Welcome To The Disneyland Resort

This past week saw a lot of activity, especially with Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.  Cast Member previews continued during the first part of the week, followed by the first public rides on the re-immagineered attraction on Friday.  The ‘Early Departure‘ event was a contest held on the Disney Parks Blog and thanks to @VashSky on twitter, I was able to attend.  Then immediately following the ‘Early Departure‘ event, Star Tours went into a soft open state.  The attraction remained open most of the day Friday and Saturday, before closing to the public Sunday for more Cast Member previews.

We also witnessed the unveiling of a second highly anticipated attraction, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.  The new attraction (at the time of this writing) is only previewing to Cast Members, but we expect to see soft opens very soon, possibly by the end of this week.

But before we dive into all of that, let’s see how this week’s crowds will look.

Crowd Predictions

Disneyland Resort Crowd Predictions are brought to you each week by TouringPlans.com, using a scale of 1 to 10, the information they provide will help you better plan your trip to the Disneyland Resort or the Walt Disney World Resort.

The TouringPlans.com Crowd Calendar reflects how long you will wait in line for attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The numbers are based on wait times for all days on record. When a day is predicated as a 1 out of 10, it doesn’t mean that the parks are empty, just that when compared to other days these wait times are in the bottom 10%. We had researchers submitting wait times in the parks every day of the week, and were aided by our fabulous Disneyland Lines App users. Here’s what our statistical team measured for the upcoming week:

Date Overall Disneyland DCA
Monday, May 23, 2010 3 / 10 2.3 / 10 4.6 / 10
Tuesday, May 24, 2010 3 / 10 2.0 / 10 4.5 / 10
Wednesday, May 25, 2010 3 / 10 2.0 / 10 4.4 / 10
Thursday, May 26, 2010 2 / 10 1.9 / 10 2.2 / 10

This week should have low wait-times during the week and high waits over the weekend:

  • Disneyland should have crowds of 2.3 or below Monday through Friday, making those days perfect for hitting the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue soft openings.
  • Crowds over the weekend will be high, peaking at a 8.6 at Disney California Adventure.
  • There will be full AP blockouts on Saturday and Sunday.

See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
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Star Tours – The Adventures Continue | California Adventure Main Entrance | Buena Vista Street | Blue Sky Cellar Update | The Little Mermaid ~ Arei’s Undersea Adventure | Seaside Souvenir & Corn Dog Castle | Goofy’s Sky School and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta | Downtown Disney | Around The Resort

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Winers of the ‘Star Tours Early Departure‘ contest started lining up in the east esplanade as early at 3am.  Yours truly was there around 3:30am to capture these images.

Star Tours Early Departure PreviewStar Tours Early Departure PreviewStar Tours Early Departure PreviewStar Tours Early Departure Preview

After all the Grad Nite kids were herded out of the park (literally), Disney handed out complementary admission tickets and began to line us up on Main Street USA.

The queue line wrapped around the attraction and stretched from the Corn Dog cart on Main Street to the Star Trader store.  But because the contest was only open to 2,400 guests and the media, the line moved very quickly.

Star Tours Early Departure Preview

I was not planing to post the photos of the queue until after June 3rd, but with the soft openings occurring the queue spoilers are almost unavoidable.  I will not go into ride details, but here are pictures from the queue.

A bright Star Tours logo lines the back wall of the extended queue room adjacent to the attraction.

Star Tours Extended Queue Star Tours Extended Queue

The extended queue room was cleaned up quite a bit, gone is the body scanner and the security booth.  The murals around the room are very similar to the ones in the Star Trader, black light and Star Wars music fills the room.

Star Tours Extended Queue

The main queue itself remains very similar to the original Star Tours queue.  The layout is identical, but some major improvements have been made.

Inside the main queue, the departure and advertisement screen is still in the same place as before, however it is now an HD, rear projection screen.

Star Tours Queue - Main Screen

The quality of the images from this screen are amazing.  Especially when your spokes bot, Aly San San, comes on to tell you about where you can travel with Star Tours.

Star Tours Queue - Main Screen

The Starspeeder is in the same spot as before, with R2D2 perched on top.  The Starspeeder is now red and is labeled ‘Starspeeder 1000’ instead of the ‘Starspeeder 3000’. (remember this is a prequel to the original attraction)

Star Tours Queue - Starspeeder 1000

R2D2 moves up and down and has a dialog with the neighboring C3P0, just as before.

Star Tours Queue - R2D2

Star Tours Queue

Here a droid is using a body scanner to scan the guests in line.

Star Tours Queue - Droid Room Star Tours Queue - Droid Room

Recognize this guy?  REX makes an appearance inside a crate and if you look closely you’ll notice that he is labeled ‘Defective’.

Star Tours Queue - Droid Room - REX

The 3D glasses are of much higher quality than the yellow and purple ones that you see around the resort.  They are very comfortable, fit over prescription glasses, and are easy to forget about during your flight.

Star Tours 3D Glasses

The Disney Parks Blog was interviewing the winners reactions on the exit ramp.

Star Tours Preview

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Star Tours; An Amazing Adventure

I had the opportunity to ride Star Tours – The Adventures Continue this morning as part of the ‘Early Departure’ contest and media event.  The new version of this iconic attraction is a vast improvement from the original. The very first thing I noticed, and subsequently couldn’t stop talking about was the fluid movement of the motion simulator. It is a very smooth ride in comparison to the previous version, and seems to change in detail dependent of what type of environment you are in….

Read More —>

Star Tours - The Adventures Continue - Darth Vader

The walls around the Fastpass Distrubution area have also come down, although the Fastpass machines are currently not being used during soft openings.

Star Tours FastPass Distribution

The Gonk Droid inspired machines are currently covered.

Star Tours FastPass Distribution

Disneyland Castle

California Adventure Main Entrance

The Pan Pacific Auditorium inspired entrance to California Adventure Park is really starting to take shape.

California Adventure Entrance Construction

Details were being installed on Friday morning and really give the spires that art deco look that Los Angeles is famous for.

California Adventure Entrance Construction California Adventure Entrance Construction California Adventure Entrance Construction California Adventure Entrance Construction

Buena Vista Street

The Carthay Circle Theater seems to be frozen in time.

California Adventure Carthay Theater Construction California Adventure Carthay Theater Construction

Mean while, the seating and information booth have completely disappeared.

California Adventure Buena Vista Street Construction

A temporary information kiosk has been set up next door to Engineer Toys.

California Adventure Buena Vista Street Construction

After removing all the seating and tables in the area, it would make sense to at least put out some benches for guests.

On Sunday, guests were sitting on the ground all along the “train” and using trash cans as tables.

California Adventure Buena Vista Street Construction

Blue Sky Cellar [mini] Update

The Blue Sky Cellar got a bit of an update this past week.  The attraction posters for Grizzly River Run, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Goofy’s Sky School are now displayed.

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Mermaid, Sky School, Grizzly Posters California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Mermaid, Sky School, Grizzly Posters California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Mermaid, Sky School, Grizzly Posters

Disney also updated that glass cabinet with pictures from ‘behind the fences’

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Goofy's Sky School

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Goofy's Sky School California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Goofy's Sky School

The large aerial picture was also updated with a photo from April 25, 2011

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Aerial

Main Entrance

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Aerial

Carthay Circle Theater and Buena Vista Street

Construction is moving so quickly that this picture is already out of date, note the seating in the upper left corner.

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Aerial

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Entrance to Cars Land.

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Aerial

Cars Land

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Aerial

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, Paradise Garden Grill and Goofy’s Sky School

Again, already out of date…the walls around Souvenir 66 and Corn Dog Castle were removed this past week.  I love that the construction is moving so fast!

California Adventure Blue Sky Cellar, Aerial

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Last week the walls around the east side of the building disappeared, this week the entire attraction was unveiled.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Sign California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Sign California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Sign

The Rotunda looks impressive, especially inside.  The Rotunda serves as both the exit and entrance into the attraction.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Sign California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Rotunda California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Rotunda

Cast Members have been previewing the attraction this past week.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Preview

Probably the shortest wait time we will see all summer.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Wait Time

The cast member uniforms are a mixed bag.  They have a nautical, cartoon theme that works much better on the female version.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Uniforms

The gals costume is also much more detailed with buttons and a slick shoulder patch.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Uniforms

The over all detail and paint scheme is breath taking.  The queue seen in the foreground is the entrance from the Rotunda, the doors in the background is the exit.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue

The railings have a bubbles and wave pattern

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue

The entire queue is raised.  As you enter from the Rotunda you will pass by the entrance and head over to the west side of the building for the majority of your wait before heading back into this area to enter the building and loading area.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue

The loading area is just beyond the doors.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue

The raised queue on the buildings west side.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue

Over all, the queue is huge.  The area we saw unveiled last week can also be used as a queue prior to entering the Rotunda.  Disneyland is definitely ready for a long line on an attraction that does not have Fastpass.

California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Queue California Adventure, Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Seaside Souvenirs & Corn Dog Castle

The walls also came down around Seaside Souvenirs and the Corn Dog Castle.

California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs

The buildings basically received a much needed facelift, and they look great.

California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs

Seaside Souvenirs is your place on the boardwalk for plush, tee shirts, World of Color & Mermaid Merchandise as well as embroidery.

California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs

The floor of the outdoor shop has a ‘boardwalk’ theme.

California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs California Adventure, Seaside Souvenirs

Next door the Corn Dog Castle has reopned.

The area also has much needed shade trees and seating.

California Adventure, Corn Dog Castle California Adventure, Corn Dog Castle

Ouch

California Adventure, Corn Dog Castle Menu

Temporary tables have been set up along the construction walls.

The area looks fresh and is a welcome sight.

California Adventure, Corn Dog Castle Seating

Goofy’s Sky School, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta

We will have to wait another month before the walls around this area come down.

The entire area has started to receive paint.

California Adventure, Goofy's Sky School California Adventure, Goofy's Sky School California Adventure, Boardwalk Pizza Pasta California Adventure, Boardwalk Pizza Pasta California Adventure, Boardwalk Pizza Pasta California Adventure, Bayside Brews California Adventure, Boardwalk California Adventure, Boardwalk

Downtown Disney

The Sanuk sign and awning have been installed and the footwear store should open up in the next few weeks.

Downtown Disney, Sanuk

Apricot Lane has opened up in the former Kitson Kids location.

More Changes At Downtown Disney

This week comes news that Kitson Kids will be closing at the end of the month. Kitson Kids opened in 2009 in the space occupied by Starabilias, next door to the AMC theater.  The trendy retail store is popular with Hollywood celebrities and sells a large variety of items from clothing to children’s toys.  Apricot Lane, an accessory store, is planing to occupy this space in June.

Read More —>

Downtown Disney, Apricot lane Downtown Disney, Apricot lane Downtown Disney, Apricot lane

Around the Resort

The World of Color also saw an update to include a Pirates of the Caribbean segment from the new On Stranger Tides Movie.  All I have to say is wear your sunblock…wow!

Here is a video from Mint Crocodile.

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Something quite perplexing has been the sudden closure of the Monorail.  The attraction suddenly closed a little over a week ago and is not listed in the current park closures on Disneyland’s web site. This typically indicates a problem verses a refurbishment.  We will keep you updated as news breaks.

Downtown Disney, Monorail Closed California Adventure, Paradise Pier Disneyland Hotel, Mickey Disneyland Railroad Engineer

All Current Resort Closures & Special Event Information

Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook for breaking news all week long.

See You At Disneyland!