Welcome To Disneyland
In this report, the new Star Trader opens after 3 months of refurbishment, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has it’s big debut, Kids help save the planet and win a trip to Disneyland, More walls pop up in Buena Vista Street and demolition begins on more original DCA landmarks.
The TouringPlans.com Crowd Calendar reflects how long you will wait in line for attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, on average. With the horrific crowds of Spring Break now a distant memory, the crowds have become entrenched in their pre-Summer vacation lows. We had researchers submitting wait times in the parks every day of the week, and were aided by our fabulousDisneyland Lines App users. Last year, here’s what our statistical team measured for the upcoming week:
The week following the Mother’s Day holiday should have low wait-times:
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
The big news this week, regarding Star Tours, is the re-opening of the Star Trader retail store. But also this week, on May the 4th (May-the-fourth-be-with-you) the attraction poster was released.
It can now be seen as you enter the park.
After nearly three months of refurbhishment the new version of The Star Trader has re-opened. The shop received new exterior paint, and a complete reconstruction of the interior. The layout remains the same, for the most part, but there are some nice new touches.
The ‘flying saucer’ type disks remain
What got most people excited about this redue was the movement of the X-Wing fighter. The X-Wing was originally in the Star Trader when it first opened for the original Star Tours in 1987, but was moved to the upper level of the adjacent Starcade arcade following the 1997 Tomorrowland makeover. The upstairs was closed in the mid 90’s and X-Wing remained there, leaving it visible to those in the Space Mountain queue through a window. Disneyland fans that remember the original Star Trader are excited to have the X-Wing back in it’s rightful place.
Once upon a time there was an attraction in Tomorrowland called the Peoplemover. The attraction moved through other attractions and shops. This was once a window for the attraction and is now a moving silhouette that mimics passengers of all species moving towards the Bustling Space Port of Star Tours. Keep your eye out for something hidden.
There are two sides to the “Build Your Own Lightsaber” kiosk now.
The shop has been expanded to 5,064 total square feet, because the space it took over in the Starcade during the refurbishment still remains, with a few video games along the back wall.
The photo booth remains in the old Starcade portion of the shop.
All around the Star Trader are these nifty signs showcasing Tomorrowland attractions, present and past.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue merchandise is now available for purchase.
The shop really looks good and is a welcome sight!
The Star Tours exit into the Star Trader shop.
Outside the Star Tours mural has been updated to reflect the new version of the attraction.
Disney has also created a contest to be the first to ride the attraction. This is seprate from the AP Previews and Monday the 8th (today) is your last day to enter, so move fast!
To celebrate the opening of “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” at Disneyland Resort, we are inviting 1,200 of you (and a guest) to be among the first in the galaxy to experience the new 3-D attraction at Disneyland park on May 20.
What once was blue is now red.
“Starspeeder 1000” has been added, and R2D2 is red. Makes me wonder if this is an oversight or if we will encounter a different droid in the attraction.
Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides Premiere
By far the biggest story this week was the premiere of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
By Friday, bleachers had been set up in front of City Hall and the Fire Station for guest seating for the “Black Carpet” arrivals.
The east side of Main Street was reserved for guest seating, while the east side (up to Coke Corner) for the media.
The set up was enormous. The seating stretched from the main, upper walkway of New Orleans Square out over the water of the Rivers of America.
The viewing screen was massive, 90 feet wide and 6 stories tall.
The rear of the seating area was decorated with artifacts that reflect the movie’s settings.
The Pirates 4 movie premiere was the first outdoor 3D movie premiere ever!
This picture was taken from the opposite side of the Rivers of America and really shows the scale of the set up. The bleachers are almost as high as the New Orleans Square buildings, and the screen is double that height.
Also, Jerry Bruckheimer was tweeting live from the event, and at the end of the premiere he gave us all a special surprise, a never-before-seen clip from the movie!
FINAL SURPRISE: Exclusive never-before-seen clip from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides http://bit.ly/kfm5Uw Enjoy #PIRATESLIFE
Disneyland is also temporarily replacing the Davy Jones projection on the ghost waterfall in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction with Black Beard. The projections don’t start until May 20th when the movie is released, however it was turned on for guests of the movie premiere and we have video for you! See It Here
Disney Planet Challenge
On Friday the winners of the Disney Planet Challenge were honored with breakfast at the Golden Horseshoe and a ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
Those second and third graders can’t contain their excitement because they just won the national elementary grand prize in Disney’s Planet Challenge environmental and science competition. They also just found out they’re going to Disneyland and will be the stars of a parade down Main Street, U.S.A. on May 6.
The students from Zachary Elementary School in Louisiana beat out thousands of kids across the United States for their work towards saving the Louisiana coastline and wetlands ecosystem.
With the help of their teachers, Ms. Breigh Rainey and Ms. Kristy Gilpin, the second and third graders built a school nursery, grew hundreds of grass plants and replanted them along the coastal beach area of Grand Isle. The winning students wrote and published books about the Louisiana Wetlands in an effort to educate the community and are donating the money raised from the sale of the books to wetland preservation. The Zachary students also secured a deal with local radio stations to broadcast their Coastal Roots podcast to help spread the word about their conservation efforts.
Source: Disney Parks Blog
As the band warmed up, a few guests felt the need to dance!
These kids from Louisiana were having the time of their lives.
Disneyland ambassador Jolie Hales introduces the audience to the kids and dignitaries.
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Walt Disney Company
A very nice tie into the children being from Louisiana was an interlude by the cast from The Princess and the Frog.
The Shadow Man came up on stage to tell the kids that they don’t have to work hard for what they want, followed by the song “Friends On The Other Side“.
Of course Princess Tiana came on stage to correct The Shadow Man’s statement.
We were then treated to a performance of “Almost There“.
Disney Channel stars Caroline Sunshine and Adam Irigoyen helped give out the awards.
And what would a Disney event be without the boss.
The entire event wrapped up with Princess Tiana singing “Dig A Little Deeper“
The skeleton of the new entrance is receiving it’s cover.
Earlier this week walls went up around the Information Booth and seating area for the Bakersfield Bakery and Burrr-Bank Ice Cream.
The covering between the train/ buildings and the seating area has already been removed.
And the covering over the seating area is being removed as well.
The stores and food locations remain open…for now. We don’t expect them to last very long.
No seating available here. If you purchase treats here your closest seating would be the benches along the main entrance corridor or around the corner at the Taste Pilot’s Grill.
The Carthay Circle Theater
The next 4 pictures were taken in sequence to give you a feel for the former Sunshine Plaza area.
The walkway seen below that leads along the Grizzly waterfall is scheduled to be closed off on June 1st. This comes at a time where the Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is set to open, with the Boardwalk area opening a month later. Guests accessing these areas of the park will need to go through Bugs Land from the rear entrance, near the Tower of Terror or by using the Condor Flatts, Golden State area near Soarin’ Over California.
Keep up on the construction of DCA on our Current Expansion Information Page.
Paint is slowly moving from west to east. The rock work is incredibly detailed as you can see below.
On Friday there was a great amount of construction activity around where “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree” will be located.
Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
Not much has changed on the exterior of the building as the finishing touches and fine tuning is going on inside. Cast Member previews started on Sunday and we should start to get some first impressions this week!
The attraction sign on the front of the Rotunda is still under a covering, Disney is being shy with this sign.
A new shop is being built in the building across from the Rotunda.
Embarcadero Gifts will be located ‘directly across’ from the Little Mermaid Attraction. The name “Embarcadero” is a direct reference to eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco and the buildings across from the new attraction have a San Francisco Victorian theme. The majority of this building currently serves as restrooms but there could, conceivably be space for a small shop near the Paradise Pier side. Disney is also going to allow annual passholder first crack at the chance to purchase the merchandise by giving them a ‘first look’ at the new location and merchandise, including an annual passholder commemorative coin, on May 31 and June 1. The store will be open in ‘early June’ most likely around June 3rd, the opening date for The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride.
Seaside Souvenirs, Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta & Goofy’s Sky School
The new paint scheme is now visible on the former Souvenir 66 location. When the new shop opens it will be known as Seaside Souvenirs.
I’m a bit disappointed that the uninspired structure will remain the same as it was when DCA first opened.
Speaking of disappointment, the Corn Dog Castle’s new sign was being installed on Friday and it (so far) appears to be exactly the same as before.
Not sure how this fits into a “seaside amusement area from the turn of the century”, but I’m one to give the benefit of the doubt until we see the entire building.
Goofy’s Sky School’s opening date has been pushed back. You’ll remember that a few months ago we reported that a Cast Member publication listed the opening date at June 3rd (the same as Little Mermaid, Star Tours and the kick off to Soundsational Summer), then a month later Disney confirmed the date. This week Disney changed the June 3rd opening to July 1st, in time for the busy Independence Day holiday.
A few weeks ago Disney sent out a press release for the new Soundsational Summer promotion in which the opening date for Goofy’s Sky School was announced. This week in a blog post, Disneyland is now stating that the opening date will be July 1st, almost a month more.
Around the Resort
Some video game facades have been added to the ElecTRONica stage.
Kitson Kids has closed at Downtown Disney.
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.
CHOC announces “Paint the way to Miracles & Magic”
CHOC Children’s and the Downtown Disney® District would like to invite all young artists to participate in an exclusive and rare opportunity. Children will be able to hand paint a custom tile that will be installed in a beautiful, lighted display in Downtown Disney®. These original hand painted tiles will be prominently displayed on the walkway between the Disneyland Hotel and the Downtown Disney® District. You, your family and friends will be able to view the artwork any time you visit the Disneyland Resort and Downtown Disney.
D23 Banners have been installed on the streets around the Disneyland Resort.
D23 will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on August 19-21, 2011. Purchase tickets by visiting this link.
Cars 2 Banners in Downtown Disney in front of the AMC Theater.
That will do it for this week! Thank you for all of the input over Twitter, Facebook and blog comments, especially this week with the coverage of the Pirates Premiere! We love covering the park and special events, and it’s encouraging when we get feedback from our readers.
We have a new comment system set up on the blog now, making it much easier to integrate with the social networking system of your choice. Leave your comments, strike up a conversation and let me know what you think!