Disneyland Pirates, Mermaids, Mantas, Magic Mountain and More
by, 04-28-2011 at 09:30 PM
There's a lot of Southern California Disney and theme park news this week. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are swarming with major construction projects, from the Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides premiere to the mad scramble to get this summer's new attractions opened on schedule, the resort is humming with activity. We've also got some fantastic coverage of Six Flags Magic Mountain's two new summer attractions and a quick look at Knott's Windseeker which will soon be whisking us high in the sky. Finally we have a wonderful update from SeaWorld in San Diego where the New Manta coaster is under construction and the Sky Ride and Sky Tower have dropped their upcharges. It's a fun and wacky week in the parks, let's take a look at what's new . . .
Disneyland is your land, along with a huge group of celebrities and VIP's who will be watching the premiere of the new Pirates 4 film in New Orleans square next weekend. Disneyland has hosted Pirate's premieres in the past, but this time, the seating arrangement has been changed to accommodate a more narrow viewing range for this 3D film. In Tomorrowland, the walls lining the corridor near Star Tours continue to shift and change as the attraction blasts towards completion.
MAIN STREET U.S.A.
On a side note the facade work continues on the left hand side of Main Street. The emporium, has just come out from under wraps looking brand new.
A nice new light at the entry.
One interesting thing, we are afraid this low hanging chain
might be in danger of getting yanked. Unfortunately, guests just can't seem to keep their hands off of things they shouldn't touch.
Penny arcade gets touched up during park hours
Here we are in the land of the near future. By near future we are referring to June 3rd, 2011 as that is the projected opening day for Star Tours: 2/3D/The Adventure Continues.
Fast Pass signage has appeared behind the walls near the entrance for the newly revamped attraction, while across the way, the Buzz Light year Fast Passes remain behind walls and unused.
It will be very interesting to see how crowd control plays out in the area. Disney is expecting lines in excess of 3 hours, hearkening back to the opening weekend of the ride in 1987. During the opening celebration for this attraction, the lines switchbacked in and around the spacious, Astro-Orbiter and space rock free, entry to Tomorrowland and all the way down Main Street. But what will happen this time around with the copper rocks and Astro Orbiter claiming such large amounts of real estate? The Fast Pass machines will work to keep the passively interested out of the area until their return time so that's a good thing. But crowd control CMs are going to have their hands full.
Regardless, it will be a busy weekend all around for the resort. And, if you are one of the millions of Disney and Star Wars fans out there, you are probably already trying to figure out how you will be among the first to ride this revamped attraction. With Star Tours, Mermaid, Goofy Sky School, Soundsational, new restaurants and revamped Hotel facilities all opening in just a few short weeks, we may very well see the busiest days in the resort's history in the next few weeks. Prepare for long long lines to see this galaxy far far away.
We are so glad to see neon Mickey still on the wall. Looks great with the new multi blue background.
The addition of a permanent vending location in the area near the boat dock is taking a bit of time.
NEW ORLEANS SQUARE:
Over in New Orleans Square, preparation has begun for the May 7th premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. The footprint for the grandstands is a bit different this time around, as they will have to fit more audience into an area closer to the center of the screen due to the 3D nature of the film. This will result in a more vertical layout.
The bridge across the Rivers of America allows construction crews to easily access the front of the island where the giant movie screen is being constructed.
The bleachers are next to be assembled
Note that the bleachers extend well into the river itself
Please remember that when visiting Mansion or Pooh, you may encounter quite a traffic snarl. Don't worry though, the whole mess will be out of the way in time for Splash to open at the end of the may.
Speaking of Splash Mountain, the attraction appears to be on track for a May 26th re-opening.
All the tiers of the mountain are green now.
Everything new is old again
The queue is getting a paint job.
A new little light has been installed on the side of the flume. We imagine that the light bulb will be hidden behind some colored or frosted glass before the attraction opens.
Nice little details like this are what separate Disney from other parks.
Disney Construction Adventure is coming along nicely. We've got lots to share with you.
BUENA VISTA STREET:
The new entry to the park is coming along nicely.
The Carthay Circle Theater.
From the Hollywoodland side
Walls are being built along the backside of Grizzly peak.
Looking back towards the hub from the parade route
Here is the weekly look at the construction progress in Cars Land. Again, here, the smaller details are beginning to emerge as the rock berm gets more of its sculpting treatment and paint. The buildings are taking shape here too and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree's ride system is now being constructed.
Tires on the rooftops
Cement pillars have been poured at the Pacific Wharf entrance to Cars Land.
THE LITTLE MERMAID: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Last Thursday night through early Friday morning, the landscaping and finishing touches were being made to the exterior of the Little Mermaid building. Of particular interest is that the marquee was installed above the entrance. However, it is currently obscured by a curtain. We'll show you what's viewable.
And below our Universal contributor, F!an, was in DCA an caught this video of the lighting on the Little Mermaid building doing its thing. Thanks F!an!
PARADISE PIER RESTAURANTS:
Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta is coming along, but now getting slightly behind and there is a danger that the two new restaurants may not open with Goofy's Sky School and Little Mermaid. But, knowing Disney, they will put a lot of effort into trying to get it looking as done as possible in time for the press events and media coverage.
Lots of new details
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL:
Goofy's Sky School was testing last week and the project is catching up and should be ready for June 3rd.
PARADISE FLOATING WALLS:
More floating walls have gone up near Toy Story Midway Mania.
We think Madame Leota installed these walls
Now that the charming Country Fair is done and Easter has hopped back onto the shelf until next year, Knott's is in full press to prepare for Summer.
One thing that should be kept in mind is that Season Pass prices will be going up THIS Sunday (currently priced at just $59.99). So, if you haven't gotten your Knott's Season Pass, NOW is the time to do it! The pass offers unlimited use with no blackout dates.
If you can't get down to the park before Sunday, you can still order one online! If you have any plans to ride the new Windseeker attraction or visit Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular, we'd recommend locking in this low rate while you can www.knotts.com.
The suits were out last week taking a look at the site of their new thrill ride. They are still on track for a late June opening.
Another car from the upcoming Universal film Fast Five is on display in front of the CityWalk Cinemas. Behind the car, the Cinema facade is getting a face lift.
The CityWalk stage is still moved to the center of the Cinema entrance as work continues on its former home. Notice the massive video screen has been removed as well as the letters that spelled out "Cinemas" in front of the building.
Work is also being done right below CityFood.
Did you know USH offer streetmosphere entertainment outside of the park? The Street Sweep dance revue show makes regular appearances along the red carpet.
Looks like some filming is being done inside one of the houses on Wisteria Lane/Colonial Street for ABC's Desperate Housewives.
A curb was installed next to the tram unload.
Some pretty big changes at Magic Mountain this week including the completion of one coaster and the closing of an entire area of the park in preparation for another.
THE GREEN LANTERN:
Six Flags Magic Mountain supplied us with the following aerial shots of the Green Lantern construction.
Lots of ground-work is still being done
Hard at work getting the site ready for us all to enjoy the new ride
We will try and update construction pictures as often as possible as the coaster is constructed, but with the backlot area being closed off, we may not see much of the new ride until press day.
Finally ... we had the chance to ride the newly re-opened Roaring Rapids, and are very happy to report that the ride looks fantastic!!!
All of the wood in the queue has either been re-painted or replaced
The queue waterfalls are also working and looking great
From the station, you can see just how lush Roaring Rapids is.
JB's Smoke House Barbecue:
The new BBQ restaurant opened last week.
A more permanent BBQ area has been set up then what they had for Longhorn's
The menu features platters, sandwiches and salads
Pulled Pork Sandwich (you get a choice of Cole-Slaw, beans and BBQ or regular Kettle Chips)
Grilled Chicken Sandwich (you get the same choice of sides)
Both were adequate, with the pulled-pork being the better of the two. The prices are a little high, but it's another food option which is always nice.
The Waterfront food court now has a Wings option as well as some new sweet food options
THE GEESE ARE BACK:
The Geese are back at the park ... the park has taken every precaution to ensure that their nesting goes smoothly including roping off this area. Can't wait to see some gosling's walking around the park very soon.
What's good for the goose...
All of Gotham City Backlot is closed, including Batman: The Ride, as the area prepares to be converted to DC Universe prior to Green Lantern opening.
This could also explain the long rehab for Atom Smasher, perhaps it's being totally re-themed?
Hopefully Grinder Gearworks will receive some much-needed TLC during this time
All entrances to Gotham have been blocked off
ROAD RUNNER EXPRESS:
They did some major work on Road Runner Express over the past few weeks ... the entire track has been completed.
Looking towards Whistlestop Depot, there is plenty of room for a few more kid-friendly attractions and some work is going on.
No visible changes on the old queue for Sierra Falls
Thanks to reader, GapToothed, we have a big update from SeaWorld today. There's a lot going on in the park right now.
First off, the park recently paved an additional 10 of 16 acres on the east side of the leasehold. Here's a shot from the very, very corner of the lot looking toward the park. That's gonna be a long walk to the entrance!!MANTA:
Here's the reverse angle
These restrooms will close and a new set will be built where the concession stand used to be next to the old Mango Joe's. The lumber you see on the truck is from the Pagoda building that was a part of the Japanese Village.
This is where the new restrooms will be. The coaster will launch in this straightaway.
The station area and maintenance bay area. In the background is the pagoda building.
A closer look at the pagoda. Rumor has it the building has been purchased and will be re-assembled!
More maintenance bay area shots. The coaster will pass over the bridge and into the old Flamingo Cove area before heading back into the station.
The flamingos will return here!
A quick peek at Turtle Reef construction. The spinny ride Riptide Rescue is being installed.
And a final bit of news from the park. The skyride was recently made an included attraction (instead of an upcharge as it historically was). Now we understand that the Sky Tower will also become an attraction included with your park admission (perhaps as early as this week). This is VERY welcome news indeed.
A huge thank you to GapToothed for this great update. We look forward to more news from SeaWorld in the near future!
There's a lot to see and do in SoCal this weekend.
The 22nd annual Spring Garden Show
This weekend is the 22nd annual Spring Garden show at South Coast Plaza in Santa Ana. Come stroll through the mall and take in the inventive and beautiful flower arrangements on the first floor. Then when you are done there, venture to the second and third floors where you can shop for your own plants for your home.
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival
The 2011 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival will be held April 27 - May 1 at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio and other venues. Tickets are on sale now!!
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
The annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will be held: Saturday April 30, 2011 from 10am – 6pm
Sunday, May 1, 2011 from 10am – 5pm at: University of Southern California
Anaheim Comic Con : California Comic Convention, Wizard World Anaheim
It's not much more than a celebrity meet and greet, but it will have KITT, George Barris and the 1960's Batmobile (with Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwhether and Julie Newmar), an Ecto 1 (Ernie Hudson) and a BTTF DeLorean (with Claudia Wells, Jennifer from the first movie), and a dealer's room. Mickey Rooney and William Shatner are also attending.
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.
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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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