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LP Lotion: Blue Sky Cellar Offers a Preview of DCA’s Future
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Posted October 16, 2008

Ever since the Walt Disney Company announced sweeping changes for Disney’s California Adventure there has been intense speculation about the details. A new preview center, called the Blue Sky Cellar, will open on Monday, October 20, in the former Seasons of the Vine Theater in DCA. LaughingPlace was invited to a media preview of the Blue Sky Cellar. (Annual Passholders will be able to preview the Cellar October 16-19.)

Bob Weis, Executive Vice President, Creative for Walt Disney Imagineering lead a tour of the Cellar. He explained that, unlike a preview center only, the Blue Sky Cellar would attempt to show how the creative process leads from “blue sky” ideas to Disney’s theme park attractions. “Blue sky” ideas can come in any form. Guests touring the Cellar will find a space filled with notes, sketches, and models. The intention is to leave the impression that the Imagineers have just finished a meeting, or “charette,” and left everything in place. While many of these ideas will appear in Disney’s California Adventure, Weis warned that some may end up being left on the drawing board.

Weis emphasized what he referred to as three “big visions” for Disney theme parks. Audiences first want more immersive places. Second, they want more family attractions. And third, the Disney audience reveres and is interested in Walt Disney. The 1,717 square foot exhibit space will feature changing displays. Currently, the ideas being showcased are: Toy Story Midway Mania (which opened earlier this year), Silly Symphony Swings and Games of the Boardwalk (opening “soon”), the World of Color lagoon show (2010), The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Adventure (2011), Buena Vista Street and Red Cars (2011) and Carsland (2012).

The Silly Symphony Swings will be rebuilt on the existing Orange Stinger. New art, based on classic Disney cartoons of the 1930s, will decorate the attraction. Conductor Mickey from “The Band Concert” will top the ride. As the center section rises, the tornado that memorably interrupted the concert will be revealed. Games of the Boardwalk will be rethemed to Disney and Pixar characters. The four games will be: Casey at the Bat (based on a segment from the 1944 release Make Mine Music), Dumbo Bucket Brigade (from the 1941 feature), Goofy About Fishin’ (based on 1942’s How to Fish), and Bullseye Stallion Stampede (from the 1999 Pixar release Toy Story 2). In addition, Paradise Pier will see the Sun Wheel become Mickey’s Fun Wheel, as well as more intricate Victorian architecture in the style of the Toy Story Midway Mania Attraction.

The World of Color lagoon show will be a night time spectacular, featuring a range of Disney characters, set to memorable Disney songs. New viewing areas will be built around the bay.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Adventure replaces Golden Dreams and a portion of San Francisco Street. The dark ride promises to be an immersive experience, allowing guests to experience the highlights of the beloved 1989 release from Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Buena Vista Street and the Red Cars will replace DCA’s current entrance complex. Themed to a Los Angeles Street in the mid 1920s, Buena Vista Street is intended to recreate Walt Disney’s first impressions of California, after he arrived there in July of 1923. Walt’s love of trains will be recalled with the Red Cars, clanging trolleys that will wend their way through the Hollywood Pictures Backlot and down Buena Vista Street. The centerpiece of the area will be a recreation of the Carthay Circle Theater, the historic movie house that saw the West Coast premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Carsland, which is only “teased” in the current incarnation of the Blue Sky Cellar, promises to be the single largest addition to DCA to date. An entire new land, Carsland will take visitors to Radiator Springs, the setting for the 2006 Disney-Pixar release Cars. Three attractions are planned: Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi’s Flying Tires, and Radiator Springs Racers. The 2012 opening of Carsland promises to be a spectacular event in its own right.

As attractions open, new features will be added to the Blue Sky Cellar. A screening room will air videos. Models and renderings will be changed. As DCA is enhanced, the Blue Sky Gallery should help Disney fans keep tabs on the progress.

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