Disneyland Gets New Guardians And Returns To The Rabbit Hole

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

frontpagepic_ITP_DL2

Published on July 04, 2014 at 3:00 am with 35 Comments

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.

banner

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.

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE

 

headers_DL

Oh Disneyland, you magical, beautiful place. Let’s venture forth to discover the new adventures that await!

IMG_7956

IMG_7991

IMG_7993

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.

IMG_8047

IMG_8048

IMG_8049

IMG_8050

IMG_8052

IMG_8053

IMG_8054

IMG_8055

IMG_8056

IMG_8057

IMG_8058

IMG_8059

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.

IMG_8061

IMG_8062

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. . .

IMG_8000

The sign out front looks great and there was definitely money spent. Coppers, blues and browns.

IMG_8001

Brand new posters in the marquee.

IMG_8002

IMG_8019

IMG_8014

 

IMG_8018

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.

IMG_8006

IMG_8007

IMG_8008

IMG_8012

IMG_8013

Posters for the film are out in the pre-show area, all featuring the guardians from the film.

IMG_8009

IMG_8010

IMG_8011

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.

IMG_8086

Snazzy new digital projection.

IMG_8087

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.

IMG_8020

Exit sign is upgraded

IMG_8021

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.

Space Mountain

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.

IMG_8025

IMG_8027

IMG_8028

IMG_8031

IMG_8032

IMG_8033

IMG_8034

A new floor treatment.

IMG_8029

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?

IMG_7978

Nestled in one planter in Frontierland, a large map gives players a lay of the land.

IMG_7962

IMG_7963

IMG_7965

IMG_7973

IMG_7966

IMG_7967

IMG_7968

IMG_7969

In other parts of the land, Props have been set up in the already intimate settings.

    IMG_7975

IMG_7977

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.

IMG_7981 IMG_7982 IMG_7983 IMG_7984

  IMG_7980

Club 33

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.

IMG_8079

IMG_8078

IMG_8077

IMG_8076

IMG_8075

IMG_8074

IMG_8073

While above French Market, there is very little to be seen of the new Grand Salon.

IMG_8072

IMG_8071

Passageways through New Orleans Square are still a mess, but they should clear up in just a week or so.

IMG_8070

IMG_8069

IMG_8068

IMG_8067

IMG_8066

IMG_8065

IMG_8064

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.”

MiceChat Podcast

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.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

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!!!

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.

Browse Archived Articles by

35 Comments

There are currently 35 Comments on Disneyland Gets New Guardians And Returns To The Rabbit Hole. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. The awesome Alice update and promise of what else can be done with Fantasyland updates kinda makes up for the fact tha NO new rides have even started the 3-4 year construction process. Upgrades to the other dark rides will make me ok with recent admission hikes.

    Happy to see Disneyland showcasing current popular intellectual property like Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and Frozen. If universal can have huge walking transformers, DL can have Groot walking around tomorrowland.

  2. The Alice in Wonderland upgrade looks really cool, I don’t know if it’s just my eyes (which actually do require surgery) or if I am missing something but I thought the Queen of Hearts was supposed to be getting an Ursula style animatronic, did that not happen or do I have to watch the video again in a few weeks? I really like the part with the teapots :)

    • I rode the new Alice 3x yesterday and looked for the same things you were. I had also heard the Queen was to have a new rear-projection face but that wasn’t the case. Still, there was so much that had been changed to rear-projection and it all worked so well. The most consistent comment I heard all day was that there was just enough of the old that was left alone and just enough of the new introduced. All of the new effects were so amazing and popped up in places you didn’t expect them. Two of the Chesire cats are new animation with one classic left in place, and it all worked so good.

      Also, it was in the low 90′s yesterday so the A/C inside was pretty spiffy too.

  3. Please, please, please…DO NOT bring back Captain EO. Not only is it so completely outdated with it’s 80s MTV style, Michael Jackson has had numerous plastic surgeries since making this. Just get rid of it and turn the theater into a Marvel themed 3D show. Or at least a Marvel theater showcasing the different movies, much like the lobby of the Animation Building at DCA.

    • I concur, which is an understatement. I wanted to walk out of this the first time I saw it.

    • I want to add my voice to this as well. It was great when it first came out. Now, it needs to succumb to progress. There’s SO MUCH that can be done with this space. Let the Imagineers go wild with it!

    • And he also died… I mean, I’m not disagreeing with your overall sentiment, but what do the plastic surgeries have to do with it?

      I enjoyed seeing EO in 2011, because when we last went in 1990 we didn’t see EO (it may have been closed at the time?) and so until 2011 I had never had the chance. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again one more time – I’m going next year for the first time since 2011… but from an objective perspective, 5 years is far longer than EO needed.

  4. Great update!!! Alice looks awesome!!! Can not wait until December to ride Alice!! I sure hope they do not bring Captain EO back, we need something new. The interactive show, looks like a lot of fun, I know my son would love this!!!

  5. Frontierland props garish

    Club 33 Window monster lurks…

    • It’s not as monsterous as one thinks. Having seen the Club 33 preview recently, I can tell you they did more than throw up some wallpaper and fancy furniture. Imagineers invested heavily into the SFX for the Jazz Club, but Club 33 itself will remain relatively somber in comparison. I wish I could say more at the moment but that will have to wait. Short version = it’s actually a friendly monster. I hope you get to see it someday.

  6. Working in architectural and interior design I cannot stop myself from doing a brief “punch list” on two refurbished areas. On Alice I still think the shades of green chosen for the railing system is way too far into the pastel hues to withstand the long term sun and weather exposure and will look further washed out of color within less than two years. This is a Mary Blair fantasy ride, don’t be afraid to punch it up. Still very happy the show has been remodeled however as it is one of my favorites. In Tomorrowland I can already see that the column base that doubles as place for people to sit is still white and already scuffed. Try a deeper color, use high gloss paint when you do, or use a newer product we use at Wynn Resorts at our pool areas called Line-X, which offers a durable textured coating impervious to guest damage and looks neat too. Okay, out of work mode, onto vacation mode. Happy 4th everyone.

  7. I’ll have to reserve full judgement on Alice until I get to see it first-hand, but I think I was hoping for more of the rear face projections, fluid animatronics, and video projection mapping (i.e.: the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train treatment) than just projecting cartoons on the walls. Over-reliance on stock projections can sometimes damage the immersion of an attraction, giving the effect of passively watching a film rather than seeing a character or environment come to life. However, since I’m only basing that on the videos I’ve watched, I won’t get discouraged about it. It still looks pretty good anyways and makes the ride more lively.

    I’m curious about the Legends of Frontierland interactive as well. Too bad I won’t get a chance to try it out >_<

  8. Thanks for the Alice ride through POV – - I suspect additional upgrade to come once the Diamond Celebration refurbs start in the other dark rides? Or no? In any case, look forward to dropping down the rabbit hole on our next visit. Thanks again!

  9. Alice is looking better then ever. Such a simple ride yet so entertaining for all age levels. This is exactly why Disney has no competition. Imagine if Universals Simpson’s ride or New despicable me ride was more like this. Much better than watching a 3D cartoon imo.

    But Disney should make more rides like this in Parks that lack them like Disney world and Hong Kong. New fantasyland should have received a few rides like this instead of the copy of mermaid which doesn’t even fit the fantasy forest theme.

    I can’t wait to see what they do with the other fantasyland dark rides.

  10. That new Hastin waving AA at the start of Alice is quite realistic!

    • What’s Hastin? I didn’t seem any AA waving at the beginning.

      • Sorry, it was meant tongue-in-cheek. Hastin (Monorail Man) is standing on the walkway to the left waving to the camera as the caterpillar starts at around 5 seconds in…

  11. Nice update! It is good to see Alice in Wonderland open again and that the view is not obstructed outside on the way down the vine. The new projections inside are a nice touch but nothing to get very excited about. I am glad that the Captain EO theater got a new digital system and I hope they have a plan for something new and great to replace EO and HISTA after Guardians leaves.

  12. Really like the Alice upgrades, but where are the face projections?

    In the final analysis, though, IMO it’s still a C Ticket. If this kind of ride was built somewhere else to a larger scale, then it could easily be an E ticket. I can imagine putting this Alice in a large show building, and I think it would be better than Mermaid.

    Mermaid just doesn’t have enough scenes to tell the story right. Also I think the Dwarf’s Mine Train could have been an E ticket if only it had more scenes, right now it’s just the mine and the cottage and some rolling hills, and that’s it – ?

    Not that thrilled with the safety rails though, they look just slapped on, somehow they should have looked more integrated.

  13. While I’m on the subject, they should have built the Dwarf’s Mine Train like Radiator Springs Racers – a large dark ride segment, and a smaller roller coaster segment. The beginning could have been the cottage with everyone dancing, then a brief outdoor coaster segment, then the mine, then an indoor segment with the witch with her apple and the end lift hill could have been the witch falling off the ledge, then the final roller coaster segment returning to the cottage. I know it’s Monday morning quarterbacking, and maybe they didn’t have enough space, but this is how I wish it could have been.

    • Then it could have been an E ticket.

    • Great idea. I completely agree and new fantasyland deserved a solid e ticket like Carsland got. Unfortunately the imagineers hands were tied on the project and originally weren’t even going to make the Mine train.

    • There’s a feeling that Disney is a bottomlesss pit of money, immune to the normal forces of accounting. Consider this: Racers cost a quarter of a billion dollars and sits on five acres of land. Some simple calcs show that this ballparks to about a 10% surcharge for everyone who enters the park, just to cover this one attraction– regardless of whether they ride it.

      DCA desparately needed Racers. Attendence is up by 3 million people a year. MK, on the other hand, is not quite so desparate, and cannot expect to see the same jump in attendance that DCA received on a similar investment.

      So you have to ask yourself– exactly how much are you willing to spend on park tickets to fulfill your wish list?

  14. @ Disneykin Kid

    None of the upgrades were going to make Alice in Wonderland an E Ticket. They were just supposed to be some solid additions to enhance the attraction. IMO the best dark ride at DLR got even better without losing any of the charm of the original, which is tough to do.

  15. Siiiiigh. For every Alice, there is a Legends of Frontierland/Club33 style project. I wonder if the WHOLE park will ever get it together again.

    • Club 33 makes its own business case. Membership fees were increased 7-fold to fund the expansion.

Leave a Comment

You have to register or login below before you can post a comment or use our advanced features.
User Name:

Password: