Disneyland Resort Anniversary, Splash Troubles, and Updates

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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.

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

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The fox on the left, was motionless too.

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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.

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MEANWHILE IN DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

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

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Buena Vista Street still has its trolly.

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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.

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

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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.

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  • JCSkipr79

    Your new park Pres. came from a park where NOT ONE SINGLE EFFECT or AA works/worked, so I am not surprised. But if CalOsha is to blame why are the other AAs not working? They are not exactly in a fall zone.

    • Internitty

      Glad someone finally said it and with problems appearing in CarsLand as well there’s every chance of a complete downhill slide.

  • sdavidek

    We noticed the same issues on Splash Mountain on June 1st. I agree, when you pay a premium price, you expect a premium product. Still had a great time anyhow ;-)

  • Disneylandfan85

    Well, maybe after Big Thunder reopens from its long overhaul (or maybe even before), maybe they’ll shut down Splash Mountain next and overhaul that for many months.

  • CoreneD

    I was in the park May 15-19th & I think the big Splash finale was fine on my first day, but the “ladies” were still by the last couple of times I rode. So that means it’s been down since May 18 or 19th! That’s almost 2 MONTHS! Completely unacceptable. I think the B’rer Bear may have been still then too. Can’t speak for all the other animatronics, but as someone who only goes to the park every 5-6 months, I still noticed it. With Splash, given how much the ride revolves around the animatronics, I don’t think even the casual guest could be oblivious to the problems – especially in the finale! I was really surprised & disappointed when the problem was ongoing for two days in a row in May – I naively thought it was something that would be fixed overnight when I first saw it. It actually felt a bit creepy to me when they were still – spoils the effect & wonderful joy of that ride when parts of it are not functioning. And I too agree – the premium prices do call for premium upkeep & maintenance. Even if that means shutting the ride down for a few days, this should have been taken care of ages ago!
    I also agree that after a year, the problems with RSR should be ironed out by now. Are the cameras at the finish line working again? They were down when I was there in May too. Thanks for the updates. Love ‘em!

  • Haven

    I whole heartedly agree that special effects within an attraction should be in working order, especially as you pointed out that prices to get in are higher than ever and attendance is WAY up. I tried to book a trip to Disneyland for Labor Day week and the price for a package was so cray cray that we ended up booking Knott’s instead. $1,800 for three nights for two people at Grand Californian….yikes (before travel expenses, food, souvenirs, blah blah). Get in there and fix those figures!

  • DisW

    The ugly look of the current Alice in Wonderland ride, with its horrible vinyl skirts and hideous safety rails (presumably temporary), should be a lesson to everyone what truly is at the heart of various problems cropping up at the Disney parks in Anaheim, including the malfunctioning figures in Splash Mountain. Or, for that matter, the tacky safety rails installed awhile ago in parts of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. Namely, a state bureaucracy devoid of common sense but infused with the wisdom of a silly “nanny.”

    Sadly enough, California’s government mirrors its people, and so we’re all partly to blame for the specter of good intentions (and nonsensical inspectors) gone awry.

  • Internitty

    “But with this many issues, and with the prices being commanded, it is something that should have been addressed sooner. Do you agree?”

    Completely, hopefully this issue won’t become the same type of issue the Yeti in Expedition Everest is.

  • Tinkbelle

    Have they planted any trees yet to replace the ones that fell around the back of ROA? I haven’t heard anything about that in awhile and that is a big issue to me. I hate to think that Disney is dropping the ball on something that important.

    • CoreneD

      When I was there in May I rode in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain & asked the Captain about that. He seemed to be under the impression that it would take years for new trees to grow up & fill in those gaps. He didn’t seem to think that they’d be bringing in any already large trees. Now it’s not his area of expertise, but he was up on all the fallen trees around there as he rides the river regularly. But who knows, hopefully he’s wrong.

  • SpectroMan

    What I don’t get is why the Splash figures crash so often to begin with. I thought they were much more bulletproof than this?

    • TRONAlex

      Remember, the figures are from America Sings, they are very old.

  • bayouguy

    There seems to be more than enough broken elements in Disneyland, DCA and WDW attractions to open up a 3rd gate park. This business plan just doesn’t make sense. But when something goes on the fritz at their homes, I’ll bet they’re on it pronto.

  • TRONAlex

    As far as Splash and the decline, this is what happens when the Managment from Florida runs Disneyland.

  • TRONAlex

    Now Disneyland is staring to look like WDW and WDW is starting to look like Disneyland as far as the upkeep. Food for thought…

  • Micah

    What do you think the chances are that they would have these Splash Mountain fixes in by December? Or do you think there will be a major shutdown before then similar to Big Thunder’s refurb timeline? Hoping that both Big Thunder and Splash Mountains are fully up and running prior to our trip.

  • danielz6

    EC82 have you ever been to Tokyo Disney resort? I just visited for the first tme and I can tell you that the quality of experience that you seek exists there. Everything from ride upkeep to cast performance to actual attractions easily supersedes anything we have in the US. Every single ride and show that I experienced either equalled or surpassed its similar offering here in the US. I recommend to every Disneyland and WDW AP to instead of renewing your AP save that money and the money you’d usually use for annual park visits and invest in a 4 day Tokyo Disney vacation. It will be the best theme park experience of your life.