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California Adventure re-launches June 15, Buena Vista & Cars Land details +MORE!

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by , 03-12-2012 at 12:26 AM
Last week Disney officially announced the grand opening of California Adventure's all-new Cars Land and Buena Vista Street areas. The park will close June 14 for a media preview day and officially host its grand re-opening on June 15. Still, there's plenty of finishing touches and construction to be wrapped up throughout the park with major work still taking place along Buena Vista Street and in the 12-acre recreation of Radiator Springs from Pixar's Cars. Over at Disneyland, work continues on the iconic Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction which will officially reopen the same day California Adventure welcomes its first guests to Cars Land.

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.

Big thanks to MiceChat's Fishbulb for covering photos this week.

We've got a huge update for you today, so let's get right to it.

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Thu., Mar. 15
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The check-in podium at the Carnation Cafe has been removed. Guests will likely enter the reconfigured Cafe by going through the indoor portion's front doors.

Meanwhile, the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride continues its six-month refurbishment.

The new paint job really does look great.

The Tomorrowland Train Station has reopened after its refurbishment.

On Wednesday, Disney officially announced the opening dates for Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, the two final pieces in the park's major five-year expansion and remodeling project.

Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney's parks and resorts division made the announcement that the new offerings at the park would open June 15 on the Disney Parks Blog.

Taking a Tour of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle Theatre – Opening June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park
Yesterday, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger and I stepped behind the construction walls at Disney California Adventure park for a hard-hat tour of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, two of the most significant elements that will cap off our multi-year expansion of the park. Led by the extraordinary team of Imagineers working on this project, Bob and I were completely blown away by the level of artistry, creativity and attention to detail of the work done so far and can’t wait for all of our Disneyland Resort guests to finally experience it firsthand.

Our day started on Buena Vista Street where we rode the iconic Red Car Trolley, explored the storefronts that line the street and then continued on to the Carthay Circle Theatre, the new icon of Disney California Adventure park. This new entrance to the park will transport guests to a romantic, idealized version of 1920s Hollywood when Walt and Roy Disney first arrived in California to begin their careers as filmmakers. Buena Vista Street will be the perfect place for guests to shop and eat, watch the parade, or just sit and soak up the atmosphere.

Then we headed to Cars Land, and when we got to the entrance of this all-new, 12-acre land, Bob and I both stopped to simply take in the stunning view before us. From the majesty of the Ornament Valley Mountain Range in the distance to the craftsmanship of each of the buildings in Radiator Springs, Cars Land is going to be a truly spectacular addition to the park.

We wandered down Route 66 looking at all of the familiar hot spots from the films that are just about complete – Ramone’s House of Body Art, Flo’s V8 Café, the Cozy Cone Motel and Luigi’s Casa della Tires, just to name a few. We ended the tour with a test ride on two of the new attractions in Cars Land, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Radiator Springs Racers, which are both going to be huge hits with our guests.

As we approach the finish line of our expansion of Disney California Adventure park, I am extremely proud of the passion, creativity and innovation that have gone into this entire project over the last several years. When we’re done, this park will be a testament to what we at Disney Parks do best – connect our guests to the iconic stories, characters and music they love…making memories that will last a lifetime.

And now for some big news – I’m pleased to officially announce that the grand opening of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle Theatre will take place on June 15, 2012! [ FULL STORY ]

Disney soon issued an official press release and a video previewing the new lands and attractions with a current look at construction. The press release included the news that the park will be closed on June 14 to apply finishing touches and to host a media preview.

Disneyland Resort Announces June 15 Grand Opening of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle Theatre
ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 7, 2012) – The Happiest Place on Earth will get even happier June 15, 2012, with the grand opening of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and the Carthay Circle Theatre at Disney California Adventure park. The exciting, new additions will complete the five-year expansion of Disneyland Resort, a premier, multi-day vacation destination in Southern California with two theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district.

With four new attractions opening at Disney California Adventure park, full day-to-night experiences at both parks, and the magical transformation of the Disneyland Hotel with new pools, themed suites and remodeled rooms, guests of all ages will enjoy more fun and adventure than ever before at the Disneyland Resort.

Cars Land expands Disney California Adventure by 12 acres and immerses guests in the thrilling world of the Disney•Pixar blockbuster “Cars.” Guests will feel as if they have stepped into the town of Radiator Springs as they enjoy three family attractions showcasing characters and settings from the movie, plus “Cars”-themed dining and shopping locations such as Flo’s V8 Café, Ramone’s House of Body Art and Radiator Springs Curios.

One of the largest and most elaborate attractions ever created for a Disney park, Radiator Springs Racers is a twisting, turning, high-speed adventure through Ornament Valley and the town of Radiator Springs. Luigi’s Flying Tires invites guests to glide on air aboard special tires, whirling around with their pals. At Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, guests will whip around behind a baby tractor and enjoy tunes from a giant jukebox built from Mater’s most prized possessions.

Starting June 15, guests will enter Disney California Adventure along Buena Vista Street, a place that transports them to an era when Walt Disney arrived in California with new dreams: 1920s Los Angeles. Buena Vista Street features Red Car Trolleys, inspired by the transportation system that once served Southern California, and the Carthay Circle Theatre, modeled after the site of the 1937 world premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Carthay Circle Theatre will include a lounge and the elegant Carthay Circle Restaurant, designed to be the premier dining location in Disney California Adventure.

Adding to the fun at Disney California Adventure this summer will be the new Mad T Party in Hollywood Land, the return of Pixar Play Parade, and the new Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop at Pacific Wharf. Mad T Party will feature nighttime, family fun inspired by the wild and whimsical world of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

The summer debuts of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle Theatre complement previous additions to the park, including the 4D fun of Toy Story Mania; the spectacular after-dark “World of Color” show; The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure; Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill restaurants, plus the re-themed attractions Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Silly Symphony Swings and Goofy’s Sky School.

To accommodate a media preview and make final preparations for the exciting debuts, Disney California Adventure will be closed June 14. The fun, new attractions, locations and entertainment will open to the public June 15. [ LINK ]

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


June 15 rapidly approaches at construction crews continue to work on bringing together the Buena Vista Street project at the front of the park...

Scaffolding has come down at the Clarabelle's Ice Cream and Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe area

Clarabelle's Ice Cream shop:

Elias and Co:

A look at Buena Vista Street from the Monorail


In Hollywood Land, more facade refurbishments are getting underway...

The Cahuenga Building facade is now behind tarps

The Max Factor Building facade next to Disney Animation continues its refurbishment.

Grizzly River Run didn't quite open on schedule this weekend, but the repainting in the area looks great. Much of the color schemes remain the same, the colors are just fresh and bright and not weathered and worn. This plays well with the shift in theme for this area, removing the contemporary extreme sports theme and dialing its temporal setting back to 1950s.

With the extreme sports theme gone, a stronger focus is now centered on the area's existing "Eureka Gold and Timber Company" backstory

The whole area looks great now.

The rafts for Grizzly River Run have been slightly re-themed, with new period-appropriate props in the raft cargo pouches.


Cars Land continues to get a lot of finishing touches added...

Last week, the Disney Parks Blog shared a sneak peek at the neon going in at Cars Land:

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Disney recently shared the recipe for the new Veggie Tater Casserole - a new dish coming to Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land

Veggie Tater Casserole
Serves 6
  • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 small cloves)
  • 2/3 cup diced zucchini
  • 2/3 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetarian sausage crumbles, such as Morningstar Farms
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups prepared mashed potatoes
  • 6 deli-style slices cheddar or 3/4 cup shredded cheddar

1. Place bulgur in a large, heatproof bowl; cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes; drain excess water and set bulgur aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F.

3. Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan; add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and add zucchini, squash, and peppers. Cook, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in sausage crumbles and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes more.

4. Add bulgur to pan, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour mixture into a 9×9 baking dish, packing firmly with a spatula.

6. Spread mashed potatoes over mixture, then top with cheddar.

7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and light brown at the edges. Let cool 3 to 4 minutes, then cut into squares and serve hot. [ LINK ]


The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney continues its remodeling project

Back in Disneyland, Big Thunder Ranch is all decked out for the spring season.

Outside the parks, the Harbor Boulevard transportation hub that Toy Story busses and Anaheim Resort Transit shuttles drop off and pick up at has recently received a lot of very nice new directional and information signage. It looks great and is another nice change for this area that opened over a decade ago with very ugly aesthetics and signage.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
March 12 — 18, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Daily: 8 am - 12 midnight
Daily: 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
HIGH 8.3—9.3 out of 10
HIGH 8.3—9.2 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.
  • 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
  • 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

Disney Legend Robert Sherman dies at 86
Sad news this week — we've lost legendary Disney songwriter Robert Sherman at the age of 86:

'It's a Small World' Songwriter Robert Sherman Dies at 86

Songwriter Robert Sherman, best known for penning the infectious Disney tunes “It’s a Small World After All” and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," died Monday, March 5 in London.

While few details are currently known about the circumstances, news of the 86-year-old's death was posted by Sherman's son Jeff late Monday evening via Facebook. Read the full statement below.\

Sherman had accumulated a slew of prestigious awards throughout his career, including two Academy Awards, one Grammy Award and many more nominations. With his brother Richard Sherman -- together known as The Sherman Brothers -- he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976. The duo was featured in a retrospective album, released by Disney Records in 1992, titled The Sherman Brothers: Disney’s Supercalifragilistic Songwriting Team.

Sherman was born on Dec. 19, 1925 in New York City.

Read son Jeff's post below:
Hello to family and friends,

I have very sad news to convey.

My Dad, Robert B. Sherman, passed away tonight in London. He went peacefully after months of truly valiantly fending off death. He loved life and his dear heart finally slowed to a stop when he could fight no more.

I will write more about this incredible man I love and admire so much when I am better rested and composed. He deserves that.

In the meantime, please say a prayer for him. As he said, he wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeeded. His love and his prayers, his philosophy and his poetry will live on forever. Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world.

I love you, Dad.

Safe travels.


Full Story: Hollywood Reporter: 'It's a Small World' Songwriter Robert Sherman Dies at 86

Disney announces dates for 2013 D23 Expo
Will you be attending the 2013 D23 Expo?

All the magic and excitement of the past, present and future of Disney entertainment will come together once again when D23: The Official Disney Fan Club presents an all-new D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center on August 9-11, 2013.

“The D23 Expo has become a phenomenal way for Disney fans to see everything they love about Disney all in one place – from Disney’s biggest stars and latest innovations to unforgettable performances live on stage,” said Steven Clark, head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, which produces the bi-annual D23 Expo. “Our third Expo is sure to create even more magical new experiences and memories for our biggest fans attending from throughout the U.S. and around the globe.”

“Anaheim is extremely pleased that the D23 Expo will be returning next year,” said Charles Ahlers, president, Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “This exciting event is quickly becoming an industry icon, drawing Disney fans from around the world. The Anaheim community truly appreciates and enjoys this quality show and positive impacts it brings.”

More than 40,000 Disney fans attended D23 Expo 2011, which brought together the entire world of Disney under one roof for three star-studded days and nights. Fans were treated to appearances by superstars like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Regis Philbin and Billy Crystal; enjoyed performances by Dick Van Dyke, The Muppets and Disney princess voice talent Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, Lea Salonga and Anika Noni Rose; previewed concept art and attractions coming from Disney Parks and Walt Disney Imagineering; glimpsed back at Disney’s rich history through extraordinary panels, presentations and exhibits; and discovered the newest entertainment, technology, and products from The Walt Disney Company.

Among the highlights of D23 Expo 2013 will be expanded capacities at some of our most popular venues; the 2013 Disney Legends Ceremony, which honors the talented men and women who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy; Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, a treasure trove of crown jewels from the Walt Disney Archives; the bustling aisles of the Collectors Forum, where Disney fans can buy, sell and trade Disney collectibles, memorabilia and merchandise; and a massive show floor full of special opportunities to see what’s on the horizon for Disney around the world-and where guests may bump into their favorite Disney stars, characters, Imagineers, animators and filmmakers.

Advance tickets for the D23 Expo 2013 will go on sale at beginning August 9, 2012. D23 Members receive special pricing on both one- and three-day tickets to the event, which is also open to the general public.


That's all for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts on today's news in the comments section below!

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  1. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!!!
  2. Trumpet's Avatar
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    Great Update Andy,

    Cars Land’s neon looks great. I can’t wait to see it in person this July/August and the Red Trolley Cars look special!

    It is my dad’s birthday while we are at the resort for our summer holiday. Will he and my family get any privileges?

    Please reply.

    Thanks again Andy,

  3. Susan Hughes's Avatar
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    A Cast Member at the Blue Sky Cellar told me there would be an Annual Passhollder sneak peek of Carlsland and Buena Vista Street on June 12th, 13th and 14th. But now I read that all of DCA will be closed on the 14th.
    I've learned that sometimes Cast Members will says things that aren't quite accurate. Does anybody out there have any additional information concerning a special sneak peek for APs?
  4. Concieved@DL's Avatar
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    Great update and I can't wait !!!
  5. MrTour's Avatar
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    Great Update!

    I just came back from spending the weekend in Seattle. Downtown Seattle has this great underground bus/trolly station. I was very impressed. It we be wonderful if a future update consisted of a report of Disney sinking the transportation hub below ground! With it underground and out of the way, new space and attractions could be built on top!

    WDI's, head up to Seattle and get some great ideas!
  6. aimster's Avatar
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    Trumpet, be sure your dad gets a Birthday button from City Hall at Disneyland. CM's who see the button will wish him a happy birthday and you never know... he might get a little surprise here and there like a free dessert at a restaurant or something like that. It's not guarateed as it's up to CM disgression, but it's been known to happen. Also if you have any table service reservations, be sure to let them know it's your dad's birthday and they might do something special for him. Other than that, Disney doesn't do anything for guest birthdays. Hope that helps!
  7. TikiRoomLiz's Avatar
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    It's great to see so many great things going on at the parks. The signs at the Tram/Bus stop made me laugh a little because I recall how confused I was when I went to the parks back in 2006. I had never seen DCA and only recalled a parking lot being in front of DL. I had to ask a CM to point me in the right direction, so it's good to see that they have signs up now.
  8. tinkermonkey's Avatar
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    When I was there in January I noticed that the sides of the Carthay Circle Theater look like the paint has bubbled and these photos show it has gotten worse. Is that intentional? It looks wrong to me.

    Can't wait to see Buena Vista Street. Thanks, as always, for the updates!
  9. KingEric's Avatar
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    wow great update. I am actually getting excited to visit DCA!
  10. duanesm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinkermonkey
    When I was there in January I noticed that the sides of the Carthay Circle Theater look like the paint has bubbled and these photos show it has gotten worse. Is that intentional? It looks wrong to me.

    Can't wait to see Buena Vista Street. Thanks, as always, for the updates!
    Hey there, the "bubbles" are actually supposed to be there. It's not paint, it's in the actual "finish" of the building. You can see the bubbles in this picture from the original Carthay Circle Theater in the 1930's, around the time of the "Snow White" premiere.
  11. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Hope they get the Carthay Circle Theater neon circle sign on the roof for the opening.
  12. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Excellent update!
  13. disneymademoiselle's Avatar
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    I cannot believe how fabulous DCA is looking and how much progress they've made on Buena Vista Street since I was there in December!
  14. cablubber's Avatar
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    Great update! Thanks!
  15. Internitty's Avatar
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    It's very exciting as we approach the end of the 5 year resort expansion but in a way it's going to be a little sad, there will still be refurbs going on as always but I can't help wondering when will the next major project start so we can tune in each Monday and have that burst of excitment as we see progress each week.
  16. mainejeff's Avatar
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    I do not like the color of the Eureka Gold & Timber Co. building.
  17. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    The new signage at the bus drop-off area is very nice, but that is still one of the ugliest spots at the resort. I wish they'd build some shade covers with popcorn lights like the bus dropoff area at Magic Kingdom in WDW.