In happier news however, December saw the arrival of the first
of the new fleet of Disneyland monorails. The train will be doing after hours
testing in January, and the plan is to have it online and carrying passengers by
the busy Presidents Day weekend in February. Those first few riders will find a
21st century train with a few tricks up its sleeve.
Just like the sleek yet retro exterior, the interior of the
cars has been entirely redone for the new century. A central seating island
replaces the staggered rows of seating, and when the doors close the recessed
LED lighting in the cabin begins its show and changes to a dark shade that
matches the color of the train. The red train's cabin will morph into a dark
shade of red as the train departs the station, looking less like a city bus and
more like a trendy nightclub, or at the very least like the cabin of a hip
Virgin America jetliner. The blue train will have a dark blue shade for the
cabin lighting, and so on throughout the fleet.
The new metallic blue uniforms
for the monorail Cast Members will also debut in '08, and the 1980's burgundy
polyester pantsuits will be a thing of the past. Don't forget, you should be
able to get in your first ride on the red train over Presidents Day weekend.
Wear something trendy to match the décor.
Buh-bye Best Buy
Also in Tomorrowland the splashy new exhibits are being
installed this winter at Innoventions. The Microsoft House of the Future we'd
told you about will take up most of the bottom level, and the tech guys from
Seattle have shelled out big money for this one. Unlike past versions of Innoventions, not much of the Microsoft display will be available for purchase
at Best Buy.
Upstairs the exhibitors are also getting new digs. Honda
will be expanding its presence at Disneyland with the new version of Asimo, as
well as displaying its new Clarity hydrogen car. The Honda Clarity will actually
be for sale in Southern California Honda dealerships this summer, and you'll
soon be seeing it on the freeways in SoCal. But as the first hydrogen powered
fuel cell car available for purchase and a technical powerhouse, it should still
be entertaining to gearheads or car buffs.
But they won't be installing a
hydrogen filling station in Tomorrowland just yet, since Chevron's Autopia
sponsorship still has two years left on its contract. But Honda has invested
heavily in its sponsorship deals with Disneyland, and don't think the folks in TDA's "Corporate Alliance" department haven't been schmoozing the Honda people
in the hopes of sponsoring a major E Ticket attraction sometime soon. As for Innoventions
however, the new exhibits promise to be the best that attraction
has had thus far. With a little luck and some decent buzz, it
might even be able to match the daily attendance figures of the 45 year old Tiki
In the oven
There's also some good news coming in '08 for Disneyland food
service. No, they aren't bringing back the Tahitian Terrace. But in a return to
the way Walt did it, Disneyland will be building a new bakery facility capable
of handling all of the daily needs of the parks and hotels. Disneyland
had its own bakery in the 1950's and 60's tucked into the back of the Plaza Inn,
and fresh bread, rolls and pastries were dispatched around the park from that
location every morning.
As the park grew in the '70s and '80s hamburger buns and
breads were brought in by outside suppliers, although the bakery
continued to churn out fresh rolls, cookies and pastries for
many Park locations. The in-house bakery was eliminated entirely
in the '90s to save on labor
costs, and quality generally suffered. But now Disneyland has grown big enough,
with more growth planned, that the finances of its own facility make sense
again. Plus, the Disneyland Foods department would love to have the ability to
more closely control the quality and consistency of the baked products served in
The location of the new bakery isn't in either park however.
It's actually slated for a plot of land on the western edge of the employee
parking lot adjacent to the Mickey & Friends parking structure. The initial
facility will be 10,000 square feet, but it is being designed to be easily
expanded to 25,000 square feet as demand grows. The land on the opposite side of
the wall where the bakery will be built later this year is proposed for a new
Marriott hotel property, so hopefully the guests there won't mind the smell of
freshly baked dinner rolls destined for the Blue Bayou, or a Disney Cruise Line
ship or two.
That new Marriott property is just one of several new hotels
now proposed for the larger Resort district. When we first broke the news to you
that Disney was seriously considering putting in two new Disney branded hotels
at the GardenWalk mall the TDA spokesman initially denied such a thing was
possible. But more recently the TDA folks have finally admitted to the press
that they are in fact in the final phases of an agreement to place two separate
hotels at GardenWalk. We're still tracking that story for you, along with a few
other ways Disney plans on expanding their footprint in Anaheim from their
We hope to have more info for you later this winter as plans
gel a bit more. But suffice it to say that the word is out amongst the broader
hospitality industry that Disney has big plans for Anaheim and a lot of money
and resources are being pumped into the Disneyland Resort in the next five
years. The recent Disney victory over the developer SunCal and their plans for
housing in the Resort District have also added credibility to the buzz that
Disney is investing big in Anaheim in the next few years, and there's not much
that will stop them.
While 2008 and 2009 will be the building and construction
years for much of what is coming, it's the start of the next decade when things
will really pop in Anaheim. The big stuff starts in 2010 with the Disneyland 55th
Anniversary celebration and its associated entertainment and attraction debuts,
then the 10th Anniversary of DCA in 2011 with the Little Mermaid
opening and the new 1920's main entrance debut, and then finally in 2012 the
massive new Cars Land expansion opens.
At the same time all of that is happening
in 2010-12, there's the debut of the Disney Cruise Line in California, the
opening of the overhauled Disneyland Hotel and Downtown Disney
expansion, the new hotels opening at GardenWalk, plus at least two major new
attractions coming online for Disneyland. Add in a few new parades at both parks
and the usual marketing gimmicks, and the start of the next decade is looking to
be another period of unprecedented growth and expansion for Disneyland.
finally see the bulldozers move in and the walls go up, and we'll keep you up to
speed on all of it, as well as a few other interesting new things headed to
Anaheim that have developed quite recently.