Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
Now that we've finished our Midsummer Scream coverage for 2018, we return you to your regularly scheduled programming--which today, means another trip to the Disneyland Resort to check out all the little and big projects going on. We'll swing by our usual suspects--the new parking structure next to Mickey and Friends, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and Downtown Disney. And we'll also stop by the parks to catch up on the ongoing minor projects. Sound good for a Hump Day? Lets go!
PIXAR'S PINOCCHIO PAL-A-ROUND AND FOX AND FRIENDS AND FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES PARKING STRUCTURE FEATURING MARVEL MOTORPOOL AND STAR WARS SHUTTLE STOPS AND OTHER ACQUIRED LICENSES aka the Cleo Structure
Work is really rocketing forward on the new $100 million parking structure, with formwork continuing to expand along the second floor to cast concrete floors, columns, and beams, and even structural rebar reaching the third floor over by the escalator promenade. There are at least three or four dozen crewmen at work on this project, going six days of week, racing to ensure this thing opens before "Star Wars" Land does next year. The scale is pretty massive and ambitious, and even though it's just a parking structure, I still find the construction work interesting (then again, I'm an architect, and construction sites have always interested me).
Also of interest is the start of bridge framing that appears to be spanning to connect to the current Mickey and Friends structure. Whether this is meant to be a pedestrian link only or the way vehicles will ultimately exit the structure (through the current route) is not completely clear, but the layout and flow of the structure is starting to take shape as construction proceeds.
Downtown Disney Renovations
Over at Downtown Disney, there has been no real change over at the western entry, despite the closure of ESPN Zone, Rainforest Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, AMC Theaters, Starbucks DtD West, and the Disney Vacation Club storefront for the past month-plus. According to a security officer I spoke to on Sunday, there was a delay in proceeding with the construction of the hotel. What that delay was and how long it will last was unknown.
On the other hand, recently, construction trailers have appeared on part of the Downtown Disney parking lot directly north of the Rainforest Cafe. This has reduced parking capacity, but with less tenants open, it's not as big of a deal as it could be (though undoubtedly, the limited remaining parking will be crowded during peak restaurant hours still). The appearance of the trailers could signal imminent construction of the hotel... aaaaaaand then the OC Register published an article today noting that Disney had put the hotel on hold indefinitely due to an ongoing dispute with the city of Anaheim over tax subsidies. The City of Anaheim has been less friendly with Disney recently, as newer council members contest economic advantages Disney has enjoyed at the city's expense over the years with business deals and tax breaks. So there's that...
Meanwhile, work continues on the regular projects closer to the center and east end of Downtown Disney. Naples continues its facade renovation, while Ballast Point's second floor balcony dining area is finally getting some work. The repainting of the opposite side of stores and restaurants from Catal to the Disney Home Store and Wonderground Gallery is largely complete too.
Around Disney California Adventure
Pixar Pier is down to work on Jessie's Critter Carousel (and waiting for that Bing Bong statue inside Bing Bong's Sweet Stuff to be delivered). Tarps are up as the carousel is partially dismantled and readied for its new theme. Meanwhile, the platforms for World of Color continue to be repaired. No word on when the show will return, but at least the platforms look to be in better condition and much less partially collapsed and flooded.
A Bug's Land's days are numbered, as the area will close after Labor Day to be transformed into part of the new future Marvel Land. Get your visits while you can. It will become the Resort's latest construction zone soon, and work has already been on-going at the It's Tough to Be a Bug theater.
Over in Hollywood Land, Instagrammers have been lining up all summer to take photos with some Pixar-inspired murals. These are the epitome of 'Gram photo ops--Buzz Lightyear "angel" wings (not literally, but in the vein of those angel wing murals people love to pose with these days) and the Up house with balloons floating away. It's pretty cute, if you're into that sort of thing.
The Pixar Short Films Festival continues through the end of the summer also, with showings of Bao (the short that plays before The Incredibles 2), Sanjay's Super Team, and La Luna presented every 20 minutes or so. They're incredibly charming and emotional, and it's a great use of a space that has been irregularly occupied ever since Muppetvision 3-D was sadly shuttered.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
In Batuu, the latest developments have been--what else--more rock spires. Granted, there's plenty of other work happening inside the First Order ride building and the Millennium Falcon ride building, plus progress along the interior of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, that is obscured by the show buildings themselves. But from what we can see publicly, there are more rocks.
I say rocks and rock spires, but officially, they're the petrified remains of massive, ancient trees that grew throughout the planet of Batuu. The colossal trees lived and died long ago, but their slow transformation into stone created towering structures that were eventually settled by the native species, and when the planet became a busy space hub at the edge of the Outer Rim Territories, the spires became part of the architecture.
Anyway, more and more of them keep going up, with new mammoth steel pipe columns and structure going up to continue the forced perspective. The only shame is that there doesn't seem to be any effort to maintain the illusion of the rocks from outside of the park, so we may very well get another instance of Expedition Everest, where the rocks extend only to where they can be seen from within the park, then abruptly transition to exposed innards or plain screened elements. It's that budget-driven decision that I've always been irked with when Universal or Disney does it, since it suggests no attempt to even try to maintain the illusion. Ah well.
For a few weeks now, the Main Street Indian has been missing from his post. Literally! Though a lot of people have been worried about his disappearance and even suspected that he might be a victim of the PC Police, the evidence doesn't suggest that. The brick patchwork is pretty mediocre and appears to be temporary, and the Frontierland Indian is still in its position too. So most likely, the statue is just being refurbished.
In other news The Hideaway continues to move along in Adventureland--even if we can't see anything. The Enchanted Tiki Room is under refurbishment until the fall. And Pirates of the Caribbean seems to have come off its high after its reopening for the revised auction scene. Wait times are pretty much normal or even low now.
We hope you've enjoyed this much less spooky update and look at the Disneyland Resort. We'll have a few more this summer before we go on hiatus and focus our autumn on Halloween season and the oodles and oodles of haunted attractions that will be open all around Southern California. In the meantime, enjoy the heat and the summer--or count down till the fog re-emerges. The back stretch of the year always run fast, so it'll be here before you know it!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.