June 2, 2014

Blue Sky Disney and DCA "Time Bombs"

Back in the day, MiceAge was the ultimate Disney fan site if you were looking for what was to come at the Disneyland Resort. California Adventure was a pitiful mess, and Disneyland was slowly being left to rot, one attraction after another. Site owner Al Lutz became a fan favorite for holding Disney's feet to the fire by using the media to expose the plans of mice and men.

Years later, Honor Hunter's  (gotta love the name!) "Blue Sky Disney" came on line. His information was usually dead on accurate. As proof, here's a copy of his post from October 23, 2007:

Time Bombs...

"Are we there yet?"

"Are we there yet?"

"Are we there yet?"

You know the questions we get when kids become impatient about where they're going...

We all know after hearing the rumors for the past few years that many Disney Geeks/Fans will be asking a similar question:

"When will it be done?"

Well, I guess it's time to show you a preliminary guide to the divisions of work to be done in "Phase One". Now, some of these could change depending on construction delays, weather and other factors but you can pretty much use this as a guide to the coming construction and which projects will go before others.

I call these phases "Time Bombs"...

Weapons of creativity to fend off the mediocrity of a generic theme park. These things have already had their timer set. Once they go off they're going to explode these areas and the results will be a decimation of the bland and boring with the plastering of rich, lavish theming all through the park.

These Time Bombs are set to go off at different places at different times and the results will be nothing short of being visually stunning. Four and a half years from now you'll walk through DCA(don't get used to that acronym) and not realize it's the same park... sure some areas will be familiar, but overall you'll have never been to this park before.

Shall we get started on our bombing run? Good...

Time Bomb 1

Paradise Pier and the surrounding area has been under construction since 2005 so it's had a bit of a head start. The Pier with its richly themed heavy D ticket will be through with construction in July. Actually, it'll be done mainly by April, but there will be tests and previews all the way through July, which is when it is tentatively scheduled to open. The surrounding midway with its rethemed games will be open as well. Basically everything between the Carousel and Maliboomer will be finished by next summer. All the additions in the pier will be installed early next year so as to not interrupt the view of that new section. The Sun Wheel is currently scheduled to be completed around this time as well, although construction on it may drag a bit. Mickey's Fun Wheel should be done by the end of 2008 unless the current plans change.

Time Bomb 2

The transformation of Sunshine Plaza to Walt Disney Plaza is supposed to get started in fall of next year. Once the temporary entrance is done expect bulldozers to start rolling and construction to be completed on this visually extravagant set-back to the late 20's/early 30's by late 2009 or early 2010. The construction will probably be done in two phases with the front section being done first and then the courtyard with its trolley, restaurants and shops going up after that part is done.

Time Bomb 3

The retheming of this section of Paradise Pier and the absorption of Route 66 will start in late 2009 and continue through late 2010 or early 2011 to be finished around the time of the tenth anniversary. The shops and beer garden will layer the area in a bygone era... while "Goofy's Sky School" will stick out, but be a much more immersive and lavishly themed coaster that doesn't resemble the Mulholland Madness kiddie coaster of today. The Maliboomer should be removed around this time and the work on the Orange Stinger and the surrounding area will begin as well.

Time Bomb 4

The Little Mermaid attraction and area will start to arise when the Golden Dreams building is removed in early 2009 and the construction of an elaborate show building is constructed. Work on the expanded viewing area should start in late 2008 so that the area will be available for use in late 2009 when "Disney's World of Color" is tentatively scheduled to make its bow.

Time Bomb 5

The areas atop where Ariel's Grotto and the surrounding stores should start to see work begin on them in early 2009. The plan is to have construction done by the time DWOC debuts and the lower levels are supposed to get enclosed so as to not get any paying diners wet. This area should be done by late 2009 should no delays come up.

Time Bomb 6

The final and largest part of the expansion gets underway in late 2009 when planning for "Cars Land" turns into overdrive. By early 2010 the area will be a hive of activity. The construction walls and signs will point to the great new addition that takes up 20 percent of the park and will change the skyline and theming once done. The area around "Bugs Land" that people see when walking by that exposes the outside of the resort (hotels, power-lines) will disappear by the time this expansion opens up in 2012.

By the time DCA has its tenth anniversary the entire park will be remade and look brand spanking new... the only thing that won't be open by the tenth will be "Cars Land", but it will be ever-so present... with the construction of those giant mesas looming overhead Disney Geeks/Fans will be running about the new park, most likely with the new name all giddy. Peering over their shoulder at the final jewel, the final present of "Phase One" to be opened in the summer of 2012.

If by that fall the clicks are starting to edge up to the 9 million mark...

Iger will give the official nod to "Phase Two" and you can expect some form of announcement at the end of that year or the beginning of 2013 talking about even more goodies. John Lasseter and Bob Weis have a few surprises up their sleeves that are expected and at least one that will give the faithful a reason to have faith.

A LOT of faith...

(end of article)

Now, isn't that amazing? Where is Honor and when will Blue Sky return?

On the East Coast, we thankfully have Steve over at WDWMagic and frequent poster WDW1974, an industry insider that shares the dirt on the Walt Disney World Resort.. and more worldwide. It's rarely good news these days, but at least it's news. While Universal gets ready to unveil Diagon Alley at the Studios, Disney seems content to flog a remake of Epcot's Maelstrom into a Frozen attraction while they putz around with MyMagic+. Sure, Avatar is coming to Animal Kingdom, but how much excitement is that really generating? Star Wars at the Studios will happen years from now, but in the meantime, Epcot sinks to new lows. 

It will be great fun to see what the future holds for both US resorts, and one day, I'll be looking back at old posts from these insiders, reviewing their predictions.

Now about that Phase Two for DCA...

(Art copyright Blue Sky Disney.)


RS said...

Hey Mark,

Favillistudio.com posted some really cool artwork you might appreciate, including a Disneyland for Dubai (commissioned by an outside developer) and Glacier Bay for HKDL.



Eric Scales said...

I miss Bluesky Disney also. And I have to ask, has any Park ever gotten it's Phase 2 makeover? I can't think of anything I've ever heard of in a Phase 2 actually come to fruition. The second phase is usually, if not as expensive, then very close to the cost of the first phase, and we all know there needs to be cooling off periods after such massive amounts of spending. By the time the Company is ready to reinvest in the Park, ideas have changed, opinions about what's needed have changed, and Phase 2 is usually seen as outdated- a holdover from when they were desperate and willing to spend more than they are now, when the fruits of Phase 1 have improved the situation. All understandable, but it leaves little themed holes that never quite get plugged.

Mark Taft said...

I agree, Eric- on all the things you've said. DCA could still use some "placemaking". Will it ever get it? Probably not. The days under Walt when the park was a labor of love are long gone.

Mark Taft said...

Thanks, Randy, for the link to the site. Great stuff there!