Friday, September 7, 2007
Blue Sky Alert-America (Anaheim): October Surprise...
Fall is upon us...
No, I'm not talking about the season for everyone... just us Disney Geeks. You see, next month is October. October is the new fiscal start of the new year. Things happen then, not because of funding being approved... but because of funding being disbursed. As I've said before, October will see the beginning of the Walls.
Walls will start going up. They will become a common fixture for guest entering the Resort. Particularly if you're in DCA... over the next few years it'll be hard to walk anywhere without seeing a wall up where something was... or will soon be.
Through the end of the year you'll be able to notice the busy work and come the new year you'll find the pace step up considerably.
A MAGICAL PLACE, A FANTASY PLACE...
So what will be happening behind these walls?
Well as for the resort, the hotels in particular you can already see. If you've visited the resort lately you've already noticed the DVC units under construction at the Grand Californian. These new additions got started a couple weeks ago because they were already approved on a previous budget.
Now as for the Disneyland Hotel and its renovation, well most of that won't be in the October construction. There'll be a little bit of preparation, but the majority of the work on the original DLH will be done after the holidays. It seems the suits don't want the construction to interfere with the massive amount of money it generates during the Christmas season. So the majority of the work and walls will start after new years. The nine to ten month renovation of the first tower would be done just in time for next years holiday activities and we would have our first view of what the others will look like since all three towers will be basically the same. So around a year from now you'll know what the "Fantasy and Dreams" look you've been hearing about will look like. Of course, we might know a little sooner if the publicity that the Resort wants the Anaheim area to get excited about happens. Then they might release some artwork so you can wet your appetites and hopefully so the Suits can influence a few voters for next years ballot measure.
As for the Paradise Pier Hotel there is still nothing concrete, but many inside WDI want to either reshape the look of that building or tear it down altogether. If all the work going into the PP area over the next two years works then you can bet that there will be some really nice blue sky projects for that hotel that get a serious second look.
As for those stories about the GardenWalk? Well, I can say after doing some recon that YES, it's true. But it's nowhere near a done deal. They're in the negotiation phase. Nothing has been signed yet... and this doesn't put a damper on the plans for that hotel near the Paradise Pier Hotel. That hotel should come to light near the end of the decade.
WHERE DREAMS FINALLY COME TRUE...
Over in Disneyland, Tony Baxter is hard at work trying to make sure the end of the decade goes out with a bang... literally. Preliminary work begins on a Wild-West show more than likely to follow "The Lone Ranger", but time will tell as the script for Disney's big summer 2010 blockbuster isn't even done... right now it's blue sky possibilities with an eye toward matching the release date of the film. Things are evolving slowly on this one, Pilgrim.
Over in the land of tomorrow... nice segway, don't ya think? Much is going on with the area that's supposed to look like what tomorrow will resemble. Or will it look like a long time ago... in a galaxy far, far away? It depends on how cozy the Mouse wants to get with George. There are plans that have been developed that focus on the Star Wars building in the renovation of the ride, but if the Mouse can work it out you may see a great deal more of the that Galactic Empire. Right now the current contract for Innoventions runs about two years and it is after that that the plans for a new E-Ticket will commence. One plan is to gut the attraction and give it an all new facade, the other is to bring in the bulldozers and start anew... we won't know until early next year what plan wins out... but yes we are getting a new Star Tours. The Imagineers have worked up some really creative things to show George Lucas and thus will begin the mending of relationships that have long been left tattered.
The plans for Fantasmic 2.0 have taken the back burner for right now, not that they don't plan on enhancing the wonderful night time show, but the desires are to shape up parts of the park that need it. Fantasmic really isn't drawing lesser crowds so don't expect to see an update till the beginning of the new decade. 2011, perhaps? That date is not for certain as plans could change, but as of now it's looking more like a target date for F2.0... The area where the Fantasyland theater has been is getting a great deal of attention as they plans to put a new enclosed theater in are becoming more crystalized. Expect this to possibly come about by spring/summer 2010.
One thing for sure is that Disneyland will be changing over the next few years and it's all for the better. Tony Baxter is focusing on making the turn of the decade a really exciting experience at the Happiest Place on Earth.
A MICKEY NOT SO HIDDEN...
Across the Esplanade in the ever changing DCA...
Work is moving ahead on the transformation of Paradise Pier. Come June of next year the center of the pier will look dramatically different. When Toy Story MIDWAY Mania opens up the detail the ride has will stand in stark contrast to the rest of the area. Notice I said "Midway"... well my sources insist that it will be called this. WDW will not get their way and change the name of our ride just so they can have uniformity according to at least three separate Bothans. When guests wall through the cream colored building with a red roof they'll get to see a very elaborate D-Ticket ride that is meant to emphasis rides for the entire family. Something that has been lacking for the most part since the park opened up.
Another thing that will change is detail to be added to the buildings around Ariel's Grotto. The structures will be dialed back to an earlier time period. The bottom section of restaurant will become enclosed giving climate control for thankful guest on hot days like we had here last week and give the cast members a lot of difficulty when trying to clean them... but hey, it'll look beautiful to us, right?
The rest of the area will likely be behind walls within the next year or so... the final look of the pier won't be done until late 2009. By this time at least one other E-Ticket will be deep under construction and another D-Tickey as well should be done. The Maliboomer is slated for removal, but the concepts to take its place are not finalized yet. There will be another D or E-Ticket that will eventually be constructed in the helix to the left of the carousel. If you don't know what a helix is... well, it's the round section of a roller-coaster track. The Maliboomer is inside one and the other is taken up by grass and palm trees right now... but that may soon change.
Another key fixture of the area likely to go is the sun face on the Sun Wheel. Current proposals are to take the face off and replace it with a Mickey Mouse face. This face would be used to hide various electronics and lasers that will be projected from it during the water show in 2009.
And speaking of that water show... the name of the show is "Disney's World of Color". There is no "Wonderful" in the title no matter what you hear on other sites. The experts they have who handled the Bellagio are helping test the jets that will power a water show so tall you will not see the Sun Wheel if you are standing near Golden Dreams.
And speaking of that... I know Al spilled the beans about the "Classic Disney" character that would be going into that section. The current plans I've been told are not an exact copy of the old proposal that was designed by Baxter. Lasseter is having a good deal of input as to how this ride will work in this area. The Golden Dreams building will be torn down and replaced with only the Palace structure remaining as an exit to the ride. Nice Exit, don't you think?
As for the ride that takes Mulholland Madness' place, well I know everyone says that it is based on "Ratatouille" but it's not a done deal. The current plans are between that and an altered variation of the Crush Coaster in Paris... not an exact copy, but close. The decision hasn't been made as to which will get the green light, but we'll know soon.
As for the Golden State... the plans involve the layering of the GRR area with the turn of the century National Park look. This won't happen for at least a year, although the retheming of the Condor Flats area to blend in with the Northern California image is being looked at for a go sometime in late 2008/early 2009.
There is a proposal to remove the Trail area in the park that serves as DCA's Tom Sawyer Island type-area and replace it with an E-Ticket ride. While I welcome the addition of an E-Ticket to the Golden State, I really think the Trails area is one of the few that screams out Disney. There are proposals on the table for more than one new E-Ticket in GS over the next decade so this area is going to be very busy once this expansion is done in a decade.
The majority of these changes are to take place during the first half of the plan. Most will be done by 2011, with a few projects that will be finished up in 2012... now if all this makes the attendance rise to acceptable levels the remaining five years will be icing on the cake. Trust me folks, if you show your loyalty with what is to come by DCA's tenth you'll get an even bigger surprise over the next five years... so buy those annual passes now and when you go in the park start buying merchandise out the wazzoo... it'll bolster the Suits in Anaheim and Burbank to grow some testicular fortitude.
The Hollywood Backlot section will finally start looking like... get this...
Hollywood. The plans are to make it look more like an old Hollywood experience and less of a backlot experience. The plan to enclose the Hyperion will be done by 2010. The area around it will be dressed like a 1930's walk-through with many little details that make a Disney fan giggle. The old vehicles sputtering through will only accentuate the experience.
The makeover of Sunshine Plaza will start in 2008 and last throughout most of the year, if not a little more. By the time the tarps and walls disappear well notice that 20's Los Angeles Walt once knew. The area around the Golden Gate will be much more layered and covered to be like DL's berm so that people outside the park cannot get a free view inside the park. Not that the buildings won't make the entrance look much more enticing. Lastly, the gaudy letters that spell out California for anyone who can't quite figure what the park is about will leave giving guests a clear view of the new entrance. The decision hasn't been made yet if Whoopi's Golden Dreams will make it to the front entrance... several inside WDI realize the film is flawed and want it to just go away. By early next year after the dust has cleared, we'll know who won.
Well, that's it for this time folks. Sorry for the lag in updates but my Bothans are finding it tough with all the NDA and traps being laid to find the spies. Hope you enjoyed it...
A note, many of the Bothans I talk to have notice that Disney is very much employing "Apple" and "Pixar" type tactics. Information has been planted to nab suspected leakers and a couple of my Bothan sources have come up against these kind of tactics and it makes it very difficult to discern what information is bogus and what is real. That being said, I can assure you after checking with several sources the majority of what you have heard here is planned and will be funded. Certain things will change as time goes by but most of the ideas that we've talked about will be seen before you know it. Trust me... around the tenth anniversary of DCA the plan will come into view and you'll start to see what Uncle John and his warriors from the Glendale Kingdom have in store for us.
And that will only be the beginning of the decade... wait till you see what lies ahead for the next... wait a minute. I'm getting ahead of myself there. We'll have to save something for later.
Stay Tuned for more alerts.