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In the Parks

In the Parks - Disneyland, DCA, Universal, Knotts, Legoland

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by , 07-07-2011 at 11:50 PM

It's a great time to be a theme park fan. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure continue to wow with their summer offerings. Knott's is about to open the tallest ride in the park's history. Universal City Walk prepares a summer concert series on a flashy new stage. SeaWorld is building a smooth new coaster and Legoland's Sea Life Aquarium has been overrun with Octopus! There's lots to see and do.

What's new IN THE PARKS today? Let's find out!



Summer is rolling along and there are only a few bits of news and information to take note of in Mickey's hometown.

What was most interesting were the strange crowd patterns over the 4th of July weekend - or should we say lack of crowds. Saturday and Sunday felt like a very slow off season days. But the most interesting crowds came on Monday July 4th when the parks were practically desolate until just before fireworks. New attractions like Star Tours and The little Mermaid were literally walk-on throughout much of the daylight hours. Once night came, the crowds swarmed in to see the annual fireworks show.

Was it the threat of crowded conditions that kept folks away? The 83 degree heat? Recent price increases? Perhaps a combination of all three. Whatever it was, the parks were enjoyable on a holiday weekend which is nearly always packed to the gills. What do you peg as the reason the crowds didn't arrive as expected?


The wait times on Tuesday morning were manageable but much longer than over the holiday weekend.

MAIN STREET EMPORIUM:

Work continues on the Emporium. This refurb is focusing on a rearrangement of the the shopping area and registers. Parts of the store remain open during the refurbishment.










Coffee mugs and kitchen items where the toys used to be.





HAUNTED MANSION:

We hadn't noticed before this week, but it appears the hearse in front of the Mansion has returned, bright, shiny and new.



Still stabby after all these years.


FRONTIERLAND:
A new ODV cart has surfaced from behind the small construction walls that were up last week.

[SIZE=3]


Pretzles and Churros all in one spot.

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The front gates are nearly complete and we've caught a glimpse of the signage for the park as well as lots of little updates from various construction projects.

BUENA VISTA STREET:

All of the turnstiles are in place now along with the security gates. Atop the blue proscenium the red letters naming the park could be seen and the flags are now "waving".


No flags on Tuesday


Thursday they showed up




For a while, red lettering could be seen above the entrance

At the Carthay Circle theater progress has picked up to meet the deadline that is less than a year away now.



The curbs leading into Hollywoodland are under wraps

THE LITTLE MERMAID:
It seems that the rush may be over for The Little Mermaid. This people eater of an attraction has more than met capacity expectations. It is now a common thing to see a 5-15 minute wait for this new dark ride. That doesn't mean it isn't popular, just that it is able to handle a crowd. Even when the queue is full, it moves quickly due to FastPass NOT being offered. This is a great thing for a park with many slow loading attractions (like Midway Mania and the carnival attractions)




CARS LAND:

The details along Cadillac ridge are emerging and painting on the highest points have commenced.







The ride mechanisms have been placed for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.




Luigi's


DULCE AVENTURA:
A new sweet spot has opened up at the Pacific Wharf. Dulce Aventura offers the usual cookies and treats you would find at the front of the park, but with the entry stores soon set to close, treats are now being offered at the back of the park instead. The spicy peanut brittle is particularly good.




It's a great temporary solution while the shops on Buena Vista street are created.

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Here at Knott's, Windseeker is getting some final adjustments (though no official word yet on when the opening will be), Fiesta Village gets some TLC and guests are invited to be part of a corny world record.

KNOTT'S GETS CORNY, HELP SET A WORLD RECORD:


Guests will be grinning from ear to ear as they attempt to
set record for corn husking

Hey MiceChatters, want to help Knott's Berry farm set a world record? Join us for Knott's Berry Farm's Husking event on Thursday July 14th. The Berry Farm will attempt to set a record for the largest number of people husking corn at one time.

“Knott’s Berry Farm chose a corn husking event because it really takes us back to our roots as a farm,” says Marty Keithley, Knott’s Berry Farm’s general manager. “Knott’s Berry Farm founders Walter and Cordelia Knott came to Buena Park in the 1920’s to make a living farming, and for a time corn was one of their crops. If it weren’t for the family farm, and later the family restaurant, we would not have Knott’s Berry Farm theme park today,” added Keithley.

The opportunity to be a part of the Guinness Book World Record Event will be open to all paid park guests on the 14th, as space allows. “To set the record we need to have at least 250 people husking corn at one time, “ said Knott’s Berry Farm spokeswoman Jennifer Blazey, “but we will be prepared for as many as 500 participants.” To sign up in advance for the event, send an e-mail to [email protected] and place “corn husking” in the message line. The event will take place in Knott’s Calico Square at 2:30 pm.

Let's see if we can get as many MiceChatters as possible to help out at this fun event! Admission is NOT included, but if you have a pass, or can spend the small amount of money for park admission this will be a whole lot of fun. Fishy will be giving away free hugs to all who ask.

FUNDRAISER FOR A GREAT CAUSE:

We love to give to a good cause. Our friends at Knott’s Berry Farm are asking coaster enthusiasts to indulge their passion for the thrill rides and go “Coasting for Kids” on Sunday, July 24. Knott’s is looking for participants to ride the Jaguar coaster for 10 hours to help raise funds for Give Kids The World Village, a nonprofit organization that provides family vacations for children living with life-threatening illnesses. Knott’s will join with 10 other Cedar Fair parks, making “Coasting for Kids” a national event.

To be a part of “Coasting for Kids” participants must pay $40 through www.firstgiving.com/gktw/KBF by July 22. Participants can raise the money themselves, or can have friends donate to the cause through online donations to their Give Kids The World accounts. The top 30 fundraisers will earn a seat on the Knott’s Jaguar coaster. The marathon ride will begin at 7:00 am and will include a light breakfast, as well as a Mrs. Knott’s Chicken lunch at noon. All registered participants will receive a ticket to Knott’s Berry Farm as well as a “Coasting for Kids” t-shirt. Top fundraisers will receive Knott’s Berry Farm Beagle Bucks to spend in the park as well as Knott’s Berry Farm merchandise.



JIM SHORE AT KNOTT'S:
If you aren't much of a fan for teaming masses of collectors at Disney signing events, look no further than Knott's. Artist Jim Shore will be on hand Saturday, July 30th to meet guests and sign pieces from 1-4pm at the Market Place Emporium.


Yep, it even includes his Disney pieces!

PONY EXPRESS:

Some interesting new decorative elements have appeared around Pony Express.





FIESTA VILLAGE:

Fiesta Village is beginning a refurbishment in preparation for the opening of Windseeker. The Taqueria has received a coat of deep blue paint and there is more to come to the area.




Trim work will follow.



The back side of ol' blue.



All of the buildings have been prepped for work.



The sign in front of the Carousel is even getting some needed attention. NICE!


WINDSEEKER:

Here is your weekly look at the progress at Windseeker. The ride will very soon open for thrill seekers ready for dizzying heights. But don't ask us when. The ride is still running behind schedule and we don't have a clue when it will finally open to guests.











F!AN drops in to give us the latest on what is happening at Universal Studios Hollywood.

5 Towers on CityWalk:
The official kick off of the band new CityWalk stage, dubbed "5 Towers" due to the 5 massive light towers, happened on Thursday. To help christen the stage, Cee Lo Green performed to a huge crowd, for free. 5 Towers is a visual masterpiece. Lights are everywhere.












The surrounding buildings change color with the performance's lighting package.


STUDIO TOUR:
Inside the park there is new signage at the Studio Tour that matches the new red color scheme. They have also opened up the new extended queue.





The extension of the extended queue is now open to guests. This area was formerly the tram unload area.



UPPER LOT:
On the upper lot there is new Streetmosphere, Nigel on Baker Street and then a new
Dance show based on "British" music also Baker Street.






JURASSIC PARK:
Jurassic Park is once again "Wetter than Ever". Four compressed air water cannons go off as guests come plummeting down the final drop. It makes Splash Mountain look like puddle jumping.








HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 2011:

While the usual places around the park are seeing progress with maze construction, it looks like a 6th maze will go in the JP extended queue. Let's take a look at what has been done so far.









EXTENDED MUMMY QUEUE:
In the area behind the Mummy, we spy some maze walls and construction. Let's pray that this is not another Saw maze.





SHREK EXTENDED QUEUE:
Behind the Shrek Building something is being worked on in the old extended queue. Another Halloween maze is likely on the way.


WILD WEST ARENA:
Maze construction in the large area that used to be the viewing area for the Wild West Stunt show is seeing progress as well.




TERMINATOR EXTENDED QUEUE:
It looks as if House of 1,000 Corpses is returning to the extended queue of Terminator. If you missed it last year, you MUST see it if it is in fact returning as rumored. This maze was the hit of Horror Nights last year.








GapToothed swims in from Sea World to give us the latest progress on Manta. Everything is cleared, flattened and ready to go.










The old Flamingo Cove bowl is now completely flat!


Markings on the ground...


The trench as seen from the Dolphin Stadium:


Help us welcome a new journalist and fantastic photographer to the In The Parks crew, DisneyDaniel. We think you are going to really enjoy the places he is planning to take us in the weeks to come.

Sea Life Aquarium:
Down in San Diego at the Sea Life aquarium next to Legoland, a new exhibit has opened. Octopus Garden allows visitors to get up close to these lovely creatures and see them in a whole new light.




New maps.


Here are the current prices.



And here we are!





Be sure to return for the feedings. It's cool!







These animals are some of the most fascinating things we've seen.





Children seemed to really enjoy the interactive parts of the exhibit.





They give them toys.



Interactive floor projections entice visitors to learn.






Cuttlefish.


Nautilus.

Visit the SeaLife Aquarium for yourself and see a real life Ursula as well as thousands of fancy fish.

Before we finish up today's update, we'd like to remind you to sign up for the MiceChat monthly newsletter and events email so you are always in the loop on what's new and exciting in the Disney and theme park world:

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Today's update was brought to you by the following members of our fantastic and talented crew of photographers and news contributors: DisneyDaniel, F!an, GapToothed, Captphoebus, Fishbulb, and Dustysage.


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We hope your Summer is off to a great start! We'll see you again soon In The Parks!


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Updated 07-08-2011 at 06:19 AM by In the Parks

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Comments

  1. MrHatboxGhost's Avatar
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    Great entry..as always.
  2. jpg391's Avatar
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    Great "In The Parks Update" as usual.
  3. bamato's Avatar
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    Fantastic update! Thanks!
  4. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!
  5. TCadillac's Avatar
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    The crowds last Sunday at DLR were the lightest I've seen since February. I was pleasantly shocked.
  6. sjdimon's Avatar
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    About the lack of crowds over the weekend - sounds like the Deluxe and SoCal AP's really might be having an impact (they were "good" through Friday - then "off" for the weekend (including Monday)). Take out that mix and that might add up to the smaller crowds seen Sat/Sun/Mon. This last price increase **WAS** huge too - so it might be taking it's toll on folks as well.
  7. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    The low crowds last weekend are no mystery and I'm surprised that anyone was shocked. Most people chose staycations this year instead of traveling. Premium passholders may have feared the worst as far as attendance and held off in favor of BBQs instead. The few out of towners who came weren't all that keen on spending $80 for one day at a theme park. The bulk of DLR's regular daily attendance is blocked out until late August, providing the perfect storm. As much as I loved front row Fantasmic seating 7 minutes before the 2nd show, it was foolish on the part of TDO to choose Monday for a 3-show offering. There are so many other nights around Halloween and Christmas where they SHOULD be doing this, but don't.
  8. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan
    Most people chose staycations this year instead of traveling.
    I don't doubt that at all. That is one of the primary things fueling the great attendance at Six Flags, Universal and Knott's. But it should have driven a lot of people into Disneyland as well. The other local parks all seemed to have a great 4th of July weekend. It is really strange.

    There may very well have been some fear that Disneyland would be too crowded so folks stayed away. Still trying to wrap my head around this one, but I'm wondering if the price increases may finally have reached a level where they are just too expensive for the average family.
  9. bellerose75's Avatar
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    not happy to see the ugly red lettering on top of the new DCA entrance...was hoping they would go a different route than Disney Studios. *sigh
  10. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    DL needs to do something about the disproportionate crowds - light in the summer and heavy in the off season? Offer a 'day of the week' annual pass, only good on one specific day of the week, or certain days of the week, but make it good for the whole year round, except holidays.

    You could offer '1 day a week', '2 days a week', '3 day mid week', 'just weekends' etc. APs good for week days would be cheaper than weekends. The weekend passes could be priced close to the premiums APs, or not offered at all.

    If it's only one day, give the opportunity to change it once - for example if it was originally good for Tuesdays, the pass holder has the chance to change it to another day, say Wednesdays - but for the remainder of the year it stays on Wednesdays. This is for people whose schedule may change in the middle of the year.
    Updated 07-08-2011 at 01:45 PM by Disneykin Kid
  11. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    Sorry, I hit reply instead of edit, please delete this post
  12. DisneyDrums's Avatar
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    Thanks for ze update!
  13. Crazee4mm's Avatar
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    Out of the 8 fellow Premium AP holders that I know, only 2 of them are renewing due to the increased cost. Disneyland is becoming synonomous with "expensive" rather than "magic". I frequent literally ALL of the SoCal parks and I am hearing "Disney is too expensive" more and more from those park patrons. I have a friend who works at Ralph's and she says that people actually laugh when they see the Disney ticket cards (and the prices printed upon them). $499 for an annual pass really gets the customer guffawing! Especially when placed beside a "no blockout" Magic Mountain or Knott's season pass card for $64.95. She hasn't seen anyone purchase one of these. While I do believe that Disneyland is a special place that stands head and shoulders above the competition, it's getting the reputation as a place that is just too expensive to visit. And with only a $20 "renewal incentive" on the $499 pass, it's just not worth it anymore. I never thought I'd write those words. I've been a pass holder since they began offering them and I think I have finally reached my limit. When my latest pass expires, I might have it bronzed.
  14. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Just viewing the ODV carts for Disneyland Fronteirland, and wonder why those ugly go cart wheels have not been themed out?? Design a themed wheel, make a pattern and produce them. They could be a twisted S spoke mine car wheel with hard rubber tires for pavement traveling and restocking etc.. WED/WDI has done it many times. The carts themselves can use some treatments per land as at TDS. Shoes do matter. Pd
    PS Just noticed the Season Pass Price query above. How much is an annual Mammoth Mountain Ski Pass these days? Probably just over a Disneyland Pass as has always been the case. Maybe Magic Mountain is more like a Big bear annual ski pass price? with a limited smaller season.
    Updated 07-08-2011 at 05:54 PM by DisWedWay
  15. WRDup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazee4mm
    ...While I do believe that Disneyland is a special place that stands head and shoulders above the competition, it's getting the reputation as a place that is just too expensive to visit.
    When lower attendance is the trend I might agree. But for now I don't think it is expensive enough. The Parks are way too crowded all the time. This may be shocking to some but thinking back to the mid/late nineties crowd levels I almost prefer that version of Dland better because I could walk around without the annoyance of hot, sweaty, sticky crowds of people bumping in to me. And I remember way shorter wait times. Or maybe Im just getting old. :-/

    Whatever the case one thing is for sure. My wife and I (both premium annual pass holders - soon to be premier annual pass holders) probably wont be back to the park before Sept/Oct.
  16. zipadee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazee4mm
    I am hearing "Disney is too expensive" more and more from those park patrons. $499 for an annual pass really gets the customer guffawing!
    I stopped renewing my pass last year for this reason.

    I know many in the Disney organization believe there to be too many passholders out there (and rightfully so) so this is probably a result of them actively trying to cut the number of passholders - aka people that come clog up the park, but don't spend much money. Let's examine:

    Premier annual pass 2008: $379
    Premier annual pass 2011: $499
    Increase of $120 in 3 years.

    Deluxe annual pass 2008: $259
    Deluxe annual pass 2011: $379
    Increase of $120 in 3 years.

    Seems like they are accomplishing that goal in people like Crazee and myself. So, I'm not a price analyst or anything, but you would think they would want to stabilize the price of the one day passes to continue to attract people who are interested in still attending the park, but don't want to drop the $$ for the annual price. Nah, probably not so much:

    One-day pass 2001: $43
    One-day pass 2011: $80
    86% price increase in 10 years.

    I mean, people continue to pay it and on most levels the product justifies the price, but I do find it a bit alarming that the prices have risen at such a high rate in the middle of a huge recession. I thought that they would probably hit the roof at triple digits, but the park-hopper has already crossed that barrier. Should be interesting to see what follows in the years to come.

    Oh well. C'est la vie. I always found Disneyland more magical when I went once every couple years anyway (and was 7).
  17. PragmaticIdealist's Avatar
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    What is the point of spending so much time, money, and effort on all the design aspects of Disneyland if all that work is going to be ruined by the thoughtless O.D.V. cart mess that Operations adds to the scene?
  18. pbpeck's Avatar
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    We tried to go to Downtown Disney on July 4, but the parking was $20. Why?
  19. Monoautorail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazee4mm
    Out of the 8 fellow Premium AP holders that I know, only 2 of them are renewing due to the increased cost. Disneyland is becoming synonomous with "expensive" rather than "magic". I frequent literally ALL of the SoCal parks and I am hearing "Disney is too expensive" more and more from those park patrons. I have a friend who works at Ralph's and she says that people actually laugh when they see the Disney ticket cards (and the prices printed upon them). $499 for an annual pass really gets the customer guffawing! Especially when placed beside a "no blockout" Magic Mountain or Knott's season pass card for $64.95. She hasn't seen anyone purchase one of these. While I do believe that Disneyland is a special place that stands head and shoulders above the competition, it's getting the reputation as a place that is just too expensive to visit. And with only a $20 "renewal incentive" on the $499 pass, it's just not worth it anymore. I never thought I'd write those words. I've been a pass holder since they began offering them and I think I have finally reached my limit. When my latest pass expires, I might have it bronzed.
    Passes have been available for decades . . . I got my first one 19 years ago, and that was long, long after they were first offered. You paid at the booth, then took your receipt to an unmarked door and rang the bell. They invited you in, took your photo with a Polaroid (or similar), cut your face out, glued it on a card and laminated it. At the time, there was "Annual Pass" and "Seasonal Pass", the former good every day, the latter good Sunday to Thursday, September to June. Annual Pass was priced at about 7.5 times daily admission for a long, long, long time. Current Premium Pass is actually markedly below that.