Big Thunder Mountain lights up, Mark Twain sets sail into the night and pixies race through Disneyland

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on January 20, 2014 at 5:05 am with 31 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

Browse Archived Articles by

  • Wedcot

    Great update Andy! It’s a shame that HM was damaged in during the overlay. You would think they would have fixed any damage while it was down for the removal. Hopefully this gets addressed soon.

    • Freddie Freelance

      Damage like this has occurred in other years, I think due to the short time set aside for the removal; when you only have a limited time to get the decorations down & ride reset you can’t always fix minor damage caused by hurrying.

    • Westsider

      It’s the removal that causes the damage in the first place. The Entertainment department CM’s are responsible for putting up and taking down the Holiday overlay. During the installation process they’ll fix anything that breaks. But during the removal process anything that gets broken isn’t a priority because as far as they are concerned their show is over and it’s time to pack it all up and take off for 9 months.

      Stuff gets broken every year in January, and then requires an act of TDA to get fixed. But when Entertainment moves back in next September they’ll fix stuff that may impact “their” show.

      Sad but true. And it happens every year.

  • Freddie Freelance

    I guess the Dole Juice Bar is being made large enough to handle the crowds it attracts?

    • ReallyRussell

      Maybe they are planning a two-storey juice bar like the two-storey Jungle Cruise building. Often the line for Dole Whips is longer than the line for the Jungle Cruise. I bet they have even considered an underground pedway tunnel like they used for the Rocket Rod queue. Think of the money to be made!!

  • DisneySam

    It seems odd that they can’t use some bucket lifts to clean Space Mountain instead.

    • Algernon

      Window washers clean skyscrapers without safety railings going all the way up and around the buildings. I’m sure they could do it the same way.

  • sdawn99

    I thought that they pushed back the POC refurb?

    • blue32

      There is definitely a lot of uncertainty regarding this refrurb. The Disney website contradicts itself and we are hearing different reports from people about the actual dates of the Pirates refrub. Does Micechat have any new info. regarding this one? It might be the one ride I would really care to not miss during a DLR trip.

  • Princess Victoria

    I could have sworn I saw a photo in recent weeks of a crew cleaning Space Mountain. I wonder what happened.

    • sean317

      Due to MyMagic+ expenses, all cleaning has been put on hold until further notice.

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update as always!

  • michael darling

    Do you think the Big Thunder Saloon is going to have an animatronic? There’s been a plastic sheet in the doorway for a few months now.

    • DisWedWay

      They would have to be right behind the swinging doors as there is not much room inside. Originally all the Rainbow Ridge Buildings in Natures Wonderland had flat cut out enlarged photos of WED personnel in costumes that fit the stores brand. My friend being 5′ 2” fit right into the scaled down newspaper office, and before that had worked on Mainstreet during the Disneyland opening period selling papers.

    • ReallyRussell

      Maybe a Johnny Depp as Tonto that pops out and apologizes for the disaster that was the Lone Ranger.

  • DisWedWay

    I do hope they have finally removed the electric 1930 circa gas station goose neck lights on the front Big Thunder sign and put the old kerosene DIETZ Hooded Inspector lanterns back as original in 1979. They still have them in town on the Golden Horseshoe Saloon.

    • SpectroMan

      Wow, I’d forgotten all about those! Nice memory.

  • Algernon

    I love going on the Steamboat at night. They should have a special show area for Fantasmic (with tiered seating), like Waterworld at Universal Studios, even if it’s off property and you get their by a tram.

    • Chadanooga

      They have the tiered seating for Fantasmic! In Florida. In a special show area as you are suggesting. That show is awful! Even though the Disneyland version prohibits evening cruises on the Mark Twain, the show is superior in almost every way compared to the Florida version, which more then makes up for this inconvenience.

    • grizzlybear55

      The Mark Twain at night is fabulous. It’s quiet and dark and peaceful, and it whisks you back in time to the earliest days of Disneyland. It is something that can be experienced for only a brief time each you, and I absolutely love it.

  • DobbysCloset

    This was a wonderful update, thanks so much. As always I appreciated the photos of merchandising, even though I have absolutely no intention of running anywhere. The headline confused me — even Disney Magic can’t make a paddleboat sail anywhere. The video cruise is delightful and the reason I want retirement time in Southern California.

    So far I think the Mardi Gras decor looks chintzy and out of the Dollar Store. And was it Jack Skellington, sloppy Cast Members or rude guests that messed up the Mansion? Whoever it was, I hope the Hitchhiker Ghosts went home with them and gave them nightmares.

  • SpectroMan

    I fully agree; night rides on the Twain are MAGICAL.

    As far as the new lighting package on BTMRR, everything in the Parks is going LED; apparently this, too. I guess it works well.

  • pyttius

    Thanks for the great update!! 😀

  • sean317

    Disney should have given the subs a proper final farewell voyage, if in fact they do plan to close this attraction! Shame on Disney for not giving this excellent Pixar favorite film attraction the good-bye attention it so truly deserved! Please Disney, prove these internet sites wrong & bring back the subs!!

    • mondo


  • sean317

    Ripped wallpaper & cracked wood in a haunted mansion. Am I missing something here?

  • DisWedWay

    If they do add LED lighting to all the period lamp fixtures in Big Thunder will they still have the flicker card capability the old bulb lights had that were so enjoyable. They really made the Kerosene lanterns that were original period antiques and newly manufactured ones per 1979’s opening look great especially in lift C and in the town of Rainbow Ridge at night..

  • DisneyLover66

    Thank you for such a thorough update with excellent pictures! I’m currently having Disneyland withdrawals, but reading your update and looking at your pictures made things better for me. What are the odds that the Soarin’ refurb will be completed by June 5th? I’m currently planning a trip to Disneyland and it looks like we’ll be there the first week of June, departing on the morning of the 7th.

  • ReallyRussell

    I recall a time in the late 90s when Space Mountain was supposed to look dingy and brown. Perhaps they are going back to the Pressler era’s perspective on the future. Think of all the money being saved by NOT washing or painting this structure. Next up, a shabby, derelict Haunted Mansion!

  • Skimbob

    I was there this weekend for the race and boy was it busy. Run Disney did an awesome job as always. I did hear that the 10k did not go off as well with several being swept in error.
    I enjoyed riding all my favorite rides and finally seeing The new Carnation area. I went to see the new show and like all live theater things can and do go wrong. The first thing that happened stopped the show only for a couple of minutes. When they started again everyone roared with applause and cheers. The second time it went down it went down for good and they had to clear the theater.
    The only thing I missed at Nemo was the seagulls and there wonderful Mine Mine Mine. I thought during the race they might have them on but it did not happen. All and all it was a good trip.

  • grizzlybear55

    Stupid question perhaps, but where do the runners run?