Friday, July 04, 2008

Say Hello to Mark VII!

There's a new addition at Disneyland, and it isn't in the form of a roller coaster or dark ride. Instead, the latest attraction to open at the park is the brand new Mark VII Red Monorail, which took its first guests for a ride July 3.

Photographs by Joshua Sudock for The Orange County Register

Fitting for Anaheim's notorious high temperatures, the Mark 7 is air conditioned and features blue windows, though it is unlikely that guests will be allowed to open the windows.

Were you lucky enough to be one of Mark VII's first guests, or are you preparing to ride the monorail soon? Tell me about your experience!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Update of the Future

Anybody remember the Innoventions Dream Home that was scheduled to open in May 2008? I didn't think so. Well, the house is nearly up and running, with previews for the media and Annual Passholders being held last week.

Photographs by Frank Anzalone for

However, Disney noted that the Dream House is falling behind schedule (which, if you look at the calender, will have already noticed), and cast members say the attraction likely won't open until early July.

Frank Anzalone of MousePlanet was one of the lucky guests able to tour the Dream Home last week, and he shared many photos on the website. The entire set is available on

In other news, Disneyland's birthday is coming up quickly - July 17 is the 53rd anniversary of the park. Mark your calenders!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Disney News You Could Use (June 8—June 15)

Disneyland fans are anxiously awaiting the grand opening of Disney's Caliornia Adventure's Toy Story Midway Mania, scheduled for June 17. Certain Annual Passholders were given special previews of the attraction last week, and a large media event will take place on June 16—17.

The queue area of Toy Story Midway Mania.

With the press coverage this attraction has received lately, DCA recently opened two new food stands on the boardwalk. Hot Dog Hut, located near the Sun Wheel, sells hot dogs, chips, and drinks, while The Midway's Best Bites (directly across the boardwalk from the attraction) offers items like turkey legs and chimichangas.

Going to Disneyland this summer? Plan on riding Indiana Jones Adventure? If you've been keeping an eye on Disneyland's park information calendar, which stated that the attraction would be closed for refurbishment the entire summer, you might have considered dropping your vacation plans.

For July 4, one of the busiest days at Disneyland, the only attraction closure is "it's a small world."

Well, that's not necessary now, because the apparent mistake has been fixed on Disneyland's official website. However, some speculate that the attraction will close near the end of the summer for a much-needed refurbishment.

In any case, this can only mean one thing for Disneyland fans: It's time to jump into an Indy jeep and look into the eye of Mara as many times as you can!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Got Indy?

With the recent hype surrounding Indiana Jones, it was only a matter of time before Disneyland got involved. Now, in the land of adventure (Adventureland), Indy has left his mark in several places.

The Indiana Jones Summer of Hidden Mysteries, as described in a press release from the Disneyland Resort, began on May 22 and will last throughout the summer. The new attraction comes just as the latest Indy film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released, and includes everything from a new photo location to a storytelling center.

Frantic scenes like this may quickly become more common in Adventureland. Disney, 2008.

Features of the Indiana Jones Summer of Hidden Mysteries

Random Acts of Indy: Where, you guessed it, Indy himself makes random appearances in every nook and cranny of Adventureland. Wonder if this would include his popular attraction, also in Adventureland?

Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Stone Tiger: Taking the place of Aladdin's Oasis (located between the Enchanted Tiki Room and Tropical Imports) is this storytelling session, where guests participate in code games in a quest to uncover Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones Adventure Map: Just as the title reads, a map leading guests to find symbols and objects throughout Adventureland. Once the treasure is discovered, guests are able to go on Disneyland's official website to get Indy surprises.

Indiana Jones Meets the Jungle Cruise: The Jungle Cruise, one of Disneyland's original attractions, is getting a touch of Indy for the summer. What exactly is a surprise, but it's bound to be full of adventure.

New Indy Photo Location: Because there is no such thing as having too many photo locations, Disneyland has added a new, Indy-themed spot, where guests can pose next to a so-called "giant rolling boulder."

Rolling boulders, random acts of Indy, an Indy-themed Jungle Cruise? Sounds dangerous, but we've come to expect that from Indiana Jones.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Welcome to the Not-So-Happiest Place on Earth

For most people visiting Disneyland, the last thing they'd want is to commit suicide. Yet, just before noon today (Friday), a man jumped from his balcony on the 14th floor of the Disneyland Hotel.

Windows at the Disneyland Hotel. Brave Heart on, 2005.

Reports say the man was in Anaheim on business, but it is not said whether he visited Disneyland or was simply staying in the hotel.

Although this undoubtedly is a very unfortunate case, I myself am left wondering his reasons for committing suicide, and especially for doing so at Disneyland. Regardless, best wishes to his family at this obviously tough time.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Disney News You Could Use (April 6 - April 13)

There's surprisingly little to mention in this weekly update, although one older story, having recently been brought up again on MousePlanet, is making headlines. The story in question is the confirmed end of Disney's California Adventure's Maliboomer attraction.

Say goodbye to the 180' tall Maliboomer. Andy Castro on, 2007.

According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, the Maliboomer, located in DCA's Paradise Pier area, will removed no later than 2011. Additionally, the Mulholland Madness attraction will be refurbished for a Goofy theme, reportedly called "Goofy's Sky School." This change will also occur by 2011.

With the addition of Toy Story Mania this summer, it seems DCA is getting quite the makeover. And it doesn't come cheap, as expected: The LA Times says the entire deal costs over $1.1 billion.

So, will it all be worth it? We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wait, where's the weekly update?

My apologies for the lack of updates this past week. I've been a bit busy and keep forgetting to post here. Don't worry, however, as I'm working on an update for the next few days!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Disney News You Could Use (March 23 - March 30)

This past week at Disneyland saw painfully high levels of crowds, with Wednesday and Thursday reaching capacity levels. This is likely due to many students having their spring break at this time. After all, what's better than visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for your vacation?

Imagine staying in a place like this! Bill Stevens, 2008.

However, for guests like, say, Bill Stevens, the crowds probably weren't a huge issue. That's because Bill and his family won a stay in the park's Dream Suite this last Thursday, as part of the 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway.

Along with staying in the suite, Bill Stevens was named the Honorary Grand Marshall of the parade. Bill Stevens, 2008.

Bill posted hundreds of photos of his trip, which you can view on his SmugMug album. Congratulations to Bill and his family, as only a handful of people can say they've stayed in the Dream Suite!

Friday, March 28, 2008

We could call it Rossii Disnejlend...

Although there's no current plans to open a theme park in the country, fashion magazine Vogue Russia recently featured a spread with Minnie Mouse, leading me to think of what Disneyland Russia (if there ever was one) would look like.

Model Masha Tyelna and Minnie Mouse ham it up in Moscow. Vogue Russia, 2008.

The characters would likely dress in traditional Russian fashion, restaurants could serve potatoes, borsch, and kasha (porridge), and rides would be set in buildings like those in Red Square. Sounds pretty nice, right?

Well, for now there's little official talk of a Russian Disneyland. However, fans of Disney will note that it's always interesting to discuss the possibility!

That being said, how would you all feel about a Disneyland Russia? Or is there another location where Disney would fit in better (like those listed in the current poll)?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Disney News You Could Use (March 16 - March 23)

What's going on in Disneyland this week? Quite a bit, actually, with several stories making headlines. One in particular is causing debate among a family you'd least expect.

Notice the lack of "Toy Story" in the sign. Darkbeer on, 2008.

The entrance for DCA's Toy Story Mania is nearly complete, with a sign recently installed. The attraction is set to open this summer.

Also in the news is Disney's plans to add new characters to the beloved "it's a small world," including Mickey Mouse, Lilo and Stich, and Nemo. This is causing controversy among some fans who are reluctant to see the attraction change. Personally, I'm fine with this, as long as Disney doesn't go overboard and keeps it in moderation.

However, the family of Small World's creator, Mary Blair, wrote a letter to Disney stating their concern over this move.

Mary Blair, an artist, worked on "it's a small world" by special request from Walt Disney himself. Disney, 1941.

"Ripping out a rain forest...and replacing it with misplaced patriotism [rumors say Disney will add an American scene to the attraction] is a public relations blunder so big you could run a Monorail through it," Blair's son Kevin Blair said.

How do you all feel about this? Certainly not as outraged as the Blair family, I would imagine.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Whipping Good Time

What's bright yellow, expensive, and an essential part of Disneyland? No, I'm not talking about the submarines, but Dole Whips!

Dole Whips come in a float form (left) or in the classic cup (right). nostkim8805 on, 2007.

For those not in the (pineapple-y) loop, Dole Whips are frozen desserts sold at Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room. They're also available as a float, which is basically the same thing with more pineapple juice.

Why are these cups of frozen yogurt so popular, anyway? Part of the reason is probably due to the intense heat at Disneyland. Eating a cold Dole Whip helps relieve the beating sun, if only for a moment.

Have you ever caved in and bought a Dole Whip? What did you think, and how would you compare them to churros, another Disneyland food staple?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Here's Your Queue

As anyone who's visited Disneyland will assure you, waiting in line is a huge part of the Disney experience. But do you ever really look around to see where exactly you're doing the waiting?

The waiting areas of attractions in the park, typically called "queue areas" or simply "queues," are designed to hold hundreds of guests in a neat line while simultaneously keeping them entertained. So how does Disney do it?

Indiana Jones Adventure isn't considered the best queue in Disneyland for nothing. Brian Rechenmacher on, 2007.

One of the more popular queue areas, Indiana Jones Adventure (pictured above), is nearly 1/2 a mile long, and undoubtedly one of the most well themed. Along the way, there are plenty of surprises and details to keep guests amused. I'll let you figure them out for yourself, though!

Another interesting queue is Space Mountain, where you can observe guests as they board the ride cars. This can be viewed as a negative aspect, however, since many guests become distracted and don't move forward in the line!

My personal favorite queue is Indiana Jones Adventure, and I get the feeling I'm not alone. What about you all? Which queue is best, and which is in dire need of improvement?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Poll Results: What's Your Favorite Land in Disneyland?

The architecture in New Orleans Square is a key factor in its popularity. jericl cat on, 2008.

I apologize for not updating in recent weeks. I've been in San Francisco recently (which is nowhere near Disneyland, unfortunately), so I haven't had the chance to post here. But I'm back home, so be prepared for plenty of updates!

Well, the results are in, and you've all made it clear: New Orleans Square is the preferred land of my readers! Fantasyland came in second, with only half the votes, while Main Street and Adventureland tied for third.

Thanks for voting in the poll, and be sure to check out this week's new question!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Views from Disneyland Hotels

When deciding on which Disney hotel to stay in, some people first compare prices. Others look at the room sizes, amenities, and location. But what about the view a particular hotel has to offer? Does this thought ever cross your mind when planning a vacation?

The three hotels in the Disneyland Resort - the Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel - all share differences in pricing and special offers. But the biggest difference comes when you compare the view outside their windows.

The Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel: Is that Space Mountain I see?, 2008.

When you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, you're greeted with fantastic angles of every area in the Resort: Disneyland Park, Disney's California Adventure, and Downtown Disney. You can observe people as they hop on the Monorail just as easily as you can watch the fireworks in Disneyland at night. It's the classic hotel, so it's only natural to have the classic views.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Grand Californian Hotel: The perfect way to end a day in Disneyland. Personal photo, 2007.

It's famous (infamous, even) for having some of the highest prices in Disneyland Resort, so technically Disney's Grand Californian Hotel should have some of the best photo opportunities, right? Well, yes. Depending on where you're at in the hotel, you've got the chance for some amazing views. You can see the entire DCA layout, watch the Disneyland Monorail whiz by, or observe the nightlife in Downtown Disney.

I've stayed at GCH three times in the past, so I've been able to experience each of these (well, except for the Monorail - I haven't been able to see that yet), and can easily say they're well worth the price. Plus, at night you've got a front row seat of the fireworks in Disneyland!

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

Paradise Pier Hotel: Wow, I think I can see my house from here!, 2005.

And lastly, the often forgotten Paradise Pier Hotel. Cons aside, this hotel has some amazing views of not only DCA, but Anaheim as a whole. It wasn't named after the section of DCA for nothing, after all! In addition, guests are able to have a bird's-eye view of any parade happening in Disneyland's sister park.

So, what's your verdict? Tell me which hotel you think has the "best" view for the price!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What's your favorite land in Disneyland?

Frontierland is just one of your options for this poll! Personal photo, 2005.

In case you haven't already, here's a friendly reminder to vote on the new poll feature concerning your favorite land in the Happiest Place on Earth. Do you prefer the classic Fantasyland, or are you more attracted to the cinnamon smells of Main Street, U.S.A.? Vote now!

After the poll is over, I will write up a post discussing the results and what my answer would be. I plan on creating a new poll every two weeks, so if you've got any ideas for questions, leave me a comment!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New look, same blog

As you may have noticed, the Disneyland Expert has a shiny new look. Finally, there's some color! And a background! Plus, I've added a neat Digg button, so you can recommend my posts to people all over the Internet. It'd be much appreciated!

Let me know your feedback on the updated layout. Also, I'm looking for interesting story ideas, so any of those would be welcomed as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's Going On in Disneyland

On February 8, Disney's California Adventure turned 7 years old! As expected, this occasion brought to light the usual debate over DCA, and many Disney websites are dishing out their thoughts on the good and bad qualities of Disneyland's sister park. What do you all think? Is DCA enjoyable for you, or do you simply walk past the entrance when you're in Disneyland?

Make sure to wish DCA a Happy Birthday! Miro-Foto on, 2008.

In other news, the Associated Press recently announced that Disneyland, along with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and others, will collaborate to build a new version of the 1957 "House of the Future," this time referred to as the Innoventions Dream Home. The Tomorrowland attraction is set to open in May 2008.

On a side note, here are the latest ride closures in Disneyland: King Arthur Carrousel (closed for repairs; opening date unknown), and the Matterhorn Bobsleds (testing and basic repairs; closed February 25 - 27).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More information than you'd ever need on the new Toy Story attraction!

The New York Times published an extensive article today on Disney's California Adventure, discussing its unpopularity among guests (compare 6 million visitors/year to Disneyland's 15 million), and plans for refurbishment.

Disney cast members take a test spin on Toy Story Mania. J. Emilio Flores for the New York Times, 2008.

However, one of the more notable features of the piece was the staggering amount of information on DCA's new attraction, Toy Story Mania. If you've visited DCA recently, it's clear that something major is being built. Now, though, we've got plenty of information to help better imagine what exactly is going on!

  • Toy Story Mania will open in June 2008, after over three years of planning, designing, and building.
  • The attraction is estimated to cost $80 million.
  • The ride is designed to put guests "inside a video game," by having riders wear 3-D glasses and play "virtual-reality versions of classic carnival games" on large screens.
  • If you plan on working at Toy Story Mania, be prepared: Your costume will be based off the outfits of "Toy Story" characters.
  • Mr. Potato Head himself will star as a 5'0" tall animatronic figure in the attraction queue of Toy Story Mania. Spoiler Alert: Much like DCA's Monsters, Inc. ride, where a cast member-controlled animatronic figure of "Roz" makes specific comments about riders, Mr. Potato Head will talk to guests waiting in line.

The original article is much longer than this entry, and features more information about DCA in general. If you'd like to read more, here's the link.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The cats residing in Disneyland

Surely you've heard of mice in Disneyland (one named Mickey, in particular), but cats? And lots of them?

Can you spot the cat here?, 2001.

Yes, it's true: Disneyland is home to many cats, and has been since the 1960s or so. Years ago, when building the now-defunct Sleeping Beauty Castle walk through, over 100 of them were discovered hiding in the castle. Instead of letting them go elsewhere, Disneyland decided to keep the animals and allow them to stay in the park. After all, they controlled the rodent problem (just don't tell Mickey)!

So now, in the year 2008, the rare cat can still be spotted hanging around Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or near the queue of Indiana Jones Adventure. If you really want to catch one, keep your eyes peeled during the night hours - that's when they're most likely to make an appearance.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This and That

Nothing major to report on this week at Disneyland, as we're heading towards the off-season and the park is full of various construction projects. Here's the latest on those projects, and more.

Darkbeer uploaded this interesting photo last week, showing a new entrance being built from part of the Grand Californian Hotel's Whitewater Snacks. However, it turns out this will only serve as an emergency exit, not an additional entrance to Disney's California Adventure.

Visitors to Disneyland will notice a drastic change in the Mickey Mouse floral garden, which has recently been adorned by Tinkerbell's pixie dust! The effect is especially spectacular at night. Thanks to MiceChat for this photo.

Another set of pictures from Darkbeer, this time of the new Disneyland Dream Suite in New Orleans Square! What do you all think of the overall look to the suite? I, while jealous of anyone able to stay there, am still upset over the loss of the Disney Gallery!

Hopefully something really interesting will come up so I can update more frequently, but for now just sit tight and enjoy these construction updates!

P.S. - On a non-related note, this blog has officially been running for a year now! Thanks for all your support and visits, and here's to another great year of Disneyland news and information.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A quick update!

Mickey and I would like to apologize for not updating at all this year!, 2005.

I'm really sorry for not keeping this blog up-to-date lately; I'm smack-dab in the middle of finals, so I have little time to check for the latest Disneyland news. Come next week, however, I'll hopefully be able to update more frequently. Stay tuned!

A few things worth mentioning:
- "it's a small world" closes January 22 until October for refurbishment. (More information about what exactly they'll change.)
- The Jungle Cruise is also closed from January 28-March 7 for refurbishment.
- Monsters, Inc. (in Disney's California Adventure) is closed until Valentine's Day, February 14, for the same reason.
- Looking for a dream job? How about becoming an official Disney Chief Magic Official? If you get accepted, make sure to tell everyone that the Disneyland Expert told you first!