There was so much that happened at the Disneyland Resort this week – not major things, mind you, but little things here and there that add up to a big update. In Town Square, the train station is coming along nicely as is the arch at Coke Corner.  Not to mention the riot of color that is blooming for Spring throughout both parks.  Disney also made an announcement regarding the long-awaited arrival of Starbucks on Main Street, and the sad departure of the Voices of Liberty. Starcade has returned, though it might make you more sad than happy. More work can be seen on Thunder Mountain’s Rainbow Ridge, and the Indian village along the Rivers of America is smoking again, in a good way. Last but not least, we have the return of Disney Jr. Live in Disney California Adventure!  Off we go.


The wooden doors were reinstalled at the Main Street U.S.A. train station.  The place is really coming together now and should be operable very soon.


Walls are still up at the entrance as of Wednesday.


The Voices of Liberty announced from their Facebook page that their final performance will be Sunday, April 7th.  Be sure to catch them before they leave.


It was also announced that Starbucks will finally be making its debut on Main Street U.S.A. at the end of 2013.  The location will be renovated and it is claimed that the Starbucks brand will be blended into the existing theme as well as possible.  They did a great job on the FF&P in DCA so there should be little worry.

The terrible coffee here will soon be replaced.

It is assumed that this part of the Disney Gallery will become part of the expansion.

Our only concerns lie in the keeping of the smaller details.  The potbelly stove, the checkerboard, the party lines that one can eavesdrop on, we just hope that these little touches find a way to be included in the new Starbucks Market House.


Work continues on the delicately crafted arch in front of Coke Corner.


Here we take a break from the news to enjoy the brilliant display of blossoms inside the berm.  Few other places do flowers and foliage as well as Disney.  This is about as good as it gets.

Refreshed, these tightly pack tulips crowd the base of the flag pole in Town Square.

In the distance, the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle beckons.
Ranunculus in Town Square are a fleeting beauty of pastel flowers.

The colorful blossoms of the Pau d’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) trees in the hub offer a pink cloud of color that frames the castle.


Stopping by the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment site we find lots of building going on in the Rainbow Ridge area.



The Mark Twain Riverboat is scheduled to return on Thursday, April 18th, after a very extensive refurbishment.  Below you can see the boat is still in dry dock, with quite a bit of work in the decks bellow.


While sailing the Rivers of America on the Sailing Ship Columbia we noticed something at the Indian Village.  The smoke effects for each of the fires have returned.  The animatronics play out their scenes while light columns of smoke rise from the campfires nearby.  It is a wonderful thing to see a small touch like that return.

It’s hard to photograph the smoke, but it really does look great.


A new wall has sprung up on the top floor of Innoventions.  Not exactly sure what they will be installing just yet.  Which seems even stranger, since news was swirling of the attraction’s impending closure.


The Starcade has returned after hosting the Wreck-it-Ralph character meet and greet.  Back is the strange mix of retail and arcade games.  The stand up consoles are mostly the classic games.  Included in the mix, however, were two pinball machines and the air hockey table.

The store layout still feels temporary and awkward.

Of course they kept the Fix-it-Felix games

Sadly, the 2nd floor is still off limits. Would be great if they’d just turn the whole downstairs into a shop and make the upstairs a dedicated arcade. Eventually, they need to fix this location. It just doesn’t feel right. What do you all think?


MiceChat’s Doug Barnes, Eric Davis, Fishbulb and Dusty Sage compare Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire Village with Disney World’s new Fantasyland. Plus, Universal and SeaWorld theme park news.
Listen along to the newest MiceChat Podcast and let us know your thoughts.

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Would you like to be on a future episode of the podcast? Submit your questions to the MiceChat Podcast hotline, call 609-935-2147 (by leaving a message you agree to let us use your recorded message in a future podcast) or write to [email protected].


The updated Disney Jr. Live Onstage opens today at Disney California Adventure.  This time around, the show features Disney hits Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Sofia the First joining the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fab five for a charming little show geared to the 5 and under set.

Sofia the First


This character reminded me of Snape from Harry Potter.

Spoiler alert, there is snoap


Jake and the Neverland Pirates

The Doc McStuffins sequence. Anyone here remember Lambchop?


No question, kids of the age this show was designed for will go nuts.  They will have a great time with all of the music, the puppetry, the falling confetti, streamers, and snow that are showered upon them.  Adults may have a harder time getting through the 20 minutes of object lessons, broad delivery and hyper-happy music.  But this show isn’t really for you. Though, there was a time that Disney would attempt to make even the kid shows fun for adults (like the do with the two new shows in the Fantasy Faire Village at Disneyland).


As part of the Limited Time Magic promotion Disney California Adventure is holding a fun little Easter Egg hunt.  Running until March 24th, the hunt costs $4.95 to play and leads visitors all around the park to collect 10 different “eggs”.  Some of the eggs are conspicuous, others a little more difficult. If you find them all, you get a Vinylmation prize. Not too bad for a $5 experience.

Clues are given as to the locations…


Guests have to place the stickers in the location that they correspond with.


While Disneyland still seems to be a bit more photogenic, DCA still has its share of beautiful blossoms.


According to the Disneyland resort website, Silly Symphony swings is up and running now.  However, when we were there Wednesday, things were still under wraps.


Finally we just have to talk about what could easily be considered the worst display window we have seen inside a Disney Theme Park in a long time. What is supposed to be a fun scene of big top showmanship turns out to be ugly and poor quality instead.

Initially this window doesn’t seem to be too awful.  But upon closer inspection, we see just how shabby the display is.  The concept of a bunch of toys in a big top watching the circus isn’t the issue. Scale and forced perspective aside, it’s the craftsmanship of the overall display and the slapdash placement of the figures in the window that are jarring.

The physical stuffed animals sit inches away from the photographic representation behind them. LOL
The printed fiberboard cutouts are already bowing from the wall, not being fastened properly.
The inkjet stripes that show each pass of the printer are fully apparent.
There are even bits of the display that are literally frayed.

I mean WOW.  We usually don’t comment on window displays in this column, but this was really really bad.  When we asked a Cast Member about it on Sunday, the 17th they dismissively said that the night crew probably just didn’t have time to finish it and that they would be back to fix it that night.  The following Wednsday, we took these pics.  Let’s hope this gets fixed soon. Better yet, we hope that Imagineering gets wind of this and enforces a higher quality standard.

Oh how we wish the Disneyland Resort would start doing dimensional animated windows again.

Before we forget, the Gumball Rally is just around the corner and tickets are almost sold out!

Gumball Rally info – click HERE

The Gumball Rally is a race to see how many attractions you can experience at the Disneyland Resort in a single day.  The event is a little over a month 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 2, 3, or 4 players.  Sign up on the Gumball Rally info page.

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

Event ticket include breakfast, a game packet, and an award party where we entertain you, give away prizes and then crown the winning teams. (Theme park tickets are NOT included – you’ll need to park hop this year).

We will give each team 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 game.  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.

Nearly every participant 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. The perfect day with friends and family at the happiest place on earth.

And that should do it for today folks.  Get to the park, enjoy the lovely springtime flowers, experience the new Disney Jr. Live, go on an Easter Egg Hunt.  You will be glad you did!


  • Trumpet

    Great Update Norman

    The refurbishments are looking good and hopefully Tomorrowland will have the makeover it deserves.

    Shame about the BVS windows. hopefully, if people complain, they will change it for the better.

    Thanks Again Norman


    • Norman Gidney

      You are welcome! Thank you for reading. Yeah, the window on Buena Vista Street shocked me. I usually just roll past the window displays but that one was, like, Dollar Store bad. Let’s hope they fix it.

  • SoCalFan

    Erin Glover, official PR person for the Disneyland Resort, who writes on the Parks Blog, confirmed on the blog posting, in the comments section, that the party line phones, check board, and potbellied stove will all still be there after the Starbucks conversion.

    • Norman Gidney

      That’s great to hear!

    • TodAZ1

      They also said on that blog that swing dancing would stay when FF came in, so take even the official line from Disney with a grain of salt.

  • Lobot

    It’s very disappointing to see a wall come up at Innoventions. Uh oh… they’re actually refurbishing or maintaining it that thing? I don’t think they would be spending a dime on this attraction if there were any immediate plans to close it. Might be a while till till we hear anything about a Tomorrowland renovation 🙁

    • ayalexander

      Well if you take an overall look at the Innoventions building you can see that they haven’t been spending too much money on refurbishment… the roof is laid down with white plastic/tarp instead of its usual re-roofing work; the paint on the building is either chipping, fading or has stains on it, and the whole building is starting to appear aged with elements and time, this is Disneyland Resort language for COMPLETE OVERHAUL TIME, -normally- which would mean either a complete shut down of the place or installing an entirely new attraction within the building. I vote for Mission Space! -a newer version of course.

      • Lobot

        I hope you’re right! Maybe they’re just put up the walls to change a few light bulbs! 🙂 It’s time for a new Tomorrowland! Hopefully it will happen before my kids grow up and move out.

  • When you think about how perfect those Buena Vista Street windows were when the area first opened, it’s a real shame to see the Merchandise department slaughter them like this. This is the sort of no standards operation that DCA 1.0 was famous for. Lets hope this gets fixed ASAP. Yuck!

    • RodeToad

      Well put !

  • eicarr

    I’m happy with Everything I see at the resorts… Except for Disneyland.

    The Starcade ramps aren’t to code so they just block their entrance? The peoplemoover tracks aren’t to code and have structural problems so they just take the ride cars off and let the empty track be a curious eyesore? They just take the cars off the old elevated astro orbiter and call it a piece of art?? Tomorrowland needs bulldozers, and LOTS of them.

    • Norman Gidney

      Actually the rest of Disneyland looks great. But you are right, Tomorrowland is a sad shadow of its former self. It is in a transition right now, though, as they try to nail down which plan they are going to go with. It’s still going to take a bit of time.

    • ayalexander

      Well I think the trasition from Rocket Jets to Observatron was more for nastalgia than laziness. But I agree something else must be done with it. I’d hate to see the old Rocket Jets machine leave… but even I have to agree, it does no good just sitting there.

    • stitch1085

      A smart person would remove that ugly tomorrowland spinning thing where the former rocket rods used to be and make seating available for the Tomorrowland Terrace crowd. Heck if the view is great at night make that a special spot for dessert and fireworks viewing! At least then it would be used! I might even take some old people mover cars and use them to add some ambiance to the area or convert them into booths so then it becomes a tribute to the original attraction…oh if only I were an Imagineer!

  • whamo

    Tomorrowland needs an upgrade. Why not have a ride that takes you through time? Who hasn’t wanted to do the time travel adventure you see in the movies?

  • CasaFamilia

    Great update as usual Norman,

    Our family loves all the flowers in both parks in the springtime; thank you for the excellent pictures. My twin daughters cannot wait to see the new Disney Jr. show and I know they will have a blast with the Easter Egg hunt. These are the types of things that make our weekly visits even more enjoyable.

  • MsMahalo

    Great update, thank you! Any speculation as to whether or not unlimited coffee refills will still be offered at Market House once Starbucks moves in? (Sorry Norman, I see you don’t care for the coffee there, but I’ll take any kind of free caffeine!)

    • OriginalMousekteer

      IMO, the problem is that Starbucks would have been a better fit for Jolly Holiday than Market House. But they’ve grappled with the Market House ever since the abortive attempt to entice Mrs. Fields 30 years ago, back in the early ’80s. Is it any wonder they gave the Market House to Arribas Bros. at WDW in order to expand the existing MS Bakery (which will be the new Starbucks there). This seems a far superior solution. How much will the Market House duplicate the offerings of Jolly Holiday?

  • Gregg Condon

    Curious that the Easter Egg hunt is only running until the 24th when Easter is the 31st.

    • QuiGonJ

      Well, it doesn’t matter. They have very specific to leave “Easter” out of it, because the central event of Christianity might offend five people somewhere. I spoke to the DCA version of Town Hall about it, and was promised a call back which has not happened yet.

      The hunt itself was fun enough to do though.

  • LoveStallion

    You asked for my thoughts on the Starcade. I shall give them.

    Be gone, Starcade. It is over. All of Tomorowland needs to be gutted.

  • DisneylandTraveler

    “The terrible coffee here will soon be replaced”….. by a decent coffee beverage and a very, very, long line. Let’s see – not the best cup of coffee in the world but a pretty quick grab and go with free refills to boot vs. the better coffee, a 20 minute or more wait, and stop by again with another 5 bucks when you want another….

    • Gregg Condon

      The lines at the PIG Cafe have actually not been bad. At least not any worse than a normal Starbucks.

      The lines in the Market House are already bad due to low staffing. They typically only have 1 CM to make drinks, sell food and that CM also manages all retail purchases. At least with Starbucks they should staff accordingly.

    • Norman Gidney

      My experience has always been that the lines in the Market House have been anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on staffing. It has also been my experience that the wait at the FF&P has rarely exceeded that. So the wait times are not really anything that play into my assessment.

      Now, regarding the loss of free refills, I’d rather pay for quality more than once as opposed to getting bad coffee all day for free. Just my opinion. But I am a big coffee guy.

  • OriginalMousekteer

    Has there been mention here of the carpet in the Grand Californian lobby? The beautiful rug that continued the pattern of the marble has been replaced with an obviously stock commercial-grade carpet. I hope this is something temporary. It’s bad enough to lose the custom rug, but this is definitely an inferior replacement.

  • zeitzeuge

    Disney Parks blog mentioned a few things about the new space: 1. Coffee mugs and select housewares will still be offered at Market House, but you can find even more at the Emporium. 2. The phones, stove and even the checkerboards will be incorporated into the refurbished Market House.

  • danielz6

    I love the Indian animatronics but I’ve always been dissapointed with the other animals in the rivers of America. Why don’t they have the same quality as those on jungle cruise? Most don’t even move. I think it’d be great if they replaced the animals with real AAs with the same quality as is found in the rest of the park.

  • scarymouse

    Nice report Norman, love the great photo’s. Boo to innovations,the wall should be outside around that whole monstrosity. Its time for a complete re -do of the land ! And as for the windows,isn’t this kind of thing to be overseen by the new Anaheim management,hmmmm. Very sad after all the money and effort to make this area a great place.Good to see them attending to the island folk and gave them smoke. Its always the little things that make Disneyland what it is . thanks again Norm.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Great update from the guy on Harbor!

  • BrerDan

    I wish folks wouldn’t assume that everyone prefers Starbucks coffee. My partner and I both actually much prefer the tasty flavored versions you could get at Market House to Starbucks coffee. We also have loved the little perk of free refills–we usually would come back later in the day, grab a cup, and sit at the nearby tables watching the world go by. It’s a small thing, I know, and technically we could still do that–but we will be far less likely to do so when we’d be paying more for coffee we like less. That said, others will be happier, so I can’t really complain on this note.

    What I do worry about, however, is the remodeling. I believe Disney will keep the stove and checkerboard and phones–those are near the front….my worry is the rest of the store will become a cavernous queue line as with the Gibson Girl and Pig Cafe. People rave about both–but to me, both were disappointments. Yes, they have some nice details, but the overall feel is like a mall food court. The Gibson Girl lost the intimate charm (and wonderful elephant) that made it special. Right now the Market House has that charm…and I can only speculate that this too will become a big open hall for the long expected lines. Sure the lines might move quick, but only because of a huge counter and giant open space for the queue. It just makes me sad as this has been my favorite spot on Main Street….I wish they would just put Starbucks in the Jolly Holiday, which is already designed to handle lines.

    Ah well, change happens, and nothing can be done but move on–but don’t assume all are unhappy with the existing setup.

    • MsMahalo

      Totally agree! The Market House is one of my favorites as well. Good to hear that the decor will be staying! I just think having a product like Starbucks messes up some of the illusion that you are in a different world. They did a nice job with incorporating Starbucks into DCA, but it seems to fit better over there, for some reason. 🙂

  • tigga please

    Glad to see Rainbow Ridge shaping up! Great pics, Norm!