Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(10/18/18) Rainforest Cafe Would Like To Return to Disneyland Resort Location (MORE...)
(10/17/18) Disneyland Resort - Eyeballing Angels Stadium (MORE...)
(10/11/18) New Hotel Plans Canceled, The Earl Is Back and More (MORE...)
(9/13/18) Ralph Breaks VR Coming to The Void at Disneyland and Walt Disney World (MORE...)
Ticket Pricing - (2/14/18) Don't say I didn't warn you, but Disneyland increased their ticket prices as expected this week.
The price of a One Day Ticket into the Disneyland Resort parks stayed at $97 for Off-Peak days, while Regular pricing jumped $7 (from $110 to $117) and Peak pricing leap $11 from $124 to $135 per person.
Annual Passholders are being hit hardest in the wallet however with some heavy price increases:
SoCal Select AP went up $30, from $339 to $369
Disneyland Dexlue AP went up $110, from $619 to $729
Disneyland Signature AP went up $150, from $849 to $999
Disneyland Signature Plus AP went up $100, from $1049 to $1149
General Resort News - (10/18/18) This doesn’t mean it will happen, but according to the OC Register Landrys, the parent company behind the Rainforest Café, has let it be known that they would like to reopen the former Anaheim Rainforest Café location at the Disneyland Resort if possible. Disney isn’t saying anything just yet, and even last week mentioned that while they were looking into a variety of options for the sites, they did specifically mention that they were not in talks with Rainforest about returning, as opposed to Earl of Sandwich which already reopened.
Landrys does have a successful relationship with Disney however and had four eateries at Walt Disney World already: two Rainforest Cafes (Disney Springs and outside Disney’s Animal Kingdom park), the Yak & Yeti eatery inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the T-Rex Café, also at Disney Springs. So who knows… maybe if the idea of the Rainforest Café in California grew tired, they could perhaps work a deal to try a T-Rex Café instead. Or maybe Disney is just leaning in an entirely different direction right now… we’ll just have to wait and see.
(10/17/18) First there is a rumor that The Rio casino in Las Vegas could possibly be sold and torn down to may way for a possible new MLB Baseball stadium… and now the Anaheim Angels just opted out of their lease for their home stadium in Anaheim where they have played since 1966. While Vegas was mentioned as a possible home for an expansion team, I’m sure they would be willing to move an existing team if they were given the option as well, though the Angels may prefer to stay in the local SoCal market and play in a new stadium maybe.
But what does this mean for Anaheim? Interestingly enough, I had heard about three or four years ago a crazy tale, one that claimed the Angels and the stadium owner (which is actually the City of Anaheim) had just begun to get into a massive disagreement over their terms. This had led the Angels to enter into some early talks and discussions about the possibility of leaving their current home stadium.
Now lets drop the big hammer here… and talk Disney. The Angels stadium sits on a huge piece of property, which Wikipedia claims is around 160 acres. The site isn’t that far from the Disneyland Resort and is already well connected to the local roads as well as public transportation system. That crazy tale I told you about? Apparently Disney was made aware of the issues between Anaheim and the Angels years ago and sort of let it be known at the time that they might be very VERY interested in obtaining the stadium property if it were ever to become available. Disney gaining the stadium site if the Angels no longer needed it would really be the only way that their California resort property could ever fit in a third theme park. So keep and eye on the fate of the Angels… it could have some major repercussions.
(10/11/18) According to the OC Register, Disneyland has announced that they are “pulling the plug” on their plans to build that new luxury hotel on the west side of Downtown Disney. While a number of business locations there had already closed (Rainforest Cafe, ESPN Zone, AMC Theaters, Earl of Sandwich, etc…) to make way for the new hotel, Disney says that the site will remain focused on being used for shopping, dining and other entertainment needs rather than be used for a new hotel. No word on the others, but apparently the Earl of Sandwich location had already reopened at the start of October, much to the delight of the fans of the sandwich diner. While ESPN and Rainforest locations were removed, it is unlikely AMC would return to their former site as they have already set plans in motion to relocate to a new theater site across Harbor Blvd at the Anaheim GardenWalk.
So what’s next for the Disneyland Resort then? With construction on a new parking structure going full swing between Downtown Disney and the existing structure, I’d have to think Disney may be rethinking about what to do with all the land they’ve purchased across Harbor Blvd instead right about now. That site was the one originally intended for the second parking structure along with a fancy pedestrian bridge to go over Harbor Blvd, so I have to wonder if Disney may be thinking of building perhaps a more medium or budget friend resort concept over there instead… something to break up the massive sprawl they’ve built on the other side of the resort where all the existing hotels and parking structures are located.
Speaking of pedestrian traffic… the Disneyland Resort also confirmed that they will add a new pedestrian bridge that will run from the parking structures over Magic Way to the rest of the resort. This opens up things a bit more and provides a safe way to walk from Downtown Disney to the parking structures if you don’t want to wait for the parking tram.
(9/13/18) Disney has confirmed that a new VR experience will be coming to The Void locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World themed to our favorite video game character... Wreck It Ralph. Yep... you guessed it... "Ralph Breaks VR" is set to launch in Fall 2018 where you will break into the world of "the internet" with Ralph and Vanellope.
If that wasn't enough, The Void also sent out their own tweet moments before confirming not only Wreck It Ralph, but another new VR experience themed around "an undisclosed Marvel movie" would be coming in 2019 as well. Assuming this new experience will tie into a new film release like Ralph Breaks VR does, I'm guessing it will be themed around either Captain Marvel or the untitled 4th Avengers film, or possible to the Spiderman: Far From Home film.
(9/6/18) New dining enhancements are coming to two Disneyland Resort hotel fast-casual locations, as well as the addition of a new bar seating area for pool goers. Tangaroa Terrace will soon close at the Disneyland Hotel to undergo massive renovations when it will reopen in early 2019 as "Tangaroa Terrace, Tropical Bar and Grill". Fortunately the popular site will retain it's 50's era Tiki-inspired theme when it reopens with a new outdoor bar and patio area serving island cocktails and Asian-inspired fare. Oh... and they'll be serving the popular Dole Whips all day long.
White Water Snacks at Disney's Grand Californian will also close soon and reopen before the end of the year with a brand new look. Hotel guests of the Grand Californian will also find a brand new pool bar area opening in Spring 2019. Follow the link for more details and concept artwork.
(8/24/18) The Disneyland Resort did something totally unexpected this week when they asked the city of Anaheim to "end all tax incentive deals" they currently have on the books. The company mentioned that the old tax incentive deals previously struck with the city had become a point of contention, and by ending them they hoped to improve their relationship with the city and local residents.
While there is no word if this means the new hotel project is moving forward again or not just yet, but the LA Times does add a little speculation, claiming Disney's move may have had an ulterior motive. It seems there is a ballot measure on the upcoming November 6th election that would require all hospitality businesses that get tax subsidy's from Anaheim to increase the salary of every employee to $15/hour minimum wage, which would then increase by $1/hour each January until 2022. Despite that claim, they also report that Disney has struck new labor agreements with four of their largest unions to increase pay to $13.25 immediately and to raise it again to $15 in January anyway, so it does seem more likely that Disney really is attempting to create a better working relationship in the Anaheim community.
It is also worth mentioning the new Disney Aspire education program the company has launched nationwide, where the company will cover tuition costs upfront as well as reimburse application fees and books to staff members seeking a higher education. Follow the link to read more details about the Disney Aspire program.
(6/28/18) Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort guests will soon be able to "play" the time away while waiting in line at the parks with the new Play Disney Parks app. Available for download on June 30th for iOS and Android mobile devices the new Play Disney Parks app will let you play a variety of games, tackle Disney trivia and other activities while you are inside the parks.
Taking a nod from video game consoles like the Xbox and PS4, players with a free account can even strive to earn "Themed Achievements" in a variety of ways. There also supposed to be a number of special activities and games themed around this summer's new attractions at Pixar Pier in California and Toy Story Land in Florida.
2017 - MaxPass FastPass - Announced - (7/14/17) A quick reminder that Disney's new premium pay queue service, MaxPass, will launch on July 19th at the Disneyland Resort parks, with an introductory price of $10 a day. For $75 Annual Passholders can add MaxPass that will be good for the life of your current pass. Visit the official site for all the juicy details.
(1/12/17) While Disneyland resort guests have been waiting for the company to roll out a more digital version of their FastPass program, much like the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World, what the Disneyland Resort announced today may not be what most were hoping for.
Introducing MaxPass… a way for Disneyland Resort guests to access the parks FastPass systems with their mobile devices while in the park, eliminating the need to travel to the attraction and swipe a ticket for a paper FastPass ticket. The good part is that MaxPass will work just like the current paper FastPass system, allowing guests to make one single FP reservation at a time, with no advanced reservations made months in advance, you can only make your FP reservation once you are in the parks. This eliminates a lot of the headaches caused by the advanced reservation features of the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World, along with the unnessary MagicBands.
Now for the bad news… MaxPass comes with a per ticket cost of $10 per person / per ticket. While one user will be able to make FastPass reservations for their entire group all at once, much like you can do with FP+ at WDW, it will cost you an extra $10 per person in the group to do it. For example, while the Father of a family of 5 can enjoy the ability to use his phone to make FP reservations at the parks for the day, Disney is going to charge you $50 for the convenience of it all. (Have you read our article about the many new Cash Grab programs that have gone into effect at Walt Disney World over the past 3 months?)
On the positive side, in addition to gaining access to MaxPass, your $10 fee will also grant you unlimited digital downloads of photos taken in the parks with Disney’s PhotoPass system. However, this comes with a big negative for families where you would really only need one of the unlimited PhotoPass plans for the entire family, and will now find yourself paying $10 for every member of your group if you opt to the MaxPass.
This has left many Annual Passholders wondering just how MaxPass is going to affect them, many of which who already have unlimited PhotoPass downloads through their Annual Pass program. So far Disney has not been able to answer those questions about how much MaxPass will cost for AP holders, and has only stated that those answers will be come at a later along with more information about the program's launch.
While it is great that Disneyland is finally launching a mobile version of FastPass, I'm thinking this is just the wrong way to do it. After all, a mobile version of FastPass can help eliminate the need to have so many physical FP kiosks in the parks, cut back on the maintenance of them, the staffing needed to run them, and not to mention eliminate much of the waste that comes from paper FastPass tickets. In light of these potential cost savings, and the fact that mobile access to FastPass at Walt Disney World is free for everyone, it just kind of rubs me the wrong way that they want to charge a fee for this system, along with the completely unnecessary PhotoPass perk thrown in for value's sake. I'd rather have a free mobile FP system and the option to pay $10 for PhotoPass if I want it.
This also makes me wonder if a fee is in the works for Walt Disney World's mobile system in the not too distant future.
One important final note I have to mention however is that MaxPass will NOT be your only way to access Disney’s FastPass system at Disneyland and California Adventure, the old paper ticket FastPass system isn’t going anywhere and will remain free for everyone to use at the various kiosks within the parks, working just as it always has before. In addition to that, Disney did confirm that they would soon be adding FastPass machines to The Matterhorn in Disneyland and Toy Story Mania at Disney California Adventure.
Late 2017 - Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire from The Void - (11/21/17) A great article and preview review of the new Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire VR-style attraction from The Void coming to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts by mid December has been posted to The Verge. You can also check out a little teaser video all about the new attraction as well just below.
(8/7/17) The Void... an ultra intense VR experience that has been gaining steam and popularity... longtime readers will remember me talking about how cool looking their Ghostbusters experience that opened at Madame Tussauds in New York appeared to be, as well as lamenting about how their HQ was all the way in the middle of nowhere... UTAH. I've so very much wanted to experience what The Void has to offer and now according to the latest Disney Parks Blog announcement, The Void will be behind a new "Hyper-Reality Experience" coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and to Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort that will be called, "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire".
According to the posting, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will open to virtually transport guests into the Star Wars universe through the amazing technology of The Void, where you will interact with that galaxy far far away through "sight, sound, touch, smell and motion" as well as through the use of some Haptic feedback in places to allow for the environment to be felt as well as seen. Look for this to open sometime "this holiday season" on both coasts.
2018 - Splitsville and other Downtown Disney New Additions - (1/25/18) The Disneyland Reosrt has confirmed that plans are in motion to add a “Ballast Point” brewery to Downtown Disney by late 2018. The new 7,300 sqft location from the San Diego based brewer will include an outdoor beer garden, brewery, tasting room, kitchen and dining space. Look for construction to begin soon across from Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar.
This will join other new additions and changes coming to Downtown Disney in 2018 including the soon to open Splitsville Luxury Lanes, a renovated World of Disney store, a Disney Home goods store, renovations to Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria and also the new Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer restaurant will arrive with their signature CrazyShake milkshakes.
(1/24/18) The Disneyland Resort has confirmed that the new Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling attraction in Downtown Disney will open to guests on January 29th.
(1/15/18) A photo update showing off the refurbishment work and construction taking place in Downtown Disney was posted to DisneyGeek this week, including the progress on the new Splitsville location that looks to be close to being finished up.
(7/3/17) A new look at the Splitsville Luxury Lanes attraction coming to Downtown Disney in California has been posted by the Disney Parks Blog with concept artwork showing off what the finished building will look like.
(6/26/17) A couple of pictures of the new Splitsville attraction under construction in Downtown Disney can be found at DisneyGeek this week.
(1/1/17) A couple of close up photos of the House of Blues demolition were sent in by DisneyGeek this week. You can see a whole collection of photos taken at both parks, including a look at the Guardians/Tower transformation, Rivers of America and Star Wars construction if you follow this link.
(12/28/16) Now that House of Blues has left Downtown Disney (set to reopen in the nearby Anaheim GardenWalk in early 2017) Disney has begun the process of demolishing the old HoB location. One of our readers sent in a photo of the site as crews work to carefully bring the structure down, meanwhile the permits filed by Disney indicated that they intended to keep a "basement" level under the building intact, and Disney has already announced a deal is in place with Splitsville to bring a new 40,000 sqft 20-lane location to the site that will also feature a lounge and 625-seat restaurant.
2019 - New Parking Structures - Confirmed - (8/2/18) Progress is taking place to build the new parking structure at the Disneyland Resort and the latest pictures have been posted to Westcoaster this week. Scroll down more and you can get a peek at the backside rockwork going in for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and down some more to see what's going on in Downtown Disney and more.
(4/7/18) Westcoaster is back with a new photo update from the Disneyland Resort where we take a long look at the progress being made to quickly build this new 6,500 vehicle parking structure in time for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to open next year. They also look around Downtown Disney and show off some of the major locations there that will soon be leaving to make way for the next resort hotel.
The list includes ESPN Zone, the AMC Theater, Earl of Sandwich, Starbucks, Rainforest Cafe and a few others, though some may return in new locations, or within the new hotel when it opens.
Keep on scrolling down for a look at what's going on inside Pixar Pier as well.
(10/27/17) New changes are coming to the Disneyland Resort's future expansion plans. For starters, Disney has confirmed that, for now, the plans for the "Eastern Gateway" entrance and 6,800 spot parking structure are now canceled. Instead, a new plan is being put into action immediately that will see a 6,500 spot parking structure built on the location of the current Pinocchio surface lot right next to the existing massive Mickey & Friends structure. Construction on the new structure will begin in February 2018 and be complete sometime in 2019.
The interesting thing here is that the various businesses along Harbor Blvd who were complaining about how the previous plans for a parking structure with pedestrian walkway over Harbor would hurt traffic flow to their locations will now find themselves in an even worse pickle. The Eastern Gateway project would have split up the guests arriving to the Disneyland Resort between the two parking structures on either side of the resort, and still allowed for guests to have a reason to be on the Harbor Blvd. side of the Disneyland Resort, either on foot, or driving as they arrive or depart the Eastern Gateway structure. Now we see Disney putting BOTH of the parking structures in the same basic location on the opposite side of the resort, which will essentially divert most of the vehicle traffic away from Harbor Blvd. entirely, and with the hotels and Downtown Disney all on the same side of the resort as the parking structures, Harbor Blvd. which once served as the "entrance" to Disneyland a long time ago, will now suddenly find themselves all sitting away from all the action, all alone in Mickey's backyard. At least until more of them start to go under and Disney quietly gobbles up the various parcels to add to what they already own, and then maybe they'll revisit the idea of an Eastern Gateway in another decade or two when they own the majority of it.
Oh... and apparently a second parking structure is also planned to go up after this behind the Paradise Pier hotel that will provide dedicated parking for all on-site resort guests as well.