Disneyland Can Breathe Again

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


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.  :-)

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


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


As of Tuesday the tree was still up.


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



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



No Christmas here.



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.








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.















Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

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



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.


The lagoon will soon be drained and the subs mothballed.











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.






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.



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.


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.


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.




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


Above is a lookalike screen of what was there before.


Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?


Peeking up into the scaffolds, little can be seen.



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.


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



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


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.




No more holidays for you!


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.


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.






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


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


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.


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.






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.


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


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


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


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!


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.

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  • billyjobobb

    I could have been there in the park on the last day for the subs, have known it was the last day, and I still would likely not have found the time to ride them. Now, had they been closing the Jungle Cruise and had it just been rumored that it might not come back, well, my butt would have been on a plane!

    I really hope they lose the subs but keep the lagoon. The balance of the water and the mountain was awesome.

  • DobbysCloset

    I am looking forward to photos of the Mysteries Under The Water once the lagoon is drained.

    Is it at all possible that the Lagoon belongs to Fantasyland and not to Tomorrowland?

  • Scarlet Spanky

    Removing the subs/lagoon will not make the area any more attractive. They’ve really got to do something overall to fix up Tommorrowland – it’s a mess. OLD Peoplemover tracks, congestion … STROLLERLAND.

  • Country Bear

    Tomorrowland really has had all of its kinetic energy drained from it. It used to be so exciting to go into this area because there was so much movement and activity. The only things that will move now are the monorail, Autopia and occasionally that satellite dish thing where the Rocket Jets used to be.
    I think the standard view of the future is that things will move faster, so hopefully Disney keeps that in mind as they redesign this area.

  • patton45

    Lots of mixed feelings on this. Can’t remember last time I rode the subs. The long lines and slow loading usually made us pick another ride.

    Taking out the subs and Autopia would free up an amazing amount of land for TL. I love the cars but I see that Star Wars could really rule TL if its done right. But TL has been a confusing mess for a long, long time. I personally think a more Jules Verne stylized future so things would never go out of date, as TL often did over the years.

    Crossing my fingers !