Knott's Ghost Town is behind construction walls with major renovation under way, the Matterhorn is behind scaffolds, and the entrance of Disney California Adventure is making big progress. But that is just the tip of the iceberg with this week's In the Parks. We get a sneak peek at the Transformers Ride commercial that will air during the Super Bowl, News from SeaWorld and an introduction to the newest addition to MiceChat's YouTube Channel. Plus, steam punk in Anaheim, gardens, libraries and much more. Hang on kids, it's gonna be a wild ride!


The big V-day is on Tuesday, February 14th this year. Disneyland is already gearing up for Cupid's arrow with the subtle planter decorations in Town Square.

Santa and Mrs. Claus have finally moved out and Mrs. Chris' cabin is back to its former, charming self. The petting zoo has returned and you are free, once again, to say hi to the goats.

Somehow the Big Thunder Barbecue area is still stuck in holiday mode.

Cafe Orleans recently closed the entry doors. But they moved the entrance to the other side of the building. The new entrance, which faces the entrance to French Market will help pull the people waiting for lunch or dinner away from the congested alley it was in before (across from the exit to Pirates of the Caribbean) and hopefully allow for better crowd flow.

Mardi Gras doesn't happen for another three weeks as it falls on Tuesday, February 21st. So, for Disneyland, it's time to decorate. So far, some of the newer decorations appear to be of lesser quality that we have been use to in the past.

What do you all think?

Sometimes there is a bunch of little bits of news, pictures, and observations that are much more at home when mentioned together. For instance...

If you ever have a chance, take a moment to sit in Magnolia park and watch the fountain. The white lilies that line its base are always beautiful and the people watching is wonderful.

The Adventureland archway returned from refurbishment and looks great.

The little coffee stand near the castle is behind walls for a refurb. Now what will Aurora do for a latte in the morning?

Disneyana is still closed for refurbishment.

The north/west portion of Main Street is under an ongoing reconfiguration and has grown to the nearby facades.

Major enhancements on the way.

Lets talk about the intricacies of the Matterhorn project. To see what you have always viewed as a towering mountain succumb to scaffolds and netting is fascinating. It is great fun to stop and gaze at the workmen, crawling up and down the network of levels, in and out of the man-made alp. The entire exterior is undergoing a pressure wash, sections of mountain are being knocked out and rebuilt and a fresh coat of paint will be applied. Then there is the interior show with new digital projections up the lift hill that may still be included along with the new props and of course the new bobsleds.

it's a small world:
By the time you read this, it's a small world will have returned to operation. Earlier this week, we caught a few pics of IASW in hibernation.

Have you been following the MiceTube? Every week we feature new video content, including MiceChatter hosted by Sarah Snitch and Communicore Weekly by Jeff and George. Check out this week's videos here.

<iframe src="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

<iframe src="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

The street that will be the new first impression for the reinvented Disney California Adventure has seen fortune smile on its progress. The dry winter that So-Cal has enjoyed thus far has given workers plenty of days of perfect working conditions. In fact, the probable scenario for portion of the DCA rebuild would have all of the facades and exteriors ready to go for the June 14th media day and June 15th official opening date.

Looking towards the front gate.

A portion of the Soarin' Marquee has been without its center graphic for the past two weeks. Things happen and get fixed all the time at the resort so we simply ignored it last week. Time for this to get fixed or for a temporary filler to be placed in the center until a permanent fix is ready.

Looks even worse in person

Redwood Creek spent the past few weeks under refurbishment, but is scheduled to open today.

We venture to the arid and rocky bluffs of Radiator Springs to assess the progress of Cars Land. The 12 acre land is also enjoying a comfortable pace of construction and will easily make the opening which Al Lutz broke Wednesday night in his editor's note.

: The dates for DCA's grand re-opening event have finally been chosen. June 14th will be the media day and private celebrity party, and June 15th will be the official first day of operation for customers. There will only be a handful of days for AP Previews and soft openings for Cars Land in early June, and those dates aren't confirmed yet. June 15th will also kick off DCA's new operating schedule of daily 8AM to 11PM hours through the summer.
Guests are already growing accustomed to the loud rumbling noise of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree being tested just on the other side of the construction walls. Nighttime lighting on the Cadillac mountain range is also now common, and the neon signs on the strip light upon a regular basis as well. What is visible is actually quite beautiful and a testament to what Imagineers can do when given the proper budget.According to Al Lutz, a limited number of Passholder previews will be conducted prior to the June 14th media day.

The cones are being painted orange but, more interestingly, a portion of the wall leading into Bug's Land (between Tuck and Roll and Heimlich's Chew Chew Train) has been demolished in order to build the third entrance into Cars Land.

On a recent trip over to Knott's Berry Farm we were surprised to see so much upkeep occurring. Yes, we knew that General Manager Raffii Kaprelyan meant business when he took over the job with an expanded budget and backing from new Cedar Fair CEO, Matt Ouimet (a beloved former President of Disneyland). But to see it all kicking into action is heartening.

The Timber Mountain Log ride is still under refurbishment. Most of the trees in the scenes are being replaced and general maintenance is going on throughout the ride. It looks like a very thorough job.

As we often do when visiting Knott's, the first stop is Ghost Town. But as we entered the park, we noticed the signage on the photo booth at the front looked refreshed and revitalized.

Upon entering Ghost Town, You'll immediately notice a big beige construction wall. No, we were not in DCA, this was Knott's. So we looked around the wall and saw the following.

Main Street torn up for resurfacing.

They are taking the time to actually level things out and resurface this iconic street!

While it seems that the wood plank walkways will survive in front of the general store...

The buildings on the other side of the street will get the same treatment as the Calico Saloon.

Cement walkways will be poured and fashioned to look like old planks of wood. This makes a lot of sense here due to the level of the existing buildings and the high traffic the area will see. At the very least, it is themed, functional and allows for easier and more affordable upkeep.

We hope that they continue the process with the next street over as well!

They are now serving freshly squeezed lemonade in Calico Square! It's SO GOOD.

It's the simple things that make such a big difference.

Over in front of the Calico Saloon, they have even brought back the flower planters which had long been missing. AWESOME!

The Calico Mine Train finally received its new marquee recently. While the ties that form the arch could have been aged a bit to blend in with the rest of the attraction, it all still looks pretty good and gives the ride a real entry sign.

The refurbishment of one of the nicer areas of the park continues. The fountain is being cleaned and rebuilt and should be back up and running soon. Again, notice the actual construction walls. The level of service and show is improving here folks.

Where was this picture taken? Disneyland? DCA?

Knott's, right in front of the old Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.

colorful plantings are popping up everywhere.

Now, if we could just get them to stop playing all that terrible pop music in Ghost Town, we'd really be able to report that things are shaping up quickly at Knotts.

Our Friends at Universal Studios Hollywood gave us a heads up about their upcoming Super Bowl ad airing this Sunday. The commercial is supposed to be a showcase of the cutting-edge special effects and wild action that will tell the nation and the world about the Transformers ride opening soon.

We have been covering the the development and construction of this new mega-attrtaction in the In The Parks column ever since the old Back Draft and Special FX stage shows were closed. They have also launched a teaser website,, an interactive site with more exclusive videos and info where fans can play to win prizes. The grand prize is, of course, a trip to experience the ride itself.Below is an 8 second preview of what's coming Sunday.
Get ready folks, this is gonna be fun!

Manta photo op

The SkyTower is under refurbishment and should be back up on February 24th. They even drained the lagoon for this refurb.

Limited showings of popular shows.

Lights, Camera, Imagination (the Sessame Street 4D movie) has the most showings. Normally, the show runs every 45 minutes, but during the off season it runs three times a day.


UPDATE: SeaWorld has extended the refurbishment to April 2012.

  • Spring Into Night
  • Viva La Musica
  • Summer Nights
  • Halloween Spooktacular - September 29-30, Weekends in October
  • Christmas Celebration - Weekends Nov. 17-Dec. 16, and daily Dec. 22-31
We close our 3 part visit to the Huntington Library and gardens with one of the most impressive parts, the Libraries.


Among the items on permanent exhibit are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America, and an unsurpassed collection of the early editions of Shakespeare's works.

There is also a wonderful display case of British and American literature

The Science hall has over 250 copies of Darwin's Origin of the Species among the collection including

Birds of America, published between 1827 and 1838, contains 435 hand-colored life-size prints of 1,065 individual American birds.

The library holds 250 copies of Darwin's The Origin of the Species

The Library collections range in time period from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. The greatest concentration is in the English Renaissance, about 1500 to 1641; other strengths include medieval manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), maps, travel literature, British and American history and literature, the American Southwest, and the history of science, medicine and technology.

Membership to the Hunting library isn't free, but it is certainly not expensive. Located in Pasadena the hunting library offers a peaceful day of fun that can be taken at any pace.

Even the parking lot is beautiful

Those stumps in the foreground will be beautiful roses in just a month or so.

Note the less expensive week day pricing

Things to Know Before You Go
  • [*=left]
    [*=left]Pets are not permitted at The Huntington, with the exception of service animals.
    [*=left]Photography, filming, and painting is permitted at The Huntington; however, restrictions apply.
    [*=left]Bicycle racks are available in the parking lot.
    [*=left]Bicycles, skateboards, segways, or sports equipment are not allowed on the grounds.
    [*=left]No radios or musical instruments.
    [*=left]Wedding photography is allowed with advance reservations.
Free Day
Admission to The Huntington is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of every month with advanced tickets. Hours on Free Day are 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
For more photos and information from the Huntington, please browse the last two In The Parks updates HERE.
How many of our readers would be interested in a MiceChat day at the Huntington Library for a tour and photo safari? Let us know in the comments below (we get discounted tickets if 15 or more of you are willing to join us for the day)!

Now through February 12th Muzeo in Anaheim is featuring the new exhibit, STEAMPUNK History Beyond Imagination. Muzeo describes it like this...
When you enter the world of Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination

Tickets are available here

Today's Update Has Been Brought To You By . . .

  1. MiceChat readers enjoy exclusive rates: Standard Rooms starting at $89/night and Concierge level rooms starting at just $109 - this is up to 60% off the going rate! FANTASTIC DEAL.

  • The Carousel offers FREE continental breakfast and FREE valet parking for MiceChat readers ONLY (be sure to ask for the MiceChat offer).

Staying at the Carousel has its benefits too.

  1. Less than a 5 minute walk to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District.

Contact the Carousel today, and for the lowest rates, be sure to tell them MiceChat sent you.

Call: 1(800)854-6767 to book your stay today!

We'd like to extend huge thanks to today's contributors: JP, F!AN, Fishbulb and Dustysage. (If you've got breaking news or photos to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact Dusty today.)

Are you following us?

Sharing is caring!

Would you like to be part of this crew? Do you have a park, zoo or botanical garden that you'd like to share with our readers?
We are looking for Southern California theme park reporters. We'd love to hear from you! Please contact

Be our Valentine!