Here are a few updates from a recent June 2, 2018 visit to the park…
Adventureland Cash Cards
If you are using Adventure Cards or are loading money on your Season Pass, you have to do that at the front ticket counter. There is one booth at the far right where they do this. If the ticket line is huge (as it was when I visited), you can go over to the Season Pass Processing area and use the booth at the far right there. If there is a long line there, and you see no one at that end booth, they let you walk right up to it, bypassing the line.
NOTE: There is a $5 bonus for each $50 you load on your pass up until you reach $300, but this offer ends on June 10th. Also, the “cash back” that the card earned last year is no longer being offered. My advice is to load up $300 to get the extra cash back, spend that, then go back to using whatever normal payment method you would use.
Since the Annual Pass article is the most-read article on this site, I’ll be doing a 2018 update for it in the near future.
Puff the Broken Dragon
On this visit, Puff the Dragon was down for repair.
Later in the week, a few other things went into maintenance mode, including the Scrambler. The Scrambler must not break often, as they were using a hand-written sign for it on the day it was down.
The former Airbrush Avenue location is still closed, but someone from the park posted that it was going to be taken over by the Hollywood Caricature folks.
Across the way, the former Fire Station location has had it’s garage door removed and replaced with a wall. It will becoming the Mainstream Marketplace.
A few days after this photo was taken, the new Marketplace sign appeared, replacing the Fire Station sign. This was one of the original locations when the park opened in 1974.
Side note: At The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, they turned their fire station into a gift shop sometime in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. They also turned their Main Street Cinema into a shop, and did the same with a few other themed locations (including getting ride of a whole side street area). I guess this is what parks need to do when they don’t have enough retail space. (Meanwhile, Disneyland in California has continued to keep it’s cinema and fire station. So far.)
Keep On The Grass?
In the Facebook Group, Dee/Anna pointed out that the short fence around the Carousel was removed this year. I hadn’t noticed that, and sure enough, it’s all open to the grass now, right up the carousel’s own fence.
The left side of Main Street is full of building facades that represent stables, hotels, etc. On the hotel, all the “windows” have just been black … until last week. Many now have writings on them. Disneyland in California (and the other Magic Kingdom parks around the world) have used their windows as tributes to Disney legends or Imagineers who worked on the parks. So the question is… do these names have connections with the park?
Let the research begin!
Let’s take a look.
Jack’s Place could be a reference to park founder Jack Krantz.
It’s a nice touch, though since this building is a hotel, those windows would seemingly be hotel rooms and not businesses upstairs. We’ll just says it’s a one-story hotel, with two stories of offices and businesses above it.
Welcome, Doc and Leone!
The new Doc and Leone’s Diner opened late afternoon on May 30, 2018. Two new benches are outside:
Inside, the place looks very nice. It’s a modern “50’s themed” restaurant, rather than a recreation of a 1950s eatery. The ceiling, for instances, has a color changing strips. Very cool.
The left side is the restaurant. It has all-new 50’s style tables and chairs, and a few booths, as well as a long bar you can eat at.
The right side is the all-new Doc and Leone’s Bar, with some additional seating and bar seating.
The bar side is operated by a different department, so you can’t order food there, nor can you order an adult beverage with your meal on the other side. Speaking of adult beverages, let’s take a look at the new menu…
There is a small selection of draft beer, and a large selection of bottles/cans. They also have liquor and can make a number of special cocktails. The centerpiece are the ice cream drinks, which gives you six different delicious alcohol desserts to try. They also have machines that squeeze fresh lemon or orange juice. You can buy a glass of the freshest juice around for $5, and then for $3 more, you can make it a cocktail and have a shot of liquor added. Ever have a freshly squeezed vodka lemonade? Now you can.
The food side maintains the famous fried chicken, but adds several new dishes, such as meatloaf and collard greens.
I won’t review the food here, because meatloaf can be made so many different ways. This meatloaf is more of the “ketchup tasting” type as opposed to the “very salty ground beef” type I’ve had at other places. The collard greens are also not the type of southern style greens you get at places like Famous Daves, Cracker Barrel or Fat Tuesday. The park’s publicity says the menu is based on recipes from the grandparents, so I assume these are some classic Iowa-style items as opposed to the Southern style I grew up with in Texas.
As you explore the restaurant, you will notice many family photos on the wall. Look for this one, that explains a bit about who Doc and Leone were:
Let’s take a closer look:
You will also find some other surprises, like a framed Coca-Cola uniform from the era. (Coke is a sponsor of the park, so I assume it was something they provided the park. Else, the park spend some bucks to get this.)
There’s also this…
The jukebox is modern (it plays songs from CDs), but the jacket above is unique. It’s a leather jacket autographed by Henry Winkler. He was The Fonz on a 70s/80s TV show called Happy Days. Kids, ask your parents.
There are lots of surprises in here, including a “payphone” and a set of clocks…all set to 5 o’clock! (“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”)
And, a day or two after my visit, two more items appeared on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant: an old time gas pump and a parking meter. (Thanks to Dee/Ann for posting these photos.)
There are so many nice details here. And, with this being the only air conditioned bar at the park, it’s sure to be huge hit with mom and dad on the hot summer days!
We’ll look at Doc and Leone’s more in a future article… And yes, there is a tribute to the former Iowa Cafe in the new location (and the tribute to the former-former Poppy’s Place remains next door at Fun Foods).
You Are Here
If you feel lost, the in-park maps now have stickers marking where you are.
Baby, You Can Light My Fire!
Also, new special-effect flame bulbs are in use. I noticed them around the Saloon.
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but these look like actual flames. I discovered these bulbs last year and ordered a few to play with. From a distance (at night), they can be quite convincing. The first time I saw them “in the wild” was at Knott’s Berry Farms a month ago. It looks like the theme park industry is embracing this new tech. (And, if you want one, you can find them for as low as $7 a bulb, or pay over $30 each. I’ve been testing different brands for some future Halloween projects I am working on.)
Each visit to the park (I’ve only been there two short times this year) I notice even more flags… There is a NASA flag at the Space Shot, navy flags at Infant Ocean, and an air force flag at the Red Baron. (The “tower” at the Baron has also been repainted red this year.)
It looks like we need to create an Adventureland Flag Scavenger Hunt list.
Although not part of this visit, some changes have come to Sheriff Sam’s Saloon. Long-time park performer Ben Ulin has been doing a hypnosis show the past two years as part of Oktoberfest. He will begin doing a version of this show during the normal season, on weekends… And, 18 and older only!
When Ben first posted this to Facebook, some of us wondered if the saloon was going to become more saloon-like (with alcohol) for an 18+ show. During the second Oktoberfest, it was “Sherif Sam’s Whiskey Bar.” And, it seems something is happening. Just today, Jeremy B posted a photo in the Facebook group with the saloon sign replaced with a new one that reads Sam Adams Saloon. I guess I have to make another trip out to see what that’s all about.
This post is already too long, so we’ll end with another photo of the construction of Bernie’s Barnyard.