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It's no secret that big changes are underway at Disney California Adventure Park, one of the jewels of Disneyland Resort. Some of the new additions have already been unveiled – but much more is on the way. Today The Insider is honored to give you a peek behind the wall with looks at two big additions to the Park, both slated to open this summer – a whole new beginning to the day for Guests arriving at Disney California Adventure, and a magical new land where they will enter the world of Disney·Pixar's "Cars."
First, Imagineer Coulter Winn gives us a look at Buena Vista Street, a trip back in time to Walt Disney's Los Angeles in all its nostalgia and glamour.
COULTER WINN: My role on this project started about six years ago. The design team was asked to look at creating a more compelling and story-driven entry to Disney's California Adventure. And what came out of that was a concept of transforming the entry for the Park into a period street, much the way that Main Street at Disneyland takes our Guests to Walt's hometown of Marceline, Missouri.
We decided to re-create the Los Angeles that Walt Disney experienced when he first arrived here in 1923, a street that told the story of the first couple of decades of Walt's experience in California. There are a couple of buildings that were re-created that are significant. The first is the entry turnstiles, which take design cues from the Pan-Pacific Auditorium that was designed in the 1930s by Welton Becket, a friend
of Walt Disney's. Walt went to Welton Becket in the '50s when he was planning Disneyland, and Welton Becket told Walt that he already had all the talent he needed to do his Park at the studios. And that group of individuals that Walt picked later became Imagineering. So, that's the Disney connection to the Pan-Pacific.
But the main icon of the street is the Carthay Circle Theatre, which is where "Snow White" premiered in 1937, and a lot of Disney cartoons played there in the years before that. That particular theater
has a very rich connection to the Walt Disney Company story, so we stitched together a street which really told a story of many Los Angeles neighborhoods. As you enter into Buena Vista Street through the turnstiles, you come into a forecourt or a small town square. There's Oswald's, where there's a sundry shop. Our Guests can arrive, take care of whatever business they need to do, pick up
some small items to start their day, and they begin their experience from there.
One of the main things we've done with Buena Vista Street is to
introduce a ride onto the street, re-creating the California Red Car trolley network. So we have a Red Car stop at the front, and the Red Car runs between the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the entry to
Buena Vista Street, with a total of four stops.What was formerly the
Golden Gate Bridge we're replacing with a re-creation of the Glendale-Hyperion Avenue Bridge. Hyperion Boulevard was where Walt Disney located one of his early animation studios. So, again, that has a connection to the story of The Walt Disney Company. As you proceed under the bridge, you get into a little bit more of an upscale recreation of early commercial Los Angeles, which took some of its
design cues from Wilshire Boulevard and early Westwood.
The Carthay Circle Theatre is going have a high-end restaurant, and the parade is now going to go through the hub. It's going to start at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, go down Hollywood Boulevard, and go through the hub on to the Boardwalk.
What we're doing with Disney California Adventure is we're taking a good asset and making it great. We're raising the bar on the overall
quality of this Park, and we are going make this a very immersive environment, the way all of our other Parks are.
Once Guests make their way up Buena Vista Street, there will be a whole new land to discover. Imagineer Kathy Mangum lifts the garage door on the creation of Cars Land.
In Cars Land, Guests will be immersed into the world of "Cars" where they will literally walk down the street of Radiator Springs, the cutest little town in Carburetor County. The 12-acre expansion includes three all-new attractions, retail shops, and food facilities, all built and inhabited by our favorite characters from the world of "Cars," such as Sally, Ramone, Lightning McQueen, and Mater.
One attraction we're especially excited about is Radiator Spring Racers. First, you go into a rich immersive environment full of animated cars that invite you in to participate in today's big race. And in that show building, as you're going through all the scenes, you end up in one of two garages – Luigi's or Ramone's. So when you pull out, you're next to another car that's also pulled out of their garage. When Guido and Luigi drop the flag, you take off out of the building at a high speed and now you're racing each other side by side all around the mountain and the monuments, and it ends with a finish line where one of you wins. It's always a random finish so you never know
who's going to win. Then you go back into the building through Tail Light Caverns. It's about a four-minute ride, and uses a very similar system to Test Track.
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is baby tractors pulling trailers.
Guests sit in the trailers and then the tractors take off when Mater starts to sing. They start to dance around in a series of figure eights, and as they're making a turn, the trailer behind them whips around. The trailers start to go as the music starts and then when the music stops they come to a stop.
Luigi's Flying Tires was inspired by the old Disneyland Flying
Saucers attraction. When Guests board their tire, Luigi will tell Guido to turn on the air compressor and the air will come up from beneath the vehicles and you'll be flying around about two inches up off the floor. Guests will be able to take their tire in whichever direction they feel like traveling by shifting their body weight. So they can fly around, bump into other tires, and we also now have a spin valve, something that wasn't in the original Disneyland attraction. So you can open up a valve and just spin and fly around whichever way you'd like.
Since we're a self-contained land, we needed merchandise
and food locations as well. The food locations are Fillmore's Taste-In, which is a natural snack stand of fruits and nuts and juices. Fillmore being the hippy that he is, that's really appropriate! We have Sally's Cozy Cone Motel but instead of the cones being motel rooms, they're different snack food locations. All of the snack food has a cone joke or reference. So we have chili CONE queso and popCONE, CONE on the cob, and frozen CONEcoctions – and churros too. Flo's V8 Café is a quick-service restaurant, and our largest food facility in Cars
Land, with food that's inspired by the kind of food that you get on Route 66. So they'll serve really delicious savory meats on different breads as sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese, and pie and stuff like that. Sort of comfort food, diner food stuff. The merchandise locations are Sarge's Surplus Hut, Radiator Springs Curios (which will primarily sell pins), and Ramone's House of Body Art, which sells Cars Land products.
Cars Land is the home of Radiator Springs and the cars have opened it up to welcome people, which explains why we're
serving people food and not motor oil. We know we have people in this land, we
know we've got ways that we need to accommodate them, eating and other bodily
functions. And of course we have a lot of Cast Members that work the counters
and operate the attractions and stuff so we had to acknowledge that people and
Walt Disney once said, "We keep moving forward, opening new
doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading
us down new paths." This summer at Disney California Adventure, curiosity might
lead you to board a Red Car like the ones that used to ply the streets where
Walt worked, or float on a cushion of air in a world where cars are waiting to
greet you. And who knows where else your curiosity could take you? Disneyland
Resort never stops changing and growing and there's always something special to
In honor of Friday the 13th, today I bring you a bit of At-Home Imagineering that’s helped add a bit more “spooky” to my daily life. With the aid of a programmable iChime doorbell, visitors at my front door no longer signal their arrival with a standard ding-dong but instead the eerie tolling of bells from The Haunted Mansion, gently ringing out to the tune of “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” And it couldn’t have been simpler to install.
The iChime doorbell is available online for a little less than $90 and worth every penny for allowing you to program your own doorbell sounds, recorded from any audio device. It also comes with a number of built-in ringtones, if you will, ranging from happy Christmas tunes to comedic sound effects - something for every occasion.
The popular Disney attraction "Toy Story Mania" will soon be opening at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Currently open at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure at Disneyland , the attraction will open at the Tokyo DisneySea park on July 9, 2012. The 3D attraction is based on the Toy Story series of films. A new area of Tokyo DisneySea, Toyville Trolley Park, will house the attraction. One change coming to the attraction will be the entrance; guests will enter through Sheriff Woody's 26-foot high mouth.
Tokyo Disneyland is owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company, Ltd. The cost to build the attraction will be nearly $150 million
They may call ours a Mickey Mouse state, but can you imagine Florida without the Mouse?
It's been 40 years since Disney World opened and turned Orlando into one of the world's most visited destinations. And our state has never been the same - for better and, some argue, for worse.
But this is undeniable: Disney World generates an estimated $18.2 billion annually for Florida's economy and one out of every 50 jobs here is tied to the Mouse, according to a study commissioned by Disney.
Sure, the long lines are a punch line. And all Disney magic comes with a price tag. But all 17.2 million people who pass annually through the Magic Kingdom can't be wrong.
So we tip our mouse ears to Disney with this 40 for 40 - one fact for each year of its existence.
Grab your sunscreen. We're going to Disney World.
1. Walt Disney, the Trump of his day? You be the judge: He bought the 43 square miles of Central Florida swampland for Disney World for $5 million, or about $185 an acre.
2. But he never saw it finished. Disney died from complications of lung cancer on Dec. 15, 1966, before the first shovel of dirt was moved for Disney World.
3. 10,000. That was the attendance for Disney World's soft opening on Oct. 1, 1971. But the grand opening later that month, which included performances by Julie Andrews, Bob Hope and Glen Campbell, was televised nationally. Today, the Magic Kingdom alone averages about 47,000 visitors a day.
4. Disney never closes, right? Not quite. It has closed three times, all in anticipation of hurricanes: Sept. 15, 1999, for Floyd; Sept. 4 and 5, 2004, for Frances; and Sept. 26 of that same year for Jeanne.
5. Less than 30 minutes. That's how long it took to evacuate thousands of guests from the theme parks on Sept. 11, 2001.
6. Don't plan to buzz Cinderella's castle. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the FAA put a flight restriction over the Disney World resort. It extends in a 3-mile radius from Cinderella's Castle and up to 3,000 feet.
7. 1.65 million. That's the estimated number of eyeglasses that have made their way to Disney World's lost-and-found bins since 1971. Every year, they find an average 6,000 cellphones, 3,500 digital cameras and 18,000 hats.
8. And now you're wondering about the weirdest things ever found? How about a glass eye, a prosthetic leg and a potty trainer - all of which were claimed (but not by the same person, we're told).
9. It really is a small world. One married couple from Boynton Beach, Alex and Donna Voutsinas, realized years later that they were coincidentally photographed together at Disney as children.
10. OK, it's not small after all. The Walt Disney World resort is about the size of San Francisco, and of its more than 27,000 acres, only about 35 percent has been developed.
There’s something for everyone at Disney World – even exotic car enthusiasts. While your kids are having a blast on Space Mountain, you can tear up the Walt Disney World Speedway in a luxury supercar.
Launching this January (just in time for your winter vacation), the all-new Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway lets you take out your ultimate dream supercar for a spin. The track is a hybrid design that takes a one-mile tri-oval backstretch and turn two that features a series of fast right and left hand turns inside of street-course style barriers. Drivers can test their driving skills in cars such as a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, a Porsche 911 and an Audi R8. An instructor also goes along for the ride with you.
Prices range from $99 to $389 for these six-lap Disney “Thrill Rides.” You can book your ride on the Exotics Course website. Would the Exotics Course at Disney World make you more likely to take the family there for a trip? Let us know in the comments section below.
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