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10/17: Blue Sky Cellar, Pixie Hollow, Court des Merch, Bakery, Holiday merch, +MORE!

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by , 10-17-2008 at 12:32 AM
We've got a HUGE update for you today! As most of you know by now, the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar has opened to Annual Passholders who are getting a sneak peek at what's in store for Disney's California Adventure in the coming years as the park undergoes major expansion and remodeling. It is with the great help of MiceChatters Matt "2DieFR" Gottula and ROBONICS95 that we get an extensive tour the new Preview Center.

New this week are images that are watermarked with new "Disney's California Adventure Project Tracker" and "Disneyland Project Tracker" logos -- feel free to click on any of these images to be taken directly to those project trackers on the MiceChat discussion forums where you can get the latest information and status on these projects and join in on the discussion about the various projects going on at both parks.

Alright -- there's a lot to see this week, so let's get to it, shall we?

The third billboard at the Mickey & Friends tram loading area has finally been fixed and sports a matching HalloweenTime design.

Down on Main Street, the small secondary entrance to the Fortuosity Shop was behind walls. Could it be getting boarded up?

The upcoming Pixie Hollow meet-and-greet area for Tinker Bell and her friends is getting more theming as it approaches its October 28 opening.

The Court des Anges in New Orleans Square (more commonly referred to as the Courtyard of Angels) has undergone its conversion into a holiday merchandise location. No word yet on whether this will be a permanent addition, or only seasonal. One would suppose it depends on how sales are.

Los Angeles Times staff writer and LA Times Funland blogger, Brady MacDonald, recently shared an interview and history of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk Through with Walt Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, along with an exciting scene-by-scene tour of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through as it will be opening to guests later this December. His articles can be found in their entirety at the links below:

Below is the scene-by-scene sneak peek. There are spoilers galore, so read at your own risk!
  • Entering from the castle courtyard, visitors encounter the first of seven illuminated manuscripts that tell the story of “Sleeping Beauty.” Naturally, the first book begins, “Once upon a time…”

  • In the first scene at the top of a long staircase, the king and queen watch as a pyre of spinning wheels burn. Imagineers used the first of several Pepper’s Ghosts effects in the castle to achieve the flickering inferno — shining a light through a rotating wine bottle onto an unseen plate of angled glass, making the fire appear to burn in the middle of the scene.

  • In the christening scene with baby Aurora, the fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather sprinkle sparkling pixie dust from their magic wands. To achieve the effect, a light shines through a revolving grocery store checkout conveyor belt poked with “pixie dust” pin spots as the fairies rock on hidden cams.

  • Maleficent makes her first appearance in her dungeon. The tails of her cloak billow ominously (aided by hidden air jets) as her pet raven spreads its wings (an early animatronic). A cyclorama painted on the curved back wall gives the illusion of a long hallway. The original 1957 raven survived, thanks to a Disneyland maintenance worker who kept the black bird on his desk since 1977.

  • Ascending to the top of the castle, visitors first come upon the sleeping spell scene. The fairies sprinkle pixie dust on the castle inhabitants in a repeat of an earlier sight gag. In the 1957 version, visitors were encouraged to add their own “snore” — which was recorded, looped and added to the scene.

  • In the next scene, Sleeping Beauty makes her first appearance locked in eternal slumber. Rays of pixie dust filter across the room from a moonlit window, aided by a shimmering light shining through a series of pinholes onto an invisible piece of glass slopping at a severe angle from the canopy of her bed toward the viewer.

  • In the first of a series of scenes not in the 1959 animated movie, Maleficent’s goons pop up to surprise visitors who peer into a barred prison cell. Back in 1957, visitors peeked through keyholes at Maleficent’s imprisoned goons in a simple yet elaborate mirror illusion that put the viewer’s eyes on the goons’ faces. The gag, which halted traffic in the cramped castle corridors in 1957, proved too problematic to replicate in 2008.

  • Heading downstairs, visitors come upon Maleficent summoning her demons to help her destroy Phillip — a scene that never made the movie. Using another pepper’s ghost illusion, the ghouls ascend into the night sky as lightning bolts flash. A rear projector shines storm clouds against a scrim.

  • In Maleficent’s dungeon scene, ghouls emerge from a fiery pit. Ghastly green smoke reflected off diffusion glass appears to billow from the pit. The original 1957 effect would be used later in the Haunted Mansion ballroom.

  • In a new scene not in the 1957 castle walk-through, Prince Phillip battles Maleficent’s dragon. As viewed from the thorny brambles, the villainess transforms from a wicked witch into a fire-breathing fiend. Imagineers based the tableau on artwork developed for but never used in the original walk-through.

  • The increasingly dark storyline moves onto another scene not in the movie — the Dance of the Spinning Wheels dream sequence. A single set of spinning wheels on a rotating platform reflects in the mirrors surrounding the room, creating a mesmerizing and hypnotic illusion. A flickering blue flame effect made of China silk strips painted with black-light colors and fluttered by a hidden fan would be used later in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

  • In the final diorama, Prince Phillip awakens Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. Doves fly past overhead with the aid of a rotating wheel cocked at an odd angle. A bed of roses spreads to infinity with the help of an angled pane of glass. Imagineers are still working on the effect that transforms Aurora’s skin tones from cool to warm when kissed. Inexplicably, the kiss scene was not included in the 1957 castle walk-through on opening day.

  • And just when all seems resolved, a shadowy silhouette of Maleficent appears on the wall — from a hidden projector. The 1957 scare frightened children so terribly that it had to be unplugged. How kids today react remains to be seen.

  • Before exiting to the courtyard, visitors encounter the last illuminated manuscript, insisting that all ends “Happily ever after.”

The big news this week, is of course, the new preview center Disney has unveiled for guests visiting Disney's California Adventure. The new Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar is currently only open to Annual Passholders through Sunday, but will open to all park guests on Monday, October 20.

Up the path, guests are presented with lots of concept art and brief explanations of what's to come.

A closer look at the new entrance design for DCA:

A closer look at the new "Fun Map" that is featured on this display:

A closer look at the Cars Land rendering:

New signage for the new attraction:

Banners for the Blue Sky Cellar line the Performance Corridor

A sneak preview? Well, let's take a look, shall we?

The new preview center occupies the space that formerly housed the Seasons of the Vine film attraction that was briefly hosted by Robert Mondavi before the winemaker bowed out from the Golden Vine Winery at DCA only months after DCA first opened. You can get a complete photo tour of Seasons of the Vine and some historical perspective of the attraction at Yesterland. The "Barrel Room" is now home to faux Walt Disney Imagineering workshop where Imagineers have been hard at work dreaming up the future for DCA.

The official Disneyland Resort press release describes the Blue Sky Cellar as such:
With Blue Sky Cellar, Guests will be invited for the first time to preview works in progress at Disneyland Resort by immersing themselves in a facsimile of an Imagineering workspace. Based on the belief that idea gathering is best when “the sky’s the limit,” the Blue Sky Cellar is designed to resemble an Imagineering “charette,” an extended creative idea development meeting. Guests receive an inside-look at how Imagineers take “blue sky” ideas and refine them into the classic storytelling that characterizes Disney Theme Park attractions and adventures.

The press release continues...
In this whimsical immersive setting, Imagineers have taken over a former wine cellar and set up shop. Wine barrels have turned into work stations and the former wine tasting room has become a screening room where videos showcase the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into the creation of new and upcoming attractions for Disney’s California Adventure.

Guests will view several new attraction models, including the newly envisioned Paradise Pier area with its turn-of-the-20th-Century look, ride vehicle maquettes from Toy Story Mania!; and the new character overlays to the Games of the Boardwalk. Special features include updates and character additions to attractions such as Mickey’s Fun Wheel (an enhancement of the current Sun Wheel) and Silly Symphony Swings (a refreshed and rethemed Orange Stinger).

Brand new sketches and artwork line the walls including images of the new entrance area, soon to be known as Buena Vista Street, which will bring to life a nostalgic look at Los Angeles from the 1920s and 30s when Walt Disney first arrived in California; a Red Car trolley, reminiscent of the Pacific Electric Railway; and a new central plaza area including a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre, where Walt premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The exhibit is full of models and loads of concept art, mostly focusing on Paradise Pier. One of the most prominent features is the large Paradise Pier model, showcasing the changes coming to the Pier which will wash away the stucco and vinyl signs that plague the area from its original overly budget-conscious incarnation.

The current Ariel's Grotto restaurant will be renamed Princess Palace and get a minor facelift which will layer on new details and theming.

New rockwork planned for the California Screamin' launch area.

Speaking of Screamin,' the attraction's queue will eventually be completely indoors.

Nearby, King Triton's Carousel will be getting a new period-specific structure.

A look at new shop facades

Rethemed Games of the Boardwalk

A re-themed Maliboomer:

Disney recently released some concept art for the upcoming Silly Symphony Swings re-theme of the Orange Stinger...

..but plenty of other ideas for the Stinger were thrown around before settling on the Silly Symphonies.

The new World of Color show should prove to be a huge hit with fans of Disney films

The lighting towers for the show will be themed appropriately to blend in.

A look at the re-themed Sun Wheel:

And even more Paradise Pier concept art:

The "Screening Room" occupies the area that formerly housed the Seasons of the Vine screen and projector. The press release says this about the Screening Room
The screening room features Imagineers describing the approach and vision of the Disney California Adventure expansion. Guests will see footage of model-making, sculpting, blue sky meetings and all the aspects of bringing a Disney concept to life.

The new Resort Bakery being built behind the Mickey & Friends parking structure is progressing nicely...

And inside Disneyland, the Autopia got a new height requirement.

Over at DCA, the Character Closeup area of the Disney Animation pavilion has dedicated former art of animation displays to the making of the Toy Story Zoetrope

The China Closet on Main Street has been transformed into holiday merch headquarters.

Lots of new Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle merch...
Tree skirt: $60

Light-up banner: $30

Stocking: $20

Ornament: $12

Ornament: $10

Mug: $15

2009 Holiday Merch
Ornament: $15

Collector's Ornament: $11.95

Ornament: $11.95

Greeting Cards: $13.95

Gift wrap pack: $5.95

Large plates: $11.95 / Small plates: $5.95

Hand towels: $14.95 / Cups and small bowls: $5.95

Coasters: $5.95

Placemats: $5.95

Mickey and Minnie Santa hat ornaments: $5

And finally, some views of the Resort from atop the Sun Wheel, which closed Monday to begin retheming as Mickey's Fun Wheel.

Alright, that should wrap it up for this week's super-sized update. Once again, many thanks to Matt "2DieFR" Gottula and ROBONICS95 for their exceptional photos of the Blue Sky Cellar. And as always, thanks to you for reading!

We'll see you here again next week!
- Andy

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Updated 10-17-2008 at 01:10 AM by Dateline Disneyland



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  1. mariezp's Avatar
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    Excellent report. Thanks for all the new info!
  2. JerrodDRagon's Avatar
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    Amazing Pictures, thanks for the update. I cant wait until November when I get to do to the preview center.
  3. disneychrista's Avatar
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    Why are the holiday ornaments 2009, isn't this year 2008?
  4. dl_appurtenant's Avatar
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    I'm going on Monday so I'm real excited to see the preview center!!! Thanks so much.
  5. disneyland255's Avatar
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    Amazing pictures from Blue Sky! Thank you so much!
  6. RikiTiki66's Avatar
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    Thanks for another fantastic update. The preview center looks great.
    If I had known what a great view was to be had on top of the sun wheel I might have gone for a ride. I always looked at it as just another ferris wheel. Now I guess I have to wait until it reopens.
  7. EchoFifth's Avatar
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    Wow... what a great update and fantastic photos. Thank you so much!!
  8. RikiTiki66's Avatar
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    Whoa, hold on there partner. With all the excitment about DCA this one kind of got by me.
    They shoved a bunch of merch. into that beautiful little courtyard in NOS? What happened too many people taking pictures there with no money for TDA?
    Can't there be 20 sq. feet of space in DL that's not ringing up cash?
    That's what all the shops in all the differant locations are for.
    Why is there always good news and bad news?
  9. xalesa's Avatar
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    Bravo! Brilliant update; especially the Blue Sky Cellar! Wow, exciting things coming!
    I love all the holiday merchandise; too bad I won't be around during the Christmas season. But I can still enjoy all the goodies right here!
    Thanks for your updates!
  10. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    this looks like yesterday's update but fab new stuff!!
  11. 2DieFR's Avatar
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    WOW, what a huge update! Super kudos to Andy for putting it all together for us.

    There are so many clever details and interesting things to look at in the Cellar, you can tell the project was a labor of love put together by many creative people. It is worth several return visits, even before the exhibits change.

    When I visited yesterday, the Sun Wheel was missing most of its purple and red gondolas, and the ones remaining had their doors open. That refurbishment is already well underway.
  12. Slaakker's Avatar
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    Anyone else think the Gepetto idea for Orange Stinger looked much better than the Silly Symphony?
  13. Crazy Larry's Avatar
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    Speaking of Screamin,' the attraction's queue will eventually be completely indoors.
    I like this idea. The curve under the boardwalk will also be enclosed, very much like the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz.
    And I'm sure the station will look cool and old-timey, just like the classic wooden coaster up north.
  14. pussnboots's Avatar
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    Anyone else think the Gepetto idea for Orange Stinger looked much better than the Silly Symphony?
    The Geppetto idea is nice, but the Silly Symphonies idea seems to fit better into the early 20th century Americana theme — Geppetto-style woodwork is just so Fantasyland/European.
  15. Villains Fan's Avatar
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    Thanks for a wonderful update! The Court of Angels "shop" isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be. At least there's still room for people to be able to take their family Xmas photos on the stairs. Also, thanks for the Blue Sky update/pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself soon.
  16. Wendygirl's Avatar
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    Wonder very informative update. Thank you.
  17. TwilitWings's Avatar
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    I'm really glad that they settled on the Silly Symphonies theme versus the other space/Buzz Lightyear ones (although the Gepetto idea was lovely too, albeit perhaps too European to reside near say--Woody, etc.) I'm excited for what's to come for DCA, all of the art and models look really nice. (:
  18. BrerDan's Avatar
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    Yes, Slaakker--I also preferred the look of the Gepetto version of Orange Stinger. I think there is too much Mickey with both the fun wheel AND the swings. (Plus, I just love the look of the Sun Wheel the way it is now--and it fits in to the timeframe already! oh well).

    A sad loss with the Court of Merchandise. My all time favorite photo (from my first visit to Disneyland a few years back) came from in there

    One observation--is A Bug's Life going away? It looks like the Carthay theatre will be in the same space that the Bug's theatre is now??? That would be a shame, as it's my favorite of all the Disney 3D films.

    Overall, I'm very interested to see how things progress....and the overall theming will make just hanging out and wasting time there more fun...but I'm really not seeing much more to do. I'm no more likely to ride Silly Symphony swings than I am Orange Stinger. I'll wait to pass judgement though
  19. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Awsome update! Need to see it in person.
  20. richboi117's Avatar
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    WOO HOO! That preview center looks pretty expansive. Can't wait to see it in person.

    Good Job with this update!
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