In June of 2011, Star Tours, the classic Disneyland ride that opened in 1987 but closed in 2010 reopened as Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. This ride featured many new technological advancements such as HD and 3D videos, new animatronic characters, and interactive and changing ride experiences. Now Disney and Lucasfilms are at it again to update this ride for the new Disney Star Wars film slated to open in 2015.
Since the release of The Avengers in May of 2012, many people have pondered if Disney plans to open up a Marvel themed park, or area in a Disney park. Disney executives have stated that although there is basically no chance of this opening in Florida, there will be possibilities of this park opening in Anaheim, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Paris. The reason for no Marvel Florida is due to the fact that Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure already has a Marvel themed area. Walt Disney Imagineers have a model made up of the park, and it is planned to contain thrill and entertainment experiences for people between the ages of 15-45 years of age.
It is planned to be over an 100 acre area, alongside both Disneyland and California Adventure near the Toy Story Parking Lot. It would be the third park added to the Disneyland Resort, and would have a separate gate and admission fee. Disney decided to open this park after their huge success of their California Adventure relaunch. The park would feature a Vekoma Motorbike Coaster (similar to Velocity in Flamingo Land England),
a Vekoma Family Inverted Coaster (similar Freedom Flyer in Florida),
a Gerstlauer Eurofighter (similar to Speed: No Limits from England),
a Motion Simulator ride, and a water ride.
Disneyland VIP tours allow Disneyland visitors to explore the entire park care free. A Disney “Ambassador” customizing a tour of the park using their personal Disney knowledge and insight.
It also provides access to special seating for shows, parades, and in restaurants. The tour must be booked between 6 months and 90 days in advance. Prices are $175 an hour for a regular VIP tour and $295 an hour for a premium tour with a minimum time of 6 hours. The tour also includes free valet parking at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel lot, free, speedy entrance to the park, as well as shortened ride lines for the premium tour (all VIP tours have unlimited fast passes, unlike the normal ticket which provides 1 fast pass every hour). The price covers the tour for up to 10 people. There are also multiple Disney tours that do not classify as Disney VIP, but to offer great experiences. The welcome to Disneyland tour is an ideal 2 and a half hour tour that offers tips and fun facts to both Disneyland and California Adventure. Tour guests will receive priority seating at either a live stage show or parade, as well as a reservation at a select restaurant at the park. On leaving the tour, you will also receive 2 flash passes to any ride that offers flash pass, as well as a special treat before leaving. It costs $25 a person, but doesn’t include admission. A Walk In Walt Disney’s Footsteps tour is a 3 and a half tour and lets visitors experience the park through Walt’s eyes. This tour shows a look into Walt Disney’s private apartment at the second floor of the main street fire station, a peek into the lobby of the exclusive Club 33, and a private lunch on Main Street. It also comes with an a collectable pin. The tour is $109 a person. The Discover the Magic Tour is a complete three hour scavenger hunt throughout the park, where participants learn to outsmart Disney villains to find treasure. All participants leave with a special gift. This tour costs $59 per person. The park also offers specialty tours around Halloween and Christmas time.
The first Space Mountain opened in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida in 1975.
The ride opened as a response to the success ‘The Matterhorn Bobsleds’ had received when they opened at Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1959. The Matterhorn Bobsleds ride was Disney’s first thrill ride, and they realized that thrill rides brought a wider range of people to their park, so the idea of Space Mountain was born. In 1965, Walt Disney partnered with Arrow Dynamics for the second time, the first being with Matterhorn, to build Space Mountain. Unfortunately, Walt passed away in December of 1966, and the main focus was on completing his Disney World project, so the Space Mountain project was suspended. Disney World had huge success, and planned to build a new thrill ride due to its large population of teenage and young adult visitors in 1971. A new Matterhorn was thought of, but the park in Florida didn’t have enough space, so Disney Imagineers went back to designing Space Mountain. Although the park had enough space to build the ride, they chose to build it off park property and have RCA sponsor the 10 million dollar project. It opened on January 15th, 1975. The ride features many elements that have come from defunct rides in the park, including Epcot’s Horizons and the Submarine Voyage, as well as pieces from the old Disney Lounge at LAX airport. The ride features single file seats, similar to Disneyland’s Matterhorn. This Space Mountain exists out of 2 nearly the same tracks (mirror) that have a height of 90 ft. maximum speed of 27 MPH, and the ride has a duration of 2 mins and 35 seconds.
Due to its large success Disneyland started construction on a second Space Mountain shortly after the first one was completed. After 2 years, Disneyland’s 20 million dollar Space Mountain complex was complete, with a stage/theater, a restaurant, and the Starcade, as well as the coaster. Many famous astronauts such as John Glenn and Alan Shepard attended the opening. The ride featured many high tech updates over the early years, including a moving sidewalk at the entrance of the ride, and, when FedEx became the sponsor of the ride, new scenery were added, such as TV screens with looping safety videos and FedEx robots added for scenery in the loading area. In 1996, the ride added on board music, by composer Aarin Richards and show producer Eddie Sotto, which was explained as a combination of horror, sci fi, and surf music. In 1997, the dome structure holding Space Mountain was repainted green and gold. In 2003, the ride closed for track renovations, due to the tracks instability. It reopened in 2005 for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, with new track, new effects, and a new storyline. Although the track was new, it was the same original layout as its predecessor. The ride was dedicated to Neil Armstrong on its reopening. In 2006, the park added a new on-board soundtrack featuring a remixed version of the 1989 Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s song Higher Ground. During the month of October from 2007-2008, the ride operated as Space Mountain: Nightmare Nebula. Nightmare Nebula was never a large success, so it was change to Ghost Galaxy in 2009. Ghost Galaxy features different lighting and scenery on both the ride and in the queue, and has been a large success. This Space mountain has a ride duration of 2:48 min, has a track length of 3,459 ft. and has a top speed of 32 MPH. Riders will enter the dome and reach height by traveling through tunnels and special effects over 3 lift hills. While in the dome, projected stars will disorient riders as they travel down in repetitive motion, being confused by sudden twists and small drops. Before getting back to the station the ride makes another sudden movement and will slow down in a special effects tunnel.
Space Mountain in Tokyo opened in 1983. The ride is a clone of Disneyland’s Space Mountain, but in 2006, the rides theming was renovated, to make the ride seem more futuristic.
Hong Kong Space Mountain is very similar to Disneyland’s Space Mountain as well. It has some differences though however, such as a different queue, and a hyper speed tunnel.
The opening of Disney’s California Adventure in February of 2001 brought the Disneyland Resort’s first coaster with an inversion, California Screamin’. The rides top speed is 55 mph, making it the fastest coaster at the Disneyland Resort. The ride was designed by Walt Disney Imagineers and built by Intamin. It is the 8th longest coaster in the world, and 4th longest in the USA. It is also the longest coaster with an inversion since Son of Beast closed in 2012.
Although the ride is steel, it is built to resemble a wooden boardwalk coaster. In 2010, the ride recorded safety spiels and a launch count down with Neil Patrick Harris. In 2007, the ride added a new onboard soundtrack to both Screamin’ and Space Mountain by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A train departs every 36 seconds, and there are up to 5 trains operating at a time. The ride is 108 ft tall, has 1 inversion (verticle loop), and reaches a top speed of 55 mph through 6,072 ft of track.
In the early 1960’s, Walt Disney decided he needed a larger area in the park to host guests and VIP’s. He originally hosted all of his guests in his apartment built on the second floor of the Main Street Fire Station, but that was to small, so during the construction of New Orleans Square, it was placed on the second story of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride building, to resemble a building on New Orleans’s Royal Street.
The suite was to be designed by Dorothea Redmond, the designer of the sets of the classic movie, Gone with the Wind. Unfortunately, Walt died in 1966, before its completion, and his brother Roy changed it into the Disney art gallery from 1987-2007.
In September of 2007, Walt Disney company announced the the Disney Gallery would be closed and replaced with the Disneyland Dream Suite. Disney Imagineers worked very hard to build this from Mrs. Redmond’s original design. The suite is stayed in by either Disney contest winners, or the grand marshal for the Disneyland parades for the week. The suite is 2200 square feet and has a living room, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and an open air balcony which gives an unobstructed view of the parks night time spectacular Fantasmic.
There are now dream suites in Disneyland and Disney world at Pirates of the Caribbean, the Main Street Firehouse, and at Cinderella’s Castle, as well as on Disney Cruise Ships.
On January 7, 2013, Disneyland Resort’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closed for what is expected to be a 9 month refurbishment process. This will be the Disneyland resorts third refurbishment of a ride in the past year and a half. Both the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, closed for refurbishments in 2012 and have reopened to mixed reviews.