Show Notes for Episode 335

Disneyland Monorail & Imagineering with Val Usle

We welcome architect & author Val Usle, who was a Disneyland Monorail driver starting in 1975 until he became an Imagineer. He was involved with projects at Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Disneyland Paris. He has two books available: Theme Park Project Management and Theme Park Sustainability. Plus, we catch up on the latest at the Disneyland Resort, as always.


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Disneyland Resort Current Event

Disneyland’s Radiator Springs Racers ride closed for holiday weekend
Smoke from a car leads to safety inspection and indefinite closure
PUBLISHED: May 26, 2022

“Radiator Springs Racers, the centerpiece of the Disney California Adventure Park’s Cars Land, was closed late Tuesday [5/24] for investigation after witnesses said they saw smoke coming out of one of the vehicles after it crossed the finish line.

“A Disneyland spokesperson confirmed that there was an issue with a single vehicle, and the ride was closed all day Wednesday. It will remain closed indefinitely ‘out of an abundance of caution.’

“The Disneyland spokesperson said that guests ‘might see visible testing over the weekend.”

Orange County Register

Radiator Springs Racers May Remain Closed Through Holiday Weekend “Out of an Abundance of Caution”
May 26, 2022

Laughing Place

Soul of Jazz exhibit coming to Downtown Disney celebrates Black history
The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure touring exhibit will run from June 1 through July 4 at the former ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney as part of Disneyland’s continuing Celebrate Soulfully campaign.
PUBLISHED: May 16, 2022

“A new music exhibit coming to Downtown Disney that pays tribute to Black history in America and the Oscar- and Grammy-winning animated film ‘Soul’ explores the legacy of jazz in New Orleans, Harlem, Kansas City and across the United States.

“The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure touring exhibit will run from June 1 through July 4 at the former ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney as part of Disneyland’s continuing Celebrate Soulfully campaign. Admission is free to Downtown Disney visitors.”

“The touring exhibit started out at the American Adventure attraction at Disney’s Epcot theme park in Florida and has made stops at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, American Jazz Museum in Kansas City and National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

“Walt Disney Imagineering worked with the cultural institutions and music experts to create the exhibit. Imagineering tailored the exhibit to reflect local jazz history and culture at each stop with each museum adding artifacts from its unique collection.”

“The Soul of Jazz exhibit runs during Black Music Month as part of Disneyland’s Celebrate Soulfully campaign — which celebrates the work of Black artists through music, dance, food and stories.

“Throughout the exhibit run, R&B, jazz, funk, Motown and doo-wop groups will play during the evening on the Downtown Disney stage next to the former ESPN Zone and Star Wars Trading Post.”

Orange County Register

Mon, May 9, 2022
Celebrate Soulfully this Summer at Disneyland Resort, with ‘Tale of the Lion King’ Debuting May 28
by Kelsey Lynch, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

“Beginning May 28, 2022, Disneyland park will welcome ‘Tale of the Lion King’ to its new home at the Fantasyland Theatre …”

Disney Parks Blog

Judge allows Disneyland passholder lawsuit to move forward
United States District Court Judge David Carter denied Disney’s motion to dismiss the Magic Key annual passholder case.
UPDATED: May 16, 2022

“A federal judge has allowed a Disneyland passholder lawsuit to move forward that claims the Anaheim theme park misled and deceived its most loyal fans by artificially limiting capacity and restricting reservations, according to court documents.

“The complaint filed by Disneyland Magic Key annual passholder Jenale Nielsen of Santa Clara County has been working its way through the court process since November 2021.

“Disney sought to have the case dismissed in early March and a Central District of California judge issued a ruling in early April dismissing four of Nielsen’s six allegations in the suit but allowing the other two to move forward. Disney lawyers answered the complaint in late April and Nielsen’s attorneys filed an amended complaint on May 10.

“The lawsuit alleges that Nielsen purchased a $1,399 Disneyland Dream Key annual pass with no blockout dates in September 2021, but was unable to make theme park reservations for certain dates in November 2021.

“Nielsen’s attorneys are seeking to have the case certified as a class action by the U.S. District Court — a step that has not yet happened.

“The $5 million suit filed against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on behalf of all Magic Key annual passholders alleges Disneyland relegated them to ‘second class’ ticket holders by artificially limiting Magic Key reservations and the number of passholders that can visit on any given day.

“United States District Court Judge David Carter denied Disney’s motion to dismiss the Magic Key annual passholder case as it relates to breach of contract and the California consumer protection act. Carter granted Disney’s dismissal motions relating to claims of false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, legal disclosure and unfair competition.”

“The California consumer protections portion of the case will likely hinge upon whether a Disneyland Dream Key annual pass constitutes a good or service as Nielsen’s lawyers contend or a temporary license as Disney contends. Another key contention: The meaning of ‘blockout dates’ and what that definition includes and excludes for passholders and Disneyland.

“‘Plaintiff alleges that the term ‘no blockout dates’ is not defined in the advertisement but that she understood the term to mean that Dream Key Pass holders would not be blocked from making theme park reservations ‘whenever Disney was offering park reservations for entrance to the theme parks,’’ according to the complaint.”

“Disneyland sold out of the top-priced Dream Key in October 2021 amid howls from angry passholders due to the widespread lack of reservations available for the $1,399 pass with no blockout dates. The $949 Believe Key sold out in November 2021. The $649 Enchant Key and $399 Imagine Key remain available.”

​Author's Note: All four levels are now sold out.

Orange County Register

Allegations paint picture of influential cabal in Anaheim politics
UPDATED: May 23, 2022

“Business leaders hobnobbing with elected officials is nothing new, but some Anaheim residents have long felt the city’s relationship with its Chamber of Commerce has been at times, as Kott put it, ‘too close for comfort.’

“Now federal investigators are alleging that a self-described ‘cabal’ of business and political leaders held secret retreats and exerted ‘significant influence’ over how the city is run, bypassing the public process.”

“These alleged cozy relationships and behind-the-scenes influence have led to one arrest so far, they may have helped get the last city manager booted from his job, and they could spell the end of the mayor’s political career and cause the unraveling of the city’s biggest real estate deal ever – the sale of the 150-acre Angel Stadium property for $320 million.”

Orange County Register

Disneyland Executive Involved in “Cabal” Steering Anaheim Government
May 25, 2022 5:20 pm

“The employee of the firm, called ‘Company A’ in the affidavit that’s part of a federal public corruption probe, helped script a statement read by an elected official before the City Council voted to issue bonds and provided input on whom to invite to a covert retreat for community powerbrokers.

“Company A is Disneyland Resort, according to a person familiar with the investigation, and the employee is Disneyland Resort Director of External Affairs Carrie Nocella.

“Though neither the company nor Nocella have been accused of wrongdoing, their connection to the wide-ranging investigation that led to Harry Sidhu resigning as Anaheim mayor Monday underscores the immense influence the company wields in the city of 350,000 with a budget fueled by millions of visitors each year to the Disneyland Resort.”

Laughing Place

Disneyland News Update: Feeling the Force… Of Change!
By Mike Kindrich -May 9, 2022

“And just like that, Spring Break has come to an end, but the promise of summer vacations is just a few weeks away. Of course, there’s always something happening down at Disneyland, and this week had quite a bit of news. Between the preparation for another nighttime spectacular to return to the Disneyland resort (Fantasmic!), the myriad of Star Wars-related activities and events, and the rapidly changing Magic Key availability, there’s a lot for us to show you…”


Disneyland Resort News: Red Car Trolley to Return & More Good News!
By Dusty Sage -May 12, 2022

“It’s been a long wait, but Disney California Adventure’s Red Car Trolley is finally set to return by this summer. One of the cars was out for an after-hours cast member celebration just the other night when we learned of plans for them to return for guest use soon. The Red Car Trolleys are modeled after the extensive Pacific Electric Railway trolleys of Los Angeles that began operating in the 1880’s and went defunct in 1961 (it’s a fascinating tale).”


DISNEYLAND UPDATE: Rise and Fall – The Rapid Pace of Change
By Andy Castro -May 16, 2022

“It was a busy week at Disneyland with hot weather, big crowds, some new entertainment, and tons of construction! Across the Resort, new additions are weaving the magic of our diverse world into the fabric of the Disneyland experience. Meanwhile, from ToonTown’s massive reimagining to a new tower at the Disneyland Hotel, construction on a variety of projects pushes ever onward.”


DISNEYLAND UPDATE – The Cost of Magic & Project Gateway
By Dusty Sage -May 23, 2022

“Bob Chapek is proud of Disney Parks and Resorts. They are making more money per guest than ever before. In fact, guests are now spending an average of 40% more per person than in 2019. A big piece of that revenue increase is the addition of Genie+ and Lightning Lane. And, because it’s a cash cow, Disney is reluctant to limit the number of people willing to buy (if a guest buys the $20/day Genie+ AND a $20 Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance, they’ll have just spent $40 on top of their daily admission on those two things alone). Unfortunately, that often means that the service is over-subscribed, causing lines to back up and standby guest queues to spill out into walkways.”


Disneyland News: Radiator Springs Racers Incident & Blue Bayou Return Info
By Dusty Sage -May 26, 2022

“We have some bad news and some good news for you that can’t wait for our usual Monday Update. We’ll fill you in on why an incident on the 10-year-old Radiator Springs Racers attraction will have it down for at least a few more days. And those who have missed Blue Bayou have something to celebrate…”


Disneyland Spectaculars & Entertainment Return – Everything You Need To Know!
By MiceChat Staff -May 27, 2022

“The Main Street Electrical Parade, World of Color, and Disneyland Forever Fireworks have returned at long last, with Fantasmic and Tale of the Lion King on the way! Here’s everything you need to know about what’s returning, dining packages, merchandise, special food and more… PLUS, we have photos and video for you of the NEW Tale of the Lion King show and a cast member preview of Fantasmic… and Main Street Electrical Parade, Disneyland Forever Fireworks, & World of Color!”​


You can listen to show 335 on iTunes or go to Libsyn service here.

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