Disneyland‘s busy holiday season officially comes to an end today after a huge New Year’s Eve celebration in both parks followed by a festive Three Kings Day celebration and the final holiday crowds visiting the parks over the weekend. Disneyland now begins 2014, but the year may shape up to be another quiet one for the Resort as it continues to rest on the rewards of Disney California Adventure‘s hugely successful 2012 expansion. Today we take a final look at the various holiday offerings, recap the New Year’s Eve festivities, and take a look at what we can expect from Disneyland in 2014.
Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at MouseAddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!
Get a closer look at today’s update! Click on any photo in today’s blog to see a larger, high-resolution version.
Let’s get started!
While Disneyland was packed full, the story was very different in Disney California Adventure with crowds far more manageable. Overall, crowds in California Adventure felt like a moderate summer afternoon.
Video of the full New Year’s Eve World of Color Countdown to Midnight show:
|End of the Season|
Last chance to enjoy seasonal attractions like the Haunted Mansion Holiday and the Jingle Jangle Jamboree are today. Haunted Mansion will reopen January 18 following the removal of its holiday overlay.
Today is also the last day to see Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform at Disneyland. Disney announced in November that the park would retire the popular live act. Billy and the gang have been performing at the park for over 20 years and fans are expected to pack their final shows today to say good-bye.
Today also marks the end of Paradise Garden’s successful Viva Navidad celebration. In addition to the regular Viva Navidad line-up, the cultural holiday celebration added Three Kings Day treats, decorations, face painting over the weekend. Three Kings Day ends today along with the rest of Viva Navidad.
|On the Horizon|
Disney has yet to announce any major new projects for 2014 but some changes are coming to the park this year and as it approaches its 60th anniversary in 2015.
First up, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is now closed to begin what has officially been announced as a major refurbishment for the attraction. Disney announced the attraction will reopen in the fall, but rumors from the MiceAge Update say that the attraction, the Resort’s most expensive ride to operate, is quietly being shuttered by Disney to cut costs.
The attraction wasn’t set to close until Sunday, but was shuttered a day early after having to close due to technical difficulties Saturday afternoon. We’ll be keeping an eye on the Submarine Lagoon for you all throughout the year to see what happens to this historic attraction.
Below, take a final video ride-through of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage from Saturday morning before it unexpectedly closed early.
The attraction closed Saturday afternoon after technical issues
In New Orleans Square, work on the Club 33 expansion has been underway since the Court of Angels closed in October but now the Club is completely closed as it begins its full remodel and expansion project.
Scaffolding and tarps cover the construction that is widening the upstairs bridge that connects the existing Club above Cafe Orleans with the space for the new Club 33 jazz lounge, which is being built in the space above the French Market.
[center]Fixing up Fantasyland[/center]
In Fantasyland, the old Skyway Chalet is rumored to be on the chopping block. The structure has sat unused since the Skyway’s closure in 1994 and Walt Disney Imagineering has decided to let go of the structure, which is not ADA-compliant and slipping further into disrepair. It’s a shame, as the structure could be a really lovely character meet-and-greet location with the proper upgrades and modifications to bring it up-to-date. The plan, however, is to dismantle it as soon as the last of the holiday crowds leave Disneyland, and with that, the old Fantasyland Skyway Chalet will slip into Yesterland.
Elsewhere in Fantasyland, another notable change will be coming soon over at the Alice in Wonderland dark ride. The classic Fantasyland ride suddenly closed in summer of 2010 after a Cal/OSHA inspector pointed out the outdoor portion of the ride track lacked proper handrails for Disney employees and maintenance workers. Disney voluntarily closed the ride and installed a temporary scaffolding and handrail fix for the ride, turning the once open and charming outdoor portion of the ride into an eyesore of scaffolding and tarps.
The attraction has operated with the temporary safety fixes like this since 2010 and after rumored fixes and expected closures, the ride is now expected to close in early February to install a permanent fix which is rumored to include a complete dismantling of the existing outdoor track and the construction of a new track that will be shorter, no longer winding, take up a smaller footprint and, most importantly, be Cal/OSHA-compliant.
It’ll be great to see a permanent fix come for this, which would be going on four years of being covered in tarps and temporary scaffolding this summer, it’s just unfortunate that the permanent fix comes at the cost of trimming the track so its shorter and decidedly less fun.
A video of the current ride experience
Throughout the rest of Fantasyland, the other classic dark rides rumors have suggested that Disneyland had planned to close each of the classic dark rides, starting with Alice, to dramatically upgrade and enhance the classics for the park’s 60th anniversary. Those rumored plans have been reportedly put on hold as even more rumors say that Disney has halted all major projects in response to problems with its major MyMagic+ project in Florida.
Currently, only Alice in Wonderland is officially scheduled to close anytime soon, but hopefully the rest of the dark rides get their updates and upgrades in time for Disneyland’s big 60th anniversary.
[center]Wildest Reopening in the Wilderness[/center]
Around the same time that Alice in Wonderland closes in February, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is expected to begin soft openings in Frontierland. The E-Ticket closed in January of 2013 and remained closed for the entire year after last-minute changes and safety additions forced Disney to delay its scheduled October reopening to February 2014.
This year Nikon will begin its new role as the Official Camera of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, replacing longtime film sponsor Kodak. Kodak left Disney last year after filing for bankruptcy and choosing not to renew its contract with Disney. Nikon is expected to bring new cameras to Disney’s PhotoPass photographers and bring back the various sponsored “Photo Spots” around the park, among other things. Hopefully Nikon will take over Kodak’s old photo supply and information booth in Fantasyland that Kodak left empty. The information booth is an old Fantasyland ticket booth and has sat unused and ignored since Kodak left, hopefully Nikon can move in and this little piece of Disneyland history can be saved.
[center]See Ya Later, Trashcans[/center]
Back in Tomorrowland, rumors are circulating once again that the Captain EO Tribute may quietly close in the coming days. The show returned to Disneyland in February 2010 as a tribute to Michael Jackson following the star’s death in 2009. In September, fans of the show worried Disneyland was preparing to permanently close it when it was scheduled to close for a three-month refurbishment. The September “refurbishment” was canceled and the show remained open through the end of the year but now rumors are circulating once again that the show could close at any moment as a cost-savings move by Disney until they’re ready to announce a permanent replacement for the 3D theater (rumors suggest a new Star Wars show here). In any case, if you’re a fan of Captain EO, you may want to catch a showing just in case it does glow away soon.
In Downtown Disney, the final new Starbucks location for the Disneyland Resort will open in the space formerly occupied by Anne Geddes and later by BLINK by Wet Seal. The new Starbucks location is set to open this winter, which could mean anytime between now and March, and will be the third Starbucks location added on property since 2012.
|Weekly News & Information Round-Up|
|Weekly Theme Park Hours
January 6-12, 2014
|[B]Disneyland Park[/B]||[B]California Adventure[/B]|
|Monday: 9 am – 10 pm
Tues.-Thurs.: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday: 9 am – 12 midnight
Sat.-Sun.: 9 am – 11 pm
|Monday: 9 am – 9 pm
Tues.-Thurs: 9 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sun.: 9 am – 10 pm
|[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar[/CENTER]
|[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]|
|[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]|
|[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]|
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
|Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Hope you all had a happy New Year’s Eve celebration and best wishes for 2014!
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