The Disneyland Resort's Soundsational Summer media event continued on Friday morning with the opening ceremony for Star Tours - The Adventures Continue. TV crews from around the country were out in front of this recently-refurbished Tomorrowland attraction doing live remotes. And to give these local news anchors someone to interact with, Disneyland sent out Stormtrooper Donald and Darth Goofy ...
Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... who then put their own silly spin of memorable moments from the "Star Wars" saga.
The Star Wars-themed silliness continued as the official opening ceremony for Star Tours - The Adventures Continue finally got underway. As Stormtroopers took up positions along the PeopleMover track ...
... a skit got underway which had Jedis & representatives of the Empire duking it out. Seeing who could secure the final open seat on Star Tours Flight 6311(As in: June 3, 2011. Get it?)
For a while, it looked like Darth Vader might wind up with that seat. But then a mysterious robed Jedi appeared and did battle with the Dark Lord.
"And who was the Jedi Master that defeated Darth Vader?," you ask. Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs. Who -- with another wave of his light saber -- then officially opened Star Tours - The Adventures Continue.
Mind you, Darth Vader didn't seem to take it personally that Staggs had bested him. Given that the Dark Lord then returned to the stage for a quick photo op with several members of Disney Parks & Resorts upper management.
(L to R) Stormtrooper, George Kalogridis, President of the Disneyland Resort; Darth Vader,Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resort; Al Weiss, President of Worldwide Operations of Walt Disney Parks and Resortsand another stormtooper. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
And while it might have been nice to get in a ride on Star Tours - The Adventures Continue on its first official day of operations, for the members of the media there was just no time. We all had to scurry over to DCA for the "What's Next" presentation. Which was actually held inside of the Cars Land's construction fence. To be specific, in the shadow of the Ornament Valley archway which will serve as the entrance for Guests coming to this Disney California Adventure addition via that theme park's Pacific Wharf area.And before this informational session could get underway, there was (of course) a dance number. Where cast members dressed in reflective vests and wearing hard hats then pretended to be the construction workers who were assembling this new "land."
Now where this gets interesting is -- all throughout the Disneyland Resort's "What's New" session -- the really-for-real construction workers continued to work on Cars Land. They're the teeny tiny folks in the photo below. The ones that are standing on the scaffolding in the distance wearing the yellow reflective vests. Not the pretend construction workers, who are wearing orange vests.
When Kathy Magnum, Executive Producer & Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering, and Kevin Rafferty, WDI's Senior Concept Writer, came to the stage, Kathy was quick to point out that those were in fact real people high up there on the scaffolding. Doing the preliminary painting & staining to get the Cadillac Mountain range ready for Car Land's grand opening in 2012.
And speaking of "Cars," Mater made a cameo appearance during the Disneyland Resort's "What New?" presentation. In essence doing a quick drive-by in order to give this press event some additional star power.
There were quick recaps of what's to come from Disney Cruise Line as well as Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. And speaking of Disney's soon-to-open Hawaiian resort, to the strains of ukulele music ...
... the Disneyland Resort's "What's New?" presentation ended on a charming note. As a Hawaiian dance troupe made up of pre-teen girls took to the stage ...
Photo by Shell Valladolid
... and -- with Mickey & Minnie's help -- ...
... performed a traditional hula routine.
All in all, last week's Disney Soundsational Summer media event was 24 hours crammed full of great info & fun experiences. To be honest, I'm still wading through all of the interviews & great behind-the-scenes stories that I scored during last week's hit-and-run trip to Anaheim. Please give me a few days to sort through all this material. And then JHM will get started with posting some more in-depth pieces about "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure," "Star Tours - The Adventures Continue," Aulani, the Disney Cruise Line and the Disneyland Hotel redo.
Special thanks to Shelly Valladolid for providing photo coverage of the Disney Soundsational Summer media event.