Construction inside Disneyland continues with a peppering of projects throughout the park. Big Thunder Mountain’s ten month long refurbishment rolls along with progress on Rainbow Ridge. Out in the Rivers of America, Fantasmic and the Mark Twain river boat are both dried up and experiencing maintenance along with Splash Mountain, it’s a small world, and the mad tea party. We also check up on the Fantasy Faire Village project and review the highlights of the MiceAge 10 year anniversary. To start things off, we spotted a pretty encouraging sight as the new Resort President, Michael Colglazier, was out with the rank and file cast members, selling popcorn to guests.
Don’t forget, if you are an annual pass holder (a creature that is becoming more and more scarce these days due to increasing prices) they are still throwing a few perks your way.
As we were leaving the park on Wednesday afternoon at about 4pm, we noticed a familiar face pop out of Coke Corner.
Michael Colglazier, the Disneyland Resort’s brand new President, was standing out onstage, in costume speaking with two other cast members. Greeted with a warm smile we introduced ourselves and asked why he was in costume. He explained that he was about to go learn how to serve popcorn at the hub. Of course, we decided to delay our departure and follow along. We know a story when we see one!
Proceeding down Main Street to the center of the park, Michael stepped behind the popcorn cart to learn the ins and outs of kernel pushing. Two cast members helped him along with smiles and patience overflowing.
Michael picked it up quickly and offered us a a fresh box of popcorn. Handing over our annual pass and a debit card, He then got trained on the register.
In no time, he was running the stand by himself and interacting with guests on the front line.
We find this to be an encouraging start to his career here at the Disneyland Resort. Granted, walking out to sell popcorn for a couple of hours is no sign that he will make all the right decisions. This doesn’t mean he gets the issues that cast members have to deal with from rude guests or that he knows the difference between the Disney World standard and the Disneyland standard. It is far too soon to judge him on those things.
What this does indicate is that he WANTS to know what it’s like to interact with the regular day guests that have paid $100+ to get into the park for one day. He is interested in what the cast members are facing and wanted to walk in their shoes for a bit. We can also say from first hand experience that, when approached in the park, he was affable and friendly, immediately ready with a handshake and a smile. It’s only his 5th day of work, but what we have seen is good so far is very encouraging.
We’d like our readers to know that none of this was staged. Michael wasn’t with a team of suits. There was no corporate photographer there to snap pictures. And most guests have no idea who he is or what he looks like yet. He was quite simply out and about in the park, learning the skills of his employees.
A message directly from Michael, who stopped by the MiceAge 10th Anniversary Celebration last weekend: if you see him in the park, introduce yourself. Let him know what you like and what you don’t like. We can assure Mr. Colglazier, that he doesn’t have to worry about shy opinions from MiceChat readers.
This week at the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment project, we finally see progress at Rainbow ridge. Rainbow Ridge is the iconic town-scape at the end of the attraction, which is visible from the queue. Many purists were concerned that this town, an homage to the original Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland, would be removed during refurbishment. However, indication from Disney is that this area will be rebuilt, though we don’t know what, if any, changes will be made.
A closer look at the station area.
Around the back side, you can just make out some work being done through the trees.
KING ARTHUR’S CAROUSEL
While strolling through Fantasyland, we noticed that the Carousel Canopy was looking a little rusty. Let’s hope they address this soon.
Mark Twain Riverboat plows through refurbishment until March 28th. Although mostly concealed, progress can be seen.
Set to return on February 15th, Fantasmic’s fountains are getting a thorough refreshing. Although the show will not be altered, it is safe to assume that there will be no Mark Twain finale in the show until that boat returns to service at the end of March. The contingency for the absence of the Mark Twain is to do a stage finale with characters on the central stage instead of the boat. It isn’t as grand, but it works just fine.
it’s a small world
We just have a few more weeks to go until it’s a small world returns. Set to reopen on Friday, March 1st, the attraction is also experiencing a minor refurbishment. Outside, the small world mall light towers are also being freshened up.
MAD TEA PARTY
Now behind screens, the teacups, aka Mad Tea Party, will return on Feb 15th.
The photo op Tea cup has returned near Mad Hatter. But it looks a little hastily placed.
FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE
The announcement was made that the new Fantasy Faire Village meet and greet area will open on March 12th. Details are still being heaped on the small area and paint still needs to be applied in spots. Let’s wish them luck for getting all the small details completed in the next 4 weeks.
Speaking of Princesses, a canopy was installed over the current Princess meet and greet area on the small world steps. It seems a little odd to bother to do this with just a month before the ladies get their fancy new home near the castle.
WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?
As we detailed last week, Valentine’s day will be part of a Limited Time Magic celebration throughout the park. Little bits of love have already crept into Town Square.
PLAYHOUSE DISNEY UPDATE
Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First will be replacing Handy Mandy and Little Einsteins at playhouse Disney when it returns.
Ghirardelli has started selling Valentine’s day boxes. Get them while they last.
SILLY SYMPHONY SWINGS
The Silly Symphony Swings is currently down but will return on March 15th.
GRIZZLY RIVER RUN
Returning on March 1st the Grizzly River Run is currently down for the normal annual maintenance.
MICEAGE 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, February 1,2,3rd
10 years is a big milestone and MiceAge/MiceChat reached it with a fun weekend of amazing events and celebrations that out shined anything done before. Filled with Disney Legends, fun stories, thousands of dollars in prizes and a few surprise guest, this was our most spectacular Anniversary weekend by far.
Things began on a very swanky note as Disney Imagineering legend, Alice Davis, hosted an elegant cocktail reception and mixer at the lovely Anabella Hotel. Alice entertained a group of 100 with stories from the heyday of Disney, including the racy tale of anatomically correct animatronics in Pirates of the Caribbean. You get to a certain age, and you can say whatever you want. The crowd went wild.
Near the end of the evening, another Disney Legend, Rolly Crump, crashed the party unexpectedly. The two old coworkers hugged each other and had a few laughs. It was a VERY touching moment.
The next morning, ESPN ZONE in Downtown Disney hosted our Disney Legends Breakfast and Al Lutz tribute. Surprise guest, Disneyland President Michael Colglazier, welcomed the room of 200 disney fans to wild applause.
There was much maple pepper bacon to be had.
After the breakfast event, we had a day of play in DCA. There was a breakfast hosted by the charming MickeyMaxx and Rixter.
And a Mini MiceQuest which had attendees examining the details in Cars Land for one and a half hours.
Capping off a fun but exhausting day, Monorail Man hosted Game Show Magic at the Grand Californian. There were drinks, jokes, prizes everywhere and new friends to be made.
Sunday morning marked the final day of the festivities. Beginning the day at the Riverbelle Terrace, we all enjoyed yummy breakfast including pancakes, potatoes and coffee!
We gathered in Magnolia park where Disney artist Dave Avanzino gave away several pieces of his beautiful artwork.
Next we hit the Train for the traditional grand circle tour of Disneyland. This is by far one of my favorite traditions.
At the classic noon meet, we gathered near the Walt and Mickey Statue to celebrate 10 years of Disney geekdom, friends, and the joy that Al Lutz, Dusty and crew have worked so hard to cultivate over the years.
We posed for a pic in front of the castle…
Lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant was next. Following that, two separate events happened. Werner Weiss, Sam Gennawey, Dave Avanzino and Keith Gluck presented the Yesterland Tour of Disneyland, while Dusty and Al recorded a MiceChat podcast at the Hungry Bear Restaurant.
Towards the end of the day we wrapped the weekend up at the Tiki Room with Maynard and then adjourned to Aladdin’s Oasis to say goodbye.
Dusty ended the day by thanking all who turned out to celebrate this very important weekend with us, and all the folks who worked so hard to put the event on: Indiana Jenn, Monorail Man, Mamabot, Teresa of Fairy Godmother Travel, The Anabella, The ESPN Zone, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Alice Davis, Rolly Crump, Floyd Norman, Al Lutz, Sam Gennawey, Werner Weiss, Keith Gluck, Jeff Heimbuch, Dave Avanzino, Jeffrey Epstein, and so many other folks and helpers. Through all of the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the Presslers and the Ouimets, we Disney fans stuck together. Why? Out of a common love of the Disney magic.
While Dusty is always the one you’ll find thanking everyone else for their love and support, this milestone should also be a time for us to acknowledge his accomplishments. He brought together a ragtag band of Disney nerds and created the largest Disneyland fan community by a mile. Thank you Dusty. You should be proud of the marvelous MiceChat magic machine you’ve created. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
And with that, we wrap up another year of MiceChatting. But fear not, we have amazing ideas already rolling around in our heads. Did I just say “Rolling?” Yep, one event has barely finished and we are already preparing for our World Famous Gumball Rally, which will be held on May the 4th at the Disneyland Resort. What’s a Gumball Rally you ask (have you been living under a rock?), it’s a race through the Disneyland Resort to see who can ride the most attractions in a single day (with lots of surprising little twists along the way, of course). But if you’d like to participate, you’ll need to act quick. We are limited to 500 tickets and we’ve already sold one quarter of our spots in just the first three days of registrations. Find a friend or family member or two and sign up today HERE.
We’ll see ya real soon, In The Parks!