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7/17/09 - My thoughts and observations from Fridays trip to the Disneyland Resort, including a recap of the D23 event
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7/17/09 - My thoughts and observations from Fridays trip to the Disneyland Resort, including a recap of the D23 event

* After you read this report you may want to check out the pictorial updates in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Hello all,

Friday marked Disneylands 54th birthday. The weather was great, the crowds were average, and the D23 event was a blast! Even though it was Disneylands 54th for some reason I ended up at DCA for much of the afternoon with the Blue Sky Cellar and construction shots. The lines at DCA were mile, most of the big attractions in the 30-45 minute range when we walked by. The Fun Wheel was back to a 20 minute wait or so too this trip. Bugsland had near walk ons or one cycle waits for all four attractions in the mid afternoon.

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Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Disneyland & DCA Thoughts and Observations:

  • We ate lunch at the Taste Pilots Grill in DCA. They had regular french fries on Friday instead of the normal criss-cut fries. It was too busy to talk to any of the CMs to see if this is a new permanent change or a trial or just because of a problem. Anyone out there know anything??

  • Thursday the Blue Sky Cellar re-opened with a new exhibit focused on the World of Color, so Friday while at the resort I dedicated some time to walking through the new exhibit. I really enjoyed watching the new film and taking in the new artwork. I need to go back a couple more times to really soak it up though, I had to keep moving this time through to keep up with my group. I think its great that they are taking the time to update the preview center with new exhibits throughout the construction timeline. World of Color is definitely going to be impressive. Thursday there was also a press release with World of Color information. Click here to view it

  • We made it over to Disneyland in the mid afternoon and hung out for a while on Main Street, drinking some cold water and just taking in the sights. I did not have time to really walk the park this trip, so not much to report.

  • Overall it was a very low key birthday for Disneyland. Cast Members all had birthday buttons on, and at 4:45 a crowd gathered in Town Square for a replay of the parks dedication. They had a couple of announcements on Main Street for the dedication event as well as a couple of signs, but no other real promotion for the event. I understand not putting it in the times guide its it is only one day and one time, but you would think there would be an insert or if nothing else it should have gone on the website.

    The Mayor of Main Street, Mickey, Minnie, and the Disneyland Band came out for the ceremony. It was a brief show, very similar to the one that used to run daily during the 50th. As well as last years 53rd show. The Mayor spoke for a bit, they replayed Walts dedication then it ended with a bird release and song.

  • Friday evening there was a D23 event at the park entitled Disneyland U.S.A. This is the second D23 event I was able to attend and again the folks at D23 and this time the Disneyland Resort, really put on a great event. They went above and beyond to make sure you had a great time and to really show off a bit for us. This event was described on the D23 website as:

    Join D23 as we wish Disneyland a happy anniversary with a very special screening backstage at Disneyland of Walt Disneys recently restored 1956 People and Places featurette Disneyland, U.S.A., along with a panel discussion including Imagineer Tony Baxter, Disney Legend and Chief Archivist Dave Smith and Disney Studios Film Archivist Ed Hobelman. Then enjoy a dessert reception with your fellow D23 members, along with some very special surprises throughout the night!*

    This description alone sounded great.. but the special surprises really put it over the top. They included a second great panel, a brief talk by someone from the Disneyland Fireworks team, a goodie bag, and reserved space to watch Magical.

  • Here is a quick run down of the event.
    • We were asked to check in between 3:00 and 5:30pm in the Esplanade, near the Group Sales window. They had a table set up. Upon showing your D23 membership card and photo ID you were issued a wristband as well as a packet containing tickets to the park, a Fastpass(good for one Fastpass attraction, any time this afternoon), a schedule for the evening, a celebration button, and a letter about the film. We were asked to be near the Small World parade gate by 6:00pm.
    • A large group of orange wristband wearing D23 guests were assembled in the area near Small World around 5:45. Right around 6:00pm we were escorted backstage through the gate, past the round house, and out to a lot near the central fireworks launch location. Preparation work for tonights show was going on in the launch cage. Someone from the team came over to speak with us and share some information about fireworks at the Disneyparks, the Magical show, and then answer our questions. During the discussion he confirmed there was going to be a new Halloween show also that Remember was coming back (but he was not sure which version). He said the plan as they know it is to go to four seasonal shows (the three mentioned above plus Holiday Believe).
    • Then we were escorted over to the Team Disney building and we lined up to head into the auditorium. While waiting CMs passed out goodie bags for us to have a snack (see the picture in the photo update of what was included). We then were let in and handed a program for the event.
    • Steven Clark and Mickey Mouse kicked off the event and introduced the moderator for the event Tim O'Day (Disney Author/Historian). Tim then introduced the first panel that included Dave Smith (Walt Disney Archives), Tony Baxter (Walt Disney Imagineering) and Ed Hobelman (Walt Disney Pictures). They spoke about the film we were going to be seeing in a few minutes and the restoration process involved in bringing it back to life.
    • Then the film played in its entirety for us.
    • After the film Tim took the stage again and this time introduced a new panel. This one included Jack Lindquist (Retired Disneyland President and Disney Legend), Bob Gurr (Retired Walt Disney Imagineer and Disney Legend) as well as Geri Bumpass (Former Disneyland Guest Relations Hostess). They discussed working at the park, working with Walt, and some of their favorite memories.
    • After their discussion we were then allowed to take photos of the group before heading outside and back to the park. We were escorted through the crowds and to the Plaza Pavilion which had been reserved for us. There were cupcakes and drinks waiting. The panel members joined in with the group and were able to ask question, get pictures, autographs, and just hang out until Magical started.
    • After the fireworks the event was over and we headed for the exit via the backstage walkway behind Main Street which was open due to the crowds on Main Street.

  • As you could tell from this description is was a full event and the D23/Disneyland team really came up with a fun agenda for all. I should have tried to count seats in the auditorium, but I would say the group was under 200 people in total. During the reception, on the tram, and via some emails since Friday I have spoken with several others who attended and everyone seems in agreement that it was a great event and we all cannot wait to see what is next. The D23 team has really set a high threshold for these events with this one and the Studio/Archive tour. My only regret from the evening is that we were not allowed to take more pictures so I could share it with you. There was an events photographer as well as two video cameras rolling during the panels so maybe D23 will be posting more from the event on their website.

  • Interesting Web Notes:
    This is a new idea I am trying out (so drop me a line and let me know what you think). In this section of the Geekspeaks column I will include links, notes, and rumors I find/stumble across/or have been informed of.

    • Last week there were several press releases issued ranging from the Blue Sky Cellar to the Walt Disney Museum, so if you have not been keeping up with the recent news stop by our Press Release section for more information.
    • The Halloween fireworks and Space Mountain overlay were both confirmed on the D23 website - click here
    • Several Websites had a description of a new Segway Tour for EPCOT posted... this sounds like the tour we heard several CMs talking about when we were at WDW in May. Here is the description:

      Discover the wonder of nature-inspired design as you glide through land, sea and air at Epcot®.  This 3-hour backstage tour allows you to experience the symbiotic relationship between nature and the nature-inspired designs incorporated into Epcot® pavilions and attractions.  Glide over California on Soarin’™, tour the greenhouses at The Land pavilion, explore The Seas with Nemo & Friends® and visit Life Support scientists to learn how technology helps us maintain a better balance with nature.

      After completing a required product overview and training, you will be equipped with a helmet and a Segway® Personal Transporter X-2 to experience this unique off-road tour. Epcot® Cast Member scientists share how their work environments are inspired by nature’s own design and how they use evolving technologies to maintain a balance with the world around them.  After experiencing “air, land and sea” you will have the opportunity to ride your Segway® X-2 in a designated off-road backstage area at Epcot®.

    • The LA Times Travel Blog had a run down of the World of Color show sequences:

    • Disneygeek.com new media links:

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Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

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