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In the Parks

3/31/08 - Monday in the Parks - News, Photos and Tips

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by , 03-31-2008 at 03:33 AM
Well, the Southern California Parks have just survived 2 very busy weeks due to Spring Break, but there are still a few more weeks of Spring Break to come, along with a lot more Cheer/Dance competitions, Mini Gay Day, and many more events keeping the parks attendance high. So don't expect to find short waits until May.

Lots to mention, so lets get to it.

"small world" changes getting major Media attention

The story Al Lutz broke last month in regards to the changes planned for "it's a small world" while they replace the flume and repair the building keeps getting more attention.

Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Times ran this story on the Front Page of its Business Section.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,1799477.story

Also, the local NPR station, KPCC did a 4 minute news segment, which has some very interesting comments and some interviews, you can listen to it at this link.

http://www.scpr.org/news/stories/200...ld_032808.html

A look at the Fred Gurley

Steve DeGaetano has had a wonderful series regarding the rebuilding of the Fred Gurley engine on the Disneyland Railroad here at MiceAge.

http://www.miceage.com/stevedegaetano/sd102907a.htm



Well, this week, I was lucky enough to be invited up to view the engine and get a few photos. I don't say it enough, but I need to once again thank all the front-end Cast Members who work so hard to keep the parks operating.

















Also, Disney is planning to once again attend the Fullerton Railroad Days on May 3rd and 4th. The current plan is to take the Fred Gurley engine for display, along with a few other exhibits. The best part of the Fullerton Railroad Days, its free. More information can be found at this link.

http://www.scrmf.org/rrdays/

So if you have the time, and live in Southern California, catch the Amtrak or Metrolink near your home and visit Fullerton in Early May for this event.

Last showing of "Seasons of the Vine"

Yesterday sent another attraction to Yesterland, as one of the original Disney's California Adventure Park's attractions had its last showing.

Seasons of the Vine, a small intimate attraction designed for the Robert Mondavi Winery area is closing to allow the building to be converted to a Preview Center for upcoming projects for DCA and the entire Resort. Seasons of the Vine was a movie that dealt with the growing of grapes for winemaking, and was very well done. Alas, its location was somewhat hidden, even though it was next to the Parade Route.

The movie had large crowds the entire day, including a big group of MiceChat members at 2 PM. The final show at 5 PM brought back some of the former presenters of the show. Each of these presenters are still involved in Winery business.



Yesterland History

David DeFore was kind enough to spend his Sunday at the park, and joined the Noon Meet at the Hub. In honor of his presence, the group decided to head over to the River Belle Terrace for lunch. Who is David DeFore? Well, he was the "Youngest Cast Member" on record. Don DeFore, a famous TV and Movie Actor actually operated a restaurant in Disneyland along with his brother Verne. When David turned 12 (and was legally allowed to work), his father hired him (The restaurant was actually owned and operated by Mr. DeFore as a Sole Proprietorship) as a busboy.

http://www.defore.net/


David DeFore, in the blue shirt, talking about working at the "Silver Banjo" in front of the former location.




Werner Weiss, the historian who created Yesterland.com, a proud part of the MiceAge family, actually created a page for the "Silver Banjo Restaurant".

http://www.defore.net/banjo.htm

He was very kind with the group, and told a lot of stories regarding Disneyland, including how some of his brothers and sisters became Walt's grandchildren for a day. Basically, Walt's real Grandchildren didn't show up for a Christmas Parade, and Walt called over to the restaurant and asked if Mr. DeVore had brought his children. He said yes, and then Walt asked that he send the youngest 2 over to the Main Gate to sit with Walt in his vehicle during the parade. (Can't have Walt driving down the Parade Route without children!) There are a few other stories, but well, let's just say they don't need to be repeated in public.

Then after Lunch, I became a "personal tour guide" and gave him a quick tour around DCA.

FYI, one sad bit of news came out of this weekend's tribute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue, and that is the fact Art Linkletter couldn't attend due to the fact that he suffered a mild stroke. Please send some good thoughts to this legend and his family.

The Good and the Bad in regards to the Disney owned Hotels

Let's start with the Good News. Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian is planning to upgrade its menu in the next month or so. Don't worry, the Character Breakfast and the buffet will remain, but new items will be showing up on the regular menu. This has been one of my favorite places to eat in the resort, a nice "mid-range" choice with lots of options.

Now the bad news, Disney is changing its policy in regards to "Magic Mornings" (formally Early Entry) and hotel guests. The prior policy was to allow any guest of the 3 Disney owned hotels to enter the park during Early Entry just by showing their Room Charge Slip. This was great for Annual Passholders and others who did not get their admission tickets through the Walt Disney Travel Company.

The removal of this perk will not effect most guests, purchasing a package through the WDTC or its affiliates, or even buying a 3 day or longer ParkHopper at the Hotel Front Desk, will still get you one Magic Morning. But this is the same "perk" as if you stay at a Good Neighbor Hotel.

Other changes include going from a 3 day Cancellation policy on a reservation to a 5 day requirement, and the fact that they will charge the cost of the first day's stay when you make a reservation directly with the hotel. If you call prior to the 5 day cancellation period, Disney will refund the charge to your Credit Card within 6 weeks of notification.


Anaheim GardenWalk update

Last Friday, the final of the 6 major restaurants opened up. Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine opened its doors, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky people to attend. This is fine dining (but like most places in the Resort area, no need to dress up), expect to pay around $40 per person on food alone, then add drinks and dessert.



Work continues on the main shopping area, but still on track for a late May opening.




The World's most popular Beagles hang out together

Last Wednesday, Uno, the winner of Best of Show at the Westminster Kennel Club, and now known as the "top dog" spent a day at Knott's Berry Farm to say hello to his fellow Beagle, Snoopy. Knott's has had a very busy last couple of weeks as it's "Snoopy's Spring Safari" was a hit.









Pony Express, Knott's new attraction is progressing and is on schedule to open this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend.




Universal Studios Hollywood has a preview of the new Simpson's Ride

Universal has placed a new website up which is a fun and interactive look at their upcoming new attraction, scheduled to open May 17th at its Hollywood location.

http://www.simpsonsride.com/




Pixar Play Parade returned to DCA on Wednesday, but the "a bug's life" float, which caused last week's closure for a week still has not returned as of Sunday's Parade.








Well that is it for this week, of course, don't forget to check the newsfeed section here at MiceAge front page, as you will find the big news updated 24/7, and I also would like to thank everyone for the kind words and comments in regards to this fairly new column. It might have my name at the top, but it is a combination of a lot of folks who help bring you the news of what's going on in Southern California.


And of course, don't forget that there are a lot more photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

And since I am in the "Thank You" mode, the folks at Smugmug.com have been a great group of folks to deal with, and so glad I found them. They are Disney fans, and at least one of the owners has an account at MiceChat.

If you are interested in using their services, you can save $5 off their fees by using this referral code, K2NxmQOlrgDcM

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Updated 03-31-2008 at 09:25 AM by Dustysage

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Comments

  1. kennygman77's Avatar
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    Great job as always David. Sad to see that they aren't going to allow AP staying at the hotels to use Magic Mornings anymore though.
  2. Nautilus's Avatar
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    Awesome pictures of the Fred Gurely! I'll be there to see it at Fullerton Railroad days!
  3. caldisneyfan1's Avatar
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    " Bad in regards to the Disney owned Hotels


    Now the bad news, Disney is changing its policy in regards to "Magic Mornings" (formally Early Entry) and hotel guests. The prior policy was to allow any guest of the 3 Disney owned hotels to enter the park during Early Entry just by showing their Room Charge Slip. This was great for Annual Passholders and others who did not get their admission tickets through the Walt Disney Travel Company.

    The removal of this perk will not effect most guests, purchasing a package through the WDTC or its affiliates, or even buying a 3 day or longer ParkHopper at the Hotel Front Desk, will still get you one Magic Morning. But this is the same "perk" as if you stay at a Good Neighbor Hotel."

    I am really suprised that this perk is being removed. My family and I decided we were staying for 9 days in the park we would get the anual passes at the same time as we stay so we will in effect loose all MM in the park that were offered before and we will not even receive 1 for our stay during our stay at GCH. I am very upset about this one.

    Best regards
  4. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    In regards to the elimination of Magic Mornings... there is a "fix" for the short term, as some folks were told the old policy when making their reservation. When you check in, ask the CM for a special "Magic Morning" pass if you need one. This will allow you into the park early. They will only issue one "pass" per person scheduled to stay in the room. Not sure how long they will do this, but Disney does understand that some folks who have already made reservations had this "perk" in mind.

    But the computer system will reflect when you made the reservation, so don't expect the pass for any future reservation.
    Updated 03-31-2008 at 07:40 AM by Darkbeer
  5. caldisneyfan1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip I will ask for the pass for me and my famly. We did not find out about this until after our stay last June at DLH and we were looking forward to the use of this "Perk".
  6. xalesa's Avatar
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    Nice update; thanks!!
  7. Steve DeGaetano's Avatar
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    Yes, really great shots of the Fred Gurley, especially the cab shot!
  8. DonDuck's Avatar
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    Another great update. Love the pics of the Fred Gurley.
  9. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Thank you for the great update Darkbeer!

    Pony Express at Knott's looks like it is coming along well. Where is the loading area going to be?
  10. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    That was an AMAZING update! So much info I will have to read it a second time. Very well done DB.
  11. MasterGracey's Avatar
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    Great update, Darkbeer

    I'm surprised at the cost of Roy's Hawaiian Fusion... $40 for "Hawaiian" food? I'd rather take the 10 minute drive and go to the nearest L&L's for some non-fusion Hawaiian (katsu, kalua pork, etc) at a great price.

    And it's nice to see that Seasons of the Vine got a nice send-off. The film was definitely not a must-do, but it was terribly underrated, too. A nice filler attraction that gave you a nice, cool break from the warm Southern California sun, and it was actually entertaining, too!
    Updated 03-31-2008 at 12:46 PM by MasterGracey
  12. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    First off, as to Pony Express, the loading area will be about where the Nature Center was, prior to being moved.

    As for Roy's, my girlfriend said it was worth EVERY penny. I like L&L, but Roy's is a much higher class.

    As for Seasons of the Vine, it was a great little attraction that matched the area. Now Golden Dreams, at one of the major crossroads at DCA is an underwhelming attraction based on the size of the building and its prime location. Heck, "PUSH" gets bigger crowds than Golden Dreams.

    I do hope that both "Seasons of the Vine" and Golden Dreams do end up on DVD, they are both basically standard movies, and after they close, having it available on DVD would be a nice option. Alas, if we can't get Song of the South on DVD, do you think we can get the DCA attractions???
  13. Wrldtrvlr's Avatar
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    One rumor over heard during the final days of the "Seasons of the Vine" was that the film may come back after the preview center has fulfilled its duties. It will be interesting to see if they wall up the casks or how much they change the winery look of the viewing room. It is not very large and a film and/or small model and a couple pictures or video screens is all they have room for in there. I cant see it making much of an impact. The Preview Center could have been done in a much grander style in the San Francisco building.
  14. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    ^Alas, the "Bathroom Row" buildings was the original location, but since they need the area for the new Little Mermaid Ride, they have to remove the current Restrooms.

    The former "Luminaria Card room/X Arcade" building will become the new restrooms, and will be larger than the current version, as they expect large crowds for the new World of Color Lagoon show, which will have a LOT of folks looking for a place to "go" after the show....

    So no room in the Inn

    As for the changes at the Seasons of the Vine building, I have been told that the movie projection equipment will stay, but that the seating will be removed. Not sure about the decor, either take it out, or place dry wall over it....

    We should find out shortly!
  15. Kissfan's Avatar
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    We will be staying at Paradise Pier for our 2nd visit in May and I was alarmed at the early morning entry news. I booked our trip through Getawaytoday.com and it includes 2 early entries as mentioned above so I don't believe we will be affected. I booked that way because WDTC didn't have rooms available for the entire length of our intended week.
  16. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    The "ParkHopper" is the important thing, so yes, you will have 2 Magic Mornings available to you.

    But you would get the same 2 Magic Mornings if you stay at the PPH, or a Good Neighbor Hotel such as the Anabella or HoJo's.
  17. Kissfan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. We have 5 day ParkHoppers. Now, does 2 entries mean 1 for each person for a total of 2 or do we both get early entrance on 2 days?
  18. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    If you got the special ParkHoppers from GetAwayToday.com, then you get 2 "Magic Mornings" per person, so that is 2 seperate days per ticket. Of course, you don't have to use both, but they are available.

    Magic Mornings are currently offered on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
  19. Gullywhumper's Avatar
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    My thoughts and prayers go out to Art Linkletter and his family. I hope that he recovers well from his slight stroke.
  20. mouseworker's Avatar
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    you missed Mr. Potato Head at DCA he was on the Boardwalk on and off during park hours. the plan is to have him everyday. you can now see into the station and the queue area!!!!