Getting ready for the D23 Expo, California Zephyr leaves the station, Cars Land +MORE
by, 08-15-2011 at 03:37 AM
Disney is gearing up for its second D23 Expo which will invade the Anaheim Convention Center next to Disneyland this weekend. The 2011 Expo will bring together all of the major divisions of the Walt Disney Company under one roof for what Disney promises will be "the ultimate fan event" with pavilions and presentations on the latest projects ranging from theme parks to the movie studio. With the addition of Marvel Studios and a promising Parks and Resorts pavilion in the works, we'll see if this weekend's line-up will prove to be what fans are looking for in a three-day convention of all-things Disney, or if this year's Expo turns out to be a bloated showplace for the latest Disney Store merchandise and Disney Channel properties. Meanwhile, construction rages on in Disney California Adventure with new details emerging all the time at the massive Cars Land expansion while demolition in the former Sunshine Plaza progresses. In Disneyland, work continues on the Disney Gallery facade work and the on-going Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment.
As always, details and news on the construction projects featured in today's column can be found in our Project Tracker threads on MiceChat — just click on any photo with a Project Tracker watermark!
Let's get started!
Inside Dateline Disneyland
- Welcome to Disneyland!
TouringPlans.com crowd level forecast
- D23 Expo Checklist
D23 Expo 2011 is nearly here! Get ready with some quick links
- California Construction
A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
- Disneyland Hotel Remodel
Disneyland Hotel remodel continues
- This & That
Disney Gallery facade work, Matterhorn refurbishment
- Weekly News and Information Round-Up
Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments, MiceChat's Nights of Horror
Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
The first hint of summer's-end is here with the end of 9-level crowds starting this week. Our good friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd calendar predictions to help you plan your visit this week before the D23 Expo hits the Anaheim Resort area.
We're in the final leg of heavy summer break crowds at Disneyland! TouringPlans.com can help you avoid navigate the crowds 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., August 15 9/10 Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
- Monday marks the last day of 9 level crowds for a while.
- There will be full AP blockouts on Saturday.
- Disneyland park's lowest day will be Saturday, when it's an 7.1.
Tue., August 16 8/10 Wed., August 17 8/10 Thu., August 18 8/10 Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
D23 EXPO CHECKLIST
The D23 Expo is almost here! This year's event returns to the Anaheim Convention Center for three days starting Friday and running through Sunday.
Tickets are still available for the Expo. Below are some quick links to buy tickets and plan your visit.
QUICK LINKS TO PLAN YOUR VISIT
A look at some of the events coming to the D23 Expo
Attendees can get discounted Disneyland Resort theme park tickets allowing admission after 4 p.m.:
D23 DISNEYLAND RESORT TWILIGHT TICKETS
Tickets available at the D23 Expo Disney Desk — Park Ticket Sales Center.
D23 Expo Attendee Twilight Tickets
- One Day/One Park Twilight Ticket — $55
(Must be used after 4 p.m. or four hours before park closes, whichever comes first.)
- One-Day Twilight Park Hopper — $70
(Must be used after 4 p.m. or four hours before park closes, whichever comes first. Enjoy both theme parks on the same evening.)
- One-Day Park Hopper — $97/$87
(An $8 savings compared to box the office.)
Pre-arrival Park Hopper Tickets
For guests visiting Disneyland Resort theme parks for multiple days.
- Three-Day Park Hopper — $199/$183
(A $25 savings compared to the box office.)
- Four-Day Park Hopper — $219/$201
(A $30 savings compared to the box office.)
- Five-Day Park Hopper — $231/$211
(A $35 savings compared to the box office.)
Also, be sure to visit the Collector's Forum to visit your friends here at MiceChat. We'll be playing host to Disney Legends like former Disneyland President Jack Lindquist and be giving away prizes every day.
Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...
BUENA VISTA STREET
The temporary backstage entrance at Disney California Adventure has yet to open, but there have been reports of new background audio being turned on in the area and some of the lighting is already turned on as work continues readying the space for guest traffic.
Blue "fins" can be seen behind the construction wall.
Scaffolding up around the edges of the wall that was cut open to allow for guest traffic.
Fixing it up before guests pass through.
Inside the park, over by Soarin' Over California, the guest entry points for the temporary entrance route looks like it will be lit with soft green lighting. Over the weekend the lighting was turned on throughout park operating hours.
Back in the current entrance area, work continues on the removal of the Golden Gate Bridge remnants.
Monorail supports long-hidden by the Golden Gate are now visible.
Golden Gate destruction
The former Sunshine Plaza shops and dining locations have been gutted and their facades removed. The entire California Zephyr train facade is now history, with the engine having been donated and relocated to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum. Disney released photos and video of the California Zephyr cab removal early last week.
The official Disney press release:
Disneyland Resort Donates California Zephyr to Western Pacific Railroad Museum
The Disneyland Resort donated the California Zephyr train previously located in Disney California Adventure park to Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, Calif. Plans for a gallery dedicated to sharing the legacy of the California Zephyr are underway.
The train and related artifacts, which were part of the entrance to the theme park, arrived at their new home August 6 and will become part of the museum’s Zephyr Project collection.
“Walt Disney’s love of trains made this donation perfectly fitting,” said Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis. “The expansion of Disney California Adventure park provided the opportunity for us to make this meaningful donation and we are thrilled the train will offer museum visitors and train enthusiasts an immersive experience, much like it did here.”
Visitors to the museum will learn about the history of the famous 1950s passenger train through the donated artifacts, while the recreated locomotive will offer the chance to experience what it was like for engineers to guide the stainless steel Zephyr trains through California’s Feather River Canyon.
The cab once operated as a real locomotive. It is an authentic rendition of the Western Pacific Railroad – one of the three railroads that operated the California Zephyr between Chicago and San Francisco from 1949 to 1970. It wears the same number as the last locomotive to lead a westbound California Zephyr into Oakland, Calif. on March 20, 1970. The California Zephyr is one of the most celebrated “name trains” of the 1950s and 60s. [ LINK ]
A look at the area now shows that the entire train facade is gone.
At night, a look through the exposed windows at the former Engine Ears Toys store reveals that the inside of the retail space has already been completely gutted. They're wasting no time here!
Work continues on the Carthay Circle...
The Carthay pump house, as seen from A Bug's Land.
Nearby in Condor Flats, a new storage unit has popped up on-stage next to the Fly-n-Buy pin store.
Further in the park, work continues on the new Cars Land area.
Flo's V-8 Cafe is finally getting enclosed.
The backside of Flo's
The Paradise Pier side of the Cars Land mountain range is starting to get some attention. Toothpicks and scaffolding are starting to go up to build a theme-appropriate facade for this side of the mountain range. Current expectations are for a windswept sea cliff, fitting the Paradise Pier setting.
A look at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree:
A new structure is going up in the area...
PARADISE GARDEN DINING
The Paradise Garden dining area has been open now for well over a month and it looks like the majority of the area's lighting issues have been fixed. Gorgeous by day, the area is even better at night with the countless popcorn lights lining the facades and dining spaces.
Even the window awnings get popcorn lights!
Not everything is lit — the "Boardwalk" portion of the sign here is still dark.
Yes, the condiment bars have fancy lighting as well!
We hadn't mentioned it here, but the gazebo seating area has been open for a while now.
The lanterns in the trees are lit and help create some great atmosphere
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Outside the park, the Disneyland Hotel project continues. Looks like the room remodeling in the Fantasy Tower is just about done.
Still, there's plenty of work to be done in the Fantasy Tower. Work has now started in parts of the lobby guest areas.
The main hallway that leads toward the pool area is completely closed now for remodeling.
Also closed is the main lobby restrooms, pay phones and corridors leading to the Convention Center, Goofy's Kitchen and Steakhouse '55.
The Fantasia gift shop remains open
To access the Convention Center areas or restaurants, you'll need to exit the lobby and walk around the construction walls to the Convention Center entrance.
Signage points the way...
This way to Goofy's Kitchen
Outside, the Convention Center building is being repainted with the beige colors that you see on the main hotel towers. The Convention Center's clock tower got the blue treatment.
The Grand Ballroom sign has been removed and set aside.
Over in the Adventure Tower, the tower's main lobby finally got its finishing touches. The furniture for the space has been in place for a while now, but artwork had been missing from the walls. Fantastic Jungle Cruise conceptual renderings now complete the area.
The lobby restrooms are finished as well.
Check out that super-cool retro attraction poster wallpaper!
Out in the pool area, work continues on the Neverland Pool's transformation into the E-Ticket Pool.
THIS & THAT
Work continues on the removal of the Disney Visa kiosk on the front of the Disney Gallery facade.
In Adventureland, Tarzan's Treehouse is closed for refurbishment.
In Fantasyland, the Matterhorn's refurbishment continues...
In front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, this bird statue on one of the firework lighting boxes needs some help.
Back in California Adventure, Francis' Lady Bug Boogie has reopened after an unplanned closure.
Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP Weekly Theme Park HoursAugust 15 — 21, 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 7.1—8.3 out of 10 HIGH 7.9—8.6 out of 10 Closures and Refurbishment Schedule Disneyland Park
- Disneyland Monorail: Running on a shortened schedule due to Buena Vista Street construction. Monorail opens late at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Monorail operates normally Saturday and Sunday.
- Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed through September 1 for refurbishment.
- Haunted Mansion: Closed August 29 — September 15 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
- 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 September 9 – 15 to install Ghost Galaxy seasonal overlay.
- Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed September 26 — 28 for refurbishment.
- "it's a small world": Closed October 24 — November 10 to install holiday overlay.
Disney California Adventure
- Redwood Challenge Creek Trail: Closed October 3 — 28 for refurbishment.
- It's Tough to be a Bug! Closed October 24 — November 11 for refurbishment.
- Engine Ears Toys, Baker's Field Bakery and Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream: Retail and dining locations are permanently closed. Space will reopen as new offerings in 2012 as part of Buena Vista Street.
- Greetings! from California and Candy Shoppe: Retail locations close permanently August 28. 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.
Vote for your favorite haunting grounds with MiceChat
Halloween will be here before we know it and MiceChat is busy planning our annual Halloween Haunt meet-ups. Planning on joining us this year? Well, head on over and vote for the events you plan to attend!
MiceChat Nights of Horror full event listing — Let us know which Haunt events you'd like to attend
The time to haunt is upon us once again. Prepare to sink deep into the thick fog and roam the night looking for the most terrifyingly fun haunted attractions around the SoCal area. Welcome to MiceChat Nights of Horror.
MiceChat nights of horror will be a series of events and Haunt meet ups with all your friends from MiceChat during late September through to late October. We will be going to a variety of haunts, including Knott's Scary Farm, Universal Halloween Horror Nights, Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, The Empty Grave and Sinister Pointe to name a few. We will also be offering very special pricing only available through MiceChat that will give us access to backstage tours and, in some cases, front of the line privileges.
More information: MiceChat Nights of Horror full event listing
Disney theme park attendance up slightly as revenue rises
Revenue is up at Disney theme parks despite attendance barely increasing. More from Around Disney:
Disney park visits grow slightly, revenues up
Visits to U.S. Disney theme parks slightly increased in the past three months compared to the same period last year — while revenues increased by more than 10 percent, according Walt Disney Co. officials.
The Easter-holiday week falling into the quarter helped raise attendance by 2 percent at Disney’s California and Florida parks, said Jay Rasulo, chief financial officer for the Walt Disney Co., during a conference call.
Revenue from parks and resorts rose 12 percent to $3.2 billion, which Rasulo credited to an increase in guest spending combined with price increases.
Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, said the attendance jump was led by the Anaheim parks, particularly sparked by the expansion at Disney California Adventure.
Disney does not list separate attendance figures for its Anaheim parks, Disneyland and California Adventure. The company only reports domestic and international numbers.
Hotel bookings in the U.S. remained at 81 percent, according to the third-quarter earnings reports released Tuesday, but the average room spending increased by 14 percent. Disneyland Resort in Anaheim runs three hotels — Grand Californian, Paradise Pier and Disneyland hotels.
Iger said the company is willing to trade occupancy for higher rates in both the theme parks and the hotels. Despite the current economic downturn, Iger said Disney had no current plans to offer discounts.
“If the economy weakens, yes, at some point, we might (reduce prices),” he said. “We’ll take a look at what effect a weakened economy would have on us.”
For the full story, visit Around Disney: Disney park visits grow slightly, revenues up
Okay! That's it for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and don't forget to say hello to our friends at Touring Plans!
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See you at the D23 Expo!
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