A long time ago in theme park really, really close…
… Disney CEO Bob Iger unveiled a new ‘Star Wars Land’ for Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In this post, I’ll dive into everything we know about this new Disney ‘Land’ here in California, including a few educated guesses on how it might look.
The construction work is never done at a Disney theme park. Rides and buildings are always in need of repair, refurbishing, and replacement. This is doubly true for the original Disneyland, which has it’s diamond 60th anniversary celebration just around the corner. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing to get ready.
The First Aid Center and Make a Wish Lounge have both been moved to the area that used to house the Main Street Lockers.
You can see in the picture below that their original location behind the Corn Dog Truck is now covered up entirely. I can only assume that the building is being demolished to make room for foot traffic.
Also, at the front end of Main Street, across from the Mad Hatter in Town Square, we can see construction has begun on this end as well. It looks like the entire area of the former Egg House Restaurant might be removed for the new Side Street.
One large item on my Side Street wishlist was a connection to Tomorrowland, perhaps by the Space Mountain bathrooms at the back of the Starcade. And what do we find there?
A recently renovated and enlarged waiting area in this location, complete with doors to the backstage area. Will Disney simply pull these doors out and connect this room to the new Side Street? Only time will tell, but I have my fingers crossed.
Whistle While You Work – Minor Refurbishments at the DLR
There’s always a bunch of relatively minor maintenance going on at the Disneyland Resort. Above you can see the front facade of Chester Drawers covered by a decorative scrim.
Also, in true Disney style, the windows inside the shop are filled with themed pictures. In the images below, you can see Carnation Cafe on the other side of the street, just as it would look on a regular day.
Some maintenance that wasn’t so minor was being performed on the front entrance to Disneyland. About half of the turnstiles were hidden behind walls. I asked several Cast Members if they were being converted to the Magic Band type of turnstiles, but they all said the gates were just being painted.
To me, it’s poor planning to shut down half of the entrance to your park during it’s busiest season. The effect of this was long entry lines all day and an overall crowding of the Esplanade, which is one reason contributing to Disney not wanting any more AP’s right now. In other news, the new exterior to Alice in Wonderland look amazing. Gone are the cheap green tarps, replaced with decorative leaves, flowers, and other foliage.
The recent refurbishment makes the whole front of the building seem less crowded and closed-in.
While a lot of work is always going on, I found a few places that still needed touching up, like this bathroom sign in DCA or this rock-looking speaker in front of the Jolly Holiday Bakery.
Over in DCA, a seating area in front of King Trident’s Carousel is all boarded up, and the decorative water fountains surrounding the ride weren’t working.
In the good news department, the new paint job on the outer buildings of Pacific Wharf looks great. The multi-colored sections and fake company logos make it look like an an actual block from downtown Monterey and deepen the overall theme of the area. You don’t really notice them right away, but subliminally they draw you further into the story of the area, like the shop names and apartments of Main or Buena Vista Streets.
Sometimes you just want a nice, simple, cold breakfast while on vacation. Something that fills you up with energy for a day at Disneyland instead of leaving you lethargic and looking for the ‘nap ride.’ Today, we’ve got just such a dish for your dining pleasure- a Fruit Parfait from the Carnation Cafe at Disneyland.
Dish: Fruit Parfait
Location: Carnation Cafe, Main Street USA , Disneyland, California
As far as healthy food options goes, you can’t do better than the Fruit Parfait at Disneyland. It covers several of the main food groups in one tasty, relatively easy-to-eat dish.
Older children shouldn’t have any problem eating the parfait by themselves, but the parfait is a good choice for your toddlers as well. Be careful though, because they’ll stick their hands straight into the dish a come up with fistfuls of yogurt to smear all over the table, themselves, and you.
I recommend you pick the fruit out of the bowl and feed it to the kid or let them eat it directly. If the tart berries aren’t to your kid’s liking, the granola is a good alternative too. It comes with some good size chunks, which are easy to pick out and hand directly to you little one, if they have teeth. My son Jack had fun gnawing on a few of these for quite a while.
The Fruit Parfait is really a reasonable price for the amount a variety of items in the dish. If you order it for a little kid and they don’t eat it, the bowl isn’t so big that a couple of adults couldn’t polish it off and you’re not out a bunch of dough.
I have more of a sweet-sour palate, so the combination of fresh berries and sweet yogurt is a good fit for me.
This dish scored lower on the theme part of the scale than most dishes I’ve ranked, perhaps surprisingly so. While having yogurt in the morning is perfectly normal (some would say perfectly American) in this day in age, that wasn’t the case back around 1900, the time period of Main Street, USA.
Yogurt wasn’t really popular in America until the late 1970’s and a dish like this probably would’ve been out-of-place around the turn of the 20th century for several reasons.
The electrification of cities around the country was still very much in its infancy and wouldn’t really be extended nationwide until the 1930’s. Also, the first refrigerator for domestic use wasn’t invented until 1913 and up to that time many people had real iceboxes in their kitchens. These iceboxes required actual blocks of ice to function, which melted rather quickly, so people wouldn’t have had the means to store cold yogurt at home for very long.
I can’t exactly think of a better option for the Carnation Cafe than the Fruit Parfait and I’m ultimately glad they have it.
The Fruit Parfait at the Carnation Cafe is tasty little breakfast dish that’s good for the whole family (if you can keep you baby’s hands out of it).
Have you had the parfait? Let me know what you think in the comments below and sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Food Friday posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!
Just a few maintenance updates for the Disneyland Resort to prepare you for your next visit. Let’s begin.
Several major attractions at Disneyland are still closed for maintenance, including the Alice in Wonderland ride in Fantasyland and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in Tomorrowland. Other than the heavy construction on New Orleans Square, most of the other refurbishment around the park are pretty minor.
I was happy to see that the Main Street Lockers are closed. This gives me hope that my dreams of a new parallel Side Street might actually come true! Other than that, the standard touch-ups on handrails and window trim is about all you’re likely to run into. Also, one of the treasure hand pumps on Tom Sawyer Island seems is broken, but don’t worry, they have a spare.
Disney California Adventure
Grizzly River Run has been down for maintenance, but it’s the only major attraction in Disney California Adventure that isn’t working. Some overhead construction is going on in Pacific Wharf next the Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop, but is isn’t really visible from the main path and barely detracts from the beauty of the area.
Across the way, the Blue Sky Cellar is still closed, supposedly for the installation of a new show. I don’t have any numbers to prove it, but this venue seems to be closed at least half the year and I can’t understand why. Mainly consisting of a couple of easy-to-replace models and a short movie, it seems that the Blue Sky Cellar could switch gears almost overnight. In any case, why not leave it open until you’re ready for the new show? Leave me a comment if you agree or even if you disagree.
The only other maintenance item is a missing letter in the sign for the Elysian Arcade. It wasn’t receiving any TLC and it might be picky to mention it, but I just want to impress you on how thorough we are here at Mouse Monthly.
Do you have any construction videos, facts, or photos you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for riding along with me on this construction update for Grizzly River Run. Stay tuned for more detailed reports on everything Disney and make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future construction update posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!
As you read in Part One, Main Street USA in California’s Disneyland will hopefully be receiving a new side back alley. Today we’ll look at the buildings that need to fall to the knife of progress and see what value the new Side Street will bring to the average park guest.
Main Street Backstage Demolition
The lockers at the end of East Center Street will need to be relocated, either to one of the new storefronts lining Side Street or to a different site in the park. Center Street itself can be expanded through to the new Side Street, providing another alley of access and crowd control. The First Aid Center and Inn Between Cafe will need to be relocated as well, perhaps once again into or behind one of the new buildings. Also, the Disneyland Resort Learning area and adjoining buildings will need to be moved, perhaps to a more appropriate place like Team Disney Anaheim (TDA).
(Click to Enlarge Images)
At the North End of Side Street, near the Plaza Inn, the distance between the corner of the existing building housing the Baby Care Center and the Plaza Inn isn’t wide enough for both the new sidewalks and the new road. I propose that the new sidewalks simply end at this point and that the new road blends into the existing pavement. Unfortunately, the Corn dog truck will have to be moved, but a better location can easily be designed into the new Side Street.
On a recent trip to Disneyland, I discovered that the Main Street Lockers were in fact closed. Fingers crossed for the new Side Street!
Construction of a new parallel Side Street to Main Street, USA would be a relatively easy project to undertake, and pay for itself in a minimal amount of time. Let’s talk dollars and cents and compare it to the recent Fantasy Faire extension of Fantasyland, completed in 2013.
Building Fantasy Faire transformed Carnation Plaza Gardens (about 1/3 of an acre) into a themed expansion of Fantasyland, for what I would consider a minimal return. Royal Hall was constructed as a place to meet Disney princesses, which you could have done at any one of a dozen pre-existing, outdoor locations.
Also built was Royal Theater, where classic scenes from Disney animated features are acted out live (for no added revenue). The only added value items are a gift shop and a food cart (which could have been put anywhere).
Now don’t get me wrong, I think Fantasy Faire is a beautiful addition to the hub of Disneyland and the Imagineers did a great job of place-setting. However, I don’t feel it adds value to my annual passport (AP) and it certainly doesn’t help with crowd control (it has a seldom used tunnel to the bathrooms by Rancho del Zocalo), nether has it put a significant amount of money in the coffers of the Walt Disney Company (WDC).
In case any Disney executives happen across this post, let me reiterate that for a minimal investment (i.e. not inventing/implementing groundbreaking new ride attractions), Disneyland can have a whole new place to discover, with new food, shops, events, entertainment, vehicles, attractions, exhibits, etc., all while helping us avoid being packed like cattle down the confines of Main Street on a busy day.
Since we’re tearing into the Main Street backstage anyway, let’s add a Tomorrowland back entryway to my Disney wish list. East Center Street could be expanded through the new row of shops and link up with the exit area to Space Mountain. Or maybe a speed ramp up to the second floor of the Starcade, a vacant space ripe for a new show or attraction?
(Click to Enlarge Images)
I hope you enjoyed these posts, and if you’ve made it all the way to the end, please leave a comment and let me know what you think about this ‘un-novel’ idea, and how you would improve on it. Make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Monday MapDay posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!
Construction rumors have started flying around about a possible new Side Street next to Main Street, USA at Disneyland. I decided to try to get a picture of what this street would look like, where it would be located, and what existing structures need to be removed to build it. So pop a quarter in the time machine, because here we go!
Main Street’s New Back Alley
Disneyland has always needed another way to enter and exit the hub in front of Sleeping Beauty castle. If you’ve ever been there on a busy day, you’ve certainly been part of the sardine packing experience that is Main Street, USA.
A back alley isn’t a new idea, in fact over the years Walt Disney’s Imagineers have thought up lots of good ones, Liberty Street, Chinatown, Edison Square, International Street, etc, and while several of them now exist in various forms at other Disney theme parks, none were ever built at Disneyland.
You have two options for building a bypass around but still parallel to Main Street. A permanent expansion to the West of Main Street isn’t practical because the Jungle Cruise sits immediately behind those buildings. While this area to the West could be used for overflow traffic on busy days, similar to what they do at the Magic Kingdom, the best bet for a themed expansion at Disneyland lies to the East.
Main Street Side Alley: By the Numbers
Length: 342 feet/.06 miles
Side Street Width: 30 feet
Sidewalk Width: 15 feet (either side)
The addition of Side Street to the East would take up about one acre of real estate: .2 acres of sidewalk, .25 acres of road, and .42 acres of building space. By building Side Street, Disneyland management can solve the problems caused by guests trying to enter and leave the park at the same time along the confined sidewalks of Main Street during parades, fireworks, special events, etc.
Close to half an acre of floor space would be available for retail stores (including those leased to sponsors), new restaurants, small attractions and exhibits (which give guests more bang for their buck, thereby increasing the value of a resort ticket), not to mention an extra half-acre of office space that could be created above any public shopping areas.
(Click Images to Enlarge)
The simplest thing to do with the existing shops on the East side of Main Street would be to theme their rear exteriors. Rear doors could simply be added and the shops could exist in much the same condition as they are now. Also, these shops could stay open (make money) during most of the construction on Side Street.
That’s it for today. Tune in next week for Part Two of this Monday Mapday series. Make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Monday MapDay posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!
The first thing we noticed upon arriving on our most recent visit to Disneyland was the Main Street Train Station under renovation. I think it’s great that Disney covered the construction scaffolding with an intricately printed mesh, so that it didn’t detract from the wonderful view from the entrance or from the castle hub. This also has the added benefit that workers can continue to labor relatively unnoticed in such a public place and we can have our attractions back quicker. We’ve seen them do this before, to several storefronts along Main Street, USA at the Magic Kingdom, on our trip there last January.
The new Fantasy Faire was essentially complete and in fact it opened to the public shortly after our trip. They were hosting media events and an annual passport holders ‘limited ticket’ event, which we were a little miffed at not hearing about.
You can plainly see the queue line for the Royal Hall Princess Meet and Greet, as well as the Royal Theater, Rapunzel’s Castle, and Clopin’s Music Box. The theming and skyline for the area delicately blend into the side of Sleeping Beauty Castle, making the Faire a natural outgrowth of Fantasyland. We can’t wait to actually go inside on our next visit. I’m also excited to taste the new Boysen Apple Freeze at Maurice’s Treats.
Big Thunder Mountain
The wildest ride in the wilderness is still under refurbishment, hidden behind the same temporary walls that blocked Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye last year. Jamie and I rode the Columbia around the Rivers of America to get a look over the blockade and saw them move a large slab of metal with the very un-Frontierland-looking yellow crane.
Other Disneyland Construction
Also taken from the deck of the Columbia, we can see the Mark Twain dry docked for a good scrub-down.
The Fantasyland Theater across from It’s A Small World is still boarded up. The whole area, with its lack of theme and gutted stage, looks like it was placed on the Imagineering back burner. But fear not, because Disney is underway with a new show, Mickey and the Magical Map, which should inject some much need energy into this dismal corner of the park.