MiceAge Update: More Star Wars, Frozen, Muppets and Marvel at Disneyland Resort

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Published on August 19, 2014 at 3:00 am with 187 Comments

Today’s MiceAge Update brings you the latest from the halls of Imagineering and Team Disney Anaheim, where some big-ish projects are in the works. After a pleasant summer season with manageable crowds of tourists spread evenly between the two parks, the Disneyland Resort crashes into late August this week with the return of over 500,000 SoCal and SoCal Select Annual Passholders who have been blocked out since June. That will make this the busiest week of the summer by far, and the Resort’s parking infrastructure will be stretched to the breaking point while the parks suddenly crawl with huge crowds of locals. While the front line Anaheim CM’s struggle to keep up this week, we’ll fill you in on what their TDA bosses have been working feverishly on this summer. Namely, the plans to get the Resort ready for the 60th Diamond Celebration and beyond, with some surprising new twists.

Red Scare

In order to fully comprehend the Anaheim news, it’s important to understand what’s been happening on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. The construction of Shanghai Disneyland is well underway, as the structural steel for the massive show buildings grow from former bean fields. Unfortunately, the entire Shanghai Disneyland project has been struggling with massive delays and setbacks for over a year now. The problems stem from the slow and questionable workmanship of the Chinese contractors and the mountains of red tape (no pun intended) the local bureaucrats keep throwing at any request or proposal from Imagineering. There are many business books already written about the pratfalls of doing business in Communist China, but when the park is finally complete there could be one doozy of a bestseller written about the construction of Shanghai Disneyland, and we’ll just leave it at that.

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The result of the growing mess in Shanghai is that the timetable for opening the park hasn’t just slipped, but now appears to be in general freefall. The biggest hint of this growing problem was in Bob Iger’s comments to the investor community in the most recent quarterly earnings report. After some scripted cheese where Bob declared they were “thrilled” with how the Shanghai park is coming along, he buried the real lead when he said; “We hope to set an official date for our grand opening sometime within the next six months or so.” Before that comment, Disney had still been sticking with the internal November, 2015 opening date or “late 2015” phrase they’d released publicly several years ago. But Imagineering troops in Shanghai now realize there is absolutely no way a late 2015 or early 2016 opening will be possible.

Instead, the park’s opening has slipped until April, 2016 at the earliest, and Summer 2016 is not impossible. More and more Disney personnel are being assigned to the project and moved from Burbank, Glendale and Anaheim in an attempt to be able to hit the ground running once the construction is complete, but that’s currently only adding to the costs. Burbank and Imagineering planners are also coming up with contingency plans for opening in phases, where the Downtown Disney and two hotels open ahead of the park, while the park itself goes through a phased opening throughout 2016 where not all lands and certainly not all the E Tickets will be up and running on the delayed opening day, whenever that may be.

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These Shanghai delays are wreaking havoc with Burbank’s fiscal planning calendars for 2015 and beyond, and they have already forced hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funds to be budgeted for the project. It’s a mess over there folks, and it’s going to have some major impacts on the parks here at home.

A Land Not Too Far Away

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Most noticeably, the major capital investments planned for Disneyland and DCA beyond the 60th are in limbo right now while Burbank accountants try to get a handle on just how much extra they’ll have to shell out in Shanghai the next two years. The plan to infuse Tomorrowland with new Star Wars attractions was already sidetracked last year by huge problems and cost overruns with the MyMagic+ program at Walt Disney World. The sudden delay on the Tomorrowland Star Wars project, which was very close to being announced publicly, allowed Imagineering to regroup and go in for an even more ambitious plan it continues to work on for Anaheim. The new plan that has risen from Tomorrowland’s ashes has Star Wars landing in Disneyland in a much different location, with a new proposal to take over the Big Thunder Ranch and Mickey’s Toontown.

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The plans for Anaheim that WDI is currently mocking up in their dedicated Star Wars design studio now have an entirely new land being tacked on to the north of Frontierland and Fantasyland. The new Star Wars expansion would be accessed via the western flanks of Fantasyland beyond the old Skyway station, taking over the Big Thunder Ranch area and extending to the north beyond the railroad tracks. Where Toontown is now would be more expansion and a large show building, not unlike New Orleans Square with the show buildings for Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean stashed unseen behind it. It’s this show building on the Toontown plot where the bulk of the Star Wars E Ticket and some other indoor environments would reside.

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Yes, this means Toontown would go away completely if this concept gets approval. The Roger Rabbit dark ride and Gadget’s Go Coaster would both go to Yesterland, while the popular Mickey and Minnie meet n’ greets would slot into a new facility elsewhere. The smart money is that Mickey and Minnie would take over the Disneyland Opera House, using the interactive talking character technology WDI had previewed in Toontown several years ago.

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While it has yet to be given the green light, Tom Staggs has told WDI to continue working the Star Wars designs towards the goal of using Toontown instead of Tomorrowland, and TDA is complying by bringing the Submarines back out of mothballs after they sat untouched for the first five months of its nine month “refurbishment”. After its light cosmetic and vehicle refurbishment, the biggest problem for the Submarines now is how TDA’s Public Affairs department will carefully word the talking points on why Disneyland will be filling up the 9 million gallon submarine lagoon (that still leaks) in the middle of California’s epic drought.

How Marvel-Ous!

Disney California Adventure is not without its own E Ticket proposal that’s quickly gaining favor with Burbank execs. While Star Wars is slated for Disneyland, DCA’s future now lies with the popular Marvel franchises. We’d told you in the past that a Marvel Studios extension of the Hollywoodland section of the park was being pushed by WDI and Burbank, allowing the various Marvel stars to appear in a slightly more relevant and permanent environment than their current Innoventions digs. Now that plan has an E Ticket to go along with the meet n’ greets, in a proposal to put a Marvel themed version of Rock N’ Roller Coaster tucked into the parking lot currently between Tower of Terror and Luigi’s Flying Tires.

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The proposal for a Marvel thrill coaster takes the concept of the Monsters Inc. door coaster still sitting on the back burner for DCA, and dials it up several notches. Where the Monsters Inc. coaster is proposed as a “family coaster” with a 38” or 40” height requirement, the Marvel coaster would be much more intense and have a 48” height requirement, the same as California Screamin’. TDA’s research teams have bolstered the WDI proposal with plenty of fresh data showing that a thrill ride aimed at school aged boys and their fathers is exactly what’s needed to give Anaheim’s roster of attractions a boost with that important demographic. The new expansion would open in two phases, with the Marvel meet ‘n greet facilities opening first just after the 60th while the coaster finishes construction in the parking lot beyond.

Even without the Shanghai headaches throwing the budgets and calendars into limbo, there likely won’t be a peep from Disney about Anaheim’s Star Wars or Marvel plans until next summer at the D23 Expo. The media focus instead will be on launching and promoting the 60th Diamond Celebration. TDA will be using the old playbook from the 50th for much of the preparations for the 60th, and that means lots of refurbishments and painting for the next eight months.

The good news is that Disneyland already looks dramatically better today than it did just prior to the 50th, after the infamous years under leadership by Paul Pressler and Cynthia Harriss. And while plenty of paint and freshening is also coming to DCA, that park still sparkles after its 1.2 Billion dollar expansion and continuing upkeep. The work out front on the Main Entrance turnstiles was the first project under this master plan, and the painters tarps will literally spread into and throughout the park this fall once the Main Entrance refurbishment is finished. The Main Entrance work is also another sign that the troubled MyMagic+ system with all its “touch points” and convoluted rules and 60 day advance bookings for a teacup won’t be coming to Anaheim any time soon.

Main Street Bypass

Meanwhile, backstage, work continues on the new crowd control alleyways being built behind both sides of Main Street USA. These new alleyways will be pressed into use throughout the day during the 60th, as TDA’s entertainment team plans for multiple new parades and a lavish new fireworks show. It’s that one-two punch of a new night parade and a massive new fireworks show that will put the alleys into the heaviest use, as Disneyland’s crowd control team will need all the help they can get herding the crowds from Fantasmic! to the night parade to the new fireworks back to a second Fantasmic! and a second showing of the night parade.

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Interestingly, DLR President Michael Colglazier and his executive committee keep boasting internally that the 60th will have more meat and more offerings than the 50th. The narrative for these execs, many of whom weren’t in Anaheim during the 50th, is that the Golden Anniversary was mostly about freshening up an aging Disneyland and righting the past wrongs of disgraced former executives. They feel their 60th roster of entertainment, dark ride upgrades, and retro-nostalgia offers more tangible offerings than the 50th, but when you consider the 50th added two big new parades, jaw-dropping new fireworks, a reworked Space Mountain and an all-new Buzz Lightyear ride, plus lots of swanky décor, the 60th plans seem more modest in scope. At least they are trying to go as big as they can for the 60th, but the fuzzy memories and revisionist history of the current execs have some old-timers in TDA scratching their heads. The Anaheim old timers are looking forward to seeing the Christmas star return on top of the Matterhorn next year, however.

Chilly Reception

A small media event is planned to give more information about all the new entertainment and offerings coming for the 60th, including the upgrades coming to Fantasyland’s dark rides, the HD conversion and plussing of Soarin’ Over California, and a winter closure and major rework for World of Color. But the timing of that 60th media event still remains up in the air, due to a last minute push by Burbank to offer an all-new experience this holiday season.

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Taking a cue from the successful Frozen Summer Fun promotion they pulled together very quickly out at Walt Disney World, a new Frozen offering will be shoehorned into DCA for this Christmas season. Setting up in, you guessed it, the backlot area of DCA’s Hollywoodland, the characters from Frozen will be moving in for the holidays. An indoor ice rink and character meet n’ greet will be installed in Stage 17, while next door the Muppets will go on hiatus (again) and the MuppetVision theater will be repurposed for a small stage show and Frozen sing-along. Frozen décor and set pieces will be plopped down around these two venues and take over some of the existing Mad T Party facilities, and the existing Studio Store nearby will be turned into a Frozen merchandise headquarters. This will create a Frozen miniland of sorts in DCA, and should help take the pressure off the Frozen frenzy currently found in Fantasyland.

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Disney knows it can only give the media so much information at a time, so they are still trying to strategize when they announce the Frozen holiday miniland and then follow that up with a 60th media preview. What’s unfortunate is that 15 years ago a major animated motion picture like Frozen would have had parade floats and seasonal offerings planned to go into the parks the week before the movie opened in theaters, but last winter the Frozen craze caught Disney’s theme park executives flat footed and totally unprepared. Merchandise shortages around the country and four hour lines for understaffed meet ‘n greets in the parks caused Disney to lose out on buckets of profits from that cultural phenomenon.

Whether or not the Frozen miniland in DCA this winter will be effective or only prove that Frozen has already jumped the shark is yet to be seen. It’s just a shame no one had the nerve or the funds to plan all of this a year ago when America was begging to buy Frozen merchandise and experiences.

Rainbow Connection

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One last thing. For those of you concerned the Muppets never get any respect from TDA, constantly being replaced by the latest 3-D preview or princess sing-along show, WDI is putting the finishing touches on a proposal to install an all new MuppetVision show into that theater. The original 1991 film, and it’s unfortunate plot device hinging on the annoying Waldo character, would be replaced with a tighter and shorter presentation that focuses only on the classic Muppets characters in a digital 3d format. If the new show gets the green light for installation by 2016, TDA will need to find another venue to use for appeasing the synergy gurus up at the Burbank studios.

 

Did today’s update have you reaching for the Star(Wars) or leave you Frozen? How do you feel about the Star Wars project making a move on Mickey? Are you happy to hear about the plussing of Marvel at Disneyland Resort? Do you find yourself cheering for the Muppets over Monsters? Let’s hear your opinions below. After all, Walt said it best, “Disneyland is your land . . . ”

If you enjoyed today’s update, please be sure to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and leave us a comment below.

 

 

About MiceAge

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. Generally, you'll find a new MiceAge news update from Al and crew once or twice a month on Tuesdays. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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Comments for MiceAge Update: More Star Wars, Frozen, Muppets and Marvel at Disneyland Resort are now closed.

  1. I hope they don’t get rid of Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, it is one of the best dark rides in the entire park with the best themed queue.

    • Maybe Iger and the boys could change Roger Rabbit animatronic characters out for Jar Jar Binks animatronic characters? Iger and his minions could change the name of the ride to, “Jar Jar’s Crazy Day on Planet Earth”.
      I’ll bet they just re theme the ride – that’s all they do anyway – re theme. This is right in their cheap wheelhouse.

      • How can you say Iger is cheap? He had the whole front entrance of DCA ripped apart and put back together to make Buena Vista Street, he greelit Carsland, and bought Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. None of that was cheap by any means.

      • Several billion dollars in direct investment in the parks over less than five years (not including +) constitutes cheaping-out? The world must truly be askew?

      • Iger certainly isn’t cheap. He has spent a tremendous amount on the parks. Unfortunately, much of that money was wasted on MyMagic+ and Shanghai overruns. As a result, new attractions for the parks have been slowed. But overall spending is still at a very high level. In my opinion, Iger has been bold in his spending. Look at what he’s bought which Disney will benefit from for generations: Lucas Films, Muppets, Marvel, Pixar. The franchises which the company has developed and purchased will sustain and enrich Disney for a long, long time. I’m not thrilled with every decision the parks have made, but overall, Iger will go down in history as the CEO which expanded the company and positioned it to survive the shift to digital technology and changing consumer spending patterns.

      • Hahaha captain you seriously need to stop! This may be the most terrifying ride concept I’ve ever heard and if disney catches wind of this we will all suffer!

      • Iger isn’t cheap at WDW?
        I guess I just expect more than interactive ques with stupid games for 4 year olds of all ages.
        I expect more from Disney than themed restrooms.
        I expect more from Disney than one well themed Goofy Barnstormer ride in 3 years of construction.
        I expect more from Disney than revenue centers like restaurants and gift stores being built in mere months but not attractions.
        I expect more from Disney than not fixing the centerpiece of their signature ride for over 6 years and counting.
        I expect more from Disney than not completing an E Ticket attraction at Magic Kingdom in over 20 years.
        I expect more from Disney than the worst forced perspective at a theme park with Beast’s Castle and Rapunzel’s Tower, as 2 dollhouses completely embarrassing themselves.
        I expect more from Disney than ripping out attractions whenever they put in a new one like they are landlocked.
        These are my examples of cheap execs at WDW.

    • I really like Roger’s Cartoon Spin too, I’d be heartbroken to see it go, seems odd to get rid of it now(ish) with a new Roger Rabbit film in the works. Hopefully they will just move the ride.

      • Be prepared for what they’re about to do to all the FL Dark Rides….

      • I agree with being wary of the changes, but I thought they did an excellent job with Alice — if you forget about how long the construction took.

      • But, it would be unfortunate to lose Roger Rabbit; it is such a unique ride. Gadget’s coaster can go the way of the dinosaur for all I care.

      • If they were smart, they’d move the set pieces and ride vehicles to the Monster’s Inc. show building. Isn’t it almost the same layout? As a fully realized land, ToonTown was always a bit lacking (primarily because it never visually tracked to the world that Mickey and friends lived in), but the Roger Rabbit ride would work in a Cartoon Corner of Hollywoodland.

      • I would trade it for long rumored muppet movie ride. The muppets are made to be amatronis

    • Iger has not done much for the fans besides giving them bands originally designed to track inmates in prisons. Disney got Cars land and Avatar land the themed lands that no one wanted or demanded.

      Cars land was built to sell toy cars and Avatar land is being built to woo James Cameron to jump ship to make his future movies with Disney after his Fox contract ends.

      It’s sad that the main focal point of new Fanastyland is a 500 seat restaurant along with three new bathrooms and the rides were just after thoughts that can’t handle the crowds. Disney is all about packing them in and giving them less.

      • Ha, if you think Disney had trouble implemented RFID in it’s parks, just wait until you see the California Dept. of Corrections try to.

    • As much as I would miss that ride, Toontown takes up a lot of space for a land that offers only one attraction.

      I would have no problem with it being replaced with something that makes better use of the real estate.

      • Same here!

      • I disagree, my friend. My nephews may be older than the ToonTown target, but believe me, for parents of small children, ToonTown is heaven. Same with Flick’s Fun Fair. And it depends on how you define “attraction”. Gadget’s Go Coaster is definitely an attraction (I love it). And for many, Mickey and Minnie’s meet and greets are major attractions.

        My major problem is what they’re going to do in Tomorrowland without Star Wars. Subs is dead two years after Finding Dory comes out. Placing Star Wars into the ToonTown/Big Thunder Ranch real estate makes absolutely no sense to me.

    • Maybe they can rellocate?

  2. If Toontown goes away and is replaced by an inferior, cheap Star Wars cash-in, it will be a shame, but if it’s replaced by an amazing, immersive, DisneySea level experience, then it will totally be worth it.

    As Diagon Alley replacing Jaws at Universal Orlando showed, you can close much loved classic attractions without too much fan concern as long as you replace them with something even bigger and better. We all love Roger Rabbit, but if Star Wars land is as amazing as it could be, then it will be OK for him to move on to the great Toontown in the sky.

    The Frozen stuff sounds good for DCA, it’s working wonders at DHS and releases that pressure valve without mutilating an existing attraction (as they’re doing with Maelstrom), but I facepalm at them adding a Marvel Rock’n'Roller coaster, how typical of Imagineering’s lack of ideas and ambition.

    Imagineering should be coming up with brand new technology and concepts, not just re-using fifteen year old off-the-shelf rides. Look at Gringotts Bank – a Marvel ride should be as unique and original as that, or at least try for it. You just don’t see Imagineering – the place that pretty much invented animatronics – doing anything that daring or technically original nowadays.

    I want Star Wars and Marvel rides that don’t fit labels of ‘roller-coaster’ or ‘dark ride’ or ‘simulator’, but are just incredible immersive experiences unlike anything else in the theme park world. Instead we’ll probably just get an off-the-shelf Vekoma with a themed queue.

    • Yes, we all want this but you have to go to Universal now to get rides which don’t fit current labels or incredible immersive experiences.
      Iger doesn’t “do” unique or creative or immersive.

      • Universal doesn’t even have their own IP? Everything they’re doing is franchise-based. Which you apparently approve? But Disney can’t use their IP library for attractions? Don’t complain if you’re going to apply a double-standard. Thanks.

      • Of course universal is franchise based they are the original Studios park! Thats all they have ever done and it’s what they are all about. That’s not a bad thing it’s the the identity of their experience. Disneylands identity has always been taking you to a different place and time, not putting you into the movies. It’s not a doube standard if you understand the parks’ unique identities.

      • He didn’t say Disney shouldn’t use their IPs, but that they should come up with new technology for attractions.

        Harry Potter is an existing IP, but the experience is amazing because they developed new and original types of attractions, didn’t just do a HP themed
        off-the-shelf coaster like Disney is apparently considering for Marvel.

      • BC Disneygeek,
        Thank you. That is what I said.

      • Carsland is a slower version and Test Track and Avatar land will be a clone of Soarin its taking a long time to make a Patrick Walburton Avatar so it keeps getting delayed.

        I can’t wait for the new Star Wars clone of Toy Story Midway Mania which was just a clone of the 1996 Disney Quest Pirates game. That with an X-wing Dumbo clone will be worth waiting over five years for them to build it. I bet they will even come out with a new $15 dollar popcorn bucket or $30 magic band.

        I’ll be at Universal until they start making new ride systems again. Yeah Mission Space the last truly unique ride system by Disney was an epic failure that killed people but when we fall we need to pick our selves up again. At least that what Batman says.

    • I don’t get why they can’t build a new Frozen float for the parade, I’m sure if they tried it could be ready for Christmas and most definitely for the 60th Anniversary parade.

      I’d like to see more imaginative rides for Marvel and Star Wars too but I wonder if the new crop of Imagineers can come up with anything, so far they’ve done a re-dress of Test Track and now they want to re-dress Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Coaster.

    • Completely agree BrerJon – I for one won’t miss Toontown a lot if it is replaced by something truly awesome – and I believe it is possible to make something truly awesome based on Star Wars IP.

      It would be a let down if they do something massive and it isn’t immersive, but I believe they can do it. Unlike some others, I don’t feel as though Disneyland lacks imagination and creativity at all. What I think they have done, however, was made a number of unwise investments in a short period of time, limiting the money to give effect to true innovation for a while. I also think they suffer from inconsistency – Cars Land v Finding Nemo submarines, eg. Something like a Star Wars land would be an ideal opportunity for a resurgence in creativity.

      • I wonder if Toontown will get Frozen. It has a dark ride that they could easily replace with a quick overlay and the backdrops could be switched to the castle.

        Since Epcot is getting it you know it will land somewhere at Disneyland. I think they should retheme Tom Sawyer Island to Frozen. The boats would help with the crowd control. It could be meet and greet Island, at least water would be between the cheap experience and the rides or they could do it the Disney way and redo Great Moments with Lincoln to “let it go “it with Abe Lincoln

  3. I think WDI finally got the message that Tomorrowland is not meant for Star Wars. But what does this mean for Star Tours though…

    • Be really interesting to see. Can’t imagine they’d leave it in if they build a whole new land within the same park. If WDW’s Snow White is any guess, they’d take it out. (If Star Wars took over Tomorrowland, you can easily see them leaving it in, same as if a new land went in DCA or the third gate) Perhaps they will retheme it – seems like a fair amount they could do, heck, a Mission: Space type experience could fit.

    • Hopefully, they would be able to simply build a new show building and move the ride. That sounds fairly tricky, in fact it could even be cheaper to build from scratch for all I know. But it wouldn’t make sense to either a) lose Star Tours entirely or b) Keep it in Tomorrowland.

      The one thing I do think about Star Wars land is this: Tomorrowland would then consist of:

      a) A subpar reskin of the submarine ride
      b) Buzz Lightyear – which I still love, but many feel is outdated
      c) Space Mountain (the one and only thing in the whole land that is truly irreplaceable)
      d) A whole lot of not much… especially given the Jedi Training Academy would also presumably move.

      I think any proposal for Star Wars land should bring with it a plan for Tomorrowland as well – Disneyland could use a DCA like major investment boost to achieve both of these things at once.

      Also, I have to say, I think you could create this so as to retain Roger Rabbit ride within the guise of Fantasyland. You could keep that small corner of Toontown (and even completely reskin it) and use it for photo ops. I think very little of the Toontown land would need to be retained to achieve this, and I think it would be a good goal to retain the one major attraction if possible (having multiple ways into and out of Star Wars land would probably also increase usage of the ride – the problem with Toontown currently being that you only go past it if you are going to it).

    • I think Star Tours could be changed into a Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride, similar in style to Star Tours or even the new Iron Man ride being built in Hong Kong Disneyland. You could be helping StarLord and pals on a mission to save the galaxy from different villains, and it could be like the current Star Tours where you can get a few different villains to deal with and or planets to visit.

  4. Iger, “Just tell the Disney jerks that…ah…yeah, we can’t afford to do anything but themed restrooms, interactive lines, and some painting because Shanghai is just crazy to deal with.
    Yeah, tell them we have a cash shortage but we can still build restaurants, stores, and snack stands overnight because those are from another budget that isn’t affected by Shanghai.”
    Minion, “Yes sir, but where do I put these wheelbarrows of cash?”
    Iger, “In my Company Bonus Vault, moron!”

    • LMAO.

      It’s patently ABSURD to remotely excuse divestment in the Disney Parks over investment in Shanghai Disney Resort. ABSURD.

      Why? Because we’ve seen the quarterly reports, that’s why. They’re making about 1.5 billion dollars a MONTH in revenue, that’s why. About 300 million of that is pure profit, that’s why.

      It’s insane to think that Disney, of all companies, can’t afford investment.

  5. While I understand these plans, I have to disagree with them. I’m sure we all can do our own armchair Imagineering, but I’ll throw this out there. There are a few major theme elements that need to be addressed.

    1 – Mickey and Minnie don’t belong in the Opera House. Just like Mickey/Tink don’t really fit the theme of Town Square in WDW. (That’s a minimal issue.). In addition to that, the park would lose a land geared toward small children for a land geared toward teens/adults. The balance would be off.

    2 – Marvel fits the theme of Tomorrowland. Innoventions could have a thrill ride built inside it or the building be leveled and something fit into that space. I personally think the Stark Expo would fit great there. Though, after you read point 3, you wouldn’t have a problem with Star Tours becoming a ride similar to the Iron Man Experience in Hong Kong. **We also face a major problem if neither Star Wars or Marvel go into Tomorrowland…what to do with Innoventions, Magic Eye, old PeopleMover, and in the event Star Tours moves, that building. I don’t want to rename Tomorrowland, but I think Marvel could fit more thematically. As I mentioned, say that Tony Stark has placed the Stark Expo inside Tomorrowland and work off that.

    3 – Does a Star Wars Land really seem like a good idea to add to existing names of Fantasyland and Adventureland? I am not a fan of Toy Story Land in the other parks, but I really don’t want to see Walt’s original messed up with an IP name. (That’s just me). What I could see fitting is taking the Star Wars Land to DCA. LucasFilms has been a huge part of Hollywood and California, creating some major films and revolutions in the industry. Take Star Wars to where they want to put Marvel.

    With those ideas they will not have to close Toon Town, they will be able to utilize all the space in Tomorrowland without renaming one of Walt’s originals. Remember we walk into a world of tomorrow when we come into the park. And they are able to place Star Wars into an area that likely could fit a lot better. (In my opinion). And, oh, they still have some expansion space at Big Thunder Ranch.

    • I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said, very well thought out

    • It’s beyond me how they don’t see the potential for an Asgard-like area, even if the Thor movies are probably the weakest of the MCU universe.

    • Don’t Marvel movies take place in the present? Should the rides not go in “TodayLand?”

      • Thank you.

    • Marvel would be best in a New York area for the classic characters unless they are going to use Tomorrowland to hype the less popular space ones

    • By now, 59 years after Disneyland opened its gates, Mickey and Minnie are as much a natural part of Main Streeet as the Emporium is.
      In addition, it can be argued that most of Fantasyland is already geared toward the younger children. And I’ve never really liked the idea, too much, of a whole land aimed specifically at a certain age group. Disneyland is meant for the whole family.

    • 1 Where did guests meet Mickey and Minnie before Toon Town? On a home video, in the 80′s, Mickey had a huge line on Main St. Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, Tiger, and Pooh where also roaming around.

      2. Not all of Marvel fits in TL. Stark Expo for the future tech and Guardians of the Galaxy for the space Sci-Fi. Thor, and Captain America no. Avengers some but not all. They could use the Tomorrowland film or Tron to replace Innoventions and Magic Eye.

      A large part of Star Wars , theme wised, can fit in TL but not all. Only use the futuristic space ports and space travel, (Star Tour) and don’t have planets like Tatooine, Dagobah, etc out in TL.

    • Disneyland is so small that they have to be careful when adding IP that it will last. They cannot add new stuff without closing something in a small overcrowded park.

      Disney got burned on Roger Rabbit and Toontown when Spielburg blocked them from using the character in new movies and he got a cut of merchandise rights.

      Marvel is weird because them building rides also indirectly promotes Universals Islands of Adventure, Sony, and Fox.

      I think most of the money and rides will be Star Wars based because they own all the film and theme parks rights outright and can easily clone attractions.

    • I don’t really feel that Toontown will lessen the experience for smaller children. In my experience (including, both before and after Toontown existed, being a child) everything about Disneyland is awesome to small children, and it doesn’t need Toontown to make it so. I don’t feel the balance would be off at all. Preferably, I’d like all parts of the parks to feel like they cater to everyone. In my family (and now, I’m one of the adults) Toontown and Bugs Land both get shorter shrift even when taking small children – because the kids get pleasure out of everything, but the adults are bored with kiddy lands.

      • I’ve just recently started going to Bug’s Land. You can get wet there on hot days without standing in line for hours for Grizzly River Run or Splash Mountain.

  6. This article says “new parades”… as in the plural sense. I thought it was just one new parade (a nighttime parade) suggested thus far…

    …are there rumors for a new daytime parade in either DL or DCA?

  7. The summer was bliss. Yesterday was the first day the Annual Passholes returned. And it seems that during their blockout they developed a big chip on the shoulders. They returned, not happy, but extra rude and arrogant. I say eliminate the remaining cheap AP and stop renewing both SoCal passes.
    Premium and Deluxe APs weren’t blocked out, and say what you will…higher prices for an AP seems to “civilize” people. Maybe a higher price makes you feel like you “earned” a Disney visit. Lower prices just makes you “deserve” a Disney visit.

    • Ok, you don’t like Annual Passholders. We get it. Your obnoxious attitude about them certainly has to be as repugnant as any “entitlement” they may feel.

      • “After a pleasant summer season with manageable crowds of tourists spread evenly between the two parks, the Disneyland Resort crashes into late August this week with the return of over 500,000 SoCal and SoCal Select Annual Passholders who have been blocked out since June. That will make this the busiest week of the summer by far, and the Resort’s parking infrastructure will be stretched to the breaking point while the parks suddenly crawl with huge crowds of locals, while the front line Anaheim CM’s struggle to keep up.”

        Not my words. It’s from the author of this update.

      • If you think what the article said and what you said are the same, you’re even more deluded than I imagined. Your “passhole” comments (I know, you know some CM’s say it, so it’s ok) and your constant ignorant comments about Passholders are infinitely more obnoxious than any Passholders could ever act.

      • If you think what the article said and what you said are the same, you’re even more deluded than I imagined. Your “passhole” comments (I know, you know some CM’s say it, so it’s ok) and your constant ignorant comments about Passholders are infinitely more obnoxious than any Passholders could ever act.

      • Susan did not invent the term “Passhole.” I was a CM nearly 20 years ago and I heard it then, and this was before DCA and the multi-level passes. Obviously not all pass holders are “Passholes,” but the ones that are are bad enough to sour the reputations of those who are not. My friend used to say, “I’m an annual pass holder, not an AP.” The shoe fits for those who wear it.

        I was in the park on July 5 and expected it to be slammed (Saturday, holiday weekend, blah blah blah). I could not believe how wonderful it was. The pass holders I talked to were nice and were happy to see the crowds so light too. The visitors who were not pass holders were able to enjoy the park without the burden of having to weave through groups of pass holders who are not always very pleasant to be around.

        I don’t know that I agree with doing away with the lower level passes, but I do like that they have the highest expected dates blocked. But if you’re a pass holder, you either A) wouldn’t want to go on those busy days anyway, or B) are willing to pay the difference to not be told when you can or can’t go. Seems to me if pass holders came back this weekend with a chip, they should get over it. Don’t be surprised when you don’t get a premium experience for a basic fare.

      • Thank you, WDWfanBoston. And how would Susan Hughes know that “(t)hey returned, not happy, but extra rude and arrogant” if she wasn’t a Cast Member?

      • Not to mention that it has (as usual) not a damned thing to do with this article.

    • Ok, you don’t like Annual Passholders. We get it. Your obnoxious attitude about them certainly has to be as repugnant as any “entitlement” they may feel.

  8. “The work out front on the Main Entrance turnstiles was the first project under this master plan, and the painters tarps will literally spread into and throughout the park this fall once the Main Entrance refurbishment is finished. The Main Entrance work is also another sign that the troubled MyMagic+ system with all its “touch points” and convoluted rules and 60 day advance bookings for a teacup won’t be coming to Anaheim any time soon.”

    Best news in the entire update!

    • No master plan that I’ve ever seen has focused on anything as minor as touch-up paint. Master plans are supposed to block out the big investments for a resort in the years to come, like new attractions, infrastructure, or hotels. I also hope that painting and refurbishments continue throughout the park, but it’s laughable to try and label a rolling refurbishment schedule as part of a master plan. It’s also laughable to think that a simple repainting project somehow indicates that MM+ isn’t coming to Anaheim

    • I’m just glad that the mistakes in Orlando never work their way out here. Those thumb print turnstile scanners never worked worth a damn, and I’m glad they stayed in Florida. So the same goes for those cheesy looking wristbands. Who wants a weird tan line on their arm anyway?

      • We get worse mistakes like a private club completely compromising the theme of Walt Disney’s masterpiece, New Orleans square.

      • Anyone that wears a watch.

    • You are correct sir! Everyone who loves Disneyland has been sweating and hoping that DLand doesn’t TOUCH the dreaded Magic Handcuffs.

      • That’s a futile hope. They’ve invested 1.5 billion dollars in MyMagic+ technology. For them NOT to monetize it across their theme park empire is just plain dumb.

        That would be akin to Nissan developing a continuously variable transmission, spending a billion or more in the process, and not flying the CVT into every vehicle they sell, despite the public’s ongoing aversion to CVT technology.

        Like it or not, My Magic+ and it’s associated stuff WILL be coming to EVERY Disney park in the future, and ESPECIALLY if it proves to (a) encourage more spending and (b) longer stays in the resort.

      • GM did design and kill the electric car because it would hurt their core business. Coke cancelled New Coke, Microsoft give up on Vista after only one year etc

        Smart companies will admit a mistake. Dumb ones will let it bankrupt them. The biggest flaw of the magic band is that your smartphone can do everything it does and you are screwed at WDW if you don’t have a smartphone. Enjoy 30 minute lines at a far away touch station to change your fast passes and make sure you have the whole party or they can only do it for you.

        People don’t want to plan every hour of every day 6 months in advance but if you don’t nothing will be available except a fast pass for Captain EO. If the park loses power or internet you lose all your rides that you planned months in advance its a great system that has no back up

      • Solarnole,

        I don’t think that My Magic+ is a “failure” as compared to the other examples listed, especially when one considers the corporate gain on the other side of the equation, as well as the plainly obvious market for micromanaged Disney vacations.

        A. There’s a vast wealth of Disney planning guides, from Birnbaum’s official to a variety of unofficial planning guides. There’s clearly, obviously a market for those who enjoy and demand a clockwork Disney vacation. Indeed, BEFORE MyMagic+, people were making dining reservations 6 months in advance of their vacations, for example, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that for a vast segment of the tourist population, MyMagic+ offers real, tangible benefits to their vacation experience.

        B. I’m betting that if you can afford a Disney vacation, you can afford a smartphone. Seriously, my 89 year old grandmother has a smartphone. This is not “new fangled technology that only the kids are using.” It’s not an X-Box one is hauling around the park.

        C. Remember that the long-term strategy for ALL Disney Parks around the globe is the integrated resort model pioneered at Walt Disney World. If that wasn’t the case, Disneyland would still be one park with one tangentially associated hotel, versus two parks and three hotels (and a property purchase nearby for even more parks and resorts.) While the visitation pattern at Disneyland Resort in the present may very well be focused on annual pass holders and locals, it’s obvious, through both their infrastructural investments and their stated strategy to stockholders, that Disney is working to transform that paradigm into something more akin to WDW and Tokyo Disneyland. (And, of course, Hong Kong, Paris and Shanghai are all structured around the integrated resort model, as well.) MyMagic+ neatly fits into that strategy, and should the system encourage increased guest spending, you’ll see the tech worldwide sooner rather than later.

        D. Much like the original FastPass, you don’t have to use MyMagic+. The Magic Handcuffs moniker is misleading. You don’t have to book a ride in advance. You can just get in line and avoid all the planning and “pressing a screen on a phone” that’s causing such headaches to y’all.

        E. The back end of MyMagic+ is the real value to the corporation, even if it perhaps diminishes the guest experience. Disney will have a real-time data map of where and when their customers ride, spend, shop and relax for every hour of the day, every day of the week, every month of the year. They’ll be able to micro target guests based on cohorts formed from this data. They’ll be able to move merch into zones at the exact right times for the exact right audiences based on this data. However you feel about MyMagic+, if they pull it off, Disney stands to make a FORTUNE off of this technology. A FORTUNE. It’s the Holy Grail of consumer data mining. So, of COURSE they’ll want that Grail to be in place at all of their parks and resorts.

        F. I think the largest issue with MyMagic+ (aside from very real privacy and “Minority Report” related issues,) is that it feels very much like the cart before the horse. WDW has been suffering from a lack of real, premium investment in their resort, and 1.5 billion dollars could have translated into about $350 million in investment into each park there. It’s very revelatory as to what the company’s priorities are, and I think, as a Disney fan, it’s disenchanting to have their ambition to shake every last penny out of their guests exposed quite so brazenly and nakedly. But that doesn’t detract from the Holy Grail aspects of MyMagic+ and its ability to generate a wealth of data for the company, which they can and will use to generate a wealth of profit for the corporation.

        Like it or not, and clearly you don’t, MyMagic+ is coming to Disneyland. You’re not thinking comprehensively if you think that it won’t.

  9. Argh I just can’t understand how Star wars fit’s cohesively beside Frontier and Fantasy Lands.. It simply wouldn’t work and I am sure Disney will make the right decision about ideal placemaking such an ambitious development.

    The Marvel coaster idea sounds like a no brainer to me. With the unbelievable success of Marvel, it just makes sense that Disney are planning to cash in on Marvel through the Parks. Considering so much of California Adventure has gotten away so tremendously being thematically jumbled, a new Marvel OR Star Wars land would suit DCA like a glove. On the other hand, Disneyland is a more classical formula that is too nostalgic to properly host these modern brands.

    • You don’t understand it because it doesn’t fit. Star Tours is great, the Jedi Training Academy is great fun but a dedicated Star Wars Land belongs in DCA where lands are named after movies.

    • The only way I could see it working is if the Big Thunder Ranch area is an Endor moon entrance, while a more obvious Star Wars entrance is on the Toontown side. With an Endor theme, redwoods and the like aren’t a step too far from alpine villages (Fantasyland) and Bryce Canyon (Big Thunder).

    • How does Frontierland ands Adventureland ‘fits cohesively beside’ each other? One is a jungle themed for the most part and the other is western and forest themed. It would more likely be separated using a tunnel or/barrier.

      They could do an Endor forest entrance on the west and have an Frozen attraction, replacing the theater and have a Hoth entrance on the east.

      • Not to mention New Orleans square at one intersection of the two. Or how does Tomorrowland fit next to Fantasyland if Star Wars Land does not?

    • Wait, I’m confused. You don’t understand how a Space Fantasy Western fits behind Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland? Star Wars is literally the unification of all three. It couldn’t possibly be more appropriate to put it there. :-)

  10. ANY Star Wars and Marvel is great. Disney’s most crowd attracting brands will massively boost attendance and spending (unlike Monsters Inc.). I’ll miss Roger Rabbit though… wish it could replace or be moved next to the current DCA monsters inc ride. A great muppets/stage 17 replacement.

    What about Tomorrowland?!?! They still need to bulldoze all those awkward and embarrassing buildings from the Starcade and magic eye theater to mission to Mars’ Pizza Port, and from America sings/skyway to the gas guzzling autopia. The Peoplemoover dominated Tomorrowland is still a massive wound that 30 years of band-aids can no longer hide. Hopefully they’re just waiting for a worldwide makeover of all Tomorrowlands(an awkward/place-holding theme since ’55).

    • Which is why Discoveryland in Paris is so smart. The steampunk-inspired area implies the future, but does so from the perspective of the past. Great way to keep stuff from being dated.

      That said, the back area in DLP with Star Wars is butt ugly.

      • Also Port Discovery in Disney Sea has that same idea and is a lot of fun. Personally i think tomorrowland should be the optimisic vision of the future as seen from the 60s space age era of history. The attractions should change and be relevant but the aesthetics of the land could stay the same and would be beautiful at that.

      • DL tried that theme already and it failed. It worked at DLP because Europeans can relate to it better. (Jule Vernes,Da Vinc, Wells are all Europeans) Where Americans have their own views/style of the future. It was called Discoveryland not Tomorrowland for a reason.

      • Of course it failed. They didn’t pull it off very well. As a matter of fact (OK, opinion) I’d say they didn’t pull it off at all. Most people still don’t know that they can eat the plants.

    • Actually moving Roger Rabbit to Hollywood Land is a great idea. Fits the area, fits the older Hollywood vibe as the movie was set there and then. It also saves the ride that so many people enjoy.

      Not sure how easy it is to move a dark ride, but can’t imagine it would be too hard.

      • Yes , I also agree, if the Toontown area is to be removed .Then save ‘Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin’ and relocate it and some of the best pieces of Toontown over in a section off Hollywood Blvd in DCA. . Also in regards to Club 33 in NOS, Disney has forgotten the meaning of what a Discreet Club is …Hopefully more quality theming of iron lace balconies and maybe an apprentice chef character above the French Market might help.

  11. Pretty good news in this update if I do say so myself! I’m much more comfortable with a Star Wars expansion in Toontown versus Tomorrowland. However, I don’t see why they wouldn’t bring Roger Rabbit over to Hollywoodland. The ride still has fastpass and has a 30-45 minute wait on a daily basis. Meaning more that it’s one of the more popular dark rides unlike Snow or Pinocchio or Toad that rarely make it past 15 minutes. It’d fit perfectly in Hollywoodland.

    Since Star Wars is taking over Toontown what does that mean for a Tomorrowland makeover? It’s delayed entirely?

    I’m fine with frozen as long as it isn’t permanent.

    Marvel doesn’t really belong in DCA. It needs it’s own park. They should use Hollywoodland to showcase older classics.

    Pretty cool on the Muppets’ front. I hope it would receive a fancy new facade in the process.

  12. I’d hate to see them remove Toontown, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them shrink it down. They could move the Mickey and Minnie Meet and Greet over by the entrance and then take out Mickey’s neighborhood, and the downtown/civic area. They could keep Roger Rabbit and turn the firehouse into a souvenir stand and the current Laugh Factory could be repurposed into a character dining experience. That would keep all the good stuff, remove all the Toontown dead wood, and still leave them room for a large show building for Star Wars Land.

  13. Let DCA showcase the modern Disney (pixar, marvel, star wars etc) while continue the Classic and Original charm of DL. This way each park has it’s own Unique Selling Proposition and can build strength on neighbouring values of what’s New/Popular/Edgy alongside Classic/Charming/Spectacular – a perfect harmony to ensure all bases are covered by meeting all varying demand.

    Star Wars, like Marvel fit the former Park and would warp the feel of DL. A second futuristic area in DL would make Tomorrowland look completely redundant whilst upstaging the values and themes of the rest of DL. By contrast it would only serve to enhance DCA.

    Question is what to add to DL? To maintain the values of the original Park, I believe the answers lie in what are already there. For example :
    - Continued upgrades to popular rides in the vain of recent Alice makeover
    - Expansion of the most popular rides (more rooms/scenes for Haunted Mansion, alternative Pirates for Nighttime, rebuild coaster for comfort and experience on Matterhorn, big surprise finale for Jungle cruise, animation upgrade to Splash and rebuild of Pooh ride to name a few.
    - Add unique attractions that are based on solid, round themes and stories that take people on journeys and magical places where dreams come true

    It seems that visitors are drawn to DCA to experience the New Disney whilst they will continue to be satisfied with the original so long as ongoing love and attention is given to it as the years roll by – not always by necessarily adding new rides, rather expanding on what they already have

    • Completely agree. Star War does not make sense s a land in Disneyland Park, especially where they’re looking to put it. I just don’t get it.

      I like your idea of strengthening two identities / rategies for the two parks.

  14. Yes, it’s quite confounding how the plans are to take a perfectly good part of the park and buldoze it to remake it into Starwarsland, yet ignoring Tomorrowland that sorely needs a makeover. How does that make sinse??

    • Toontown is hardly a perfectly good area. I love the idea of Toontown but it has been completely neutered. Thanks to our litigious society and Disney attorneys there is no longer a ball pit, slide in a boat, bounce house or moving trolley. I love Roger Rabbit and would love to see them move it to DCA but right now Toontown is woefully weak and I would be ok with taking it for Star Wars.

      I love that we think having a fantasy themed land next to a frontier themed land makes sense but not a space one.

      • Completely agree with you.

  15. I really look forward to your updates! The one piece of information which stood out for me. Is an all new Buzz Lightyear ride.. It’s the first I’ve heard of this. Have you more information on this in a previous update?

    • I think you might have misread that, Okinawadan. The only mention of Buzz in the article was a reference to the building of Buzz (all new back then) for the 50th anniversary back around 2005.

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