Disneyland Can Breathe Again

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

frontpagepic_ITP

Published on January 10, 2014 at 3:00 am with 62 Comments

Disneyland resort has moved into the off-season between New Years and Spring Break. This is a rare opportunity for you to enjoy the resort without oppressive crowds (mostly), but you’ll also find it without quite a few attractions as refurbs take advantage of the lower crowd levels. Big Thunder Mountain is nearly ready to return after over a year of refurbishment, but numerous closures and refurbs are underway or planned throughout the parks, including Alice in Wonderland, Haunted Mansion Holiday, it’s a small world, and of course the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

Plus, we have some VERY exciting announcements at the end of this update that you won’t want to miss! So please be sure to read all the way through.  :-)
is-1.php

The frost is receding and the holiday cheer is rapidly leaving the resort.

IMG_5253

Primrose planted in the peripheral planters of Town Square foreshadow spring.

IMG_5254

As of Tuesday the tree was still up.

IMG_5256

Here we see the Horse-drawn carriage and City Hall behind it removed of Holiday decor.

IMG_5259

IMG_5260

Disney Showcase was immediately switched over to a generic non-holiday theme, with the window displays taking the lead.

IMG_5262

IMG_5263

No Christmas here.

IMG_5266

IMG_5267

Here’s a particularly cute display.

Flood of Maintenance

The new year also brings a flood of maintenance projects throughout the park.  Work crews can be seen nearly everywhere making touch-ups to spots around the park.

IMG_5269

IMG_5272

IMG_5295

IMG_5298

IMG_5308

IMG_5330

 

Big Thunder Mountain

As we learned from the most recent MiceAge update, Big Thunder Mountain is well on its way to soft openings by the end of January and cast member testing as early as January 15th. In fact, Disney has the ride scheduled open to the public on Saturday, February 1st.  This is no guarantee, mind you.  But the ride is being tested non-stop now and the walls around the attraction could soon disappear.

IMG_5309

IMG_5310

IMG_5311

IMG_5313

IMG_5314

IMG_5315

IMG_5316

IMG_5321

IMG_5351

IMG_5352

IMG_5361

IMG_5363

IMG_5365
IMG_5371

IMG_5374

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage lagoon is in the process of being walled up for its long winter nap.

IMG_5382

IMG_5383

As it currently stands the subs are being closed as a cost-cutting measure by the resort until things are more financially clear up in Burbank.  It is the single most expensive attraction to maintain and operate and the money saved, just having the attraction closed, will actually be tremendous. It also allows more time for final decisions to be made on the Disneyland Star Wars projects, as the Subs and Autopia sit where expansion will take place.

IMG_5385

The lagoon will soon be drained and the subs mothballed.

IMG_5389

IMG_5390

IMG_5392

IMG_5394

IMG_5395

IMG_5396

IMG_5397

IMG_5398

IMG_5399

IMG_5400

Sailing Ship Columbia

The Sailing Ship Columbia is currently down for refurbishment and is scheduled to return on Friday, February 14th. While the ship is down, Fantasmic takes a break as well.

IMG_5306

IMG_5333

IMG_5335

IMG_5336

IMG_5337

Haunted Mansion

Jack Skellington is now vacating the Haunted Mansion.  The classic dark ride is supposed to return on Saturday, January 18th.  That is a rather quick turn around for such an elaborate overlay to be removed.  No real changes are expected upon its return.

IMG_5303

IMG_5305

Refurbs coming

Another major refurbishment is finally happening at Alice in Wonderland.  The exterior portion of the ride will receive a permanent solution and we wait eagerly to see how it turns out.  If you want to ride the attraction in its current form you have until Sunday February 2nd to see it.  The attraction will be closed beginning February 3rd with no return date set.

IMG_5379

it’s a small world holiday

Another holiday overlay needs to be removed too.  But it has to wait a bit with so many other attractions currently closed.  it’s a small world holiday will close beginning Tuesday January 21st, with a return set for February 8th.

IMG_5380

Club 33

New Orleans Square is shrouded in scaffolds and Trompe-l’œil coverings as the private Club 33 above gets an overhaul.  Thankfully, this is planned to only last until June and everything will soon be back to normal.

IMG_5282

IMG_5284

IMG_5285

Just opposite the old club doorway, the tunnel leading to the Crystal shop is being reinforced.

IMG_5286

Above is a lookalike screen of what was there before.

IMG_5287

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

IMG_5288

Peeking up into the scaffolds, little can be seen.

IMG_5289

IMG_5290

Over near the perfume shop and Cafe Orleans, a new bridge is in the works. This bridge will allow servers to bring food from the club kitchens into the new private Jazz Club.

IMG_5291

New Orleans Square is a rather tight labyrinth of construction walls at the moment.

IMG_5294

IMG_5296

Near the New Orleans Train Station, we look back towards the construction.

is.php

Back on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure the Holidays are being removed quickly too.  But, throughout the week, the window displays were still playing catch-up.

IMG_0478

IMG_0479

IMG_0480

No more holidays for you!

IMG_0482

Oh the irony. The one window they restored first is the one we all hate. We really hoped they’d use the holiday break to come up with something new and a little more inspired.

 

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is now closed for refurbishment and will be through February 20th.

IMG_0493

Soarin’ Over California

As the recent MiceAge Update mentioned, Soarin over California will be closing for refurbishment on Tuesday. February 18th.  They will be upgrading the projectors to 4k, High definition along with giving the entire attraction a major refurbishment.  Eventually, the attraction will get the new HD Soarin’ Over the World film, which is being prepared for Shanghai Disneyland.

IMG_0489

IMG_0583

IMG_0591

 

IMG_0608

Apparently the ride apparatus and even the smells will be refurbished and upgraded.

IMG_0610

That includes a totally new, hi-def ready screen and sound system,.

IMG_0611

If you want to get your ride in, do it before February 18th.

No More Navidad

Alas, ¡Viva Navidad! has gone.  But the good news is that the insanely delicious greek inspired food has returned to the Garden Grill.

IMG_0519

Dusty likes the Lemon Oregano Chicken with Chimichurri sauce and I like the Spicy Meatball with Chili Sauce. There’s something for every taste here.

IMG_0520

IMG_0522

IMG_0523

IMG_0524

IMG_0525

And that just about wraps things up for this week.  We will work tirelessly to keep you up-to-date on the latest information regarding refurbishments in this unusually difficult time of financial shuffling, entertainment cutbacks and complex scheduling.

 mcany

DON’T MISS OUT: MiceChat Anniversary
February 7th through 9th – at the Disneyland Resort! 

Add your name to the email list below for first notification of tickets and detailed information for these great events.

FRIDAY February 7th

An Evening with Walt Disney – Friday Evening, February 7th

Join the folks at the Save Walt Disney’s Birthplace project as we explore what it was like in 1901 when Walt was born and what Walt’s early years in Chicago would have been like. The event will be filled with very special guests, presentations, dinner, drinks, meet and greets and even an opportunity to bid on some unique items with all proceeds going to support the wonderful project to save the home Walt Disney was born in. Space is strictly limited to 70 guests.  This is a SPECIAL TICKETED EVENT

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8th

Building the Dream: The Development of Disneyland Paris - February 8th

logo

Celebrated Imagineer Tim Delaney will lead us on a journey through the building of the most beautiful Magic Kingdom of them all, Disneyland Paris. Learn about the challenges, creative opportunities, and wonderful stories that make this park so unique in the universe of Disney theme parks.  This will be a breakfast event at the ESPN Zone (bacon, bacon, bacon) with a 90 minute audio/visual presentation and an opportunity to meet a true creative genius. Event is limited to 125 guests and will sell out quickly. SPECIAL TICKETED EVENT

DCA MiceQuest – 3pm

dca-logo

Put your Disney skills to the test as Fishbulb presents one of his famous eye spy/scavenger hunt events. This is a two hour event which will be free to enter (you’ll just need park admission). There will be fun prizes sponsored by Fairy Godmother Travel and this is always a great way to meet fellow MicePals and have a great time in the park.

Communicore Weekly Musical Meet-up – 6:30pm

Meet Jeff Heimbuch and learn more about the epic Communicore Weekly Musical project. This event will be presented in the same location as the Game Show. Two great events, one great location.

Monorail Man’s Extra Limited Time Magical Game Show – 7pm

The game show has become a MiceChat anniversary tradition. Why? Because Monorail Man isn’t just a Disney nerd but a game show nerd as well. And what excuse do we need to have a good time and win prizes? The show lasts for about an hour and prizes will be given throughout.

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9th - MiceChat/MiceAge Classic Sunday in Disneyland 

Breakfast at the Riverbelle Terrace, a grand circle tour of Disneyland aboard the Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain trip around the Rivers of America, MiceChat noon meet with prize giveaway, group photo, lunch with friends, “Practically Perfect Tour,” farewell meet with grand prize giveaway. It’s a MiceChat tradition that’s not to be missed. All are welcome to join us for as much or as little of this day of magic as they’d like.

All events, except for the Evening with Walt Disney and the Breakfast with Tim Delaney are free (you just need theme park admission).  Add your email address below to be notified the moment tickets become available for the special ticketed events and to receive the final event schedule with dates/times/locations of all of the above listed activities and more!

DON’T MISS OUT ON THE MOST MAGICAL EVENTS OF THE SEASON!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

Browse Archived Articles by

62 Comments

Comments for Disneyland Can Breathe Again are now closed.

  1. Will the Hatbox Ghost be back in Haunted Mansion now that the holiday season is over?

    • Wouldn’t that be great?! We’ve been waiting on his return for so many years now (they’ve almost installed him on numerous occasions), that we’ve just given up on it until we hear that they are finally ready to do it. Not sure what the hold up is. But he would be a great little addition to the Disneyland 60th Anniversary. ;-)

  2. What’s the best time to visit Disneyland in the next month or two or three in regards to the most attractions being opened (not in refurb or overlay change-over!)?

    • February will be a good month. Small World and Haunted Mansion will both be back in regular mode and Big Thunder will have reopened. Crowds are usually at their lowest during this period as well. However, there are a few weekends which still get a bit more crowded due to conventions and school schedules.

      Here are some things that will impact the parks in Jan/Feb:

      - Martin Luther King Day (Jan 20) will impact the parks on Jan 18-20 as many school children and government workers have that Monday off.
      - Tinker Bell Half Marathon (Saturday the 18th of January) can also significantly increase crowds in the park. Though, it doesn’t always impact ride queues as many of the folks in the park are tired from running a race and really just come into the park to eat, people watch and show off their beautiful medals.
      - The NAMM convention (Jan 23-26) can also pack the parks .
      - President’s Day weekend (Feb 15-17) will be busy.

  3. I dunno…I like the idea and dislike the idea of a star wars overlay with multiple attractions at same time. Does everything HAVE to be associated with a movie? Tomorrowland was built almost entirely non movie based and continued that way for years…kinda made it special. Skyway/People mover, Autopia, Space Mountain, Carousel of Progress, Inner Space, Subs…… Now its all movie based…where’s the imagination of what the future may hold? Stars Wars has its spot in one attraction… i think it’s kinda a disservice to do multiple attractions…def not in Tomorrowland….maybe its own land somewhere else….either California adventure or a third gate.

    • IMO.Third gate is the best place and should have been the only option for DL. Star Wars attractions will be limited in TL. In the third gate it would have no restriction in themeing and space.

    • A Tomorrowland NOT based on a movie? Better wait until November – you’ll see a Tomorrowland movie, then what? Subs have had their more than a half century, kids like smart phone life – car driving not so much anymore. Why not a real living Tomorrow where there’s all kinds of cool future stuff to play with, beautiful too, with lots of living trees, plants, and flowers. Oops…sounds too much like an AvatarStarsLand. I’d be the first to spend my days in that kind of future.

      • Bob Gurr- What is coming out in November?

  4. Our passes expire in a month so one more trip for us! Hopefully Feb 1st is an accurate date for BTMRR to open. We’ll let our DL passes lapse for a while so we can save up for Disney World late this year.

  5. Is there any news about WoC and when that returns, and whether or not they will change the show to accommodate the new effects?

  6. It should be noted that this will *not* be an HD upgrade for Soarin’.

    4K projectors are lower resolution than film projectors, especially IMAX 70mm film projectors. Hopefully they find a good system, because projecting digitally on a dome with enough brightness has long been a challenge.

    The conversion will clean up some of the film grain and dust (which could have been done just as easily with properly maintained prints), but I’m wary of the effects of this conversion on brightness and resolution for that huge screen.

    • Finally nice to see someone else aware of the massive downgrade Soarin’ is actually going to receive. I swear, people think just adding the words “digital” or “HD” is automatically an improvement and it saddens me that it’s constantly labeled an “upgrade”. HD is far less resolution than true IMAX indeed, and I will dearly miss the last vestige of film in the parks (or anywhere for that matter). It’ll be cleaner, true, but it’s not nearly as bad as suggested and could have been easily avoided with proper handling. At least it’s 4K, probably a faux LieMAX set up like at the average AMC.

      At least I got three more rides in last Decemeber of the slightly worn, but warm and analog Soarin’.

    • Finally nice to see someone else aware of the massive downgrade Soarin’ is actually going to receive. I swear, people think just adding the words “digital” or “HD” is automatically an improvement and it saddens me that it’s constantly labeled an “upgrade”. HD is far less resolution than true IMAX indeed, and I will dearly miss the last vestige of film in the parks (or anywhere for that matter). It’ll be cleaner, true, but it’s not nearly as bad as suggested and could have been easily avoided with proper handling. At least it’s 4K, probably a faux LieMAX set up like at the average AMC.

      At least I got three more rides in last December of the slightly worn, but warm and analog Soarin’.

      • I was wondering the same thing about the Imax upgrade. Assuming they go with the patented Imax system again, I understand that the frame size of the digital Imax is slightly “squarer” and not quite as wide as the film Imax. If this is still true, then there could be some really unhappy people who get stuck in the perimeter seats on either side of the screen. I know how awful the view is with the current system if you get seated in the bottom left or right of the screen. If that view is even further degraded then there will be strong feedback I suspect.

        It’s also possible they are upgrading to an OmniMax digital projection system. This is more of a 180 degree “bubble” screen and that would likely give full coverage for all seats. I’m not sure if OmniMax is available in a digital format as yet.

        Third possibility is that they are going with a new system entirely (there are a couple of Imax knock-off’s out there that could do the job). Not certain of the success of these systems in a conversion. I think SeaWorld used a system like this in their Turtle Trek adventure in Orlando.

        I guess we’ll know the answers in a few months.

  7. Do we know when Soarin’ is scheduled to reopen?

  8. I believed the original Submarines Voyage was very expensive too. Did Disney thought Nemo Subs were going to be different? Why bring back an expensive ride and then later close it for the same reason?

    “The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage lagoon is in the process of being walled up for its long winter nap” So does this mean it will wake up= it may reopen? But didn’t the first article said it was a permanent closure.

  9. [...] post Disneyland Can Breathe Again appeared first on [...]

  10. Thanks for the great update guys! FYI though, due to “technical difficulties”, Alice in Wonderland, Soarin’ Over California & It’s A Small World will be closing early!

  11. I for one wont miss the subs or Autopia. The space those two rides take up alone can make an entire new land!!! Sure Autopia is a classic, but even Walt said that nostalgia is better left for museums. The Subs are way too expensive for there ridership, and Autopia just makes noise and fumes. Good riddance.

  12. Agreed, good bye Subs and Autopia! Throw up the walls and start the construction. They have managed to make New orleans Square pretty decent, I’m sure they can do the same for Tomorrowland or Starwarsland. Great pics as always. One last thought I was thinking that someones relative high up in the D organization has a kid in design school or something ….therefore that ugly Display…..just throwing it out there…

  13. Great Update, I Agree as well, Autopia and the Subs do take up a lot of space my family and I travel every year from New Mexico and by far those two rides don’t even come to mind when we visit, but another Star Wars attraction :( I feel that better thoughts in imagineering need to take place especially in a place called tomorrowland. I’m really enjoying the fact that finally a well deserved upgrade is coming to Soarin Over California is at hand it puts a smile on my face because my last visit you can see all the damage on the screen and the air scent smell didn’t seem like if it didn’t work, good job Disneyland
    .

  14. I don’t mind the subs or autopia going but to take out both and innoventions for one attraction might not be such a great idea. I think they could fit 2 E tickets in that amount of space.

  15. Move autopia to Carsland, bring the Tron lightcycle coaster to tomorrowland(with an educational computer science pavillion), add Western river expedition to big thunder ranch. Save star wars, marvel and Jules verne to anchor the third gate. Subs can then be put into third gate themed to twenty thousand leagues or aquaman or Naboo.
    So happy to see the delicious Greek food permanently in PDG! Dusty wow, the idea of pitting auopia in the backstage area between cars/bugs/ and TOT was an idea I had years ago! Its really cool to read you mentioning it.

    • Pretty sure Disney doesn’t have the rights to Aquaman. And if the subs lose that much money, why would they put them back into the third gate?