It’s a big, bold and patriotic weekend at the Disneyland Resort. Alice in Wonderland, the classic Fantasyland dark ride, finally reopened after a long 6 month refurbishment. Is it as good or better than it was before? We’ll show you the mostly amazing results. We also share with you the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy extended preview now happening in the Magic Eye Theater. Speaking of Tomorrowland, Space Mountain has returned with an almost finished exit area. If that wasn’t enough, more props and set pieces for the upcoming game, Legends of Frontierland, have been appearing in Frontierland’s already cramped walkways. We end things with a lovely stop below Club 33 for a peek into its vaunted passageways and a rundown of what will be happening for the 4th of July at the park. All this plus news about a wonderful event coming up in just a few weeks! Time to visit Disneyland!
SPECIAL MICECHAT EVENT JULY 13th – DOWNTOWN DISNEY!
If you are a fan of extinct Southern California theme parks, we have a very special treat for you. Christopher Merrit, theme park designer and author of Knott’s Preserved, is about to release another amazing book on a fascinating part of theme Park history, Pacific Ocean Park.
Meet the amazing authors behind Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles’ Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier and hear all about this one of a kind Los Angeles destination which has been all but lost to history. The authors will lead us through a colorful presentation about the park, followed by a book signing. As with all of our ESPN Zone events, there will be a fabulous breakfast (yes, there will be plenty of awesome maple pepper bacon).
Here’s a video teaser for you of this not-to-be-missed event:
Seating is limited and will sell out quickly. Be the first to get this book, meet the authors, and have your very own copy signed.
Oh Disneyland, you magical, beautiful place. Let’s venture forth to discover the new adventures that await!
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland officially returns today and looks and sounds absolutely stunning. Throughout they have slathered the attraction with the fancy new digital projector technology that has graced Snow White’s Scary Adventures and the finale of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The exterior path down the leaves is wider, more sturdy, and fully compliant with the CAL/OSHA demands that kept the ride wrapped in vinyl for three years.
Immediately upon entering the show building we see how the new projections will be used. Falling through archways of swirling debris we feel as if we really are plummeting into a dream world. Where the existing figures have been virtually untouched, the new projections punctuate the storyline throughout and end up doing a nice job filling some of the gaps in narrative.
Putting aside the debate about the widened and safer exterior path for the ride, this is overall a wonderful upgrade to a delightful attraction. And it’s very nice that the painted tarps are finally gone!!!
Guardians of the Galaxy
Here we are at the newly upgraded Magic Eye Theater. Studio money has paid to bring this attraction into the digital era with all new high definition projectors and a smattering of other upgrades. They even gave the exterior of the theater a new paint job. Sadly, it’s still the 1998 Tomorrowland color scheme. On to the show. . .
Entering the pre show area, you’ll quickly see that they have taken out all of the pre show monitors and hung speakers in their place. Odd decision to be sure.
Posters for the film are out in the pre-show area, all featuring the guardians from the film.
Entering the theater we see that very little, visually, has changed. The picture is bright and clear, but no major structural changes were made. In fact, the top left corner of the screen remains in HISTA mode, cut off.
If you have been following this movie closely, there is very little that you will see here that wasn’t shared in the trailers or at D23. Along with a few bits at the end, wind, the bouncing floor, and a puff of air, this is pretty much a retread. It does LOOK nice though.
How long will Guardians of the Galaxy run? What will become of the Magic Eye Theater when the Guardians leave? Nobody knows what the future holds. But, it will be digital and crystal clear.
The big e-ticket, Space Mountain, has reopened after a basic refurbishment and maintenance break. The biggest change is not in the ride itself but at the exit. Here, where there was once a dead end featuring a mural of heavenly objects, we now see a temporary work wall. They are opening the area up a bit more so that it feels a little less claustrophobic.
Legends of Frontierland
The new interactive experience, Legends of Fronteirland, will “open” July 9th. Set pieces and props are already appearing in the western themed land. According to the Disney Parks Blog…
Frontierland and its neighbor, Rainbow Ridge, are in the midst of a good, ol’ fashioned land feud. Rainbow Ridge – a once-booming mining town – has dried up, and they have their eyes set on Frontierland. The steady, hardworking folk in Frontierland want to keep the town safe and free of rougharound-the-edges, opportunistic types. Rumors are spreading that gold has been discovered in mines belonging to Frontierland, and there is even a rumor that Frontierland itself sits on the motherlode! Whether or not the rumors are true, the folk in Rainbow Ridge have one thing on their minds: take over Frontierland! Thus, the struggle begins …
Bringing the guest interaction and storytelling to a new level, visitors will be able to create their own path, their own story. It’s an interesting idea. But how will it effect normal park operations and guest flow?
In other parts of the land, Props have been set up in the already intimate settings.
With game players running around and normal visitors simply trying to navigate the area will there be any crowd flow issues? We are hoping that they have this well thought out as the Jail scene is already sticking out into a very busy pathway. Imagine walking through here right after or before Fantasmic.
We get a few glimpses of the opulent work that is almost complete inside the exclusive Club 33. Above the French Market, the new Jazz Club features lovely light fixtures and stained glass.
While above French Market, there is very little to be seen of the new Grand Salon.
Passageways through New Orleans Square are still a mess, but they should clear up in just a week or so.
4th of July Fun
Tonight, Disneyland will present its annual patriotic fireworks spectacular. Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky. The show will be performed at 9:25pm. But there is more in store for the Fourth in the park…
- 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band – This outstanding military band from Miramar, California, is returning to Disneyland park for another year! The band will be performing several times throughout the day on Friday, July 4.
- Catch the band in a brief cavalcade along the parade route at 3:30 p.m., just ahead of the “Frozen” pre-parade and the first performance of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.
- The band will help retire the colors at the Disneyland park flag retreat ceremony in Town Square at 5:30 p.m.
- Immediately following the flag retreat, at 5:45 p.m., the full band will perform along the parade route, all the way back to “it’s a small world.”
- You can enjoy the full band in concert on the stage of the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, starting at 7:15 p.m.
4th of July World of Color
If the crowds over in Disneyland are too much for you, World of Color offers a nice alternative. On July 4, a special patriotic pre-show will be presented at the start of both the 9 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. performances of “World of Color.”
It’s another special episode of the MiceChat Podcast. This time around the block, we chat with outspoken original Mouseketeer, Lonnie Burr. He’s lively, funny and full of stories you’ve likely never heard before.
And that’s our update from the Disneyland Resort for today. Andy Castro will be back on Monday with more Disneyland goodness. Well folks, what do you think of the changes to Alice In Wonderland? Are you excited to play the new interactive game in Frontierland or are you worried about bottlenecks?
Have a safe and happy 4th of July . . . Hooray for the USA!!!