MiceAge Update: Grey Skies Clearing for Disneyland’s 60th

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features

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Published on March 04, 2014 at 4:00 am with 60 Comments

After a short winter off-season, Disneyland Resort is gearing up for a busy spring and summer ahead. While Burbank bosses hash out long-term expansion and financial strategies that have been complicated by the troubled MyMagic+ rollout in Walt Disney World, the Anaheim team has been scrambling to put their own budgets back together for the 60th Anniversary in 2015 and the inevitable remake of Tomorrowland after the anniversary. In this update we’ll fill you in on what they’ve done with Big Thunder, what they’ll be doing with the Little Mermaid ride, and what other work around the Resort has been postponed or is still on track.

Now, enjoy that bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and English Breakfast Tea as we fill you in on what’s going on at the Disneyland Resort.

Refurbs, Refurbs Refurbs for Disneyland 60th

The huge slate of refurbishments around the Resort this year primarily fall into two categories; work to retrofit older structures to comply with upgraded fall protection standards, and work to plus up or improve aging showmanship at existing attractions. It’s a small world has fallen into the former category, with the interior of the attraction getting a full backstage safety redesign on the sets and infrastructure that still mostly dates from the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Small World will reopen briefly in April so that the Good Morning America show can broadcast for several days from in front of the ride, playing up the ride’s 50th anniversary from its initial debut at the World’s Fair. Then Small World will close again until later in May for the last bit of safety upgrades. The Small World façade needs desperate freshening and lots of paint before Good Morning America’s HD television cameras arrive next month, but we’ll leave that detail up to the TDA planners who are trying to work out the logistics on that piece of the puzzle.

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain also just reopened from a refurbishment that rebuilt the walkways and catwalks throughout that attraction, which now allows maintenance crews to more safely get in and service the huge cast of Animatronic performers in that attraction. And the upcoming refurbishments at Pirates and Indy will also tackle fall protection issues inside those rides, while continuing with some of the technical upgrades from previous annual refurbishments there. It’s worth mentioning that all of these fall protection improvements only seem to apply to the Anaheim rides at the moment; as the nearly identical facilities with the same fall protection issues at the Florida parks have yet to receive these same upgrades.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The most noticeable rehab at Disneyland has been Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which closed 14 months ago for what was supposed to be a 10 month rehab. But the fall protection issue erupted in the middle of that rehab and the designers had to go back to the drawing board to redesign walkways and access paths inside that attraction before it could reopen, which tacked on five extra months to the project. Cast Members have been riding the attraction as test riders for several weeks now, but WDI has purposely turned off all the new digital effects inside the ride during this testing.

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While new flying bats and LED lighting inhabit the first cavern show scene the trains pass through, and new lighting and audio has been installed throughout the ride, it’s the final lift hill that received the most thorough work from WDI. Gone is the old earthquake scene with shaking rockwork and swinging lanterns, and in its place is a new plotline entirely. That final lift hill is now the scene of a mine explosion and fireball that uses digital mapping technology to project realistic looking flames onto roiling clouds of high pressure fog (think the spray can effect from It’s Tough To Be A Bug). Add in an all new booming audio system and some mechanical props that help set up the explosion, and that final lift hill is rumored to be quite noticeably more intense for riders than the old earthquake scene.

Cast Member testing continues through March 8th, with a tentative opening date to park guests now pegged for March 17th. However soft openings with the new show effects turned on could begin as soon as next Monday. With so many other attractions closed for refurbishment, Disneyland desperately needs the ride capacity of over 2,000 riders per hour that Big Thunder can pull in. They can’t get this ride back up and running soon enough.

Interestingly, 2014 was originally supposed to be the year that many attractions at Disneyland and DCA closed to refurbish their queues and preshow areas for the addition of enhancements once planned as part of MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ programs, otherwise known as the “NextGen Experience” or NGE program. But all work on Fastpass+ for Anaheim has been put on indefinite hold while they try and get the headaches at WDW sorted out and get the system pulling in some profits instead of just being a massive money drain. The rest of the NGE concepts, like using MagicBands for park entry and charging purposes, are also on hold in Anaheim. From the operational stories leaking out of Orlando, none of the Anaheim CM’s with knowledge of the NGE program are sad to see it put on hold for Disneyland.

Hi-Def DCA

Meanwhile, over in DCA, Soarin’ Over California was supposed to have been closed by now for a two month long refurbishment to transition to the new HD digital projection format to replace the original film projectors. Instead, the ride just finished a staggered refurbishment where each theater was closed for a week at a time for basic mechanical work on the flying carriages. The real Soarin’ project is purely a technical show upgrade, and it’s largely budgeted by the Shanghai Disneyland project and the twin-theater Soarin’ attraction being built in that park currently. But in January the long Soarin’ refurbishment at DCA was abruptly cancelled due to problems WDI has been having with the cutting-edge 4K HD projectors slated for this project in both Anaheim and Shanghai. It seems the new 4K projectors are just too cutting-edge for 2014, but could realistically arrive by 2015.

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There is a very unfortunate tale behind the scenes here involving the company supplying the 4K projectors and miscommunication between WDI and the contractors. Tempers are flaring all over the place on this one. Because it’s so messy and lawyers on both sides are now involved, we won’t get into the details here. But just know that the project is still moving forward for both parks, although the timeline for Anaheim to get the HD upgrade now looks like it’s going to align with the installation of the projectors in the Shanghai facility in 2015. While the theater upgrades are delayed now, the flyover of the Anaheim parks next week is still on as helicopters are set to buzz both parks with HD cameras on March 12th. We’d told you of that March 12th date last year as WDI had to get permits and clearances settled far in advance, and the problems with the attraction projectors itself won’t slow that down. Don’t bother waving to the camera however, as Disneyland’s Security team is going to ensure that the late night flight path over the parks is clear of looky-loos.

Under The Sea

While the Soarin’ upgrade is on hold, TDA pulled together the money from Burbank to move forward with another major show refurbishment for one of DCA’s signature attractions. The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will be closing later this month for its second big refurbishment since opening in May, 2011. This time the ride will be closed for seven weeks and they’ll be going back in to fix the laundry list of issues that many fans found wrong with the ride as soon as it opened. Lighting and projections throughout the attraction will again be upgraded and tweaked, but the most noticeable changes will take place in two main areas.

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The big Under The Sea musical production number in the middle of the ride will receive a hand painted black light treatment on all of the set pieces and animatronics, while new lighting rigs and projectors will be installed in the catwalks above. This traditional black light effect will make this scene darker and more dramatic, and hide many of the ceiling fixtures found in the much brighter room now.

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In addition to an artistic rethink on the Under The Sea scene, the last two scenes of the ride will be rearranged and changed. Ursula will finally get her big death scene here, instead of the little plywood cutout at the back of the underwhelming kissing scene, and the big wedding finale’ will be cut down and condensed a bit to accommodate Ursula. It’s hoped these changes will tighten up the ride’s plotline overall and leave riders more impressed with its showmanship. The Little Mermaid ride is DCA’s only Omnimover, and it was designed to be that park’s Small World; a fun ride for the whole family that conveniently gobbles several thousand riders per hour. DCA has improved dramatically in the last four years when it comes to overall customer satisfaction ratings, but TDA really wants to put that Omnimover’s high capacity to good use and leave Mermaid riders more impressed than they are currently. TDA’s leadership should be commended for scratching together the funds so that WDI could go back in and fix the weakest links here.

Purple Reign

Speaking of black light, the traditional Fantasyland dark rides are still tentatively planned to undergo major upgrades and improvements over the next year. The Alice In Wonderland refurbishment, which has been delayed and pushed back so many times we’ve lost count, will mercifully begin next week. The new digitally projected and animatronic upgrades are prepped and approved for Alice, along with a safer and streamlined outdoor portion of track. Following Alice, similarly impressive tech and animatronic upgrades are still being prepped for Peter Pan and Mr. Toad next fall and winter, with the Pinocchio and Snow White rides also planned for more modest upgrades before the 60th kicks off a year from now.

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Disneyland has the most traditional dark rides of any Disney theme park anywhere, with five of them clustered together in Fantasyland proper, plus two more when you add in Winnie The Pooh in Critter Country and Roger Rabbit in Toontown. Add in the clever Monsters Inc. dark ride next door in DCA, and Anaheim is the traditional dark ride capital of the Disney empire. Compared to Disney’s other castle parks who only have one or two traditional dark rides left, Disneyland’s five dark rides grouped together in Fantasyland have a combined hourly capacity that exceeds the 2,800 riders per hour of Pirates of the Caribbean. When you combine the numbers like that, TDA was wise to take WDI up on their offer to upgrade and freshen them all for the 21st century.

The dark ride upgrades will be used in the nostalgia-heavy promotion now being pulled together for the 60th Anniversary. Without a major new ride to push, and with the Tomorrowland rethink in creative limbo after Iger demanded the new characters from the next trilogy be included in anything added to the parks, TDA has continued to flesh out the nostalgia concept we’d told you about earlier.

I’ll Be Back

What’s still up in the air is what to do for a parade; the plan now is to either borrow the Electrical Parade from WDW again (groan), or the wild card is to borrow the new Paint The Night parade from Hong Kong Disneyland for just the spring and summer season of 2015. Hong Kong’s new night parade debuts this September and would play there through the winter, but by April in Hong Kong the heavy summer rains set in and parades are very difficult to pull off in Hong Kong and often end up being cancelled day after day. TDA could borrow Paint The Night for summer ‘15, if only to beef up the rather thin 60th Anniversary entertainment roster. That decision hasn’t been made yet, but at least TDA is thinking outside the box, and across the ocean.

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The focus of the 60th will really be Disneyland Park, as the continuing customer research from both parks has shown that Disneyland’s satisfaction ratings have slipped as DCA’s ratings and attendance rose in 2012 and 2013.

Fiscal Year 2013 that ended last October was the true test of DCA’s new success, as the first full year of Cars Land and the re-launched DCA. Attendance for both parks combined edged up by a few hundred thousand, but the change in traffic flow between the two parks was dramatic. DCA got 9.9 Million visitors in Fiscal ’13, up from 7.7 Million in Fiscal ’12, and dramatically higher than the 5 to 6 Million it was getting a decade ago. While Disneyland’s annual attendance edged down to 13.3 Million in ‘13 from the 15 Million it got in Fiscal ’12. You have to consider however that the same amount of people visited Disneyland each year, since Disney only tracks the “first click” of a park turnstile each day. So almost all of those people pouring into DCA each morning for Racers Fastpasses still ended up inside Disneyland at some point later in the day, or later in their vacation.

But with DCA now pulling in and retaining a much larger share of the attendance pie, the customer feedback for Disneyland has remained flat or declined by 3 to 6 points in most categories, while the same customers now rate DCA higher by 5 to 8 points than they did two years ago. Categories like Cast Member Courtesy, Cleanliness, Entertainment and Ride Satisfaction all rose by healthy margins for DCA specifically in 2013, while they declined by solid single digits at Disneyland. DCA already had very high levels of Cast Member Courtesy and Ride Satisfaction, but the park re-launch of 2012 really seems to have juiced the Cast morale of that park and the visitors have responded in kind. Luckily the average visitor rates the overall Resort very high, but when you now compare the two parks the visitors are preferring DCA’s daily experience over the Disneyland experience by increasing margins. Much of that speaks to the fresher park facilities and wider walkways at DCA, and the upbeat demeanor of the DCA Cast Members.

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The most important statistic is the aggregate of all those factors, and is known as the “Intent To Return”; basically the willingness of a park visitor at the end of the day to consider coming back again. It’s those numbers that really tell the story, with Disneyland Park’s Intent To Return statistic declining by 3% in 2013 while DCA’s Intent To Return rose by 3%. TDA needs to reverse those slipping numbers for Disneyland quickly. The current spate of refurbishments won’t help the numbers any, as overall ride capacity weighs heavily into a visitor’s satisfaction level. But TDA has work to do to freshen the Disneyland Park experience for 21st century audiences and beef up the park capacity while eliminating the horrifically overcrowded walkways and long lines that most TDA and Burbank executives never dare experience themselves.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

And those overcrowded walkways won’t be getting any relief this spring, with some very busy days heading to Anaheim. This Sunday the attendance is pegged so high for both parks that Cast Members will once again be forced to park at Angel Stadium and be bussed in for the day.

These busy days are almost always on Sunday’s when the local Annual Passholders descend en masse. The parking problem becomes critical because AP’ers tend to arrive with just one or two people per vehicle, unlike the tourists who arrive in a car packed with the whole family. And so, on busy Sunday’s the AP’s get parked in the big Katella Cast Member lot, and the Cast Members get pushed out to the stadium. To add insult to injury, TDA plasters the Resort with warning flyers and directions to the Angel Stadium entrance, and on each flyer they offer the following reminder:

“As a reminder, driving to work and parking in a Cast lot is not expected or required and is just one commuting option available to Cast. Other commute alternatives available to Cast Members include carpooling, riding the bus or train, vanpooling, bicycling or walking.”

If you consider that these stadium parking days are exclusively held on Sundays, it helps to dissect that snotty little reminder a bit. While carpooling is always an option, the carpool vehicle would still be directed to the stadium and the carpool occupants would still have to wait in line for a bus to take them the last mile to the resort, before they walk across the park to their actual work location. Riding the bus or train is an option for TDA 8-to-5’ers when OCTA runs a full bus schedule and Metrolink runs dozens of trains per weekday on a convenient rush hour schedule to the Anaheim station, with a special shuttle meeting each train to take them straight to TDA. But on a Sunday there are only 4 Metrolink trains per day on the Orange County line that call at Anaheim, with the first not arriving until 9:25 A.M., far too late for an 8:00 A.M. park opening time. The last of the four Metrolink trains on the skeleton Sunday OC schedule leaves Anaheim at 5:25 P.M., which isn’t much use for most people working at a theme park that’s open until Midnight.

Vanpooling is also a nice option for TDA folks who can commit to a set Monday-Friday schedule, but the vast majority of park Cast Members are hourly shift workers with varying daily schedules and signing up for a vanpool isn’t an option, even if there was one available on a Sunday morning (there isn’t). Biking or walking is also a nice option for those who live that close to the park, but if they do live that close there would be no need to bike out to Angel Stadium to take a bus back down Katella to the park.

That reminder on commuting “options” is on every flyer, and smacks Cast Members the wrong way. But for TDA’s Cast Communications department who are paid to communicate to the front line Cast Members and will be nowhere near Anaheim on Sunday, a snarky line basically reminding them that they could avoid the hassle of Angel Stadium parking by getting a desk job in TDA is par for the course. Too many of the decision makers in TDA just don’t get it. If you do visit the park this Sunday, please be kind to the Cast Members who will have put up with extra hassle and commute time and a dollop of disrespect from TDA.

A Spoonful of Sherman

Dusty Sage recently sat down with Robbie Sherman at the Disneyana Show and Sale to discuss his legendary father (Robert Sherman of the Sherman Brothers).  There is a lot to learn here about family, creativity and brilliance.

Direct Link  |  iTunes Link

Moose: Chapters From My Life

Oh Kay!  That should do it for this mostly good news update.  We will work to keep you updated on the continued evolution of various projects around the Disneyland resort as details emerge.

About MiceAge

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. Generally, you'll find a new MiceAge news update from Al and crew once or twice a month on Tuesdays. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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60 Comments

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Comments for MiceAge Update: Grey Skies Clearing for Disneyland’s 60th are now closed.

  1. Feeling much better after this great update. Good long term decisions are being made.

    Do I have to pay $50 per day parking for them to be able afford to build a new parking structure? Where is all my parking money going? If I was a castmember I’d be looking for a new job after that insulting letter. Public transportation in LA? Walk/Bike to work to get tired/stinky before a full day shift?

    • Right? Yet another example of how higher ups just really do not get it. This angers me so. How much worse is it going to get for the CM’s before they just get fed up and strike?

    • I agree entirely! I used to be a Cast Member until about a year ago and let me tell you, getting to work was HELL. Even the shuttle drivers were taking the brunt of Cast Member anger when 60% of Cast Members would clock in a few minutes late and receive negative points on their work record… all for something that was out of their control.

      I hope the guests are nice to the Cast Members on Sunday because at least when the guests park and take a shuttle, the parking Cast is friendly, polite, informative and courteous and an overall pleasant group of people to meet when you start your day in the parks, but Cast Members sometimes have to wake up before the crack of dawn to drive down here from LA or Riverside or sometimes even THOUSAND OAKS just to get shoveled a few miles away at the Angels Stadium, park their car and hope they remember where they parked it, after dealing with the confusing means of entering the parking lot and the Cast Parking zone they set up.

      Then there’s the Cast Shuttle drivers whom for the most part, didn’t make the cut for “pleasantness” like the toy story lot shuttle drivers, and they only grunt when a friendly cast member says hello to them. Such negative shuttle drivers! Then they arrive at Harbor Pointe (shuttle stop and cast entrance area) LATE and have to rush through the security checkpoint and either take another shuttle to DCA which never seems to arrive soon enough, or they have to book it through Disneyland Park to get from (behind Space Mountain) all the way to Critter Country… LIKE I DID. And there’s no tram that goes to Critter Country or New Orleans Square, only a TDA tram that takes you close to Toon Town, Fantayland and Northern Frontierland. Imagine having to hoof it through a bustling park, past all the guests, no secret cast tunnels or walkways to get you to clock in sooner at your location… nuuuuuuu by the time you get to Critter Country, you are late, you got points and are getting a talking-to from your Managers whom know the situation but are pressured to scold you anyway. So please, be nice to Cast Members, sometimes they are only unpleasant because their favorite Park treats them like crap.

      • I agree with you. I used to be a cast member also. Everything you said is so true. Especially the part, “their favorite park treats them like crap” I love Disney and always will, But I really feel the cast members should be treated a little better.

    • I don’t know that the note about carpooling being “snarky”
      I tend to find that we read things in the tone of voice we most often use ourselves. Many written comments are interpreted far worse than they are intended.

      But I think the note is intended to focus on what the employee “can do” as opposed to pointing out that no employer is required to provide parking for its employees.

      Those who have pointed out how long the commute is for some employees are correct. The 1hr commute from Northridge sometimes has me skipping a trip to the park.
      And then you add in the frustrations of parking a mile or two from your job site, taking a shuttle (that can add to the time) and a long walk to the job location. It can be bad.

      But none of these things are any employer’s responsibility to compensate for.
      However, it is every employee’s responsibility to be ready to work on time.

      I don’t mean to be cruel at all. These are things that an employee needs to consider when they take a job.
      And they don’t get paid much.
      But then, they don’t have to work for Disneyland either.

      An employer might consider transportation, parking and employee experience. But Disney is in a buyer’s market when it comes to the workforce. Plenty of people are ready to step in and take those low paying jobs if anyone has had enough and wants out.

      As long as that’s the situation, I don’t see a company that has to return greater profits to stock holders every year is going to change.

      So, I say a hearty “amen” to the call for guests to be kind, patient, and thankful to the cast members. I have seen some shockingly stupid and myopic behavior from guest towards cast.

      They don’t make much, please don’t take the fun out of their job when they finally get to the job.

      Will G

      • A great response from a level headed person. Sometimes I just don’t understand the response of people on some of these fan sites. It’s like they forget that Disney is just another corporation providing jobs to those that choose to take them and that many of the same issues that arises with them is present with many corporations.

        I live 60 miles away from work and have a multi hour commute and still have to arrive and hope to find a decent parking space or pay up pay high monthly rates for parking.

        It’s my choice to do so and I new it when I took the job several years ago

      • I think you’re overestimating the amount of “choice” that most of these employees have in their work situations. I’m fairly confident that very few of them actually turned down multiple offers for higher-paying jobs in order to work at the park. In the present economy, many people consider themselves lucky to have a regular job at all… and, in all fairness, that’s not Disney’s fault.

        Also, it’s a fair point to say that it’s not Disney’s obligation to solve the transportation conundrum that has been building over the last several decades.

        However, speaking as someone who has not owned a car for 20+ years, it is often the upper-management-level “solution” to the problem to advise workers to use public transportation… when they have secured parking spaces and would never dream of actually setting foot on a bus or train, much less bike or walk.

        If Disney wants to genuinely encourage multi-modal commuting, there are a lot of ways to do that, but they all require planning and effort, not just a leaflet telling “other people” what they should do. Really, it would be in their long term interest to do so, because at some point in the future, it’s going to be a major advantage in drawing customers to the park if there are viable ways to get there aside from driving in an automobile.

  2. I wonder when DL will finally have something new and exciting to advertise, rather than rely on nostalgia for all of its events. It was great for the 50th, but it seems like that’s all they’ve done for promotions, events, and merchandise for the last decade

    And I haven’t seen any of the parking flyers in person, so I’m not sure exactly how it comes off, but that disclaimer sounds like a typical CYA clause. It’s there to cut down on CMs trying to get leeway with the extended commute, which is a valid complaint, but not one that can realistically be given for ~30,000 people. If it were me, I’d much prefer something bland and legal-sounding that the typical “have a magical day” statements

    • Yeah, I mean I get how it ‘comes off’ but the reality is it is fairly much a standard set of words which exists in today’s Western corporate world. It’s probably mostly intended to be a documentable piece of evidence about Disney’s commitment to the environment.

  3. Whew. Some positive news! Beyond the refurbs and upgrades, the most interesting part is the delay (hopefully for a long time) of any FP+ or MyMagic+ use in DLR. If we think things are bad at Disney World (they are), I can’t imagine how those would go in California. They’d be wise to wait until it’s a fully functioning system with few glitches before trying that at DLR, if ever.

    • I’ll go with ‘if ever’, at least as it relates to FP+.

  4. Thanks for this update, enjoyed the read, especially the statistics.
    The refurbishments make me unsurprised by the lower satisfaction ratings or intent to return surveys. As for Tomorrowland, I am fine (I think) with OSHA update to Space Mountain outside, though I am shocked a spray-wash has not gone into effect to handle the dirt in the mean time. That is clearly wishful thinking on my part. Look forward to a very new and improved Tomorrow come 2015 or so. Glad Splash got internal modifications during downtime. Cannot be more excited to ride BTMRR. :) The Hong Kong parade looks good so while not a parade guy, I get that nostalgia cannot score the numbers something NEW might. As a dark ride fan, I am all for the upgrade TLC, personally. Over in DCA: I am thrilled to know that Under the Sea will go darker!!! I found the ceiling and rigging to be shockingly bad; I look forward to seeing how they PLUS this ride. Now for an additional E-Ticket ride sooner than not.
    Finally, glad I am not planning to attend Sunday. Those crowds? I feel for the Cast Members parking at the stadium!
    Thanks again – just what I needed this morning. Made my day.

  5. What’s causing the big crowds this Sunday? How will Monday and Tuesday be?

  6. It’s always a pleasure to read MiceAge Updates. It’s great that the tradition that Al Lutz started in 2003 as MiceAge Updates (and earlier under other names) is still going strong. I’m especially pleased when I read about upcoming improvements to show quality.

  7. Some good news here – lots of interesting bits. I am very sympathetic to the castmember parking situation. I am guessing a large number of cast members leave home anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour an half (possibly more?) to get to work and it takes as long to get home. The don’t get PAID for that time! It would be one thing if they clocked in once they got to Angels stadium, but it’s probably another 20 minutes, at least, until they get to work. I’ve noticed traffic around there and though how difficult it must be to work there or at downtown Disney b/c you would always have to accommodate traffic into your commute. Would an hour commute on each end make $8 an hour worth it? Or maybe I’ll just work at my local mall, eh? Or maybe Knotts has a better situation. If Disney wants to get the most out of the best people, they need to treat them right. I cannot comprehend why they fail to realize this.

    • they actually do pay you for the ride home. You clock out 20 or 30 min for your shift actually ends and they pay you for that 20-30 min it takes you to get to your car. But non for the way there. and I lived 3 miles for the park when I worked there and had to leave at least an hour early or I’d be late. 10 min driving. 10 min finding a spot, parking walking to shuttle. another 5 min waiting for shuttle. 10 minute ride to the park. 10 min to walk to your attractions plus all the guests that ask you questions on the way there

  8. I always thought that the Little Mermaid ride lacked the Ursula death scene, but I thought maybe they left it out because it would be too scary. I hope they put in a huge Ursula animatronic though, and don’t cheap out with a digital projection or something.

    It looks like Big Thunder is borrowing from Knott’s with it’s explosion finale. I wonder what Knott’s will do with the revamp of Calico Mine Train.

  9. What’s the news behind the subs? It looks like a normal refreb to me.

  10. Great update…Happy to hear that the dark ride upgrade is on and is expected to ready for the 60th.It would have been nice if WDI had planned ahead to offer a new ride for it, but upgrades are a plus.Still haven’t decided if it will be enough to get us to go or not, the family still wants something new like Uni ‘s Potterland. I on the other hand find the upgrades intriguing enough to stir my interests, That parade does sound like a winner so we shall see. But this close to the 60th, really what can they pull off that will draw us in…..With the record profits they are pulling in I would have expected more….so far too little… too late. To some of us these anniversary dates have more meaning than they do at Disneyland itself so it seems and this saddens me. Come on Disney surprise us with something great to pay homage to this wonderful place .

  11. Is there anything else being planned for more frozen at disneyland

  12. My hopes for the future of Disneyland are feeling much better now. Unlike DCA where we KNEW what was taking place behind the work walls, these past few months have been full of skepticism and optimism with rumors abound. I am really hoping that MM+ doesn’t find its way into Anaheim any time soon. Knowing that Disney is putting work into some of its smaller attractions is going much better. Sure, we might have to wait on Soarin’ and the 60th announcements, but I’m holding out for what could be a great sigh of relief for DL after the DCA hype.

    • Me too. Big projects on hold, so perhaps this is how they have found some money to address some of these things. It is a really great use of money.

      I’ve always kept the faith in the Anaheim management, I know some have felt pessimism because of things such as the Court of Angels but I have felt that they are constantly trying to improve, which is all you can really ask.

      I really hope that after the 60th anniversary we will get big announcements about Tomorrowland and a Frontierland expansion.

  13. Great update, thanks! Although i’m seriously bummed out to hear that Pirates may be closed for the Gumball Rally :(

  14. I’m really excited about the BTMR and mermaid enhancements! I’m shocked that Disney actually responded to fan criticism of Mermaid. Hopefully WDW gets the same upgrades. The fireball effect sounds a lot like the same effect in Tokyo Disney Seas Indiana Jones ride. That’s one of the funnest practical effects I’ve ever experienced.
    It is a shame that yet another 10 year anniversary will pass without a major new attraction in Walt’s magic kingdom, but I’m very excited about the upgrades, including the classic rides and soarin.

  15. Good observation that many mass transit options skew heavily toward the Monday through Friday nine-to-fivers. This isn’t Disney’s fault really, but their snarky message does indicate that they are out of touch.

    Great job on the MiceChat Podcast. The interview with Robbie Sherman was fascinating.

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