All good things must come to an end.  It was a wildly successful season that saw insane crowd levels in both parks.  While Holidays at the Disneyland Resort ends Monday night, this weekend will be the final chance for many to experience Christmastime at the Disneyland Resort.  Both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland will still be in holiday mode until the end of operations on Sunday night. Keep in mind that the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is going down Monday, January 6th, for what the Disney Parks Blog is calling a “refurbishment.”  We take you down for one last ride. Things are also coming along on Big Thunder Mountain as a large section of barrier wall was removed along the back end.  On the opposite side of the park, Space Mountain is finally getting a proper cleaning. Otherwise, things are relatively quite in the parks.  Andy Castro will be covering the recent New Years festivities in detail this Monday (Dusty and I, along with about 60 MiceChatters, spent NYE at Knott’s Berry Farm this year), so please check back on Monday.  Now sit back, relax, and enjoy a brief update from the Disneyland resort.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

According the the Disney Parks Blog, Nemo is going down for refurbishment from January 6th, to Friday, September 26th. However, a recent MiceAge update indicates that it is likely Nemo may never reopen. It is well-known that aside from being a glacially slow loader, 800-ish an hour, it is the single most expensive ride to operate in the resort.  But with the belt being tightened at the moment on all spending, Nemo is an easy target.

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We suppose that if the park must tighten its belt, this would be the attraction to close. However, the loss of that beautiful lagoon is painful indeed.

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We will soon know where the financial ebb and flow will guide this poor, iconic attraction.  But, for now we invite you to enjoy a final ride on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

 

After Paul Pressler closed the Subs in September of 1998, it left a large unused piece of real estate in the middle of Disneyland.  Eventually, all agreed that the Tomorrowland problem needed to be addressed. But the only way to get the board to approve the huge financial expenditure and revitalize the existing attraction, was to tie it to a successful intellectual property.  After a bit of testing, it was finally announced that Pixar’s Finding Nemo would be used.

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When the subs reopened in 2007, the fan community was overjoyed – not so much for the Pixar overlay  (which many deride for its lackluster use of video screens in place of animatronics), but for the chance to ride, once again, in the submarines designed by Disney Legend Bob Gurr.  It was good to see motion in the lagoon again after so many years of it sitting empty and lifeless.

Now we find ourselves on the verge of losing the subs again.  It’s an inevitable fate for this unique experience.  Walt wanted to give guests a “real show” in producing a submarine that was under water.  But Walt was the dreamer, not the financial wizard.  His dream came to fruition, but was hardly something sustainable.

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Our advice?  If you want to experience this attraction before it goes away, get to the park before Sunday Night.

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Bon Voyage Subs!  You gave us some wonderful adventures in liquid space.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

Another park staple that will be departing after Monday night is Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.  Kirk Wall and his original clan of music makers began performing in 1992 and have since become a fan favorite.  But, back in November, the Disney Parks Blog announced that the Billies would have their final performance at the park on Sunday, January 6th, 2014. Which leaves the Billies without a job.

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They are performing way back in the outdoor, Jingle Jangle Jamboree.  Expect a large crowd for the final performance and get there early.

If you love the Billies, there is still some hope . . . but not at Disneyland. On New Years Eve, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies performed just down the road at Knott’s Berry Farm. They were given the freedom to perform numbers that Disneyland hasn’t been letting them do and they had a HUGE crowd of folks there to see them (including us). If you’d like to help Krazy Kirk and the band, please be sure to contact Knott’s Berry Farm and ask them to put the Hillbillies on the regular entertainment schedule. The decision is really up to you at this point.

Knott’s Berry Farm – 
8039 Beach Boulevard, 
Buena Park, CA USA 90620
Guest Relations: (714) 220-5200

Mail:

Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard.
Buena Park, CA USA 90620

Additional Contact Information

  • General Info, Guest Relations: (714) 220-5200

– See more at: http://www.customerservicenumbers.org/knotts-berry-farm/#sthash.qg3z7xMs.dpuf

Mail:

Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard.
Buena Park, CA USA 90620

Additional Contact Information

  • General Info, Guest Relations: (714) 220-5200

– See more at: http://www.customerservicenumbers.org/knotts-berry-farm/#sthash.qg3z7xMs.dpuf

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Testing is happening around the clock.  The familiar sound of the chain lift in the earthquake scene can be heard while walking along Big Thunder Trail. Cast members can be heard making announcements over the loudspeakers throughout the attraction.

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A large section of construction barrier walls was removed along the backside of the mountain, revealing part of the landscape once again.

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While the interior show lighting is still being tweaked, the exterior lighting at night is saturated and beautiful.

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We are eagerly anticipating the reopening of this beloved attraction on February 14th.  No word yet on soft-opening dates.

Crowds

Another word of warning, the crowds will be intense this weekend.  In fact, pics from yesterday show Splash, Space and Indy with two hour waits. Yikes! Disneyland has enacted some crowd control measures to help ease the flow of people around the park.

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A glance at the wait times board.
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In order to enter Adventureland on crowd-control days, you will be forced to enter via Frontierland and make your way around a traffic divider of  benches. The tight path through Adventureland becomes a one-way exit out of the west side of the park.
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It’s actually a clever use of existing space.
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Tomorrowland traffic is equally bad.
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This spot (between Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear – with Astro Orbiter in the middle) is one of the worst bottlenecks in the park.
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Even at the exit, crowd control is there to funnel guests into the correct turnstiles.

Space Mountain

With all of the proper safety equipment now in place (per Disney’s OSHA standards), cleaning of the exterior of the Space Mountain Dome is underway.

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In space, no one can see you clean. But we saw these guys on the backside of the mountain. You can immediately see the cleaned portions and yellowed dirty section.

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From the hub, inside the park, you can see a difference between the top portion and the lower.
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The side facing Tomorrowland itself is rather filthy.

 

That just about wraps things up for this update of the Disneyland Resort this week.  We hope that you all had a wonderful New Years celebration.  Andy Castro will be returning on Monday morning to give you a full run down on the festivities that occurred on New Years, along with pics and video!  We will be seeing you again soon, In The Parks!