In The Parks: Fairies, Ride Closures and Springtime Fun at Disneyland

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks

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Published on April 19, 2013 at 3:30 am with 34 Comments

Uh-oh!  Disneyland and Disney California Adventure both suffered ride closures this week, with more occurring yesterday, as the government safety agency, Cal/OSHA, descended upon the parks and forced action. Meanwhile the shuffle of collectables and coffee has begun on Main Street as Market House and Disneyana bid farewell to become a Starbucks location.  But all is not lost. Limited Time Magic’s Fairies Week promises to bring some familiar characters to the park, but with 50% more magic. All this plus more spring time pictures, a run down of refurbishments in Fantasyland, and a peek at the track and Rainbow Ridge construction at Big Thunder Mountain.

RIDE CLOSURES

The big news coming out of both parks this week was the sudden closure of several major attractions.  As we broke the news this past Saturday via Twitter & Facebook the park faced several Cal/OSHA enforced closures due to citations, mostly for lack of fall protection for maintenance workers. Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Soarin’ Over California were all subject to what Disney is claiming were voluntary closures.

While none of the citations were directly involved with guest safety or guest experience, they did force the complete closure of 3 attractions on Saturday.  Space Mountain, Sorin’ Over California, and Matterhorn remained closed for the day.  On Sunday, the Matterhorn was open again, but only running the Fantasyland side of the track.

Cast members at Soarin’ gamely engaged the crowds by getting them involved in paper airplane making competitions.

How can you not have a good time with a cast member this happy?

Don’t worry, they have pre-folded a few airplanes for you.

The CMs had some fun making the target with yellow parade tape.

The park merely listed Soarin’ as…

Under Refurbishment.

Yesterday, after giving the go-ahead for temporary fixes to Soarin’s citations, inspectors stopped by Screamin’ and shut that ride down for fall protection along rider evacuation routes.  The good news is that Screamin’ with any luck, could be reopening today.

Meanwhile, over at Space the ride ops CMs had a little less fun.

We’ll always have EO

Lines at the Matterhorn were, naturally, twice as long since only one track was in operation.

No Tomorrowland side for you!

PIXIE HOLLOW LIMITED TIME MAGIC

In the perfect example of what is wrong with the One Disney Initiative, this week’s limited time magic is Fairies Week.  Yes, now through Sunday, April 21st, guests can meet a rotating cast of their favorite Fairy characters.  The bummer is that while this may be a novelty for the guests out in Walt Disney World, on the west coast, we have had this magic ever since PIxie Hollow was opened in October of 2008.

Be prepared for a long wait in the partially shaded queue.

Bring your umbrellas for shade.

 

The pixie hollow scenery along the water has seen better days.

Seriously?

The Matterhorn looks pretty from here.

 

Once inside the meet and greet area we crossed paths with Silvermist.  She was particularly fun and engaging.

Terance and Tink were meeting guests around the corner.

Terrance and Tinker Bell

 

Not exactly limited, but certainly magic.  If you plan on visiting the fairies be prepared for a long slow moving line. You might want to bring an umbrella for shade, games for the kids, and a back-up charger for your phone.

We assume that Limited Time Magic will bring back some of the fairies who haven’t been seen here for a while. At one time or another over the years, we’ve seen  Tinkerbell, Iridessa, Silvermist, Terence, Rosetta, Fawn, Vidia, and Periwinkle (are we missing any?)

DISNEYANA AND MARKET HOUSE

Disney finally closed the Market House and Disneyana stores on Main Street in order to create a Starbucks location in the park.  While many have been saddened by this departure, we have been advised that great care is being taken to preserve the turn of the century look and feel and that many details of the Market House will be retained.  Though, many passholders bemoan the loss of free refills (of the terrible coffee which was served here).

Next door, Disneyana is all closed up and awaiting merger with the Market house.   But where will all of those collectables go?

The logical spot, of course was the Disney Gallery and Opera House lobby.  The very next day, the artists table and supplies had already found a home in the front room of the Disney Gallery.

The doorway to Mr. Lincoln is closed while a refurbishment takes place.

The lobby of the opera house and the attraction itself are enjoying refurbishment and will return on Friday, May 3rd.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…

SPRINGTIME

Here is another round of spectacular foliage from Disneyland Park.  Truly one of the highlights of the entire year, springtime turns the park into a fecund garden overflowing with life.

Town Square has new flowers, Pansies and Sweet Alyssum.

They are growing Ducks this year.  ;-)

Pansy baskets in Town Square, looking down Main Street to the castle.

Pink and yellow pompoms of what we think are Dahlia now surround the flag pole.

And, of course, it was plenty busy in the parks this week.

IRON MAN AND THE CROWDS

The great experiment continues as Disney carefully watches the guest reaction to Iron Man’s presence in the park.  As you can see, nearly a week after the exhibit opened, the new installation is still commanding posted wait times of a half hour during peak times. And that’s just to get into the building. You still have to wait for the exhibit once you get inside.

However, we are a bit concerned that Disney might have oversold this experience. It’s just a little exhibit, not a show or attraction. There are a lot of grumbling guests coming out of the building. Not because what’s been assembled isn’t interesting, but rather that they had to wait an hour or more for what little was there.

FANTASYLAND UPKEEP

A few notes from around Disneyland’s Fantasyland show that upkeep is continual here.

The small souvenir stand, Le Petit Chalet, is currently under refurbishment.

The towers along small world mall are being completely refurbished and painted.

 

It looks like the Figaro animatronic is already in need of maintenance.  Not two months of daily operation and Figaro has been put to sleep on account of a wonky eyelid. If you look closely, you can see the scrape marks on the outer lid of poor Figaro’s eye.

Thankfully, the royal cleaners have returned the canopy for the King Arthur Carousel.  It looks bright and cheery.

But you’ll see that the pitched tent above the carousel is still dented and rusty looking. It looks even worse than it really is because the colors look so faded compared to the vibrant purple awning.

BIG THUNDER

Here we are at the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment project.  While visuals are scarce as so much of the area is obscured. However, we were still able to spot a few interesting tidbits for you.

During our visit the crane was moving around equipment and such from inside the attraction near the helix.

Some dino bones and track.

Around the backside, near the goat gag, we can see bright, new track.

Here is track from the helix.

Looking carefully, past the station, you can see that rock work is being done.

That should wrap things up for the Disneyland resort this week.  Let’s all send good vibes their way so that both Soarin’ and Space can open again soon!

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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  • JCSkipr79

    Disney bult this up as “Iron is NOW IN Disneyland! Stop what your doing!” I think word of mouth will see the lines drop down soon. It’s JUST a movie exhibit and a Kinect thinghy

  • Susan Hughes

    Having only three fairies inside Pixie Hollow isn’t unique. It’s pretty much what they do normally. To make it “Limited Time Magic”, they need at least five at a time.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Exactly. This isn’t limited time anything. It’s just a regular week in Pixie Hollow.

      • disneyland255

        I really wish the UNITED Disney Parks logo, promotion, etc. would be obliterated. I enjoyed it much more when they were separate. It makes me sick to see a Disneyland commercial with WDW attractions used. Although they are the same company, the parks are totally different and unique in their own way…they need to advertise on that instead of branding them together.

  • JWhiz

    Went to Fantasy Faire for the first time two weeks ago and noticed Figaro’s wonky eye immediately. Kinda ruined the coolness for me as it was already an issue so soon after opening. :-(

  • thjbriggs

    Surprised I’ve seen The Market House’s coffee referred to as terrible multiple times by this site. Honestly, I’d take it any day (and twice on Sundays) over Starbucks coffee. Starbucks is the worst of the worst.

    • Big D

      I think you’re definitely in the minority there my friend. That is really my biggest complaint with both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, which is that it’s freakin impossible to get a good cup of coffee inside the parks. Thankfully at Disneyland you can at least walk over to Downtown Disney, so it’s not that big of a deal. At WDW it’s a lot tougher, and I’ve actually walked from Epcot over to the Dolphin hotel because they are a non-Disney hotel and have a really, really good espresso bar in their lobby. With the other parks though you’re pretty much screwed. I’m just worried that Disney is not allocating nearly enough space for their new Starbucks. I would think that they would need to open the “World’s Largest Starbucks” inside of Disneyland in order to satisfy demand (and while they’re at it, we could also use the “World’s Largest In-N-Out” at California Adventure, or at least in Downtown Disney).

      • thjbriggs

        Agree to disagree on the coffee, but I’m 100% on board for the world’s largest In-N-Out. That would be magical.

      • netenyahoo

        I third having the largest In-N-Out. That would be sooo awesome and think of all the tourist swho would be introduced to an Animal style Double-Double. Magical indeed!

      • daveyjones

        i’d venture that starbucks coffee isn’t “bad” but some folks do find it too strong. i prefer the weaker, diner-style market house variety myself. as tom waits once lamented, “it’s getting harder and harder to find a bad cup of coffee.”

      • DisWedWay

        There are actually some WDI Graduate Imagineers who work for Corporate Starbucks that help with the pixie dust in their coffee and make it so good.

      • DisWedWay

        At Tokyo Disneyland, go to OLC’s Expiari shopping mall next door and have a Big Kuana Burger and you will forget about In-N-Out Burgers. Maybe just like Pulp Fictions, it has grilled pineapple, avocado, bacon, cheese, and onion rings inside among other traditional toppings. I believe San Diego has one as well.

      • victoriaskitten

        Maybe if the Starbuck’s in DL is too small the line for service will be so long the lines for the rides will be shorter. A good side for the negative side. Just hoping that would be so. Sorry to say that I am not a coffee drinker unless it has kahlua, chocolate and or caramel.

  • crawfordguard

    I’ll be heading to Disneyland today, since I’m not really a big fan of Iron Man and there is such a long wait I don’t think I’ll be going into the exhibit.

  • iamdisneysgirl

    I hope the cinnamon tea latte will still be sold in the parks (maybe Jolly Holiday). I don’t drink coffee and this drink saved my life on cold days!

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I guess we can be thankful that the bulk of the Spring crowds avoided the mess that Disneyland is in right now. I am saddened that DOSH will not work with Disney to create evacuation procedures and training instead of just showing up and then closing the ride. This does not punish Disney but the guests and kids who came to the park. Full admission price is paid by every guest even with the large number of rides down now. Things are looking really sad right now at the park.

    • disneyland255

      Always remember to: Rides, Attractions, and Shows can be closed at any time. People are aware of this when they purchase their tickets. It’s unfortunate that it happens, but that just the way a theme park works. It has it’s down times and up times. The guest can’t expect it all to go perfect.

  • Tink60

    “Pink and yellow pompoms of what we think are Zinnia now surround the flag pole.”
    Those flowers look more like dahlia’s.

    If anyone knows the name of the groundcover plant that the duck is sitting on, I would like to know what it is called.

    Thanks for the weekly updates.

    • Norman Gidney

      You know what? You are right! The worst part is that I KNEW they were Dahlia but wrote zinnia. (Face palm). It was late. lol

      Thanks for reading!

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      I believe that the groundcover is Dichondra. You can buy the seeds at most garden stores.

  • eicarr

    I get people waiting an hour to see the cool Iron Man props. I don’t get people waiting in line for an hour to see a “princess” in the new Faire area. Hopefully this will shift Disney priorities when they see the money Marvel brings in. Think of the crowds that could be brought to the dead lincoln area with a comic con like comic history/store area. The new Disneyania store will keep the old bank a ghost town.

  • Bruce Bergman

    Joke all you want about the Ducks – but Disneyland has never had a Snail problem… ;-)

    Yes, Seriously – Reusing a cup as a planter is a Tinkerbell touch, and I’ll bet the pennies were placed in it by Guests.

    When are they finally going to announce the Frontierland Crane Flight ride, sponsored by Liebherr? They put you in a body harness and bob you off the hook like a Worm for a few minutes… (Cue Maxwell: “Weeeeeeeeee!!!”) Note the second and third Big Thunder pictures, looks like they have a Time-Lapse camera set up.

  • Spongeocto4

    Thank you for the update.

  • holierthanthoutx

    I guess CAL/OSHA won’t be satisfied until full safety cages have been built around every ride track and emergency exit route in all of Disneyland. If the regulations get any stricter, Disneyland could end up having to close some rides permanently.

  • daveyjones

    “only running the Fantasyland side of the track.” as in, B TRACK (for alice and wonderland *B*athrooms).

    “No Tomorrowland side for you!” as in, A TRACK (for *A*utopia)

  • Sketch105

    I don’t know how it worked there, but Fairies week was fabulous at WDW. Vidia, fawn, silvermist, Terrance, and Iridessa have not been seen since Toontown was demolished and they built the new tinkerbell nook in Adventureland..they would rotate out every set and you had to go back to see them all, but it was nice to see more than two in the room. Cast members gave out a personalized leaf with all their names signed on them to save time, and strangely enough Periwinkle was on their even though she wasnt out (but has been the most recent to appear)

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