Welcome back to a hot and humid Anaheim, where we take a look at Disneyland as it begins to wrap its summer offerings. Crowds have been unpredictable but tend to show up on Weekdays. The Disneyland Railroad, on the other hand, has seen huge wait times as guests flock to the rails to get their fix after 18 months of waiting.

River and Train

Train on the Backhaul

Guests are having to wait several trains to board the upgraded attraction. Unfortunately, the trains are experiencing mechanical issues causing the 3 train rotation to drop down to 2 or even 1 train for much of the day.

30-minute wait as the entire upper platform of the train station becomes a switchback queue.
The new tunnel to ToonTown station.

One of the big surprises of the renewed Railroad is a revived Grand Canyon and Primeval World.

The riverboats are also pulling in lots of guests. Everyone wants to see the new waterfalls.

The location of the Fantasmic cave is obvious if you know where to look

The Murder Beaver! This cute little fellow really wants to kill you!

You can see how close Big Thunder is to the new Native American village
Who is the storyteller telling his story to? In his old location he had an audience. Now he’s speaking from up high on the cliff to no one in particular.  He looks impressive up there (not unlike the Lincoln figure we believe he once was), but it seems strange that he would be delivering his story so far away from the rest of his village. Perhaps he’s just practicing.

The old Mine Train Tracks now sit empty. The old train is being restored by the Carolwood Foundation at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park.

This fox is cute at first blush. But as you get close, he’s a little too obviously fake.

 

“Dark” Ride

 

Disneyland’s Splash Mountain is not looking its best lately. The age of this attraction is starting to show. Keep in mind that some of the figures inside are even older than the attraction itself. We’ll take a look, but it’s going to be hard to see what’s inside . . . because much of the lighting has burned out!

Unedited shot of the exterior of the attraction, much of the lighting isn’t working, even on the outside. Scott Attula noted that the lighting issues have been going on for at least two weeks now, as they were just as troublesome last week as they were this week.
Long return line for Fastpass even after dark. Scanning Park tickets is slowing down Fastpass return times.

Many of the Geese are now in the dark and not working as well. The brightest part of the ride is now dark.

Br’er Bear is lit but Br’er Fox is in the dark and not fully working
Br’er Rabbit’s house is completely in the dark

Scott is really good at getting those tough shots but he even noted that his settings were jacked up as far as they could go. Usually, he can compensate for darkness (as can be seen in a lot of his Mansion photos), but there was nothing to work with this time.

There’s supposed to be two birds here, but I could only see one…

Many of the bunny children were missing

Most of the finale has missing lights and nonfunctioning animatronics
Fox and Kitten on a cart completely in the dark
Many of the characters on the boat are dark

It’s like shadow puppet theater
Br’er Fox’s tail being pulled by an alligator . . . but you’d only know that if you bring your own lighting.

On top of the malfunctioning show scenes, it feels like they’ve sped up the flume. It may just be side effect of riding through in the dark, or perhaps it’s a way to help you not notice all the broken stuff because you are whizzing by so fast.

Splash Mountain really needs an earnest refurbishment. A complete refurb or replacement of the Audio Animatronics in the ride, an overhaul of the lighting, and they need to address Cal-OSHA’s requirements so they can maintain the figures and lighting in the future. Florida’s Splash Mountain has not been plagued with similar problems for several years now. You know it’s bad when Florida’s version of the attraction is doing better than its California’s Counterpart.

The lights being out on Splash presented Scott with an interesting shot of the mountain during one of the beautiful sunsets this week. Normally the mountain is bathed in orange light, but since it only had natural light at this time it created a much different tone. Look near the bottom of the image, where the bit of orange light is, that’s what the mountain itself would have looked like otherwise.
Main Street Electrical Parade

Glowing Away, Again!

Disneyland’s Electrical Parade is glowing away again in just under 2 weeks (August 20th). Rumor is that the parade will be sticking around and coming back during the holiday season for a short run before it either get packed up to be shipped back to Florida or perhaps is scheduled for limited Disneyland runs going forward. But, to be safe, try to see this classic parade while you still can.

Sponsor A World Less

 

In other news, it’s a small world will be losing its sponsor, Siemens. Siemens contract comes to an end on September 30th. Seimens also sponsors Spaceship Earth and Illuminations over at Epcot. Siemens provided much of the lighting improvements to small world during its last huge refurbishment.

 

“This and That”

Main Street

The gas lamp near Coke Coner is missing

The always popular All American College Band is wrapping up their summer program for the summer. Be sure to stop and watch them perform before they all head back to school.

New Orleans

The Haunted Mansion is going down on August 27 to begin its Holiday makeover. Yes, the holidays are almost here again! Eeeeeeeek!

Getting better at shooting the stretching room…

Is it just me or is this scene darker than usual? They usually have the desk or Leota’s book lit up a little bit…


Have you seen these cute Pirates plushes?

Mickey and Minnie together as pirates
Pluto as the jail dog
Another jail dog in a blanket
The barker bird from the queue.

Fantasmic

This is probably the sign most of you have been seeing while looking for a Fastpass for Fantasmic this week. That’s because they’ve pretty much halved the number of Fastpasses available and used most of the riverfront viewing areas for Fantasmic Dinner Package viewing. The second tier of viewing is all standby now as well, no FastPasses required.

Hungry Bear Dinner Package

Scott decided to try out the Fantasmic Dinner Package at the Hungry Bear Restaurant this week. Every package availability is sold out online at River Belle Terrace, Blue Bayou, and even Hungry Bear for quite a while, so you have to wait on hold (often for a long time) with the Disney Dining hotline to book something if there’s even a reservation available at either of the three restaurants. Also, note that the River Belle’s package is moving to Cafe Orleans during River Belle’s refurbishment that will add more indoor seating.

Hungry Bear is simple, you select a “Fantasmic” meal and you get a Fastpass for the show. It’s all pre-made so what you get is what you get unless you have an allergy. Even then, that’s subject to availability. Two members of my party couldn’t eat the rice or salad so they were substituted a bunch of grapes. You also receive your choice of an organic soda with your meal.

When you check in and order you get a FastPass for the Hungry Bear specific viewing area for your specified show time.

The food itself wasn’t bad, but it’s not worth $30. It’s not even worth $10, the serving size is laughably small and the sides were surprisingly bland and tasteless. I and another member of my party had the pork riblets and they were decent, easily something I would eat if it were available with different sides on the normal Hungry Bear menu. Another member of my party got the BBQ chicken and said it was pretty good as well.

BBQ Chicken with the sides substituted for grapes
My dinner with the normal two sides of wild rice and kale salad.
Everything comes in a handy Fantasmic paper bag so you can carry it away from the Hungry Bear if you didn’t want to eat there.

Easily the worst part of the meal was the organic soda. My party had the cherry vanilla and grape flavors and they were just awful. They were bad enough that we didn’t finish them and we ended up having to buy some Cokes instead. We learned afterward that you can just pay the $30 premium and order whatever you want off the Hungry Bear menu. The turkey wrap there is plenty edible and Hungry Bear often has great promotional items, so that might be a better choice for some. I definitely recommend asking to order a normal soda rather than getting the organic soda.

Another thing to note is that the line may take a while to get through, they only had one cashier open for the Fantasmic diners when we were there. I really appreciate Disney trying to make things more interesting, but I would’ve been happy with some mashed potatoes or mac and cheese with my dish. Also, we should be at the point where I can put everything down on a sheet or an app on my phone rather than waiting in line. Same goes for the pre-made meals, they should be built in a way that allows sides to be swapped in and out easily so you don’t pay for food you don’t want to eat. Still, this package was cheaper than the River Belle package and it gave us great seats for Fantasmic.

And now for Fantasmic:

The projections look better head on, but they do enhance some of the scenes quite a bit!

I’m still not sold on the Pirates scene. It’s confusing and hard to follow, especially compared to the original Peter Pan scene and really feels like a downgrade.

Finally realized that the unnamed girl has the compass. Why? No idea.

Aladdin and Jasmine were a no show during this performance, so the stage was dark with no flying carpets.

As great as Rapunzel is, I’m still salty that Snow White was removed from the show. Especially since Snow was the transition to the next scene with the Evil Queen (which has been ruined as well with the removal of the transformation scene and cauldron)

That blur on the fire? That’s not fire blur, that’s water all over my lens. If you’re shooting photos, don’t sit at the waterfront if you don’t want to be constantly drying your lens!

At least Snow White is on the Mark Twain, right up front of the second story…

Critter Country

Over by the Canoe Dock, it appears they did not finish all the construction as the exit gate still has not been installed. When the attraction closes for the night employees move two potted planted to cover the exit stairs.

Keep it classy Disney.

They set up for Fantasmic early so you can see a Jolly Roger flying above the trees at sunset!

Frontierland

The re-opening of Big Thunder Trail has presented some beautiful photo opportunities…

Are you a fan of the “goat trick?”

Star Wars Land

Along the edge of Galaxy’s Edge work continues on as we move closer to the 2019 opening date of Star Wars land.

Let’s look through the huge fence to see what we can see…

Fantasyland Side of Big Thunder Trail

The Top of the Millennium Falcon Attraction.

Frontierland Side of Big Thunder Trail.

Let’s Zoom outside the park to see the progress on the exterior of both of the attractions.

Toontown

From Toontown you can see Star Wars Land very clearly. This cartoon realm is going to look a lot different when Star Wars land is complete. But perhaps it won’t be sticking around for too much longer anyway.

The crane is quite visible from all over the park.
Benny has not been moving for a few weeks
Barcodes on the bottom of Fastpass have been removed to help speed up Fastpass Return (without the barcode fewer guests will think they need to scan it).

Tomorrowland

Space Mountain will be going under a month long refurbishment starting August 20th and returning as Ghost Galaxy on September 15th.

Even though Scott got this amazing shot, you still see the out light bulbs that follow the track. Hopefully during the refurbishment the bulbs can be changed out.

Over at Star Traders, they are testing leaving the doors open after park closing so guests can get that last minute Star Wars merchandise.

At Tomorrowland Terrace, Disney has introduced a “Late Night” menu that actually tastes pretty good. Disney defines “Late Night” as 9pm to 12am. There is not a single fry on this special menu.

Micron Burger
Sweet Star Clusters
Spac-adilla

Fantasyland

The classic dark rides in Fantasyland are still some of the best attractions to beat the heat during the summer, and they’re quintessentially Disneyland – win, win!!

Over at Fantasyland Theater, Disney continues to keep Magical Map closed many weekdays. To prevent just having an empty show times board, Disney has placed this new sign.

The Red Rose Taverne may not have long lines anymore, but the kitchen and the restaurant are still bustling. This overlay has been around for quite some time, but I sure hope it sticks around a while longer. I really enjoy the creative menu and fun decor. What about you?

Over at the adjoining shop, you can get your very own “Grey Stuff” shirt to let everyone know it was delicious.

We miss you, Marty
MICECHAT KNOTT’S SCARY FARM SPOOKTACULAR

 


SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2017

Tickets at: http://scaryfarm2017.eventzilla.net/

This is the 12th anniversary of our ultra-popular Halloween event and we are working with the great folks at Knott’s Berry Farm to make this our best haunt ever! Leave the real world behind and enter a dreamland of spooky fun with fellow Micechat readers.

This is a VIP experience. You’ll get exclusive access to the haunt designers, special tours, front of line access, and an amazing Mrs. Knott’s buffet dinner before the scares begin. This is the ultimate way to experience Knott’s Scary Farm and the best package for the event.

Event includes:

  • Admission into Knott’s Scary Farm
  • Meet and greet with maze designers
  • Backstage tour of a new maze before the event
  • All you can eat Private Pre-scare Boo-fet dinner
  • Early entry into Haunt
  • Unlimited front of the line access to all mazes!
  • Fastlane front of the line for rides!
  • Priority Seating for the final performance of ELVIRA at Knott’s Scary Farm!!!
  • For one simple price, you’ll get an entire night of food, entertainment, friends, frights, fun and EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITIES!!!

Get your tickets while they are still available! For questions, please contact [email protected]

Tickets at: http://scaryfarm2017.eventzilla.net/

 

Thank you!
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 Brian Pinsky with contributions from Scott Attula

 

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. And please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the Disneyland Resort and beyond:

 

That’s it for today but join us later this week as we cover California Adventure and Downtown Disney. 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]

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