It never ceases to amaze me how much can change at Disneyland in just one week. We have lots of help this week from a MiceChat reader, as well as Update Staffmembers Brian Pinsky and Dusty Sage. Let’s take a look at the new home for Disneyland’s horses, the old/new Big Thunder Trail, Rivers of America pending reopening, Adventureland shuffle, and lots of little tid bits.

Horsing Around

The Happiest Horses on Earth have moved to Norco, Ca. That’s about a 30 mile drive from Disneyland. On Saturday, MiceChat reader Dsny Debbie visited Disneyland’s new Circle D Ranch and shares some photos and thoughts with us. 

“There’s a beautiful new state of the art stable out in Norco for the Disneyland horses. All 18 horses now call the new Circle D Ranch home. Disney name tags adorn the fancy new barn stalls with ceiling fans. The old Disneyland carriages have their own barn that was also open for viewing. There is a large workout arena and two turnout pens. All in all, this is a great facility for the horses and their caretakers.”

We wondered about the carriages when the old Circle D Ranch closed at Disneyland. They’ve all found homes in the new facility.

Meanwhile, Back at the Old Frontierland Trail . . .

The location of the old Circle D Ranch is currently the Star Wars land construction site. The Big Thunder BBQ is now only a fond memory. This past weekend, the trail which connected Frontierland with Fantasyland reopened. There have been a lot of changes, but much has remained the same as well.

Big crowds have been using the trail since it reopened.

Expecting crowded conditions, I got up early to run to the park and take photos for you before the big crowds set in.

You can see the tunnel where you’ll enter Star Wars Land.

Although the trail has reopened, there are still lots of workmen finishing up the railroad route and working on the new Star Wars land just beyond that!

The side of the path which faces Big Thunder Mountain is much the same as it always was.

The opposite side of the path has dramatically changed with the addition of new rocks which are painted the right color but have a slight otherworldly look to them. 

A green construction fence hides this path directly into Star Wars land.

And at night, lots of new lighting makes it easier than ever to navigate the trail.

Dusty Sage walks us through the Big Thunder Trail in this great video:

And nearby, some new FASTPASS scanners have been installed at Big Thunder. 

A River Runs Through It

And just around the river bend we find all sorts of activity all around Tom Sawyer Island. David Koenig had a great update this weekend about the big news on the way.  Exciting stuff and we’ll all be so happy to see the island and river traffic return.

It’s exciting to see a Fantasmic light tower extended during the day.

Mist screen projections on the river have returned during fireworks. It’s one step closer to Fantasmic folks.

The whole river is slowly coming back to life.

The river boats have been frequently changing places.

Lots of river boat testing as well. Round and round they go.

The rocks and railway at the back of the river aren’t quite done, but the boats can easily take on passengers. Would you rather that they fully complete construction on the rock work before reopening the river boats to guests, or would you enjoy seeing a bit of construction around the river and have the boats return to service as soon as possible?

Lots of work remains on the new walkway from Critter Country to Star Wars land.

Toot Toot

While the river boats may return soon, there’s not as much hope for a speedy return of the trains. There’s still a considerable amount of work left to be done on the track, trestles, and testing of the engines themselves. Having the trains down this long reminds us why they are so important to the lifeblood of the park itself. Disneyland was Walt’s train set and things just aren’t the same without them.

Not Star Wars Land

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ragtag collection of attractions have dropped their temporary Star Wars marketing campaign (Season of the Force) but there’s still plenty of Star Wars in the land of tomorrow.

The Season of the Force sign now has “Tomorrowland” in the middle of it.
Space Mountain is back at long last. The wonderful “Hyperspace Mountain” overlay has ended for now. But it will likely be back again before you have a chance to miss it too much.

Are you glad to have Space Mountain back? Did you have a chance to ride this past weekend?  Banners on the forever languishing Peoplemover tracks have switched out from the force to generic Tomorrowland signage.

Music continues at Tomorrowland Terrace, and seems to be pulling in big crowds.

Adventureland Crowd Control Project

If you are a frequent Disneyland visitor, you no doubt know that Adventureland is a crowd flow nightmare on even moderately busy days. In particular, the spot between Indiana Jones and the Bengal Barbecue is a choke point. Additionally, the spot between the South Seas Traders and Jungle Cruise can become clogged due to stroller parking in the area.

Beginning today, Disneyland is closing the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost and South Seas Traders shops to begin an interesting project to ease congestion in the land. The Indiana Jones Outpost will become indoor seating for Bengal Barbecue and the old outdoor seating will be removed. The juice and snacks from Tropical Imports (in front of Jungle Cruise) will move into the spot being vacated by the South Seas Traders later this month and will itself become stroller parking. In addition, the planter near Bengal will be removed. But is that enough?

Don’t worry about missing out on your favorite skewers. Bengal Barbecue is expected to remain open during the project.

We believe that the Adventureland Bazaar will remain open and absorb the popular items from the closed establishments.  

What we find interesting is that the biggest waste of space in the land doesn’t seem to be part of this project. With merchandise losing space and strollers moving into a former beverage and merchandise location, why does Aladdin’s Oasis continue to languish? This spot could be turned back into a restaurant, become a shop, or serve as a theater to soak up more guests. Instead, it sits there underutilized.

What do you think of this project. Will the shuffle make a big difference? And what do you think should be done with Aladdin’s Oasis?

This and That

Because I love it, here are a few Mansion shots and some fun Mansion merchandise I’ve got my eye on. They aren’t new, but they are on my wish list.

The following item didn’t take Disney long to cash in on . . . character fidget spinners. Soon to be gone, gone, gone . . . just like this fad . . . we hope!

That’s all for this week. Until next time…

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