There’s a ray of light at the Disneyland Resort as the Blue Sky Preview Center in Disney California Adventure opens a new exhibit featuring the new Fantasy Faire Village.  But that isn’t all that is going on.  Refurbishments are common this time of year, especially for the water rides.  Splash Mountain, it’s a small world and Grizzly River Run are all down for their annual clean up.  Big Thunder Mountain is powering through the beginning stages of its nearly year long refurbishment as a massive yellow crane towers high above it all.  But sadly, even after a major overhaul, the Matterhorn is already showing discouraging signs of wear.  Let’s get to it, shall we?


As the progress at the Princess Fantasy Faire plays out behind construction walls, we see the layered, multi textured details being slathered onto this potential gold mine.  Thankfully, they are working the look of it nicely into the overall feel of Fantasyland and the nearby Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.


The Mark Twain Riverboat is still in dry dock refurbishment through March 28th.  Around the dock that also serves as seating for diners for Fowler’s Harbor, large walls have gone up. However, we can still see some of the work which is going into making this show piece of an attraction really shine again.


As construction rolls along on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a strange phenomenon has started occurring.  Guests have been asking how they get to the big tall yellow ride. We watched in amazement as a cast member had to diplomatically explain to guests that the structure is a crane used for construction, not an attraction. It’s true, some guests really do seem to check their brains at the front gate!

The crane is visible from the Rivers of America.
Fantasyland has a nice view of it too.
It looks like so much FUN! Where do we go to ride it?

In the meantime, work continues at the base of the ride, er, crane at Big Thunder.

Trees obscure the view of Rainbow Ridge and the station.

Tool crates populate the track.
Compressors for welding.

They have modified the construction fences to allow access to this dining platform during the week.

Big Thunder Mountain will be back up within 10 months.


The famous drop down Chickapin hill is currently dry as Splash Mountain is down for maintenance until Friday, February 15.


Another minor side effect of the Fantasy Faire Village construction this week was the shutting off of circulation of the dark water system that flows through Disneyland.  Starting near the Subs at the dock behind Edelweiss Snacks, the trademark, green water normally circulates via underground piping around Matterhorn to the castle moat, past the construction to the entrances of Adventureland and Frontierland, into the Jungle Cruise river ways, through the treehouse and out into the Rivers of America.  That is a lot of water circulation.  But when one link, like the one near the Fantasy Faire Village construction, is broken, then it plugs up the system.  This week it was a necessary move.  But if guests lingered for any period of time near the smaller bodies of water an odorous, almost metallic smell wafted upward.

The castle moat
Floating grunge in the stagnant water.
Speaking of the castle moat, does anyone else miss the swans?
The entrance of Adventureland and Frontierland. lots of leaves and pollen.
The placid Rivers of America.


Bayou Bash will be offered weekends through February 12th. This event offers special foods, gifts, and face painting in New Orleans Square.  But a side effect of the Tiana celebrations along the shore is the collection of confetti streamers that janitorial has to fish out of the nearby tree.  This pic, taken on a Wednesday, shows that even after the final weekend performance ( the show runs Fri-Sun) the streamers remained hi up in the branches.  While not the neatest way to keep things we actually like how colorful and festive it looks (at least before the rain makes it a soggy mess).

The area where the stage is constructed each weekend.
Messy, but darn it, so pretty.


Even after receiving a multi-million dollar refurbishment and brand new bobsleds, the Matterhorn has seen better days.  Well, mainly the vehicles have seen better days.  We took a ride on the new, more painful, and compacted bobsleds and were shocked at the condition of each relatively new vehicle.

We spotted multiple vehicles in which the seats looked nearly identical to this. Chipped, dirt-stained, scuffed and with damaged seats.

It certainly doesn’t help that even for the average-sized guest the seats are a tight squeeze.

Do you think that they should attempt to retool the existing design of the bobsleds, clean them up, or simply return the previous style sleds?

it’s a small world refurbishment

The classic it’s a small world attraction is now having its jingle bells removed after a long run of the holiday version of the ride. Some refurbishment is also likely happening as it doesn’t take 6 weeks just to remove the holiday overlay. The ride will reopen on Friday, March 1st.


Removal of the Wreck-it-Ralph meet and greet has commenced at the Starcade in Tomorrowland.

It is now just an extension of the Star Trader.


What was offered as a normal perk last year is being offered under the banner of Limited Time Magic, Disneyland’s Lunar New Year celebration will return and move to Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure.

Happy Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure – 10 am — 5 pm, February 8 — 11


This Sunday will be your last chance to see Muppet Vision 3D for awhile.  This attraction flex space will be closed and reopen to screen extended, 4D previews of the new Sam Raimi directed film, Oz the Great and Powerful.  Be prepared to be dazzled by in theater effects like green lights and compressed air.  Oz the Great and Powerful opens nationwide on March 8th.


Blue Sky Cellar has finally gotten around to show us what’s on the way to Disneyland this summer. The exhibit is titled, Walt Disney Imagineering Presents Fantasy Faire.  The familiar cork boards, to the right as you enter, are littered with with “sketches”and “notes” covering the story of this new area’s development.

A clever Clopin music box is also being added to the area.

An interesting piece in the space of the old Magic Map is this texture test wall.  It allowed imagineers to create a variety of textures of similar surfaces to see which looked best:

Test wall. There are 3 styles of wooden beam (realistic, stylized, and a combination of the two), multiple types of brick and stone.

A video regarding the project plays on the giant TV in the screening room area. The video gamely tries to sell die-hard fans on the fact that Walt would have wanted this addition to Disneyland. However, it’s almost humorous when they reference the original Herb Ryman pencil sketch as if it was Walt’s final wish.

Even in this early concept drawing by Herb Ryman (which we’ve enlarged to show you Fantasyland), you will find all of Fantasyland BEHIND castle walls. Although the castle itself is in the back of Fantasyland in this drawing, each of the lands in the park clearly have a gate with the land behind them. We have no problem with the upcoming Fantasy Faire, but it is a bit of a stretch by Imagineering to pretend this was what Walt wanted all along.


The really interesting bit of the exhibit is the model on the platform in the center of the room.  While not as detailed as others which have been exhibited here, it gives a real sense of what the new area in Disneyland will look like.  If we take this model as the guide to how everything will really look, the area will be a fantastic addition.

Rapunzel’s tower is in the center of it all.
Queue structures have been accounted for
The rooftops which we see being built at the top of this update look very close to what we see in the model.

One must also take the time to explore the endless versions that imagineers toyed with before settling on what is being constructed.

We like what we see so far. But what do you all think of the Fantasy Faire expansion based upon the construction progress and models we have shown you today?

MiceAge 10th Anniversary Celebration Feb 1st through 3rd

We look forward to seeing you all during the MiceAge 10 year anniversary celebration coming up next weekend.  Come along and join us as we celebrate together with friends, legends and lots of fun!  See you there!