This Week at the Disneyland Resort

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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


Published on August 23, 2013 at 3:00 am with 35 Comments

If your idea of Disney magic is new safety railings, you’ll like today’s update. And if Halloween in August tickles your fancy, you’ll be thrilled. Plus, Starbucks is invading Downtown Disney. Long Lost Friends week has returned to entertain guests once more for Limited Time Magic.  We also hear rumblings of something very special coming to Haunted Mansion Holiday this year.  And we’ll check up on the progress of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and more.  Yes, there’s a surprising bit of news at the Disneyland Resort, and the summer isn’t over yet.  Let’s get to work.

Before we enter the park we thought we’d share the status of the problems out in the esplanade.  A while back, we showed you photos of the crumbling terrazzo compass between the two parks. Sadly, the condition has only gotten worse, now with loose rubble posing a potential trip hazard.


The compass isn’t holding up. Pockets of terrazzo have been replaced by colored concrete patches.


More clumps of the terrazzo compass are crumbling and creating pot holes. It looks beyond tacky.

We understand that there’s a push to build a nice fountain and re-landscape the esplanade. That couldn’t come soon enough.



Yes it’s early for Halloween.  But I don’t care.  I can’t get enough of it.  The Disney Showcase store is now totally decked out for Halloween.  Wild swirls of bright orange, purple and pitch black cover the store.




Resort enhancement does a wonderful job in setting all of this up in two very short 8 hour shifts during the park’s off hours.  They are to be commended.  Though the displays aren’t as elaborate as they were a couple of years ago.







This is a great focal point and display.



Festively spooky and kooky merchandise.


Then there is this bit of decor which seems somehow unfinished.


Who else looks up here and thinks that it’s missing one more element?

They have the setup for a lovely display up here above the merchandise.  But, just as they did last year, they’ve left the void on the right empty. It’s certainly not a problem and doesn’t look bad, but it always catches our attention. So, let’s make a game of it. What should go there . . .

Photoshop contest:

Take the picture above and insert one final element into the right side of the display. Email your image to [email protected]  We will then select three of the entries to be voted on by our readers in next week’s In The Parks column as the best new display. Be creative. The winning display idea will win a spectacularly craptacular prize from swag box. We’ll reach into the box of terrible prizes and pick something unworthy out for you. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so who knows, you might just fancy yourself lucky if you win this contest.








We are hearing murmurs from the Ghost Host that something truly special will be coming for the 13th year of Haunted Mansion Holiday.  While the Gingerbread house is always new and exciting, this one promises to be the most extravagant ever.  But that isn’t the only thing.


New lighting effects and animations are in the works right now that will dazzle guests in the stretching room upon arrival.



But there is even talk of a new animated figure joining Jack and Oogie Boogie for the holidays this year.  Could we be getting a long rumored Sally figure that is already a staple in the Tokyo Disneyland version?  Let’s cross our boney fingers and hope that something magnificent is on the way to Halloween Town.


With the big, bad news behind us that Thunder will not be returning until February 2014, we can now settle in for the long haul.  The delay, as we mentioned last week, is due to Disneyland’s new emphasis on strict workplace safety and changes are needed to bring the ride up to the new standard.


Like it or not, this is about worker safety. It’s hard for us to argue with that. Disney is doing right by their cast members and contractors and that should be recognized.  Let’s just hope that the alterations fit nicely into the theme and don’t stick out like a sore thumb.








Big Thunder trail is “Washed out”  But will be reopening with brand new surface treatment by the beginning of September.











Speaking of safety, the fall protection enhancements along the rooftops in Fantasyland are still being worked out.








The Matterhorn Bobsled ride will be going down for refurbishment starting Monday, August 26th and will reopen on Friday, August 30th.  While not a lot is expected we are still praying to the Abominable Snowman God that we get more comfortable cushioned sleds.  This ride has just become too painful.


One of the more successful forms of Limited Time Magic has returned.  After readers of the the Disney parks blog voted, a select collection of rarely seen meet-and-greet characters are ready to visit in the Big Thunder Ranch area of the park.


It’s actually a wonderful way to let guests see some of the characters that aren’t in normal circulation in the park anymore.




Billy and the Hillbillies offer background music to the crowd that is milling about in the arena.







A perfectly cast face character. This CM had Jane down perfectly.


What’s been your favorite Limited Time Magic campaign so far and what would you like to see them offer in the future?

New safety railings have been installed along the outer side of Golden Zephyr’s loading platform.  As the vehicles load and unload on the platform side of the vehicle, there were no railings previously necessary. While undeniably noticeable, and VERY yellow, they do little to hurt the aesthetic of the already ugly metallic framework of this ride.



Work on the new Monsters Door Coaster should be commencing just after the start of the Disney fiscal year this Fall.  In the meantime, don’t miss this opportunity to visit your favorite Muppets while you still can.





Will phase two for the Hyperion be far behind? We sure hope it happens soon.


Downtown Disney is enjoying its own share of refurbishments.  Pin Trading outpost near the Monorail station is being worked on and they have moved operation to rolling kiosks outside the construction walls.




As we reported last week, Disney officially announced that Starbucks will be moving into the retail location formerly used by Blink clothing, which was the creepy Anne Geddes store before that  Let’s see if Starbucks and it’s army of addicted customers, me included, will be able to break the curse of this location.







We have some very special news and a great opportunity for you to sail away with the beloved Disney Imagineering legend, Bob Gurr. 

Bob Gurr will be joining us on a very special MiceChat voyage to the Eastern Caribbean on the newest ship of the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Fantasy.

This 7 night cruise will depart from Port Canaveral, Florida, and visit the islands of St. Maarten, St. Thomas/St. John and Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay (our favorite port of call)! There’s still time for you to book your trip with us. Contact [email protected] or call 832-284-4002 before this opportunity sails away without you. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, don’t miss the boat!

That’s our update folks. Be sure to send fishbulb your entry for the halloween display contest and get it to him before Thursday of next week.  Entries will not be accepted after noon on August 30th.  If you aren’t doing anything on Sunday swing by the MiceChat noon meet at Disneyland (in the central hub next to the Walt and Mickey statue). Join the MiceChat Sunday’s in the Park group on Facebook for info on this and other Sunday meets.

And if you are looking for even more Disney news and rumors, please take a listen to the MiceChat Podcast, which discusses Star Wars, Avatar and Monsters Inc in the parks:

Direct Link | iTunes Link

We hope to see you all again soon, In The Parks!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • ScottOlsen

    Any estimate on crowds for next week?

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for another fine update, Norm!

    To answer your question, my favorite Limited Time Magic event was the Golden Horseshoe Review tribute. I’ve been disappointed with the rest of this promotion. I’d like to see a 360 Circlevision film fest featuring several restored classics.

    I might be alone on this, but we rode both sides of the Matterhorn in July, and I didn’t find either one uncomfortable. Then again I’m only 5′ 8″ and am also comfortable in any airplane’s coach section. I have had uncomfortable rides on Ghost Rider at Knott’s, and I usually dislike any over the shoulder & head restraint that my ears hit during a ride, not that this stops me from riding.

    • disneyland255

      I personally have found the back seats of each sled to be the most uncomfortable. The other seats aren’t horrible, but they aren’t as comfortable as the old. For me, the attraction seems much slower now that the new sleds have been put on.

  • Susan Hughes

    The summer season is always fun. But there’s nothing like the “quad-fecta” of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the most heartwarming “times” of the year for me.

  • eicarr

    Glad to see the safety upgrades for employees. This is a new safety standard that lawyers can point to with other global parks if they don’t meet similar standards in those parks.

  • PatMcDuck

    I wish they had Limited Time Magic more often, especially in Florida where most of us are not local to the parks.

    The week I was at DL, the Limited Time Magic promotion was a cheaply made Planes pin, to be given to children only (but they let anyone have them). ugh.

  • Fukai

    They completely ruined the Matterhorn during the last rehab with the new bobsleds. Either side, it’s like sitting on a torture rack. How stupid can they be? Certainly some of the idiots in charge of this catastrophe had actually put their butts in the seats and ridden on the attraction? HOW ABOUT SOME CUSHIONS!

    • Quentin

      They probably didn’t find it painful. I sure don’t.

  • Algernon

    Stage shows do not have safety railings to keep the actors from falling off the stage. Big buildings do not have safety railings all around them, all the way up, to keep window washers from falling off. There are ways to keep the workers safe, other than ruining the show. Disneyland is looking more and more like a cheap carnival, and less like Walt Disney’s magic land. Fortunately, the Occulus Rift immersive, 3D virtual reality glasses will be out next year, and, hopefully, somebody will recreate virtual reality past versions of Disneyland, and we will be able to visit them, just like we were there!

    • Dusty Sage

      I completely agree with you. There are ways of installing hooks and using cables and safety harnesses which keep you just as safe or safer than ugly railings everywhere. Disneyland is going the easy (but expensive) route rather than the policy, procedure and training route. And they DO need to fight CAL/OSHA from time to time instead of always giving in.

    • Hastin Zylstra

      “Stage shows do not have safety railings to keep the actors from falling off the stage.”

      Right – this is actually explained in the law:

      “Guardrails shall be provided on all open sides of unenclosed elevated work locations, such as: roof openings, open and glazed sides of landings, balconies or porches, platforms, runways, ramps, or working levels more than 30 inches above the floor, ground, or other working areas of a building as defined in Section 3207 of the General Industry Safety Orders. Where overhead clearance prohibits installation of a 42-inch guardrail, a lower rail or rails shall be installed. The railing shall be provided with a toeboard where the platform, runway, or ramp is 6 feet or more above places where employees normally work or pass and the lack of a toeboard could create a hazard from falling tools, material, or equipment.


      “On the auditorium side of a stage, raised platforms and other raised floor areas such as runways, ramps and side stages used for entertainment or presentation. At vertical openings in the performance area of stages.”

      Providing a harness point/system only applies to:

      “Elevated locations used infrequently by employees if the employees using them are protected by a fall restraint/fall arrest system used in accordance with the requirements in Article 24 of the Construction Safety Orders.”

      Infrequently is stated that something is non-repetitive. OSHA has determined that an employee needing to do work on something daily – is repetitive enough to require fall protection. This is why we see the railings popping around the buildings – it’s because people have to get on them daily to load/unload fireworks, etc.

  • Boog1981

    I couldn’t agree more about that Halloween display. Every year I hope that they’ll do something different in that spot. I think maybe if the moon was in the right hand corner it would balance it out.

    • The First Star

      I’m hoping they’re just saving room for a big stack of jack o’ lanterns once Halloween Time officially starts and all the pumpkins get rolled out.

  • Malin

    When is the begining of the next fiscal year for Disney. It be sad to see the Muppets leave but Disney seem to show little interest in updating the show so its for the best that its leaving and making room for more Monsters. But what will become of the Night-time Party’s? I can’t see Disney removing the concept so where will it move too!

    • QuiGonJ

      What are they doing with the Muppets? As much as they use the area for other shows and promotions, it makes sense, but this is the first I have heard of them outright closing it. What are they putting in its place?

      • QuiGonJ

        Oh wait… reading is a good thing. Monsters Inc door coaster? So are they getting rid of the existing Monster ride too?

  • TodAZ1

    More pics of Tarzan next time, please!!

    • DobbysCloset

      Second that!

    • Disneygayguy

      I agree more pics of Tarzan!!!!!!!!!!

  • Norman Gidney

    LOL you guys the photoshop contest entries are hysterical! Keep ‘em coming please.

  • dizneydomenic

    Golden Horseshoe tribute was EASILY the best limited time magic…it should have been kept permanent. Matterhorn…ugh used to be a fav…it hurts way too much to ride now.

  • brianpinsky

    Hold on, I have talked with the CM at Paradise Pier, the railing are there because Golden Zephyr is down for in definitely because of a mechanical break down. Those railings are installed every night for the over night maintenance. The attraction is set to reopen for Late October.

    • Dusty Sage

      That’s great news Brian! Thank you.

  • davidrusk

    Subject: Halloween Merchandise
    Observation: It looks like they are selling the same mug and shirt as last year, with the year changed on the shirt.
    Thoughts: I thought the Halloween shirt was a different design every year.
    Question: Is it my imagination, or are they actually repeating the design from last year?

  • clippers6

    In their defense, it does seem like OSHA prefers more visible safety mechanisms. California Screamin’ has a retractable rail system that hides the rails during the launch portion so riders get a nice unobstructed view of Paradise Bay, but for the past few years OSHA has told them to leave the railings in the up position at all times.

    • Raidermatt

      If true, that’s something Disney should fight. OSHA doesn’t have the authority to have preferences. They have the authority to enforce the law as written. Of course if Dusney had done a better job responding to the Space Mt accident, OSHA might not have such a big bug up their rear right now.