Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(4/29/13) Disneyland Resort, prepare yourself for a Monsterous party as both Disneyland and California Adventure will stay open from 6am on May 24th to 6am on May 25th. (MORE...)
(4/17/13) I just had a chance to read through the official CA-DOSH report filed against Disneyland during their inspection and this really is a whole lot of fuss about (MORE...)
(4/15/13) According to numerous reports from over the weekend, DOSH arrived at the Disneyland Resort on Friday to perform safety inspections and cited Disney (MORE...)
(4/12/13) MiceChat has an interesting new writer, a former Disney Accountaneer, who has come to tell unique stores (MORE...)
General Resort News - (4/29/13) Disneyland Resort, prepare yourself for a Monsterous party as both Disneyland and California Adventure will stay open from 6am on May 24th to 6am on May 25th. This is the launch of Disney’s Monstrous Summer celebration on both coasts, as the Magic Kingdom in Florida will also be taking part in this.
There will be special dance parties taking place inside both parks at night: the TLT Monstrous Dance Club will open in Tomorrowland and feature dancing Star Wars characters as well. Look for the late night pajama party with the characters inside Toontown as well as the new Fantasy Faire Royal Theater to be transformed into the Royal Dance Hall at night with a live band.
(4/17/13) I just had a chance to quickly skim/read through the official CA-DOSH report filed against Disneyland during their inspection and this really is a whole lot of fuss about items that had nothing at all to really do with guest safety. The violations Disney was sited on are all hinged around the accident on Space Mountain, involving the access methods used by maintenance staff and contractors to get onto the roof area of Space Mountain, the kinds of railing and toe-guards used in these areas, a couple of unchecked fire extinguishers found up in the roof area, a failure to retain 5 years worth of back inspection records on site for the HVAC systems in Space Mountain, and perhaps the most serious issue was that the contractors anchored their ‘boatswain chairs’ to non-approved anchor points while working on the roof of Space Mountain, because there were no already installed anchor points built into the roof of Space Mountain previously. This last item was the cause of the accident, as the non-approved anchorage point failed and caused him to fall down the side of the structure.
Not one mention of Soarin’ over California, nor Matterhorn. I do wonder if the closure of the Matterhorn may have been coincidental as there previously was a posted closure notice to last from 4/16 to 4/19 on the park’s website which is now gone. I suppose they could have opted to move the timetable up to do the work a few days earlier, especially since it reopened so quickly. Space Mountain is currently listed as being closed on the park website with no posted date to reopen, though there is no mention of Soarin’ Over California being closed when I checked this evening, so perhaps it may reopen within the next 24 hours, if not already.
(4/15/13) According to numerous reports from over the weekend, DOSH arrived at the Disneyland Resort on Friday to perform safety inspections and cited Disney on a few issues. Disney then opted to shut down a few attractions to address these issues, which included Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds and Soarin’ Over California. While Matterhorn reopened by Sunday, I’ve heard the other two remain closed for now.
As odd as it seems, the DOSH citations were related to an accident that took place back in November when a subcontractor was performing maintenance to the outside of Space Mountain’s structure slipped down the side of the mountain’s surface and broke several bones. I’m not sure how this results in a reason to close the attraction INSIDE of the structure, due to an unrelated accident on the outside… so just blame me for trying to think logically.
(4/12/13) MiceChat has an interesting new writer, a former Disney Accountaneer, who has come to tell unique stores from behind the curtain… and starts things off with a look at what dismal fate was met by the retired Rocket Rods.
(4/2/13) A local plan to build a $319 million streetcar / trolley system in Anaheim that would run down a 3.2 mile track from the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center down Katella past the Angel’s stadium over to the other side of I-5 with stops at Disneyland before ending at the Anaheim Convention Center is getting another look this summer. The system is in competition with a $55 million plat to build a dedicated bus line to run the same route at a fraction of the cost, though with lower capacity. Despite the higher costs, the system is the preferred project in Anaheim and many local businesses who believe that new streetcar routes often also lead to higher property values and spurring new business growth and land development around them.
(3/25/13) Limited Time Magic will take on an Easter theme this next week as both Disneyland and Walt Disney World put on week-long Easter celebrations starting on Monday, March 25th.
In California the Easter Bunny will greet guests in Town Square each day, where he will join some other long-eared Disney friends, the Dapper Dans and Mickey and Minnie Mouse for a Bunny Hop dance down Main Street USA. Over at California Adventure Russell and Dug have hidden oversized Easter Eggs all throughout the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and will hold a Wilderness Explorer Egg Hunt.
(3/18/13) According to this news report Disney will change the minimum age requirements for kids entering the park alone. Starting March 23rd, all guests UNDER the age of 14 must be accompanied by a guest who is at least 14-years old. This rule will be in effect at both of the Disneyland Resort parks, as well as all Disney attractions at Walt Disney World as well.
(2/21/13) The OC Register has confirmed with the Disneyland Resort that they began enforcing the end of the 60-minute FastPass window this past Tuesday at Disneyland and California Adventure.
(2/9/13) Strange things are going on at Disneyland this week, with not just one, but now two families who have come forward (both have the same attorney however) with claims of racism at Disneyland... from different Disney Costumed Characters. In both cases, the families claim that their child’s attempts for attention were ignored by different costumed characters (Donald or The White Rabbit) in the park, who would then go pay attention to other children.
Do I believe it? Well... anything is possible when it comes to how people treat other people, but I do find it hard to file a claim of racism against a duck and a rabbit when there is no way to know the race, gender or even sexual orientation of the person INSIDE.
I’ll also say this... while I have never been inside a Disney costume; I was once allowed to try on another heavily themed costume at another park and was escorted out to do a brief session with guests. (I won’t say which park or character, as this was a wink-wink, “not-approved by upper management” kind of moment.) Those brief moments spent inside the giant costume was enough for me to gain all the respect in the world for anyone who does that for a living. It’s not comfortable, it’s hot, it smells a little from the previous person’s funk and it’s downright awkward because you really can’t see much of anything unless it is right in your face.
While some guests are respectful and simply want to take a picture, others will push and poke you, and some guests are downright determined to find out in no uncertain terms if you are a male or female inside all that fluff. The wrong kind of unexpected tugging from behind, an over aggressive hug or an unseen child tugging at the wrong body part could put you off balance. Your hands are not your hands, and your feet are four times larger than what you are used to walking around with, and if you were to trip and fall, it is very unlikely you would be able to stand back up again unaided.
Which brings up another important point that has not been address by any of these claims of racism. Costumed characters in a theme park, not just a Disney theme park, but any theme park these days, do not go on a walkabout through the park without having a chaperone of some kind who serves as not only their guard and protector, so also as a guide to help get the character from place A to B, help control the crowds, and to help point out anyone begging for attention that may have not been seen by the character. So it wouldn’t just have been Donald or The White Rabbit to blame, but there should have been an escort (or two) along as well who may have been guiding the character in the opposite direction for any number of reasons. However, in both cases, no escort is ever mentioned as being on the scene, which I find odd.
So for any number of reasons these children could have been overlooked or ignored by these characters... but is it racism? I have serious doubts. I’m a parent I’ve seen my own kids ignored by various characters in parks. I don’t mind, because I’ve spent a few minutes in their shoes and know that they can’t get around to everyone. It even happened to me as a small child, I remember trying to go see Alice in Disneyland... only to have that darn White Rabbit come flying out of nowhere, grab Alice by the hand, point as his big golden watch to let her know they were late, and he ran off with her before I could even say Hello.
I suppose this is one of the many reasons why Disney has become so gung-ho with adding official character Meet ‘n Greet spots, as opposed to the random encounters inside the parks. You stand in line, wait your turn and then you are guaranteed a brief moment and photo-op with that character in a controlled environment. Still, I liked the old random encounters better just because they were spontaneous and you never knew whom you might get to see on any given visit to the park. But was I ever promised a hug or a handshake in some kind of legally binding contract because I bought a ticket? Nope... and I was fine with that. I was happy just to have seen them... anything more was a bonus.
(2/5/13) I’m not sure how serious to take this rumor just yet, but there are some out there claiming to have heard rumors that the Main Street Electrical Parade could be returning to the Disneyland Resort as early as 2014. I’m not even sure if DCA could handle the return of the parade with World of Color now in full swing, which explains why some seem to believe the MSEP could possibly return to it’s place of origin inside Disneyland.
As a side note, a rumor sent in a year ago from a WDW source claimed at the time that the MSEP was expected to end it’s run at The Magic Kingdom in late 2013. Interesting timing, as this would allow for the parade to return to California.
(1/11/13) Michael Colglazier has been named by Tom Staggs to take over as President of the Disneyland Resort. Michael had been previously working as the VP of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World, and involved with the Avatar project there. He will replace current President, George Kalogridis, who was tapped to take over as President of Walt Disney World starting February 1st.
(1/7/13) I’m hoping I’m wrong about this rumor, but according to a few sources 2012 may go down as the last year that Disneyland park guests will have access to all the special winter Christmas fireworks shows and parades for free. Instead, the resort is rumored to be switching to a series of upcharge hard-ticket events for Christmas 2013, following the business model of Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” nights where all guests (even passholders) pay prices up to $40 for an aproximate 4-hour private Christmas themed night in the park. This will be handled in similar fashion to Disneyland’s Halloween-Time hard ticket event.
(11/13/12) The OC Register did a little more digging into Disney’s year end report and found it mentioned that while attendance at the Walt Disney World theme parks suffered modest declines, attendance at the two Disneyland Resort parks in California saw substantial increased that more than made up for WDW’s shortcomings, raising the companies overall attendance by 3%. Guest spending was also up 7%, but this could be mostly due to increases in ticket prices at the gate, as well as slight increases to food and beverage items.
Jay Rasulo also mentioned that in early 2013, new features would be rolled out to the Florida park guests allowing for advanced attraction time bookings and itinerary planning before they even leave their home. In other words, it sounds like FastPass+ is nearly ready for launch. The FCC has approved Disney’s RFID enabled wristbands for use as well. Currently there are no dates to bring this technology to the Disneyland Resort just yet.
(10/19/12) Disney announced a new celebration event for 2013 called Limited Time Magic that will take place in both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. It sounds like an odd name, but it’s an odd sounding event which Disney describes as “52 weeks of magical experience big and small that appear, then disappear as the next special surpise debuts.”
For example, Disney says one week will be Pirate Week, and the parks will be full of extra Pirate fun. The next could be a Friday the 13th celebration of Villains for the week, True Love Week for the week of Valentines Day, Independence Week (for 4th of July) or something called “Long Lost Friends Week” where lesser-known Disney characters will be brought to the forefront. I do have to admit, I like the idea of adding fun new surprises to the parks that will thrill the guests on vacation as well as local passholders.
(10/5/12) A new investor group has formed to complete the purchase of the Anaheim GardenWalk center, located essentially just across the street from Disneyland. The new investor group is made up from the Arcturus Group, Avenue Capital Mangement and Elliott Management. You can read the press release here. Honestly, I’m surprised Disney didn’t just pick it up themselves, as the property would go a long way in their efforts to expand even further into Anaheim as well as the eventual addition of a 3rd Theme Park to the resort.
Grad-Night 2012 / 2013 Changes - (6/24/11) According to the official Disney Parks Blog, some major changes will be coming down the pipe that may forever alter the 50-year tradition known as Grad Night. Disney reports that for Grad Night 2012 guests will be given a park hopper pass and allowed to travel between Disneyland and California Adventure during the night as well as a special private showing of Fantasmic! that will kick off the event.
Unfortunately, things are planned to take a turn for the worse in 2013, as the event will move entirely over to California Adventure for the night, which will include a private showing of World of Color, and the new Cars Land by then. While California Adventure is a fine park now in it’s own right, I just don’t’ think it has the attractions capacity to handle the massive Grad Night crowds the way that Disneyland does.
This all may sound a bit familiar to those who followed the demise of the Walt Disney World Grad Night event, which came to an end this past May. A couple of years before WDW decided to call it off, they too tried an attempt to move Grad Night to another park… Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting in 2009. On the surface this sounded reasonable at first as the Studios had the more teen friendly rides like Twilight Zone, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Star Tours, Fantasmic and the new Midway Mania. The park also has the best assortment of venues available for use for special concerts. Despite it all… it just wasn’t Grad Night without being at the Magic Kingdom, and the Grad Night was moved back to the Magic Kingdom the very next year.
Now is the Disneyland Resort planning on making the very same mistake? By 2013 California Adventure will have a lot to offer teens for sure: Twilight Zone, Little Mermaid, Midway Mania, California Screamin, Goofy’s Sky School, Soarin’ and the massive Cars Land. But will it be enough, and will the market simply just accept that Grad Night is no longer across the way at Disneyland anymore? If I had to guess, I’m thinking the double-park aspect of the 2012 season may be Disney’s way to properly judge this very reaction, by giving the teens an open choice between the two parks to see where the attendance lines are split. They can always change their mind on 2013 at that point.
???? - New Resort Hotel(s) - In Development - (2/12/08) Blue Sky Disney brings up the subject of adding two more hotels to the Disneyland Resort in the future. In addition to the rumored hotel plans for the Simba lot (next to the Paradise Pier hotel) they also claim that the hotel project along Harbor Blvd that we heard about last year was still in the works. The update mentions that it would provide a nice dramatic visual theme to those traveling down Harbor and serve as a portal to everyone entering the Disneyland Resort Esplanade area in the same fashion of how the Disneyland Hotel in Paris works placed over the park’s main entrance.
(3/19/07) Rumors are running wild about all kinds of possible hotel development projects at the Disneyland Resort. In addition to expanding the Grand Californian, renovating the existing Disneyland Hotel and possibly building a new hotel, we’ve also heard a couple of rumors concerning the future of the Paradise Pier hotel. Proposals have been apparently drawn up for several options for the site ranging from renovation all the way to demolition to build a completely new and themed resort on the property. We’ve also heard that the Del Coronado style concept that was mentioned for the site along Harbor may actually be moved to the parking lot next to the Paradise Pier hotel instead. From memory, I seem to recall seeing plans from back when DCA was under construction showing off the Downtown Disney parking lot as the site for a future “Magic Kingdom” themed hotel as well, but it looks like they don’t’ want to risk closing that lot for the time being.
???? - Third Theme Park - Rumor - (3/23/13) A new report from SlashFilm reports that the Disneyland Resort has been sending out surveys to passholders to ask, “How interested would you be in visiting a Star Wars themed land at the Disneyland Resort?” (For more on that, make the jump to the Disneyland page.)
With the rumors of mini Star Wars Lands being designed for Disneland Paris and now Walt Disney World it only makes sense Disneyland would get in on the action as well. While they could find a way to fit it into Disneyland, I have to admit that I had heard long ago that a Star Wars themed land was being considered as a major land for Disneyland’s 3rd Park.
A lot has probably changed since then since Disney didn’t even own Star Wars when I first heard that rumor, as they had bought Marvel at the time and I believe had just inked the Avatar project for Walt Disney World. Back then the one idea being expressed about Disneyland’s 3rd Park concept was that they wanted the overall concept of the park to be about Heroes and Adventure, full of heavily themed new worlds to explore.
With Marvel freshly purchased at the time, it seemed like a no brainer to add some of the various themed from the Marvel Universe to the park. Whatever they came up with for the Avatar project in WDW, a copy of Pandora could also fit right into California’s 3rd Park too. Now with Star Wars now fully owned by Disney and plans for new films in the works, it would also seem very possible that we could not only see a Star Wars Land built here, but one themed to whatever new and iconic locations are being developed for the next series of films as well. Of course while a park with lands themed to Marvel, Star Wars and Avatar may seem a bit like a teenage boy fantasy come true, it does make me wonder what they could add as well to soften it up for the girls and smaller children. Keep in mind that the plans for the 3rd Park are being worked on and likely in a constant state of change, but with that it also seems clear that the project is getting closer to being funded and moving forward. WDI has their hands full right now with Shanghai and other projects around the world, but sooner than you think they will focus their efforts at last on that old Strawberry field location down the road.
(6/27/12) Could Disneyland be making it’s first serious steps towards designing a third California park? According to MiceAge, WDI has been drawing up plans for a full scale Marvel comics themed park that would feature more thrill rides and fit perfectly into the available acreage, as well as serve as a template for future parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai. There are lots of other infrastructure issues to be dealt with before this can happen, such as making room for new resorts, and adding the extra parking spaces that will be needed with a way to transport guests and employees to all three parks.