Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
Greetings, folks! Today's Disney update is a bit truncated. You see, when you arrive at the Disneyland Resort too late to take daytime photos of new developments since your last visit, and you're too busy the rest of the weekend to stop by again during the daytime, you come up with a gimmick to do a Disneyland Resort update... without the actual Disneyland part. At least photographically. And not even really any California Adventure pictures. Instead, you'll have to deal with WORDS as I DESCRIBE what's happening in those two parks. I know... you didn't sign up to read. Then again, we don't have the forums anymore. You didn't sign up at Westcoaster at all...
Anyway, lets get to it. The majority of the photos focus on progress on Downtown Disney and its year-long transformation, adding new dining experiences and sprucing up and expanding existing tenant properties.
Splitsville Opens Its Second Floor
The last time we stopped by Splitsville, it had soft opened. But that was limited to its first floor, as its second floor had not yet obtained proper full occupancy permitting. Well, in the two weeks since that point, it has fully opened. So last Friday night, I swung by to check out what was going on upstairs.
The second floor portion contains much of what the first floor contains. In fact, there are three bowling lane areas located in identical positions as their first floor counterparts. A large dining room stretches toward the window, however, providing some nice views out toward Downtown Disney, and a central bar provides cocktails and drinks too. There's a second floor kitchen located approximately right above the first floor kitchen. It's almost like they split their layout between two floors. Genius, right?!
Downtown Disney Construction
Elsewhere in Downtown Disney, work continues on Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes and the Ballast Point Brewing Company installations. Additional work walls have been added beside Splitsville in front of the former Build-A-Bear, which will house the Black Tap location (contrary to what I had originally guessed). Ballast Point will instead occupy the tenant space formerly used by Ridemakerz but presumably have access to the second floor outdoor deck space above the Disney Dress Store.
Besides this, the Naples Pizzeria e Ristorante continues its outdoor seating and bar expansion, but there's no noticeable progress from outside the work walls.
And unbeknownst to me because I was too lazy to actually go inside, they actually have been working on the World of Disney Store interior remodel, with different parts of the store closed off at different times. I'll grab some photos of the progress thusfar this year the next time I stop by.
Disney Home Store Opens
Last week, the Disney Home Store officially opened in place of the old D-Street location. Placed smack dab at a prime corner plot between the Wonderland Gallery and Void's Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire attraction, the Disney Home Store features an assortment of Disney-related home furnishings and accessories. Kitchen utensils, plateware, and drinkware adorn the shelves, as do home decorations. A lot of the products featured appear to be items that can be purchased elsewhere at World of Disney or the Disney parks, making this more of a consolidated shopping experience. But there do seem to be some unique items created especially for the store.
I would not be surprised to see Disney-themed home items relocated from other Disney Resort retail locations into this store, to make it more exclusive, but that's only a conjecture. In any case, if you're a Disney fanatic who likes theming your own living space to Disney interior attire, it's worth a stop just to at least see if you might find something that interests you.
A Quick Pixar Pier Update
Disney formally announced that Pixar Pier will open on Saturday, June 23 of this year. As is usual with these things, soft opens may occur in the days leading up to the official opening day. Construction crews have been working hard to move this re-imagining along, and last Friday, I even spotted some welders on the lift of California Screamin' (soon to be the Incredicoaster) doing some work almost right up to the 9:00pm World of Color showing. Similar to the Tower of Terror transformation into the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction last year, it appears that Disney is dictating a very fast pace that requires overtime work and plenty of man hours.
While strolling through the area, I also noticed that the standing seam roofing at the California Screamin' station is pretty much completely off, giving way to the next step of transforming the station to its mid-century modern aesthetic shown in the artist renderings.
Screamin's loop was also back after being removed several weeks ago.
And around Toy Story Midway Mania, fresh paint could be seen already starting to appear behind the scaffolding and fabric construction scrim, as the whole backside of Paradise Pier receives a facelift as part of its transformation into Pixar Pier.
Other Park Notes
If you missed out, the Disneyland Resort raised its prices a week and a half ago, with the steepest increases coming to the Signature, Signature Plus, and Deluxe passholders, who saw their prices raised by $100 - $150. Perhaps even more stinging, however, was the removal of the AP renewal discount, which ranged $20, $40, or $60 off the full price depending on the pass. For single day tickets, the one-park-one-day "value" (least busy) days actually saw a decrease, but the regular and peak day passes went up.
All of this is undoubtedly part of the plan to carefully thin out (but not too much) the Annual Passholder community so that the slam of crowds when Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens will not be as debilitating. The price increases suck, but they've come to be an annual occurrence (there actually weren't any significant increases in 2017). And yet, despite people's grumbles, most will still renew and continue patronizing the parks, because compared to a lot of recreational options like skiing or sporting events or concerts or movies, the cost-per-hour breakdown of a typical Disney park day is still very competitive or better.
Elsewhere at California Adventure:
Work walls remain up around the Sonoma Terrace, as it receives its off-season TLC work.
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in Grizzly Peak is still closed for its regular winter maintenance.
The Lunar New Year Celebration concluded this past weekend (the actual lunar new year was last Friday). Did you attend this year?
And over at Disneyland Park:
Work walls remained up throughout Main Street all the way up to The Hub. But according to a friend, the walls around The Hub were actually taken down as of yesterday, opening up the area around the Partners Statue. Perhaps we can get some springtime Tabebuia blooms this year after all!
In Fantasyland, Casey Jr. Circus Train and Storybook Land Canal Boats have both gone down for their annual refurb, joining Dumbo in its queue expansion and new shade structure construction. This means a line of work walls stretches across the entire back face of Fantasyland, from the old Skyway station all the way to the pathway to Small World.
Speaking of which, It's a Small World has reopened in its regular, non-holiday iteration. The Small World Mall located straight across from the ride entrance all the way to the old Motor Boats area remains closed as the terraced walkways and parade viewing areas receive some refurbishment and a new layout to better facilitate the parade corridor.
Splash Mountain is still down and out on its extended refurbishment.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge continues to progress. But as with our recent updates, the main progress appears to be on the rockwork that can be seen from now multiple locations in the park. I stopped by Mickey's Toowntown on Friday night, and the towering rock spires can be very prominently seen from there, over Gadget's Go-Coaster. Not sure how the sight lines might be explained from there, as they blend into Toon Town less conspicuously than in Frontierland.
That does it from the Disneyland Resort from this week. Plenty of things going around that should provide for some nice new amenities when completed, as this year progresses!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.