In The Parks: Bad week for Disneyland ToonTown

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

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Published on May 31, 2013 at 3:30 am with 20 Comments

It was a wild week at the Disneyland resort. Tuesday brought a frightening little incident in Mickey’s ToonTown that was masterfully handled by Disney’s in park security team. There has also been a sudden addition of safety railings and sightline testers throughout the park for more safety changes to come.  Finally the new Orleans Train Station has reopened with better access to the loading platform.  All of this plus the latest MiceChat Podcast and a look at a young Mike Wazowski from Monsters U.

TOONTOWN EXPLOSION

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On Tuesday, at approximately 5:30pm a sudden, small explosion occurred in Mickey’s ToonTown which caused the immediate evacuation of the area that lasted for over 2 hours. There was a buzz of incorrect information in the twittershpere (and even some mainstream media throughout the world) with pronouncements that Disneyland had been evacuated and that a bomb had gone off in the park. In the end, it turned out that that a plastic soda bottle had, apparently, been filled with dry ice and tossed into a trashcan, causing the bottle to explode inside the trash can. There was no damage to the park (or even the trash can) and no one was injured. After a security sweep of the area and a security assessment of the park, ToonTown was reopened after just two hours.

Security incidences happen all the time – backpacks left unattended, suspicious packages, strange noises – all which must be investigated. The bomb squad is called out to the park more often than you might expect. Not because of a real threat, but because of a potential one. Disneyland takes the better-safe-than-sorry approach to your wellbeing. What was different here is that although the incident itself was relatively minor, a suspect was arrested for questioning and held on one million dollars bail. That individual is apparently a cast member.

Full Story from NBC4 news here

Sgt. Bob Dunn confirmed to news sources that a 22 year old cast member was arrested for possession of a destructive device.

Is a 1 million dollar bail a little much?  It might seem so. But the judge on hand likely wanted to send a very clear warning to those who might be inspired to copy this prank, “Don’t”.  Hi-jinks have never really been tolerated in Disneyland.  Why?  Because Disneyland is a perceived safe-zone.  A place where everyone from every color, creed, belief can go to enjoy a world of fantasy and imagination.  It is an illusion so well created and cherished that it is guarded with extreme care.  Anyone considering something like this in the future should certainly think twice.

PALETTE CLEANSER

Let’s change the topic to something a little more bright and cheerful.  Town Square is in top colorful form at the moment.

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ROOFTOPS AND RAILINGS

And now, back to reality. It has long been a Disney standard that everything, even safety railings for workers or guests, be themed appropriately to the land in which they reside.  However, with the recent trend of Cal/OSHA DOSH safety issues at Disneyland, that rule has been thrown out the window, at least for now.  Safety is paramount, we cannot argue that point. But, aesthetics in a park like the Magic Kingdom are also of great importance. We hope that what we are about to show you is temporary until better solutions can be found (and not long term eyesores such as the Alice tarps).

The park is filled with examples of obscured safety. Along the rooftops of New Orleans Square are a prime example.

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Rooftop railings are there for worker safety. But some are very well themed, so they just blend in.

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Safety railings were even recently installed on the Matterhorn which arguably blend in.

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The fences you see on the bridges and openings of Matterhorn are not original to the ride – but they do blend in, for the most part.

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They don’t look terrible. It was a required change and Disney themed them the best they could under the circumstances.

Whereas the 3 year fix on Alice has simply become a nasty eyesore. It’s a prime example of how a temporary measure can negatively impact an area of the park.

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But now, we are seeing even more railings popping up on top of Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin that don’t really try all that hard to go unnoticed.

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Admittedly, from this distance they are nearly invisible.

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But looking closer we see them clearly. They look like ugly queue railings from a Six Flags roller coaster.

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They also diminish the scale of the buildings and backdrops.

 

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Is this a quick fix, a new trend or a temporary measure? We don’t have an official answer just yet. But  we don’t consider this a long term solution aesthetically.

We see more sightline testing along other perilous ledges in the park.  Most notably the Golden Horseshoe.  A structure that opened with the park, has now been targeted for safety railings.

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We sincerely hope that a creative and themed solution is being hammered out here and throughout the park.

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Sadly, while effort is being made to add ugly railings in ToonTown, the hill behind Minnie’s house continues to peel away.

TROUBADOUR TAVERN

We did not mention it in our coverage of the opening of Mickey and the Magical Map last week.  But with the new show came a menu change to the snack bar at the theatre. 

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Sadly, the unique baked potatoes were removed from the menu in favor of more grab-and-go fare.

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Not to worry however, the potatoes are now being served at the Harbor Galley near Haunted Mansion.  So, all you potato fans will still be able to satisfy your starchy cravings.

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN

The only real visual change we can show you at Big Thunder is Rainbow Ridge and the load/unload station.  Let’s take a look at what is going on here.

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Scaffolding surrounds the station.

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The station is also used to stage the large railroad ties that will be used in the track.

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Rainbow Ridge continues to evolve into a highly detailed vista that most Disney fans will appreciate.

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A little paint, some details, props and signs and Rainbow Ridge will be a real place once more.

 

NEW ORLEANS TRAIN STATION

The New Orleans Train Station reopened with improved wheelchair access to the platform.  With a less steep grade, the guests using a wheelchair now have a brick pathway to use.  It looks nice!  In the meantime, the area in front of the train station was also repaved.  Although, at the moment it could use a coat of slurry.

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The new exit path with a more wheelchair friendly grade.

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MIKE WAZOWSKI in DCA

This week, in preparation of the release of Monsters U, the Mike Wazowski character was out for meet and greets.  It’s a rarity to see him and this younger, brighter version interacting with folks.

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The meet and greet in Hollywood Land is a well themed overlay of an existing facade opposite the bathrooms nearest the Hyperion Theatre

 

HOLD THE PRESSES!

The new MiceChat Podcast has been released and it is blowing away our previous download records. Take a listen as Dusty, Doug and Joe fill you in on what’s opening this summer at theme parks everywhere as well as the latest Disneyland gossip.

Direct Download | Subscribe on iTunes

MiceChat Podcast listeners get a free audio book from http://audiblepodcast.com/MiceChat

And that should do it for the Disneyland Resort this week.  Do you have concerns after the recent incident in ToonTown?  How do you feel about the railings that are being installed throughout the park?  Let us know in the comments below.  See you soon In The Parks!

 

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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20 Comments

Comments for In The Parks: Bad week for Disneyland ToonTown are now closed.

  1. The Toontown handrails don’t even suprise me. Toontown seems to be the one land that just gets worse and worse every year it’s open. Even the embarrassingly neglected Tomorrowland gets a small new ride or 2.0 version of a ride every decade.

    • Yes, it does sort of seem like the land of the lost. It’s just been a steady decline for ToonTown with no additions to keep it relevant. I really wouldn’t mind if they closed it and redeveloped the whole area. Give it to the Muppets, Star Wars or Marvel!

      • I love the idea of a Muppets area! If Disney had the money I might suggest throwing Roger Rabbit over to Hollywoodland in DCA and just doing away with Muppet Vision altogether and creating a Muppet dark ride where Roger is now and changing Gadgets Go Coaster to something related to The Great Gonzo. Maybe expand traditional ToonTown to the right and the Muppets area to the left as you walk under the train tracks. Let’s be honest it would be nice to just have Donald, Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, and Daisy with actual meet and greet areas. Isn’t that what ToonTown was designed to be anyway? The Muppets would get their own meet and greets with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo.

      • I don’t even really acknowledge Toontown as a part of Disneyland proper. When friends visit, I tell them we just ignore that part of the park.

  2. Toontown should go to the Muppets and MAYBE we’ll finally get the “Great Muppet Movie Ride”.

  3. I’m kind of surprised how I’ve neglected Toontown as a go to place in Disneyland. It’s just a tucked away place that if we don’t visit, it’s not the end of the world. If Disney is listening, they should be concerned. But, the PeopleMover tracks are still up. There’s too many people getting paid to neglect parts of the park.

  4. Why are railings going up on ROOFS??

    • I agree. Many of those railings look terrible and seem unnecessary, especially where guests are not allowed anyway. Safety is important, but a properly trained employee is a better solution. In more dangerous maintenance situations where a worker would need to be near the edge, they could use tethers instead. Are these railings required on all California buildings?

      • They are required in any area where an employee may need to enter to perform their job. This includes the changing of the lamps in fixtures that light the hills behind ToonTown. Unfortunately, Disneyland has been singled out for enforcement at a time when the state is cash-strapped.

  5. It seems as if there is always something in decline in ToonTown. I wouldn’t mind if they shuttered it and re-Imagineered it as a Disney Villains subland to Fantasyland. Call it Villain’s Cove or something and create a path lined with scary, leafless trees. Different paths branch out to a few smaller, but well-done attractions or walk-thrus dedicated to the classic Villains. The centerpiece can be Maleficent’s Castle, which would be a sort of opposite to Sleeping Beauty Castle on a smaller scale. A permanent Villains meet and greet could be installed in there.

  6. I don’t think Toontown is irrelevant, it’s still a fully immersive home to Mickey and friends.
    And Roger Rabbit is still a great dark ride, I would call it a D ticket. I wonder if the people who think Toontown is irrelevant have kids. Toontown may not have gotten any new rides, but it’s at least complete, unlike Tomorrowland. And I wouldn’t say that the Muppets are more relevant than Mickey, actually I consider the Muppets old, even ancient technology. And they’re only going to look older as time goes by. I’m not saying they’re not entertaining, but in the age of CGI, they’re going to look increasingly like old technology.

    • I agree, Toontown needs all the help it can get, but please don’t get rid of it. It’s where Mickey and friends. It took me a long time to get over them replacing Mickey’s Toontown Fair at WDW with Storybook Circus. And I really would rather not go down that road again. Not now. Especially with the storyline saying this is Mickey’s true home.

    • Ditto re Toontown, Disneykin Kid. Children love it, and the Mouse and his pals need a place of their own to call home.

      And on a totally unrelated note, I miss the Country Bear Jamboree!!!!! Winnie just doesn’t cut it for me.

  7. About the railings – there once was a time when you picked the right people to climb heights, etc. People who weren’t afraid of heights and were careful and knew what they were doing. But now it seems like everything has to be dumbed down to protect everyone.

  8. I agree DIsneykin, this is complete nonsense instituted by OSHA. They are absolutely ruining what makes Disneyland so aesthetically pleasing and unique. The park relies on its impeccable theme to suspend disbelief of reality.

    • There are people that have fallen off of or tripped on 6″ curbs. And I have at times almost fallen when a step I was expecting (faux curb) WASN’T there. They cannot protect everyone from every potential hazard. At some point, people have to take responsibility for themselves.

      There are areas of the world (Grand Canyon) where there are NO barriers from potential deadly accidents, and people appear to be abel to negotiate them without killing or injuring themselves.

  9. toontown is fine but needs some little rides for it. i love the way toontown looks. could sure use some updating.

  10. Toontown has seen better days, and after a recent trip to the park was not terribly crowded….I do not visit that area of the park too often, but I dont remember when the Jolly Trolly became stationary as opposed to a third attraction. I do believe it has potential to become a really fun land possibly by removing houses and reimagining them into rides…..aimed at really small kids like a little boat ride or something. Tomorrowland is falling into that same slump that Toontown has fallen into. Wether it be deserted innoventions, the unused upstairs to the starcade, the entire abandoned rocket rod/people mover track, or the available space surrounding space mountain there is soooo much room for “a great big beautiful tomorrow”.

  11. Great update to start a weekend. Thank you!!

  12. Considering Disney is making record breaking profits and DL charges the most out of all the SoCal parks, why can’t they dip into their profits and make some vast improvements to a very wear-dated park? They need to bring the magic back because all I’m seeing is greed.