28 de diciembre de 2016

DISNEYLANDIA Resume acciones trascendentes del 2016

The Force was in full force at Disneyland Resort in 2016, with many visible changes to the granddaddy of all theme parks related to “Star Wars” land. But there were other Disney stories that were a major part of Disney theme parks here in California and elsewhere. So here are the top 10 stories about Disney in 2016:

 1. ‘STAR WARS’ LAND Yes, we still call it that, with the quotes, as Disney has not come out with a final name for the huge 14-acre addition to Disneyland. It was actually announced in 2015, at the D23 convention. But the size and scope of what was to come was huge, Death Star huge. It would also mean closing several Frontierland attractions, shows and restaurants some temporarily and some permanently in January as outlined in this story. Many fans were concerned with how the new land would affect the Rivers of America, so Disney released concept art detailing the new route and look for both the river, and the route for the Disneyland Railroad. Though construction started quickly at the beginning of the year, with demolition of many of the backstage buildings, the official groundbreaking for the new land did not take place until April, when Disney released a unique 360-degree view of the project, with some “Star Wars” machines and vehicles in view. Of course, the demolition meant that some old buildings would vanish under the feet of the new “Star Wars” empire, like the Fantasyland Skyway Chalet building that had not been used in 22 years. In July, Disney released concept art of what the land would look like. But “Star Wars” impacted Tomorrowland too, with an overlay called the Season of the Force, timed with the release of Episode 7 of the movie series in December, that included a version of Space Mountain called Hyperspace Mountain, and a new scene in Star Tours

2. SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND While it is an overseas park, the second one for Disney in China and fourth one in Asia, the newest theme park sported a number of differences from its other kingdoms when it opened in June. It has the largest castle, and is the first castle not named after a Disney character. There were old favorites, but with a distinctively new style and flair, such as “Pirates of the Caribbean.” There was also a visit by a retired Disney Imagineer who has been at the opening of every Disney theme park, Marty Sklar.

3. ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’ While “Star Wars” land might be a major change for Disneyland, a very visible change was coming to Disney California Adventure – Guardians of the Galaxy were landing to take over the Tower of Terror. It was announced in July at the San Diego Comic-Con. Disney didn’t waste any time, quickly starting on the changes to the exterior of the thrill ride based on the “Twilight Zone” television show, removing the exterior letters in September. Scaffolding surrounded most of the exterior of the building, though the ride was still operating in October. The last ride on the free-falling elevator ride takes place Jan. 2, 2017.

4. DISNEYLAND TICKETS, ATTENDANCE Thanks to the 60th anniversary celebration, Disneyland was crowded well into the year, with record attendance. But as the year, and price increases to its annual passes, the crowds declined some later in the year. Disneyland also instituted a dynamic pricing approach to its admission policy, similar to ones used by Universal Studios Hollywood, which resort officials would help ease the crowds on busy days. The theme park also brought back the Southern California pass, while California Adventure fans found annual passes at Costco.

 5. PARKING AROUND DISNEYLAND With the crush of crowds expected when “Star Wars” land opens at Disneyland, the resort announced plans to add parking and more east of the parks near the I-5 freeway. But the plans for the seven-story parking structure, bridge over Harbor Boulevard and security screening zones upset some of the business owners along Harbor Boulevard.

 6. TOM STAGGS STEPS DOWN AT DISNEY Tom Staggs was thought to be the heir apparent to Bob Iger, but the Walt Disney Company’s Board of Directors seemed to think he was not right for the job. When Staggs learned of this, he decided it was time to move on. Where he will land is unknown at this time, as he is still getting paid under a severance contract. Meanwhile, the search for a successor to Iger continues. Staggs‘ departure had another indirect impact to the theme parks. Bob Chapek was put in charge of the company’s Outdoor Recreation Division, which includes theme parks. In April, Chapek instituted a number of cost-cutting strategies, and replacing many top managers, some of whom had been with the company for years.

 7. NEW MANAGEMENT AT WALT DISNEY IMAGINEERING Right after the opening of Shanghai Disneyland, many theme park experts knew it was only a matter of time before there would be a change at the company charged with coming up with the designs for its theme parks, cruise lines and rides. And that first change was to put a new person in charge, Bob Weis, who was responsible for the $1.2 billion overhaul of Disney California Adventure, and was also the head of the Shanghai Disneyland project. Weis didn’t take long to let his presence be felt. With a mandate to cut costs and to reshape WDI into a leaner organization, there were layoffs and a reorganization. Many long-time Imagineers were offered voluntary departure packages, while others were let go. But as some have noted, WDI has gone through contractions after major projects several times in the past.

8. FOUR-STAR LUXURY HOTEL ANNOUNCED The Disneyland Resort’s hotels are frequently full throughout the year, so when Anaheim announced a tax incentive program to build luxury hotels, Disney took advantage. In June, the resort announced it had submitted plans to build a AAA-rated four-diamond 700-room hotel, to be built on land currently used for Downtown Disney parking. With new leadership on the Anaheim City Council, however, Mayor Tom Tait is attempting to end those incentives given for luxury hotels.

 9. DISNEYLAND HISTORY In honor of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, we ran a seven-part series that looked at the changes to the park over the decades. The series started with a look at what the park looked like on opening day, and ended on its 61st anniversary, July 17, with a look at changes in this century.

 10. ‘FROZEN’ TAKES OVER ‘ALADDIN’ The incredible success of the animated Disney film “Frozen” meant it would be a fixture at Disney theme parks, and at Disney California Adventure that meant a new show based on the movie, replacing the long-running one based on “Aladdin.” Not all fans were happy about it.

 HONORABLE MENTION • Late in the year, the Disneyland Resort announced that the Main Street Electrical Parade would return to its original home in 2017. The parade first started at Disneyland in 1972. The news of its return excited long-time Disneyland fans when it was announced. • Columnist Robert Niles took a look at the uber-Disneyland fans who love to complain so much about a park they purport to love.