Happy Friday everyone and welcome to a Disneyland Resort edition of In The Parks! There is plenty to see around the resort this week as Disneyland prepares for the upcoming 60th anniversary while simultaneously celebrating Halloween Time. The refurbishments on Main Street U.S.A. have moved up the road to the ice cream parlor and Coke Corner as the East Alley project continues. We stroll past Sleeping Beauty Castle to check out the “Refurbishment” on the drawbridge area. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage made its return this week after a long refurbishment while the entire refurb schedule has been given its own overhaul upon the start of the new fiscal year. We give our thoughts on Big Hero 6 in what we are now calling the Magic Eye Preview Center in Tomorrowland and we then take in some more pumpkin artistry. All of this plus a recap of what we hear is planned for Frozen in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure, along with the tentative schedule for Soarin Over California‘s HD makeover. Let’s get started!
Into the Park
Disneyland, as well as every coffee shop in America, is celebrating pumpkin spice.
Main Street U.S.A.
Here we visit Main Street U.S.A. during the Pumpkin Festival and a host of rolling refurbishments. The Main Street East Alley project is in full swing and totally obscured while the Photopass store has returned and Coke Corner is under wraps.
Main Street Animated Windows
Disneyland is famous for having fantastic animated window displays on Main Street. Every year when a new animated feature film was released, Disneyland would dedicate a series of windows to the film. This has been a long standing tradition in the park, but sadly, Disneyland has not updated its windows in the ten years since the 50th anniversary! Lets hope that they will address this for the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. In the past ten years, these windows have been untouched, with with the exception of the singular Ratatouille window, which was added in 2007.
We would LOVE to see them completely redo these windows, offering a new vibrant energy to the Emporium. The current state of the windows are under par as far as mechanical standards go. Some of the figurines are completely frozen, and no, I am not talking about the movie! But lets get serious, We can probably expect a Frozen themed window to come here soon, right?
Sleeping Beauty Castle
The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle has recently undergone a change. The bridge has been sanitized for your protection! After 59 years, Disneyland has deemed the bridge too unsafe for the general public, and has made substantial changes to it. The bridge has now been “fixed” so that it can never go up or down, the benches have been removed and railings have been attached to the ledges. The Historic Disneyland castle has been significantly altered. Lock up your kids folks . . . the Disneyland safety department is on the loose.
This, as you may recognize, is the Disneyland draw bridge, still in operation, waiting for you. We invite you, if you dare, to step across this obviously dangerous contraption, because in tonight’s episode you are the star. . . and this bridge travels directly to . . . The Safety Zone.”
Disney has attempted to give the railings a decorative flourish. But, as far as we know, no one in the 59 year history of the castle has fallen or jumped off of the bridge. The benches have been removed, the bridge rebuilt with substantial railings and new metal railings have been added to the stone walls. Were these changes needed or is Disney going too far?
If you recall, Disneyland took a huge leap in repainting and renovating the castle when they tapped Kim Irvine to gussy it up for the park’s 50th anniversary in 2005. The changes were met with some criticism as the castle suddenly went pepto pink. At that time, gaudy railing and filigrees were added to the castle with abandon. The gold railings atop the castle balconies still look out of place. Now they are joined by more awkward changes below.
Now take a look at the new, stark black, wrought iron railings.
In conclusion, it’s not so much that the castle was altered that bothers us, it is that the changes do not seem to match the architectural style of the rest of the structure and that the construction is very poorly done. The castle is the jewel of Disneyland. The icon of the park. A greater level of respect and care should be given. Especially from a company which is usually so proud of the work of its Imagineers. We can’t imagine that anyone at Disney could be proud of what they’ve done here.
BIG HERO 6
The Magic Eye Theatre Disney Movie Preview Center began screening previews of their new upcoming animated feature, Big Hero 6, which opens nationwide on November 7th.
It is a little difficult to review a preview. They are by nature made to give you the very best possible view of the feature they are promoting. So, in this instance, we simply look at this as an attraction.
The queue area is as minimalist as the Guardians preview that preceded it with the minor change of the film score used as background noise. We enter the theater and are greeted with the two main characters smiling at us. The dazzling digital projection is crystal clear and razor sharp. The sound system, it goes without saying, is remarkable. For those who have seen a preview in this theater before, you know going in that there will likely be lighting, air, and motion effects. The air effects are used as a particular effect during a flying sequence, and it works nicely.
The unfortunate thing is that this “attraction” has a terribly short shelf life. It is a preview after all. But in a month or so, they will have to close it again as people will be over a preview for a film they likely have already seen in the theaters. Will Captain EO ever return? We hope not. It has served its purpose. This space should become a new permanent attraction (but please, NO Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor). Likely, we’ll be seeing a whole lot of star wars previews here as the new movies get closer to release.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage returned this week in lieu of a much needed Tomorrowland redo. To say it is a pleasure to go back down into the Bob Gurr designed submarines is an understatement after having said goodbye to them last year. But this attraction’s 9 month refurbishment is a mixed bag. Some things look better than ever, while others were obviously ignored. In fact, the bouy in the lagoon that features the “Mine! Mine” seagulls has not returned from refurbishment. They certainly had plenty of time to work on it.
Underwater the world is once again a realm of liquid space. While the coral is faded and blue from what it was on opening day, they have replaced all of the colored kelp.
Inside the show building, the projectors have been replaced and the video portions have the “pop” that they had before. None of the attraction’s original problems, the EAC scene, The Angler fish scenes, have been changed in any way. We did notice that the mirrors in the jellyfish scene were completely spiffed up, enhancing that illusion.
While it would have been best for Disneyland if a Tomorrowland refurbishment had happened (the land is a sad shell of what it once was). We are happy to see this attraction return and add kinetic energy to this expansive corner of the land of tomorrow.
We can’t get enough of the pumpkin carving over in Big Thunder Ranch’s Halloween Carnival.
It appears that with the start of the new fiscal year on October 1st, the refurbishment schedule has changed again. All of the two day refurbs in Fantasyland have disappeared from the schedule. However, we hear that more is on the way. While not officially announced yet by Disney, we recently broke news on the newly planned refurbishment schedule in the most recent MiceAge article here. There are big plans for Peter Pan’s Flight as well as a few other rides in the parks. Below is the officially announced refurbishment schedule posted by Disneyland as of this moment.
Mark Twain • November 28th
The Mark Twain Riverboat is closed for a major 3 month refurb. (and if you haven’t read the article we posted last weekend, Disneyland Paris is on the verge of losing their Mark Twain to wood rot and neglect, so we are very lucky).
Space Mountain • November 3rd
it’s a small world • October 20th-November 6th
Big Thunder Ranch – November 1st-November 6th
Soarin’ Over California
While nothing has been officially announced just yet, it appears that the delayed High Definition upgrade for Soarin’ Over California will come next year in January. If the current schedule holds, we will see Soarin’ go down for four months to upgrade the projection system and give the Condor Flats area a more period appropriate re-theme. The new Soarin’ Over the World movie will be a Shanghai exclusive at first with a plan to bring it to the states later.
Frozen is soon to invade DCA’s Hollywood Land this Christmas. Ice skating, a new stage show, Frozen exhibits and merchandise, food and beverage offerings, icy décor and an Anna and Elsa meet and greet will take over much of the Backlot area of Hollywood Land as well as the Animation building.
The Character Close up area is planned to be home to the new Anna and Elsa meet and greet.
Refurbishment Round Up
The Bakery Tour, Presented by Boudin Bakery October 21st-January 16th
That about wraps things up for this week’s In the Parks at the Disneyland Resort! Come back soon as we offer full reviews of Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor and Six Flags Fright Fest along with a host of other delicious Halloween Happenings!