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In the Parks

3/3/08 - Monday in the Parks - News, Photos and Tips

Rating: 6 votes, 4.33 average.
by , 03-03-2008 at 02:13 AM
Lots to get to today, so lets get going....

Splash Mountain Logs to be fixed, and the front seat restriction should be removed by early June.

Disney has figured out a way to retrofit the area in the front seat area of the Splash Mountain Logs, which recently had a 60" height requirement placed on the front seat only (as compared to the 40" requirement for any other seat in the log). The safety requirement, which was due to children ducking under the front of the log to avoid getting wet, and bumping their heads on the log, and receiving minor injuries should be removed by the first week of June, just in time for the Summer Season.



This will be a welcomed change, but understand, the current rules still need to be followed until all the logs are retrofitted with the new safety devices.

Two new attractions open in Innoventions

Well, really one new attraction, and a return of an prior attraction. But still 2 new things to do in the upper level of Innoventions (the lower level is still being converted to the new "Innoventions Dream House").

The returning attraction is the "Segway Experience", which is now in the prior "Pioneer" area. This is a chance to spend a few minutes riding a Segway for "free", but understand, this is a LOW capacity attraction. With 2 Segways, and about 5 minutes of use per guest, that is 24 people per hour that can enjoy the attraction. (Compare that to Pirates which can handle over 2,000 guests per hour).



It is a fun thing to do, but count the people in line in front of you, and figure out the wait, it could be a lot longer than you might expect.

The other new attraction also has the same LOW capacity of 24 people per hour. This is "Power City", part of the Project Tomorrow area, sponsored by Siemens. Teams of 2 get about 5 minutes to push "Digital" pucks to help bring Energy to areas that need it. This is very similar to the Soccer/Hockey game that St. Josephs Hospital offers in the "Health" area of Innoventions.






New Costumes are being used in Tomorrowland

Last Wednesday Disney updated many of the Tomorrowland CM outfits. I would like to thank the 2 CM's that agreed to be placed in today's column. I don't say it enough, the "Front Line" Cast Members do an amazing job dealing with the large amounts of guests and trying to keep them happy. So thanks to all of you that try their best to keep all the park guests happy!!! Some days the CM's might leave frustrated, but in the long term, there are a LOT more happy guests than the few that might be related to one of the seven dwarfs due to the wonderful CM's that do their best.



So thanks to all who try and make sure the magic happens every day!

A Reminder, Monorail Issues will continue for months to come.

As I reported here back in January, and explained in more detail by Al Lutz in last Tuesday's MiceAge update, there is only one Monorail available to transport guests, the Mark V Monorail Purple.

http://www.miceage.com/allutz/al022608a.htm

What does this mean to park guests?

First, with only one Monorail available, if it breaks down, there is no replacement, which can close the attraction until they can repair Monorail Purple.

Second, if Monorail Purple is working correctly, you are still looking at about a 15 minute cycle, which can handle about 120 guests per ride. This can create a lot of issues, especially during the Peak Spring/Easter Break season. And has a capacity of about 500 guests per hour round trip, or if they force everyone to exit at the DtD station, about 1,000 per hour.

So expect to see signs that restrict boarding of the Monorail to guests of one of the three Disney Owned Hotels, especially in the morning hours at the Downtown Disney location, or evenings from the Tomorrowland station.

If you are not staying at a Disney Owned Hotel, you might think about an afternoon trip on the Monorail to try and avoid the restrictions.

Currently there is no scheduled date for a new Monorail to be up and running, so you should take the above tips and plan for the same issues during the Summer 2008 season.

"it's a small world" return might be delayed

Another issue brought up last Tuesday by Al Lutz is the "small world" makeover. Due to the major remodeling inside the attraction (pretty much a total gutting of the building, then repairs to the roof and major support systems, such as the Air Conditioning) and then the addition of the rumored Disney characters to the attraction, Disney is seriously looking at delaying the reopening of the attraction, originally announced to reopen in Late November of 2008. There is a good chance of "iasw" now reopening in early 2009. This will allow additional time for the new additions to the attraction, and also will allow Disney to open up with the "Traditional" version of "it's a small world" and be marketed as the "new" thing as part of of the 2009 ad campaign. Plus they can wait until late 2009 for the first "holiday" version.

Carnation Cafe has reopened

The pavement of the Carnation Cafe has been replaced (now a Brick "looking" concrete pattern) and is now reopened.

I know a lot of folks are fans of Oscar Martinez, who is the longest "running" Disneyland employee, who started in late 1955. (Some folks might want to claim that Marty Sklar is the longest running Disneyland employee, since he started in 1955, prior to park opening. But he did spend a lot of his time at WED/WDI (1966-2006) prior to returning to the "Parks and Resorts" division in a new role of "Imagineering Ambassador").

The good news, Oscar earlier stated he wanted to retire at the end of this month, but has changed his mind, and will remain at the Carnation Cafe for the foreseeable future.


Oscar Martinez along with "Birthday Girl" Lisa, otherwise known as my beautiful and lovely Girlfriend, with her "Daughter" Kelsey the Bear.


In a bit of sad news, his wife has had some recent medical issues, and I know Oscar would love to have prayers and good wishes sent to his lovely wife.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to talk to this man multiple times, including Sunday, when he was at the Carnation Cafe on his day off! I just hope that I can have his attitude and fortitude when I am his age!

Knott's Pony Express is working towards a Early Summer opening.

Pony Express, the newest attraction at Knott's is progressing nicely, and should open on schedule.






Also, for those who love to shop, the Knott's Marketplace is currently offering a 25% discount on almost all merchandise until March 16th.

Anaheim City Council Madness

As mentioned here last week, The Anaheim City Council addressed the "SOAR" Initiative on Tuesday, but it was basically a "First reading", with the actual measure to be on this upcoming Tuesday's Council meeting (March 4th).

But the most surprising comments were made by Council member Lorri Galloway, who was the original person in favor of the SunCal project and the placement of some "low-cost" housing in the Resort Area.

I strongly recommend you watch the actual comments made by her at the link below...

But here is the written word, alas, it can't reflect the emphasis that she placed on certain words....

She talked about how she had a "Very Challenging Job", and then commented how she thought about agreeing to skipping the Ballot measure, and just approving the SOAR Initiative by a majority of the City Council....

Then she said...


"Buy a show of hands, have you read the [SOAR] Initiative?" "Have you actually read the words of that Initiative?"

"Let me Read that Initiative. OK, it is a Yes or No that this will be given to the citizens of this city.

"Shall the Initiative ordinance to generally prohibit residential development within the Anaheim Resort without Environmental and Economic Analysis, City Council Approval and City Voter Approval at a City election be Adopted"

"Without" those things, I don't know, I don't know....

You Know when I hear tens of thousands of people that signed petitions, they signed it because they wanted to vote. You know, if you ask a voter if they wanted to vote, they are going to say "Yes!", I want to vote....

But this initiative you are asking me to adopt takes away that, at least that's the wording here...

That's what you are asking me to do, I am not going to belabor that, again, I am going to say with all my heart, I will do what I believe is right, Thank You.
Mayor Curt Pringle then talks about how the SOAR Initiative has a double negative and makes it confusing, but then has the City Attorney confirm that the SOAR Initiative would require three major things prior to allowing a housing change to the Anaheim Resort Area.

1. A true and full Environmental Report

2. Approval by a majority of the current Anaheim City Council

3. A vote by the current Registered voters of the City of Anaheim.

This is the exact OPPOSITE of what Council Member Lorri Galloway stated at the meeting,

And I have a serious problem with her comments. She has been involved with the proposed zoning change for over a year, and she totally misstated the things the SOAR Initiative requires. Either she was purposely misstated the Initiative to make a political point, or she is totally clueless about what was proposed

Either way, there is something seriously wrong with her comments.

Once again, you can find her comments at this video link, just after the Public Comments, as Mayor Pringle had Item Number 25 placed at the top of the agenda.

http://anaheim.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

I might be wrong, so please listen to the City Council meeting on video and if I have misstated what Ms. Galloway said, please correct me.

Thank Goodness for other reporters!

I have to laugh, as some folks ask how I can be everywhere at the same time, and guess what, I can't!

A great story this week is the Anheuser Busch Theme Park announcement about their newest project in Dubai.

http://www.anheuser-busch.com/Press/BEC_022808.html

This project is truly "over the top", with a man made island that is shaped as Shamu, and will be the home of 4 different Theme Parks, plus a harbor that has an amazing sea-life look from above.

Brady Mac Donald over at the Los Angeles Times has some great article this last week. Here are a couple of major news stories.

Brady has been following the Disney "Chief Magical Officer" competition, and now has the top "10" contestants...

http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/?p=1426

Another story that Brady reported last week was the Magic Mountain story of new "CSI" based show being offered this summer.

http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/?p=1396

Looks like Six Flags Magic Mountain is really making a lot of changes for the Summer Season (the new "X2" roller Coaster, Thomas the Tank Engine area, a second Johnny Rockets and more).

And of course, to end the column, some photos from the last week, plenty more can be found at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com





Fort Wilderness rebuild has almost been finished on Tom Sawyer Island





The bridge between Whitewater Snacks and DCA is coming along nicely






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Updated 03-03-2008 at 02:23 PM by In the Parks

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Comments

  1. DisneyFunGuy's Avatar
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    I'm just curious, I started a thread about the graveyard being ruined at Knott's and was wondering what was going to happen to it once the Pony Express ride opened up. Have you gotten any word on the latest with the graveyard or heard of it's future?

    Thanks, Darkbeer! =)
  2. disneyland255's Avatar
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    Great update! This is my favorite by far because it seems like there is more "insider" information on this one. Thanks again!
  3. xalesa's Avatar
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    Thanks, as always, for the thorough updates!!!
  4. Leofoenget's Avatar
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    I can't imagine Christmas without IASW. It would be nice if even if the inside were not operating, if they could still doll up (pun intended) the outside and do the light show. It adds so much to the decorations and I can't imagine that part of the park dark for the whole season. Any info? On another note, I personally would not mind skipping that ride for a whole year, as it's my sons favorite and once every other year is plenty.
  5. themur's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update on the City Council activity. I am not a resident but I have been fascinated by this story.
  6. rihard2000's Avatar
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    I must have missed some past info. Could someone please clue me in on what the Whitewater Snacks bridge is going to be for?
  7. tikibob24's Avatar
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    Oscar has made more than one breakfast at the Carnation a bit more magical for me. I love that he comes out of the kitchen and talks to guests and tells some of his stories. Best wishes to his wife and family and I'm glad to hear that he's sticking around.
  8. whamo's Avatar
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    Best wishes to Oscar! He makes the Carnation Cafe special. I'm happy the fort is coming back, as I have fond memories of that place. I remember when Indians used to attack the fort in mock battles, not PC, these days, but a lot of fun, back then.
  9. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    >>Great update! This is my favorite by far because it seems like there is more "insider" information on this one. Thanks again!<<

    Just to let you know, "Insider" info comes when it comes, and why Al Lutz doesn't have a weekly update.

    I am lucky to get "tidbits" of info and happy to share what I have been told, but some weeks are better than others.

    I agree, this week had some good stuff, and I should thanks those on the "inside" who let me know what is up (So, yes, this is a THANK YOU! post). It is also nice when the info is positive, such as the Splash Mountain Logs. Glad to see Disney addresssing the issue, but also thankful they are taking safety seriously.

    And it is also fun to be able to say that Oscar has once again decided to "not" retire, he is such a great guy and so wonderful to all the guests and other CM's. For my Birthday last month, I got the new "Disneyland Secrets, Stories & Magic" DVD set, which I highly recommened. And while I truly enjoyed watching the main feature, and seeing folks I know like Tim O'Day, there is nothing like finding Oscar on his day off at the parks. I seriously thought about not mentioning his wife, but in the end, decided that the "personal" comments were worthy of posting, so some "good vibes" could be created. Of course, I didn't get into much detail on purpose.

    As for the fort, the "inside" is not scheduled to reopen. It will be used as a break area for the current Cast Members, and for Fantasmic! There might be a change if Disney decides to do a Phase II of the Pirates Lair upgrade. But the "refurb" walls should be coming down soon.
  10. The Shadoe's Avatar
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    The Siemens hockey thing can also be found in the post-show area of Epcot's Spaceship Earth. I can't say I saw any line for it when I was there, though there were kids playing it.
  11. GroovyYaYa's Avatar
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    Yeah, what the heck is that bridge for? Easier access for the cats?

    This is the first I heard of it...
  12. WDWizard's Avatar
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    A bridge between Whitewater snacks and DCA? How would that work?
  13. Aladdin's Avatar
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    add another "cat" interested in what the
    deal is with the bridge from DCA to Whitewater
    snacks.
  14. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    You know, I haven't got an official "answer" yet in regards to the new Whitewater Bridge..

    The best educated guesses, that they want to work on the area where the current DCA entrance is from the Grand Californian, and they are building the bridge as a "temporary" relocation.

    That the bridge will be used as a new special entrance for the DVC owners, as a special perk when the project is finished.

    And then just being an "emergency exit" makes a lot of sense, as they are planning to close down the Route 66 area soon to redo the area for the World of Color seating and the new Little Mermaid ride, and the Fire Marshall has strict rules on exit capacity, and the bridge could be replacing the exit access in Route 66.
  15. Orcatime's Avatar
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    Something doesn't seem right but I can't put my finger on it. The update itself is great but it feels like there's a question that needs to be asked and I don't know how to form it to say "But what about...such n such?" I'm sure it will come to me but ugh it's beating my brain right now.
  16. PEZZ Lightyear's Avatar
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    Excellent report!

    That Whitewater/DCA bridge has me a little freaked out though. Will it be a Golden Gate to replace the one they are losing? Will there be a bridge between DCA and the new DVC lodging?
  17. gumby's Avatar
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    Oh, I'd love to know how those two CMs in the picture were approached for the picture?

    "Hi, would you like to have your picture taken for a website for people that are nuts about Disneyland? We promise to be nice and not do weird things to it. And no, you won't get paid for it."

    Bye.
  18. Circarama's Avatar
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    Thanks David, that was a great report... nice pics too!
  19. rihard2000's Avatar
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    Thanks for the wonderful updates you've been giving us Darkbeer. And thanks for giving us your best educated guesses on what that bridge is all about.
  20. 1DisneyMom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report...your Mondays must all be magical!!