Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
Aaaaaaand... it's March! Time flies when you're digging up dirt and pouring concrete and throwing up steel--and putting on seasonal events and such. Lets take a look at what's happening at the Resort-Containing Walter Elias Disney Land this week!
"Star Wars" Land
More steel, more digging, more walls. After an initial flurry when the structural steel framing for the main E-Ticket at "Star Wars" Land started going up, progression has been a little slower than I anticipated. Whether that has to do with overall weather trends (though the past week was actually dry) or just my expectations, I'm not sure. In any case, I spent this week trying to see if I could piece different perspectives than in previous updates. Things keep chugging along, though as we get closer to the middle of the summer, we'll probably see more activity centered along the Rivers of America to get that ready for the return of the Disneyland Railroad in July (and presumably, all the Rivers attractions that come along with the package).
We begin, as usual, with our panorama of the site.
This should not be confused with a potorama, which is something that is recreationally legal in many states but still not permitted under federal law.
After drab skies for many of the recent updates, it was nice to have some sun again.
Blue skies are quite nice, as long as they're not sad.
Lets look at the main E-Ticket first, which is shaping up to be quite a large sprawl of construction!
Having thrown up a couple bays of steel relatively quickly, progress is now moving sideways in the direction of the "trench" and "circular pit" area of the grounds.
This steel erection has clearly lasted longer than four hours.
Here you can see the subtle advance of columns and beams in a generally westward direction.
I hope you're ready to brace yourselves for a lot of structural close-ups.
Steel your nerves for plenty of wide flanges, braced frames, metal decking, and plate connections.
As we pan across the building, we can see framing for interstitial mezzanine spaces being framed up within the high bay floors.
As we reach the side, we see a little roof access tower with a stairwell that will likely also double as an emergency evacuation exit point. Steps like these are required as part of building safety and fire protection accommodation.
Lets move over to the trench and pit areas. Clearly, the crews have dug in for the long haul.
Still just a hole here, but it looks like they're starting to frame for something that might bridge across parts of this.
Meanwhile, around the area that was once just a circular pit, more formwork is going up to build up columns and framed floors for whatever is going in here. But really, what's most exciting is more noodles again. At least for Guy Selga.
Lets teleport from the Mickey and Friends Structure to closer to ground level.
The scale of the future building is more apparent and impressive from this view. You don't have to crane your neck to see that.
Again, this is going to be a massive building.
I'm sure steel enthusiasts are positively beaming at these angles.
It's tough to tell in this perspective, but remember that just a couple of weeks ago, the building was just up to the braced frame on the left. Since then, the columns in front of it have been installed. (Disregard the light pole and galvanized steel poles out of focus in the foreground.)
That last buckling-restrained brace still hasn't gone up along this part of the south wall. Would have expected that to happen by now. Hope this doesn't bend the schedule!
In the back of the site, near Mickey's Toontown, that giant shed building looks nearly fully framed.
There's concrete poured on the ground and everything too!
That concrete's got to cure for a while, so hope you don't get sick of potentially similar photos the next few weeks.
Given the relatively small footprint, this could be more of a backstage building than anything guests will experience. But who knows.
Zooming all the way to the opposite end of future "Star Wars" Land, we have the Hungry Bear Restaurant area.
Guardians of the Galaxy is still fully concealed this week, but the back and one side of the building has actually been completely uncovered with scaffolding taken down to reveal the tower's new paint job, which might be best described as "Tomorrowland 1998 Revival."
I did a bit of skittering around this part of Critter Country to verify whether or not my wild speculation of how Critter Country will access "Star Wars" Land was accurate.
When it reopens, the Disneyland Railroad will still be reappearing just to the right of the Hungry Bear Restaurant building and left of the berm on the right that has been cut and shored up.
It would appear that the bridge/pathway to the left of the tarp that currently shields the view of Hungry Bear diners from the drained Rivers of America will slowly ramp down and then turn and duck below the railroad tracks before reappearing up and into "Star Wars" Land, similar to who guests currently access Mickey's Toontown from Fantasyland (but with a kink). This might introduce a pinchpoint at this part of the river just downstream of the Davy Crockett Canoe station compared to the previous iteration, but there's still plenty of room for the canoes and riverboats.
Since I actually don't have any access to insider information, that's the best I can do to satisfy the voracious appetite for "Star Wars" Land plans over here by the Hungry Bear.
Lets zoom out a bit and take a look at the new "Star Wars" border wall being built to keep the outside world out of this future land of aliens.
Angling further down from what I bothered to photograph last week reveals that the concrete wall actually slopes down at one end, which is interesting.
Back along the Rivers of America, the rockwork slowly continues.
This is a dirty process, but it will definitely look gneiss when everything is done.
Once they sand off all the rough edges, people will really marble at the fine craftsmanship here.
And improvements like this will be sure to convince Disney fans to shale out more money.
Chalk it up to the great Disney designers, once the finished product starts to crystalize, there will be a lode of people clamoring to see it.
Construction continues on the couple of buildings they seem to be constructing on the high point too.
Meanwhile, further on, the tunnel entrances seem to look the same.
It's tough to glean nuggets of insight when there's an entire face of this ridge concealed from view.
Going closer to ground level gives a sense of scale for this new berm of sorts.
Whether you're interested at such dull subject matter ore not, you'll probably want to see how things turn out once the River reopens.
Over at the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure side, work continues whatever-it-is they're building over here.
It's probably just offices for Disney Transportation or something related. Nothing really important to anything guests will directly experience.
But the building is going up quickly, on account of its concrete masonry unit block construction.
They keep on shuffling dirt around back here too.
Nothing important here either, but if you're a dirt enthusiast, have it this photo.
Remember... Dreams Come True with Projections
A few weeks ago, Remember... Dreams Come True made its return to the Disneyland Resort. After the 60th Anniversary Celebration, the Disneyland Forever fireworks show was pulled off the entertainment schedule, replaced by Fantasy in the Sky (and Believe... In Holiday Magic during the Christmas season). But as spring has slowly moved into season, the 50th Anniversary fireworks favorite has moved back in. And like most of Disneyland's other firework shows that have been brought back, projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle have been added to enhance the spectacular.
There's a good reason for why it's taken this long to actually post about the return of Remember... the show has been cancelled due to "winds at higher elevations" the past several visits I've made.
I finally got some photos last Friday of the show, and even that effort met some resistance.
I thought I could breeze through a fireworks photography session, but the Friday show ended up being cut partway into the show due to the return of winds after the start of the show.
The park had warned earlier that the show might not go on at all due to the infamous high elevation winds, so it was a pleasant breath of fresh air that any show happened at all.
Given the park's relatively urban setting, strict regulations must be adhered during fireworks shows to avoid stray ashes falling into areas they shouldn't and potentially starting fires.
As such, the fire marshal makes a determination each night on whether a show can be presented based upon wind levels. Though things may seem calm at ground level, air currents just one or two hundred feet higher can be significantly different and impact the trajectory of the fireworks bursts.
Friday's show ended up getting cut at the Adventureland segment, which really blew, but the projections I was able to see for the opening series, the Main Street segment, and the part of Adventureland that played were a blast!
It's a great little bonus that has improved an already fantastic show, and it definitely fired me up in anticipation of hopefully catching a full show in the future.
Around the Resort
Finally, we've got some housekeeping business with some notes around the Resort and a couple of policy changes. Plus, a quick peek at the upcoming Food and Wine Festival at DCA, which runs March 10 - April 16. It will be another year of culinary events, special activities, and of course, plenty of limited-time tapas-style food offerings. Not peeked at: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's new entrance structure, which got a bit of a makeover. I'll grab a photo next week.
It's the last week of AP Days. This week's AP button features Elliott the dragon, and the recipe card provides instructions on making cheesecake! A pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
Ticket prices went up last month in what's become an yearly (and sometimes more than once a year) tradition. So did parking, which increased $2 to $20 for standard vehicles. Preferred Parking for a closer location is also available for $35, but that's a whole different level of pricing.
In other news, the parks have implemented a new policy that restricts people from camping out for parades and fireworks until ropes are set up for the viewing areas of those entertainment pieces. Although guests can sit on the sidewalk to take a break or to wait momentarily for friends, if it appears that people are sitting specifically to camp out for a show, Cast Members may direct them to leave. The policy is intended to free up congestion caused by people waiting hours upon hours for these events. Also no longer allowed is the practice of saving spots for friends and family members not presents. As such, blankets and mats are no longer allowed to be placed on the ground to signify space reservation. Through the first weekend of this change, it didn't look like there was much consistency in enforcement, though. So expect a few bumps along the way to getting guests trained.
I went back to the Red Rose Taverne to try more food this weekend. The Enchanted Cauliflower Sandwich was a very tasty vegetarian option, with some good flavor and hearty texture. Definitely one of the better meatless offerings in the park!
They also had the Grey Stuff Gâteau during dinner time, and it was truly delicious! The frosting carries a chocolate profile with a hint of cream. Concealed inside is a red velvet cake with raspberry filling center, all set atop a shortbread cracker. That's a lot of flavor packed in a relatively small package, but the novelty is worth it!
The Lemon Rose Cake is the other special Beauty and the Beast-inspired offering. Rich in lemon, with a strawberry filling that was tart and sweet, this was a not as dense as I was expecting. The lemon cream was quite light, and the packed chocolate cake base didn't really provide enough texture to make this feel like a "cake" persay. I'd say the Grey Stuff is definitely better, but those who like lemon flavor should enjoy this as well.
Speaking of food, next Friday marks the return of the Food and Wine Festival to Disney California Adventure.
The little food carts have already started appearing all along the Pacific Wharf and Paradise Pier corridor through which the parade route normally runs.
The food promises to be great. But the prices will probably be great (as in high) also. Whether they've adjusted them to meet the lowered demand from the high prices of the Lunar New Year Marketplace and Festival of Holidays Marketplace remains to be seen. We'll find out in a few days.
Some new standing bars have also been installed, complete with more even overhead lighting to make nighttime dining a little easier. They're pretty nifty!
And that does it for this week at the Disneyland Resort. We'll have something from the Broad Museum later this week (pushed from last week, due to lack of photo editing time on my part), and maybe some travel stuff if I can get around to it. In the mean time, be cool to one another and don't be a jerk. That should be a basic life rule, but surprisingly, many people ignore it.
And a pretty night photo to cap off the update.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.