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In the Parks

Disney Rocks, Star Wars Blocks, Knott's Country Fair, Bubblefest and Much More

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 03-31-2011 at 09:22 PM

Folks, Summer is just around the corner. The Southern California parks are beginning to unveil their attractions designed to lure you in. Things are really starting to come together. In fact, we've shaken things up a bit today to feature LEGOLAND's new Star Wars experience at the top of today's update since it is brand new as of today! But keep on reading all the way through because we have bubble insanity, changes to Universal's Studio Tour, a Country Fair at Knott's Berry Farm, major progress at Disneyland and California Adventure and more. Plus, a new initiative from Disney that may have you writing checks from cradle to grave. Today's update is a real treat, we hope you enjoy.

This week the world of Star Wars became part of Legoland California in a star-studded celebration. The Master of ceremonies was Master Obi-Shawn. He introduced the General Manager of Legoland, Peter Ronchetti, who gave opening remarks. Next Obi-Shawn introduced Carson Wiener, a Make A Wish recipient who was there to meet with a Lego Master Builder and meet Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia from the Star Wars films. Carrie Fisher then helped present the Make a Wish Foundation with a check for $5000.

A voice-over introduced each of the planets represented in the displays, giving a little background for them one at a time. As each planet was named, small low-level pyro exploded near the respective display. Obi-Shawn then brought Carrie and Carson back out for the ribbon slashing. Carson cut the red ribbon with a lightsaber, officially opening the new addition.

Let's travel to a long, long time ago . . . in a galaxy far, far away . . .







The displays are phenomenal. The detail and accuracy is amazing. We were skeptical when we learned how big the area was going to be and how they planned to represent every movie plus the Clone Wars animated series. Somehow, they pulled it off beautifully. No scene felt "cut short" or less than expected. You won't be disappointed.

Editors Note: Much thanks to our newest reporter, Donald Fan, for today's fantastic LEGOLAND coverage. We look forward to lots more news from the San Diego parks and attractions!

This weekend, the Discovery Science Center is celebrating its 15th year of Bubblefest! The event runs from April 2nd to April 24th

This high-tech combination of art and science is a stunning show of bubbles, lights and special effects brought to Southern California by bubble artists and World Record-holders, Fan Yang and his son Deni Yang, who will perform throughout the event. The Yang Family will perform four Mega Bubble Shows daily (11:00am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm). If you've never been, treat yourself to the wonderful Discovery Science Center and it's funtastic Bubblefest!

This week Knott's brings back a classic celebration, returns the medicine wagon to Ghost Town and explains a few things regarding Windseeker's delays.

COUNTY FAIR: April 16th-Sunday April 24th

Remember the Knott's Country Fair? Well it's back and bigger and better than ever before. There will be the famous pig races and the crazy pie eating contests (Boysenberry of course) and everything else you love about a country fair in one spot.

Starting April 16th and running through Easter Sunday, April 24, Knott’s Country Fair will include competitive games, unique exhibits, and contests that the whole family will enjoy.

Knott’s Berry Farm’s own Jug Band “The Jugger-Knotts,” will be performing at the front gates and blacksmithing, woodworking, and weaving and spinning will be happening in Ghost town. A really cool feature this year will be the expansive set of HO model trains on display in the Knott’s Wilderness Dance Hall. All the train enthusiasts should be excited to hear about that.

Calico Square as Knott’s will host the Alaskan Racing Pigs (April 16-19) as well as learn what it takes to raise farm animals from local high school agricultural departments (April 21-24). The square will also be home to the egg and spoon race, pie eating contest and the cake walk. (Did someone say CAKE? I'm there!)

Knott’s will have on display antique farm equipment from the turn of the century including such industrial equipment as a corn grinder, hack saw and vintage ringer washing machines.

Pretty cool stuff and just perfect for Knott's Berry Farm. This is the sort of quirky fun stuff that we love to see them doing!

On a recent visit we noticed some work going on at the Main Gate under Silver Bullet.

We are pretty sure they've uncovered the secret tunnels of a long lost race of subterranean boysenberry people.

Despite recent rains and the battery of soil tests required for construction in California, Windseeker is still aiming for a mid June opening. The site has remained quite recently but once vertical construction begins things should happen fast.

Almost there.

The restored Medicine Man wagon has returned to Ghost Town and looks truly stunning. The wagon features colors that seem to jump off of its surface and typography that wanders like vines. Beautiful job.

A nod to park manager Marty

Post Office:
The Post office peek-in has been touched up and re-opened.

The happiest place on earth just got a little bit spacier, Splash has gotten greener, but a few things are still under wraps. Here is what happened this week.

We facebooked some photos of Star Tours this week as soon as the scaffolding came down (if you aren't following our Facebook and Twitter, you should do so). The new paint job has fans buzzing on the look. Yes, it's just a small portion of a far greater picture, but it does look very good so far. The blue, gray geometric shapes recall the more abstract take on Tomorrowland from the 67 redo. Meanwhile, the Star Trader shop is going behind scaffolds to prepare for what will be a VERY busy Summer. Will Neon Mickey survive? We shall have to wait and see.

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues:
Here is a look at what was revealed earlier this week.

We love what we've seen so far. What about you? Do you like the new color scheme and geometric design?

Splash Mountain is finally getting green again. Sod has been laid on the tiers of the mountain, giving it enough time to grow in before the May 26th re-opening.

A grassy knoll

But there are still plenty of barren spots waiting for their turn

Higher barriers have been built in an attempt to keep water from the
first drop from splashing on non-riders below.

Big changes are on the way to the Crystal Cathedral and the Walt Disney Company.
"the buzz is that shortly Disney will announce their purchase of this troubled facility, along with the rest of properties within the area bordered by W. Chapman Ave. to the North, Lewis St. (adjacent to The Block mall) to the East, Lampson Ave. to the South, and Haster St. on the West, but will probably hold off on saying what they are planning for it."
Al goes on to discuss that any number of things could be happening to it. From a Cirque show to a Hoop-Dee-Do style dinner theatre the ideas are popping over at TDA. The whole complex is to be renamed the "Circle of Life Resort." But the major news is Disney's new interest in keeping you hooked from Cradle to Grave!
Read Al Lutz: To Infinity and Beyond here
And more from Dusty about D-Eternity here

The new main gate of Disney California Adventure has all four peaks shrouded in green screens as welding and metal work are completed.

Note the massive Cars Land mountain range at the back of the park

The Carthay circle construction.

The backstage access that will be to the left of the Carthay Circle Theater.

The Electronica stage has been moved into Hollywood Pictures
Backlot to allow for construction.

You can spot the scalloped tops of the barrier
that will be to the right of the theater.

Out in front of Hollywood Pictures Backlot there are some landscaping changes underway. Meanwhile the Electronica Stage has been moved inward to the area in front of the restrooms.

To the left.

Plants are a'comin'

Nothing is really happening in Bug's Land per-say. But one thing that we love is when the orange trees are covered in fragrant blossoms. It fills the air around this attraction with the sweet perfume of citrus and makes the area feel magical. Get over there soon to take to experience this first hand.

Smells SO GOOD!

This week a minor fire broke out on one of the tarps in Cars Land on Wednesday at 3:25 pm. Construction workers were evacuated immediately and the Anaheim fire department was called in when it was found that the fire was too high for Disneyland Resort fire trucks to reach. Disney California Adventure continued to operate normally.

The ugly back side of the Cars Land expanse.
Like many of you, we hope they have plans to cover the back side of the mountain which isn't just a simple painted wall.

The front of Cars Land.

The Little Mermaid ride is starting to look finished. We have been following this project for so long that we feel emotionally attached to it. Our baby is just about ready to swim.

Olive trees line the front of the attraction.

The rotunda under wraps.

Aged copper patina on the columns and sea foam green on the inside.

The left side of the building.

The gate to the left of the building for backstage access.

The Sky School retheming is coming along nicely.

The area is so much more lush and detailed even now.

The wires for the marque dangle, awaiting installation of the new sign.

The theming begins.

The work in front of the Corn Dog Castle.

Here is a look at what has happened over at the Paradise Garden Restaurants this week.

White rafters are being installed along the metal structure at the front.

The new welcome archway.

The permanent beer stand near Jumpin' Jellyfish and the Swings.

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta

The lamp stands are now being installed.

We stopped by the Disneyland Hotel to look at the progress of the large construction project on the resort towers and amenities. The tower for the Monorail water slides has peaked out and the slides are now being installed. Meanwhile the restaurant exterior looks more Hawaiian every day.

Where the waterfalls were.

The water slide tower is on the right.

You can see the water slides are being installed. But the decorative Monorails have not yet arrived.

This is the back part of the Hotel where Goofy's Kitchen is located.

The restaurant

Signage for the new clothing store "BLINK" by wet seal was hung up this week.

The CityWalk stage has been moved while work is conducted on the former stage.

Now through May 7, CityWalk turns up the volume with Spring Break Live every weekend. This new, live music series features an "Always Unexpected" mix of newly signed artists from Universal Music, A Cappella Groups and the ultimate battle of the bands KIIS FM’s Wango Tango Breakout Star!
April 1
7:00pm KIIS FM's Wango Tango Breakout Star Competition
9:00pm Rey Fresco presented by Eight O Five/Universal Music
April 2

8:00pm Sammie Jay
9:15pm Jacqueline Grace
April 8
7:00pm KIIS FM's Wango Tango Breakout Star Competition
9:00pm Baby Bash presented by BashTown Music Group/Upstairs Records
April 9
8:00pm UCLA’s Awaken A Cappella
9:15pm UCLA’s The Scattertones
April 15
7:00pm KIIS FM's Wango Tango Breakout Star Competition
9:00pm Elaine Faye presented by Hard Rock Cafe
April 16
8:00pm Avenue 52
9:15pm A Living Daylight
April 22
7:00pm KIIS FM's Wango Tango Breakout Star Competition
9:00pm Andy Grammer presented by S-Curve Records
April 23
8:00pm The Inheritance
9:15pm Darius Lux
April 29
7:00pm KIIS FM's Wango Tango Breakout Star Competition
9:00pm Gustavo Galindo presented by Universal Music Latin Entertainment
April 30
8:00pm USC Sirens
9:15pm USC Trojan Men
May 6
7:00pm KIIS FM's Wango Tango Breakout Star Competition - Finals
9:00pm Hyper Crush presented by Universal Motown
May 7
8:00pm Stereofix
9:15pm Method Echo

Along with the Billabong shop, the Guess store is temporarily closed for refurbishment and will reopen soon.

Studio Store:
The Universal Studio Store is home to everything HOP.

He's actually a very cute little dude.

To commemorate Autism Awareness month and World Autism Awareness Day, Universal Studios Hollywood will turn its world famous entrance arch blue and join other iconic buildings, monuments, and natural wonders around the world to raise awareness for a disorder that affects 1 in every 140 children. The entrance arch will be lit up with blue lights all day and night April 1 and April 2.

To promote the upcoming addition to the Fast and the Furious franchise (they're on their mind-numbing 5th now), the F&TF photo op area has received a new poster for the upcoming Fast Five. While over on Baker Street, a free Photo Booth...oh wait...that's no free photo booth! Fans of The Tonight Show on NBC may recognize the booth from a recurring segment where guests step into a photo booth and must follow the sometimes outrageous commands of the booth's computerized voice (voiced by comedienne Kira Soltanovich) in order to receive their free photos. Filming of the segment occurred throughout USH's operating day and will air in the near future.

Fast 5

Western Street has reopened in time for the Spring Break crowds. Walls that used to block off the street on both ends have been moved to where the walls of the Wild West Arena used to be.

Comic Heroes has closed and is scheduled to reopen next week with an all-new concept called "Production Central".

JIMMY FALLON takes over as the host of the Universal Studios Tour

It's official. Whoopi is out and Fallon is in. Jimmy Fallon will soon be taking over as the on-tram host to the world famous Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot tour. No exact date has been given but the pieces have been shot, cut and are ready to go. During production Jimmy brought a few writers from his late night T.V. show along to contribute his signature stylings and humor.

Is this a good thing? Sure. Jimmy Fallon is a funny and likable guy and it is great to see the most famous backlot tour in the world keeping things fresh and changing thing up. Not a bad gig for him at all. Plus, he isn't the focus of the tour, he's just the guy you hear during those inbetween sections of the tour.

Jimmy Fallon said,
“We really had fun with filming my role. We brought some writers out from our show and added some jokes, more play with the Studio Tour guides, the tram drivers and we added a song or two. The tour itself is a classic, a really great experience. For anyone with any interest in show business, it’s all there: the glamour, the glitz, all the hard work that goes into making a movie or a TV show can be experienced on the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour. I’m very happy to be a part of it.”
We are certainly looking forward to the fun. RIP Whoopi. Now the real question is, "Will we get a giant JIMMY at the escalator down to the Studio Tour?"

Work is being done in front of the Bates Motel. Norman Bates has been relocated to front porch of Mother's house.

Metro sets have a little construction going on.

Yes, Hop has been added to the Universal Experience exhibit as well. That bunny is so darn cute! At the same time, Jurrasic Park's Brachiosaur is busy with the plastic surgeon. Don't be too disappointed if you ride, there are plenty of other dinos in there to scare the heck out of you.

Here is a current look at the Transformers mega-ride that will be opening next year. Track is currently being built and pipping is being done on the lower levels of the massive show building.

A huge thanks to F!an for the amazing coverage of Universal this week!

Boy do we have a deal for teachers.

SeaWorld San Diego Welcomes Southern California Teachers!!!
SeaWorld San Diego is offering Southern California credentialed teachers (within zip codes 90000-93599) a FREE 2011 Fun Card. Come play all year!


What is the Gumball Rally? It's a contest to find out who can ride the most attractions at the Disneyland Resort in a single day! Sound fun? You bet it is! Bring your friends and join us:
When: May 14st, 2011
: Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California

COST: $19.99 per person (through March 31st, prices will go up to $25 per person beginning April 1st).
How Do I sign up?:MiceChat Events Store (Powered by CubeCart)
How Does the Rally Work?: Rally Information Page
More Information: A full event description and newsletter/info sign up form is available CLICK HERE: MiceChat Gumball Rally Info Page

or here for the MiceChat discussion: Gumball Rally 2011 Discussion

Registration is now open. But HURRY, tickets won't last! We are almost sold out for our 5th Gumball Rally!

Why stop here? There's a whole world of Disney and theme park fun left to discover on MiceChat. Might we suggest:

  • NEW! - Orlando Parkhopper - Visit our newest weekly column, which covers Walt Disney World and other top Orlando attractions!
  • SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
  • Weekend Update Offers a world of Disney theme parks as well as other sights and landmarks!
  • Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
  • And you'll always find something interesting on the forums and on MiceAge.

Today's update was brought to you by our fantastic and talented crew of photographers and news contributors: Donald Fan, F!an, Captphoebus, Pratt55, Ericbramey,Sir Clinksalot, Fishbulb, and Dustysage.

Show us you appreciate this column by sharing this page with your friends!

Would you like to be part of this crew? Do you have a park, zoo or botanical garden that you'd like to share with our readers? We are looking for Southern California theme park reporters. We'd love to hear from you! please contact [email protected].

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And that's our update for today. Have a wonderful Spring Break weekend and we hope to see you soon . . .

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  1. hyperskreem's Avatar
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    Country fair looks like some good ol fashioned fun!!! Knotts is so awesome! They do the coolest events!

    HOP bunny looks soooo cute! he's cuter than my Br'er Rabbit plush lol, i gotta pick one up.

    I still don't understand what type of ride Transformers will be, or what technology they are using. does anyone know?

    Some real progress goin on in DCA this week, things are finally starting to take a more definitive shape! Paradise Garden looks like a wonderful place to grab a bite in the evening, especially when all those trees grow, DCA needed more shade trees badly.

    Great updates and pics! thanks for sharing with us!
  2. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update! Happy April Fool's!
  3. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update As Usual.
  4. oo_nrb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyperskreem
    I still don't understand what type of ride Transformers will be, or what technology they are using. does anyone know?
    I believe it's the same technology in use at their Spiderman attraction out in Orlando. Imagine a faster-moving Indiana Jones (more like a rollercoaster) but with 3-D things happening around you (3-D as in you wear 3-D glasses) (note: I say this having never actually ridden Spiderman in Orlando :P ).

    Thanks for the fantastic update!
  5. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyperskreem
    Great updates and pics! thanks for sharing with us!…
    Hey thanks for the kind words about the column. Dustysage, myself, and the rest of the photographers really work hard to bring this every week. It's nice to know people like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperskreem
    I still don't understand what type of ride Transformers will be, or what technology they are using. does anyone know?
    Yes, Transformers is supposed to use the same ride technology as The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ride at Islnads of Adventure in Florida.

    But how would one describe Spiderman to someone familiar to Disney attractions? Okay, think of an Indy vehicle that also has the ability to rotate 360º in any direction while the vehicle continues along the track. That vehicle moves through a dark ride a lot like "It's tough to be a Bug" with its mix of 3D film elements and live animatronics. That is what Spiderman in Florida is like.

    Now keeping in mind that Spiderman opened eleven years ago you can bet the technology has advanced dramatically. Expect Transformers to be one of the biggest hits of the 2012 summer season.
  6. Seawolf's Avatar
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    I'm very impressed with the exterior paint job of Star Tours. Wish they would put that much effort into the rest of the land.
  7. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    Loved the Legoland Star Wars!!

    The Knotts Country Fair looks like some old fashioned fun--what is the deal with Boysenberry?

    Thanks for telling us about the trees in Bug's land and around the Mermaid ride. These small bits of information help us imagine the area and brings it to life for those of us so far away from the mouse.
  8. SummerInFL's Avatar
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    Fantastic Update!
  9. bamato's Avatar
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    Thanks for the awesome multi-park update everyone!

    The way fishbulb describes transformers... it should be amazing!!
  10. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  11. MrTour's Avatar
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    I say bring back the Country Bear Jamboree, but I think Disney would be going a bit over the top to place it in the Crystal Cathedral. The name would be appropriate, though: The Country Bear Jamboree Revival.
  12. Wanda Woman's Avatar
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    FANTASTIC Friday update! Thanks to the hard working In The Parks crew. I loved seeing pics of the Legoland Star Wars event and the Knott's medicine man wagon looks spectacular. It's great to see Knott's continuously sprucing things up, especially in Ghost Town. Well done to all!
  13. nursemelis374's Avatar
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    I love this update and look forward to it every Friday!
  14. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy Godmother Travel
    The Knotts Country Fair looks like some old fashioned fun--what is the deal with Boysenberry?
    Before it was a theme park, Knott's was a real life Berry farm. Walter Knott saved the Boysenberry from probable extinction and cultivated it into a successful cash crop. His wife baked Boysenberry pies and sold them in a road side stand. Eventually she began selling fried chicken as well. Over time, the restaurant got so popular that Walter had to find ways to entertain the folks waiting (for up to hours) for a seat at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. That's how Ghost Town and all of Knott's Theme Park started.

    America's very first theme park started with a Boysenberry!
  15. xalesa's Avatar
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    I can only imagine the hours of work it takes to make this weekly update of all the socal parks happen. I absolutely love it and look forward to it every week.
    Those of us who are too far away to see the parks but every year or so GREATLY appreciate this effort.

    Thank you so much for these updates.

    Hey, anytime you want a weekly update on Silver Dollar City in Branson MO, I'm your gal!
  16. Athlonacon's Avatar
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    I really like the new Star Tours facade! It is so simple, and yet so elegant, just like they USED to do. If they can dress the rest of Tomorrowland in that same vein, I would be more than happy. The design is worlds of improvement over what was there, it kind of has a Mary Blair feel to it now. I don't know why, but it just seems that way.

    As for the new Paradise Garden area... isn't it funny that a *construction* area looks better and is more lush green than the supposedly finished product that used to be there. What a change DCA is seeing!
  17. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    I'm going to ride Windseeker so much this summer! My only beef is that it's in Fiesta Village and so it should have a Spanish name.

    What colors will it be?
  18. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Actually, Dustysage, I give credit to Rudolph Boysen who created the Boysenberry(hence the last name), but I do give a lot of credit to Mr. Walter Knott and George M. Darrow for saving it.

  19. dizneedoll's Avatar
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    Yay! Boyesenberry People!! I bet they taste delicious.

    ps...great update, thank you.
  20. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xalesa
    I can only imagine the hours of work it takes to make this weekly update of all the socal parks happen. I absolutely love it and look forward to it every week.
    Those of us who are too far away to see the parks but every year or so GREATLY appreciate this effort.

    Thank you so much for these updates.

    Hey, anytime you want a weekly update on Silver Dollar City in Branson MO, I'm your gal!
    We would LOVE an update from Silver Dollar City. It would be just perfect for our Weekend Update. I grew up going to Silver Dollar City every summer. Such a well themed park. I think most people would be pleasantly surprised at its high quality (at least as far as I can remember)
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