New things Under the Sea in Disney California Adventure and Resort Update

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

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Published on May 16, 2014 at 2:00 am with 42 Comments

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.

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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.

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Plaza Inn

The Plaza Inn continues along with a refurbishment to the popular eatery.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You can just make out the wide walkways which are being added to the side of the track, which will likely include standard height safety railings.

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Toontown Beautification

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.

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Despite all of the work on the land, it’s awful to see that the peeling hills of Toontown remain untouched. Let’s hope they quickly sand and repaint these hills.

Club 33

The refurbishment of the elite Club 33 trudges on with work becoming too apparent to cover up.

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Inside the shops along Angels Court, the doorways are now walled off.

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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.

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MICECHAT PODCAST

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Disney California Adventure

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.

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Palm fronds are battered by gusty winds below as the swinging gondolas go to and fro.

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Good Ol’ Golden Zephyr was closed off and on this week due to the winds as well.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The budget wasn’t spent on painting the faded shells on the conveyer belt.

 

The attraction starts off with the same lighting it has always had.

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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.

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At the first video screen, above the ride path, fish are staring back at you. It is a far more engaging introduction that smooths over the aloof beginnings of the ride.

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These static figures are all new.

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However, the most notable alterations are in the massive Under the Sea sequence at the middle of the ride.

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King Trident’s castle has been painted on the wall in the hallway leading to the Under The Sea room. It’s a small, but nice, touch.

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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.

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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.

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However, they continue to use incandescent lighting to punctuate certain things, most notably Ariel.

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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.

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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.

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Sadly, Ursula’s newly expanded death scene  was cut as time and money didn’t allow it for this go around.

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Again, dry hair.

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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.

 

Boudin Bakery

The wonderful paint job and place-making at the Boudin Bakery is winding down.  Take a look at this great work folks.

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Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company.  Thanks for reading this week’s 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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  • junebug1233

    I didn’t know there was a king of gum!!

    (The caption for the new castle painting should be “King Triton,” not “King Trident.”

    • junebug1233

      Although, I guess to be fair, he carries a trident!

  • buzzyfan

    Even though I haven’t been on the little mermaid, you guys need to shut up on how “awful” it is. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful disney dark ride I’ve ever seen.

    • Norman Gidney

      Worst argument ever.

  • MouseEarWax

    But how hard would it have been to make the static fish bob a little in the water? Just sticking more rubber fish on the wall doesn’t make the ride any better, just more crowded.