It’s hard to believe but summer is coming to a rapid end. In this week’s Update we’ll show you what’s going on with current projects, events and fun stuff at the Disneyland Resort in California! The change of seasons is in the air. SoCal school children are on their way back to classes. Southern California Annual Passports are unblocked beginning today (after having been locked out for most of the summer). Haunted Mansion closed today so Jack Skellington can wreck the halls in the beloved annual overlay. And construction projects are taking place all over the resort.
Crowds, Crowds and No Crowds!
Our visit over this weekend was a tale of two Disneylands. Saturday saw huge crowds with wait times for Pirates of the Caribbean touting 30 minutes, Hyperspace Mountain 75 minutes and even Winnie the Pooh hovering around 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day. However, on Sunday the park was blissfully uncrowded, with Pirates just 15 minutes, Hyperspace topping out at under an hour, and Winnie the Pooh mostly a walk-on for the day. With SoCal passes unblocked this week, attendance should climb, even with school starting for many local kids.
We’ll Be Dying To See You Until January
The Haunted Mansion was entombed today to prepare for its annual conversion to Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack is preparing to wreck the halls once again, as he has done every year since October 3rd of 2001 (when Cynthia Harris was park President). This appears to be a refurb year for the overlay, so we should see some refreshed sets and perhaps even a few new surprises.
Artist Showcase featuring John Coulter, Paul Lopez, Kenny Yamada
A special Artist Showcase was held in Disneyana on Main Street, U.S.A. on Saturday. Guests had the opportunity to meet John Coulter, Paul Lopez, and Kenny Yamada. We purchased a couple of the pieces and had them signed by the artists.
A visit to the Disney Gallery is not complete unless you take a walk through the current exhibit at the entrance to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
With ongoing rumors that this area may eventually become an expansion plot for Fantasyland, the land looks great after an extensive repainting, which was sorely needed. What would you like to see go in this space? Keep but update ToonTown? Arendelle and Frozen ride? Fantasyland Expansion with Be Our Guest restaurant and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train? Be creative and let us know what should become of the aging ToonTown.
The Gag Factory Machine was fully functional in the Five & Dime shop, this was the first time I’d seen it running in years.
Streetmophere and Shows
Even with the crowds around the park, you can still find a seat to relax and enjoy many of the Magical shows Disneyland has to offer. Such as Mickey and the Magical Map, Missy & the Jambalaya Jazz Band and the nightly Jazz Band that plays on the Rivers of America.
Missy & the Jambalaya Jazz Band
This was a treat, usually they just have a small band playing, but this was something special. Took a short video of the great show they put on (please forgive the not so professional quality of my video).
|StarWars Construction Update|
Last Friday Darth Daver published a fantastic update on the current state of Star Wars land construction. I selected a few photos below of the current construction project, but if you want the full report click here and jump on over to Darth Daver’s update!
And Dusty stopped by the construction site of the new parking structure and transit plaza behind the soon to be demolished Carousel Hotel:
|Refurbishment Round Up|
Tom Sawyer Island and Fantasmic!
A recent color scheme was posted on our forums for Lafayette’s Stage for Fantasmic! Which brought mixed reviews, now as you can see the whole area is under tarps again. Was this a temporary base coat of paint, or was the change too drastic? Plenty of Photos below for you to review.
The Mickey’s Toontown station is behind construction walls for a touch up.
Some more major work is being done on the Columbia. All of the masts and majority of the rope and cabling has been removed for the refurb. Rumor is that the Peter Pan scene will be replaced by Pirates of the Caribbean in the refurbished Fantasmic. This scene change requires the reworking of the rigging on the ship for the new pirate stunts.
Main Street USA’s Market House is getting fresh coat of paint, not to worry folks you can still get your Starbucks fix as the location remains open during refurbishment.
With the Nightly Bands on the Rivers of America, the center lighting pole is used for illumination but the rest of the equipment has been taken off while Fantasmic! is down.
|Disney California Adventure|
Over in Disney California Adventure, things are at an easy pace. With lighter crowds overall, this park tends to be an easier area to hang out in and enjoy. Though there are some areas that are in dire need of improvement, which we will be covering below.
California Screamin – “it really needs a fresh coat of paint.”
This ride has been constantly running since the park opened in 2001, with only a month long refurbishment in 2011 and a 3 day refurb in 2014. It’s no wonder the ride is looking a bit neglected. The entire attraction is covered in rust and the nightly lighting package isn’t up to par with Disney standards.
On our ride, the train’s audio wasn’t working but the ride itself was as solid as it has been in the past.
If you are brave enough, you can get a great shot of the entire park from the lift hill on the ride. 😉
I love California Screamin’, but would really like to see the attraction get a full repaint and some queue enhancements, if not a complete retheme. What are your thoughts on DCA’s big coaster?
King Triton’s Carousel Refurbishment
The carousel is down for what looks to be just a normal refurbishment.
Tech Castmembers Prep World of Color
During the Day, a few hours before the first World of Color show, you can watch the WOC crew start their routine of prepping the stage area and equipment for the nightly show. For any of you who love looking at the equipment Disney uses for their theatrical performances, here are some fun shots!
These nozzles were added for World of Color Celebrate! They shoot the compressed air into the sky during the Frozen section of the show.
World of Color “Celebrate” is ending on September 5th and will revert back to the original show after that date. Do you wish “Celebrate” was staying? Glad to see the old show return? Or would you like to see something new?
Grizzly Peak Recreation Area
Not much to report in the lovely themed area of Grizzly Peak, crowds were at their most dense around Grizzly River Run due to the 90 degree weather this Saturday.
However, things loosen up near California Sorin’, which hasn’t seem much of a bump with the new ride film. Waits are about the same as they were with the old film.
One of Disney’s furrier cast members on their mandatory lunch break near Grizzly River Run.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel
The facelift this ride will soon be getting is keeping wait times high with fast passes selling out daily. 13 minute waits of old have given way to hour long waits today.
Naples Restaurant Expansion
The two story “Ristorante” has expanded its already large outdoor seating section, the new area now takes up a large part of left side patio, directly to the right of the restaurant’s entrance. The area looks fairly temporary.
August is not even over and both parks are in full merchandise mode with Halloween, I may be getting older and time just seems shorter, but for me it feels as if the “merchandise creep” gets earlier every year. How do you feel about seeing Halloween already in the parks?
|Character Close up|
Character Experiences are always fun, we have seen many rarities lately at the parks, such as Pocahontas, Susie (Mouse from Cinderella), to the more common characters like the Evil Queen, Fab Five and many others. They are also always willing to pose for the camera!
California Aventure street actors really make Buena Vista Street shine!
|Refurbishment Round Up|
Disneyland continues to grow and change, now more than ever. Here is a brief list of some upcoming projects:
- Haunted Mansion closes Monday, Aug. 22 to become Haunted Mansion Holiday on Friday, Sep. 9.
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is scheduled to close Aug. 22 until mid-September.
- Hyperspace Mountain closes Tuesday Sept. 6 to become Ghost Galaxy on Friday, Sep. 9
- Diamond Celebration ends on Sep. 6. And with it goes the extensive décor which will switch to Halloween Time as well as:
- Paint The Night, which goes dark after Sep. 5 and is coming back for select dates during the holidays before changing to the Main Street Electrical Parade early next year.
- World of Color – Celebrate! Which will change to the original World of Color show.
- Disneyland Forever will be replaced by Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks, which will run mostly on a weekend only schedule.
- A remodeled Rivers of America with the Sailing Ship Columbia, Mark Twain Riverboat, Tom Sawyer’s Island, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes and Disneyland Railroad will reopen next summer (2017) as well.
Disney California Adventure:
- Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror will close in January to become “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT” next summer.
- King Triton’s Carousel is closed now through August 26th.
- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is closing for a lengthy refurbhisment September 6 through 28th
- Goofy’s Sky School has a quick closure from September 26 & 27
|Get Disneyland Wait Times with Mouseaddict|
Get Mouseaddict Here You can keep track of the wait times and even where in the park people are congregating by downloading the app (iPhone only at this time).
All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot and assembled by Anthony Hays with additional photo contributions from Darth Daver and Dusty Sage.
Are you a member of the MiceChat Sunday Meet-up Facebook group? If you are interested in meeting up with fellow theme park lovers in the parks, please be sure to follow this group: MiceChat Sundays in the Park. Last weekend they celebrated the final day of the Haunted Mansion before Nightmare Before Christmas takes over. Don’t miss out on all the fun!
And please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the Disneyland Resort and beyond:
That’s it for this week’s Update. Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]