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.
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.
Still no visible progress at Starbucks. But you can be sure that things are moving at a frantic pace inside.
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!
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.
It appears that the facade work on Rainbow Ridge is nearly complete. It looks great from here.
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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?
Thankfully Disney California Adventure is still looking wonderful and things are still, for the most part, looking and running just fine.
New pop-up vending has appeared near Disney Junior Live that capitalizes on the properties from the show.
Tony Baxter Interview
The MicePod’s Season Pass Podcast has an AMAZING two part interview with beloved retired Imagineer, Tony Baxter.
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!