Memorial Day weekend - Lots to See and Do in the SoCal area, but where to park?
by, 05-22-2009 at 04:19 AM
Memorial Day Weekend has been traditionally the big "Theme/Amusement" Parks kick-off weekend. Well, this year, not too many new rides, and much of the new entertainment starts in a few weeks.
But we will look at some of the new offerings, plus a few other fun things to do in the upcoming few days.
Last chance to sign up for Gumball Rally 3.
MiceChat will be hosting the third version of the Gumball Rally a week from Saturday, May 30th.
And the event is almost sold out, thanks in part to do some Media coverage, including the Orange County Register, some local TV stations (KTLA and KABC), and ABC national news.
As the Disneyland Resort continues its construction projects, plus with many folks focusing on shorter, close to home vacations/trips, parking at the Disneyland Resort have been an issue the last few months, and doesn't look to get much better this summer.
During Spring Break, there were days and times that the Disneyland Resort said "we have no Parking Spaces" in the afternoon/evening.
A look at Pumbaa Parking Lot last Sunday. Every space was used
For example, last Sunday Morning at around 10:30 AM, Disney was turning folks away from the Timon Parking Lot entrance (This is the one at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Disney Way) and directing them to the Anaheim GardenWalk complex to park.
And the Timon Parking Lot entrance from Sunday, where Disney CM's were turning folks away and directing them to the Anaheim GardenWalk and Pumbaa lots.
Well, some folks didn't like that choice, and tried to get to the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure on Disneyland Drive instead.
Long lines to enter the Anaheim GardenWalk. FYI, when Disney is parking the lot, they charge Disney prices, and use Disney Cm's to collect the fees. If you are going to just the Anaheim GardenWalk, I recommend using the Katella Avenue Entrance to avoid the wait.
All this did was create large traffic jams. The parking lines for Anaheim GardenWalk went all the way back to Harbor Blvd. And trying to get to Parking Structure, the traffic was backed up past Harbor Blvd on Ball Road.
Cars backed up to Harbor Boulevard to enter the Anaheim GardenWalk
So what to do? Well, you have a few options, the first one is get the early if you want a parking space, locals tend to start later than folks staying in the area, so waits get longer as the morning progresses.
Work Continues in the Timon Parking Lot on the East edge, in preparation for the new CarsLand area, to be able to have parking trams access the Simba Parking Lot without interfering with the construction.
Also, don't plan to park in Timon, I know some folks love it, as it is the "closest" to the Main Entrance Plaza, but construction has eliminated most of the lot, and it will be totally closed to guests in the next few weeks.
Due to the need to use City Streets, the Pumbaa and Anaheim GardenWalk Shuttles use Large Buses instead. (Strollers are placed in the luggage hold.)
If you do use the Disney Way exit, just follow the Anaheim Police direction, and the signage to the best available lot. Disney is currently offering Shuttle Buses to both Pumbaa and Anaheim GardenWalk if they are parking cars in those lots.
Work continues at the Simba Parking Lot (next to the Paradise Pier Hotel), resurfacing, and then re-stripping the lot to the traditional double parking stalls used for Theme Park parking.
Disney is also working on the Simba Parking Lot to take over and replace some of the parking spaces that are being lost at Timon. So if they have the Timon Toll Booths open, there is a good chance you will be sent straight to Simba (even if you need a Handicap Parking Space). Currently, Disney is not offering any sort of Tram Service (other than Handicapped Vans for those who qualify for additional assistance) from Simba, and expect guests to walk through the Hotel Landscaping to Downtown Disney and access the Main Entrance Plaza by walking the route. Disney is working on restoring tram service to Simba, but is still weeks away in upgrading the roadway between Simba and the Lion King Tram stop at the east end of the Main Entrance Plaza.
More preparation in the Timon Parking Lot to allow for the Lion King tram to service the Simba Lot.
Of course, folks do not have to drive to the parks, as there are alternatives. First off, if you are staying at one of the nearby hotels, leave your car at the Hotel/Motel! Instead, either walk if you are close, or take advantage of the ART system, or other shuttles depending on where you are staying.
For locals, There are 4 major Public Bus routes that service Disneyland seven days a week. OCTA (The Orange County Transit Authority) has 3 routes, #43, #50 and #83, and Metro (The Los Angeles Metro System) has route #460. The main stop for most of these routes is on Harbor Blvd, next to the Main Pedestrian Crosswalk. (OCTA Route #50 nearest stop is at Harbor and Katella).
And if you prefer, you can also get to the parks by Train.
To get to Disneyland from the south (San Diego and South Orange County) you can catch either an Amtrak or Metrolink to the Santa Ana train station, and then take OCTA Route 83 to Disneyland. From the north (LA Union Station area), get off at the Fullerton train station and catch OCTA Route 43.
If you want to visit Knott's, you can catch a Metrolink Train to the Buena Park Train Station, and then catch OCTA Route 29 to Knott's Berry Farm/Soak City. (Amtrak does not stop at the Buena Park station).
And Universal Studios is easy to get to from LA Union Station. Just take the Metro Red Line subway to the Universal City Station, and catch the free shuttle to Universal Studios. (Just cross the street).
Metrolink is cheaper than Amtrak, but is a mainly a commuter train, with some weekend service. Also, once you get your Metrolink ticket, you can access the OCTA and Metro buses/subway system at no extra charge (Just show the driver your Metrolink ticket).
Amtrak is more expensive, but has more flexible scheduling, especially in the evening hours.
Of course, you can also ride a bicycle to the parks. Disneyland has bicycle racks at the Hotel Tram area, near the East side of the Main Entrance Plaza, and at the ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney (North side near the Valet Parking drop off area).
So if you still want to drive, bring your patience, and follow the directions the police/CM's give you. They know the best options, and try and keep waits down as much as possible. Pumbaa is a great option when open, as is the Anaheim GardenWalk, especially now that they have the large white "Greyhound" style bus service offered free by Disney. In fact, Sertinos Coffee Shop now opens at 8 AM to take care of the guests parking at AGW. Also, if you don't have tickets, and independent Ticket Broker has Disneyland Resort (and other local attractions) for sale, and they are the same price, or cheaper than what is available at the Main Ticket Booths, with less wait.
All Aboard For 'Disney's A Christmas Carol' Train Tour
Hope everyone had a chance to check out Sue Kruse's review of the 'Disney's A Christmas Carol' Train Tour at MiceAge today.
If you want to check it out for yourself, it will be open to the public today through Monday, before it heads off for a Nationwide Tour.
The Train tour is free. (Of course, parking is extra, so you might want to use Public Transportation instead). Open 9 AM to 9 PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 AM to 6 PM on Monday, Memorial Day.
Here is a link to the official site, which has the complete schedule and a map of the Nationwide Tour.
What is coming up this Summer at the Parks.
All Aboard For 'Disney's A Christmas Carol' Train Tour
FROM SNEAK PEEKS OF EXCLUSIVE 3D FILM FOOTAGE TO SUMMERTIME SNOW - DISNEY PULLS OUT ALL THE WHISTLE STOPS FOR 40-CITY TRAVELING EXPERIENCE
Departing Los Angeles May 22; Tour to Cover More Than 16,000 Miles
BURBANK, Calif., May 8 -- Disney is pulling out all the whistle stops and taking its show on the road with a spectacular immersive and interactive 40-city train tour including a 3D sneak peek of film footage from the upcoming movie "Disney's A Christmas Carol," it was announced today (05/08/09) by Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. Set amidst a snowy backdrop -- complete with all of the sights and sounds of Christmas including carolers, decorations, giveaways and many more surprises in each of the 40 cities -- the Train Tour is being launched with HP on board as the title and technology sponsor and driven by Amtrak. This family event is for guests of all ages and is free to the public.
Starring Jim Carrey and directed by Academy Award(R)-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, "Disney's A Christmas Carol" opens in theatres November 6 in Disney Digital 3D(TM) and in IMAX 3D(R).
Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, "'Disney's A Christmas Carol' Train Tour is an incredibly fun way to introduce families across the country to the wonders and spectacle that is Robert Zemeckis' unique and spectacular new holiday film. We are so proud of the movie, and think the 3D footage is so incredible, we just had to give everyone a chance to see it in Disney Digital 3D. From Los Angeles to New York, and all points in between, guests are going to have a fabulous time discovering things about the making of this extraordinary film, participating in their own festive fantasies, and getting into the holiday spirit all year round. 'Disney's A Christmas Carol' is great entertainment for moviegoers of all ages, and this is the perfect introduction to a fun and exciting new holiday classic."
Among the highlights of the tour are authentic artifacts on loan from the Charles Dickens Museum of London; artwork, costumes and props from the film; demonstrations of performance capture technology; and a chance to morph your face into one of the film's characters using HP TouchSmart PCs. At each stop along the way, a state-of-the-art Disney Digital 3D Theatre will be erected, where guests can get a sneak peek of "Disney's A Christmas Carol" and see other exclusive behind-the-scenes materials from the movie. The latest details about tour stops and scheduled events are available at www.christmascaroltraintour.com.
Featuring four custom-designed vintage rail cars full of behind-the-scenes attractions, entertaining demonstrations, and fun activities, the tour will have its inaugural stop at Los Angeles' Union Station over Memorial Day Weekend, from May 22nd through May 25th. During the next 24 weeks, the train will make 40 stops in 36 states, as it travels its way across more than 16,000 miles of track. The tour will finish at New York's Grand Central Terminal over the weekend of October 30th through November 1st.
At every tour stop, Radio Disney will invite kids to enter for a chance to become a Movie Surfer representing their hometown. Each Hometown Movie Surfer will get a chance to appear on Disney Channel by filming their very own Movie Surfer's segment! They'll also receive a prize package of exclusive Movie Surfer and "Disney's A Christmas Carol" gear.
ABC television stations across the country will run local promotions. At each stop, guests will have the chance to win an HP TouchSmart PC and an HP Photosmart wireless printer. Additionally, Disney is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America organization to provide an early Christmas experience to kids across the country. Disney will present the organization with a donation in the amount of $100,000 at the May 21st launch in Los Angeles to further the organization's efforts of helping kids grow up to be great and will invite Boys & Girls Club kids to be part of the tour when it comes to their town. Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the nation are impacting the lives of 4.8 million young people each year with after-school programs that emphasize education, career exploration, community service, technology skills, financial literacy, the arts and more to help them reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens.
A variety of innovative HP technologies helped to make the Train Tour possible. HP ProLiant servers and HP ProCurve switches will provide Disney with the computing power that will allow guests to collect and upload photos. Throughout the train exhibits, Disney is using HP TouchSmart PCs to run an interactive face morph application and HP monitors to showcase performance capture technology as well as images and digital effects from the film. Additionally, each train car will be wrapped with Disney's Train Tour logo using the versatility of HP Scitex printers.
"For decades HP and Disney have joined together to captivate audiences through technology innovation and digital entertainment," said Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, HP. "HP technology used in the making of 'Disney's A Christmas Carol' has enabled Disney to push the boundaries in performance capture technology. The Train Tour offers an innovative way for guests to interact with HP's latest technology and experience the magic behind the film."
Amtrak locomotives and engineers will lead the four-car Train Tour (plus a private car), across the US, with stops ranging from 1-3 days along the way. Each train station will be themed with holiday decorations, and feature artwork from the film, Christmas Carolers, fun activities for the entire family, and snow!
"Rail travel continues to influence the way people connect with each other and celebrating the release of a true classic is a perfect way to further that connection," said Emmett Fremaux, Vice President Marketing and Product Management, Amtrak. "We couldn't be more thrilled to be teaming up with Walt Disney Studios for this 40 city tour to help educate Americans about the benefit of rail travel."
Dolby Laboratories will be supplying its Dolby(R) 3D Digital Cinema solution for the traveling Digital 3D theater, and Barco is providing the DP2000 digital projectors. Panasonic provides some of the latest high resolution large screen technology available to consumers today throughout the train cars. And, the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging guests traveling to and from the train to Buckle Up, Every Trip, Every Time!
ABOUT THE MOVIE
"Disney's A Christmas Carol," a multi-sensory thrill ride re-envisioned by Academy Award(R)-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, captures the fantastical essence of the classic Dickens tale in a groundbreaking, performance-capture 3D motion picture event. Ebeneezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) begins the holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (Gary Oldman) and his cheery nephew (Colin Firth). But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey, revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it's too late. Through the magic of performance-capture technology, Jim Carrey tackles seven roles, including Scrooge and all of the Christmas spirits.
The North County Times has a good summary of all the different Tourist locations and their summer offerings.
Not too much on the major capital projects this year. The San Diego Zoo has built a new area that will feature elephants and many other species.
Six Flags Magic Mountain is the other big spender, investing $10 million to build a new Wooden Roller Coaster.
Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times had a chance to ride the new attraction, which opens to the public this weekend. Here are his thoughts.
Looks like Magic Mountain has built a great new ride.
Also Memorial Day weekend is the kick off for most of the Southern California Water Parks. And with the weather they way it has been, would be a nice option for many.
And in the Disneyland Resort area, the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center opens up its new exhibit, Robots and Us this Saturday.
The Taco Bell Discovery Science Center, located next to the MainPlace Mall. It is also known as "The Cube"
Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars to Honor Olympian Dr. Sammy Lee
King Kong to be in 4-D, coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2010
ANAHEIM, CA - (May 18, 2009) - Dr. Sammy Lee, famed Olympic Gold Medalist in the sport of diving, and Orange County resident, will be honored with a star on the Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars, May 26 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place on Harbor Blvd., near Disney Way. Dr. and Mrs. Roz Lee will be in attendance.
“The Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars is truly fortunate to honor Dr. Sammy Lee, one of the most decorated and respected sports ambassadors of our generation,” said City of Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle. “He is an outstanding individual who has made valuable contributions not only to Orange County, but to our country and the world. He has proven dreams are possible, and he is a fine role model to many.”
Dr. Lee, a first generation Korean-American, has garnered numerous awards and accolades during his illustrious career. He won gold medals at the 1948 London Olympic Games, and the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, and in doing so became the first male diver to win back-to-back gold medals. Upon retirement as an athlete, Dr. Lee continued his support of the Olympic Games and found success as the coach for the 1960 American Diving team. In 1976 he coached Olympian Greg Louganis to a silver medal. Dr. Lee also served as an Olympic torch runner and official Olympic flag bearer during the Opening Ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
His commitment to sport, health and physical fitness was and continues to be a constant in his life. Dr. Lee served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter and Bush. He was named winner of the 1953 James. E. Sullivan Award, given to the athlete who promotes sport and good sportsmanship. He was the first non-caucasian to receive the award. Dr. Lee was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1990.
Other notable recognitions and honors include being named Outstanding American-born Korean of the past 50 years, given by the American Korean Society (1967), and Orange County’s Sportsman of the Year (1976). He was honored as the first Grand Marshall of Orange County’s Korean Community Parade (1981), and he was inducted into Orange County Sports Hall of Fame (1984).
Dr. Lee received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Southern California, was one of the first two Asian American doctors to move into Orange County, and kept offices in Santa Ana and Orange. He retired from practice in 1991.
Dr. Lee’s star will be the 11th on the Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars. Past recipients include Walt Disney, Margaret and Carl Karcher, Henry and Susan Samueli, the Yorba family, the Taormina family, Gene Autry, Monsignor John Sammon, restaurateur Bruno Serato, The Righteous Brothers, and Donna and John Crean.
For more information please visit www.anaheim.net.
The Los Angeles Times reported on one of the new attractions for next year.
Selected Photos from Darkbeer.Smugmug.com
The new “King Kong” attraction will derive its storyline from the 2005 Peter Jackson blockbuster, with visitors traveling through Skull Island, dodging a swarm of giant bats and bearing witness to an ape versus dinosaur finale.
Tram riders will don 3-D glasses just before entering the new “King Kong” soundstage for a digital 4-D multisensory experience that includes rolling, jolting and shuddering special effects. The new Kong soundstage will be built near the old attraction, but not in the same location.
Grand Californian Hotel expansion is progressing nicely.
The Innoventions Building was not moving on Wednesday, which allows guests to walk right into the attraction, and not have to wait for a specific platform
The former Cosmic Waves area is getting close to reopening.
And the Astro Orbitor is slowly being put back together
King Arthur's Carousel in DCA reopens this weekend, after basic maintenance and some touch up painting
The new restrooms in the San Francisco area of DCA have open. The restrooms basically take up the entire building.
The new restrooms give you an option of paper towels or the Dyson Air Blade
Also, two Family/Companion restrooms, which consists of a seperate room with one toliet and a sink.
And Disney built this new area on the north side of the building to host the Chase ATM machine, and drinking fountains.
Harbour Galley opens this weekend.
No new offerings, basically the same options as the Royal Street Veranda
Long lines at City Hall around 11 AM Sunday. If you are trying to claim your Free Birthday offer, you might want to check over at DCA's Guest Relations, which is located INSIDE the turnstiles (to your left) at the park.
Also a long line for the Billy Hill & the Hillbillies show Sunday Morning
PUSH trying to sneak into the Wine Tasting event
This is Jorge Sotelo, Executive Pastry Chef of the Grand Californian Hotel. (and one of the best Pastry Chefs in the Nation). The Food and Wine events continue through June 7th.
One of the many Crawdads located along the Big Thunder Trail
A family of Canada Geese have made the Rivers of America their temporary home
These are goslings, not baby ducks.
These are Baby Ducks (Come on, you knew I would get at least one photo of them included in the update!)
And while I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, please take some time on Monday and truly honor those Military Members who have given up their lives to keep America the Land of the Free.
And as always, Thanks for checking out MiceAge on a regular basis.