50th Kick-off Coverage, Page 5

by MousePlanet Staff, contributing writer

Our coverage so far: May 4: Page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | May 5 most recent page (this page)

Grab Bag
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 10:45 p.m. PDT

by Alex Stroup, editor-in-chief

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—A quick run-through of various topics before I call it a night.

  • The Disney Gallery opened at noon today with a very nice exhibit of concept art from various eras of the park. The exhibit is divided by land and covers most attractions and major decorative areas. High-end collectibles have also made a return to the gallery and are available for purchase. Many of the artworks on display are also available through the print-on-demand system, and at very reasonable prices (as cheap as $15).
  • Disney Vacation Club counters have popped up at several locations. The most prominent is probably in Plaza Pavilion near where the Nestle cookie chef program is. For those familiar with the many DVC carts at Walt Disney World, it has a very familiar look. Carts can also be found in Downtown Disney and I did notice an understated table in the lobby of the Grand California Hotel (from a distance and I didn't have time to walk over to be 100% certain, so take this one with a grain of salt). Fortunately, the salespeople staffing these carts are not nearly so pushy as the stereotypical timeshare salesman, so feel free to take a look without getting caught in a hard sell (though they'll definitely talk you up). Not sure what they do to replace property tours since there isn't a pure DVC location in California.
  • So many cars were parked at the Mickey & Friends parking garage that some vehicles had to park in the left side entrance lanes just past the toll booths. One thing this indicates is just how many locals came into the park today (since non-locals tend to come from area hotels and walk or use shuttles).
  • If you were there or watched the video, don't you think that Christina Aguillera put maybe just a bit too much into her rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star"?
  • We definitely have to run a still photo of the walking Dumbo used in the kick-off ceremony. It looked a little silly but was definitely kind of cool.
  • Seth Mendelsohn of Disney Online gave us a thorough look at the play-at-home element of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters that is coming in a few weeks. It is definitely a very interesting idea and it should be interesting to see if the random, stranger interactions of an in-park rider and an at-home player makes for good replayability. My suggestion that they do Peter Pan next didn't seem to spark interest.
  • If there is a particular piece of merchandise you're looking for, be a bit persistent if told that the item has sold out. I don't meant to harrass them at that moment, but to check back later and also don't forget that many items are being sold at DCA or World of Disney in Downtown Disney as well. One item I was looking for was reported as gone by 10 a.m. this morning, but had reappeared at Disneyana by early evening and was also available all day at Greetings from California in DCA.

Thank you for your patience with our problems this morning that resulted in some very slow page loads. We're gratified to have seen a major jump in traffic the last couple of days but our servers were more than up to the task. Unfortunately some other issues created an unexpected bottleneck. The issue has been resolved so things should be flying when we get pictures up tomorrow.

Finally, when I thanked various people for helping out with yesterday's coverage, I, of course, forgot several people. Several others helped today, so let me extend my thanks to Tony Phoenix, Lani Teshima, Jeff Moxley, Karen Anzalone, and Andrew Foote.

Some General Comments
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 10:32 p.m. PDT

by Alex Stroup, editor-in-chief

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—Some technical difficulties are preventing any more photo processing for today (the media card reader has decided it doesn't want to talk to either laptop at the moment; if resolved I will do a couple photo dumps tomorrow). Some general comments from the park today instead.

We're here as media but I have to say that I really don't understand why Disney closed Disneyland yesterday to have a big media preview if they were still going to turn the park over to media today. The regular guests in the park today have to feel like second- or third-tier citizens. Large risers were set up in front of the castle for this morning's kick-off (of which I was certainly a beneficiary, having been the one running our video camera; video of the kick-off here, be warned that it is almost 40mb, but it is the full event) which completely blocked any interesting view for most regular guests. Instead they were consigned to listen to it over speakers.

Plus, on a very crowded day several major restaurant locations were closed to accommodate media. Plaza Inn was the main media center May 3 through 5 (it is supposed to be reopened tomorrow). Rancho del Zocolo was closed all day for media reasons (though we're not sure what they were). Golden Horseshoe was closed because round robin media interviews were being done in there (where reporters make their rounds of celebrities and notables sitting at stations).

All of these media photo opportunities, live broadcasting booths, and general mayhem disrupted normal traffic patterns, exacerbating the crowds. Finally, the media maintained ownership of the center of the Central Plaza (hub) for the parades and fireworks, reducing room in the sweet spot to almost nothing and blocking sightlines for most everybody.

The May 4 park closure and media day went very well; I'm just not sure why it continued so thoroughly into May 5th.

50th Anniversary Tour
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 10:20 p.m. PDT

by Alex Stroup, editor-in-chief

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—MousePlanet hosted several staff members and site readers at the 12:15 edition of the 50th Anniversary Tour at Disneyland. We'll have participant comments in a column next week, but what follows is an overview of the tour.

The crowds, media, and the fact that is was just the second running of the tour did cause some problems, so we'll be seeking comment from any later tours as well for comparison.

The tour highlights each decade since Disneyland's opening. At the beginning of the tour, participants pull three decades out of a hat (the first tour of the day gets all five decades). The three selected decades will the of particular focus during the tour, affecting which three rides your tour will do. Our group selected 1975-1985, 1985-1995, and 1995-2005.

The first major stop is to see the exhibit and show for 50 Magical Years in the Opera House on Main Street. Following this, we got our first surprise; because of the crowds and hearing difficulty each tour member was issues a personal radio with which we could listen to the tour guide talking at regular levels. While the clarity was very good, unfamiliarity with working and speaking with this equipment highlighted some issues to be worked out. Apparently these are something they are considering for all tours in the future, but for now you shouldn't expect them.

Then it was down Main Street to the castle. I can't comment on what would have been said there because when we arrived Julie Andrews was doing some publicity with media there and we quickly moved on into Fantasyland. In Fantasyland, the focus was on the decade of 1955-1965, and Storybook Land Canal Boats in particular. In addition to information about the ride, the tour guides also carry with them personal photos from their childhood and previous jobs within the park. This was one spot where we spent some time looking through them.

Then it was into Frontierland where the focus was 1975-1985, with emphasis on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which opened in 1979. Since this was one of the decades chosen at the beginning of the tour it meant we would be riding Big Thunder. Backdoor access was not provided, but rather the Fastpass queue was used, meaning some time was spent in line.

New Orleans Square focused on 1965-1975, and a tour drawing that decade would apparently ride Pirates of the Caribbean. We hadn't, though, so it was on to Critter Country for 1985-1995 and a ride on Splash Mountain (opened in 1989). Back to the train in New Orleans Square and around to Tomorrowland for a focus on the 1995-2005 and a ride on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (for a bit I was worried we'd be riding The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, since the pickings for that decade are slim).

Unfortunately this was where the tour really hit bad luck. Shortly after the entire tour boarded, the ride went down and stayed down. One of the perks of the tour is reserved seating for Parade of Dreams (or the fireworks if you do the last tour). The parade was at 4 p.m. and at 3:55 we were stuck on Buzz Lightyear waiting for cast members to follow the state mandated evacuation procedure. Interestingly this was also a moment when the radios issued earlier came in handy as our guide could easily communicate what was happening to everybody.

In the nick of time we were off the ride and to our reserved seats for Parade of Dreams. The reserved seats are a set of chairs set up on Matterhorn Way right before Alice in Wonderland. They really are good seats and provide viewing of two show stops, the first for Beauty and the Beast and the second at the back end of Lion King.

I can't comment on the free gifts since they were apparently all used up by the media center, so they'll be mailing us our replica ticket books, and something else I forget. Again, watch for our participant response column next week.

From the East Coast: A real-life Everest expedition
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted 3:25 p.m. PDT

While our West Coast staff is busily absorbing the events at Disneyland today, we also have a contingent on the East Coast in Florida right now. And from Len Testa of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland/Walt Disney World comes advanced word that tomorrow's big announcement at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be an actual cultural and/or scientific expedition to Mount Everest, to help promote the upcoming Expedition: Everest attraction currently under construction in Disney's Animal Kingdom park.

Our East Coasters—Mike Scopa, Mark Goldhaber, and Brian Bennett—are busy gathering information for you. We hope to provide a Walt Disney World update within the next 12 hours; stay tuned.

More crowds
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 12:20 p.m. PDT

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—Currently, the line for Red Rockets Pizza Port goes out to the Star Trader store. This line, however, cannot compare to the extraordinary line of people waiting to purchase the limited edition 50th Anniversary pin. According to MousePlanet staff writer Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, the line starts at the Premier pin-trading store in Tomorrowland, then wraps around the former Rocket Rods podium, around the back of Club Buzz, around the Autopia attraction, and back to the Matterhorn. Adrienne, who has seen her share of long queues for merchandise releases, said, "This is honestly and truly the longest line I've ever seen for merchandise. It completely loops around everything, a huge, gigantic, winding line. People must see this line and think they are waiting in line for Space Mountain. It's just so crazy."

According to those who have been in line, the pin is limited to an edition of only 2005. Movement in the line has been very slow, at approximately 50 feet in an hour; those in line seem resigned to the possibility that this will be the only thing they do for most of the day. Fortunately, those in line were told when they joined at the end of the line that they would not run out yet. Presumbly someone is counting the number of individuals in line and matching them with quantity of available pins.

In an intriguing bit of news, the official wait time board located near the Central Plaza hub area indicated that that there were no rides with wait times longer than 45 minutes. This did not appear to reflect what was happening at all attraction queues, however. As of noon, the official wait time listed at the entrance to the new Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland showed a wait time of 90 minutes. In addition, some rides—such as the Jungle Cruise, which noted a wait time at the attraction itself as 45 minutes—simply read "Now open" on the Central Plaza wait time board. This could be due to a number of reasons, including lack of communication, but one probable reason may be that Disney does not want the wait times to be impossibly daunting to the park guests.

50th Kick-off
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 11:50 a.m. PDT

by Alex Stroup, editor-in-chief

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—We're going to try and get some pictures up but it is only 28 minutes until we have to be in place for the 50th Anniversary Tour. If we can't post photos right away, we promise them later this evening (the tour is 3.5 hours) and eventually full video of the event.

Despite the drizzle before the official celebration event, the rain stopped in time for the event itself. First out was CEO-elect Robert Iger, who kicked it off to Art Linkletter who introduced the festivities around the world at other theme parks (everything but Walt Disney World was pretaped). Then it was on to Michael Eisner with his comments. He then handed it off to Julie Andrews, who talked about how special Walt was to her and how he affected her life so much.

After Andrews finished speaking, they showed the "Coming Home" commercials that have been on television this year promoting the Happiest Homecoming on Earth celebration. When the commercials ended, each of the characters depicted in the commercials then appeared, and "finished" what was not shown at the end of the commercials: Actually riding into the castle courtyard itself. For example, Stitch arrived by motorcylce, Genie by camel, and Mickey and Goofy in Herbie the Love Bug.

Entertainment was provided by country singer LeAnn Rimes, who sang the theme song for the 50th Anniversary. Christina Aguillera then attempted to beat "When You Wish Upon a Star" to death.

Then Julie Andrews welcomed everybody home, the courtyard filled with characters (including a Dumbo character, which I'd never seen before). That was the end of the event. We'll have much more later this evening.

OK, a few photos.

The crowds on Main Street waiting for the kick-off (not that they could see much. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Sleeping Beauty Castle set up for the show. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

The show started with a song from LeAnn Rimes. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Robert Iger presenting himself and the parks to the crowd. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Art Linkletter arrived in the car used by Walt Disney at the opening of the park. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Park opening and limited edition merchandise information
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 11:10 a.m. PDT

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—When the line to enter the park backed up to the large letters in front of the entrance to Disney's California Adventure park, Disney began wrapping the line towards Downtown Disney. At approximately 8:00 a.m., Disneyland stopped conducting security bag checks altogether, with the queue having snaked all the way out to Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney.

Disney began letting everyone in around 8:30, and Main Street immediately became gridlocked with a mass of people. Most of the Central Plaza hub area on the Castle-side of Main Street was blocked off for radio stations doing remote broadcasts. Disney also reserved areas for media (reporters and photographerss) as well invited guests, but it has been standing room only for the general public. The gridlock, even 20 minutes after the official celebration kick-off presentation, still extends all the way down Main Street to Blue Ribbon Bakery and Disney Clothiers. A few people are managing to trickle into Adventureland and Frontierland, but there is movement is extremely difficult.

For those stuck on Main Street, Disney replaced the standard background music on the speakers with the audio from the celebration kick-off.

If the lines were long to get into the park, they are exhaustively long to purchase anything commemorative. The line of people waiting to purchase their commemorative watches starts from New Century Timepiece on Main Street all the way down to the Emporium.

There was also a huge crowd waiting to purchase the limited-edition six-CD Disneyland music box set. Unfortunately, we have learned that Disneyland has now sold out of the set.

In addition, the resort is now completely sold out of the new commemorative Disney Dollars, and we have been informed that they do not know when the next printing will be.

Photo Mosaic information
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 10:35 a.m. PDT

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—Persons who submitted photos for Disneyland's photomosaic project who wish to know where their photos are being used can now obtain this information in the park. These locations allow you to search by first and last name and/or email address of the person who submitted the photo. The search result displays the photo that was used, what photomosaic collage it's in, where that collage is located, as well as what row and column your photo is in. This information is available as a print-out.

Current locations where you can obtain this information is at a kiosk set up outside of City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A., as well as a spot between the Mad Hatter and the Showcase Store on Main Street. In addition, Disney expects to have a third location set up shortly; we will let you know when that becomes available.

In addition, there are three more photomosaic murals going in to the resort:

  • By Muppets Vision 3-D in Disney's California Adventure park
  • An image of Chicken Little (from Disney's upcoming movie) in the Disneyland Hotel
  • An image in the Aladdin's Oasis lobby in Adventureland

According to Disneyland officials, 58,000 people submitted photos. The extra-detailed cast member photomosaic mural of Steamboat Willie (where each "photo" in the mural consisted of a small photomosaic in itself) alone took half a million photos. We assume people submitted multiple photos, and that Disney may have used photos more than once.

9:41 a.m., May 5, 2005
by Lani Teshima

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—If you have not yet left home to go to the park, grab your umbrella. The weather has turned wet for the official opening day of Disneyland's 50th Anniversary celebration, and there is a steady drizzle (invited guests and media have been given umbrellas and ponchos).

The orchestra, which had been originally staged by the castle, were moved to Plaza Pavilion to provide cover.

9:03 a.m., May 5, 2005
by Lani Teshima, staff editor

Anaheim (MousePlanet)—Disney has now made it official: Just moments ago, they finally made the long-anticipated announcement about the new Monsters, Inc. attraction that will be moving into the old SuperStar Limo attraction in Disney's California Adventure park.

The ride, called Monsters, Inc.: Mike And Sully To The Rescue, will involve Mike and Sully rescuing little Boo, who has accidentally found herself in Monstropolis.

In addition, Disney also announced that they will be importing Turtle Talk With Crush into the Animation Building in DCA from the Living Seas in Epcot, in Florida.

Interestingly, there was absolutely no mention of the submarine lagoon in Disneyland, or the Finding Nemo theme that has been rumored to be a part of its reconstruction.

7:45 a.m., May 5, 2005
by Lani Teshima, staff editor

I just got a call from Alex, who was standing in the queue to get into Disneyland this morning. According to Alex, at 45 minutes before official park opening, the queue to enter extended all the way back to the entrance of Disney's California Adventure park.

If you plan on going into the park today and you are reading this, we strongly suggest you leave your computer and head to the park now to ensure that you can get in today.

6:40 a.m., May 5, 2005
by Alex Stroup

This is just an assurance that our coverage will continue today, though in less frequency. Events for the day include a presentation to media on future projects, the official public kick-off of the 50th Anniversary, and the new 50th Anniversary Disneyland Park tour.

I'd also like to thank all of our readers for putting up with all the momentary glitches, typos, and occasional errors that have made it to this page. I assure you that Lani Teshima, our copy editor, was pretty much rolling on the floor in agony that words were going from my brain, to my fingers, to the Web without first going through her. Thanks also to the staff of MousePlanet for pointing out the most serious errors to me so that they were eventually fixed.

It wasn't the initial intention that every post on this page would come from me but it worked out that way. For those wondering just who all did the work in bringing you this great coverage (all I did was type and deal with photos) your good wishes should go to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenx, Frank Anzalone, Jeff Moxley, and Karin Hubbard-Luster. Mine most certainly do.

Now to get ready for actually going into Disneyland today (and I can't believe I'm awake again already).

12:50 a.m., May 5, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Just to close out the night, we have this photo from Frank, taken as he left the park around 11 p.m.

A group of friends: The first May 5 guests—or so they hope—are already camped out in front of the park gates. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

12:20 a.m., May 5, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Well, after juggling compact flash cards from five different cameras, it finally happened that I confused two cards and have no idea which set of photos came from Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix and which from Frank Anzalone. So know that both are represented in these picturs, but I don't know which belongs to whom (and can't get it straightened out until morning).

For the private party guests, the evening ended with two spectacles: the first nighttime performance of Parade of Dreams and the official premiere of the Remember... Dreams Come True fireworks. The photos below are presented out of chronological order. Since most have been seen in some form, they were selected not so much for their informational value as their visual interest.

Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

11:25 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Julie Andrews still had her role to play. It was her duty to unveil the final golden ride vehicle, and perhaps the most special of all: Jingles on the King Arthur Carrousel.

Jingles was the first horse purchased when putting together the carrousel for Disneyland, and has always been a notable element of that attraction for park fans. The event itself was pretty much the same as the earlier ones today, with a little patter followed by the unveiling.

Julie Andrews poses with the covered Jingles. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

The reveal: No revelry ensued; there was a cocktail party waiting. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Julie Andrews poses with a very nice gold Jingles. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

11:15 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Yes, I feel a little cheap feeding the celebrity machine by running a bunch of photos of people just because they're famous and attending a party mere mortals couldn't even get a glimpse of. But hey, it's 11:00 p.m. and I'm short on sleep. What else do I have to do with my time?

The most interesting event of the "gold carpet" arrivals involved Michael Eisner. As you'll see in the photo below he was carrying a set of gold Mickey ears. Many of the celebrities wore theirs, while others just carried them. However, when asked by a photographer to put his Mickey ears on, Eisner's attending publicist responded with "not a chance." Read into that what you will.

The gold carpet down Main Street, U.S.A. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Cast members were indeed used to provide some excitement. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Author Ray Bradbury. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Disney musical legend Richard Sherman. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Film critic and author Leonard Maltin with family. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner not wearing his Mickey ears. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Art Linkletter, still spry at 92. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

John Lasseter and Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Disney fan and television star John Stamos. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

10:20 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

I finally escaped the prison of this laptop for a while when I was assigned to go check out Disney's California Adventure and see how the crowd was, as everybody but media was cleared from Disneyland.

Standing at the gate of DCA, watching the masses leave Disneyland—the number heard was somewhere around 15,000 invited people were at Disneyland today—it was a bit of a slap at DCA to see that at least half the people were immediately heading for the trams rather than taking advantage of their free entry into DCA.

Wandering into DCA in time for the 5:45 performance of Block Party Bash, the first two show stops absorbed almost the entire DCA crowd. Almost nobody was at the third show stop near Paradise Pier, and even after the parade the crowds remained thin. Reports were that every ride, including California Screamin' and Soarin' Over California were walk-ons.

At around 6:00 p.m., after Disneyland has been emptied. Those few in the park are lining the road near A Bug's Land for the parade. Photo by Alex Stroup.

At about the same time, the bridge to Paradise Pier shows the same thing: No crowd. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

10:05 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

We have three videos that may be of interest. The first is a ride-through of the reopened Jungle Cruise, the second is a complete run-through of the Remember... fireworks and the third is a complete video of the Parade of Dreams.

Obviously you shouldn't watch these if you wan to save yourself for seeing them in person. All three are in Windows Media Format (.wmv; because that is what we can produce most quickly with what we have). The last two are particularly long and the files approach 20 megabytes.

For technical reasons we had to remove the videos we were providing. We should be able to provide something along these lines at some point Thursday.

5:05 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Of interest to some, Disneyland has put up a new wall around the submarine lagoon.

A new, more interesting, construction wall around the submarine lagoon. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

A close-up of one of the signs on the wall. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

4:50 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

The following is a brief description of the new film that has replaced Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. If you prefer to wait to see this yourself, just skip this entry.

The film starts with an introduction by comedian Steve Martin, saying that Disney wanted a host who had been there since the beginning. Donald Duck volunteers, but Martin dismisses him as "too animated." The film then goes into a photo of Martin when he was a cast member at the Magic Shop in 1960.

Next, you see the famous clip of Walt Disney explaining why he came up with the idea of Disneyland (wanting a place he could have fun with his children and grandchildren), with Martin interjecting with "uh huhs" and "good ideas" as if he were interviewing Walt.

Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney in a photomosaic on display inside 50 Magical Years. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

What then follows is a sequence of video clips from the early days of Disneyland, many of them familiar, including a time-lapse of Disneyland's construction, Walt's opening day address, and blooper footage from "Black Sunday" (that is, the day Disneyland opened). In one video, Art Linkletter is talking, and Donald takes the microphone away from him and is close captioned—because nobody can understand him. Donald Duck then attacks the caption, chasing the letters off the screen.

After this is a land-by-land overview of attractions from the park's first decade and an overview of animatronic figures used in park attractions, and a retrospective of live entertainment at the park from Slue-Foot Sue's Golden Horseshoe Revue to Boy George. The film closes with Donald trying to blow up Steve Martin with fireworks—but he changes his mind and launches them over the castle instead.

One of the exhibit displays in 50 Magical Years. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Closing images are photos pulling back to a photomosaic of the castle, which fades to a rendering of the castle.

Steve Martin and Donald Duck in battle during 50 Magical Years film. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

4:14 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Some odds and ends:

  • We found out why John Lasseter was spending so much time on the Jungle Cruise. After his studying of the script and many consecutive rides, Lasseter took the helm of a Jungle Cruise boat for a very limited audience of premiere media outlets. Word is he'll do it again at some point to be filmed.
  • If you're seriously considering one of the $30 desserts (at least one staff member here is, the fool) you might want to know that your dessert options are a Mickey truffle filled with a raspberry chocolate, a banana split, warm chocolate sundae, or apple pie with caramel sauce.
  • Throughout the day they have been putting up a large stage in the moat next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. This will host a 70-piece orchestra, which will accompany LeAnn Rimes at tomorrow's public kick-off event.
  • We're working to get some decent photos from inside 50 Magical Years, but the lighting is terrible and time inside is limited. If we get any they'll be our highest priority.
4:04 p.m., May 4, 2005
by Alex Stroup

Another unannounced opening this week is the Nestle Junior Chef program at Plaza Pavilion. In this program, which is held five times a day for of up to 20 children ages 4 through 10, the kids do all the work to mix cookie dough.

The ingredients are stored in canisters that pay homage to Main Street stores. Examples are "Candy Palace" vanilla and "Gibson Girl" sugar. Once the dough has been mixed the cookies "bake" for 3 minutes in one of Mickey's magic ovens. Each child then gets to take a cookie home with them after the show.

Between shows, children get to decorate and color chef hats and coloring sheets.

The chef who helps them through the program. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Children coloring between shows. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

We're not done yet! We'll be updating this page throughout the day on May 4 and 5. Keep reloading and we'll do our best to keep you up on all the current events and links of interest from around the web. If you have anything of interest, contact Lani Teshima here, as Alex Stroup is in the park all day and is not checking email.

Our coverage so far: May 4: Page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | May 5 most recent page (this page)