The Disneyland Resort has just finished one of the most consistently busy Christmas seasons in its history, and you can practically hear the Cast Members breathe a sigh of relief this week. But now the parks in Anaheim plunge into a winter of unknowns, as money from Burbank is coming in fits and starts, and with recent pre-Christmas layoffs in TDA casting a chill over many back-of-house and nonessential departments. In this update we’ll recap just how busy the season was, what’s really going on with some of the weird refurbishments this year, and what’s been approved and what is still on hold for both Tomorrowland and the 60th Anniversary in 2015.


Got that leftover frosted snowman cookie warmed up?  Market House Starbucks latte poured (the lines are so much shorter than the DCA location)?  Good.  Let’s get you updated on the latest in the ever-evolving news coming from the Disneyland Resort.

A Merry Little Christmas


The two weeks of Christmas and New Year’s always bring the very busiest days of the year for the Disneyland Resort. This year the calendar and the weather cooperated perfectly to provide a steady stream of domestic and international tourists to Anaheim. With perfect sunny and warm weather for two weeks straight, the crowds remained consistent from day to day, instead of the attendance peaks and valleys caused by a few rainy days last year. From December 21st through January 4th the two parks pulled in almost uniform attendance each day, with Disneyland at around 65,000 per day, and DCA around 35,000 per day. The very busiest day of the holiday season for Anaheim was Friday, December 27th when just over 101,000 people packed into both parks combined. Disneyland did have to suspend ticket sales for several hours on the 27th, and several other days in the past two weeks, forcing late arrivals over to DCA until early evening when Disneyland could reopen to them. But the local press never picked up on that story like they usually do, and TDA has gotten smart with how they train CM’s to phrase things at the ticket booths and parking lots now when Disneyland becomes full to capacity. The result was a two week stretch of extremely busy days that slipped under the radar with the media and most of the park’s fans.


Although 2013’s holiday season missed setting an attendance mark on any one day by a few thousand, unlike last year when a cold rain slashed attendance for a couple days and then compressed that attendance when the sun returned and pulled in 105,000 for both parks a few days after Christmas. But the steady and consistent pace of daily attendance in the 95,000 to 100,000 range this year proved that a steady pace wins the race, and the overall 2013-14 holiday season is going down as the busiest and most profitable in the Resort’s history. After Bob Iger’s recent comments to the investment community about this past summer and fall featuring “increased visitation and spending” at the Anaheim property while Disney’s Orlando property struggles with both of those things, the folks in TDA are simply thrilled at the results from this holiday season.

Please Continue to Hold…

But now TDA has to wade through a tough corporate environment this winter, where big investments like Star Wars Land that Bob Iger had broadly hinted just a few months ago would be coming to Disneyland are still stuck in that unfortunate holding pattern we’d told you about in the last update. As our Editor’s Note last week leaked however, that first phase of the Star Wars makeover of Tomorrowland did mercifully get the green light from Burbank in December.


While no exact date has been set for the project to begin, the current plan will see the complete reskin and remodel of the main Tomorrowland buildings flanking the entry walkway off the Central Plaza. The theme for the opening act of Tomorrowland will be a futuristic looking “space port”, that frames the existing attractions nicely while setting up the environment for all the new Star Wars experiences planned for the back half of the land whenever they finally get approved.


If funding holds, The Astro Orbiter, perhaps the most unfortunately placed of all of Disneyland’s attractions, will be ripped out and go to Yesterland temporarily. A new version of this classic spinner is planned for Tomorrowland. But when it reappears as part of the Star Wars project it is supposed to be placed on the upper levels of the buildings on the back half of the land near Space Mountain. The old PeopleMover tracks over that section of the land will also be torn out in this first phase. Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and Star Tours will continue to operate throughout this construction project, as TDA’s planners have plotted out a series of moveable construction walls and temporary walkways through the aesthetic re-Imagineering of the building’s exteriors.


But the real substance of the Star Wars Land project, the new rides and shows, are all backfilled into phase two of this Tomorrowland project. And phase two is all still on temporary hold for Disneyland, and appear to be simply cancelled for Disney’s Hollywood Studios out at WDW. The optimists at Imagineering however are using this additional time stuck in limbo to their advantage. The Imagineers assigned to the Star Wars Tomorrowland project have now been debriefed on the characters and plotlines coming for Star Wars Episode VII that opens in theaters in about two years. The original plan for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland relied heavily on characters and plot points from the first three Star Wars films, with attractions like a Millenium Falcon walk-thru on the old PeopleMover platform, a wild Tatooine cantina replacing Tomorrowland Terrace, and a speeder bike ride through an Ewok village where Autopia currently sits. Those key attractions are all still part of phase two, but they are being layered or tweaked to include references from Episode VII that will be released in theaters at least 18 months before any of those attractions open.

Sub-Thing to Tide you Over


Meanwhile, at the back of the land and before any of this has formally been announced, TDA is sticking to their original operations budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that was based on Star Wars Land already being announced by now. Disneyland President Michael Colglazier has brought an old WDW tactic out to California, where a WDW attraction is closed for “refurbishment”, but little if any work is done while they save money by not operating or maintaining the attraction for an extended period of time.


WDW management is most infamous for doing this with Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom Park. For years now, like clockwork, Splash Mountain closes for January and February. Some years the ride remains untouched during the closure, and some years the ride sits untouched for only a month before they go in and spend the last few weeks painting a bit and doing some actual maintenance. But the annual eight to ten week closure during the winter is simply a ruse and a way to save a nice chunk of operating labor on a water ride during the coldest and slowest time of the year.


A version of that strategy is basically what’s now happening with the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland. Except the “refurbishment” is slated to last a year and refurbishment work is focused almost entirely on saving the Resort a lot of money on its water bill. The 5 million gallon lagoon, built in 1959 and inadequately patched up in 2006, now leaks like a sieve into the sandy Anaheim soil and constantly needs topping off with new water. The Resort will soon be draining the lagoon, and has received a special permit from the Orange County Sanitation District to send the water on to Orange County’s underground aquifer basin instead of just flushing it out to the Pacific. This will earn the Resort credits from the water district and brownie points with the local politicians, plus give Disney something “green” to crow about by its Public Affairs team. And the empty lagoon will also save TDA a lot of money in a drought year, on top of the huge crew of Attractions Cast Members and extensive nightly maintenance that easily makes the Submarine Voyage the single most expensive attraction to operate at the Disneyland Resort.

Once the lagoon is drained and the subs placed in mothballs, the attraction is planned to sit quietly and wait while the number crunchers in TDA count the savings for the rest of this fiscal year. If Star Wars Land finally gets approved and announced later in 2014 as Imagineering hopes, the submarines will have already been closed and can remain closed as the Blue Sky Cellar reopens with a splashy new exhibit showing the Endor forest and a new E Ticket ride where the submarine caverns currently reside. But if Fiscal Year 2015 approaches in October and the Star Wars project remains in financial limbo, TDA might consider performing a few weeks of a legitimately needed refurbishment to the underwater sets and vehicle battery packs themselves in order to reopen the ride by next Christmas. But that would require spending money that just isn’t flowing right now.

TDA executives, knowing Star Wars Land is the wild card even Burbank can’t pin down now, have also cooked up a timeline that has the submarines closed until the spring of 2015 and reopened as part of the nostalgia themed 60th anniversary. The subs would then close again in 2016 when the speeder bike ride begins major construction on the roof of the submarine caverns. But, again, that’s only if the Star Wars project continues to be delayed.


With that, TDA thinks they’ve played their cards right and have just successfully closed the old submarines for a second time, but this time without any drama from fans or the media. Unlike Paul Pressler who infamously closed the submarines with a clumsy public announcement and subsequent media dustup in the summer of 1998, Michael Colglazier timed the closure for the busy holiday season when the locals weren’t paying attention. TDA also got an incredibly vague refurbishment story out on the Disney Parks Blog to give them a bit of cover. They even closed the ride a day early this past Sunday, due to a facilities issue that the park management happily blamed in order to shutter the ride early and avoid any sort of scene by passionate or suspicious fans at the end of the night. It worked.


While that news is tough to swallow, it’s about as bad as it gets in Anaheim, at least for now. The news on the 60th Anniversary plans for 2015 aren’t exactly great, as the budget has been slashed and hacked quite a bit, but TDA thinks they can pull something off for the fans while spending much less than originally planned. Gone are the plans for an all-new night parade for Disneyland. Instead, there’s currently an idea to bring back the Main Street Electrical Parade from the dead and slot it back in to the nightly Disneyland entertainment lineup. This cheap and easy offering would be marketed under the broad nostalgia theme they have decided on for the 60th, where old favorites and long-gone pieces of Disneyland history return for 2015.


The Golden Horseshoe Revue is planned to come back to Frontierland, after proving a hit last winter. (Even if Miss Lilly and the can-can girls generated a few concerns at City Hall from oversensitive visitors.) TDA is also mulling a plan to build a temporary CircleVision theater, in a tent, for a return engagement of America The Beautiful. And for the holiday season of 2015 they are considering re-installing the spectacularly kitschy Christmas star on top of the Matterhorn like the one that was used from 1961 to 1972. The star was mothballed in 1973 as a victim of the Energy Crisis that year, before it could become a victim of better taste by the 1980’s.


So the 60th, as it currently stands, won’t offer any new rides, and no permanent new offerings, but instead will be a year-long celebration of memories and oddball history. And in that type of nostalgia-fueled environment, the cheap plan to ship the old Electrical Parade out from Florida is something TDA thinks they can pull off successfully.

Meanwhile, in Disney California Adventure, there’s plenty of work ahead this winter and spring. Mary Niven has cancelled her standing weekly meeting with her top strategists and operations managers from around the park as they plotted out operating strategy for the Monstropolis project, now that the Monsters Inc. Door Coaster and attached development got the axe from Burbank. Instead, the focus for DCA turns to Soarin’ Over California, which will be closing next month for an aggressive four month refurbishment.

We’d told you in past updates about this HD makeover plan for Soarin’ that Disney has yet to formally announce and that hasn’t shown up on public planning calendars yet. But the project is a big one that escaped the budget knife in November, and it will be a race against the clock to get both theaters completed within four months. To upgrade the theaters to a digital HD IMAX system, the existing IMAX metal screens must be removed and replaced with new screens designed for the new 4K laser projectors and the slightly different image they cast.

The audio system behind the screens and in the theater will also be upgraded, while the flying theater infrastructure itself gets a full refurbishment. WDI will also be installing new equipment for better smell effects, as well as infrastructure for the water spray effects that WDI has planned for the new Soarin’ The World movie coming to DCA and Shanghai in 2015. Don’t forget that we’d told you last year to mark March 12th, 2014 on your calendar, as that’s the evening WDI will be flying HD cameras over and around the Disneyland Resort as they film the new ending to the attraction.

While the Subs and Soarin’ refurbishments will be the most noticeable this winter, there are plenty of other closures planned for both parks. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Pirates, Splash Mountain, Columbia, and Indiana Jones Adventure will all be closed for at least several weeks at a time this winter into early spring, while Small World and Haunted Mansion also undergo their usual January refurbishments.


Big Thunder Mountain will be reopening officially by early February, and soft openings could be occurring by late January after Cast Members are invited to ride in mid January. When those soft openings and previews do begin, there will be a few new surprises in and around the 1979 classic E Ticket. The biggest changes arrive in the final lift hill, which has historically been known as the “Earthquake Scene” and has already been subject to several upgrades in the last 20 years. This time, the earthquake concept is shelved in favor of a more dramatic mine explosion triggered by a rather famous animatronic goat (Google “Disneyland Goat Trick” if you aren’t familiar). Digital mapping, smoke and mechanical effects in this new scene will all combine to make that final lift hill a bit more menacing, while changing the plotline of the ride back to the original 1970’s concept of “bursting out of the mine” at the top of that lift for the final thrill portions of the track.

More goat tricks on the way.


Now scheduled to go down February 3rd.
Now scheduled to go down February 3rd.

At about the same time Big Thunder Mountain reopens after 14 months of work, Alice In Wonderland will finally close for its long overdue refurbishment to replace the exterior track. The Alice closure was pushed back yet again from January to February, as TDA and WDI both buy some time to try and salvage as much of the lavish dark ride improvements originally budgeted for the 60th anniversary as they can. If Burbank agrees to unfreeze the budgets for the remaining Anaheim projects while they try to stem the flow of red ink on the massive MyMagic+ project in WDW, the Fantasyland dark ride improvements will get the green light, so we could still see that fully animatronic and expressive Queen of Hearts yet. But if the budgets remain on lockdown through this winter, this year’s Alice refurbishment will focus solely on replacing the exterior track with a wider version that meets California’s strict employee safety standards for fall protection.

Oh-kay – that wraps up the current status of what we can tell you at the moment. There is a remarkable atmosphere of uncertainty hovering over the plans for the resort.  Between ride refurbishments, anniversary plans and new attractions, even Burbank and Team Disney Anaheim are scratching their heads in wonder.

How the Anaheim property emerges from this winter of unusual refurbishments and budgetary uncertainty is yet to be seen. But we will continue to keep track of these developing and ever changing projects and provide you the information as the pieces fall into place.

  • Malin

    What happened to TDA telling the guys out in Orlando to keep the Main Street Electrical Parade. And what makes you certain WDW will be so willing to give it back to them after three years. Especially with Spectromagic now scrapped. Unless WDW no longer want to deal with the added cost of a night-time Parade.

    • Magic Kingdom has a fancy new Steve Davison designed parade on the way that they can run by day and night. They’ll be ready to let go of the Electrical Parade just about the time Disneyland needs it. But will it still be functional after the years of abuse WDW has been subjecting it to?

      • Skimbob

        I saw MSEP indoors and protected on my last trip to WDW. It looks like they have kept it in great shape.

  • danielz6

    Wow so work walls around the beautiful tomorrowland lagoon the entire year? Unacceptable.

    • Freddie Freelance

      Maybe they’ll use themed scrims to cover the empty lagoon? A scrim that wraps around the whole lagoon, printed with an image of the water, several subs at their dock, and the seagulls on their bouy would be nicer than plain walls or an empty lagoon.

    • zeitzeuge

      So obviously you found the walls around Big Thunder Railroad almost all year long unacceptable too? Or the walls up in and around New Orleans square to expand Club 33 unacceptable? Temporary walls around Alice for 3 years was ok? Come on. If something has to be refurbed, it’s the price we pay. We will never, ever have a 100% fully functional and pretty looking park.

      • danielz6

        Um did you even read the article? What is unacceptable is boarding up an entire iconic area of Disneyland simply for the reason of saving operating costs, with little or no intention of actually refurbishing or improving the ride. This is not the case with BTM or Matterhorn as both had complete track replacements as well as new special effects added to the ride experience. Matterhorn also had a beautiful new and improved paint job. If these attractions were boarded up for the sole purpose of saving money throughout the year as their fate was being discussed, then yes, absolutely that would be unacceptable, but that wasn’t the case. Both rides were significantly improved, which according to the article, is not the case of Nemo. Alice is a minor attraction on the corner of fantasyland and doesn’t have construction walls around it, and doesn’t compare to the subs which have the largest footprint of any attraction in Disneyland. And club 33 scrims are for an actual work in progress, which again according to the artcicle, is not the case for the subs which are closing indefinitely to save money until their fate is decided, not for extensive refurbishment as was the case for BTM or Matterhorn. The examples given are irrelevant to the information of the article and what I find to be unacceptable. Nonetheless, it is these kinds of decision that makes it easy for me not to renew my Disneyland AP for the time being.

      • Mr. Disney

        I think $92 is a pretty high price to pay already…


    Sounds like Pressler and Harriss are back in TDA.

  • Park Hopper

    The Electric Parade coming back? For crying out loud, they’ve whipped that horse to death! It’s too old and worn out to pull TDA’s collective butt out of the fire yet again. As far as the nostalgia angle, it hasn’t been gone long enough. Sure, when it left in 1996, there were tears of sorrow. But the last time it left, did anyone even notice?

    Then, as a previous poster noted, that would leave Florida’s Magic Kingdom without a nighttime parade. Maybe they feel that attendance is so strong they don’t need it, and that fireworks will be enough. That would certainly be in line with traditional Disney World thinking.

    They need to stop grasping at inexpensive straws, leave the Electric Parade in Florida and design a new nighttime parade for Disneyland.

    • FerretAfros

      I would be very surprised if WDW was willing to give the parade up. They run it nightly, even during the quietest times of year. With Fantasmic! in the Studios, MK really needs a nighttime parade to give some meaning to the evening hours; the mass exodus to the buses after the fireworks is bad enough as is

      Plus, didn’t we get reports after less than a year of the parade being in WDW that the floats had all suffered a lot of damage from being exposed to the harsher elements in Florida? I was under the impression that TDA wanted nothing to do with the parade after that

    • DuckyDelite

      Please, please, please do NOT bring back the Electrical Parade. I went to DCA to see it when then pulled it out of storage the first time. I was hoping for a magical experience down memory lane. Instead it was just tired and old.

      If they bring it back again, I know I will officially be done with Disney.

      “Burn me once….”

    • amyuilani

      I agree. I loved the parade as a kid, and even had the fortune to drive for the parade when I was a CM in the early ’00s at DCA. But I don’t want to see it back either. It’s time for that parade to be in moth balls for good. I want something new at Disneyland. It’s becoming painfully obvious that it has been far too long since anything new and exciting has come to Disneyland. If it weren’t for the place Disneyland has in my heart, I’d just go to DCA instead.

    • TodAZ1

      Agreed. Let it actually “glow away forever.” Put it out of it’s misery, already!

      • mrcobra92

        Honestly, its better than no night time parade at all, I am sick of the fireworks being “the best thing to do at night in the parks” because they are BORING! Any nighttime parade (with the excuse of light tragic) would be good in the park right now.

  • FerretAfros

    Interesting that suddenly there’s some plausibility to the subs’ return. According to your previous updates, I thought their closure was supposedly a done deal

    And that “incredibly vague” Parks Blog post about the refurbishment is far more specific than what most attractions get. Short of a major overhaul like Big Thunder (or…gasp…that subs), they don’t comment on routine maintenance

    Rumors of a temporary CircleVision theater date back a couple years, when they were toying around with extra hours for APers. They still haven’t done it yet, but I think it would be a lot of fun (if they can find the space to make it work)

    • Their closure is mostly a done deal. But they aren’t in any rush to destroy the subs or fill in the lagoon because they need to keep the attraction on the books (so they can use its budget for something else). If Star Wars gets canceled or delayed again, then it could come back, but the likely scenario is that Star Wars gets announced and the subs quietly go away after a year of closure. Remember, Disneyland Resort will soon be challenged by Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood. Disney will need Star Wars as their counter strike. And the recently approved aesthetic retheme of Tomorrowland is a placeholder on that project and a first step toward a major change and expansion of Tomorrowland (which would require the removal of both the Subs and Autopia). But if they have a significantly delayed Star Wars and they find that they are critically deficient on the 60th plans, they could refill the lagoon and reopen the subs for a short time if they had to. It’s something they need to crunch the numbers on as the 60th gets closer. Obviously, hopes are on Star Wars and not on reopening the resort’s most expensive attraction.

      Though things were much more dire last month, just days after Iger yanked all the budgets, shut down and delayed projects and forced layoffs and massive budget cuts over MyMagic+. With a month to shuffle things around, the parks are figuring out what they can get done with what little they have left. After you read Kevin Yee’s update today, there is reason to believe that MyMagic+ fears may also begin to loosen for Bob Iger and he may start to get the creative wheels moving again in Imagineering. There’s reason for hope.

      • tooncity

        Dusty I respectfully disagree. Short sided descions to milk money out of a cash cow was done with the permission of Disney Corporate, back in the 90’s as it is today. Always done to counter BAD moves by Burbank. How could they allow so much money to wasted on NSA level spy system for guests? No data told them people wanted this thing. Yes, I want every second of my vacation planned out to the second. Very few.

        More closed attractions, higher ticket costs, less park. What is it, 3 years now for that dopey Alice in Wonderland ugliness. There’s simply NO excuse for that eyesore. Replacing Old out dated attractions with even Older out dated attractions, ie Capatin EO.

        Datedland’s 50th Anniversary was a joke! Gold Mickey Ears and photo murals. really. Now the 60th is even worse than that. This turkey is all set to fail. Wal-Mart Santa hats for the so-called jingle cruise, is just insulting to their customers.

        Disney hasn’t built ANYTHING of any significance in 20 years. We just get cheap mistakes, with some silly overlay as a quick patch. All the while the claims of not enough money. Really! they rake in a $100 a head for a OLD, dated park that is long passed been amortized out. The park is the gift that keeps on giving.

        The updates on attractions can only be done, if they write of the cost on The Oriental Land Company. They’re getting tired of it.

        Hey Disney make tons of money. Make all you can. Just re-invest a reasonable amount of money on expansion, capacity and God for forbid some kind of MAGIC!

        Let you’re Passes Expire folks. It’s the only way they’ll respect you in the morning. Go to Knott’s, Uni, Sea World, San Diego Safari Park.

      • mondo

        My hope is for the Subs to return and Autopia to get updated. I also hope Star Wars is delayed for so long where they rethink about the plans and use it for part of the 3rd gate ( w/ Marvel and maybe Avatar).

        I am looking forward to the “complete reskin and remodel of the main Tomorrowland buildings”… Except for AO/new spinner going on the SM patio. It should be put back on to the platform.

      • MickeyFickey

        Well said, tooncity!

  • FerretAfros

    It’s interesting to me that we can declare that 2014 is a drought year, even though we’re less than a week into it

    • Freddie Freelance

      I’ll assume you’re not from California and don’t understand our weather, here’s the thumbnail précis: Southern California doesn’t get rain all year, instead getting rain and snow in just a few months of winter storms.

      Now 2013 was already one of the driest on record, so we are already in a short term drought, and reservoirs & aquifers are low all over Southern California. Basically we’re taking out more water than we’re getting, so we have a water “deficit”.

      Now if we’d been whipped by winter storms this year we might have made that water deficit up, but like Al said we haven’t been seeing the storms we’ve seen other years. A series of high pressure ridges have been keeping things warm and dry this rainy season, we only have 20% of the usual snow levels in the Sierras, and unless we see a Noah’s Flood level deluge the drought we’re already in will continue the rest of the year.

      • FerretAfros

        I lived in southern California for 6 years, so I’m familiar with the weather there. From my experience, most of the rain seemed to come in February and March, with a little more in June and possibly December. There’s still plenty of time to catch up

        Reservoirs are likely low because they aren’t built at the same pace that the population grows; they’ve been low for years so this isn’t really new. The low snow levels may be a decent indicator though; still I think it’s too early to make that call (especially when there’s a very good chance Disney will be pumping those millions of gallons back into the lagoon at the end of summer)

    • redmars

      The official rain year runs from July 1 – June 30. (Incidentally corresponds to the state’s fiscal year). This makes sense because California gets rain in the late fall through early spring, and this unit of time is what is impact by El Nino, La Nina, etc. Comparing years based on a Jan 1 – Dec 31 calendar would be pretty inaccurate.

    • martinjbell1986

      Northern Californian here. It WILL be a drought year. No rain up here and our lake is dry. No water so send down to So Cal.

  • JCSkipr79

    The MSEP has SOME merit because when Flights of Fantasy opens in March, it will be the new day AND night parade. However, there is no way in holy heck MSEP will survive being transported 3,000 miles again. TDO is NOT taking care of it and some nights it goes out with whole units missing. MSEP, maintained by TDO, is 2 seconds away from becoming SpectroMagic. Unless TDO keeps MSEP and actually spends money to fix it during FoF run.

    • FerretAfros

      I was under the impression that FOF would have 2 performances, but they would both be during daytime hours. Way back when, DL would have 2 performances of its daytime parade, and also 2 performances of MSEP. Why couldn’t MK do the same? Granted, they don’t have the parade storage issue that DL does (there’s only room for one parade at a time in the space between Main Street and Tomorrowland), but it is still operationally feasible

      And for what it’s worth, MSEP would also occasionally have units missing during its run at DCA. From what I saw, it was much less frequent, but it happened nevertheless

  • JCSkipr79

    “”Why couldn’t MK do the same?””

    ^^ Because………………it’s MK………under Phil Holmes and George K. YEA.

  • skoolpsyk

    wow, I had no idea Disney was hurting so bad financially. Maybe we can take up a collection for them…

  • TCadillac

    Well if anything, the Thunder Mountain goat triggered mine explosion sounds freaking awesome. I can’t wait to see this.

    • sinatra12

      I was slightly dissapointed to hear that the earthquake is rumored to be no more, but this idea actually sounds pretty cool

    • ttintagel

      Maybe that’s part of the reason they never bothered fixing the broken earthquake rocks in the WDW version, if they knew this changed scene was on the horizon.

  • tooncity

    The Pressler era has returned.
    Same OLD dusty crud from Datedland!
    Save your money folks and let your Passes expired until they actually give you something for your money, instead over overprice food and overprice trinkets.

    • The difference between now and the Pressler Era is that Pressler cut budgets and maintenance because he was trying to pad the bottom line to make himself look better. Today, they are spending literally BILLIONS of dollars on MyMagic+, Avatar Land, Shanghai development, Star Wars development, and all sorts of interactive projects. The money was flowing freely until Iger realized that consultant fees and other overruns of MyMagic+ were out of control and that the project wasn’t likely to generate the revenue needed to make its cost back. The emergency condition that the parks are in at the moment will not be a permanent thing (at least so long as they figure out how to squeeze a few extra dollars out of every guest . . . which they will).

      • redmars

        Makes sense, but don’t quite understand the line that they need to keep the subs on the books so they can use it’s budget for something else. That sounds like Anaheim is just trying to confuse Burbank?

      • LoveStallion

        That’s exactly what Anaheim is doing. Keep it as an attraction for FY 2015 and keep funding available just in case. This is a common business practice.

      • CaptainCM

        People need to remember that Disneyland is a BIG cash cow in a BIG cash cow business. To think Bob Iger’s only consideration in approving budgets for TPR is whether or not people will enjoy the offerings, or “feel the magic” are sadly mistaken. He might be trying to rob peter to pay paul, which happens regularly, or he might be trying to justify another even larger project that has only gotten as far as the 500 building on the Lot. Either way I can’t say I’m disappointed with how my Disney stock has been performing over the past 12 months.

  • biggsworth

    Thanks for the update sounds like a fortifying postion at Disney while they figure out how to counter USH IMO while saving money at the same time.

  • MikeK

    I just hope this Star Wars take over of Tomorrowland is just a bad dream. Can’t wait till I wake up.

    • Internitty

      Yeah not everyone is in love with Star Wars (especially afters eps 1-3) and it certainly isn’t the best science fiction has to offer.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I doubt that Disney will be able to squeeze more money out of their quests this year. Universal has potter coming this year. That is going to draw many new families over there which will more than offset a few more churros purchased at WDW. When they make a mistake, they take a decade to admit to it. So I see budget cuts at Disneyland to offset the costs. Also they might try to implement it at Disneyland, which would be a mistake. But the accountants would then have two cost centers to spread the red ink over.

    • It does not appear that Disneyland is in any hurry to implement MyMagic+. They’ll let Florida work out the kinks and go through all the pain.

    • Bobbee

      Harry Potter won’t be at Universal until 2015, though they will have Despicable Me opening this year, so Harry Potter won’t be leaching any DL visitors in 2014. Also, Universal is a fun place to go, however, it is still just a 1 day park (in fact we did it all in about 3/4 of a day). If anything, Universal will draw more visitors to California who will then go to Disneyland to supplement their Universal day.

      • thebear

        If the Despicable me attraction in Hollywood is anything like the one in Orlando it will only be about a D ticket attraction and I doubt will move the needle much in attendance.

      • Internitty

        Nice that Disneyland has to rely on Universal to get guests for them

  • bayouguy

    Seems like Disney is expert at sneekiness and inventing “truths”. Wow, they’re politicians!!

  • gabriel velez

    Great update. At least things don’t sound so dire like they did during the last update. Considering how Disney prices things, finding the extra money from us guests is something that will happen. $6 dollar bottle waters and $5 dollar churros anyone?

  • Klondike

    Is it just me or does a speederbike ride thru the world of the Ewoks seem incredibly lame? Hasn’t everyone hated the Ewoks since their very inception?
    I expect a lot more from Imagineering than a dressed up, off-the-self, motorcycle coaster around a bunch of gunite trees. It seems like a cheap, unimaginative option.
    I’d much rather have the beautiful submarine lagoon.

    • DLFan1995

      Especially since the Ewok village is supposed to be high up in towering trees. Whatever they do at DL will have the “trees” stopping at 20-30 ft or so, which, while possibly being adequate while actually IN the area, will look really bad from the rest of the land.

      • tooncity

        You are right. This is a retread project that won’t work on the People Mover track, so now they’re going to build a Forrest. To make this work, they’ll have to fill the autotpia, subs, monorail figure 8 and the motorboat cruise. Can you see these guys actually building a Forrest of fake trees? There will be some Company Emergency the budget axe will fall. the tree stripping will begin.

        The Ewoks are one of the most hated elements of the Stars Wars Univ. So let’s make it a ride!

      • LoveStallion

        And imagine all of the railings because of OSHA requirements. 🙂

        Everyone hates Ewoks, but the speeder chase in RotJ is classic.

  • Klondike

    Is it just me or does a speederbike ride thru the world of the Ewoks seem incredibly lame? Hasn’t everyone hated the Ewoks since their very inception?
    I expect a lot more from Imagineering than a dressed up, off-the-self, motorcycle coaster around a bunch of gunite trees. It seems like a cheap, unimaginative option.
    I’d much rather have the beautiful submarine lagoon.

    • johntodd

      You and I would like to have the Sub lagoon, but what about the 6-14 demographic? After the new Star Wars movies come out, and DLR completes the Star Wars Land revamp, kids are going to be going nuts to get to Disneyland.

    • choco choco

      Nope, the Endor motorbike coaster idea is extremely lame.

      The ride ideas coming out of Imagineering of late have all been severely underwhelming, whether they’ve been built stuff (Carsland is pretty but conceptually hollow) or unbuilt (none of the proposed Avatar rides were impressive enough to write home about).

      I have no idea what is going on inside the company, but it doesn’t speak well of management that all their concepts seem to have little passion or thought put into them, it seems like a lot of people are simply going through the motions.

      • DarthBrian

        I liked the Monstropolis Coaster idea. Too bad. 🙁

      • tooncity

        You are right———NO Magic.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      Well, I have been thinking about this Ewok business. Personally, I have never understood the hatred towards those little guys. I loved them as a kid (I am 39 now) and my husband liked them. He had all the action figures, including the Ewoks. My brother had Ewok stuff too. I enjoyed Return of the Jedi and I remember being a kid and the Ewok adventure on the planet was a nice break from the space battle above. I thought it was cool how they did that. It made the movie more interesting to me…and I like how these primitive little critters were able to help defeat the powerful empire. I know it was heavy handed of Lucas, but it still is fun to root for the underdogs (especially when they are cute little bears that look harmless).

      An Ewok forest with giant trees would be spectacular for the park visually. It would be gorgeous from Fantasyland…and I bet the trees would be arranged in a way to create a screen to hide Tomorrowland and Space Mountain from the rest of the park. That would be great, in my opinion. The trees would look gorgeous near the Matterhorn too. I am all for that.

      I think there will be more than just “speeding around a track”. I think they’ll build an awesome queue that winds around through the trees and through a bunker like they had in Jedi, so there would be interactive stuff to do. Lots of neat niches for Imagineers to do incredible stuff.

      I think the ride itself could have a lot of cool surprises…maybe be like Radiator Springs Racers and you are racing another bike the whole time, with show scenes too.

      It’s amazing to me that all these years later and Star Wars characters and the world of Star Wars are not in the parks yet. That’s so foolish to me. Lots of wasted dollars. I know a lot of my husband’s friends are not big Disney people, but they would make trips every year to go to a Star Wars park.

      My husband and my boys both love Star Wars. That is their thing together. My sons are 9 and 12 and they would BEG to be taken to a Star Wars park that really felt like they were in the movies.

      • stevek

        Never had an issue with the Ewoks. It’s mostly 40+ year old fanbois (I’m in that age group) that have never gotten over them. I’m not overly excited about SW taking over tomorrowland but if it’s going to, I’d think that a Endor coaster might be cool if executed with the same level of detail as Cars Land.

      • Jayce

        us 40 year old fanboys can’t stand ewoks mainly because the original concept was to visit Kashyyyk but they didn’t have enough tall people and special effects back then couldn’t make up for that so they went with the ewok idea instead. RoTJ is most good if you FF the ewok parts 😉

  • DisneyDesi

    Hope the Tomorrowland re-painting will extend the design aesthetic from the new Star Tours façade. The blue and silver scheme looks very nice and kind of futuristic. Sad to see the Astro Orbiter go but it really doesn’t belong there. Hopefully it will be placed in its proper location soon enough. Its about time Tomorrowland got a proper entrance like Magic Kingdom’s Avenue of the Planets.

    Why is WDW always portrayed so negatively in these articles? It seems like the author has a strong disdain for WDW for some reason. I wonder what made him hate the place so much.

    Understandably there are some issues that need to be fixed there and we know about it but the way WDW is presented in these articles make it seem like it is a terrible place and vastly inferior to Disneyland. Why so much hate for WDW and so much praise for Disneyland? Neither are perfect and neither are terrible. Doesn’t make sense.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I’ve only been part of the “fan community” a few years now. I’ve always loved Disney, but didn’t discover MiceChat until last year. I love this site, but I agree that WDW gets a lot of negativity. I think that is part of Disney fan culture because Disneyland is visited more by Los Angeles locals and WDW is a tourist place, mainly. So the locals are more vocal.

      I think most people going to WDW will make that trip once or twice in a lifetime. But the majority of people going to Disneyland live in California and might go there once or twice per year. Maybe more. I think there is a corresponding higher emotional connection to Disneyland and that WDW is then seen as like a cheap knockoff.

      I also think there is a California versus Florida, urban versus more rural thing happening too. Disneyland is the “cooler” park and WDW is for the hicks or for families with kids and so the standards are seen as lower, because “tourists don’t care”. Disneyland is seen as hipper and part of LA culture.

      I might be missing nuances of this, but this is what I have picked up on in all the fan sites.

      • Howdy BradyNBradleysMom,

        Just a little bit of history to put the WDW comments in context. When we first started blogging, our comments were often very negative about Disneyland. The parks were being run into the ground by Paul Pressler and the situation was dire. Even Roy Disney left the company to fight Eisner and Pressler. We were constantly criticized by some who just can’t hear negative talk about Disney. Eventually, things turned around. And as the quality of show improved at Disneyland, so did the tone of our coverage. But as Disneyland improved, we noticed that the situation at Walt Disney World was rapidly declining. Our thought is that Disney World must maintain the same levels of quality as Disneyland. And quite frankly, Disney knows that they’ve got a WDW problem. It’s one of the reasons why they sent Disneyland’s old President, George Kalogridis, out to shake things up at Disney World. Unfortunately, he’s been handcuffed by MyMagic+ and the resulting budget crunch.

        We’ll keep the pressure up because that’s the best way to ensure that Disney eventually does the right thing. If they think they can get away with bad show, they will. But if problems keep popping up online and occasionally in the main stream media, they will (and often do) make changes.

        Be encouraged by our attention on WDW because it’s a sure way to get others talking about things that need to be fixed at the parks as well. And certainly not all of the coverage of WDW is negative. But at the moment, they are earning a bit of a spanking. 😉

        Cheers and much thanks for reading.


      • danielz6

        Or just take a trip to Tokyo to see the level of quality that a Disney park should be. That’s what really opened my eyes. Keep up the good work Dusty and micechat. Most of us appreciate your honesty and passion for the Disney standard.

    • WookieCookie

      I completely agree with you about extending the new design aesthetic from Star Tours. I love the cool blue and silver steel colors.

  • scarymouse

    I don’t really know what to think about Disney’s latest plan for the 60th.I have been to the 20th -, 25th,30th, 40th, 50th and was planning on the 60th. It has become a pilgrimage to do the anniversary of D-land. Usually there is excitement to see a new attraction, and in the past they have really pulled off some good ones. Now with the penny pinching and all the slight of hand tricks, it has me wondering if it will be worth the expense and trip to the 60th.This saddens me a great deal and I am hoping Walt’s ghost will pay someone in charge a visit and we can get back to the celebration part of this wonderful place.Heres hoping for some Disney Magic… least the new part of Thunder mountain sounds pretty cool but I don’t think that is a huge draw like a new attraction.

    • tooncity

      It all sounds pretty underwhelming.

  • johntodd

    Just December 3rd my wife and I were mentioning that we’d love to have the MSEP back for a while. Bringing back the parade and revisiting Circlevision sounds like a lot of fun! Maybe they can run Phantom Boats in the lagoon… maybe the recent work on the monorail track at the motorboat cruise is a clue that something may be happening there also. How about motorized Peoplemover trains from the entrance of Tomorrowland to the area near the train station and Autopia?

    I know, I know… but it’s fun to dream , isn’t it?

  • jchamb268

    Wow, what people fail to remember is that Walt himself promised things that did not happen or would start something and it would sit until either the technology or budget came around to create it (Pirates, Haunted). So this is nothing new, is it frustrating? sure is, but things will happen and when they do it will be cool. In the mean time it wont stop me from visiting the parks and having a great time with my family.

  • tooncity

    What about rescuing the Mary Blair Murals under the Tomorrowland façade? I understand they just built right over the top of them in 1998. Wouldn’t they look great attached to the outside of the that silly looking Mickey parking garage?

    With the Garages sinking floor, if you can get your car’s speed up, it’s really a fun ride. Try the north west corner, you can really get some air!

    • I would love to know how badly they were damaged when the space murals were mounted on top of them. If they can be salvaged, they certainly should be. Hopefully D23 and the Archives makes sure that the contractors assigned to the project don’t just take a sledgehammer to them as happened to the tree mural in the Plaza Pavilion .

      • stevek

        Supposedly, they were very badly damaged. Steel supports rammed through the tiles in a few places. Maybe salvageable but likely not anything DL will put much effort into saving.

  • Disney Analyst

    after working at MK this summer, seeing the Electrical Parade several times, including backstage up-close… I can tell you it looked to be in great condition. Yes it is old, sometimes floats break down and don’t make it into the parade for the night.. But it was typically always fixed by the next day and there. So don’t know where these rumors of neglect are coming from… but it’s a tad bit ridiculous.

    • That’s great news. Thank you!

    • OprylandUSA

      You know exactly where these rumors are coming from… it’s the west coasters needing a cause to get behind. Anything that WDW has, is bad – especially something that Disneyland ‘gave’ them. The Magic Kingdom *must* be abusing the MSEP because the Magic Kingdom is bad, m’kay?!?!

      All the blame that WDW gets for the MyMagic+ debacle is ridiculous. It’s not WDW’s fault, or Team Disney Orlando’s fault, for that matter. It’s Burbank’s fault for coming up with the idea in the first place. It should have been tested somewhere small first – one cruise ship or Disneyland Paris. It was a mistake to make a complete roll out at Walt Disney World, but I don’t blame the resort for that decision. Nor, do I insist on berating the property in online blogs or forums.

      • tooncity

        people worry about Walt Dated World’s bad management, infecting the west coast Datedland’s management and making it worse than it already is. But when you get a guy who’s been running animal kingdom, they have the right to be concerned.

        the way they’ve handled the subs closing is more of a WDW stunt, than anything else.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        OprylandUSA, great comment.

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  • Dan Heaton

    Great update once again. The news is so frustrating because the company is doing well. I recognize that MyMagic+ has been a huge financial drain, and Shanghai and other overseas parks play a role. Still, it’s difficult to accept the lack of forward movement with the parks.

    The real challenge for me is coming to terms with how slowly everything moves at both DLR and WDW these days. Once an announcement happens, we’re probably looking at several years before anything really is completed, if not more. The Snow White Coaster is moving so slowly, and Avatarland has a tentative date of 2017. That’s what makes the lack of new announcements even tougher to swallow. We know that it will be a long time before anything gets built.

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  • EC82

    Couple of thoughts:

    1) If Disneyland is having one of its busiest and (can we assume?) one of its most profitable years, why worry about the relatively small cost of one attraction? Let’s say the subs cost MILLIONS of dollars to keep in shape — what does that matter in the scheme of things, except as it relates to the financial bonus for top management? And what happens to the couple of thousand people every hour who are riding the subs or waiting in line? With the subs AND Astro Orbiter down, the park will get more and more crowded. Those people have to go somewhere, and you can bet Disney’s not going to lower attendance caps.

    2) I sure hope Disney has a back-up plan for the “Star Wars” attractions. The last “Star Wars” movie, arguably one of the most hyped, most marketed films ever released, grossed $380 million in the U.S. Adjusted for inflation, that would be only slightly more than what “Iron Man 3” grossed this year. Now, I know Disney will pour a LOT of money into marketing “Star Wars,” but the fact is, “Star Wars” does not have the unlimited potential Disney seems to think it does. For years and years, “Star Tours” became one of the LEAST attended E-ticket rides at all the worldwide resorts. (For a long time, it was a walk-on at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World — I can’t say whether Tokyo was the same.) When “Star Wars” loses its luster, or, God forbid, the new movie isn’t the slam-dunk mega-success Disney expects, what will happen to this area of Disneyland? I just am not sure anyone has thought that through — they’re all too dazzled by their shiny new Lucasfilm toy to play with.

    • DarthBrian

      Star Tours is always busy when I go to the park now that the refurbishment was done that keeps the ride fresh and is now future-proofed as they can add new destinations whenever they choose.

      • EC82

        Yeah, that’s what they said about version 1, too. Looking at one of the wait times apps, I see that most of the year it’s back down to a 5-10 minute wait at DHS most of the year.

  • mickEblu

    C’mon go to Universal / San Diego zoo / knotts instead of Dinseyland? Why would anyone want to do that? Those parks aren’t even in the same galaxy as Disneyland! If there was a park at Disneyland’s level in California that would be great, but there isn’t. Universal studios Hollywood has what 5 rides? Maybe 7 after the new Harry Potter expansion. Even with the current “flaws” there just isn’t any competition at the moment.

    • tooncity

      Dateland is OLD. Worn out and EXPENSIVE. A family of 4 can’t get out of the park for less than $500 a day.

      A family of 4 can spend a day any other Park in So Cal for half that price.

      What was the last, big significant attraction they have built????? Indiana Jones, going on 20 years ago. You give them to much credit.

  • DarthBrian

    I have to be honest here and say that I am very incredulous about any rumors involving the PeopleMover track that don’t involve it’s complete removal. I have been told by a Cast Member that it’s impossible for them do anything with that track that would involve putting actual people on them due to OSHA requiring emergency exits every 50 feet or so. The Alice refurbishments are partially due to the same code.

  • mickEblu

    EC82 you make a lot of sense but I think The reason that Star Tours was becoming the least attended E ticket is because people are becoming tired of the motion simulators not because of the theming. Motion Simulator rides lose their luster after a while . Nothing beats ACTUALLY moving which is way rides like Space Mountain, Big Thunder and Matterhorn are timeless. Now if they can nail a coaster type ride with some dark ride elements that is the holy grail.

  • MikeK

    It sounds like imagineering has let go most of their R&D and engineering people. What you get now is redressed off-the-shelf rides from outside suppliers.

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  • Lakerfan3224

    When is mymagic+ supposed to be implemented in disneyland?

  • mickEblu

    Tooncity – does DCA not count because it’s not actually IN Disneyland? I’m just trying to understand the reasoning. Had Disney built DCA and called it a Disneyland expansion and made it one big park would you still think nothing significant has happened in 20 years? Or are you really that underwhelmed with DCA?

    • tooncity

      Yes, I am underwhelmed for DCA. At a $100, it’s a rip off. A total lack of magic, no coherent theme at all. Just a mish-mash of mis-matched stuff. Buena vista and carsland great, but hardly a whole park. everything else is just down right ugly! Mermaid is in the wrong park.
      When Datedland pulls in 65K a day at the same time DCA pulls in 35K. You tell me where the money should have been spent?
      More rides and real attractions at the main park, since they are charging $100 a head.

      I suppose you think the Disneyland hotel is some kind of awesome bit of style. It’s ugly. Just a cheap redo of a 1950s Aerospace industry generic building. That place is a rip off too, at $300 a night. My brother came out with his family and spent one night there and checked out the next day. it was a out dated Hampton inn at best.

      Don’t be such an apologist for people who are giving you the shaft!
      Wake up. Let your passes expire.

      • TodAZ1

        The Disneyland Hotel WAS built in the 50s. How can you call it a “redo of a 1950s” building??

        And, I’m sorry, but saying the DL Hotel is the same as an outdated Hampton Inn is just laughable.

      • tooncity

        yes, it was built in the 50s as I said. They recently redecorated, painted the place and removed the balconies, so people can’t jump anymore. That’s a redo of a 1950s building, what else would you think it could mean?

        They had a choice of raising it and building a brand new Grand Datedland Hotel, like the one in Japan. But they went cheap.

        you do know that it wasn’t built by Disney. And Disney didn’t even own it until they acquired the Wrather Corporation in the late 1980s.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      mickEblu, hopefully the lesson learned at DCA 2.0 by Disney would be that it’s better to spend the money necessary first versus spend more later. The one way I’m underwhelmed by DCA’s makeover is that it seems that they should have gotten more for their money. I forget that a good chunk of that cash was used to keep the park open while making the changes required.

      At DCA, they had to essentially build in a thematic infrastructure where there was none. Contrast this with DAK, also from the same period and also underbuilt, but in a different way. DAK is beautiful. Sure, there’s not enough to DO there and never has been, but it looks and feels like a Disney park (leaving cheapo Dino-Land USA out of it.) It’s easier to ADD to a thematic canvas than what they had to do at DCA, which was SUBTRACT stuff that sucked, ADD a thematic canvas, and ADD stuff to the thematic canvas. Does that make sense?

  • SpectroMan

    Amazing – the Parks have an almost record breaking Holiday season with spending way, WAY up and still they’re closing rides left and right with vague ideas about replacements. At what point will TDA accept that a certain level of income justifies having a completely open park? And will that number increase each year? Yes, the stock price is high but it’s gotten completely out of hand.

    Well, here’s to a mediocre guest experience, at least at Disneyland, for the first half of this year.

    p.s. Thanks for the update; it felt like it was co-written by Al which was a nice thing.

  • Mort

    Just gotta say – as an old, old, man – that brining back the “spectacularly kitschy Christmas star on top of the Matterhorn” would be great.

    • TodAZ1

      I smiled at that part, too, Mort. I’d love to see the star make a comeback. 🙂

  • mickEblu

    I agree that DCA IS Mismatched and a little lacking in the magic department but I think that will improve in time and in that same time frame nostalgia will grow for most guests the more they visit. However this is a different topic, in my last post I was responding to you saying Disneyland hasn’t given you anything significant in 20 years. Which to me implies no effort on behalf of Disney and not investing any money in the parks. I’m saying if you look at the resort as a whole Id say adding DCA , downtown Disney and the Grand Californian was pretty significant and definitely was an attempt to give us something new. If you don’t like the DCA, etc. That is your opinion but you can’t say they didn’t put in the effort. Also I dont see where in Disneyland they can give us something new and fantastic without taking out any of the classic attractions. Demolish toon town ? Big thunder Ranch? The proposed tommrowland make over taking out 3 attractions and replacing it with one ? I would be all for replacing only the innoventions building with something new but that’s about all I can see. I can’t comment on the Disneyland Hotel as I have not been there in years.

  • mickEblu

    Bottom line is Disneyland doesn’t have enough space to give us something significant without getting rid of a few classics which I’m sure people would be up in arms about. Also I don’t see how I am getting the shaft when I enjoy Disneyland 10 x more than any other theme park I have been to.i don’t pay $100 bucks to get in, I have my AP.

  • mickEblu

    I’m not sure if your post is directed toward me Daniel. I was responding to a post from earlier. I don’t see a reply or comment option on the posts.

  • MickeyFickey

    All I can say is that it won’t be until Universal is kicking them right square in the A$$ that will see Disney pull their head(s) out of their own posterior. They just don’t get it. Potter is going to POUND them on both coasts, and they have NOTHING exciting in the pipeline!

    It’s a good day to be a fanboi of the other parks, because there’s nothing to see at Disney but a tired old tattered park trying to do a magic trick that was cool 50 years ago while everyone else moves on to the cool new stuff.

    Maybe Disney will figure it out, but it won’t be until Star Wars Episode 9 is in theaters. Sad.

    • tooncity

      Bravo! Dusty OLD Datedland. Save your money folks, let your passes expire.

  • M69

    THANKS for this update! My thoughts are already included in the remarks made by others. Here’s to Sub-thing great coming to replace the leaking lagoon (!!), Orbiters getting a rightful spot higher up (and not down in front) one day, and so on… I cannot wait for BTMRR!! And here’s hoping something, someday, eventually takes shape in the Monstropolis section of DCA – even if by then the choice is something else; so long as it is an E-ticket! Still a hard pill to swallow: Magic+ killed so much ‘magic’!

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  • martinjbell1986

    Everyone’s comments are too negative. Disneyland is in great shape right now and things are going in the right directing INCLUDING the budget freeze. It does happen from time to time where a company needs to pull back and see what projects are and aren’t making money. It’s not greed, it’s good business.

  • Walcer

    Overlaying Tomorrowland with Star Wars is the worst idea I’ve heard come out of Disney in a long long time. All of the lands in Disneyland should be open concepts which will allow for variations on the theme and room for many different franchises and original concepts to thrive. Where does Space Mountain fit into the Star Wars Universe? Where does Buzz Lightyear fit? What will happen if another popular sci-fi or futuristic property takes off and Disney wants to put a ride in their park in the future?

    In my perfect world, the subs, autopia and innoventions would be mothballed and levelled. The obvious place to rebuild Autopia would be across the esplanade in Cars Land. They could theme it like a school for Cars where kids have to teach young Cars how to drive. As for the Tomorrowland overlay, firstly, where the motorboat cruise was I would put in a 20,000 leagues attraction with an entrance which is a walkthrough of the Nautilus like in Paris, and a ride like the one in Tokyo DisneySea. This would serve as a thematic progression from Fantasyland into Tomorrowland which has never existed in that area, fill the gap left by the subs, and serve as a throwback to previous attractions in Disneyland. Secondly, I’d move and expand StarTours into the space occupied by Autopia & the sub lagoon. Put in a Millenium Falcon Walkthrough, a Forrest of Endor etc. and make it so that it feels like you walk into StarTours from one Planet and exit into another. This space could be the new Star Wars land, but I would definitely not do all of Tomorrowland as Star Wars! (I know it is highly impractical to move StarTours to a new location especially after it’s major re-do a few years back, but StarTours is the lynchpin attraction if there was a Star Wars themed area.) Thirdly, put in an alien bazzar from the over the areas now occupied by the Autopia queue, Innoventions and the Tomorrowland Terrace. This would serve as the dining area for Tomorrowland, and could be home to a Cantina set and many different and unique food options. Fourthly, in the bulk of the space taken up by the former carousel theatre, put in a Tron Lightcycle coaster rather than a Star Wars Speeder-bike coaster. Tron is a great franchise which adds a unique Disney visual element. The entrance to this ride could be through Flynns Arcade, which could be an interactive queue which would also serve as a throwback to the StarCade. Fifthly, Rip out the Magic Eye theatre and restore the entrance to Space Mountain as an escalator with an outdoor theatre and dining option. Fifthly, put the AstroOrbitor back atop the RocketRods platform where it was originally and retheme it to a neutral Tomorrowland theme. Finally, where StarTours currently is located, I’d put in the Wall-E-Mover, a throwback to the Peoplemover which would use the interior space as a dark-ride, and the existing Peoplemover track at the entrance to Tomorrowland as part of the ride. The ride vehicles could be themed as though they were Peoplemover Cars created by the B&L Company.

    Disney has a ton of properties set in the future, or sci-fi settings, and to put a purely Star Wars overlay over it all would be a waste (even if the Star Wars franchise has been more financially successful than all the others combined).

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  • AaroniusPolonius

    First off, however one feels about Star Wars, the last set of films, the over-reliance on franchises at Disney, etc, one cannot deny the financial success and the endurance of the franchise. It’s a massive, huge money-maker in terms of stuff outside the realm of filmed entertainment as well as within. Money well spent by Disney.

    Secondly, however they choose to implement a Star Wars themed set of attractions into the Disney Parks portfolio, they WILL do that. There’s too much money on the line, and too much synergy to be had and generated there. Now, whether or not that’s a tear-out of Tomorrowland or “Star Wars Studios” in DHS is another issue entirely. My preference as a Disney fan would be to keep the traditional lands broadly based, with a spectrum of “tomorrow” based experiences in Tomorrowland, but as Star Wars is an enduring franchise, there may be business merit in the franchise taking over.

    Thirdly, since Disney is clearly monetizing ride and infrastructure development across all parks and resorts, I’d expect the Star Wars announcement to be for rides and attractions at most or all Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide, or for those Star Wars attractions to be re-skins of tech developed for other parks (see Shanghai’s Castle Boat Ride and Avatar’s Boat Ride renderings.) There’s no reason to think that the TRON cycle ride going into Shanghai won’t become a speeder-bike ride at DHS (indeed, it would be a nice payback, considering the refresh of Test Track is an obvious proof-of-concept for the TRON ride.) So, look at recently developed or concepted rides at the Disney portfolio and overlay Star Wars onto them. The Tokyo Pooh’s Honey Hunt, Ratatoille in Paris and HK’s Mystic Manor tech will be coming over here with a new overlay…maybe Star Wars?

    Fourth, it seems as if Iger’s moment in the fall was more of a temporary stop-gap versus a total freeze, as they can’t stop the train on a lot of this, being that projects are monetized across the empire (heh.) I’m going to give Disney the benefit of the doubt here. Iger has shown no fear of spending money to attempt to make things right by Disney and at Disney (indeed, one can hate MyMagic+ and marvel at the fact that they’re spending billions on it.) So, let’s see where it leads.

    I’m honestly not a huge ‘legacy’ Disney person. If a ride or attraction doesn’t work, is old and outmoded, or doesn’t sop up enough guests for the experience, close it. I think the ire regarding the subs involves what happened in WDW’s Magic Kingdom, where the ride closed for renovations, never reopened, and became a meet-and-greet for awhile before being absorbed into New Fantasyland. We’re talking like a 15 year trek from “closed” to “absorbed,” incidentally. (I’d fully expect them to use the Nemo-projection technology elsewhere at the resort, especially with a sequel hitting theatres.) Closing the subs frees up a massive chunk of land at the park for something new, should they choose to build it.

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  • mrcobra92

    I can’t believe you guys are complaining about MSEP FINALLY returning to its true home. We all knew it was bound to happen as they just put money into fixing up some of the floats and a brand new float just three years ago. WDW has there new parade and we will get MSEP. I know it is old, but it isn’t dead yet. Would I like to see a new version like Dreamlights here? Yes of course I would, but this is definitely the next best thing. I for one am VERY excited for its return.

  • danielz6

    Great ideas Walcer, I’ve actually thought along the same lines myself. But the biggests problem I see with star wars takeover of tomorrowland (aside from the fact that it is space fantasy and not sci fi, and that it takes place “a long time ago” instead of the future, and that every land should be a generic palette where franchises or non franchise attractions could fit in their respective themes) is that I thought star wars was going to be the anchor of the long awaited 3rd gate? That would allow imagineering to create the full experience that such a franchise deserves and would ensure the success of the third gate. If stars wars is used up in tomorrowland, then that probably means the 3rd gate isn’t coming any time soon.

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  • fnord

    Some very good ideas. And Daniel, nice add on thoughts.

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  • plzstandclear

    I’ve been following all the rumors here the last few weeks and while I love MiceChat, I want to say, that I think they have lost a lot of credibility.

    The original rumors for the 60th involved some placemaking in Tomorrowland for Star Tours and the potential for updates on the classic Fantasyland attractions. Then there was the “news” that everything was nixed, Tomorrowland changes were gone and that there would be nothing new in 2014.

    The “news” here is basically an admission that “We had no idea what we were talking about”, but is presented as “After losing everything to Iger’s ire, they managed to salvage a few bare bones things.” Only, at least when it comes to Tomorrowland, what they salvaged was what they were planning to do all along.

    Now, of course, I come hear for rumors. I’m a Disney fan and love hearing what is being cooked up, but what really turned me off was all the defensiveness from the site moderators when people questioned their rumors. “We absolutely know”, “We have impeccable sources”, “Don’t question us” only works when you’re 100% right, 100% of the time. I like the rumors, but unless Bob Iger is on your writing staff, maybe hold off on the attitude that “everything we say is true”? It would make this a more pleasant place to visit.

    • MikeK

      I hope these are only rumors because the projects that imagineering are rumored to be working on for Tomorrowland suck.

      • mrcobra92

        Agreed. (Though the electrical parade part sounds very nice)

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  • The SeaDog

    WOW…did you miss the mark on Nemo!! sorry to tell you but everything you said about the Nemo project is incorrect…in fact a lot of the REHAB as already started in the caverns….projector updates and replacements….corrosion mitigation….track replacement…..close to 10 million dollars already earmarked and contracts going into place for cleaning, redecorating, track and track switch repair as well as substantial work on the subs engine rooms, and power systems. Nemo will be swimming again in September.

    • mrcobra92

      And what about the Electrical Parade?

    • mondo

      I hope you are right but how do you know?

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  • buzzyfan

    I’m glad that the astro orbiter is going back to it’s original location, and that the area that the peoplemover was in will FINALLY be used again.

  • mondo

    I’m not liking the Star Wars part of the redo of TL because of the choices they are making. But I am interested in phase 1, the reskin. Maybe in the next update, can you please tell us more about the plans. The futuristic space port theme is what is needed. I really like what they added in the Space Mountain and Star Tours queue.

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