Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
We’re almost to the end of the year, which means this is going to be your last look at the Disneyland Resort parks before 2019 arrives. Actually, you probably don’t want to look at the parks this week. With winter break fully in session, they have been absolutely swamped, with wait times stretching into the three hour range for some of the most popular attractions. That’s Tokyo Disney territory!
However, over the past month, we’ve seen some developments that warrant some updating. So without further ado, we present the final Disney parks update of 2018!
The Tropical Hideaway Opens
The biggest news item comes from Adventureland, where after multiple months of renovation and construction work, the Tropical Hideaway finally opened last Friday to great fanfare. Well, maybe not open fanfare, but public reception thusfar has been quite favorable, as this little watering hole in the jungle represents the most significant completed new construction inside Disneyland Park in the past couple of years. It also expands the dining options in the area. Along with the removal of the stroller parking in the middle of the Adventureland walkway and its relocation to the retail space of Tropical Imports, which promptly moved across the way to the Adventureland Bazaar, plus the expansion of indoor seating for the Bengal Barbecue, the Tropical Hideaway completes Adventureland’s little two year efficiency project in preparation for the massive influx of crowds expected next year for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The Tropical Hideaway occupies the spot formerly used by Aladdin’s Oasis, which was originally the Tahitian Terrace way back in the day of early Disneyland. For those unfamiliar, this places it between the backside of the Enchanted Tiki Room and the exit of the Jungle Cruise.
The area is composed of two food stands: Dole Whip, I Presume, which offers a selection of Dole Whip soft serve and dessert dishes, plus chips and snacks, plus a bao place next door that serves three different types of stuffed steamed buns (beef, chicken, and vegetable), a fried dessert lumpia, and a chilled noodle to-go item. The atmosphere is laden with exotic furnishings and strikes a lovely balance between the Pacific Island Tiki Room aesthetic and the more wilderness Jungle Cruise atmosphere. And to further tie into its neighbor, Tiki Room bird, Rosita, has moved outside and set up stand as a stand-up bird, offering jokes and commentary to diners and passers by.
It all adds up to a great new addition to the park, and one that I think will remain pretty popular for a while.
Marvel Land Construction
In other news, Marvel Land is continuing to get built. There’s dirt and stuff.
Pixar Pier Construction
Hey, remember Pixar Pier? It’s still not done yet! Jessie’s Critter Carousel and Inside Out: Emotional Whirlwind have yet to be completed. The former has been going… steadily? …for a while now. It’s tough to imagine that it would take 18 months to retheme a carousel, but hey… Pixar Pier.
Meanwhile, a small bit of activity seems to be emerging from the Inside Out site. A stick! Or pole. Or something. I dunno… I didn’t ride the Incredicoaster or get myself to any other elevated vantagepoint that might afford more detail. In any case, if you didn’t hear, this will be the relocated and rethemed Flik’s Flyers ride. Hopefully, it turns out nicely.
Bing Bong Unveiled
In the past month, one Pixar Pier feature that has been completed is the Bing Bong non-animatronic at Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff. it’s a static version of the cute character from Inside Out, and just like in the movie, he’s a cotton candy elephant beast that cries candy and rides rainbows. It’s actually kind of cute, though an actual animatronic would have been cooler. Given the retail nature of the setting, this is fine.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Finally, we come to next year’s highly anticipated hotness. Our views from the parking structure pretty much show the same they’ve been showing for a while… the backside of rock. It’s beginning to look like anything outside of park view is not going to be covered, which is resulting in some very peculiar looking structures from along Disneyland Drive. It’s a shame that Disney keeps on doing this, although at least the illusion is fully preserved on stage (looking at you, Hollywood Hogwarts!). But It seems to me that the parking structure is still part of the Resort and thus should have a show presence there too, and seeing straight into the rooftop HVAC kind of ruins the illusion before it can even be set. That’s me being nitpicky, but it does kind of bother me, especially once you get over to the rock tower “trees” that are arising.
Now, Disney could still be planning on covering these items in a manner similar to the backside of Cars Land’s Cadillac Range. It just does not appear to be the case at all based on current progress.
On the plus side, the interwebs has provided a look inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge over the past month or two. NearMap, for example, has provided aerial images of parts of “Star Wars” Land. Disney also tweeted out a gorgeous photo of the Millennium Falcon docked at the Black Spire Outpost of Batuu as the sun was setting. And there have also been some cool teaser videos announcing the two E-Tickets of Galaxy’s Edge…
And also a behind-the scenes of the development and progress that features exciting on-ride footage and in-land visualizations.
All fantastic things to get excited about! Just don’t think about the crowds that will be pouring into Disneyland next summer.
And that does it for this Friday Disney update from the parks. If you are actually headed to the parks this weekend or next week, bring your patience. There will be throngs upon throngs of other guests, long waits for pretty much everything, and plenty of activity. It’s the busiest time of the entire year!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.