Adventure Trading Company brings “gnu” fun to Disneyland as summer continues

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

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Published on August 04, 2014 at 5:45 am with 93 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 writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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  • LoveStallion

    The before-and-afters of NOS sum it up perfectly. The whole thing is way too imposing now.

    • heffalump

      Good point LoveStallion. New Orleans Square went from being New Orleans Square-centric to a monument of wretched excess for pompous Club 33 members. Case in point: the window used to be centered to preserve the look of New Orleans Square, but now it’s centered on the inside for Club 33 members and goofy looking on the outside, diminishing the unique style of New Orleans Square.

    • Westsider

      Considering the project isn’t even done, these “after” photos are a bit unfair. I wonder if Mr. Castro will consider doing the “Before and After” thing again in a couple weeks when the construction walls are down, the facades are finished, and all the accessories are put in place? You know, when the “After” shot is actually “After” instead of “In Progress”?

      Whaddya say Mr. Castro? A fair fight for a “Before and After” thing? Love your work and your updates, but this isn’t really a fair comparison yet.

      • Andy Castro


        How about you notify me in a few weeks when you decide the project is done because the (majority of) construction walls have been down for a couple weeks already. If there are significant changes in a couple more weeks (what, a full month after the Club reopened?) then I’ll revisit the before and after feature, but I’m going to bet that won’t be necessary.

        Dateline Disneyland

      • stevek

        Regardless of whatever the final outcome is, I’m pretty confident nothing is going to change Andy’s mind. I can’t see them changing it substantially to alter his opinion.

      • mathdance

        A picture is a picture, not an opinion.

      • stevek

        But you can form an opinion based on a picture. Ugh.

      • Andy Castro

        @stevek -

        It isn’t even about changing my opinion. Westsider is suggesting that New Orleans Square will look significantly better than it does now when the “walls are down” and the project is “finished” but the walls ARE down and the Club has been open for two weeks now. The major work is done, so what are we waiting for? WDI can throw a bunch of small details at the new facades all they want, but none of that is going to change the very notable design flaws (off-center window, windows that disrupt the scale, closed Court of Angels, expanded Club hallway covering portions of neighboring facades, etc.).

        Small details might help but they aren’t going to fix any of the major problems here, no matter how much Westsider wants them to.

        Dateline Disneyland

    • Fyreflyerush

      IDK. Aside from the oddly off center window annoying me, I think the whole thing looks good. I love the new interior of Club 33. It’s so bright and open. It looks to have been given a modern, yet classic look. It was dark and dreary and showing its age before. The exterior doesn’t look bad….aside from that dreadfully off center window. The Court of Angels is a tragedy for those who know it, but the majority of people coming to DL won’t even know it existed.

  • steve76

    Wow, the before and after pictures of New Orleans Square really highlight how ill-conceived and badly executed the changes were. So sad.

    Maybe I’m not in the target demographic for the two new games, but I just don’t get them. The Frontierland seems far too convoluted and complicated, and the Adventureland one seems far too simple (I have to pay to play, and one of the games consists of me just having to buy something?). I’m sure I’m missing something. However I hope that they don’t detract at all from the regular guest experience. That jail cell sure looks ugly.

    Many thanks for the update.

    • dizneedoll

      Agree with you about NOS. At first I was thinking it was no biggie, except Court of Angels-I am very sad about that- but seeing the side by side comparison is quite striking and certainly does show the how big a difference it is. And not a good difference either.

      The games don’t appeal to me either. But I do think the Adventureland stuff looks cool. I like collecting ephemera and the booklets and maps look more interesting to me to have then the actual juju’s.

      • heffalump

        Universal Studios gets tons of new rides, and Disneyland counters with $5 Juju, a cheap piece of panted wood.

        Can’t wait to find out what the MBAs at Disneyland come up with next.

  • Susan Hughes

    I’m looking at the calendar and getting sad. The really peaceful, civilized atmosphere at the parks has only two weeks left. On August 18th all HELL breaks loose when the blocked out Annual Passholes are allowed to return and infest the resort with their numbers and, sadly…their bad behavior. It’s been a joy interacting with the out of town visitors, many from Europe. They DO NOT take for granted their visit to the parks and are excited to be there.

    • stevek

      So, do you have an AP Susan? Maybe a higher tier which apparently makes you better than those of us that are about to “infest” the resort? Your comments make you the worst possible AP…one that feels you are better than everyone else because of what you pay. Don’t lump everybody in with your overly dramatic generalizations. There are many of us lowly So Cal AP’s that love the parks just as much as you, don’t take them for granted and won’t bring any bad behavior as we infest them.

      • Fyreflyerush

        No, (s)he’s just a bitter CM who doesn’t like dealing with the people who pay her check.

      • SoCalStacy

        I agree with you stevek. AP holders are the reason the park is able to stay open after summer. Maybe Susan needs seasonal employment only. Also, the only way she would be able to distinguish a passholder is if she worked in parking main turnstiles, or food. Maybe she is bitter that she doesn’t have a better job within the park.

    • Kennyland

      Susan, I’m an out-of-towner and I don’t have an annual pass at any level. Never have. When I visit Disneyland, I pay for a 3-4 day parkhopper and usually visit in the summer because it does seem the crowd conditions are more manageable with the blackout days. As for calling a group of people Annual Passholes and painting them with such a broad stroke, I think that’s a bit much. If you don’t like visiting the Park when the APers return, then don’t go. We all enjoy Disneyland in our own way on whatever level we can. Try to show some tolerance.

    • jcruise86

      Buy a book of manners, Susan.

    • Westsider

      Susan, you aren’t alone. In a few Backstage areas there are even countdown calendars posted ticking off the days until the APs return. Let’s just say that for CM’s this isn’t like counting down the days until Christmas and Santa Claus returns. It’s a countdown of another sort, and I don’t know any CM who is looking forward to August 18th.

      • stevek

        There is a big difference between not looking forward to crowds which nobody likes, including a lowly So Cal AP parasite, but to paint with such a broad brush was a bit uncalled for. The AP’s should not be blamed for the crowding…that falls squarely on Disney’s shoulders for allowing the AP population to expand to a level far larger than they ever should have.

      • Susan Hughes

        The term “Annual Passholes” is not one used by the public. It’s what Cast Members use to describe the APs who are arrogant, abusive and obnoxious. The ones who treat the park as if it belongs to only them, and the Cast Members are indentured servants who can never do anything right and deserve to be treated badly.
        I should also point out there is a difference. There are Annual Passholders…and there are “Passholes”. Based on the civilized atmosphere the in the parks during the blockouts, one can come to the “broad paint stroke” that “Passholes” make up the majority of APs.

      • stevek

        Keep digging the hole Susan. At least you’ve clearly outlined you fall into the “passholes” bucket.

      • SoCalStacy

        You know what we passholders call rude cast members? Fired. LOL!!!

      • KimbaZ

        August 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm

        You know what we passholders call rude cast members? Fired. LOL!!!

        Thank you for the laugh SoCalStacy. I was thinking the same thing. I suppose all of us “rude and obnoxious” AP’s could call and complain about her. She really is bringing a bad name to Cast Members. I don’t think Disney would approve of her online image.

    • Ravjay12

      Wow! that was uncalled for! Some of the best guests I had the pleasure of knowing while I worked there were Annual Passholders. Never had problems with them. Really not good form, Susan!

    • KimbaZ

      Real classy Susan Hughes! Not sure if you’re a cast member or a Premium AP, but your lowball comment about Southern California AP’s was uncalled for. Seems like you’re the one with the bad behavior.

    • Marko50

      And once again Susan Hughes comes into a conversation with nothing but her hatred of people who can’t afford as much as she. I think she misunderstands who the CM’s are talking about when they mention Passholes. But, more to the point…well, that IS the point. Her diatribe has nothing whatsoever to do with the column above or any of the following comments.

      • stevek

        Though I don’t know Susan, I’ve seen similar reactions from people who quite honestly, live every moment for Disney and or the Disney parks. A level of obsession & elitism that is the epitome of the worst in Disney fandom and makes me want to wash my hands of it at times.

        We all love the parks or else we wouldn’t be here. But to suggest you are better than us “passholes” is tiresome and makes you worse than any of us could ever be.

    • Fyreflyerush

      If you can’t handle being in the service field, get out of it. Quit your job and go work in a morgue. At least there you won’t have to worry about getting attitude.

    • Disneyobsession

      Susan did take it a little over the top, but it does seem to me that days when the SoCal AP’s are valid, the behavior at the park is a bit worse.

      • Marko50

        It’s not so much that Susan took it a little over the top. It’s that, aside from being off-subject, she continually takes it over the top over the same subject 97% of the time.

      • Susan Hughes

        Scroll to 2:51 of this video for a short but direct explanation of what Cast Members think of Annual Passholders:

        Then ask yourself this question…are Cast Members “over the top” in how they feel, or is there some truth to the abuse they have to endure?

    • SoCalStacy

      Susan, where in the park do you work? The only place you would even know that I was a passholder would be either at parking, the main entrance, or at a restaurant cashier. So which one of these do you work at??? LOL.

  • Larry Parker

    The before/after shots clearly reveal the “on the cheap” Club 33 exterior work. To be sure Disney corporate is made aware of our displeasure, I suggest leaving comments to that effect at:

  • PoopedPirate

    Those before and after pictures are heartbreaking. What was once perfection now looks like an add-on to a community hospital.

  • WDWorldly

    Andy, nice manicure, I love that color on you

    • Andy Castro

      HA! I was waiting for a comment like this. Our lovely hand model in today’s Dateline Disneyland is my good friend Becca from the wonderful who joined me on Friday to hunt for Juju! She has more great coverage of Adventure Trading Company over at her blog!

      Thanks for reading!

  • amyuilani

    Beautiful pictures as always!

    I think the best news of the summer has been the light crowds on Saturdays. Have non-premium passholders complained about this measure at all? I have not been a passholder in years (was a CM before I left CA), but I also remember thinking that Sunday mornings into early afternoon were a nice time to be there, and if I wanted evening entertainment, Friday after work was really nice. I didn’t want to go on a Saturday unless friends and family wanted to go. If Saturday really mattered that much, I would buy the premium pass, but if it doesn’t, it’s probably worth saving the difference in the rate.

    It would be nice if they started loosening the CM sign-ins over the summer, since they’re showing that the crowds are light enough to not be drastically affected by sign-ins.

    • Westsider

      There are no CM blockouts on our main gate passes this summer. The only blockout dates were July 4th. I’ve signed in family and friends multiple times this summer, always on a Saturday.

      There are upcoming CMs blockouts later in August when the APs return, and then again this fall CM’s are blockout out on Fridays and Sundays through Halloween.

      • stevek

        I heard from a CM friend that sign in’s are a bit more challenging nowdays. When he previously signed us in, he just walked in with us and then walked back out. Now, he apparently has to physically be with us the entire time. This may have always been a rule but maybe now they are just enforcing it much more closely. Or he was just B.S.’ing me. ; )

      • Westsider

        That’s always been the rule, but it was never really enforced. Now with the MagicBands in Florida, CM’s have to give plastic RFID cards to their guests so they can use the Fastpass+ system and then at the end of the visit return the RFID cards to their CM host. The CM’s main gate pass also has an RFID chip in it. No paper passes are given for CM sign-ins in Florida anymore. A CM can’t lose those cards more than once or twice, or be hauled in for questioning on who they are signing in and why they keep losing their RFID cards. This all serves to force the CM and their guests to follow the long standing rule of “remaining with your party for their entire visit”.

        Those changes in Florida triggered the crack down on also following the rules here in California. Your CM friend isn’t BS’ing you.

  • WDWorldly

    Miceage should seek out Club 33 members and publish their (probably negative) reactions –it might have an impact, as these before and after pictures do.

    • stevek

      I’d be careful to generalize that Club 33 members opinions are “probably negative.” My guess is that there is a mix of good and bad and generally the bad are the most vocal.

  • Nola ron

    1. In the lagoon why are the tikis seeming faceing backward to the forward motion of the subs.
    2. Is Captain EO coming back in tomorrowland?
    Great photos as always.

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    Those before and after photos tell a very clear story, and it’s not a good one.

    I’m not one to complain above every change Disney makes, but the change in quality here is pretty stunning.

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ I agree. How sad to see one of the most beautiful theme park places ever
      made significantly less attractive. (It’s even worse than the decline I’ve seen in photos of the area around Spaceship Earth that was so beautiful in the 80s, but now looks cluttered.) When Iger’s successes and failures are listed, this will be in the failure list, if before and after photos are circulated.

      Is Disney involved in the developments in and around the Grand Canyon that Teddy Roosevelt warned against 100 years ago?

  • Amanda949

    The before and after shots say it all. How could anyone defend what they’ve done to the most beautiful area of the park?! The proof of their laziness is in the details. The fact that the new club and refurbished parts of NOS have no detail shows they weren’t just lazy but really don’t care at all.

    • danielz6

      Not only was it the most beautiful but also the most unique. Only magic kingdom with a new orleans square. Shameful.

      • Cory Gross

        Part of Tokyo Disneyland’s Adventureland copies New Orleans Square. It’s not the full thing, but it’s still a bit bizzaroworld to walk through.

      • danielz6

        Yes I know I’ve been there. Personally, I’ve always thought it’d be better if Adventurand had a unified thematic setting, instead of the mishmash that it is along with all the other copy cat adventurelands. I think one should be polynesian, another indian, or african, SE Asian, central american or Amazon etc. I think a unified setting is much more satisfying than a mixture of themes, plus they would be more differentiated from park to park.

  • MyFriendtheAtom

    those before and after pics tho :-/

  • Stevenatharlan

    I agree, the before and after pictures really show how poorly the NOS exteriors were done. Too bad Tony Baxter is gone, he wouldn’t have let that happen (or would have given it a good fight). The beauty of the area and connections to Walt are disappearing. First we lose The Disney Gallery (above Pirates), then The Court of Angels. One thing I noticed on a past post, looking at the interiors of the new Club 33, I did not see one picture of Walt Disney in the club. The original Club 33 had several pictures of Walt in the Throphy Room, etc. Did I miss something? Is this another step in a generic ‘Disney’ brand . . .

  • eicarr

    The before and after photos are shocking. I feel sad for the downgraded experience and embarrassed for Disney employees.

    • Westsider

      Just this morning as I put on my costume and affixed my nametag I thought “Geez, I used to feel proud of this before that off-center window was installed”.

      How about we wait for the thing to actually be finished before we declare it the end of Disneyland?

      • stevek

        You should have just quit your job on the spot in protest. How in the world can you work for these “vandals” that have completely ruined anyone’s possibility of enjoying Disneyland now ; )

      • Marko50

        Lol! I myself have considered getting a job with the DLR just so I could quit in protest!

        Sorry, Westsider. No offense meant. And I appreciate the service I’m sure I’ve gotten from you. But stevek, I loved that comment!

        And just wait till those unwashed hooligans come back in two weeks!

      • CaptainAction

        Westsider, you seem a little sensitive to the poor design and execution of the new mess at New Orleans Square. Is this your project?
        You seem to be asking everyone to ignore what they are seeing.

      • stevek

        I just think he’s being rational and saying “let’s wait and see the final product before judging it.” At the end of the day, people that hate it now aren’t likely to change their opinion nor will people that don’t have a problem with it. The middle ground will likely be those that will sway one way or the other upon completion.

      • Fyreflyerush

        I think that was sarcasm from Westsider.

      • stevek

        Of course it was, as was my response. I don’t see how anyone could have taken it as anything different. But, this is the internet and sarcasm can be a bit hard to convey.

  • Tinkbelle

    Oh, wow… thanks for the before and after shots but they make me want to cry. The before shots look like they should be after shots! The rich theming and detail look so much more classy, well thought out, and appropriate. I highly doubt that Disney is going to pay the money it would take to fix their mistake here. It’s a real shame.

    They are getting some interesting Haunted Mansion merchandise. I like the ghost plush! They should make a music box of the ballroom scene… or if that is too elaborate then even just one couple from the ballroom scene waltzing around.