In the Parks: Disneyland Refurb Tango

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks

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Published on February 14, 2014 at 7:00 am with 29 Comments

The 60th anniversary of Disneyland Park is fast approaching and the clock is tick, tick, ticking down toward Summer 2015. There is currently a mad scramble to refurbish all of the major attractions so that they are firing on all cylinders come next year for the nostalgia-heavy marketing campaign for Disneyland’s big birthday. That has also resulted in a hectic and rapidly changing refurbishment schedule. Today we share what we know as of this minute to give you the heads up for your next visit to the resort, and take a look at the status of current projects.

But first . . .

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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. Diane’s daughters, Joanna Miller and Jennifer Miller-Goff, will accept the very first MiceChat Ryman Legend Award on their mother’s behalf. 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 the Ryman Arts Foundation.

Please note that we’ve just added a special “VIP Experience” package for up to 8 people which grants early access to the event, exclusive wine tasting and private conversation with Bob Gurr, seating at Bob Gurr’s table at dinner and a special parting gift signed by all of the evening’s stars.

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!  MORE INFORMATION & 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 for the ultimate Disney fan event! 

 

Welcome to Disneyland.  While the rest of the country is still under a thick layer of ice, Spring is well underway at the resort with colorful blossoms everywhere.

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Fortusity

The work on the façade of the Fortuosity shop on Main Street was finally completed this week.  Salmon and citrus tones adorn the bricks of the building and it has never looked better.

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Very nice work indeed.

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 Club 33 Refurbishment

The work continues on the Club 33 expansion above New Orleans Square.

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The exit of Pirates of the Caribbean is covered, though still functional.

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Past Blue Bayou, another overhead pass is being worked on.

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On rare occasions, you will find that a full passage through the tunnels in New Orleans Square is possible. At other times, this portal is closed.

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going through one of the tunnels we can see that they have exposed the original beams.

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Looking back, from the train station, we see the edge of the building that will lead to the new jazz club on the left, over French Market.

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Sailing Ship

The beloved Sailing Ship Columbia has returned to service.  Next up is the Mark Twian which will go down from February 24th to February 28th.

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Splash Mountain

Our beloved Splash Mountain is down and is anticipated to remain under refurbishment until the end of February.  The cursory scaffolds are visible on the final drop and the area around it appears to be getting the required touch-ups, paint and repairs.

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At the exit, there is more work being done.  Not anywhere as substantial as the previous overhaul though.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The refurb schedule now lists Big Thunder Mountain as down at least until March 31st.  It appears that Disney is simply kicking the football further down the field until they are certain everything is just right.  This is a major inconvenience for those traveling from out of town. But we have to remember that unexpected things happen and it is far better for Disney to get everything perfect than to force an early opening at lowered capacity.   Believe us folks, they are literally working well into the nights to get this monster functioning as expected.

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“Don’t blow up my train bro.”

 it’s a small world

The refurb schedule for it’s a small world NOW stands as follows…

Closed for refurbishment January 21, 2014 to April 9, 2014, April 21, 2014 to May 29, 2014,

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Okay so, HUH?  We are almost certain that this is a computer glitch or a typo here.  But if the above schedule is accurate, it is terribly confusing.

Space Mountain

Let’s take a look at the Space Mountain clean-up project.

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Captain America

Work continues on the Captain America meet and greet inside Innoventions.  The experience will open on March 7th, but AP previews will be held on March 1st.

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Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

The water has finally begun to recede from the lagoon at the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  Wooden blocks hold the parked submarines in place near the load/unload dock.

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Alice in Wonderland

We now know that Alice is set to close March 3rd with a return date of July 3rd, 2014.  The refurbishment is supposed to finally address the “temporary” OSHA solution that was installed on the ride’s outdoor section.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

The temple is set to have substantial maintenance performed beginning mid-March from the 18th all the way to May 8th.

Today we stop by Downtown Disney and check out the progress made at the newest Starbucks location to the property.  Large glass panes have been installed, totally transforming the location and giving it an iconic entrance.

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The whole park is a wonderful world of color.

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Is this lovely or what?!

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Yes Dorthy, these are poppies.

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The grape vines will begin to leaf very soon. You can just make out the buds now.

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Refurbs

Below is a listing of the currently scheduled refurbishments in Disney California Adventure.  Please note that, while accurate at the time of this posting, schedules may change.

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Redwood Creek Challenge Trail will be returning on February 28th.

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Soarin’ is now currently planned to only be down from February 24-27th.

 

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug will be down from April 21st to May 8th
  • Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train – March 3rd -March 6th
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure • March 20th – May 9th

A Dress of a Different Color

After chatting with a few sources we have finally confirmed the reasoning behind the sudden wardrobe change for the titular Dime of the popular Five and Dime show.  It seems that entertainment considered her original clothing too fancy and way out of that character’s price range.  This is supposed to be a down on her luck chanteuse who’s trying to make a buck, not a well-to-do fashion plate.

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Now, while the idea of “cheapening” her wardrobe makes a bit of sense, the execution is just oddball.  She looks like a back-up singer for the Orange Bird, not a struggling vocalist in 1920′s Los Angeles. But it’s just a dress and we still LOVE this show. Would be nice for them to have a larger variety of songs they were allowed to sing, but we love them none the less.

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And with that, we’ll make our parting thanks. We hope you have a wonderful weekend. If you don’t have plans on Sunday, please stop by the Disneyana Show and Sale between 10am and 5pm and say hello to us. MiceChat will have a booth.  More Info HERE.

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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29 Comments

Comments for In the Parks: Disneyland Refurb Tango are now closed.

  1. So excited to go in 10 days, bummer about the list of refurbs. Parks are really looking good and I’m really looking forward to seeing the redone California Adventure (everything was behind walls when we went last time).

    • You are in for a treat. Disneyland Resort looks fantastic (in spite of the closures). And DCA is like a whole new park since your last visit! Have a great time!

      • Agreed, even with the refurbs, both parks have never looked better. Make sure to save time for Fantasmic and World of Color!

  2. I suspect the new safety rails on Space will look horrible. From the pics, its looks like they will be very obtrusive to the original, iconic design of the structure. I suspect the same thing will happen on Alice. To bad.

    • I share your concern and am watching the process with clinched teeth. However, I do know that a considerable amount of design effort has gone into making both of these projects as aesthetically pleasing as possible. I’m waiting to see the results with cautious optimism.

    • They’ve done a good job of blending them in so far throughout the park. I bet the permanant fix will look good

  3. Just curious, If the rumor is that the subs are not coming back, why wouldn’t they move the subs back into storage before draining the lagoon?

  4. The parks do look beautiful with all of the flowers and trees in bloom. Your photography is to be commended!

    In all the years I have been visiting Disneyland I cannot recall seeing so many attractions going down for refurb at the same time. I realize that the work needs to be done (if they are in fact doing any work – ie subs), but I can’t recall so many attractions going down for such long time periods. I know this practice is common at WDW but not so much here. I realize that Disney has made it clear with recent projects that it takes them more time than ever to refurb attractions. Can’t help but think this is more about cost savings and less about actual refurb needs. Small World just came out of a major refurb a few years ago and now it’s down for 4 months? It’s not a terribly complex attraction and they can run it with almost all of the animation inside not working, so what is this about? The subs have been closed for over a month with not an inch of movement on any refurb. I know MiceChat discussed the likely reason as a cost saver, but now that thinking is spreading like wildfire through the resort. Now they’ll just close everything and reopen it when they have no choice because of crowds, or they’ve saved enough money to justify its reopening. How rewarding to be a Guest of such a scrupulous organization.

    Looks like Disneyland needs a new President again. This totally looks like a WDW practice.

    • A similar crazy refurbishment schedule happened before Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. On the one hand, we are reluctant to criticize the park for any refurbishment because that’s what really keeps things looking their best. But we completely understand the frustrations of guests (particularly the guests from out of town) who don’t have the luxury of visiting the parks frequently and find lots of construction and closures at this time. Every guest should have an optimal visit to the park regardless of the time of year . . . especially if they are paying full price, but the off season has always been a time of renewal.

      • Wow, I didn’t know you guys have been covering DL since it’s 10th anniversary! :)

        There were a lot of closures in the lead-up to the 50th, but it seemed that most were a couple weeks (or 2-3 months at most). It’s crazy that their new standard seems to be 9+ months for a proper refurbishment, when they’ve never approached that length in the past. Perhaps now they have longer ones that are less frequent, rather than short ones that happened every couple years

      • They are more than a year out from the 60th, taking this amount of major attractions down at once is nothing more than cost cutting to feed more money into WDW money pit customer shakedown project.

        With the exception of BTMM which seems to be because of genuine problems, the refurbs are taking much longer than usual because they are not putting as many people on at once.

        How much are they charging to get into the park with so many major attractions down, I’m sure the discounted entry fee more than makes up for the amount of major attractions down… yes that is sarcasm.

    • That’s why there are sites like this to keep us up to date on the latest happenings. Makes it easier to plan trips if your a weekley reader to In the Parks and Dateline Disneyland

    • Isn’t It’s A Small World down for the filming of Tomorrowland?

    • It’s an inconvenience to visit the Parks and find some of your favorite attractions closed, but I, for one, am happy. Dusty Sage hit it right on the nose, constant maintenance keeps the park looking its best and sets Disney Parks above the rest. When attractions go down for refurb I feel comfortable knowing that time and energy is spent in keeping rides safe and in working order, as well as visually pleasing.

  5. Dang Alice in Wonderland will be closed when I go in June 18th are there any days from June 18th to the 22nd that Space Mountain will be down, because I have heard rumors that it will be down during that time.

    • Right now Space Mountain is not scheduled to be down during your time there.

  6. I saw a guy working on a roof the other day. He was wearing a long safety tether. That’s all they ever needed to do at Disneyland. No safety railings, no bogus redesigns. Window washers clean hi-rises without safety railings. Actors work on stages without safety railings.

  7. Think of the happiest things
    It’s the same as having wings
    Think of Nemo gone and dead
    the old subs back, skyway overhead
    and Peoplemovers going by….
    You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

    • The Skyway is unlikely, but I’m keeping hope alive on the Peoplemover–now one of the reasons to go to WDW, along with the Carousel of Progress, which they need to update.

      • Just was in MK at WDW and PeopleMover was a must. The last time I rode it at DL was when I was 9 and Space Mountain had just opened.

  8. Wow. All those refurbs must be wreaking havoc on planning the Gumball Rally.

    • LOL. Which is the most pressing news of all. ;-)

      It’s certainly going to make the Rally a bit easier for teams this year.

  9. Yikes, are they changing the actual shape of Space Mountain? …… (insert rant about messing up an icon)…but then you can’t look at the castle anymore without seeing a plastic tent and cheap accents, so probably. Sob.

    Pretty FLOWERS!

  10. There’s been so much bashing of WDW for taking FOREVER to complete a brand-new roller coaster, but it seems the California pot is most definitely calling the Florida kettle black with the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment, which is firmly entrenched in its second year.

    Honestly, I think those who believe Disneyland always does everything better need to quit complaining about the problems in Florida, because I’d certainly rather be at WDW right now — even if a little paint is peeling — than be in a park where half the E-ticket attractions are closed at the same time.

  11. Thank you for all the pictures. The flowers look amazing. The new Starbuck’s with that wall of windows looks like it will be very inviting. Can’t wait to see it in person. Spectacular update as usual!

  12. Could it be that MyMagic+ chaos could be to blame for this?

    Wasn’t it just a month or so ago that Disney announced a lot of planned expansion and refurbs for DLR were either cancelled or shelved and now suddenly all the refurbs seem to be happening all at once?

    It could be that the unexpected issues with MyMagic+ led to a scheduling/budgeting mess with upper management unsure of whether or not a 60th anniversary for the park was even possible and then somehow changed their mind at the last minute. Otherwise I think they would’ve planned out the refurbs much better than this allowing only a certain number of attractions to be down at one time.

    In other words: the refurb schedule should’ve been planned out much better than waiting until this soon to a big event and we can only assume a MyMagic+ conspiracy afoot.

  13. If Disney were spending HALF the amount on these OSHA fixes as they were fighting the requirements in court and in the media, everyone would win — even other businesses that wouldn’t be subject to OSHA’s flights of fancy. There is only one other Space Mountain in the country, and that’s in Florida. There are no other Matterhorns or Alice in Wonderland rides. Disney has a lot of latitude to object based on the unique needs of its particular business, which OSHA representatives don’t understand. It’s a real shame they have decided just to acquiesce and diminish the experience for guests.

  14. too many refurbs is insane . that is almost half the park. I feel bad for people that are going to see that.

  15. I will be turning 60 along with Disneyland, just a few months later. Please do not rush us toward that birthday!