Strike up the band, it’s time for a quick tour of Disneyland to see what’s new and what’s news. A classic is set to return as Space Mountain gives up on the popular Hyperspace overlay and Star Tours prepares to add new destinations. A new shop has opened in Fantasyland and crowd patterns continue to perplex the Disneyland faithful.
Space Mountain Returns June 1st
At long last, plain old wonderful Space Mountain will be returning June 1st. Hyperspace will close on May 29th (for now). While Hyperspace Mountain was VERY popular with guests, it will be a breath of fresh space-dust to have regular Space Mountain return. Though, we’d still love to see Hyperspace return for a reboot of Season of the Force next year. Take our poll and let us know your thoughts on how you like to experience the mountain:
With Hyperspace Mountain departing, will the rest of Season of the Force also soon make the leap at #Disneyland?Click To Tweet
New Star Tours Adventures
One new Star Wars thing that we can expect to see later this year is a new “Last Jedi” themed adventure on Star Tours. Disney mentioned the new random sequences during Star Wars Celebration last week.
This new Star Tours adventure will take guests to the planet of Crait in the middle of an epic battle … and it’s like nothing that frequent Starspeeder travelers have ever seen!
The new Last Jedi official teaser trailer might give us some clues.
The Castle Holiday Shoppe
When the Heraldry shop lost their lease, we assumed that something important would be going into this spot. It sits next to the uber-popular Peter Pan ride, which struggles to maintain an adequate queue line in the ever-crowded Fantasyland courtyard. We had expected this space to either be used as themed queue expansion for the ride or perhaps as a FASTPASS location. However, the location has reopened as a quickly assembled Christmas shop which maintains much of the previous shop theme and props. The simple slat-wall shelves and bracket hooks lead us to believe that all of this may just be temporary.
The same Christmas ornaments found throughout the resort are assembled here.
The one neat thing is a resident artist who will customize just about anything in the shop for you. Though, you can tell from the temporary table and ill-fitting tablecloth that this was either an afterthought or all of this is just temporary.
Discounts, discounts, discounts . . . throughout the resort, signs have popped up offering special deals when you buy multiples of various items.
Disney hasn’t created any custom displays or props for this store. Just the most basic of tiny trees to display ornaments and hooks to hang things on. The props in the store are simple and mostly from the previous Heraldry Shoppe.
The Christmas store looks just fine, but it’s a bit of an odd fit for this land which Disney doesn’t even decorate for Christmas.
MiceChat’s Gumball Rally returns to the Disneyland Resort on May 6th this year. Compete in teams of 2 to 4 players to see who can ride the most attractions at the resort in a single day. But be warned, pirates have invaded this year’s Rally in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the beloved Pirates of the Caribbean. MORE INFORMATION HERE
New Crowd Patterns
We had another strange week of the new normal at Disneyland.
This update was shot mostly on Friday and Saturday. The park was blissful with low crowd levels both days. Why would the tail end of Spring Break bring lower than normal crowd levels? It’s becoming obvious that the park is only busy when annual passes are unblocked and the 3 day resident salute tickets are also blocked. When relying on full paying guests, Disneyland just can’t seem to fill up the park. High ticket prices are a likely culprit. When those discounted tickets are unblocked, the crowds return in droves (as they did on Sunday, which was also Dapper Day). Has Disneyland boxed itself into a difficult pricing and passholder predicament?
Many attractions in the park were near walk-on conditions at mid-day on Friday. And at minimal waits at the same time on Saturday.
Not only was there no extended queue needed for Pirates . . . but the inner courtyard wasn’t even fully utilized.
When was the last time you saw Big Thunder without a filled overflow queue?
Even Peter Pan was running just a 30 minute wait.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE these conditions. But it points to price fatigue for full paying guests. We’d expect the parks to be packed for Spring Break and they simply weren’t this year. Yet, by the time you read this, most passes will be unblocked and the crowds are expected to return as well.
Even Red Rose Taverne was operating with no wait on Friday around lunch time.
Also, it’s interesting to note that they’ve put signs up explaining the menu in simple non-French sounding ways. Perhaps guests are too confused by descriptive and inventive menus and need to be enticed with the most basic and boring menu description ever.
We LOVE the menu here and hope that Disney sticks to their guns and doesn’t decide to dumb it down and make it boring. If we want a “Grilled burger” we’ll go to McDonald’s. This was once one of the WORST restaurants in the park. At the moment it’s one of the best. Don’t even think about screwing this up Disney, you’ve got a good thing going here.
This and That
As the park prepares to return the River and Train to operation this summer, work continues at an ever more rapid pace. The trains will soon come off display to allow for testing of the new route. There’s a lot of work to be done and the route may prove to be a bit of a challenge for the old engines as the new track has a steeper grade and tighter turning radius than the previous route.
Work continues on the Sailing Ship Columbia to make it possible for Pirates to overtake it nightly for Fantasmic. And barges remain covered at island’s edge to prevent us from catching any early clues.
Meanwhile, at the back of the river, the new rocks are highly visible from New Orleans Square and Hungry Bear. The landscape sure has changed. It’s all going to look great when complete, but gone is the appearance of the river boats sailing away into a forest of trees. The river now makes a hard right turn just past the Hungry Bear (as you can see in the photos below). We’ve been told that the ride time will remain the same by slowing the boats down a bit. That will allow for two boat operation on busy days.
The new waterfalls, rocks and train trestle are being painted and prepared for upcoming testing. The riverbed has had concrete poured and the tracks for the sailing ships is installed.
Look at that sharp turn . . .
A new walking bridge has been constructed between the Hungry Bear and the river. You’ll soon be able to take this path all the way to Star Wars Land.
You can see the waterfalls, train trestle and river boat tracks in the shot below
Nearby, at the Hungry Bear, guests can once again easily access the restrooms located downstairs. The area is still awaiting landscaping.
The smaller rivers of Critter Country are off until the Rivers of America reopens, as that’s where their waters flow.
The project continues behind Big Thunder to reconnect the trail from Frontierland to Fantasyland. Work seems very far along here and we hope they can reopen this trail sooner rather than later as it really helps with crowd flow.
The central hub of Disneyland is bursting with color right now.
It’s quite the refurbishment of Snow White’s Grotto.
In the distance, we see the Matterhorn, which is scheduled to return this Friday!
I must apologize for these next shots. I’m a sucker for a good doughnut. They were JUST putting out these amazing new vanilla glazed treats with fresh strawberry filling. A doughnut, sliced like a bagel and stuffed with goodness. OMG.
And how do you follow up something like that? With maple glazed BACON doughnuts of course. I just gained 10 pounds posting these photos.
Like any good Disney nerd, I try to make a point of visiting Disneyana as often as I can. When I popped in on Friday, I noticed Shrunken Head Ned in the vault.
Both the figure and the painting on wood were done by the super talented Javier Soto.
Here’s the strange part. . . I stood there admiring these pieces for quite some time. The next night was the Themed Entertainment Association’s annual gala and award show at the Disneyland Hotel. It’s an elegant black tie affair with major production values. I’m honored to have been in attendance. But what really made my night was spending a few moments speaking with Javier Soto. Couldn’t wait to tell him that I had just seen his work in the vault, which is the most highly coveted spot for a Disney artist to have their work displayed.
Here we are looking our goofy finest in our money suits, with all the fancy lighting in the background (that’s Javier on the left).
Well folks, are you happy about the return of classic Space Mountain? Are new Star Tours adventures something you are looking forward to? Do you think Disney has priced their regular tickets so high that it’s hurting attendance when passes and discount tickets are blocked? We want to hear from you below!
Friend and Follow Us:
- MiceChat Official Facebook Page (for news and rumors):
- MiceChat Facebook Group (for fan discussions)
- MiceChat Sunday Meet-ups Group (for meets in the parks)
- MiceChat Twitter
- MiceChat Instagram
THE 2017 GUMBALL RALLY
The World Famous Gumball Rally is a contest to see who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland and California Adventure in a single day. Are you the biggest Disney fan? Let’s find out. This year’s event pays tribute to the Pirates of the Caribbean, which turned 50 years old this year and remains beloved by generations of Disney fans. If you be brave enough to face a pirate’s curse, proceed!!! GUMBALL RALLY INFO AND TICKETS HERE