In The Parks: Disneyland Resort Prepares for Final Week of the Holidays

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, In the Parks


Published on December 21, 2012 at 4:03 am with 26 Comments

Disneyland always commands a certain amount of magic, but add a light misting of rain, as was the case off and on this week, and you have a transcendent, surreal playground.  As the fair weather guests disappear from the park the remaining park goers are rewarded with a tranquil, magical wonderland.

A light rain fell on a smaller than expected crowd on Tuesday

The Matterhorn, beckoning only the most durable of visitors.

Space maxed with a wait time of 25 minutes.

Fantasyland’s cobblestone streets glisten

Quiet moments

The few bursts of sun weren’t enough to dry the teacups enough to ride.


The Disney Gallery unceremoniously opened a reconfigured exhibit called Realms of Fantasy.  Instead of being Castle-centric, this exhibit focuses more on the inhabitants of Fantasyland and lands of fantasy in the Disney parks.

The Disneyland Paris castle remains in the center of the back gallery.

The Little Mermaid corner

We also get a look at some of the released artwork for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster in the yet to be completed New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World.

Check out this exhibit sometime.  It’s great.


The new princess project near the castle continues construction.


On kind of a downer note, the tranquil dining area, formerly known as the Motorboat Cruise Dock, is showing signs of real disrepair.  Rust is now fully visible at water level, which could very well be spelling the demise of this beloved spot.

Let’s hope that Disney is willing to spend a little money on keeping up this relatively quiet portion of the park, even though it doesn’t add to rider capacity or revenue.


The archway for the Fantasyland Theatre was revealed Tuesday.  It looks pretty much the same as before, freshly painted and awaiting proper signage.

Just waiting for signage

Hooks for temporary banners.


The wonderful Jingle Jangle Jamboree continues its run in the Big Thunder Ranch area of the park. We highly recommend a visit to this far corner of Frontierland as it offers nearly wait-free access to a rotation of very popular characters and, if you’re lucky, obscure ones too.This area closes with Christmas Time.


Pointed out by members of the MiceChat discussion boards, a tree has fallen along the banks of the Rivers of America.

Frankly if it wasn’t pointed out you really wouldn’t notice it. Looks rather like the wilderness if you think about it.

In Disney California Adventure the park is handling the the culminating holiday season with as much panache and polish as its older sibling next door. While news out of this park this week was slow, there are a few interesting bits of info.

For instance, Andy Castro reported days ago that Stage 17 was used to test a new type of interactive entertainment being developed by imagineering. While the test was running, the terrible, “Dancin’ with Disney” offering was scuttled.

Mercifully, Dancin’ has not returned.


Disneyland isn’t the only place that candy canes are made.  The new candy shop on Buena Vista Street goes through the same painstaking process.  Here is a look.

A slow news week but a wonderful time to soak in the final days of Christmas at the Disneyland resort.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • chesirecat

    Nice pictures Fishbulb.

    I have to think that the former motor boat cruise dock’s days are numbered. This area of land, and some of the Autopia area south of it don’t sit above the Submarines. There have been past ideas for turning the Autopia into a grand version of Mr. Toad’s ride, with a new Mr. Toad attraction where the motor boat dock is, with a ride that has dark ride portions and an outside track, all themed to Toad’s world. (Similar to RSR, only with some guest control of the vehicles). If the Autopia’s loading station is torn up for the Iron Man ride, then I would expect to see heavy construction all the way from the old Fantasyland Autopia area up to the old Motor Boat dock.

    • Internitty

      That would be a wonderful addition I’d love a huge Mr Toad’s Wild Ride! It would probably make sense to have the loading station there too so it is located in Fantasyland. I would be sad to see Autopia go but that change would be acceptable.

    • thedustycoyote

      that sounds like an excellent idea to me! it would be nice to see a waterfront toad hall, if they could keep some of that water there. as much as i love mr toads wild ride as it is now, it is definitely suitable for something a little ‘wilder’.

    • MrsMonroe

      Wow thats a great idea!!!

  • mratigan

    Thanks Fishbulb,
    With Autopia going i think we can see a huge TL redue and some of that space by Small World can be for a New Fantasyland…….

  • CupcakeTerror

    Wonderful photos! I really love seeing the candy canes being made; wish I had been able to make it down to The Parks to see it first hand. Didn’t realize the candy shop on Buena Vista Street was doing the candy canes as well… what a tasty addition!

  • eicarr

    The Autopia belongs behind or in place of Luigi’s Tires in Cars Land. With the huge lines at Mr. Toad, and glaring stinkers like the Pooh ride, sacrificing a classic immersive Dark ride for a re-themed car ride makes no sense…. hopefully this is actually being thought of for Toadless WDW with the DL one going in Cars Land. They DO need to make use of the motor boat space to eat up crowds, but I would vote for a version of the Paris DL Alice Hedge maze. Hopefully they won’t try to put in crap like a Beauty and the Beast “attraction”(a bad precedence of having guests pay to see a new lackluster low budget attraction via an expensive dinning bill).

    • lighttragic

      I dont think we will see Luigis ever replaced perhaps expanded but I agree perhaps a great trade off if Autopia ever closes at Disneyland they will be reimagined in carsland. Still plenty of space even though it doesnt look like it.

  • brianpinsky

    The Candy Canes are the best part of the resorts holiday. I am glad they take the time to make such a beatiful treat. Now having DCA doing it will just add to their sales.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Great Report, Fishbulb!

    I really loved the pictures of the candy cane process. Thanks!

  • frankiefalzon

    I really enjoy the area around the old motor boat cruise dock, but the dock it self has always, or at least a while now, been very ugly and outdated looking. I know that it is very undisputed territory but it would really be nice to know if it’s Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. Truthfully I’d rather see them demolish the dock, for the time being, and just put the regular fencing along the water bank.

    Also do people really like the Jamboree area? The only upside is seeing the many characters in one place. But then that’s also a downer because it’s another way Disney is limiting the characters from ever freely walking around the park. The jamboree has many downsides. I hate that their are no reindeer and Turkey this year. The area truly looks like it’s backstage, just dressed up a little. The thunder ranch area is much more themed and actually enjoyable for being the small space. The activities back at the jamboree are an embarrassment. People complain about Dancin’ with Disney, yes that is also embarrassing, but the games they have at the jamboree are much worse. Lastly, the Billies are being kept back their, when it is such a better show in the Horseshoe. I really hope this multi seasonal jamboree doesn’t get dragged on much longer.

    • CoreneD

      Yes, people like the Jamboree area! I was just there a couple of weeks ago & it was the first time I’d ever ventured in there. My 9 year old son enjoyed the games and the CM’s in there were first rate! (Lots of nice chats/interactions/dumb jokes). It was also an area where we could relax & unwind, and we were in there for a good hour or more, between decorating a cookie, watching the Billies, playing the games & meeting a few characters. It was great! The games are fine for kids. Reindeer & a turkey would have been great, but we thoroughly enjoyed what was on offer. And Santa was in the cabin (due to drizzly rain) the day we were there, but that too was wonderful.
      As for the Dancin’ with Disney, we enjoyed that too. Didn’t stay as long, but much to my surprise, my 9 year old son got into it. So you never know!

  • Malin

    Disneyland is sat on a lot of unused space which really needs to start being developed. Autopia, Subs, Motor Boats would make an amazing Fantasyland expansion. I say instead of refurbishing and up keeping these spaces Disneyland starts tearing this stuff down in preparation of expansion. Surely if the Mine Train is a hit, Disney should transfer it over to the West Coast.

  • brian11811

    Yes, an Autopia type ride makes much more sense in Cars land, probably on an electric track with motor sound effects. Autopia made sense in the 50′s when huge freeway structures were a new thing and thing of the future, but a bit a dated. Now. We didn’t have real freeways as we have now until after WWII and seeing the Autobahn, another idea we stole from Germany.

    “The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later.”

    • CoreneD

      I agree about Autopia having electric vehicles. That is the only thing we liked about Legoland last year – my son LOVED being able to drive his own vehicle with complete control. It was great. Autopia on the other hand is noisy & the cars are hard to control – my husband remembers not being able to hold the gas pedal down when he was a kid & sure enough, our son had the same problem, so we had to do the gas pedal for him. I like the scenery & the silly signs on Autopia but the rest of it is in need of serious help! We didn’t even bother with it this year.

  • Algernon

    Those paving stones look even worse when they’re wet.

    The classic Mr. Toad is fine. A big Mr. Toad ride might be nice, if they do it right. But they will probably make it a scary coaster, and, once again, grandma and the baby, and maybe both parents will sit down and wait for the kids to go on it–exactly what Walt Disney built Disneyland to get away from.

    As they slowly dismantle the real Disneyland and replace it with their demented Frankenstein monstrosity of the same name, maybe we’d better start getting used to that empty look.

  • Ravjay12

    Maybe Autopia, sub, and motor boat area is a good spot for Avatar? It’s got the theming of both Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, and would make a good transition between the two lands…

  • Skimbob

    Star Wars Land would be much better suited for that whole area and it is futuristic so it fits Tomorrowland.

  • Jafar00

    Helloooo candy cane man!! Gah-rowl :)

  • CoreneD

    Thanks for the update. Just a quick note about the fallen tree. I was there the day it fell (Sunday Dec 2nd) and it was a huge tree! It caused the train to be stopped, as well as closing Tom Sawyer Island & all the Rivers of America vessels while they figured out how to get the tree cleared from the river (and I guess across the tracks). There were a variety of CM’s & fellas in hard hats out there discussing it for quite some time while we had an early lunch at the Hungry Bear. Things were running normally again by the end of the day as far as I knew.

    • JMazz

      This is the SECOND tree in as many weeks in this area. Tho this is smaller, it is an issue DL will face for quite some time until they figure what to do w/ Walt’s poorly planted forests of 1955.

      • CoreneD

        Oh Wow! That’s a worry! Sorry for the misinfo. Cheers.

  • Trumpet

    Great update Norman

    I think there needs to be substantial work in the backstage area in Hollywood Land. I think a large scale e ticket ride will do nicely, and should reflect the golden era on Hollywood. Maybe they should connect the three sound stages (dancing with Disney, Monsters Inc, Mad T Party Mad Arcade), which would create a large space and should be a spectacular ride.

    Thanks Again Norman