Iron Man lands in Tomorrowland as Long Lost Friends bring Limited Time Magic to Disneyland

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disneyland Resort

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Published on April 15, 2013 at 5:05 am with 35 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • Trumpet

    Great Update Andy

    Personally, Innovations should be replaced with an IronMan attraction, as something needs to be done with Tomorrowland.

    Thanks Again Andy


  • Ravjay12

    It’s nice to see Disney trying out the Marvel thing in Tomorrowland. The response has been overwhelming for a walk thru attraction. Maybe a Marvel themed Tomorrowland would be a great thing for Disneyland. Universal has proven movie franchises make the best attractions.

    It’s good to see Mark Twain get some love. It looks really clean and new.

    As for the windows on Buena Vista Street? People need to see what merchandise is in the store to draw them in, including myself. They should do a better job placing the merchandise better, but I can see why it was done. Maybe next time they’ll have the Imagineers design the windows with the merchandise department so it won’t be such a mess.

  • markwcricket

    Classic window displays have been an enticement to get customers into a store, and seasonal merchandise would always lead the way. The old department stores had it down pat, planned and stocked. BVS is the perfect opportunity to do just that, but they have screwed it up. Retail is easy if you have what people want, Disney seems to think people only want what they have, and the success of Cars and HM merchandise might suggest people want unique. What’s being done to the Hillbillies is a shame, hopefully if the park doesn’t want them, just admit it . If they do, give them their home back. A ‘Woody’s Round-Up” show at the BTR could be real fun, and draw in lots of guests, and include the Hillbillies real easy. Thanks for the update.

  • Justonedream

    I avoided looking at the detail photos of BVS before visiting. I wanted to be surprised. Boy was I!!! The window displays all caught my eye besides me not even knowing what to look for. The new ones are autrocious. Especially the Big Top Toys. Who designed this? Was there any effort in this whatsoever? It looks completely haphazard. What anything careful or intentional? It is like some random kid’s closet full of plush. I would at least expect each toy to be proportiional to their respective bases. Or to have some focal point of some sort instead of a field of crap?

    I liked what someone said about Walt putting show before sale. I know in my heart that he truly believed this. Walt would sacrifice making money for the sake of the work and final product. The changes in these windows serve as a devestating reminder of the blatant commercialism Disney hhas come to personify.

    For those saying that these windows are a small detail that no one will notice: What is the point of setting your standards so low? The American experience, wether it be the products we have made, the cities we have built, or the great customer service standards of the past, has been built on an eye for detail. This is what sets apart experiences. It is what elevates something that is forgettable into artistic, and emotionally affecting.

  • JCSkipr79

    Decorating paper airplanes and having a flying contest???!?? I expect ghetto stuff like that at WDW but not at DL and certainly not DCA. And the Buena Vista St. drama proves once and for all that Disney will NEVER surpass Uni on any front because Merch DISDAINS themeing and any effort WDI puts in.

    • MrTour

      I bet they tried to pull off the paper airplane gig without proper safety masks and protective gear! CAL OSHA or someone is surely out to get another fine out of this!

    • Westsider

      The paper airplane story got around the Resort fast via Facebook and the KCML Shuttle. The opening Lead at Soarin’ came in to work Saturday and was told “Your ride is closed today”, so he came up with the paper airplanes on his own to help keep things fun with his CM’s and Guests in front of his closed ride. It wasn’t meant to replace going on Soarin’, it was merely a way to soften the blow for an unplanned closure that no guest would have known about in advance. Matterhorn set out a lone pin trader, and Space Mountain did absolutely nothing but put up ugly barricades and have their CM’s talk amongst themselves. I think DCA wins on the way to handle a sudden closure of an E Ticket on a Saturday morning. Out of curiosity, since you’re a former CM, if you were the opening Soarin’ Lead that day, what would you have done?

  • jcruise86

    Thanks again, Norm!

    I strongly disagree with this:
    “the Iron Man Tech exhibit is a notable contrast to and a lot more fun than anything else featured in Innoventions.”
    What about the other metal biped, ASIMO?
    And my seven year old has loved some of the video games and (in the past) the Peter Pan storytelling. And there is one area with benches so I can read while she checks out of some of the really boring stuff.

    I LOVE the Carousel of Progress & wish that would come back. Maybe hosted by the Starks.

    • jcruise86

      Oops! I meant “ANDY,” not Norm.
      Sorry, Andy!

  • StevenSokulski

    I think you’re missing some info on the scheduled Matterhorn closured. They are closed Tuesday – Friday this week and next week, but remain open for the weekend. It is also worth noting that the closures here were scheduled weeks ago and appear unrelated to the recent DOSH citations.

  • eicarr

    Iron man is the coolest thing I’ve seen in DL park in a LONG time for teen and adult males. I hope they take note at the draw Marvel is to this important spending demographic willing to also buy expensive Marvel merchandise.

    Saw ride closer coverage on KPIX CBS and of the 4-5 park guests interviewed outside the gate, only one was angry and all would rather see the rides shut down than risk employees’ lives.

    I just walk past BVS shops because I can never tell what they sell inside from their windows. It’s ok at the emporium since regulars know it sells everything in one giant open space.

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    Does DOSH know about the paper airplanes? You could take an eye out with those things.

  • DisneyanaFan

    Thanks as always for a great update.

    One minor correction: The Billy Hill and Hillbillies show is still in the Golden Horseshoe – saw them there last week and they are listed as playing there the next couple weeks on the on-line Disneyland Resort Schedule. They sometimes play outside between acts.

    • I’m glad to hear that Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are back to performing in the Horseshoe! Thanks for the correction and thanks for reading!


  • scarymouse

    Now if they can only get the Ironman suit to level the building its currently housed in , Now that’s an attraction I’d line up to see!

  • Illusion0fLife

    Ergh, the Buena Vista Street windows have become such a frustrating series of events. I might be able to resign myself to the changes if they didn’t have to go and screw with it every couple months. The fact that marketing is obsessively changing the displays seems to indicate that the changes so far have not led to a noticeable increase in sales, why then would they think the 20th time will produce any sort of different result. The definition of insanity and all that…

    The news about Disney Animation is absolutely devastating. Animators like Nik Ranieri and Ruben Aquino are responsible for some of my favorite film characters of all time (animated or otherwise). Iger is proceeding to make the *exact same* mistakes Eisner made, and it’s disgraceful that we’re having to go through this all over again. And what of Lasseter? He’s gone on record in the past saying that quality storytelling is what matters, not whether a film is hand drawn or animated with a computer, yet according to this he’s got his hand in this issue just as much as Iger does. The whole thing is just immensely depressing.

    On a lighter note, I’m happy to say that the Iron Man exhibit looks neat. Certainly not something I’d spend an hour waiting in line for, but for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (myself being among them) it looks like something that would be fun to see. I know you and I differ on this point, but I’m hoping the positive reaction to this opens the door for a well themed Iron Man/Avengers attraction centered around the Stark Expo.

    Thanks for another great update, Andy. Looking forward to next weeks.

    • The only explanation for them thinking that ANOTHER redesign of the window displays is that they’re desperate and trying anything they can. Unfortunately for Disney, I don’t think the situation will improve until they get merchandise in those stores that isn’t available in countless other shops throughout the Resort. More and more people are wanting more diverse, unique merchandise offerings and Disney is dragging its feet meeting the demand. The tie-dye tourist souvenir t-shirts, 2013 logo hats and gaudy sweatshirts aren’t cutting it anymore!

      Thanks for reading!
      – Andy

    • xboxtravis7992

      Yeah, cutbacks on traditional animation is not a good sign. Hopefully the laid off workers take a page out of Don Bluth’s playbook and start making 2D animated films which take a cut out of Disney’s market share, forcing Disney to be competitive again; that is the only way we will see a 2D animation revival.

  • Tinkbelle

    No Touring Plans today. Did your partnership with them end?

    • We continue to be big fans of Touring Plans, but yes — our sponsorship and content partnership with them is taking a break for the time being.

      Thanks for reading!

  • DisWedWay

    Yes the roof tiles are definitely looking better and more fantasy like at Fantasy Faire with the variation of colors and final clear coat. They really looked like formica before. Hopefully maybe it’s time to bring Carousel of Progress back to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland with a new final act in the not too distant future. Seems like a lot of guests have mentioned they would like to see it again and show their kids who have only heard about it. Your photo of the Big Thunder entrance sign really shows off those out of period gas station lights from the 1930’s. The hooded Dietz lanterns that were always there before looked great and were in period for the 1880’s as the stamp mill reads in front. I believe Walt Disney World Big Thunder still has the Dietz lanterns on their sign.

  • Coheteboy

    The Iron Man poster you posted is actually exclusive to Annual Passholders for the sneak preview. From Saturday onward, a standard Iron Man 3 mini poster was distributed.

    • Ah, thanks for that correction. I wasn’t aware that the posters would be different.

      Thanks for reading

  • Coheteboy

    Also, Droid Factory was added this week in Star Trader, originally a WDW exclusive.

    • We didn’t have photos of the Droid Factory, but we did include a link to the Disney Parks Blog announcement in the Headline Roundup at the end of today’s column.

      Thanks for reading

  • Coheteboy

    The Iron Man poster you posted is an AP exclusive for the preview night. A standard Iron Man 3 poster was given from Saturday onward.


    What I can’t get over is why a retail shop would change their windows to reflect the products they’re trying to sell.

    Who does that?


  • KCmike

    Thank goodness Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are back in the Golden Horseshoe! All is right again.

  • dazyhill

    Iron Man was fun. I am not sure if it was worth 35 minutes to get in and another 20 to do the interactive game, but it was great being there with fellow Iron Man fans. Cool movie poster too!
    I am so upset that the prop books are gone! 🙁 Saturday was the first time I had been to the parks since last June’s preview. The displays were still being built but I could see even then that the windows were going to be special.
    Why have WDI spend all that time and money for those displays and then destroy them?

  • Drew Thedaker

    The Iron Man area is really cool, and i have plans to keep the upper floor as is. But i have new plans for the lower floor. My plan is to return the Carousel of Progress back to Disneyland, but our host would be Mr. Tom Morrow. We would see him welcoming us to the show and singing the tune as we proceed through the original acts of the show, with a edited Act 4 removing referances to Progress city. If it is possible, we can get GE to sponcer the show once more.
    If GE refuses, then the show removes referances to GE. And at the unload area, Tom Morrow invites you to Innoventions for a preview of the future. If it works, we could soon see Innoventions closing for refurbishment. So how do you like the idea?

  • whydoyoucare

    Looks like disney is on the ball for screwing things up as of late, I applaud them. & that pic of the monte cristo bites look like crap, worst food i’ve eaten there which ultimately resulted in giving me food poisoning. The sandwich is Way over exaggerated. Even the patron next to us said it was too much for him & his significant other.

    Way to go disney yet you decide to go full blown & making more profit yet overlook things that are simply considered nick nack by their standards as they money to blow.

  • ChrisNJ

    A paper airplane contest? I gotta get to DCA to experience that! Yeah, I get it was a last minute thing, but really? Can’t one of the worlds best entertainment companies come up with something a little better for situations like these? Maybe have a back-up plan for sudden attraction closures?

  • Sleepy505

    Great Job as always Andy, $234,850 in fines ouch… oh well. It’s sad to see the this has guests making paper airplanes, terrible. As far as Tomorrow land it looks like yester land something has has to be done it’s my least favorite part of the park at one time it was my favorite.

  • Big D

    So, as someone who used to work at Disneyland and now works in sales, I think I can figure out what’s going on with the windows in Buena Vista Street. So here is my story of what probably happened:

    First of all, there are three different departments. There is imagineering, who designed the props, merchandising, who orders and decides what merchandise goes in what store, and BVS guest services, who run the stores. These three departments are not allowed to have any interaction with each other whatsoever. The executive vice president in charge of merchandise sales sets an arbitrary sales goal based on nothing that is impossible to achieve. After the first quarter of being open (Jul – Sep), the stores don’t meet their sales goals. They are given a pass for that quarter only, because they can say that guests were running past BVS to get to Cars Land. After the 2nd quarter (Oct – Dec) of not meeting their sales goals, the managers of each store in BVS that is not meeting it’s sales goal is put on an “Action Plan.” (in January) This basically means that they have to submit a plan as to how they are going to increase sales, and it has to be something that is different from what they did the previous quarter. Now, the important thing is that the managers have no control over what merchandise they sell, and they are absolutely not allowed to say that the reason their sales aren’t what they should be is either 1) the merchandise they are trying to sell is boring, or 2) the sales goals are unrealistic. So they have to come up with something like putting more merchandise near the cash registers for guests to purchase while they are waiting in line, or opening the doors that were being kept closed for environmental reasons so that guests don’t think they are closed. One manager of one store submits his or her action plan and says that they are going to display merchandise that the store actually sells in the window, because guests keep coming into the store trying to buy the fake merchandise that is in the window. (This may be true to a small extent, but the manager exaggerates it for the action plan). The 1st quarter of this year (Jan – Mar) passes and the stores still don’t meet their sales goals. The VP calls another conference call of all the managers that are not meeting their goals and says that he now has a “Best Practice” to share with all of the managers, and that is they all have to put merch in their windows. So any stores that are meeting their sales goals don’t have to do this, but the stores that aren’t meeting their goals are now required to do this. It doesn’t matter that this hasn’t been proven to actually increase sales at BVS yet, the only thing that matters is that they’re doing something that is different from what they did last quarter. So, in early April, every manager of every store that is not meeting it’s sales goal is required by an executive who does not work in imagineering or merchandising to clear out their window and display merchandise that is actually for sale in the store. Now that summer is coming up, the parks will get more crowded, and the sales will go up naturally, and many stores that didn’t meet their sales goals in the first quarter will meet them in the 2nd quarter. This will be attributed solely to the fact that they changed their window displays, and as of the 3rd quarter (early July) every merchandise store in each park that has any kind of fake window display will now be required to display actual merchandise in their window. This will become a standing “best practice”, and the executive will get a nice bonus. The managers of the actual BVS stores will transfer the heck out of there and onto Main Street or somewhere that actually has consistently good sales year round, and by this time next year there will be no one working in the BVS shops that even knew that there was a time when the stores had their displays of fake merchandise from the 1920’s.

  • james woods

    I completely agree the windows used to be awesome and now they are not awesome at all. However, maybe they got too many guests asking for stuff they didn’t sell and then the guests would complain about it? Some people are really dumb and maybe they thought they could get those gloves for 10 cents. Then again, the stuff in Main Street windows aren’t for sale and they’ve kept them all these years. BVS retail managers should put it all back the way it used to be. It’s gross now.