In the Parks: Disneyland and DCA Wrapping Up Refurbs

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features

frontpagepic_ITP

Published on February 22, 2013 at 4:02 am with 25 Comments

The show never stops at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.  While the delightfully charming True Love week ended on February 17th and numerous refurbishments have rides closed, there is still plenty to see and do.  The cold winter is melting away and the first rides are thawing from the many refurbishment projects going on throughout the resort.  Splash Mountain is flowing, once again, after its annual refurbishment and looks great (as we’ll show you in photos and video below).  But there are still a few more rides that are down.  Here we show you what to expect on your next visit in the parks.

GUMBALL RALLY, MAY 4th at the
DISNEYLAND RESORT

Get your racing shoes on and grab your tickets for this years Gumball Rally! What’s a Gumball Rally? The Rally is a race to find out who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day. Sounds fun, right? Well, it is even better than it sounds. You’ll be riding attractions and figuring out the best path through the park based upon the challenges we place in front of you. In the end, it’s a ton of fun for geeks and theme park fans alike.

Grab your tickets now for the May 4th event

 

The pink banners of True Love week are gone, the  heart has been removed from Town Square, but there are plenty of new things blooming.

The stage is now set for another eye-poping spring as Gerbera daisies and Tulips festoon the planters at the front of Main Street on up to the hub.

Red, yellow, and white Gerbera daisies in Town Square.

Tulips are tightly packed, trimmed with dichondra, at the flag pole.

The pink hearts have been removed from the bench planters and more daises reside in their place.

FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE

The new princess meet and greet is looking more and more like what you would expect to find just on the other side of the castle in Fantasyland, complete with charming window boxes of flowers and intricate, wood carved figures.

The Rapunzel sculpture at the center of the area is quite impressive.

 

The light fixtures are quite beautiful.

SPLASH MOUNTAIN

Splash has returned from the usual winter refurbishment and it really looks great.  Of course, with the reopening came the newly enforced Fastpass rules and signage to boot.  But, in the end, that’s going to be a good thing too.

It also appears that, during the refurb, the photo screens at the exit of the ride were replaced.

it’s a small world

The water has yet to return to the canals of small world.  That will happen on March 1st.  Along the small world mall, the light towers are returning from refurbishment as well.

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN

No discernible progress at the Big Thunder site this week.  The large yellow crane looms above.

around the back side, work can be seen in progress along the track.

BRIDGEGATE!

The Hyperion bridge at the front of Disney California Adventure has been painted once again.  This time, they have used a lighter tan color for the insets on the bridge.  There is still a contrast, but it isn’t nearly as jarring as before.

If you would like to try your hand at painting the bridge, MonorailMan has set up a little tool on MiceChat just for you.

RETURN TO OZ

It stinks.  Why?  Disney has decided to use the Muppetvision 3D theater again as flex space for a 3D preview of an upcoming film.  Guests queue up outside and enter through the exit doors to go into the theater.  No special decorations are in place other than the logo of the upcoming film on the screen.  The preview begins and focuses, for the most part, on the cyclone scene that whisks James Franco to Oz.  Promising to utilize the 4D effects, guests are only treated to wind, a few flashing lights and some spritzes of water as yet another glorified trailer plays out on the screen. This isn’t an attraction folks, it’s pure marketing.

No muppets today. A real attraction has been pushed aside for Disney Studios marketing.

Dustysage pointed out that the castle in the artwork looks suspiciously like a Disney parks castle with Rapunzel’s tower at the top. Looks a bit like the rumors we’ve been hearing for Shanghai’s castle.

It’s sad to see that there exists an attraction that has such low hourly capacity that it can easily be shuttered to show a trailer for a movie. One more nail in the coffin for Muppets.

TOWER OF TERROR

While on a random visit through Tower of Terror, we noticed that the set seemed recently redressed.  There was an increased amount of cobweb dressing breezing in the air, hung throughout the set.  It all looked wonderfully creepy.  Nice work.

There were even webs strewn in the hallways leading to the libraries.

 

SILLY SYMPHONY SWINGS

Set to return March 15th, the Silly Symphony Swings is still completely disassembled.  This must be a pretty substantial refurbishment.

GRIZZLY RIVER RUN

As the March 1st return for Grizzly looms, the ride is looking great (from what we can see from a distance).  Fresh paint and replaced planks along the dry waterway.  Turquoise water continues to circulate in the canal near the lift hill and will soon be returned to the attraction.

The geysers at the end of the attraction have been freshly coated.

Water will soon be falling as you spin your way to happiness.

It was a pleasure to bring you all another dose of Disneyland news from the resort we all love so much. Check back next week as we return with a ride through of it’s a small world and check on the progress of all those Disneyland projects.

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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25 Comments

Comments for In the Parks: Disneyland and DCA Wrapping Up Refurbs are now closed.

  1. Great Update Norman. I think there should be rotating shows at the Muppet Theatre, all relating to the Muppets. This will make more people want to visit the attraction. Also, they could tie ot in with the new movies, and Walter, the latest Muppet. However, they shoudl never get rid of the original show, as it is a classic and moreover, it was the last Muppet project wth Jim Henson.

    the Fantasy Faire is looking great. I think the stage is a homage to the original Fantasyland and shows that the stage is a tempoary structure, like a traveklling marquee. Personally, my first opinion is the one that I want to believe. nothing in a Disney theme park should look like that is a temporary structure.

    Thanks Again Norman

    Trumpet

    • That’s a great idea. Turning Muppet*Vision 3D into an attraction like Star Tours: The Adventures Continue would be perfect. It seems to go hand in hand with what the character’s are known for: putting up silly, absurd comedy acts. Someone please put this on the Blue Sky drawing board. :)

      • I like your idea, with the motion gentle for the younger audience.

  2. Great update! It’s kind of funny to see how quickly the Hyperion Bridge was painted and then repainted. I love the Repaint a Bridge tool. Very clever!

  3. The muppets is perfect for the infrequent WDW guests and I hope they keep at its original location as a tribute to Henson. This area deserves attractions for California companies like Pixar, Lucasfilm and ILM. Fantasy fair looks amazing and I can’t wait to view it in person. The ugly bridge is such a minor issue I feel glad they’re putting such an effort into something that would have been ignored in DCA 1.0

  4. Repaint a bridge FTW!

  5. I’m glad they decided that the bright colors on the bridge didn’t look right.

    I don’t mind the previews in the Muppets building… but I’m not a big Muppets fan to begin with.

    I disagree that the enforced FP times will be a good thing in the end. Not for my family, anyway. The more flexible return times were very helpful to us. I prefer a flexible fastpass system.

  6. Excellent update, Norman! THANK YOU!

    The only thing I disagree with is
    that I LOVE
    that the still-excellent Muppet 3D show is frequently replaced for (in my opinion)
    fascinating 3D previews like Oz and Frankenweenie!

    If I were to visit Disneyland once a year I’d be disappointed if I couldn’t see the Muppets, but as a local AP who only chooses to see the Muppets once or twice a year, I love these extended 3D previews. I thought Oz was great, and I’m now excited about seeing the movie (unless it gets a low Metacritic.com score.)

    I could be wrong, but it seems to me like Disney is quick to switch the theater from the previews back to the Muppets so that the theater almost always seems to be showing something.

    I wish Soarin’ was replaced by different Soarin’ experiences like Soaring Over America in 3D, Soaring Over Europe, Soaring Over Japan, and Soaring Over China.

    • I agree that Soarin’ should have multiple experiences. It was the same with the CircleVision production that went on for so many years that the attire of the people in the film became completely outdated. At the very least, the screen should be repaired because there are many “holes” in it.

  7. I was hoping for coverage of the Voices of Liberty President’s Day Limited Time Magic shows to help me decide if it’s worth running down to the parks this weekend to catch it. Can’t find any videos of the show on YouTube, either.

    I don’t mind them occasionally using the MuppetVision theater for the movie previews. The Oz preview definitely makes me look forward even more to the movie. I wish they would do more with the Muppets in the park. They would make for some great attractions. I’d love to see a new movie that is maybe set in 1930′s Los Angeles or Hollywood and features old cars, Red Car Trolleys, period architecture, etc. I’d also love to see a Muppets dark ride. Even some kind of live stage show in the Millionaire building for awhile would be fun.

  8. Great update! Hollywood land really needs to be spruced up. Muppetvision is now a complete waste of space. It was alright the first three times but after that it gets old. My family and I skip it every time and that’s coming from 10 AP holders. If people want to keep it to honor Jim Henson I understand that but can’t we do that another way? I suggest putting a muppet museum of some sort where flynns arcade was. You can have props and awards and pictures etc etc. there is a huge difference between attractions and rides. As far as I know Hollywoodland has two rides, TOT and monsters inc. it would help balance out the park better. As for fastpasses having proper return times I think it will help balance it out too. Kinda sucks being restricted but as a guests we just need to plan better.

  9. Thanks for the wondeful update! I love reading your column and seeing all your beautiful pictures!

    I know the FastPass topic is pretty polarizing among fans, but I’m on the side of enforcing the times. I’ve used the system many times while in the Parks on busy days and I’ve always returned within my allotted time frame. I think it’s a good system that can be very helpful, and I assume that there are reasons that Disney has a specific return time. The only people I feel sorry for are the Cast Members who now have to enforce something that has never really been enforced before.

    Again, thanks for the update! I’m excited to see Fantasy Faire in person! :)

  10. I hope they refurbish the animation panels on the Silly Swings – they have faded in the sun, and the way they are sitting there during the refurbishment sure isn’t going to help!

  11. Great update, Fishbulb,

    I thought the movie was Muppet of OZ. Isn’t Miss Piggy playing Dorothy? Oh, well, another opportunity for guests to pay to be advertized to. What they should do is refund $5 of your ticket for having to waste time seeing the trailer.

    • I would love to see Muppets of OZ! Another great idea! I would be happy to give someone $5 if I could have their experience of the trailer. I am more of an OZ fan than a Muppet fan…

  12. I think that the Muppet Vision is a good show, it just LOOKS dated, like from the 80s. I think they should just reshoot the whole show with lighting, sets, effects whatever that looks like it was shot in the 2010s, but keep the same storyline. They update the technology in attractions like Pirates, but it’s still basically the same attraction, why not do the same for Muppets?

  13. Fantastic! Thanks again for another update!

  14. Thank you very much for sharing that wonderful visit with me. I have picked out a bench in your fourth photograph and am sitting in the sun already…

    Best of all was seeing the recreation of the Pan Pacific. I lived in that part of Los Angeles for many, many years and watched it decay but haven’t been to DLR since 2009. I hope I don’t cry when I see it in person.

    • Double thanks from me…I’ve adopted the photo that made me so happy as my new desktop and it will stay there until I am sitting on that bench for real!

  15. Does anyone else dislike the fake cloud and street mural at the end of Hollywood Blvd? To me that cheap looking mural screams “old” DCA! I think if they just made that a new street with facades incorporating the Hyperion it would look way better and more immersive. Also, how do the jumping jelly fish fit in with the new 1920s Victorian boardwalk theme of PP? These old DCA things need to be removed in the next DCA expansion.

    • When I saw the mural in 2009 I was really impressed by it. Old Hollywood used matte paintings; even Current Hollywood does — sometimes there’s no need to spend money on CGI when an old-fashioned matte will do. Tourists loved the mural and posed for photos in front of it. But of course it’s there to be re-themed as appropriate.