This was an interesting week at the Disneyland Resort. While many projects continued along on their refurbishment path inside Disneyland Park, a highly anticipated refurbishment wrapped up. Yes, the long-rumored retooling of the Little Mermaid attraction at,Disney California Adventure, made its debut to pleased guests and pundits alike. But guests can still be overheard grumbling about the amount of attractions that are currently closed. But keep your eye on the prize dear readers, all these rolling refurbs will hopefully lead up to a stellar 60th anniversary celebration.
Another unseasonal round of Santa Ana winds hit the resort this week. Nothing as strong as the winds we reported about a couple of weeks ago. But they did bring with them some high heat which had guests sweltering. But the show must go on . . . Disneyland Band was out each day.
The Plaza Inn continues along with a refurbishment to the popular eatery.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
The Finding Nermo Submarine Voyage is finally getting some actual refurbishment. It is common now to hear workers clanging on the shells of the large steel submersibles or catch them carefully walking on the CAL/OSHA approved catwalks over the track. If all goes as planned, the ride will be back up and running by September 26th.
As we mentioned last week, some of the vegetation on top of the show building has been killed off as the irrigation to this area has been cut off during the closure of the ride.
Alice in Wonderland
We can see more progress on the exterior of the Alice in Wonderland attraction. The track path outside the show building is being reinforced and widened, while the cartoonish foliage received bright new paint. The attraction is set to return July 4th, 2014.
The Toontown Beautification was still underway when we took our photos this week. The project is expected to wind down this week with the opening of Gadget’s Go Coaster this morning. Construction walls should follow shortly.
The refurbishment of the elite Club 33 trudges on with work becoming too apparent to cover up.
Coinciding with the Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment, which is scheduled to last until May 22nd, the exit tunnel into New Orleans Square is fully exposed now.
Doug Barnes, David Yeh and Dusty Sage take you 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:
As mentioned previously, the Santa Ana winds kicked up again. The wind whipping through the cages adds a rather thrilling component to the already hair-raising swinging gondolas on the Fun Wheel.
Grizzly River Run
Grizzly is returning from refurbishment in roughly one month. June 20th is when the rapids are scheduled to be flowing once more. And with all the high heat we’ve been having lately, the reopening can’t come soon enough.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
This seems to be a dark ride that many folks love to hate. However, we actually like this attraction for what it is. No, it is not perfect. Yes, it is an attraction that was built entirely too short and lacking in early show scenes. But, it’s a musical, air conditioned, and people-eating omnimover which does the job it was intended to do.
Fortunately, the imagineers understand that this attraction could be vastly improved with minor changes. During this most recent refurbishment, the creative team brought the attraction more in line with its Fantasyland dark ride roots, using more blacklight effects to fix the Under The Sea scene. The end result is simple, yet effective.
The attraction starts off with the same lighting it has always had.
But diving “under the sea”, things become more fluorescent. A glowing, blue hue seems to cover everything. Along the way, more neon-colored fish greet you as you descend into the depths of the ocean.
However, the most notable alterations are in the massive Under the Sea sequence at the middle of the ride.
The Under The Sea room has a delightfully cartoonish hand painted quality to it which is accented in vibrant tones due to the new high power backlights. Your focus remains low, and on the items immediately in front of you since the lighting mostly illuminates figures near your eye level. In fact, now, you can’t see the rudimentary catwalks and lighting rigs high above the track that were once so visible.
Now the spinning fish mobiles in the ceiling actually create the illusion of swimming fish. While, in other areas, fish seem to hover above passers by since their supports are hidden in the dark. It makes the room feel limitless and really opens things up.
The music and lighting are still choreographed with spotlights hitting certain figures here and there. While we can understand the idea behind this lighting design choice, it somehow doesn’t feel right to mix the black lights with the incandescent. Would there be another way to highlight certain characters while not breaking the convention of black light coloring?
This technique, however, does and always has worked, in the Ursula scene. Here, magic is being conjured and eerie colors are at home.
The other big change is the hair on the figures that appear above water, on land. To this columnist the idea makes perfect sense as that is how the hair would look and behave if it were dry.
Now please enjoy this ride through taken this past Tuesday. We get extra time in the Under the Sea room as the ride was halted temporarily.
The wonderful paint job and place-making at the Boudin Bakery is winding down. Take a look at this great work folks.
Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company. Thanks for reading this week’s In the Parks.