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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  • Algernon

    I agree. Walt Disney’s vision was a park for all ages–where everybody from Grandma to the baby could go on the same ride (can anybody say “Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan, Monorail–the long gone Adventure Through Inner Space?). But the family-friendly Mine Trains gave way to Big Thunder. The Subs are now for toddlers; Star Tours for teenagers. Roger Rabbit and Buzz Lightyear are only of interest to kids–the entire Toon Town for small children.

    • mondo

      my brothers and I enjoy Roger Rabbit and Buzz Lightyear and all three of us are over 20. I have seen adults and younger kids on ST

  • ayalexander

    I think it would be cool to somehow transform the Innoventions building into a two storey Mission Space attraction where the queue is based on the rotating part of the building and you can choose from easy ride or hard ride, and for easy, the attraction would be on the bottom floor, and hard would be on the top floor. They could even use the old Rocket Rods maintenance building behind the Innoventions building as the indoor queue somehow.
    I have to say I am a BIG nastalgic fan of the subs and autopia however I have to admit with low rider capacity and expensive upkeep, they should probably go. -and I would like to see some sort of Wall-E dark ride or 3D movie to replace Captain EO, even tho Disney annouced they “We don’t do 3D anymore”. It would still be nice and would keep the magic eye theater for all to see. -and… I don’t mind the idea of autopia moving to carsland… actually… it kinda fits because autopia is no longer “futuristic”.

    • LoveStallion

      Great idea on bringing Mission: Space to Anaheim.

      I would love to see a Wall-E ride or film. I’m not sure what sort of adventures could be build around Wall-E, other than forcing all of us to watch Hello, Dolly! until we hurl.

      What I would love to see somewhere – not necessarily Tomorrowland, but I can’t think of where else it’d work – would be an Incredibles attraction that uses the same technology seen in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

  • DisWedWay

    It’s about time to bring the Carousel of Progress back to Disneyland in an updated version and make use of it’s original revolving building. It will be better maintained than it has been at WDW, and a lot of fans new and old would appreciate it, especially on hot crowded days. Can anything be done with the Rocket Rods? like a ground level track that they can really run on where the Autopia is?. Would love to see the WedWay People Movers updated and return to Tomorrowland on the elevated track. Would be great if the money was allowed to reinforce the foundation structure to allow the heavier Orbitron to be placed back in it’s original Star Jets position and out of the hub. I too would hate to loose the lagoon and Sub ride. I always liked the WDI Jules Verne concept they had planned just before Nemo swam in. Love it in Tokyo Disney Seas. DCA has plenty of Pixar dust now, so maybe a newer Verne show could take it’s place in the lagoon.

    • Chaz

      All of your suggestions are exactly how I feel, especially CofP. But I gotta add that the House of the Future with all its decor and appliances so futuristic that they didn’t even work (but they all came to life years later–picture phones, flat tv, microwaves) seemed far more enticing than the junk in the current House of the Future. Barfarola! It’s not even a modern architectural design like the old 60s model. And let’s do something exciting with all those radar dishes in Tomorrowland–even though a laser show into the sky is prohibited by the air traffic people.

  • LoveStallion

    I don’t have a lot of love for the Nemo reenvisioning of the Submarines, but kids love it (which gets them away from stuff I want to go on), and Tomorrowland without the lagoon would be awful.

    Disney’s plight is pretty obvious, though. There is a ton of unused space out there, especially with the long-defunct Motorboat Cruise area just sitting there as a pigeon trap. I wouldn’t mind reimagining the Autopia, but I would say it should go electric and trackless, like it was when Disneyland opened. I know that the “Tomorrow” novelty of driving a ruddy car isn’t exactly a innovative, but shy of building a legitimate bada** roller coaster, I can’t see what else to do with the space. They could redo the Autopia and overlay other areas within its space, though; sort of a Western River Expedition for Tomorrowland.

    Kill the entire building for Innoventions. I wish they would bring back Alien Encounter, but I know that won’t be happening. Just please, for the love of humanity, no Monsters Inc., joke factory thing.

    Nix the Captain EO theater. Heck, nix most everything immediately abutting Space Mountain. Do we realize how much wasted space there is all around that thing?

    In a perfect world, I would move the rockets back to their old location. They are currently not much better than Dumbo. When I was a kid, the fun was being up that high. It would also improve crowd flow into Tomorrowland, which is one of the rougher areas for crowd movement in the park.

    And please, PLEASE, just bring back the Peoplemover. It adds such flow and life to all of Tomorrowland.

    • mondo

      I agree with most

  • LoveStallion

    I also wouldn’t be opposed to redoing all of Tomorrowland in the same Jules Verne-inspired theming that is found in Paris. It looks great and keeps Tomorrowland from ever actually being outdated.

    • mondo

      Do you remember TL’98? I don’t think this style work as being futurist. I think people view Sci-Fi style as the future something completly different.. Most of TL’98 color scheme got painted over because it did not work. Maybe Discoverybay, not for TL

      • LoveStallion

        TL ’98 was certainly awful, because it was a half-a** touch up and not much of a redo, save the Rocket Rods. Paris’ style works because of the architecture, paint, and attention to detail. When I say Tomorrowland in Anaheim should do this, I mean the real deal, not just another fresh coat of paint. Raze and rebuild.

  • Susan Hughes

    Finding Nemo Submarines won’t go away. It’s only five years old and still wildly popular. It’s also unique to Disneyland and isn’t found at any other Disney Park.
    Autopias is also very popular. But some re-tooling wouldn’t hurt. But I think it should just stay the way it is. I totally blows Tomorrowland Speedway out of the water.
    Innoventions needs to be replaced, that’s for sure. And Captain EO is not only outdated, but lame. Michael Jackson and the 80′s was three decades ago. Can that one too.

  • shawnman

    rocket rods on the ground where autopia is? if autopia closes i think this is the best idea i have heard to replace them. maybe they can make them so that kids / riders can still “drive” them. just an update to what a “car” might be in the future?! i like this idea! easy fix i think and still the same ride that i and my family enjoy, just a huge futuristic update.

    • kayoss

      They did that already. It’s called Radiator Springs Racers :P

  • wonderpeep

    I LOVE the subs… It is a really wonderful emersive ride. I am 6’3, but do not mind being a little squishy for such a great ride. I not only love the ride, but the gorgeous ambiance the lagoon provides to the whole area. One of my favorite spots in the park is on the Monorail ramp going to the loading station… standing by the Nemo waterfalls and looking at the Matterhorn with the lagoon beneath it. Gorgeous.

  • Trident

    I am confused about something.

    In the Buena Vista Street Details segment, you mention “… we should see the last of the details being added to the already beautiful Buena Vista Street Stores”, followed by some pictures of popcorn lights in Big Top Toys, musical instruments and telephones from Los Feliz Five and Dime. Are you saying those are recent additions? Or just pointing them out? Cause those set pieces have been there since June 15.

  • Timekeeper

    Ugggh, I would not so veto the Nemo Subs just yet, granted, it’s the original movie in 15 minutes, but the presentation is something not found in the other magic kingdom style parks, plus it looks pretty at night in the lagoon.

    The Autopia definitely needs to go electric; but before anything new can go in the Motor Boat Cruise area, the Monorail needs to be rerouted one way, so that the monorail, autopia and peoplemover tracks could be shorten, with the subs and autopia being refurbished at the same time, maybe even consolidating a new, safer peoplemover, announced at a company meeting.

    Innoventions does need to go and I would rather see it being used as a carousel theater, (with either a return to CoP or a new show) on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor, with views of the fireworks and access to the restrooms via a glass tube elevator; or demolished to become a new attraction (either idea would be a financial nightmare.) As for EO, I think their might be enough room to house a CircleVision theater, with the moving seating taken out and the side entrance doors filled in, and the show should either be “From Time to Time” or “America the Beautiful.”


    But I would wait and see if any of these rumors come to pass.


  • DisneyDrums

    Look, if they get rid of Nemo & Autopia, we’ve got a major problem. If I was in charge of the parks, there would be no possible way I’d EVER let those two go.

    • Chaz

      Kinda like that big hole in the sky where the Skyway used to be, right?

  • Internitty

    It amuses me people saying get rid of Captain Eo, how many of those people are the same ones that lined up half the night to get in to see it, who wrote ecstatically about its return and now want it gone and right before the MJ exploitation machine releases the 25th anniversary version of BAD. Maybe Captain Eo should be put out to pasture it’s not for me to decide, although personally I really like it, at least release it on 3D Blu ray as a park only purchase for those of us who actually like it and do see it everytime we visit Disneyland.

    As for the submarines, Walt Disney was very proud of his submarine fleet, he spoke of the often in interviews and even wanted to show them off the visiting Russian leader of the day so draining the lagoon is not an option, the massive crowds for the ride should be a dead give away to that, if they were to go then on the same day I say retire Mickey and Donald because it tantamount to the same thing. Long may the fleet survive.

    Autopia would be so cool with electric cars, of course recharging them would present problems but it would hold true to the idea of Tomorrowland, the recharge problem would give the Imagineers something to really work on, I personally like the idea of an alternator that recharges the battery while the car is in motion, instead of just redressing old rides and calling them Radiator Springs Racers, don’t get me wrong I love RSR but I love Test Track too.

    The rotating building needs to go and something useful take its place, totally agree with everyone on that. Perhaps put in Trip to Mars but call it Stitch World or Trip to Coruscant.

    I know it’s a different area of the park but after the Princess Faire is finished, Aladdin’s Oasis needs to be demolished and the space used for something useful like the return of the Tahitian Terrace (as suggested by Andy Castro) and since the princesses are getting their own land virtually why not get rid of the theatre they occupy now and use that area for some cool new attraction instead of the current plan to refurb it and stick more princesses in it.

  • Jaybaby158

    i like the subs
    they definitely need to demolish Captain EO, Innovations, Autopia, and the Rocket Rod track.
    i would love to see:

    a TRON or Wall-E e-ticket attraction!!!!
    who AGREES???!

  • Snakeyes

    I have a feeling that the Imagineers have been wanting to use the area between autopia and
    its a small world for a long time.
    What ever happens is going to be crazy. Think about what is right over that area, the monorail and the people mover tracks.
    People may not know but there is a lot of underground facilities by inoventions. If all of this area is remade it is going to be deep in the ground and the pocket.

    When they were working on the revamp of the subs Tony Baxter said he always thought
    the original was stale because you just watched an adventure and the new one you experienced it. Thats funny because I know its now the reverse. When I ride the nemo
    version I feel like I am watching a summary of a movie. Tony said what he did because he was a ride operator who rode it thousands of times.

    What they need is rides that are not movie driven. Like adventure thru inner space, The old
    Pirates, Jungle cruise, The Matterhorn, Mine train.

    What is going to happen however…..The home of the future!! right were the old motor boat
    cruise was and only Disney Executives will be able to stay in it over night just like the dream

    • LoveStallion

      Wait a second, you want Disney to just build a wholly original attraction not based on any current film franchise? As if it is still the late 70s? Dude, I wish, but it’s never going to happen. The company is all about synergy (I hate that word) across its many companies – parks, films, television, consumer products.

      The princess areas are annoying, but they sell more products that way. Anything related to Cars is annoying, but it’s a cash cow in terms of merchandise. I would love to see a totally original attraction, but I’m afraid those days are probably behind us, and we can pretty much count on most – if not all – new attractions being based on film and television franchises. Welcome to Disney’s Pixar Adventure.

  • Disneylandfan85

    [QUOTE]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.[/QUOTE]

    Unfortunately, Buena Vista Street is meant to represent L.A. or someplace in the 1920s, when Walt Disney first arrived in California, which was in 1923. At that time, not even Mickey Mouse was in existence yet, let alone Clarabelle Cow, Clara Cluck, Horace Horsecollar or even Oswald. It would be an example of what they call an anachronism.

    And what of all those other lesser-known characters? Where would they go? Because I KNOW they wouldn’t fit on Buena Vista Street.

    Oh, and also, they shouldn’t get rid of the Autopia, because it’s one of the few attractions today that have been around since day one. If they got rid of it, there would be no more opening-day attractions from Tomorrowland.

    • Chaz

      What? That is the only remaining opening day attraction? Incredible. Thanks for enlightening me.

      • Subs wasn’t an opening day attraction. It was part of a Tomorrowland expansion of 1959, which also brought the Matterhorn, Monorail.