendale, an outlet of Walt Disney Imagineering's employee-only store, where—for just three days—guests can shop for "Carousel of Projects" souvenirs and collectibles and Walt Disney Imagineering merchandise not available anywhere else.

Alrighty! That wraps up this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland! If you haven't visited our friends at Touring Plans yet, check them out now!

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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. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!
  2. yoyoflamingo's Avatar
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    The link from MiceAge leads to last week's article, FYI.
  3. OnTheThirdFloor's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. September 7 seems like a terrible day to go to the resort with Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and California Screamin' all closed on the same day. Boo.
  4. no1here's Avatar
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    Nothing has fallen off the sign at Tangaroa Terrace. There are merely three different spears depicted. One arrowhead per spear.
  5. Hildy's Avatar
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    The new entrance at DCA looks spectacular at night. A much needed improvement. Will be there in September and can't wait to see all the changes in DCA.

    In February when I was at Disney Goofy's kitchen was closed for remodel. Is it open again and if so what does it look like?

    So much has changed since February. Can't wait to see it.
  6. StevenW's Avatar
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    I can't understand why California Screamin' needs to close for the entire day. Its just a backpack.

    I remember the stores in DCA. There wasn't much to do in the park so I hung out at the stores, but there wasn't much there either.
  7. Mike Wazowski's Avatar
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    Mickey and Minnie are going to have to write a new giant postcard to Goofy for the wall of the Greetings! From California gift shop.

    "Disney California Adventure Park has it all, including the Golden Gate Bridge!"
  8. rihard2000's Avatar
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    It's worth noting the hidden Mickey that could be found in the center of the camera's flash inside the Greetings From store. You can just barely catch the black outlines of it in the above photos.

    Why in the world would a dropped backpack close a Screamin' for so long? There must be more to the story here. Did the backpack damage the ride somehow? Proximity sensors?
  9. jpg391's Avatar
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    Great update as usual.
  10. DizMiiLand's Avatar
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    The new DCA entrance will be spectacular. The shops are what I am most excited about. I never really spent much time in the current ones except for buying candy, and we liked the Engine Ears Toy store. But the "Greetings" location was so generic, uninteresting, and benign. Great things are coming.

    Say what you will about the SS Rustworthy, and yes it was garish and out of place thematically, but a very fun and popular place for children. Kids don't really care about theming or even consciously notice it, even though it definitely adds to their experience. But this location was somewhere a kid could walk up to and start playing without standing in line. And they could get a little wet, climb, jump, make new friends (albeit temporary ones), and so forth. So while this eyesore will not be missed by adult afficionados, it would be nice to see more attractions that offered what it did utility-wise; more things to climb that offer some moments of freedom.

    The flags at the entrance of Disneyland are awesome. They themselves communicate excitement and fun. I like them much more than some of the holiday decor that is often seen there.

    Great article, thanks.
  11. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    The Pan Pacific Auditorium was well visited back in it's day with Teenage Fairs and other events. Sorry it was destroyed by neglect and fire after it had been made a Landmark. It's good to see WDI recreating this architectural icon in several of its parks and love the lighting designers final cut above. Jeanne Crain, Miss Pan Pacific would love it. PD
  12. michael darling's Avatar
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    The DCA entry is STUNNING at night. And I hesitate to use the word stunning, ever.
    It is more magical than the poster of the Pan Pacific & Oliva over my bed when I was a teen.

    Truly great photography, from start to finish.
  13. DISNEYisAmazing's Avatar
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    Great Update. By the way, Google maps gives a VERY good view of the side of Cars land that cannot be seen in the updates. It is not that old of a picture either, it is only from a little while ago.
  14. SpcMtn77's Avatar
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    "Around the corner at Tangaroa Terrace, the decorative spear arrowheads and tassels keep falling off without being properly replaced."

    Aren't they supposed to be that way? A spear would only have an arrowhead on the throwing end, right? Or maybe I'm missing the joke...

    Anywhoo, thanks for the update. Someday I'll get to see all this in person again!
  15. Mickey's Gal's Avatar
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    Fantastic update as always! You sure know how to make me look forward to Mondays!
    Regarding the Tangaroa Terrace spears missing tassels and spear it possible that this is just the back side of the spear? If you look at them it seems possible.
  16. MasterGracey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1here
    Nothing has fallen off the sign at Tangaroa Terrace. There are merely three different spears depicted. One arrowhead per spear.
    Quote Originally Posted by SpcMtn77
    "Around the corner at Tangaroa Terrace, the decorative spear arrowheads and tassels keep falling off without being properly replaced."

    Aren't they supposed to be that way? A spear would only have an arrowhead on the throwing end, right? Or maybe I'm missing the joke...
    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey's Gal
    Fantastic update as always! You sure know how to make me look forward to Mondays!
    Regarding the Tangaroa Terrace spears missing tassels and spear it possible that this is just the back side of the spear? If you look at them it seems possible.
    Whoops! You are all right! There's nothing missing from the sign. My mistake. Thanks for the correction.

    - Andy
    Dateline Disneyland
  17. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Excellent update!
  18. kindagoofy's Avatar
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    Ah, good, a blue color scheme is in the works for Paradise Pier hotel. I can only hope they paint that pesky drab Arts and Crafts Grand Californian Hotel blue next. (kidding!)
    Thanks for a great update.
  19. fireball's Avatar
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    I love the flags over Disneyland's main entrance; details such as these are the kinds of things which mean so much. A great player in the story of why so many of us first fell in love with Walt Disney's magical kingdom.

    And the new entrance to DCA is simply stunning. I cannot wait to be a witness to the long-awaited - and much anticipated - opening of Buena Vista Street!

    It will still be a while before California Adventure gets to where it needs to be as a park, but one only needs to see the amazing new entrance at night to know that DCA will one day be able to hold its own with Disneyland.
  20. Internitty's Avatar
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    I love to look at the Mattercam from time to time, on Friday evening (Australian time) I was lucky enough to be able to watch one of the sections of the Golden Gate being taken down.

    When I first logged on I thought there was a fire because of all the smoke so even though Mattercam rotates I stayed with it to see what was going on, the shower of sparks as they cut into bridge was nothing short of spectacular. It was really something to watch this late night part of DCA's remodel, Howard Johnson's Plaza Hotel Mattercam is such a prize for a theme park junkie like myself...

    Having worked in theme parks in the past I can say that when something like a backpack falls onto a track the maintenence department have to go over the track very thoroughly, especially nowdays when it could have been a deliberate attempt to damage the ride (I doubt it was but in these times you can't take chances) having said that it does seem excessive to shut down all day but it depends on what time the incident occurred. Personally I'm glad Disney choose to be so thorough.

    Thank you Andy for all your hard work, this blog makes my Tuesday morning
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