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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  • joemorrow271

    I as well have some of auto and do wish for it to be revamped into something much greater. Autopia is one of the original rides left in Tomorrowland and it would be sad to see it go. Maybe a crossover with auto and rocket rods with the addition of a possible show building. And i agree with “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.” by WorldFair. It is a pain and there is a reason that cast members have either gotten hurt or hit by the vehicles operated by the guest!

  • tgdiver

    So many great ideas, so little time! I love the lagoon, even if Nemo got old kinda quick. Wish they’d put the gulls back on the buoy, even if they did annoy the cm’s. Doubt that any change will come to the subs after the huge expense of redoing the ride (and over a decade of nothing there…). Innoventions? So many things that could be done with the space. While I have fond memories of the CofP and America Sings, circle theater is outdated. Sort of like Nemo, once you’ve seen it once, not much to keep you going back. And though a totally original attraction would be great, we can’t avoid the fact that character-based attractions go over well. Wall-E might not be too bad.

    I never liked Captain EO, and given all the bad press MJ got, I’m surprised Disney brought it back. The 3D theater idea is always fun, but there are so many ways to put that space to use in a new way. Absolutely love the idea of park-to-park transportation. We Boomers aren’t getting any spryer.

    And on that note, I submit the idea of bringing back the Skyway, but as a new, reengineered attraction, perhaps based on “Up.” My daughter’s idea. How many of us have felt weary at the idea of braving the crowds from one side of the park to the other? The old FL terminal is still there, don’t know about TL. She and I have some design ideas regarding theming the terminal areas, as well as the gondolas.

    And anyone have any good ideas on park-wide transportation at DCA? Again with the Boomer crowd and our aging knees!

  • HT77

    So, I love the idea of a Wall-E ride. But rather than doing something that recaps the movie, what if they were to do something and almost make it a dark ride 2.0).

    My thought is that you load onto a vehicle which then takes you into a launching zone, and then before you know it, you’re in a somewhat helter-skelter pattern (smooth of course, so each member of the family could enjoy it) but focusing on one particular aspect of the story. The thing that immediately jumps to mind would be the star ballet between Wall-E and Eve. And as your vehicle is moving about, in this pattern going back and forth, up and down, turning, you are essentially “dancing” with the other vehicles in the space. Obviously, it would be a track of some sort to allow you to enter, and move, but then you would have something to look at — the other guests, Eve and Wall-E doing their dance, and it would be a high-occupancy ride.

  • kevinjherrera

    I have mixed feelings about the Tomorrowland expansion. In all honesty I do feel that Tomorrowland needs some much TLC. Since the park opened in 1955, Tomorrowland has struggled to find its true identity. In this day and age, and with all the amazing techniques/skills the Disney Imagineers have I’m sure they have several amazing ideas up their sleeves. I do feel tho that with the DCA expansion and Cars Land being such a huge success, DCA very much more “boy” friendly than Disneyland. Tomorrowland is basically the only area, that the male gender is a huge target. With attractions like Star Tours, Space Mountain, and the Jedi Training Academy, what more is their for boys to do? I find my self wanting to spend more time at DCA than at Disneyland now. Its sad, but true. I am sure Disney has plans to put in something to do with the Avengers, or Marvel related in the Tomorrowland expansion plans, if any.

    I would be sad to see the subs go, this particular ride, besides Peter Pans flight, reminds me so much of my childhood. But then again, I do respect the fact that things have to change, for the better. It confuses me tho, that the Nemo attraction has been around for what, 8 years at most? Why such a change so soon? Cost issues? Over all people will be angry, and its completely understandable, but it is exciting to see what will happen. I’m hoping, if anything, for Marvel to be a huge influence!

  • Saark

    The submarines will stay for quite some time, as well as the Autopia. I hear rumors that they could take Innoventions and the Captain EO Theater and turn them into a Stark Expo attraction(s) (from Iron Man). What really needs to be addressed is the return of the WEDway Peoplemover and some kind of return of the Rocket Jets atop the Peoplemover loading station. I remember as a kid, when you entered Tomorrowland there was constant motion…the Peoplemover, the Rocket Jets, the Skyway…now all you see moving is the Astro Orbiter which is just Dumbo, spinning in the other direction.

    • Chaz

      You are so right about constant movement…that signifies progress and energy. And yes, the Orbiter is just plain boring.

  • glowman

    After reading the many comments on redoing Tomorrowland, like a few others, I feel it will probably be quite a while before we see any major changes. With that in mind, I would like to see the People Mover reactivated, only using the system that Florida uses with magnetic fields used instead of rotation tires that bump you along. Many years ago when I visited Florida, I found their People Mover very smooth. If that system would work on the present Disneyland track, I think the imagineers could come up with some interesting additions along the way. This ride was a welcomed “resting spot” for many people, the line moved fast and the trip was restful and entertaining. Think about it Imagineeers, I wouldn’t think it would be hard to “restart” that attraction. I agree with another comment that the jets should be moved away from the entrance to Tomorrowland. If they could be put back at the original location that would open up that space and put them where they use to be.

  • scarymouse

    Do we really need a original ride in tomorrowland? I thought the whole point of the land was the future, always changing , futuristic. Autopia is not the future but the past,really should be relocated for all the nostalgic fans. They should have done it in carsland that one is obvious and would have keep up the numbers for sure. We all know that that corner of the park has been a low point for a long time. It will be hard to re-imagine the space without a complete makeover to the whole thing. With all the new interest in DCA it would be wise to do something sooner than later.You can put up with changes when there is something nice and shiny to go too.At this point anything they came up with would be better than the current offerings.Your either standing in a line or trying to get somewhere else in the parks ie train or monorail, and escaping the smog from autopia. If you build it they will come, its all in the flow……just like thunder’s corner dull and void, same situation just a escape route to frontierland to more popular rides…pirates, mansion,indiana,splash m. What’s where the crowds go they need something in those dark reaches to keep crowds wanting .to go in those directions whatever it takes even if that means removal of once popular rides.Something futuristic would be nice. A dark ride a couple of C ticket rides at least 2 E tickets should do the trick in both of those areas would be nice and make positive changes in park flow.

  • J Laffite 1764

    A complete overhaul of Tomorrowland is not only overdue, but it is necessary to keep people interested. Most of the land currently has nothing to do with the future. Disney is one of the greatest and most innovative companies in the world. The current version of Tomorrowland is sad and embarrassing, and looks more like “the land of yesterday”. They need to put the walls up, and get to work. They can keep Space Mountain, Star Tours, Buzz and the Rockets open during the change. These are pretty much the only attractions keeping the crowd in the land. Disney has plenty of marketable films that have a futuristic theme. A Tron ride/experience akin to Universal’s Transformers would be a no brainer. Add some holograms to these new attractions. I like a previous post’s idea of a theatrical experience with circle vision technology.
    They could easily come up with a Wall-E attraction as well.
    Also, an attraction that has no connection to a film that can be easily updated, maybe based on space travel, time travel, or quantum physics, could make it fresh and timeless so it doesn’t get too played out.
    The subs have to go. Nemo has nothing to do with the futuristic theme, and it’s just a band-aid over a once popular attraction.
    A Nemo attraction belongs in DCA. And it should be the Crush coaster like Disneyland Paris. Not some lame ride like the current “let’s save the subs and add some Nemo images and it will be great” attraction.
    Autopia should be pulled out as well. The ride is dirty, the line during the hot days is unbearable if there is a wait, especially is you are with small children, and it sits on a big plot of land. They can add a driving attraction to California Adventure near CarsLand if they have space. A driving attraction in or near CarsLand makes too much sense.
    How about change the Pizza Port into something like the Cantina from Tatooine in Star Wars?
    Maybe add a smoothie or juice bar with a Wall-E theme.
    Just some thoughts….