Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Western View - Disneyland Gets Ready for a Big Year

Welcome back! We have a fairly large update from the Disneyland Resort today so let get right into it!

Changes Downtown

We’ll start off in Downtown Disney, where the Lego Imagination Center is being completely remodeled and updated similar to the way it’s Walt Disney World counterpart was last year.

Also the Compass Books location near the movie theaters has shut it’s doors for its transformation into the first west coast Earl of Sandwich. I’m excited to give this place a try as I’ve heard great things about it.

Don’t expect to catch the monorail into the park right now; it’s currently closed for the Matterhorn rehab. But don’t worry, according to the park’s website it’s set to reopen Saturday.

Matterhorn Gets Real

The big story in Disneyland Park right now is the massive rehab of the Matterhorn, which will see many new enhancements. Most noticeable right now is much bolder and more realistic paint job that returns the mountain to its more original 1959 look.

This was the first time since the ride was originally constructed that it has been completely covered in scaffolding. The park isn’t wasting time though; already the peak has emerged and is showing off its darker color.

From sun up to well after sundown, construction workers could be seen working away at the mountain which will also feature new trains, new station configuration and updated effects when it reopens in June.

The Road to Carsland Travels Down Buena Vista Street

If construction work is evident at Disneyland, it’s twice as much at Disney California Adventure! Buena Vista Street is beginning to emerge from the former Sunshine Plaza and boy does it look great!

Little details throughout are really making this entrance stand out as one of Disney’s best.

The Carthay Circle Theater’s marquee recently came out of hiding as is showing off its wrought iron details.

Recently updated, the park’s Blue Sky Cellar now features Carsland as the park enters the home stretch towards it’s rededication.

Inside you will find all sorts of great displays including a mid-level model of the entire land.

Imagineers also showed off some of the early proposed layouts of the land, like the one seen above, that never quite panned out.

Outside of the Cellar, Carsland opens up to you in all of its glory! This is truly a beautiful land. I’ve never been a fan of the movie Cars, but that movie aside, the landscape and detail of these 12 acres is quite breathtaking.

The Land’s entrance sign is beginning to come together.

The rockwork is truly massive; above you see it towering over Pacific Warf.

It’s Time to Sparkle!

In preparation for Disney California Adventure’s big rededication, “Project Sparkle” is in full effect around the park. Above you see the bridge into Pacific Warf being repainted.

The lagoon below it was also empty during Grizzly River Run’s rehab (this is the excess water holding tank). During that time the park has moved in to repaint some of the weathered looking walls.

John Carter Arrives

Disney’s upcoming Sci-Fi epic is being advertised in full force around the resort. I wanted to take a moment and get off topic here to say a few words about John Carter.

As a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series, which John Carter is based on, I really want to encourage everyone to see this film. Published 100 years ago, A Princess of Mars set the bar for the Sci-Fi genre.

If it weren’t for the stories of John Carter, we never would have had Star Wars, Avatar, Superman, 2001: A Space Odyssey and much more. The creators of all of those films and stories have directly credited their inspiration to Edgar Rice Burroughs and that “Gentleman from Virginia” who was inexplicably transported to Mars and became it’s savior.

As a plus, the film is directed by Pixar's Andrew Stanton of Finding Nemo and Wall-E fame, so you know it's going to have a strong emphasis on story and character, something most Disney action movies lack. Please check it out!

That’s going to do it for this update, I’ll be back in the coming weeks to cover the park openings Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and California’s Great America. See ya soon!