This Week at the Disneyland Resort

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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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.

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 Pockets of terrazzo have been replaced by colored concrete patches.

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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.

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DISNEY SHOWCASE HALLOWEEN

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.

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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.

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This is a great focal point and display.

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Festively spooky and kooky merchandise.

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

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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 MiceChat.com 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.

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HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY

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.

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

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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.

BIG THUNDER REFURB

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.

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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.

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

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FANTASYLAND FALL PROTECTION

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

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MATTERHORN

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.

LONG LOST FRIENDS WEEK

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.

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

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

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

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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.

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MONSTERS MINI-LAND

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.

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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.

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BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT

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.

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CRUISE THE CARIBBEAN WITH BOB GURR AND MICECHAT THIS OCTOBER!

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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35 Comments

Comments for This Week at the Disneyland Resort are now closed.

  1. Lucky ‘bulb, last time I saw Stitch he tried to steal my camera!

    Nice essay, thanks much. Almost like being there.

  2. For limited Time magic i would like to see rockin space mountain come back and rocking California Scremmin with the red hot chili peppers

    • I can’t believe they haven’t done it already. Same with the Rockin’ version of California Screamin’.

  3. I thought selling Halloween merchandises in September was early. In August?

  4. Did they Halloween-ize Esmeralda’s Cottage again this year? It usually looks really great back there.
    A Sally animatronic would be great, however, not sure they would since she’s featured in the ride in Little Leota’s place already.

  5. Great update..terribly bummed about Big Thunder.

  6. Hey everyone, what about Tinker Bell flying over the castle during fireworks. This is repetitive enough to warrant safety rails too? I wonder how they plan to keep her safe. Enough with this ever changing atmosphere. Wake up Disney management! Where are the reports of the employee accidents that are causing this bubble wrapping of everything we love about the parks? So, so, sad.