The Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A. has opened a new exhibit exploring the various “Realms of Fantasy” at Disney’s theme parks, including the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World in Florida. Meanwhile, construction continues on two projects in Disneyland’s own Fantasyland, including the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. In Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad enters its final weeks of operation before closing for much of 2013 for an extensive refurbishment.

Get a closer look at today’s update! Click on any photo in today’s column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

Thanks to Guy Selga from TouringPlans.com for some additional help with a piece on a recent Walt Disney Imagineering playtest we discuss in today’s column.

Before we get started, I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who made Dateline Disneyland’s 5th Anniversary Celebration such a huge success. Over the last five weeks I was lucky enough to celebrate five years of writing this blog and give away 30 amazing prizes to those of you who read. Thank you to everybody who entered-to-win — there were over 1,200 contest entries and countless wonderful comments from all of you who read every week. I must also thank MiceChat‘s Dustysage for his help and support. And of course, a huge thank you to Dateline Disneyland’s incredible sponsors at the Howard Johnson Anaheim and TouringPlans.com for their unbelievable generosity over the last five weeks.

Welcome to Disneyland!

Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast as crowd levels rise for the holidays.

Expect heavy crowds leading up to one of Disneyland Resort’s busiest weekends. If you need tips for visiting during the holidays, check out our Disney Holiday eBooks! TouringPlans.com can also help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now is a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton, Statistician, TouringPlans.com

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
[/center]
[center]TouringPlans.com
Crowd Tips
[/center]
Tues., Dec. 18 [center]8 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Thursday is the best day to visit DCA.
  • Partial Annual Pass blackouts on Friday, and full blackouts on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Crowd levels are a 10 on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Due to its incredibly low capacity, consider riding Luigi’s Flying Tires standby right after starting your day by grabbing a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers.
Wed., Dec. 19 8 /10
Thu., Dec. 20 8 /10
Fri., Dec. 21 9 /10
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.Do more. Wait less.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by TouringPlans.com.

Candlelight’s final nights will take place this week, with a one-night performance with John Stamos on Thursday. It’ll be good to see the Candlelight set-up taken down for last two weeks of the holiday season.

The remaining nights of Candlelight have reserved seating for Annual Passholders, which were chosen by an online lottery. Below, the schedule of remaining performances and celebrity narrators for those nights.
Celebrity Narrators and Dates

  • December 17, 18, 19: Molly Ringwald
  • December 20: John Stamos

Flags are at half-staff across the Resort for the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.

Exploring the Realms of Fantasy

In Town Square, the Disney Gallery has opened a new exhibit. The new exhibit just kind of opened without much fanfare, despite exhibition openings in the past opening with some sort of online announcement and an artist merchandise signing event.

The new exhibit, “Realms of Fantasy,” expands on the Fantasyland theme of the previous exhibit, “Crowning Achievements.” While the previous exhibit focused on the Castles at the various Disney theme parks, the new exhibit explores Fantasylands and other lands with fairytale-themed attractions, such as Tokyo DisneySea’s Mermaid Lagoon.

The first room in the exhibit features various Fantasyland-themed art works recently released at a Disneyland merchandise event.

A couple great pieces by Jody Daily available for purchase.

The Gallery’s back room features a full exhibition of Imagineering concept art and retains the model of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant from Disneyland Paris that was part of the previous “Crowning Achievements” show.

The show features a fair amount of art from Walt Disney World’s New Fantasyland project, which recently just opened.

The concept art is mostly divided up by film and the attractions based on each respective film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

Concept art from Walt Disney World’s upcoming Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train attraction

The Little Mermaid:

Alice in Wonderland:

Peter Pan:

Construction Kingdom

At the end of Main Street, the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area continues to progress nicely.

In Fantasyland, work continues on the Fantasyland Theater as it prepares to host a new show in 2013.

Interesting…

Nearby, some good news for the old Fantasyland Ticket Booth that currently acts as a Kodak camera supply kiosk. The Orange County Register reported that the ticket booth is expected to stay in place and continue to sell disposable cameras, batteries and memory cards when Kodak leaves Disneyland early next year. The structure is a nice piece of Disneyland history and it’s a good thing that it’ll be retained even after Kodak leaves.

Last week Disneyland finally confirmed that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would close for an extended refurbishment starting January 7, 2013.

Disney also confirmed a few bits of information regarding what the long refurbishment will entail, including track replacement, mountain repainting and new ride vehicles. What we’ll see here is a project similar to last year’s Matterhorn Bobsleds overhaul.

What Disney didn’t confirm, however, are rumors that the mining town that riders pass at the end of the attraction will be mostly removed during the refurbishment. The mining town are repurposed structures from the little town of Rainbow Ridge, a part of the old Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland attraction, which was replaced by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the late 1970s.

I hope the old Rainbow Ridge can be saved, but rumors continue to suggest it will become a permanent part of Yesterland when the attraction closes for refurbishment in January.

Below is a full ride-through of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad from August when news first broke of its upcoming refurbishment project.


Last chance to give some Disney fun this year!
The holidays are here, but it isn’t too late to get a last-minute gift for the Disney fan on your list.

Below is a list of some of the best books, movies and video game releases for every Disney fan on your shopping list. Everything from this year’s spectacular books including Poster Art of the Disney Parks and It’s Kind of a Cute Story, to the year’s biggest Disney blockbusters including Marvel’s The Avengers, Brave and Wreck-It Ralph; we’ve got you covered.

So jump in and check off some names from your list with the Amazon links below! By buying through the Amazon links below you’ll also be helping support Dateline Disneyland so we can continue bringing Disneyland to you through 2013!

Happy Holidays!
– Andy
Dateline Disneyland

[center] [/center]

Welcome to California Adventure

Over at California Adventure, news is slow as the park continues to enjoy its first holiday season after its hugely successful relaunch.

A couple weeks ago Walt Disney Imagineering hosted a “playtest” of a new show they called “Imagine That!” in Hollywood Land’s Stage 17. The 30-minute show tested out a new concept where an audience of 300 determined the plot and characters of a story that live artists and improv actors brought to life on stage.

Our friend Guy Selga from TouringPlans.com shared his experience with the show:

After entering the theater everyone was split in to two groups. The show featured a host, a piano player, two artists, two improv actors, and a co-host. The host came on stage and explained that we were going to create a show using audience suggestions which would be illustrated by the artists.

The host took suggestions on a setting for our story by telling everyone to yell out the first thing that came to their minds. Our audience ended up creating a land called “Marshmallow Land.” After that the two audience groups were told that one would create the hero, and the other would create the villain. One of the hosts instructed us how to create our hero by selecting traits such as body type, look, attitude, secret power, name, etc. Our hero ended up being a marshmallow man who is on fire, named “Fuego.” An artist drew our creation as we are giving suggestions.

We were then lead into the next room which is where our story would be brought to life. The audience was seated in front of a stage where the two improv actors would assume the roles of the hero and villain of our created world. The artists created backgrounds for the show and they were projected on three large screens on stage. While the improv actors and host improvised the story on-stage, the co-host was in the audience where he’d occasionally stop the show to ask the audience what should happen next. For example, he asked the audience what the hero/villain should be fighting over. Someone yelled “Taking a bath in hot chocolate.” The hero eventually defeated the villain with the help of the audience.

While I didn’t have the opportunity to see the show during Imagineering’s playtests, from Guy’s account, it’s clearly another attempt to introduce more interactivity to the theme parks. Guy told me he didn’t love the show or hate it, but noted that it was surprisingly tight for the kind of show it is. What I find most interesting about the concept is that for all of Disney’s insistence about being “storytellers,” this show completely frees Disney of having to do any storytelling work of its own. Instead, the audience is essentially doing all the story work themselves.

From what I’ve been told, the show concept is being considered for wide-spread park use. If this show does make it past testing and into a park, we’ll enter a new era of Disney theme park experiences where Guests are paying upwards of $100 a day to essentially entertain themselves in shows that will cost Disney very little to operate. Never mind that people can already do this sort of thing at home with the help of an inexpensive board game or just their own basic imagination.

It’s certainly interesting territory for Disney to explore, even more interesting that Disney thinks that this sort of experience is what people what to spend premium prices to experience. If this does come to Disneyland, I have a feeling Anaheim’s local-heavy market won’t take favorably to it like they have do to classics like Pirates of the Caribbean or new rides like Radiator Springs Racers.

Country singer Brad Paisley performed for park guests last week as film crews filmed the performance for the upcoming Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade.

New Year, New Merch

Stores in both parks, including Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure, are now stocking the new 2013 logo merchandise as 2012 comes to a close.

It’s nice to see DCA represented by the Carthay Circle Theater

The theme for much of the merchandise is “Bel13ve in Magic”

While much of the merchandise features Disneyland-specific logos and icons, some of it does double-duty and features the Walt Disney World logo and that Resort’s park icons. It’s too bad as it just comes off as being lazy and cheap. Sleepwear pants:

This & That

In Downtown Disney, Earl of Sandwich got its new outdoor menu boards

And the Downtown Disney Holiday Village outside of Earl of Sandwich lost a lot of its strange and cheap-looking snow and European village decorations (street signs and lampposts) and some oversized ornaments and presents have replaced them.

While an improvement, it’s still pretty disappointing.

Oversized bows are now part of the decor

If this Holiday Village returns next year, hopefully Disney will drive down to Knott’s Berry Farm and take some notes from their great Christmas Crafts Village in Ghost Town. It’s excellent and makes Disney’s offering look even worse than it already does.


Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the

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MiceChat.com and Annual Passholder Discounts
Available Every Day!

The HoJo Anaheim is now offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn’t listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.

Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
December 17 — 23, 2012
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday-Wednesday: 8 am – 11 pm
Thursday-Sunday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Monday-Thursday: 8 am – 10 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by TouringPlans.com[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]HIGH[/B]
[B]7.8—9.9[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]MEDIUM—HIGH[/B]
[B]5.7—9.7[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

[B]For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
[/B]
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [b]Mark Twain Riverboat:[/b] Closed January 7, 2013 through March 28.
  • [b]Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:[/b] Closed for extensive refurbishment January 7, 2013 through October 30.
  • [b]Haunted Mansion:[/b] Closed January 7-17, 2013 to remove Holiday overlay.
  • [b]Big Thunder Ranch:[/b] Closed January 7-17, 2013 to remove holiday overlay.
  • [b]Fantasmic!:[/b] Dark January 7, 2013 through February 14 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Expected to close early 2013 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
  • [B]Fantasy Faire:[/B] New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
  • [B]Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater:[/B] Fantasyland Theater closed August 12. Princesses have relocated to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • [B]Muppet*Vision 3D:[/B] Closed through January 6 for Prep & Landing overlay.
  • [B]Silly Symphony Swings:[/B] Closed January 7, 2013 through February 17 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Grizzly River Run:[/B] Closed January 7, 2013 through February 28 for refurbishment.
  • [B]World of Color:[/B] Closed January 28-31, 2013 and February 4-7 for refurbishment.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
    None.
[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • California Adventure expansion helps add 5,000 new jobs to Disneyland Resort, according to the OC Register.
  • The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney Parks head Tom Staggs says Walt Disney World’s Avatarland is still in the works as well as a possible Cars Land copy.
Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Please note that barring any breaking news, the next two weeks will feature our popular annual Year In Review. We’ll return to our regular format next year in our January 7, 2013 column!

Don’t forget to discuss this week’s column in the comments section below! Your comment could win you a prize in the final week of our 5th Anniversary Giveaway Celebration!

We’re only here because of your continued support. If you’ve enjoy Dateline Disneyland over the last five years, please consider helping us out by donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal — click here!

For more Disneyland news, be sure to read MiceChat’s weekly In the Parks blog. And be sure to check out our sister blog, Dateline Disney World – a fantastic weekly photo blog covering Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

Support Dateline Disneyland

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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less. and the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.
  • Trumpet

    Great Update Andy

    I have to say that It would be sad if the old Railbow Ridge was removed. I guess we will have to wait and see. Personally, I think if it is replaced, then it should be rebuilt, as the scene at the end is always interesting when you are waiting in the queue and you return to the
    station after the ride.
    It is nice that they are updating the Disney gallery regulary.
    The decorations in Downtown Disney ar tacky, but hy look alot better than what was there before.

    Thanks Again Andy

    Trumpet

  • Carnation Dave

    Nice update. I’m excited for the BTM refurb. It’s a family favorite. I sure hope that rainbow Ridge stays. I remember the mine train ride and miss it. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good week.

  • eicarr

    Everything looks great at DL!!!

    The labyrinth at the exhibit is the one thing I wish they put where the old motorboat was. What a nice change of pace it is in France. It would be perfect in the shadow of the Matterhorn and complete the Alice themed section at the edge of fantasyland. Seems somewhat inexpensive too. I hope they keep all of the new WDW fantasyland stuff unique to there.

    I imagine “imagine that” being something dorky/intrusive I avoid like Medevil Times. might work if they’re testing it for WDW though. It would be a nice complement to their new Pirates walk-through. Both would quickly become ghost towns at DCA.

  • eicarr

    While letting go of Rainbow Ridge might be hard… Look at WDW where they got rid of Snow White and Mr Toad for some mediocre fluff. After Carsland I trust DL to do something good at Big Thunder.

  • mickeyandme

    Great info as always. Dateline Disneyland rules!

  • indianajack

    I hope the Rainbow Ridge stays, it’s a wonderful vignette to the Old West. Why does Disney want to mess with an element that works well? They drive me crazy when they do that. Hey, Disney, please fix the things that need attention like most of Tomorrowland.

    The Downtown Disney Christmas Village is pathetic. Disney should be embarrassed of it. Knott’s Village is so much better and charming.

    Thanks for the update as always!

  • SoCalFan

    Form what I’ve heard, Rainbow Ridge is going to be demolished and rebuilt almost exactly as is. Take it worth a grain a salt but that’s what the murmurs have been saying.

    The Realms of Fantasy exhibit looks great and it’s surprising that Disney did not mention this change, even on their parks blog. They post the smallest, most insignificant things sometimes on that blog, you would think a new exhibit would get a mention haha. Interesting they mentioned how the New Fantasyland in WDW was at one time to include a mini Alice area…I almost wished it had in addition to what’s there. That story and that movie will always have life and relevance to them. A quintessential piece of Children’s Literature that has always captivated the reader in it’s world of the wonderment and bizarre and is truly one that has stood the test of time.

    Thanks as always for putting together these beautiful updates.

  • gauchogirl

    Another great update! I’ll definitely have to check out the new Gallery exhibit next time I’m there!

  • WheresMickey

    great update!

  • heysi

    Does anyone know when the “Class of 2013” merchandise will hit the resort? My daughter has been waiting since she was 6 to be able to buy her picture frame, hat and shirt for her high school graduation……and now that its only a few short months away she doesn’t want to miss it.

    Also, as one of the people that was able to win an ebook during the 5th anniversary contest, let me say THANKS!!!! I feel so lucky to have been one of the few.

  • Algernon

    I’m sure Big Thunder will reopen with Coney Island style carnival safety railings all over the place.

  • BITTEBB

    Great update as always. I’m especially eager to see the updates as my pass recently expired and I didn’t renew. Amazing how just a few years ago it was half the cost…. but that’s another thread…..

    I’m happy to see the new merchandise showing up for the 2013 New Year, but a bit disappointed to not see any merchandise playing along the Haunted Mansion theme of ’13’. You’d think that there would be a huge number of superstitious people that wouldn’t buy any of it, but there are also a large number of who would love the darker merchandise playing off of the number ’13’. Maybe, in the next few months, time will tell…..

    • Timekeeper

      I would wait till either it’s Bats Day in May or in October, or when any month in 2013 may have a 13th on a Friday.

      Timekeeper

  • mulva5

    Thanks for another great update, it’s the only thing i look forward to on a Monday.
    Hope there’s a way that they can preserve Rainbow Ridge.

  • Disney Analyst

    Saddened by your comments on this new show in testing. Improv is such a fun experience, and I always try to go to our local improv club to catch some fun improv battles. As someone in acting I can tell you improv is NOT easy, and when it works it is HIGHLY entertaining. I don’t know why you would be upset at Disney for creating a unique entertainment offering. Isn’t that the point, building diversity in the entertainment offerings? This is something never done at the parks, and I could see it working quite well if done right. I just find the comment in the article highly negative for no reason other then to pick another reason that Disney is “Failing” I do not see this as a failure, I see this as diverse art.

    • themur

      Good improv is highly entertaining and what is nice is that if the performers are good, the show is repeatable.

      Sometimes improv shows are inexpensive but sometimes not. If you see main stage performers at Groundlings or UCB or IO West you will drop more than a few bucks for tickets. Definitely not do it yourself/stay at home entertainment.

  • Disney Analyst

    Not to mention it was NOT a movie tie-in AT ALL. A completely unique and creative offering. I don’t get your comments at all.

  • Klutch

    I think the point is that an improv show is fine at a home party or at a small club with little or no cover charge. But for people dropping almost $100 to get through the gate, and with the soaring cost of Annual Passes, an Improv show really isn’t appropriate. But hey, if people like it, they like it.

    I am reminded of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” show that was quickly shuttered when a bit of research revealed the audiences were the same Annual Passholders day after day just trying to win the prizes.

    • Disney Analyst

      But my question is, you are paying $100 dollars for VARIETY. For a Variety of entertainment offerings. so I guess I wonder how you can justify this “100 dollar” argument. I would understand if all you got for that $100 dollars was an improv show, but you get an ENTIRE PARK, filled with different offerings for everyone. How can an improv show, a surely unique, repeatable offering, be a bad thing? It may not be for everyone, but there is DEFINITELY a market for it. How well did “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” air for! I mean, come on.

      • My point, which I should have perhaps articulated better, is that an attraction like “Imagine That!” could set a precedence for what future theme park attractions are/should be. Newer attractions are already moving this direction and the trend is far more pronounced at Walt Disney World. More and more Disney is moving away from animatronic-centric and sepcial effect-heavy rides/experiences for attractions that they can tout as cutting-edge for their level of interactivity, but in reality cost much less to develop, maintain and operate. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and the new Enchanted Tales with Belle are good examples of this. While the Belle meet-and-greet features animatronics, the overall facility has very low capacity and is a lot cheaper to run than a very intricate ride-through experience like Indiana Jones Adventure or Pirates of the Caribbean.

      • Klutch

        I’m all for variety. But I don’t like a variety of low-end offerings.

        Sure, “Who’s Line is it Anyway” was a good show. But it had some amazing talent. I doubt Disney would be willing to pay for anything more than a few Theater majors from the local Community Colleges.

  • indyjones

    I guess I’m in the minority here when I say I’m looking forward to seeing the “Imagine That” show. If you have good improv actors(which is the key and is NOT easy), this type of show can be the most consistently surprising and funny, and it’s different every time so you can go again and again without it getting monotonous. The addition of the live artists helping create the scenes is also a very difficult thing to do.

    As for Thunder Mountain, I was terribly disappointed with the Matterhorn refurb. With little exception it seems things were actually worse inside the mountain than when they started. While the outside looks good, there were so many missed opportunities to plus the ride.
    While I doubt we will see any plussing on Thunder Mountain, we can always hope so I will hold judgement until it’s complete.

  • SuburbanGiant

    I noticed that the hat guy in Pirates now has hats again! I don’t know if it had already been posted, but I know that they’ve been missing for a few weeks…

  • scarymouse

    Nice update, I am interested what will the NEW THUNDERMOUNTAIN will be like, I hope there are more splash mountain type of interactions thru out.The game show half hour show sounds interesting, but I don’t think I would shell out 100 bucks to participate.

  • disneylandfan8

    So glad to see all the photos of Rainbow Ridge, especially if the rumors are true.

    Have all the names of the 5th anniversary winners been published here?

    Thank you again for a great update!

  • AB Born

    Taking out Rainbow Ridge would be like taking out the lurching snake on Indy. It’s part of the ride and part of the show.

  • Spongeocto4

    Thanks for the update

  • LittleSquirt

    I actually wish they kept Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland. I would much rather ride that then BTMR. Why would they tear down such a classic?

    • danielz6

      They tore down such a classic because during the 70’s there was a big push to introduce thrill rides into the park as competition was increasing from places like Magic Mountain down the road. This is why space mountain was added this time as well.

      Don’t worry folks, disneyandmore reports that rainbow ridge will stay, so most likely it will. It doesn’t make any sense for disneyland to remove it any ways.

  • SpectroMan

    No surprise on the test for yet another audience participation show. I, for one pay for a ticket to BE entertained, not to entertain myself. I don’t know where along the path of Disney execs was it determined that guests want to be a part of making their own magic during the day instead of coming to see Disney’s.

  • darkamor

    Although its been speculated that we could lose the repurposed buildings from the Rainbow Ridge era (I shoulder at the thought), I can only imagine these structures need a lot of tlc (something Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island deserved, but never received no thanks to Eisner) in order to remain at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad …

    I also shudder at the thought of new ride carts on par with the Matterhorn (& so will my chiropractor, as the Matterhorn sleds are very uncomfortable!), but would welcome a better queue area (one that increases rider capacity without having to struggle to get through a narrow opening up a set of stairs) – especially with regards for handicapped access ….

    I love Big Thunder Mountain, but the Audio Animatronic Animals need lots of tlc (note to Team Disney Anaheim, these types of engineering feats need constant maintenance vs. neglect!) ….

    Everything else about this post (well done, Andy) left a smile on me face (yeah even I wasn’t frowning about Downtown Disney – I got my Starbucks Latte & it was mmm mmm good) .and I wish everyone a Happy Holidays …

    C J