In The Parks: Disneyland Resort and the Sinking Road to Cars Land

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Cars Land, Disneyland Resort, In the Parks

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Published on May 03, 2013 at 3:00 am with 46 Comments

It was a slower week for Disneyland Resort news, but there is still plenty for us to share with you. We have exclusive news for you on the reopening of Space Mountain which should make Gumball Rally teams very happy. While  the Opera House continues a brief refurbishment, Disneyana and Market House are in process of consolidation into a single Starbucks location on Main Street, U.S.A..  Big Thunder is thankfully losing the big yellow crane that has towered above it for the past few months. And we check up on Disney California Adventure, where we learn that Cars Land has that sinking feeling. Literally.

The Disneyland Story, presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, is set to return this morning, Friday May 3rd.  While no real changes are expected, the show should look fresh and new.

MARKET HOUSE

The Disneyana Market House closure is making way for a newly expanded Starbucks location.  Exterior work is being done right now. Disney has papered up every window to keep the project as secret as possible.  (SPOILER ALERT) No free refills.

Looks like the name will remain “Market House.”

 

SPACE MOUNTAIN – CLEARED FOR LAUNCH

The safety closure of Space Mountain will soon come to an end. In exclusive news sent to us last night, we have learned that state mandated changes to the attraction have been completed. The new stairwell inside the Space Mountain dome, required to meet DOSH requirements, has been finished. New training procedures for the Attractions and Facilities CM’s on how to use the new stairwell begins on Friday (May 3rd). With that, Space Mountain should be ready to reopen this weekend, three weeks after the attraction closure madness began in Anaheim. Thank goodness.

FINDING NEMO SUBMARINE VOYAGE

On the other side of Tomorrowland, the Nemo subs have been on again/off again for the past two weeks due to a “fire” in one of the subs.  Apparently these problems stem from the aging batteries in the fleet of updated submersibles.  All of the subs were refurbished at the same time and it would stand to reason that the other batteries might not be too far behind in needing to be replaced. Disneyland is being proactive about safety and replacement, so it reasons that they’ll replace all of the batteries and get the attraction back up to full speed quickly.

 

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD

This week, the iconic, yellow eyesore towering over the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad site was dismantled.  Track installation has been completed and now the project will move forward with painting of the repaired rock work and scene refreshing.

These pillars of rock will now be repainted.

In the meantime Rainbow ridge continues its reconstruction.

Some repairs were made to the foundation of the station, along the outer queue.  New stacked rock can be seen here.

BERMICIDE

It appears that the far reaches of Frontierland are disappearing along the back waters of the Rivers of America.  With the return of the Mark Twain, guests can easily travel along at a higher elevation, up on the third floor deck.  This vantage point, allows one to be at eye level with the berm that Walt Disney built around the park to enclose Disneyland and keep the real world out.  This wouldn’t be that big of a deal under normal circumstances.  But as the older, larger trees die off and are removed, Disney has not been replacing them as they should.  That, coupled with recent tree trimming make the backstage areas, make backstage, and even the Mickey and Friends parking structure, totally visible.

Mickey and Friends peeking over the berm.

The thinning trees allow for the illusion of an endless frontier to be broken.

Is that the Circle D Ranch?

The Indian Chief is upstaged by the void behind him.

 

MICECHAT PODCAST #7

The MiceChat Podcast is back with a very special episode featuring lots of great news and surprises.

Animatronics super genius, Garner Holt, stops by to discuss his involvement with new projects opening at Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm. We’ll take a look at Mystic Manor, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Universal’s 25 year Evolution Plan, Disneyland ride closures and much more. Plus, find out the scoop on where Al Lutz has been hiding.

Direct Download | Subscribe on iTunes

As we enter Disney California Adventure today, we see that the Storyteller statue is behind make-shift shrubbery for maintenance.

The hedges look better than plywood construction walls. But we still hope this is a quick refurbishment.

 

ANIMATION BLOOP

The art on the walls of the Animation building entrance just can’t seem to catch a break.  Scuffed, scratched or graffitied, there is more touch up work going on near “once upon a time”.  Making reparation particularly difficult is the cloudy blue pattern of the wall color.  Shame that this can’t be fixed in a more elegant way.

It’s a shame that guests aren’t more respectful of the parks.

 SOARIN’ BATHROOMS

The restrooms across from Soarin’ Over California are still under refurbishment.  The closest restrooms from here are either Buena Vista Street or the ones near The Little Mermaid.

 

CARS LAND

A strange new paving project has begun in Cars Land.  Starting at the threshold of Cars Land and stretching all the way down to the courthouse, the outer perimeter of the street has been removed and replaced.

We’ve been told that the pavement along Route 66 was sinking prematurely because of all the heavy foot traffic the area has received in the last 10 months. Disneyland knew they had to go back and correct the sunken and warped areas, so the street is getting repaved in several phases this week. When complete, the entire street is to be covered in all new blacktop slurry and then all lines and Route 66 symbols repainted by the weekend. John Lasseter and team from Pixar are in Anaheim to inspect the work and approve it.

It appears that they have focused on the drainage fixtures first.

The resident Pixar team is a setup that exists only at the Disneyland Resort, even though Pixar attractions have been built at all of the other Disney resorts. The team routinely inspects the Pixar-based attractions in Anaheim to make sure they are looking their best.  We are pretty lucky to have such a team keeping up on things here.  Let’s just hope that if Cars Land ends up in Florida, that they get a similar team.

And that should cover things for this week from the Disneyland Resort.  We would like to wish the teams of this weekend’s MiceChat Gumball Rally good luck!  Play hard, be good sports, and may you roll on to victory! May the 4th be with you.

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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46 Comments

Comments for In The Parks: Disneyland Resort and the Sinking Road to Cars Land are now closed.

  1. Great update! That’s crazy that Cars Land is having to be repaved less than a year after opening though. Glad they’re getting it done though.

    • That’s the difference between the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Walt’s place is kept in pristine condition as much as possible. “Roy’s” place is allowed to decay.

      • If Walt Disney World had patrons like John Lassiter, they would be able to. Very different sets of challenges there compared to Disneyland.

      • No, that’s the difference between a “Pixar” attraction and a “Disney” attraction. It just so happens that these Pixar attractions happen to be closer to the home office.

        It’s a shame that the rest of the parks and attractions don’t get the same amount of attention.

  2. Foot traffic would not cause the road to fail like that, my guess is that in the accelerated pace of construction, they didn’t construct adequate road base and they’ve incurred some settling.

    High guest volume sure sounds better from a PR perspective, though!

    • ^What Instidude said. I wonder how the substructures of the attractions are doing?

    • I’m surprise Disney didn’t turn these problems into an event celebrating it’s authentic movie inspired “24 hour Annual Repaving of Route 66 Celebration”.

      • Brilliant! They’ve got a job for you at Disneyland PR for sure!

      • Carsland now with real asphalt scent – part of Limited Time Magic.

    • Agreed. Guest foot traffic would never cause a road to sink (no mater how many churros the vistors ate) :) . Most likely the drainage was insufficient and compromised the subgrade.

    • They probably didn’t build it to road standards… but even if they did, that many people walking can be more damaging than car traffic is. If it’s settling, they’ll probably have to do this a few times until the dirt under it is fully settled… and that can take a long time.

      Then again, they could theme it that Lighting tore the road up again!

      • They can have photo ops with Bessie as part of Limited Time Magic.

        Oh man I probably just gave them that idea… Whoops.

    • Though the main thoroughfare in Carsland looks like a regular asphault road, it is not. Disney builds most of their walkways with a little bit of give so that your feet don’t get quite so tired when walking around all day. So, given the high amount of foot traffic, in combination with the design parameters of this roadway, it is entirely possible that the formulation for guest comfort needs to be redesigned.

      I will say that when I first walked on the road I thought they did a great job with designing a walkway which felt very comfortable and that whatever formulation of “soft” construction materials they threw into the mix it really worked well. Guess it just gave to much and they have to good back and design something with more durability/elasticity.

      • Yes, it does have that bounce that the ground around some trees has. I have been wondering when Disney would install this into other areas of the parks. I hope they haven’t given up on the technology.

    • Yeah. The road is also a fire lane. Gotta support those fire trucks. Not to mention cranes, forklifts, and the like….

  3. Cars Land – the Venice of the West!

  4. Looks like Disneyland needs some new trees. Surprising to see outside the berm with relative ease. Hoping they get their green thumbs on.

    And yes, if at WDW we can hope for our own Pixar team, but hopefully not for Cars land. Like many, I would like to see new and unique Pixar related attractions.

    • You are absolutely right. It’s shocking to so easily see outside the berm. Disneyland had a lush and very dense berm of trees. The illusion was that Disneyland was a sort of oasis inside of a deep forest. This new problem can be found all the way around the park. There are spots where you can now see the Haunted Mansion show building, backstage along the river, and outside of Tomorrowland along the train tracks. They really need to plant some new trees. But due to expense of planting full grown trees, it would likely take many years for this problem to correct itself.

      • They can use some of those hedge walls they got out at DCA!!! Perhaps once done with the Storyteller statue. ;)

      • Hi all first post here . We have a serious bark beetle here in so cal that is killing a lot of trees here is a link to how bad it is and it might get worse so cut Disneyland some slack .http://cisr.ucr.edu/polyphagous_shot_hole_borer.html

      • Also it’s hard to get small trees to grow in with bigger trees around them… the trees don’t want to fight for sunlight…

        Basically… you can’t cheap out too much… they’ll need to get some decent sized replacements in there.

      • Plus since they aren’t native trees, it’s hard to keep them happy. This should have been addressed as routine maintenance by landscaping all along, preparing new foliage in an ongoing project. But that requires forethought beyond next quarter’s profits, and we know that isn’t happening…

  5. How did such an egregious misspelling on the Disneyana sign get through to production?
    “Please visit Disneyana in IT’S new location”?!
    Please tell me YOUR as non-plussed by THEY’RE poor grammer as I am.

    • What’s even more curious is that even after the misspelling was brought to their attention, the sign has remained. I’m sure they’ll fix it eventually.

      I don’t think that their is much of a “Production process” for things like this and there are some errors which are so common that you sometimes don’t even see them. Still, this should be corrected, especially since the sign will be up there for a long time until the new store opens this fall.

    • The Disneyland Resort apparently doesn’t have a proofreading department. For the first “rarely seen characters” event at Big Thunder Ranch a few years ago, the show guide indicated that it would last an entire month, not a week.
      I pointed it out to some of the big wigs who were there opening day and they were confused and embarrassed to see such a huge mistake. But thousands of these show guides had already been handed out by then.

    • I also like how they referred to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure as “Ariel’s Under Water Adventure”. LOL. How in the world did they screw that up?!

    • Thinking of other signs that make you go hmmm. The sign in front of Taste Pilot’s Grill in Condor Flats says “Where great food IS rocket science!” The common phrase “it’s not rocket science” is used to say something is not complicated. Well, they’re essentially saying great food is complicated. It should really say “Where great food IS NOT rocket science”.

    • Golly, I am in pain over that apostrophe. Have The Suits no shame? Or is that The Suites? This isn’t even a mistake made for reasons of cheapness, but from sheer lack of respect for Disneyland and its guests.. Leaving it up rather than replacing it with ANYTHING, even a generic “New Magic Coming” sign is such a slap in the face. “We’ve got your money — we don’t care about anything else.”

  6. Looking at those dreams and how the area seems so flat, I am thinking that I hope they’ve planned for a real rainstorm. Occasionally here in Southern California we got our heavy downpours. It just looks that if a really heavy rainstorm came, those small little drains wouldn’t be able to handle the amount of water that would be coming on that flat area and might wash out some stores.

  7. It’s too bad the yellow tower ride near BTMR is now gone as I never got a chance to ride it. Was it part of the limited time magic?

    • Maybe they’ve just taken it down to repaint it Princess Pink?

    • Actually, I named it “Big Thunder Mine CRANE”.

      Unfortunately, it didn’t catch on.

  8. Although gang members feel the same destain as I do for that waste of space animation attraction(it’s only entertaining once or twice), tagging inside the park is just evil… Even in the current sad tomorrowland or innovations.

    • Of course if someone tagged Innoventions, would anyone notice?

  9. Great update Norm! Thank you for keeping me in the loop!

  10. I’m happy to read that ” New training procedures for the Attractions and Facilities CM’s on how to use the new stairwell begins on Friday”.

    Will this go something like “First, lift your right foot and place it on the first step. Then, bring your left foot up so it is even with you right foot. Repeat this procedure until you’ve reached the top of the stairwell.”

    • You win the internet because you just made me choke on my water. Bravo.

  11. Thank you so much for pointing out how barren the forest is becoming along the back of ROA. That REALLY REALLY REALLY bothered me on my Mark Twain ride 2 weeks ago. I can’t believe they aren’t doing anything about this already. It kills the illusion and the fantasy of traveling down one of the great rivers. The trees are paramount to the illusion and I’m worried that they don’t get that, or that they don’t care enough to fix it. I miss the lush greenery that beautified that area.

    That is one of the things I wished I had brought up to Michael when we saw him.

  12. The sign in front of the Market House should help alleviate some of the concerns that Starbucks is going to come in and completely destroy the Space Time Continuum.

  13. will the wooden ties be added back under the big thunder tracks? i supposed they would, but looking at the photo it looks like it would be a tight squeeze to fit them in. doesn’t look right without them, i hope they’ll be back!

  14. Best comments in a post ever. I’ve been laughing for 10 min reading these. Also, Would there be some sense in Disney crafting some trees to fill in the spaces-I wouldn’t want them all to be fake, but maybe given the situation (bark beetle, fungus, hard for them to grow properly…) it makes sense. Thoughts?

    • Cell phone towers!

  15. The update mentioned that Pixar has a team in Anaheim to check up on the quality of the attractions. Just wondering, is this team separate from the Theme Parks group (headed by Roger Gould) at Pixar that works with Imagineering?