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In the Parks

Disneyland's ToonTown Christmas Blues, Thanksgiving Options, Construction Conclusions

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
by , 11-10-2011 at 09:49 PM

We have a holly jolly In the Parks for you this week with the latest in Disney and theme park news and discussions from Southern California. We are eager to see the progress of the holidays as more cheer and merriment sweeps into the Disneyland Resort before the official start of the season on Monday, November 14. Disney California Adventure is getting in on the fun this year with a few classy decorations. Disneyland Hotel progress is another interesting topic as the walls around the pool area come down to reveal a much more scaled back theme. We drop into Universal Studios Hollywood and take a look at the Transformers construction progress and then some. OH! and don't forget to make your plans for Thanksgiving, we have a nice listing of dining options for you to choose from at the local parks. Here we go!

Visions of sugarplums are dancing about as we jump into the news from this week at the Disneyland Resort. And we won't skip Thanksgiving either!!!

Disneyland Hotel's "A Disney Family Thanksgiving Feast" will be served noon to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. The Grand Ballroom will be transformed for the harvest with fall theming and meet-n-greet photo opportunities with many Disney character dressed up in country-farm attire.

The buffet will include roast breast of turkey, prime rib, stuffing, sweet potato soufflé, fresh cranberry orange relish, smashed potatoes and gravy, salads, artisan cheeses, smoked salmon, poached shrimp and more. Dessert choices include pumpkin and pecan pies, tarts, cookies and other gourmet sweets.

Kids get their own buffet with favorites such as pizza, mac and cheese, chicken and fresh corn.

Adults: $71.99 (does this seem really expensive to anyone else?)
Kids (ages 3 to 9): $20.99
Ages 2 and Under: Free
Tax and gratuity is extra.

Parking at Disneyland Hotel Lot: 4-hour complimentary parking is included ($6 per hour after 4 hours).

• Around Disneyland Resort:
Turkey and other traditional Thanksgiving foods will be available at select restaurants at the parks, Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort hotels, including the following. To make reservations at table-service restaurants, call (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463.

Café Orleans, French Market, Carnation Café, Plaza Inn, and Blue Bayou

Disney California Adventure:
Ariel’s Grotto, Wine Country Trattoria, and Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

Disneyland Hotel:
Steakhouse 55 and Goofy’s Kitchen

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa:
Napa Rose and Storyteller’s Café

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel:
Disney’s PCH Grill
The archway that was once the entrance to Disneyland from Harbor Blvd. is finally gone for good. A new unobtrusive driveway will be installed to accommodate the buses that transport guests to the main entrance from the Toy Story lot. But don't be too sad, this entryway isn't very old and the classic Disneyland sign of yesteryear gave way in the Eisner era and now belongs to John Stamos (of TV's Full House).

Last week.

Same spot yesterday

This portion of the sidewalk is closed during the construction.

Christmas officially begins on Monday November 14th at theDisneyland resort but the fun is already getting in place.

Mickey looks festive

Deck the city Halls

Oh Christmas tree!

Disney Showcase is awash with yule-tide cheer.

The displays are almost always wonderful in this store

Cute shirt!

Wreaths and snow

How the west was merry.

We like the simple and natural looking decorations of Frontierland

New Orleans Square:
Garish, Over the top, and absolutely fabulous. The New Orleans Square decorations return with many changes from previous years.

The garland competes with beads.

They know how to do it. Each balcony seems to have its own theme to match the resident inside.

it's a small world:

The it's a small world Holiday installation is going smoothly and has been known to open early if it is ready. Keep an eye out.

Mickey's ToonTown:
Mickey's ToonTown was always such a highlight of the holiday season. So what went so wrong with it this year? Gone are the wildly whimsical decorated trees at City Hall and Minnie and Mickey's houses. In their place are the tacky, plastic and fiberglass monstrosities which are hand-me-downs from Disney World (and look like it).

Have they changed the name "TO NTOWN". We think an "O" ran away from embarrassment over the new/old plastic trees from WDW.

No real complaints here.

But THIS! (Keep reading, it just gets worse the closer you get)

No, doesn't even look good with a Dutch angle (tilted angle).

The seams are visible to even the most casual eye.

You can see how these ugly hand-me-downs don't match the rest of the wonderful decorations in the land.

Minnie House fares no better

Minnie's inside crying because the Imagineers don't seem to care about ToonTown any more.

And look at this tiny and sorry excuse for Mickey's Tree

Goofy did okay at his place though.

But what should really make Disney ashamed is the lie they are perpetuating this year. They are putting out releases and taping segments in the Christmas special which state that ToonTown is being decorated for the first time this year! But as all of us well know, ToonTown has been decorated for a very long time and is one of the most elaborately themed of all the Christmas decorations in the resort.

Sadly, now that they have added these ugly trees from Florida, they have decided to lie to the world and say that this is all "New". 1) It isn't new to decorate ToonTown and 2) these "New" decorations are old leftovers from another park. Shame on Disney. There is no reason to lie to your customers (especially when what you already had was so wonderful)! Someone in PR is getting a lump of coal in their stocking this year.

The wait board is still behind walls and is apparently receiving a major update. It's been walled up for weeks.

The Pirates of the Caribbean facade is finally emerging from its extensive refurbishment. They have done things right and spent a great amount of time not just freshening everything up on the inside, but in the exterior details as well. The pirates are scheduled to resume pillaging, plundering, rifling and looting on Nov 24th.

Gates which keep all us peons out of the Dream Suite.

This past weekend guests had the chance to be part of the filming of the "Disney Parks" Christmas Day special. Stars such as Marlee Matlin, and Nick Cannon were on hand for two days of filming on Main Street and the Castle.

Walt still directing

Marlee Matlin and Nick Cannon.

The Disneyland Hotel is almost ready for its big unveiling. This extensive refurbishment has taken years, but has reached the last few details to be done. The walls came down recently at the front of the hotel and we were there to see it all.

The entry way is one of the final elements left to be finished.

The new check-in desk looks nice and retro

Guests are currently using this area for check-in until the new desk is ready.

The expanded lobby.

what's that?

SPA WATER! This is a high class place!

Out front we find more good news...

They have restored the long dormant fountains near the valet and entry.

The E-Ticket pool walkways

Last minute touches being made to the directional signs

The pool has been filled and is ready to open very soon.

The Mickey, Pluto and Minnie shrubs survived.

The disabled ramp into the pool area.

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Yes, the construction is still going on. But the good news is that we are finally starting to see pieces of this project being completed. What's more, Disney California Adventure is even making some attempts at joining in on the holiday fun. Let's take a look.

Nice garland on the new gate.

Buena Vista Street has until June of next year to meet its target completion date. Can they do it? We think they can, but it will be a photo finish. Al Lutz reports that it is growing more and more likely that the grand reopening may slip to July or even August.

In the foreground, we see the top of the fancy new fountain in DCA's Carthay hub area

Pump House:
The new Carthay Circle Redline "Stop" and info center was unveiled this week. Yes, it's a small building. But it gives a lot of food for thought as it indicates what we have to look forward to with the rest of the area. The building is a nicely detailed structure used to hide the pump to the fountain at the center of Buena Vista Circle. the beige tones and wrought iron marquee have a nice weight and already offer a small sense of place.

The only problem is that many guests are confused by the building and think it is a restroom - only they can't seem to find the entry doors. We really like this building but can absolutely understand where the confusion comes from. This building has no windows and the same boxy shape of many theme park restrooms.

Nice fixtures!

Sorry, no bathroom here

Trees AND curbs! We are honestly happy to see curbs have been installed as they really help create a sense of place.

Carthay Circle Theater:
Here is the most recent look at the Carthay Circle Theatre.

From the parade route looking towards the front gate.

You can spot some columns and details if you look closely at these photos

Over at the Paradise Garden eateries, they have installed very tasteful holiday decorations on the archways.

Simple and elegant

The color scheme is understated and accents the colors of the area.

Meanwhile Mickey's Gazeebo will soon become the Santa meet and greet

They have even decorated the temporary entrance to the park.

Rides are already testing on a regular basis in Cars Land and foliage continues to be planted. Let's look around.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Luigi's is surrounded with trees now.

A look down the main drag shows the courthouse coming along.

The facade to Mater's museum and ride.

Only the bottom of the butte remains to be sculpted.

The world famous back side of . . . rock-work

The Cozy Cones

The final mesh to be installed on the back wall.

Grizzly River Rapids is currently down for routine maintenance and is scheduled to return on the 15th.

The geyser never stops.

Knott's Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet
Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant will offer a Thanksgiving buffet all day with unlimited champagne and an expanded holiday menu in addition to the popular items offered in its weekly Sunday Champagne Brunch, like Mrs. Knott's famous fried chicken, prime rib, BBQ ribs, shrimp cocktail, and boysenberry pie. The restaurant is located among Knott's Marketplace shops, where theme-park admission is not required. Call (714) 220-5055 for reservations.
Adults: $29.95
Seniors (Ages 62+): $22.95
Children (Ages 3-11): $16.95
Ages 2 and Under: Free
Prices do not reflect tax and gratuity.

Mrs. Knott's Chicken To Go - Holiday Banquet in a Box
Mrs. Knott's Chicken To Go (located next to the dine-in restaurant) will offer "Banquet in a Box" meals and are available for pre-order for Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. Choose turkey or ham with all the fixings plus a choice of pie for $89.95. Call (714) 220-5006 for information.

Thanksgiving menus will be served aboard the Queen Mary's four restaurants: Champagne Brunch in the Grand Salon, Promenade Cafe, Chelsea Chowder House, and Sir Winston's Restaurant & Lounge.

Queen Mary's Thanksgiving Champagne Brunch in the Grand Salon will have different food stations.
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Adults: $64.95
Kids (Ages 5-12): $32.95
Holiday Station
Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy and Cranberry Apple Relish, Apple Walnut Dressing, Maple Orange Glazed Yams, Sweet Corn Pudding and Mashed Potatoes

Herb Roasted Local Halibut, Champagne Beurre Blanc
Seafood Creole, Rice Pilaf, Season Fresh Vegetables

Carving Station
Featuring Bourbon Glazed Honey Ham with Orange Currant Sauce.
Roast Prime Rib of Beef, Au Jus and Horseradish

Salad Station
Grilled Vegetables with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli and Basil Oil, Fresh Mozzarella with Vine-Ripe Tomatoes Fresh Basil and Balsamic Syrup, Fresh Seasonal Fruit, Crudite of Fresh Garden Vegetables with Pepper Cream
Domestic and Imported Cheese with Sliced Baguettes and Gourmet Crackers, Penne Salad with Sundried Tomatoes and Artichokes, Pesto Vinaigrette, Fall Salad Greens with Tomato, Cucumber, Carrot, Herb Croutons, Raspberry Vinaigrette and Pepper Cream Dressing, Spinach Salad with Mushrooms and Candied Walnuts, Waldorf Salad, Calypso Rice Salad with Baby Shrimp, Red Potato Salad with Whole Grain Mustard Dressing, Chicken Salad with Pineapple and Toasted Coconut

Pasta Station
Cheese Ravioli, Penne and Fettuccini Pastas, Vodka Tomato Sauce, Marinara and Pesto Cream, Garlic Bread Sticks

Crepe and Dessert Station
Crepes with Strawberries, Chocolate Sauce, Chantilly Cream. Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Cheesecake, Black Forest Torte, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Lemon Cake, Raspberry Mousse Cake, Assorted Fancy Mini Pastries, Chocolate Fondue with Seasonal Fruit and Marshmallows, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Vanilla Sauce

Mexican Station
Chicken and Beef Fajitas, Pork Carnitas, Corn and Flour Tortillas, Guacamole, Salsa Quemada, Salsa Fresca, Sour Cream, Shredded Jack and Cheddar Cheese, Pico de Gallo, Grilled Green Onions

Breakfast favorites
Including freshly made Waffles with Maple Syrup and Whipped Butter and made to order Omelette Station

Seafood Station on Ice
Poached Shrimp, Crab Claws, Oysters, Clams, Mussels, Cocktail Sauce, Remoulade and Hot Pepper Sauces
Baja Ceviche with Corn Tortilla Chips
Whole Poached Salmon, Mustard Dill Sauce
Smoked Salmon with Capers, Red Onion, Lemon, Cream Cheese, Mini Bagels

Sir Winston's Thanksgiving Prix Fixe Menu (Queen Mary)
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Adult: $60
Kids (Ages 12 and Under): $19.95

First Course
Autumn Squash and Pumpkin Soup with Honey Cream
Lobster Bisque

Second Course
Salad of Bibb, Frisee, Radicchio and Autumn Greens with Preserved Fruit Confetti, Toasted Squash Seeds, Stilton Cheese with Lingonberry Vinaigrette
Sir Winston’s Caesar Salad Romaine Hearts
Herb Croutons, Parmesan Crisp

Pink Champagne Sorbet

Main Course
Roast Turkey, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Pear Relish
Apple Walnut Dressing, Mashed Potatoes
Orange Maple Glazed Yams, Green Beans with Shallot Butter
Herb-Roasted Fillet of Salmon
Champagne Caviar Beurre Blanc
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Petite Fall Vegetables
Classic Beef Wellington
Madeira Glaze, Red Onion Confit
Glazed Fall Vegetables
Truffle Mashed Potatoes

Dessert Course
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote, Chantilly Cream
Chocolate Pecan Pie, Bourbon Crème Anglaise

• Chelsea Chowder House & Bar Thanksgiving Menu (Queen Mary)
Hours: 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Adult: $37
Kids (Ages 5-10): $18.50

First Course
Choice of Chelsea Signature Chowders:
Corn and Poblano Chowder
Chicken and Chorizo Chowder
New England Clam Chowder
Autumn Field Greens with Roasted Pear, Baby Tomato, Pecans and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Main Course
Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy and Cranberry Pear Relish
Apple Walnut Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Orange Maple Glazed Yams and Green Beans with Shallot Butter

Dessert Course
Pumpkin Chiffon Cheesecake, Chantilly Cream

CityWalk is getting decked out for the holidays. Most of the garland is up, as well as the tree, but there is still much left to be done.

HHN is almost completely gone from the park, just 11 days after the last event. All that stands are pieces of the mazes and a few props scattered around the Terror Tram route.

No More Killer Klownz here.

No more Freakz

Crates containing pieces of the Grinchmas Tree sit near the Wild West Arena, home to the 'The Thing' maze. Once the last of the maze is removed, the tree will be assembled.

One new thing we noticed is signage for a service that allows you to view, manage, and send all of your purchased photos through a single app. The app instantly updates your photos from any theme park that uses "Amazing Pictures" photographers such as Universal Parks, Islands of Adventures, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, and others. Download the app by scanning the QR code with your smart phone or search the Android market keyword Amazing Pictures

The entry to the Starway has been decorated on both ends.

CSI was filming in their sound stages and some of the props being used in future episodes were on display outside - including this cake with built in steps on the backside allowing someone to climb in.

Commercial utilizing the Metro Sets. Judging by the signage, New York Street was dressed to be somewhere in France.

The facade is starting to go up. a mural of some sort is going up on the show building. It appears as if mounting strips have been left unpainted for some sort of element to be installed in front of the mural.

San Diego Zoo (2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego) will offer Thanksgiving menus at two of its restaurants: Treetops and Albert's. Admission ticket (or a Zoo Member card) is required for entry into the restaurants, located inside the zoo. For reservations, call (619) 557-3964 between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Reservations must be secured with a credit card.

Treetops Restaurant Thanksgiving Buffet
Continuous seating 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
San Diego Zoo's Treetops Restaurant will serve a traditional Thanksgiving menu in its Banquet Room. Menu will include free-range turkey, certified Angus slow-roasted prime rib, baked penne with roasted vegetables, blackened salmon, stuffing, salads, fruits, cheeses, artisan breads, assorted cakes, pies and desserts.

Adults: $42.95
Kids (Ages 3 to 11): $15.95
Tax and gratuity are extra.

Albert's Restaurant Thanksgiving Dinner
San Diego Zoo's acclaimed fine-dining restaurant, Albert's, will serve a three-course prix fixe meal with entree choices of carved Diestel free-range turkey platter, certified Angus slow-roasted prime rib, Jamacian jerk salmon, or vegetarian linguini primavera. Starters: Mixed baby greens salad, or butternut squash and apple soup. Dessert: African amarula cheesecake, or sour-cream apple pie.

Seating begins at 11 a.m.
Adults: $37.95
Kids (Ages 3 to 11): $13.95
Tax and gratuity are extra.

Today's update was edited by Fishbulb and brought to you by the following members of our fantastic and talented crew of photographers and news contributors: Daniel K. Lew, F!an, and Dustysage. (If you've got breaking news or photos to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact Dusty today.)

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Updated 11-11-2011 at 08:14 AM by In the Parks



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  1. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!
  2. GoBotDotCom's Avatar
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    The new/old ToonTown decorations really throw off the forced perspective. Hopefully this blunder will go away next year ...
  3. indianajack's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!

    Those WDW hand-me-down trees in Toontown are just awful! The old Toontown Christmas trees were great, and the entire area was one of my favorites during holidays in the park. Hey Disney, ship back that tacky Florida garbage to WDW, or just throw it away. Don't foist it on SoCal!
  4. NetteNutt's Avatar
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    Toon Town.... (((sigh))) always enjoyed the Toon Town decorations. its one of the things that sticks out so vividly in my mind about my first trip. I think what I'm going to do is if I get stopped my one of those survey people is mention something to them or go into City Hall, I mean not be like hostile about it but just let them know its not the same. One thing I have learned after being on here for a few years now is that most of the time some one is listening. Its obviously too late to do something this year but maybe get it fixed for next year, those trees are just sad.

    On and I must have that Mickey shirt.
    Updated 11-11-2011 at 09:06 AM by NetteNutt
  5. toonaspie's Avatar
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    • permalink seems to me that the new DLH lobby looks pretty bland and lifeless compared to what was there before.
  6. Grizzly's Avatar
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    The ToonTown trees are ugly, but they hardly ruin ToonTown for the holidays. The rest of the decorations that have been there for years are still there and outshine the trees by far.

    I'm also reading the press release and it doesn't say that this is ToonTown's first year being decorated. It just says new decor is being added to ToonTown, and that the "big" tree is the centerpiece of these new decorations. It's just really ugly.

    I am glad they opted not to use the horrible garland from MK's ToonTown. That is in the press release and would have been too much. I did see them on sale at Company D.
    Updated 11-11-2011 at 06:49 AM by Grizzly
  7. 4Apples4Disney's Avatar
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    Thanks for another great update!
  8. TCadillac's Avatar
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    Nice update. That Queen Mary Thanksgiving dinner is no joke.
  9. FigmentJedi's Avatar
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    I like how that Bayformers facade mural is just a picture of an explosion.
  10. sinatra12's Avatar
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    why not just use the old trees outside and move the new ones ummm i dont know INSIDE that way we dont have to see them as often. i think toontown could use a touch up
  11. mickeyfan4ever's Avatar
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    yay dca alomost done
  12. a-mad's Avatar
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    Great pics, as always... I didn't get a good view of main street however - have the mickey garlands been added yet? I figured they would this year, but wasn't sure if Soundsational was preventing them from doing it yet.
  13. wallaceproject's Avatar
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    They charge $71.99 for a Thanksgiving feast for adults at Disneyland? Have they lost their minds?
  14. Donald1980's Avatar
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    The Disneyland Wait Time board has been uncovered and running since Wednesday.

    I agree with how most feel about the ToonTown decorations. This place use to be one of the best decorated places in the Resort and I always loved the trees they had in front of the houses the previous years. I really hope they come back next year, but I'm hoping even more that their is enough noise out there to get them to bring back the better decorations this year.
  15. Freakazoid112's Avatar
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    Was I the only one who had the Radiohead song "Fake Plastic Trees" in mind when I saw the Christmas tree photos?
  16. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    The hotel lobby is boring as heck. What a waste of good money. Oh well - just part of today's design "trends".
    As far as the 3 fountains, that is AWESOME! How long have those been inop? Were they totally covered by plant life? Never noticed them before. Did the big Mickey out front survive this remodel?
  17. dobberdoo's Avatar
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    Could someone put together a "then and Now" photo comparision of ToonTown holiday decorations?
  18. MickeyMaxx's Avatar
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    Last Thanksgiving, said the Restaurant at L'Ermitage was the most expensive Thanksgiving buffet in Los Angeles at $80pp.

    L'Ermitage reduced to $75, for 2011.
    Disneyland Hotel at $72.
    Storytellers at the Grand for $30. ($22, plated)
    Knott's for $30. ($23, senior)
    Or set up your own buffet at home by picking up Knott's Banquet in a Box for 6-8 people $90. Sold hot, not refrigerated like the grocery stores (you book the date and time for pickup, but the meal may require some heating depending on your travel time home). Includes Knott's preserves for the rolls, and a Knott's pie. Extra pies? $11, each.

    Guess choices are yet another thing we have to be thankful for!
  19. Disneylandfan85's Avatar
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    I hope they bring back the one O from the Toontown sign that went missing.
  20. chesirecat's Avatar
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    I liked the photos of the Carthay themed pump house, but a couple things seem wrong: cast members standing around, and a lamp post painted green . . . with parade lights "hidden" on top of it by painting a bluish-green shade of "no see 'um" green. Lazy, as they could have built a retractable parade lights pole into the pump house.

    Yeah, I guess a fountain needs a pump house, but that doesn't meant that they couldn't have hidden it away somewhere in the landscaping for Grizzly River Run. It isn't exactly "small" as it probably is as big as the firehouse in Disneyland in terms of ground floor square footage. I think that the worst thing about it is that the Cast Member maning the information booth area have to stand all day.

    Since this building has, be necessity, a lot of plumbing, why couldn't they have just made it into bathrooms? I know that the Carthay Theatre/restaurant will probably have bathrooms, but having more bathrooms isn't a sin, in fact, its kinda helpful during heavy crowds.

    I give it two stars out of four, it is themed, on par with Knotts Berry Farm, but it doesn't add to the park in that if the pump house was hidden elsewhere, nobody would be building this box like structure. It seems like they took a regular box-type structure, carved out some walls and added some lights to disguise it.
    Updated 11-11-2011 at 11:16 AM by chesirecat
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