Disneyland Update – Big Thunder Mountain Delay

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, In the Parks

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Published on January 24, 2014 at 3:00 am with 52 Comments

Welcome back to the Disneyland Resort folks!  Last weekend was fairly busy in the parks for the holiday weekend and Tinker Bell half marathon. However, if you were lucky enough to stop by the parks during the middle of the week, you enjoyed some amazingly uncrowded conditions with wait times topping out at 30 mins at most for the big E-Tickets (except Radiator Springs Racers of course).  This coming weekend should be busier than normal as well with the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Today, we will review the latest happenings, update you on the construction projects, Big Thunder Mountain delay and more.

Amazing MiceChat Anniversary Weekend – February 7-9th, 2014 – Disneyland Resort

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Don’t miss out on the big MiceChat anniversary weekend February 7th – 9th.  Every day is packed with fun and excitement.  Meet Disney Legends, take a trip back to Walt Disney’s birthplace and help us save it. Plus, meets, scavenger hunts, friends and loads of fun.  Click here to learn more about all of the activities we have planned for you!

Friday, February 7th

An Evening with Walt Disney 

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ALL Proceeds from your ticket will go toward
saving the home Walt Disney was born in!!!

Journey back with us to the year 1901. William McKinley was President of the United States, Major League Baseball had just been formed, and a man named Walt Disney was born in a small house in Chicago Illinois. The modest family home on the corner of Tripp Avenue and Palmer Street was designed and built by Flora and Elias Disney, Walt and Roy Disney’s mother and father. Both Walt and Roy were born in this home and lived there until Walt was four and Roy was twelve years old.

Join the folks at the Save Walt Disney’s Birthplace project as we explore Walt’s early history and discover how we can preserve the home where he was born! We guarantee you’ll be wowed and entertained and leave satisfied that you are doing something very important.

Space is strictly limited to 70 guests for this FABULOUS event.
PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS FOR AN
EVENING WITH WALT DISNEY HERE

Saturday, February 8th

Building The Dream – The Magic of
Disneyland Paris SPECIAL EVENT

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Celebrated Imagineer, Tim Delaney, will lead a fascinating presentation about 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.

Tim Delaney’s 34 years at Walt Disney Imagineering included 19 years as a creative director and Vice President of Design. He has been instrumental in all phases of design from initial concept through design development, corporate sponsorship, project production and onsite construction supervision through completion. As a designer, illustrator, painter, creative director, producer and art director, Delaney has lead teams that have designed and constructed over $1.2 billion of Disney Parks and attractions worldwide, including Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Hong Kong.Tim has been awarded the 2002 Ray Bradbury Award for Lifetime of Creative Excellence. He was the subject of the popular BBC documentary ”Shoot the Moon.” And, in, 1995 he was awarded the Themed Entertainment Association award for best attraction for Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris.

Tim will sign copies of Disneyland Paris From Sketch To Reality (copies of this beautiful book are available at a VERY special price for this event only)

DCA MiceQuest – 3pm

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Put your Disney skills to the test as Fishbulb presents one of his famous eye spy/scavenger hunt events. This two hour event 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

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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.
SIGN UP FOR INFO HERE

Monorail Man’s EXTRA Limited Time Magic Game Show – 7pm

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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.  SIGN UP FOR INFO HERE

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9th

MiceChat/MiceAge Classic Sunday in Disneyland

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Breakfast at the Riverbelle Terrace, a grand circle tour of Disneyland aboard the Disneyland RailroadMark Twain trip around the Rivers of America, MiceChat noon meet with prize giveaway, group photo, lunch with friends, D23 Fanniversary Scavenger Hunt, “Practically Perfect Tour,” farewell meetwithgrand 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 when the final event schedule with dates/times/locations of all of the above listed activities is available. SIGN UP FOR INFO HERE

If you plan in coming to the parks for the MiceChat Anniversary events, our Friends at Anabella Hotel are offering a spectacular rate just for you!

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  • $99 standard rate – Use rate code MCAnniversary when booking
  • $114 rate includes room upgrade and $25 food and beverage credit at Tangerine restaurant – Use rate code MCAnniversaryPlus when booking this offerCall to book your reservation now! 800.863.4888

Off-season during the week at Disneyland is a wonderful thing. Sadly, as Disney’s marketing department continues to get more savvy, thus increasing the crowds throughout the year, this is an increasingly rare occurrence.

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Inside Town Square, spring is popping up all over. Just look at this riot of color!

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The usual hanging baskets of pansies are in place. So pretty.

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Earlier this week the castle still had remnants of snow on it left over from the Holidays. As if winter was slowly melting, giving way to spring flowers in the gardens below.

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By Thursday the “snow” on the castle had melted, just in time for a new commercial shoot at the drawbridge.

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Fortuosity

The unique shop on Main Street is still undergoing exterior refurbishment.  Despite the work, the shop is still fully open for business.  However, the construction makes it difficult to get to the Center Street restrooms as you can’t access them via the normal pathway next to Carnation Cafe.  It’s easy to get to though if you take a detour through the shops.

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Space Cleaning

Well, they are being safe.  But honestly, how long does it really take to spray down and clean this dirty dome?

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The Submarine Lagoon

Nothing new to report at the old Sub Lagoon.

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The water level is a bit below normal. But that’s about it.

Captain America

The Disney Parks Blog announced, in a very ambiguous fashion, that Captain America would be coming to Disneyland in a meet and greet this spring.  This will be coinciding with the release of Captain America: Winter Soldier.  While no specific location was announced, it was hinted that Captain America would be, “where you can also experience continuing favorites Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries and Thor: Treasures of Asgard.”  Sounds like the Innoventions building to us.

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Ironman Tech

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Thor still pulls in a 45 minute wait.

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The classic boat ride is currently down, but is scheduled to return on Saturday February 8th.

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More Skyway Chalet Rumors

The rumor began to swirl again that Disney was prepping to remove the old Skyway chalet in Fantasyland. Some reports claimed that foliage had been removed as well in preparation for the dismantling of the shack.  Here are our photos from yesterday afternoon. As far as we can tell nothing has changed here. It’s likely that the old Skyway station will eventually be removed, it just didn’t happen this week.

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Big Thunder Delay

Disney has again delayed the official reopening date of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad even further down the road.  Currently their online refurbishment schedule only lists closures through March 6th 2014, with Big Thunder Mountain listed at least until then.  There is quite a bit of finger pointing going on at the moment depending on who you ask.  Some say it was a faulty job by a contractor that needs to be redone, some say the new digital effects are not working properly and need more time for test and adjust.  Whatever the case, the fact is that there is a delay.  To be honest, what’s another month after waiting a whole year?  Let them get it right.

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This image confirms that the lap bars will be the same as before.

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Speaking of Big Thunder, it seems that a replacement has already been put in place to fill the vacancy left by the Hillbillies. A new poster was installed on the construction wall of Big Thunder.

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Club 33 Refurb

The Christmas decorations in New Orleans Square have morphed into Mardi Gras decorations.  Meanwhile, work continues on the Club 33 project.

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Haunted Mansion Returns

The Haunted Mansion has reopened its doors and is back to its familiar haunted self.  But, as Andy Castro brought up in last week’s Dateline, while it is wonderful to have the classic version of the ride back, quite a bit of damage has been done to the stretching room, that they haven’t yet fixed.

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YIKES what happened here? Oh the irony of real dilapidation inside a “haunted mansion”.

 

But it certainly isn’t all bad news.

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The belts at load and unload have been replaced.

While the standard maintenance package seems to have been given to the Mansion, it really would have benefited from a few more weeks of upkeep.

Special Offer From Our Sponsor

The Carousel Inn & Suites, one of our favorite hotels, is giving away a 2 night stay in one of their fancy Club Rooms to one of our readers. Just click the link below to enter. And even if you don’t win, you can still get a great rate of up to 20% off by requesting a “MiceChat Discount” when calling 1(800) 854-6767 to book your stay!

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Good luck folks and don’t forget to enter and share!

Fantasmic

The nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! is currently down for refurbishment until Friday, February 14th.  No major updates are expected for the show, but they are refreshing the fountain equipment.

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Sailing Ship Columbia

The Sailing Ship Columbia is also down for refurbishment and will return to service on the 14th of February.

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Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

Since both Fantasmic and the Sailing Ship Columbia are down, it made perfect sense for the island to get some attention as well.

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Splash Down

A lengthy refurbishment also begins today on Splash Mountain.  According to the posted refurbishment schedule, this refurb will last all the way to March 1st.

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Dole Whip Stand at the Tiki Room Lanai

Be forewarned, the Dolewhip stand at the Tiki Room Lanai is currently down for refurbishment.  The rumor is that they will be improving the facility, allowing for faster service.

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Visiting the resort during NAMM Convention

If you are planning on visiting the parks this coming weekend we have to give you a heads up.  The huge NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention returns to the Anaheim convention center through this weekend.  In contrast to the traffic patterns of last weekend’s Tinkerbelle Half Marathon, the traffic around the convention center will be, in a word, a nightmare.  We would advise visitors driving in to steer clear of the Toy Story Parking Lot on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  We suggest you try using the lesser known Pumba Lot on Disneyland Way (across from GardenWalk) or the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure first. Stay away from the South side of the resort and enter from the North if at all possible.

Downtown Disney

As we check on Downtown Disney, we see that the area is still recovering from the skating rink and other temporary structures erected over the holiday season.  They have planted sod, that should take root within a couple of weeks.

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Starbucks is also coming along slowly.  We spied a decorative wooden map on the wall.

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Things are looking great and there are no real major refurbishments until the middle of February.

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Soarin’ Over California

We finally have a scheduled refurbishment date for Soarin’ Over California.  Disney has reported that the ride will officially close for refurb on Tuesday, February 18th.

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Rot Spot

it appears that one of the gazebos on Paradise Pier is already in need of refurb again.  Must be the salt air.  A very clever custodian did their best to keep show standards up here until it could be addressed.

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A cleverly placed trash can hides some wood rot.

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Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

The Redwood Creek Challenge trail is set to return from refurbishment on Friday, February 28th.  In the meantime, the characters from UP! have been displaced to wandering in front of Grizzly River Run.

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Essential Listening – MiceChat Podcast #14

On this episode, we share our favorite and biggest theme park moments of 2013 and our predictions for 2014 and beyond. What will be our biggest story of 2013? Will it be the bust of Disney’s MyMagic+, SeaWorld’s Blackfish problem, Tony Baxter’s retirement from Disney . . .? Listen on to find out. Then we turn our attention to 2014 and what is already shaping up to be a magical year for Universal as Harry Potter 2.0 – Diagon Alley – prepares to open at the Orlando park. Plus, Disneyland sinking the Subs?, Tomorrowland Star Wars projects, major project delays and much, much more. We even have a cameo from Robert Coker about the project to save Walt Disney’s birthplace in Chicago. Don’t miss this one folks!


Direct Link | iTunes Link

That should do it for In the Parks this week folks.  There is quite a bit of little stuff happening around the resort, but plenty to talk about.  We’ll see you soon In The Parks!

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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52 Comments

Comments for Disneyland Update – Big Thunder Mountain Delay are now closed.

  1. Thanks for the great update,i’m login all the spring flowers as I wake on a 12 degree fahrenheit morning in Greenville SC!

  2. that was lovin all the flowers, darn you spell corrector thing-ama-bob!

  3. Sorry, but seriously? A six-month refurb gets stretched to a year and then gets stretched by another month? Rotting wood? Whom is Disney hiring nowadays?

    Maybe I’m taking it personally because I’ll be in town the last few days of Feb/first few days of March and was hoping to get to ride the Big T.

    • Same here. Was really looking forward for our daughter to go on BTMRR for the first time in early Feb. :(

    • Big Thunder was never meant to be a 6 month refurb. Everyone keeps forgetting they literally _tore out and replaced all of the track_. Not some of it. ALL of it. Rebuilding an entire roller coaster that hasn’t seen a major refurbishment since it opened in the 70′s was NOT going to take 6 months.

      • Uh, yes it was. It was slated to open in Oct. 2013. That was the announced schedule. It was on the books. The whole project could be done in six months. Honestly, replacing track doesn’t take that long when it’s preformed and has to be set into place. Disney just loved to take their time with it. It took them, what, 2-3 years to retrack Space Mountain?? And at Space, they have the luxury of a big, open building with basically zero need to worry about building around existing structures.

        As others have said, the cost-cutting maneuvering makes sense, even if it’s unfortunate. If the people are still there, why spend the maintenance and wages when one doesn’t have to do so?

        I don’t know if Disney deals with crappy unions or doesn’t know how to put the screws to people, but seeing how quickly Universal is able to build stuff while Disney takes – literally – twice as long on a comparable project, is baffling, if also interesting. I’d love to really know the behind-the-scenes reasons why it takes Disney so bloody long to build something. I don’t remember it being that way when I was a kid.

    • Of course you realize that Disneyland will stretch “refurbs” as long as they can if attendance continues at a level they can accept. Having Big Thunder down saves them money. Every attraction that they can “do without” can remain down as long as they want even if any actual refurbishment has been completed.

      • I was thinking this too. Especially after the new Team Disney approach to the subs. Heck, keep it closed till you saved all the money you can.

    • Lovestallion. You have every right to be upset, personal or not. A visitor travelling between now and march will miss splash mountain, thunder mountain, and the subs. 3 e ticket attraction not available. Personally I find that unacceptable. They shouldn’t have more than 1 eticket down at a time imo. We’re paying a premium price to visit these parks, let’s demand a premium product.

      • Then don’t go to the park during the down times…. simple as that.

      • The trouble with Disneyland now is that there is no “downtime season” any longer. They boost attendance during the former off season and take attractions down for “refurb” during the former high season.

        They never used to have attractions closed during the summer. Now there does’t appear to be any time when there is a break in attendance or when some attractions are NOT closed.

      • Choosing whether or not to go is a separate issue that every guest will make as the cost/benefit ratio is considered. Telling me not to go neither disagrees nor counters my opinion that guests should expect a premium product when paying the full price of admission for a premium product, and should voice their opinion when they arrive at their vacation destination and their expectations are not met.

      • Sure, voice your opinion. Whether it gets heard by anyone that can do anything about it is another thing. Your front line counter person at City Hall won’t be able to do anything but commisurate.

      • Oh by voice your opinion I don’t mean telling the lowest person on the totem pole. Obviously that’s worthless. I mean actually filling out a guest comment form, like the kind they have in city hall. That goes with any business, by the way.

  4. I hope they add Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Innoventions soon too. The saved operating expenses from keeping Big Thunder down for another couple months could pay for it. I wanna see popular modern Disney characters like Lola from S.H.I.E.L.D on display.

  5. I went yesterday and had no idea of the NAMM convention and was stuck in traffic trying to enter the Toy Story parking lot for 40 minutes from Katella to entering off Harbor. The Toy Story parking lot is doubling as convention parking so it is a complete stalemate trying to enter. Avoid parking here at all costs! I can only imagine how bad it will be during the weekend.

    • The weekend will be even worse!

      Folks should enter the resort area from the North of the park. The Ball Road exit off the freeway is your best bet.

  6. Thank you for the update! As a huge Disney fan I check this website daily basically. I am disappointed to see Thunder Mountain has been pushed back, we are traveling to Cali for a work related event and decided to make it a family vacation after and it stinks to know that it will still be down, along with Splash Mountain and Soarin. I guess that’s what we get for scheduling a vacation during this time of year, but it still stinks nonetheless.

  7. An extra week of down time is nothing unless you rarely get to the park and your big trip is that week. Then it’s a pretty big deal.

  8. What’s another week!?!?!?! I’ve planned a vacation around those dates, and we don’t live close.

  9. Now that sucks, we’re traveling from Idaho for a week at Disneyland end of Feb, which means 3 E-Tickets will be down: Splash, Thunder, and Soarin.’ Bummer.

    • That is indeed a bummer. BUT, on the positive side, the parks should be lovely and uncrowded. It’s an off-season trade off.

      • True. In a way, I’m almost more bummed about the Disneyland RR being down as well as MT Riverboats. But, with that said, it should be gorgeous with very low crowds, a trade-off indeed.

  10. I like how there’s still no mention here of Hyperion Theater’s downtime. So for those of you looking forward to seeing “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular”, sorry.

  11. Can Disney do anything on a normal timeline?

    That has got to be be the longest Starbucks construction in the history of the company. Big Thunder. Cleaning the white Space Mountain?

    You’d think they were building a mine train or something?

    • This Starbucks began construction in late summer/early autumn last year, so it’s only been under construction for 6-ish months? If that? And keep in mind it wasn’t a food service location before this, so Disney is having to completely re-vamp the infrastructure inside to make it work for Starbucks’ corporate standards. This is a completely normal timetable, and it’ll be open before Summer.

  12. Disney website has Fantasmic running on Feb 13. But Fishbulb reported Feb 19th.

    • Correction: I did have the date wrong, but I went in again to check the website and they have Fantasmic under refurbishment UNTIL Thursday, February 13th, returning on Friday, February 14th.The same goes for the Sailing Ship Columbia.

  13. Seriously, can’t they add a second dole whip location to the right of the tiki room ..maybe in the space between Aladdin and jungle cruise? I was there 1 week ago…i was craving one bad.

    • Great idea.

    • Could they add/ move Dole Whip to where the Aladdin Oasis is at. The seats can be use by Dole Whip buyers. Also the palace sticks out, it does not fit in with the jungle theme

      • They should take out Aladdin’s Oasis and replace it with a Polynesian themed food area and sell the Dole Whip there.

      • These are great Ideas and adventureland deserves a nice themed eating area. Also get that pesky dole whip line away from the adventure land entrance, which is small enough as it is!

      • I have eaten in the Tahitian Terrace when it was an actual restaurant. It was hard to get into due to popularity but certainly worth it. It was like you had left the continent entirely for that visit. I would call the experience “magical”. We could use a little more of that back in the park these days.

  14. This update was very sad for me to read…I have emotional ties to the subs, the Skyway and New Orleans.

    But the goat looks healthy and happy.

  15. They should add a Dole whip location with other pineapple treats inside the Alladin Oasis area.

    Perfect place to do it since there is seating inside