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Some Imagination Huh?

While everyone is over looking at the new Preview Center and DCA finally begins its makeover, Disneyland will have plenty going on during the off-season. We'd told you about the upcoming refurbishment for Fantasmic!, and how the old film projectors will be replaced with digital projectors. The Entertainment department has recently been testing those new projectors after the park closes, and the results are reported to be stunning. The difference in clarity and image size has been compared to watching old blurry home movies on a bed sheet, and then going and watching the same movies digitally cleaned up and shown on a 50 inch HD set.

Apparently the old projectors were really not using the size of the mist screens to much advantage, and the digital projectors provide a much larger and dramatically clearer image. While Fantasmic! gets the immediate benefit here, this is all really just a test for a larger system to be installed for the World of Color show in 2010.

Anne Hamburger
Flotsam, Jetsam and Ursula as seen in the movie (above)
and on a Fantasmic mist screen (below).

Also coming to Fantasmic! are some new Disney characters, in the form of the evil Flotsam and Jetsam zipping around the Rivers of America on jet ski's during the Ursula sequence. While the Entertainment department had originally wanted to bring the old Ursula float back, when the clarity of the new projectors was realized and they saw how impressive the mist screen segments like Ursula now could look, it was decided to not just duplicate the same character on the water that was already appearing on the mist screen.

So now, illuminated Flotsam and Jetsam characters that are 7 feet tall and 33 feet long will be mounted on jet ski's, while two hidden drivers zip them around the river near the audience during Ursula's big scene. It should punch up that segment of the show that has been lacking something ever since the Ursula float was removed several years ago.

In January and February, Fantasmic! will be presented 7 nights a week, even on those very slow winter weekdays.

Before the Parade Passes By

As we'd told you in an earlier column, the reason Fantasmic runs nightly this winter is that the Disneyland parade route will be repaved and the horse drawn streetcar tracks will be replaced. But when the route returns in March, the new World of Wonder parade won't have arrived yet. That parade is still planned for Disneyland, but has now been pushed back to 2010 instead of 2009.

One of the biggest reasons for the sudden delay is due to the problems they've been having with the Pixar Play Parade. The Worlds of Wonder parade is planned to have even more moving parts than the Pixar Play Parade, with big swinging pirate ships on the Pirates of the Caribbean float, spinning boulders on the Adventureland float, etc. The Disneyland Safety Department, (the same folks behind the decision to equip the new monorails with tiny window vents that prevent air flow into the sauna-like cabins), are behind these parade changes as well.

The Worlds of Wonder parade will still be impressive, as it's on a very large scale with some truly beautiful artistry backing it up, but as of now it's going to be folded into the 55th Anniversary offerings for 2010. And yes, that means the Magic Kingdom out in Orlando has to soldier on for yet another year with its very tired Dreams Come True parade they've had since the 1990's.

Think Tink

Tinker Bell is still planned to take the lead role from the Blue Fairy in the Electrical Parade however, and that new float will help kick off the big push for the new Disney Fairies brand. The Snow White and Seven Dwarfs mine float segment is also scheduled to return to the Electrical Parade lineup in '09. But now with the parade schedule shuffle and the Worlds of Wonder problems, the Electrical Parade is slated to remain in DCA for the time being.

After Ed Grier clumsily told the Orange County Register that a "new Tinker Bell attraction" would be opening at Disneyland, we went ahead and filled you in on the Pixie Hollow meet n' greet area where Ariel's Grotto is now behind the Matterhorn.

Under the Bulldozer.
Soon to be former tenants.

The work there will get underway in September, and the rather uninspired shrubbery on that mound of earth will be replaced with a faux meadow made up of five foot tall blades of grass and wildflowers. Visitors to Pixie Hollow will walk along the path through this meadow as they meet each of the new fairies that make up this latest Disney franchise.

At the end of the path you'll finally get to have your picture taken with Tinker Bell, before you exit towards the Disney Fairies merchandise cart, of course.

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Oh-kay - that should do it for today.

Keep in mind updates only get posted when there is something to report on, and not before. It takes time to confirm things, and even then we can only offer a snapshot of a continually evolving story. Just like the happiest place on earth, patience is a virtue; the queue may take a while before you can enjoy the attraction. ;)

Yet again we've hit some record numbers lately here on the site, and thanks to all of your kind donations to the payboxes, we've been able to keep the bills paid. As I've said before, we're only here due to all of your efforts.

See you at Disneyland!

Al Lutz may be e-mailed at [email protected]ge.com - Please keep in mind he may not be able to respond to each note personally.

2008 Al Lutz

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