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A Different look at Disney...

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Monorail Swank

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.

Oooooooooo Shiny!

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 Room.


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 parks.

Cookin!

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.


Tomorrow's Lands

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 existing property.

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.

That's Braverman chained to Bessie over there

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.

2008 will 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.


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Oh-kay - that should do it for today.

Keep in mind updates only get posted when there is something to report on, and not before. It takes time to confirm things, and even then we can only offer a snapshot of a continually evolving story. Just like the happiest place on earth, patience is a virtue; the queue may take a while before you can enjoy the attraction. ;)

Yet again we've hit some record numbers lately here on the site, and thanks to all of your kind donations to the payboxes, we've been able to keep the bills paid. As I've said before, we're only here due to all of your efforts.

See you at Disneyland!

© 2008 Al Lutz


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