Disneyland‘s various off-season refurbishments and construction projects didn’t slow down the Presidents Weekend holiday crowds from arriving in big numbers. Today we update you on the current construction and refurbishment projects in both theme parks (including the on-going Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage refurbishments), take a look at Saturday’s fifth annual Celebrate Gospel event at Disney California Adventure, and enjoy a sampling of Valentine’s Day treats.
Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at MouseAddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!
Get a closer look at today’s update! Click on any photo in today’s blog to see a larger, high-resolution version.
Before we get started, I’d like to give a big thank you to MiceChat’s Norman Gidney. For various reasons over the last few weeks, including moving to a new home, I have needed extra help with photos or simply been unable to write this blog. Norm and his In the Parks team have graciously stepped up to the plate and helped with photos or run two of their Disneyland updates in a week when I couldn’t meet the demands of this blog. Over the next couple months there may be additional times where I’ll need to take a week off here or there – but never fear, Dateline Disneyland will be back and in the meantime you can count on Norm and In the Parks to bring you an excellent update while I’m away!
We have a full update for you this week, so let’s get to it!
Welcome to Disneyland!
Last year’s Limited Time Magic Valentine’s Day decorations didn’t return but the small additions in Town Square planters from the last few years did return.
The parks saw big crowds over the weekend for the Presidents Day holiday that will continue through today.
Disney California Adventure celebrated its 13th anniversary without much fanfare on February 8.
California Adventure wait times Saturday afternoon
Off-season refurbishments and construction projects continue throughout the parks…
[center]Main Street, USA[/center]
On Main Street, the Fortuosity Shop has wrapped up its facade refurbishment, sporting a new paint job.
The yellow paint scheme is new and it’s a nice improvement over the previous muted tints of pink.
The clock hasn’t returned yet.
In Adventureland, the Tiki Juice Bar’s expansion has wrapped up but the space doesn’t look any bigger than before. Still, it’s nice to be able to get your Dole Whip fix once again.
In New Orleans Square, the Club 33 expansion continues.
The tunnel to the New Orleans Square restrooms has been open at times recently.
In Critter Country, Splash Mountain’s refurbishment continues through the end of the month.
[center]Reopening the Wilderness[/center]
In Frontierland, the Sailing Ship Columbia is sailing once again after its refurbishment and looks great
Meanwhile, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is still closed, with it now expected to reopen by March 31 at the earliest.
[center]“it’s a Cal/OSHA world”[/center]
In Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” is still closed following the removal of its holiday overlay as well as the recent filming for Disney’s upcoming “Tomorrowland” film. The E-Ticket ride’s post-holiday closure has reportedly been extended so Disney can go in and install new Cal/OSHA-approved fall safety protection for Cast Members and maintenance workers.
Not far from “it’s a small world,” Alice in Wonderland is set to close in early March now to begin its multi-month Cal/OSHA retrofit that includes reworking the exterior portion of the ride track and rebuilding it with new fall-safety railings.
The Small World control towers are being rebuilt after they were dismantled for “Tomorrowland” filming
[center]Out to Dry[/center]
In Tomorrowland, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage has now been drained and will sit dry now until the fall. Disney has officially announced an official refurbishment for the attraction but rumors online say that the refurbishment is just an excuse to quietly shutter the attraction as a cost-savings measure before killing the classic attraction for good to make way for a new E-Ticket Star Wars-themed ride.
Whatever happens to the Submarine Voyage, the lagoon has now been drained and signage at the attraction’s entrance has been updated noting the fall 2014 reopening.
The fleet of submarines are now in dry dock until the fall.
Nearby, inside Innoventions, work is underway to get the new Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage meet-and-greet area ready.
The new photo-op comes with a hilariously long-winded title, but should prove to be yet another popular addition to the growing line-up of small but popular Marvel additions to Innoventions. However you feel about Marvel in Tomorrowland, Innoventions was mostly a ghost town before Iron Man moved in last April, followed by Thor in October so don’t expect the Marvel influence to be phased out anytime soon.
The new meet-and-greet officially opens March 7. Annual Passholders were invited to register to preview the new meet-and-greet March 1-6 – some availability remains, if you’re interested.
Over at Space Mountain, the new fall safety additions are going up on the attraction exterior and so far they don’t look great.
No, they aren’t adding a loop.
In Disney California Adventure, the Aladdin musical is dark through February 20 for refurbishment.
And in Grizzly Peak, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail remains closed until the end of this month for refurbishment.
And in Condor Flats, the Soarin’ Over California refurbishment has been significantly shortened and is now set to be closed only for a few days at the end of February.
On Saturday, California Adventure hosted its fifth annual “Celebrate Gospel!” event in Hollywood Land’s Stage 17.
The one-day-only event continues to be popular and it’s nice to see it return year-after-year.
Disney promoted the “Gospel History Walk,” a walk-through exhibit as part of the event. It turned out to just be a series of informational signs but it was still nice to see the edutainment aspect of the event represented this year and hopefully it can grow next year.
Click these full-panel images for a huge image that you can actually read
This and That
On Buena Vista Street, you can pick up the latest edition of the Buena Vista Bugle on newsstands.
Trolley Treats has some great seasonal offerings including Valentine’s-themed cupcakes, the new Black Forest Gourmet Apple, and new Raspberry Bark.
Cupid Mickey plush available at select shops
In Downtown Disney, the new Starbucks Coffee location is finally looking like it could be opening soon. The facade is coming together nicely.
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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours February 17-23, 2014
Monday: 8 am – 11 pm Tue.-Thur.: 9 am – 9 pm Friday: 9 am – 12 am Saturday: 8 am – 12 am Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm Tue.-Thur.: 9 am – 8 pm Friday: 9 am – 10 pm Sat.-Sun.: 8 am – 10 pm
[center]Headline Roundup A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
Annual Passholders can continue to enjoy classic Disney movie screenings and sing-alongs at Disneyland on select evenings in February. (Disneyland.com)
Remembering Shirley Temple Black’s unique history with Disney and Disneyland. (Disney Parks Blog)
Alright, that’s it for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and be sure to join the discussion in the comments section below!
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Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.