Resort Updates – March 2017

It’s finally springtime at the Disneyland Resort, which means one thing: color! Walk through the park and you’ll see Main Street’s flowers in full bloom, refurbishment scaffolding coming down, and new seasonal treats popping up in shop windows.

I saw this amazing photo on Twitter, snapped by Jesse Rhian.

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Let’s recap what happened this month at Disneyland!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN TURNS 50

March marked a special occasion for one of Disneyland’s most beloved attractions (and my personal favorite!). Pirates of the Caribbean turned 50!

To celebrate, New Orleans Square threw a massive party. Menu items at all of New Orleans Square restaurants (plus Critter Country’s Harbour Galley) adopted pirate-themed names, and the Bootstrappers pirate band played all weekend long. Visitors to New Orleans Square found limited-edition celebratory merchandise, including pins, hats, and shirts, and could even collect special cards with pirate sayings.

The party ran March 16 – 19, with the official 50th anniversary falling on the 18th. The celebration also marked the attractions re-opening, after a month-long refurb that brought in updated animatronics and lighting effects.

FOOD & WINE BRINGS SPRINGTIME FUN TO DCA

Starting March 10, California Adventure has been playing host to the annual Food and Wine Festival. This event celebrates a variety of foods & drinks from across the state, which means tastings, demos from professional chefs, and even exclusive dining experiences.

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Visitors to California Adventure can participate in all kinds of activities without a special ticket. If you stop by the festival (based in Pacific Wharf & Paradise Pier), you can:

  • Purchase specialty snacks, drinks, and desserts from food carts
  • Watch culinary demonstrations with guest chefs
  • Participate in Junior Chefs – a demonstration for children led by Chef Goofy
  • Enjoy live musical entertainment throughout Paradise Pier
  • Make a dining reservation with food & wine pairings prepared by Disney’s executive chef team

To take your Food & Wine experience to the next level, you can also purchase a “Signature Event” ticket. These events are even more personalized and private, and really focus on California dishes and drinks. With a Signature Event ticket, you can sign up for a cooking class, attend a tasting seminar, or participate in a meet & greet with a celebrity chef (visiting chefs this year include Guy Fieri and Cat Cora).

For more information about the festival, or to purchase a Signature Event ticket, visit the official page here.

AUTOPIA’S NEW STORYLINE

For many years, Autopia has been largely left alone at Disneyland. Sure, they’ve had a new sponsor (Honda) and engines, but the attraction itself remained pretty much unchanged. But now, Autopia has a brand new storyline, starring a familiar face to Disneyland regulars.

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ASIMO, a humanoid robot, and his pet bird take a road trip with stops along the Autopia route. ASIMO was the mascot of Tomorrowland’s theater from 2005 – 2015, and now he’s back for more adventures in Tomorrowland. As you drive on the roadway, you’ll see ASIMO and Bird load up their Honda, explore the woods, and set up camp. The new storyline adds a fresh look to the attraction, and adds some personality to an attraction with a lot of wasted space!

GRAND CALIFORNIAN DEBUTS NEW ROOMS

The Grand Californian finally revealed its new look this month. The hotel has been going through an extensive renovation, to “brighten” and “reenergize” the rooms.

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Frankly, I don’t really think the rooms look that different. This hotel is in a perfect location, and the private entrance is so awesome. But the rooms themselves are pretty basic, and not what you’d expect for the steep price tag. I have yet to stay in one of the new rooms, though, so I might feel differently after my next visit.

OTHER UPDATES

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is back! The parade went on temporary hiatus for more than 6 months, but this daytime event is now back in full swing.

Along with the new parade, Disneyland also announced changes to rules for parade queuing. To eliminate some of the terrible congestion along the parade route, guests can no longer stake out spots until AFTER cast members set up the viewing area markers. In addition, guests can’t save space in the viewing areas for people that are not present and physically waiting themselves. This change is already making a huge difference with Main Street and Fantasyland crowding in the evenings, and I personally am super happy about it!

This month, the Grand Californian announced that its day care center, Pinocchio’s Workshop, is closing its doors. The Workshop has never been a very popular service for guests, so it seemed like an inevitable closure. No word yet on how the Grand Californian will repurpose the space.

There’s a new coveted dessert in California Adventure: Dole Whip Cotton Candy! Grab some in Paradise Pier for a new spin on a Disney parks classic.

Remember the mayhem surrounding the Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland? Well, it’s still going strong. Wait times exceed almost 2 hours every day, and the park’s weekly allotment of Red Rose Sippers sell out in a matter of hours. I’m still dying to get my hands on one, but it seems like it’s going to be quite a while before I can!

And finally, Belle and Beast have started a new daily routine. Each day, they perform a dance in front of the castle, accompanied by Disneyland’s band. It’s a sweet moment between two classic Disney characters, so ask a cast member on Main Street about timing if you want to catch it.

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