Disneyland Resort Anniversary, Splash Troubles, and Updates

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

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

frontpagepic_ITP_DL

Published on July 12, 2013 at 3:00 am with 51 Comments

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure survived the 4th of July holiday mega-week and came out just fine.  The lighter than normal crowds were helped, in part, by annual passholder block-out dates, and made for a far more relaxed atmosphere and more navigable walkways. Let’s not forget that there is plenty to see on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment and more issues with Splash Mountain figures. We also give our brief thoughts on the the Salute to 58 Years of Magic event that was held at the park this past Tuesday.  And don’t forget that Wednesday is Disneyland’s birthday!

is-1.php

Disneyland Park – A Salute to 58 Years of Magic

Disneyland celebrated its 58th anniversary this past Tuesday with special presentations by Disney artist and historian Stacia Martin. The event, held inside the Main Street Opera House, was for Annual Passholders only and wrist band registration was required for a seat.

IMG_2161

IMG_2163-2

The house was full and all of the fans eagerly awaited the beginning of the presentation.  Then, just before Stacia took the stage, a request was made that there would be no photography of any kind during the presentation.  The previous week’s event did not have this restriction, but this was a change to the program that we were happy to comply with.  Still, it did not help us in conveying just how good the presentation actually was.

Focusing on Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, Stacia warmly guided the crowd through a collection of rare imagery and audio from the opening days of these two original lands.  One of our favorite clips was from the opening day of Disneyland in which an atomic chain reaction was demonstrated with the use of mousetraps and ping pong balls.  There was even a theme song for Tomorrowland.  Very sci-fi with lots of theremin.

There will be one more presentation like this that will focus on Main Street U.S.A.  It will be held on July 16, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. : Main Street, U.S.A. & Disneyland in 1955.  Passholders may begin registration at 12:00 noon at the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House in Disneyland. Registration must be completed in person at the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House on the day of the event only.

If you have the chance, go try to get a seat at one of the two performances.  It’s a wonderful look at Disneyland park history.

TOONTOWN TROLLYLESS

While popping into Toontown to check on the peeling hill behind Minnie’s house, (yes, still peeling), we noticed something.

IMG_1971

IMG_1973

Go look behind Minnie’s house for premium peeling paint.

IMG_1979

The Jolly Trolly has been removed from the station. No word on whether or not the change is permanent or if it is just for refurbishment.

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN

Big Thunder Mountain is still surrounded by construction walls.  It will be like this for some time to come still.  We are seeing more scaffolding creep up the outer surfaces of the rock work as exterior repainting continues.

IMG_1983

IMG_1989

IMG_1994

IMG_1995

 

Rainbow Ridge looks wonderful as the town gets ever closer to completion.

IMG_1996

IMG_1997

IMG_2000

IMG_2002

IMG_2003

IMG_2007

IMG_2018

IMG_2021

IMG_2024

IMG_2028

IMG_2031

 

We also see that track work is still being refined as the ties are still being placed into the coaster track.

IMG_2040

IMG_2044

IMG_2046

SPLASH MOUNTAIN PROBLEMS…AGAIN

This was a story we have been sitting on for a while in the hopes that it would fix itself. Sadly, we really need to draw attention to some maintenance issues. In the final big scene of the ride, at the Steamboat covered in animatronic figures, the entire top row of dancing birds was stationary, not moving at all.  We understand that problems arise in a theme park.  You can’t shut an entire ride down simply because three figures among 50 are not functioning.  However, these are noticeable props in the ride which have been broken for weeks.

IMG_2116

Aside from the broken figures, there were more issues inside.

Starting off, the ride looks just fine.  It’s when you get into the show scenes that things go downhill, pun intended.  In the scene below, Brer Bear used to bob up and down.

IMG_2123

Stationary Bear

He is currently stationary.  Not bobbing up and down and no movement at all on the figure.  Not a deal breaker as it still conveys the story. But would be great if he was moving as designed. Okay moving on.

Glancing above at the opossum family we see that they are all motionless.  Funny in a way really, but again, not something that the passive guest would notice.

IMG_2130_2

Playing opossum.

Next we see that our troubled Brer Rabbit figure on the track above the flume is not functioning properly.  Yes, the figure is moving, but the cart he is supposed to be propelling along the track to be “moving on” is still.

IMG_2131-2

 

Thankfully everything in the Laughing Place was working properly.  Even the water spouts were jumping and spurting.  The next opossum family and the rabbit family, even the vultures before the lift hill were all functioning just right.

After the drop, and back into the big finale show scene, things took a bad turn for the worse.  Rounding the corner we see that the Raccoon figure is playing solo while his Raccoon friend who should be there playing the harmonica is out for repairs.  Next,

IMG_2139

 

Next, the big focal point of the scene featured not three, but 5 total motionless figures.  The steamboat that should be teetering back and forth was still, and four of it’s figures stood, mouths agape, frozen, while the music they were supposed to have been singing played on.

IMG_2144-2

We know, pics don’t really convey a lack of motion, but these were frozen.

IMG_2149

The fox on the left, was motionless too.

IMG_2153_2

Off to the side, even Mr. Blue Bird was frozen in this position.

Running a living, breathing, interactive environment like DIsneyland is a huge undertaking.  We applaud the work that the front line cast members, the maintenance crews, and even management all do to make this place as magical as it is.

But, if the Disney company wants to demand premium pricing for it’s theme parks, hotels and other experiences we feel that there should be premium upkeep.  This situation with the three figures on the steamboat has lasted for at least the past three weeks.  Three weeks of a less than perfect conclusion to a ride, despite everyone paying full price to get in.  We understand things can’t just shut down because of a few features on a ride not operating.  But with this many issues, and with the prices being commanded, it is something that should have been addressed sooner.  Do you agree?

 MANSION FASTPASS WORK

There is some landscaping work being taken care of near the seasonal Haunted Mansion Fastpass machines.  Nothing major, but still worth a mention.

IMG_2154

 

is.php

MEANWHILE IN DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

The park continues to look wonderful and operate with polish and finesse.

IMG_6682

Buena Vista Street still has its trolly.

IMG_6683

IMG_6684

We LOVE the citizens of Buena Vista Street and are so happy to see that they made it beyond the one year birthday of the revamped park. Let’s hope they stick around for a good long time.

IMG_6713

IMG_6719

The fountains were on full blast this week in the hot sun.

IMG_6721

Once again, Grizzly was commanding some of the longest wait times during the day.

MORE TO EXPLORE

We have two fascinating podcasts for your today. The MiceChat Podcast is seeing record downloads for it’s latest show featuring Ursula the Sea Witch and Bob Gurr. It’s not to be missed.

Next up is a behind the scenes look at the making of Cars Land. The show is loaded with imagineers and designers responsible for DCA 2.0.

RSS Feed | Direct Link | iTunes Link

That should just about do it for In the Parks from the Disneyland Resort this week.

 

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.

Browse Archived Articles by

51 Comments

Comments for Disneyland Resort Anniversary, Splash Troubles, and Updates are now closed.

  1. Word on the street regarding the audioanimatronics on the steamboat at Splash is that due to a lack of proper fall protection Disney maintenance is unable to gain access to fix those figures, and that the installation of the required fall protection would necessitate a major refurbishment of the attraction and of course a prolonged closure of Splash…

    • i would expect more things of this nature to occur at other attractions too because of this. its an unfortunate expectation as of now

    • Just wrap a cast member in bubblewrap and be done with it! Nonsence!~

    • I hope you’re right, AdvFroGuy, because they are (and have been) working on fall protection across the park. It will only be a matter of time before it’s fixed.

      Minor nitpick: I believe the author meant to write that the porcupine figure is playing solo, not the raccoon. Anyway, I really miss the raccoon; he’s one of my favorites.

      • It will only be a matter of time before it’s fixed.

        That is what we hoped would happen with the Yeti at Animal Kingdom.
        Disney is asking premium prices and because of that we expect the full experience. If there is something wrong with safety measurements regarding repairing personal then fix it now, the problem isn’t going away by itself.
        They are prepared to fork out billions to build new cruise ships and DVC hotels so they must be able to spent the money for QUICK installations of security measures, working day and night, to fix it.

      • The problem is that with maintenance, there is no direct recoupment of cost. They can advertise a new attraction or a new cruise ship, but how do you suggest they advertise and effectively get money back on a “now-working animatronic!”

    • The full story of the whole fall-protection scenario has not yet fully been explained. I’m not defending any legitimate deficiencies by Disney with regard to worker safety. But it seems that 50 years of safety is irrelevant in the face of new interpretations of state regulations.

      In the past, existing constructions were “grandfathered” in–witness the old Peoplemover which could not be built today as it was. Suddenly, Disney is having to correct problems that have never existed. Is this the fault of state regulators or Disney lawyers? I have no idea. But it seems to be intrusive and extreme.

      In Disney practice, safety trumps any other consideration., We know that there have been significant, even fatal, lapses (Columbia and Big Thunder). But worker safety has a good track record. Nobody has ever been injured crossing the two bridges in the Pirates show building. But after 46 years they are closed without any alternative.

      On the other hand, the Space Mountain debacle shows gross stupidity on Disney’s and the contractor’s part.

      I don’t know what the answer is here. But what I see is really dumb. It looks like nobody had the good sense to make this work. Safety issues can be corrected in a timely fashion without killing the entertainment value of the attraction. The question seems to be whether this is the fault of Disney, the regulators, or some combination of both.

  2. Wonderful update Norm! Thank you for the great pictures and commentary

  3. Interesting that the 1955 Tomorrowland theme song had a theremin in it, since the Adventureland/Frontierland presentation claimed that Disney’s first use of a theremin wasn’t until Rainbow Caverns a few years later. I suspect the same people put both presentations together, so it’d odd that they didn’t check facts between them

    >>The Rainbow Caverns’ soundtrack was the first time the theremin was used in a Disney project.<<
    http://micechat.com/34759-disneyland-independence-week/

  4. “Running a living, breathing, interactive environment like DIsneyland is a huge undertaking. We applaud the work that the front line cast members, the maintenance crews, and even management all do to make this place as magical as it is.

    But, if the Disney company wants to demand premium pricing for it’s theme parks, hotels and other experiences we feel that there should be premium upkeep.”

    WELL SAID!

  5. My take on the Jolly Trolley… either fix it and put it to use again, or get rid of it and the track.

    Making it a “play thing” to draw kids so their parents get dragged to the DVC sales booth is tacky. Seeing a “trolley” chained down is simply bad show.

    If they’re not going to use it they should fill in the track… being unused, it’s just a trip-hazard.

    Use it or lose it!

    • I completely agree. Though, in its current state of decline, we might say that of the entire land. That’s a lot of space that could be used for something really cool. The only thing I’d miss is Roger Rabbit.

      • I rode the Jolly Trolly exactly once in the 20 years it’s been open.

        I don’t see why if they re-did Toontown and put some kind of E ticket for maybe Frontierland or Fantasyland that they couldn’t somehow save Roger Rabbit. Could even possibly have the queue over by Small World somehow. This is Disney, get creative!!!

  6. When I went to Disneyland a few weeks ago, I saw the Splash Mountain figures not moving, but I just decided to ignore it as something that just happens. As you stated, “We understand that problems arise in a theme park. You can’t shut an entire ride down simply because three figures among 50 are not functioning.” I just felt that as a fan, I would not let that ruin my trip, that I should pick my battles. But yeah, there should be a bit more upkeep, but I just let this go at that as something that will probably be addressed in the future when the ride gets shut down for another rehab, as it probably will.

  7. I have faith that the long delay in Alice’s outdoor track being fixed and them taking their time with Splash Mountain is for creating a solid permanent fixes. Thankfully we have the revamped Timber Mountain Log ride at Knotts this summer.

  8. I saw the same problem with Splash Mountain weeks ago too. Since there were multiple figures not moving in the same location it made me think that there was an electrical problem. Whatever the problem, they need to address it soon and not wait until there is a refurb. Splash is very popular in the Summer and the final big scene with the Steamboat is very popular. It cannot be missed both by the riders of Splash but also by the riders of the train. It really is the worst and most obvious lack of maintenance I can think of in all the time I have been to Disneyland.

  9. the last show scene in splash has been down for at least a month

  10. Radiator Springs Racers looks like crap as well.

    I rode last Sunday 5 times and:

    - No tipping tractors. (nothing new here)
    - Luigi in the tire shop was stationary.
    - No white wall tire effect.

    This is really unacceptable for a new ride.

    • This is a very valid point, but, I argue that the Racers problems, while just as glaring, are far more understandable. Racers is a brand new ride that is a lot more technologically complex. New rides are notorious for these ongoing glitches until they get things into a groove. They will eventually get things working in there, we hope.

      Splash was opened in June of 1989, and has had countless refurbishments and renovations. They should be at the point now where there are few surprises and a repair is a routine procedure, even for the more intricate effects.

      • Maybe they should have used simple tipping tractors instead of technologically complex ones. ;)

      • IMO, a ride that is over a year old shouldn’t really be considered “new” anymore and any issues related to it’s newness should wear off in 6-9 months. It’s just bad show.

      • There’s no excuse for the Racers problem. It’s been like this since only a few months after opening, and they’ve yet to fix it. There are no OSHA rules at play here. The tractors are right there at ground level. This is just Disney being lazy because that one little thing isn’t going to cause a sudden drop in attendance.

      • Splash Mountain may have opened in 1989, but the majority of their AAs are from the 1974 attraction America Sings. So that dates SM about 15 more years!

        I noticed the SM steamship and animals not working while riding the train Sunday and I, too, made the comment (to my husband) about how galling it is that Disney charges so much to only give poor show like that. It was just so glaringly obvious that something was broken.

  11. At the WDW version of the same scene, one of the top right hens wasn’t working during our visit on July 3rd. When we returned on July 5th, all AA was working and an errant GE lightbulb box that had been left behind on one of the Laughing Place pieces of rockwork had been removed.

    WDW can fix the top tier AA on their riverboat scene during overnight maintenance, so I’d wager that DL should be able to discover some sort of fall-protection to accomplish same?

    • If only CalOSH was as “reasonable” as Florida’s equivalent, there wouldn’t be issues. However, the two parks operate under completely different regulatory environments.

  12. I bet if they got enough complaints about it at City Hall they might speed things up a bit. I’ve only been to City Hall once but it was to commend a Cast Member for outstanding service which I feel isn’t done enough by visitors.

    • Their paycheck should be thanks enough. We live in a ridiculously entitled era, where people think consumers don’t have a right to complain, and that they need to THANK companies and employees for simply doing their jobs.

      • Yes, but when an employee goes above and beyond their job, it should be noted. The same goes for when a Cast Member is unprofessional.

      • This may be an old thread that doesn’t get read, but I am very offended by EC82′s comment. If anyone is reading, understand that a paycheck is NOT any kind of thank you from anyone. It is compensation for a job regardless if it’s done well or not. When a job is done well, commendation is more than appropriate. Who is the one with the extreme sense of entitlement? The one who demands to exercise their right to complain or the one who goes above and beyond their duties without expecting anything extra than due compensation.

  13. You’re 100% right that premium prices should command premium upkeep … and premium service. Frankly, we get neither at Disneyland. I agree that MOST cast members do a good job, but it is genuinely impossible to deny (without making bad excuses) that guest service at Disneyland just is not what it should be, not for nearly $100 a day. But, Disneyland is “good enough,” and as long as there is not a decline in attendance, the message that is being sent to management is that “good enough is good enough.”

    What a shame that a show isn’t working properly. You’re right that running Disneyland is a major undertaking, but can you imagine going to see a Broadway show like “Wicked” and having major effects not working, or other noticeable aspects not functioning? And can you imagine what you would think if you complained and the management didn’t do anything about it?

    The “fall protection” story sounds legit. But why aren’t these attractions grandfathered into OSHA rules? And why does Disney, with an astonishing army of lawyers, just sit back and take it? Pretty soon, the entire place will look like the Alice in Wonderland ride thanks to OSHA and Disney’s seeming lack of concern about what this does to the business they operate.

    Then again, Legal runs roughshod over EVERYTHING Disney does. Their lawyers seem to think absolutely nothing about guest experience. That’s perfectly illustrated by the “no pictures” stipulation at a Disneyland presentation. Lawyers have become paranoid that if Disney doesn’t own every single conceivable (and some inconceivable) right to everything that is shown, they have to tell people not to take pictures. Its what turns a “fan event” like the D23 Expo into an experience that makes fans feel like they are intruding on some kind of top-secret laboratory, with security guards patrolling show halls to make sure no one is taking — God forbid — a PHOTOGRAPH! Disney is remarkably paranoid, remarkably cheap where it counts (and flagrant where it doesn’t — look at “Lone Ranger”), and completely unconcerned about that little group of people called their consumer.

    Every day, I lose more and more respect for and confidence in a company I once admired and loved with every fiber of my being.

  14. I can also testify that the Splash effects have down at least a month. I visited the first weekend of June and noticed the troubles with Br’er Bear, the opossums, Mr. Bluebird, and the Steamboat finale. As I don’t get to the parks very often, it was definitely disappointing–but I can understand maintenance issues will crop up unexpectedly. What’s surprising is that it’s still a problem weeks later.

    Things like the ToonTown peeling paint bothers me less…that seems like a pretty obscure spot, all in all, but each of these things do really add up.

    I have to say that overall we were a little let down on our last visit–with the “new Matterhorn” and the loss of our favorite ice cream window (best cookie ice cream sandwiches anywhere) as well as the wonderful quaint coffee shop…..it’s just not the same. There are still plenty of gems, but we lost three our our absolute favorites in the resort.

    Br’er Dan

    (Is it wrong that I’m relieved that Lone Ranger was a bust and we won’t end up with Johnny Depp animatronics in the middle of Big Thunder Mountain?)

    • You could be right on about that last remark, Br’er Dan. I wouldn’t want to see that happen either, but from the standpoint of a holder of about two shares of Disney stock :) , I would have liked a better showing by “Lone Ranger” at the box office.

    • The new Matterhorn is the worst. Those bobsleds are a huge misfire, and I swear they’ve slowed the thing down – to nearly a crawl in some places.

  15. Jolly Trolley has been gone for years, hasn’t it? Something tells me that thing ain’t coming back.

    The whole back of the park is a complete mess, IMO.