Get to Disneyland now if you want one final holiday fix.  Starting Monday morning, Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world will be going down for the removal of their popular holiday overlays and you only have this final weekend to enjoy them before the next holiday season. And, since the rumor is that Christmas will be a special ticketed event next year, this may be your final chance to catch the wonderful Christmas fireworks and parade without paying extra for them. Also, Big Thunder Mountain will be going down for a major refurbishment on Monday that is scheduled to last until October 2013.  That is three major E tickets all going down at once.  But there is still plenty to do and to look forward to in the park.  The Fantasy Faire village construction is coming along and is well on schedule for a Summer opening.  We also look at the minute progress visible for the Fantasyland Theatre.  But beware, if you do decide to hit the parks this weekend expect big crowds as well.

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN TO GO UNDER THE KNIFE

This weekend is your last chance to take a spin on Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before it goes down for a major refurbishment and changes which will last through most of the year.  The high-speed, Tony Baxter designed, roller coaster will benefit from a full reconstruction of the track, a reconfiguring of the load/unload station, and a rebuilding of the iconic Rainbow Ridge townscape facing the queue.  Included in the refurbishment will be key story elements which are part of a new television series based on the attraction.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s last operating day will be Sunday January 6th.  The refurbishment will last for approximately 10 months and will begin this Monday (January 7th).

FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE

In the meantime, we have more pictures from the construction site of the upcoming Fantasy Faire Village Princess meet and greet.  The design pulls greatly from the Bavarian village style Fantasyland 1983 redo and looks as if it will be quite charming.

The canvas over the stage is being installed.

The facades are quite detailed.

Looks a bit like the entry to the Pinocchio ride, doesn’t it?

LIMITED TIME MAGIC

As part of the awkwardly titled campaign, Limited Time Magic, Disneyland is presenting, “A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Review”  This homage to the classic original stage show will run Thursdays through Mondays from January 10th to February 4th.  Guests interested in seeing the show during its run will have to reserve their seat by visiting the reservations podium in front of the Golden Horseshoe on the day of the show.   A cast member will issue a ticket for their preferred showtime based on availability.  But, of course, there is also a special dinner package available for Annual Passholders at http://disneyland.disney.go.com/special-offers/golden-horseshoe-review-dinner/for $35 a pop. That $35 includes corn chips in a souvenir Golden Horseshoe boot mug, ham and roast beef sandwiches, raisin and carrot salad, potato salad, and berry fruit salad.

Inspired by the world-famous Frontierland show that Walt Disney himself began in 1955, A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue features a variety of songs and dance numbers from past productions and is an homage to fun-filled, family friendly musical entertainment.

In other words, this isn’t exactly like the old Golden Horseshoe show, but rather a show inspired by it.

Are you planning on attending this show?

FANTASYLAND THEATRE

New light posts were installed near the Fantasyland Theatre that reflect the ongoing celestial theme and rustic atmosphere.  Just this morning Disney Parks Blog has announced the Mickey and the Magical Map show for the Fantasyland Theater. It is slated for late may/early june.

THREE KINGS

Starting today and running through Sunday, Disney will be holding the second annual Three Kings Day celebration in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area from 10am-6pm.  The area will feature Latin themed music, food and characters ready for special photo opportunities.

CROWDS

While the New Years holiday brought lower than anticipated crowds to the resort, the following days have seen a resurgence.  Wait times on Wednesday this week were hefty for the e-ticket attractions.

80 minutes for the Matterhorn?!?! Holy moly!

Adventureland is always horrible when it’s crowded. The pinch point at Indy and the Treehouse tends to block things up.

The holidays will mercifully end this weekend and things should simmer down for a while.
Even when the park is packed, there are still quiet spots to be enjoyed.

INNOVENTIONS

Rumor has it that Innoventions will be closing in February to make way for a new, yet to be announced attraction.  Here’s to hoping that the space won’t sit unused for years again.

Go get your trip to future’s past in now.

 

The Disney parks have ushered in 2013 with crowds and pending construction. Happy Three Kings Day everyone. We’ll see you in the parks!

  • whamo

    No BTMRR! Arrrrrgggg! That’s one of my favorite rides.

  • Malin

    The closure of Big Thunder if only until October will be a major blow to Disneyland. Innovations on the other hand is a positive and we can only hope will be the future location of an attraction that will appeal to more then just a couple of hundred Guests each day. It won’t be missed and very few will be sad to see it leave. Bring on Iron Man.

    • Disneylandfan85

      How will Big Thunder’s closure until October be a blow to Disneyland?

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Norman

    BTMRR will benefit from a great renovation; Like the Mattahorn before it, the ride will be fresh. I don’t know how the TV series plot points will look on the ride. Lets hope it is not that intrusive.

    Hopefully, the rumours are ture about Innovations. Tommorrowland is dsperate for a large scale E ricket ride. Lets hope it happens.

    Thanks Agian Norman

    Tumpet

  • Disneylandfan85

    I’m disappointed about Big Thunder’s closure, so it looks like any trip to Disneyland might have to wait until November again, since it’s one of my most favorite rides ever. So I’m not sure.

  • daliseurat

    I was actually REALLY disappointed with the Holiday Fireworks and Parade this year. I would NEVER pay for the privilege of see just those and wouldn’t miss them. It’s a shame, because previously, I’ve seen better versions of both. If they want to make those exclusive they better amp them up significantly and come up with some additional nighttime entertainment.

    • Puck2DaHead

      It is the exact same firework show and parade this year as it has been the last several years. Maybe you are confusing other shows with these ones? I have always thought that the parade was just “okay”, but the firework show is one of the best in Disneyland’s lineup and surely trumps REMEMBER… and MAGICAL. Unfortunately, during the 50th anniversary, REMEMBER… was a far superior show. It was stripped down quite a bit.

    • amyuilani

      I have to agree with you about the parade. I love the Christmas parade, but this year I was distracted by the changes. I hate to be mean, but the snowflakes were….old. They were not unattractive by any means, but they were women in their 30s and older. While that’s not old, it’s certainly noticeable compared to the rest of the cast. I just hate when I am so distracted by the details that are off that I don’t get to take the time to enjoy the show.

  • DannyeF

    I would have called it “Momentary Magic” instead of “Limited-Time Magic.” And I agree with Trumpet, I hope the renovations on Big Thunder for the tv show are not overwhelming, especially if the show bombs. There is one in our family that loves Big Thunder, and we will miss it!

    • I would have called it “Magical Moments.” “Limited-Time Magic” sounds like a sale at Macy’s.

      We bought our tickets for the Golden Horseshoe Review dinner, but I’ve got to say that the price seemed pretty high for corn chips and a ham sandwich. Had to think twice about that before giving my credit card. Still, it’s the Golden Horseshoe Review, I just HAD to see it again!!!

      • FlubberZorro

        Not much worse than $25 for a Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou for lunch.

      • airick75

        Is “Limited Time Magic” really that bad a moniker? I didn’t think anything of it until I noticed a few put-downs on the fan sites. I’m for it!

  • Puck2DaHead

    This is the first I’ve heard about the Big Thunder show. Can you post any more details of the show by any chance? And is this show currently running? Thanks!!

  • WheresMickey

    Nice update!

  • Algernon

    The pictures look really good on my 3D monitor.

    For anybody wishing to visit the “old” Disneyland, you can get a 3D monitor with 2D to 3D conversion. There are some great old Peoplemover, Skyway, Submarine Voyage, Disneyland railroad, etc. videos you can watch on Youtube, and it’s almost like being there. Anybody who has any good videos from the 80’s and 90’s should put them up there for all to enjoy. Can’t wait until virtual reality comes about!

    I no longer go to the so called “real” Disneyland.

  • frollofan

    I noticed a mistake in the article, the Disneyland website shows that Small World isn’t going down till January 22, and not next Monday. Anyways, nice update.

  • DisWedWay

    I hope part of the Big Thunder refurbishing will do away with that trash can at the top of the stair that blocks the bronze Tony Wayne Baxter Iron Works plaque on the head of the horizontal compressor. I hope they also post a “Rainbow Ridge” Town sign near the establishments. Is the Dentist still operating upstairs, as I need a tooth pulled. I will be looking forward to seeing the revitalized rainbow of colors in the Big Thunder buttes after almost 34 years since opening. Should be a plus for the TV show.

  • eicarr

    Is it just me or does the central fantasyland theming of the theater seem out of place next to It’s a Small World and the Toontown train station. If they want to extend that fantasyland style to that far corner, maybe they should switch back to ownership/style of the train station back to Fantasyland since thats the land its’s actually in anyways.

    I’m starting to like the looks of the new Fantasyland expansion next to the castle though. It looks right at home and will fit in well, helping with the transition between lands. I was all against it at first, but the detailing makes up for the Carnation Plaza loss.

  • scarymouse

    Love the Thunder mountain update ,had no idea about the T.V. show (thanks Dusty for the link) interesting……Innovations should have closed years ago….bring back the old Golden Horsehoe Review and give billy a new home……Ironman!!!!!! Can’t wait for those updates! Happy New Year!

  • Disneykin Kid

    Can’t wait to see the Salute to the GHR, but wouldn’t want to lose Billy Hill. Is Kirk Wall playing Wally Boag’s part? I can understand the ‘salute’ part, they would have to update it for today’s audiences, the original had songs that mainly our parents generation would appreciate, like the Irish ballads.

  • martinjbell1986

    Excited for another E-Ticket ride, not so sure about the Iron Man theme though….

  • wec

    Re: Big Thunder. Does anybody know if they’ll be replacing the missing set of drive wheels under the faux locomotives?

    • cwh_brazil

      I really hope they´ll put them back!

  • flayrah

    I was looking forward to the Golden Horseshoe show, but light of some of the other recent live entertainment productions, I don’t like the event being called a ‘salute’, rather than a ‘revival’. I can’t shake the thought that the songs will be updated to pop and rap. And somehow Mickey or other characters will end up on the stage.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Thanks again for a great update. I always look forward to seeing the pictures and reading In The Parks!!

  • mondo

    Question: Is Rainbow Ridge town at it exact, original location when it was part of the Mine Trains? Or did they moved them around a bit from BTMR?

    • DisWedWay

      Rainbow Ridge was moved and not all the buildings made it to the new Big Thunder camp.

      • DisWedWay

        The old Mineral Hall Building is still behind the restaurant or consider part of it now. Loved seeing all the mineral specimens there after riding Natures Wonderland. I bought my first mineral black light there which came with specimens. Great for show and tell and grade school science projects. Wish they would reopen it, but being part of the Mexican Resturant Rancho Del Zocalo, they could still feature displays on the walls of minerals and artifacts from Big Thunder traded for a good meal by it’s miners.

  • brianpinsky

    Hold on small world is not going down until January 22. The is only one attraction team and they won’t done with Haunted Mansion untill the 18

  • BassBone

    Even money says Big Thunder will lose its locomotive in the refurb in order to add more seats.

  • danielz6

    Why isn’t anyone talking about the climax of the ride, where there’s an earthquake just before the last lift. I’m hoping that those effects will be restored or enhanced somehow because to me that simple projection that they put instead or the moving rocks simply doesn’t do the ride justice. Disney can do way better than that!

  • danyoung

    How about “Catch the Magic”?

  • judearmstrong

    Oh BTM. I’m so glad I got to ride it in June. That was my second favorite ride to work, first being Jungle. It is in need of a referb, especially the wood work and a few ride control issues and maybe a few others here and there. I loved working that ride, when it wasn’t hot. Can’t wait to see it all new and the new ride vehicles, which they have been talking about for a few years and testing the track for. Bye bye bench seats

    • DisWedWay

      The Big Thunder Engines and box cars are a design inspiration from the older Natures Wonderland by Disney Legend Mark Davis and designed by George McGinnis. The present Big Thunder vehicles look great and fit the period, if they were to put the engines wheels back on. I only hope the new vehicles are not distracting from the period as the Matterhorn’s are. Work inside the envelope.

      • judearmstrong

        From what I understand, and what they’ve talked about for a few years is that the seats will be a 2 seater. Most times people only take up 2 seats but a family of 3, or 3 children can squeeze in and all can ride together. Sometimes its not the most comfortable ride. Reason being for making it a 2 seater is mostly safety reasoning. Picture yourself riding with a young child that just meets the height req. sure the lap bar is all the down for you, but for the smaller guest it isn’t. I imagine they will have a restraint system similar to Space Mountain or Ghost Rider. Each guest gets their own lapbar there by improving the safety. One draw back however is that now you have a row that used to sit 3 now seating 2 so now the line will be a little longer, though I’m sure they will be offering Single Rider to fill empty seats on the train. I’m sure they will keep the trains looking realatively the same, I really hope they aren’t as drastic as the Matterhorn. As far as the Engine wheels, I wouldn’t get your hopes up, they were there purely for show and did not have anything to do with the Loco, it would just be one more thing to replace and one more thing for Maintenaince CM’s to check over.

  • SFDave

    Just got home from the parks tonight. Crowd levels were pretty crazy during the day. Guess the word is out about BTMRR cause the lines were very long. Was talking to cm ‘s and they are scared and excited about the upcoming refurb. I cannot remember the last time I went into Innovations, so not going to miss that at all. I was joking with a cm about having a stroller free magic event, and they totally agree, that has got to the biggest problem that I can see! The whole esplanade in from of Small World is stroller parking! It is getting very crazy. The Three Kings event was really good, they brought the Mariachi Divas over from DCA and they did a really great show.

    • danielz6

      There’s only one solution to the problem…a third gate!

  • DisneyDrums

    Big Thunder Mountain going down is no big deal for me. There’s only so many coasters I’d be willing to go on, and BTM is not one of them. Innoventions, on the other hand… I don’t know what’s gonna happen over there, but I’m pretty sure they won’t do any Iron Man thing. Like I just said. IDK what’ll happen, but I hope that, if they DO do something with that area, it’s something GOOD. We’ll have to wait & see.

    Thanks for the update, Norman!
    DisneyDrums

  • FREQDUDE

    Thanks Norm for the great update.

    I am a bit concerned about the upgrade/rehab to TMRR though. Is it in their plans to redesign as well as refurbish the cars? After the last redesign of the Matterhorn bobsleds, I now cannot fit into the cars due to hip problems, and being 6’4″ with long legs, the configuration is akin to only being comfortable for a 5 year old. Sadly, an attraction I love has had to be scratched off my list. I would hate to have to do the same after the refurbishing of Thunder.

    The construction progress on both areas looks great! And I sure hope that Innoventions can be repurposed into something that makes sense and is appropriate for the vision that Disney always had for Tomorrowland.

    Thanks again for the news and reviews!

  • bummerkit

    Sad to see that the rocks in btmrr still aren’t operating. Hopefully they will be fixed in the rehab.