MAIN STREET CHANGES
The Main Street Emporium's major refurbishment is progressing as its main room has reopened with reconfigured cash wrap areas and display space.
The cash registers, previously centrally located in the store, have been pushed against the walls with more defined queue areas set up. The result is a lot more similar to the World of Disney check-out counters now and the sales floor has been opened up a lot more now for easier crowd flow.
The central check-out area with the giant Sleeping Beauty Castle snow globe that was previously here is now gone. A new Tiffany-style chandelier is a new visual focal point. Looks good!
A new large check-out area, with a switch-back queue with space for plenty of impulse-buys.
A reworked check-out area underneath one of the classic Emporium vignettes.
Speaking of those vignettes, they look great but were not turned on (or even functional) over the weekend. They're only minimally-animated, but when they do work they're a nice touch for the store. It would be nice if they were working again after the lengthy refurbishment.
With the main room reopen, the back of the Emporium is now behind walls for refurbishment.
Down Main Street, the interior of the Candy Palace and Penny Arcade are also now partially behind construction walls. The Candy Palace enhancement project isn't set to begin until January, but it looks like some early work may already be underway.
Walls in the back of the Penny Arcade:
The faux candy drawers that were filled with display taffy have now been emptied. Getting ready for big changes?
No visible work has started yet at the Jolly Holiday Bakery that's moving into the Plaza Pavilion. TOMORROWLAND TOURISTS
With the off-season here, it might be a good time to get an extra ride in at the new Star Tours. While your wait will likely still be around an hour or so, it's much better than the wait times that could hit two hours during busy days this summer.
Much of the extended queue was pretty empty during the early evening on Saturday.
Elsewhere in Tomorrowland, we've had a hard time catching the appearances of these new characters, but our friend Loren Javier
has recently spotted popular new Star Wars walk-around characters in Tomorrowland.
R2-D2 roams Tomorrowland interacting with guests.
Boba Fett out and about
You can see more of Loren's excellent Disneyland photos on Flickr
Meanwhile in Tomorrowland, speakers are popping up around Space Mountain as preparations for the ride's Ghost Galaxy overlay for the Halloween season.
Ghost Galaxy speakers on the old Peoplemover track CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION
Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion... BUENA VISTA STREET
California Adventure guests got their last look at Sunshine Plaza over the weekend as the new temporary backstage entrance route behind Soarin' Over California opens today.
The Pan Pacific motif is carried through the new temporary entrance corridor.
Even the construction wall lighting maintains the Pan Pacific theme
NEW PHOTOS ADDED! August 29, 1:50 PM:
New photos of the park's new temporary entrance taken this morning
by MiceChat's Fishbulb have just been added below! Andy
It's a tight squeeze when you first enter '
The new backstage route really does look more presentable than Sunshine Plaza did in its last couple weeks of operation.
Guest relations has set up shop in a trailer located along the backstage route
With Greetings! From California closed, merchandise ops has set up carts along the entrance corridor selling souvenirs. Seems a little tacky, considering the inconvenience this detour is causing for guests.
New attraction posters and concept art line the Pan-Pacific-themed walls
New landscaping along the backstage path. A nice touch.
"The fences are about to come down! (We promise!)"
Finally entering the park
This way to adventure!
New lamppost banners point the way to popular attractions
The information kiosk has moved from Sunshine Plaza to a former smoking area next to the Condor Flats restrooms.
You exit the park the same way you came in. A digital sign points the way, but will change at night when large post-World of Color crowds will simply exit the park through the utility gates straight ahead.
For now, you still pass in front of Greetings from California, but this will soon change. The retail location is now permanently closed.
Having to enter the park via a temporary backstage entrance path is another inconvenience Disney has asked guests to deal with while they transform the lackluster Sunshine Plaza into an entrance plaza befitting a Disney theme park. For guests, there will no longer be major shopping opportunities or a place to get a drink or an ice cream cone after immediately entering the park. However, considering the recent appearance of Sunshine Plaza as it continued to be dismantled before guests' eyes, the backstage route will likely be any more of a negative impact on the Guest experience and at the very least it really can't look any worse than Sunshine Plaza did on its last weekend of operation.
Here's how the Disney Parks Blog explained the entrance changes:
Buena Vista Street Ready to Take Shape at Disney California Adventure Park
We are reaching another major milestone in the ongoing expansion of Disney California Adventure park. On Monday, August 29, the Sunshine Plaza area will close to allow crews to start the transformation of the current park entry into Buena Vista Street, reminiscent of what Walt Disney encountered when he first arrived in California in the 1920s.
While the shops will close to make way for Buena Vista Street, guests will continue to enter the park through the new Pan-Pacific Auditorium-inspired turnstiles and follow a temporary walkway which will feature renderings of the future Disney California Adventure park and connect the turnstiles with the Condor Flats area. This area will be the temporary entrance and exit for guests during the transformation of the former main entrance stores to Buena Vista Street.
This entry and exit location will remain in place until Buena Vista Street opens in 2012. To see whats in store when this area opens, take a look at the renderings below, which were shown this past weekend at the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim.
The rendering above shows the west side of Buena Vista Street, including the restroom area in the top image.
The next rendering shows the east side of the street. In the center image you can see the new merchandise location, Elias & Co., rising above the other buildings. [ LINK ]
The old locker and restroom area. It's sad to say, but this minor theming was arguably some of Sunshine Plaza's more charming detailing when it opened in 2001.
It's all part of Yesterland, now
Across the walkway, the Greetings from California store's last day was Sunday, August 28. Without the Sunshine Plaza murals covering it up, this big box of a store has really stuck out.
The old Guest Relations area
Sunshine Plaza theming: this is as good as it got.
A last look at the Greetings! neon facade
The old California Zephhyr train station facade all covered up
From the Monorail, a look at the Carthay Circle area
The pump house and the new fountain
A peek through the construction wall gives a closer look at the new fountain
It's not finished yet, but is looking pretty good
A look at the new pump house from the "It's Tough to be a Bug!" queue
Naturally, a merchandise cart is parked near the new temporary guests entrance in Condor Flats
Some of the more generic souvenir offerings are offered here. Last-minute pens, keychains and plush before you head in or out of the park for the day.
Construction continues on the major 12-acre Cars Land expansion.
Note the big wall running along the back of the photo. This wall will separate the on-stage Luigi's Flying tires attraction with the backstage of Cars Land including the air mechanisms for the Tires attraction.
The new wall will extend all the way to the new path connecting Flik's Fun Fair and Cars Land.
The scaffolding continues to come down and the toothpicks cut off.
Progress at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
A new facade is going up on the side of the old Bountiful Valley Farms building. The Farm building serves as a facade for the DCA Cast Member cafeteria and will also be used as a backdrop for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. The side of the building that will face the main street of Cars Land is getting a new facade.
Lots of trees and progress at Junkyard Jamboree
New speakers on the poles
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
The Disneyland Hotel's remodel continues...
The Hotel convention center is all beige now
Permanent new directional signage has been installed around the new Monorail Pool and Tangaroa Terrace/Trader Sam's area.
It's rather plain, isn't it?
It gets the job done, though.
THIS & THAT
Back inside the parks, a new pin cart has popped up in California Adventure's Hollywood Pictures Backlot area
In Disneyland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment is just about finished, with Bobsled testing now underway.
It'll be a while still until the new bobsleds hit the tracks. When the attraction reopens in a couple days, the old bobsleds with the cozy seating arrangement will still be around.
The new, sleek bobsleds with individual seats made an appearance last week, but were undercover by the weekend.
In Adventureland, Tarzan's Treehouse is still closed for refurbishment.
And in Frontierland, walls are up around half of the Golden Horseshoe again. The restaurant and entertainment venue are still open.
Nearby, the new cart across from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad exit we showed you last week was being used for Disney Vacation Club sales. The cart doesn't look like it was designed specifically for DVC. None of the signage is permanent and there are no stands for the DVC marketing binders.