Deb and I attended the What’s Next session on Friday morning – Deb Koma and I attended this last year. (I hope that doesn’t mean I have to find a different Deb to attend with me next year! I love the two that I have! 🙂 )
Anyway…this is where Disney tells us about a lot of the things that are upcoming at the Disneyland parks or otherwise related to things going on on the west coast.
Just from the “storybook” backdrop they had behind the stage we had a pretty good idea of what we would be hearing about: World of Color, Disney Cruise Line, Star Tours, Cars Land, and Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Our host was Russ Marchand again, the same as last year – he made some comment about how good it was to see us once a year.
Much of what the various presenters spoke about is covered in the What’s New & What’s Next at Disneyland Resort? press release, but here’s a few additional details.
Rachel Quinn, Executive Cruise Director for the Disney Cruise Line, spoke about the Disney Wonder’s move to the west coast, and also about the Disney Dream. I had heard about the virtual port holes, but had not heard about the “enchanted art” – artwork that will come alive with animated characters. This artwork will also be incorporated into a special adventure game where families can use a detective device to get clues from various places to solve a mystery. Sounds like it might be
something along the lines of the Kim Possible adventures at Epcot.
The Disneyland Hotel is getting a makeover to return the classic mid-century feel. Two new themed suites have just opened, the Fairytale Suite and the Big Thunder Suite. The pool area will be re-themed with more of a monorail station look, with the water slide incorporating a replica of the original Disneyland sign.
Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer and Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering talked about Cars Land, opening in 2012 There will be three attractions, plus some merchandise and dining locations. One of them is the Cozy Cones, a snack location serving “Cone-on-the-Cob” and “Chile cone Carne”, among others. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree will be on the outskirts of town, and features 22 “baby” tractors pulling guests around in a tractor square dance.
Luigi’s Flying Tires looks like fun – she had video from a mock-up they had built and said the Imagineers and their kids just loved this. There’s apparently no controls – you move it by shifting your weight back/forward/left/right.
Radiator Springs Racers will encompass six acres. During the ride (based on the Test Track technology) you get to meet a lot of the Cars characters who invite you to today’s big race. Along the way you go tractor-tipping with Mater and get either new tires from Luigi or a paint job from Ramone. Then it’s out on the track, side-by-side with another car. The attraction is about four minutes long. The first test vehicle went on the track within the last two weeks.
Kathy Rogers, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering, described the updates to the Star Tours attraction. The new story will be set in the time period between episode 3 and episode 4. In addition to pod races on Tatooine, there will be a flight through Coruscant, though it wasn’t clear if these would be two separate tours, or somehow included in the same tour. The final flights to Endor will be on July 26 at Disneyland, and on September 7 at the Disney Studios. Her talk was interrupted by some unruly visitors, though Russ’ impression of the voice of a certain Dark Lord sent them scampering.
Lisa Girolami, Director, Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering talked about the upcoming The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, due to open in 2011. Guests will board clam-mobiles (an omni-mover system like the Haunted Mansion) for a trip under the sea. In addition to Ariel, Sebastian, and Triton, the attraction will feature Ursula, Flotsam, and Jetsam.
And, Disney saved the best for last. We had the great fortune to see Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, perform “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea” with a group of costumed sea creature dancers and puppeteers. It was really amazing, and a wonderful way to end the presentation.