It was a lovely, albeit erratically weathered, week at the Disneyland Resort.  Despite the on again, off again sunny weather, the Spring Break crowds remained heavy. We’ll catch you up with what’s happening at Disneyland, including the extensive refurbishment of Alice in Wonderland that will last until July 4th.  There are also updates regarding refurbishments of more major attractions including the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage,  Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye and Space Mountain.  It’s a small world is also down for refurbishment, but Disney is inviting fans the world over to join in a sing-along.  We then check in on Downtown Disney including the eminent return of the flower fountain and some new Marvel Merchandise in D Street.  Lastly we race through Disney California Adventure for more merch madness and give you the low-down on what is happening inside The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.  Here we go!

it’s a small world

The classic boat ride, it’s a small world debuted at the ’64 World’s fair on April 22nd, 1964.  Not one to miss a chance at synergy, the Disney company is capitalizing on this anniversary with a chance for everyone around the globe to join in a virtual choir to sing the song. To submit a video, aspiring singers can go here to record their submission.

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The attraction is currently closed for refurbishment

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After a successful run at the 1964 world’s fair, it’s a small world was move to Disneyland where it was expanded and opened on May 28th of 1966.

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Keep in mind too that the ride will remain closed for refurbishment through April 9, 2014.  It will then reopen for the worldwide celebrations and ceremonies, including a special Good Morning America taping.  It will then close again April 21, 2014 to May 29, 2014 to finish up the Cal/OSHA access fixes in the ride.

Alice in Wonderland

We see here the recent progress made outside of the classic Alice in Wonderland Darkride.  The exterior portion of the track has its actual track shielded, while the structure itself is being chipped away at.

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Rumor also has it that they will be adding a brand new fully animatronic Queen of Hearts figure to the ride along with other enhancements.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

We glide over the empty lagoon for a look at the Finding memo Submarine Voyage. Disney is going out of their way to make it clear that the Subs are returning. While that may sound like good news to some, it may mean bad news for other projects. Our MiceAge team will have an update for you on what this all means soon.

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So far, very little progress has been made in the Sub Lagoon aside from scaffolds and supports to dry dock the ride vehicles.  Remember when this attraction first opened? It was a dazzling display of vivid colors. They even painted the lagoon with colored glass so it wouldn’t need to be repainted. Yet years of soaking in chlorine and sunlight have left the lagoon faded and drab. Let’s hope that Disneyland turns back on the money spigot and that the attraction can be properly revitalized in time for the 60th anniversary of the park.

King Arthur Carousel

Speaking of closures, the King Arthur Carousel will be closed for refurbishment April 28, 2014 through May 8, 2014.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

This attraction is closed for refurbishment March 17, 2014 to May 8, 2014

Space Mountain

After a rather interesting addition to the exterior of the show building comes to a end, the attraction itself is scheduled to be closed for refurbishment May 12, 2014 to June 26, 2014.

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Club 33

Strolling along with the average Joe through the streets of New Orleans Square it is evident that every effort has been made to obscure the work being done above.  Walt’s original private club is getting a total refurbishment and expansion.

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MiceChat Mailbag:

A reader sent us the following very interesting account of Bob Iger’s magical day in the parks. It must be nice to have super powers like this:

Bob Iger was just at the Disneyland Resort with his grandkids. The family was set up with a private meet n’ greet with Frozen’s Elsa & Anna, bypassing the 3 hour wait at that popular Fantasyland location. Then they buzzed to the front of the line at all three Marvel meet n’ greets in Innoventions, before zipping to the front of the two hour Standby line at Radiator Springs Racers. 

 

If you’ve got photos, video, news or views you’d like to share with us, please be sure to drop us a line!

Fountain Renovation

The full renovation and retiling of the Flower fountain in Downtown Disney is nearing completion and the walls should be down any day now.

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Build a Bear and RideMakerz

Refurbishment also continues on exterior of Build a Bear and Ridemakerz.

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Bright and colorful once more

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D Street

Over as D Street, some interesting bits of Marvel Merchandise have popped up on the shelves.

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Refurbs

Disneyland isn’t the only park with refurb madness.  Disney California Adventure is knee deep in upkeep.  As it stands right now, the refurbs are as follows.

Grizzly RIver Run – Closed for refurbishment April 21, 2014 to June 19, 2014 Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – Closed for refurbishment January 6, 2014 to April 20, 2014

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It’s Tough to be a Bug – Closed  March 31, 2014 to April 18, 2014

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – Closed for refurbishment March 20, 2014 to May 9, 2014

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Merch on the March

Inside Disney California Adventure there is a bevy of new merchandise just dying to be purchased. IMG_2300

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Muppet Vision 3D

In another interesting development, a sign has been placed along the main drag of Hollywood Land advertising Muppet Vision 3D.  This is, we are assuming, to drive more audience members through and make the most of the Muppets Most Wanted tie-in happening in the pre-show.

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Crowds

As with Disneyland, the crowds at Disney California Adventure are not letting up either.

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Boudin Refurb

The refurb of the exterior of the Boudin Bakery tour continues…

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Something Rotten in Paradise

The wood rot issue on the gazebos in Paradise Pier continues to get worse.

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That wraps up this week’s In the Parks. Prepare yourself for another CRAZY busy weekend in the parks folks. It only gets worse as we draw closer to Easter.  Andy Castro has a couple of big projects coming up which will likely distract him from his MiceChat column for the next couple weeks, so we’ll likely be back again early with a special Monday edition of In the Parks.

  • eicarr

    Thanks or the great update! Glad to see some awesome MARVEL merchandise that will speak to a new demographic. If Bob Iger wants to go to DL he should be given the VIP treatment in every way to ensure DL parks are his favorites and that he helps allocates money to fix issues he might catch.

    I’m 10x more excited to see them rip out the rocket jets then when they put it in. The anticipation is killing me to view here the gradual rebirth of a land that lost its mojo in the 90’s

    • Algernon

      Don’t worry. Club 33 is meant for guys like Bob Iger.

  • FerretAfros

    Looks like they’re doing a protect-in-place on the Alice bus bar. Does that mean it’s safe to assume that the alignment will remain the same after the work is done? I don’t know why they’d be so careful about it if they were going to tear it out and replace it with a straightened path

  • bamato

    Thanks for the update fish. I hadn’t noticed how much of an eyesore the peoplemover track has become from the views of the monorail station.

  • olegc

    On Iger – c’mon, folks. He’s the freakin’ CEO. Do you honestly think he will sit in a 2 hour line for an attraction? Would you honestly, and I mean honestly, wait for 2 hours if you were the CEO? I think it’s a lot of teeth nashing by Disney fans for nothing. Let it go (as is said).

    • I have no problem with him zooming through the lines. He is the CEO after all. But, since he tries to be involved in the final decision making about the parks, it would be good for him to experience the park on busy days as a guest would. Might change his mind about a few things.

      As we all know, the parks are absolutely magical on those rare non-busy days. But that opinion changes very quickly when you are waiting in 2 and 3 hour lines.

      Iger generally makes good decisions. But it’s hard to be in touch with the guest experience unless you’ve walked in their shoes (at least once in a while).

    • EC82

      I think that if he were really interested in the theme park business and he really, really wanted to make sure his company was performing as well as it could for paying guests, he would INSIST on standing in some lines and figuring out what the experience was like from the standpoint of real paying customers.

      • The Rocketeer

        I have no problem with Iger cutting the lines either. But you make a really good point. It would be good for him to experience what the guest do while waiting in lines. He should try it some time. As for this time, while with kids, take advantage of his title. =)

  • Wendygirl

    I have no problem with Iger and his family getting VIP treatment – he is the big cheese after all!

    I also no not have a problem with all the refurbishment going on. It’s good to see them keeping the Parks up unlike days gone by when a certain person was in charge and practically ran the place into the ground with all his budget cuts! They need to have Disneyland at its absolute best for the 60th!

    I was there Wednesday and though a bit more crowded than I like (go first thing in the morning, the first few hours are delightful) it was a beautiful day. Rode Big Thunder first thing, got a Fast Pass for between 11 and 12 and just about walked on. It is now my favorite ride. They did a terrific job with the refurbishment. Now if they can just keep it up and running all day 😉

    • The passholders really have the advantage on busy days. We can always come back, so it’s easy to kick back on a busy day and enjoy the shows, parades, and smaller attractions. It’s a major advantage over the regular paying guests who have to wait in long lines to experience the “Must dos”.

  • TCadillac

    The most shocking element of this blog was the DCA wait time board. 45 minutes for Monsters Inc. I nearly choked on my coffee.

    • Yep, it’s busy season. It seems that Spring Break started earlier this year and busier.

  • joshteevee

    Another King Arthur Carousel refurb in less than a year?

    • Internitty

      Yeah I was wondering about that too. The last one took ages to complete too so what did they do wrong? Maybe there aren’t enough fall safety rails on the horses.

  • Algernon

    Do you think any of the brass would go to a place like Disneyland if it wasn’t their job? Anybody seen any of the past big shots there—ever? Club 33 is the only way they’d ever go there. Which asks you this chilling question: Should people who are more comfortable at a Hollywood party be designing rides for the rest of us? Can anybody say “Tarzan’s Treehouse?”

  • Geezer

    I think it’s rude of Iger to bypass the paying customers. Walt wasn’t perfect, but he’d frequently wait in attraction lines and use the time to ask the guests about their day….

    It would have been nice if they had planned a new “E – Ticket” attraction for the 60th…..the last was Indy….for the 40th. I appreciate that they need to keep the park maintained, but they used to do that AND add a new major attraction every couple years.

    • HollywoodF1

      This is going to come as a shock to most of you, but it’s not Bob’s decision as to whether he waits in line. PR is king in large organizations, and it’s critical that his safety be absolute. But you all should know that he’s been a Disney executive (exclusive of his time at ABC) for 25 years. The man has waited in line, I promise you.

  • Tinkbelle

    I’m surprised they didn’t do their Grizzly River Run refurb during the winter months. Wouldn’t that have made more sense?

  • jcruise86

    THANKS, Norman.
    Hey, just 6 months till Knott’s Scary Farm!
    Seen any cats in Disneyland lately? Have you ever seen one in DCA?

    • There are lots of cats at DCA. You’ll usually see them around Grizzly Mountain and over by the Grand Californian Hotel.

      • jcruise86

        Cool! Thanks. I love cats.
        (And our Golden Retriever.)

  • Ravjay12

    It’s good to see Disneyland keeping up with maintenance. It’s also good to see DCA having another successful year. They should paint that new ring on top of Space Mountain faded dirty yellow to blend with the rest of the building.

    • I just spit up my coffee. Brilliant comment.

    • DobbysCloset

      Not to mention the sky… Pink! Blue! Pink! Blue! Perhaps now that we have modern safety railings Tink can fly over with some Pixie Dust.

  • EC82

    So, let’s make sure I understand this: New Orleans Square is covered in tarps and construction walls, it’s a small world is closed, Indiana Jones is closed, Alice in Wonderland is closed, the Submarine Voyage is closed, King Arthur’s Carrousel is soon to be closed, Little Mermaid is closed, Grizzly River Run is closed…and Disney still gets to charge full price to guests. Nice business to be in! If the finance guys figure this out, they’ll just start ordering half the park closed on a regular basis to save money, since apparently no one complains about it!

    • Country Bear

      This plan seems to work quite well at WDW so don’t be totally surprised if Disneyland’s latest President (from WDW oddly enough) makes this the new reality going forward. Think of the money we’re helping him save! I’m sure your (and all of our) unhappiness doesn’t impact his day much. After all, it is just sensible accounting…and that makes EVERYONE happy, doesn’t it?.

      • Internitty

        I would go on the Account N’ Sea ride, it should be next to the subs 🙂

  • scarymouse

    Great job as always. I am glad to see Mr.Iger went to the parks without it being some other planned event. He had his grand kids with him so I am sure they shared with him their thoughts of the parks . And even tho they by- passed all the lines , they weren’t blind and definitely saw them.So let’s hope for a positive impact from his visit.

  • SRGFernandez

    Not gonna lie. the extra ring on top Space Mountain isnt that bad. In fact, I think it makes the mountain a little more complex. Better than what happen to Alice and CAL/OSHA.

  • CCS

    Thanks for the photos, Norm. I’d like to weigh in on the wood rot issue. It really has gone on unaddressed for far too long. I find it ironic that extensive refurbs on seemingly undamaged facades are undertaken or underway all over the Parks, but that an obvious and growing problem like the wood rot goes unattended. What’s up with that, I wonder….. The poppy fountain is beautiful!

  • dizneydomenic

    I know how the wait time boards are located pretty central to the parks..but in this day and age…even with the so called “wait time apps” Have they ever considered electronic wait time boards in multiple areas of the park themed to blend in to surroundings so we know immediately when 1 or 2 rides are down as opposed to running back n forth across park??..that happened recently where we left splash mountain and decided to get a fastpass for space mountain next then ride matterhorn…only to walk to space mountain and find it down…had to backtrack to matterhorn. Seems this courtesy would help alleviate some of crowd issues of people just standing about waiting, blocking areas like the bottleneck in adventureland and making better use of time in park

    • toonaspie

      I wonder this too. I think it would be a great idea.

  • Three more weeks till my awesome Dream Foundation visit. I am so much looking forward to it. Great update Norman. I just keep telling myself that closings and refurbs are required to maintain the parks in good working order.

  • janvincent_1313

    Gosh, so many things are “down” right now. I feel badly for people having to pay full price with the crowds and the closed attractions. Once again, a great report, Norman!

  • DobbysCloset

    Norman, you got me so excited by your first few photographs of Alice and the Subs that I couldn’t sit still to read the report! And we thought Disney would do nothing for its 60th. I have a tremendous urge to volunteer to polish the coral in the lagoon for hours on end. Thank you so much! And I promise to read the rest of the article when my heart stops pounding from the joy of seeing a refurb of Alice!

  • sinatra12

    Not sure if anyone else noticed this, but while riding the monorail I saw a few of the angler fish propped up in some backstage area near autopia and the subs. Its nothing big but it could mean they’re working on interior stuff at the moment

  • Skimbob

    Thanks for the update Norm. We will be there again in May.

  • ayalexander

    For weeks now I puzzled why wood rot would plague the gazebos on Paradise Pier, it was ironic because mostly wood rot happens in moist environments such as coastal areas because of ocean spray and humidity, it was only ironic that Paradise Pier exhibited wood rot and that it was themed to a pier on the coast. Then it dawned on me… World of Color shows two times a night, the spray from the water comes in, wets the wood gazebos for a combined 1 hour per night, and due to night time weather conditions (especially during winter) the air isn’t warm enough to dry the water before it soaks into the wood. And there you have it. Wood rot caused by World of Color.

    And speaking of wait times, I used to work in Guest Relations at Disneyland and was in charge of maintaining wait times at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It was challenging to keep up with because ride wait times (including unexpected closures) happen by the minute, a ride could be considered closed suddenly and by the time I change the sign to put “temporarily closed” the ride would be back up again. I was one of the few Cast Members that every day tried to maintain the wait times every second so that guests had constant updates on their rides. The biggest problem was with Indy or Space being down for an hour, guests would come to my booth and see it was open and I’d let them off with a smile but suddenly would get an all-call that Space or Indy suddenly closed again… and the guests would return and give me a dirty look. There was nothing I could say to make them feel that it wasn’t my fault, haha.

    • dizneydomenic

      That’s why electronic boards throughout part would benefit everyone…live and up to date to the minute.

      • ayalexander

        oh I agree entirely, someone even mentioned having them at each land. That would be cool (though I think it would be more effective at Walt Disney World) but it would help to keep people constantly updated.

      • CaptainAction

        Naw, let’s spend a billion $’s putting guests in magic handcuffs and make them go where we want them.

  • davidrusk

    I couldn’t help but think how great those Fastpass Distribution areas look compared to the Fastpass + mess at WDW.

  • Saark

    Thanks for the updates. I’ve been seven times in the past three weeks and it keeps getting more and more crowded. I was really impressed yesterday with the Cast Members (S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents) for the Captain America meet & greet. All of them in character and friendly. One of the female agents saw how excited my five year old daughter was to meet Cap that she went back and told him, and Cap came out to personally escort her back to his stage.

  • JiminyDean

    Thanks for another great update, Norm. They have gotten me through many a long week. A week from today I leave for the Happiest Place on Earth and I CAN’T WAIT! I’m even looking forward to the crowds.

  • jcruise86

    I bet that after Bob Iger’s contract expires he is replaced by. . .Bob Iger. I doubt Rasulo would get it, and although I’d bet on Staggs over Rasulo, Iger still runs the board who picks the CEO, and he is polished on TV. I’d take him over Staggs, wouldn’t you?
    IF:
    –Shanghai Disneyland is wonderful and successful
    –Disney does great things with Star Wars and Marvel
    –Walt Disney World steps up their building and polishing and Avatarland is really cool regardless of the movies
    –MyMagic+ doesn’t damage Disneyland (not to say that it automatically would)
    Then Iger, who is so polished on TV, could go down as one of Disney’s best leaders. Walt went to the front of lines and I don’t want Iger wasting his in time in line with losers like me. “Hey, Bob, I think the leaves on Tarzan’s Treehouse should all be different!” He deserves better.