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P. 393: Opening dates for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway and Toontown!

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The “CALIFORNIA” letters previously located in the esplanade of the Disney California Adventure park entrance have found a new home! The Disneyland Resort will donate the set of letters, which were removed to make way for the Disney California Adventure park expansion project, to the Friends of the California State Fair, a nonprofit organization that benefits California Exposition & State Fair (Cal Expo) in Sacramento. Cal Expo is the site of the California State Fair and hundreds of other events annually.


Plans are underway to make the letters an integral part of a new Cal Expo entrance. The “CALIFORNIA” letters will make their way to their new home sometime in late September and will be placed high enough at the entrance to be seen from Exposition Boulevard. They’ll continue to create memories at a fitting location as Disney California Adventure park welcomes Cars Land and Buena Vista Street!


The donation is the latest among several other Disney California Adventure park artifacts over the last five years, including:


  • The cab of the California Zephyr train that was formerly the home of Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream and Bakers Field Bakery was donated to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, Calif.
  • The sun icon that welcomed visitors to Sunshine Plaza was donated to the City of Anaheim for future use.
  • The giant toy train from EnginEARS Toys will be donated to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s) for future use.
  • Postcards and displays from the Greetings From California store at the main entrance of Disney California Adventure park were donated to many Southern California nonprofit organizations and educational facilities, including the Boys & Girls Club of Tustin, the Anaheim Family YMCA, the Child Abuse Services Team office in Orange, the
  • Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, and Betsy Ross and Orange Grove elementary schools in Anaheim.
  • Signs and character displays from Greetings From California were donated to Pretend City in Irvine.
  • The Reboundo Beach surfboard basketball game was donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove.
  • Benches from throughout Disney California Adventure park were donated to the City of Anaheim for use in public spaces.





I can’t believe how time flies. It seems like just yesterday I announced the concept of WonderGround Gallery right here on the Disney Parks Blog. Now, June 9 is around the corner and the grand opening is something you won’t want to miss.


One of the things I’m most excited to share with you is the debut of the new Vinylmation 95 platform! Guaranteed to get your motor racing, this new 9” form is shaped like the one and only Lightning McQueen and pays tribute to his signature number, 95. What makes it even better is that six of our WonderGround Gallery artists have been commissioned to create one-of-a-kind pieces utilizing the new platform. In addition, Artist in Residence for June, Noah, will debut a limited edition version of his Lightning McQueen Vinylmation 95 platform the same day. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look as Noah puts the finishing touches on this classic new piece.


As I mentioned above, WonderGround Gallery will feature an Artist in Residence program. Each month, a new artist will call WonderGround Gallery their home as they work on upcoming projects, live paintings, art demonstrations and more. Local Southern California artist Noah is scheduled to be our very first Artist in Residence and will be on hand every Friday and Saturday night throughout the month of June, from 5–9 p.m. In addition to our Artist in Residence, other local artisans will appear to showcase some of their new releases and collections.


There are so many great events planned for the opening and throughout the month. Here are a few things you should keep on your radar. For a complete list of artists that will be appearing on June 9, be sure to visit WonderGroundGallery.com.


Events/Artist Signings

  • June 9 – Vinylmation Signing, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • June 9 – 2D Artist Signings, 3 – 5 p.m.

Artist in Residence

  • June 15 – 16 – Noah, 5 – 9 p.m.

Artisan Showcase

  • June 16 – 17 – Mamas Little Babies, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • June 23 – 24 – Artisan, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • June 30 – July 1 – Artisan, 1 – 4 p.m.

What else can you expect to find in WonderGround Gallery? Well, let me paint you a picture. Not only will you find original artwork on the walls, but you can actually find some of this featured art on an array of items, including limited-edition giclées, deluxe prints, t-shirts, mugs, magnets and more. In addition, look for art-inspired home and lifestyle products, including books, journals, note cards, picture frames, novelty pens, stencils, vases, paperweights and art figures, among other items.


Now, I couldn’t let you go without a sneak peek at a few more pieces of art. Hope you like them!


Are you excited for the opening of WonderGround Gallery at the Downtown Disney District?







Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders and D23 members – you have a special opportunity to experience Cars Land and Buena Vista Street before they open on June 15 at Disney California Adventure park! This is your chance to be among the very first to experience Cars Land and the new Buena Vista Street, ride attractions, purchase merchandise, check out new food and beverages, experience attractions and see entertainment in these new areas. Go here or to D23.com right now for event times and to purchase tickets for the following opportunities on June 9-10:


Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Experience

Ticket Cost: $50 per person (includes a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket to Disney California Adventure park for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders; valid admission ticket required for D23 members). Choose your preview times of 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. OR 1–5 p.m.


Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Experience Followed by a Private “World of Color” Show

Ticket Cost: $75 per person (includes a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket to Disney California Adventure park for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders; valid admission ticket required for D23 members). Choose your preview times of 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. OR 1–5 p.m. Preview time is 6-11 p.m., with a private viewing of “World of Color” at 11:15 p.m.


Dinner at Carthay Circle Restaurant, including Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Experience Followed by Private “World of Color” Show. Dinner on June 9 will feature the Disney Family, and dinner on June 10 will feature John Lasseter.

Dinner at Carthay Circle Restaurant includes a 3-course meal and a special wine presentation. Ticket Cost: $500 per person (includes tax and gratuity)


Dinner experience includes:


  • Experience Cars Land and Buena Vista Street from 6-11 p.m.
  • Preferred boarding on Radiator Springs Racers
  • Private “World of Color” show
  • Complimentary valet parking at Downtown Disney District (full validation will be provided)
  • Commemorative “Storytellers” statuette
  • June 9 dinners will feature a member of the Disney Family and representatives from The Walt Disney Family Museum
  • June 10 dinners will feature John Lasseter
  • 1-Day 1-Park ticket to Disney California Adventure park valid for participant’s use on day of event purchased for D23 members and Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders

Go here or to D23.com for event times and more information, and to reserve your special opportunity to experience Disney California Adventure park!


Event tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable. No ticket upgrades. Ticket purchaser must present credit card used for purchase to pick up tickets. Limited reservations available and scheduled time periods will be strictly enforced. The preview event may include long wait periods, and the attractions, entertainment and services are subject to temporary closures and cancellation at any time. Information subject to restrictions and change without notice.





Today marks the 35th anniversary of the landmark Tomorrowland attraction that became an instant classic when it opened on May 27, 1977.


A variation of a concept Walt Disney developed in the 1960s, Space Mountain first opened at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975. Construction on Space Mountain at Disneyland park began soon after.


In this rare photo, construction continues on Space Mountain in 1976.


I remember riding Space Mountain the week it opened. That day, and in the years that followed, I was fascinated by the “com chat” in the queue. What’s your favorite memory from Space Mountain?




ccf489674LARGE.thumb.jpg.cdb725dabea449017f6b974fe4b3217d.jpgYesterday, Disney California Adventure park guests were able to see the entire exterior of Carthay Circle Theatre for the first time, and today another beautiful park landmark has been revealed. Carthay Circle Fountain is now visible, and as you can see in these brand-new images from Paul Hiffmeyer, it was worth the wait!


In the video below (filmed before the construction walls came down), Imagineer Lisa Girolami gives some insight into the inspiration for this fountain and how it helps tell the story of the Los Angeles that Walt Disney may have discovered when he first arrived.

Come see Carthay Circle for yourself when Buena Vista Street opens on June 15!




If you were photographing two of the most famous residents of Radiator Springs, what location in Cars Land would you choose? What if you didn’t have to choose only one?


For the next few days, I’ll be sharing new photos of Lightning McQueen and Mater inside Cars Land – assuming I can keep up on foot.


These two seemed to know their way around, so I followed them right to the center of it all, on Route 66. This sure looks familiar, doesn’t it?


Remember, you’ll be able to meet them in person at the Cozy Cone Motel beginning June 15. Until then, check back here for more photos of these two pals inside Cars Land.




mat118932LARGE.jpg.76009006ae7f14f5fe4d146e29b26707.jpgContinuing my Cars Land road trip with Lightning and Mater, I caught up with them over by Radiator Springs Racers. This stretch of road has one of the best views of Ornament Valley – and it’s a great place to set a spell and watch some racing.


Then I caught up with Mater outside Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree where I think he had hoped to find a hidden Mickey, but apparently he never saw one. Oh well. Keep looking, Mater.




mln157239LARGE.jpg.bee06a5e80df8ead2f0c2d7cfdf24ce6.jpgAs night fell in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park, I followed Mater and Lightning McQueen back to the center of town to check out the neon lighting up Route 66.


Before we wrapped up our little road trip, you know we had to get a shot over at Flo’s V8 Café. I really like the way the neon over at Flo’s reflects off McQueen’s hood.

What a great time I had spending the day with these two. Don’t forget, beginning June 15, you can meet Lightning and Mater over at the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land.




dca123234LARGE.jpg.69f13e39466f3c384c33f265e1a7d527.jpgThe Happiest Place on Earth is about to get happier – and beginning with arrivals on June 18, 2012, guests staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel can take advantage of Extra Magic Hour* – early admission to either Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park – every day of their stay (with valid theme park admission and active hotel room key card).


Extra Magic Hour will allow registered Disneyland Resort hotel guests admission into select attractions at Disneyland park on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and Disney California Adventure park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, before that park opens to the general public.


This is just one of the many benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel. Explore the others here, and book your stay now here, and see for yourself why the “Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier!”


*Check disneyland.com for schedule of when each park offers Extra Magic Hour. Each registered hotel guest (ages 3 and older) must have a valid theme park ticket and active hotel room key card. To enhance the Extra Magic Hour experience, it is strongly recommended that guests arrive at least one hour and 15 minutes prior to regular park opening. Applicable Theme Park, days and times of operation and all other elements including, but not limited to, operation of attractions, entertainment, stores, restaurants and appearances of characters may vary and are subject to change without notice. Subject to capacity, cancellation and other restrictions.




When it’s officially reopened on June 15, Disney California Adventure park will feature even more Disney than ever before, with our famous cast of characters making special appearances in delightful new entertainment offerings.


Down on Buena Vista Street, it’s the 1920s and 1930s, and you may run into those young upstarts, Chip ‘n’ Dale, who are looking pretty snazzy in spiffy period outfits. Goofy’s got a plaid suit that’s the “cat’s pajamas,” while a new fella named Mickey Mouse has just arrived in town, hoping to make his dreams come true just like his pal, Walt Disney. He might even join the Red Car News Boys for a song and get discovered in the process.


In Hollywood Land, you can kick it Disney-style as “Dancin’ with Disney” takes over Stage 17, inviting you to join some of your favorite characters in a fun-filled, interactive party. From 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. each day this summer, you can step inside for music videos, trivia and surprise character appearances. You never know who might show up!


Over at Paradise Park, the inimitable Goofy becomes maestro extraordinaire, as he dons his topcoat and tails to lead an invisible orchestra during several daily mini-concerts. As he conducts, the fountains of Paradise Bay begin to “dance” to the music, providing dramatic – and often comic – interpretations of the compositions.


Of course, on a visit to the all-new Cars Land, you may just cross paths with two of Radiator Springs’ most famous residents, Lightning McQueen and Mater. Throughout the day, these best pals will be driving through town to the Cozy Cone Motel to make a few new friends.


With all this, plus the return of the Pixar Play Parade and continuing favorites like “Phineas & Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party,” “Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline” and Wilderness Explorers Dug and Russell at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Disney California Adventure park is shaping up to be a Disney character fan’s paradise!




cct118942LARGE.thumb.jpg.814618d78d5e2f9f5e6bff0f14b4121f.jpgThis morning, Disney California Adventure park guests were greeted with a long-awaited sight: the walls that have surrounded Carthay Circle Theatre as it has risen from the south end of Buena Vista Street have finally come down! Paul Hiffmeyer was there, and has brought us the image above, showing the new park icon as guests saw it this morning. Beautiful, right?


Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog to see what else will be revealed at Disney California Adventure park as we get closer to the June 15 Grand Reopening!




They say, “Time flies when you’re having fun!”


Well, I can tell you that working with the Creative Entertainment team at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is an absolute blast! I can hardly believe it’s Memorial Day weekend already. That means summer is here, and it’s time for another update to our award-winning projection show, “The Magic, The Memories and You!”


“The Magic, The Memories and You!” was introduced early last year as part of our “Let the Memories Begin” campaign. It takes place nightly, magically transforming the facades of “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park and Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park and incorporating Disney PhotoPass images of our guests that day making memories. Throughout the year, the creative team has introduced various seasonal enhancements to the show, and for the sequence being added to the show this summer, they’ve really outdone themselves!


“Producers storyboarded the show as if it were a short animated film,” explains Disneyland Resort Creative Director Alan Bruun. “They weaved music, story, photography, video and animation into a new kind of nighttime entertainment.”




During the new sequence, “it’s a small world” becomes everything from a sandcastle to an ancient, vine-covered ruin. Cinderella Castle undergoes similar transformations, “dancing” along to the beat at one point in the show and becoming finger-painted in the style of artist Peter Max during another.


Popular Disney characters show up along the way, too. Look for Goofy surfing and water-skiing across the facades, Timon and Pumbaa singing “Hakuna Matata,” and Ariel and Sebastian’s “hot crustacean band” jamming under the sea. There’s even a cameo appearance by the ultimate boys of summer, Phineas and Ferb.


The new sequence becomes part of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” on May 25, along with many of the most popular, continuing segments of the show. In fact, fans of the “romance” enhancement added in February will be pleased to know it’s slated to continue running throughout the summer, as well.




Joining the Mad T Party this summer? Then make sure you are dressed to a T, or it will be off with your head. Just last month, I gave you a look at some of the art you will find on a selection of tees, but what if I told you these next items will make your head spin?


I love wearing hats! Any color, any style, pretty much anything will do. And if you think I love hats, don’t even get me started on how many jackets I have. So here’s a look at a very fun and oh-so-fashionable Cheshire Cat jacket and some fascinator hats that are going to have you brimming with excitement. These are some “over-the-top” toppers!




“Par T” Trick Tip: Everyone who’s anyone at the Mad T Party will be wearing a hat, so don’t let time run out – find yours fast! Whether you bring it from home or buy one during your stay, it’s important that you look and feel “fe-dora-ble,” smile from “ear to ear” and glow with the show. A hat is a splendiferous way to “top off” your evening.


Now that we have you looking good, let’s make sure you’re feeling good, too. If you are partying the night away and find yourself muttering “it’s time for T” … then try some of our Mad Treats, which are sure to make your tummy feel … (wait for it) … “wonder”-full.

See you on June 15, Par “T” People!

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So "Mad T Party" basically consists of $12 drinks, a crapload of neon, a ridiculous looking DJ, and Skee-Ball?
^Mad T Party would have been much more interesting had they not built it at all...


At least Cars Land continues to look amazing.


That it does! The themeing appears to be so immersive. Though most of the pics we've seen appear to have been taken with a "fish-eye" or "panoramic" lens. I'm really hoping that my AP gets picked for the preview on June 11 (we find out June 4), otherwise it may be some time before I actually tackle the crowds this will produce. Though I will probably head down there after work on the 15th, just to have a glass of wine or two at the winery to watch all the stupidity. (I'm actually assuming at this time, that the park will be closed to reaching capacity limits by the time I would get there - about 7pm.)


For the record - I did like the 2 "Cars" movies. However, I'm really not interested in the two "C" ticket attractions. But, I'm really hoping to like RSR. I'm pretty sure it won't be as cool or as loud as Journey, or as fun as Test Track (My personal favorite Disney ride), but, I am wanting to like it.





(BTW- Mad (shi)T-Party can be tossed and forgotten as far as I'm concerned. It's truly an eyesore during the day, and at night - it's a conglomerate clusterphuck of epic stupidity! AND, because it is mostly locals that attend, I also predict it will start to die off, after people's AP's start to expire, and the peeps can't afford the new prices.)

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We love all the neon signs and the retro restaurants in Cars Land. And wait ‘til you taste the fun and unique meals, snacks and drinks at each of five roadside “wig-wams” in Cars Land. Welcome to Cozy Cone Motel!


Cone #1: Churro bites with cinnamon-chocolate sauce, regular or cinnamon-spiced hot cocoa, and Ramone’s Pear of Dice Soda (desert pear and mojito flavorings topped with Sprite).


Cone #2: Soft-serve ice cream and “route” beer floats.


Cone #3: Breakfast features the bacon scrambled egg cone and scrambled egg verde cone. Lunch and dinner is chili “cone” queso and a chicken verde cone. Sip one of Filmore’s Fuelin’ Groovy Ades (all-natural lemonade with wild berry foam, or pomegranate limeade with lemon-lime foam).


Cone #4: Pretzel bites with cheesy sauce. To drink, Red’s Apple Freeze (100% frozen apple juice with Red’s special flavoring topped with a hint of toasted marshmallow flavor, and passion fruit-mango foam)


Cone #5: With two flavored popcorns daily, you might find salt and vinegar, pickle, bacon and cheddar, sweet and spicy or nacho cheese. Also serving Doc’s Wild Grape Tonic (Sprite with wild grape syrup and wild berry foam).


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The additions to the park, other than the Mad T party, look absolutely stunning. I can't wait to have the chance to check this out some time in late summer or early fall.


On another note, I heard on the radio this morning about the CALIFORNIA letters coming to Cal Expo. I guess it's a fitting enough place for them to end up and I'm glad I'll be able to see them again.

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Did somebody say Bacon Popcorn?!


Uh uh.


Bacon and cheddar popcorn.


Still sounds crazy.


But then - I've had flavoured popcorns

at Tokyo Disney Resort, lol.

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It's nice to see the letters going to Cal Expo. I remember going there a few times in the mid 2000s and I was quite impressed with it.


Also, why did the letters get removed? I really don't see what problem they created.

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Also, why did the letters get removed? I really don't see what problem they created.


Thematically, the old DCA entrance area was supposed to look like a postcard and the CALIFORNIA letters were part of the visual metaphor. Of course, this was lost on most people (as was most of DCA 1.0). Now that the entrance plaza is a much more literal Los Angeles street in the 1920's, the letters don't make as much sense. Also factor in they're trying to wipe the slate clean with DCA and "start fresh".

Logistically, they pushed the turnstyle/entrance out to where the letters used to be.

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^Makes sense. I imagine that the whole "postcard" thing would be something that only theme-park geeks who followed DCA's development on the Internet would get.

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I had a few questions for my second trip to ever Disneyland that I am taking this year. Due to schedule I could only go the week of July 4 this year. I am expecting it to be pretty nuts for at least the 4th.


Are the fireworks a different show for the fourth than on normal nights?


Is there a recommended restaurant that I should make evening reservation for to watch the fireworks from? I am getting my five year old the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Castle Package again this year. I wanted to try to avoid having her in that dress on my shoulders for the whole fireworks show.



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Disneyland and California Adventure both normally do special shows for the 4th. Disneyland is fireworks and California Adventure is World of Color.


As for the restaurant at Disneyland. There are only two that can see the fireworks, but they have obstructed views because of the trees in the center of the hub. The Plaza Inn is a quick service restaurant so they don't take reservations, and the other is Jolly Holiday Bakery and also does not take reservations (Jolly Holiday has a bit of a better view, but less seating). So you have to spend some time staking out a spot you want if its that important to you.


World of Color does offer dining reservations but you eat your meal, and then head to a reserved section to watch the special show. (But because you might end up still holding your daughter to see the show depending on where you stand.)

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Thanks, I am planning on doing the reserved seating once this year for Worlds of Color. We where in the general area last year and could not see everything. Thanks for confirming there a no restaurants with really good views of the fireworks. I was looking at the map of the park prior to posting this. I was not able to find anything that looked good and just wanted to make sure from Disney vets.


Thanks again.

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^If you're looking for a nice place to view the fireworks, I would recommend standing in front of It's A Small World. Although you can't see the castle, it's a good view of the fireworks, and it's also a lot less crowded than the central hub. Plus, you will be able to see the projections on the facade of It's A Small World, which are always very cool.

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I had a few questions for my second trip to ever Disneyland that I am taking this year. Due to schedule I could only go the week of July 4 this year. I am expecting it to be pretty nuts for at least the 4th.


Are the fireworks a different show for the fourth than on normal nights?


Is there a recommended restaurant that I should make evening reservation for to watch the fireworks from? I am getting my five year old the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Castle Package again this year. I wanted to try to avoid having her in that dress on my shoulders for the whole fireworks show.



Your daughter may still need to be on your shoulders, but I HIGHLY recommend taking the train to the main street station and watch the fireworks from there. There will be other people there(I have not attempted it on the 4th) but you will get a clear view of the castle/effects/whatever else.

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