A lot can happen over a weekend. Rides get refurbished, crowds amass, and earthquakes strike without warning. Yes, today we bring you a Monday edition of In the Parks. Andy is taking the week off and the In The Parks crew brings you the latest happenings from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Aside from the shaking mother nature gave the parks this past weekend, huge crowds still showed up for some Spring Break fun. We also bring you the latest pics and info from the Alice in Wonderland and other refurbishments, around the parks! Plus, there are some adorable Springtime activities going on in Disneyland that we thought you’d like to see.
Friday evening (March 28th) a series of earthquakes struck the area near Disneyland, prompting the closures of rides and halting shows. At about 8pm a 3.6 magnitude earthquake hit just a few miles from Disneyland in La Habra. That is a relatively mild quake, but was strong enough to trigger the procedural closures of attractions until rides could be inspected and reopened.
Then, an hour later, just as attractions were coming back up, a second much stronger quake hit in the same area. Measuring 5.1 on the richter scale, the quake centered again in La Habra, shook Disneyland hard. Fantasmic stopped mid-show, just as the cannon from Captain Hook’s ship blasted the audience, adding a rather unique, 4D element to the show. Rides were evacuated, fireworks were cancelled. Those attempting to gain access to Disneyland were refused entry. Guests inside the park, with nothing to do and no guarantee the temblors would subside, left the park in droves. Given that further aftershocks were inevitable, and that there were only a few hours left of scheduled park operations, most guests just gave up and left.
Some cast members jokingly gave out the pins commemorating the event.
The following morning Dustysage posted an editor’s note that read…
If you are headed to Disneyland, please be advised: There have been at least 33 small earthquakes near the park since the 5.1 shaker last night, the last of which was a good sized 3.4 in La Habra about an hour ago. As long as the ground keeps moving, there’s a chance Disneyland may have to suspend operation for your safety. Most rides shut down automatically during a quake and must be manually inspected and cleared before reopening. Please don’t be upset if Disney is forced to close attractions. They have excellent emergency preparedness procedures and are on high alert at the moment.
Dusty also did some sleuthing and came up with a rather striking fact. It seemed that there was a hidden Mickey behind all of the seismic activity (or should we say seisMICKEY).
Thankfully there were no accidents or injuries and everything was handled with expert care by Disney’s cast members.
Despite the shaking, crowds have been plentiful at the Disneyland Resort as the Spring Break season continues. It is commonplace to see Radiator Springs Racers run out of Fast Passes about an hour after gates open. It is also now a normal thing to see 60 minute wait times on such rides as Pirates of the Caribbean and Matterhorn Bobsleds.
If you do come to the resort, bring your patience. Crowded conditions can bring out the worst in other guests and tempers often flair. However, the parks CAN be enjoyed during times of heavy crowds if you know what to expect and go with the flow. Use Fastpass, visit smaller attractions such as the Tiki Room, Tarzan’s Treehouse, Tom Sawyer Island as well as shows and parades. Most importantly, if riding attractions is most important to you, arrive early. It takes a few hours for the parks to fill up in the morning. The earlier you arrive, the better off you’ll be.
We now jump into Disneyland for the week in news from the happiest place on Earth.
Springtime Round Up
Now through April 20th, Big Thunder Ranch will be home to the Springtime Round Up. The festival includes floral decorations, country music, a bunny hop, and a bevy of characters including Roger Rabbit, The White Rabbit, Rabbit from Whinnie the Pooh and more. Kudos need to be given to Disney for this flex area being used as a rotating venue for special park events. It’s a wonderful use of space that guests really seem to enjoy.
There are also Springtime vittles at the outdoor vending cart for you to enjoy.
Alice in Wonderland
Here we are at Alice in Wonderland. Nothing much has changed since our Friday update. However you’ll note that many of the leaves and supports have been marked with blue tape and some have been labeled with white tags which sport barcodes. Let’s hope that they have developed a clever way to keep the thrill of the outdoor sequence and still satisfy Cal/OSHA.
Nikon Photo Spot
Another Nikon Photo spot has been installed near the castle. Oddly, they did so during the operating day. Generally, this sort of thing happens during 3rd shift when guests are out of the park.
Along with Spring Break, the 2014 Spring Break wear has hit the shelves in the Disneyland emporium.
The plantings in front of the Tomorrwland entrance have been changed from Swiss Chard and lavender to nasturtium and marigolds. Still keeping in step with the theme of agrifuture, where all plantings have an edible element to them.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
No discernible progress has been made at the Finding memo submarine voyage. While that indicates little, we do know that Iger has outright confirmed the return of the ride in September. Which means that other projects which were scheduled to begin in Tomorrowland this year have likely be delayed or canceled.
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 by offering everyone around the globe an opportunity to join in a virtual choir to sing the famous Sherman Brothers song. To submit a video, aspiring singers can go here to record their entry.
Keep in mind 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. Following which, It will close again from April 21, 2014 to May 29, 2014 to finish up the Cal/OSHA access fixes in the ride.
The ToonTown Gas station has been enhanced and now offers snacks. A nice utilization of the small space.
Also, we are happy to report that a portion of the decorative mechanism inside the Toontown Five and Dime is working again.
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
Sneaking over to Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island we check up on a few items. To begin with, the tree that toppled due to the heavy rains that hit Southern California a couple of weeks ago has been cut down. It was a necessity, of course. But still a bummer.
Also the Dead Man’s Grotto has reopened after a small refurbishment.
The treehouse on the island has been cut off from foot traffic. Paths around the pinnacle of the island have been blocked off, dirt eroding and unkempt.
We do hope that this feature of the island does not fall victim to Disney Legal’s demands for a bubble wrapped environment.
One Disney Strikes Again
If you saunter into the Elysian Arcade on Buena Vista Street, you will chance upon the opportunity to buy Walt Disney World goods.
As we have told you in the past, Grizzly is set for a strange and unseasonable refurb leading into the summer months. The park’s only water ride will be closed for refurbishment April 21, 2014 to June 19, 2014
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail will return on April 21st.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
The Little Mermiad is closed for refurbishment March 20, 2014 to May 9, 2014.
We see that parts of the Boudin Bakery have been unveiled. The “attraction” is open during refurbishment.
The moisture from repetitive World of Color showings have taken their toll on the two meet and greet Gazebos near the Paradise Pier Lagoon. We’ve been showing you the wood rot on the structures for weeks. Work has finally begun on one structure, and we hope the other will follow.
Ending the update on a high note, we are happy to report that the fountain in Downtown Disney is back open and fully operational. It looks a amazing.
That about finished things from the Disneyland Resort this week. In the Parks will be returning on Friday to share the latest information from Universal Studios Hollywood. Be sure to look for us on Friday!
We will see you again soon In the Parks!