A Blustery Week at the Disneyland Resort

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

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Published on May 02, 2014 at 3:00 am with 26 Comments

Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before.

The Disneyland resort experienced an eventful time this past week as the Santa Ana winds made their way through Southern California in the usual fashion.  But the magic doesn’t stop for a little wind. And although some attractions had to be closed, and many more were already closed for refurbishment, there was still plenty to see and do at Walt’s original park.  With Alice in Wonderland, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Gadget’s Go-Coaster, it’s a small world, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Pirates of the Caribbean, Grizzly River Rapids, and The Little Mermaid: Ariels Undersea Adventure all down for refurbishment, the parks do feel the pinch of reduced capacity . . . especially on busy Sundays.  The refurbs will continue as the parks get ready to celebrate Disneyland’s 60th anniversary next year.

One Blustery Day at the Disneyland Resort…

As any California Native is painfully aware, the Santa Ana winds are a very dry down-slope of wind that blows from the high deserts inland out to the coast.  The Santa Ana winds usually kick up around autumn and winter but the resort area recently got a nice healthy dose of hot, dry winds that called for the usual change in procedures. And along with those winds came heat of nearly 100 degrees in the park yesterday. Today should bring more heat with less gusty conditions.

It’s nothing that a park guest would notice, per se.  But for our readers from out of town, it’s fun to point out the little things that have to change quickly when the Santa Ana Winds come to town.

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With winds that were up to 40mph in some cases, the banners in the esplanade were whipped around pretty good.

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Disneyland still looked great though, as did DCA

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Notice anything different in Town Square? Look for it.

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Every last one of the Flower baskets hanging in the park were removed to protect them from damage and you from being bonked on the head by a swinging basket.

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The fabric awnings are all retracted.

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Umbrelleas are all pulled closed and zip-tied

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This leads to a noticeable lack of shade.

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Incidentally, Plaza Inn is currently under refurbishment.

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The waterfalls on the Matterhorn are turned off to prevent the wind from catching the stream and blowing it into walkways.

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Along Big Thunder Trail you can see the thick collection of leaves floating in the water from the nearby pepper and weeping willow trees.

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Custodians tend not to chase after every scrap of trash or debris on the ground. Why would they? The wind never stops. It’s a little nuts.

 

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Over in Disney California Adventure, the fountain on Buena Vista Street is totally shut off due to wind.

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Right now, the waterfall on the backside of Grizzly is off because the attraction is down for refurbishment. But normal procedure would see this water feature turned off for wind.

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Then, of course, there is also the Golden Zephyr. This attraction can’t function even in the slightest breeze. So, essentially, the ride was down for most of the week.

Over in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, we see that access to Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue is closed off.  Why?  Because of all the “temporary” rigging and decorations for the Mad T Party night time party are a risk in super windy conditions..

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These lamps could really catch some wind.

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It really is a fascinating study in operations when the Santa Ana winds blow through.  Thankfully it isn’t too much of an inconvenience for guests and Disney is a pro at keeping the show going.

Now for an update from Disneyland park.

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20th Century MUSIC PIN Company

It was mentioned by Andy Castro in Dateline Disneyland this week, but we thought we would share it with our Friday readers too.  It is a sign of the changing times that the inventory in the 20th Century Music Company has become decidedly less musical.  With the advent of electronic downloads of both music and movies, there was no real reason to continue to stock this little store with items that simply weren’t selling.

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Notice the retracted awning? ;)

They have, for now anyway, resorted to stocking pins and lanyards.

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The only music and video to be found is in the far corner of the shop.

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It’s not Disney’s fault here, and this is more just an observation of a changing market.

Alice In Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland continues with refurbishment through July 3rd, with a 4th of July reopening.  Reinforcements are being installed on the existing exterior structure and it appears that the leaf work will be extended much further out along the ride track to construct exit platforms.

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As we reported in the recent MiceAge update, Alice is the first of the Fantasyland dark rides to go down for refurbishment, as it requires OSHA mandated fall protection on the exterior portion of track.But inside, it’s getting some enhancements including a fancy new animatronic Queen of Hearts.  Shortly following will be Peter Pan, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio and Snow White, all with enhancements of their own, in time for Disneyland’s big anniversary.

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it’s a small world

The classic boat ride continues along its OSHA related refurbishment until the last week of May. More fall protection and platforms are being built along the sides of the flume to assist guests and castmembers with emergency exits. It is set to reopen on May 23rd, 2014.

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Mickey and the Magical Map

The popular stage show at the Fantasyland Theatre is down through May 17th.

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Toontown Beautification

As the Month of May begins, we see that much of Toontown is behind walls.

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Gadget’s Go Coaster – Closed for refurbishment April 21, 2014 to May 15, 2014.

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The former ball pit near Chip and Dales treehouse remains lifeless year after year, collecting errant leaves and dust.

 Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Nothing to see here. It’s the biggest non-project in the park, as Disneyland saves operating costs by shuttering the attraction.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is now closed, but will return in three weeks.  The attraction is set to reopen on May 23rd.  But don’t worry Blue Bayou fans.  The riparian themed restaurant is still open and serving, despite the lowered water level in the adjoining lagoon.

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Work lights in the first Pirates of the Caribbean show scene remain on as diners enjoy a meal.

Club 33

More Club 33 progress shots for you too. A late June opening still seems a little too close to call.  We wish them the best of luck.

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ALL NEW MICECHAT PODCAST

Doug Barnes, David Yeh and Dusty Sage bring you a unique and refreshing MiceChat Podcast today. They leave the studio and head out on a field trip to Disneyland! Along the way we discuss what’s going on in the park, history, Imagineering and more. We also run into lots of MiceChat readers and get their thoughts on their day in the Happiest Place On Earth. We wrap things up with a discussion on which Disney resort has the most rides . . . Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  Join the conversation and enjoy the show:

Listen on iTunes  |   Direct Download


Grizzly River Run

Good Ol’ Grizzly River Run is now closed for a refurbishment that will continue through June 19th.  The water ride is scheduled to reopen on June 20th.

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Nothing major is expected for the attraction during this closure.  It appears to be just normal maintenance.  Despite the ride being down, the Fast Pass machines are still in use for World of Color showings as they normally are.

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The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

We are just about one week away from The Little Mermaid’s scheduled return on May 10th.  While the ride has received aesthetic adjustments, the Under the Sea sequence is said to be getting the most attention.  We can’t wait to see what surprises are in store.

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Paradise Pier Gazebo Work

The wooden gazebos used for meet and greets on Paradise Pier are getting much needed attention right now to paint and repair wood rot.  It is great to see these little things being addressed.

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Boudin Bakery

More of the exterior refurbishment has been made visible as the screens on the Boudin Bakery’s construction scaffolds recede. The facade has been made more visually interesting, with a more colorful exterior and new painted signage.

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Ghirardelli

The Ghirardelli Minis have arrived in DCA. These are also the free chocolate sample they now hand out at the door.

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That closes In The Parks this week on a rather sweet note.  When visiting the Disneyland Resort, just be aware that there are a number of closures in both parks as they get the resort ready for Disneyland’s milestone celebration.  It’s a necessary evil until next year, so be prepared.

We would like to take this moment to wish all of the teams playing in the 2014 Gumball Rally the very best of luck.  if you aren’t signed up for the Rally on Saturday, you can still join us on Sunday for a MiceChat post-Rally meet at Disneyland. We’ll see you at the Disneyland Hub at noon (next to the Walt and Mickey statue in front of the Castle). We’ll meet with the winning Rally teams, share a few laughs, take a photo, and give away a 2 night stay to the Carousel Inn and Suites to one lucky attendee.  Have a great weekend everyone, 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

    Here hoping that while inside small world is finished they with clean the exterior as well. As of one month ago, very dirty looking.

  • tooncity

    $100 a day sounds like a lot of money for a park with so many closed attractions. Including all the closed ones in Tomorrowland. Lame.

    The poor tourist, really get ripped off, if today happens to be their only opportunity to visit the park.

    • M69

      I agree with this comment by Tooncity. Taking a friend from Texas to the parks on Monday, May 12. She has never been to either park – her first impression after all these years will be in question. No Space, no Pirates, no Alice, no Nemo, no Small World, Toon Town behind walls, no Gadget, no Grizzly and maybe less shade. Hmmm…. While I have a pass, she is spending 137.00 just to get in to parks that look and feel a bit unlike their true glory. Sorry to snark, but it’s hard to be a great tour guide in parks with so much CLOSED. Here’s to showing off all that is open (lots) or still happening (World of Color)

      That said, thanks for letting us know about Blue Bayou – definitely choose it for lunch that day! :) Great update, as usual!!

      • heffalump

        I agree with the above comments as well. I feel bad for those purchasing a single day ticket with all these closures — this is why I too prefer and have an annual pass.

        Disney’s ever increasing prices for everything is costing it goodwill with its customers. This is why I appreciate MiceChat’s push to support all the theme parks to hopefully foster some healthy competition. One day Disney’s MBA mindset will catch up with it, but right now it is still the best by a large margin, especially in California.

      • CaptainAction

        After your friend pays for a dozen rides which aren’t open, I hope you are picking up the check for Blue Bayou?!?
        She is being giganticaly ripped off.
        Tell her to bring a sandwich.
        She has paid Disney enough before she gets out of the car.
        I’ve never seen a company spending goodwill faster than these current Disney execs are burning through it!

      • martinjbell1986

        Refurbs mostly happen in the offseason. If you want light crowds, then your going to have to sacrifice some ride closures. This happens every year. Plan as far in advance as you can so you know what’s going to be closed when your there.

    • Algernon

      They should have a floating price, one that takes into consideration the amount of tarps that are up, and the number of rides that are down.

      I, for one, do not wish them “the best of luck” on Club 33–as the elites look forward to the day they can once again fly there in their private jets to eat caviar and sip Champaign with the likes of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. Until the Club is open again, may I suggest they watch the movie, Titanic. Who knows, maybe one of the Club members will let a mortal have dinner with them, to regale their group with tales of his long waits in line.

  • DisneyLover66

    Interesting info about the strong winds and the procedures that Disneyland undergoes to prevent people from getting hurt as a result of those winds. Town Square just didn’t look like itself with those gorgeous basket of flowers missing. Awesome update and great pictures, as always. Thank you.

  • ayalexander

    Its unfortunate that people still have to pay full price for a park with so much closed down. But you can see why. If locals found out that Disneyland Resort park tickets are discounted, people would flock in by the thousands, and people who pre-ordered their tickets months in advance would have to be compensated the difference. The resort would have to turn away even more guests at the gate, than usual. And some of those turned away would be late risers that actually spent a fortune to stay on property, and embarked for Disneyland too late in the day to actually get into the park. It would be a huge mess if Disneyland charged less during this time.

    • CaptainAction

      The rides are closed down by design. This is the money greedy plans to take advantage of the walking wallets.
      The plan is simply to send the castmembers home and turn off the lights for months while gouging the guests.
      In the future, folks will look back on these days as the begining of the demise of Disney or as the dark days when greedy execs quit targeting their guests and began targeting only their wallets.
      The timing of WDW execs, and perhaps Disneyland execs greed and lazyness polarized against Universal execs hunger and execution to attract the theme park guests will be the stuff of MBA studies everywhere.
      The impossible, is becoming not only possible, in Florida, but more like probable.
      Only Avatar in the next 4-5 years?!? WDW is going to get creamed!

      • billyjobobb

        and avatar is getting scaled back more and more. By the time it opens people will complain that it’s so much less than the mine train. We waited for this? One d ticket ride and a few gift shops?

  • RSZero1

    I disagree, the park knows well in advance of closures for maintenance, special closures notwithstanding, they really should do a discounted pass for these times of year. Its akin to charging full price for the park, just to get into the parking structure.

    Even if you have thousands coming into the park because of the lower price, the park is still making money hand over glove. Most likely even more since you have a larger demographic of people who couldnt normally afford to go or people who will spend more on ‘stuff’ since they are saving on admission.

  • Cyette

    Repeating the theme of the day.

    So very sorry for M69′s Texas friend, as well as all others whose first-time visits will not include so many of the quintessential favorites…..I realize “beautification must occur”, especially for DL’s 60th, but wow.

  • 22branch

    10 years ago May was a great time to visit the Disneyland resort. Crowds were low and the weather was relatively mild. Outside of the DCA construction overhaul it was rare to see many attractions and shows closed. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. I echo what others have written: this is a calculated strategy to save money during an “off period” by shutting down multiple attractions and excusing it as routine maintenance. Temperatures in Anaheim this week soared into the nineties and Grizzly River Run was closed for “refurbishments”. Really? No doubt management intentionally targeted Grizzly and the Subs to avoid California’s high water costs. But how is this serving the customer? It really annoys me that ticket and merchandise prices escalate while the park management declines. They need to reevaluate their penny pinching operations and focus on the best possibly customer experience…year round. Visitors now must choose to plan their vacations during insanely busy seasons to enjoy ALL rides and attractions, or settle for a subpar experience during the slow seasons.

    • Marko50

      LOL! Like Disney *knew* there would be Santa Anas this week and the weather would be sweltering? May and early June are typically NOT the hottest – or even sunniest – of times. That’s where the expressions “May Gray” and “June Gloom” come from.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Agreed with Tooncity. Last night I ran across a picture of the old Disneyland sign that read “closed Mondays”. I actually think it would be beneficial to close one day a week for repair and maintenance issues. But, alas that will never happen again.

  • Haven

    Wind is my least favorite weather condition (next to snow, but I don’t live in snow country). We also had the super heavy winds here in Las Vegas this week and I had to batten down my own umbrellas and flower pots just like Main Street! I think high temperatures and an early summer are in store for the West Coast this year. I am hoping however, we do not see the 118 degree mark in late June again like last year!
    Not so sure about the work lights being on at Blue Bayou, maybe it looks okay in person, but I am sceptical. And before anyone says it, yes, I would rather have the restaurant closed than sacrifice show quality. I can get a monte cristo at Cafe Orleans.

  • Dfan55

    I am a longtime lurker who came over from a different site when this site started. After reading the article and the resulting posts I decided to register and post on this subject. Couldn’t help myself, really. First of all, this talk of corporate greed is over the top. I am an industrial engineer (No, I do not work for Disney, although I would love to) and I am pretty sure that an Industrial engineer had a great deal of influence on the decision for when to schedule all these rehabs.
    More than likely they just looked at the customer visitation data patterns to determine when the least number of out of town guests would be visiting and scheduled the rehabs for that time. I am also sure they have a distinct reason for why they are scheduling so much at the same time. If you look at the timelines you will see that the close and reopen dates are staggered and I am willing to bet there is a good reason for it.
    I am a bit of a Disneyland fanatic and I am just as disappointed as everyone else that the subs are down but we all know it is because of the mess out in Orlando. It is disappointing for visitors who come from out of town to deal with rides in re-hab, and I feel for them but lets not go accusing the company of greed because rides are in rehab. When they didn’t do rehabs (can you say Paul Pressler) we accused them of greed, and it was true. I have no access to data, but I would bet that one of the reasons that they feel they can charge premium prices for tickets is because they still provide THE premium experience, one which is kept that way by the constant rehabs of VERY old rides.
    So if you want a premium experience, including ride rehabs which keep rides in top shape, be prepared to pay premium prices. If you want a cheap experience with cheap tickets and no rehabs, go to the county fair.
    Sorry, I know this sounds abrasive, but some of the comments on this article are over the top.

    • DisneyLover66

      Well said, Dfan55. I fully agree with you.

    • Cory Gross

      Amen!

      I think there is a certain subset of people for whom Disney can do no right. If they go down for rehab they’re criticized for being greedy and stupid… but if they put off rehabs and let things rot and age in public view, they would also be criticized for being greedy and stupid. People will accuse them of being dated, and then whine about them taking a ride down to install new effects and animatronics. If they build a “kiddie coaster” then they’re accused of weak pandering, but if they don’t build any they’re accused of ignoring families (and I’m sure that if Universal Studios built one, it would be lauded as a triumph of themed design).

      Blanket criticisms that anything Disney does is wrong ultimately detract from legitimate, salient critiques of the parks’ design and operations. Fans’ voices just become a lot of white noise.

    • tcsnwhite

      Dfan55,

      good to read some common sense here…finally. It’s sorely needed.
      But be careful, some might not take so kindly to it.

  • Illusion65

    Interesting info about the all that must be done when the high winds occur. High wind, heat and no shade or water spray means hot, sweaty, unhappy people. good thing to keep in mind when planning a day at the park. also great update on all the ride closures and refurbs. great article with helpful info that helps me plan and what to expect.

    • billyjobobb

      umm, the Santa Anna winds are an abnormality. They don’t happen this time of year. Much like having a tornado in Oklahoma in December.

      And the winds and the heat are related.

  • JCSkipr79

    I wonder if for the 60th they will do a New Fantasyland Part II marketing push “Come relive your childhood adventures with “new stuff” for your children!” etc etc……

  • Wyatt Hertz

    Regarding 20th Century Music Company, if they are going to just give up on the music/movies thing, the least they could do is keep with the damned theme. Turn it into a D-Tech store. Put all the headphones, iPad and iPhone cases, speakers and whatever else in there! The park absolutely does NOT need another pin location.

  • sixalex

    “Riparian”

    Nice!