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In the Parks

Star Wars Exhibit, Transformers Update, Disneyland and DCA Construction

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by , 03-08-2012 at 11:25 PM



A long time ago, in a theme park far, far away...

In the Parks lands this week with news and information for having fun in Southern California's top attractions. Star Wars is everywhere these days - LEGOLAND has added Star Wars to Miniland, Disneyland has updated Star Tours and the Discovery Science Center has a traveling exhibit called Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination. To help them get the word out about this geek-a-rific exhibit, we are giving away tickets (more information about that below). We also stop by Disneyland to say goodbye to the legendary music man, Robert Sherman (half of the Sherman Brothers team who brought many of your favorite Disney songs to life). We take a ride on "it's a small world" to pay our respects. Of course, we'll also show you the progress at Disney California Adventure and Cars Land while we are there. We then stop by Knott's to report on the Ghost Town playlist for the week, see what's happening at Universal Studios Hollywood with Transformers and finally end with a dip into SeaWorld for more Manta construction progress. It's a really big update again this week, and a great way to start your weekend (early we hope).

Before we begin, there is a HUGE MiceChat announcement we'd like to make!

One of the most famous Disney fan events is back! The MiceChat Gumball Rally is a race to find out who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day. Sounds fun, right? Well, it is! It's one event that folks of any age or fan level can compete in and have a great time in the process. Whether you win or lose, you are always a winner when the race takes place on your favorite rides at your favorite place on earth.


When: May 19st, 2012
Where: Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California
COST: $24.99 per person (through March 31st, prices will go up to $29.99 per person beginning April 1st).
How Do I sign up?: MiceChat Events Store Gumball Rally Sign Up
How Does the Rally Work?: Rally Information Page

But that's just a little piece of the puzzle. We'll also offer a pre-Rally pasta party on May 18th and a MiceChat Mega Meet on Sunday the 20th (save the date). T-Shirts are available for this year's event as well. If you've never heard of the Gumball Rally before, please visit the Rally Information Page HERE for more information and FAQ. A discussion thread has been created in the forums as well: MiceChat Gumball Rally Discussion.

Last year's event sold out quickly, so don't delay, get your teams together and sign up today!





It was a sad week for Disney fans. Robert Sherman, half of the musical duo responsible for countless songs and melodies for the Disney Parks, passed away on Tuesday at his home in London. In Disneyland alone, you can hear his work played in The Many adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and of course it's a small world among many other places and playlists.

But Disneyland is a happy place and a great way to lift your spirits. Let's see what else was going on in the park this week.


MATTERHORN:
The Matterhorn's 6 month refurbishment is about half way done and progress is evident from as far away as the 5 freeway outside the park. The scaffolding is subsiding down the shell of the mountain, revealing a new, improved paint and texture job. As the work has made its way down the mountain, it became necessary to shut down the Monorail as well, since the scaffolding had to be installed within a few feet of the Monorail track that hugs the west side of the mountain. This will also allow for more thorough refurbishment work to be accomplished on the troubled fleet of Monorails that have been hobbling through the past months often with only one monorail in operation at a time.


















Sadly, on the eastern wall of the Matterhorn, facing the subs, the climbing foliage is now completely dead due to the renovations. They will probably need to remove the dead vines and resurface that wall as well.


FANTASYLAND CONSTRUCTION:
Work walls have popped up at the old Motorboat cruise dock. Nothing is really hidden and it appears that it may be simple refurbishments.








MAIN STREET:
The weather last Tuesday in Anaheim was cool, overcast, with the occasional blustery wind that recalled a story from the hundred acre wood. Disney quietly, without ceremony, placed a memorial wreath at the doorstep on Main Street that hosts the Sherman Brothers window.






A lovely tribute to a man who created so much of the Disney magic.





it's a small world:
The sky was an appropriately mournful gray as we came to pay tribute to Robert Sherman, the co writer of the most infectious ear worm in theme park history - the theme to it's a small world.





Cracks in the smile betrayed a hint of sadness.




Inside, the theme song thundered to life and the children of the world happily sang the cheerful tune.


Bright colorful sets by Mary Blair play along with the accompaniment of the Sherman Brothers musical message.



It's a world of laughter, a world or tears
It's a world of hopes, it's a world of fear
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all














There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small small world






It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

Farewell Mr. Sherman. We will be forever grateful for your talents and for the messages of hope, optimism, peace and happiness you have delivered in your creative music. You will be deeply missed and long remembered.







Before we get to DCA, let's take a quick detour to Paris. We are so proud to be working with the author of one of the most collectible Disney theme park books of all time, Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality, to bring you some very special news. The book has been out of print for years and selling for over $1,000, but we've arranged to bring it back for a limited time at the original price.

Here's a quick video about the book. . .






The book has gone to print this week and there are just a few more copies at the special pre-order price remaining. You can learn more about this amazing book here: Rare Disneyland Paris book set to return!




Okay, now then, Disney California Adventure is just 4 months and one week away from the official relaunch as confirmed by Disney this past week. June 15th is the day all will open to the public and we could not be more excited. Here are the later pics from the park.

BUENA VISTA STREET:
Obscuring construction screens have been removed and the buildings facing the front of Buena Vista Street have been revealed. This really gives you an idea of the scale of the entrance with its intimate setting. It is certainly a far cry from the impersonal, gaudy tile mural that nobody understood was to be a postcard. Looking good so far.









The Monorail being down has also allowed a more focused effort to be made on the track that guests enter the park under. It will soon resemble the Glendale Hyperion Bridge.





Elias and Company finally gets a marquee.




Clarabelle's Ice Cream shop looks great!



The marquee has been revealed at the Carthay Circle Theater.


Still not finished, but the wrought iron looks good.





GHIRARDELLI:


The Soda Fountain will be a wonderful addition to the park

PACIFIC WHARF BRIDGE:


The bridge has returned to service following a brief refurbishment and repainting.


CARS LAND:
The finer details are really becoming apparent in Cars Land. The sets are being dressed with hubcaps, trinkets and other oddities to give it a real Route 66 feel. Neon signs will highlight the land's buildings and be a beautiful feature in the evenings.




Radiator Springs sign.


Ramone's Body shop.




A peek between the buildings allows us to see the flying tires.



Which way did they go?


Note the full size trees throughout the land (that's an expensive detail)







HOLLYWOOD LAND:
Both corners facing the entrance to the Hyperion Theatre are now behind construction masking as part of Project Sparkle (the park wide initiative to plus existing areas of the park).







GRIZZLY RIVER RUN:
Grizzly is finishing up the long refurbishment needed to get rid of the tacky X-Games bits of theme in favor of a more classic 1950's National Park vibe. It is scheduled to be reopened this weekend (Sunday, March 11th).









Rushin River outfitters remains behind the sheets at the moment.




Welcome to the Discovery Science Center, home of the exhibit STAR WARS: Where Science Meets Imagination. The exhibit, which has been running since November and will finish its run on April 15th, is everything a Star Wars fan could possibly want, along with some nerdy, educational fun. MiceChat was invited to take a look at the exhibit and share with our readers.

We are also happy to announce that the Science Center is allowing MiceChat to give away two family-of-four ticket sets. We've got a trivia question for you to answer and we'll randomly select two winners before next week's column. Read on and may the force be with you!


The Science Center is just off of the 5 Freeway
a few minutes south of Disneyland



Admission into the Star Wars Exhibit is an additional price.

However, Discount tickets are available from
the Science Center Website here


The Star Wars exhibit has a separate entrance inside the center.



Upon entering, you are confronted with an impressive collection mixing Star Wars models from all six films, theoretical science, and real world applications of the technology principals from the films.



Could this Matter/Anti-Matter rocket really work?





The Millennium Falcon used in Episode IV (1977)


A very small Easter egg on the falcon's rear bumper reveals that Han was a very conscientious space traveler.




Jawa Costume.


Padme costume from Episode II


Sand People costume. There is only one, but they will be back, and in greater numbers.


The actual Landspeeder vehicle used in Episode IV (1977)


Mirrors placed at a 45ş angle were mounted on the underside of the vehicle to hide the wheels.


The actual model used in Episode IV complete with figures



The model for Obi-Wan from the 1977 Episode IV was actually a
6 Million Dollar Man doll, with cyborg, left eye.



Han Solo and Chewbacca. (Han shot first!)

And now, for the theoretical and applied sciences. There are currently prototypes being developed, based on the scientific theories embellished upon in the films. For instance,






You can even try to build your own Land Speeder using Magnets, then test it on a track.









More geeky goodness we have. Yoda puppet from Episode V (1980) it is.



And the actual Jedi Training Remote from Episode IV (1977)



A figure from Episode I



Guests have the chance to interact with real robots like C3PO



The Costume for C3PO from Episode III


Princess Leah and R2D2 from Episode IV (1977) with C3PO from Episode III




You can even program your own R2 Unit to go
through an obstacle course.


Or you can try to program a pair of robotic legs to walk.


In another real life application, this sphere was used to do outer space repairs on the International Space Station and satellites



The Wampa from Episode V Special Edition (1997)


The Darth Vader costume from Episode IV (1977)


The actual stop-motion animation model from Episode V (1980)



The robot that repairs Luke Skywalker's severed hand in Episode V (1980) transitions into the medical applications of the technologies.











Then the Interrogator Droid form Episode IV (1977) is revealed to simply be made from leftover R2D2 domes.




The exhibit was so large that one of the coolest features had to be constructed outside in a separate tent. The Millennium Falcon Experience located just outside, is a multi-sensory 4 and a half minute journey through the existing solar system and known galaxies from the cockpit of the falcon. While this is not a motion simulator, guests do sit in chairs equipped with Bose speakers and are looking out into a domed screen. For this Star Wars Geek, there was something magical about pretending to fly through the galaxy in the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

The up-charge is $5.00 for the experience. While it is impressive, it may underwhelm those expecting something more along the lines of Star Tours. Still, I'd consider it a must-do for Star Wars Geeks.










We've just scratched the surface on this exhibit. It's the perfect little family friendly getaway. And don't miss the rest of the Science Center while you're there.

AND NOW FOR THAT TRIVIA QUESTION!
Answer the trivia Question by posting it in your comment below and you could win one of two family pack tickets (4 tickets total) to see Star Wars™: Where Science Meets Imagination. Winners will be chosen at random and announced in next week's article.

What actual country on Earth served as the planet
Tattoine in Episode IV: A New Hope?

Good luck!





Knott's Berry Farm, where the old west meets Billboard top 40 hits. While the management at Knott's continues their efforts to beautify the park, with some wonderful results . . . we still have the bizarre musical accompaniment throughout Ghost Town to report on. We understand that many of you have made your thoughts known in letters to Knott's and we hope you'll continue that effort. Let them know what you like and don't like about recent changes in the park.





The annoying Catalina Getaway folks have been given a place in the park to flag down suckers guests. Yuck!



The good news is that the lovely "Old Betsy" has
returned to Main Street.


Its carts are filled to overflowing with fecund foliage that
seems to have grown wildly.





We are happy to see that another street in Ghost Town is getting the resurfacing treatment.


The view from the Indian Dance Stage


Perhaps they'll strike oil!


The view from Calico Square.


The Ghost Town Playlist:
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, this week's anachronistic song selections from the music loop in Ghost Town. Let us know if you think the following fit the theme:
  1. Billy Jean - Michael Jackson
  2. Fame - David Bowie
  3. Hole Hearted - Extreme
  4. Talking in your Sleep - The Romantics
  5. He's the Greatest Dancer - Sister Sledge
We don't want you to think that we are down on Knott's, because we are actually really pleased with the major refurbishment going on all over the place . . . but theme is one of the most important ingredients in a "Theme" park. Knott's is proud to call themselves "America's First Theme Park," time for them to make the right decision on this issue and live up to that creedo.

Hopefully, we won't have to be back with another playlist next week.






STUDIO TOUR:
Work continues in the queue area for the world famous Studio Tour.



A Jimmy Fallon photo op now block the entrance to the former smoking area in the tram unload area.


The rebuilding of the boathouse in Jaws Lake/Cabot Cove is done - complete with fake seagull.



LOWER LOT:
Palm trees have been planted on both sides of the street


Work walls have shifted. The Lower Lot refurb project is scheduled to wrap up in a couple of weeks.




Be careful when you exit Revenge of the Mummy. You never know who (or what) might be lurking about.




The explosion mural looks great with the huge Transformers cutouts in front of it.

TRANSFORMERS:
Transformers: The Ride 3D is now shown on the park maps as "Coming Soon"




The outdoor extended queue has been covered. You can bet that this attraction will have epic waits when it opens.


The cutouts of Megatron and Optimus Prime duke it out on the building facade


Just in front of the work walls, there is employees in the Transformers attraction costume answering questions and recruiting guests to the online Transformers game



A video was 'leaked' of guests sneaking into the Transformers show building and exploring before getting chased out by security. It is obviously a publicity stunt (The USH copyright notice at the end of the video is a good clue), but the video does give a great view of the queue, the 3D glasses (the same as ST2) and some of the physical sets. You be the judge - is it real or marketing?






The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's Condor Cam (www.sandiegozooglobal.org/video/condor_cam) is giving the public the first-ever opportunity to see a California condor hatch live - happening anytime now! This momentous event is being marked with a naming challenge to encourage people around the world to get inspired to protect the endangered California condors.

The egg began to pip - this is the process of the chick breaking through the egg shell from the inside - early Thursday morning. The pipping period can take 48 to 72 hours until the chick hatches, so keep an eye on Condor Cam. Viewers may see the chick's beak protruding through the egg shell or the parents gently removing broken eggshell fragments to help the chick emerge.

Watch for inspiration and then suggest a name, in the Chumash language, for the chick by posting it on the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/sdzglobal or by tweeting it to www.twitter.com/sdzglobal and using the hashtag #CondorName. Suggestions will be accepted through March 15. Condor keepers will pick their favorite suggestions and the people who suggested these will receive a special prize. The public will get to vote for their favorite name later this month.






Welcome back to SeaWorld San Diego. After two brief days of gloomy weather, SeaWorld has returned to it’s normal condition – sunny and hot.




The Manta car exhibit is still at the park entrance, tempting guests with what is yet to come.

MANTA:
Speaking of Manta, let’s get right into the construction. The show building roof is still being worked on.





The other show building is done on the outside.


Work is being done of the rock structure at the entrance of the attraction.


The fencing is mostly complete.


The fence only goes around the back end of the attraction.


This week, the last piece of the track was installed. Testing should begin next month.


Another look at the show buildings.


Another look at the entrance and bridge.

REFURBISHMENTS:



The SkyRide is now under refurbishment and will reopen on March 23rd.


The refurbishment on the Rocky Point Preserve seems to be going on forever. The pool is getting a paint job.



Last week, we noticed the front wall of the Dolphin Stadium pool being painted. This week – as you can see – there is a nice blue gradient. It doesn’t really go with the rest of the stadium. I’m predicting that we will see a Blue Horizons or Dolphin Stadium sign here soon.


Because of the SkyRide being closed, we'll have to use a different angle to see what’s going on in the bay. There are new walls going up now.


Let’s take a look at San Diego’s Penguin Encounter. Orlando will be getting “Antartica: Empire of the Penguin” next year.


The Penguin Encounter is in dire shape of a remake. However, I don’t think “Antartica” would fit in San Diego, you never know what their plans are – especially with the 50th Anniversary coming up.


When you exit the attraction, you run into the South American penguins.




Next week, we’ll be visiting Turtle Reef – one of SeaWorld’s newer attractions. SeaWorld Orlando will be opening TurtleTrek in April – a 3D 360 degree attraction. San Diego doesn’t have that, but we’ll show you what they do have next week.



You can also see Turtles at the Shipreck Rapids attraction.


SPRING INTO NIGHT:
SeaWorld’s Spring Into Night event begins on March 31st. It includes the “Shamu Rocks” and “Sea Lions Tonight” night shows.




And don't forget to take in the latest from the MiceTube. A brand new Communicore weekly!






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


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We'd like to extend a huge thanks to today's contributors: JP, F!AN, Sir Clinksalot, CaptPhoebus, Monorail Man, Fishbulb and Dustysage. (If you've got breaking news or photos to share, we'd love to hear from you too! Contact Dusty today

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Updated 03-09-2012 at 09:00 AM by Fishbulb

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Comments

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  1. wec's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. The answer is Tunisia, but please don't award me the tickets. My reason is that I saw all those Star Wars items in San Francisco about 15 years ago. Thus, let another person have a chance. They're great fun seeing in person. And yes that medical droid from episode IV with the syringe, is extremely menacing as it appeared on film!
  2. Juni's Avatar
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    The Answer is Tunisia.

    And wow, I didn't realize how expensive it is to go to that exhibit. 100 bucks almost for a family of 4. That is nuts.

    Great update!
  3. ralphmaldonado's Avatar
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    The country of Tunisia.
  4. xmacboy's Avatar
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    Tunisia. My kids are probably going to make me watch Episode I again tonight!
  5. astjames15's Avatar
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    The answer is Tunisia which is unfortuately one of many obsure facts I know about Star Wars. In fact, one of the reasons I was pursued by my husband was because I could quote Star Wars.

    My five-year-old son will go crazy in this exhibit. We have not gone yet, but plan to before it closes. He knows just about everything about the movies and would put most adults to shame!
  6. Reeder's Avatar
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    The answer to the trivia question is Matmâta
    ,
    Tunisia.
  7. jedited's Avatar
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    Great update.
    Keep on Knott's.
    the answer to the trivia question is: Tunisa.
  8. Jestyr's Avatar
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    Tunisia!
  9. scrappydawg's Avatar
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    Great update. Just wanted to point out that the BVS and CarsLand opening is 3 months and a week away, not 4 months and a week.
  10. WDWizard's Avatar
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    Doesn't the Matterhorn look a bit too Rocky Road?
    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/unkOp.jpg[/IMG]
  11. RX-24's Avatar
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    TUNISIA is the answer that is nearest the true answer but as a nit picky Star Wars geek I will point out:
    There was some Second Unit work done in Death Valley for the original shoot of EpIV. It was mostly costume work and didnt feature any of the stars but was done near the end of the shoot to provide very short shots that blended the droids and Tusken Raiders into shots that were already finished in Tunisia. I will provide the IMDB link that shows this as valid. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) - Filming locations Also some Yuma scenes were filmed in later editions but for the sake of argument I will discount those as not original production.

    So I submit that the answer is BOTH Tunisia and the United States as my trivia answer. I live in Tucson AZ, and would not be able to use the tickets should I win but would like special mention for the dual answers and should I win please donate any prize to a local Boys & Girls club so that they will be enjoyed.
  12. DisneylandMaster's Avatar
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    All I can say about that Transformers video is...WOW. The video seems like a publicity stunt, though. And not just because of the copyrights message at the end. Here's my theories why:

    1. They never showed the Megatron "animatronic" before being yelled at by security (look at the Signapore videos of the ride).

    2. The park seems to be closed/ near closing, because of the emptiness of the Lower Lot.

    3. Wouldn't it be locked or something?
  13. Anacon's Avatar
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    Tunisia is the country that doubled for Tattoine.

    Great update as always!
  14. harperween's Avatar
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    Long time lurker! Thought this would be a good time to finally post! That Transformers video is vomit inducing. Hey! UNIVERSAL!!!!! You want to make a "viral" video - don't put your stupid copyright thing at the end. UGH!

    Tunisia! Is the magical place where Tattoine was created. I think that the set from Episode 1 is being used as a tourist trap...Maybe a hotel? I'd like to find the place where Jar Jar was created and turn that into a trap..... Oh well. FIRST POST!!!!! HOORAY!
    Updated 03-09-2012 at 04:18 PM by harperween (SPELING! UH, I mean SPELLING!)
  15. Scotty's Avatar
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    In my opinion, "gaudy" (vulgar, harsh, lurid, loud) is not the right word to describe the tile murals that used to be at the front of DCA. I thought they were tasteful but just didn't lend themselves well to the misguided "postcard" idea that was trying to be conveyed.
  16. TwilitWings's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, I love the small details in Buena Vista street. The ice cream on Clarabelle's is quite tongue-in-cheek, while still looking gorgeous.

    Tunisia is the country. : )
  17. mickey7's Avatar
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    Tunisia to the trivia question.

    Great update!
  18. litemizer's Avatar
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    Tunisia.
  19. doobwah's Avatar
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    TUNISIA!! I hope I win
  20. sinatra12's Avatar
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    Rest in Peace Robert Sherman
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