Howdy folks, it’s time for In the Parks featuring news from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.  We have plenty to share with you as we take you through the latest happenings at the resort.  Captain America has landed in Tomorrowland and we let you know if he’s worth the superhero wait or if it’s all a star-spangled mess.  Next we share the latest info on the LONG OVERDUE Alice In Wonderland refurbishment and take you on a final ride-through before work begins March 10th.  We also share news from Big Thunder  Mountain, where the construction walls have finally come down. We’ll even visit Splash Mountain which is back up and running.  Then we head over to California Adventure where Soarin’ is back in flight and an interesting little change has been made to Muppet Vision 3D.  A lot can happen in a week at Disneyland, let’s take a tour . . .

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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!

Space Mountain

We begin in the dirty outer reaches of Space. The exterior work to install safety features including a new ring on the top of the mountain is coming along nicely and will soon be indiscernible from the pre-existing architecture.

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Here we see the safest workers in the theme park industry as they make their way along the backside of the show building.
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From inside the park we see the new ring at the top of the mountain. You can’t miss it, it’s just above the filthy bottom sections. But, once the bottom sections have been cleaned and the top section painted, it’s all going to look just fine.

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Captain America

Innoventions is now home to three separate Marvel character exhibits, with two of them being meet and greet opportunities.  While the Iron Man exhibit was a swell first attempt, and Thor was an impressive next step, the latest addition isn’t quite a super hero effort.

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Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage (What a title), officially opens to the public today.

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Entering Innoventions there is a very tight queue to the right to meet Captain America.  Crammed into a small circular area, the exhibit consists of a temporary queue, a divider wall that charts the history of Captain America, and then a small meet and greet area.

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It is clear that there was little time between the previous tenant leaving Innoventions, and Captain America moving in.  A slapdash mess of temporary walls and expo graphics, broken only by the random placement of encased props.  Unfortunately, this newest meet and greet lacks the showmanship of the Treasures of Asgard just a few steps away. Still, if you need a super hero fix, Innoventions is quickly becoming your one stop shop.

it’s a small world

It’s a small world is currently getting a full backstage safety redesign on the sets and infrastructure. 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 50thanniversary 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.

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Alice in Wonderland

Get your rides in on Alice in Wonderland now.  the classic attraction is scheduled to go down for refurbishment to address the “temporary” CalOSHA solution that resulted in ugly tarps and railings boxing in the once climatic outdoor path down the leaves.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The walls in front of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad were quietly removed late Tuesday night.  For the first time in nearly 14 months, there was a clear view of the orange buttes and winding tracks behind Rainbow Ridge.

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Club 33

We offer another tour through the wrapped scaffolds of New Orleans Square as the elite, Club 33 gets an expansion.

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Splash Mountain

Critter Country sprang to life once again as Splash Mountain returned from a month-long refurbishment.  There’s good news and bad news with this refurbishment.

The bad news first; Cosmetic upkeep was left by the riverbank in this go around.

 

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The finish on the water wheel outside continues to erode, breaking the illusion of a more whimsically “worn” look.

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The exterior of the mountain was left untouched.
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The Briar patch at the final drop is woefully faded and rusting in spots.
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The logs themselves were not noticeably renovated either. Here we see the deteriorating state of the seats in the log.
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The log paint job is also worn.

 

The good news; During several of our ride throughs we didn’t notice a single animatronic that was malfunctioning.    Every figure from Brer Bear to Mr. Blue Bird was functional and moving.

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Furthermore, infrastructure was apparently put in place to allow for easier access to the hard-to-reach figures, allowing them to be maintenance regularly.  This is WONDERFUL news.

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The Zip-a-Dee Lady was rocking, all of its occupants dancing and singing.  Perfect!

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While the renovation is a mixed bag, there is plenty of good news to be appreciated.

Starbucks in Downtown Disney

Work continues at what is shaping up to be a beautiful new Starbucks in Downtown Disney.  It was just announced that the location will be opening March 10th.

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Soarin’ Over California

Although the High-Def upgrade for Soarin; has been delayed, the attraction did enjoy a quick refurbishment recently that focused on mechanical issues for the flight carriages.

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Entering the building it is overwhelmingly evident that the newly serviced smell effects are still in a bit of a test and adjust phase.  Not a bad thing, but funny to smell the scents in the queue.

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Artifacts on the film are still pretty visible in spots.  Regardless, the ride should be able to struggle through until the big digital upgrade can be made (hopefully next year).

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail refurbishment has been extended into mid-March.  It is now scheduled to reopen March 19th.

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Muppet Vision 3D

In a very cute and understated move, the pre show for Muppet Vision 3D has been modified to include the nefarious villain, Constantine, from the upcoming film Muppets Most Wanted.

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Entering the pre show, everything seems normal.  However, as the pre show continues, transmission interferences occur.  Constantine breaks through to inform guests of his evil plans to rule the world, before they are all ushered in to see the show.

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It’s nice to see little touches such as this added to long established attractions.  No changes have been made to the 3D movie itself. But we do recommend watching the entire pre-show . . . it’s an attraction all its own.

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MiceChat Podcast #15: A Spoonful of Sherman

Our latest show was quite a while in the making. We think it was worth the wait. Aside from our usual round up of Disney and theme park news, we’ve got an outstanding interview with Robbie Sherman (son of Disney legend Robert Sherman of the Sherman Brothers). Robbie was quite candid. The interview was conducted at the Disneyana Fan Club show and sale, so there’s quite a bit of background noise, but it’s all in good fun. It’s a spoonful of Sherman and then some. Enjoy!


Direct Link | iTunes Link

That should just about do it for us at the Disneyland Resort this week. But you can catch us again on  Monday as we step in for Dateline Disneyland for the week.

Well folks, what caught your eye this week? Do you think Space Mountain’s new ring is a good fit? Happy to see the walls come down at Big Thunder? And what of Captain America’s minimal meet and greet? We’d love to hear your thoughts.