Impending Change for Tomorrowland at Disneyland

Written by MiceChat Staff. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, In the Parks

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Published on August 02, 2012 at 10:57 pm with 80 Comments

After years of nonstop Disney California Adventure coverage, the tables are starting to turn back to Disneyland. Today, we have a wonderful potpourri of Disneyland news for you. The impending demise of Innoventions (and what of the PeopleMover), to make way for a new E-Ticket. Jungle Cruise with brand new safety nets and bumpers installed. Fantasy Faire Village construction, and questions about the painful new Matterhorn sleds.  Not to worry, we also bring you a quick checkup on DCA and Downtown Disney. We’ll finish things up today with a fantastic event we attended the weekend before last hosted by the Disneyana Fan Club, which we found to be fun and informative and nearly as polished as Disney’s own official fan club.

Inside Disneyland proper, wait times remain very reasonable and quite a bit easier than this time last year. Also, take a look at the wait times for everything else in comparison with the Matterhorn.  A month out, the ride capacity still does not seem to be aided by the new, more uncomfortable, bobsleds.  This is something that operations is painfully aware of as many of the cast members now lament the loss of the old sleds (they didn’t like them at the time, but the terrible new sleds make them look golden in comparison). Is there a chance things will change anytime soon? Not likely. Now, if folks start reporting their bruises and injuries from the painful new sleds, perhaps we’ll at least get some padding on the seats and in the zone where knees and shins are getting crunched.

The world famous Jungle Cruise reopened Wednesday after a very short refurbishment that saw the installation of new bumpers on the dock on the boats themselves.

A sign at the dock warns guests of possible wobbling.  ITS A BOAT!

The new bumpers are really not visible while the boats are against the dock.  To even see them you have to catch them out in action.

New rigging on the dock to hold the boats in position

The bumpers are actually a reasonable change for safety’s sake and don’t really impact show, as you don’t really see them from the queue and you can’t see them from the ride (except for glimpses at other boats). Unfortunately the netting added to the boats is an eyesore and makes is difficult for the young ones to see the show clearly.

We are still waiting to hear if similar treatment will be given to the even more unsteady Storybookland Canal Boats.

We’ve all known that Innoventions has been on the chopping block for a long time. Thankfully, this miserable excuse for an attraction may soon be slated for demolition to make way for a future E-Ticket, according to Al Lutz.  In retrospect, it now seems pretty obvious as to why the attraction exterior is being allowed to deteriorate slowly.  Another question that arises; What will happen to the Peoplemover track that laces through the upper perimeter of the building?  If they tear down the entire building, will the track go too?  If it does go, will that spell the end of any future attempts to bring that classic attraction back? or will it give Tony Baxter the incentive he needs to revitalize this beloved attraction? If  you’d like to see it come back, the time to lobby for it is right now, before it’s too late. We’d like to see your comments below and have you get your friends to do the same.

Not exactly bustling.

What will happen to the long ignored Peoplemover/Rocket Rods Track?

As a reminder, the Alice in Wonderland refurbishment is set for mid September, to finally address the exterior portion of the attraction. The tarps and safety rails will soon be history. But we’ve yet to see concept art of what will replace them. Will there be tasteful popup railings (to be seen only when the ride goes down) or will they place visible rails throughout the exterior portion which mar the view and theme of this classic segment of the ride. Not long until we find out.

Speaking of closures, the Disneyland website lists the Haunted Mansion as having a quick closure on August 13th and 14th, reopening, then closing again on Monday August 27th, and reopening September 14th to allow for the installation of the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay which will run through the end of the year.

At the Fantasy Faire Village location (the former Carnation stage area just to the North/West of the hub) the area has nearly been completely cleared for new construction to begin.

Earl of Sandwich
The new Earl of Sandwich location in Downtown Disney seems to be taking its own sweet time getting ready.  Who knew sandwiches took this long to make?  ;-)  The store is scheduled to open later in the Fall. The project has taken over the former Compass Books all the way to the news stand which sits between AMC Theater and the ESPN Zone.

Have you been to the Earl of Sandwich in Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney? What do you think? Is this shop going to be worth the wait?

After the patriotic holidays, Memorial Day & July fourth, the bunting has been removed from Buena Vista Street.

DANCING WITH DISNEY (Dancing with the fuzzy-stars)
Ok, we really need to call time out on this terrible offering from the entertainment division.  While much of the staff here is mixed on the Mad T Party, everyone seems in near agreement on Dancin’ With Disney.  This is one of the worst things to be offered in this park since Mickey’s Dance Crew and Steps in Time. And that’s being generous. Time to put this dog to sleep.

Upon entering the oversized space, one is immediately hit over the head with saccharin-sweet pop melodies in a bubble gum color motif.  Guests enter, expecting immediate interaction when there is really nothing to pull them in but the recycled Disney Rocks stage at the far end of the room with a single “DJ” and his mac.  Parents and children alike were observed just standing, wondering what was going to happen.  Is this a show?  No, it’s a dance party.   Then why isn’t anyone dancing?

The only bright spot in this train wreck is the use of rarely seen characters, Clarabelle the Cow, Clara Cluck, The Ugly Stepsisters from Cinderella.  These characters are used to goad guests, awkwardly, into dancing and cavorting in the expanse, while far off in the distance, parent sit on the recycled, white plastic chairs leftover from ElecTRONica.

Again, the performers rise to the occasion and really try to sell it.  But this a tremendous mis-step by Disney and we will be happy to see it go.

As an alternative, we’d like to see them move the classic characters like Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Clara Cluck and the Three Little Pigs to Buena Vista Street where they belong. No dancing to today’s pop music, just good old fashion interaction with the kids. We think Disney could sell a lot of new plush and merchandise of these characters as well. Let Buena Vista Street belong to Oswald and crew and let Mickey and the Fab Five occupy the rest of the park. Can we hear an AMEN?

Things are really following a routine in Cars Land.  It seems the average wait times have settled into the following (give or take about 15 minutes)…

Luigi’s Flying Tires

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Radiator Springs Racers

We are a little late in telling everyone about the most recent Disney Fan event held by the Disneyana Fan Club in Anaheim, but better late than never.  We were invited to stop by and enjoy two of the events that DFC put on, the Pirates of the Caribbean dinner event and panel discussion, and the Show and Sale event the next morning.

We have to say that, for the price they were charging, this was a pretty impressive evening.  The night began with dinner amongst such luminaries as Bob Gurr, Alice Davis and Roger Brogee Jr.  We were then treated to a lively, and we do mean lively, panel discussion with the Disney Legends.

A silent auction was held too.

As the panel discussion began, the Moderator welcomed the guests to the stage and they got right to the good stuff.  If you want the same old, polished stories that Disney likes to have these folks share, go to an official Disney event and that’s what you’ll hear.  But if you want the real, unfiltered scoop, you might enjoy one of these Disneyana events.  Here, the imagineers shared hysterically funny stories about the behind the scenes goings on with the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean (one of the last attractions which Walt Disney oversaw the development of).

The moderator, left, with (From left to right) Roger Brogee Jr., Alice Davis, and Bob Gurr, all of whom had a hand in developing the attraction.

Alice, in particular was a treasure to hear. If you ask us nicely, we may find a way to tell you her slightly off color crotch related pirate stories. Yes, we said crotch. She was a costume designer after all.

The next morning, a wonderful merchandise event was held in the convention space of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Items ranged from high end boutique items to vintage postcards and more.

These monorail sets were produced in Germany and never really took off in the states.

There was a working monorail course with a switch track fully working.  COOL. We stood here forever watching the monorails go around and around.

We then got to see a preview of Bob Olszewski’s Fantasyland layout.

The King Arthur Carousel IS COMING.

As is the Skyway

The Storybookland Canal boats and Casey Jr. Train are also in the works.

Along with Small World Mall

Many of MiceChat’s favorites were also in attendance, selling their latest books: Bob Gurr, Jack Lindquist, Dave Smith, Sam Gennawey, and so many others.

What makes these events so much fun is the candor with which they are presented and the intimate setting.  While some of Disney’s big official events will give you a glimpse of your favorite imagineer at a premium price, Disneyana Fan Club lets you get up close and personal with your Disney heroes.  Next time the event rolls around we will let you know well in advance. It’s a lot of fun and you should consider joining us there.

That’s all that we have for you this week from the Disneyland Resort.  Don’t forget to return tomorrow for our coverage of Knott’s Berry Farm.

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  • Capt Hook

    I happen to disagree with your respons on the Disney Dance party. I see alot of people and kids having a good time in there dancing with the characters and on there own. I have been in there about 4 times and if I knew how to dance I would be out there myself. I always have a good time with Drizella and some of the other characters. I hope it stays a little bit longer or as long as Mad T Party does.

    • Plum

      I second this. The dance party wasn’t really added to be the center of attention; they knew the new areas of the park would be very crowded this summer, so they attempted to add a few low-budget attractions to draw people to other areas of the park. Disney Dance Party means more character interaction and a few less people crammed into Cars Land! You’re looking a gift horse in the mouth!

  • Malin

    I kind of agree a little with having the rare characters appear on Buena Vista Street. But the space is not big enough to hold many characters. And I believe Mickey needs to stay since he’s a vital part of the storyline for the Street. But absolutely agree Dancin with Disney needs to go ….

    I don’t really remember much about the Orlando branch of Earl of Sandwich. But was fortunate enough to visit the location at the Disney Village in Paris. And the wait is certainly worth it. In fact Disney could be throwing away lots of $$$ in counter service meals. Since I feel a lot of the Park Fans will want to eat here for lunch and leave the park.

  • clippers6

    Would OSHA be OK with pop-up railings on Alice? California Screamin’ has them in the launch area, but OSHA asked them to be left up all the time.

  • Asylim

    Nice update. I appreciate the time you guys take to do these.

    As for Haunted Mansion I was under the impression that the downtime would be until September 14th, not beginning on the 14th.

    Was that an error or did things change?

    Disneyland’s website shows the mansion closed from the end of August until the 13th and the 14th shows that it is open. (Just checked to make sure.)

    • MiceChat Staff

      Ah thanks for the kind words. Yes the date we had listed was for the return of Haunted Mansion Holiday, we apologize. The correct closure date for the overlay is August 27th, with a reopen date of September 14.

  • disdad70

    To me it justs seems like a no-brainer to add a walk-around Oswald character to Buena Vista Street. With the popularity of the Epic Mickey series many kids now know of him and Disney seems to have no problem using his name and likeness on BVS.

  • mratigan

    The people mover needs to come back because it a classic and is a preview of the attractions
    And it gives a look at the tech of tommarowland
    The real need to put the classic 1920s charterers out and put Mickey and the gang in hollywoodland or something

  • Harbzilla

    Bring the People Mover back….it’s a nice relaxing ride with a view and done right it is a people eating machine which is just what Disney is looking for. Plus, there is the current factor. Simply have it go through one room that is fitted with screens that can be updated to focus on the latest Disney movies and/or characters which can be switched out with ease. This will keep the People mover from ever being outdated. I remember the Tron super speed tunnel. Think that but on a grander scale. No excuses Disney. Make it happen : )

  • The Shadoe

    Bring back the PeopleMover in some incarnation! My girlfriend and I went to WDW a couple years ago together, and out of everything we saw, the TTA PeopleMover was her favorite. What’s great about it is that it provides a breezy respite from the crowds. There’s never a line. It’s extremely pleasant, and everyone I take on it walks off loving it. The very simplicity of it makes it genius and a chance to get off your feet and decompress for a bit.

    As far as Earl of Sandwich goes – YESSSS! I went there at WDW and the sandwiches were very tasty and reasonably priced. It’s too bad that Compass Books is gone, but given the dearth of affordable food at the parks, Earl Of Sandwich is a good addition.

  • PirateLover

    People Mover = YES!
    Dance Party = NO!

    I ate at the Earl of Sandwich in Vegas and it was really good!

  • [email protected]

    “Goodbye Innoventions, We hardly knew ye.” After America Sings vacated the premises, I visited Innoventions exactly two times. So for almost 24 1/2 years I have seen the future 2 times. Talk about a waste of funds and space. As for The PeopleMover. I would love to see an E-Ticket ride replace Innoventions and have the PeopleMover interact with what ever Imaginereers come up with. How about a Time Machine that goes back to July of 1954 to see how Disneyland came to be. I am sure that they have enough original footage and the technology to interface into a ride simulator. You can tie the past into the future to meet Tomorrowlands theme. Just a thought. But if you ask me, a hole in the ground would be just as interesting as what they have now. by the way, Thank you for the great article.

  • Softballcan15

    Please Please Please bring the people mover back! My family and I loved it so much when it was here, we liked the Rocket Rods too even tho it was here for only a short time. But the people mover was nice to give your feet a rest and enjoy Disneyland from a birds eye view!

  • WheresMickey

    Great report!

  • Nivens McTwisp

    I have ridden on the PeopleMover at WDW twice and enjoyed it both times. There was a certain thrill knowing that it was the one of the few things left in Tommorrowland that Walt personally oversaw (in its DL version) and was part of his vision for EPCOT. Please bring it back Disney!

  • dgpollard

    Thank you for the informative updates!

    With respect to Tomorrowland, it will be very exciting to see the transformations unfold over the course of the next three (or so) years! This kind of activity will certainly energize our spirits as we enter this remodeled and improved “land of tomorrow”!

    Will the People Mover make a come back? Well, that will up to the Imagineers, Laywers and OSHA combined…..I’m sure that Disney doesn’t want anyone spraying water on or throwing objects down on people below. Please excuse me for this sinic viewpoint, but unfortunatly it’s a reality that will be addressed.

    And removing the innovations building is just plain smart! That under-utilized piece of land (along with additional surrounding areas such as autopia) will certainly accomodate an “E”-ticket attraction (or two) of quality! =)

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    I want that Monorail set!

    Thanks for the update. I certainly hope a Tomorrowland project can include the return of the Peoplemover.