MiceAge Update – Disneyland Diamonds and Jedi

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, MiceAge Update

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Published on January 06, 2015 at 3:00 am with 73 Comments

Disneyland has just finished the busiest two weeks of the year with massive crowds of big-spending tourists packing the parks every day. This week, with Annual Passes unblocked, the crowds will moderate but flip to a local demographic before the slower weeks of January and February settle in. In this update we’ll fill you in on just what the numbers looked like for Anaheim this holiday season, why the winter will be looking so bleak in the weeks ahead, and when TDA will finally admit what is coming this spring for the 60th Anniversary.

Holiday Cheer

Ever since TDA execs decided fifteen years ago that Disneyland should “own Christmas” and began pouring on attraction overlays, parkwide decorations, and extra entertainment, the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years have become some of the busiest days of the year for the Anaheim parks. Despite a barrage of blockouts on Annual Passes and Disney Company complimentary admissions, Disneyland reached capacity nearly every day between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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The Disneyland turnstiles were closed for several hours per day almost daily, as the executives and senior managers that make up the “Restricted Access Team” held hourly phone conferences to pour over the numbers and first-hand reports from around the Resort. The goal of the Restricted Access Team is to pull the right triggers at the right time to prevent the amount of people inside Disneyland at any one time from going over 52,000. Although any in-park figure over 40,000 already feels very crowded, it’s the 52,000 number that is simply taboo to cross. If the team can get the in-park number to never go above 50,000, that’s even better, but 52,000 is the absolute maximum allowable by Disneyland’s leadership. For the most part they succeeded this year, as the in-park number for Disneyland hovered around 50,000 most days and barely nudged over 51,000 for just a few hours at a time.

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The numbers tell the story here, but the shift this year is the surge in Premium Annual Passes as sales of that upper tier (not subject to blockouts) increased strongly in 2014.

Saturday, December 27th
Disneyland Total Attendance – 60,000
DCA Total Attendance – 43,000
Total Resort Attendance – 103,000
Premium Annual Passholders in attendance that day – 19,000

Monday, December 29th
Disneyland Total Attendance – 62,000
DCA Total Attendance – 44,000
Total Resort Attendance – 106,000
Premium Annual Passholders in attendance that day – 15,000

Wednesday, December 31st (New Year’s Eve)
This wasn’t a record setting New Year’s Eve for the Resort as a whole and had the lowest attendance of the week due to a severe cold snap (Californians don’t do cold). Even though DCA offered cocktails, dancing and a special World of Color with midnight fireworks, most guests of the resort opted to pack into Disneyland for the evening.
Disneyland Total Attendance – 66,000
DCA Total Attendance – 29,000
Total Resort Attendance – 95,000
Premium Annual Passholders in attendance that day – 18,000

Then on New Year’s Day the Deluxe Passholders became unblocked, and the numbers shifted again.

Thursday, January 1st
Disneyland Total Attendance – 57,000
DCA Total Attendance – 41,000
Total Resort Attendance – 98,000
Deluxe & Premium Annual Passholders in attendance that day – 44,000

And finally, this week all levels of Annual Passes became unblocked, while many SoCal schools were still out for winter break. The visitor demographic shifted heavily back to Annual Passholders, while the parks still remained very busy.

Monday, January 5th
Disneyland Total Attendance – 50,000
DCA Total Attendance – 41,000
Total Resort Attendance – 91,000
Annual Passholders in attendance that day – 51,000

Parks and Recreation

The result of that very strong attendance, numbers that most other theme parks in the country would love to see in an entire week let alone just one day, was felt in the parking lots and infrastructure around the Resort. The group that definitely gets the short end of the stick on these days is the Cast Members, who had to be shuttled in from Angel Stadium on multiple days, or left to circle an overflowing employee lot for 30 minutes or more hoping to find someone leaving. The lucky CM’s were those who were able to snag a space in the Pumbaa lot near GardenWalk and then walk a mile or more each way to their in-park work location, which is still preferable to the dingy and overcrowded shuttles from the Katella parking lot.

The total disconnect between Team Disney Anaheim decision makers and the daily parking experience of their 20,000 front-line Cast Members goes back through multiple Disneyland Resort Presidents and their leadership decisions. Current president Michael Colglazier is no different than any previous out-of-touch TDA prez. But at least Colglazier will get to smile big for the cameras as he cuts the ribbon soon on a new CM parking lot on the site of the old RV park on Harbor Blvd. and Ball Road. This new lot will open up over 1,000 additional spaces for Cast Members, but the lot will still be served by a rag-tag fleet of rattling, dirty shuttles that will require lots of patience from their Cast Member passengers.

And while the lot will be welcomed, those CM’s can still expect a snarky reminder on fliers from TDA’s Commuter Assistance team that parking there is a privilege if you “choose to drive to work”, as if a Cast Member leaving their 9 hour shift at Tomorrowland Terrace at Midnight has any bus or train or van pool options at that hour (and there aren’t). The “assistance” provided by TDA’s Commuter Assistance department to Anaheim’s hourly Cast Members is mainly just constant reminders that their lives would be much easier if they could just get out of that overcrowded theme park and get an 8 to 5 job in a cushy cubicle somewhere. Maybe Commuter Assistance is hiring?

But the extra CM parking will come in handy by May, as the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration finally kicks off. While we’ve been telling you about the plans for the 60th for over a year, the information from TDA has been very thin. A big media announcement planned last July was cancelled at the very last minute; so last minute that CM’s were scrambling a couple days before to stop the deliveries of all the catering, swag and décor heading for the Stage 17 media reception. But TDA is finally ready this month to pull back the curtain and reveal most of what we’ve already been telling you about.

60th Speak

The official 60th Anniversary media announcement is now slated to happen at Disneyland during a private event on the night of Wednesday, January 28th. A second media day on the 29th will be dedicated to Frozen Fun as the attending press is marched over to DCA to see those not-quite-temporary Arendelle offerings. And then on Friday, January 30th the Disney Parks Blog will kick into high gear and release 60th Anniversary artwork and information online to Disney fans around the world. On Monday, February 2nd, the Parks Blog is planning another 60th barrage, this time with the announcement of a special ticketed 60th Anniversary Merchandise event for fans on May 14th thru 16th. By May 15th most of the 60th offerings will be in soft open mode and everything should be open and running, while the splashy 60th media event will take place on Wednesday, May 20th.

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The formal public kickoff of the Diamond Celebration will be over Memorial Day weekend beginning May 23rd, although TDA is still trying to work out the logistics of the planned 60 Hour Party, and it may be relegated to a standard 24 Hour Party that weekend instead. That’s the timeline as it stands now, and those dates could flex a bit, but TDA has committed itself to that timeline and there’s not much that could change it at this late date.

And what will they be announcing the end of this month? Nothing you haven’t already heard about in our previous updates, but it still should be a good amount of information with some carefully chosen artwork to excite the fans. Much of what they’ll be announcing from January 28th thru the 30th will already be very apparent inside the parks; particularly in DCA. The full remake of Condor Flats into an extension of the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area theme will begin tomorrow and be very evident over the construction walls by late January. During the closure of Condor Flats, the Soarin’ theaters will receive new screens and all new 4K digital projectors and audio systems, with a digital version of Soarin’ Over California’s original film to return in May. A new ride film will need to wait until after the version of Soarin’ at Shanghai Disneyland opens sometime in 2016, in that very behind schedule Chinese theme park.

World of Refurbs

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Meanwhile, in Paradise Pier, the World of Color lagoon will be drained later this week as it undergoes a full refurbishment and installation of new equipment to handle the upgraded and tweaked version of the show for the 60th. And the Matterhorn Bobsleds will have already been closed for several weeks as a thorough interior refurbishment runs through May, with all-new animatronics and interior show scenes to “plus up” the circa 1978 show experience in that Disneyland classic. They’ll also install the beefed up support structure to handle the return of the 1960’s Christmas Star for the top of the Matterhorn next December.

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What won’t be closed yet during the media event in late January, but will get underway the following week, are the closures of Luigi’s Flying Tires and Peter Pan’s Flight. The saga of Luigi’s Flying Tires dates back to just before the Cars Land opening in June, 2012, when senior Burbank executives felt the finished ride concept was unimpressive and TDA executives became annoyed at how much of their 600 Million dollar Cars Land budget was dedicated to the underwhelming Flying Saucers remake. As we’ve told you before, the ride will be remade with an all-new WiFi controlled dancing car ride grafted onto the existing facility. The queue will be kept the same and visitors will wander out back to the garden area filled with music to find “Luigi’s Festival of the Dance” instead of the Flying Tires.

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The construction timeline WDI is working with for Luigi’s is aggressive, but by keeping most of the existing facility its hoped the new ride can open by next Christmas. TDA, for their part, will pretend WDI had a wonderful idea to bring Luigi’s dancing festival to Cars Land, and the attraction remake will be passed off to the media as a fun addition dreamed up just for the 60th Anniversary as some of the “new magic” coming to Anaheim in 2015. Yeah, the corporate speech writers really think people buy this stuff.

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Peter Pan’s Flight will close the same day that Luigi’s closes, but that popular ride will retain its beloved ride system of flying pirate ships. The interior of Peter Pan’s Flight will get a thorough rebuild over the next four months, with new animatronics and special effects throughout. Later this winter and into spring will be the 60th deluxe refurbishments coming to the other dark rides, in addition to the addition of the new animatronics in Alice In Wonderland that were held back on purpose last summer so they could be revealed with the Diamond Celebration in May. The return of the Hatbox Ghost character to the Haunted Mansion before May will also be one of the more memorable 60th Anniversary additions as part of the campaign to plus up and refresh some of Disneyland’s most popular yet aging attractions.

Also to be announced at the media event are the entertainment offerings coming for the 60th. For Disneyland, that means a plussed up version of Hong Kong’s Paint The Night parade, plus an all-new Steve Davison fireworks show for Disneyland Park and Steve’s upgrades and edits for World of Color next door. We’d been telling you about Paint The Night for months, but the cat was finally let out of the bag by Disney last month when the Entertainment Department posted full-color fliers backstage for big auditions being held this Sunday. The flier said the auditions were for “an exciting and high-energy nighttime parade that winds its way through the heart of Disneyland Park.” Needless to say, some folks in TDA were a little ticked off that flier got published since the info on the 60th is under such a strict embargo ahead of the media event.

Seeing Stars

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What won’t be announced by Michael Colglazier and Tom Staggs on the 28th are the two big projects being cooked up by WDI for Anaheim. The major project is the Star Wars Land concept that takes over most of Disneyland’s existing Toontown and Festival Arena area. After the original Star Wars Tomorrowland makeover was axed by Staggs and Iger, once the ink had dried on that 4 Billion dollar check Iger wrote to George Lucas, the plan to add Star Wars to Disneyland got bigger and bolder and morphed into its own separate land. An admission from Disney on that specific Anaheim project will have to wait until D23 Expo this August.

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The second concept rapidly moving forward is an expansion of the previous Marvel Studios mini-land we’d told you had been proposed to extend south behind Tower of Terror in DCA. That concept of a Marvel mini-land with elaborate atmospheric meet n’ greets, in order to get those valuable characters out of their Innoventions plywood purgatory, has grown in scale and cost now. The plan now is to have the Marvel Studios area be capped off by an indoor roller coaster with a thrill factor (and a height requirement) above Space Mountain or Big Thunder. Think of Rock N’ Roller Coaster themed to Marvel superheroes, but with sharper technology and a much healthier Iger budget, instead of the smaller Eisner budget that Rock N’ Roller Coaster got in the 1990’s.

But neither of those projects will be mentioned at the end of this month when Disney finally announces what’s happening for the 60th Diamond Celebration. Those two project are designed to increase park capacity for both parks and drive future attendance. The 60th Diamond Celebration, on the other hand, is designed to simply generate interest from Disney fans and freshen the overall park experience for visitors in 2015 and beyond. That’s not a bad goal for a major anniversary, but not quite as exciting as new rides and lands from blockbuster properties like Marvel and Star Wars. Still, the 60th Anniversary artwork and concept reveals at the end of this month should get the fan base fired up and counting down to spring.

Okay, that just about wraps things up for this update. Disneyland pulled in massive attendance this holiday season. Diamond Anniversary plans are about to be revealed. Changes are coming to Cars Land, Condor Flats and Fantasyland. And Star Wars and Marvel are finally on the fast track to making you fall in love with Disney all over again. Let us hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

DON’T MISS: MiceChat 10th Anniversary Weekend at Disneyland – February 6 – 8th

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It’s been 10 years since we first started MiceChatting. While MiceAge celebrated 10 years in 2013, MiceChat came two years later, bringing with it meets, events, discussions, vacation planning tips and countless friendships. Our big celebration will be held in and around the Disneyland Resort and will include a cocktail reception with legends of animation, panel discussions with Disney Imagineers, authors and even a beloved legend or two. We’ll celebrate Yesterland, give away fantastic prizes in our annual game show, and enjoy a wonderful time with friends old and new at the Happiest Place on Earth. If you’ve been with us from the beginning or have only recently found us, we look forward to seeing you at the Disneyland Resort February 6th through 8th. Don’t miss out, sign up for more information in the form below and we’ll notify you as soon as event information and tickets are available.

Sign Up For MiceChat 10th Anniversary Information

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MiceChat Anniversary Hotel Offer

Looking for a hotel room for the MiceChat Anniversary? The delightful Anabella Hotel (just behind California Screamin’ at DCA) is offering a remarkable MiceChat 10th Anniversary Rate:

  • $89 (Standard Room Types)
  • $139 (Concierge)
  • Rate is valid 2/6/15-2/8/15

Rate only available for those who call in to reservations at 800.863.4888. Don’t forget to ask for the “MiceChat 10th Anniversary” rate.

 

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Happy New Year everyone!

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. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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  • parker4fm

    It leaves me questioning one thing. Why create two new lands, when you have an existing one in such bad shape? A retheme of Tomorrowland just makes perfect sense. There’s Innoventions, the old People Mover, and Magic Eye theatre that are all in need of something. It’s the perfect fit for Star Wars.

    Then what about ToonTown? Roger is a consistently popular ride. In addition, the smaller kids need a place to enjoy.

    It’s rather sad they would choose to take away a land for the little ones and not improve/enhance a space that actually needs it.

    • dtnrhi

      As the parks stand now, they are CROWDED. If you close an entire land, it only makes things worse. If you open a brand new land or two, you not only buy yourself time, but lessen the impact of closing an entire land later if that is what they decide to do.

      • Slightly

        So, closing Toontown doesn’t count as closing a land? That’s where half of the stroller-pushers are. Close Toontown and they will be dislocated, most likely to an already cramped Fantasyland.

    • I still think they’ll push Star Wars land to the West and leave ToonTown as it is. There should be plenty of room in the Festival Arena and backstage to do a major StarWars land. Save ToonTown for StarWars expansion if needed later.

      • LoveStallion

        Yeah, but Star Wars over there is a really strange thematic choice. The lands stand on their own, sure, but they do sorta slide into one another.

      • Golden

        Dusty, I have been thinking that they may possibly save Roger Rabbit and just make it part of an extended Fantasyland. Keeping all of Toontown is an interesting though, would there be space?

      • Baloo

        I agree,

        I think that they could easily keep the whole eastern side of Toontown as is. remove everything from the bathrooms including mickey and Minnie’s house, the chip and dale junk, gadget go coaster and donald’s boat.
        Then they could use that piece of land as a gust flow area into the expanded Star wars. Toontown would be very similar to Flicks Fun Fair with multiple entrances and exits.

        I would even suggest that they find a way of enclosing this smaller toontown area so that it stays open during the fireworks allowing for guest flow during the busy hours.

        As for Gadget go coaster, instead of demolitioning it and scrapping it i think it would be easy to relocate it with a new theme to Condor flats. That corner area in front of the monorail tracks would be great for a nice little kiddie coaster. I have suggested before that if they need more room then they could even reconfigure the main path to go under the monorail tracks where the prop plane is and then curve behind the large landscaped area and then connect back with the existing path near the hotel entrance.
        Doing this would better utilize the large wasted landscaped area and give them room for a relocated gadget go coaster with a new theme.

      • LoveStallion

        @Baloo: Yes, but I also wonder how much proximity to the hotel would factor into a decision to build a comparatively “loud” kiddie coaster. Soarin’ is silent on the outside. And while I suppose the rapids are certainly audible, they really aren’t as loud as a coaster.

      • MrTour

        I really like the Paris concept; fewer lands, but ones that are so much more immersive than the postage stamps we have in Anaheim. Why not just expand what we have? Put Star Wars in DCA in place of Marvel.

      • WDWorldly

        Rodger Rabbit would have been a perfect fit for DCA, far superior than the Monsters, Inc. dark ride.

    • mondo

      Sorry, a retheme of Tomorrowland with Star Wars doesn’t make perfect sense. But I do agree TL needs a makeover

    • Mandrini

      New lands, new admission charges $$$…

      Children are wonderful, fantastic and grand but adults have the $$$…

      Disney is no longer here to monitor the greed…

  • dtnrhi

    I am okay with everything except the transition of Luigi’s. It just seems so unnecessary. I can’t see the new ride having wait times surpassing the current rendition (for long, anyways) and it just seems like an unnecessary spending of money to me.

    I hope this proves to be a smart decision and they make it have a great soundtrack like Mater’s, as I don’t want to see Cars Land as Racers, Mater’s, and “that other ride”.

    • Jayce

      Right now it’s RSR, Maters and Luigis boring tires, nowhere to go but up. 😉

  • Brisk

    So…Star Wars land is still a ‘rumor’ that it’s taking over ToonTown, but they won’t announce it yet. Well, at least that gives you tools enough room to switch your next articles to ‘due to management and red tape and blah blah blah’ when it doesn’t happen…

    • LoveStallion

      Honestly, I think they’d be better off ripping the whole thing out and extending the racing portion of RSR. Not gonna happen but a guy can dream.

      • Golden

        Extend the racing part of RSR into Toontown? That would be quite a change!

      • LoveStallion

        Ick. Meant to comment on the comment above. Must have gotten lost in the commenting shuffle. My remarks pertain to Luigi’s Flying Tires above. All apologies, everyone. 🙂

    • redmars

      Throughout its history, Disneyland has numerous attractions lands proposed internally – sometimes even announced – like Discovery Bay, Liberty Street, International Street, Mickey’s Hollywoodland – that never came to fruition, but were actual plans at one point. Most of us enjoy reading about those plans even if they never came to be. Doubt Micechat is just making this up, when they’ve been right on other things and Iger has all but said Star Wars is coming to Disneyland somewhere, somehow. The LA Times guy even suggested it was time for Toontown to go. Didn’t confirm Star Wars Land, but at least acknowledged the rumor. Doubt he would have done that if he hadn’t heard some of the same things. People rag on Micechat for getting the submarines wrong, but forget that the ride did sit closed for most of 2014, with little explanation from the DisneyParks blog. And when it returned, hardly anything was changed.

  • toonaspie

    So much underutilized real estate in Tommorowland going to waste over this. They might end up regretting this later.

    If theyre smart, they’d move Toontown to DCA. But something tells me they ain’t.

    • Golden

      I think part of the whole Star Wars land thing must necessarily lead into a rethink of Tomorrowland. After all, what sense would it even make continuing to have Star Tours there?

      I, for one, don’t think Tomorrowland is so dire – it is true that Autopia, Innoventions and Finding Nemo could all quite comfortably by torn out and turned into something else. But as it currently stands, Autopia and Finding Nemo are utilised. Putting an e-ticket or even a d-ticket where Innoventions is and reusing the Peoplemover track would be enough to make the land feel as though it is being fully used, even if some of the rides could be replaced.

      But if Star Tours leaves, the whole land MUST be up for a complete overhaul.

  • LoveStallion

    Toontown was fun once, but it has become increasingly pathetic as its offerings were trimmed down. How much opening day stuff in Toontown is even still in use? The Jolly Trolley is no more. The Chip ‘n’ Dale treehouse and ball pit are gone. Is Goofy’s bounce house even a thing anymore?

    I’d be sad to lose Car Toon Spin, though. Not a perfect ride, but it’s pretty inventive and could be put to good use somewhere else.

    I think a Toontown extension of Hollywoodland over in DCA would make the most thematic sense, though I know it ain’t happening.

  • mathdance

    If Toon Town goes, I won’t miss Roger Rabbit, I will miss Gadget’s Go Coaster. I know, it’s extremely short ride and nobody remembers who Gadget is. But after they raised the Matterhorn height requirement, it is a beloved baby’s first roller coaster for our thrill seeking toddlers. A Bug’s Land really doesn’t achieve the same thing.

    • bumblebeeonarose

      I agree with you about Gadget’s Coaster. I think they could make room in the Bug’s Land area for a small coaster. Little kids NEED that coaster. I actually think that it is more important than Mickey and Minnie’s houses. Little ones want to ride a coaster, but they’re either too short or possibly too afraid for the bigger coasters. My DD rode Gadget’s over and over on her second birthday. Even now that she is over 42″, she still likes that little coaster. And I’m looking forward to taking my nearly 2 y/o son on it soon. I like the Chew Chew train at Bugs Land, but I think they could take that out and put a small coaster in its place. Or perhaps remove the bumper cars. Those are pretty lame and not very busy. That’d be a nice addition if they really are building another large coaster in that area with a high height requirement. The kiddos need something to do while Mom and Dad ride switch on TOT and the new Marvel coaster.

      I’m hoping the 60th kickoff is in May. Our passes expire June 14, and I’d rather visit towards the end of May than the beginning of June. We’ll see though. I guess as long as the attractions are all running, it doesn’t really matter, but it’d be nice to see the new nighttime parade too.

    • mondo

      Nobody remembers who Gadget is ? I do, she is the female mouse from Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers that invent stuff

  • Chernabog

    Please TDI for the love of all that is holy — fix those damn bobsleds so you’re not riding on your tailbone with no padding. I don’t care if you add a (working) Everest-size yeti in there, I’m not injuring myself again to go on that ride.

    • 22branch

      I second this…Forget the christmas star and updating the interior scenes. The ride needs a new track system and sleds. The Matterhorn was at the top of my list until the installed the new ride system. Big Thunder is now smooth as butter…why can’t they do the same thing for the Matterhorn?

      • Brisk

        Because it’s a lot harder to move the track in and out of the mountain than it is BTMRR. Remember, Matterhorn was the first coaster on tubular steel. That said, I’d guess that within the next 5-10 years, they’ll retrack the entire beast, instead of sanding it down.

      • LoveStallion

        Also, Big Thunder has backstage access. Closing the Matterhorn for something as big as track removal involves closing an attraction with no outlet to backstage areas. It would also mess with the parade route.

    • TimeTraveler2442

      Yes, at 6′ 2″ tall, riding in the new bobsleds is a guaranteed minor injury every time. I used to fit just fine into the old bobsleds.

  • tooncity

    You could build an entire new pathway from behind Splash MTN, right through the Old Long Bar Facade, on the back side of the Berm/rr tracks, all the way through toontown. Adding attractions, a double stacked show building. Using TDA Building as a show building. Adding in BT ranch area.
    Disneyland needs to expand well beyond Toontown area, all the way to Ball Road. They need to get rid of all the backstage Executive parking and turn it into theme park. Turn the Team Disney building into a huge show building. Moving management operations ‘off the block’. Using, the horse coral space. Demo the, poorly placed, over-past for West Street/Disneyland Dr. Re-routing entrance into Mickey and Friends. Current backstage and maintenance areas can be moved to other, clusters of land Disney has purchased around Anaheim. Time to really expand Disneyland into 100,000 a day visitor park. Start building on the CLOSED attractions & dead space. No reason to demo TT, when you have all that space dedicated to management, management car parking and Out dated maintains sheds.
    Tomorrowland is being saved for the George Cloney Movie coming out. So they won’t turn that into Star Wars land. But the Subs, Autopia, People Mover track, Inoventions, Monorail redundant figure 8 layout, motor boat areas, can all be redeveloped into many new attractions and address capacity issues. New pathway for Parades, so they can do something with the “Small World-Light Magic Mall”. Disneyland needs a massive overhaul. All of these areas need to be addressed and it can only be done with a BIG plan.
    Defenders of Disney, always say they’re just not enough land to expand the park. I think there’s plenty of land. But none of is truly maximized. Where’s the big Master Plan for the whole park, instead of this piecemeal, ‘what’s the least we can do’ kind of poor planning that’s been happening since the 1970s.
    Disney can build multiple, high end attracts years after year if they wanted to. Remember Eisner’s best days. He quickly built Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Towntown, Indiana Jones all within a 5 year period. Where would the current park be without these attractions?

    • yellowrocket

      Yep! People (especially on here) are so quick to downgrade Eisner, but his regime is responsible for some of the most rapid growth of the DL resort (and parks as a whole).

      • Eddie Davidson

        See how bad things have gotten under Iger the Terrible? The masses are actually nostalgic for the Eisner years. But seriously, at least Eisner had as much passion for the industry as he did his personally bank account.

      • Golden

        I was never a massive Eisner opponent. He oversaw great change to Disneyland and a golden era in animation. He created an entire second gate.

        He did lose his way a bit… but then people down on Iger must have already forgotten how much he has transformed DCA?

    • FixitKronk

      Rarely do I agree with ToonCity, but on this one he is correct on underutilization of existing land. A park as busy as Disneyland does need a massive backstage infrastructure – however there is plenty of space for expansion. And it needs to be pulled off with a grand master plan to increase park capacity over the next 5 years. Use you map application of a satellite image of the resort and realize how much space the innovations, autopia, lagoon and abandoned boat ride take up. The space is astounding!
      Why not take out the low occupancy submarines and replace them with a ride from frozen that will leave the lagoon as the Ariendale harbor? That would allow you to remove the cheaply made frozen band aid applied to the Hollywood Pictures back lot. Toon Town does make more sense there since that was kind of the point in Roger Rabbit anyway. And the kids do need to keep a mini rollercoaster available to them as long as the 48 inch height requirements keep them off the bigger rides. Putting a coaster in Bugs Land might actually keep families in that area of the park that currently empties out after sunset. The crowds get so sparse there at night it feels almost a little dangerous to be back there with the kids.
      Sounds like Disney wants to immerse you in a star wars land the way Universal does with their Harry Potter area. Thanks to the dedication of Disney cast members who do go above and beyond to interact with guests this kind of land will REALLY be something special I think. But all of this requires $$$ and as long as 90,000 people are packing the park every day the suits will say its just not required!

  • atherton

    Complaints, complaints, complaints!!

    You guys are unreal.

  • bob1

    Disneyland doesn’t have enough space to do justice to Star Wars, no matter how you slice it up. My take is to revamp the Paradise Pier area in DCA and remake it into Star Wars Land. Then you’d have some real room.

    • Eddie Davidson

      Not true. There’s a lot more space in the park and certainty in the backstage area than most people realized. It’s just that a lot space it underutilized.

      • You are correct. There is a tremendous amount of space. Tony Baxter famously wanted to build Discovery Cove in this very area. Many backstage services would simply be moved off site to one of Disney’s many warehouses.

  • Lakerfan3224

    Are the rest of the dark ride refurbishments still happening or is it just going to be Peter pan and alice in wonderland? Also is it possible that they are saving the refurbishment for the ending scene for Ariels Undersea Adventure right before the 60 year anniversary begins or is it not happening anymore?

    • LoveStallion

      Allegedly it’s for all the dark rides, but it’s understandable that Alice and Peter would get the most action, as they are easily the most popular. Few are going to care about what’s added to Pinocchio.

      • Golden

        I really can’t wait for the Mr Toad upgrade though. For me that is still one of my favourites and I’m hoping a bit of love and investment will mean it continues to survive.

      • Aladdin

        Which is exactly the reason that some new effects should be welcome for Pinnochio and Snow White. With some some new magic placed in those attractions, that would increase their appeal and ridership. I’m glad they are placing some effort on improving these attractions, rather than letting them become stale.

  • Mousing Around

    FIFTY ONE THOUSAND PASS HOLDERS IN THE PARK ON MONDAY!

    oh my GOD! Am I the only one kind of startled? If we non pass-holders were to wait for School to go back in on Monday there’d still be huge crowds, 51,000 of which are pass holders?!?!

    I’m still digesting this, not sure what to make of it!!

    Just concerned with how incredibly packed Disneyland gets. I know how to work the crowds and had a wonderful visit Jan rd (saturday)….but…..

    I remember in 1994, December 16th I only had TWO hours in the park to show an Aussie visitor, we got there at 630PM. We did Pirates, Big Thunder, Roger Rabbit, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Star Tours, Splash Mountain and Jungle Cruise (8 major rides) IN TWO HOURS. (NO FASTPASSES).

    I don’t think that’s possible on that date anymore!?!

    But regardless of that (which I’m not expecting of course), just some relief would be great but I guess it goes against business to have a less crowded Disneyland during the holidays. 51,000 pass-holders yesterday on a school day, I’m still in awe.

    • Westsider

      It wasn’t really a school day yesterday. I think Irvine Unified went back yesterday, but Orange Unified and Anaheim schools are all still out until the 12th, plus lots of LA and Inland Empire districts are also out until the 12th.

      • bumblebeeonarose

        Schools are closed in a lot of CA still. We have Deluxe passes (did not visit though), and our schools are out until next week. We’re in the Central Valley. They also end the last week of May here (and other places), so can impact early summer visits also.

    • DarthSavage

      Haha, those were the days of Disneyland’s $99 Annual Pass (w/ blockouts) and the $199 Premium (included parking, discounts and Disney Magazine subscription.)

  • Skimbob

    I agree with those who say there is a lot of space backstage. I have run during races back there and it is a huge area. There is also a lot of dead space throughout the park that could be utilized. Tomorrowland has to be repurposed somehow since it is kind of a dead zone. I personally would rip out Bugs Land and put something else in that area as well.

  • ayalexander

    I’m sorry to tell you this everyone, but Matterhorn cannot have its “track ripped out” and rebuilt the same way Big Thunder was done. After the construction of the Matterhorn, Imagineers realized that it was much better to build a support structure for roller coaster track SEPARATE from the support structure of the mountain that houses it, because what happened to the Matterhorn was that during dozens of earthquakes over the years, the steel of the structure had warped the track to create bumpiness. But aside from that, it created the problem that a different layout was close to impossible to do. Matterhorn’s layout can only be the same layout, sharp drops that hurt your tailbone, tight turns that twist your back and weird track tilting that swings your body around like your one of those inflatable clowns. IF Matterhorn was built with a separate track structure like Big thunder was, smoothing out dips and turns would be easier (simply by elongating the track length to make for smoother drops) -would be a sinch. But Matterhorn was doomed from the beginning all because its poorly laid out track was permanently bolted to the mountain support structure. Also, the tight turns and sharp dips are a difficult thing to overcome with the idea of building larger ride vehicles to accommodate peoples size and legs while still maintaining good ride capacity.

    In short: the only way to improve the Matterhorn would be to demolish the whole thing, then built two separate structures: the track structure and the mountain structure, then make the track turns and dips designed to be larger so that bigger vehicles can traverse the ride system and create comfortable seating arrangements for the ride.

    • Chernabog

      Or, you know, go back to the previous bobsled arrangements or add cushions to support your butt.

      Something tells me that the Matterhorn doesn’t need to be leveled for that to happen 😉

      • ayalexander

        If you go back to the previous bobsled placement, you lower the ride capacity because unlike in 1959, people today don’t want to sit in each other’s laps even if they’re really close friends. Plus many people today are a lot bigger than they were back then and having people sit in that original arrangement is going to hurt one of the two people. Adding cushions to the bobsleds would be like trying to bubble-wrap a pothole, it might take the edge off but your still gonna feel the force of hitting every bump. No, the Mountain would need to be leveled and rebuilt, and I’m not for that so here’s to keeping it the way it is.

      • Marko50

        Well, no. Here’s to putting back the mountain like it was. With cars that don’t stick your knees up your nose. I give you props Westsider for your company speak, but the configuration of those new trains are just ridonkulous. Don’t change the mountain. Change the trains.

    • TimeTraveler2442

      Go back to prior bobsleds design. Knees under your nose is no fun and accentuates the pain of hitting bumps with your tailbone. “Bubble wrap on a pothole” would still be better. At least add very thick pads to the seats.

  • MarkW

    I still don’t get why you would have a Star Wars Land placed where Toontown is now and have Star Tours still in Tomorrowland. Either they move Star Tours, which leaves Tomorrowland in even more sorry shape, or put Star Wars into Tomorrowland. I think the latter makes the most sense, especially with additional room available by taking out Autopia and Innoventions.

    • ayalexander

      Well Star Tours is a travel agency with many convenient locations throughout the galaxy, why wouldn’t there be a port in Tomorrowland? -Thats how I think of it.

  • LoveStallion

    The LA Times has some thoughts on expansions and closures:

    http://www.latimes.com/travel/themeparks/la-trb-disneyland-2055-20141223-story.html#page=4

  • mtbstack

    Any thoughts how the upcoming release of Disney’s new movie, “Tomorrowland” may impact WDI’s plans for the future of the current Tomorrowland? Perhaps the movie will have some impact on the property. After all, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” made a huge impact on classic Disneyland attractions including its namesake attraction and Tom Sawyer’s Island. Something to think about!

    • toonaspie

      It really depends on the boix office numbers though and given Disney’s string of live action non-Marvel non-Pirates live-action films, I’m not optimistic about this film’s chances.

    • toonaspie

      It really depends on the box office numbers though and given Disney’s string of live action non-Marvel non-Pirates live-action films, I’m not optimistic about this film’s chances.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Much of the problems of Tomorrowland were caused by Disney itself in 1998. Tomorrowland needs to have a plan for restoration. While I love the new Star Wars land (Which I hope is not named “Star Wars land”) and Marvel area, I still feel there is no comprehensive plan for the two parks. I feel just new wallpaper is put up to “theme” areas to whatever movie they want to sell. Fix the problem areas of Disneyland before we talk about a new this or that for whatever ride is in the park.

  • Vanellope26

    That article from the LA times was an interesting thought exercise. I think Peter Pan is on the untouchable list though. That ride is always, always crazy busy even at 11:45 at night which is pretty amazing for a “little kid” ride that is over 50 years old.

    I think Pinocchio probably needs a re theme. It’s too much for a lot of kids. The movie is too actually. My kids watch the first few Harry Potter movies and Star Wars and Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit (they love Gollum), but they won’t watch Pinocchio all the way through. I’ve seen kids as old as 7 crying when they come off that ride…..it’s not a popular ride with a majority of adults either.

    Of all the things they should do I would put a re-theme of Splash Mountain at the top. Disney has completely avoided Song of the South. I have never seen the movie because they permanently vaulted it when I was very young, but considering that there are some not PC elements of Disney movies they do celebrate -(The Native Americans in Peter Pan, the Siamese Cats in Lady and the Tramp–Not that they really stopped that though, the guys in the swamp in The Princess and the Frog I think were too much of a stereotype of poor white people in the South) Song of the South must be fairly problematic for them to lock it up completely. How does that theme exist on a ride when Disney is trying to avoid it to the point that no one can even see the movie? Taking the Winnie-The-Pooh elements as a re theme for Splash mountain as was suggested in the LA times article is an interesting idea, but I would re theme it to Princess and the Frog and extend New Orleans Square to there-maybe putting in some kind of food service based on something Tiana made in the movie next to it. Although, I would just have the crocodiles or The Shadow Man’s shadows chasing Tiana and Navine as frogs through the swamp-I’d definitely leave out the swamp guys. Maybe the end could be Mama Odie singing “Dig a Little Deeper” or something. There are a lot of really catchy songs in that movie. Alternatively, they could re theme Critter country to Villains although I think Princess and the Frog is a better fit for Splash mountain since a lot of the movie takes place in a swamp. Is the setting of Song of the South even near the water? I thought it took place near a cotton plantation right after the civil war, but again I don’t know since I’ve never seen it.
    Actually-what are they doing to Critter Country? Why is every single thing in it closed starting from January?

    I agree with what some other people said that they could keep the Roger Rabbit ride and absorb it into Fantasy land, and move the coaster to a Bugs Land with a re theme- those little lady bugs make me nauseous and the bumper cars aren’t really for really little kids anyway so those could be replaces with a little coaster. They have to keep Heimlich! That is cute and it is one of my kids and my 33 year-old-sister’s favorite ride! 🙂
    The rest of Toon Town isn’t that great and I would like to see it replaced with something.

    I think Disney execs looked at traffic patterns at Disneyland and saw that Frontier land and some parts of Tomorrow land were under visited so they thought they’d try to stir up attendance by making some IP that related to those themes popular (the Sheriff Calli Disney Jr show and the Long Ranger for Frontier land and The George Clooney movie and the Disney Jr show Miles from Tomorrow land for Tomorrow land) They may have thought this would increase the popularity of the lands without having to change them very much if the movies/TV shows are successful like Pirates of the Caribbean. But pirates in general were popular before that movie came out and people have always really loved that ride. I don’t know how it happened, but I remember noticing that pirates in general were a lot more popular and wondering why and then the movie was out after that. I think it gained a bit of a cult following once the first one was on video. The Lone Ranger tanked I guess because cowboys aren’t as popular as pirates because those movies are very similar in a quality/comedy/adventure/Johnny Depp in a crazy outfit being eccentric- kind of way. I think the Clooney movie looks really interesting, but the future in that movie is optimistic, I think. People seem to only love sad/gloomy/dangerous future movies so it might not do well. I think the domestic box office results for Tomorrow land in addition to the popularity of the Disney Jr cartoon will determine the future of Tomorrow land. The Toon Town location for Star Wars may be a possible alternate location in case the future themed IP does well, or they may want to convert Tomorrowland to Marvel as was suggested in a post for Inside the Magic and Toon town/Big Thunder Ranch is the biggest other space that has a relatively low attendance in Disneyland.

    • Laughing Place

      Splash Mountain as it is with the Song of the South theme and the very catchy songs in my opinion is perfect the way it is (when all the animatronics are working that is). I could not imagine Disneyland without this attraction in the theme it currently is and hopefully will be for a very long time.

      • Golden

        I agree – I would not want Splash Mountain to change at all. It does not need a retheme. I’m logging in here every week to see if they have an update to the closure dates, since I’m going to Disneyland in April – I so hope 2 April is true.

    • Golden

      I thought LA times were way off base on a lot of things – both what is untouchable, and what is touchable. Their philosophy was that unique attractions were more likely to go, but I think that entirely depends on the TDA philosophy. I’d hope they would be more likely to work hard to keep their unique attractions. I don’t think Indiana Jones is going to go any time soon – for most people I find it still ranks in their top 2-3 favourite rides. Outdated? Not really. Although it could use a major overhaul of the stuff that is continually breaking down, perhaps.

      Although I don’t want a retheme of Splash Mountain, any expansion of Disneyland to the north could be great for including Princess and the Frog into Critter Country. Honestly, I think the ultimate approach to adding Star Wars land should we with the goal of linking it to an expansion behind the Rivers of America – potentially an expansion to both or either of Critter Country or Frontierland. Princess and the Frog would seem like a great fit for this. I’d also like to see, then, an extension of the berm.

      And if one dark ride in Fantasyland was rethemed, I’d definitely go for Pinocchio. Right now, I would be in support of using the old theatre out the back of Storybookland for more dark rides, though, although it’s probably going to become space for Star Wars Land. But I think Frozen and Tangled dark rides could be quite neat and fit overall with Fantasyland well (Beauty and the Beast would be another great and otherwise reasonably overlooked option).

    • SteveColorado

      Good grief, you would support re-theming Splash into Winnie the Pooh?!? Talk about something that is irrelevant and archaic. Song of the South is that too (I saw it in the theaters when I was a kid) but I don’t think many who rides Splash cares about that. Perhaps give them something they would care about – something more popular and relevant today instead of thinking that the only ideas could come out of the 30s-50s.

    • Marko50

      The Disney Co has made some ridiculous decisions regarding Song of the South in my humble opinion, but that’s not my call I guess. Those actions and reactions were mostly – if not entirely – based on the live action portion of the movie. I don’t believe there were any complaints about the animated portion of the film – and Splash Mountain illustrates only the animated bits.

  • MikeK

    Star Wars Land just doesn’t fit in Disneyland. The other lands compliment each other; this seems too jarring. Adventureland smoothly transitions to Frontierland to Fantasyland to Tomorrowland and so on.

    It seems out of place.

  • fjhuerta

    I can’t imagine StarWarsLand next to it’s a small world. It’s going to look really, really strange.

    As to Luigi – am I the only one who’s going to miss that ride? It was the most fun I’ve had in DCA in years…

    • Marko50

      No. You’re not the only one.

  • Wow

    I highly doubt that we’ll ever see much of anything worth while replace ToonTown.

    You think they’re going to invest millions in what will undoubtedly be the parks most popular land for quite some time, and then routinely close it at night due to fireworks? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • tcsnwhite

    That new nighttime parade is also a Steve Davison production (as it was in HKDL). I mean, it’s not really an issue, I just think it’s a bit funny his name gets mentioned with the fireworks/WOC, but not the parades. He and his team do it all – parades and spectaculars.

  • danielz6

    Save star wars and Marvel for the 3rd gate. Or give marvel exclusively to DCA and star wars to FL. Neither parks need them they’re best used as anchors for the 3rd gate. Put tron into tomorrowland with a computer science pavillion (remake autopia in DCA as part of Cars land), retheme subs for deep ocean exploration which is very much a science long into the future, leave space mtn and star tours.
    Let frontierland expand into the backstage area behind thunder ranch and bring western river expedition or a similar large attraction.
    Leave toon town alone or leave it for expanded fantasyland area for frozen, beauty and the beast, etc. Recreate roger rabbit in DCA hollywood land.
    For me all these ideas are way better than forcing star wars land awkwardly into disneyland.

  • bevinmanteca

    Had to comment…we were in the Park on Monday, January 5th…I think the crowds were worse than on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last year! Wait time on POTC was 105 minutes, and it closed four or five times that day just to, as a CM told me, empty the ROA area out a little bit…it was crazy! Spent a lot of time in Tommorrowland and my opinion is that he needs a complete overhaul! Open up the area by putting Astro Orbiters back up on top of the People Mover…take out Innovations (the time has come!)…Finding Nemo had the last five minutes of the ride silent, they just switched off the soundtrack…after all the refurb they did on that ride, I see little to show for it…Star Wars really needs to take over the land…go back to the futuristic silver and clean white that made it so fresh, and get rid of that Jukes Verne theming and giant marble that takes up space!
    I never complain about Disneyland…it is the only vacation destination I have taken with my kids in five years…but I don’t see the crowd numbers going lower, so something will have to be done to open it up a bit…I liked a lot of the ideas I saw here…
    Also, is Splash Mountain going to get any attention? The ride was dark, animatronics were not functioning or missing…it really needs some TLC!

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