Disneyland Resort Update – Sink Or Swim For The Subs

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

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Published on June 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm with 57 Comments

The Disneyland Resort is settling in to a new level of crowds brought by the many new attractions and shows at Disney California Adventure. A surprising attendance trend continues this week as the little park that could, across the way, closely matches Disneyland’s daily attendance. This bodes well for Disney’s massive investment in DCA and their willingness to spend another bundle to finish off the job the started with Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. While we aren’t expecting any major news from Disney in the short term, there are lots of minor projects going on for us to show you as well as some VERY interesting news and rumors from Al Lutz.

Disneyland has been busy, but not crazy busy

The Matterhorn is still seeing a far longer line than it did before the refurb. Is it still too soon to tell whether or not the new bobsled configuration is speeding things up?

If you have not heard, the Chevron sponsorship of Autopia has officially ended.  But instead of renewing, Disney let the agreement go.  Why?  We will get to that in a minute.  But here are shots from the ride, Chevron-less.

The checkered flags cover the Chevron logos

Chevron has been removed from the video screen

So, will the removal of a fuel provider mean that electric Autopia vehicles are on the way? Could an Autopia like attraction be on the way to Cars Land? Plenty to scratch our heads about. But Al Lutz fills us in on a bit of the master plan for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.

In a recent update by Al Lutz he explained that Autopia is ripe for a redo along with the redevelopment of the space occupied by Innoventions.  But this, in turn raises the problem of the subs which are housed directly user Autopia.  It seems that the Submarine voyage is the single most expensive attraction to operate in Disneyland and that iconic attraction could be redeveloped as well.  There was a time when Disneyland was proud of its fleet of submarines. But it seems that they may soon make a final dive. What do you think? Do you want the Subs and Autopia to stay, or do you want that huge space redeveloped for a major Tomorrowland expansion? As for Innoventions, we are going to assume that there’s universal agreement that the big rotating advertisement for Microsoft has long outlived its welcome.

With the increased crowds, construction around the family bathrooms in the former Carnation Gardens stage area, the unused seating and restrooms at Aladdin’s Oasis have been reopened for the time being.   This is a nice quite spot to get out of the hustle and bustle of a busy park and dream about the days gone by of the Tahitian Terrace (even if it does all look like Agrabah).

Here we have the latest progress at the Fantasy Faire Village project.

Over in DCA, Buena Vista Street has seen its first Holiday overlay with patriotic 4th of July bunting and flags.  While it’s hit and miss in execution, it bodes well to see them putting effort into the holidays already.

Over the coming week, we should see the last of the details being added to the already beautiful Buena Vista Street Stores.

Popcorn lighting in Big Top Toys

Set dressing is added daily

Think of it as Mad T Party for the toddler set. The old Millionaire building has once again been repurposed as a new entertainment offering called Dancin’ With Disney.  Too cool for the final “g” in Dancing (never a good sign), this indoor dance fest allows young and old alike to cavort and bounce around to dance music with a handful of Disney Characters.

“I don’t like dancing”

“I’ll huff and I’ll Puff and I’ll bust a move on the dance floor”

They have taken the old Disney Channel Rocks set and reused it within the soundstage as the DJ stand and focal point for the party.

Guests either aren’t interested or haven’t found this attraction

The old Electronica plastic furniture has been put into use as a “Parents Chill Zone.” Who comes up with these too-hip-for-Disney names?

It’s not the reuse of old props or set pieces that bothers us.  Everyone does that. It’s the fact that they seemed to have thought that a half baked idea with poor execution could be combined with classic characters and techno music and it would be a success. Does that remind anyone of another failed project of 10 years ago? DCA perhaps? The same mistakes that they spent over a billion dollars to fix are embodied perfectly by this Dance party for kids. Thankfully this is just a thing for the Summer…  Right?

If they really want to do something with the characters, we would LOVE to see them put the classic Disney characters on Buena Vista Street. That would be the perfect place for Clarabelle Cow, Clara Cluck, Horace Horsecollar and Oswald to reside. And a great excuse for Disney to release a whole bunch of what would surely be very popular merchandise. The upshot of all this is that Disney is nearly always at its worst when trying to be hip and nearly always at their best when they are square. Can we hear an amen?

And that is the news from the Disneyland Resort for today, but that’s not all, not by a long shot. Today and tomorrow we have news from Six Flags, Universal Studios and we offer you an opportunity to win FREE tickets to Knott’s Soak City as well. So, please be sure to click the links and check back to the site all weekend for lots of great new articles.

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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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  • Jeffrey Clinard

    I would like to see a major refurb of Tomorrowland. End Innoventions, Autopia, Submarines, and Captain EO.

    Replace Captain EO with a new Circle-Vision. 3D is everywhere now. Circle-Vision isn’t.
    Restore Innoventions to a revolving theater. Turn the theater into a history of Disneyland, or maybe a tour of the other theme parks around the world (opening / Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Disney Toyko, Euro-Disney, Hong Kong Disney, and Preview of Shanghai Disney / Exit).
    Do something amazing with the space the Autopia and Submarine Voyage take up. Something with huge throughput, maybe using an Omnimover / Atommobile arrangement.
    Restore the People Mover.
    That is four old attractions out, four new ones in. Keeps with the arrangement..

  • Orange Co Native

    1. Disney is not going to replace the submarines anytime soon. They only just opened the Nemo ride in 2007 and spent $$$$ fixing up the lagoon and the show building.
    2. Autopia. A possibility. It is a popular ride however to replace it with something else.
    3. Innovations. Definitely a redo.
    4. Captain EO. Definitely a redo.

    Instead of just using the Innovations rotating building for another ride, I can see them just bulldozing the building. It has been around since 1967 when it use to house the C of Progress and then America Sings in the mid 1970′s. Something completely different.

    Captain EO and Honey I Shrunk The Audience movie theater could be gutted and made into another attraction all together that isn’t even a theater.

  • Worshipeternal

    “The upshot of all this is that Disney is nearly always at its worst when trying to be hip and nearly always at their best when they are square.”


    You just summed up everything wrong with Disney in one sentence– from the Disney Channel to DCA. I really hope their suits are reading these updates.

  • mratigan

    I was the very first person in for dancin with Disney on the 15th

  • Bork

    We saw CMs on Hollywood Blvd last week handing out flyers and pleading with people to check out Dancin with Disney. Not many people were showing any interesting. We walked in, took one look and walked right out. Our 7 year old wasn’t even interested.

  • WheresMickey

    Nice update!

  • RDdB

    While I wouldn’t mind so much if the Submarine Voyage was replaced, it would be a shame aesthetically to lose them and their picturesque lagoon! Autopia should at least be updated to have electric cars (though flying cars would be better). Or perhaps re-theme them and move them to Cars Land? I look forward to a new E-ticket instead of Innoventions, given that it is NOT Stark Innovations / Iron man!

    Great update as always! :-]

    • Tiny Mermaid

      I agree that the subs aren’t a super-amazing attraction anymore, but that lagoon is worth keeping. It may suck up valuable real estate, but I just can’t imagine Tomorrowland without that beautiful lagoon.

  • SpcMtn77

    “Do you want the Subs and Autopia to stay, or do you want that huge space redeveloped for a major Tomorrowland expansion?”

    I guess it depends on what replaces them. These were great classic attractions that the whole family could enjoy together, but I say “were” because they just don’t cut it any longer. I don’t know of anyone who’s had interest in these rides for quite some time time now, and I don’t think there is much repeatability in either one. Combine that with the low capacity, long lines, expensive upkeep, and large amount of real estate they use, it makes sense to get rid of them. I think nostalgia is the only true reason anyone is objecting. They will always be better in our memories than they were in reality.

    “As for Innoventions, we are going to assume that there’s universal agreement that the big rotating advertisement for Microsoft has long outlived its welcome.”

    I think this is an accurate assumption :)

  • Algernon

    Great article! They should bring back the old Submarine Voyage. Nothing was better than descenting that circular stairway as you board, the bubbling water and the lights glistening off the lagoon surface coming to eye level as you enter the sub. You used to feel like you were actually going on a voyage. Now you go underwater to watch a bad cartoon.

    Bring back the Carousel of Progress. People need to feel there could still be a “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” For the future part? Solar paint on houses and roads that generates free electricity; tiny nano-subs that live in our blood, zapping diseases, making repairs; Grandpa, who was 85 in the last scene, now looks 25–he just flew in from Japan–it took him 45 minutes. Aunt Gladys is vacationing on the moon. When junior jumps off the diving board of the glass-domed pool, he sails twenty feet into the air.
    Bring back the peoplemover. Nothing was better when you were hot and tired than getting on the Peoplemover, sitting back and resting, while having a grand circle tour.

    and make Tomowrroland a true land of the future–not Pixar Cartoon Land.

    There is so much they could do. Of course, they will proably settle for Tarzan’s house of the future and the John carter space camp…

    • Chaz

      I love all your ideas! You should be an Imagineer. I miss the Carousel of Progress and even the 360 theater, but most of all nothing brings a futuristic throb to my heart than the House of the Future. Even with its black and white poster on the wall posing as a flat screen tv and the not-yet-available-to-the-masses electric box that zaps food to cook in seconds.

  • RebelMouse

    They have to keep the submarines! I can’t imagine that area without the lagoon. The Nemo part of it works very nicely. The line is ridiculous during the day, but I recommend hitting that ride at about 11:55PM if you can swing it. My girl and I had a sub and the driver all to ourselves once. Will never forget that ride. Bringing back the mermaids wouldn’t be a bad idea for some new interest.

    Innovations has to go. That is a huge waste of space. An electric autopia is a great idea, but the ride does bore me. It needs something. Of course the people mover needs to be re-imagined. Captain Eo was a nice blast from the past but it’s time for something new there as well. I have also thought that some kind of laser show at night would be a nice fit for a new Tomorrowland. They could set up the lasers on space mountain and bounce them around the land set to music. I’m sure Disney could do something spectacular. Would love to see Wall E represented there somewhere also.

    • Chaz

      Those radar dishes in Tomorrowland were supposed to throw laser beams but was prohibited for the safety of aircraft. Tomorrowland is so yesterday; it used to be really futuristic back in the 50s and 60s.

    • dufuss983

      i would LOVE to see a Wall-E attraction driven somewhere in there…..i’m at this moment trying to think of some ideas of what could happen and what they could do but find nothing overly big or amazing that i think would fit tomorrowland…in my opinion they have alot of really good stuff….although it isn’t sticking to the future and more into the area of pixar and characters…..i kinda like it…..i do wholly agree tho that they need to put some sort of futuristic something or other in there…the area where autopia is is HUGE and i mean HUGE…they can definitely put something in there….maybe a new roller coaster?

  • TheHopper

    I went last night and rode Autopia because of rumors that it could be the next expansion area…and my thoughts…it can’t come fast enough. Autopia for nostalgia is over-played…it has changed a lot since my childhood anyway, my kids love Autopia when it bounces around but my kids love every ride and their favorite rides are the new one’s…so whatever they put in there will be far more amazing!

    With Nemo, I know it is hard to imagine a change with how much they spent…but they just spent 1 billion dollars fixing their last mistake. We have ridden Nemo one time and have never wanted to go back. I can’t believe the line is long because it’s claustrophobic and boring and there isn’t even a nostalgic reason to ride it. Expense, slow ride time, lots of space, I hope this area goes under the knife soon!

    Innoventions – we all agree

    Captain EO – we all agree

    As for what should go in…there are 2 things that I think for sure need to go in this area…one is some kind of connection ride with DCA. There needs to be a fast way to get from Tommorowland to Carsland or Paradise pier. That would tie in the two parks so much…take out innoventions or make some kind of loading ride that sends you on a cool new ride that ends in paradise pier…make it like a space portal that pretends to beam you there, or a rocket ride…I don’t know but that would be the coolest option ever. The 2nd thing that fits perfectly in Tommorowland would be Wall-E. I know people hate putting characters with every ride but kids absolutely adore that…my kids would run to a Wall-E themed ride. Even if it was an Ariel type dark ride, kids would love riding that over and over…but it would be fun if you could do some kind of interactive toy story type ride where you fight bad robots or something.

    The only other thing that Tommorland needs to figure out is what to do with People Mover. It is so annoying every time I’m in that park to see all the track just sitting up there with nothing on it. I think it should be remove if it isn’t going to be used.

    • LoveStallion

      Or just build a Monorail station somewhere in DCA. I’ve always thought it was weird that it didn’t stop in the Grand Californian.

  • storyteller

    Tron and Aquatopia would be perfect. They should build up the area as a futuristic city, have the aquatopia going on the lagoon and through buildings. The other part should be a Tron-based ride where people enter Flynn’s arcade and then via and elevator effect are let out into the Grid, and within the Grid your in a vehicle trying to escape back to the human world pursued by CLU and light cycles.

    The queue would be amazing on that ride, it should look like the Grid in Tron: Legacy and have the music playing as well as cast members dressed in the uniforms.

  • WorldFair

    Having been an Autopia cast member, I would not be sad to see it go. A ride that is controlled by guests with no E-Stop and no station gates to separate kids from the ride path is an incident that I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet. While the Submarines look cool in the lagoon, the ride underwater is somewhat underwhelming. But, putting any E-Ticket attraction would have trouble working around the Monorail and People Mover tracks that also wind around there…unless you alter and/or remove these tracks.

    • LoveStallion

      Answer me this: Is the submarine even in water while it’s inside the show building?

      • WorldFair

        If you look up while inside the show building, you can clearly see that the submarine is still in water. Most of the show scenes are not in water. Lighting and projection effects similar to Epcot’s Nemo and Friends create the illusion that these scenes are underwater. You are viewing these scenes through windows like fish (inside submarines) looking out of a fish tank.

  • GPC1226

    I would like to see Innovations turned into a Stark Expo and make it a Marvel themed attraction. Fill it with activities, costumes and information on whatever characters Disney/Marvel may own.

  • sjdimon

    How can the Disneyland Resort be so concerned about MONEY! They are PACKED even on Tuesdays in October, so I don’t really see what the problem is in keeping the SUBMARINE Ride Operating.

    Perhaps in 10 to 15 years when it is no longer popular, then I can see it. But it is FAR TOO NEW of an attraction that is still drawing crowds – so I vote to KEEP THE SUBS (for now at least).

    Now – Innoventions? Captain EO? Autopia? Those can all go as far as I am concerned. Probably the only one of those that still draws any real numbers on a daily basis is the Autopia (which is kind of sad as most theme parks have some sort of driving ride – so it’s hardly unique to Disneyland). If you include the old “MOTORBOAT” Attraction space, then this is quite a large piece of Real Estate.

    Bottom line though – do NOT CLOSE ANYTHING unless there is a PLAN to replace things IMMEDIATELY (I really hate seeing those “We are closed to reimagineer ….” signs hanging on a building for 10 years (like we saw with the Carousel Building after “America Sings” Closed.

    Make sure that at least ONE of the attractions can be enjoyed by the entire family, Not everything needs to be the latest/greatest thrill ride out there (so please, NO MISSION SPACE 2).