We have a mini MiceAge update for you today with some really big news.
The Disneyland Resort has had some very busy weeks lately, with the popular Halloween Time season playing to Anaheim’s two key demographics; local Annual Passholders and families from the western states and Canadian provinces on school holidays. The result is full hotels and daily attendance approaching 100,000 for both parks combined on Fridays and Sundays, while the Resort’s parking infrastructure stretches close to the breaking point. Meanwhile, back in TDA, things are just as hectic as the executives and planners struggle to make some unusual decisions on two major initiatives.
The first big offering still hasn’t been announced by Disney, but we’ve been telling you about it for months, and that’s the plan to install several Frozen offerings temporarily into the Hollywood Land backlot area. The roster of activities still includes the sing-along stage show replacing MuppetVision, an indoor playground featuring ice skating and snowman making with real snow in Stage 17, a nearly complete takeover of the Disney Animation building by Frozen meet n’ greets and character activities, plus special Frozen merchandise, food and décor throughout the area.
What’s unusual is the timeline TDA has now cooked up for this offering. Instead of opening this winter wonderland in mid November when the rest of the Christmas offerings debut, TDA now has plans to purposely wait until Saturday, December 20th to open the new Frozen mini-land. That’s the first date that offers a triple blockout on most Annual Passes, and begins two of the very busiest weeks of the year.
TDA’s strategy is to plus up the Resort’s offerings for the busy Christmas weeks when the Resort is packed with domestic and international tourists, and purposely avoid November and early December when the local Annual Passholders will descend on the Resort in huge numbers anyway. Then in early January, when the blockouts are lifted and the tourists go home, the AP’s can flood in and see the Frozen offerings that would be two weeks old by that point.
The plan is to be able to tout something new for the AP’s over the winter, and all the tourists at spring break, as both Anaheim parks enter a very aggressive schedule of closures and refurbishments through May, 2015. Soarin’, Splash Mountain, World of Color, and Luigi’s Flying Tires are just some of the things scheduled to close in early January for long refurbishments, upgrades, or the complete rebuilds we told you about in the last update.
The on again off again plan to add the Hatbox Ghost to Haunted Mansion is on again with a budget carved out from the 60th funds, and the regular January refurbishment of Haunted Mansion will include prep work to prepare for the Hatbox Ghost to be installed at the last minute next May. The rooftop work on the It’s A Small World building was also prep work to include fall protection facilities to the façade ahead of the repainting that had to be delayed due to the fall protection needs around the park. As we mentioned earlier, there are many dedicated senior managers in TDA who have worked at Disneyland for decades who want to see the park at its best for the Diamond Celebration. Meanwhile, the bosses in Team Disney Orlando scratch their heads at all this money and energy their Anaheim peers pour into showmanship and upkeep.
The basic Fantasy In The Sky will replace the bigger Remember fireworks this winter while they install new equipment for the 60th fireworks and new night parade. The new backstage crowd control alleys behind Main Street will be done by Halloween, and should be pressed into service a few hours each day by the operations team in November. While the alleys were designed to improve crowd control during the 60th night parade, they’ll come in handy this holiday season for the Christmas parade and snowy fireworks that have always caused headaches on Main Street for Cast Members and visitors alike
The Frozen installation would remain in Hollywood Land through early May, then be yanked after May 3rd as Disneyland gets ready to launch its Diamond Celebration with a big media push. The marketing team is contemplating a 60th kickoff with the conveniently catchy opening day of Friday 5/15/15, and that’s when all the new 60th entertainment would begin. That media debut would be followed up by a 60 hour party over Memorial Day weekend, and by then the last of the spring refurbishments would be completed and the digital version of Soarin’ would open for that holiday weekend.
This upcoming winter and spring will have closures and constructions walls up all over both parks, and TDA hopes the Frozen offerings will take the edge off of all that work while they work to get both parks ready for the Diamond Celebration. All of Disney’s theme parks were very late to the Frozen phenomenon, but TDA hopes they can keep the craze relevant through at least May, 2015.