Disneyland and the Jungles of Anaheim

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

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Published on July 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm with 39 Comments

With the recent news of civil unrest in Anaheim, many potential guests are concerned, debating whether or not a visit to the happiest place on Earth is also a safe place. We answer those questions for you here, (Spoiler alert, there’s nothing to worry about) and we tell you what to expect when visiting the resort. We will also look at the progress of the Fantasy Faire village project, check on how Cars Land is holding up and get you up to speed on what’s going on in the Jungle (Cruise that is).

A lot of news has been made of the recent civil unrest in Anaheim, which stem from the shooting deaths of two men in the Anaheim area at the hands of Anaheim Police in a two day period. We are not here to get involved in the debate over the reason and circumstances behind the shootings. We’ll leave that to the general media (and any comments left condemning either the police, those who lost their lives, or the protesters will be deleted from this blog), our present concern is how these occurrences will affect Disneyland visitors and their safety.

The protests, the largest of which happened Tuesday night, with at least 600 protestors in city streets, occurred about two miles north of Disneyland in downtown Anaheim, near City Hall and the police stations.

However, as of this writing, NONE of the protests have ventured into the resort area.  If you are staying at any one of the Disneyland Resort hotels, or any hotel immediately adjacent to the Disneyland Resort,  you likely have nothing to worry about. The resort area, South of the 5 freeway, is filled with hotels and thousands of tourists milling back and forth right up until an hour or two after Disneyland closes for the night.  North of the 5 freeway, things get a bit more dicey.

But the point is this, the resort and surrounding area is still pretty safe.  Guests traveling by foot along the roads surrounding the Disneyland resort area are no more or less safe than they were a month ago.  The problems are close, but the freeway acts as a sort of buffer between Disneyland and those areas.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the resort has dealt with these types of problems in the past.  There are stories Imagineers have told us about staying in the Disneyland hotel during the construction of DCA and hearing shots ring out in the neighborhood just over the fence. But at the same time, a major enhancement was made to the resort area. The prostitutes, drug dealers and ugly store fronts were largely swept clean. In their place, the dramatically beautified and sanitized area you see today was created. The change has been dramatic. It wasn’t necessarily safe to walk the streets around Disneyland at night pre-DCA, but it certainly is much safer to do so today. And because of that seedy past, Disneyland well knows how to protect itself and its guests from the unwanted intrusions of the real world.

A quick look at wait times shows that Disneyland doesn’t seem to be suffering from a drop in attendance due to the protests.

Should you avoid Disneyland due to media reports of riots in Anaheim? Not in our opinion. But you might want to be a little extra vigilant when walking around the city until all this blows over.

We now move from strife to pageantry with a view of the Fantasy Faire Village progress. Let’s see what the status is of the future home of Disneyland’s princess population.

The wait times at the Matterhorn show no signs of abating.  While the wait sign below displays 45 mins, the line actually stretched further for another good 15 minutes. It would be wise not to forget the Single Rider option here.

The line actually stretched all the way around the mountain!

It seems that the Billy show back in the Big Thunder Ranch has never really picked up steam (or an audience).  It is great to still be able to see these performers in the park, but their brand of tomfoolery is so much more effective in the intimate setting of the Golden horseshoe.  It’s ironic, since their broad humor can’t seem to cover the expanse they are currently playing to. Let’s hope they get beck inside soon!

A mesh netting has been installed on each of the Jungle Cruise boats as a safety precaution. The ride is also scheduled to be down through Wednesday as bumpers are added which will allow the boats to be stabilized against the dock for load/unload. Jungle Cruise suffers from a higher than normal number of injury complaints, mostly due to the motion of the boat while loading and unloading.

What do you think of these nets folks? Will it help keep you from losing an iPhone, or from getting your fingers caught between the boat and the dock (once the new bumpers are installed)?

Over at the Entrance to Disney California Adventure, work has seemed to stall on the planter on the right side of the gate.

In all honesty, Cars Land seems to be holding up rather well considering the amount of traffic that flows through here.  Radiator Springs Racers, when it is working, is pulling in 3 hr wait times still, a little over a month after opening, and the food locations are keeping up with the rapid pace too.  But, there are just a few flies in the ointment that we have noticed.

Fancy Fake Foliage FailMany of the ornate decorations are starting to have problems. The beautiful tail light flowers in front of the courthouse have started to become chipped and faded. And many of the lights are already burned out. Though, considering that they are within easy arm’s reach of guests, it’s amazing that they still look presentable at all!

Luigi’s – The slow wait times on this unique attraction have been talking their toll on the beautiful queue.  We have had reports of the custom, brass tire finials being vandalized or stolen.  We were also witness to kids playing on the fake car lift near the queue as though it were a jungle gym.

Mater’s – Again, some of the casings on the ride vehicles are fading.  It’s understandable, since there is virtually no shade on them throughout the day.  The Imagineers did factor this in and gave them the pre-worn look of a junkyard native.  So, let’s just say that they are becoming more authentic looking.

Honestly, they don’t look bad at all. But the seats remain painful and require some padding on the sides to keep kids from getting hurt when their heavier parents slide into them and smash them against the side of the vehicle.

A Place Of Beauty
We have to admit that Disney California Adventure has really been coming into it’s own and it’s quite common to come across some quite lovely scenes in the park.


And there you have it.  Although there are some unfortunate things happening near the resort, there is no real need to be afraid or cancel a trip to the happiest place on Earth.  Really.  The Disneyland Resort is still very safe and the parks are in great shape.  We set out to the park without hesitation and hope you’ll feel comfortable doing the same.

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.

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  • Bronco21

    I won’t be back to the parks until October so hopefully all this rioting can calm down by then, but I’m not too worried about it (last I checked they weren’t protesting tourists).

    Those nets on Jungle Cruise look similar to the awful netting they installed at AK (which ruins sight lines). Sometimes I think people just need to blame themselves and quit trying to blame Disney every time they bump thier heads/ trip because they were busy texting. Its not Disney’s fault that you can’t watch where you are going. It’s not Disney’s fault that you can’t listen and keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the vehicle at all times. Ohwell, I guess if it means less chance that people can get hurt than its for the best. I just wish Disney didn’t have to bubble rap everything so it’s impossible for anyone to find a way to hurt themselves.

    As for Luigi’s flying tires, I am really shocked they didn’t put an interactive queue in for this ride. Of all the rides in DLR, Luigi’s is the #1 ride that needs an interactive queue. Honestly if LFT got an interactive queue similar to WDW’s dumbo, I think the enjoyment of the ride would be much higher. The pictures show that kids are bored and need something to look at/ entertain them. I would like to know if there would be room for a playground in the small space next to the queue similar to Dumbo. The least they could do is add a couple air hockey tables with CM standing watch so they don’t steal the pucks…

    • disneyland255

      I completely agree with you on Jungle Cruise. People have become stupid and blame everything on someone/something else rather than taking responsibility. Unfortunately it’s how it’s become and Disney can only try to modify to keep themselves safe.

    • Timekeeper

      Ditto on the interactive queue, my thoughts exactly when seeing the pictures, a playground for the little ones with soft tire padding in the place of the faux lift would be nice, (because most teenagers and adults have electronic devices to amuse themselves or keep them occupied till they are ready to board) or like you said, an air hockey table. Is there enough space to put a big interactive queue nearby for the attraction?


  • mratigan

    They should use fastpasses for it and have them wait by the exit

  • ralfrick

    The boy had hockey practice about 6 blocks from some of the Occupy protests in Oakland last fall involving tear gas, etc. Even that close, the only sign that something was going on was a helicopter. Two miles and a freeway can be a substantial distance for these things.

  • eicarr

    Poor luigi’s. The immersive que is fine, no need for interactive things to touch and spread germs with, and things for kids to scream on as they play on them that would turn the line into a nightmare/headache. Maybe tv monitors with luigi giving instructions and a few funny shorts in the first outdoor set of switchbacks when you go out the back… Time to solder or crazy glue those tires on the posts.

    Hey this is California… Protestiing city hall is a part of the normal process, I might even join in. Down with the man! Just gotta make sure my glow with the show ears aren’t stuck on a color that will get me in trouble.

  • Algernon

    I would be far more concerned with the netting on the Jungle ruise than getting caught up in a protest. Given the density of the area, they may as well be in China. And nobody is going to kill the golden egg that probably employs themselves or a family member, by causing problems in the resort and surrounding areas, all of which rely on tourism. Besides, the protesters beef is with the police and City Hall. But notice how high everybody now has to hold their head on the Jungle Cruise to see above the railing and net. One more experience ruined. How about this: why not make everybody wear Star Wars Storm Trooper body armor? One more reason I probably won’t be back…

  • peoplemover

    I don’t understand having to make exceptions for clumsy/ bored/ ignorant guests. So it’s ok to destroy things if you’re bored in line? It’s ok to not pay attention, lose your phone and blame Disney? My dad started taking me to Disneyland when I was about 4 and he didn’t even bring a stroller! I was expected to be patient, walk on my own and when I got tired he had the sense to take me back to whatever hotel/ motel we were staying at and we took a nap and a swim. I learned patience, respect and stamina pretty quickly!

  • Baloo

    Please note:

    a group of people on facebook are planning protests around the resort for this weekend. please be advice that their plan is to do this around the Disney owned hotels, Katella and harbor. they somehow feel that Disney is responsible for the actions of the police department because supposedly Disney is the one that runs the city of Anaheim.

    Hopefully this does not affect vacationers greatly and that whatever they are planning stays peaceful.

    Just wanted to make people aware so that if you will be in the area that you be cautios of your surrounding and stay away from the area this takes place.

    • Thank you for the info Baloo. I’m sure that both Disney and the police will be on top of that situation. Let’s hope it doesn’t escalate to violence.

  • tofubeast

    The netting on the jungle cruise boats are an eyesore. I really hope they don’t do the same to the boats at WDW MK. Nice update, and DCA is looking great!

    • Those nets look awful. Absolutely awful. Tacky. Nasty.

  • So here’s a thought. The Jungle Cruise boats are easier to get in and out of than the Storybook Land boats. Anyone want to guess how long it will be before the Disney safety folks come down hard on that classic attraction? And I can’t even begin to think how they’ll fix that one, since there is no place to put nets and the boats would be ruined it they installed railings and bumpers. They’d probably need all new boats with a flat bottom and some sort of a conveyor or dock on the far side to steady the boats as you load and unload.

    • BasilofBakerStreet

      Well isn’t Storybook Land going down in a month or so for a reburb? Maybe we will see something then or a temporary solution.

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  • techskip

    Would you look at that… they finally took the Crew’s advice on the Jungle Cruise boats. It only took 5+ years to do it. The netting is there specifically to keep small children from smashing their fingers as the boat approaches the dock. You can toss in the standard “hands/arms/elbows” or “people dropping phones”. We suggested it because of the little kids. I remember a few smashed fingers due to parents who weren’t paying attention. Coming in to the dock people would bang elbows, it happens. When you start unloading the boat shifts. If a little kid has their hand down there fingers will get smashed.

    I’m also curious about the new bumper system. They tried out several versions both at load and at unload. The trick at Load was that a boat had to be almost perfect balanced. If the “dock side” was heavier the friction of the boat against the pad would prevent the boat from sailing away (not joking). While it happened at Load, Unload was a bigger challenge. Unload also doubles as the GAC entrance. SOP (or OG if you prefer) dictates that GAC groups sit on the dock side and center boxes. That shifted the boats weight against the pads. If the party was large enough the Unload Skips would need to “push start” the boat to get it going. So I’m wondering how they overcame those technical difficulties.

  • DisneyDrums

    I have a pretty good feeling that I’m finally headed back in October as well, since I do have a free ticket to DCA due to the park being closed on Grad Nite. I hope the lines in Radiator Springs die down somewhat by that time…

  • Mickey777

    I don’t think the nets look that bad to be honest.

  • Rick Wright

    Rather than a response to guest issues, I’m wondering if the new nets on the Jungle Cruise boats are a result of a corporate structure running amok. Too many people trying to justify their jobs by designing unnecessary “improvements” to the attractions.

  • GramaCAR

    I’ve been going to DL almost since opening. Now I go almost once a week with grandson. The thing I notice so much is that so many people just don’t watch their kids. We see them get into dangerous situations all the time, while parents are ignoring, texting, or just not caring. It gets so frustrating. My grandson stands in his personal space, keeping hands to himself and not climbing on anything or putting hands outside car/boat, whatever. It really was not difficult to teach him the right & safe behavior. I think it’s impossible for Disney to cover every potential danger and protect every person when they insist on doing whatever the heck they want. Then they will be the first to try to sue when someone gets hurt. Crazy times!

    • vivian

      Unfortunately, there are parents who are inconsiderate, disrepectful, & rude and are offended if a cast member asks the child or adult to not sit on the chain or handrail or climb the post. These people have no common sense. As GramaCar mentioned, they will try to sue if they get hurt. The netting on the boat looks fine.