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|Grand Opening Report - Part One|
Excellent (California) Adventure
A Three Day Diary of the Disney's California Adventure Press Event, as written by a tired chick at Midnight.
Or, really, day two, because Non-Local media arrived on Monday to get a look at Disneyland and see the return of the Believe! Fireworks. Most of the local media arrived Tuesday morning, checked in and met their Media Host / Hostess. I was assigned to a charming CM named Christine, who has the amazing knack of finding the first piece of any Limited Edition series. (More on that another day).
Upon arrival we were given our Media kits, which included our credentials, park hopper passes for the duration of the event, meal vouchers, our itinerary and interview schedule, a disposable camera, an umbrella and a poncho, all wrapped in a bright blue print backpack.
At 11 a.m. the Grand Californian Hotel was dedicated at a ceremony in front of the hotel. General Manager Tony Bruno was first to speak. His comments touched on the architectural heritage of the hotel, and the hard work of the Imagineers who built it. Tony then introduced Principle Designer Peter Dominick, the lead architect of the hotel, who shared the inspirations he used to create the mood of the hotel. He noted that the Grand Californian was the largest example of Arts and Crafts architecture ever built.
Cynthia Harris was next to speak. She introduced the members of five generations of the John Muir family present at the event. She also introduced California First Lady Sharon Davis, who read a proclamation declaring February 8, 2001 as "Disney's California Adventure Day".
Mickey Mouse helped Ms. Harris present a statue replica of the Grand Californian logo to First Lady Davis. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Cast Members of the hotel gathered on the great lawn, behind the stage. To the music of a 30 piece orchestra and a trombone fanfare, 600 pigeons were released as even more CMs waved banners from balconies overlooking the ceremony.
The 30 piece orchestra (above) Cast Members wave from the balconies (below)
After the dedication, a number of people involved with the hotel were available for interviews. Michelle chatted with Tony Bruno; Michael Jordan, Executive Manager of the Napa Rose Restaurant; and Timur Galen, Walt Disney Imagineering.
Selected areas of DCA were opened to the media at 11:30 a.m. The restaurants of the Bountiful Valley Farm and Pacific Wharf areas offered samples of their menu items. We nibbled on chicken legs, snacked on tortilla wraps, munched on quesadillas and finished with chocolate fortune cookies. Live entertainment was all around, from performers juggling Boudin bread to a candy sculptor.
Presentations and photo opportunities were staged the the Boudin Bakery and Mission Tortilla attractions, with the Karl Strauss Breweries and Caterpillar sponsors, and in front of the Mondavi restaurant. Cynthia Harris was present at each occasion and posed for photos with each sponsor. The rest of the park opened at 1:30, with selected attractions operating.
While the park was open until 6, we decided to leave a little early to regroup and prepare for the evening's event in Downtown Disney. Unlike the Grand Opening Celebration, this was a mix-in event, so Media and day guests were both allowed in the area together. This was a fun event, and we hopped from restaurant to restaurant nibbling and tasting. We sat in the comfy lounge chairs in the ESPN Zone and sampled the prime rib while watching the Big Screen. Rainforest Cafe was the place for Shrimp Risotto and Parrot Punch. We tried BBQ Chicken at House of Blues, pizza at Naples, and tapas at Catal and Y'Arriba! Y'Arriba!
Of course, once we were stuffed, we had to check out the shops. Many of the stores had specials for the evening, as well as little trinkets as press gifts. The Berenstain Bears, Franklin the Turtle and Miss Spider made a guest appearance at Compass Books. We discovered that the Peter Pan sheet music, signed by Walt Disney, was still available for $6000 at Starabilias. Island Charters and the Y!Arriba Y'Arriba! Mercado were both newly open for business.
With a whole busy day ahead of us, we decided to call it a night. But first, we needed to stop by the Media Center to get the day's press materials. Photos and press releases are offered, to make it easier for journalists to prepare their stories. We grabbed what we needed, and headed back across the resort to our hotel room.
What's ahead for tomorrow?
An early start for a day full of dedication ceremonies, press conferences, interviews and another night event. Of course, while we're inside the park, we know a number of you will be lining up outside to be among the first to enter DCA.
We're slowly getting more details, (be sure to read Al's special update today) but it looks like people will be issued wristbands at 5:00 p.m. at the Pinocchio parking lot, and then encouraged to GO HOME. If you had hopes of being the first person inside DCA, you're out of luck. The "First Family" has already been chosen.
Your wristband, and your ticket, will get you into the park on Thursday, but do not guarantee you a place in line. If it's important to you that you're among the first in the park, you'll have to hold your spot in line all night. But if you just want to make sure you CAN get into DCA on Thursday, get your wrist band Wednesday, go home, and don't come back until noon Thursday!
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