The holidays move in on Halloween Time as off-season refurbishments continue at Disneyland

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

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

Published on October 21, 2013 at 5:05 am with 42 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • bamato

    Excited to see the holidays move in. Thanks for a nice update?

    • bamato

      ^^^That should have been an “!” not a “?”… whoops.

  • Westsider

    This update is always a great way to perk up the shuttle ride from KCML on a Monday morning! And yeah, that Small World shirt is tasteless and insulting. I wonder if those Merch planners in TDA would have the guts to show that t-shirt to Walt, Alice Davis, the Sherman Brothers, and Mary Blair?

    And finally, just as we approach Harbor Pointe… Gawd, Tomorrowland is UGLY all over! It needs desperate help.

    • marksummer

      I agree that Tomorrowland is in drastic need of help. It used to be such a dynamic land, with so much kinetic movement. It could never be as futuristic as Walt wanted it to be, but at least there was an attempt. The Flying Saucers were problematic to operate and didn’t last long, but they were terrific. Very futuristic at the time. Same with the PeopleMover. Couldn’t Disney create a new show for the old Carousel of Progress building? And move the Rocket Jets back to their place of honor atop the platform that’s now wasted space? And, and, and….Something truly modern and wondrous to spur the imagination, like the old Monsanto Ride Through Inner Space, but something completely new. I know, I know…$$$. But, when I pull out my wallet to buy my Disneyland tix, and pay the major bucks, isn’t that what I’m paying for-a first rate, up to date experience?

    • TodAZ1

      The IASW comments here and in this column are about 19 years too late. Anyone remember the Lion King?

      Zazu: [singing] Nooooobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. / Nooooobody knows my sorrow.

      Scar: Oh, Zazu, do lighten up. Sing something with a little *bounce* in it.

      Zazu: [singing] It’s a small world after all…

      Scar: NO! No. *Anything* but that!

    • DobbysCloset

      Honestly, at age 58 and looking at the Mountains with some trepidation, realizing that as I age further I’ll be spending more time on Small World than Star Tours, I found the shirt sadly funny. Generations of Old Folks have loved that ride. Why can’t grey-haired geezers and grammas have their own sick ironic jokes?

  • flamdan

    I disagree with your assessment of the IASW shirt. It may be playing off the “I survived ToT” (or other intense ride) shirts. Plus, it’s always good to be able to laugh at oneself.

    • Nocturne

      That is the correct interpretation. It’s tongue-in-cheek humor and nothing tasteless. Kids find this type of humor very funny. The Donald Duck shirt will be really popular. I also love the clever Doc shirt. We should be praising Disney for resurrecting an old character for a new generation.

      • poohmeg

        I agree – I like the new shirts and have been glad to see Disney coming out with a few over the past few years that look more like Theadless/Skreened/Woot/etc. so people will actually wear them! I would totally wear the Small World one – it’s cute, and one of the few ride-specific shirts that’s not from a thrill ride!

      • QuiGonJ

        Yup, I agree as well, and I like the tweet/quack one shirt too.

      • CoreneD

        Agreed. I too like the new Donald tweet/quack tee. Rather clever. We bought the Donald “original angry bird” shirt earlier this year. My son loves it!

    • daveyjones


    • Shark Bait

      Plus, the movie the Lion King makes fun of IASW as well. The ride is iconic as much for its infamously catchy theme song as for the charming animatronics.

  • CoreneD

    I didn’t take the “I conquered It’s a Small World” tee negatively at all. If it had said “I survived…” then that MIGHT have been different, but I took it in good fun as a tease of people who love those dark & easy rides as opposed to the big, fast, scary ones. Why can’t those who enjoy the simple stuff have big impressive statements (I conquered) made about them too? I don’t think it was meant to insult the ride at all. And a friend of mine who just came home from the park LOVED that tee – she is a big chicken & saw the humour in the shirt & her fear of the big scary stuff.

    • jcruise86

      The “I conquered Small World” shirt made me smile. (It’s the only T-shirt pictured today that did.) Disneyland had an excellent commercial where the ride terrified ghosts from the Haunted Mansion.

      I love this classic attraction, especially at Christmas, and I even like the addition Disney characters in their appropriate countries with their subtly imposed musical themes, BUT last week at a swim team practice a dad talked about this attraction as if it had seriously traumatized him. He wasn’t kidding.

      My daughter loves her Donald Duck “Original Angry Bird” shirt.

  • Internitty

    Disney’s trying hard to stay relevant with these designs but is it working?
    I like the Donald Duck one that says “I don’t tweet I quack” the rest I’m not that thrilled with.

    Disney should be celebrating their iconic attractions, not making jokes at their expense.

    I could not agree more.

  • Kenny B

    I really like the Small World shirt. It’s not a bash on the ride, it’s a joke on the other similar Ts with “I conquered” on it — yes it may be a little tongue-in-cheek in referencing to a lot of people find the ride taxing. I’m one of them, but I will ride it every time I visit DL or WDW – it’s charming.

  • Algernon

    They should really give a discount for every ride that is shut down and every bit of scenery that is covered by construction walls or fabric. Why should off-season people pay the same price as peak season people, when everything is up and going and looking better, plus the place is open longer.

    • Westsider

      Because Ride Per Cap goes way up on these slow October weekdays, so people are getting on a lot more rides than they do on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

      The smart people go on the days that all APs and CM’s are blocked out, like the day after Thanksgiving, when attendance collapses but it’s a “holiday” so the parks are still open late. If locals knew how slow and delightful Disneyland was on Thanksgiving weekend blockouts, after they all packed the parks beyond capacity on the Monday/Tuesday/Wed BEFORE Thanksgiving, they’d line up at City Hall to complain.

      The Friday evening and Sunday afternoon AP lemming rush is also laughable to watch. Then on Saturday attendance crashes by 30,000 due to blockouts.

      And a photo update focuses on the dozen or so tarps and walls up right now, instead of the hundreds of other buildings that are not under rehab.

  • Big D

    Well, since Disney normally takes themselves way, way too seriously (such as forbidding their CM’s to refer to the new park as DCA and instead insisting that they say the full name Disney California Adventure), I kind of like that SOMEONE in the merchandise dept has a sense of humor. I saw a t-shirt several months ago that said “What time is the 3:00 parade?” that definitely made me chuckle. So it’s cool. Buy it if you like it, and don’t buy it if you’re offended by it.

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update!

  • Rex Dopey24

    nice p ictures love seeing the christmas items and decorations thanks

  • Chadanooga

    Does anybody know what they do with the printed scrims after they take them down? Do they end up in the trash? Great update.

    • DobbysCloset

      Is that not the most awesome thing ever? Wouldn’t it be a great souvenir? Worth renting a barn to keep it on display!

  • MarkW

    Really don’t like the Christmas/Holiday decorations before Halloween! Stringing lights is okay, but the Flik’s Fun Fair decorations (and New Orlean’s Square decorations, which we’ll proabably see next week) shouldn’t go up until after 10/31.

    • DobbysCloset

      But at least they didn’t put them up in August like some of the retail stores in my community…seriously, I would think it is a matter of allocating labor rather than any sinister desire to force the holidays into coming sooner…

    • Director_Guy

      I absolutely agree. I’m desperately hoping there’s no snow on the castle when I go to the Halloween party next week. I feel like they’re so quick to celebrate the holiday that “everyone” wants, usher out the runner-up holiday, and I’m still here holding my bag of candy.

  • Country Bear

    Thanks for the wonderful update Andy.

    The shirts are quite funny to me and I appreciate them. The character meet and greet in Paradise Pier that’s under refurb, is that where Duffy is usually positioned?

    I was surprised to see how dirty IASW was where they were putting lights in. It seems unusual given that it had a major refurb not that long ago. Is this how it always looks and we just don’t see it from a distance, or is this lacking maintenance? I comment because you highlighted the similar issue with Space Mountain (it really does look drab, doesn’t it?).


    • CoreneD

      I noticed It’s a Small World looking dirty in spots when we were there last month too. From a distance you tend not to notice, but when going through on the Train, I really noticed. Having it be largely white means that it shows the dirt more.

  • DisneyDesi

    Thanks for the awesome update.

    Looks like Disneyland has been declining in certain areas. Space Mountain looks filthy as you mentioned, the monorail track also, Innoventions is depressing. Many of the photos in this update seem to highlight some of the faults. I guess WDW isn’t the only resort having issues.

  • BosoExpress

    I want to like the t-shirts that they sell at the parks but I can’t. They are just plain cheesy. Every time I visit the parks, I have the urge to buy a tee or sweatshirt, however I rarely find anything that appeals to me. I wish they would keep their designs classic and simple. Like the classic Mickey tee-shirt (without the fake vintage distressed look please). It gets no simpler than putting the classic Mickey on a shirt. No words, no other characters, just Mickey. Another pet peeve of mine is the whole “Disneyland Resort” thing. I could do without the “Resort” branding on my Disneyland shirt.

  • msdlpierce7530

    Great update as usual. Thanks for all the work and time you put in to keep us up to speed with what is going on.

  • churrocharlie

    The IASW shirt is adorable, would be even more adorable without the words.

  • ecowfer13

    The meet and greet at the edge of the Pier is already reopened. I walked through yesterday and watched Donald taking pictures as usual…

  • DobbysCloset

    Andy, thank you, great update. Have you tried looking in the new Starbucks for the Hatter & Hare?

    I can’t get enough of souvenirs and merchandise and very much appreciate viewing them from a safe distance (as in far, far away from the register). My favorite non-Mouse item was the Mike Wazowski T-shirt. I often see that look on adult faces during the Christmas season…

    I think it’s fascinating how you can show us a man touching up peeling paint and yet people will complain that no one does anything about the peeling paint.

    The safety railings that eliminate seating are interesting. It will change the traffic flow of the area. Wheelchairs and strollers and battery-charged vehicles the size of Volkswagon bugs change the traffic pattern.

    But Andy, the part of your update that resonated most in my household was this: bratwurst sausage, served in a Boursin-garlic brioche with hickory-smoked bacon and sauerkraut, followed by a Bavarian pretzel. Dobby says he would endure any indignities I inflict on him as a Service Dog for just the chance of leftovers from such delicacies.

  • amyuilani

    “This design seems to play on the popular notion that the classic “it’s a small world” is annoying, tedious or difficult to get through, which is a shame. Disney should be celebrating their iconic attractions, not making jokes at their expense. The great PsychoSocial Disney Culture blog discussed the issue in a recent post.”

    For the 50th Anniversary, Steve Martin hosted an entire video in which he poked fun at the fact that not all of Disneyland has been as perfect and magical as they would have had you seem. He talked about the disaster of opening day, and even made fun of the fact that Tomorrowland maintained the 1986 mentality well into the 1990s.

    With all of the information we have access to, and the ability we have to pull back the curtain on everything these days, it’s no wonder that Disneyland is jumping on board and having a sense of humor about what they cannot avoid, which is differing opinions and unkept secrets. And if they want to make a buck off of it? More power to them. I would buy that shirt. I won’t, but I would.

  • Marko50

    Thanks for the update Andy, especially since you’re temporarily doing double duty.

    I think I want a shirt that says, “I’m a Passhole.” 😉

    • Country Bear


    • ghosty4


  • jjw69

    Speak about safety rails. In the queue line for the Haunted Mansion, you can clearly see safety rails ontop of the Mansion’s show building when looking over the railroad berm. At least blend it with tress or something….

  • ralzap

    Thank You! I will be there in 2 weeks. Hope to see you all…..

  • ghosty4

    The “I conquered it’s a small world!” is possibly my favorite shirt at the resort right now. I want one! I, too, think it’s funny and not negative at all.