its a larger world after all
As for the rest of the attraction, it will get a thorough cleaning and
sprucing up during the long closure. The sets, most still the original plywood
flats from the World's Fair, will be carefully dismantled and prepared for
painting. The dolls will all be removed and sent for a tune-up. The Imagineers
assigned to the project know they are dealing with a classic here, so they are
paying strict attention to original color palettes and materials. The exterior
façade will also be repaired and repainted, keeping the original white color
scheme. A new entrance marquee will be created and the surrounding topiary
gardens will be tended to, but the outdoor loading area will largely stay the
Entering the Hello Room.
The most noticeable change will come at the beginning and end of the ride
however. The simple narrow hallways that travel under the clock and railroad
tracks, known as the Hello Room and the Goodbye Room, will be heavily reworked
and upgraded. Those spaces have never been fancy, and for the first 30 years at
Disneyland they were basically used to shill either Bank of America or Mattel as
the ride's corporate sponsor. WDI is planning on dressing them up quite a bit
And for all of those folks on MiceChat who were questioning whether this long
rehab would create the "flooded" look of the other small world's, the answer is
no. In the Imagineering community Disneyland's original version is now thought
to be the superior version artistically by the Imagineers currently in power.
The flooded building versions are now seen as being too dark and dreary, and the
Imagineers like the art direction and lighting options the simpler Disneyland
version provides them. This rehab will give them a chance to go in and address
some of the sightline issues with the flume walls that have been there since the
World's Fair however. But the original Disneyland flume concept is de rigueur
amongst current Imagineering circles, and it's also being transferred over to
the Hong Kong Disneyland version of the ride that opens next year.
It's a small world may be the attraction everyone loves to make fun of, but
its popularity has endured for almost 45 years. The bigger passengers of the
21st century may be giving the fleet of boats and the old flume a workout, but
the brilliant simplicity of that original ride system allows for up to 2,500
riders per hour to cycle through the 15 minute long attraction with rarely more
than a 10 minute line. And the popularity of the Holiday version keeps people
coming back for more year after year.
Teenagers may cringe at the thought of riding it's a small world, but on an
average Saturday the old ride can easily see 35,000 or more people float through
in one day. Those kind of numbers attest to the simple Walt Disney charm the
ride delighted people with at the New York World's Fair, and that still attract
tens of thousands of riders per day decades later. It's a small world remains
one of the most popular rides at Disneyland, and it should get a new lease on
life with this massive 10 month refurbishment.
At about the time it's a small world is closing, over on the other side of
the park the newest addition to Disneyland should be opening. The Disneyland
Dreams Suite located in the old Disney Gallery is scheduled to open by late
January, 2008. Just in time to kick off Jay Rasulo's Second Year of A Million
Dream, assuming Jay is still working for Disney by then. There have been more
rumors on Jay's resignation in the past 12 months than people can count, but the
recent departure of his marketing guru Michael Mendenhall only hastened another
round of Rasulo rumors.
Whenever he does leave, there will still be one more year of the Dreams
campaign, much to the chagrin of most CM's. Even a year into the current
campaign, the Dream Squad CM's are still encountering many people who just won a
big prize who wave the Cast Member away and insist they aren't buying whatever
it is Disney must be trying to sell them. TDA had to launch and re-launch this
campaign twice last year to try to get the rank and file excited about it, and
everyone in Anaheim is hoping they don't have to go through the same thing again
this year for the 12 month extension.
New to the '08 version of the Dreams campaign will be the Dreams Suite in the
old Disney Gallery. This three bedroom suite will of course be lavish, with the
best and brightest from WDI assigned to bring the vision to life. Each fancy
room will be themed to an area of Disneyland, and the amenities and service for
the lucky winners staying overnight will all be top-shelf. The budget here for
this apartment makeover has edged just over 5 Million, and since the Disney
Gallery already had great bones to work with you can imagine how nice it will
Look up and see someone in a bathrobe.
Some Disneyland Annual Passholders (APs) may not have to imagine however, as the
Annual Passholder department is trying to nail down the details on a lottery
where up to 700 winning passholders will get a chance to take a tour of the new
suite. You won't get to stay overnight, but you'll at least get a guided tour
and a little tchotcky to take home. Unlike the Submarine Voyage preview they
organized via a lottery system, only to have the ride break down and leave a few
hundred angry AP's fuming, this special preview shouldn't have many problems
associated with it. And the lottery preview would likely get enough pictures and
YouTube videos out on the web to satisfy everyone's curiosity about what the
suite looks like.
Once they do start awarding nights in the Dreams Suite, the fun begins just
below the windows of the suite. As most CM's and Disney fans know, the real
magic of Disneyland happens after the park closes. That's when an army of
workers descend on the park to clean it all up and get it all ready for the next
day. Entire fleets of 18 wheeler trucks rumble through bringing supplies and
equipment to an endless list of stores, restaurants and attractions. Pre-sorted
merchandise is driven through the park to the smaller stores via long trains of
rattling cargo containers just like the ones the airlines use to bring your
luggage up to the side of the plane. Dump trucks and forklifts and delivery
trucks zig and zag all over the park all night long, with the usual loud banter
between the men and women who drive those trucks and work those shifts.
The river's walkways are busy day and night.
This frenzy of overnight activity takes place all over the park, but the area
surrounding the Dreams Suite is particularly busy. The broad riverbank area from
Frontierland to Critter Country below the suite is a main thoroughfare for all
of these trucks and equipment. The stores and restaurants below the suite all
need restocking every night. In addition, a loud pressurized fuel truck is used
nightly along the river to refuel the Tom Sawyer Island rafts and the adjacent
Sailing Ship Columbia. And as the sun begins to rise, in come the roaring
Zamboni-like scrubbers that clean and brush the pavement there that had seen
busy truck traffic all night long. Not to mention that on many nights the Park
will be open late and the area PA system will be blaring banjo music, the
automated screeches and howls of the Jungle Cruise and the Treehouse are right
next door, and the streets below will be filled with groups of loud people
enjoying their vacation until well after Midnight. Then there are the weeks and
weeks during the year when they stage overnight Fantasmic! dress rehearsals on
the river in front of the suite, or Grad Nites and private parties, that will
simply mean the suite has to stay empty for the night.
The concept of all of this overnight noise was news to the folks from
marketing however when they were recently asked how they were going to mitigate
these unavoidable noisy operations. TDA's marketing department may want to watch
a few episodes about Disney theme parks that play every so often on the Travel
Channel, since they seem to be very unfamiliar with how the park actually
operates. Nevermind the fact that Jay Rasulo is so unfamiliar with Disneyland
and visits so rarely, and then only during major press events, that he didn't
even know where the Disney Gallery was when he bought off on the plan. But if
you do win a night in the Disneyland Dreams Suite, be sure to pack some earplugs
or one of those Sharper Image white noise generators.
The first of a few Halloween shots - Even the
parking structure gets themed.