Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Blue Sky Buzz: Past Imperfect/Future Unfinished...
I thought I'd respond to a few e-mails I've received recently about the Extreme Makeover...
I apologize for the lack of updates, but I've been caught up in matters involving the real world. Just a few notes here, not a major update, but I thought you'd like to know/have a little bit of clarity about what's going on at the Second Gate.
First off many are wondering about the stores near where the Maliboomer once sat. In all the artwork and models we've seen, the pier area has the Games of the Boardwalk (done) and the stores remade with new Victorian facades (not done). Not to mention that lovely front queue that the Fun Wheel was supposed to get (still crossing my fingers on that one). Well, as I'm sure some of you have heard, it's not being done for the present. Not that it won't get done, but it's not on the current schedule. The main reason is funding or budgeting of the park. There have been no cuts or skimping on attractions just so you know. Please don't roll your eyes and start to think that this is another case of bean counters cutting the budget (like they did when the took DCA's almost billion dollar original price tag and reduce it by a third to $650 million).
That's not the problem. The problem is doing all this construction in a working environment and doing it at all times of the day and hours to avoid disrupting the guest as the walk around the walls. That gets expensive. Really expensive and it eats away at budgets. Much more than anyone at Disney would like. So funding has to be shifted. That's the reason you didn't see that structure in front of Mickey's Fun Wheel. That's why you didn't see the new cover for King Triton's Carousel. And it's why the stores are still in the style of stucco and exposed beams.
See, the Imagineers have had to try and keep the budgets for certain high profile projects as high as they can and decisions were made to drop or postpone some theming so that the funding could be used for other, more important construction items. Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Cars Land and the Buena Vista Street projects were all considered the most import things to get done. All other projects would/could be done, but later.
So when 2012 rolls around, some of what was planned won't be there. The side of the Paradise Pier with Screamin' and the Carousel will look relatively the same. The shops along the pier near Ariel's Grotto may still look the same as it appears that funding for this particular spot is on hold as well. The Grizzly River Run area will have received a modest retheming, but the animatronics will likely not be there till after Cars Land opens and the Extreme Makeover is officially over. The Hollywoodland section will not likely see any transformation back to a 40's era other than the Red Car Trolley line that cuts down the street until the second phase of the expansion too.
But this isn't the end. This is the beginning of the end of the beginning of the makeover. Hopefully you followed that. But sometime after summer of 2012 the park will be basking in its rebranding. Backstage, park planners and Imagineers will be busy planning big and small projects that will enhance what has already been done. Sometime in 2013 we will likely see projects start to sprout up in various areas of the park. They won't be as big as most of the projects that we've seen over the past few years because most of the hard work and major construction will be done.
Over the next four for five years we're likely to see the completed transformation of the Paradise Pier into a Victorian representation, but it'll come in phases. The areas near the coaster, the carousel and then perhaps the boardwalk area. No definite time period has yet been set, but things are being planned. The area where the stores reside is being put aside until the budget and ideas are ready for another attraction. There is room for another ride back behind the Maliboomer area now that the park only has one parade. There are two parade buildings and one is behind this spot with enough land for a major attraction. The offices of the pier would have to be moved and some other structural altering would be needed as well, but that won't be a problem that DCA hasn't already gotten used to.
There's also going to be construction walls going up in January that will block off the access to the pier where the Maliboomer was. There's a lot of concrete that has to be cut out to make room for that garden and the meet and greet area of this little makeover.
Eventually the Hollywood section will change and be rethemed to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Most of this shouldn't cause harm, with the possible exception of the enclosing of the Hyperion Theater which could be intrusive to guests and shows, but once all this is done, the trolley line will certainly blend in far better.
The Grizzly section will hopefully get animatronics in late 2012/early 2013 to match the new uniforms and rethemed areas of the 50's Yosemite style national park that it is slowly becoming. One thing that you will notice soon is the retheming of the Redwood Creek area. Gone will be Brother Bear and in its place will be Russell and the crew from "Up" to delight kids all around.
Should Cars Land be the success that everyone thinks it will be (it will), then you will see the start of planning for an expansion of this land, but don't expect it before the latter part of the decade. There is room there for one or two new attractions depending on how well the land is utilized. When you examine the totality of it, there's a whole lot of construction still to be done. Just not the gargantuan plots of land that have been reworked/rebuilt over the past four years.
Don't let this detract you from the fact that come summer 2012 the Disneyland Resort will finally have a Second Gate worthy of the resort that won't be perfect.
But it won't be finished either...