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In the Parks

Disneyland Easter, DCA Dreams, Racing Pigs and a Whole Lot of Fun In The Parks

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 04-21-2011 at 10:29 PM

Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, The Country Fair and changes at Disneyland Hotel are the highlights of our blog this week as we head into the very busy Easter weekend. We'll also help you hop to some of the best ways to spend the holiday. Let's take a 'peep' at what's new at our favorite Southern California theme parks and attractions.

As you enter the Esplanade, a new sign heralds the return of Star Tours. The signs are sharp and introduce yet another iteration of the ride’s name. We started with Star Tours II. Then we had Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. Now it's Star Tours 3-D. With a little more than a month from opening, we aren't exactly sure what to call it (perhaps just another case of Marketing playing fast and loose with the name as they did with Midway Mania).

Inside the park the flowers are bursting as spring has clearly sprung.

You really can't take a bad picture here.


With the construction scaffolds down, the blue and silver hues of the revamped Star Tours II / Star Tours: The Adventures Continue / Star Tours 3D, are in full view.


The Disney Parks Blog announced last week that the renovated Star Trader will open on Saturday, May 4th. A few of the windows have received their dressing and everything looks pretty familiar.

Blue and gray.

A redressed window looking very much like it did before.

The good, the bad and the fuzzy.

A taste of the darkside

Imperial Vinylmation
? What could be more futuristic?

As work on the mega E-Ticket attraction continues, signs of life are returning to the area. Br’er Bear has been reintroduced as a meet and greet character in the area to get guests reacquainted with the stars of the ride.

Workers take a walk down the drop.



Last week the Legoland Aquarium next to Legoland California celebrated the opening of Octopus Garden by giving away one set of four tickets to a lucky MiceChatter. Those who entered had to answer the following question to qualify, and the winner was chosen randomly from the correct entries.

The question was...
What are the three listed abilities that cephalopods have (according to the LEGOLAND Aquarium site)

A: camouflage, ink clouds and jet propulsion

And the Winner of the tickets to the Legoland Sea Life Aquarium is...

Congratulations to LittleSquirt and a big thank you to all who entered. Keep your eyes open for more fun prizes and opportunities from MiceChat and In The Parks. Now let's see what's new at another California attraction.

Disney California Adventure continues to amaze with its evolving appearance and operational panache. Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, Goofy's Sky School, Paradise Garden Restaurants and The Little Mermaid are all just around the corner. Set your gazes to stunning…


The Pan Pacific entrance at the front of the park is really starting to take on a recognizable shape. The clean, sweeping curves of the 1920's inspired entrance are exposed further as the scaffolds came down around the four spires.

Work on the Redcar Trolley has now begun at the entrance of the future Hollywood Land. The middle of the road is walled off but visitors can still access Hollywood Pictures Backlot through this route.

The Carthay Circle Theater has topped out and the smaller bits of framework will now be installed.

The future “centerpiece” of the park.

THE LITTLE MERMAID: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Al Lutz reported earlier this week that the ride passed a major inspection, in which the ride operated for 72 hours straight in order to see how it held up under long periods of operation. The landscaping on the outside queue is being readied and the marquee for the attraction should be up in a mater of days.

The left side of the building. Notice the detailed wavy railing.

The trees in front of the building will provide lots of much needed shade

Another view of the left side of the building.


Paradise Pier's new eating area is coming along at a more rapid pace as work crews attempt to make up for lost time due to heavy spring rains. It was announced that the area will be ready on June 3rd after all, along with Goofy's Sky school and The Little Mermaid. Although the projects were running behind, Disney is sparing no expense in making sure they meet the opening date. We wish them well, they have their work cut out for them.

Seaside Souvenirs is finally being rethemed.

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.

Notice the layers of detail going in.

The carpenters get their turn.

Yep, much better than a space burger.

The awning along the parade route now has a roof.

The refreshment stand near the swings and Jellyfish. Beer and spinning rides are an old amusement park standard. Read this week's SAMLAND to see what Walt would have thought about both.
Very interesting stuff.


Initially behind schedule due to bigger priorities, Goofy's Sky School mad mouse coaster seems to be catching up and Disney has announced that it will open with the restaurants and The Little Mermaid. Testing of the ride vehicles took place last night.

Anyone else wish that they had fully or partially enclosed this ride. So much more they could have done with it as a dark-ride coaster.


Here is our weekly look at Cars Land progress. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is moving along, while the tires on Luigi's are now noticeable. Again folks, this isn't supposed to open for another year. Seems like they are making great progress.

Notice the tires on Luigi's in the background?

The Butte and workers on the wall.

The Range.

The Pacific Wharf entrance to Carsland.

You can see installation happening in the pit for the Junkyard Jamboree.

Disneyland Hotel's makeover is coming along quickly as well. Love it or hate it, the waterfalls are gone, leveled, and being transformed into open space. On the upside, the Tiki themed restaurant is looking promising and we are really looking forward to trying it out. And then there are the Monorail slides (we are too confounded to speak, we'll let you decide for yourselves). Here is a look at the . . . umm .. . progress . . .

The Magic Tower being renovated.

The metal tower of the Monoslides and a stacked stone bridge.

Tangaroa Terrace

Flatness where the waterfalls and Fantasy Waters were.

The roof has been under renovation above Goofy's Kitchen for months.

And now for something completely different! It's Country Fair time at Knott's Berry Farm. The park is nearing the end of it’s two week long celebration of folksy fun, filled with eating contests, farm equipment and, above all else, PIG RACES. We'll also update you on Windseeker and look at Knott's answer to Disney's Fast Pass.

Knott's all Country Faired out. Hurry, it ends this weekend!

For $40 you too can skip the lines.

For $40 visitors can have priority access to eight of the parks more popular attractions. Boomerang, Ghostrider, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Silver Bullet, Pony Express, Screamin’ Swing, Sierra Sidewinder, and Supreme Scream. A bit steep, but perhaps worth it on the super busy days.


The Country Fair will be over after this weekend. We were desperate to see the little piggies, so we stopped by this week. We did it for you (sure, that's the reason, we did it for our dear readers).

The Windseeker billboard at the front of the park (which was only up for a week or two) has already been changed out for a new Country Fair sign.

Spring Craft Fair is in the air at Ghost Town all this month!
Daily April 1 – May 1 you can expect to find independently designed crafts, jewelry, and clothing from dozens of artisans here at Knott's Berry Farm. Personalized gifts, “Art on Tile”, unique children’s clothing, "lazer" models of boats and planes, handbags and more are included with park admission!

Flowers adorn nearly everything, including the entrance to the Log Ride.

Prepare for crowds!

Fun and games.

Fair food

Actual operating antique farm equipment.


In the Wilderness Dance Hall there are HO Scale Model railroads set up with a large display, while on the main stage seminars are given by chef Debbi Dubbs on how to grow, store and eat foods grown in your own garden.

I miss Mott's Miniatures.

Pig Races:

Of course, one of the most adorable things at the fair is the Pig Races. Pick your favorite porker and cheer them on to victory in this fun little show.

And they're off

Snookie takes an early lead. Go baby go!

Paris wipes out

And it's Lindsey by a snout
(All pig names were for entertainment purposes only. Any similarity to persons either living or dead was purely coincidental)

For a full listing of what is offered, along with dates and show times for this weekend, visit Knott's website here.


Lastly we check up on Windseeker. With just about two months to the projected opening date, the foundation is pretty much finished and ready to go. Now the actual structure will be installed and reach over 300 feet in height.

It's no real shock that we are fans of waterfalls and great theme. So when we heard that one of Knott's signature water rides lost a few key features, we decided to do a little research. Attractions change. Things evolve. We get that. But Knott's has gone too far this time.

The name of the ride is Bigfoot rapids. There should be
a Bigfoot, there should be rapids. And there were . . .

The ride even opened with this warning posted as guests enter.

The ride still delivers on the rapids.

We even get a few random geysers.

But the waterfall features have both been shut off.
. . and not just for winter.

No ending wall of water to douse the riders.

…and Bigfoot has inexplicably been all but eradicated from the queue.

WOW! I think I see the remains of a single foot print.

The attraction is still a fun raft ride through lush landscaping. When the ride opened in the late 80's, it was the longest raft ride of its kind and pushed the boundaries of soakage on a theme park attraction. The Disney Imagineers were frequently spotted on this ride while they were planning Grizzly River Rapids at DCA. But with litigation from painfully unaware park visitors who decided to risk taking their expensive cameras and phones onto a RAFT RIDE, the decision was made to turn the attraction’s waterfalls off. Though the rapids still splash, there are no gushing waterfalls to pass under and much of the excitement and feeling of impending H2O.

This is a sad turn of events for a ride that is widely accepted as one of the better rapid attractions. We can understand waterfalls being off in the cooler months of the year, but what they has succeeded in doing is neutering a otherwise great attraction.

What would it take to convince Knott's to return these waterfalls? And might we suggest that they simply install free 90 minute lockers outside of the attraction and require that anything of value be locked up the way Universal Studios Orlando handles this situation!!! If someone is stupid enough to take their camera on a raft ride, they deserve for it to be destroyed. BRING BACK BIGFOOT AND THE WATERFALLS!!!

Ok, we are done with our rant. Now some more good stuff . . .

Knott's Easter Champagne Brunch & Easter Banquet-In -A-Box
This tradition is just too delicious to pass up. The brunch features an expanded menu and unlimited champagne. Adults are $27.95 and seniors $22.95 and juniors (3-11) $18.95. Children 2 years old and under are always FREE! Pre-order your Easter Banquet in a box now! For only $79.95 you can take home and enjoy your very own savory Easter meal!

26th Annual Fabulous Fords Forever Car Show
On April 10 from 10am – 3pm, over 100 years of Ford car making will be on display. 52 classes and 2,000 entries are expected for the most gigantic car show ever! This exhibition will be located in the East parking lot across from Knott's Berry Farm. Show admission is free to spectators.

Joe Cool’s Backyard BBQ Offers Sizzling Hot Savings
Join us April 9, 10, 16-24 and May 1! Mrs. Knott’s delectable chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs and more at an all-you-can-eat price of 43.99 for adults and 32.99 for juniors ( ages 3-11) and seniors (62+). This great deal also includes a fun filled day at Knott's Berry Farm. Click here for tickets.

Upper Lot:
Production Central, replacing Comic Heroes, is now open. The outside is lacking but the inside is great. Along with exclusive Stage 28 merchandise, Production Central offers collectors one-of-a-kind movie props from Universal Studios movies. Display cases around the store hold items such as a rock punch card from The Flintstones, a Dwerger mask from Van Helsing, and Captain Hook's back up sword hand guard from Hook as well as individual film cells from various films.

Studio Tour:
Beautiful view of the San Fernando Valley and the neighbor studios from the tram loading area.

Metro Sets:

This building had a car thrown through it in Spiderman 2

Progress of work being done near tram unload.


Hoppy Easter. Here's some fun things to do with the family this weekend.

FYI, as of the writing, The Glory of Easter WILL NOT be performed at the Crystal Cathedral this year.

Bunny's Spring Fling at the LA Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Easter Weekend, Fri-Sun 10 am - 4 pm
The LA Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA, in Griffith Park, off the I-5 and 134 Freeways
Kids can make bunny ears, pet bunnies and have their photo taken (for a fee) with Big Bunny and other cartoon characters at this three-day event at the LA Zoo. There will be crafts, face painting, music and more.

Easter Festival at the Orange County Marketplace
Saturday before Easter, 10 am-2:30 pm
Orange County Market Place, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, CA
A treasure hunt, a puppet show, free face painting and free photos at this annual event., (949) 723-6616

Beatrix Potter In The Garden: An Easter Celebration at The LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
LA County Arboretum, 310 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007
Saturday of the weekend before Easter, 10 am - 2 pm, Arboretum hours 9 am - 5 pm
Beatrix Potter themed activities for children of all ages include crafts, games, stories and photo opportunities. Easter baskets are provided for every paid child; no outside baskets will be allowed., (626) 821-5897

Easter Sunday Brunch
Sunday, April 24, 10:30 am - 1 pm

Aquarium of the Pacific - 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach Admission: $38
Join the Aquarium of the Pacific for a buffet-style Easter Brunch on the front lawn of the Aquarium. The kids can enjoy decorating their own Easter cookies. High chairs are based on availability. Pricing includes Aquarium admission.

Long Beach Comic Con
Saturday, April 23, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Long Beach Convention Center - 300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach
Only $15 admission and kids 10 and under are FREE
Celebrate Comics at Comic Expo 2011 Coming to the Long Beach Convention Center for One Day Only. An extravaganza of comic goodness and entertainment for everyone. Arrive early to arrive to receive a FREE COMIC (while supplies last). Here’s what you’ll find at Long Beach Comic Expo: Some of the best in the biz, Artists, Exhibitors, and Retailers. Also lots of Q & A.

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long
Sunday, April 24, 1:15 pm
Art Theatre of Long Beach - 2025 E 4th Street, Long Beach
If you haven’t done the now classic Sound of Music Sing-A-Long, you don’t know what you’re missing. For anyone who loves the movie or has even never seen it before will be in for a viewing experience that they’ll not soon forget. You can't go wrong with a Sound of Music Sing-A-Long folks. Dress up as your favorite Von Trapp or Nazi and sing, sing, sing.

Earth Day Celebrations
Saturday April 23, 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point
Price: $6.50 adults, $4.50 children
There will also be fun eco-friendly crafts and many more exciting hands on activities for you to explore throughout the day. If you really want to get involved, volunteer for the beach clean-up and get free admission that day!

Wilshire Center Earth Day Event
Friday, April 22, 6 pm
3700 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
This year’s event will feature a (35 foot) movie screening of the director’s cut of “Avatar.” Other features include a presentation of the Cool District Program and the Carbon Master Plan, face painting for the kids, community booths, e-waste recycling and free tree adoption

Newport Beach Film Festival
Thursday, April 28 - Thursday, May 5
Theaters throughout Newport Beach
Single tickets start at $12
Set in beautiful Newport Beach, a few blocks away from spectacular coastline and less than an hour from Hollywood, the Festival annually host several premieres and galas for a singular festival experience.

Easter Sunrise Service at the Hollywood Bowl • FREE
Easter Sunday, 5:30 to 7 am, gates open at 3:30 am
The Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Non-denominational Easter service with multi-denominational clergy and a 240 voice choir, 250 children in the Living Cross and Children's Choirs in nature's cathedral, decorated with thousands of Easter Lilies and ending with the mass release of the White Birds of Peace.

Earth Day is almost here so head out to National Park Week for free April 16-24, 2011!
The fine print: *Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.Some parks in California that you can get into for free:

Cabrillo National Monument
Death Valley National Park
John Muir National Historic Site
Joshua Tree National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Pinnacles National Monument
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Sequoia National Park
Whiskeytown Unit National Recreation Area
Yosemite National Park

Ticket sales will end this weekend!

The Gumball Rally is a contest designed 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: $25 per person
How Do I sign up?:MiceChat Events Store (Powered by CubeCart)
How Does the Rally Work?: Rally Information Page
Our event is just about full and we will discontinue ticket sales this weekend! Don't delay. If you've been wanting to play, sign up now!

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![SIZE=3] please contact [email protected].

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  1. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Wow! Quite a bit of progress at the park. Great update! Happy Easter weekend and Happy earth Day everyone. Don't forget to see African Cats during the first week and help save the savannah.
  2. redrocker's Avatar
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    I used to work BigFoot Rapids during the waterfalls and the real reason is that too many people were standing up on the ride to avoid the waterfalls and a few have fallen in...the idea is that if u remove the waterfalls there is no reason to stand up...the thing ive noticed from other water rides is if you have a waterfall that completely covers the entire boat then trying to stand up to avoid getting wet is pointless then..and ull be so surprised how many guests would ride a water ride and be upset getting wet even with signs and spiels and employees all around saying ur gonna get my answer is if u want the falls then ull have to have it spread over the entire flume/boats and if its cooler than barely have em on
  3. bamato's Avatar
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    Excellent update
  4. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  5. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    GREAT update! Love seeing the events at Knotts (cute pigs!)
  6. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great update!
  7. DOMINGUESS's Avatar
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    Its updates & pics, rants and ideas like these that makes me so happy I found a place that I can totally relate to & totally love n' enjoy. THANKS AGAIN FOR ANOTHER GREAT UPDATE & HAPPY FRIDAY!
  8. Petchaurus's Avatar
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    I'm not so sure about those monorails on the waterslides.... :/
  9. eureka73's Avatar
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    OMG, Let it go allready .... the waterfalls at the hotel are GONE, and they are not comming back !!!! ...... And what's so confusing about the name of Star Tours, the name on the building reads "Star Tours, The Adventure Continues" , that's the official name of the ride, it's not that difficult.
  10. rubalcava's Avatar
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    Thanks for the updates. Can't wait till Star Tours!
  11. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eureka73
    OMG, Let it go allready .... the waterfalls at the hotel are GONE, and they are not comming back !!!! ...... And what's so confusing about the name of Star Tours, the name on the building reads "Star Tours, The Adventure Continues" , that's the official name of the ride, it's not that difficult.
    I'm sorry our opinion bothers you. On our blog we call it like we see it. You are free to have your own opinion as well. But don't get upset with us for expressing how we feel about things.

    We said that we are happy with the new Tangaroa Terrace so far (not everyone else feels that way). But we aren't sold on the Monorail slides and deeply miss the waterfalls. That's just how we feel about what we have seen so far. It is a mixed bag. Overall, we are thrilled with the many projects at the resort. But don't get upset with us if we don't drool all over ourselves 100% of the time like the do on other Disney fan sites.

  12. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubalcava
    Thanks for the updates. Can't wait till Star Tours!
    We spoke with an Imagineer who has been on the ride many times. He says that he has now seen all of the beginnings, middles and ends of the attraction. He loves it, except it does tend to make some folks dizzy or sick (especially if they don't look straight ahead or ride the attraction multiple times in a row).

    Since they are expecting opening lines well over 3 hours, the sickness issue shouldn't be too bad (since the most you could hope for is to ride the attraction once or perhaps twice in a day). Let's hope that protein spills don't slow down the line too much.

    We can't wait for Star Tours either.
  13. mttk2724's Avatar
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    Nice update!! Wish the waterfalls were put on
  14. Athlonacon's Avatar
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    It's actually "Star Tours: The Adventures Continue"... plural. I wish the Disneyland Hotel waterfalls would've stayed and the Monorail Slides would've taken a hike. They belong in Soak City, not a Disney property.
  15. D.E.1955's Avatar
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    Whooooo! The monoslides are going to be awesome!!!! They definetly make the pools look awesome!!!
    The waterfalls will be missed tho!!! =/
  16. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    June 3rd is just around the corner! Exciting! I'll be glued to Miceage/Micechat to hear/see all about it.

    I'm a little surprised to see innuendos on the shirts in the window of Star Traders... does anyone else find that inappropriate?
  17. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    OH NO! IT'S THE NAME & BLAME GAME AGAIN! I thought Star Tours 2 was called officially "Star Tours: The Adventure Continues", not "Star Tours 3D."(I wonder if they wanted to steal market off some of Nintendo's money?)

  18. jacoky's Avatar
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    Couldn't agree with Fishbulb more about Goofy's Sky School - they shoulda enclosed some (or all of it) of the ride, I'm afraid they just may be putting lipstick on a pig otherwise.

    Sad about the waterfall on Bigfoot, looks a little barren.

    Great update, thanks for the all the pix.
  19. LittleSquirt's Avatar
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    I have a question though. How do i redeem my tickets? haha im really excited WOW! i finally won something!
    Updated 04-22-2011 at 10:35 AM by LittleSquirt
  20. Wesley815's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkbelle
    I'm a little surprised to see innuendos on the shirts in the window of Star Traders... does anyone else find that inappropriate?
    I don't know where your mind is going, but Disney has been selling them for a while now.

    They are a joke regarding attraction height requirements and Yoda (he's on the front of the shirts). They're only inappropriate to people who think inappropriate thoughts.
    Updated 04-22-2011 at 10:28 AM by Wesley815
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