A few weeks ago I received some cool ‘behind the scenes’ info from a DISer about a tour she took at Disneyland in California. With her permission I would like to share her experience with you all, as well as some great info she obtained, in her own words.
….27 DIS ladies took the VIP tour at Disneyland. Among the things we learned was that yes, a Tinkerbell attraction IS coming to Fantasyland this autumn, in an existing building. It won’t be a sit-down ride, but a static attraction.
Other things in the works – Small World (changes)…….We were told that the characters would look like the ones they already have at Hong Kong Disneyland. Alice & the white rabbit on the chessboard in the UK section, with Peter Pan, Tink, & someone else flying above, Jasmine & Aladdin (maybe they were the third “character” flying – in the Arabian section, Ariel & her two sisters replacing the mermaids, Timon & Pumbaa in the African section, Lilo & Stitch in the Polynesian section, Cinderella in the French section, a subtle salute to America, and they’re not getting rid of the jungle scene.
We also found out that the castle will be reopening – no date, and that the Peoplemover is coming back, but not until after the DCA makeover. Oh, and they have plans to move the Astro Orbitor from the front of Tomorrowland.
We also saw some artist renderings on the plans for changes to DCA (Disney’s California Adventure).
It was a tour well worth the money, especially when you split the cost between 30 ladies.
(Our tour guide was) JD, who trains the VIP guides, and is the personal guide for such people like Julie Andrews, John Lassiter, Bob Igor, Johnny Depp. Our group was pretty aggresive in our questions, and he was very good. Sometimes he’d be telling us something, and then finally say, “Okay, tell me what you DON’T know” hahahahahahahaha
We got to ride the Lillibelle – the caboose named after Lillian Disney – it is quite plush, and decorated in Victorian style. JD told us stories about Julie Andrews, the Disney Family, Bob Igor, John Lassiter…. He asked us if he should be quiet so we could enjoy the ride and we said “NO!” ha ha
We also went on Storybook Land Canal Boats, and he said that when DL first opened, there was just mounds of dirt & mud there, but the line to go on the attraction was 2 hours long. So, guests got to ride the boats and were told where things were going to be – at that time it was going to be cities of the world.
The first thing to be used at DL was the Golden Horseshoe — 4 days before DL opened, Walt Disney & Lillian Disney celebrated their 30th anniversary there, and had guests like Liz Taylor, Sammy Davis Jr, etc., taken by carriage from the entrance to the Mark Twain, where they rode around the river listening to Louis Armstrong, and then went to the Golden Horseshoe for the celebration.
We dragged JD on the Pirates of the Caribbean and had him tell us all kinds of stuff about the ride — and yes, the skull on the headboard of the bed in the bedroom is a real one.
The story about the one spire not being painted gold (on the castle) because “Disneyland would never be finished” — not true.
The story about Walt sending Roy out of the country so he could have the spires painted in gold leaf — most likely true, although Roy did have to approve the expenditure at the end.
Haunted Mansion — Marc Davis & another imagineer worked on it together — and the Haunted Mansion was cut in half. One imagineer was in charge of the interior, and Marc Davis was in charge of the graveyard — that is why there are two different feels to it. The first half, JD called the scary museum portion, and the graveyard – Happy Haunts.
Also, another of our group on one of the tours learned that they will be replacing the Aladdin/Jasmine show in Adventureland with an Indiana Jones adventure show — I didn’t hear this one personally.
The one thing I really liked about this tour is that you can tailor it to what you want to know and do. (One person) told them we wanted preferred seating, and ended up with preferred seating for both the parade at Disneyland and the Pixar parade, the fireworks, and the late show for Fantasmic. She also specified that we wanted to ride the Lillibelle & go on some attractions. Fantastic deal.
What we couldn’t talk ourselves into doing was getting into the lobby of Club 33, or get to Walt’s apartment.
Fantastic tour & one of my highlights at Disneyland ever.