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Minnie takes flight, Buena Vista facades, Cars Land construction, Matterhorn, +MORE

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by , 02-20-2012 at 01:25 AM
Minnie Mouse took center stage this weekend in a charming new aviation-themed musical show in Disney California Adventure as construction continued to make big progress elsewhere in the park. New facades are starting to be revealed in the park's new Buena Vista Street area, giving a sneak peek at the work Disney Imagineers are doing to create an authentic representation of 1920s-era Los Angeles. Over in Cars Land, additional trees are moving in, ensuring guest comfort as they explore the desert town of Radiator Springs this summer. Over at Disneyland, the former Blue Ribbon Bakery is behind tarps as it is converted into indoor dining space for an expanded Carnation Cafe and the extensive Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment continues.

Get a closer look at today's update! You can now click on any photo in today's column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

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Main Entrance ticket booths have dropped their ads for Annual Passports and are now promoting Park Hopper tickets.

Our friends at Touring Plans are reporting higher crowds throughout this week following the busy holiday weekend.
Expect a spike in crowd levels everyday this week due to the Presidents' Day holiday. can help you navigate the parks 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. With spring break crowds on the horizon, 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
Tues., Feb. 21
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Partial block outs this weekend.
  • Disney California Adventure's low is a 7.7 on Tuesday.
  • Disneyland is only a 5.0 on Mardi Gras!
Wed., Feb. 22
Thu., Feb. 23
Fri., Feb. 24
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.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.

Do more. Wait less.


Tarps have gone up around the old Blue Ribbon Bakery as it continues its transformation into indoor dining space for the Carnation Cafe.

Refreshment Corner remains closed for refurbishment

The espresso stand in the Central Plaza has reopened after a quick refurbishment

Over along the Rivers of America, the Sailing Ship Columbia wrapped up its refurbishment over the weekend and should be reopening today.

The Matterhorn refurbishment continues as well...

Painting the mountainside.


Over at California Adventure, the new Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline show debuted late last week. The new show brings a trio of Pan Am-esque flight attendants to a small stage across from Soarin' Over California, where they sing aviation and travel-themed songs from the 30s, 40s and 50s. The female flight attendants sing alongside Lee, a flight mechanic as they wait for Minnie to arrive.

It's a surprisingly enjoyable show, a departure from the typically loud and unbearable entertainment that Disney sticks in this park. It makes no attempt to be hip or edgy, and it benefits greatly from this.

It comes in close to 25 minutes in length, which may be a bit long for a show of this type with no seating.

Minnie takes her time arriving to the scene, to the point that the rest of the cast even asks where she is. This seemed a bit odd for a show with Minnie's name in the title, but her absence isn't really a problem since the rest of the cast shines so brightly. To be honest, the show could have been written without Minnie altogether and it would be just as charming and enjoyable.

Minnie talks and sings in the show, much like Mickey does over at the grating "Disney Dance Crew" show and in Disneyland's excellent Mickey's Soundsational Parade

The show is sprinkled with nods to old Mickey Mouse cartoons ("Plane Crazy"), Walt Disney and other attractions in the park (Soarin' Over California, Goofy's Sky School). They're nice touches and don't feel forced, with the possible exception of the Walt reference which leads into a medley of Disney songs including "You Can Fly" and "Let's Go Fly a Kite."

The OC Register's Around Disney blog shared some details on the debut of talking Minnie in new show last week:

Talking Minnie Mouse makes debut at Disney park
A talking and singing Minnie Mouse character will appear for the first time in a new Disney California Adventure show set to debut Friday (today).

“Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline” show will be performed in Condor Flats near the Soarin’ Over California ride. The show will feature Minnie and a four-strong singing crew dressed like old-fashioned flight attendants; they will perform songs from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Read more about the show on the Disney Parks blog.

It will be the first time that a talking Minnie Mouse with a moving mouth, face and sound will be in the Disneyland Resort, said Michele Himmelberg, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. A talking Minnie previously was part of a show at Walt Disney World in Florida.

While Minnie will greet guests after the show, the character will have a static mask and remain silent.
Traditionally, masked characters who interact with visitors are forbidden from speaking, only using signs and gestures to communicate. Characters without masks, such as princesses, are allowed to speak with visitors.

Already, a talking Mickey Mouse is part of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland and another California Adventure show, called Disney Dance Crew that began in October 2010. [ FULL STORY ]

The show plays several times throughout the day.

A look at the on-going $1 billion remodel and expansion efforts at Disney California Adventure


At the entrance to California Adventure, the Buena Vista Street project is showing some progress with a couple of new facades starting to emerge.

So far, the facades look rather flat. We suspect there's still some finishing work to be done here as the rest of the street continues to take shape... at least we hope so.

Looks like some nice wood work hidden back there

KCET recently ran a story on the Buena Vista Street project, detailing the Imagineer's work on recreating 1920s Los Angeles in an Anaheim theme park.

How Disney Imagineers Recreated '20s and '30s L.A. in 21st-Century Anaheim
Usually, when historic landmarks fall to the wrecking ball, they are lost forever, preserved only in our memory—and in our region's archives. But soon memory will once again take physical form when several historic landmarks from L.A.'s past reappear thirty miles to the south, at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim.

The eleven-year-old theme park is in the midst of a multi-year, $1.1 billion renovation that has placed its entrance plaza behind construction walls. When it reopens later this year, the plaza—renamed Buena Vista Street—will resemble Los Angeles of the 1920s and 1930s, when a budding animator named Walt Disney arrived in town and began building his media and entertainment empire.

Turnstiles have been styled to resemble the façade of the Pan-Pacific Auditorium, while a replica of the Carthay Circle Theater will stand at the opposite end of the plaza. Trolleys modeled after the Pacific Electric's fabled red cars will whisk park visitors to other sections of the park, and the Disneyland Monorail will glide over the tourists below on a replica of the iconic Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. On the street itself, retail shops will evoke the architecture of the period.

Recreating prewar Los Angeles required meticulous research. A team of Walt Disney Imagineering architects, designers, and other creative types pored over archival photos and videos from libraries and private collections—resources that were particularly helpful in reconstructing the Carthay Circle Theater, demolished in 1969, and Pan-Pacific Auditorium, destroyed by fire in 1989. The last Pacific Electric red car rolled down the streets of Los Angeles in 1961, but vintage photos—like those preserved at the Metro Transportation Library and Archive—helped the Imagineers faithfully reproduce the cars' paint scheme and design flourishes in the Red Car Trolley ride vehicles.

Imagineers also found inspiration in field trips to neighborhoods where the city's period architecture has been preserved, according to Coulter Winn, Walt Disney Imagineering principal concept architect for Buena Vista Street. Winn and other members of the team visited downtown Los Angeles, Old Town Pasadena, Westwood, and Wilshire Boulevard near Beverly Hills, in addition to the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge that links Atwater Village to Silver Lake.

"The team was looking for scale references, details, finishes and storefronts," Winn said.

Ultimately, the Imagineers were trying to create an idealized representation of prewar Los Angeles, not an exact replica. The shop facades fronting the street represent an amalgam of details culled from the team's research, and the Imagineers molded the three structures with real-world counterparts to fit the needs of storytelling.

"Everything was reinterpreted to give Buena Vista Street its own unique nostalgic scale," said Winn. "All were meant to reflect the optimism of the times and the diverse background of the population."

At the front gate, the Streamline Moderne façade of the Pan-Pacific Auditorium greets park visitors. A forerunner to today's Los Angeles Convention Center, the Fairfax district auditorium opened in 1935 as a temporary exhibition hall but would serve for decades as one of the city's most versatile facilities, hosting rock concerts, political meetings, and sporting events. Elvis Presley played there to a star-studded audience in 1957, and the auditorium hosted games for the UCLA and USC men's basketball teams. Countless Southern Californians walked under the auditorium's distinctive towers, meant to resemble airplane fins, on their way to see the Ice Capades or Harlem Globetrotters. But the opening of two facilities with more updated amenities—the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena in 1959 and the L.A. Convention Center in 1971—spelled doom for the auditorium. It closed in 1972, and, after aborted attempts to renovate the facility, an unknown arsonist burned the wooden structure to the ground in 1989.

Past the ticket gates, Buena Vista Street begins. The first half of the street, according to Winn, "has more of a mom-and-pop feeling with living quarters above small retail shops, like Silverlake or Atwater Village," The second half "has more of a feeling of early Wilshire Blvd. or early Westwood." The Elias & Co. shop at the street's end, for example, evokes the look of the Bullocks Wilshire department store, built in 1929 in the Art Deco style.

Dividing the street's two halves is the elevated track of the Disneyland Monorail. Originally styled after the Golden Gate Bridge, the track will soon resemble a more local span: L.A.'s Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. Built between 1927 and 1929 out of steel-reinforced concrete, the viaduct dates from the same period that Walt Disney and his brother Roy opened the Walt Disney Studios just a half-mile away at 2725 Hyperion Avenue in Silver Llake. The Disney brothers' studio is gone, but the bridge still stands today, carrying Hyperion Avenue and Glendale Boulevard over the Los Angeles River into Atwater Village.

At its end, Buena Vista Street opens into a town square, circled by Red Car Trolley tracks and framed by the octagonal tower of the Carthay Circle Theater. Opened in 1926, the theater once rivaled Grauman's Chinese Theater as a movie palace and hosted countless premieres, including the 1937 world opening of Walt Disney's first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and the 1939 debut of Gone with the Wind. The rise of multiplexes in the 1960s would mean the end of the Carthay, though. After decades of glory, the theater closed unceremoniously in 1969. "In today's economy the Carthay was simply not economically feasible," Los Angeles Times columnist Matt Weinstock remarked at the time.

Disney has not yet announced an opening date for Buena Vista Street, but the theme-park-version of prewar Los Angeles is expected to open by summer 2012. Although these replicas may be simulacra, removed from the original structures' urban context and repurposed as an entertainment experience, their reappearance at a theme park speaks to the enduring attraction of Southern California history.
[ LINK ]

The Elias and Co Department Store

The side of Elias and Co.

Across the street from Elias and Co.

The Carthay Circle Theater is set to open this summer as a new dining location and the OC Register revealed last week that it will feature a menu created by acclaimed Napa Rose chef Andrew Sutton.

Major changes under way at Disney park
Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on some of the biggest structures in the transformation of Disney California Adventure.

Disney will finish the five-year makeover this summer. The final areas — Cars Land and Buena Vista Street — will officially open in June, Disney president Bob Iger recently announced.

Crews are completing the huge rock-work mountain that will be the backdrop of Cars Land, a 12-acre area based on the “Cars” movies. Signs are going up outside the restaurants and rides inside the boarded-up land that will look like Radiator Springs, the fictional town in the Pixar movies.

Nearby, workers are building the shops and restaurants along the new entrance corridor, called Buena Vista Street. The main building, Carthay Circle Theatre, behind construction walls, is nearly finished.

The theatre will hold a lounge and a second-floor restaurant with a menu by Executive Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose, the upscale eatery inside the Grand Californian Hotel. Disney has yet to release details about the restaurant and lounge, including their names. However, some unofficial blogs have reported that the lounge could be private, much like Club 33 in Disneyland.

The Disney theatre reaches 89 feet, six inches tall, which is about three-fourths scale to the original Carthay Circle Theatre that inspired the Disney location, said Michele Himmelberg, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. That’s taller than Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is 77-feet high. [ LINK ]

A look at the side of the Carthay, from the Playhouse Disney extended queue area


Grizzly River Run's refurbishment presses on. Looks like the paint job here has changed a bit. It looks less worn and newer, fresher. This would make sense with the attraction abandoning its former extreme sports theme and the entire area shifting towards a more idealized 1940s National Parks aesthetic.


With Grizzly Peak drained during refurbishment, the Pacific Wharf retention pond is dry for now.

Nearby, work is underway on the new Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.

New signs up announce the arrival of Ghirardelli.


More trees at the entrance to Cars Land obscure the view into the new land.

New "Welcome to Radiator Springs" sign is up

Cozy Cone neon was on during the day Saturday.

The Disney Parks Blog gave a look at the creation of the Cars Land mountain range last week:

Making Mountains in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park
Some people think that mountains are formed by plate tectonics, a process that usually takes millions of years. When it came to building Ornament Valley – the mountain range that serves as the backdrop to Radiator Springs in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park – we just didn’t have that kind of time! So, we did what comes naturally to us at Disney and we hired the best rockwork artisans in the business.

Led by Zsolt Hormay, our rockwork art director, this incredible team of artisans from around the world have spent approximately two years growing, sculpting and painting our mountain. It’s been fascinating to watch it grow.

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to this talented team of folks as the mountain nears completion. Click on this video and take a look at Zsolt explaining the process and what it takes to speed up Mother Nature. I think you’ll agree that our finished product is spectacular! [ LINK ]


The new facades on Paradise Pier's Midway Shops looks like they're just about done.

The changes here look as good as can be expected for a quick overlay and while they aren't ideal, they help the area a lot. If nothing else, there isn't anymore stucco over here making the place look closer to a Six Flags property instead of a Disney park.

It's too bad this ugly thing was put back up.

Throughout Paradise Pier, the awful teal color that dominated the area when the park opened in 2001 continues to slowly disappear. The lampposts throughout the are now being repainted a new green color. It's definitely a welcome change.

Old teal lampposts.

New green color

On the water, the evening World of Color show will soon debut a new scene based on Pixar's upcoming film "Brave." More information from the OC Register:

New scene expected for Disney’s ‘World of Color’
The head of Disney parks hinted that a new scene will be added to the “World of Color” show at Disney California Adventure.

Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a speech that the upcoming Pixar movie, “Brave,” could be featured in “World of Color,” the nighttime water and light show at California Adventure.

“You shouldn’t be surprised to see something from ‘Brave’ … in the not-too-distant future,” Staggs said at a speech at the Orange County Business Council’s dinner on Thursday. See a previous story about Staggs’ speech.

Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman, said no date has been set for an addition to “World of Color.”

“Brave” is the animated story of a courageous princess and skilled archer, named Merida, in Scotland. The movie is scheduled to be released on June 22. [ FULL STORY ]


The new map mural at the main entrance is behind black curtains again

The Mickey and Minnie topiaries near the E-Ticket Pool are missing


Downtown Disney projects continue

La Brea Bakery

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen will celebrate Mardi Gras tomorrow with entertainment and special menu items.

It’s Time to Celebrate and … Eat! Come on Down to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney District for Fat Tuesday
Join us on Fat Tuesday at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen as “New Orleans Mardi Gras comes to Downtown Disney!”

Fat Tuesday is famously celebrated on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but here in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort, we have our very own taste of New Orleans! Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen will offer a festive celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 21, where guests will enjoy special New Orleans entrees by Executive Chef Darrin Finkel featured all day, including:
  • Red Beans & Rice
  • Gumbo
  • New Orleans Jambalaya
  • Be sure to enjoy the famous Jazz Kitchen Beignets!

And don’t forget these terrific drink specials:
  • Abita Draft Beer Specials – $3.00
  • Hurricanes – $5.00

Special entertainment will feature:
  • Performances by Kenny Sara and the Sounds of New Orleans, playing Mardi Gras favorites from 7 – 10 p.m. in the Flambeaux Room. Get your beads and napkins ready to start a 2nd-line parade when they play “When the Saints Go Marching In”!
  • Magician performing table-side tricks from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.
  • Authentic Mardi Gras beads for sale – bring your own beads or add to your collection!
    [ LINK ]

In Disneyland, the New Orleans Square Mardi Gras celebration continues on weekends...

We missed it last week - but here's a look at the Blue Bayou's special menu items during New Orleans Bayou Bash

Over at California Adventure, the "Celebrate Gospel!" event returned to Hollywood Land's Stage 17.

Singers honored the late Whitney Houston at Saturday's event. From the OC Register:

Singers recall Whitney Houston at Disney event
Nearly 1,000 gospel performers came Saturday to Disney California Adventure to participate in a special concert. But a singer, whose short life was being celebrated elsewhere, was on the minds of some who sang here.

The third annual Celebrate Gospel event at the Disney park began as the funeral for Whitney Houston was under way at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. Houston, whose mother is a gospel singer, got her start in a youth gospel choir at that church before becoming a mainstream singing sensation.

Fourteen choirs from five Southern California counties performed Saturday at the Disney park as part of Black History Month. The event was started by Disney’s group for African American employees, which is called PULSE, as a way to expose the culture to park visitors, said Freda Hardison, one of the event planners and a manager in Disney merchandising. Participants also got free park tickets.

Hundreds of park guests, some waving turkey legs and eating corn dogs, filed in and out of the Stage 17 building to watch and dance to performances throughout the day.

Choirs had no specific plans to integrate Houston into the show, but some performers said they were thinking about her.

One Santa Ana choir decided to dedicate its performance to Houston.

“When we were praying before we went on, we said, we get to celebrate Whitney Houston’s life today,” said La Tonya Boston, a soloist from Fullerton of the Voices of Spirit choir at New Spirit Baptist Church.
Choir director Sonya Griffin of Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda attempted to listen to the Houston memorial on her smart phone at the park before Saturday’s performance. One director said he thought some people stayed home just to watch the ceremony, instead of coming to the Disney show.

Griffin said she was especially influenced by Houston.

At 47, Griffin is just a year younger than Houston when she died. Griffin, who has recorded music, began singing in gospel choirs at age 4, but she looked to Houston as an inspiration for professional singing. As a teen-ager, Griffin always used Houston songs in talent shows, which she frequently won.

“The honest thing is, since she died, my thinking is, how can I carry on that legacy? I know that’s a big dream. Little old me in a little old church in Yorba Linda. I want to see what I can do,” Griffin said.

“There can only be one Whitney.” [ LINK ]

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
February 20 — 26, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Tuesday-Thursday: 9 am - 10 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday: 10 am - 9 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
LOW-HIGH 1.1—8.7 out of 10
LOW-HIGH 1.8—8.5 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 major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles through June 14.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed for refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Fantasmic!: Dark while under refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Palace, Penny Arcade and Refreshment Corner: Food service locations and shops close January 2012 for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.

Disney California Adventure
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed for refurbishment through March 9.
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Soda Fountain: New Ghirardelli chocolate shop and soda fountain will open in the space formerly occupied by the Mission Tortilla Factory. New dining location opens late-spring 2012.
  • Buena Vista Street: Re-themed main entrance including new Red Car Trolley attraction are under construction through summer 2012.
  • Cars Land: New 12-acre land opens summer 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Island Charters: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
  • La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifi

First 2,000 guests on Leap Day to get free Ear Hat
While Disney has been quiet on what the 24-hour Leap Day party will consist of, it has announced the first 2,000 guests arriving for the party will get a free pair of commemorative Ear Hats

Guests Celebrating One More Disney Day at Disneyland Park Could Receive Limited-Edition Commemorative Ear Hats
Big news for those planning to spend One More Disney Day at Disneyland park on February 29! Guests entering the park when it opens at 6 a.m. will receive a limited-edition ear hat commemorating the event, while supplies last. Ear hats are limited to a supply of 2,000 for guests who enter through the designated turnstiles when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29.
I got a sneak peek at the One More Disney Day limited-edition ear hat myself today – check it out!

Here are some things you should know if you are planning to join us when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29:
[list][*]Guests may begin lining up no earlier than 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28.[*]Guests planning to line up before Disneyland park opens must park in the Pumbaa Parking Lot on Disney Way between 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 and 6 a.m. on February 29. Please note that the Pumbaa Lot will not begin to offer shuttle service to the East Esplanade until 6 a.m. on February 29. Click here for a map of Disneyland Resort parking areas.[*]Restrooms will be available for guests who line up before Disneyland park opens.[*]A special ticket booth will be available prior to Disneyland park opening for guests needing to purchase park admission for February 29. Valid park admission is required in order to enter Disneyland park and to receive the commemorative ear hat.[*]Commemorative ear hats will be distributed, while supplies last, to guests who enter through the designated turnstiles beginning at 6 a.m. on February 29, when Disneyland park officially opens. Limit one ear hat per person, and you must be present at the time of distribution.[*]Please remember that being in line and entering the park does not guarantee that you will receive a commemorative ear hat. Ear hats are limited to a supply of 2,000 for guests who enter through the designated turnstiles when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29.[*]Be sure to check the list of items that are not permitted inside Disneyland park as you plan what you will bring with you that day. Admission to the park is subject to capacity restrictions.

Full Story: Disney Parks Blog: Guests Celebrating One More Disney Day at Disneyland Park Could Receive Limited-Edition Commemorative Ear Hats

Disney Parks chief things Anaheim should get NBA franchise
From Around Disney:

Top Disney official supports NBA team in O.C.
The head of Disney parks believes Orange County should have its own NBA team. But that doesn’t mean the media giant is ready to jump back into sports ownership.

Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, declared his support for an Orange County professional basketball team in a speech to about 700 business leaders and supporters at last week’s Orange County Business Council dinner. Staggs mentioned he was a Los Angeles Lakers fan.

“Personally, I’ve thought for a long time that Orange County deserves its own NBA franchise,” Staggs said to enthusiastic applause.

After the speech, Staggs said in an interview that it was “only a personal opinion.”

Anaheim long has tried to land an NBA team at the Honda Center, which is undergoing renovations that could help lure a club.

Last year, Sacramento Kings owners began negotiations with Anaheim officials to move the team, but the Kings decided to stay put for at least another year. The Kings now face a March 1 deadline to decide a next step.

But Disney isn’t planning on stepping in, Staggs said.

Full Story: Around Disney: Top Disney official supports NBA team in O.C.

Alright, that wraps up this week's column. Big thanks for reading. Be sure to join our discussion in the comments section below.

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- Andy

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  1. Experiment 626's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update and looking forward to visit on Leap Day!
  2. chesirecat's Avatar
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    While I believe that the Carthay Theatre is an improvement over the sun dial/hub-cap, I agree with some who say that Buena Vista Street won't beat Main Street. Here are BVS negatives (IMHO):

    1. The monorail cuts through the visual space, if they are going to spend $1 billion to re-do DCA, then they should have gone for the 100% fix, not the 60% fix. I would have rerouted the monorail, it would have looked great zooming past the entrance of DCA from outside this theme park.

    2. There's isn't enough room to make BVS as special as Main street. There simply isn't enough room to create the sense of different "Proprietors" living on BVS, it is about 60% the length of MSUSA from entrance to castle, when you look at entrance of BVS to Carthay.

    3. There isn't a hub. Sorry, but the hub *works*, even though most people don't notice it. A nice little rest area after exploring MSUSA, and a place where guests can decide which land to go to. I also don't like it that the Red Car Trolley backs up and follows a winding route through BVS, unlike the Trolley on Main Street.

    4. BVS's style clashes with downtown Disney. While I understand that people love "mission revival", so do strip mall developers . . . it simply isn't something so unique that you can only get it at DCA. I would have gone with a 1950s main street, which would bring back more nostalgia than the 1930s. Plus I would have made it look better than it did in the 1950s. OR I would have done an english street similar to one in the Mary Poppins and topped it off with a wicked Malificent's castle.

    5. Carthay - looks "OK", and better than what was there, but . . . its not totally out of this world like the castle in Disneyland. Plus, there isn't a "Carthay Circle movie" Disney is working on, and so its not Disneyland related. I would have expected such a choice from Knott's, which doesn't have a rich cinematic history to draw on. For the vast majority of out of state visitors, the Carthay doesn't provide visual recognition, Dad won't whisper in his three year old daughters ear, "Look sweeties its the old Carthay Circle!", he will whisper, "Look sweeties, its Sleepy Beauty's Castle!".
  3. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    Hmmm... I think I just lost some of my excitement over BVS.
  4. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    I was wondering if the "Carthay Circle" theater will get it's crowning jewel in the old round neon sign on the rooftop? Maybe a vintage place in time "Now Showing"sign reflecting Snow White's debut showing there in 1938, plus vintage Snow White lobby posters, which helped to put Disney on the map and win the Special Academy Award with the 7 dwarfs? PD
    Updated 02-20-2012 at 02:00 PM by DisWedWay
  5. FredSimmons's Avatar
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    Quotes: "Recreating prewar Los Angeles required meticulous research." / "All were meant to reflect the optimism of the times and the diverse background of the population."

    They really shouldn't use the phrase "optimism of the times" in the same breath as "prewar". The years before World War II were the Great Depression, one of the most depressing eras in our history.

    There was a 23-year gap between the end of WW1 in 1918 and the start of WW2 in 1941. The Depression began in 1929, taking up more than half of that period. So the "optimistic times" in the U.S. were actually "postwar" from the perspective of those living at the time, that is, immediately after WW1, in the early 1920s, which is when Walt arrived in Los Angeles (1923).

  6. dlpostcardguy's Avatar
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    Minnie's Fly Girls show was fantastic. It's a simple show with great music and a talented cast that should appeal to all age groups. Bravo!! As far as BVS it should look fantastic when done. It's not Victorian architecture but why do we have to pit it up against Main Street? It should be unique and shouldn’t be a contest as to which is better. BTW, and also in response to a previous post, re-routing the monorail would have been much more difficult than it might appear. Remember it would have to contend with the Soarin building, hotel, etc... They really could not have re-routed it in front of the new entrance without some huge changes to many other structures. Doesn't seem like that would have been money well spent.
  7. jpg391's Avatar
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    Great update. The Matterhorn looks strange with all that scaffolding around it. I'm glad to hear that "Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline" show is good. Cars Land and Buena Vista Street are look like they are really coming along.
  8. a-mad's Avatar
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    For those wondering on crowds for the Leap Day 24-hour event - Touring Plans is predicting a 9 on that day, I believe.

    Has anyone heard anything new on entertainment for the event? Al reported awhile ago that he believed there would be a 1am Fantasmic, a fireworks show, and an influx of characters throughout the park (including some "rare" ones). I haven't heard anything since... and some sites are reporting no Fantasmic and no fireworks (although they are probably just going from the current Disneyland entertainment calendar).

    Can anyone confirm that there will be some additional entertainment other than just Soundsational at 7pm?
  9. TodAZ1's Avatar
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    I would have gone with a 1950s main street, which would bring back more nostalgia than the 1930s. Plus I would have made it look better than it did in the 1950s. OR I would have done an english street similar to one in the Mary Poppins and topped it off with a wicked Malificent's castle.
    No offense but, holy cow, that sounds awful!! You're basically wanting a Disneyland, part 2, or at the very least a Main Street, part 2. That's not what DCA is or ever was or ever intended to be. DCA must have its own identity and it can't do that while it's dressing up like its more popular sister living next door.
    Plus, there isn't a "Carthay Circle movie" Disney is working on, and so its not Disneyland related.
    All of BVS is based on 1920's Hollywood, when Walt Disney first arrived to begin his amazing career. In, hopefully, the only similarity to Main Street across the plaza, BVS is similar to Main Street in that they both were major influences to Walt Disney. And since when does something have to be Disney related to be in Disneyland? Ever hear of the Mark Twain Steamboat? The Columbia? Big Thunder? Pirates of the Caribbean? Haunted Mansion? Space Mountain? There's a plethora of things "not Disney related" that have gone on to be some of DL's major classic attractions.
    For the vast majority of out of state visitors, the Carthay doesn't provide visual recognition, Dad won't whisper in his three year old daughters ear, "Look sweeties its the old Carthay Circle!", he will whisper, "Look sweeties, its Sleepy Beauty's Castle!".
    This one is probably my favorite. He's not whispering it her ear yet. But in 5-10-15 years he will, when the Carthay at DCA becomes the landmark it's destined to be. Even if you don't believe that last sentence, you're comparing a not-yet-opened building to a 57 year old iconic landmark in Disney lore and legend and complaining people won't recognize the Carthay? When it first opened, I wonder how many people knew SBC in Disneyland was actually Sleeping Beauties and not Cinderella's or Snow Whites'.
    While I believe that the Carthay Theatre is an improvement over the sun dial/hub-cap, I agree with some who say that Buena Vista Street won't beat Main Street.
    And here is the crux of the problem, I think. No one from Disneyland, Imagineering, DCA, The Walt Disney Company, etc. have ever said they are trying to "beat" Main Street in Disneyland. And BVS shouldn't try to beat it. Just be the best it can be. And from what I'm seeing, it is.
  10. DARTH MAUL's Avatar
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    "It's too bad this ugly thing was put back up."

    Can these reviews just drop the hateful banter, and just review? It ruins the article.
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