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In the Parks

1/21/08 - Monday in the Parks - News and Photos

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 01-20-2008 at 10:54 PM
Well, no holiday here at MiceAge, hope everyone is having a great Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Let's get to what happened this last week.

Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars newest member

Lets start with last Tuesday, January 15th. The Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars unveiled its fourth star (Walt Disney, Carl & Margaret Karcher and Henry & Susan Samueli being the first three).

The Yorba Family, who were among the early settlers of Spanish California and once owned much of the land in present day Orange County were honored last Tuesday.

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and Margaret Yorba

The Yorba Family members in attendance at the ceremony

Now, here is the fun part, and the "inside info"... Check out the official site, , and you will find that there have been 4 stars unveiled and dedicated.... But guess what, there is a FIFTH star, located just south of the 15 minute Parking area....

DCA's Special Park Dream Time Event

As mentioned here last week, the first of 12 special After Hour events at the Disneyland Resort was held on Tuesday the 15th, as part of Version 2 of the Year of the Million Dreams contest (aka 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway). As part of over the million prizes in 2008, 12 special events at the DLR will be held, 6 at Disneyland, and 6 at DCA, which will allow a selected amount of guests to attend on selected days (2,000 for each of the 6 DCA events, and 3,000 for each of the Disneyland events).

Tuesday afternoon, the Dream Patrol started to hand out the 2,000 lanyards that allowed guests to attend the event in DCA. Alas, there were some issues with that, as some folks were not interested in the prize (and this is more common then you might think, as some folks think the prize comes attached with an obligation, such as attending a timeshare presentation, which is not true.)

And then some locations were not the best, such as the exit of the Maliboomer, where they required anyone who wanted a lanyard to "ride" the attraction (there was a way to chicken out, but the Dream Patrol wouldn't let the guests know how to do it). This attraction does scare a good percentage of guests who don't want to ride it, which caused problems, as some groups got "split".

Well, they handed out all 2,000 Lanyards at DCA prior to the park closing at 6 PM. It was a slow weekday at DCA, reportedly about 7,000 guests in attendance, and very little waits for any attraction all day.

About 1,300 of the guests awarded the Lanyard did show up at the Hollywood Pictures Backlot Stage at around 6 PM to prepare for the event. This was done to allow security to clear out the park of any remaining "non-winning" guests before the event, which was 1 extra hour in the park with selected attractions open, but no stores, and just Taste Pilots Grill remaining open if you wanted food and/or drink. (Most major attractions did remain open).

Alas, many guests do not understand the Year of a Million Dreams and how it works, and some expected something more than just a couple of guys entertaining the crowd with a DJ act for 30 minutes while waiting for the park to be cleared.

Also, some guests expected MORE, and complained to the Guest Relations Cast Members. Some guests expected something like an "Oprah" moment, where everyone in attendance was to be given a new car, or some other big prize, instead of just the extra hour at the park. Now, based on the badge handed out (see above), it wasn't that clear, but still NO FREE CARS, I do feel for the CM's that had to deal with these guests.

So out of the 1,300 that showed up, about 600 folks left right after the guests were released for the Backlot Stage area. Some went to Disneyland to catch the 7 PM Parade of Dreams (the only parade offered at the resort that day) and some folks just left the parks. It is too bad they don't hand out a flyer with the lanyard that explains the event in more detail, to prevent folks from getting the wrong idea of what actually is being offered.

By the way, the first Disneyland After Hour event will be held on Tuesday, January 29th, which also happens to be a "Media Day", as selected press will be invited to cover the unveiling of the winner's image from part of a sweepstakes conducted for the Pirates Dead Man's Chest DVD in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue, plus a chance for the Media to preview the Disneyland Dream Suite.

So if you are interested in the After Hour event, show up Tuesday the 29th in the afternoon, and walk around and visit attractions. The 3,000 lanyards are handed out randomly, so good luck. If you win, you will be sent to the Festival Arena area (next to Big Thunder Ranch) for the "Pre-event" around 8 PM to allow the park to be cleared of other guests, then you will have 1 hour to ride "selected" attractions in Disneyland. Note, the stores will be closed, and most food and drink locations will also be closed. Also, if you are lucky enough to win, you will get an extra hour in the park, but NO CARS or other perks will be awarded!

Splash Mountain Follow Up

As mentioned in this column last Monday, Disney has installed a new rule for sitting in the front seat of Splash Mountain. (Once again, only the FRONT seat has a 60 inch requirement, all other seats still have a 40 inch requirement).

Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times saw the story, and contacted the Disneyland Resort for their official statement.

The “temporary height restriction” for the front seat of Splash Mountain has been raised from 40 inches to 60 inches so the Anaheim theme park can “evaluate options to improve comfort and safety,” Disneyland spokesman Rob Doughty said in a written statement.

MiceAge columnist David “Darkbeer” Michael reported that small children who sometimes duck under the front of the hollow log have been injured. Disneyland’s Doughty said no specific incident triggered the “short term” change on the restraintless ride.

No other attraction at Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure has a height restriction over 54 inches, the same requirement for the most extreme amusement park rides, according to Roller Coaster Database.

The front of a Splash Mountain Log

Anaheim Zoning Update

The Orange County Register and the LA Times reported this week that the Frank Family has agreed to sell the Mobile Home Park Land to a new company, after the failed attempt that the SunCal Company did to build a residential project on the land. The new company plans on building a Hotel along with some retail shops on the property, which are approved uses under the current zoning plans for the Anaheim Resort Area.

Renaissance Development Co. Inc. announced Thursday that it has an agreement to buy the 26-acre plot, now mostly mobile home parks, from the property owner, Frank Family Partnership.

Developer SunCal planned to build about 1,500 homes on the site near Disney-owned property where a theme park may go. SunCal is suing the partnership, saying the family reneged on a purchase agreement. The property owner, however, says SunCal failed to pay to extend its contract.

"As far as we're concerned, that's (Renaissance's agreement) not valid and we're still under contract. That's our position," said SunCal attorney Skip Miller.

Ed Casebier, president of the Fort Worth, Texas-based developer, said the partnership has assured him that it can sell the land. The sale is expected to be finalized by June and construction could start mid-2009.

Much more at the link above, and the LA Times ,

Also mentioned last week, the City of Anaheim is looking to expand the Convention Center and build more hotel rooms.

Sarah Tully of the Orange County Register covered that story in more detail...

The city has the land, but lacks money to fully fund a 200,000 square foot expansion. So, the city is pursuing developers to create public-private partnerships. The plan is to provide a hotel rated three-diamonds or higher, at least 1,500 parking spaces and flexible exhibition, meeting and conference space. Plans are due in March.

The expansion would go in the spot where a parking garage now sits on Katella Avenue across from Disneyland and east of the arena.
Serious Issues with the new Mark VII Monorail Red

Well, the first testing of the new Monorail delivered to the Disneyland Resort last month has not gone very well, in fact, they are looking at possibly shipping it back to Canada for major repairs. The main problem is clearance issues in regards to the Monorail Beam. Currently only one "old" Mark V remains in the park, Monorail Purple, which has the YoaMD wrap. This will be a major problem if the first Mark VII has to be sent back, as there will be only one Monorail available during Easter/Spring break. So be prepared for long lines, and maybe the need to show that you are a guest of one of the Three Disney owned hotels, and/or only one way trips.

A look around the Disneyland Resort on Sunday, January 20th

And to end the article, here are a few photos from Sunday, showing the current state of the parks.

By the way, you can find plenty of additional photos at, and even some short videos, including some of the new Mickey Floral Lighting display.

The new Disneyland Dream Suite Staircase has been painted

The current state of the Grand Californian Hotel expansion

Monsters, Inc. is still closed, but most of the facade is being touched up.

As mentioned above, there are plenty more of the new lighting effect in my smugmug albums from January 18th .

And to end my column this week, a photo from Tuesday the 15th. DCA was so slow, the feral cats came out and were looking for food. One got basically right beside me at the Farmer's Market area...

That should do it, hope you all have a great week, and if you show up at the Gumball Rally and/or the 3rd anniversary of MiceChat this upcoming weekend, please stop by and say hello.

Also, thanks for all the kind words I have received in the first month of this new column. I truly do appreciate all the comments!

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Updated 01-21-2008 at 01:14 PM by Dustysage



  1. Rixter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of your hard work. I am really starting to look forward to your column each week!

    And what's up with that fifth star? Is is bad institutional memory (one of my pet peeves) or did the Taormina Family p*ss someone off?
  2. skittlebrau's Avatar
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    Guess I'd better think twice about letting my kid ride in front on Splash Mountain!
  3. disneyland255's Avatar
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    This is a great update and really appreciate having this done. It adds one more reason for me to visit yet again MiceAge! All the info is here!
  4. llama5492's Avatar
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    Nice Job.
  5. 2DieFR's Avatar
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    Aww, cute kitty. Some of those feral cats aren't shy at all!

    Thanks for keeping us updated, Darkbeer. I hope the height restriction on the front seat of Splash logs is a temporary move until something can be done about it for shorter riders. And as for our friend Mark VII...well, this wouldn't be the first time in monorail history that a new generation had some serious bugs to work out.
  6. Katella Gate's Avatar
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    15 seconds on GOOGLE shows that Bill Taormina is president of Clean City, Inc., a major real estate developer in the city of Anaheim.

    If they wanted to honor the developers that put Anaheim on the map, maybe it should have been dedicated to Adm. Fowler or one of Disney's "hands on" crew that actually built the place.

    However, it looks like an obvious political favor. If they were going to whore out their "Walk of Fame", they should have waited for the 20th or 30th star ... by that time there would be too many authentic stars to notice this sham award, and with the novelty long gone, nobody would care.


    BTW, I'm *not* surprised that guests continue to run away from the "Dream" promotions. In a retail environment, everybody knows that when an employee approaches you in a random, friendly, congratulating manner ... you are about to be sold something, even when they call it a "gift". The best solution is to pull a New Yorker on them ... look at the ground and walk away quickly. It works for pan-handlers, it will work in DCA.

    Disney brought this cynical attitude into the parks themselves when they adopted all the "Billy Mays" selling techniques of the competitors they were supposed to be above.

    Memo to Disney: You reap what you sow... I'd like my $10,000 "marketing research and demographic assessment" fee now. Unmarked, small bills, please.
    Updated 01-21-2008 at 12:11 PM by Katella Gate
  7. In the Parks's Avatar
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    By the way, if you are interested in the After Hour event issues, there is much more detail available in this MiceChat thread...
  8. Koutesu's Avatar
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    This was done to allow security to clear out the park of any remaining "non-winning" guests before the event
    It's ok. We all know that the word you wanted to use was "losers".

    I wonder how many people would have given their lanyards away?

    Those were some great pics.
  9. Koutesu's Avatar
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    This was done to allow security to clear out the park of any remaining "non-winning" guests before the event
    It's ok. We all know that the word you wanted to use was "losers".

    I wonder how many people would have given their lanyards away?

    Those were some great pics.
  10. In the Parks's Avatar
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    Here is a post I placed over at TripAdvisor, which goes into a bit more detail about the Monorail issues..

    Just a heads up, as I mentioned in today's "Monday at the Parks" update over at, the new Monorail delivered last month is not passing the initial tests, mainly due to clearance issues with the Monorail Beam. (It scrapes and drags on the beam, especially on the curves).

    Since there is only one current Monorail (old version) that is available for guests to use, and now it looks like that will be the only one available for months, as Disney is thinking of sending back the new Monorail for repairs, which was built in Canada.

    So what to expect.

    First, don't plan on using the Monorail at any time. If it is available, great. But it is old, and if it breaks down, there is no spare. So there is a good chance of you walking up and finding the attraction closed.

    During busy times, such as the 7 weeks of Spring Break Crowds, which start March 10th, there is a good chance that the Monorail will only be available for guests staying at one of the Three Disney owned hotels, and they will be checking room keys before allowing you to enter the line. Also, only expect one way trips, as they will make everyone exit at each station during busy days.

    Sorry for the bad news, and trust me, the folks working the Monorail are not happy about it either, but better to know in advance and plan accordingly.
  11. hollywoodphony's Avatar
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    I wish they would get their acts together on the Monorail. To me, it's an integral part of the parks, yet I haven't had the chance to ride it in months, because I simply don't want to wait that long. I know, I know, if I really wanted, I could suck it up and just get in line. What I really keep hoping for is a return of the people mover. Great article, by the way.
  12. TheManator's Avatar
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    Thank you DB for also showing that no one knows what YOAMD means.
  13. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    Heck, I was told a story by a Disneyland CM (ride operator), they started to see the DCA After Hour lanyard, and had no idea what it was, they asked leads, who also had no idea what some folks were wearing. Finally someone figured it out, but there was a period of time that the CM's were confused (since they need to check the Dream Fastpass lanyards).... So yes, the YoaMD (aka 27 months of over 2.25 million prizes) is confusing to everyone...
  14. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Thank you for your WONDERFUL Monday updates David. They are always insightful and entertaining!

  15. ojeilatan's Avatar
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    Great post, David. I love the Monday updates.

    I hope the Splash Mountain mess is sorted out soon. My mother, if they wanted to be technical with their measurements, would not be allowed to ride under these restrictions, and I only pass by 3 inches!

  16. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Thanks David!!! Really appreciate the updates.

    I think a better solution to the 60 inch height requirement would be an age requirement. You have to be 7 to ride Disneyland rides without an adult, same should apply here. You have to be 7 to ride in the front of Splash Mtn.

    Dave, you know this, even the most intense coasters (Yes even those with 100mph + speeds) are 54" at most. This seems a tad excessive.
  17. vfire's Avatar
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    Great job as always. I look forward to your updates every Monday, thanks!
  18. ministrychick77's Avatar
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    thanks for the update! you get some of the best pictures... lol

    and that cat is so cute!! looks a little like mine, just different coloring.
  19. Mauison's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great update! Just added your column to my RSS reader.
  20. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    Thanks for another great update, Darkbeer! And props to you for getting the word out about the injuries on Splash Mountain! You've been quoted in the Times! Between you and Al, Miceage has become quite the news source.