We have a mixed report for you this week from the Disneyland Resort.  While the park is stunningly beautiful in some areas, there are a few spots that could use a little bit of help.  We look at some abandoned projects around the resort and wonder why they have not been attended to.  We also take a return trip to Splash Mountain to see if the problem with the broken animatronics has been addressed.  But, in all fairness, there are other matters that management is grappling with at the moment.  The Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment is the biggest visible project in the resort at the moment and we scan the copper-colored peaks for any new developments.


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Disneyland is rolling along through the busy Summer season as if on auto-pilot. The park has been entertaining guests in a mostly uneventful season. Though it seems like the crowds have been a little lighter, they are really just better spread around the entire resort, making things feel more manageable than what we have come to expect from the summer season. We can thank Cars Land for that.

 TOWN SQUARE AND MAIN STREET

The characters set the right tone in Town Square, greeting guests at the beginning of the day and interacting with as many as they can.

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New flowers were planted in the tip of Town Square.

Still no visible progress at Starbucks.  But you can be sure that things are moving at a frantic pace inside.

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JOLLY TROLLY RETURNS TO TOONTOWN

After a brief hiatus, the Jolly Trolly has returned to Toontown.  While still stationary, it is now gleaming and sparkling with fresh paint and surface treatments.  WONDERFUL, now, get it moving again!

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BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN REFURBISHMENT

There was a brief closure of Thunder Mountain Trail this week as part of the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment.  We also noticed that they are attempting to cover up the dynamite-eating goat when it is not being worked on.  Here are pics from the project site.

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From Fantasyland, heading towards Big Thunder Ranch.
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What’s that?
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Goat under bag with a hole in his side.
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Construction crews climb the outside.

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Approaching the trail from Frontierland we see this sign advising you to walk all the way around, via Fantasyland, to get to the back side of Frontierland.




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It appears that the facade work on Rainbow Ridge is nearly complete.  It looks great from here.

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SPLASH DIMINISHED?

Two weeks ago we covered the questionable state of Disneyland’s Splash Mountain attraction.  While many animatronics along the rides path were not fully functional none were as noticeably frozen as the figures on the large steamboat at the finale of the ride. You can’t expect things to be fixed over night these days, so we allowed a couple weeks for maintenance to be performed.

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Two weeks later, the same figures are still non-functioning.  What is really bad, however, is that many readers pointed out that the same figures have been frozen since as early as May.  What is the real issue here and why has it not been fixed?  There has to be more to the situation than fall protection as the entire steamship is surrounded by water which normally negates the need for fall protection in most cases. And  ropes can be attached to a safety harness for compliance as well. There has been more than enough time for maintenance routines to be created for each and every animatronic on this attraction.

Splash Mountain is a key attraction in the resort. Leaving it in this diminished condition is a real shame and far below the standard we expect from a Disney attraction. It can and should be fixed. A consultation with their OSHA overlords is advisable.

TEMPORARY LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS

Disney theme parks are notorious for allowing a temporary situation to become a permanent fixture. Remember when America Sings closed on April 10th, 1988?  A promising sign hung outside for literally years that read, “Sorry, We’re closed to imagineer a brand new attraction.”

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The building was not used again for an attraction until the infamous Tomorrowland 1998 redo that brought Innoventions and left many asking the question, “10 years for that?”  That same year, after being part of the debut of new Tomorrowland, the Submarine Voyage was closed in September with the promise of a new attraction by 2003.  Again, nothing.  Then, finally in 2007 the Subs returned, after nine long years, with the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, but a wonderful return by the original ride system.

Along with the tomorrowland redo of 1998, came the ill-fated Rocket-Rods.  We all know what happened.  With the redo of the land the PeopleMover was removed in favor of what was hoped to be the new flagship attraction in the land.  Not only was it met with mixed reviews, but it was highly problematic.  Rocket Rods closed on September 25 of 2000, just two short years after opening.  Promises of refurbishment were broken when in April of 2001 it was announced that the ride would not be returning.

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So, here we are, 13 years later with no replacement for what was supposed to be a temporary solution, still looming over Tomorrowland. Rocket Rods appears to be the record holder for this ignominious distinction.  But really this begs the question, “Why is this acceptable?”

Yes we have seen the complete rebuild of Space Mountain, which was worth the wait.  No question.  Yes the replacement of the Rocket Rods queue with an interactivel new dark ride, Buzz Lightyear Astro-Blasters, was a success.  Yes we have also enjoyed the overhaul of Star Tours and it is truly a brilliant ride redo that breathed new life into an aging experience.

But, when guests are faced with a 33% price increase over the past 5 years, why is something like a rusting track deteriorating in the skies above Tomorrowland something that is acceptable? It might as well be a billboard advertising that the future is broken. Hopefully the rumors of a new attraction utilizing part of the PeopleMover track will prove true and come sooner rather than later.

We are also going on three years now with the temporary CalOSHA fixes for Alice in Wonderland.  It was reported that we could be seeing a total overhaul of this classic that would address the issues by the 60th anniversary of Disneyland. But why is this taking so long?

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When Disneyland is commanding around $92 a pop for one day one park tickets, is it reasonable to expect a little more than this in a little less time?  What do you think?

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Thankfully Disney California Adventure is still looking wonderful and things are still, for the most part, looking and running just fine.

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New pop-up vending has appeared near Disney Junior Live that capitalizes on the properties from the show.

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The Tower of Terror looms behind the Redcar.


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Tony Baxter Interview

The MicePod’s Season Pass Podcast has an AMAZING two part interview with beloved retired Imagineer, Tony Baxter.

Part One

Part Two


That about wraps things up with news and information from the Disneyland Resort.  We love the resort and want it to be the very best that it can be.  Sure there are little bumps along the way, but Disneyland is still a magical place that creates memories that last a lifetime. We just hope that the powers that be will take it upon themselves to address the few glaring issues in time for the big 60th anniversary in just 2 years.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! We’ll see you again soon. . . In The Parks!

  • RodeToad

    Just wondering: Does anyone know if the serious decline in upkeep of things like Splash Mountain, have anything to do with the new park president from Florida? Even if it started as an OSHA issue, you would think having that ride in such poor condition all summer would be something you would want to be fixed ASAP.

    • LoveStallion

      Only time will tell, right? He hasn’t been around long enough to get a serious sample, but given his spotty track record at Animal Kingdom, I guess I’m unfairly expecting the worst from him.

    • Westsider

      The Splash Mt. frozen animatronics are directly related to the self-imposed safety regulations TDA brought on itself to try and impress DOSH inspectors. It should also be noted that all of the same types of fall protection issues exist in Florida, and Orlando executives know about them after Meg Crofton took a tour of all the impacted Anaheim attractions, but the same fixes have not been applied to identical WDW environments. CM “safety” is more important in Anaheim than it is in Orlando, due to political differences between Sacramento and Tallahassee.

      And Michael Colglazier? This is a man who was in charge of Animal Kingdom before his promotion. He only had six (6) rides to take care of, and he couldn’t even do that. We all know about the Yeti on Everest, but have you seen the condition of Kali Rapids or Dinosaur lately? They are in horrendous shape, and there’s not a rehab planned in sight. A group of us Disneyland CM’s went to WDW last year, and the inferior show conditions of WDW were at their absolute worst on the half dozen rides at Animal Kingdom. Just pathetic. But that’s Michael Colglazier’s legacy.

      It’s up to Mr. Colglazier to prove he can actually run a theme park. This isn’t rocket science, it’s just a theme park. But it’s not Michael Colglazier’s park, it’s Walt’s park and Mr. Colglazier better darn well start acting like it. Mr. Colglazier has 29 months left in his Disneyland contract, let’s see how this one ends. Tick, tick, tick…

    • Norman Gidney

      I think that it’s still pretty early to be holding Mr Colgazier responsible for these types of old things at the moment. He is still a relative newbie as president to the resort. Always approachable, Michael has always been welcoming and eager to hear what the guests in the park have to say and has even asked guests for their thoughts on things. So, we decided to share our thoughts on the ongoing maintenance issues.

      Some of these issues may be outside of Micheal’s view at the moment, but we hope he quickly adds them to his list (especially Splash, which just looks broken to the average guest, regardless of reason for the stationary animatronics).

    • Susan Hughes

      I remember when Ed Grier was President…and things went to hell in a handbasket. So was it all Ed’s fault? When he was replaced by George Kalogridis, things turned around. So yes, the President of the Disneyland Resort does have an impact on what goes on there.

  • LoveStallion

    Thanks for the video of Splash. When you started discussing this a few weeks ago, it looked troubling in my mind’s eye, but now with video proof, it looks a million times worse. Just wow. I’ve never seen it look so pathetic.

    I guess I had long since given up on the Peoplemover/Rocket Rods track. It’s just there. Personally, I think the bigger problem is having the Astro Orbiter right at the entrance to Tomorrowland. The old ride was more fun than Dumbo because it was so high up. The current location is pointless and also creates traffic logjams.

    Thank you for the great comparison between price increase and park upkeep (or lack thereof). That makes for a really great thesis and I hope it can gain traction. Disney, of course, won’t care, so long as the parks are filled, but if you keep ringing the bell, perhaps more will listen. It’s hard to argue that price increases well beyond inflation are justified when the park experience itself is becoming increasingly half-a**ed.

  • ScottOlsen

    Your points on Tomorrowland are spot on. I would also add the issue with Fort Wilderness and why it was never maintained.

    • Thank you Scott, good point. The fort is a great example of something which was not maintained and then lost.

    • DavePurz

      And don’t the lost of Cascade Peak. That was a beautiful waterfall. I still have some nice pictures of it.

      The Tiki Room had a long stint of disrepair as well. I remember calling Dole and saying, “You guys are sponsoring this mess! Have you SEEN it?” It was eventually rehabbed and as still in pretty good condition today.

      For the super premium prices they charge, there SHOULD be super premium upkeep. I too blame importing execs from Florida. They just don’t value a top notch experience like the folks in Anaheim do.

  • CTMike1079

    Father, Son, and Holy Goat

  • CTMike1079

    Father, Son, and Hole-y Goat

  • gboiler1

    So disappointing on the Tomorrowland stuff, but that land has stumped Disney for years on making it live up to it’s moniker. I’m not making excuses though, get a plan together!
    I am hopeful to be making it out to California next summer and see everything since my last visit in 08. Seems I make it out every 7 years or so to visit relatives.
    I’m lucky enough to have enjoyed America Sings. I sure wish Disney would incorporate that again and update it, something like that or the old Mickey Mouse Review that Orlando had. I got to check out Rocket Rods and that was a big disappointment. Perhaps the People Mover should come back. The TTA in WDW is one of my daughter’s favorites even thought she’ll soon be 15.
    I do have walls and scrims, cover ups, empty sites and the like but at least Disney tries to make things look the best they can but yes it concerns me because part of the magic is lost. I just don’t understand leadership these days, those coming soon signs only fool people for so long.

  • Park Hopper

    If you think Splash Mountain is bad, you should ride Indiana Jones sometime. Recently, I’ve ridden the Matterhorn, and seen one of the Yeti frozen. I’ve been on the Jungle Cruise and seen one of the African Bull elephants frozen. It used to be that something like the elephant or the Splash Mountain figures would cause the ride to be shut down until they could be fixed. It’s very bad show to have such prominent figures frozen in place, especially when you consider that the ongoing Splash Mountain problem can also be seen from the Disneyland Railroad. That’s thousands of people every day that roll past that scene. I can’t see how Disney is not mortified. And this is the summer which means no discounts and only Premium annual pass holders. You know how much money those people are paying to roll or float past broken show scenes. Does Disney honestly think people don’t care? Do they really believe that family of 4, that spend nearly $1000.00 for a day at Disneyland (including meals and trinkets), isn’t going to go home and tell their friends and neighbors that they saw broken figures everywhere. Perhaps their next theme park day will be spent at Leggoland.
    And it is not too early to blame the current president – especially given his track record at Animal Kingdom. He has the power to fix this problem and he’s not doing it. At least remove the broken figures from the attraction. That would look better than what they’ve got now.
    I guess he’s lucky that all corporate attention is currently focused on DCA. But he better watch out, because the 60th is coming and that attention is going to shift back towards Disneyland.

  • ravencroft

    Thank you for making these points. I wholeheartedly agree that Disneyland management should not be making “withdrawals” from the Disney brand. They charge a premium price and they need to be putting a premium experience out there. Especially when the families have to make such a big effort to get to the parks. It really takes some effort to learn where to go and how it all works. Keep up the good reporting and keep asking the difficult questions!

  • jcruise86

    Excellent update, Norm!

    We were there last weekend (and actually passed you in front of the NW corner of Splash Mountain) and were disappointed by the comatose AAs front and center of the riverboat. They might be less annoying, but it seems like a potential bad sign since the new head of Disneyland is the handsome, Harvard guy who officially presided over WDW’s infamous mascot, the ever-broken Yeti at the Animal Kingdom. He might be even more like Iger than Thomas Staggs, another leader who is no demon for details.

    We also noticed and enjoyed a hundred excellent details of things that WERE working (like the projected pirate face/skull) on a chained pirate in a Tom Sawyer Island cave, a very good canoe trip, the thrilling dives of Aladdin’s magic carpet, and the smoothness of our car in the front of California Screamin’.

    Off topic: but I hope the Universal Hollywood Horror NIght is on a Friday or Saturday. Front of the line passes, right? Dinner at Karl Strauss before?

    • Westsider

      Michael Colglazier got his BA from Stanford in ’89 and his Masters from Harvard Business School in ’94. He apparently never took a mechanics class in either school, and he apparently has never had to maintain his own property. He likely has no idea the Splash Mt. animatronics are as bad as they are, but he also has no skills to fix them.

      A shame he doesn’t have an entire Facilities department to do it for him. Oh, wait…

      • jcruise86

        Funny, Westsider! I am so very jealous of anyone who is president or WDW or Disneyland. MC is a nice, good-looking, STANFORD-Harvard guy that Iger sees as his Mini-me. And so I rant about malfunctioning AAs. 🙂 (Seriously, the highly conspicuous Splash AAs on the big boat do bug me just a little–so thanks again for calling attention to them, Norm!)

        How about Michael C’s face photoshopped on one Splash bird for each week or month they remain catatonic?

        How about Kevin Yee flying to California just to trouble shoot our Splash Mtn.?

        We are all Al Lutz! 🙂

        Now go to your widows and shout out with stern expressions: “Remember the Ghost Town Music! The wand above Spaceship Earth! The crab! The craaaaaaaaaab!”

      • Marko50

        LOL! I’m not sure my “widow” could do anything about it. All we have in this house are black widows.

  • Westsider

    It’s ironic that DCA is now the sparkling, relevant, popular park that packs in excited crowds. While Disneyland is the aging, dusty park coasting on nostalgia fumes while the kids in the stroller say “When can we go back to Cars Land?”.

    How do they fix Disneyland by the 60th?

  • notlemc

    Ok, we get it, things at Disneyland need repair. But can these rants about the repairs be done in special update rather than the “In the Parks” updates? We are going on three weeks now with rants about Splash and the broken animatroincs. Yes, we want them all fixed, yes we want the rocket rods back, yes we want Alice fixed to her former glory. But constantly complaining about it on a weekly basis is getting annoying (especially when the same issues are covered over and over, endlessly). I always viewed the “In the Parks” as an update of what is occurred at the parks for that particular week (yes, there were some occasional photos about things that needed fixing). But now, the “In the Parks” has turned into a update simply complaining about all of the things Disney needs to fix. Can we please revert back to the original “In the Parks,” and if readers want to hear about everything at Disneyland that needs to be fixed, create a special update focused on the repairs that need to be done?

    • What else is there? They are working on Big Thunder and Starbucks. That’s it. Nothing else really going on except the poor upkeep at Disneyland. This IS the news.

      I realize that it’s hard for some Disneyland fans to hear the truth, but the fact is that this is the current state of the park. When things are good, we let you know, and when there are problems, we shine a spotlight on them until they get fixed.

      You want a positive update? Tell Disney to fix what’s broken.

      • notlemc

        Don’t get me wrong, I love “In the Parks”, and I do think that there does need to be information on the repairs that need to be done in the park. However, I feel that the extent to which this week’s update focused on the repairs, went way to far.

        Disneyland and DCA are huge parks filled with details. I can think of numerous topics that could be explored in a “In the Parks” rather than harsh and overly exhaustive focus on the repairs that need to be done. Some topics (off the top of my head) include: props/decor in the Main Street Stores, references or hidden gems in the ride queues, the “gags” of toontown, “lost” areas of the resort (motoboat cruise, chalet, etc) hell, even the variety of lightposts throughout the resort and lands the variety of ground pavings could be interesting.

    • Micah

      Seems like a good mix of the good things and the bad things to me in this update. We don’t need to create an illusion that all is great so we can stay in a happy bubble — that’s supposed to be Disney’s job, and they’re being caught flat-footed in maintaining the magic. The squeaky wheel gets oiled — so I appreciate the updates like this being front and center. I really don’t want to be getting my kids all excited with youtube videos showing the final scene in Splash and then have it eerily frozen like that when we visit.

    • unclemike

      Who wants the Rocket Rods back??

      • disneylandanddcafa

        We We We!!! Absolutely loved the Rods… and only having them for 2 years was way to short. We loved them so much we waited for over an hour once, which for us was a huge wait since we went to the park in early December during off peak times… and we always had to ride 4 times, so each of us could be in the front once… always a good argument between our 2 sons which would get to ride in front first… same battle they always had with who got to “drive” on Indy Jones! Always amazed us that people didn’t love this ride… what was wrong with it (other than it was always breaking down!!!)

      • jcruise86

        Not me. I want the Peoplemover back, perhaps on a new OSHA approved track. And I want the Astro-orbiter on top of its exit/entrance.

      • mondo

        I rather have the Rocket Rods back than have Star Wars Speedbikes, (if that is what they are planning :/
        Top of the list is a updated Peoplemover,then a PM type ride, then RR, and last Tron Lightcycles (they really should be indoors only).

    • Wreckless Abrandon

      It seems like you’re only focusing on the negatives yourself. The photos at the end are all positives about DCA, which is still part of the resort.

      Big Thunder, I consider a positive. Starbucks? I won’t get into that.

      There really isn’t much else positive in the news category for Disneyland itself. The obvious lack of maintenance is extremely disappointing. Yes, I wish we knew why things were taking so long to fix or update, but we can only go by what we see. Anything unofficial from a source, CM, etc. is just that, unofficial… a rumor even.

    • Norman Gidney

      That’s actually a good point. An update or article focused on upkeep issues might have been a better place to talk about these concerns. But with news being a little light this week we decided to include this opinion piece on the matter.

      The point of the piece wasn’t so much about complaining that things are so awful, but just why can’t these things be right? Overall the park is in wonderful shape. The big thunder refurb is a good thing. We even think fantasy faire village is great.

      The point of the piece was simply to share Disneyland’s track record with temporary solutions and ask why it always seems to take so long to address the issues. The silver lining that you could take away from all of this might be that, most of the time, they do get to the solution.

    • jcruise86

      Skim.

    • shevys

      Oh please, get over yourself. Go read LaughingPlace.com if you want just sunshine and jelly beans.

  • Micah

    Sorry to see Splash Mountain still having those issues. Do you think maybe they’re going to do a major refurbishment on the ride once Big Thunder’s back up, and that they just don’t want two big rides on that side of the park down at once? We were planning on a Disney trip this December as kind of a Christmas gift to each other and the kids, but decided that it would be better to wait a couple years to give them time to fix these things and polish up those Fantasyland rides for the 60th.

    • jcruise86

      Micah, do your December trip (though maybe avoid the Christmas/New Year crowds. Norm wrote, “Overall the park is in wonderful shape.” I agree.

      Disneyland might be in better shape today than it ever has been or ever will be, so now is a great time to go. The three or four big, broken AAs on the boat on Splash Mtn. stand out so because of the contrast with the rest of the resort.

      If Disneyland’s Splash Mountain were swapped with WDW’s no one besides Kevin Yee and the other Miceager columnist (sorry I forgot your name) might care. People travel further to get to WDW, so these less frequent guests don’t notice the details as many of us do in Anaheim. WDW’s Magic Kingdom will continue to get its 17,000,000 a year for a long time, till Disney lets it become a late night comedy show joke. (And that will happen if things don’t change.)

      • Micah

        Hi, jcruise —

        I’m not in Anaheim (am up here in Oregon), but I used to live in SoCal in the 80s/early 90s and got a few Disney trips in then. I haven’t been back in 22 years, and I’ve been itching to take my little ones there. I have particular fond memories of certain spots in the park — the ambiance of Adventureland with the Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise and a Dole Whip, drifting past the Blue Bayou on Pirates with the fireflies twinkling, riding Big Thunder at night, and the cheery, uplifting theming that adds such depth to Splash Mountain. Those little ambiance details have always mattered tremendously to me, even though I’m a rather infrequent visitor. I don’t expect absolute perfection, but I’d rather have a ride completely closed down for maintenance, showing that Disney cares about getting it right, rather than it being left open to limp along with mediocrity. Anyway, I am super stoked to experience these rides again, when Big Thunder comes back up from refurbishment and they’ve had a chance to really put some ‘spit and polish’ into things like the Fantasyland rides. So the 60th just seems like a better time to aim for in that regard.

  • TacAlert

    ““Why is this acceptable?”

    Because people continue to pay the high increases and passholders continue to pay the high prices for an annual pass.

    Why spend so much on fixing stuff if you are going to keep coming.

  • rstar

    I’m not going to say it’s acceptible, but is it possible that the reason they are not fixing the Splash AAs is that they are planning a major overhaul like they are doing to BTM right now? It’s poor planning, keeping things in non-working order while the timing for an overhaul is a year away. Not to mention bad show as many here have mentioned. And I can’t agree more with you, Dusty- if you feel you can charge a premium price, you better be ready to back it up with a premium show. The audiance WILL notice, and it will come back to bite you at some point. The falling numbers at WDW compared to the other local businesses are becoming obvious, don’t you think?

    • jcruise86

      Then fix it before the overhaul, please.

    • Norman Gidney

      It’s true. There has to be some sort of reason be it safety regulations or some other situation. But, the sad fact is that it has been that way in splash for a few months now.

  • scarymouse

    Exactly on point,There has been a problem for awhile, so we can’t necessarily blame the new guy since most started before his arrival. But then again, he hasn’t done anything to remedy the situation. They have been on track to squeeze every penny out of a patron. Very sad , Let’s hope they will start responding to work orders before the 60th. I hear there is a shortage of engineers, I wonder if this could be the problem? Staffing issues could be a concern, seems as if their numbers are dwindling without replacement. Maybe accounteer could have some input on the this .The amount of money coming in doesn’t seem to even come close to that spent on basic maintenance . I know they are in the business to make a profit, but enough is enough when you can’t even maintain the attractions you already offer must less anything new. And that is a management issue, poor management. Universal has seemed to get it as of late. Disney better wake up or lose some of that all important revenue.

  • eicarr

    Tomorrowland is an embarrassment Disney should be ashamed of. There is no excuse with all their IP they now have that they didn’t when the park opened (Star Wars, Marvel,WALL-E and TRON).

    • Disneyland has been coasting since well before the 50th anniversary 8 years ago. Overall, Disneyland looks good. That’s why it’s so easy for the company to overlook it. But Tomorrowland is a horrible mess and there hasn’t been an infusion of excitement in the park since the redo of Star Tours. First it was DCA which was stealing the budget and sucking the resort dry, now it’s Walt Disney World. Either way, Disneyland is left to languish. Time for some MAJOR investment in Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom.

  • “It might as well be a billboard advertising that the future is broken.” Couldn’t be said any better.

  • Sparky

    Thanks, as always, for the great reporting. Especially for shining the spotlight on the things that need to be fixed as well as the good. I agree completely, if Disney is going to continue to raise prices and charge hyper-premium prices, then they need to provide a product that delivers the quality that matches the price paid by visitors.

    Does anyone know what happened with the Small World Celebrations? They had the Greek one a couple of months ago, but there haven’t been any announcements about further ones. I was really looking forward to additional celebrations of other cultures. I was hoping they would celebrate India and bring the fantabulous Bollywood dancers from Glow Fest back again, in particular.

    • It’s a really good question. The Small World Celebrations were announced while George Kalogridis was still head of the resort and before the Limited Time Magic campaign. My guess is that the idea has been pushed aside for now. At least until the end of Limited Time Magic.

      • Sparky

        I was there for one of the days of the Greek Festival. I noticed that when performances of Mickey and the Magical Map let out while one of the Greek Festival performance groups was performing in the middle of Small World Mall, it was a bit of a crowd control nightmare. It was very difficult to negotiate through Small World Mall. Perhaps that influenced them to rethink these events.

  • judearmstrong

    I think its time to take out Innoventions and replace it with Mission to Mars, or some other type ride. I’d almost take anything right now. As for the Poeple Mover track, I know there will be some people that wont like this but why not make a Wall-E based ride, you know something along the lines of going from earth to the Axiom, could be interesting. I think the largest obsticle for anything in Tomorrowland now is the available space, there isn’t a lot of room and by potentially bringing back a People Mover type rider or enhancing Inno, where are all the people going to go. Of coarse, lines die down and become more tolerable so thats not a huge concern but Tomorrowland needs an update as well as finally doing something with the rotting track and the awful Innoventions. Face it, you only go into Inno for the air conditioning or to get out of the rain

  • mycroft16

    “We allowed” ?? Pretentious much? We don’t allow anything. We pay, and we go to the parks. That’s it. We don’t give Disney ultimatums.

    There is a very real chance that there is a scheduled maintenance period for Splash and these things will be taken care of then, or possibly they are waiting on something else that we, not being privy to their schedules and ops/maint knowledge, are unaware of. Let’s try not to presume we have any clue here. The same goes for other rides/areas.

    There is a master plan for the resort that details construction time lines and ride upgrades, etc. Often times rides don’t get the maintenance they deserve simply because they are so immensely popular (Indy) and shutting them down puts a lot of people into the walkways looking for other rides. Sometimes because it is the height of the summer and one of the busiest times of year for the resort and shutting down rides for anything but critical work isn’t really a smart idea. If it can’t be done overnight, they hold off until the few weeks between summer and Halloween. If there is already a plan in place to close the rest of the Fantasyland rides for upgrades, then they may be holding off on Alice until then and adding it to the list of rides to get upgrades as well as putting the railings on it. Given the millions of people who visit the resort yearly, I doubt City Hall is blowing up with complaints over this, and in juggling ride availability numbers and crowds some things become less important. Again, we are not aware of their reasons, schedules, budgets, etc. We know pretty much nothing. Patience is a virtue people.

    This has nothing to do with President Colglazier. When you come the Disneyland Resort you are coming into an incredibly well established machine. The President, without huge fights that you would have heard of, can’t just up and change things like that. Redoing menus and such, sure, but suddenly halting maintenance schedules and all, not really, not quietly at all.

    I found this whole article massively arrogant in its assumptions that we have any clue what is going on and in its wording. Sorry if that offends anyone, but we are merely park guests, not its overlords, directors, or any such thing. We can debate and file complaints when things are amiss, but to assume we know the whys and why-nots, to assume that we can “allow” them to do things is just wrong and misses the entire point of a fandom so completely.

    • Big D

      I semi agree with you, but for someone who doesn’t work in the corporate world you would never guess how things actually work because it is so insane and counter intuitive to all logic and reason (partly due to crazy laws and regulation, and partly due to demands of shareholders who don’t care about anything other then the stock price going up or down, and yes, partly due to greed that makes you penny-wise and pound-foolish). So take the article for what it is — a fan’s view of what they see at the parks and what they perceive needs to be done to fix it. Maybe the writer knows something about the way that corporate structure works and maybe they don’t. Part of what the president of Disneyland gets paid for is to take the blame for things that are completely outside of his control, just like the visible face of any other corporation, or even sports teams.

    • I think it’s a real shame when people try to defend poor show in the parks. If there’s a “Master plan” as Mycroft says and it doesn’t include the regular maintenance and repair of things like Splash Mountain or the removal or update of a dead attraction (like Rocket Rods) within a decade, then there’s something REALLY wrong with that plan. Does that make us “massively arrogant.” If so, we are more than happy to report on what we see and be the targets for a few fan boys who can’t handle the truth. Because at the sky high prices that Disney charges these days, guests deserve a near perfect show. That’s really our Mission here at MiceAge/MiceChat and I think most of our readers understand that. If you read the update, you can clearly see that we LOVE the parks and take great pleasure in sharing the many beautiful details. But there are also some negative things to share right now which we hope will be noticed by those who run the parks. Disneyland is nearly 60 years old, and unless they start working on things now, the park won’t be in its best condition when the big day comes.

    • Park Hopper

      In a recent article on Shanghai Disneyland, Bob Iger repeatedly referred to Disney as a luxury brand. He must understand that to be a luxury brand, you can’t just brand yourself as luxury and charge luxury prices, you have to deliver a luxury product. All the malfunctions at Disneyland are not acceptable in a luxury product.

      If Mr. Iger were to get into his luxury car—and you know he drives one—and everything worked great except that the GPS was broken and the AC couldn’t get the air temperature lower than 78, do you think he would just shrug his shoulders and say to himself, “Well, the car is pretty complicated, I guess I can’t expect everything to work.” Or “There’s a scheduled maintenance in two months, I guess I can put up with the malfunctions until then.”?

      You bet he wouldn’t. Why does he expect us to?

      • Big D

        I actually work in the luxury travel market, and I can tell you that overall Disney does an extremely poor job of catering to the luxury clientele. They don’t understand the amount of personalized service that a luxury client expects, not to mention NEVER being told “no” for anything. While some of their hotels are nice (Aulani, Grand Californian, Grand Floridian, Boardwalk), the staff at the hotels are not good enough compared to someone who works at a Four Seasons or even Lowe’s down the street at Universal Orlando. Disney Cruise Line is better, although it still has limited appeal and it still does not have the level of personalized service that those clients expect. Adventures by Disney is probably the only product that they get right for that market.

  • Aladdin

    Let’s get rid of those enourmous rock formations at the entrance to Tomorrowland, also! Those are some of the few remnants remaining from TL’98. And move the astro orbitor out of that entrance area, too!

  • Aladdin

    Mycroft, there is , NO acceptable excuse for Bad Show, and someone needs to be held accountable. And things don’t just automatically take care of themself, someone has to be aware of the situation, AND take action to correct the issue. These issues haven’t been resolvedso we need to continue to voice our concerns until those issues are taken care of

  • Big D

    You know, it’s really depressing when you sit down and think about everything that needs to be updated or fixed at DL. I still love it, but if you make a list of everything that they need to do to make the park as good as it should be / used to be, it’s pretty long.

    1. New Tomorrowland (this is pretty much # 1 on the list every year, and has been since probably 1990 or so) – I’d love to see them update it and make it futuristic again every 10 years or so, but if that’s just not realistic, then maybe go the Paris route and make it more of an idealized vision of the future from the 1800’s that never happened)

    2. Update Fantasyland – let’s face it, rides like The Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh visually are so much better then the 2-D world of the Fantasyland dark rides that it is bordering on embarrassing.

    3. Tom Sawyer’s Island – I don’t know what is hot or trendy in the world of elementary school kids, but it seems to me like the pirates craze is over (now it seems to be zombies). Make it a giant play area for kids to run and jump and explore like it was meant to be. If you have to make the whole darn island rubber to appease the lawyers then so be it.

    4. Not one but TWO new E-tickets – remember when we got Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, a (crappy) new Tomorrowland, and (an even crappier) a new nighttime parade all in the same decade? We need that again (only good rides and shows this time).

    5. Continue to improve the food – Disneyland has really made tremendous strides over the past few years in dramatically improving their restaurants, from the burgers at Tomorrowland Terrace (for the longest time I really thought that Disney was just utterly incapable of making a good burger), to the Village Haus, to the Carnation Cafe, to the Jolly Holiday Bakery, and even back to the Plaza Inn remake in 98, Disney has made some really significant improvements in their restaurant offerings. However, Rancho del Zocalo and Pizza Port are still pretty sub par restaurants, and Tahitian Terrace / Aladdin’s Oasis still sits empty. Don’t rest on your laurels, keep improving and upgrading the food and especially offering better sit-down restaurants. Make the restaurants so good that AP’s will come to the park just to have dinner there and not even go on any rides.

    6. Toontown – I prefer to pretend that Toontown doesn’t exist and just stay away from that corner of DL, but obviously kids love it (or want to love it) so please maintain it properly, upgrade the 2-D facades, add tons of shade (and maybe a lot of those themed misters too like the one in front of Soarin), and add some new play areas. It doesn’t necessarily need new rides since they’d probably be pretty small anyway, but just like Tom Sawyer’s Island, kids need things to climb on and crawl through and jump into. I love the parks that have the water guns that allow you to drop a quarter in and then just drench random people who are stuck on a ride and can’t run away (Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure comes to mind), so maybe something like that. You can even promote it as Disney is trying to help fight childhood obesity just like the NFL does with their Play60 campaign.

    7. Merchandise – I get that Disney is a business and has shareholders to answer to, and I realize that this is probably never going to change, but could we please have land-appropriate merchandise in the stores?

    8. New Nighttime Parade – I know Disney is capable of getting this right. Yes, there hasn’t been a really good one since ELP (SpectroMagic is really the same idea so that doesn’t count). Look at how amazing Fantasmic is. It still gets standing ovations every night and it is 21 years old. Disney can come up with an awesome new night parade that people want to see over and over again and buy the soundtrack to and buy merchandise for. The Light Magic floats themselves had potential. They really did look amazing with all of the fiber optic lights synchronized to music. It was just two very bad ideas (rolling show instead of a parade, and riverdance theme with scary pixies instead of normal Disney music with classic and modern Disney characters).

    So sadly, as much as I love DL, until there are some dramatic improvements (I’d probably be happy with three of these things), and considering the dramatic price increases in tickets and AP’s, I am going to let my AP expire in September and not renew it for probably many years. It is really sad because DL has been a part of my life practically since I was born, but even though (and maybe because) I still love it, I think it is getting to the point where this is turning into a bit of a toxic relationship. 🙁

    • bigwavedave

      Big D, I agree. It seems if it is a cost issue maybe do some of the changes Piecmeal. IN Tommorowland start with moving the Rockets back on top of the PM, and the next year put in something new in the PM. Every year doing something a little new. MM does it every year.

  • jasmineray

    It’s not just Tomorrowland… Toontown is another one that needs some serious work! There is scratched paint, everywhere, particularly inside Mickey and Minnie’s homes. It’s so disapoointing.

  • Orlando71

    I dont think Mr. Colglazier is completely to blame for the shape of Animal Kingdom attractions. The thing is there are so few rides there, that if they shut even one down, particulary Everest it would really hurt park attendance. I have a feeling after avatar opens (still rather had beastly kingdom) Everest will finally be fixed. Hope that Splash gets fixed at Disneyland, but from what it looks like overall Disney World needs better management and the Imagineers more.

  • bigwavedave

    Loved the article! I agree if we are to pay more we should expect more. I love what they did with DCA, but I also believe it caused a large drain on money and resources causing Disneyland to be some what neglected.
    I THINK THE PARK IS SOMEWHAT TAKEN FOR GRANTED IN THAT PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS GO THERE!
    I was ok with innovations. I like walk troughs, but hope they have something new in there by the 60th. I think sadly the park will continue to be neglected as the company puts more money into DCA and other parks across the globe.
    To me it seems somewhat disrespectful to Walt and those in the past that gave us this amazing park.
    Any thoughts?

  • bigb

    This is how facility aka engineering department works at Disney for both coast. The front line cm sees something is broken they call maintenance base, where a work order is submitted that work order is dispatched to the appropriate crew. If the work is in or near the ride path the w.is turned over to second or third shift based on operating hours. If the required work is going take more than a few hours the work is turned over to the planner who has to plan the work out and get all the required supplies that will be needed. Then you have to wait for it to be approved and scheduled for the work to be done.

  • troyer

    Great constructive criticism. THANKYOU!!!

  • DobbysCloset

    Articles like this make me feel like its just as well I’ve not scheduled a visit anytime soon.

    And if you leave the bag on the goat long enough, he’ll probably eat it. Goats do things like that, and a goat that eats dynamite will eat anything.

  • Princess Victoria

    I would put the “lush new park” they promised on the list of things that are seemingly temporary placeholders but have been half realized. Probably the last park that comes to mind as being lush and green would be the one on Paradise Pier.

    • That “Park” has been bothering me for a long time. I’m sure that it was just too expensive (or there were structural issues) which prevented them from removing the old Maliboomer platform. But what’s there now is just a big unused space with a fence around it.

      This would be the PERFECT spot for a character meet and greet. They could build a nice pergola on the platform and use the old Maliboomer queue (which is still there) as a spot for guests to wait for Mickey, Duffy or whomever else they want to put up there.

  • The Lost Boy

    I look forward to impeccable maintenance which will be performed on the animated flume ride to be built in the theme parks of the chronically disgruntled.

    Anyone who voted in the current political mess in California has no standing to complain about OSHA regulations. Unless you’ve been on the receiving end of one of their witch hunts, you’ll never understand what’s at stake. OSHA has the power to subjectively fine you out of business. There is a reason why any business that is able to move operations moves to less regulated and costly states like Texas or Florida. The rabidly liberal film industry prefers less regulated places like Canada and New Zealand over California. Even big lefty Robert Shapiro moved Legalzoom.com from California to Texas.

    As a too much maligned stockholder of the Disney Corporation, I invite the chronically disgruntled to please, stay away from Disneyland if the place displeases you so. Spend your money elsewhere, or even better, save it (Disney stock is a good place to start). Then, at the very least, you won’t be standing in from of me. I assure you that despite every single blogger complaint about peeling paint on the carousel roof, the handrails on the Alice ride, animation on Splash Mountain, store windows on Buena Vista Street, and various and sundry Yeti issues, there are multiple tens of thousands of potential guests wanting to spend the money to ride those same attractions or buy merchandise from those stores. Not to mention the multiple hundreds of thousands of repeat guests.

    Oh, and by the way, the plastic bag will be off the goat soon enough.

  • tonyrr1

    Last time I was at the park was Xmas 2011, and having watched the ticket price increases and Tomorrowland still languishing as it has for at least a decade now, I just have no desire to go back and spend the kind of money DL wants to charge me. It was just depressing to walk thru TL because, while the recent paint jobs and such are ok and welcome, the bones of the land have been neglected. I find it hard to believe that nothing interesting has been done with the America Sings theater or the PeopleMover track, that the Rocket Jets are still on the ground in front of the land, that those garish rocks are still poking out of the ground at the land entrance, and that in general there’s so much unused or poorly used space and infrastructure in the land. I know I’m harping on TL, but here’s the thing. If it costs me $92 as an out-of-towner to get into DL, and an entire LAND is hardly worth visiting, I’m not paying full price for the admission, period, and that would be with anything I’m not getting full use out of. I can deal with just about everything else going on in DL at present (I’m not even gonna go off on the Skyway having been removed), but with TL being the eyesore it is, there’s just no way. If they can have a cohesive plan to get that area of the park interesting and useful again, then I might schedule a visit. Till then, forget it.

    • Larry Parker

      Couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Ryan120420

    I was at the park this past Sunday and noticed this in the Monsters Inc queue:

    http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j467/ryanthemepark/IMG_5191.jpg

    http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j467/ryanthemepark/IMG_5192.jpg

    http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j467/ryanthemepark/IMG_5193.jpg

    Really unacceptable!

    This kind of neglect is not something that just sprung up during the day. And even if it did, they should had closed off this portion of the queue until fixed. Really, really bad show, and other guest around me were commenting on it too.

    Oh, and Splash Mountain isn’t the only ride in bad condition. My last ride on Indy: No fire, no mist screen rats, and no rolling ball. And Radiator Springs Racers: No tipping tractors, no white wall tire effect, and a static Luigi in the tire shop. Tower of Terror in shaft C: No mirror effect and no shaking effect.

    The park IMO, is regressing back to Pressler era days of upkeep.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Great update! I personally don’t mind the “rants”..we were there in early June and our beloved Splash featured frozen figures..and what about the rabbit on the train car? That’s been frozen in place for years! I think it’s good to point out the problem areas, and the column at least to me is well balanced.

  • sean317

    I have a feeling, starting around Mid-September, we are going to see a lot of ride closures in preparation for the 60th party. I have a feeling next summer more rides will be closed, so they are keeping everything open for now.

  • daveyjones

    wish i could listen to this..looking for transcripts, please! i’m a reader.
    also, what’s up with the intro that sounds like a testosterone monster-rock radio station? eek.

  • JCSkipr79

    Mr. Colglazier and Her Imperial Majesty Megara are in for rude awakenings if they think they can pull off Pressler/Cynthia style shenanigans at DL regarding maint. Not to mention the 60th. If the 60th ends up like the 45th……well they better not try that…….

  • b236en

    Great update as always. Thanks for keeping us all informed on a weekly basis.

  • Larry Parker

    Great article with right-on criticisms so many of us have felt for a long time. Tomorrowland is an embarrassment to Disneyland, and the sooner the fixes can begin the better.

  • Damien Nguyen-Tran

    I want to see Test Track come to Disneyland using the Peoplemover track

  • TweedlDum9

    Is Red the Fire Truck actually DOING something out in the middle of Cars Land? They actually brought it out from that back corner? Good!

  • Marko50

    I think the plastic bag should come off of the goat. It’s eating dynomite; why WOULDN’T it have a hole in its torso?

  • DWmFrancis

    Wow, after reading all 77 comments, I hardly know where to begin, except to say “Hi, everybody, I’m the new kid on the block, do you mind if I join in on the conversation? and Please hold the tomatoes!”

    I love the passion. It’s obvious that everyone here loves Disney’s core values. Heck, you don’t gripe when something is busted if you don’t care, right? At the same time, I find myself thinking; Wait-a-minute… What immobile character are they talking about? I was most recently at DL and DCA about six months ago, got on most of the major attractions and had a great time. I noticed a few areas where the paint was missing, (hand rails in Autopia), was mostly underwhelmed by the Carousel of Progress, and felt no need to re-enter the line for Finding Nemo or the Matterhorn. BUT, (yes, that’s a BIG but), overall it was a great experience and I’d love to go back in a few months. (I live 800 miles from the park.) I should also say that I *REALLY* love what Disney stands for, even if I only discovered that recently, and am probably a closet Imagineer wannabe. So, here’s my point; Everything you folks are saying is true, mostly. However, you also need to realize that there is a level below which a casual visitor isn’t going to notice it or even realize it was broken. Figuring out where that is and holding the line is the challenge. Let me give you an example in another area of Disney; They recently commissioned some new Mickey Mouse cartoons that are being used in the Mickey Video smartphone app. They are being done by Paul Rudish, of Dexter’s Laboratory fame. I stumbled across it recently and watched about three of the new ones and came away feeling like something was off, but couldn’t put my finger on it initially. Then I watched “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”, which was done by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton under John Lasseter and Chuck Williams’ Executive Production. WoW, what a difference! Rudish’s take on Mickey leaves me cold. It’s like Ren and Stimpy Take Disneyland – all skinny, choppy and angular, it feels like cheap Disney Anime. I mentioned this to a young friend who works for one of Disney’s game development groups and his answer surprised me. He said he liked the new style. He saw it as a sign that Disney was “trying new things and not continually going back to what was done in the past.” So, here’s my question; How do you honor the tradition and keep it fresh? How do you hold the line on a high standard of show without turning the parks into museums? I’m pretty sure it can be done. (I think Cars Land did it.) At what level of insanely fine attention to detail are you on the verge of obsessive-compulsive disorder? Does it matter that the eye of the squirrel on the keg of dynamite doesn’t move when you are going past it at 40 miles per hour? I’m not sure I know the answer to these questions yet. I don’t expect perfection everywhere, mostly. It’s delightful when I find it, but I’m also aware, on some level, that in the Magic Kingdom, even the rust is often paint. Does Tomorrowland need an overhaul? YES. (I have a few ideas on that…). Does a first time visitor know the squirrel’s eye is broken? Probably not. Did it have to be animated in the first place? Well… that depends. What I do know is that Disneyland is about Fantasy and Happiness and connecting with the guest on a deep, lasting, emotional level. Now, back to our regular programming. (Disclaimer; I’m long on a bunch of DIS stock in my IRA, and received no compensation for this article.)