Disneyland cast members have been dropping me bits and pieces of news this week, on the return of the steam trains, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, and WiFi finally coming to Disneyland.
D23 weekend, starting July 14, is the target for having Fantasmic, Tom Sawyer Island, and the steam trains back on line. The river has been refilled and Fantasmic is already in rehearsals, so the island and the nighttime spectacular shouldn’t have any trouble meeting that deadline. But one source said if the railroad somehow meets that date, it might mean initially operating just one train. “They don’t know how the test will go for the trains and its new ride control system,” one employee explained.
The trains won’t offer much of a sneak peek at Star Wars Land construction, but after an 18-month layoff and with temptations like a new trestle bridge and scenery, and a seriously reconfigured track, could this summer mark the first time the Disneyland Railroad boasts a three-hour wait?
Retheming the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as the storehouse of the Collector from the Guardians of the Galaxy meant decorating the interior with hundreds and hundreds of “artifacts” that the character has collected over the millennia. That allowed the Imagineers to stuff the attraction with plenty of inside jokes and call-outs to Guardians of the Galaxy, other Marvel characters and movies, other Disney properties, and even the ride’s former incarnation (such as a bellhop cap).
Cast members who have toured the attraction have singled out its Rocket Racoon audio-animatronic as looking fantastic.
On May 11, The Hub cast member portal released a photo of the Groot costumed character—a high-tech suit on the calibre of Chewbacca in the Star Wars Launch Bay. Star Lord and Gamora face characters will appear at guest meet & greets and for the dance show. Face characters for Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor and Captain America will also be on hand to meet visitors.
And, finally, some welcome news for those of us plagued with lousy data reception while in the park: resort-wide WiFi is coming. The park has been experimenting with it off and on in pockets for about a month, in conjunction with the rollout of its Disney FastPass App and MaxPass, which will allow guests book FastPasses online for $10 a day.
Walt Disney World has offered free WiFi for years, as well as the electronic FastPass+ that guests can arrange up to 30 days in advance. They’re not charging $10 a day for the service, but they’re also severely limiting which and how many reservations you can make.
More soon, I promise. The news is fast and furious these days. So keep those comments coming and let me know if you run across a gem I should know about.