In The Parks: Love in the Air, Refurbs on the Ground

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , ,


Published on February 15, 2013 at 4:04 am with 27 Comments

The Disneyland Resort is filled with love and refurbishment is in the air.  Disney’s Limited Time Magic celebrations continue with two charming offerings, True Love Week and the recently ended Lunar New Year in Disney California Adventure.  Fantasmic returns today, sans the Mark Twain River Boat, and Big Thunder Mountain barrels along on its 10 month refurbishment.  That’s not to mention the rapid progress at the Fantasy Faire Village project and the dizzying return of the tea cups in Fantasyland.

True Love Week continues at the Disneyland Resort and will run until Sunday, February 17th.  The Valentine’s Day themed, Limited Time Magic event has bathed the park in hearts, pink and red tones and Disney Characters paired up with their true loves throughout the park.

  • Floral Heart: A giant floral heart is situated at the tip of Town Square facing the Castle.

  • Disneyland Sweethearts: Also near Town Square, guests will find a photo location with resident Disneyland sweethearts – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck.

  • Blushing Castle: By day, romantic heart banners adorn the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.  As the sun sets, Red and pink hearts are projected onto the Castle as well.

  • Valentine Wishes: Flowers, garlands and decorative doves will create a second ideal location around Snow White Wishing Well near Sleeping Beauty Castle. At night, magical lighting adds a romantic touch to the wishing well and Snow White Grotto.

  • Cupcake Lovers: Chefs have prepared a specially themed Valentine’s dessert: a chocolate cupcake with raspberry mousse filling and dark chocolate mousse frosting. It is available at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café in Disneyland, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café and Pacific Wharf Café in Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland Hotel Coffee House.
  • Valentine’s-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plush, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations are available.
  • Royal Romance:  The Princes join their loves at the Royal walk on the Small World Mall.


Lavish detail seems to be heaped on the village area of the upcoming Fantasy Faire Village.  But, the spire for the new Royal Theatre which was installed this week, doesn’t have quite the same level of detail. And is very . . . um . . . pink.

Looks a bit like a cotton candy machine.

You can see that they went with total Tournament style for the theatre area.  The problem is that, from what we can see at the moment, the design seems to have the broad strokes and color palate found in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland, but not at Disneyland.  That design aesthetic isn’t bad per se, but it certainly doesn’t feel right with the far more detailed, intimate surroundings of Disneyland.  Also, that conflicting design scale so close to the relatively small icon of Disneyland park seems to compete for attention.    Reducing the the size of the thing by a good 50% could work to solve the issue.

Set to open on March 12th, previews could begin as early as March 6th for this princess meet and greet area.  Ignoring the “pepto-palace” on the left hand side, the rest of the village is coming along beautifully and drips with delicious detail.


Nothing much new to show you at the Big Thunder Mountain project.  But it is still fascinating to see this wonderful attraction getting the attention it deserves.


The Rivers of America have been let back in to obscure the Fantasmic fountains.  Tonight, the show makes its return.  However the finale that is usually played out on the Mark Twain will take place on the island stage since the Mark Twain is still in dry dock.


The Mark Twain continues on its refurbishment journey.  The boat will miss the return of Fantasmic, but will be back in business on March 28th.


As of today, February 15th, the Mad Tea Party (the teacups), should be reopened and spinning once again.  This past Wednesday we snapped these shots through the construction screens.  You can see the base of the teacups and the spinner wheels all waiting for the cups to be installed.



The Silly Symphony Swings has been dismantled and is down for a full refurbishment.  The ride is literally in pieces and splayed out on the platform above.  The carnival style attraction will return on March 15th.

The center base of the attraction.

The panels that decorate the canopy are leaned against the construction walls.


It’s true.  Fastpass times are now being enforced resort wide.  But the enforcement is being rolled out in phases.  Currently there are signs perched on the Fastpass machines reminding guests that their return times matter now (got that passholders?).

There is still a grace period for now of one half hour after the return window.  But, it would be best to get into the habit of punctuality.


The Limited Time Magic offering, Lunar New Year, wrapped up its “extended” run on Wednesday the 13th.  A charming little event, this special celebration was surprisingly successful and rather enjoyable.  Located in a small area near the Little Mermaid attraction, the San Francisco street was awash with crimson lanterns, character meet and greets, face painting, and crafts.

Year of the Snake bread.

Every so often a fun little processional would entertain guests.

So far, these Limited Time Magic celebrations are turning out to be a good bit of fun. Let’s hope that they stay this way.

MiceChat has some limited time magic of our own to announce. The World Famous Gumball Rally, will return for one magic day on May the 4th at the Disneyland Resort. What’s a Gumball Rally you ask? 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 third of our spots. Find a friend or family member or two and sign up today HERE.

We’ll see ya real soon, In The Parks!

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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  • Malin

    I love these mini events Disneyland is putting on for Guests. It also adds some vaule back to the AP price increases last year. Thanks for another great update.

  • chesirecat

    Thanks for the photos, though I am really surprised the author doesn’t like the Royal Theatre!

    I think the Royal Theatre looks great, certainly a great improvement over what was there. A very similar style, and palette of bright colors, is seen on the carousel in Fantasyland, so the idea of a having a small “tournament” area surrounded by a village is very much in the style of Disneyland. I would also say that the Royal Theatre looks better than the carousel. I think the Royal Theatre is a very nice contrast to the medievalish looking village that surrounds it, which is also very nice, and it advertises the princess meet and greet in a theme appropriate manner, and provides so much needed color and fresh energy to this area of the park.

    I don’t get the detail/forced perspective complaints as it is about the same size as what was there and looks gorgeous/fresh . . . they couldn’t make a patch-work quilt into the roof of the thing, that would be too much detail! The best “tournament” style design, by far, I have seen at any Disney park, and the most “detailed”, really surprised by the complaints.

    • disneyland255

      I agree with you! I think the complaints are merely just to complain about something. It’s being nit picky.

      • Norman Gidney

        No the complaints aren’t for the sake of complaining. It’s just an observation. An opinion. If you disagree that is fine. But explain WHY you disagree. Maybe I am missing something. Help me to understand your opinion.

    • Norman Gidney

      My main complaint with the area is with the competitive color palate of the tournament canopy and the scale of the spire on top. I will agree that it looks a LOT better than what was there before as it was an aging structure that needed to be updated. But the flat, saturated tones really seem in conflict with the otherwise detailed additions.

      Yes, that is the “Tournament” style that was originally in Fantasyland before the 1983 redo. But the truth is that it was all BEHIND the castle. The castle was the weenie that lured you to the hub of the park and acted as a gateway to fantasy. Once you got back there, that’s when things went bonkers with color. Having something so similar in tone and size just to the left of the castle tends to compete with it. I think the problem (from my point of view) could easily be solved by toning the colors down a few notches and reducing the size of the spire.

  • unclemike

    Great update–but that is the least Aladdin-ish Aladdin I think I’ve ever seen LOL

    • Lucille

      I thought the same thing. It is as if they grabbed the 12th guy who walked through the turnstiles out of line and put him in the costume.

  • rstar

    Hey, cool! Gumball Rally is on my birthday this year! Nice!

    And love the update, thanks!

  • eicarr

    The guy on the cherry picker shows me that some of the new Faire buildings are larger than I originally thought. While the theater is the weak link of the expansion, I’ll have to wait and see it open before I judge if the theater sign and buildings throw off the scale of the area. With all the pre-visualization equipment they now use and A+ work at Cars Land… I have some faith.

  • Tinkbelle

    I love the flowers everywhere for Valentine’s week.

  • jcruise86

    :) Excellent photography, Norm! Thank you! :)

    The new Fantasyland area to the SW of Sleeping Beauty castle looks a bit like WDW’s old Fantasyland. I think if could look better, but since WDW’s Magic Kingdom was the park I dreamed about when I was 7 to 12, this works for me.

  • PozEmerald

    Just,incase anyone is confused… u dont get a,hour after the return window. .. Ur return window is one (1) hour..period. Thhey give u an extra 15,minutes after the one hour window has passed. So if ur return time is 1:30_2:30 dont show up at 3:00

  • RodeToad

    Great Photos!

    Well put – couldn’t agree more:

    “the design seems to have the broad strokes and color palate found in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland, but not at Disneyland. That design aesthetic isn’t bad per se, but it certainly doesn’t feel right with the far more detailed, intimate surroundings of Disneyland. Also, that conflicting design scale so close to the relatively small icon of Disneyland park seems to compete for attention. “

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Norman

    I agree that the Fantasy Faire Theatre does not fit in with the rest of the arrea. maybe they are maing it look temporary, but sadly, it is not.

    Thanks Again Norman


  • DisneySarah

    Great update! I agree, I don’t like that pink tent or the new topper. (Heh heh, “pepto-palace”.) It looks like something that probably looked cool in the concept art, but didn’t execute well in real life. I’ve seen a lot of this solid color/ atte finish used by WDI lately, and i think it comes off as cheap and plain. I do really like the detail in rest of the new Fair area though, especially the faux woodwork.

    Great photos of the Lunar New Year celebration and SS Swings in pieces! Very fun to see.

  • DisWedWay

    The details in WDW’s new Fantasyland look really great and remind me of what Disneyland and WED Imagineering was doing in 1983. I’m not sure if this new addition at Disneyland, will match what is behind the castle from 1983? I agree it does look a bit temporary and not like it has been there as long as the castle. Maybe its the choice of materials or flat non dimensional detail and ageing? Will vote when it’s fully finished.

  • dolewhipdude

    “Pepto-palace” … classic! Thanks for the great kick-off to the weekend Norm

  • TodAZ1

    I think that’s the hottest Aladdin and Jasmine I’ve ever seen at Disneyland!! :)

  • victoriaskitten

    Is the pink because little princesses really do LOVE pink.
    I really like the pictures of the true love theme

    • Norman Gidney

      Agreed, the True Love theme really surprised me. I thought it was a nicely done temporary offering. Very charming.