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.


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!


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.


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?)


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…


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.


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.


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.


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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  • SoarinMatt

    It’s sad they had to shut Soarin’ down, but it looks like they did a great thing by doing the guest interaction thing out front. I hope they can get her fixed soon.

    • disneyland255

      And that’s how Disney beats out the competition. Taking a negative and doing something in place to make it a positive. :)

  • DisWedWay

    I used to think the WED Imagineering 25 year Tinkerbell was the Best Looking Service Award. Disneyland’s Tinkerbell is even so much more charming.

  • victoriaskitten

    Since I talked my sister and brother in law into doing the Gumball Rally with me I really hope and pray that all the rides will be up and running by then. My sister LOVES the coasters and will be very upset with me if they aren’t. Do we have any idea? By the way a quick thank you to all the hard work being done for the GB Rally.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Great article, I have high hopes for Big Thunder!

  • Athlonacon

    …The Facts of Life, The Facts of Life

  • darkamor

    1) As much as I am disappointed with CAL OSHA @ times, their recent move to halt the Engineers from using the Water Tower on the Trains (because it poses a safety risk) makes me feel that Team Disney Anaheim has known about certain issues; yet does not bother to take care of them until CAL OSHA officially arrives and shuts down an Ride, or Attraction, or Show (and forces where Maintenance takes place to change)

    2) Pixie Hollow isn’t engineered to handle large crowds (its cute, but its just a wham bam buy overpriced merchandise for your toddler m’am), the new Fantasy Faire is the same thing (on the other side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle), both were constructed so quickly that it was only a matter of time before Maintenance becomes an issue (and it appears the photos prove this)

    3) I already brought up the argument that IF Disneyland isn’t offering a 100% experience (that is, IF a certain % of Disneyland is down for Maintenance), then why should you be forced to pay 100% Admission Price to get through the Main Gate? (those of us coming from Out of State, or Out of the Country, don’t always get an opportunity to accept a rain check from an anxiously smiling Cast Member to “please try again another Disney day”). There is obviously a less busy time of the year from Winter before Spring Break – please lower the Park Admission (to compensate for 1/4 of Disneyland being out of service) and take care of ALL Maintenance issues

    4) that Iron Man Experience is a test, a test that will be an epic fail (word will get out that its too long of a wait for such a minimal experience with cheap freebies to promote a film’s release that a majority of will end up in the garbage can). Tomorrowland deserves a new Ride, A new Attraction, an Indoor Dining Experience, the removal of that Steam Punk theme (& the return of our Favorite Rocket Rods to where they belong)

    5) I truly hope ALL of Disneyland is functioning for its 60th Anniversary. I will be financing my return in 2015 (yes its going to take 2 years to invest then pay this off, because Disneyland seems to enjoy in upcharging for EVERYTHING these days – & I just hope the 60th Anniversary doesn’t turn into a pay the upcharge to experience, or get kicked out of the Park early – aren’t we over charged enough as Park Guests?)

    C J