The Little Mermaid gets a makeover as new Main Street, U.S.A. construction begins at Disneyland

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

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

Published on May 12, 2014 at 5:05 am with 111 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • FerretAfros

    Will the lockers return after the construction is complete? It seems odd that they wouldn’t have any lockers available anywhere in the park

    • ayalexander

      Well the lockers work on a complicated computer systems so setting up a “temporary” location is out of the question. But maybe when the corridors are finished, the new locker room may be much larger allowing for more available lockers.

    • The lockers closure will be temporary during construction.

      Thanks for reading!
      -Andy
      Dateline Disneyland

  • bkroz

    Space Mountain doesn’t go down until 5/27 now. A little extra time.

    • Thanks for the correction! I’ve updated today’s post to reflect the schedule change.

      -Andy
      Dateline Disneyland

  • DisneyLover66

    Enjoyed this! Great job. Thank you.

  • michael darling

    Land-specific merch!!!! That’s the ticket. Also, Mermaid looks way better. No one does blacklight like Disney. The before photos look like a store-front display comparatively.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I think I know why they do the two-parks style merchandise but no one is going to like this answer…it’s the truth though.

      Disney does this because 99% of people will either not care that they have both WDW and DLR stuff on a glass or plate or whatever and some of those people might even think that’s “cool!” to have both, to compare differences and things.

      I hate that and frankly I don’t buy stuff that is generic Disney parks but I showed these pictures and other pics of the merchandise with “One Disney” kind of branding to friends and none of them could see anything wrong. When I pointed out the problem they said I was being too critical and that they actually liked the two parks stuff.

      These are all people who might go to either WDW or DLR once or twice in their lives though. They are not superfans.

      Personally, I think Disney is stupid to mess with Disneyland merchandise. Don’t mostly locals go there? they would be smart to produce a new line of stuff every year to make the locals want to keep collecting. Only have Disneyland merchandise in DLR.

      For WDW, isn’t it more families making one trip or two trips maximum a lifetime going there. Harried parents with strollers and tight budgets aren’t as quality conscious as the people in Disneyland. Disney could shunt all the Disneyland stuff to Magic Kingdom and few would notice (sadly). They’d still have to make EPCOT and DHS and DAK stuff though.

      But they could save a few bucks on WDW. I think they lose more than they gain by upsetting Disneyland regulars though. The Los Angeles AP holders are also more well to do than the Florida APs too. Disney is losing money by shipping WDW merchandise west to people who don’t want that junk.

      • TheTNTRaider

        I kind of like the fact that we can get WDW merch here. Mostly because I’ve only ever been to WDW twice, due to airline costs. So just being able to buy merchandise form WDW without actually flying there is all right in my book.

  • rstar

    I love the temporary saftey rails for the workers who are installing the permanent saftey rails for Alice.

  • CaptainAction

    How long was Little Mermaid down?

    How long does it take to change light bulbs and wiggs?

    Just didn’t have the budget for a proper Ursula death scene so we still have the the 3 foot tall Ursula rocking back and forth. We do have enough budget for blacklights and two wiggs.

    • ayalexander

      Its not just changing light bulbs. Disney has to do a massive amount of re-painting, its not as easy as that. Even the painting takes a while because you can’t just give them flat colors, you have to give them shading and an almost 3 dimensional paint scheme which takes skill thanks to the fact the best way to paint with black light paint is in the dark. Plus, new fish were installed which meant sculpting them out of clay, then making molds, then layering the molds in fiberglass. Then installing them, painting the patchwork of the new bolting, then black light painting the new fish as well. You aren’t giving them enough credit, this work takes time, skill and lots of money because of the time and skill.

      • CaptainAction

        Ok ayalexander, I’ll go with you on the artistry and painting that took so long.

        I agree with imagineer97 though. Do you think most of us will really notice this compared to a big appropriate ending?

        Snow White has a better end of the witch.
        Mr. Toad has the train and hell effects.
        Pinocchio has a pretty good Monstro and Blue Fairy effects.
        These have all been around a long time.

        I think everyone would notice a good special effect where Eric puts the bow of a ship through the aorta of a giant screaming Ursula with electricity shooting all over the place? Don’t you?

      • ayalexander

        Yes but consider this, what if reworking the architecture of the finale section of the building costs more money than repainting the ‘under the sea’ scene? Its possible that this repainting was done in order to prove to TDA bean counters that guests are excited about this minor detail and are wanting a reworking of the finale. Sometimes you have to show a little leg to get up to the thigh.

      • CaptainAction

        When we rode Little Mermaid on opening day, my family joked that the imagineers suddenly realized they were out of track so they crammed the wedding, Ursula’s death, and the wrap up into the last 8 feet of track.
        Maybe we were closer to correct than we knew.

      • Cory Gross

        Compared to Snow White and Pinocchio, Little Mermaid has a fine ending. You can blink and miss Snow White’s ending, and Pincocchio’s actual ending is the Blue Fairy scene, not Monstro. The endings of Toad and Alice are much better. Peter Pan is just sort of there, but after flying over London and Neverland, you sort of gloss over the rest anyways. Given that the emphasis on the Little Mermaid ride is on Ariel, it’s no wonder that they gloss over Ursula’s death. Up to that point you’ve seen one scene of Ursula and three scenes of Ariel wanting to go to the surface and kiss Eric. The wedding scene is more appropriate narratively, as cool as Ursula’s death might be.

        The problem with Little Mermaid is much more fundamental, which it shares with Pinocchio, Splash Mountain, and Pirates 2.0. In each of these rides, you are rendered into a passive spectator sitting in a cart watching a story happen to someone else. You are not the protagonist in them. The really classic rides either cast you as the protagonist (i.e.: Snow White, Peter Pan, Mr. Toad) or made you the protagonist of your own adventure (i.e.: Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, TDS 20,000 Leagues). It’s hard to get invested in Little Mermaid because you’re just watching a couple disjointed scenes from the movie. Nothing is happening TO you. You’re watching it all happen to someone else.

        An ideal Little Mermaid ride would have had something like Ariel showing you around her undersea kingdom, and then Ursula trying to steal your voice. Then you could slap the Ursula death scene on the end, because that makes more narrative sense. She is the main threat to you, so to resolve the ride you have to overcome her. As it is, if you’re just watching scenes from the movie of what happens to Ariel, it is totally reasonable to go from “Kiss the Girl” to the girl being kissed to the wedding, without giving much (if any) reference at all to Ursula.

      • danielz6

        Umm splash and pirates are arguably 2 of the best theme park rides ever. I don’t think it’s a problem at all to emulate them. And you can’t compare a brand new 5 minute omnimover ride to 60/30 year old 2 minute classic dark rides. I think rides 30-60 years newer should be significantly better, not just as good.

      • Cory Gross

        Pirates 1.0 is probably THE best theme park ride ever. Pirates 2.0 – after they vandalized the ride with Jack Sparrow and Cthulhu – is significantly worse. I could get into the many reasons, but I’ll refrain until asked.

        Splash Mountain is a narrative mess. It has that problem of being a string of vignettes from a movie with little-to-no coherent internal sense. A major contributing factor is that it’s using vignettes from a movie that nobody in North America is legally allowed to see. It has lots of wonderful animatronic characters and music and thrills, and I suspect it are those more than the insensible story that carry the ride.

        It would be nice for Little Mermaid to be better than the classic Fantasyland dark rides (though it’s hard to improve on that model except technologically). What I was pointing out was the unfair negative comparison to them that others had made. My point was that the ending to the Little Mermaid ride is totally consistent with the ride’s “narrative” and that the classic rides aren’t all they’re cracked up to be either if we get really critical about them.

      • ayalexander

        I agree with Cory Gross

    • imagineer97

      I agree, Captain. I thought that the Ursula was going to change! Honestly, I am not all that impressed with what they did here. Add a couple statues of fish, change the lighting, and give Ariel and Eric real hair…how noticeable will this even be? Ayalexander, I grant you, the work takes time, energy, and is very impressive, but the fact is, there is still a colossal plothole in this attraction! Ursula sings her song, then doesn’t show up again until she’s randomly electricuted, rocking back and forth. I give them all the credit in the world for what they did, but I just wish I could give them MORE credit.

      • DanO

        I went yesterday and did notice. Missing also from the picture are the two swirling schools of fish in the Under the Sea scene. There is no longer a big metal frame holding them and they do look like they’re floating. Yes, I would like to see a new ending, but what they did so far, does make a difference.

    • martinjbell1986

      Heading to Universal Orlando for the first time in January. With all your negative commenting on Disneyland, I hope Universal lives up to your hype. Otherwise I will definitely be letting you know after every comment you post 🙂

      • blondiemouse72

        Better get those typing fingers in training for 2015….you’ll be busy trying to go one on one with Captain Kool Aid

      • CaptainAction

        Hey martinjbell1986, I hope you have a great time. Are you able to stay on property?
        I have a couple of really great hints if you are.
        If you’re staying on property join the Loew’s First Club. It’s free and they will bring a free gift to your room like a fruit basket, plate of cookies and pitcher of milk, cd of the resort’s music, etc. After a few stays things really add up. We can upgrade our room to a 900 square foot suite with 2 full bathrooms for free. The room gifts get upgraded and you get a $100 credit for the resorts restaurants whenever you check in (after a few stays of course).
        Hope you have a great time.

      • martinjbell1986

        Won’t be staying on property with Disney or Universal. Got a $350 a week condo at the Sheraton Vistana. Too expensive to stay on property anywhere. Having a kitchen is nice too.

      • CaptainAction

        Good points martinjbell.

    • thebear

      Why is wigs spelled as “wiggs”? Am I missing something?

  • SpectroMan

    Another week of record heat coming and Grizzly is down. Just cracks me up. Poor tourists. I realize Disney can’t predict weather patterns but it’s a safe bet that the best time to rehab a water ride in SoCal is December or January, NOT May. Oye.

    • DanO

      May averages really aren’t that different from Dec and Jan. They’re only three degrees higher. Remember, we still would normally have June gloom to go through. While Jan would seem ideal, they had a pretty full schedule as it was. These hot temps in May aren’t normal.

  • eicarr

    The only issue I every had with Mermaid was the plastic toy look to all the fish. But the work they did fixed most of that. Better rehab than the first!!! One of my favorite DL rides. Wish they could now fix the miserable Midway Mania line experience.

    Glad they’re not wasting more money on that Main Street money pit. Cyclone fencing would be fine. While I’ll alway spend my least amount of time there, they’re always pouring money into compleatly fixing up everything every couple of years. Use that alley money in Tomorrowland or for Fantasyland dark ride upgrades.

    Sad I’m too clutzy for that cool breakable new DL merchandise

  • Larry Parker

    All the thousands of Grad nite teens will sure miss Space Mountain that night. Terrible refurb timing!

    • ayalexander

      eh its probably for the best IF it does impede with the Grad Nite schedule. Grads just overdose and puke on the ride anyway… can you imagine how much track, flooring, passengers, and walls, one simple up-heave can litter?

    • Marko50

      Really? I thought Grad Nights were now at DCA. If they’re missing Space Mt, it’s not because of the refurb.

      • ayalexander

        Dude, you’re totally right, I forgot. Grad Nights are at DCA. Oh but, grads are allowed to be in Disneyland for normal operating hours.

  • tooncity

    Thanks for the update. Just reinforces my reasons for giving up my AP many years ago. If Disney wants my business they’ll have to do better than this. But I am hopeful.

    At times it does seem as though the place is being run by the gang that can’t shoot straight. Which is the biggest disappointment.

  • Algernon

    In my view, the Club 33 opening day address will go like this:

    “To all who come to this extravagant place; welcome. Club 33 is your land. Here age relives fond memories of Hollywood parties gone by…and here youth, like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, may savor the promise of making future millions of dollars. Club 33 is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created places like Wall Street, Beverly Hills, and Dubai…with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration for all the spoiled, corrupt, rich elitists throughout the world.”

    • ayalexander

      For once, I actually have to commend you, for that comment.

    • Indy Fan 1

      Someone is an anti-elitist.

    • jcruise86

      Nice. But I’m dumping my 99% club membership, first chance I get.

  • judearmstrong

    MUST. HAVE. JUNGLE CRUISE. GLASSES AND PLATES!

  • Susan Hughes

    I’m currently confused as to how this back alley project on the east side of Main Street will actually work. There is so little room back there behind the buildings and the only place that seems logical is the vehicle traffic road. But that’s where the parade floats are setup. And of course…vehicle traffic!
    They’re going to have to make it “vision proof” too because guests will end up seeing Cast Members and characters in various stages of “undress” walking around. Mickey without his head, Cinderella wearing a robe, Alice toting a back pack.
    I’m putting my faith in the planners to know what they’re doing. But based on what I know, this could be a disaster. Not for guests but for Disney “integrity”.

    • ayalexander

      Just read the article better, they said they would be bulldozing some of the backstage buildings in order to make a STRAIGHT line between Town Square and the Plaza Inn. They also said it would be “themed fencing” so you don’t have to worry about seeing the backstage cast members and stuff. Disney would never allow you to see characters half dressed.

      • Susan Hughes

        It still leaves me confused. There are break rooms, lockers, computers for clocking in, a CM break room with a kitchen and vending machines, and a characters break room. There’s even an Anaheim PD substation back there. I don’t doubt what the article says about bulldozing the buildings. But I don’t see where anything they get rid of can be relocated. Unless they just don’t plan on relocating…just eliminating. Good for guests…bad for Cast Members.

      • ayalexander

        There’s plenty of room for relocating all the amenities there. If its the parade floats that are throwing you off, they don’t need that much space for floats, most of the floats are designed to turn on a dime so maneuvering them into a parking space next to space mountain or the old Admin building is not a problem. All that backstage stuff you see from Google Earth, its not needed where it is. It can all be moved and placed somewhere else.

      • Susan Hughes

        Well I’m backstage all the time. I use the facilities there for as part of my daily routine. I still don’t get how it’s going to work. Like I said, good for the guests…bad for the cast members.

      • The bulldozing and permanent relocation of amenities and infrastructure outlined in the quoted text from Al Lutz’s September 2012 article was used to compare those earlier plans with the new/current plans. The plans now appear to mostly be “themed fencing” to cover up backstage buildings and spaces that regular guests shouldn’t to see. I doubt we’ll see the East Guest Flow Corridor expanded to 20 feet with storerooms and backstage amenities bulldozed and permanently relocated, as Al Lutz’s two-year-old report suggested. I’m guessing the space will reopen mostly as it is now, just with new “themed fencing” to block certain things and to make the corridor in general look a little nicer.

        -Andy
        Dateline Disneyland

  • ayalexander

    Well I must say that I am glad that the construction of the corridors has begun. It’s definitely needed. The west side of Main Street won’t need too much work, which is good news. Building a simple fence to disguise the backstage area on the Jungle Cruise side of the passage will do most the work, and on the Main Street side of the west passage, they just have to do repainting of the buildings, add some themed awning to windows and doorways, some fancy wall lamps and you’re done. There’s too many doorways and access points for storage and work space to line both sides of the west passage with walls. HOWEVER on the east side of Main Street, that corridor will mean bulldozing a lot of cheap structures, which can be a good thing. Its too bad that they will simply just build themed fencing… the East side corridor could be given an amazing themed look and be open year round, and if it was covered, it would help during rainy days. But I suppose simple fencing is better than seeing the ugly buildings backstage.

    • Marko50

      Just think…once the alleys are open for business, they can go back to 20 nights of Candlelight Procession – or even expand! Thanksgiving has largely fallen by the Dis Calendar wayside anyway.

  • bingocimo

    As mentioned in earlier post, Disneyland website has Space Mountain refurb beginning on 5/27; Can you confirm which date is correct?

    • ShannonA

      I too am confused. It seemed confirmed that the closure had moved. The Disneyland web page says 5/27-7/3 I wish they would move it to August like they did the Matterhorn.

      • Thanks for the correction! I’ve updated today’s post to reflect the schedule change.

        -Andy
        Dateline Disneyland

  • DanO

    I really wish they could sneak an extra exit out through Critter Country for an easy exit after F!. That would drop you pretty close to the sidewalk back to Mickey and friends. A bit of a trick crossing backstage, but I’m sure they could figure it out.

    • ayalexander

      Yeah but you don’t want to confuse guests with more than one way in and out of the park. Its already confusing enough for people to find out they can take a monorail to the park. Some people think the only way in or out is a monorail! SeaWorld has several entrances/exits and being a first-timer I was confused as heck to find out where I should exit.

      • DanO

        I meant only as an exit and really, only after F! and the fireworks during the mass exodus. Being able to bypass the walk back to the main gate, then walking or taking the tram essentially all the way back would be incredibly convenient, especially after a long day. The guest control doing F! could just roll out temp signs that say Mickey and Friends Parking that point towards Critter Country when it’s an option. I get that it may all seem anti-Disney from the stand point of not having that magical stroll back down Main Street at the end of the night, but the bypasses behind the shops are essentially doing that same thing.

        I could see people who had been to WDW first might be confused by the monorail, but only if they’re staying at Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier. I’ve taken it when sent to park in Simba. I doubt people staying in the hotels along Harbor would think that and certainly, locals know.

      • ayalexander

        Well I’ve had people ask me if there were other exits out Disneyland besides the monorail. I am a Cast Member at Disneyland and first timers know very little about the park.

  • TodAZ1

    Another great edition!

    A little constructive criticism, though. When you’re stating in the story when an attraction or whatever else is coming back, you should put the date in there, along with the day of the week.

    For example – “Back in Mickey’s Toon Town, Gadget’s Go Coaster is scheduled to reopen on Friday.” It would be a much easier read if you said Friday, May 16th.

    Other than that, a very enjoyable Monday edition!! Keep up the great work (and beautiful photos!!!)

    • Thanks for the feedback, TodAZ1! We’ll keep it in mind but be sure to always check the full refurbishment schedule at the end of the update for full date listings.

      Thanks for reading!
      -Andy

  • MarkW

    Pleased with the Little Mermaid improvements, but disappointed with the cheaped-down Main Street alley as described in the update. We’ll have to see what it ends up looking like, but I think they should have spent the money to do this right.

    • LoveStallion

      In principle, I might agree with you, but in reality, is it worth the money to gussy up an area that isn’t even needed all the time?

      When I’ve been shunted along the sides of Main St., I actually thought it was super cool to get to see behind the scenes. That’s more fun than some fencing or retheming.

      • Earlier plans like Edison Square or International Street as well as the Main Street Alley that Al Lutz discussed would have effectively made the corridors permanently “on-stage” areas for everyday guest use. The new plans appear to simply be a dressing-up of backstage and the space will effectively remain “backstage,” still only being used on an as-needed basis. Keep in mind that Disneyland Paris has fully-immersive, indoor arcades along Main Street USA that were designed specifically for this same crowd flow purpose. Disneyland Paris probably doesn’t always need these, but they have them and they’re fully themed and top-quality. Why shouldn’t Disneyland get something similar?

        Thanks for reading!
        Andy

      • ayalexander

        I totally agree with you Andy. I think Disney needs a permanently themed on-stage quality, guest overflow corridor. Just like the one you mentioned at Disneyland Paris.

      • MarkW

        Yes! The corridors should be crafted such that they are permanent, “on-stage” areas for everyday guest use!

  • tooncity

    This back stage Alley passage way, really does identify the current state of respect Disney has for it’s customers. Which is NO respect for those dummies paying a $100 a head to get into a park with only about 8 Major attractions open.

    Did anything one notice, the list of attractions that are open with the wait times. I counted 8 real ones. Autopia does count as a major one. Then you knock off Cartoon Spin and Peter pan and what do you have left??

    Divide those attractions by the admission price and it’s over $11 to ride Space, Haunted, Matterhorn. In the mean time they are full on Las Vegas Hotel speed construction on Club 33!

    Yet, we’re building a themed fence for you folks, better thanks us by spending more money. Just ignore that horrible Tomorrowland; fast-ly going on 20 years since they admitted it was a colossal blunder. Wow, the arrogance, the temerity…it’s on the verge of being obscene.

    Folks, STOP going to this place. Tell your friends to STOP going to this place. If you have any respect for your money, cancel your AP’s. Please.

  • Skimbob

    People will never leave DL in mass. Disney is counting on it. As far as annual passholders go they would be happy to lose a few of those as well. Club 33 on the other hand is extremely important because it generates a ton of money. I for one would like to see a demise of this club especially when it starts taking up room in one of the best themed parts of the park.

    I am looking forward to seeing the changes in TLM this week. It to me is a huge step in the right direction. Baby steps folks baby steps.

    • ayalexander

      I agree, club 33 was meant to be a step away from the park experience, and into an alternate more elite experience. The second Disney starts boxing away a part of the average guest experience in order to cater to the super rich, I get mad. It is unbelievable that they would do that. There is plenty of room up there for expansion, but by taking away one of the most beautiful and hidden spots of the park, that is just unbelievable.

      • Cory Gross

        Agreed… Them taking a formerly public part of the park – a great, quiet placemaking spot that adds to the comfort, atmosphere and family memories of so many people – away from us to make it a waiting room for the super-rich is one of the actual, legitimate things that offends me about what is going on in Disneyland right now. And oh, go figure, it’s not what the Universal fanboys are on about. Anyways, while “class warfare” might be a strong term, it’s certainly “class wiffle-batting.”

      • ayalexander

        Universal sucks. Talk about a park you don’t want to pay big money for, Universal may be 3 bucks cheaper than Disney but they aren’t worth more than a $20 admission ticket.

      • CaptainAction

        ayalexander, you’re stuck in the 80’s thinking buddy. Cory has never visited Universal Orlando and apparently you haven’t been recently or ever either.
        If you get confused trying to exit Sea World…well, maybe you should just keep doing the same things over, and over, and over, at WDW.
        Avatar and a water show over the next 6 years at WDW.
        Cheap out value design on Avatar too. WDW cancelled the boat ride? You won’t like the Avatar ride anyway because it’s a movie on a screen.
        What is anyone going to do for 9 hours after lunch at AK while waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a water show?
        Pretty aggressive plans from WDW, huh?
        Who sucks?
        Universal imagineers are handing WDW imagineers their rumps.

      • ayalexander

        Captain, I don’t care for the crappy look of WDW I’m from SoCal. I was born and raised at Disneyland and am still going there. I’ve been to WDW twice in my life and don’t feel the need to go back. Yeah i can be cynical about other Disney Parks, but not my beloved Disneyland. Trust me I’m not stuck in the 80’s, Micechatter Algernon is.

      • Cory Gross

        Nobody who loves Universal as much as these guys has any right to criticize a Disney fan. Universal Hollywood was one of the biggest wastes of time and money.

      • ayalexander

        Exactly, I personally despise Universal Parks. My cousin had never been to Universal Studios Hollywood and so he went last Saturday. He came back and said, “That was the worst place ever. It was not worth the nearly $90. You couldn’t pay me to go back” -And that was from a kid that prizes theming and story-telling. I guess Disneyland is in his blood too.

      • Cory Gross

        “I guess Disneyland is in his blood too.”

        Or at least, not-crap-rides-that-are-mostly-broken is in his blood…

      • AaroniusPolonius

        Awwww….Cap got his own pep squad!

  • airick75

    When it says “brought in line with other Disney dark rides,” does it mean like Pirates and Indiana Jones? Because while Mermaid has its flaws, it’s still head and tails above something like Pinocchio or Snow White. Snow White doesn’t even have an ending! It’s just…over. Granted, same for Mermaid, but it’s still a pretty good show. The trouble is that we can all see how close it is to being a great show! Maybe the greatest short dark ride.

    I’m usually all against anything one Disney, but I can live with the attraction posters for both parks on one glass. Really, I think it’s kind of cool.

    • ayalexander

      Well by “brought in line with other Disney dark rides” -I’m sure they were thinking more in line with the classic fantasyland Dark Rides, but yeah they also meant Indy and Pirates. But they said that because Mermaid’s big scene was all lit by stage lights and you could see the workings of the ceiling and other non-themed stuff. But now that the big scene was done in black light, there appears to be no ceiling and the stage lights are less visible if not, at all invisible. So in that case, it is now more like a classic dark ride.

    • CaptainAction

      airick, Little Mermaid is our families least favorite of the dark Fantasyland rides. We would all rather ride Peter Pan, Toad, Alice, Snow White, or Pinocchio over Mermaid.
      At least a bolder falls toward the (life size) witch as she falls back after the lightening. Ursula should be larger than any character in the Mermaid attraction (except maybe Triton) and at the end should be Godzilla size compared to the other characters.
      Instead, we get the worst forced perspective from Disney since “Beast’s dollhouse castle” and “Rapunzel’s house on a 9 foot stick” from WDW’s New Fantasyland. Ursula shrinks to 3 feet tall and rocks back and forth with an expression of constipation while giant Eric and Ariel stand next to her on the stern of a boat. Since Ursula looks uncomfortable, we’re to assume that she isn’t happy, I guess.
      Peter Pan’s flight has better special effects over London. Toad has better with the train and hell. Monstro is menacing and scary in Pinocchio. Snow White’s witch is life size, tries to kill the dwarfs, lightening strikes and she falls back as a boulder appears to fall toward her while she screams. All these rides are decades older and better executed than Mermaid.
      At the end of Little Mermaid the menacing Ursula shrinks to 1/4 her size?
      We woulld rather ride Winnie The Pooh, thanks.

  • Crazee4mm

    I was walking through the shops on the east side of Main Street USA last week and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw some new ceramic salt/pepper shakers designed like the different themed trash cans throughout the park. They are beautiful (and affordable at $8.95 each) and totally cool! I bought all 4 that were available (Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland) and am seriously considering buying many more to give as Christmas gifts. I cannot convey my excitement at seeing new, high quality, ride specific merchandise in the stores. I also bought a couple of gargoyle candlestick holders (from HM’s stretching room) that were begging me to give as birthday gifts. I’m going back next week and I’m bringing more money than usual. Keep up the ride-specific merchandise (and do it RIGHT!) and I’ll continue to purchase it. Finally, items that appear to be worth the price and don’t make me feel like I’m being ripped off.

    • ayalexander

      You paid $8.95 for a shaker? Let alone four. They are amazing, don’t get me wrong… but still not worth that price. $36+ dollars for 4 shakers. The Merchandising team got you good.

  • tooncity

    For a family of 4 it cost $400 to get into the park. That’s expensive folks. I don’t care who you are, $400 just to get in IS still a lot of money. I’d say they’re already catering to the Super rich.
    I myself am doing pretty well, but I’m not going to spend that kind of money for an Old and dated experience. There are many, more choices out there. Disney’s going to wake up one more and see that the market will have turn away from them. Without attracting a more youthful generation (that they are turning off with high prices), the babyboomers are going to be gone, with nobody to replace them.

    • ayalexander

      Have you seen the demand for Disney -Magic Kingdom- style parks? It seems people will pay that hefty price no matter what. Trust me, Disney won’t be regretting those high prices anytime soon. Plus its supply and demand. When there is a high demand and not enough supply, prices HAVE to go up. That’s just how it is.

      • tooncity

        I just think it’s turning into a High End Park. Cutting out a huge amount of people at the lower end. I don’t believe, it’s a good long term business model. You have to give something back, it can’t be all take, take, take.

      • ayalexander

        That I will agree with, Disney is marketing to a different class of people. I admit that is quite sad because technically I don’t fit that market of people…but at the same time, they are trying to stay away from the types of people that visit Knott’s or Six Flags. I mean, you get these people that come from tough neighborhoods, they are often dressed in their worst, have awful manners, and don’t care how they treat people or property. Unfortunately, when I worked in Guest Relations, I loved helping people…but when I would get those (for lack of better words) “ghetto” people, they were rude, they spit all over the ground, they cussed with every word, their clothes were torn, and they had a menacing appearing of rough and toughness. -I guess what I’m getting at is Disney believes that the more “wholesome” people they should market to, happens to be people who can better afford a more pleasant demeanor and mannerism. -Gosh… that is really hard to say with tact. I gave it my best I just hope my point came across without insult.

      • Marko50

        Another thing that you don’t seem to be taking into account – most people don’t pay the one-day amount. There are numerous ways to pay that don’t work out to a C-note/person/day.

    • CaptainAction

      I think we are begining to see this in Florida.

      WDW parks grew between NEGATIVE, 2%, or FLAT between 2009-2013!

      Universal only opened the first Hogsmead portion of Harry Potter during those years, 2009-2013, and grew 39%!

      Since then Universal opened Despicable Me, Springfield, Transformers, (WDW fans hate this list, and they never have an answer they just hate to read the list), Cabana Bay (value) Resort with suites, lazy river, slide, bowling alley, table service, and better value than WDW value resorts, etc.
      Opening soon is the MOST immersively themed land in the USA, Potter’s London, Diagon Alley, and Knockturn Alley with 2 more E Ticket attractions (trust me – the Hogwarts Express is E Ticket – just wait) Hogwarts Express and Escape From Gringott’s.
      This gives Universal Florida the TWO MOST Immersively themed lands of ANY theme park in the USA.
      Looking for Universal to pass by AK, DS, and/or Epcot in the coming few years.
      Then comes the OTHER 70% of Universal’s 5 year plan with more hotels, more E Ticket’s, third park, waterpark/themepark all connected by monorail to the hub at Citywalk.

      WDW has a watershow and a value scaled Avatar ride coming in the next 5 years.

      Let’s see what Potter at Universal Hollywood can do. California needs more competition like we have in Florida.

      • Marko50

        And once again CA repeats, repeats, repeats…

      • blondiemouse72

        If you ever went back and rode Rock N Rollercoaster (I know you won’t) the appropriate song to be playing could only be SAME OLD SONG AND DANCE

      • CaptainAction

        Like Chevy Chase says to the nieghbors in Christmas Vacation, “I wasn’t talking to you”.
        There are a lot of different folks who come to Micechat all the time.
        Besides, no “WDW can do no wrong folks” ever have a good return on the substance of my comments.
        The substance of your response is, “Hey, stop saying that!” and “I don’t want to hear that”.

      • Cory Gross

        Cap, that’s probably because you mistakenly think that it’s a contest. Don’t think of it in terms of “these people don’t want to hear the truth of my sound arguments!” and think of it more as “these people are getting tired of me constantly bashing something they love and enjoy.” I doubt anyone objects to you choosing to exercise your right to take your money to another resort. It’s the fact that you have to keep bashing not only the resort we still like, but even insulting us as people, that gets my goat. Not everyone feels as betrayed by Disney as you do.

      • ayalexander

        HAHA! Thank you Cory Gross for that! CaptainAction, the thing is, no matter how ‘bad’ you think Disney Parks have gotten….they are STILL better than the rest. Universal can cheap out on ‘movie projection’ rides, and Knotts can keep aggrivating their guests and Six Flags can go on catering to the primitive man who go “ME WANT COASTER!” but Disney still has the best experience of them all, no matter what Disney has cheaped out on, because here’s the deal, it goes back to what Walt said: “Quality will out.”

      • Cory Gross

        Absolutely, ayalexander. It’s not lost on me that my fiancée and I are choosing to honeymoon in WDW EXACTLY BECAUSE of all the things these guys complain about. We WANT to eat at Be Our Guest and ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and see the animals at DAK and kick up our heels at the “outdated” water parks. I want to run around Tom Sawyer Island and watch the Country Bear Jamboree and chill on the Peoplemover because those are classics I can’t get in Anaheim. I’m even looking forward to the Fantasia mini-golf, because I love Fantasia. The experience that Disney is offering is the experience I want to buy, and I’m as happy as one can be under the circumstances to pony up the dough. What’s not good enough for them anymore is totally new and interesting and exciting to me. I think it’s roughly the same way for about 17 million other people too.

  • danielz6

    Good upgrades to Mermaid. Hopefully the revamped Ursula scene comes no later than a year. Silly to compare mermaid to 50 year old dark rides no? If anything it shows how good those oldies are if you’re comparing them to WDIs newest!
    Shame about the main street expansion. This is Walt’s park and deserves the best theming regardless if it’s a side street or seasonal. Can’t help but thinking that OLCo would go all out theming if it was their park.

    Andy…gorgeous photography with the horse drawn trolley. Thank you for taking such excellent pictures.

  • Twinkiebear

    When it comes to refurbishing the backstage corridors why cant they incorporate the back alley of Lady and the Tramp or the back road they used in 101 Dalmatians or even the stairs where the Lady feeds the birds from Mary Poppins. The Aristocats also were in the back ally at one time. There is a lot they could do with these over flow corridors that would definitely be Disney !!

    • ayalexander

      Besides Mary Poppins, kids don’t know those other animated classic movies anymore, unfortunately.

      • CCS

        I think many families have the whole range of Disney animated movies and the kids coming up cut their teeth on them. And, sorry to say, but I’m pretty sure you did insult a whole segment of the Disneyland-going public with that post about “ghetto” people earlier. :\

  • ghosty4

    I’ve never really paid attention to the Carnation Cafe but since the menus and prices were part of this update I just wanted to say, my jaw is on the floor that a burger and fries is 12.99-14.99 but meatloaf and mashed potatoes is 12.49? THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING?!

    Dumb!

  • danielz6

    BradyNBradleysMmom, I was at sea world san Diego last week and all of the park merchandise that I saw said sea world San Diego on it, not just a generic sea world parks. I was shocked that a much smaller park can do this but the industry leader wants to save money by mass producing generic garbage for everyone. Disney’s cheapness really knows no bounds!

    • ayalexander

      SeaWorld can pull it off because SeaWorld doesn’t sell as much merchandise as Disneyland. When you have as high a demand for merchandise as you do at Disney Parks, it starts to look more appealing to bring a one-track mind to it…plus as another micechatter said, the guests love to have multiple parks on their mugs and plates because they simply don’t care. As long as it says “disney” on it, people will buy anything.

      • At the volume Disney orders merchandise and at the markup they sell it at, there is really no excusing them for having merchandise that has artwork from Disneyland and Walt Disney World on the same cup. It’s lazy, cheap, and frankly insulting to the consumer.

        Thanks for reading,
        -Andy
        Dateline Disneyland

  • Bfscott77

    Hmm. Since the general public is losing the Court of Angles in New Orleans Square I almost WISH they were putting more effort into the Main Street Victorian alley ways because most of the time I bet it would be a nice quiet place away from the crowds.

    • ayalexander

      I agree, it should be like the indoor corridor at Disneyland Paris. That would be a wonderful Idea and it would work beautifully.

  • jawknee

    I highly doubt that a guest, already aggravated with how packed the parks are, is going to complain about “themed fencing” when exiting the corridors, so please, stop trying to speak on behalf of the regular vacationer. Only certain APs with their claws out are going to complain.

    • I’m not sure how advocating for on-the-cheap decisions will benefit Disney in the long term or any of its guests. I’m guessing the only reason DCA initially failed was because APs with their claws out had mean things to say? Not that “themed fencing” will doom Disneyland, but I don’t think cheap decisions like this exactly help the park, either.

      -Andy
      Dateline Disneyland

  • TweedlDum9

    Question about the video ride-thru posted: On the Ursula AA, did they make her skin all rubber now instead of purple stretchy satin? Or was it always rubbery and I’m just having flashbacks of “Parade of Dreams” Ursula?

  • mickEblu

    @ CCS

    I think what Ayalexander referring to was the ghetto gang bangin looking people that frequent Magic Mountain. I don’t think that “ghetto” and poor people necessarily go hand in hand. You can be rich and ghetto and every race has their ghetto people. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to a family on a budget who maybe has to save up all year to go on that Disneyland vacation. I for one really do not care to go to magic mountain for 2 reasons. The clientele and the oh ya the place just flat out sucks ( no theming , place is falling apart etc… Even though I do enjoy roller coasters.

    • ayalexander

      Thank you! You totally understood what I was getting at. That is exactly what I mean. I didn’t mean that poor people and ghetto people go hand in hand, I only meant that Disney is marketing more to the richer people. A friend described it as the economic principle, higher prices means being more exclusive which means richer people, which mean less likely chance of people that will openly disrespect property and other guests. Of course no matter what ‘class’ there are always people that misbehave, but when it comes to a more elite group of people, there is less of the same type of mis-behavior within a theme park. I can’t explain it any better than that, but let me just say this, since Disney has raised their park admissions past $75, occurrences like gang-related fights and stabbing has been reduced in number because those people no longer frequent a park full of people with deeper pockets than themselves. And I’ll just end with this: I by no means am any part of the rich and elite. I am between jobs and poor as heck, but I used to work at Disneyland for years up until 2013 and I have seen the positive results of charging higher admission prices.

      • CCS

        Just keep talkin’…….

  • danielz6

    I’ve said it before about “ghetto” people and gang members. Most of them have the same or more money than middle class people. These arguments are completely prejudiced and unfounded. Rich people can behave much worse than poor people, ever been to a college party? How people behave depends only on their upbringing and parenting and has zero to do with money or race.
    Also, if those people aren’t visiting Disney it’s because they don’t want to, not because they can’t afford it. Just go to Disneyland, there’s days when it’s full of middle/lower class Hispanics. In fact Disney has been catering more do that demographic with the Latino stuff in paradise pier. Has nothing to do with if they can afford it or not.

    • ayalexander

      K, that is prejudice. Disney caters to a wide variety of ethnic demographics with their Greek festival, latino festival, Chinese new year, and there’s more to come. And as I said every class has people who misbehave, but higher classes often (note that I say often and not always) but often have a more respectful upbringing. They are more likely to shoplift than start an altercation with another guest. Working at Disneyland for years, I’ve noticed that most of the ‘misbehaving’ on the guests part come from people of a lesser income than the rich. You don’t have to go far in Orange County to notice this either. Santa Ana and Anaheim have higher crime rates than Irvine and Newport Beach, you see what I’m saying?

    • ayalexander

      I’m not pulling stuff outta my but here, this is actual fact. I’ve seen lots of stuff go down at Disneyland Resort. I’ve seen people shoplift, I’ve seen them steal from strollers, I’ve seen them try to get their $100 family meal complimented to them, I’ve seen them pick food out of trash cans, and I’ve seen them try to fake tickets in order to get into the park. All of these were things committed by people who couldn’t financially afford it. Couldn’t afford a souvenir, couldn’t afford a fancy camera on the stroller, couldn’t afford to pay $100 for a family meal, couldn’t afford to even purchase a meal and so dug through a trash can, and fake admission tickets because they couldn’t afford the prices. Now in my experience, (this is just my experience) I’ve never seen a well-to-do person do this in the parks, because I think most of the time, they could simply shell out the cash for the things they want like food, souvenirs and admission tickets. When I worked in guest relations i had a guest on a ‘budget’ as we call it, she lost her admission ticket and fought tooth and nail to get a new one without paying for it, -no problem- thats what we do. Right after her, there was a guest with pretty deep pockets, Nordstrom clothing, pricey handbags and shoes -the works, they too lost their ticket and when I told them I would have to go through a process to retrieve the information…they said they’d rather purchase a replacement cuz they simply didn’t have the time. -Most (not all) but most people who can afford something several times over, will be willing to shell out the cash than to fight for something free.

      • danielz6

        I seen” well to do” people go berserk and act like complete children in public, just because they don’t get their way or because the worker didn’t smile at them and tell them to have a good day. They are detached from reality because many times everything has been handed to them. They don’t know what it’s like to work for every dollar they have and be treated like dirt at the same time. I’ve also seen” well to do
        ” middle aged men be complete jerks to women half their size and attempt to intimidate them at which time I intervened and reminded them how pathetic they’re acting. I’ve also seen well to do using drugs, cursing at family attractions like fools. But besides all that and more I refuse to generalise and say it’s because money or race because I know their are a lot of good people in the same class as well.
        If we’re talking purely about stealing at a theme park Well yes obviously it’s gonna be poorer people. Of course a starving person is more likely to at out of a trash can. But there’s people.in the same class who would never do that, because of upbringing and parenting. That is the ultimate determinant if someone is bad or good, not race or class. Rich people have stolen as well, might not be cheap made in China Disney trinkets, but ever heard of Ponzi, or how about the bailout of billion dollar banks at the expense of the middle class? Or how about 500 years of European colonialism and conquest. If you widen your gaze, it’s not about race or class, anyone can be good or bad.

      • ayalexander

        danielz6, all those things you mentioned at the end of your paragraphs there, don’t happen in Disneyland. And yes I know anyone can be bad, if you actually just read my comments with third eye and save your opposition until your done reading my comment, you wont run over the fact that I said, “And as I said every class has people who misbehave, but higher classes often (note that I say often and not always) but often have a more respectful upbringing [by statistical numbers]. They are more likely to shoplift than start an altercation with another guest” -and besides I’m just saying it as I’ve seen it. I’m not saying my OPINION is the absolute answer to the problem, I’m saying that as I’ve seen it, charging higher prices have resulted in less problematic people entering the park. Thats just a statement of observation. Stop biting my head off. I’m not telling you that your opinion is wrong.

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