Tyler's movie reviews

Tyler's movie reviews

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Fresh Look at the Latest Disneyland Resort Expansion 9/1/2016

It has been a little over a year since I last tackled how to do expansions at the Disneyland Resort, and now we have a little more of an idea of what Disney is thinking in regards to locations for where intellectual properties are being built as well as which intellectual properties are coming to the parks. First I'll go over what Disney has officially announced since my last post, then I'll go over all of my ideas based on that as well as some of the rumors for both ride and entertainment offerings)

What Disney Has Announced:

Disneyland Park:

  • Star Wars Land was announced at the D23 expo last summer. Now I was a little right about a Star Wars area being built, I was just wrong about where. It is being built along the backside of Disneyland's Rivers of America (The northwest corner) and will connect what is currently a dead end in Critter Country to the outskirts of Frontier land. However to do this massive undertaking they are also re-routing the Disneyland Railroad, shortening Tom Sawyer's Island, and re-routing the back end of the Rivers of America to accommodate space for Star Wars Land.
  • Star Wars Land is the biggest expansion to Disneyland Park in its history at an impressive 14 acres and is going to be as immersive as Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. This massive new area of the park is being built on mostly what used to be backstage area, though the Big Thunder Ranch did have to close to make way for the access point from Frontier Land to Star Wars.
  • With the re-routing of the Rivers of America as well as the Disneyland Railroad it is rumored that there will be a new marina to store all the barges/floats for Fantasmic!, the current marina is mostly hidden from guests however with a keen eye you can see it from the Disneyland Railroad because you'll see the top of Tic-Toc. The rumor is that the new Fantasmic! marina will be under Star Wars Land completely hidden from guests and that the entrance to the Rivers of America will be hidden by a waterfall, not unlike the entrance to a Bond villain lair.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Disneyland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sound. The Main Street Electrical Parade. returning to Disneyland in early 2017 for the first time since 1996 (to be fair it did return to the resort only in California Adventure from 2001-2010 but this is the first time it has returned to Disneyland's Main Street since '96). In the announcement it says the parade will be here for a limited time so it could be as short a run as January-May, June, or July when Fantasmic! returns.
  • Also announced this summer was the brand new Frightfully Fun Parade to debut at Mickey's Halloween Party this year. The new parade will be led by the Headless Horseman, then you will be greeted by Jack Skellington (the Pumpkin King) and the inhabitants of Halloween Town. You will also see the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion come to life (sounds like this part is being cloned from WDW's Boo To you Parade). After that Dr. Facillier will summon his sinister shadows along the parade route, and rounding out the bunch will be the Villains in a dungeon like lair.

Disney California Adventure:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. That is the name of the first legit Marvel attraction to be added to the Disneyland Resort, it is replacing the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which will close on January 2, 2017. Guardians is scheduled to open Summer 2017 and will take guests through the Collector's museum where he has all sorts of oddities from throughout the cosmos (I hope one of the exhibits will be Cosmo, the talking Russian astronaut dog). As it turns out the Guardians have been captured by the Collector and the guests will be helping them breakout.

Downtown Disney, Hotels, and other Resort infrastructure:

  • A new 5-star hotel has been announced to be built on part of the existing Downtown Disney parking lot, basically on the parking lot side of New Orleans Square. Rumor is that the new hotel will offer views of the fireworks and Fantasmic, which likely means the exterior of the hotel will be themed to New Orleans if it will be visible from inside the park. Disney hasn't announced a theme or title for the new hotel yet but I think this is likely.
  • Along with the new Hotel Disney is also going to build a new parking garage near it to accommodate the hotel guests as well as make up for the parking they are taking away from Downtown Disney. I haven't seen anything super concrete about the parking garage location nor the exact location of the Hotel so I estimated where the new Hotel will be on the map (see bottom of the page).
  • Disney has also announced their new Eastern Gateway project. This will be a new parking garage housing 6,800 vehicles build on top of what is currently the Pumbaa parking lot. Disney also acquired the properties at 1515 and 1585 Manchester Ave last year. The site of the US Immigration building is staying (for the time being), however the other side of it will be the new ART/Bus/Taxi drop off area. From there you will go through the Eastern Gateway security checkpoint and follow the 1/2 mile path to the main gates at Disneyland and California Adventure. Based on the plans they released to Anaheim (public).
  • House of Blues has left Downtown Disney for a bigger venue at Anaheim Garden Walk leaving a nice sized vacancy. The House of Blues closed at Disneyland on May 29th of this year and the new GardenWalk location is scheduled to open in November

Rumors & My Ideas:

Disneyland Park:

  • Fantasmic! is returning in summer 2017, that is for sure, but the rumors are about how much of the show will have changed when it returns. From what I can tell it sounds like basically the only parts staying the same are the big clash between Mickey and Maleficent, and then the finale (Mark Twain w/ characters through the end with Mickey on the island conducting fireworks). So lets examine some of the rumors, first is that Peter Pan fighting Captain Hook aboard the Columbia will be replaced by Captain Jack Sparrow fighting Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean and that the pirates will be digitally projected on to switch from human to skeletal pirates. This would also mean that the Columbia would become the Black Pearl during Fantasmic. Now this could be true because the most recent photos from the park show the Columbia missing the upper sections of its' masts suggesting some serious overhauling of the masts and rigging. Personally I'm very interested to see this. Another rumor is that there will be a Frozen segment (cue the haters) where the river would be iced over, much lie how it goes ablaze when Maleficent lights it on fire. Color me curious to see how they manage to pull off freezing the river during Fantasmic. Personally I'm hoping Jungle Book will stay whether live action or animated because I LOVE that segment, and I also desperately want Ariel w/ Eric, and Belle w/ Beast to still be in the show as they are my favorite characters in the whole show. I'd be very happy of Rapunzel and Flynn got added in the new version of the show. I also wonder if the soundtrack will sound so obviously 90s in segments like the Princess Medley.
  • Paint The Night Parade - When can we do this again? Well from the latest rumors it sounds like it will in fact be returning after a lengthy refurbisment throughout the end of 2016 and the first part of 2017. I imagine that it may become a seasonal offering after this, or perhaps a weekend only and nightly during peak attendance times, much like Fantasmic and the Fireworks normally are. Time will tell but I'm excited that it sounds like Paint The Night isn't glowing away forever because it is my favorite parade Disneyland has created since the Lion King Parade in 1994.
  • Fantasy Land Expansion - Arendelle is one of the ideas I had last summer taking over part of Toon Town, well now I'm adjusting my earlier suggestion and moving it to the west from where I'd originally put it. I'd had it replacing Roger Rabbit and Gag Factory, but now I'm leaning more towards the residential part of Toon Town as well as the area currently backstage between Toon Town and where Star Wars Land is being built, highlighted in Blue in the second image below.
  • Another part of what I'd love to see for a Fantasyland Expansion is still a section dedicated to Beauty and the Beast. However I'm modifying the location prediction, originally I'd put it as a replacement of the Small World Mall and the old Motor Boat Cruise area, but due to the monorail beams I'm thinking it makes more sense to replace the Fantasy Land Theater (highlighted in Yellow in the second image below), and I'm thinking we could see possibly the new Beauty and the Beast ride from Tokyo Disney and the Be Our Guest Restaurant.
  • And Finally, I also still want to see Rapunzels Tower put in Fantasyland, even if it is for nothing more then a meet and greet or maybe bathrooms like in WDW, her tower is too gorgeous not to be in Disneyland. I've highlighted the area I think it would fit best in Lavender in the second image below.
  • Over in Tomorrowland I'm not quite sure what they are thinking but I think until Star Wars Land opens we should expect the Season of the Force offerings (Hyperspace Mountain, Star Wars journey to Force Awakens in Magic Eye theater, and Star Wars Launch Bay) to remain so it will be a while before we see any significant Tomorrowland overhauls, but I'd love to see the Tron Lightcycle coaster from Shanghai cloned for Disneyland.

Disney California Adventure:

  •  Marvel - Here is where I get to direct your attention back to that Eastern Gateway image that Disney released. in it notice how there is a large gap between the current north edge of DCA and the pedestrian bridge. Well my gut says that area (or most of it) will be absorbed by DCA to be a part of the new Marvel area of the park, as well as the area that is left over from the old Timon parking lot between Tower of Terror, Bug's Land, and Cars Land, making the Marvel area stretch all the way along the east side of the park. The first image below show how the Eastern Gateway path lines up with the parks. The second image below I highlighted the area I expect Marvel to takeover in Red (a little hard to see in the Northern area but look carefully)
  •  At this point I think it is safe to assume 2 things about the new Marvel area of DCA. 1st is that the Iron Man ride opening in Hong Kong Disneyland will be cloned for this area. 2nd is that we will see the Avengers Tower build in the city, where, I'm not sure, but I think those 2 are for sure going to happen.
  • Paradise Pier - I still believe that Disney intends to install a new ride in the southwest side of Paradise Pier to replace the old Maliboomer (removed September 2010). I have 2 tentative ideas, 1 seems more likely but the other could also work. First idea is a Lilo and Stitch ride based in Hawaii/the beach. The second idea is dependent on Moana's box office and audience performance. If it is a huge hit and makes a ton of $$$$ for Disney then I expect they would want to put a ride based on the movie in the parks and the only place in Disneyland Resort that it could work thematically and actually has room for it is in Paradise Pier.
  • Potential New Parade Route for Disney's Electrical Parade. Because I'm hoping that Disneyland will want to keep the Electrical Parade running after next summer I've come up with a viable alternate parade route for it to take. It wouldn't be able to take the normal parade route because it would be along the World of Color viewing area and it would cause a logistics nightmare. In the below image I've marked the current parade route with a solid Green line and the new alternate route with a dashed Green line.

Downtown Disney/Hotels/Infrastructure:

  • Monorail re-routing to accommodate the Eastern Gateway bridge. In the image that Disney released I noticed it looks like the Monorail will be re-routed to make room for the new bridge and walkway. I've highlighted that new path for the Monorail in Yellow so that it will stand out against the satellite view of the parks.
  • With the former location of House of Blues now vacant and its proximity to the show building for Indiana Jones, I'm hoping we can see and Indiana Jones themed bar like the one that recently opened at Disney World's Disney Springs shopping/dining area take that spot. I would really like to be able to have that experience at Disneyland, not just over in Florida.
  • Based on the location of the pedestrian entrance to the new Parking Garage being build at the Eastern Gateway compared to Gardenwalk I think it is even more obvious now that Disney is going to be trying to buy out Gardenwalk and turn it into a Downtown Disney East. I have highlighted Gardenwalk in Blue in the image below.
  • If Disney does in fact acquire Gardenwalk I think they will build a new hotel or maybe even 2 on the undeveloped land next to the mall. They could fit 1-2 tower style hotels like Disneyland & Paradise Pier Hotels on those 2 plots of land.
  • Cast Member Parking Garage, this will aim to make the cast parking lot connected to the Katella parking lot become obsolete and unnecessary. Within the last year or so Disney completed and opened a new Cast parking lot up to the North end of the property at the North East corner of the intersection at Ball Rd & Harbor BLVD which currently holds approximately 1300 cars. The Katella cast lot currently holds approximately 2900 cars. So theoretically if Disney were to build a 5 level parking garage with capacity around 6000 on the Ball cast lot location it would eliminate the need for the Katella cast lot. I've highlighted both parking lots in green in the images below. The first image is the Katella lot, the second image is the Ball cast lot and location where I think the cast garage should be built.

Third Park, Water Park, & Beyond:

  • Both a Water Park and a third theme park have been rumored to be added to Disneyland Resort for 20 years. But it has never seemed more likely that they will announce a new park as now. Personally I still believe that they could fit a Typhoon  Lagoon size Water Park in the area to the South West of the Disneyland Resort Property (West of DCA, South of Paradise Pier Hotel), which leaves the current Toy Story parking lot available to become a 3rd theme park. With the Star Wars and Marvel announcements over the last 2 years at D23 expo and San Diego Comic Con, I'm at a loss for an anchor theme for the 3rd park, but I think we'll begin to hear more rumors about it as time goes on. In the images below I've highlighted the area I want to see a Water Park in Purple and the Toy Story parking lot (future 3rd park) in Orange.
  • Finally Below is an overview image to highlight all the areas I've talked about and show how it all connects together: