Disneyland Resort Refurbishments Spread

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, In the Parks

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Published on March 21, 2014 at 3:00 am with 39 Comments

The Disneyland Resort is looking absolutely stunning this week.  With the return of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, guests and pass holders alike flocked to Frontierland to see the explosive new changes on the classic attraction.  In the meantime, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye went down for an extended refurbishment.  Cross that one off of the Gumball rally strategy folks, it’s closed through May 9th.  Another refurbishment that began is the major Alice In Wonderland redo which will have that attraction closed until July 4th.  But not everything is closed. Despite work on the dome, Space Mountain has remained open.  Over in Disney California Adventure a similar trend is occurring with odd closures (including Grizzly River Run closing during the summer). Let’s get right into it then, shall we?

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Disneyland welcomed visitors this week with the return of the Disneyland Railroad and a host of new plantings in the Main Gate area and Town Square.

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Pink and yellow petunias add decorative flourish to the Mickey flower display.

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The dedication plaque sits center stage amid yellow and white gerbera daisies.

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Purple columbine are used as the focal point in the Town Square Christmas Tree bed.

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Space Mountain

The new ring added to the top of Space Mountain to somehow make the workers safer is finally beginning to look like it belongs.  The attraction remained open during this exterior reworking.

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Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

The Finding Nemo Submarine voyage continues swimming along with the appearance of a full on refurbishment, although little actual work has been done.

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But Bob Iger stated this week that the attraction will return. While what Bob Iger says in public and what actually happens aren’t always closely tied, it is likely a good bet at this point that the attraction will return for a short run for the 60th anniversary. We can’t imagine that he’d stick his neck out like this otherwise.  We’ll wait for the dust to settle and see what the real story behind the statement really is.

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Alice in Wonderland

The classic indoor/outdoor dark ride, Alice in Wonderland has finally gone down for its planned major refurbishment.  We await, with bated breath, to see what will become of the iconic outdoor section of the track.  It must be brought into compliance to keep Cal/OSHA happy.

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Captain America

The audience for Captain America is steadily on the increase.  Lines for this meet and greet were averaging 45 minutes this week.  While this is great news for Disney, it leaves them with a rather sticky traffic problem.

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Currently the entrance to Innoventions is at the bottom of the long ramp (the former exit ramp). A reversal in direction from what it was originally designed for.

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You now enter through the former emergency exit and are confronted with a tight entry path that requires a cast member for proper crowd flow.

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Good that the new meet and greets are doing well for the Marvel franchises.

The traffic flow getting to the upstairs and around the meet and greets isn’t great, but it’s nice to see this facility actually being enjoyed by guests.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The reopening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has been a resounding success.  Guests are, for the most part, thrilled with the smooth-as-glass track and the new, occasionally spotty effects in the final room.

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The loud nature sounds from Big Thunder Trail are now balanced out by the equally ubiquitous bass from the explosion scene on the third lift hill. If you want to avoid spoilers, don’t take Big Thunder Trail until you have ridden the ride.

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Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, the queue was well over an hour long and slowly growing.  The fast pass line had a 10 minute wait.

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Even Zocalo Park is being used as extended queue.

Have you been on it?  What were your thoughts? Is it still the wildest ride in the wilderness?

Indiana Jones Down

Good ol’ Indiana is down for refurbishment that will last through May 8th, returning on May 9th.

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The exterior of both Ride Makerz and Build a Bear are currently under refurbishment.  This necessitates the strange spectacle of large cranes of workers being paraded on a daily basis through Downtown Disney. Weird that they would not just leave the cranes in place over night.  But, it works.

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Grizzly River Run

Inside Disney California Adventure, similar refurb craziness is occurring that leaves us scratching our heads.  For instance, as the schedule stands, Grizzly River Run will be down, just as summer begins.  Closing on April 19th and not returning until June 20th.

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With lines hovering anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes on days recently, Spring Break will be a little less wet.

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Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

We also noticed that the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has had its refurb extended again, all the way through to April 20th.  It will reopen on April 21st.

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The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will be deep sixing from March 20th to May 9th.  This will be to update and refresh some of the key show scenes including the Under the Sea Sequence and Ursula’s death scene.

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It’s Tough to be a Bug

Also, It’s Tough to be a bug will be closed from March 31st to April 18th.

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Boudin Bakery

Here are a few new photos from the obscured refurbishment of the exterior of the Boudin Bakery

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Merchandise Mayhem

We have seen an influx of new merchandise throughout Paradise Pier’s shops.  Along the boardwalk some interesting offerings have shown up on shelves.

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Over at Treasures in Paradise, an interesting thing has happened.  With the change of seasonal Merchandise it appears that Duffy has been pushed to the wayside in favor of more proven items.

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Don’t worry. You can still buy your Duffy a costume.

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Ghirardelli

Nothing like chocolate to help erase the sad memory of all of the lost revenue from Duffy.

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Easter is upon us and what better way to mark the occasion than to eat the noses off of bunnies.  Really!

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Muppet infusions

With the release of Muppets Most Wanted in theaters this weekend, new food offerings have appeared at Award Weiners.

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Rotten note

Sadly, it is necessary to highlight this continuing issue on Paradise Pier.  Why is this wood rot, which was noticed months ago still in public view?  Maintenance needs to fix this asap.

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But we can’t leave you with visions of termites and wood damage dancing in your head.  Let’s close with some lovely shots of Disney California’s flowers.

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Okay okay, that should about do it for In the Parks this Friday.  We hope that you enjoyed your photo tour of the Disneyland Resort and we hope to see you again real soon!

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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  • TOMCROSSMAN

    Always appreciate and enjoy your columns!!

    Regarding the addition to Space Mountain. I wondered for a long time how an additional roof would provide safety up there. Turns out it’s there to hide a large antenna system for FastPass+. They felt it was the only place they could add it, as the option would be the Matterhorn.

    Tom

    • SRGFernandez

      I hope that isn’t true. Really don’t want that here in California. Somebody tell me what was wrong with the old system?

    • HollywoodF1

      Turns out you’re wrong. It’s for the protection maintenance workers servicing the existing HVAC equipment. Please don’t state your hypotheses as fact.

  • FerretAfros

    Let’s not downplay Iger’s statement about the Subs as a measly puff piece sent out to local media. It was a response to a question at the annual Shareholder Meeting, where he’s really forced to maintain his credibility and honesty. The Subs aren’t going anywhere.

  • LoveStallion

    I’ll miss the windy external portion of Alice. Hopefully Disney has taken their time to figure out a way to make it worthwhile while appeasing the Cal/OSHA overlords.

    Yes, Ursula’s “death scene.” You mean that random moment when a small little cardboat cutout of her floats in the distance? It’s a great one. I can’t imagine what they’ll put in, given the space, but I definitely look forward to something better there. The whole Little Mermaid ride was DOA.

    On a related note, Disney should release Golden Dreams on BluRay or some medium. That was actually a very well-done film, even if Whoopi gives me the heebie jeebies.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      First, the outdoor portion of Alice is not going away. It is being truncated and simplified into more of a loop to accommodate the space gobbling of the new railing thing they are putting up there, but it’s still going outside, so you can experience all the wind you want when this reopens.

      Second, they are reworking the last two scenes of Mermaid and Ursula’s death scene is being given some of the space of the wedding scene at the end. So, the wedding finale will be shortened and Ursula’s death will be expanded.

      • Stormy

        Ooh Ooh, a LOOP!! Oh yeah!! Oh wait, not ‘that kind’ of a loop! Darn. (Slinks away).

      • DobbysCloset

        Thank you, Mommy. Alice is scary enough without the OSHA at the end. I think I can try to sleep now…

    • CCS

      Completely agree with you about Golden Dreams. Many Mice Chatters have echoed this sentiment, but I have thus far read or seen nothing to indicate it will ever happen.

  • DisneyLover66

    As always, beautiful, vibrant pictures that make me feel like I’m at Disneyland, and a great update.

  • Katie1228

    Thanks Norm…great as usual! Lovely flower pics, and thanks for the new merchandise pics….my son will love that orange sleeved Oswald shirt!

  • katy621

    As always, great pics of the flowers! Love the Mickey shirt “Wish I Was Here”.

  • Herbie53Tx

    Thanks for the update!

  • timwuzhere

    Really sucks that Alice and Space mountain will be closed when I visit and Grizzly will be closed but will reopen the last day I am there so I will be able to ride it, I hope there are no more closures that come up when I visit.

  • DobbysCloset

    Norm, I loved everything about report, especially the merchandising and most especially the flowers, but my brain can barely process the Internet in the morning, let alone photos with psychedelic viewpoints. Please take the pictures straight and let us tilt our heads if we want to!

    • jawknee

      L O L

  • Donald Fan

    Some of the merchandise featured this week actually looks pretty decent. I normally roll my eyes at the generic Walmart-esque merch. Which leads me to ask: is there any merch for the March Magic promotion? People seemed to eat those logos up and there’s nothing to buy? I think they could have made a killing releasing 1-inch button 4-packs. Or something. I know I would have wanted to collect the set.

  • RSZero1

    Could the water ride shut downs be part of some water saving measure during a foreseeable dry hot summer?

    And as someone has stated before – why do they not run a reduced admission fare when there are so many closures at once – it would at the very least be a good will gesture. I feel bad for those paying full price just to see half of each park closed.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      The refurbishment time was the result of a packed refurb schedule. We have June Gloom in SoCal around that time of year which keeps the warm part of the day very short (cool morning and evenings). It’s the best they could do under the circumstances. And while I agree with offering discounts during times of heavy refurbishments, I don’t think it’s necessary for Disney to do so when the parks are packed or expected to be very busy. That would make things even worse. ;-)

  • angle

    Everyone seems to think that Disney is making money hand over fist, and yet they’re apparently raiding John Lasseter’s closet and selling his used hawaiian shirts in park gift shops. What gives?

  • jcruise86

    I didn’t understand that shirt. It look kind of cool, but it didn’t show Disneyland yet it said Disneyland with “I wish I were here.” It seemed to me like Mickey was dreaming of getting of getting out of Main Street and away from the crowds at a beach.

    And speaking of merchandise, what’s up with “bunny noses”? How dare we criticize Shark Fin soup when so many rabbits are executed just for their noses? I expect PETA to drop the Blackfish/Sea World conflict and get on this. What’s next, puppy ears? Kitten paws?

  • Rongo

    Walt’s plan for Club 33 didn’t include selling pricey memberships and creating “tiers” of guests. Club 33 was designed for corporate sponsors, like the hidden lounges he saw at the World’s Fair.

    I don’t know if Walt would like all the “opportunities” to purchase a higher level of service or experiences at Disneyland.

  • dcaguy

    Bugs will be closed March 31 to April 18 so they can show a preview of Malificent in the theater.