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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  • martinjbell1986

    I agree with Mr. Tours Idea of expanding the Monorail track and bringing it to the parking structure. Would save time waiting for the trams at night

  • Timekeeper

    I’m amazed that the Aladdin show is reaching it’s ten thousandth show, I hope it reaches another milestone before the Hyperion Theater closes for it’s Lobby enclosure. Also, I’m glad that the new stuff is coming. One question: Is the refurbishment of Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port going to have new stuff inside, like say those Coke-Cola Freestyle fountains?


  • martinjbell1986

    We had originally planned to go in September to Disneyland, but once we saw all the refurbs we altered out trip. Too many rides down at once.

  • RSoxNo1

    Have the flying carpet scenes returned to Aladdin A Musical Spectacular?

  • KENfromOC

    Re the Peoplemover: I think most us would not think that if they brought back a Peoplemover type attraction they would use the same track system that is 45 years old! But rather built from the ground up something completely new as a total and much-need redo of Tomorrowland. I would like it, but I also recognize that today’s audience is much different than in the 1960s and 70s and going on some slow moving scenic ride will not cut it anymore. Maybe that’s too bad… but it’s true. Hopefully they do come up with something that goes up and over Tomorrowland again

  • Tiny Mermaid

    This probably isn’t the right place for this question, but seeing the Roger Rabbit photos reminded me: Does the wait time for this attraction seem really low lately? I used to be shocked when I’d see a wait time of 60 minutes posted for this ride, but now I’m shocked to see it at only 5. Anyone know what (if anything) changed in the last couple of months?

    • Susan Hughes

      Cars Land is the big change to the wait times at Disneyland. All summer long wait times have shrunk since the reopening of DCA. Space Mountain only 10 minutes? Star Tours only 5 minute? Unheard of before June 15th.

  • Circa1966

    I’m sorry to hear that it’s the real end for the Peoplemover, but the safety and deteriorating track issues that Disney is using as excuses for not bringing it back are just that – excuses. This is a billion dollar company that is supposed to be staffed by a bunch of “Imagineers.” Where’s the imagination?

    And if they take out the monorail and created a transportation system (which might not be a bad idea – but again it would take money to recreate monorail tracks and it seems that Disney is loathe to spend it on recreating attractions) there’d be nothing left of Tomorrowland…maybe they should re-theme Space Mountain and make a completely different land ???

  • jcruise86

    The unused Peoplemover/Rocket Rods tracks are depressing. Riding this is one of the biggest reasons my family will travel to Florida in a couple of years.

    I was at the parks on Wednesday and went straight to RS Racers when DCA opened at 10am and only had to wait about 15 minutes in the single rider line. I’m very impressed with this attraction. The ride vehicles & scenery are beautiful.

    As one who likes cows, I’m a little annoyed that they included the tractor-tipping scene. That scene is the only thing I don’t like about one of my favorite organizations, Pixar. If no animal has ever been bothered by someone inspired by this moment in Cars, I apologize.

    And while we’re on the subject of appreciating animals, I had Turkey Ruben at the 3 Pigs (I can never remember the real name) and wasn’t too impressed with the sandwich nor the speed with which it was delivered. As a cheapskate, I had happily purchased my soft drink from Ghiradelli’s (best prices in the parks for sodas?) and got a free piece of chocolate with no wait. (I had a better turkey ruben at the Reagan Country Cafe (with a great view) when I went there to see D23′s Treasures from the Disney Archives exhibit.)

    I also–after reading about it on a Micechat update–tried a baked potato with BBQ chicken and a free (well, included when I asked) serving of sour cream (for the skin) at the Harbor House new Splash Mountain. I really liked this and was full for a few hours afterwards. Not a bad value for Disneyland.

    I saw at least five pieces of trash off the paths along different sides of the Hungry Bear. I wanted to jump over rails and just pick it all up, but instead I made my first ever suggestion at city hall. On a whole, Disneyland is so clean these days that I’m back to picking up a piece of trash now in then, as I used to do all the time when I worked there in the 80s.

    THANK YOU so much for these weekly updates! Micechat has made our trips much better over the years!

    • jcruise86

      I meant “near” Splash Mtn., not “new” Splash Mtn.

  • SpectroMan

    As crazy as it sounds, Peoplemover is one of the rides I look most forward to when visiting Florida. I’ve always wondered how much cheaper it would be to eliminate 90% of DLR’s trams and install the Peoplemover running continuously from Mickey & Friends to World of Disney. Let’s see…no gas only electricity, 2-3 cast members at each end and…done.

    • ayalexander

      that is actually a good idea, i was reading a comment about using the monorail, but the monorail can only hold 125 guests at most, plus its too expensive for maintenance. That is a good idea because the people mover would be a good tribute to the use that Walt intended for it to be.

    • Susan Hughes

      I like that idea too. It would be super easy to build a Peoplemover track along the tram route. That idea gets my vote.

  • Nerd4Disneyland

    Thanks for the Update!! Too many things under rehab!!
    I’m disappointed that the PeopleMover will probably never come back!! :-(
    I wonder, what special effects Indiana Jones gets under rehab for 3 months!!

  • Princess Victoria

    Hmm. I wonder why they removed the archway at Coke Corner.

    Also, I hope they paint a new color scheme at Pizza Port. The current one reeks of the ’90s.

  • animatronic

    Great update! I am a huge fan of Aladdin. I loved the movie, the music, and the musical at DCA. My partner and I have probably seen it 10 times. However, the last time we saw it this past spring it was really a loss to not have some kind of flying carpet piece. After you have seen it with the magic carpet flying overhead in the theater, it really does feel like it is missing something. The character voice-overs singing “whole new world” to a blank stage doesn’t cut it. I look forward to the carpet coming back. I heard it’s due back in November… Any truth to that rumor?

  • Bronco21

    Is it weird that I’m more excited for the possibility that they might change the color scheme and menu of Pizza port more than I am for the chance that they could enhance Indiana jones? That restaurant (if you can call a place that serves cardboard pizza a restaurant) is the ugliest in the resort. Horrid paint schemes, awful food, and very few offerings really make me hope it gets a complete revamp.

  • TrueBlue

    I can see scenarios where Earl of Sandwich thrives or tanks. References to the WDW store are not useful, considering WDW’s large captive audience of destination tourists compared to the huge percentage of DLR guests who are locally based APs. That fact is also why the remote location of Earl of Sandwich may be problematic. Unless the food is unique, the lengthy hike will dissuade APs when then can enjoy “in the park” eats with less effort. Now if the location featured a certain burger chain with an arrow logo or another similar restaurant, the lines would never end.

    As for the reference to Tony Baxter’s recent comments, the inevitability that the current Peoplemover tracks will never be re-used is not a new revelation. Let’s just hope that there is some re-imagining for a similar ride in a beautiful, renovated TomorrowLand. How about a ride with a layout similar to the current track, but using ride vehicles immitating the monorail pods in The Incredibles? (I’m sure I’ve seen this floated in the past.) More importantly, given the degraded condition of the Peoplemover tracks, the high maintenance costs and terribly low guest turnover for Nemo, the complete waste of space known as Innoventions, as well is the large amount of valuable real estate disguised as liability claims waiting to happen (aka Autopia), not to mention the fact that the entire land is screaming for motion (including returning the Rocket Jets to their rightful location to the east and in the sky), it would be nice to see an upgrade of TomorrowLand on a truly grand scale. Of course, unless there are plans ready to go, there is little likelihood of any renovation before the 60th in 2015.

  • Zeathos51

    I’m not sure if anyone will read this so far down but I was there on thursday and it was a very slow and relaxing day. Two things I want to mention: Radiator Springs Racer Fastpass wass crowded and I wanted to get one but the n realized that it would be faster to go directly in and I lucked out with a 45 minute wait time. Second, the Matterhorn pulled our cart off the track after our first ride and gave us an offer of a second. We took it and it was like being at Knotts were you didn’t have to re-board.

    Lastly, I saw the rock work for the first time and wow, I never realized how enormous it was before. It really was record setting. Plus, Cars Land gives the Grizzly Mountain a bit of framing looking the opposite way. It’s like Yosemittee rocks one way and Utah rocks the other.

    Anyways, thanks Norm and see you at the Knotts Haunt.