Disneyland Update and MiceChat Anniversary Recap

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks

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


Published on February 10, 2014 at 3:00 am with 30 Comments

This is the MiceChat column you are looking for…  Today, In the Parks again takes over Dateline Disneyland’s spot in the MiceChat schedule. Andy is in the middle of a big move and wasn’t able to produce his normal Dateline update this week.  Don’t worry, he’ll be back soon.  But in the meantime, we will share all the latest news from Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney.  Today’s update covers the continued refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, it’s a small world, and the upkeep on other things like Space Mountain and the Fortuosity shop.  We also recap the non-stop fun of the MiceChat Anniversary that happened this past weekend.  If you missed it, there is still plenty of fun coming your way with more events coming up soon.  Let’s jump right in.

Let’s start with the latest MouseAddict info for the coming week.

February 10 – February 16, 2014


If you’re looking for a replacement for the Mobile Magic app, take a look at Mouseaddict’s unique features, for free!

  • This coming weekend is Valentine’s Day and President’s Day all rolled into one. How about some love for our 16th president, Mr. Lincoln?
  • Hotels are heavily booked. Many of these room bookings during the week may be for events at the Convention Center, while jammed hotels on Friday and Saturday indicate a romantic weekend in the parks.
  • Disneyland’s schedule of refurbishments is still very much in flux, so check the app before you go for the latest information on closures.
  • Fantasmic! and the SS Columbia are scheduled to return this weekend.

Looking for the best replacement for Mobile Magic on your iPhone? Download the remarkable Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad with the Addictometer crowd map overlay: see exactly where crowds are gathering, right on the map! The free Mouseaddict app features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, weather forecasts, park and show schedules, and more. Download on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.

More Spring

Before we get to the refurbishment mess the park is in, we have to share one of the many things that the park gets 100% right all the time. While the rest of the country digs out of their winter doldrums, Spring is already here in beautiful Southern California and the blossoms this year are stunning. Let’s see what Mother Nature and the Disneyland Horticulture Department have cooked up for you.













Yep, you guessed it. . .  Fortuosity is still being refurbished. IMG_7623

Space Mountain

In the ever-changing tapestry that is the Disneyland’s refurbishment schedule, Space Mountain is now, in a sort of drift.  Nothing is scheduled for now.  But that is not stopping the maintenance on the exterior of the dome.  Recently, some new rigging has appeared on the upper rings of the dome.





Captain America

No visible progress has been made at the site of the Captain America meet and greet inside Innoventions. The location is set to open, coinciding with the opening of the new film, Captain America: Winter Soldier in April.

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Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

The subs are still in a sort of limbo at the moment, as they prepare for a full draining of the lagoon.




it’s a small world

The refurb schedule on the Disneyland.com website now stretches to March 24th with no return date for it’s a small world in sight.





Sailing Ship Columbia

The work being completed on the dry-docked Sailing Ship Columbia is simply beautiful. A tangle of precisely strewn rigging hovers above the deck.  It appears ready to return to service on February 14th as scheduled.




Sadly, being in dry dock and so close to the hands of idle visitors, the newly refurbished vessel already needs to be touched up.





Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is still being worked on.  In fact, the Disneyland website does not currently list a reopening date for this attraction, which has been under a massive refurbishment for well over a year.  We can hear the attraction cycling and can confirm that the earthquake scene (the third lift hill) has been altered to feature the dynamite chewing goat.  Upon entering the scene, the goat is heard bleating, then suddenly, explosions are triggered.  It sounds like it will be a lot of fun, and an interesting update to a scene which has always struggled with convincing special effects.











Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain continues its refurbishment with a scheduled return date of March 1st.











CLUB 33 Renovation

New Orleans Square continues to be shrouded in scaffolds and scrims.  Thankfully, Disneyland cares enough about theme and show to dress up the construction site in the open portions of the site.















Tiki Juice Bar/Dole Whip Stand

The Tiki Juice Bar or Dole Whip stand finally opened again after a refurbishment which promised an expansion to serve you better.  Oddly, the lines were just as long as before when we visited. Thought, it did seem that the line moved just a bit quicker than before. An additional Dole Whip machine appears to have been added and it seems that cast members now stage treats to be delivered to speed things up a bit.

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MiceChat Anniversary

This past weekend MiceAge/Chat celebrated its 11th anniversary. We marked 11 years of news, rumors, community and theme park fun with a weekend of wonderful events.  We now share picture and highlights from the weekend festivities.

FRIDAY, February 7th • Anabella Hotel

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. Find out how you can save this historic home.

The evening began at 7pm, with folks arriving at Anabella’s Tangerine Bar and Grill.  Arriving guests were offered champagne garnished with raspberries.  Dina Benadon and Brent Young from Super 78 Studios and The Walt Disney Birthplace project were on hand to greet guests as they arrived, along with Disney Legend Bob Gurr and David Price (son of Disney Legend Buzz Price).


Micechat columnists, Bob Gurr and Jeff Heimbuch chatted before the presentation




Bob Gurr and David Price


Dina Benadon and Robert Coker of Super 78.


Friendly MiceChat staff were on hand to assist guests.




Guests learned all about the project to save the historic home that Walt, Roy and their sister Ruth were all born in. We invite you to explore the project and learn how you can get involved by visiting this link: TheWaltDisneyBirthplace.Org

SATURDAY, February 8th • Disneyland

Saturday was Disney California Adventure’s 13th anniversary. We spent the day celebrating this rapidly improving park and started off with one heck of an amazing event . . .

Building the Dream Breakfast

Celebrated Imagineer, Tim Delaney, will lead a fascinating presentation about the building of the most beautiful Magic Kingdom of them all, Disneyland Paris. Hear the 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.

It was an crisp, February morning and by 7:30am, guests were already lined up, waiting to get into the ESPN Zone for our Building the Dream Breakfast, featuring Tim Delaney.





At opening, the famous, ESPN Zone maple pepper bacon was a hot commodity.


Folks settled into their spots and enjoyed a delicious breakfast presented by the chefs at ESPN Zone.







Even resort President, Michael Colglazier, stopped by to introduce Mr Delany and wish MiceChat a happy 11th anniversary.


Tim went on to share his amazing experience in developing Discoveryland for Disneyland Paris.  The presentation included pictures from the first few sketches of ideas to completed, functioning prototypes.  The presentation went well past the promised 90 minutes and delivered an oeuvre of work that deserves appreciation.





Building the giant squid that attacks the Disneyland Paris Nautilus.



In true showman form, Mr. Delaney spent time with each and every guest that asked for a signature even adding custom Orbitron or Space Mountain drawings into each Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality book.  What a wonderful and generous man and a fantastic event.



Bob Gurr poses with Imagineer, Tim Delaney.

1:00pm • Instant Concert Just add Friends (and lunch!)

Meet in Paradise Park to watch this adorable Goofy water and music performance on the World of Color Lagoon. When the show is over, remain in Paradise Park and find your fellow MiceChatters. We’ll leave the park at 1:30 and make our way to Paradise Gardens nearby for lunch.

After the breakfast event, MiceChatters were invited to enjoy a performance of the wonderful Instant Concert, Just Add Water.  This was followed by lunch at Paradise Garden Grill.







Bob Gurr got sucked into the MiceChat excitement and followed us right into the park to enjoy the show.


Now off to lunch . . .





One of these Jeffs is not like the other…

3:00pm • FREE MiceQuest: Eye Spy Fun

Sonoma Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery, in front of the Blue Sky Cellar Put your Disney skills to the test as Fishbulb presents one of his famous eye spy/scavenger hunt events. 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.  Prizes for the top placing individuals are sponsored by Fairy Godmother Travel, MiceChat’s official travel agency.

Over 350 players gathered at the Sonoma Terrace for a free, hour-long game that centered on Paradise Pier and its many details.  In the end, only those with the sharpest eye placed in the top three.


5:30pm • Communicore Weekly Musical Meet-up

(Outside – back patio of Hearthstone Lounge at the Grand Californian Hotel) 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.


Co-writers, Jeff Heimbuch and Andy Taylor share the development of the hilarious Comminicore Weekly: The Musical

7:00pm • Monorail Man’s EXTRA Limited Time Magical Game Show

(Outside – back patio of Hearthstone Lounge at the Grand Californian Hotel) Meet us on the outdoor back patio of the Hearthstone Lounge at the Grand Californian Hotel near the fireplace. 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. Hosted by: MiceChat Administrator, Monorail Man. Prizes for the top placing individuals are sponsored by Fairy Godmother Travel, MiceChat’s official travel agency.

MiceChat Administrator, MonorailMan, orchestrated yet another brilliant game show that included, Disneyland Trivia, Physical Challenges, and hot dog bun eating contests.




Yes ladies and gentlemen, that’s Jeff Heimbuch in a dress.


The Can Can competition



Who can eat a hotdog bun the fastest . . .


Casey can

After the crazy Game show at the Grand Californian, we called it a night. The festivities started back up early on Sunday morning.

SUNDAY • February 9th

9:00am • Riverbelle Terrace Breakfast

Riverbelle terrace is the traditional start for our big Anniversary weekend events. Join us as the tradition continues. Meet with friends old and new and start your day off the good old fashioned way . . . riverside with Mickey shaped pancakes.

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10:00am • Disneyland by River and Rail (meet at Magnolia Park)

No trip to Disneyland is complete without a grand circle tour aboard the Disneyland Railroad. We’ll start and finish the expedition around Disneyland at Magnolia Park (in front of the New Orleans Train Station and next to the Haunted Mansion). We’ll chat for a bit before boarding the train just to make sure everyone has had a chance to assemble and get to know each other. We will follow up the train with a ride on the Sailing Ship Columbia and perhaps another diversion before the big noon meet.










Noon Hub Meet

The Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Partners Statue in the central hub of Disneyland (the round park in front of the Castle) has been host to hundreds of MiceAge/MiceChat meets over the years. Its classic location and sentimental statue make it the ultimate location for us to give thanks to the man who started it all, Walt Disney. Meet and greet with your friends, make new friends, and join us at 12:30 pm for a group picture In front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. You don’t want to miss out on this special meet!

The event that started it all: The Noon Meet.  Hundreds assembled to enjoy the park and celebrate MiceChat’s Anniversary.  It was a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.






1:00pm • Lunch Oasis (Meet in Aladdin’s Oasis)

Grab some food from your favorite restaurant and meet us inside Aladdin’s Oasis (the former Tahitian Terrace behind the Tiki Room and near the exit to the Jungle Cruise). It’s a great space for us to get out of the crowds and have a relaxing lunch.

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2:30pm • D23 Fanniversary Challenge (Meet in Aladdin’s Oasis)

For the third year in a row D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will hit the road with their Disney Fanniversary Celebration, visiting cities across the U.S. to commemorate dozens of magical Disney milestones celebrating landmark anniversaries this year. In honor of the event, which will kick off this fall, we have designed a game including some of the iconic attractions and films that are (or were) represented inside Disneyland Park. You will have to be fast on your feet and quick with your wits as you race to reach the finish line in time to win the grand prize. This is an hour long mad dash through Disneyland to find clues and win fun prizes!




This game was unique. Instead of giving out questions, we gave the players riddles to find secret locations where they would then be asked a question. Locations were all over the park and included such places as Big Thunder, The Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, it’s a small world, and Innoventions. Once players found the MiceChat staff in D23 Shirts, they had to answer a trivia question perfectly on the first try. Winning teams were given a ticket for each question they got right.









Jeff Heimbuch, this time in a Disney Geek shirt instead of a dress.







The trivia contest and scavenger hunt, developed by D23′s own Jeffrey Epstein, was enjoyed by everyone.  It was the perfect mix of fan trivia and racing around the park.  Players returned to claim their prizes

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3:30pm • West Side Story (Meet in Aladdin’s Oasis)

We’ll wrap up our most magical anniversary ever with an tour of some of our favorite classic West side attractions. Pirates, Haunted Mansion and Tiki Room. Following the show, we’ll head back to Aladdin’s Oasis to say our farewells and give away our GRAND PRIZE to one lucky attendee.



The 40 minute line for Pirates

LONG waits at Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean forced last minute changes to our schedule and the West Side tour became just a Tiki Room adventure. Yep, it was that busy at Disneyland on Sunday.


Beloved Disneyland cast member, Maynard, wished MiceChat a happy anniversary



The Tiki Room event ended and the crowd headed back to Aladdin’s Oasis. Here, Dustysage thanked everyone for attending the MIceChat Anniversary Weekend and gave out the big prizes.


Gift bag from Sponsor, Fairy Godmother Travel.


Gift bag from Sponsor, Fairy Godmother Travel.


Dinner for two at ESPN Zone


Dinner for two at ESPN Zone


Photogrpaher, Alan Kawaratani, wins the Grand Prize two-night stay at the Anabella Hotel.


So there you have it.  A brilliant week of news and a weekend of MiceChat fun and festivities.  If you haven’t joined us for a noon meet (Sundays, noon, at the Walt and Mickey stature) we invite you to do so.  It’s the people that make this site great and it’s fun to meet up at the park with each other.

If you missed out on the Anniversary events and would like to join us for another VERY special event, please sign up for the MiceChat Ryman Arts Charity Gala on February 23rd.


A spectacular evening: champagne cocktail reception and silent auction, complete with hors d’oeuvres and the opportunity to mingle with Disney legends. You’ll then be escorted into the beautiful ballroom of the Sheraton Park Anaheim (next to the Anaheim Convention Center) where more than a dozen Disney celebrities, legends, artists and Broadway stars will be in attendance. Every dinner table will contain at least one celebrity guest, which ensures that you won’t soon forget this wonderful event.

As dinner wraps up, some of Broadway’s brightest young stars will entertain us in a remarkable cabaret-style performance of Disney songs hosted by the fabulous Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis the Alligator from Disney’s Princess and the Frog). We’ll share a touching tribute to the beloved and recently departed Diane Disney-Miller by Imagineering Legend, Marty Sklar. And we’ll wrap up the evening with the opportunity to bid on some rare and fun works of art and treasures in support of Ryman Arts.

This is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that you just can’t miss, an elegant evening with Disney’s finest which also supports a charity near and dear to many in the Disney community.

Support the arts and indulge in an evening of Disney delights!  SIGN UP FOR THE RYMAN CHARITY GALA HERE


IT’S BACK!!!!! Let’s find out who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day . . . it’s the MiceChat Gumball Rally.  Click HERE for more information and to sign up! 
Andy will be back next week for another Dateline Disneyland update.  Until then, we will see you 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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  • sage267

    Great update, as always!

  • CaptainAction

    Wow, that looks fantastic. What a great time. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  • Larry Parker

    So it’s software issues that continue to delay Big Thunder then?

  • Barbaraann

    Maybe I’ve got it all wrong, but isn’t MiceChat only 9 year’s old, and it’s MiceAge that has hit the 11 year mark?

    Great photographs. Sometimes I wonder when you guys sleep when I see all the hard work that goes into bringing us all these great updates, and photographs of the parks, and the special events that take place.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Well, since MiceAge and MiceChat are one and the same now, we are going with the bigger number. :-)

      We certainly missed you this weekend!

      Oh, and sleep is highly overrated. ;-)

      • Barbaraann

        I stand corrected, and hearing it from the top man, certainly makes it so.

        I missed being there, although I will probably do most of my Disneyland traveling in the warmer months. Considering all the refurbs, that’s probably a wise decision. I also love it when Disneyland is running it’s longer days, and all the nightime entertainment is in full swing.

  • goinskiing

    I know the refurbishments need to happen, but man it seems to be a crapshoot as of late on what is and isn’t open.

    What’s the deal with IASW? Is it the filming and what not? Seems odd.

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    That Jeff Heimbuch guy certainly gets around a lot. AND he looks pretty great in a dress.

    Congratulations to MiceChat on 11 fantastic years! It was such an amazingly fun weekend, and I’m so glad so many MiceChatters came out to help us celebrate!

    • Retrolane

      Some things can not be unseen!

  • frollofan

    Nice update as usual. Editors, here’s a tip as to how to find official refurb schedules. You can go on the Disneyland website and click on the link that brings up the park map. On there, you can click on individual attractions and see how long they are going to last. This is a better method than looking on the daily park calendar which only goes through March right now.
    According to the map, Big THunder is supposed to reopen by Apr. 1. Small World is supposed to reopen Apr. 9 for Spring Break peak crowds, but then it’ll go back down again Apr. 21 to May 29. Alice is closed from March 10 to July 3. Indy will be closed from March 17 to May 8. Lastly, Pirates will be closed from Apr. 28 to May 22. Of course, these are subject to change, but this is what is currently slated for refurb at the moment.

    • DisneyLover66

      Thank you for that info. about going to the map and then clicking on individual rides!

      • goinskiing

        But keep in mind, most of this has been changing on almost a daily basis, so take it with a grain of salt.

    • jenmurray

      Yeah that works when they aren’t changing ti all the time! It’s a small world was supposed to be “open” on Feb 7th last week according to their website.

      • frollofan

        Seriously, it’s better than nothing.

  • amyuilani

    Looks like everyone had a great weekend. I wish I lived in CA so I could join the festivities. Maybe one year I’ll make it a special trip.

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    Jeff in a dress = FTW!!

  • TodAZ1

    Who’s the hottie in the grey Member’s Only jacket?

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update as usual. Was in the parks this weekend to get in our last trip off of our annual passes before they expire. Very manageable crowds. World of Color was amazing as always. Also saw the 2 smaller shows in the Fanasy Faire area for the first time. Very well done.

  • jenmurray

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the candid shots of all the Mice Chatters! <3 So proud to be a part of this group!

  • yoyoflamingo

    Congrats to the winners! I’m equally impressed Alan can take his own picture holding his prize! ;)

    Congrats MiceChat on some great people and great events. Miss it all!

  • Tigger1134

    Thank you Dusty, Norm and the entire MiceChat crew for an amazing weekend of friendship and fun! You guys rock!

  • Haven

    While I fully understand the necessity of wintertime/off season refurbishments, it is unfortunate THIS winter however, that so many big rides are down these last few weeks. If SoCal’s weather has been anything like us here in Las Vegas this year, we have been having beautiful, warmer and sunnier than usual days since mid January (looking at highs near 80 this coming weekend). Yay for mild winters on the west coast while everyone else is having a brutal winter :( Come on Big Thunder, I am waiting to make my next Disneyland trip upon announcement of your completion :)