Beautification is a word that can signify many a thing. One may undergo the process of beautification by putting on makeup in the morning, getting their hair done, or shopping for a prom dress. Others may experience it via a change in heart, feeling a first-hand touch of kindness or compassion. Then there are theme parks; Disney theme parks. Disney theme parks in particular are constantly undergoing changes and additions, a true testament to Walt Disney's classic quote of "Disneyland never being complete, as long as their is imagination left in the world." I for one believe that it is safe to say that imagination is left in the world. You just have to look for it.
Disneyland Park is the original theme park experience centered around fun for the whole family, portals to different lands and times present all throughout the park, taking guests from the dark jungles of Africa in one moment and taking them to the American frontier another. Before the advent of Disney World in Florida, there was no other place in the world where one could travel to the moon or travel back in time to the Golden Age of Piracy via falling down a waterfall. No one had ever been bold enough to explore a haunted plantation home infested with 999 ghosts. And no one certainly had certainly ever traveled the jungle rivers of the world in a matter of minutes. Everything about Disneyland was pure magic, and the magic would always begin through a set of tunnels passing beneath a line of railroad tracks, past attraction-advertising posters, and onto the fresh pavement and beautiful architecture of Main Street, U.S.A., everyone's American hometown at the turn-of-the-century.
Intended to be a recreation of Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri, Main Street undergoes a complete beautification process with new paint, new landscaping, fresh pavement, and a general brightening of the buildings, the fanciful gingerbread-trim and varying-in-size buildings more prominent and colorful than ever. The smell of sugar continues to be pumped to the air, new eco-friendly lampposts illuminating the streets at night to compliment the new eco-friendly bulbs lighting up Main Street's signage and decor at night. As in the days of old, items unique and specific to each shop are carried by each of Main Street's shops, with the exception of the Emporium which serves as the park's mini-rendition of Downtown Disney's World of Disney Store, though themed to an early department store than a character-filled hoedown. The traditional window displays lining the Emporium's exterior are redone to match scenes from the latest Disney (or Pixar) release, a special sneak peek for anxious movie-goers. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln has unfortunately been suffering from low attendance lately and is scheduled to now play sneak peeks of upcoming Disney features rather than a speech by Mr. Lincoln. As somewhat of a purist, I'm a bit neutral on the subject. Although the concept of playing sneak peeks might sound good, it seems like a quick-fix and an excuse to remove Lincoln. So...this concept will alternate. From now on, Mr. Lincoln will only play during the extremely busy months, particularly in the summer when guests want to escape the heat. On the Fourth of July, a special celebration of American independence and history will be held at the Opera House, featuring the Voices of Liberty, special presentations, an exhibit of historic artifacts, and of course a presentation by Mr. Lincoln. To further celebrate America's heritage, the Main Street Electrical Parade makes its triumphant return to its rightful place, still celebrating America in its red, white, and blue finale. The Parade itself has undergone a decent overhaul to become more vivid, more colorful, and even expanded. Such expansions include a brand-new Cheshire Cat float, a jungle-themed unit featuring The Jungle Book and The Lion King, the return of the Dumbo unit, and a new Tick-Tock Crocodile float, plus much more. Joining the revived nighttime venue is a brand-new fireworks show to top the remarkable Remember...Dreams Come True. As for that show is, you'll just have to wait and see as it is not yet finished. Seasonal fireworks available to be seen by all guests takeover on the Fourth of July, during Christmas, and Halloween respectively. A smaller-scale daytime parade will also be featured. More on that later as well.
Over at the Main Street Cinema, things are a bit different. From now on, the cartoon short premieres of each member of the Fab Five play, all in black and white, each one separated by old Disney movie trailers done in crackling black and white with muffled sound. Aside from that, the beautification, a new electronic wait time board, and the shop-specific items, the rest of Main Street is left generally untouched. The always beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle is given a new paint job and a new moat. The moat is no longer a murky green (meaning the moat is cut off from Frontierland and Adventureland's entry-lakes), but a crystal-clear blue, very much like a Hawaiian beach. Beautiful fountains erupt on either side of the bridge. Amongst the beautiful foliage running along the shore, tiny lawn ornaments depicting cutesy woodland creatures (including Bambi and Thumper if one looks hard enough) lurk about, matching the style of Snow White Grotto's sculptures. Snow White's haunting rendition of "I'm Wishing" echoes from the well and all the way into nearby Pixie Hollow. Circling around the Hub, we head straight towards Adventureland, the first stop on our Disneyland adventure.
More to come!