Maleficent moves in to Disney California Adventure and Small World turns 50

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Buena Vista Street, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features, In the Parks

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Published on April 21, 2014 at 6:24 am with 46 Comments

It was a rather quiet Easter week at the Disneyland Resort. The popular EGG-Straveganza maps that led guests on an easter egg hunt through the happiest place on earth sold out quickly. But guests could still scout the parks looking for the eggs on their own. Of course, the big news was the opening of the Maleficent preview at the Bugs Life Theater in California Adventure. This week will also be filled with mildly interesting happenings. To begin with, it’s a small world celebrates its 50th anniversary this Tuesday. Refurbishment tango continues inside Disneyland, and we get more and more of a sense of what is going on at Alice in Wonderland.

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Addictometer Crowd Estimates for Disneyland Resort


April 21-27, 2014

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We expect smaller crowds this week…

  • Even more refurbs begin today, but it looks like this week and the next will finally mark the peak in this ongoing slew of attraction closures. As we slide into summer, the refurb list grows smaller.
  • Hotel rooms are plentiful, including at the Disney Resort hotels.
  • To ensure accurate and up-to-date wait times and crowd estimates, don’t forget to report your wait times in Mouseaddict by tapping on the attraction’s wait bar. Thank you!

The free Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, weather forecasts, park and show schedules, the latest news and articles from MiceChat, and more. Download free on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.

 

it’s a small world

The classic Disney attraction will be celebrating 50 years of unity through song on Tuesday, April 22nd.  Mind you, this is not the 50th anniversary of this particular attraction in Disneyland.  That will happen in two years.  Rather, this is the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the ride at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Thankfully, Disney reworked their earlier refurbishment schedule to keep this attraction open through Tuesday, April 22nd.

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The attraction is scheduled to go down for the second round of refurbishment the day after the 50th anniversary, on April 23rd. It will be closed to finish up the Cal/OSHA work through May 22nd.  We took another ride through the attraction to give you a closer look at some of the work that has gone on inside the show building.

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In many scenes, there are long sections of evacuation routes that are redly apparent.

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Fresh carpet and emergency lighting can be seen in spots throughout the boat ride, directly next to the flume.

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By the way, they installed a lovely water effect here with blue fabric and wind.

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The gophers are gone in the America scene. They were removed to create a wide enough pathway for emergency evacuation of the boats.

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Exit arrows have been painted on the floor and are quite noticeable.

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The refurbishment has been rough on the attraction with some props and sets in need of a touch up.

It’s still a charming ride, regardless of the new access routes which are being installed along the ride path.  Let’s just hope that the finished product addresses some of the show issues when it reopens in May.

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Really?

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Still not much to see here at the lagoon.

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Alice in Wonderland

Over at Alice in Wonderland, it sure looks like the exterior track will remain the same, with new evacuation platforms. We sure hope that turns out to be the case.

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Club 33

The expansion of Club 33 continues, with scaffolds and tarps set up throughout New Orleans Square.

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The old arch to the Court of Angels.

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Peering in through the slats, we catch a glimpse of construction.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

Since Pirates of the Caribbean will be closed for refurbishment from April 28, 2014 to May 22, 2014, we decided to take a ride.  As we had heard, there are many animatronics already missing along the route.  We also noticed a few things in need of repair.

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Poor Barbossa was having trouble mouthing his words on our ride through.

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In the dunking scene, the mayor was stationary.

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One of the three singing pirates was gone.

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The gregarious, pistol-toting pirate on the left in the final scene was missing. However, his audio was still crystal clear.

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Bless his heart, Jack Sparrow needed a facelift.

In all honesty, these problems would have only been noticed by regular visitors.  But that doesn’t excuse it.  That type of mentality may fly in Orlando, but it has normally been unacceptable up until now.

Refurbishment Round Up

Here is your updated list of scheduled refurbishments.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain is scheduled to be closed for refurbishment May 12, 2014 to June 26, 2014.

it’s a small world

Closed for refurbishment April 23, 2014 to May 22, 2014.

Mark Twain Riverboat

Closed for refurbishment April 28, 2014 to April 29, 2014

Gadget’s Go Coaster

Closed for refurbishment April 21, 2014 to May 15, 2014.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

Indy will be excavating deep inside the Temple of the forbidden eye until May 8, 2014

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Tarzan’s Treehouse

Tarzan will take a break from vine swinging for a week soon.  The treehouse will be closed for refurbishment April 21, 2014 to April 22, 2014

King Arthur Carousel

Closed for refurbishment April 28, 2014 to May 1, 2014

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Maleficent

Well, well. . .  it appears that a famously evil presence has taken root in A Bug’s Land.  The experience itself is actually pretty impressive for a temporary installation.  Lucky for the park, the Studios were willing to pay for a fancy new HD projector for the theater.

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Approaching the former It’s Tough to be a Bug marquee, our eyes are drawn to the right, where a gnarled, purple briar frames the title pod this temporary attraction.  As it turns out, The “naturalistic” surroundings of It’s Tough to be a Bug are actually a perfect place to be exhibiting a preview.  The minor additions blend in perfectly.

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At night, the sign is illuminated with an eerie green glow.

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It’s too bad that the removal of the original sign couldn’t have been done with a little more finesse.

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Entering the queue we begin to hear the score for the upcoming film.

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We are handed our pair of purple 3D glasses and allowed into the holding area.

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All of the punny theatre posters e.g. Web Side Story, are removed leaving only the barren, earthy walls.

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We enter the theater and the title is waiting on the screen in front of us.  The house is awash in blue and green tones.  The preview itself is fine, at 12 minutes in length it is a rather generous preview too. SPOILER ALERT!!!  They utilize the wind, smoke, and touch effects minimally and tastefully too which was nice to see. END SPOILER

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The upside to this installation is simple. the theater has been upgraded with a very expensive HD projector.  After Maleficent departs, the venue gets to keep the fancy new Real 3D projection system installed for the engagement.  Yes, that is a wonderful trade-off too.

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Though, with all the previews which have been held at the Muppets theater and now the Bugs theater, we’ve got to wonder “What’s next?” Sorin’?.  Thank God for studio money!

No More Red Trolley Sundaes

The Red Car Trolley sundae containers are no more.  Instead you can eat your ice cream from Mickey Pants!

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One Disney

Come on Merchandise Department.  Isn’t it time to move these mugs to Company D or Property Control?  Why are there Epcot and Animal Kingdom Mugs on Buena Vista Street?

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Muppet Vision 3D

The trickle of people into Muppet Vision is waning, despite the brief uptick with the release of the new film.  The extra signage directing people to the attraction have been migrating back towards the attraction too.

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Boudin Bakery

The exterior of the Boudin Bakery is coming along very nicely.  There is some lovely work being revealed here.  It sure does take a long time to age things.  ;)

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Grizzly River Run

Strangely, this water ride is scheduled to be Closed for refurbishment from today through June 19, 2014. Many online have questioned why this wasn’t handled during the winter months.

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Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

The interactive play area, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, went down for refurbishment on January 6, 2014.  It was scheduled to open this morning, April 21st.  We are eager to see what would have warranted such a long refurbishment.

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That about does it for In the Parks from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for this week. Aside from all the refurbs, the parks look spectacular at the moment. If you can break away, this is a great time to visit.

 Andy Castro will be back one week from today and we will be returning to our normal In The Parks routine this Friday.

if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to sign up for the Gumball Rally!  The event will likely sell out at some point today. Don’t miss out!

We’ll see you again soon . . .  In The Parks!

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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  • Nola ron

    Understand all the upkeep but with so many down at the same time maybe Disney could lower the price, at leat at Disneyland?

    • martinjbell1986

      I doubt that would ever happen. I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t some attraction down for refurb. Just have to plan your vacation in advance depending on what your willing to live with being closed while your there.

    • Algernon

      And while they’re at it, maybe they could offer a Disneyland Only annual pass for half the price. If DCA is doing so well, isn’t it time it stood on it’s own?

      • garyman

        I would go for that, as well, but I suspect so many more people would then buy annual passes for Disneyland, then only buy a single day use ticket for DCA. The nightly entertainment is so much better in Disneyland.

        Disneyland would packed even more.

      • bkroz

        This is how they do it at Tokyo Disney. About $400 for a pass to Disneyland, $400 for a pass to DisneySea.

  • M69

    Great pics!
    Always makes my Monday to see either Dateline Disneyland or In the Parks.
    Sorry to see the Orland-quality pre-refurbishments, let alone the timing of many of them.
    Thanks again! Look forward to another visit upcoming!

  • a-mad

    Norm – the Maleficent makeover actually looks better than I expected, and the setting really does work well for the plot of the movie… but the big question is –

    How does the movie look? At 12 minutes, you get quite a good take on things, I imagine.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      It all looks great. And DCA gets to keep the HD projector. That’s a big windfall for the park and will make It’s Tough To Be A Bug look better than ever when it returns.

      There was one problem with the preview of the movie itself that is gnawing at me . . . in the original, Maleficent wishes death upon the child. She shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. It was the good fairies who turned death into sleep.

      In the preview, Maleficent wishes a death like sleep on the child. What? They’ve just taken what we all love about Maleficent away from her and sidelined the good fairies at the same time.

      I’m sure it will all be explained in the film, but that REALLY bothered me.

      • a-mad

        Thanks for the info, Dusty!

        Yeah, I noticed that same phrase in the trailer… “a death-like sleep” – it just seemed kind of clunky. I also heard that the good fairies are portrayed as bumbling fools, which would also be unfortunate – and may explain why they’re changing the wishes. I don’t know why you would mess with that, though. How it occurs in the original fits the story perfectly. I would also miss that relationship between Aurora and the good fairies, if they’ve indeed changed their personalities that drastically.

        Other than that – I am very hopeful the movie turns out well. When the idea of a Maleficent movie was discussed a few years ago, and rumors began that Angelina Jolie was interested in the role – I couldn’t think of a better fit.

      • Lonnie0616

        I have’t seen the extended preview but remember – this movie is from Maleficent’s view. The original was from a view that Maleficient was evil and the good fairies were just that – good (basically how Aurora saw it all or how it was told to her). I don’t think this movie sets out to contradict the original but show a different approach. Perhaps they put that in the trailer wanting people to say “hey, that’s not how the story has always been told to us”. I think that’s exactly what they want from the audience. I suppose we’ll all find out when the movie is released.

      • danielz6

        Wow that’s terrible. Even villains can’t be too scary anymore. My opinion is that this story should have been a prequel anyways. Would have been great knowing why Maleficient hates the king and queen so much. Why rehash the same story when it was already done so well in the original animated film?

      • danielz6

        The original animated movie was not from any particular point of view, it was from the third person. I believe a narrator actually narrates the film in third person in the beginning and sleep sequence if I remember correctly.

  • TwilitWings

    “Though, with all the previews which have been held at the Muppets theater and now the Bugs theater, we’ve got to wonder “What’s next?” Soarin’?. Thank God for studio money!”

    Well there IS a Planes sequel comng out. ;] I kid, I kid. Looks like a ton of refurbs all at the same time. Thank you for the update!

  • Sparky

    I haven’t seen this reported anywhere, but weekend before last some friends and I went to have dinner at Tangaroa Terrace and found to our dismay that they had changed the menu, removing several of our favorite items. They have removed some of the wonderful items such as the panko crusted fish and chips, the panko crusted chicken and other nice menu items. They kept the flatbread pizzas and some of the salads, but added several burgers and sandwiches. Very, very disappointing. I loved the food at Tangaroa and went there fairly often. I won’t now. The cashier said they had changed the menu just the week prior and had gotten a lot of comments of disappointement from guests.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      I’m SO sorry to hear this. We just had dinner at Tangaroa Terrace a couple of weekends ago and I had the panko crusted chicken (as I usually do) and loved it. I really hope they reconsider its removal.

      I do hope that folks will express their displeasure with the change in menu.

  • Wendygirl

    How long is the Maleficent preview going to be in Bug’s theater?

    • philosofy

      The movie comes out May 30 so at least until then. Perhaps even a couple weeks after its released depending on the box office numbers.

  • amyuilani

    I wish you hadn’t taken the time to point out exit and evac routes on small world. They’re not blatantly noticeable during the ride, and they don’t materially damage the show, so why point them out? All that really does is take someone out of the experience so they can look for things they really shouldn’t be distracted by while the show is going on, especially since they can’t un-notice things once they see them. Everyone knows there is always some reality behind the magic, but why point it out when it is otherwise purposely disguised?

    • ayalexander

      Because the whole point of this article is to show fans what progress has been done. If people didn’t want to see behind the scenes material, they wouldn’t read the article.

    • Westsider

      Almost all of the Small World evacuation platforms shown in this update are NOT actually new. They have always been there in Northern Europe, Africa and Asia. The only thing that looks new is the walkway to the left of the flume as you leave Asia and enter Africa; that used to be a small ledge that looks like it was widened into a narrow walkway.

      The only thing “new” in these photos was the installation of new black carpet, emergency light fixtures inset into the walls, and removal of the gophers in the America scene to allow easier access to the pre-existing exit walkway behind the sets there. (The carpet that was there was very, very old and was looking very ratty, so new carpet is a good choice.)

      All of those platforms have been there for decades, but no one thought to turn their camera the opposite direction and shoot photos of the platforms along the walls instead of taking photos of the dolls opposite them.

      The Small World rehab has been focusing mainly on building new access backstage and fall protection on the higher sets so maintenance men can access the tall set pieces and animatronics placed up on mountaintops and tall sets.

  • ayalexander

    I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but if those construction pictures were taken through the slats of the doors above French Market, what you are seeing isn’t necessarily construction or, at least not much progress. I used to work there and the upper floor had not ceiling. The bare wood framing, air ducts and electrical tubing were always visible, most likely there is work going on there, but not what is seen in the picture. I bet about now that they are finishing with floor strengthening and putting down floorboards because you couldn’t walk up there unless it was on a predesignated paths that had floorboards on it, the rest of the upper level didn’t have floor strength or even floorboards for walking on. Same thing goes for the upper level of the main street opera house. Gosh, there were signs in places warning you not to step or you’d fall right through!

    • themur

      The area above the French Market is a big part of the Club 33 expansion. They blew out the offices and storage and that will be the new lounge. They have been working in that space since last Fall.

      • ayalexander

        duh

  • gimackenzie

    I so desperately wish that they’d make a new Muppets movie for the park attraction. When my wife and I visited last fall I was so excited to see the show (I had only seen it when it premiered years ago in Orlando) and felt so disappointed afterward with how terribly dated and aged it felt. The movie is just old and tired now. I would think that now that Disney owns the Muppets and the “reboot” has gone so well that the company would want a new, fresh, zany Muppet movie to show in the beautiful theaters in Anaheim and Orlando. (The facility is really quite a wonder, at least inside the auditoreum – the lame industrial outside could use some plussing.) Another thought that occurred to me while there was how great it would be if the parks showed the Muppet films or old show episodes in the Muppet theater. They could make it a nightly event on weekends and I bet would pack the place if everyone knew that on Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 they could see one of the classic Muppet movies in the Muppet theater. I’d definitely queue up for that! Anyway, just seems such a shame and a waste to have a wonderful property like the Muppets and all they do is show an old 90s movie that feels like there should be AOL CDs given out afterward. So much untapped potential here!

  • Tomorrowland Tourist

    Nice update!

    I’m not sure what to think of that “I Conquered It’s a Small World” shirt. On the one hand, it’s a pretty funny parody along the lines of “I Survived Tower of Terror” t-shirts, but on the other hand, it kind of makes it seem like you literally conquered a ride of happy children from around the world living in peace. Probably should have chosen a different attraction!

    • ChrisNJ

      Agree with your comment. If the T-shirt is meant for people who feel like they made it through the attraction (because it’s not for everyone) then word it “I Survived” or don’t make the t-shirt to begin with. The word “conquered” doesn’t sound right with the theme for the ride at all.

    • Will G

      It’s funny you should say that.
      I was thinking it might be funny to see this shirt on Vladimir Putin

      And not refering to the ride or the dolls – but.. well, you know.

      • Kurtoon

        that’s funny right there…but Vlad doesn’t wear a shirt.

  • MrOCT31

    I don’t remember this many high volume rides being closed at the same time, especially at this time of the year. PoC, Space Mountain, Small World and Nemo! That’s going to be a lot of people having to find somewhere else to be in the park and that’s not going to be pretty! Hopefully nothing breaks down during this time or else it could get ugly in DL!

    • mbyrd

      I agree. I’m going next week and seemingly all of the big, high occupancy rides (except for Haunted Mansion) will be down. Pirates, small world and little mermaid all closed next week (or so I think). Not to mention, Indy is going to be down.

      Side note: Is memo high volume? I thought a knock against the ride was that it IS NOT a high occupancy ride.

  • mondo

    Unless it was labeled wrong, I saw a video of IASW from 2013 and the arrow on the floor in the America section has been there since.

    • Westsider

      Yes, that arrow is not new. It has been easy to spot evacuation platforms and walkway signage throughout Small World for decades. Most people look the other way in those scenes though because all of the dolls and eye candy are placed opposite the evacuation platforms.

      It’s not new.

  • Skimbob

    Great update as always. Maybe with any luck POTC will open earlier than May 22. Since they have some animatronics already missing it makes one wonder if they plan on getting it done quicker. Hopefully the same for IASW since it looks like a lot of the Cal Osha stuff has already been done. We arrive on My 13 so fingers crossed.

    Angelina freaks me out every time I see the previews for the movie. She is perfect for the part. I can’t wait to see the movie.

  • ChrisNJ

    I really don’t want to eat chocolate ice cream out of Mickey’s pants. What’s next – Toontown selling Chocolate Fudge Swirl in a Baby Herman Diaper bowl?

    Great update. Each week it is a wonderful little vacation. Thanks.

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    That IASW dedication plaque is dated August 8, 1989. I was at Disneyland that day (celebrating my 15th birthday). How the heck did I miss that and miss seeing Roy E. Disney??! *kicks self*