In The Parks: Disneyland Refurbishment Round Up

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, In the Parks

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Published on May 09, 2014 at 3:00 am with 32 Comments

It was a rare off-season week at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. With crowds away, the refurbs rolled on. In this update we will be sharing the progress at Alice in Wonderland and finding Nemo, while keeping you up-to-date on the other ongoing projects in the park.

Ah Disneyland.  Walt’s original theme park.  Out in the entry plaza we see that the planting has been refreshed.

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Pink and yellow flowers add a decorative flourish.

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Mickey’s face has been recently replanted and will soon be in full bloom.

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Not sure what plant they are using for Mickey’s tongue. Sure is bright.

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The trees along Main Street have all filled in from their winter slumber and create the perfect frame for the castle.

 

Plaza Inn

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to grab a Cobb Salad or fried Chicken from this classic Disneyland establishment.  Plaza Inn is currently down for refurbishment.

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Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Finally, the clanging of hammers on metal can be heard emanating from the subs.  It is now  evident that work, however slight, is beginning on this project.  They have 5 months to get this attraction back into ship shape.

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Incidentally, during the sub “refurb” they have turned off the sprinklers that irrigate the grass on top of the show building for the subs.

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Space Mountain

The refurb date for Space Mountain has changed yet again.  It will now be down May 27, 2014 to July 3, 2014

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Looks like they were finally doing some cleaning on Space Mountain’s dirty dome.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland continues on its refurbishment schedule with a planned return date of July4th.  Looking carefully at the construction site we see that color tests are now being done on the exterior leaves.  We can also see the steel framework for the widened outdoor path.

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There’s some patching going on.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

The marauding pirates are scheduled to return to port on May 23rd.  This is one of our favorite rides in the entire park and it just can’t happen soon enough.

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Some of the boats are being stored backstage near the Indy show building.

 

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

Tony Baxter’s favorite of his own attractions, Indiana Jones, reopened to guests this morning after a few weeks of refurbishment. This was supposed to just be a routine maintenance, so no changes were apparent. Unfortunately, both the Mara room and the boulder rooms were broken when we rode this morning. Very bad show. It would probably be better if they’d just give the Imagineers the extra time they need and keep the attraction closed until it’s working fully. Were you able to ride today? Were the effects all working for you?

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Backstage, large pieces from the ride sit out in the sun.

Club 33

Disneyland’s private club continues its major refurbishment and expansion above the streets of New Orleans Square.  New progress can be seen as exterior work is taking place on the backside of the buildings, facing the train station.

 

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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


Disney California Adventure also enjoyed a lovely off-season week.

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Grizzly River Run

The refurbishment of Grizzly River run is now scheduled to end a day earlier.   The raft ride is set to return on June 20th.

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The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Set to reopen this Saturday, the Little Mermaid is said to have a revamped Under the Sea scene.

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Paradise Pier repair

The rotting gazebos along the water at Paradise Pier are coming along nicely and they are doing a very thorough job in replacing the bad wood.

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Fisherman’s Wharf / Boudin Bakery

More was revealed as the show building for the Boudin Bakery tour is revealed.  What we are seeing is a lot of varied colors and story being infused into what was once, just a building.  What lovely work.

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That about wraps things up for us from the Disneyland Resort this week.  It was a slow news week, but just being at the parks does something for the soul, wouldn’t you agree?  If you are ever at Disneyland on a Sunday, be sure to stop by the hub (the Walt and Mickey statue) at noon and say hello to the MiceChat crew at the weekly MiceChat noon meet.  We are a friendly group and look forward to meeting you.

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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  • gboiler1

    Always enjoy your updates Norman. I’m taking my daughter for her 2nd Disneyland visit late in July so I’m watching the progress and feel fortunate that our travel window should see almost everything available to enjoy.

    I just realized recently that this will mark the 50th anniversary of my first visit although I was only about 18 months old at that time.

  • Ravjay12

    Great update! They seem to be keeping the outdoor portion of the track intact over at Alice. Can’t wait to see what it looks like after they are done. The colors over at the wharf look great! Very well done on all the new signs on the buildings as well.

  • garyman

    Glad to see the subs being worked on. I really like the lagoon setting at Disneyland. Thanks for the update.

  • bamato

    I’ll be in DLR in a couple weeks, and I’m really bummed GRR is closed. Although, it’s not because I won’t be able to ride it, but because I won’t be able to hear it running. I *really* enjoy the sound of the lift hill, the rushing water, etc. It adds great ambiance to the area.

    • ayalexander

      I agree, I rode the ride once like ten years ago. I don’t ride it, but I love the mood and story and setting it creates. The waterfalls, nature walk and clanking of the lift hill do wonders in scenery and ambiance!

    • OprylandUSA

      Too bad you guys can’t experience the original ride – the Grizzly River Rampage, from Opryland USA Themepark (yeah, Gaylord Entertainment, the park’s owners used it as a compound word). It was one of the first river rapid rides, completely themed that took it a step further than Disney, with an animatronic grizzly bear. It was also the spot for some of the 1996 Olympic white water trials and the last of the attractions at the park to be destroyed, lasting until 2011 (the park was closed in 1997).

      The Grizzly River Rampage was just one of the attractions that Disney ‘borrowed’ a name from Opryland – Grizzly River Rampage, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and the Barnstormer.

      • Norman Gidney

        I remember Opryland USA. When visiting family in Memphis I would always beg and beg to go. However, all that I got was a trip over to Libertyland. Grizzly River Rampage seemed like such a groundbreaking ride at the time.

  • ayalexander

    I’m excited to see what is to become of Alice. The classic movie Alice in Wonderland is my favorite of the animated adventure stories, and the characters are hilarious! I’m glad that they chose to keep the outdoor path the way it was. Also, I hope the subs come back, I admit I rarely ride them but seeing them navigate the lagoon and all the bubbles fizzing to the surface of the water add a lot of kinetic movement to that area. Plus the attraction IS popular, especially for Nemo fans. Now here’s my question, they have the money and room to build an additional sub in order to increase the fleet to 9 or heck, 10 subs! Why don’t they? If it will increase capacity, why not do it?

    Well anyway, you know what I think? I think that a lot of work is being done in that show building in order to accommodate immediate removal of sick or claustrophobic guests. Up until recently, if a guest became really sick or claustrophobic, they would have to send an all-call to have all the subs clear the way cuz they will be speeding into dock to unload the guest. Of course you can see the havoc that would cause, but I think they will be making the catwalks inside the show building more accessible to passing subs for removal of guests. That would be a wonderful Idea.

    Thanks for the update! I can’t wait to see what Mermaid will look like when the attraction reopens, I’m sure it will look spectacular! And I can’t wait until they finally start on reworking the ending to the attraction, I just hope they don’t cut out too much of the finale firework scene, that is just a great scene.

    • second blue teacup

      Adding additional subs would not really increase capacity… I don’t think I’ve *ever* seen the sub dock without subs waiting to load. Additional subs would only make sense if there were long stretches of time when all 8 of the current subs are out of dock and the dock was sitting empty.

      Additional subs would just cause backups in the caverns due to the long disembarkation/embarkation procedure.

      • ayalexander

        Well at least you have a good point, other people just disagree for the benefit of being a but-head (talking to user OprylandUSA).

  • Skimbob

    I was hoping we might luck out and IASW and Pirates would come back early but it doesn’t look like it. We are only there for a short visit this time so we will survive without those two favorites of ours.

  • tooncity

    $100 a day with most of the best rides closed. Doesn’t seem fair.
    If 40% of the best attractions are closed, then the price should be reduced by that same percentage.

    I feel sorry for the tourist, who visits, with this being their once in a lifetime trip to Datedland.

    Amazing how everyone gets so worked up over the subs. But all of tomorrowland has been neutered. Remember all the attraction that MOVED? Less rides, more $10 hamburger stands. Got to have a Shopping opportunity within 20 feet from any position in the park.

    • skoolpsyk

      All while Disney is posting profits in the stratosphere….

    • ayalexander

      You also gotta remember though, if prices are temporarily reduced, everyone would show up on Disneyland’s doorstep, many guests (more than usual) would have to be turned away when capacity is reached and plus, the guests that get in the park would think it was a dirty trick to lure people into Disneyland with low prices just to have a considerable amount of rides closed or to see scenery like New Orleans Square, under tarps. I agree with Disney, it’s easier just to keep prices the way they are, plus with the closure of the attractions, the profit difference is a good boost to help with future park improvements.

      • WesternMouse

        Ok–using your logic here…

        What would you say if you went into a store for 5 items but they only had two and then charged the same price for 5 items but only gave you two?

        What if you PAID to park in the lot of that store, too?

        No way in a million years you would repeat what you wrote above but replaced Disney’s name with, say, Walmart, Target, Costco, etc.

        Disney is just a business and they deserve more scrutiny when they charge such high amounts to walk by wooden walls and refurbishment signs. The sad thing is how stupid people are with their money to think it’s okay. There’s a sucker born every minute.

      • Dfan55

        You are right. If you reduce the price, even temporarily, demand will go up. That’s just basic economics. The parks would be crowded with people, mostly locals who don’t have passes. It would be a thousand times worse mess.

        On the flip side of the coin, there is a reduction in profit from ride rehabs, not an increase. I do not know where this ride rehabs equals more profit meme comes from. I can only assume that it is some kind of knee-jerk reaction to the idea of a company making money, but I don’t see the correlation. Historically, the loss of rides, even for rehabs, translates to a loss in visitors especially among the pass holding locals. That means less money from food and services. It also means lower customer satisfaction ratings.

        If ride rehabs were done to increase profit, every stupid park in America would have cleaner parks and nicer rides, because they would put many more of their rides in rehab every year instead of squeezing every hour possible out of broken down old rides.

        So, the real problem everyone is cranking about here is the cost of a one day ticket, not the rehabs. But I have said it before and I will say it again. If you want a premium experience be prepared to pay a premium price. If you want a cheap ticket than you get Paul Pressler era Disneyland, or worse.

      • ayalexander

        Dfan55, what i meant about profit during a refurbishment was that, if they charged less for admission, that’s even more loss of money than what the original rehab would have done. When an attraction is down, normally it costs the park money for every day its down (except for Nemo which costs way more to run than for it to sit and collect dust). But yes, the fact that they still charge full price helps to make every down-time of an attraction less appalling on the financial side.

  • Baloo

    The wharf paint job looks great, now all they need is a couple of props at the waters edge. maybe a small boat or even better two or three simple animatronic sea lions :-)

  • heffalump

    So glad Space Mountain has been pushed back because it will be open when I’m in town! Thanks Norman for the update. After looking at these pictures, I have to say that Grizzly River Run is a beautiful ride.

  • BrianFuchs

    With so many rides down, I don’t have a problem with Indy operating at less than 100%.

    What I *really* wish would happen is for Disney to CLOSE for a refurb season like so many other parks do. Charging full price when half the headliner attractions are down is the really bad show.

    • sean317

      Disney is trying way to hard to upgrade their rides & they are not giving themselves enough time to complete the job in a proper way. The construction companies are not hiring enough people to complete these jobs in the time limit given to them. You never see workers actually working (outdoors) in the pictures that Micechat take (I guess these people only work nights or when Micechat is not there?)

  • danielz6

    Tooncity, you’re right. I’ve been visiting the park for 30 years and I don’t think I’ve seen so many rides down/walls ever. Its really sad. Not only that but mickeys magical map is down too! So even if you are left with no rides the major show of the park is down also! With the subs, Alice, Indy, pirates down the only lands operating in” a” mode is main street, frontierland, and toon town. That’s less than half the lands of the park! So sad indeed especially for the foreign visitors and first timers, what a bad impression.
    Heffalump, I agree I think grizzly is one of the most beautiful rides WDI has ever made and my favorite part of DCA. I can stand on the view area and watch the rafts getting the final surprise geyser splash all day!
    On a positive note, disneyland now has the best Big thunder in the world. The new ending is phenomenal and exceeded my expectations. Also, I recently saw the fantasy faire stage show and it was also a pleasant surprise, funny and enjoyable for everyone. Kudos for Disney utilising such a small space to provide excellent entertainment, all without removing any classic rides by the way.

    • WesternMouse

      Best Big Thunder in the World?

      Have you been to Paris?

      • danielz6

        No I haven’t. Just Tokyo, orlando and CA.

      • OprylandUSA

        Orlando is pretty nice, too. I’m sorry, even with the new effects, Disneyland’s Big Thunder has a long way to go to compete with the Magic Kingdom’s, which is far superior. WDW’s is off by itself, the way a desert, frontier attraction should be. DL’s is in the middle of the park, with trees all around. Plus, WDW actually has a thunder *mountain*. DL’s is tiny. And, need I add Tumbleweed and Professor Cumulus Isobar?

      • ayalexander

        oprylandUSA, Disneyland’s thunder mountain looks better than WDW. The WDW version appears barren and boring BECAUSE its so huge. Plus, their technology no longer competes with the new technology added to the Disneyland version. Furthermore, the Disneyland version has animatronics that originated on a former classic attraction. And to top it all off, Disneyland’s Thunder Mountain would be equal in height with WDW’s because it is set partially underground by a few stories. If you were to measure the lower most point of both attractions to their highest point, they would be equivalent in height. Look, lets not measure our “sizes” here because Disneyland wins out always for their ‘experience’ and seniority with providing the best vacation trip and most bang for the buck. WDW has nothing to feel but shame.

      • danielz6

        Well said ayalexander. And the fact that All the others are essentially copy cats of the original, means that size matters even less to me. Everything is smaller in disneyland and big thunder is the perfect size for that park. Conversely Magic kingdoms is the perfect size for that park etc. So just judging by size I think they are equal. Anyways in any attraction I’m mostly interested In the practical effects and details. And I think currently disneyland’s is superior in that regard.

      • ayalexander

        Thanks danielz6, I mean people simply can’t compare too many things to Disneyland. At least at Disneyland things are newer in technology and kept up really well (better in comparison to other parks, maybe equivalent to Tokyo) But still, you can’t beat the original. The one that Walt himself stepped foot in. I think Disneylanders would all agree, there is a particular ‘magic’ in the Anaheim Magic Kingdom.

  • dcaguy

    Guest relations has a book of all the plants/flowers/ trees in the park. If you want to know what the flowers/plants/trees are you saw in the park just go in there and ask for that book. They even have pictures where all of them are at the location you saw them.

  • animatronic

    Thank you for the update. Well done. Refurbland… am booked for our Disneyland trip in early October and at first was bemoaning how long we have to wait, but now am happy because many of these rides will be back up by then. Weird to close down Grizzly Run River this month when it’s getting hot in socal. I always hope they’ll add some animatronic animals to GRR (bunnies, deer, a Grizzly bear perchance?

    The video of little mermaid looks great but still wish they added Ursula’s demise to the ending. Even a Video in place of the painting of grumpy sinking Ursula would be better. A mini animatronic scene would be cool, but what would it look like…?

    I’m glad they are doing some work on the subs… finally. I’m actually a fan of the subs, so hope they are back up in October.

  • OprylandUSA

    I could be further banned for this, but I don’t think the trees frame the castle at all. If anything, the trees make the castle look so much smaller. They need to be pruned – and badly. Compared to Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle loses all of its forced perspective with its surrounding.

  • Susan Hughes

    Did you know the gas station and trailer park on the corner of Harbor and Ball are now officially Disney property? They will christen it’s use for the 24 hour Disney day as Cast Member parking. Glad to see that wasted plot of land is now in the hands of a company who could use it. One step closer to creating that third gate, eh?