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