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What You Need To Know About ‘Star Wars Land’

Current Disneyland Boundary With Projected Star Wars Land Outline

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.

What Is ‘Star Wars Land’?

The characters and storylines from your favorite sci-fi epic are invading Disneyland. A new 14 acre section full of droids, aliens, and adventures is being carved out from a sleepy corner of the park.

‘Star Wars Land’ will be a completely new ‘Land’ at Disneyland, similar to Frontier ‘Land’ or Adventure ‘Land.’

What Rides Will It Have?

According to the latest from Disney, there will be two ‘signature attractions’ in the new land.

One will be ‘an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.‘ The second will allow you to ‘fly’ the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission.

Without any more details from Disney on exactly what the new rides will look like or how they will function, its hard to form much of a theory.

I will say this – based on the description of the ‘signature attractions’ alone, I think either one could work for a relocated Star Tours. However, the Star Tours debate is a whole other topic and I’m writing a separate article for it. Stay tuned.

What Planet Is It?

'Star Wars Land' Concept Art © Disney
‘Star Wars Land’ Concept Art © Disney

The new ‘Land’ will feel like a remote trading outpost and won’t represent any particular planet we know from Star Wars movies, books, or comics. I think this is a great choice of theme for several reasons.

First, it will be easy to blend the theme of the new ‘Star Wars Land’ land into the existing feel of both Frontierland and Fantasyland from that section of the park.

Also, since the ‘trading outpost’ will be a completely new fictional place, there should be a lot less of the inevitable nit-picking by hard-core Star Wars fans (though this certainly won’t be the case with the Millennium Falcon on display).

Where Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Be Built At Disneyland?

Current Disneyland Boundary With Projected Star Wars Land Outline Zoom
Current Disneyland Boundary With Projected Star Wars Land Outline

The new land will be located at the rear of the park, encompassing Big Thunder Ranch and some areas beyond the berm.

In the image above, I’ve roped off part of the park that fits the area and description of the land provided by Disney. It encompasses 14 acres, overlaying Big Thunder Ranch and a large chunk of the Disneyland backstage. This includes the Pope House and Circle D Ranch.

The horses from the ranch will live off-site, while the Pope House will be relocated elsewhere. In fact, the permits to move it have already been approved.

I have an article taking an in-depth look at everything in the likely site of the new ‘Star Wars Land’. Check it out -‘Where Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Be Built At Disneyland?

What Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Look Like?

'Star Wars Land' Concept Art ©Disney
‘Star Wars Land’ Concept Art ©Disney

Other than concept like the image above, we don’t have a lot to go on when it comes to the design of ‘Star Wars Land.’ However, I’ve given some thought about how the entrance might look.

It will undoubtedly have a sunken entrance that takes you below the Disneyland Railroad, similar to the one for Mickey’s Toontown.

As you approach from the Rivers Of America, I’d expect to see something with a Southwestern/Tatooine feel. You’ll have Big Thunder Mountain on your right and they won’t be able to hide it easily without spoiling the view from both the path and the ride. I’d expect Imagineers to work the feel of the mountain into the entrance theme.

The entrance space should be pretty wide, swallowing up everything from the ‘photo wagon’ by the Rivers of America to the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. I think this should allow enough space to vary the theme slightly across the width of the entrance to accommodate the shifting themes from the adjoining lands.

When approaching from the Fantasyland side, guests will step almost directly from Pinocchio’s Village into a galaxy far, far away. The current transition between the village and BTR is helped by some large, plain, wooden doors, concealing the backstage areas behind Big Thunder BBQ and breaking up the competing themes.

I’d expect those doors to stay, they grant Cast Members access to the inside of the park and the backstage area of Big Thunder Mountain. However, I would like to see the ‘Fantasyland side’ of the entrance be more whimsical than the other ‘hard-bitten’ Frontierland side, possibly with some characters from the film. Imagine a big BB8 rolling around and checking out the scene?

Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Be It’s Real Name?

Hopefully, Disney Imagineers will come up with a better idea than just tacking ‘Land’ onto the end of a valuable franchise, though you never can tell what they will call things in this modern era.

Welcome To Cars Land Sign In Disney's California Adventure
‘Welcome To Cars Land’ Sign In Disney’s California Adventure

Over in California Adventure, Disney stuck with the “highly imaginative” name ‘Cars Land’ instead of changing it to something more magical like ‘Radiator Springs’ or ‘Route 66.’ Mercifully, they have changed ‘Avatar Land’ in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to the nicer and more mysterious ‘Pandora: The World Of Avatar.’

On the flip side,  Disney has also announced a ‘Toy Story Land’ for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which they may stick with or change slightly to ‘Toy Story Playland’ to match the one in Hong Kong.

I’m hoping Disney will be bold and choose a name like ‘Planet/Outpost What-cha-ma-call-it: Galaxy of Star Wars’ and then 10 years from now, when it’s sunk sufficiently into society’s collective consciousness, drop the last part.

How Will You Get To ‘Star Wars Land’ In The Park?

Access paths to 'Star Wars Land' at Disneyland
Access paths to ‘Star Wars Land’ at Disneyland

If it’s one thing Disney is an expert at, it’s traffic control. So this begs the question- how will they accommodate the increased flow of traffic back into this sleepy, hardly used corner of the park?

One of the many innovations Walt Disney made when constructing Disneyland was to give it a single entry/exit point. Instead of parking on one side, exiting on the other side, and having to walk miles around back to your car, all traffic flows in and out from a single point.

If you look at the location of ‘Star Wars Land,’ it’s actually closer to the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure than it is to the front gate. That make me wonder:

Will Disneyland build a second entry gate for ‘Star Wars Land’?

I’m going to say no for several reasons:

  1. It’s much easier to control traffic from a single entry point.
  2. It’s tradition.
  3. It also will stamp out the complaining from people who won’t be able to use the gate, like the problem Disney has at the DCA gate from the Grand Californian Hotel.
Two Paths To Star Wars Land At Disneyland
Two Paths To Star Wars Land At Disneyland

So, assuming that you’ll have to reach the ‘Star Wars Land’ from the front of the park, there’s only a couple of ways to do it- left or right around Big Thunder Mountain.

  1. Go through sleeping Beauty Castle, past the line for Peter Pan’s Flight, around the King Arthur Carrousel, and on to ‘Star Wars Land,’ or
  2. Turn left at the hub, through Frontierland, and hook right on the path around Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Either path will take you to ‘Star Wars Land’ and it will be interesting to see which one works out better, especially first thing in the morning.

The Fantasyland route is slightly shorter, but it bottlenecks through the castle and area just beyond. There will also be fleets of strollers to contend with going this way.

The Frontierland path, while a bit longer, has a wider path and is far quieter when the park first opens (at least right now). I’m betting it will be overall quicker and more sane to take this route to ‘Star Wars Land’ than to rush through Fantasyland.

There is, of course, a third option, which would involve construction of a new path behind Fantasy Faire in still more backstage area.

Alternate Path To Star Wars Land Through Fantasy Faire Backstage Disneyland
Alternate Path To Star Wars Land Through Fantasy Faire Backstage Disneyland

A new route through Fantasy Faire would only be slightly shorter than the one through Fantasyland, and would also limit Cast Members backstage access, so I find it unlikely that such a route will be built.

When Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Open At Disneyland?

At the most recent D23 Expo, it was announced that construction on the new land wouldn’t begin until 2017. In reality, construction has already been announced to begin on January 11, 2016.

This is another massive topic for discussion, so check out my post When Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Open at Disneyland for more information.

How Will ‘Star Wars Land’ Compare To The Rest Of Disneyland?

Nine 'Lands' Of Disneyland Including 'Star Wars Land'
Nine ‘Lands’ Of Disneyland Including ‘Star Wars Land’

According to Bob Iger, the new land will fill up about 14 acres. While I’m sure at least part of the area will be new backstage area (off-limits to guests), I thought it would be interesting to compare that number with the rest of the Disney ‘Lands’ to get a mental picture of just how large the new land will be.

Original Disney ‘Lands’

When Disneyland was first built, there were five original ‘lands.’ All of these areas have grown in one way or another in 1955, leaving us with the existing boundaries we know today.

In this table, you’ll find the current size of the original ‘Disney lands.’ These numbers are based on what I call ‘guest areas,’ or the section of the park that we can all enjoy and not including backstage or support areas.

LandCurrent Size (acres)
Main Street, USA6.3
Adventureland6.7
Frontierland15
Fantasyland13.3
Tomorrowland14.2

As you can see, ‘Star Wars Land’ will be around the size of Frontierland, Fantasyland, or Tomorrowland. It’s hard to picture the size it just with these areas as a reference though.

The size of Frontierland includes much of the Rivers of America, most of which you can’t see from any one place. The main section of Fantasyland behind the castle is easy to imagine, but then it hooks around the Matterhorn and all the way back to It’s A Small World and the Fantasyland Theater.

Tomorrowland can feel massive, but like its western brother across the hub, you can’t see half of it with Autopia winding out into the trees beyond.

The concept art we have of ‘Star Wars Land’ shows a more open layout. If so, I’m sure it will feel huge and otherworldly, no doubt what Imagineers have in mind.

Added Disney ‘Lands’

LandCurrent Size (acres)
New Orleans Square6.4
Critter Country3.7
Mickey’s Toontown3

The size of later ‘Land’ additions to Disneyland hardly compares to the first ones. ‘Star Wars Land’ will be roughly twice the size of New Orleans Square. This is good news to me, because NOS feels massive when you’re in it.

A lot of the reason behind this is through the use of forced perspective in the streets and back alleys of NOS. I’m sure Disney Imagineers will utilize this concept with ‘Star Wars Land’ to its utmost potential.

Conclusion

What we don’t know about the new ‘Star Wars Land’ far outweighs what we do.

  1. Location: Back, left corner of Disneyland
  2. Size: Approximately 14 acres
  3. Rides: At least two
  4. Construction Timeline:
    1. Demolition: Begins 1/11/16
    2. Completion: Who knows?

Disney has so much construction going on around the world that it feels like the first half of Michael Eisner’s reign as CEO, when theme parks and resorts were popping up like daisies and there wasn’t anything that couldn’t be accomplished.

I’m going to keep a close eye on this new ‘Star Wars Land’ and write more as new details are revealed. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute news about this and all of information on everything in the Disney universe.

Are you as pumped as I am about ‘Star Wars Land’? What excites you the most? Leave me a comment below. As always, thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Disneyland Resort Refurbs and Main Street’s New Back Alley

The front facade of Chester Drawers is under refurbishment at Disneyland.

The Disneyland First Aid Center is completed covered in decorative scrims and walls.
The Disneyland First Aid Center is completely covered in decorative scrims and walls.

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.

Main Street, USA Gets A New Side Street?

As I wrote about several months ago, it looks like Disney is going full steam ahead on the construction of some sort of back alley to Main Street, USA. Hopefully, we’ll get something like the Side Street I described in my article, and not just a cheap, barely themed backstage like at the Magic Kingdom.

The Disneyland First Aid Center in its temporary home inside the Main St Lockers.
The Disneyland First Aid Center in its temporary home inside the Main St Lockers.

The First Aid Center and Make a Wish Lounge have both been moved to the area that used to house the Main Street Lockers.

The Main Street lockers are still unavailable at Disneyland.
The Main Street lockers are still unavailable at Disneyland.

A direction sign on Main Street, USA for the relocated First Aid Center in Disneyland.
A direction sign on Main Street, USA for the relocated First Aid Center in Disneyland.

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.

The original building for the Disneyland First Aid Center is probably being removed.
The original building for the Disneyland First Aid Center is probably being removed.

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.

The Egg House area of Town Square is probably being removed for the new Side Street.
The Egg House area of Town Square is probably being 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?

Newly renovated bathroom area near the exit to Space Mountain, Disneyland.
Newly renovated bathroom area near the exit to Space Mountain, Disneyland.

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

The front facade of Chester Drawers is under refurbishment at Disneyland.
The front facade of Chester Drawers is under refurbishment at Disneyland.

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.

Side view of Chester Drawers refurbishment in Disneyland.
Side view of Chester Drawers refurbishment in Disneyland.

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.

A decorative window treatment inside Chester Drawers hiding construction on Main Street, USA.
A decorative window treatment inside Chester Drawers hiding construction on Main Street, USA.

A picture of the Carnation Cafe hides the construction on Main Street, USA.
A picture of the Carnation Cafe hides the construction on Main Street, USA.

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.

Half of the front entry turnstiles at Disneyland are closed for painting.
Half of the front entry turnstiles at Disneyland are closed for painting.

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.

Alice in Wonderland looks a lot bigger without the cheap green tarps out front.
Alice in Wonderland looks a lot bigger without the cheap green tarps out front.

The recent refurbishment makes the whole front of the building seem less crowded and closed-in.

New exterior on Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland.
New exterior on Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland.

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.

Paradise Pier Men's Room sign needs repainted at DCA.
Paradise Pier Men’s Room sign needs repainted at DCA.

A broken rock-themed speaker in front of the Jolly Holiday Cafe.
A broken rock-themed speaker in front of the Jolly Holiday Cafe.

A rock-themed speaker at Disneyland needs repair.
A rock-themed speaker at Disneyland needs repair.

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.

Paradise Pier seating area under refurbishment in DCA.
Paradise Pier seating area under refurbishment in DCA.

King Triton's Carousel water fountain isn't working.
King Triton’s Carousel water fountain isn’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.

Recently painted buildings from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Recently painted buildings from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.

Pacific Wharf Canning Company sign from Pacific Wharf in DCA.
Pacific Wharf Canning Company sign from Pacific Wharf in DCA.

Pacific Seafoods sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Pacific Seafoods sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.

Kruger's Net Repair sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Kruger’s Net Repair sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.

Charlie's Sardines sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure
Charlie’s Sardines sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.

Bait and Tackle sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Bait and Tackle sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.

Conclusion

That’s it for this Disneyland construction update. A lot of great things happening over at the DLR. Check out my other recent post on the new look of New Orleans Square. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Carnation Cafe Fruit Parfait at Disneyland | Food Friday

The Carnation Cafe fruit has lots of fresh berries.

The Carnation Cafe fruit has lots of fresh berries.
The Carnation Cafe fruit parfait has lots of fresh berries.

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.

Food Facts

  • Dish: Fruit Parfait
  • Location: Carnation Cafe, Main Street USA , Disneyland, California
  • Price: $5.99 USD
  • Cuisine: Breakfast
  • Seasonality: Year-round
  • Ease of Eating: Sit-down, Spoon required
  • Allergy Considerations: Milk
  • Jamie’s Opinion: Fresh, light, and flavorful
  • Mom-in-Chief Scale: 4 out of 5
  • Envaluator Scale: 4 out of 5

What’s It Taste Like?

The fruit parfait has strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and bananas.
The fruit parfait has strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and bananas.

The Fruit Parfait from the Carnation Cafe is the perfect cold breakfast. It’s refreshingly satisfying.

Fresh and juicy blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas all hide beneath a layer of chunky maple-flavored granola and on top of a generous helping of creamy vanilla yogurt.

The yogurt itself is sweet and compliments the tart, ripe berries. If you’re looking for a tangy, thick, Greek-style yogurt, this isn’t it. The parfait has a smooth yogurt, like a Yoplait cup.

The dish looks as good as it tastes, like something you’d see in a display window.

The fruit parfait from the Carnation Cafe is layered with fruit and granola.
The fruit parfait from the Carnation Cafe is layered with fruit and granola.

Is It Easy To Eat?

The granola yogurt and fruit mix together well in the fruit parfait
The granola yogurt and fruit mix well in the fruit parfait.

The Fruit Parfait isn’t bad for kid food, but you’ll definitely need a spoon to eat it. It can get messy as you dig through the granola and into the yogurt.

Mom-in-Chief Jamie’s Opinion

Mom-in-Chief Jamie enjoys a bite of the Carnation Cafe fruit parfait.
Mom-in-Chief Jamie enjoys a bite of the Carnation Cafe fruit parfait.

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.

Chief Envaluator Alex’s Opinion

Maple granola sits on top of the Carnation Cafe fruit parfait.
Maple flavored granola sits on top of the Carnation Cafe fruit parfait.

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.

You can see a perfect example of a turn-of-the-century kitchen in the first scene of the Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom. Remember all the gas and hand-operated appliances?

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.

Conclusion

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!

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Whistle While You Work – Disneyland Resort Refurbs

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is hidden behind construction walls at Disneyland, California.

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is hidden behind construction walls at Disneyland, California.
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is hidden behind construction walls at Disneyland, California.

Just a few maintenance updates for the Disneyland Resort to prepare you for your next visit. Let’s begin.

Disneyland

The lockers on Main Street, USA are no longer available - Disneyland, California.
The lockers on Main Street, USA are no longer available – Disneyland, California.

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

Dry splash-down ramp at Grizzly River Rapids, DCA.
Dry splash-down ramp at Grizzly River Rapids, DCA.

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!

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Monday Mapday – Main Street USA’s New Side Street Part 2

Projected East Side Street overlay and backstage buildings with Tomorrowland back entryway at Disneyland, California.

Projected new Side Street  overlay and backstage buildings to be demolished behind Main St USA, Disneyland, California.
Projected new Side Street overlay and backstage buildings to be demolished behind Main St USA, Disneyland, California.

 

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.

Update 6/11/2014

The lockers on Main Street, USA are no longer available - Disneyland, California.
The lockers on Main Street, USA are no longer available – Disneyland, California.

On a recent trip to Disneyland, I discovered that the Main Street Lockers were in fact closed. Fingers crossed for the new Side Street!

Envaluation

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.

Mouse Monthly - DL Projected East Side Street Overview Close-up
Projected new Side Street overlay in relation to Fantasy Faire (orange outline – top) at Disneyland, California.

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).

Mouse Monthly - DL Fantasy Faire Outline
Disneyland’s Fantasy Faire outline, next to Sleeping Beauty Castle.

 

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!

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Monday Mapday – Main Street USA’s New Side Street Part 1

Disneyland Outline with Fantasy Faire and new Side Street drawings.

Disneyland Outline with Fantasy Faire and new Side Street drawings.
Disneyland Outline with Fantasy Faire and new Side Street overlay diagram.

 

Ready for a glimpse of the future?

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

Projected new Side Street (filled orange polygon), with sidewalks (white), path overlay (red), and new shopping area (outlined orange rectangle) off Main Street USA, Disneyland, California.
Projected new Side Street (filled orange polygon), with sidewalks (white), path overlay (red), and new shopping area (outlined orange rectangle) off Main Street USA, Disneyland, California.

 

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!

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Disneyland Resort Construction Update – March 2013

Cast member at Fantasy Faire

Disneyland's Main Street Train Station being refurbished.
Disneyland’s Main Street Train Station being refurbished.

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.

Fantasy Faire

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

The Mark Twain in dry dock - Disneyland
The Mark Twain in dry dock – Disneyland

 

Also taken from the deck of the Columbia, we can see the Mark Twain dry docked for a good scrub-down.

A vacant Fantasyland Theater - Disneyland
A vacant Fantasyland Theater – Disneyland

 

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.

That’s all for now. See ya’ real soon!

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