Posts Tagged ‘Disney California Adventure Grand Reopening’

What’s New In The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2013?

by on September 11, 2012

On behalf of my co-authors Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa, I’m proud to announce that The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2013 is now available via Amazon and Barnes & Noble, a few days before the book’s 9/19 official release date. It can be pre-ordered from iBooks in advance of its digital release later this month.

This has been a year of remarkable change at the Disneyland Resort, and our latest update to the Unofficial Guide reflects all the radical reimagineering the Anaheim attractions have undergone.

Here’s a rundown on all the fresh material you will find in our 2013 Guide:


  • An all-new humorous “The Importance of Being Goofy” essay.
  • Revised overview of the resort, highlighting expansions at Disney California Adventure.
  • Updated comparison chart of Disneyland Attractions vs. their equivalents at Magic Kingdom in Florida.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (6/17/2012 – 6/23/2012)

by on June 25, 2012

Welcome once again to our mostly-weekly wrap-up of what’s been happening at Disney’s Anaheim resort. Deepest apologies to anyone left bereft by the absence of this column, but the Touring Plans team was obviously occupied by a teensy-tiny little Grand Reopening that you may have heard about. Fret not: we’re back to bring you the news of everything that’s happened in the week since Cars Land and Buena Vista Street were unveiled to public.

Crowd Calendar

The new attractions at Disney California Adventure have rewritten attendance rules at the resort, and redefined what “busy” means.

Quietest Day: Thanks to Annual Pass blackouts, Saturday 6/23 was only a 3.8 at Disneyland and 5.4 at Disney California Adventure.

Busiest Day: Tuesday 6/19 was unofficially reported by Al Lutz as the highest-attended day in the history of Disneyland Resort, until the record was broken again on Wednesday with a 4.4 in Disneyland and 9.9 at DCA.

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First Review: Cars Land Shopping

by on June 22, 2012

California Adventure Route 66 Mugs

If you look at a descending list of the box offices revenues for Pixar films, neither film in the Cars series is near the top. This has not, however, prevented Cars-related merchandise from being astoundingly popular. This comes as no surprise to most parents of a young boys, and a June 2011 Los Angeles Times article even suggests that prospective merchandise sales drove Disney’s green-lighting of Cars 2 and perhaps even California Adventure’s recent expansion. Needless to say, you will find ample themed merchandise readily available in Cars Land and throughout California Adventure.

Tom Bricker writes:

Stores in Cars Land are really small. I was a bit surprised by this, especially given that one of the big ‘sells’ for Cars Land is the merchandising opportunities. It would have been one thing if they all were unique merchandise stores, but they’re not.

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First Review: Instant Concert! …Just Add Water

by on June 18, 2012

Maestro Goofy conducts!

Instant Concert! …Just Add Water

Guy Selga says:

I liked it. It takes almost no effort to see; we walked up two minutes before show time and stood right in front of Goofy. Nice little show–it reminds me of the old Goofy instructional cartoons!

Our Rating: 3.5 stars

  • What it is: Musical fountain show
  • Scope and scale: Diversion
  • When to go: See Times Guide or Lines mobile app for schedule
  • Duration: About 5 minutes
Description And Comments

With background narration that hearkens back to cartoon shorts of the past, Maestro Goofy attempts to direct a short concert in Paradise Park. Of course, the orchestra is invisible, but the Paradise Bay fountains used in World of Color respond to the music in a spectacular way. The result is a short bit of comedic entertainment.

Touring Tips

There concerts are short, and the viewing area is ample, so there is currently no need to show up early.

Special Comments

There is no seating, so be prepared to stand. Instant Concert! …Just Add Water takes place several times a day on Paradise Bay. There are currently three different pieces of music; one is performed at each show, so if you enjoy it, return later to see one of the other performances!

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First Review: Buena Vista Street Restaurants

by on June 15, 2012

Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café (menu)

Tom Bricker says:

“The menu seems very similar to Jolly Holiday in Disneyland Park, with the addition of Starbucks. The breakfast was better here than at the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land.”

  • Quality: Good-Excellent
  • Value: B
  • Portion: Medium

Starbucks coffee, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing, hot breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches (including roast beef and Cheddar, turkey reuben, and paneer and roasted vegetable), and soups (such as cream spinach, chicken tortilla, or meat stew)


This new quick-service eatery — named after both the Three Little Pigs and an imaginary songstress trio whose manufactured mementos hang inside — boasts a large open dining area in the Arts & Crafts style. You can get your morning jolt of Starbucks-brand joe (or a venti half-caff soy latte, if you prefer) and grab-and-go breakfast pastries here. Lunch and dinner selections spotlight soups and sandwiches.

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First Review: Cars Land Restaurants

by on June 15, 2012

Flo’s V8 Cafe (menu)

Tom Bricker says:

“Flo’s V8 Cafe serves comfort food. We really enjoyed the New York strip loin!”

  • Quality: Good-Excellent
  • Value: B+
  • Portion: Medium-Large

French toast, chicken tamales, pork loin, New York strip loin, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, and fruit pies


Cars Land’s largest eatery serves classic American diner food with a creative Southwestern flair. Breakfast selections feature chicken and egg tamales and caramel banana french toast. Signature lunch and dinner choices include a vegetarian Boca casserole, New York strip loin, and citrus turkey breast, with “ugly crust” apple-cheddar and cherry pies for desert. Memorabilia from proprietor Flo’s past as a famous Motown singer is featured in the décor.

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First Review: Red Car Trolleys on Buena Vista Street

by on June 15, 2012

Red Car Trolleys

Our Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Tom Bricker says:

“The Red Car Trolleys are beautiful!”

  • What it is: Scenic in-park transportation.
  • Scope and scale: Minor attraction.
  • When to go: The first 2 hours the park is open.
  • Duration of ride: About 8 minutes.
  • Average wait time per 100 people ahead of you: 12 minutes.
  • Loading speed: Very Slow

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First Review: Cars Land Overview and Entertainment

by on June 15, 2012

Cars Land

Tom Bricker says:

“Overall, Cars Land was money very well spent. It will be a huge draw for Disneyland Resort for years to come.”

Cars Land is the crowning capstone on DCA’s transformation, and the first major “land” in an American Disney theme park devoted solely to a single film franchise. Tucked in the park’s southeast corner on 12 acres of repurposed parking lot, Cars Land’s main entrance is across from the Golden Vine Winery, though there are secondary gateways in a bug’s land and Pacific Wharf. A massive mountainous backdrop topped with 125-foot-high peaks patterned after 1959 Cadillac Pinnacle tail fins — known as the Cadillac Range — cradles Ornament Valley, home to a screen-accurate re-creation of Radiator Springs. That’s the sleepy single-stoplight town along Route 66 populated by Pixar’s anthropomorphized automobiles.

Along its main drag, in addition to three rides, you find eateries themed to the film’s minor characters such as Fillmore’s Taste-In, serving fruit drinks and snacks; Cozy Cone Motel, with chili, ice cream, and popcorn, all served in conical containers; and Flo’s V8 Cafe, serving creative takes on classic comfort food with a Southwestern twist for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Souvenir shops include Radiator Springs Curios, Ramone’s House of Body Art, and Sarge’s Supply Hut.

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First Review: Buena Vista Street Overview and Entertainment

by on June 14, 2012

Buena Vista Street

From the Esplanade, where huge block letters spelling CALIFORNIA originally stood, you now pass through a new Streamline Modern entrance facade, designed after Los Angeles’s fabled Pan Pacific Auditorium. (If it looks familiar, that’s because it can also be recognized as the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida.)

Once past the turnstiles, you’ll find yourself on Buena Vista Street, a re-creation of 1920s Hollywood as Walt saw it when he first arrived.

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First Review: Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

by on June 14, 2012

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Our Rating: 3 Stars

Tom Bricker says:

“Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is my third-favorite ride in Cars Land, but it’s still very solid — hilarious and fun for what it is.”

  • What it is: Midway-type whip ride.
  • Scope and scale: Minor attraction.
  • When to go: The first 30 minutes the park is open.
  • Special Comments: Must be 32″ tall to ride.
  • Duration of ride: About 90 seconds.
  • Average wait time per 100 people ahead of you: 8 minutes.
  • Loading speed: Slow

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