More Mara Changes at Disneyland and Starbucks Spy Pics

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, In the Parks

Tagged: , , , ,


Published on August 30, 2013 at 3:00 am with 71 Comments

Main Street USA is already littered with pumpkins as Halloween is very much the new season at the Disneyland Resort. We also share our reader suggestions for the rather bland display inside Disney Showcase and ask you to vote for the winner.  It seems that the Imagineers have heard your comments loud and clear and have altered the voice of Mara yet again inside Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. But will this change make the fans happy, take a look and listen to our videos and let us know what you think.  We’ll also take a look at Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and the Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure.  There’s a lot going on it today’s Disneyland Resort update.

Holiday Displays

More pumpkins have found their way to Main Street. Most of this year’s Halloween displays are tasteful so far.







This one is nice enough, but looks incomplete (and was left like this last year as well)


We asked our readers what they thought should go into the blank space in this display.  We got some amazing entries and have selected our 8 favorites based on creativity and execution. But YOU will pick the winner.


#1 Hitchhiking


#2 FrankenPressler


#3 Runaway Brain


#4 Falling Stars


# 5 Easy fix


Out of competition entry – Safety Starbucks

It is now up to you to decide which window dressing would look best inside Disney Showcase. Copy the caption below the your favorite entry and let us know your selection in the comments below. (We’ll identify the artists behind these photos, along with the winner, next week).  The winning entry will get a wonderful bag-o-crap randomly selected from the MiceChat prize box. You could end up with something shiny and new or a complete set of expired Fastpasses. What you get only Mara knows.


The Starbucks logo and window filigree became visible this week to visitors of the park.  Everything looks expertly designed and crafted, very much in line with the Main Street aesthetic so far.



A saying scrawled in the window references the year that Starbucks went into business, 1971.









When we were at the park, the windows are covered up tight, not allowing a single person to peek in and see the progress being made inside the new store.  Thankfully, a curious reader was on the scene when a little bit of this paper became detached from the window, allowing a clear look inside.


Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

Our deepest thanks to Allen Wolf for the Starbucks photos above. If you have photos or tips you’d like to share with the MiceChat readers, please send them to [email protected] and perhaps we’ll be able to use them in one of our weekly columns.


Wednesday, imagineering made one more change to the voice of Mara in Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.  It seems that they heard the loud reaction by fans of the attraction and have adjusted the show accordingly. It’s no James Earl Jones, but it’s certainly better than it was. Let us know what you think.



These fixes and improvements to this brilliant attraction are appreciated by visitors and fans alike.  But we would really like to see them fix some of the things in the attraction that desperately need attention.  The rat room scene has never really worked.  Would it be too difficult to liven up that lull by bringing the Tokyo smoke-ring effect here?  Or something new altogether?  How about a foolproof way to synch the onboard audio commentary by Sala with the path your vehicle takes at the beginning of the ride?  Speaking of the doors, would there be any way to fix the effect so it always works (it seems that it is broken more often than working)? And what about the oft malfunctioning boulder. It’s a tricky thing to pull off with the amount of vehicles that have to roll through there, but wouldn’t it be an awesome thing to have that working consistently? Or what about the underwhelming dart room? They got the Mara room up to par, now how about renovating a little bit more of this broken down temple?


The trail along Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is nearly finished with its resurfacing and should be open any day now.  In the meantime, work continues on getting this classic 1979 attraction up to today’s workplace safety standards.

















Get your last visits to the Court of Angels in now.  It will soon be going down to be transformed into the new entrance to Club 33.  Yet another quiet spot in Disneyland will soon be gone.  It’s an understandable move on the part of Disney, but still a bummer.








The mansion is now closed, and will be for the next few weeks as Jack Skellington moves in for the next 4 months.  Haunted Mansion Holiday will open as Halloweentime begins at the Disneyland Resort on September 13th.  We expect to see some very special things this year as it is the 13th anniversary for the overlay.








As Halloween approaches, more and more seasonal merchandise gets rolled out into the stores on Buena Vista Street.








Don’t worry, Christmas still has a strong foothold as the major holiday.  See?  Ornaments.




Blue Sky Cellar

The Blue Sky Cellar received very minor updates recently to feature, of all things, the Starbucks on Main Street and the pool expansion at Aulani.




It’s fun to see these color and pattern boards. A neat look into the mind of Imagineering.





So the good news here is that the stove will return.  And the Party Line Telephones will remain.


Now, onto updates at the Aulani resort, which is getting more pools and fast food.









Both additions to the cellar are placed in the shadow boxes on either sides of the screening room.  Here’s to hoping that the board approves some major theme park investments soon so that we can have something interesting to look at.


The TSPP MicePod team discusses Carthay Circle Restaurant with Creative Director and Walt Disney Imagineer Ray Spencer. Also, Conversation with V.P. of The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Sarah Roots, and CCO of Thinkwell, Craig Hanna, on the hit attraction “The Making of Harry Potter” experience.

There you have it.  A look at Starbucks, another voice change for Mara and reader suggestions for the Halloween display at Disney Showcase.  Enough of us, let’s hear from you!

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.

Browse Archived Articles by

  • rowanofthestrata

    Regarding Indy, I’d like them to fix the wall of mirrors at the beginning of the ride: as you waited for your vehicle to embark, the mirrors would move in a way that you could see which of the 3 doors the vehicle in front of you took, showing that not every car takes the same path. Seems like that would be an easy fix.

    • Quentin

      The safety mirror, yes. I haven’t seen that work since my trip in 2011.

  • Lord Alfred

    While I understand the merchandise, I wish they’d wait until September to start putting up Halloween displays.

    As for the best Disney Showcase idea: # 5 Easy fix

    • Internitty

      Kinda like how in the stores here Easter merchandise is in the shops mid January with the Valentines merch.

  • WDWorldly

    Why couldn’t they just easily synchronize the new projection mapping effect with the old voice…. Another example of Disney getting overzealous with refurbishments and fixing things that aren’t broken (Matterhorn)

  • crmwed

    Well the new Mara voice is a great improvement over what it was, but still no where near as good as James Earl Jones.

    And the halloween merchandise is neat, as always, but why can’t we get more location-specific merchandise in general? It seems like they have made a generic set of merchandise that they sell at every single location in the park. I went to Knott’s this summer and one of the coolest thing was all of the location-specific merchandise they sell in areas like ghost town. You know like real cowboy and indian stuff, not just Duffy with a cowboy hat.

    • Your merchandise comments are spot-on. Merchandise is one of the last remaining disasters of the Pressler era. Maintenance, foods, and so much else has been restored. But, Training and Merchandise remain stuck firmly in the Pressler era to this very day in both Florida and California.

      • ScottOlsen

        Miss the old days when a certain Jack Olsen headed merchandise….

      • coffeecheryl

        I completely agree, if I want the stuff I can get in Florida, I’ll go there. I remember going to Disney with my sister just to eat fritters, drink coffee and xmas shop in New Orleans Square.
        I am not into generic… GoalieFamily misses running into you and Norm at the parks but Hockey calls…. On the previous question, I would have put a old, rundown picture of the Haunted Mansion behind that fence, but my computer skills lack the ability to show that…. Have a great Labor Day…

    • skubersky

      I keep seeing the claim lately that Mara’s voice was James Earl Jones, but the only source I can find of that is a single comment in 1995 Variety article with no citations. Does anyone have more definitive evidence that the JEJ credit is more than a legend perpetuated by Variety’s history of less-than reporting regarding theme parks?

  • eicarr

    For me, Indy is a classic Disney ride right up there with Pirates. This is the best upgrade since it opened! It’s so good I don’t mind the loss of the old iconic Mara voice.

    A cool 3D projection effect(ie stone wall falling apart) would be cooler than a smoking statue from Japan.

  • rstar

    Great update, as usual! Thank you for the hard work!

    I vote for #1 Hitchicking

  • jcruise86

    It’s not smart of Disney to lose the not-for-profit Court of Angels. Will the new Club 33 entrance be more conspicuous? That’s not what Walt wanted and slithers away from the illusion that every guest is a VIP.

    Thank you for the update!

    –Tom Sinsky

  • MrTour

    I am hoping with a future Disneyland expansion that they include the same level of details they created for New Orleans Square; and the same quiet areas. Remember, it’s supposed to be a “park”, and not a shopping mall.

    • jcruise86

      Right now, several Disney professionals are agonizing over the guests who are having a nice time without spending extra money in the scenic, less-crowded, shaded area under the Hungry Bear. Maybe make that a VIP area with an upcharge.

      • MrTour

        That’s really sad, and not the original intent of the “park”

  • notlemc

    Great update! You do mention some valid points about Indy. I do hope that after Big Thunder, they do make some improvements to the ride.

  • mpdb6

    Everyone, that’s the same voice as before the new effects. Compare the video with ones from before the enhancement and they are the same. So to say its not as good as the original is a little odd. It is a popular misconception that the previous voice was James Earl Jones but frankly, that is not true. Imagineers briefly considered Jones for the voice but were concerned that it would sound like “Darth Vader in the Temple”. This information came from a conversation with an Imagineer who was very involved in creating the attraction. It looks like the myth of James Earl Jones was started by an article about the attraction in Variety magazine.

    • You are incorrect. If you’ll listen to the old audio (regardless of if it is James Earl Jones or not), you can CLEARLY tell that the new voice is not the same as the original. Listen to the voice of the idol. The old voice was deep and booming, the new voice isn’t. And for all the world, the old voice did sound like Darth Vader to me. Take a listen:

      • Quentin

        It is the same recording, just been modified. Listen to the way he says curtain of time in this one and the original old one. The timing and articulation is exactly the same. It has been modified clearly as it’s not as deep as before, but the timing and how he articulates everything on all three “doors” is too identical to be a new recording.

  • mybelleprncess

    Thanks for the update, for the Disney showcase photoshop contest have to got with #1 Hitchhicking

    • BC_DisneyGeek

      #1 Hitchicking

  • poohmeg

    Love #1 Hitchicking (or Hitchhiking, but you did say to copy and paste. :) )

  • ericmryan

    # 5 Easy fix

  • Peoplemover Priit

    Just fix Indiana Jones already. There are so many things wrong that it could use a long overhaul like Big Thunder and Matterhorn. *sigh*

  • DisneyanaFan

    Do we really need to see that tacky photoshop picture #4 on a fun web-site like MiceAge?

    • She was a Disney star for a long time. It’s fair game and a great example of a fallen star.