Friday brings the Disneyland Resort edition of In The Parks with the latest happenings at the happiest place on earth.  The newly opened Fantasy Faire is functioning smoothly with little to report in the way of hiccups as of yet.  But the big crowds should arrive this weekend. Hopefully the princesses are ready to meet thousands of their most loyal subjects.  We are also happy to see Main Street emerging from a few different refurbishments.  Speaking of refurbs, we also follow up with what is happening at the site of Big Thunder Mountain and the Silly Symphony Swings.

We’ve even included a few tips, hints, and tricks in our Gumball Rally Strategy guide at the bottom of this update.


The Main Street Station has emerged from scaffolding and screens to reveal a lovely work in progress.  This secondary icon to the park gleams with new paint and trim.

The wooden doors have yet to be installed on their hinges.

Now, your pictures in the front of the park will look glorious once more.
Let’s look at the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy just on the other side of this tunnel.
Tall scrims down, short construction walls still up. For now.
The walls were still up on this side as of Thursday.


Down at Coke Corner, the arch is finally returning to the patio.  By Thursday, the arch was being installed overhead.

Pic taken Wednesday, March 13
Pic taken Wednesday, March 13


The lovely new Fantasy Faire addition seems to be performing exactly as Disney Imagineers designed it and were hoping for.  But then again, it has only been facing weekday crowds in March.  The real test will come this weekend.  Dateline DIsneyland will likely have more info on how the area performed this coming Monday.

That rumored stroller ban for the area might seem like a good idea after all eh?

Some princesses need a leash.


A new sign has been installed along the path from Fantasy Faire to the castle…

Disney ain’t stupid. There’s more to buy over there. Just follow the arrow!
While Rapunzel is acting her show out in the Royal Theatre, Belle sets up court at the Snow White wishing well on the other side of the castle.


The wildest ride in the wilderness rolls along on its 10 month refurbishment (ending around September/October). While so much of the project is rather obscured, you can spot little nuggets of interest whilst peering through the pines, pillars, and plywood.

More rainbow Ridge being framed up on the hill.

Some of the buildings are further along.

The crew was installing the trademark railroad ties around the site.

Bits of track can be spotted through the work fences.


The new (currently stripped) track can be seen ascending from the water pool near the dinosaur bones at the end of the ride.


Today marks the return of the Silly Symphony Swings at Disney California Adventure.  The pics below were taken just days before it returned from a month long.  Sheesh.  Has it really been three years since the orange was pealed away?

Almost ready to go!
Yes, the tandem seats are still a part of the attraction.

PIGS and Muppets IN SPACE!!!

While strolling past the not-Muppet Vision 3D attraction we stopped by the prop shop and noticed this ingenious crossover.  Who knew we would ever see this?

Now that would be a great update to the Muppet 4D theater. Muppet Star Wars!


The bear that Disney wants you to love is still around.  In fact, you can pick up new St. Paddy’s day and Easter Duffy Merchandise.

HEY! You want to take a pic?


Discussion and sign up information, click the photo above

And now, we share a few tips for surviving the world famous Gumball Rally.  What is the Rally?  It is a race to see how many attractions you can experience at the Disneyland resort in a single day.  The event is still a month and a half away, so you still have time to grab a ticket.  The date for the Rally is May 4th.

How is it played?
Simple.  Form a team of people numbering anywhere between 2, 3, or 4 players.  Sign up HERE on the Gumball Rally info page.

It is best to come up with a really clever team name too.  This intimidates your competitors. 😉

Attendees show up early in the morning in Downtown Disney Anaheim for the kick off breakfast. They will be fed, given game books, told about the event rules and cheered on as the race begins.

How the game is played
At the breakfast, you are given a booklet that contains one question for each attraction included in the race.  This year, many of the attractions in both parks will be included in the race.  The questions are not trivia. The intention of the questions is only to verify that you rode the attraction.  The questions are simple enough to answer, but very hard to guess, unless you are riding to find the specific thing we are asking for in the question. A few of the questions really keep you on your toes (we’ve got to make it fun).  At the end of the day, you will turn your packets in at the designated finish line and then trot off to go grab dinner and head to the awards party at the Howard Johnson Anaheim Resort.

Everyone that has played in the past has come back with huge smiles on their faces.  Worn out from a wild day at the parks, but with a sense of accomplishment. This is a strenuous activity. 12 hours in the parks and 16 hours of total event time. But WOW is it worth it.

Strategies for Winning.

  1. The Don’ts:
    • Don’t split up from your team for any reason (aside from bathroom breaks and sitting out on an attraction that you cannot endure). But we even have rules for how you must do that.
    • No phone use unless supervised by a spotter or MiceChat staff. We’ll give you a guide with staff locations.
    • No breaking park rules.
    • Players are allowed to use regular Fastpass and Single Rider. No Guest assistance cards, rider switch passes, AAA super passes or any other pass may be used to board an attraction. This is an important rule. It’s wait in line or use Fastpass/Single Rider (which your whole team must hold a pass for).
  2. No crying or we will turn this car around and take you home right now!
  3. Be a good sport.  Respect other players and other park guests.  In the end, it’s not the destination but the journey that you will remember.
  4. Stay sexy. it’s all about layers. It will be cold in the morning. Even if it isn’t, it will feel cold because your body wants to still be in bed! Be comfortable. Wear shoes that you know will get you through a day that will have your longest sit down time be Pirates or It’s a Small World. If you can, bring flip flops to wear for water rides. Nothing worse than trying to keep going with soaking wet feet.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes.
  6. Pack a lunch and bring a back pack full of snacks and things to do in line.  Eat things that give you long lasting energy and less stuff that gives you a sugar crash. Pack things that can be eaten easily throughout the day and as much as possible, bite sized and quick access containers. Save super energy stuff for after 2 pm when you will be tired and start to question your sanity. Avoid carbonated beverages – they actually make you thirstier (plus opening them after they’ve bounced around in your backpack = mess!). Also remember, if it’s hotter out, you need to stay hydrated more.
  7. Bring a watch.  You wont be able to check your phone for the time, so this is a good idea.
  8. Bring a little flashlight for writing during the later hours of the day.
  9. Remember, Fastpass return times are now being enforced. Keep an eye on time, and plan accordingly to get another FastPass the second it becomes available.
  10. Keep an eye on Parade times.  You may lose track of time and suddenly find yourself delayed from getting to the other side of the parade route. or find that a certain ride is closed. Be careful with planning.
  11. Be flexible with your strategy.  Things change at the drop of a hat in the parks.  Rides go down, opening times change, weather could get ugly, you simply never know.  Be able to roll around these little problems as a team, together. That’s really the core to success in this game. How do you handle the little things you didn’t expect to happen.
  12. What’s your best strategy? Fantasyland first? Tomorrowland? Splash Mountain. Grab a Fastpass first?  One thing to remember is never ever pass a walk on for a line!! The attraction with a line may be worth more points, but do the math. In that 45 minutes you could do multiple other attractions and possibly gain more points than that single attraction.

But you can’t play if you don’t register. We are now well over three quarters sold out. The clock is ticking. Every year we end up having to turn teams away. We’d hate for you to get left out. More information and sign up link is HERE.

There you have it, a few key tips on the Rally and another big Disneyland resort update.  Now the weekend can begin. Have you played the rally before?  What are your tips for winning?  Have you visited Fantasy Faire Village yet? We look forward hearing from you below.

  • Disneymike

    Wow those strollers look terrible out on the Hub…..
    As for the Star Wars/Muppets toys, Jim Henson must rolling in his grave.

    • Aviator621

      Pretty sure Jim Henson would be ok with those toy mashups, considering how both Miss Piggy and Gonzo wore those same outfits on the Star Wars episode of The Muppet Show back in the 70s.

      • lego606

        Those Muppets things have been out for at least 3 months. I saw them in DHS in January.

    • Lobot

      Yes I agree the strollers look terrible on the hub! Is that just a huge oversight on Imagineering’s part? That place will be busy all the time, but hoping we’ll not have to deal with this long term.

    • red014

      Jim Henson consulted with Lucas for Star Wars, helped design Yoda, and recommended to Lucas that Frank Oz play Yoda’s voice. Not to mention all the Muppet Babies episodes involving Star Wars scenes. Rest assured he’s OK with it. I see no potential grave rolling here.

    • Susan Hughes

      There is a Cast Member only known loophole. If the child is asleep in the stroller, they’re allowed to bring them in. Let’s see how often we hear, “Quick, pretend your asleep”.

      • MrsMonroe

        Haha i would love to hear that lol

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Norman

    It looks like the rumour was true about the strollers.Shame they litter the plaza, but what can you do. Nearly fell of my chair at the sign for more merchandise!

    I LOVE Mupets and Star Wars. This need to be a movie, with a crossover of both universes’ characters. Tht wuld be frickin’ awsome!!!

    Thanks Again Norman


  • NashvilleCat

    “Whilst”!?!?! How very British of you! ;~)

  • DisW

    The photos last week of Fantasy Faire gave me the brief (and hopeful) impression that perhaps the area wasn’t as aesthetically clumsy looking as I originally thought was true. Based on at least certain close-up views of it, I thought maybe I had been too critical of the design work. But after looking at the pictures today, with the multi-colored roofs, mis-matched shingles, and the “Royal Theater” sign in clunky white lettering, I can only hope that the fussing that was done to the paint job on the Hyperion bridge in DCA will be carried over to FF. But because all the design flaws in FF seem quite extensive and not easily modified, I’m less than optimistic.

    I’m also not even mentioning certain modest design flourishes that either are missing or have been overlooked by the Imagineers, and, unlike a poor use of colors, may be due to budgetary restraints.

    • I’d be very interested to hear more from you DisW. What sorts of design flourishes do you think were cut or overlooked. Appreciate your comments.

      • DisW

        Dusty, as a basic example, if you visit this webpage:

        You’ll see an image of a crown. Imagine the crown without the embellishments, without all the many circles (or jewels) embedded in the design. The architectural elements at the top of certain structures of Fantasy Faire, such as what looks like upright spears, lack similar details. That gives them an overly flat, one-dimensional appearance. Adding such elements would have cost more time and money, but the poor use of color throughout the entire layout makes me think the main issue is the Imagineers’ surprising lack of sophistication.

        The overly shiny, plastic-y vinyl used for the awning and valance don’t look great to me and exude kind of a cheap look to the setting. But I can live with that. By contrast, the other design “faux pas” are both puzzling and inexcusable.


    Rehabbing from total hip surgery, I’m going through major withdrawal symptoms waiting for the physician’s okay to return to the parks. Your updates and news are the pain meds I need right now! Thank you so much for all the work you guys do keeping us, the masses, well informed. And to just think that next time I get to go to Disneyland, no more pain!
    Keep up the wonderful work guys!

  • eicarr

    ANY strollers not clogging paths and off my heels is a good thing and a welcomed sight. I really love the long lines of small screaming kids not in the rest of the park! Combined with all its detailing, I’m a big Faire Fan!!!

    • TCadillac

      Can I get an Amen up in hurrrr??

  • Tinkd

    I don’t understand all the fuss about the strollers. As a parent, strollers are a neccessity, especially at the parks. Not only do they hold the kids, they keep the diaper bag, the camera bag, the back pack, the souvenirs and anything else that gets brought along. If there is going to be an area just for the lil princesses, then there should be an area for the strollers. It’s like peanut butter and jelly, you don’t have one with out the other.

    • I have no issue with strollers. Parents NEED them and so do the little kiddos. However, this cramped little corner of the park has no room. Thus exaggerating the issue. And parking hoards of strollers hub-side does nothing to allay the concerns of folks who think the new Fantasy Faire is an intrusion into the neutral Main Street/Hub space.

      This is the sort of design/function study which should have been completed before building the area.

      But I’ve got to say that I really DO like the new area. It’s a cute little addition to the park which doesn’t really bother me at all (aside from the color of the Pepto pink princess palace, which is truly nauseating).

  • Soulquarian

    Add me to the list of stroller parking complainers, I understand they are necessary, but geez, the parking areas completely remove you out of any immersion when they take away from the atmosphere.

    Sidebar: Went to a Bob Gurr event Wed. night and saw a Disneyland home movie from 1956… Hardly a stroller in sight, if any at all ::shrugs::

    I agree with Dusty, more foresight should have been done in regards to the parking.

    • FlubberZorro

      Maybe because back in the 50s parents actually encouraged their kids to walk when they could?

      • DobbysCloset

        Weird, huh? And I hear we’ve had to dredge out deeper channels at Small World because riders are heavier these days?

  • TodAZ1

    Poor Duffy! So cute and all alone! Just wanna give him a big hug!

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      I know many here hate Duffy but I personally just adore that bear. I just wish the US parks would give him the same respect OLC does in Japan.

      • I don’t think he is hated. But he does feel very forced. Disney hasn’t done a good job of sharing his story. Why haven’t they included a short about Duffy in front of a Disney family film?

        If they made Duffy more a part of the overall Disney story, folks would be more likely to buy him.

      • danielz6

        When Disney makes a full length feature or a couple hundred short cartoons with Duffy ill be more than happy to consider buying one, that is after all the reason why people buy all the other Disney toys, they are part of disneys legendary animation history. That reminds me I gotta get an Oswald next time he’s really cool!

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    Those Muppets/Star Wars figures have been at WDW for at least a couple years now. I keep meaning to grab some, but never get around to it. I do have the Disney one of Stitch as Yoda (which was genius on Disney’s part).

    • John Baggs

      They’ve actually been at Disneyland for years too.

  • Tiny Mermaid

    Ugh, those strollers. Are they blocking the sidewalk in the hub area? That’s just horrible.

  • mondo

    I don’t like the red tracks for Thunder Mt. It should look like a real railroad. The running rails should have been silver, but it looks like the ties are brownish.

    • WookieCookie

      That’s probably not their final color. Maybe…

      • SoarinMatt

        I agree with this. Likely not the final color, and this is the portion of the track that’s mostly covered up by dinosaur bones and water. Maybe it’s a special rust proof coating that protects the steel a little better.

  • ralfrick

    The best summary I ever read of the Duffy story was “Here’s a bear we made up; buy it!”