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Disneyland Matterhorn Refurb, DCA's Buena Vista Street, SeaWorld Update, Knott's News

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by , 02-02-2012 at 08:33 PM

Knott's Ghost Town is behind construction walls with major renovation under way, the Matterhorn is behind scaffolds, and the entrance of Disney California Adventure is making big progress. But that is just the tip of the iceberg with this week's In the Parks. We get a sneak peek at the Transformers Ride commercial that will air during the Super Bowl, News from SeaWorld and an introduction to the newest addition to MiceChat's YouTube Channel. Plus, steam punk in Anaheim, gardens, libraries and much more. Hang on kids, it's gonna be a wild ride!


The big V-day is on Tuesday, February 14th this year. Disneyland is already gearing up for Cupid's arrow with the subtle planter decorations in Town Square.

Santa and Mrs. Claus have finally moved out and Mrs. Chris' cabin is back to its former, charming self. The petting zoo has returned and you are free, once again, to say hi to the goats.

Somehow the Big Thunder Barbecue area is still stuck in holiday mode.

Cafe Orleans recently closed the entry doors. But they moved the entrance to the other side of the building. The new entrance, which faces the entrance to French Market will help pull the people waiting for lunch or dinner away from the congested alley it was in before (across from the exit to Pirates of the Caribbean) and hopefully allow for better crowd flow.

Mardi Gras doesn't happen for another three weeks as it falls on Tuesday, February 21st. So, for Disneyland, it's time to decorate. So far, some of the newer decorations appear to be of lesser quality that we have been use to in the past.

What do you all think?

Sometimes there is a bunch of little bits of news, pictures, and observations that are much more at home when mentioned together. For instance...

If you ever have a chance, take a moment to sit in Magnolia park and watch the fountain. The white lilies that line its base are always beautiful and the people watching is wonderful.

The Adventureland archway returned from refurbishment and looks great.

The little coffee stand near the castle is behind walls for a refurb. Now what will Aurora do for a latte in the morning?

Disneyana is still closed for refurbishment.

The north/west portion of Main Street is under an ongoing reconfiguration and has grown to the nearby facades.

Major enhancements on the way.

Lets talk about the intricacies of the Matterhorn project. To see what you have always viewed as a towering mountain succumb to scaffolds and netting is fascinating. It is great fun to stop and gaze at the workmen, crawling up and down the network of levels, in and out of the man-made alp. The entire exterior is undergoing a pressure wash, sections of mountain are being knocked out and rebuilt and a fresh coat of paint will be applied. Then there is the interior show with new digital projections up the lift hill that may still be included along with the new props and of course the new bobsleds.

it's a small world:
By the time you read this, it's a small world will have returned to operation. Earlier this week, we caught a few pics of IASW in hibernation.

Have you been following the MiceTube? Every week we feature new video content, including MiceChatter hosted by Sarah Snitch and Communicore Weekly by Jeff and George. Check out this week's videos here.

The street that will be the new first impression for the reinvented Disney California Adventure has seen fortune smile on its progress. The dry winter that So-Cal has enjoyed thus far has given workers plenty of days of perfect working conditions. In fact, the probable scenario for portion of the DCA rebuild would have all of the facades and exteriors ready to go for the June 14th media day and June 15th official opening date.

Looking towards the front gate.

A portion of the Soarin' Marquee has been without its center graphic for the past two weeks. Things happen and get fixed all the time at the resort so we simply ignored it last week. Time for this to get fixed or for a temporary filler to be placed in the center until a permanent fix is ready.

Looks even worse in person

Redwood Creek spent the past few weeks under refurbishment, but is scheduled to open today.

We venture to the arid and rocky bluffs of Radiator Springs to assess the progress of Cars Land. The 12 acre land is also enjoying a comfortable pace of construction and will easily make the opening which Al Lutz broke Wednesday night in his editor's note.

: The dates for DCA's grand re-opening event have finally been chosen. June 14th will be the media day and private celebrity party, and June 15th will be the official first day of operation for customers. There will only be a handful of days for AP Previews and soft openings for Cars Land in early June, and those dates aren't confirmed yet. June 15th will also kick off DCA's new operating schedule of daily 8AM to 11PM hours through the summer.

Guests are already growing accustomed to the loud rumbling noise of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree being tested just on the other side of the construction walls. Nighttime lighting on the Cadillac mountain range is also now common, and the neon signs on the strip light upon a regular basis as well. What is visible is actually quite beautiful and a testament to what Imagineers can do when given the proper budget.According to Al Lutz, a limited number of Passholder previews will be conducted prior to the June 14th media day.

The cones are being painted orange but, more interestingly, a portion of the wall leading into Bug's Land (between Tuck and Roll and Heimlich's Chew Chew Train) has been demolished in order to build the third entrance into Cars Land.

On a recent trip over to Knott's Berry Farm we were surprised to see so much upkeep occurring. Yes, we knew that General Manager Raffii Kaprelyan meant business when he took over the job with an expanded budget and backing from new Cedar Fair CEO, Matt Ouimet (a beloved former President of Disneyland). But to see it all kicking into action is heartening.

The Timber Mountain Log ride is still under refurbishment. Most of the trees in the scenes are being replaced and general maintenance is going on throughout the ride. It looks like a very thorough job.

As we often do when visiting Knott's, the first stop is Ghost Town. But as we entered the park, we noticed the signage on the photo booth at the front looked refreshed and revitalized.

Upon entering Ghost Town, You'll immediately notice a big beige construction wall. No, we were not in DCA, this was Knott's. So we looked around the wall and saw the following.

Main Street torn up for resurfacing.

They are taking the time to actually level things out and resurface this iconic street!

While it seems that the wood plank walkways will survive in front of the general store...

The buildings on the other side of the street will get the same treatment as the Calico Saloon.

Cement walkways will be poured and fashioned to look like old planks of wood. This makes a lot of sense here due to the level of the existing buildings and the high traffic the area will see. At the very least, it is themed, functional and allows for easier and more affordable upkeep.

We hope that they continue the process with the next street over as well!

They are now serving freshly squeezed lemonade in Calico Square! It's SO GOOD.

It's the simple things that make such a big difference.

Over in front of the Calico Saloon, they have even brought back the flower planters which had long been missing. AWESOME!

The Calico Mine Train finally received its new marquee recently. While the ties that form the arch could have been aged a bit to blend in with the rest of the attraction, it all still looks pretty good and gives the ride a real entry sign.

The refurbishment of one of the nicer areas of the park continues. The fountain is being cleaned and rebuilt and should be back up and running soon. Again, notice the actual construction walls. The level of service and show is improving here folks.

Where was this picture taken? Disneyland? DCA?

Knott's, right in front of the old Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.

colorful plantings are popping up everywhere.

Now, if we could just get them to stop playing all that terrible pop music in Ghost Town, we'd really be able to report that things are shaping up quickly at Knotts.

It’s OPTIMUS PRIME vs. MEGATRON as TRANSFORMERS go head to head in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial for the May 2012 arrival of Universal Studios Hollywood’s ‘Transformers: The Ride-3D’

Our Friends at Universal Studios Hollywood gave us a heads up about their upcoming Super Bowl ad airing this Sunday. The commercial is supposed to be a showcase of the cutting-edge special effects and wild action that will tell the nation and the world about the Transformers ride opening soon.

We have been covering the the development and construction of this new mega-attrtaction in the In The Parks column ever since the old Back Draft and Special FX stage shows were closed. They have also launched a teaser website,, an interactive site with more exclusive videos and info where fans can play to win prizes. The grand prize is, of course, a trip to experience the ride itself.Below is an 8 second preview of what's coming Sunday.

Get ready folks, this is gonna be fun!

Welcome back to SeaWorld San Diego. Because it’s off season for the park on the bay, it is the best time to take advantage of the emptiness and get great seats at shows and low waits for the rides! It’s also a good time for the park to take advantage and refurbish their attractions…and also bring us some new ones!

Manta photo op

The SkyTower is under refurbishment and should be back up on February 24th. They even drained the lagoon for this refurb.

It looks like they’re taking down the candy cane like top – which was from the Christmas Celebration. There was also a star, but that has been taken down already.

Because the lagoon was drained, the ducks are not very happy (as you can see by this lovely couple here). Though, they don't need to look very far for water at SeaWorld.

The SeaLion & Otter Stadium is under refurbishment. The website says that it should have opened today, but, as you can see, it hasn’t. While the signs says that there will be enhancements, I don’t think it will be anything major…if anything at all.

Limited showings of popular shows.
Because the park is so empty, most shows only have one showing – like the award winning Blue Horizons! The show has received critical acclaim and is the most popular attraction at the park. Best to check the show times as soon as you get to the park and plan out your visit so you don't miss anything you'd like to see.

Lights, Camera, Imagination (the Sessame Street 4D movie) has the most showings. Normally, the show runs every 45 minutes, but during the off season it runs three times a day.

Manta’s track is now heading towards the front of the attraction.

As was mentioned in an earlier update, SeaWorld has begun working on the show building – in which riders will begin their journey.

Workers have also begun working on the roofing for the unloading area.

The bamboo fence is starting to pop up around the ride.

While looking through the fences, we found what appears to be the rock work going in.

The entrance bridge is moving full steam ahead!

In the last update, I mentioned that we would look at Rocky Point Preserve refurb this week. Unfortunately, the SkyTower is closed for refurb and there aren’t many vantage points to see what's going on here, so we will have to wait for a future update.

UPDATE: SeaWorld has extended the refurbishment to April 2012.

The park has updated their website with this year’s event dates. Mark your calendar folks:

  • Spring Into Night – the first event of the year – will run from March 31 – April 15. It will feature extended park hours and two night shows – Shamu Rock’s and Sea Lions Tonight. It will be followed by the following:
  • Viva La Musica - a Mexican music festival - Weekends May 5 – 20
  • Summer Nights - May 26-28, June 2-3, June 9-10, June 16-August 19, August 25-16 & September 1-3. It will include the return of the night events – Shamu Rocks, SeaLion Tonight, Into The Blue Fireworks, Club Atlantis (which will run Thursday, Friday & Saturday Nights, June 23 - August 13, 2011) – the return of, the day show, Cirque De La Mer, and, of course, MANTA!
  • Halloween Spooktacular - September 29-30, Weekends in October
  • Christmas Celebration - Weekends Nov. 17-Dec. 16, and daily Dec. 22-31

We close our 3 part visit to the Huntington Library and gardens with one of the most impressive parts, the Libraries.

The Huntington Library is one of the largest and most complete libraries in the United States. The Library’s collection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps, and other materials in the fields of British and American history and literature totals more than six million items. BUT only a small number are on display at any one time. There are two display libraries, the Main Exhibition Hall and the smaller West Hall.

Among the items on permanent exhibit are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America, and an unsurpassed collection of the early editions of Shakespeare's works.

There is also a wonderful display case of British and American literature

The Science hall has over 250 copies of Darwin's Origin of the Species among the collection including

John James Audubon’s sumptuous four-volume edition of Birds of America, published between 1827 and 1838, contains 435 hand-colored life-size prints of 1,065 individual American birds.

The library holds 250 copies of Darwin's The Origin of the Species

The Library collections range in time period from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. The greatest concentration is in the English Renaissance, about 1500 to 1641; other strengths include medieval manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), maps, travel literature, British and American history and literature, the American Southwest, and the history of science, medicine and technology.

Membership to the Hunting library isn't free, but it is certainly not expensive. Located in Pasadena the hunting library offers a peaceful day of fun that can be taken at any pace.

Even the parking lot is beautiful

Those stumps in the foreground will be beautiful roses in just a month or so.

Note the less expensive week day pricing

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Food and picnicking is not permitted on the grounds, however there is a small area adjacent to the parking lot where you may eat food you have brought before you enter. Dining is available in the café or tea room.
  • Pets are not permitted at The Huntington, with the exception of service animals.
  • Photography, filming, and painting is permitted at The Huntington; however, restrictions apply.
  • Bicycle racks are available in the parking lot.
  • Bicycles, skateboards, segways, or sports equipment are not allowed on the grounds.
  • No radios or musical instruments.
  • Wedding photography is allowed with advance reservations.

Free Day
Admission to The Huntington is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of every month with advanced tickets. Hours on Free Day are 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
For more photos and information from the Huntington, please browse the last two In The Parks updates HERE.
How many of our readers would be interested in a MiceChat day at the Huntington Library for a tour and photo safari? Let us know in the comments below (we get discounted tickets if 15 or more of you are willing to join us for the day)!

Now through February 12th Muzeo in Anaheim is featuring the new exhibit, STEAMPUNK History Beyond Imagination. Muzeo describes it like this...
When you enter the world of Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination you enter a world where the future shakes hands with the past, and where humanity’s innovative nature inspires future generations to do the impossible. Premiering at MUZEO, the exhibition is a fantastic and factual account of how the 19th Century’s inventive thinkers and writers launched mankind into the 20th Century – and beyond.

Tickets are available here

Today's Update Has Been Brought To You By . . .

Located just across the street from Disneyland’s front gate, the Carousel Inn & Suites offers MiceChat readers some very special deal.

  • MiceChat readers enjoy exclusive rates: Standard Rooms starting at $89/night and Concierge level rooms starting at just $109 - this is up to 60% off the going rate! FANTASTIC DEAL.

  • The Carousel offers FREE continental breakfast and FREE valet parking for MiceChat readers ONLY (be sure to ask for the MiceChat offer).

Staying at the Carousel has its benefits too.

  • Less than a 5 minute walk to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District.

  • Enjoy spectacular views of Disneyland’s fireworks from the heated, rooftop pool.

Contact the Carousel today, and for the lowest rates, be sure to tell them MiceChat sent you.

Call: 1(800)854-6767 to book your stay today!

We'd like to extend huge thanks to today's contributors: JP, F!AN, Fishbulb 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 02-02-2012 at 09:17 PM by Dustysage



  1. mickeyfan4ever's Avatar
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    good upate i planing on opening day
  2. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!!
  3. Disneytwins's Avatar
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    Great update! I don't think they are removing that "candy cane" top to the Sea World tower. I believe it's painted the classic FAA paint treatment, which is required by law... unless they add it only when the star is on the top.
  4. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update!
  5. redrocker's Avatar
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    I know its been a goal of Knotts to try to remove all midway asphalt areas with concrete walkways. The slurry coating process was always expensive and wears away anyways so concrete coloring and/or themeing is what they wanted. Nice to see Ghost Town finally getting that treatment and hopefully fixing the flooding problems that the park has always had. Im still not a fan of them removing the Mine Ride Ticket Shack
  6. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrocker
    Im still not a fan of them removing the Mine Ride Ticket Shack
    The removal of the shack doesn't bother me, but the lack of weathering on the new sign does. It needs to look old like the rest of the ride.

    I love all the work and refurbishment going into Knotts. But the new pop music loop drives me nuts (especially in Ghost Town). If they want to be a theme park, they also have to play themed music. There's no way around it.

    Also, I'm quite impressed with Universal's Transformers ride promotion. They really want to give Disney a run for the money. That's a good thing for the fans. I absolutely plan to be first in line for Transformers when it opens.

    And list me for the Huntington Gardens Fishy! That place is awesome and I'll go any time you guys decide to put together a meet.

    Fabulous update today. So much going on!
  7. skoolpsyk's Avatar
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    Didn't realize how badly the Small World queue sign blocks the view of the attraction
  8. MrTour's Avatar
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    I have mixed feelings about the Knott's upgrades. I really like the old Main St. paving. It was lumpy and uneven... but that was the charm. Would you go through Watt's Towers and redo all the concrete and walls to make them look more professionally done?

    My gripe with Knott's upkeep has to do with all of the termite and rot damage that is visible. This is mostly noticeable in the que for Bigfoot Rapids. And it looks like they have removed and replaced some damaged food on the facades and balconies in Ghost Town, but it only looks that way because the replacement wood isn't properly aged to match the rest of the building.

    I know; in my business we say "Progress, not perfection."
  9. StevenW's Avatar
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    I don't get the gripe about the aged wood. Either you like the technique, which is Knott's charm, or they could stained the wood. Stained wood will allow the wood to last longer. The result would have been the same. As for the paving, nothing that Knott is doing suggests they are going for the more "professional" look. I prefer the word, cleaned-up and repaired, rather than the dilapidated look. Concrete stamping will result in an uneven look.
  10. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Great Update!

  11. chesirecat's Avatar
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    (New) New Orleans Mardi Gras decorations. The new decorations were designed to closely match the style of the "Princess Tiana Mardi Gras celebration", you'll see that the multi-colored checkered pattern is almost identical to what the performers in this show wear. The older highly stylized (almost overly lavish) New Orleans decorations didn't jiv with the style of PTMGC, so some new decorations were made. This doesn't mean that some of the old decorations won't pop-up in certain areas around NOS. I personally found the little moon guy hanging above the street to be a little creepy!

    Last year it was painfully obvious that the two styles didn't mix well at all.
  12. Sparky's Avatar
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    It makes my heart dance to see Knott's getting some much needed TLC! Recently I was watching some old super 8 movies and video footage I'd shot at the park back in the day and was feeling wistful about all the charming elements the park used to have that have been eroded away. My heart will dance even more if some of that old charm is restored.

    I'm definitely game for a Huntington outing if I'm free the day it's scheduled for. I can get one person in for free on my membership, too.
  13. Sue Kruse's Avatar
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    Glad to see you give the Huntington Library some MiceChat/MiceAge love! It's one of my favorite places. One minor correction to your story though, the Huntington Library is not located in Pasadena, it's in San Marino. Also, their gift shop is fantastic, a terrific place to shop for presents and you do not need to pay to get into it as it's right at the entrance to the Huntington Library — their buyers stock the store with a wonderful array of treasures, from books to jewelry and there's lots of great stuff for kids too — & members get a discount. A MiceChat/MiceAge trip to the Huntington is a great idea!
  14. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    While the Matterhorn is down, It would be great if they named and noted with markers some of the bobsled runs( as they do) after it's WED creators and Disney Legends Harriet Burns (Harriet's Hollow) and Fred Joerger (Joerger's Falls). Fred last updated the Matterhorn in 1978, when new bobsleds were installed as well as some furry observer's. I'm sure Fred and Harriet are watching over this restoration. PD
    Updated 02-03-2012 at 08:54 PM by DisWedWay
  15. fravitmonk's Avatar
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    i saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes i saw the sign, no ones gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong ... but WHERE DO YOU BELONG
  16. In the Parks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisWedWay
    While the Matterhorn is down, It would be great if they named and noted with markers some of the bobsled runs( as they do) after it's WED creators and Disney Legends Harriet Burns (Harriet's Hollow) and Fred Joerger (Joerger's Falls). I'm sure they are watching. PD
    What a fantastic idea! Let's hope that someone of authority sees this simple but elegant idea and makes it happen!
  17. DisneyIPresume's Avatar
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    Just an FYI. The Huntington Library is located in San Marino, not Pasadena as was mentioned. So if anyone is trying to find directions that may hopefully help.