Disney Park Hopper

Just a Disney Fan who likes to post random things about Disney Parks. If you can't get enough of me, Follow me on Twitter---------> https://twitter.com/#!/ParkHopper55 hit counter
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This morning, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger was joined by Disney characters and cast members to officially reopen Disney California Adventure park. With Buena Vista Street and Cars Land complete and open to guests, it was time to celebrate Disney-style! Thousands of guests lined up throughout the night to be among the first to visit the newest areas of the park – see what they had to say in the video below. You’ll also see highlights from the Disney California Adventure Park Grand Opening Ceremony and be on the lookout for aerial shots from the Goodyear Blimp!


Can you feel the excitement in the air? I know I can! Buena Vista StreetCars LandMad T Party and of course, our all new merchandise locations … The big day is almost here! For those of you amazing Disney Parks fans out there wondering if there will be any limited-edition commemorative merchandise available as part of this historic Disney milestone … well, you can bank on it! Here’s your first look at some of the key collections and special merchandise offerings debuting June 15 at the Disney Animation Building in Disney California Adventure park.

Special Merchandise Offerings Debuting June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park

Created specifically for the Grand Reopening, this retro-inspired graphic, with its tonal color, captures the magnificent additions and classic icons of Disney California Adventure park. You’ll find this art on a selection of items including tees, a hat, tote, watch, tumbler and coins.

Tip: Keep an eye out for a special Greetings From Radiator Springs postal cancellation postcard. A quick pick to commemorate the day.

If pins and Vinylmation are what you are after, then this is the place to go. There are approximately 17 different pin items available, most limited editions, including a jumbo pin, sculpture, framed set and a limited-release mystery set. Three Vinylmation will also debut including the limited-edition 9-inch Buena Vista Street and 9-inchRadiator Springs Racers and the limited-release 3-inch Red Car Trolley Grand Opening.

Special Merchandise Offerings Debuting June 15 at Disney California Adventure ParkSpecial Merchandise Offerings Debuting June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park

Special Merchandise Offerings Debuting June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park

Passholders, take note, there’s special merchandise just for you, too. Themed to Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, you’ll find tees, a fleece, pins and commemorative coins, along with a specially created Storytellers tile.

    • Items featured in the Merchandise Catalog will be available at the Animation Building (a special one-day shopping venue) on June 15. Operating hours will vary.
  • The catalog, along with the location, is broken up into “Zones” including Commemorative Dated Collection, Annual Passholder Collection, Pins and Vinylmation. So once you’re inside the venue, pick and choose which area you want to go to first!

For more details be sure to visit www.ArtofDisneyParks.com.

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @Disneyland on Twitter for the latest on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtags #CarsLand, #BuenaVistaStreet, #MadTParty and #JustGotHappier.


Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop at Disney California Adventure Park

Last week, we told you about the unveiling of Carthay Circle Theatre and the fountain in Carthay Circle. And today, just around the corner, the new Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop has emerged in the Pacific Wharf area at Disney California Adventure park. In the photos above by Paul Hiffmeyer, you can see the new location – but you’ll have to wait until the shop opens on June 7 to taste the delicious chocolates and sundaes that will be served here!

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop at Disney California Adventure ParkGhirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop at Disney California Adventure ParkGhirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop at Disney California Adventure Park

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @Disneyland on Twitter for the latest on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtags #CarsLand, #BuenaVistaStreet, #MadTParty and #JustGotHappier.


Love how somethings from Disney’s California Adventures are being donated and reused! 

The “CALIFORNIA” letters previously located in the esplanade of the Disney California Adventure park entrance have found a new home! The Disneyland Resort will donate the set of letters, which were removed to make way for the Disney California Adventure park expansion project, to the Friends of the California State Fair, a nonprofit organization that benefits California Exposition & State Fair (Cal Expo) in Sacramento. Cal Expo is the site of the California State Fair and hundreds of other events annually.


Plans are underway to make the letters an integral part of a new Cal Expo entrance. The “CALIFORNIA” letters will make their way to their new home sometime in late September and will be placed high enough at the entrance to be seen from Exposition Boulevard. They’ll continue to create memories at a fitting location as Disney California Adventure park welcomes Cars Land and Buena Vista Street!

The donation is the latest among several other Disney California Adventure park artifacts over the last five years, including:

  • The cab of the California Zephyr train that was formerly the home of Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream and Bakers Field Bakery was donated to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, Calif.
  • The sun icon that welcomed visitors to Sunshine Plaza was donated to the City of Anaheim for future use.
  • The giant toy train from EnginEARS Toys will be donated to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s) for future use.
  • Postcards and displays from the Greetings From California store at the main entrance of Disney California Adventure park were donated to many Southern California nonprofit organizations and educational facilities, including the Boys & Girls Club of Tustin, the Anaheim Family YMCA, the Child Abuse Services Team office in Orange, the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, and Betsy Ross and Orange Grove elementary schools in Anaheim.
  • Signs and character displays from Greetings From California were donated to Pretend City in Irvine.
  • The Reboundo Beach surfboard basketball game was donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove.
  • Benches from throughout Disney California Adventure park were donated to the City of Anaheim for use in public spaces.


I am excited to see this new gallery! 

I can’t believe how time flies. It seems like just yesterday I announced the concept of WonderGround Gallery right here on the Disney Parks Blog. Now, June 9 is around the corner and the grand opening is something you won’t want to miss.

One of the things I’m most excited to share with you is the debut of the new Vinylmation 95 platform! Guaranteed to get your motor racing, this new 9” form is shaped like the one and only Lightning McQueen and pays tribute to his signature number, 95. What makes it even better is that six of our WonderGround Gallery artists have been commissioned to create one-of-a-kind pieces utilizing the new platform. In addition, Artist in Residence for June, Noah, will debut a limited edition version of his Lightning McQueen Vinylmation 95 platform the same day. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look as Noah puts the finishing touches on this classic new piece.

As I mentioned above, WonderGround Gallery will feature an Artist in Residence program. Each month, a new artist will call WonderGround Gallery their home as they work on upcoming projects, live paintings, art demonstrations and more. Local Southern California artist Noah is scheduled to be our very first Artist in Residence and will be on hand every Friday and Saturday night throughout the month of June, from 5–9 p.m. In addition to our Artist in Residence, other local artisans will appear to showcase some of their new releases and collections.

There are so many great events planned for the opening and throughout the month. Here are a few things you should keep on your radar. For a complete list of artists that will be appearing on June 9, be sure to visitWonderGroundGallery.com.

Events/Artist Signings

  • June 9 – Vinylmation Signing, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • June 9 – 2D Artist Signings, 3 – 5 p.m.

Artist in Residence

  • June 15 – 16 – Noah, 5 – 9 p.m.

Artisan Showcase

  • June 16 – 17 – Mamas Little Babies, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • June 23 – 24 – Artisan, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • June 30 – July 1 – Artisan, 1 – 4 p.m.

What else can you expect to find in WonderGround Gallery? Well, let me paint you a picture. Not only will you find original artwork on the walls, but you can actually find some of this featured art on an array of items, including limited-edition giclées, deluxe prints, t-shirts, mugs, magnets and more. In addition, look for art-inspired home and lifestyle products, including books, journals, note cards, picture frames, novelty pens, stencils, vases, paperweights and art figures, among other items.

Now, I couldn’t let you go without a sneak peek at a few more pieces of art. Hope you like them!



Hahahaha is all I have to say! But if you want to pay your way into CarsLand and Buena Vista Street here are your options. 

Willys Butte in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park, By Paul Hiffmeyer

Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders and D23 members – you have a special opportunity to experience Cars Land and Buena Vista Street before they open on June 15 at Disney California Adventure park! This is your chance to be among the very first to experience Cars Land and the new Buena Vista Street, ride attractions, purchase merchandise, check out new food and beverages, experience attractions and see entertainment in these new areas. Go here or to D23.com right now for event times and to purchase tickets for the following opportunities on June 9-10:

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Experience
Ticket Cost: $50 per person (includes a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket to Disney California Adventure park for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders; valid admission ticket required for D23 members). Choose your preview times of 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. OR 1–5 p.m.

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Experience Followed by a Private “World of Color” Show
Ticket Cost: $75 per person (includes a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket to Disney California Adventure park for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders; valid admission ticket required for D23 members). Choose your preview times of 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. OR 1–5 p.m., with a private viewing of “World of Color” at 11:15 p.m.

Dinner at Carthay Circle Restaurant, including Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Experience Followed by Private “World of Color” Show. Dinner on June 9 will feature the Disney Family, and dinner on June 10 will feature John Lasseter. 
Dinner at Carthay Circle Restaurant includes a 3-course meal and a special wine presentation. Ticket Cost: $500 per person (includes tax and gratuity)

Dinner experience includes:

  • Experience Cars Land and Buena Vista Street from 6-11 p.m.
  • Preferred boarding on Radiator Springs Racers
  • Private “World of Color” show
  • Complimentary valet parking at Downtown Disney District (full validation will be provided)
  • Commemorative “Storytellers” statuette
  • June 9 dinners will feature a member of the Disney Family and representatives from The Walt Disney Family Museum
  • June 10 dinners will feature John Lasseter
  • 1-Day 1-Park ticket to Disney California Adventure park valid for participant’s use on day of event purchased for D23 members and Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders

Go here or to D23.com for event times and more information, and to reserve your special opportunity to experience Disney California Adventure park!

Event tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable. No ticket upgrades. Ticket purchaser must present credit card used for purchase to pick up tickets. Limited reservations available and scheduled time periods will be strictly enforced. The preview event may include long wait periods, and the attractions, entertainment and services are subject to temporary closures and cancellation at any time. Information subject to restrictions and change without notice.


Wow its been that long! 

I love writing posts about Disney history and the milestone I get to celebrate today is no exception. Exactly 45 years ago, on May 30, 1967, the first ground was broken for the construction of the Walt Disney World Resort.


I really wanted to share a photo of this milestone, so I partnered with fellow Disney Parks Blog Author Nate Rasmussen and the Disney Archives to try to track some down. I’ve always been told this part of Central Florida was pretty sparse before Disney moved in, and the photos we found proved just that – miles of nothing but trees and lakes.

During our search, Nate and I found that some of the first compelling photos that exist of Walt Disney World Resort’s pre-opening were actually produced two years later, in April 1969, during a press event that gave locals their first look at what Walt Disney World Resort would be.


This “first look” took place at the Ramada Inn Tower in Ocoee, Fla. Here, invited guests could explore a tent full of scale models of Walt Disney World Resort, as well as artwork and Audio-Animatronics figures. (Oh, if us bloggers had a time machine!).


Disney leaders who spoke – and even signed autographs – at the event were what we’d consider today to be a real “who’s who” of Disney history, including Roy O. Disney, John Hench, Charlie Ridgway, Donn Tatum and Card Walker, all of whom later achieved Disney Legend status. During the event, they announced Oct. 1, 1971 as Walt Disney World Resort’s opening date, and declared that construction was officially beginning on Magic Kingdom Park and the first hotels (1967 construction included necessary roadwork and utilities).

At the event, Roy O. Disney also expressed joy in overseeing Walt’s dream of bringing a second Disney theme park to life:

“You should know that the dedication of our staff to Walt’s goals is tremendous. And I know Walt would like what his creative team is doing because these are the ideas and plans he began. Everything you will see here today is something Walt worked on and began in some way. And today, the Walt Disney organization is dedicated to carrying out these wonderful plans in Walt Disney World.”



The event’s attendees also watched a 17-minute film called “Walt Disney World – Phase 1” at the nearby Parkwood Cinema Theater. Later on, they loaded onto buses for a trip to the Walt Disney World site. At the time, Seven Seas Lagoon was still only a dry lakebed.


Mmm I love the Epcot Internation Food and Wine Festival.

This just in: the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival was named by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s top food and wine festivals. Chefs are cooking up fantastic new experiences for this year’s fest, which open September 28 and runs for a record 46 days through November 12.

There’s no better setting for noshing, sipping and wandering than Epcot’s World Showcase, with a one-of-a-kind backdrop of architectural icons from around the globe.

Fresh for 2012:


    • Two new festival marketplaces: TERRA Marketplace offers vegan menu items, including Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice and Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese. The FLORIDA Marketplace introduces fresh twists on regional flavors. There are more than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces in all.
    • Feel like a VIP with Marketplace Chef Tours. Each Wednesday, festival chefs host a walking-and-tasting tour around World Showcase with stops at several international marketplaces. You get to taste five marketplace dishes and five beverage items, like beer, wine and cocktails – and learn a few culinary secrets.


  • More kid-friendly tastes. Kids of all ages can try inventive new sips during the family’s marketplace dine-around. Pair with yummy bites like beef empanadas and cheese fondue (new this year).
  • Don’t miss (free) Eat to the Beat! Check out pop acts like Smash Mouth (October 11-12) and Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice” (October 13-14). With 18 different bands, look for Blues Traveler (November 5-6) and Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX (November 7-8). Night Ranger kicks off the concert series September 28-30, and other returning fan favorites include Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
  • Back for an encore: look for HGTV designers, celeb chefs, culinary demos and wine seminars, and special culinary programs – more than 270 chefs are showing off for the festival. And, yes, the fab Party for the Senses returns October 6, 13, 20, 27 and November 3.

Call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs will be updated throughout the summer at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.


Wow I can’t believe its been 35 years Space Mountain!

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the landmark Tomorrowland attraction that became an instant classic when it opened on May 27, 1977.

Space Mountain

A variation of a concept Walt Disney developed in the 1960s, Space Mountain first opened at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975. Construction on Space Mountain at Disneyland park began soon after.

Construction on Space Mountain at Disneyland Park in 1976

In this rare photo, construction continues on Space Mountain in 1976.

I remember riding Space Mountain the week it opened. That day, and in the years that followed, I was fascinated by the “com chat” in the queue. What’s your favorite memory from Space Mountain?


When it’s officially reopened on June 15, Disney California Adventure park will feature even more Disney than ever before, with our famous cast of characters making special appearances in delightful new entertainment offerings.

Disney California Adventure Park Has Plenty of Character this Summer

Down on Buena Vista Street, it’s the 1920s and 1930s, and you may run into those young upstarts, Chip ‘n’ Dale, who are looking pretty snazzy in spiffy period outfits. Goofy’s got a plaid suit that’s the “cat’s pajamas,” while a new fella named Mickey Mouse has just arrived in town, hoping to make his dreams come true just like his pal, Walt Disney. He might even join the Red Car News Boys for a song and get discovered in the process.

In Hollywood Land, you can kick it Disney-style as “Dancin’ with Disney” takes over Stage 17, inviting you to join some of your favorite characters in a fun-filled, interactive party. From 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. each day this summer, you can step inside for music videos, trivia and surprise character appearances. You never know who might show up!

Over at Paradise Park, the inimitable Goofy becomes maestro extraordinaire, as he dons his topcoat and tails to lead an invisible orchestra during several daily mini-concerts. As he conducts, the fountains of Paradise Bay begin to “dance” to the music, providing dramatic – and often comic – interpretations of the compositions.

Disney California Adventure Park Has Plenty of Character this Summer

Of course, on a visit to the all-new Cars Land, you may just cross paths with two of Radiator Springs’ most famous residents, Lightning McQueen and Mater. Throughout the day, these best pals will be driving through town to the Cozy Cone Motel to make a few new friends.

With all this, plus the return of the Pixar Play Parade and continuing favorites like “Phineas & Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party,” “Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline” and Wilderness Explorers Dug and Russell at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Disney California Adventure park is shaping up to be a Disney character fan’s paradise!