Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition - Disney California Adventure Refurbishments

By Daisy Sparks

January at Disneyland Parks means the beginning of many walls going up due to refurbishment. There is never a good time but this time of year remains the slowest in terms of Guest traffic. The closures are scheduled in advance and the information is readily available should anyone need it when making plans to visit Disneyland Parks. Attractions and venues targeted for refurbishment usually need some maintenance that may include a fresh coat of paint, repairs and/or a deep cleaning. Sometimes, the refurbishment schedule may include major projects that involve removing or adding new show elements. 

Today’s “Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition” features some major renovation projects now in progress at Disney California Adventure...

Condor Flats is history. The area was created to celebrate California’s aviation history. It was suppose to mimic the desert aircraft test facilities with the runway that ran through the area. The food location was called “Taste Pilot’s Grill” and the main attraction of the land was “Soarin’ Over California.”

Condor Flats will now reopen in late May as Grizzly Peak Airfield. Here is the concept drawing that has been around awhile.

This renovation has two purposes. One is to enfold the Condor Flats into Grizzly Peak area. Expect that wilderness theme to replace the desert aviation scene. It will look more seamless and blend in better with The Grand California that overlooks the area.
Condor Flats is now boarded up on both sides. It was a major walkway to be able to go from Buena Vista Street to Grizzly Peak area. During the refurbishment, Guests will have to walk all the way around to access the Grizzly Peak area or Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Second, this major downtime allows a much needed renovation for Soarin’ Over California. New digital projectors and HD screens should make their way into the attraction. A new film is rumored in production. The Disney fan grapevine has the working title as “Soarin Over the World.” The not-so -good news is that the new film will make its debut when Shanghai Disneyland opens sometime in 2016….and then make its way to Disneyland.
Boudin Bakery opened with Disney California Adventure back in February of 2001. The bakery tour closed a couple months ago and now looks like the entire facility is in refurbishment mode. A new tour and refreshed restaurant area is scheduled to open later this month.


Boudin Bakery is the place to buy the yummy sourdough bread in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s face. Sometimes during the holidays they offer special shaped bread. For example, last month they had candy cane, Christmas trees and snowman shaped bread loaves. When the Avengers movie was released, they had a bread loaf made into Captain America’s shield. I can’t wait to see the new tour and café area.

The World of Color debuted in 2010. It’s a spectacular night time water show that takes place on Paradise Bay. Lights, music, and massive water mist screens on which images are projected. There are 1200 fountains employed to create this show. It’s been almost 5 years so it’s time for some infrastructure work. According to the Disney Parks Blog , the World of Color renovation will include updating the system to employ much water saving conservation. The show is expected to be up and running by mid-March.


I was able to walk all around Paradise Pier to capture some of these photos. Notice some people walking on the water fountain structures.


One of the big benefits of World of Color is that the show can be changed out quickly in order to take out or incorporate any of the new movie moments or events that Disney may want to include in the show. For example, last summer they were able to include Olaf from Disney’s Frozen. It will remain to be seen if anything new gets added on to its March return.


Finally, this ginormous Frozen snowflake sculpture now greets Guests at the end of Buena Vista Street and right before you enter the Hollywood area for Frozen Fun. It’s the picture perfect place for Frozen fans. It was delightful watching all the kids in their Frozen costumes posing in front of this frozen fractal. Their bright smiles could seriously thaw the giant snowflake.

There are lots of refurbishment projects happening at Disneyland, too. With the 60th Anniversary approaching, many locations will be getting spruced up for a big birthday party. Hoping to bring that information to you next time.

Hope your day is filled with some pixie dust!
- Daisy

Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her "college job" led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 

Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy's Duck's help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland's Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it "the happiest place on earth."

You can read more about Daisy's Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

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