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. I might be killed for saying this but in all the years i have been there I have never once had a Dole Whip. The lines have always been long so they must be good.

    Last weekend was a zoo. I blame the addition of the 10k because to me it seemed busier than normal for the Tinkerbell 1/2 weekend. Did anyone else think that. It was much quieter at WDW for the Marathon weekend.

    • Oh man, the Dole Whips are FANTASTIC! I have also had them at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii and are just as good. Worth the wait and one of my secret favorite things at Disneyland, no joke!

    • I won’t kill you. I tried a Dole Whip float and hated it. Iikee pineapple too, just didn’t hit that spot with me. I’m glad I’m in the minority though so everyone who loves them enjoy them.

  2. Wow. A ton of information and lots of great photos! Thanks so much!

    We saw 4 guys just standing around on the top of Space Mountain yesterday (Thursday the 23rd). No line so we rode it, then got off, walked around and rode it again. They were still just standing around doing nothing. Seriously, just power wash it (or do something) and be done.

  3. We booked our March 3-8 trip on Christmas Eve. Since then, they announced Space and Indy would be down for refurb in addition to the ones we knew about. Today, the calendar shows there will be no Fantasmic or RDCT on that Friday, the last day of our trip. And now Big Thunder will be down as well.

    So yes, another month is a HUGE deal to my GF and I, who can afford to take one Disney trip a year and happened to pick the absolute worst week of the entire year to go, apparently. I’m not mad at Disney, but I am extremely frustrated and hoping that we still get $570 worth of entertainment out if our 4-day parkhoppers.

    • Here here. We’re travelling from Boise with 3 boys 5 and under. We’re lucky if we make it once every 3 years.

  4. Thanks so much for the update. Fishy thanks for all you do.

    I am sad they are moving all these refurb dates around. What are we supposed to ride for the Anniversary weekend? As far as I know, it’s the only weekend I’m going to have at my favorite place all year. :( (((((

  5. How long does it take to clean the outside of Space Mountain? As someone who has done it while I was in custodial during college….A lot.

    Mind you, you have to get hooked up, ropes set, etc. and make sure your safe….this takes time.

    Next, you rappel down one of the sides as one person on top disperses cleaning agent, you scrub hard. Then the guy on top sends the rinse.

    Then you move to the next section below…repeat until that “side” is done (oh and side means every one of those “valleys”). Then he pulls you up.

    Now you can start on the next side…oh wait….park is going to open in a half hour. Pull all the gear, start working on the back where the public can’t see.

    By the way…this is done ONLY in daylight…plus the people in your picture don’t look like they are “cleaning”…but rather surveying. I suspect they won’t start cleaning until there is more daylight hours.

  6. I love your pictures. They make me feel like I’m at Disneyland. Interesting update. Thank you.

  7. Grr! BTMR was supposed to be opened for our Feb 11-13 trip.

  8. When you wrote about the “huge National Association of Music Merchants” convention, I had to chuckle at the oxymoron. How many music merchants are left these days? It might as well be a chimney sweepers or candlestick makers convention. Those halls should be empty and have minimal impact on crowd numbers at the resort.

    • You’re kidding, right? People still MAKE music. Y’know, instruments n stuf? And they have a ton of musicians that play at the events. They used to let (any) musicians into the event, but from what I’ve heard it’s only vendors as the event got too big.

  9. Great update, It is almost impossible to manage a trip with out a favorite ride that is closed. I will be doing a Disney world trip in March and the people mover will be closed. It is a balance between missing spring break and a ride I really wanted to enjoy.

  10. Yaaaaaaaaaa….. The subs only take one cast member to drive it……

  11. Big Thunder is having some speed time issues. With the new tracks & the heavier new trains are causing the trains to run a little too fast for what the safety organization calls for. Working on the braking system for that. Plus they added a tons of safety futures on the ride.

    As for the Mansions disfigurement, yes the holidays portraits were causing some problems in the elevators. Just waiting on the panel to replace that part. Slowly but surely everything should be back up & running.

  12. All of the eTicket “referbs” seem rather suspicious, especially since the guy from Disney World came over as president. He has a history of “refurbishing attractions” when they don’t need, it just to save money.