Disneyland News Update

27 May

Oh, man, there is so much going on at the Disneyland Resort this week; it’s killing me not to be there to check out firsthand all the new stuff.

First of all, the new Star Tours has unofficially opened. The attraction has been running sporadically throughout the week for “soft” openings, and lucky guests who were in the right place at the right time have been allowed on to give it a go.

General consensus has been pretty positive (read the L.A. Times review of the attraction here). Reviewers claim that the ride is fresh and fun, and that the 3D is an enhancement, and not a hindrance (unlike most 3D).

Photo via MiceChat.com

Now, I’m one of those people who normally hates spoilers, but I will make a giant exception for Disneyland rides. Therefore, I watched the following video taken from one of the first flights of the newly updated attraction.

If you want to wait to experience Star Tours for yourself, don’t watch the video; otherwise skip to about 9:30, unless you want to see the queue/boarding stuff (also, be aware it’s blurry thanks to the 3D thing).

So the cool thing about the new Star Tours is that each ride is meant to be different: multiple scenes were shot, meaning you might end up in Tatooine, or you could end up in Hoth. Apparently there are 54 ride variations, so multiple rides will be required to see everything.

Also conducting “soft” openings this week is the new The Little Mermaid dark ride at Disney California Adventure. Like Star Tours, a video featuring the full ride is already on YouTube, and, again, I watched it. My first impression is that the ride is cute, but definitely a one-timer, like Finding Nemo. Decide for yourself:

I’m sure everything is more impressive in person, but I’m wondering if the Imagineers spent too much time on Ariel’s hair and not enough time putting together a cohesive story.

Also debuting this week is Disneyland’s newest parade, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. If you guessed that there’s a YouTube video, and that I watched it, you are correct, sir.

I know everyone loves a parade, but I really only mildly enjoy a parade. Again, this is something I probably need to see in person to fully feel the effect of, but my first impression is one of slight disappointment. I don’t need literal bells and whistles and drumlines, I just want to see some damn Disney characters walking down the street — the more the better.

I’m confused by the odd selection of characters present in this parade. All of the princesses (save Ariel and Tiana) are stuck on one float trying to out-wave each other. The Lion King float includes Simba (no Timon, Pumbaa, Nala or Rafiki), and then random characters like King Louis (where’s Baloo?) and that gorilla from Tarzan whose name I can’t remember. I know there’s a storehouse of old character costumes somewhere — I want to see more characters!

The one float I truly am amazed by is the Mary Poppins float, which just looks cool, and is something I definitely want to see in person:

Photo via MiceChat.com

Photo via MiceChat.com

The parade is getting thumbs up from those who have seen it, so I will work hard to keep my naysaying under control until I too have seen the parade.

Another recent addition to the resort is a new bar and restaurant that opened Wednesday at the Disneyland Hotel. Replacing Hook’s Pointe, the new Tangaroa Terrace is a restaurant on one side, with Trader Sam’s, a bar, on the other.

Apparently the theming for these places is amazing. Trader Sam’s features elements from the Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones and more.

Photo via MiceChat.com

Photo via MiceChat.com

Photo via MiceChat.com

I’ve read that ordering certain drinks sets off certain surprises at the bar. I’d tell you what those surprises are, but I didn’t bother learning much about them so I can be, you know, surprised, when I order them.

One surprise I’m not all that thrilled about: the addition of actor Ian McShane (Blackbeard from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. PotC is the most iconic attraction at Disneyland, and it is being used as a billboard for Disney’s craptastic movie franchise. Check it out:

Blackbeard replaces the image of Bill Nighy as Davy Jones, which was bad enough. This snoozeworthy addition is just ridiculous. I can’t wait for the time when Disneyland is done pushing these movies, and returns the Pirates to its original glory. [/rant]

So. Hard to believe all of these changes have taken place just this week at the resort. And the changes aren’t finished yet. Set to open this weekend is the new Monorail-themed waterslide at the Disneyland Hotel:

Photo via MiceChat.com

And, at DCA, Goofy’s Sky School (the former Mulholland Madness), which is having the finishing touches added before it opens in July.

Photo via MiceChat.com

I won’t be able to go to Disneyland anytime in the forseeable future, so if it weren’t for sites like MiceChat and the Disney Parks blog, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the changes at my favorite place. I highly recommend checking these sites out any time you need a Disneyland fix.

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