A soggy weekend didn’t stop the crowds from ascending on the Happiest Place on Earth and it certainly didn’t stop progress on various projects on-going at all corners of the property.
Today, we’ll take a look at continuing projects wrapping up including Main Street refurbishments, walkway widening efforts, and more. We’ll stop by Pixar Pier where a bunch of new activity is bringing long-awaited details that did not make it for the launch of the land earlier this year including the Luxo Jr. lamp and small details around the land.
Perhaps the most activity of late is in Downtown Disney where we saw the reopening of Earl of Sandwich is just the beginning of a whole bunch of changes coming. Salt & Straw also finally opened its doors this week serving an eclectic selection of ice cream flavors crafted here in California. Meanwhile, other areas of activity in the shopping district continue along including Ballast Point and Black Craft. Part of World of Disney also reopened this week so we’ll poke around in there, too.
Of course, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the massive new parking structure expansion are also featured. A small merch run also waits for you at the end plus a bunch more in this latest park pictorial update. ENJOY!
After a seemingly odd delay in several features for Pixar Pier’s debut earlier this summer, it seems clear now that the reason we were waiting several months for finishing details on the new land may come down to a matter of the sharp-pencil folks in charge of the purse strings. Starting around October 1 we started to see several of the missing elements in Pixar Pier come into fruition, that not-so-coincidental timing seems perfectly timed with the start of the financial fiscal year. So elements of the “show” seemed to be purposely held back for the sake of spreading the budget across different budgets, seemingly no doubt to look great in spread sheets.
So now fans are seeing a new buzz of activity in the land as various missing elements are finally coming to fruition. Just what exactly? Let’s take a look!
Luxo Jr. AKA “The Pixar Lamp” for those looking for more legal-friendly nomenclature has finally made its debut atop the Pixar Pier marquee but it looks like he’s not ready for the spotlight. A small tag hanging from the yellow bag covering the lamp reads DON’T OPEN YET!
The marquee signage for the LAMPLIGHT LOUNGE has been replaced with this more temporary signage. The original sign, which appeared at the 11th hour for the land’s official debut this year, debuted with half of its neon components missing. It would seem that that sign may be getting its final finishing touches very soon.
Toy Story Midway Mania had a small entrance shift as part of the Pixar Pier makeover and when it reopened there was almost zero indication as to where exactly that entrance actually was. That has now been fixed somewhat with the addition of new signage marking the entrance. It still seems a nice ironwork attraction marquee over these two lamp-posts would be a nice touch. Perhaps there’s more to to be seen?
Signage for the FastPass kiosk for Toy Story Midway Mania and the Incredicoaster. If if you can believe it, this distribution center for two of the park’s most popular attractions had little more than a few small signs and literally paper taped to the kiosks to grant guests their golden ticket onto the attractions.
It’s a lot more obvious what machines are distributing for what attractions.
Pixarmonic Orchestra has a little sign on its bandshell. More details are likely to continue emerging over the coming days and weeks.
For now, there’s still several elements in Pixar Pier that have yet to fully manifest…
Still no Bing Bong.
Although potentially un-needed, there’s no signage over the photo reveal area for the Incredicoaster. It seems distinctly unfinished.
Was almost going to call this the Pixar Fun Wheel but alas it has been officially dubbed the Pixar Pal-A-Round. We took a spin for a bird’s eye view of goings on.
An Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is taking shape on the site of the former Maliboomer. It will soon home the displaced Flik’s Flyers, re-themed for the Pixar favorite.
Jessie’s Critter Carousel was also decidedly pushing into separate budget buckets.
World of Color braves onward towards the future in its much-longer-than-expected refurbishment.
Around Disney California Adventure
Ever rope-drop Disney California Adventure?
Halloween Time is still in full swing.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 3D sneak preview made its debut. Unlike previous releases, there’s no costume display nor use of the theater’s 4D effects. Not even the side panels on the theater’s edges are used! It doesn’t seem to bode well optically for Disney’s confidence in the film.
YET, after seeing this preview I have to say I was honestly pleasantly surprised. Although the commercials really seem to market this as almost literally Alice in Wonderland 3, the film would likely fare better in targeting families more directly. There’s a subtle sweetness to some of the moments showcased in the film that seem a little richer than the CG-fest in the marketing would seem to imply. We’re remaining cautiously optimistic here!
A new selfie wall has appeared at the exit for the preview.
Hard to see any obviously physical changes at a bug’s land. If only I was a pretty little bumblebee I could take to the skies and get a better look.
Forgot my zooming camera this weekend. >,<
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
It’s BUSY and will likely only get more so as we draw closer to Halloween and people try to get in their last Halloween Time photos. The Mickey Jack-O-Lantern remains an ever popular destination.
Refurbishment work on the Main Street exteriors is nearly complete.
Meanwhile there’s still some work yet to do at the Enchanted Tiki Room which reopened recently.
A new wheelchair accessible ramp has appeared on the lanai making it easier for guests to get into the attraction. For now, it is the means of both exit and entrance to the attraction until the Tropical Hideaway opens up and can accommodate all exiting guests.
The existing area was reworked quite well to accommodate the changes. Tiki god Koro has moved a little closer to Maui.
The stairs at the entrance were reworked slightly. The yellow safety line has been done artfully so with tiles instead of the standard reflective tape. A really really nice touch. The central railing has also been removed.
The clunky lift that was formerly the means of assisting those who couldn’t navigate the steps is being removed.
The floors were redone with a strange new flooring that isn’t bad but looks a little fake.
The exit walkway is much wider now than it was before.
Tropical Hideaway seems to have had zero visible progress in several weeks.
Frontierland walkway to Fantasyland is currently closed.
Walls are down around the Frontierland entrance and while walkways are not any wider the pond is most certainly much much smaller. It’s unclear if the goal is to eventually widen the walkways but for now the footprint of the waterways is significantly smaller. Still looks great though.
Matterhorn continues along through its refurbishment.
Small World Toy Shop continues along.
Walls are down on the motor boat landing. Hard to tell what happened than perhaps new flooring and the removal of the benches? Also notice that Monorail blue is free of the Pixar Fest promo wrap!
You don’t say.
Salt & Straw and Sweet & Spendy
Salt & Straw is finally here! The location offers crafted ice cream flavors with unique flavors and twists beyond what you’ll get at your local Haagen Dazs. Read our full posting for menu description and more!
World of Disney
The eastern end of World of Disney has opened up following its refurbishment and the western end has once again closed. It was the first segment of the store to go down for the renovation and it appears it is now getting its finishing touches ahead of the complete relaunch of the new shopping destination. From the details we can gather inside it appears that the backstory for the location is that of a train depot that was eventually taken over by a bunch of animators and artists bringing to life the fabulous new world of Disney.
Around the Resort
Earl of Sandwich is back. Are you excited?
Meanwhile, more openings are on the way for Downtown Disney.
Black Craft and Ballast Point will be sharing the massive complex that once occupied Ridemakerz and Build-A-Bear.
Looks like the roof of Wetzel’s Pretzels will become a new dining patio.
Wetzel’s returns soon.
Looks like a new seating area is being crafted for Napolini when it returns. A new planter with benches has also been added replacing a planter that offered seating before. We expect the small patio to feature some much-needed tables for the area. We suspect it won’t be enough.
With Earl of Sandwich returning it begs the question of what will happen to the other shuttered locations in Downtown Disney including the Starbucks, ESPN Zone, AMC Theatre, and Rainforest cafe.
I’m still holding my breath for Rainforest Cafe to become Adventurer’s Club West.
Fourth Hotel Canceled
The fourth Disneyland Hotel project faced a litany of setbacks over the past year including some public spats with the city of Anaheim over disagreements on the terms of the new project. Ultimately, the OC Register confirmed that the doomed project has in fact been ended.
“Sky Bridge” was the big buzz term being bandied about before Disney ended up nixing the Eastern Gateway Project at the Disneyland Resort but now we have confirmation that a bridge is still on the way to the Happiest Place on Earth, just not in the location we expected!
Light-up popcorn cauldrons are back.
Coin purse. With sequins.
Rose Gold Minnie.
Halloween Time Treats
So much to eat! See our full pictorial for more info and details!
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