Summer gets underway as refurbishments and construction continues at Disneyland

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on June 02, 2014 at 4:28 am with 41 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • LoveStallion

    Since I grew up at the park, I never really paid much attention to refurbishment schedules. If something was down, it’d be back in a few months. No big deal.

    But now I live back east and I have plenty of friends who have been to Florida on numerous occasions but rarely to Anaheim. I have one colleague who is actually visiting DLR for the first time next week and I’m bummed that some quality attractions will be unavailable to him, especially since they are ones without equal or clone elsewhere (Subs, Alice, Disneyland’s Space Mount is only copied in Hong Kong, etc.).

    This isn’t a full-on gripe, but now that I’m an avid MiceAge reader, I’m all too aware of how frequently sizable portions of the park are unavailable to tourists. I’d be bummed if I came from out of town.

    What more can we say about Alice? Oh well. At least the track is still windy. In my uninformed opinion, I think they should have devised some slick system where railings and extra walking spare were stored under the leaf and able to extend and rise when needed by employees or during a breakdown for guests. Too expensive, for sure, but that would have been some serious Disney magic.

    • Algernon

      It seems to me that all they had to do was provide the workers with safety tethers to keep them from falling.

      • ayalexander

        yes, but what if a ride vehicle was stuck on the vine and needed to be evacuated. There is no room to evacuate guests on that vine with a ride vehicle up there. The extra walkway was much needed.

      • CaptainAction

        How about bungie cords attached to all guests wearing special helmets.

        Much needed? How many gets met their demise falling from the top of Alice in Wonderland in the last 50 + years?

      • ayalexander

        CaptainAction I knew a Cast Member that fell off of the lower segment of the vine when emptying the attraction with guests still in their vehicle, she fell three feet and got a little scratched up, but had she fallen from a higher spot and onto the concrete track, she could have broken a few bones. Yes, it was much needed.

      • CaptainAction

        Naw…50 years, one scratch. Buy a band aid.
        One death on a monorail and no families can ride in front anymore.
        Why don’t we all wear marshmallow suits just in case we fall down.
        Sissy nanny state.

    • Haven

      Building departments can be VERY irrational if they want to throw their weight around, I work in design for Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas, and when we were designing our XS Nightclub, the building department wanted us to install a “lift” system for a wheelchair to service the stripper pole on the dance floor because it was a raised platform. Finally, we got out of it somehow, but really, wheelchair access for a pole dancer?? I am sure Disney did all they could, but ultimately they have their hands tied.

    • daveyjones

      “Space Mount is only copied in Hong Kong, etc.”

      tokyo’s space mountain is a clone of DL’s track layout. hong kong’s is similar in that it features a single track, but both the load/unload area and some track contours are unique to HKDL (i’ve ridden them both).

    • DisDreamer

      I agree with you LoveStallion. I come from Sydney, Australia and a trip to Disneyland is a huge deal for us. I would be so disappointed (more like devastated) if I were to outlay so much money and time only to find a few of the major attractions were down at one time. I visited Disneyland first time ever in 2011 and 2013 – we were so fortunate as every ride was operational except for Cars Land/Buena Vista Street not yet complete, and only Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was down in 2013. Both times we visited the resort in early December so maybe that’s a good time to plan it. I know if I were planning a future trip I would be watching that refurb calendar closely.

  • FerretAfros

    I’m surprised that the wood work on the gazebos on the Pier is taking so long. It seems like it would be a pretty quick fix to take the old wood off and replace it with a new panel. Why has this been dragging on for weeks with no visible progress?

    • LoveStallion

      Agreed. I’m no carpenter, but I’m surprised at how long such an ostensibly simple job is taking.

    • sean317

      Every refurbishment Disney does takes forever. The reason behind this is because Disney workers are only aloud to work at night. Just think what they could accomplish if they actually worked 24 hours a day!

      • LoveStallion

        Actually, the beloved “third shift” has been waning in recent years, per last week’s updates. There were guys out there in broad daylight painting. That never used to fly at Disney.

        I remember an old Disney special from the early 90s with Harry Anderson (of Night Court fame), and I loved the sequence that showed everything that went on overnight – every burned out bulb replaced, animatronics fixed, streets steam cleaned, railings painted. It was awesome.

      • OriginalMousekteer


        “There were guys out there in broad daylight painting. That never used to fly at Disney.”

        Totally not true. Painting outdoors in daytime was ALWAYS allowed until around a decade ago when they decided that it was “bad show”. Funny how it was OK when Walt was alive. The scandal was that they moved a lot of maintenance staff to third shift who had worked regular daytime hours for years. Many had families and this was a great hardship for a supposed “family company”. You can find coverage in the OC Register and LA Times (and maybe even on MiceChat).

  • indianajack

    Though we haven’t seen the final solution to Alice’s outdoor track yet, I agree that they should have come up with a better solution than fences around the track. That will ruin the experience. They could have made the fences retractable from underneath the “vine.” Yeah, it would have cost more, but it would be better for preserving a great ride experience.

    I disagree with the assessment that Soundsational is a fantastic parade. It is fantastic compared to the abysmal Celebrate street party that came before it, but it can’t hold a candle to the 50th anniversary parade. Soundsational was surprisingly flat and uninspiring with boring, metallic floats that appeared cookie-cutter similar. It looks like another parade on a budget, like Celebrate!

    • WannaCub

      Screaming’s hand rails on the launch are supposed to be retractable, however, they are locked in the up position. At least by widening the track, the entire area can be themed and not just have left the rails up.

      • OriginalMousekteer

        Retractable railings are a no-go. The railings at Haunted Mansion as you descend from the Attic to the Graveyard have been locked in the “up” position for some time.

  • Nola ron

    Great pics. Question, will blue sky cellar supposed to be re opening, any ideas what’s gonna be in it this time?

  • Larry Parker

    Thanks for the outstanding photos!

  • Susan Hughes

    Happy 3rd birthday “Soundsational”. That means it’s been three years since we last had to endure the horror of “Celebrate A Street Party”.
    It should be pointed out that they are adding a “Frozen” pre-parade float to Soundsational long after it left theaters and was released on blu ray. I guess this was prompted by the continuing pSyChOtIc reaction from guests.
    In addition to the pre-parade float, the meet and greet will have extended hours, Elsa and Anna will be added to Ariel’s Grotto dining, and Photopass has an Olaf magic shot. And he can be added at BOTH parks…in ANY location (Olaf in Cars Land? Why?).

  • Kennyland

    I like the Marvel and Star Wars mouse ears.

  • michael darling

    Disneyland truly is a thing of beauty.

  • Algernon

    I hope the Alice in Wonderland Ride enhancement won’t be a very out-of-place Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

    A wait time of 120 minutes for Radiator Springs? That shows you how desperate people are for something new. Are you listening Las Vegas? Why doesn’t somebody at least build “Yesterland” out there–Nature’s Wonderland, Submarine Voyage, Peoplemover…?

    • ayalexander

      Because, Algernon, no one would go. You just said “that shows you how desperate people are for something new” -you can’t contradict yourself by suggesting old outdated attractions. So few people would visit this Yesterland theme park. They might only get a hundred visitors per day if they’re lucky. Its like building a museum of outdated rides that only the super fans want to see, and there aren’t enough super-fans out there for a theme park full of old rides, to make a profit. Look I like the old long-gone rides, they were great in their prime and time, but those times are gone… by decades. Look what happened when they brought back the saucers… Luigi’s didn’t fail because it was Cars-themed, it failed because people aren’t enthralled by the idea of a slow moving, floating apparatus that they can’t figure out how to steer. Why would people be excited about a slow moving peoplemover, or a slow train ride through fake recreations of landscapes that are actually out there.

      • Marko50

        Um, what makes you think Luigi’s has failed? Lots of people can figure out Luigi’s. All they have to do is look at the signs and the people in the tires that *aren’t* too slow to figure it out. Are there people who don’t like it? Sure, but it’s rare that I don’t see a line for it. And that line is usually about the same as Mater’s, give or take. The difference is that Luigi’s line is mostly inside, out of view.

  • ayalexander

    First of all, Andy, GREAT PHOTOS! You captured some amazing and brilliant images, that I didn’t even realize I was waiting to see, like that particular picture of the Jungle Cruise entrance, and the crescent bend of New Orleans Square, looking towards the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. Great work!

    I’m not really into the new Marvel and Star Wars merchandise… and… I would feel weird eating popcorn out of Darth Vader’s head… I’d just keep remembering that scene where Luke Skywalker cut off the head with his saber and found his own head in the mask… and eating popcorn out of that. *chills*

    It’s interesting to watch the progress on Alice, I’m really curious to see how it turns out. I have to disagree with other comments about keeping the original width of the track but adding retractable railing… because that’s beside the point. With a ride vehicle stuck on the vine, guests can’t debark the vehicle, and other guests can’t walk past it, there isn’t enough room. So adding walkways makes it safer. But I am curious as to why BOTH sides of the vine were widened, when only one side of the vehicle allows exiting. Curious-er and curious-er!

    Disneyland, please repaint or clean the exteriors of “it’s a small world” and Space Mountain… I mean… c’mon!

    • ayalexander

      Correction to my comment: I just realized why both sides of the Alice vine were widened. The left side of the ride vehicle may allow guests to exit, but the emergency lap-bar release peddle is on the right side of the vehicle, necessitating an expansion on both sides of the track in the event a ride vehicle is trapped on the vine. *thank you common sense, you never fail me!*

    • Thank you for reading and for the kind words!

      Dateline Disneyland

  • Skimbob

    Thanks for the update. It won’t be long before Maleficant has her own meet and greet. The movie was phenominal. One can see where Disney has been focusing more of their attention.

  • PirateLover

    WOW! Who took the pictures for this report and what camera/lens combo did they use? Outstanding.

    • Thanks! I took all the photos and do every week (unless otherwise noted).

      Thanks for reading!
      Dateline Disneyland

  • bluekirty

    Where is that picture of the Mansion and Splash Mountain taken from?

    • PirateLover

      Looks like the Treehouse to me. One of the best views in the park!

  • Imagineer45

    Thanks for the update! In my opinion, the Space Mountain refurbishment will be pointless unless they fix the exterior. It’s a Small World didn’t get its exterior repainted during its refurbishment, which was disappointing. Disney really needs to think over its refurbishment schedule, too many refurbishment s during peak season. Whatever is happening with Club 33, it is causing the facade to messed up for a while. I had originally thought that the facade wouldn’t change as much as it seems like is will. Alice could still have a good vine scene if the ride speeds up during this part so the riders fully feel every turn. The safety enhancements were definitely needed though.

  • tigga please

    Holy crap, Space Mountain looks so dirty!

  • Rob F

    Themed Duct Tape? Why would you need to by themed duct tape in Disneyland? Are guests participating in the refurbishments now?

    • ayalexander

      haha, I nearly spit out my coffee!

    • sixalex

      I wish we had a “like” button!

      Really Disney Merchandisers? Duct Tape? Just in time for Grad Nite no doubt. Somebody is gonna get taped to the Castle wall,

  • Dan Bee

    Brilliant as always Andy…
    Every week I read this from my work desk in Sydney, Australia while I dream of the day I finally get to visit the Disney Resort with my three beautiful kids and my awesome wife. We’re still a few years away so your Dateline Disneyland column is about as close as I can get.
    Keep it up mate your work is just amazing.

    • sixalex

      Dan Bee,

      I dream of getting to Australia one day!

      When you do get to Disneyland, you will love it! Sure, there are issues and those get masticated endlessly on this website, but there is also love and devotion to be found here. This is the best site for the news and insider tips. The pictures here are pretty excellent as well.

      For more incredible pix try the Tours Departing Daily website. Once you get there you can kiss the next three hours goodbye! The kids who take those photos are amazing artists.

      Next time I go to Disneyland I’ll make a wish that you get there soon.

  • Tinkbelle

    It’s sad to see what is happening to the Alice track. I guess it now falls into the category of – “I remember when…”