Space Mountain Goes Down Flags Go Up

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

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Published on May 30, 2014 at 3:00 am with 34 Comments

Another week, another refurbishment. With the long holiday weekend behind us, Space Mountain has finally gone down for its refurb. We see some interesting progress over at Alice In Wonderland as swarms of hardhats descend on the classic ride for a look-see.  Of course, Club 33 continues with its renovation, while below, more pathways are cordoned off.  Meanwhile, in Disney California Adventure, Heimlich has lost some weight as a section of the train has been removed. Speaking of green things, Maleficent has a new drink for you to try at Award Weiners. We have two In The Parks articles for you today, one from Disneyland and one from Knott’s Berry Farm (where we preview the major enhancements to the Calico Mine Ride).


The Red, White, and Blue

Memorial Day weekend brought patriotic bunting and flowers to Main Street USA. Red, white and blue everywhere. It’s a wonderful time of year in the park which stirs that patriotic feeling.



Blue Ageratum, white Alyssum, and red Begonia make up some of the plantings in Town Square.


Red and white Begonia accompany the blue Delphinium at the flagpole.





Meanwhile, at the central hub, spires of Cosmos surround the Partners statue like fireworks, bursting in bright pink blossoms at Walt’s feet.





Plaza Inn Open Again

Disneyland Chicken palace, Plaza Inn, has returned after a relatively brief refurbishment. The simple but popular menu remains untouched. Mmmmmmm, Cobb Salad.



Alice in Wonderland

There has been some interesting progress on the exterior of Alice in Wonderland.  It’s quite clear now that the exterior path on the former thrilling conclusion to the ride has been significantly widened.

The leaves were once a bit of a thrill as, with every turn, it felt as though you might go flying off your leaf. Those days appear to be gone. The curvy path remains, but the sense of danger will no doubt be significantly diminished. While some might actually like this version better, we bet there are a lot of Alice lovers who are already screaming “Off with their heads!”.

It will be interesting to see what they’ve come up with for CAL/OSHA approved handrails. We hope it’s not more insult to injury.




The temporary wall near the opening of the door up top is getting the surface treatment that will make it blend more with the castle walls.



A swarm of hardhats were busy touring the construction site.






Third Shift on the First Shift

Yes, we know that some don’t have an issue with this.  Yes, it’s a nitpick thing.  But seriously, it’s just bad show to see maintenance workers touching up railing (or anything else for that matter) during operating hours. Premium Prices folks. Work like this was ALWAYS done at night to preserve the magic of Disneyland. The accountants may think the 3rd shift is an unnecessary expense, but it’s an essential part of what makes Disneyland special. Painting, repairing and cleaning would magically happen while guests were sleeping so you’d always walk into a sparkling and fresh park on every visit. We sincerely hope that pictures like these will convince the park to rethink its current cost-saving strategy.


Nice costumes . . . not!  Pull up your pants, you’re on stage for goodness sakes!


it’s a small world

It’s a small world has returned after a spate of closures that allowed Disney to install their own, self mandated, safety alterations to the classic boat ride. While many walkways were built, things moved and removed, there’s really nothing major that the untrained eye would notice.



It appears that the facade is slowly being worked on.  At least we hope so.  We see some of the gold-leafing is sparkling, while other bits, not so much.  There are large portions of the white facade that are, frankly, pretty awful looking, while other areas appear to be freshly painted.  Let’s hope the entire facade is addressed.







This is where the train passes under. The soot collects on the gold awning, causing the black color.





Inside the ride, we did spot some rather crunchy looking flowers in the final room.





Overall, the ride looks just fine. It’s clear that this refurbishment wasn’t to freshen the show. But the ride doesn’t suffer for it.

Space Down

Tomorrowland now has two E-Tickets down.  Along with the subs, Space Mountain finally went down for refurbishment. Your scheduled return to the cosmos is July 4th.



Captain EO will be going down for refurbishment from June 13th to July 3rd.


Space is down. . . you might enjoy Captain EO instead.


See how the top two rings of the mountain are bright white and the bottom is dingy? Let’s hope this is addressed during the refurbishment.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Here are your weekly shots from the dried lagoon. We know you love them.  ;-)








The lush grass on top of the show building is completely dead.




Club 33

In New Orleans Square, the Club 33 work has taken over even more of the winding streets. This is the final push as they attempt to wrap up the project in June.


When visiting this area of the park be advised that there is no way to snake through the streets.  Directional signs help you navigate.









The work in the exit tunnel for Pirates is now obscured again as the attraction has returned to service.


On top of the show building for Pirates, more work for the club is visible.




Here’s a fun diversion. If you haven’t listened to the latest MiceChat Podcast, you’ll want to do that this week as a new show will soon be released. This time around, 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:

Listen on iTunes  |   Direct Download


Buena Vista Street

On Buena Vista Street the patriotic touches have been installed for Memorial Day and will remain through the patriotic season of Independence Day.







They have even placed a patriotic American flag in the messy Big Top Toys window display. A cute touch.



Maleficent Treats

With the Maleficent preview in Disney California Adventure, we have also seen a flurry of delectable treats inspired by the malevolent green villainess.


Over at Award Weiners we have the hyper-sugary Dragon Storm and the Raven’s Feast Hot Dog.


There are Maleficent inspired carmel apples too.


Pacific Wharf

Work moves along at the Pacific Wharf where the overhead passageway is now getting some attention.





Paradise Pier Gazebo

Slow but steady, the gazebos along Paradise Bay are getting the TLC they deserve to repair a terrible wood rot problem.







Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train

Over at the Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train attraction we noticed something rather odd.  It seems that they have taken one car off of each train.  Is this a rotating maintenance solution? Is it a way to speed up the load time? Looks like Heimlich found a way to lose a little weight after all.




You can see here the gap at the end of the train, indicated by the row numbers on the ground.




Grizzly River Run

We close things out with a look at Grizzly River Run and the refurbishment happening on this attraction.








Discarded bark falls onto the climactic drop as crews traverse the ride, repairing this and that.


There you have it.  An update from the Disneyland Resort for your Friday morning.  If you haven’t done so yet we urge you to also read the exclusive first look inside the majorly enhanced Calico Mine Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.  They are doing some great work there and it is pretty impressive with new animatronics, special effects and a great sense of history.

We would also like to let you in on some programming notes.  Next Friday we will be covering Universal Studios Hollywood for your Friday In the Parks.  Then we will be sharing the grand reopening of the Calico Mine Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm on Thursday and bring you a full update of the newly refurbished Camp Snoopy on Friday.  In The Parks will return to Disneyland on Friday, June 20th.  Don’t worry folks, Andy Castro will also be supplying you with your Disney fix with Dateline Disneyland on Mondays.

See you again soon . . . 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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  • Nola ron

    So far glad to see they appear to be cleaning things up for the 60th. Well as for Alice. Looks one benefit for the wider track overhead, shade in the que?

    • ayalexander

      not necessarily the queue because the track isn’t anywhere near it, but, there will be shade directly under the few square feet where people load the attraction. This is actually most beneficial if it rains, but then again… if it rains what does a few square feet of dry track mean to a fleet of wet ride vehicles and an extended zig-zag in the wet weather. haha.

  • Ravjay12

    Wow! Great update! You guys don’t miss anything! I really love the patriotic bunting and flags along Main Street and Buena Vista Street. I wish they can remain there for good. The exteriors for Space and small World look pretty sad. Can’t get cleaned soon enough.

  • Mouseaphile

    I worked 3rd shift in Cash Control while in graduate school in the 70′s. We ate “lunch” with painters, divers, gardeners, and deep cleaners nightly. The painters even touched up the shooting gallery constantly in those pre-laser, bb days. It would have been unthinkable for any of those efforts to occur when guests were present (including our periodic emptying of the Snow White wishing well!). Although, as we walked the park doing cash pick-ups we were allowed to tell guests politely that we could not stop (to take pictures etc) and refer them to another cast member as we kept walking. Nothing quite like working 10 pm to 7am counting hundreds of thousands of dollars….

    • Algernon

      Perhaps the painters were up all night working on Club 33, the major refurbished attraction nobody can never go to.

      • thebear

        So they can go?

      • ayalexander

        Its open to the public? C’mon kids, lets do it!! He said “nobody can never go”!

  • Algernon

    Chew Chew Train photo number 6: Two kids looking bored, a lady yawning, two other adults looking bored. Maybe that’s why they took off the extra car. It reminds me of me, when I’m on the Finding Nemo Submarines (never again!).

  • Somes

    Only because this is a nitpicking post (which I love), your caption should read, “Pull up your pants…you’re onstage!” (not your). The irony of the caption on a very public site was not lost…
    Truly wonderful pictures and updates!
    Thanks, Norm!

    • Dusty Sage

      Fixed. And thank you! We didn’t finish this update until almost 2am, no time for a 2nd read before bed.

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    I would like to see the missing Heimlich section explained with an updated on-ride spiel in which Heimlich gleefully informs riders that he ate part of himself and that he was delicious. The scent of partially eaten caterpillar should be added to the attraction as well.

  • rstar

    So if the Grand Reopeneing of the Mine Ride is Thursday, will it be soft opening on Friday? Or is Thursday and Friday for media events only?

    • Norman Gidney

      The reopening ceremony of the mine ride at Knott’s Berry Farm happens on a Thursday. The official opening date isn’t until the following Saturday, June 14th. My GUESS is that it will also be open on Friday barring any unforeseen occurrences or last minute tweaks. But that is no guarantee.

      Here is the full article here.

    • Sparky

      Don’t know if there are press events beforehand, but, I believe the grand opening of Calico Mine is Saturday, June 14th. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update as usual!

  • MonteJ

    Great job Norm. Your photo updates never disappoint and your love of the parks comes through loud & clear.

  • jcruise86

    Another fine update from the artist formerly known as Fishbulb and Clownprey. :)

    I like the flowers shots. Since I started gardening, I’m more in awe than ever of Disneyland.

    They might be going for a more drought tolerant Autopia this summer. Two or three little billboards for other Disneyland attractions (not DCA) might be fun. Or see “Rock City,” “Ruby Falls,” or “Wall Drug.” Nah.

    • ayalexander

      They could save Autopia from the inevitable wrecking ball if they put it in Carsland, converted them to electric, and dressed it up with eyes on a windshield and a happy mouth. (the drive course would have to be a little short and very wound since I’m sure disney doesn’t want to use the extra 7 acres for simply another version of Autopia.) Where would it be put then, you ask? Replace Luigi’s. Look, I’m a big fan of the return of the saucers, but one thing I didn’t expect was for the ride to be unpopular, now I have to admit, it must be replaced. They have a lot of land backstage dedicated to Luigi’s Flying Tires, just repurpose the land to fit an electric Autopia, where the little cars are trying out Luigi’s new Junior tires.

      If they do that, then they don’t have to use the 7 acre lot, and they can have it for future expansion (ahem: Ratatouille land with ride and restaurant)

      • danielz6

        I really hope they do this, it’s really a no brainer. Not only does autopia fit perfectly in carsland, but it would free up much needed real estate for a potential major tomorrowland reimagineering. Would be great if it could have an indoor dark section as well, further exploring the caves within cadillac range. How cool would it be for Cars AAs to be critiquiing your driving as you go along too?

      • ayalexander

        danielz6, that’s a great idea, you know the inner workings of Cadillac Range are hollow and the support girders are about 10ft x 10ft apart from each other, allowing for a small, snaking ride track. And the base of the inside of Cadillac range is all gravel (to allow for the Anaheim soil to soak up rain). This is a great idea, explore some caves in Cadillac Range! Dude, spot on.

  • ayalexander

    Great update. I’m glad to see Pacific Wharf getting a better paint job, I like the extra detail and colors as opposed to the drap colors with weathered wear.

    Would anyone agree if I said that Flik’s Fun Fair would at least be tolerable if Heimlich’s was extended and turned into a dark ride featuring the latest technology in Animatronics and followed the storyline of the movie like a traditional Fantasyland dark ride? (they could accomplish this if they removed the bumper cars and rebuilt the train over there, and extended the show building of the dark ride into the backstage area. which would mean the original location of Heimlich’s would have to be used for something else… ooh! perhaps a mini-coaster like Gadget’s in Toontown!

    • ayalexander

      correction: meant to say **drab**

  • sfjgarcia

    Thank you Norman. I love the details of the flowers, park decor and the Finding Nemo section had me rollin’. A bit disappointed of the lack of TLC but I sure enjoying seeing the photos of the drier ride. Great update as always. Truly appreciate the time and effort you provide.


  • Melonballer

    With any luck someone will have thought to make the Alice railings look like leaves and spider-webs.

    • jcruise86

      I like that. How about vines and spiderwebs?

      • ayalexander

        ooh, and the spiderwebs could have drops of dew on them like in the movie, and at night the dew glistens!

  • heffalump

    If Disneyland is looking for a cost saving measure, I recommend that they put Captain EO on an indefinite refurbishment, much like the subs. In all the time EO has been open, I’ve never had a desire to see it. Based on the recent lines, I think most people feel the way I do.

    • ayalexander

      Well normally I would agree, but EO is actually a very very inexpensive attraction to run, there’s no animatronics, only simple mechanisms like fans, lights, a projector, show sprinklers and a massive hydraulic base that can be shut off (without interrupting the show). Its more cost efficient than “it’s tough to be a bug”. And only barely more costly to keep open than the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-thru.

      It may be old, but its still a place to go during hot weather, rain and it makes people laugh. Trust me, its there to stay until they find something to replace it *cough* (Jedi Training academy indoor area themed like the inside of the Jedi Temple) *cough* -but who knows if Disney reads these posts anyway ;)

  • sonnyk155

    Does anyone know about the plantings around DL? Are the flowers actually planted, or are they all in pots with enough mulch over them to hide the pots under the flowers?

    • ayalexander

      They are grown in pots, and planted without the plastic pot, however the plant’s roots retain the shape of its pot, which is good for the horticulture team because if they need to replace a plant, they don’t have to dig up the roots, it just pulls right out, whole and all.