Thursday, January 15, 2009

Current Park Update

At my most recent trip to the park, both sides seemed to be covered with construction walls. Although a little disheartening to see the park in that state, it does feel good to know that it is being taken care of refurbished. Over at DCA, it was pretty amazing to see the large body of water near Paradise Pier drained. I hadn’t realized how much real estate that was! The buzz for the World of Color water show is good, so I am looking forward to the final product on that one.

I also checked out the Blue Sky Cellar Preview Center for the first time. This is great that Disney has dedicated so much space to show guests what is coming down the pike; a very smart idea to generate interest and reminiscent of the showcase that used to be located in Town Square. There is quite a bit riding on the new DCA remodel; the City of Anaheim will be watching this closely, as they have not forgotten the bait-and-switch of the original concept. Here are a few shots of what you can see at Blue Sky:

Naturally, Walt is right at the entrance to lend a little authenticity and historic perspective to the project; I’m just waiting for the day when an audio-animatronic version of him is created just for this purpose.

Strangest to me was the fact that the most coverage seemed to focus on the Paradise Pier area. I have always felt that this was the weakest area of California Adventure. Simply re-theming it to Disney and changing the decor does not seem to be enough. I am hoping that there is some element of "wow" that will occur once this section is completed. In watching the video that breathlessly tells how the Orange Stinger will be transformed into a theme that focuses on the 1935 Mickey Mouse short, “The Band Concert,” I couldn’t help but feel that potentially I was being "marketed" into believing that this "new" attraction was more than it actually was. Again...I will do my best to reserve the judgments until it is open. Here are some photos of the model for the "new" Paradise Pier area and the "new" Boardwalk Games, which will now be themed to Disney/Pixar films:

Here’s the new entrance; gone are the letters that guests love to have their photo taken next to; what will happen to the beautiful tile murals is (apparently) still unknown:

Call me crazy (and you have probably have), but one of the things I’m most excited about is the Red Car Trolley that will greet guests at the entrance!

For a little perspective, here is an overall map of what the new DCA will look like:

I’m not a patient person, so having to wait for all these changes is difficult; still, having the preview center makes it much easier! Meanwhile, back at Disneyland...the area that was formerly the House of the Future then Alpine Gardens then Ariel’s Grotto was recently converted into Pixie Hollow. The first few times I attempted to photograph this area I gave up, as the line was at least an hour long. On this visit, I got there early and only had to wait about 30 minutes. So what’s this area about? The recent video release of Tinker Bell (and a very good chance of more sequels), Disney took the opportunity to push Tink & her fairy friends with this meet and greet area.

On the plus side, this area is much more elaborately themed than its predecessor, picture here:

And the current photos:

The idea is that as you wind around the line queue, you are supposed to get the feeling that you are shrinking to the size of Tink. There is lots to see in the queue, including various statues, tiny homes, and cool plantings.

My favorite part was the way that the Matterhorn was framed in at one point in the queue:

At the end of the line, you get to meet Tink & her fairy friends (the day I went was a slow one, so only Silvermist was there) and have your photo taken with them. I opted to take my own photo, thank you.

Is it worth the wait? For a child...yes. It’s akin to having your kid wait in line at a department store to see Santa. From what I observed, the cast members really took their time with the little girls to talk to them, and the guests seemed to be entranced. So...if you’re a parent with a small child, I would recommend this meet-and-greet. On the down side, although the area is beautifully landscaped, I did miss the King Triton fountain, which still has the water feature but no King.

Naturally, there’s a shopping area at the end of this "attraction." Well, that does it for today’s update. See more vintage & current California Adventure photos at my regular website.


TokyoMagic! said...

Aren't the plans for DCA already being scaled back little by little? You had mentioned earlier that you heard that the "flying saucer/roamin' tire" attraction might not be built and I've read that the extension of the pier out and around the ferris wheel has been put on hold as well as the removal of the Maliboomer. Pardon the phrase, but it all seems like it's just "lipstick on a pig" anyway. I am hoping that they don't cut back on the "Little Mermaid" or "Cars" attractions, but I am not going to let my hopes get too high for these since they have disappointed MANY, MANY times before!

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. But I'm not bitter. Well...maybe just a little. :-)

George Taylor said...

Thanks for the photos!

For those of us on the East Coast, we don't get to see DCA or DL often enough.

Major Pepperidge said...

So far the only thing that I am REALLY looking forward to is the "Little Mermaid" ride. The World of Color show will be nice, but that only goes on once per evening (I presume, since DCA closes so early), and the rest of the time the lake is just a lake. The trolley will be a mild diversion, but it's hard to get very excited about it.

I WANT the park to be amazing, but cosmetic changes to the themes of the Orange Stinger and the Sun Wheel ("Mickey's Fun Wheel", yeesh) aren't enough.

Hauntedone999 said...

Diane Disney-Miller has actually made up a contract between the Disney Family and the Disney Company that no Figures would ever be made of Walt Disney or Roy Disney... also in the contract had made it to where you can't have silohettes of them made on Main Street... all (new)images have to be approved by the Disney Family