Disneyland under refurbishment as Halloween Time nears

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disney Parks, In the Parks

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Published on September 06, 2012 at 10:45 pm with 47 Comments

Disneyland is your land, if you are into rides under refurbishment that is.  No, not really, but there are a number of refurbishments happening at once inside the berm.  The park is still enjoyable though, so don’t hesitate to stop by.  What’s more, we have the most recent photos from the Earl of Sandwich construction project in Downtown Disney and we catch up on Cars Land wait times and more in Disney California Adventure – including a milestone for Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.

In preparation for the busy Fall/Holiday season, a number of refurbishments and changes are underway.  Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and Casey Jr. Circus Train are all down for refurbishment.  But that’s not all;  more refurbishments are coming.  However, crowds are minimal and management is rotating the refurbs enough so as not to effect guest experience too much.

Merry Christmas Everyone
Smile!  You are being filmed.  Actually, the filming only happens at certain times in the day, not all day long.  But today they were filming spots for upcoming holiday commercials for the resort. 

The exterior of City Hall is being spruced up right now.  However, the building remains open, so you can still get your happy birthday buttons and Guest Assistance Cards.

The pizza, pasta and salad restaurant near the entrance to Space Mountain is currently closed for refurbishment.  Luckily, Tomorrowland Terrace is right across the way.

Get your last rides on classic Space Mountain by this Sunday.  It will go down Monday morning for the quick turnaround overlay of its Halloween version, Ghost Galaxy.

If you look closely, you can see the speakers used for the exterior show effects of Ghost Galaxy stationed on the abandoned Peoplemover track.

Ghost Galaxy is, without question, a fun overlay of an already great coaster. But after several years of the exact same show, it would be nice to see them adjust things, throw in a few surprises and scare us again.  New music wouldn’t hurt either, but freshened scares and a bit of pre-show theme in the queue would suffice for now.

Speaking of abandoned Peoplemover tracks, we wanted to make sure readers knew that The Peoplemover, as stated by Tony Baxter at a recent appearance, is dead.  There is no real chance of bringing the attraction back.  The ride’s return is blocked by a number of issues from modern requirements and safety codes to faulty track structure after years of neglect.   Sadly the only way to experience this attraction in a certain form, is at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  Looking at the rusted tracks while cruising above Tomorrowland on the Monorail is a depressing reminder of this once enjoyable, relaxing family attraction.

Speaking of depressing (Just kidding), the Princess Royal walk seems to maintain a healthy wait time throughout the day.  On a recent visit, the wait time board was askew.  Upon asking the Cast Member working as greeter they estimated it was 45-50 minutes.

Over in ToonTown, Benny is still missing above the entrance to Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.  Fear not, the attraction is still open and operating just fine.

Both the Storybookland Canal Boats and the Casey Jr. Circus Train are down for “Tiny” improvements as the sign says.    They should be returning in time for the holidays, but the Disneyland website indicated they will be down at least through October.

Haunted Mansion is transforming into the perennial favorite, Haunted Mansion Holiday and will reopen on Sept 14th with the beginning of Halloween Time at the resort.

Rumors abound on the extent of refurbishment that Indiana Jones will be receiving.  Will the roof cave-in effect be renovated?  Will we see updated effects that are used in Tokyo?  How about new Indy animatronics?  The ride certainly deserved a lengthy and complete overhaul.

The Fantasy Faire Village project is trudging along.  After framing went up for a new structure, things seem to have slowed down.

The archway that faced Main Street at Coke Corner has been removed completely.  Only two trashcans cover the remaining foundations.

More upcoming refurbishments include The Sailing Ship Columbia on Sept 20th and a pending lengthy Big Thunder Mountain refurb (the date of which is still up in the air at the moment).

Many passholders are eagerly awaiting Earl of Sandwich’s arrival as an affordable new dining alternative in the resort. The much delayed project is finally showing signs of real progress with the new paint job and color scheme starting to creep across the facade and patio work out front.

A look through the open construction walls reveal substantial work on the patio out front.

The new paint job is creeping across one side of the building.

Ya know? The colors work!  Nice.

In Disney California Adventure, the summer crowds have given way to a much more enjoyable level of wait times. Unlike Disneyland where work is being conducted everywhere, there is just one construction project in DCA at the moment.  They are building a planter area to match the opposite side of the entrance gate.

One thing to take note of is that Aladdin will be celebrating its 10,000th performance on Saturday.  Can you believe that this lavish production has been staged that many times since it opened just before Tower of Terror began construction? Ten thousand performances can give you such a crick in the neck!

It wouldn’t be In the Parks without a stroll through Cars Land to check on wait times.

RSR hits a new low. . . time wise!

Thanks for taking the journey through the Disneyland resort with us.  Coming soon, In the Parks will be sharing whats new with Knott’s Halloween Haunt and the latest from Universal Studios.  Stay tuned!  There’s lots to see In the Parks!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • Rex Dopey24

    ah the holidays have arrived and its my favorite time of the year

  • eicarr

    I’m not convinced Passholders will be walking all the way to the end of downtown Disney and back from the tram dropoff point or from the parks for Earl of Sandwich. I fear the low Yelp rated Earl sandwich chain will close within a year like the chain’s only other regional location. I wonder what will replace Earl of Sandwich? Nearby resort hotel guests paying $200-500 nightly will be willing to pay an extra $2 for the lavish ambiance of park dining facilities, so it shouldn’t be a lunch place. I would think a missing amenity from the hotels like a book/magazine store, but we know how that turned out. I fear it’s just a doomed isolated location.

    • Susan Hughes

      You’re wrong. Earl of Sandwich will NOT close in a year. In fact, it will be a big hit. And it’s easy to get to from Disneyland via the Monorail. When it opens, you’ll see how wrong you can be.

      • KENfromOC

        You sure are emotional about this! Do you have a vested interest in “The Earl”? Overall I think most people will not trek out of one of the parks to get just a sandwich – We certainly wouldn’t unless it was much cheaper (like $5 sandwiches) than eating inside DL or CA. Maybe if we were walking back to the parking lot on our way out…maybe. Although I do think it will benefit hotel guest that want a quick and easy meal to bring back to their room or around the pool. But honestly I am done with this obsessive coverage of this stupid thing. It

    • Not sure where the Earl of Sandwich hate comes from. We visit the Orlando location on nearly every trip and love it. I just checked Yelp and the Orlando location has a GREAT score 4.5 or of 5 stars http://www.yelp.com/biz/earl-of-sandwich-lake-buena-vista

      It’s true that this is a dead corner of Downtown Disney, but I think Earl will do just fine. Can’t wait for this one to open.

    • Gregg Condon

      The DtD Location of Earl of Sandwich in Orlando is even further away from the parks than the Disneyland version will be. If you think about it, the only things in DtD that have closed since it opened have been stores. All of the restaurants have been WILDLY popular from ESPN Zone, Rainforest, Naples and Catal.

      Earl of Sandwich will be no different.

  • ScottOlsen

    Please please please please tear out the peoplemover tracks if nothing is going to be done with them. And please put the rocket jets back where they belong.

    And redo Tomorrowland right while you’re at it.

    • ayalexander

      unfortunately, its already been said that the astro orbitor is too heavy to be placed on top of that platform and even if they build an upgraded version of the old one, they’d still have to bring that part of the building up to code. Since people mover -or any- attraction will not use up the track, it is my suspicion that as soon as they tear down the tracks, the orbitron will go as well!

  • mratigan

    please come back

  • Susan Hughes

    Now that the word is out that The Peoplemover is a dead possibility, they should do something on the tracks. I’m guessing they’ll just leave them there like they have for years and years. So at least put something on there to add motion to Tomorrowland.
    Yes, there won’t be a ride for park guests, but having something moving along the tracks. Space ships, Star Wars characters, crazy lights…something! It’s just sad to have them there looking obviously abandoned.

  • Disneylandfan85

    Well, they need to do SOMETHING with the PeopleMover track. If they can’t bring the ride back, then they should rip out the track, but don’t just continue to leave them there indefinitely.

    • sbk1234

      Nothing so sad as losing hope. But I guess it’s really time to let go of the dream. People Mover is gone, it’s not coming back. But how about putting in something that can actually count as a replacement? A nice, relaxing ride that offers good views and adds movement to the area.

      • ayalexander

        lol i think you are still talking about the people mover. besides, if they can’t put something as slow and lightweight as the people mover… then nothing can be put on it.

  • MrTour

    Earl of Sandwich in WDW has ALWAYS been packed when I have been there…even late into the evening hours. More than just an economical price, it is a very tasty sandwich! I am sure it will be a draw for Downtown Disney, and invigorate the entire shopping district!

    As for People Mover; if Autopia, Innovations, and subs are on their way out for an expansion, why wouldn’t People Mover and Monorail also be affected? Let’s just hope Blue Sky is coming up with a master plan for Tomorrowland that will be REALLY REALLY good!

  • doppio

    I’m hoping for a complete demolision. That and the removal of the monorail spaghetti bowl would open up a huge chunk of land for developement.

  • doppio

    ooops…demolition. Sorry.
    ooops again..development. LOL

  • MrTour

    Back to the Monorail; it may be historic, but it really needs to go. And return! We don’t need a monorail attraction, we need a monorail system, like in Florida, to move a lot of people around. Thinking ahead to the third gate, Disney needs a way to transport. Adding a new monorail station at the parking structure can open up in Downtown Disney (with removal of the tram station there). Disney needs to stop thinking in 1959 terms!

    • ayalexander

      unfortunately the monorails can only support 125 people at most, the trams can support 245, they are easy to board at ground level, and are cheaper to maintain. I spoke to a monorail roundhouse-man and he said if it weren’t for the fact that the disney monorail systems in America are considered historic and a must have institution, that their expense alone would be cause for their removal! can you believe that?

    • Susan Hughes

      The monorail doesn’t serve the same function as WDW. The monorail is more a ride and less transportation. And The Disneyland Resort is not the huge expanse that WDW is. No need to spend billions on a transportation system for a resort that’s literally walking distance to everything.

  • DisneyanaFan

    On Earl of Sandwhich, the one time I ate there in Orlando I came down with food poisoning shortly afterwards, ruining a day plus of the one trip I’ve managed to make to Disneyworld. Probably just bad luck, but I think espidodes like this might help explain where the dislike for the palce comes from.

  • JiminyDean

    Thanks for another great update. There are only 69 more days until I get to return to the Happiest Place on Earth and I CAN’T WAIT! Your weekly updates really help me through the long days, weeks, months between visits.

  • DisneyDrums

    Radiator Springs Racers has not hit a new low time-wise. I was there on August 30th, the wait was 60 min.

  • Algernon

    They should give a discount to the poor guests who pay $87 for a park that has half the rides down, and give extra days to the passholders.

    They could bring back the Peoplemover if they wanted. But even if they did, hey, these are the guys that turned the Submarines into a kiddy ride, destroyed the Swiss Tree House, took out the Skyway, etc., etc…

    • TodAZ1

      Half of the attractions are not down. The Subs have always been a kiddie ride. As Tony Baxter said awhile ago, the if they didn’t turn the Treehouse over to Tarzan, Pressler was going to turn it into a retail location. They made the right decision. And the Skyway needed to go.

      What I do object to is the coverage of the Earl of Sandwich construction. I counted 10 pictures of it’s construction. TEN!!! The most pictures on any of the refurbs in the parks (remember them?) is 7. I don’t care if it’s the greatest restaurant ever created by man or god, 10 pictures of a fast food chain being built is a little much.

      • Algernon

        Thanks for the info on the Tree House. I had never heard that before.

    • ayalexander

      remember tho, those are the reworked attractions that the guests wanted, they made those ideas based on the guest research.

  • KingEric

    Love the update. I need to get out to CA so bad!