Sunday, July 20, 2008

Quick Disneyland Update

I just love how reality likes to play tricks on you, making you think you have all the time in the world to do something, and yet you can never find the time to do it. Anyway, I'm leaving to visit Idaho tomorrow (Monday) and I might or might not have internet while I'm away. If I happen to be able to get online, I will try to post, but no promises. I will be back around Saturday, but my time will be a bit restricted because of band camp after that. It's looking that I might just make this a weekly blog, and try to post something every weekend, but we'll just have to see. I may end up having more time to post than I think I will. Getting to the topic of this blog, I decided to post a few quick updates on the happenings at the Disneyland Resort.

Our first topic will be an update of an earlier post. You may remember the post I did a little bit ago about the possible return of the Sleeping Beauty Walkthrough Attraction. Well, that little rumor has been officially confirmed by the Disney Company! This past Thursday, July 17th, 2008 was Disneyland's 53rd birthday. In a press conference on that day, Disney confirmed the return of the walk through and gave us a few details. The new attraction will deviate from the 1980s and 90s attraction and return to the original style of the attraction when it first opened. The scenes will be made to reflect the movie's events and will use new lighting and special effects to illustrate the magic of the evil Maleficent and the good magic of Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. The new attraction will also have a new opportunity for wheelchaired guests; a virtual tour from the ground floor. This will be located where the gift shop is now, which will be closed for this experience. This virtual tour thing is the same thing that Disney designed for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction. As I am not disabled, I have not seen this and I have nothing to really say, except that it is nice of Disney to be more mindful of the variety of guests they get at the parks, disabled or not.

In other news, the new Mark VII have now been taking guests. The new monorails arrived in 2007, right before Christmas, and were planned to debut early the next year. Late night guests could watch the new monorail circle the Highway in the Sky after hours, but no sign of the monorail appeared the next year. The monorails finally started running during park hours in late spring, and ran without guests for many months. The monorails encountered a multitude of problems, including a soaring internal temperature in the middle cars that ran without AC, a chassis so bulky it barely fit on the beam and couldn't fit in the station, and heavy cars that didn't allow for AC to be installed. The station corners were cut off to allow room for the monorail to fit, but there were other problems that couldn't be fixed that easily. The new windows of the monorail were designed like a minivan's side windows; a big sheet of glass that could be pushed open at the bottom to allow for a few inches of opening. This did little to cool off the middle cars of the train. When summer came, the glue holding the windows in place began to fail, requiring the windows to be bolted into place. New air scoops were installed on the monorail's roof to scoop air into the train as it moves. The Monorail finally took it's first guests on July 3rd of this year, with strict limitations. Only 15 guests were let in each car, 7 away from it's 22-guest capacity, and the monorail was to be taken off the rails if the temperature outside rose above 80 degrees. As soon as some people found out, they flocked to the park only to be turned away. The monorail ran off and on for a few weeks, only to settle into somewhat of a schedule. The monorail usually runs in the mornings and evenings, but can go days without appearing at all. If you really want to ride the new monorail, I would suggest planning to go for a few days and check both in the mornings and later in the evening. We'll see if restrictions will be lifted in the near future.

A newer, softer side of Indy is set to debut in the parks. In the new Secrets of the Stone Tiger show, a small fight scene occurs between Indy and his female costar. Fake contacts are thrown out left and right, but a few real contacts were written into the show. The crowd cheers for the female when she hits Indy in the groin, but boos when Indy hits her back. Disney has opted to change the fight routine to include less hitting and more "pushing and shoving" from the feedback they received. I haven't seen the show live, though in the video I saw, as soon as I saw one fake punch, I assumed they were all fake and just looked at how convincing they were. These real contacts might be more noticeable in person, but I certainly didn't notice them in the video. I'm not so sure when these changes to the show will occur, but it sounds like they are changing the show right away.

Our final piece of news for Disneyland is on the opening of the Innoventions Dream Home. The house opened on June 16th, one day before the opening of Toy Story Midway Mania. However, the home was less than ready to open, and many guests encountered a sign that read something along the lines of "The Elias family is still moving into their new dream home. Please visit our exhibits upstairs". When the dream home was open, and touch screen s throughout the house ran Windows Vista and were not usually working. The five previous little shows that guests encounter on the outside of the first floor were torn down and redesigned. Currently only one exhibit is running, a game show without any prizes. Disney said that they are debuting two more games this fall, with two more coming next year. The Dream Home is finally running regularly, though some of the technology can still fail at times. Disney Imagineers has said that the Dream Home is not a new House of the Future, but instead a showcase of current technology that people can go out and buy these days, though many people online are commenting that the theme of the attraction is those digital picture frames. There is also a rumor going around that the dream home is very temporary, and that in about five years when sponsor contracts run out, Innoventions will be finally moving out of Tommorowland and the real estate it occupies will be used to build a new E-Ticket. If this is true, I am both sad and overjoyed. I enjoy Innoventions, and love to go in and explore for a bit on each trip. However, I would be glad for a new E-ticket attractions too. My concern is if the area of land occupied by Innoventions is big enough for an E-ticket. I would like to see America Sings come back, though that is unlikely to happen.

A quick bit of news from across the esplanade, the Sun Wheel is set to close in September for it to be transformed into Mickey's Fun Wheel. The concrete queue will be ditched for a Victorian style entrance, and the sun will be removed to place a giant Mickey Head in it's place while adding thousands of new LED lights for nighttime effects and a fresh coat of paint. It seems that costs have not delayed the project too much, and we will likely see the closure of the Maliboomer in upcoming months. It seems that there still is no replacement for the Maliboomer, though the area might be incorporated into the planned beer garden.

Over in WDW, the Hollywood Studios version for Fantasmic! has been limited to just two shows a week for 2009. IT is unknown at this point how long this will last of if the limitations will make their way across the states here to Disneyland. Very little is know as to why the shows were limited, but it seems that Disney is expecting other entertainment to bring in guests to the park, such as the new High School Musical 3 Pep Rally.

And that's all for today! I will probably post a bunch of pictures to go with this article in the upcoming week, or next Sunday at the latest. See ya real soon!


Alyssa said...

I, of course, know a lot more than you do about why Fantasmic! was limited. Care for me to fill you in, so should I keep the info to myself? :-)

Rikua said...

Oh, I didn't even think of asking you. If you want, you can draft up a little post for me and I can see about squeezing it in with the pictures. A bit more info about the trip though, I will be leaving tomorrow (Tuesday), but it looks like I won't have internet up there so I will post again next week.