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In the Parks

Disneyland's Matterhorn, DCA Buena Vista and Cars, SeaWorld Manta and Bubblefest

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by , 04-05-2012 at 08:05 PM

It's no surprise that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are busy places during Spring Break, but today's update also finds Knott's Berry Farm, SeaWorld and the Discovery Science Center all packed with crowds as well. We'll start off with coverage of the many projects at the Disneyland resort. Then we'll show you what's new at Knott's Berry Farm and let you know what the opening dates are for SeaWorld's fancy new family coaster, Manta. Finally, we'll pop into Bubblefest at the Discovery Science Center. You'll want to read all the way through, because we are giving away tickets for this popular bubble show in today's update. Here we go folks!

The MiceChat Gumball Rally is a race to find out who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day. It's a fantastic event for Disney fans of any age and a great way to spend a day in the park with friends and family. 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: $29.99 per person
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.

Tickets for this year's event are nearly sold out, so don't delay, get your teams together and sign up today!

As we mentioned at the beginning, the Disneyland Resort is packed to the gills with spring break crowds. So much so that they have even begun to set up auxiliary ticket windows alongside the existing ticket booths to help move the people through faster.

It's a great move on Disney's part, but a sign that the parks will be VERY busy.

We peek in on the work at the reworked Carnation Cafe and find that the awning and exteriors that have become more visible.

Well it looks like the Matterhorn's new bobsleds will have yet another side effect on the experience we used to know and love. The new single seater, six person bobsleds will no longer allow for lap sitting and sharing seats. As Al Lutz mentioned in update this means that children, who used to be able to ride with their parent, will now be required to occupy their own seat and safety restraints. Because of this, the height restriction for this attraction will go up to 42", which is even higher than Space Mountain's 40" requirement.

Matterhorn was an E-Ticket right of passage for many kids as it had one of the lowest height limits.

Despite this sour bit of news, the ride does promises to return beautifully refreshed and upgraded throughout. If the exterior paint job is any indication, we are in for a fun ride.

There was a lot of change on Buena Vista Street this week. Tile roofing has begun appearing on the buildings and paint work is continuing on the facades. Meanwhile, the Red Car Trolley line has added high tension wires along its route. Though purely cosmetic, these wires are made to resemble the wires that powered the namesake red car trolleys back in the day on the streets of LA. Let's have a look at Buena Vista Street.

To the left of the gate, new trees have appeared in the planters that flank the entrance. Once Buena Vista Street opens, the back entrance that guests are using now will be closed off and a similar planter will be constructed on the right side of the park entrance.

Just inside the construction walls, looking towards the entrance, we see a great deal of work still needing to be done.

The Red Car Trolley stop at the front gate.

Looking into the park, we notice the wire webbing above the street for the Red Car Trolley.

Early reviews of this look are mixed. Some like the realism and others hate the clutter (What are your thoughts?)

The facade for the Elias & Company store.

Trolley power lines in the foreground

Tiles on the roof.

The wire machine.

The Carthay Circle theater is also becoming something to really take in too.

The marquee has been painted black to resemble wrought iron

And the tiny fixtures under the awning are also intricately detailed.

Not to mention the lovely new light fixtures which have been affixed to the side of the building.

Over in Hollywood Land, the nightly
Tron dance party has given way to the Red Car Trolley wires along the main strip.

The only major props left for the nightly party are the ones near Monsters.

Monsters Inc.:
Speaking of Monsters, the facade is still being repainted.

Radiator Springs, and the ridge of mountains that can no longer legally be called Cadillac Ridge (Disney's lawyers were unable to secure a deal with Cadillac), are just over a month away from opening to the public. The statue of Stanley in front of the Radiator Springs courthouse has recently been covered to keep is safe during the remaining days of construction. The rest is coming along nicely.

Stanley under wraps

Al Lutz also revealed that they have begun testing beach balls on Luigi's Flying Tires along with upbeat Italian music to heighten the kinetic fun of the ride. Word is that the ride was just too slow moving and the beach balls add an element of excitement to mask that issue.

They are still working on covering up the backside of the ridge in places.

No real visible changes happening on the exterior of the new Ghirardelli soda fountain. Though, it should be open along with Cars Land in June.

Merchandise from last week's Cars Land merchandise preview is already on the shelves. We're sure park officials were disappointed that crowds shunned the 3 day preview, but we think that was due to only advertising it on the Disney Parks Blog and placing it in the middle of a work week. Would have been great if they had extended it through a weekend.

Never the less, you can now pick up some fun Cars Land merchandise in the park whenever you want - no event required.

The sun shades above California Screamin' are being re-tented in time for the re-launch of Disney California Adventure in June. It's just too bad that they didn't have the time or budget for a complete Victorian style queue refurbishment. Hopefully that will come in time (along with that promised and delayed redo of the Triton Carousel).

It's been just about 2 months now and the Soarin' over California sign is still missing its key graphic. Wind blew the old one out and they haven't been able to get a replacement installed yet. The strange thing is most local sign shops could turn around an insert like that in just a matter of days.

But, honestly, it's a minor quibble in a park filled with exciting changes.

The Balloon Races in camp snoopy are currently experiencing maintenance.

Is Snoopy not returning to his Bounce House? He's been gone much longer than usual (since Haunt!)

A new awning has been constructed along the back side of the log ride where the new planters are.

Looks like a potential outdoor vending location. We'll have to wait and see what this is for.

Umbrella's have been added to Charleston Circle.

They've really made this an area where you can sit and relax.

The koi fish have finally returned to the Mystery lodge lagoon! Please folks, do NOT toss pennies into the water, it's really bad for the health of the fish.

As we do every week we like to just let folks know what strange musical choices we have heard while strolling the dusty streets of Ghost Town.

This week we heard...

  • I Melt with you - Modern English
  • Feel Good Time - P!nk, William Orbit
  • Sunshine - Coko
  • What you Need - INXS
  • Till I Hear it From You - Gin Blossoms

Welcome back to SeaWorld San Diego. We’ve got a couple exciting things to cover this week.

In May, SeaWorld will bring its second event of the year – Viva la Musica back to the park. The event features concerts from Latin artists along with great food and various experiences around the park. The event runs through three weekends in May.

Rocky Point Preserve has reopened this week after an extended refurbishment.

The biggest change is that now trainers are in the pool with the dolphins. They bring the dolphins to you so that you can interact with them.

It's an awesome change!

You can also feed the dolphins.

Here’s a look at the whole area.

The lagoon has been refilled; however, there is still a fence surrounding the SkyTower.

SkyTower Lagoon

The Skyride has reopened after a lengthy refurbishment. And pulling in quite a crowd.

The refurbishment at Mama Stella's is also now complete.

Wait times for rides are now 60 minutes and the lines for most attractions are horrendous. Thank you Easter Bunny.

All the shows at the parks have at least four performances a day. Some have more. If you plan on visiting the park, we recommend arriving as early as possible so you can get the best seats.

For all the pass holders reading, SeaWorld will be having Member Previews on Thursday, May 24th and Friday, May 25th. Members will be able to ride Manta before it opens on Saturday, May 26th. We’ll have coverage of both the preview and the opening ceremony, so stay tuned!

The scaffolding around the rock structure is coming down.

A new structure is being built next to the show building.

A look at the unloading section.

Another look at the unloading section.

Because the park is so busy, SeaWorld has opened the walkway between the Manta construction and the Mission Bay Theater. Usually, this is closed and guests have to walk around the Mission Bay Theater to get to the other side.

The Manta track looms over the park guests.

A look at the fencing and show buildings.

Other Happenings
For the next two weeks, guests can stay late and enjoy “Spring Into Night”. This event brings guests two seasonal nighttime shows – Shamu Rocks! and SeaLions Tonight – as well as extended hours well into the night.

Next time, we’ll be taking a look at: Animal Encounters. This attraction replaced the Budweiser Horses when Anheiser-Busch sold SeaWorld to Blackstone Group.

What's that she's holding? Come back next week to find out.

Bubblefest has returned to the Discovery Science Center and runs through April 22nd.

This year’s Bubblefest promises to be the biggest and most impressive yet, as they have turned it into an outdoor festival! There is an inflatable play zone, water spheres, and interactive science zones. You can even take a picture of yourself inside a bubble if you like for a few bucks more.

The pop up store offers fun scientific toys (like Dinosaur poop)

Leading the excitement this year is Deni Yang and the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show featuring a high-tech combination of art and science using bubbles, lights, special effects and lasers. This is a $7 up-charge. MiceChat was invited to preview the show last week before it opened to guests. What we saw was a lot of fun for the kids. Here is a preview of what you can expect to find.

Deni Yang created all manner of shapes and
bubbles during the show.

There is a special area for kids to interact with the show on the floor of the theatre.

The LED Lighting affects and bubble creations are eye-popping.

The show is filled with bubbles, lasers and colorful lights.

It's like magic

Bubblefest, the Science Center’s most popular annual event, is designed to help visitors appreciate and understand the scientific principles and mathematics of bubbles, and to let them explore the world of bubbles in a fun, hands-on environment. At the science learning stations, guests can create a bubble mini-wall, bubble domes and much more, while learning about math and science principles like surface tension, elasticity, air pressure, and geometry.

We'll ask a trivia question. All who answer it correctly will be entered into a random drawing to win one of four family packs of tickets (there are 4 tickets in each of the 4 family packs we are giving away) to see Bubblefest on Saturday April 21st at 12:00 pm. Winners will be announced in next week's article.

If you win, you must be able to arrive at Discovery Science Center no later than 11:30 am on Saturday April 22nd to claim your tickets.

Finish this sentence (from the Discovery Science Center Web Site) for your chance to win.
"World-renowned for unique and stunning artistry, the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show features . . ."

Enter your answer in the comments section below.

Good luck!

Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom
Six Flags sent us this picture of the ride vehicle for Lex Luthor. Obviously seats and themeing will be added.

Now that we've had our April Fools Fun we can finish our Magic Mountain update. If you didn't see our April Fools update you can check it out here: The Log Jammer Returns!!!

Back on the Log Jammer site as it looks today, nothing much has really changed over the past month other than some more ground clearing.

The Pump House is still there

It does look like some ground leveling was done near the old station

You can now see the old Metro tunnel that goes under the Laughing Dragon Pizza Co.

The Log Jammer sign has been removed

A look from the other side

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

Sarah, the MiceChatter is also back.

Also, you can catch Dustysage on the latest edition of the Season Pass Podcast, as they discuss MiceChat, the Gumball Rally and a brand new MiceChat project announced for the first time. The podcast can be downloaded for free from the iTunes Store here:

Today's In The Parks Update Has Been Brought To You By . . .

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The Carousel offers FREE continental breakfast and FREE valet parking for MiceChat readers ONLY (be sure to ask for the MiceChat offer).
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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 a huge thanks to today's contributors: CaptPhoebus, JP, 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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Wherever you go and whatever you do this weekend, we hope you have a wonderful time.

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Updated 04-06-2012 at 08:55 AM by Fishbulb



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  1. jbean's Avatar
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    Mega Bubblefest Laser Show features "a bubble carousel, bubbles within bubbles, smoking bubbles, spinning bubbles, bouncing bubbles and bubbles in all shapes and sizes".

    This is a great contest. I really wanted to take my 2 boys but tickets were too expensive.
  2. DyNaH428's Avatar
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    answer for the trivia question: "....a bubble carousel, bubbles within bubbles, smoking bubbles, spinning bubbles, bouncing bubbles and bubbles in all shapes and sizes."
  3. Dustysage's Avatar
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    I'm going to disagree with Fishy (fantastic update by the way) and say that the wires are messy. Disney excels at creating a cleaned up perfect version of the real world. There is no need for the problems of the real world to intrude.

    If the wires create a sense of visual chaos, they probably shouldn't be there. It's the same reason why there shouldn't be potholes, broken windows or out of business signs on Main Street. All authentic but out of place in an ideal environment.

    If you want hookers and drug dealers, go to the real New Orleans not New Orleans Square. The ghosts are on the inside of the Haunted Mansion, but Walt wanted the exterior clean and tidy.

    It's not that I think they've done a bad job creating realism on Buena Vista Street, it's that ultra realism is not the goal in a Disney style themed environment. This would make a great SAMLAND article. ;-)
  4. weeble's Avatar
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    oh what joy to be able to see and read in the parks! my computer has been hinckey and i had to stay away for many months. i've so missed all the great updates and photos.

    by the way, i love the wires on buena vista street, i feel completely transported to my childhood!
  5. chesirecat's Avatar
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    One problem with the trolley wires is that they're connected to the poles painted "don't see-um" greyish-green, which the planners are obviously trying to hide, as opposed to the black wrought-iron looking old fashion 1920's lights below them. (Anybody else think this two-tone paint scheme doesn't work/make sense?)

    The trolley wires now draw attention to these light towers for night time parades and security cameras that they don't want guests to focus on as they painted them camo-colors.

    Personally, I think they should have added retractable light poles which could disappear during the day, instead they plopped them on top of the really beautiful light designs they recreated. Or they could have hidden the lights by getting creative and hide them behind second story windows which open/retract backwards/upwards at night.

    Eventually the trees will grow around them, but they're harder to ignore with the wires and Cathay's white fascade. For a $1.3 billion project, you think they could have added retractable light towers behind the buildings so as not to detract from the ambience.

    I'm no trolley expert, but, I bet that one day the trolley guide pole will get disconnected and take weeks to be reconnected as it isn't essential for the function of the trolley.

    Also . . . what about birds and bird poo? If too many guests get soiled, this would be a problem.
    Updated 04-06-2012 at 11:23 AM by chesirecat
  6. dizneedoll's Avatar
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    The answer is:

    ...a bubble carousel, bubbles within bubbles, smoking bubbles, spinning bubbles, bouncing bubbles and bubbles in all shapes and sizes.
  7. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Great Update, I would rather wait and see, come opening day (or when ever I get to revisit DCA,) because it might look better in person with all the design elements connected and converging to the trolley. I do agree, that they should have created retractable lighting for their parades in BVS; and in HWL, (Hollywood Land) for their nighttime parties, like the forthcoming Mad T Party, ( which I hope is included in Phase 2 for Hollywood Land.)

  8. Susan Hughes's Avatar
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    Here's a ground level sneak peek at the Buena Vista Street entrance. This guy took the shot while the barricade was open one morning:
    If Walt were around, I know he would love Buena Vista Street
  9. TacAlert's Avatar
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    I will bet the wires are gone before the area even opens to the public.
  10. StormTheCastle's Avatar
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    I'll reserve judgement on the wires till I see the finished project, although my initial reaction is dislike. It may distract too much from the architecture. Now, will someone please explain why Luigi has beachballs instead of soccer balls?
  11. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    I agree with Dusty, I think the wires look terrible and will totally ruin the sight lines in the area. I get that they are going for "realism", but I don't think not having the wires is going to cause people to scream foul. Having them may indeed just be too much.

    I also agree that they may not even be there when the park reopens.
  12. vonrollskyway1's Avatar
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    Its great to see the 1967 Vonroll Skyride at SeaWorld is more popular than ever..Take a HINT Disneyland..Thank you for the photos..
  13. JulieMouse's Avatar
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    Hope I win!
    "multiple bubble shows daily
    at Bubblefest, featuring a bubble carousel, bubbles within bubbles, smoking bubbles, spinning bubbles, bouncing bubbles and bubbles in all shapes and sizes."

    Great as usual...I really need to visit Sea World, haven't been there in years. It's definitely on my to do list by next fall.
  14. Kimura's Avatar
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    WDI is notorious for pushing design elements that don't work, and they often get away with it. Besides the fact that the wires are an unnecessary eyesore, they could be a problem if Entertainment ever wants a parade float that is higher than the wires. This does happen occasionally. I remember when Disneyland had the Mulan parade that ran partially into the Christmas season. They couldn't put up the garland on Main Street until after they switched over to Christmas Fantasy due to one of the floats.
  15. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update!
  16. yorkiedad's Avatar
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    IMHO the wires are a nice touch but I don't think they thought through the consequences. Since they aren't electrified, there will be plenty of birds hanging out and probably the occasional rat too. Balloons will get caught on them and hang there until somebody climbs up to get them down. It also looks like it will cause visual distortion in such a small and crowded place. It's kind of funny that they went to such great expense to hide the real electrical wires at the back of Cars Land with the Cadillac ridge...and then they add them all over BV Street.
  17. Quentin's Avatar
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    If you don't have the wires the trolly's will look ridiculous. You might as well drive busses up and down the street. Most guests will assume they are real and won't think to much about it and won't complain.
  18. Susan Hughes's Avatar
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    I guess I'll add my two cents worth on the electrical wires running through Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land.
    I've seen real trolley cars that use those wires and it actually adds to the ambiance of the city atmosphere. And there's nothing wrong with recreating early Los Angeles as authentic as possible. Just look down on the pavement. They added cracks. To me that's realistic.
    I don't see the park guests walking along thinking it's an eyesore. I see them looking up and smiling as they follow the cable running alongside the trolley. And I picture the fascinated and amazed looks on the children's faces.
    Now if all the negative criticism does in fact come true, it would be a small task to remove them. It could easily be done overnight. But for now leave them and let's see how it goes. Walt Disney was all about trying new things and taking chances. I think he would have said, "Go for it!"
  19. Amygaga's Avatar
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    "...a bubble carousel, bubbles within bubbles, smoking bubbles, spinning bubbles, bouncing bubbles and bubbles in all shapes and sizes."

    Thanks for the update!
  20. Marko50's Avatar
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    I also think the trolley wires add to the ambience. I don't remember (and that may be key) any of this fuss over wiring when it was going into the African Village area of DAK.
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