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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  • Wendygirl

    Did someone get hurt on the Jungle Cruise recently or something that prompted the bumpers, signs, and netting. Or did the powers that be think it was only a matter of time before someone did – I mean what’s it been now, over 50 years? Time for someone to misstep and fall in!

    • Unfortunately, it has more than its fair share of injury complaints due to the awkward load/unload process.

  • daveinfontana

    Since they took out the Skyway it has been non stop walking. We need another ride were you can sit and relax.Oh shure one can go to It’s A small World but the People Mover was the best to relax in and enjoy the sights.

  • eicarr

    Should this site continue to publicize a chain restaurant with 2-3 updates this week and 5 photos today alone. The verdict is in, their location in Valencia only lasted one year and closed down. Again, I would be excited if the chain was Taco Bell, Subway or In-and-Out. Its fine, I don’t mind the chain store updates, but I just find them silly and mainly free PR.

    • TodAZ1

      Totally agree with this! It’s fast food! Not an E-ticket being built.

  • Vincenzo DeNucci

    Bring Back The People Mover! I Have Been Wanting This Ride Back Ever Since It Closed! It’s Truly One Of My Most Beloved And Favorite Rides In The Park! I Demand That The People Mover Returns Immediately Disney! You Can Even Build A Second Loading/Unloading Station Over By It’s A Small World Where The Old Motorboat Cruise Used To Be As A New Way Of…Yep, You Guessed It…Moving People, From Tomorrowland To Fantasyland Or Vice Versa, Which Will Also Ease Crowd Flow On Those Busy Days! Wake Up Already Disney And BRING BACK THE PEOPLE MOVER!!!

  • Sparky

    >> 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 (Fan Club) events. <<

    So true. This year is my 20th year of being with the Disneyana Fan Club and attending its conventions. I've had the chance over the years to hear and/or meet so many of the Disney legends as well as many other folks who contributed to the Disney legacy, so many of whom are now gone, through the club's events. Something that I will treasure forever. The DFC was acknowledging many of these folks before the Walt Disney Company finally caught on and started doing so. (And, frankly, D23 owes a LOT to the DFC. Except some lessons they didn't learn too well.) One great advantage of the DFC events is that they are small enough that you can actually enjoy them. And, actually have good interaction with fellow Disney fans as well as the guests. Most of my closest friends in the world today I met through the Disneyana Fan Club. Glad that you guys had a chance to attend these two events!

  • CheesyBee

    I got to ride the PeopleMover in 1990, it was a long slow ride that took me past several fast exciting rides. I was just a kid who liked exciting rides. Having said that, though, I rode it three or four times. There was never a wait, but there were plenty of people on the ride. I liked the relaxed tour aspect of the ride. It had great views of the East side of the park and I loved the peek into StarTours. The PeopleMover also gave the image of motion to Tomorrowland, everywhere you looked, something was moving and made the land much more vibrant and alive. I still like to watch the POV videos of the PeopleMover online, I find it oddly comforting.

  • dizneydomenic

    Bringing back the Peoplemover is a no brainer. As i have said in the past not only did it provide a break from walking, it was relaxing and let you “intake” the atmosphere of Tomorrowland. That “world on the move” was a great concept. As far as innoventions and the Autopia…am i the only one (i’m 50) that still enjoys riding those little cars? I completely agree innoventions needs to go, it was a bad idea to put a static idea into a revolving building. As far as demolition of the building i disagree. The revolving “show” concept is still viable. Whether the Carousel of Progress could be brought back (realize its not been in Disneyland for over 35 years) or a new show presentation is brought in, i say keep the building, its unique. What about the old motor boat cruise area, completely dead space. The upper level of the starcade, dead space. Lastly, please move the rockets back where they belong!

  • disney_leonard

    From what I understand, the existing People Mover/Rocket Rods track has significant deterioration and will need to be replaced. Coupled with the new OSHA requirements for guest safety during evacuations, it would seem logical that they start fresh. Bring in the “new people mover” using updated technology. But bring in back in some form.

  • grumpy42499

    As always GREAT update. And they need to bring back the Peoplemover! It was one of the best ways to get off your feet for a bit and still see the park and people watch from above the fray. Does anyone know how long Alice will be down? I am taking my grandkids to Disneyland for the first time and this is one ride I do not ant them to miss out on.

  • techskip

    I’ll dig in and ask my friends… but any word on if the new rigging for the boats is Unload only? Load was usually where Guests and Skips had issues because of inexperienced individuals trying to dock. Unload for the most part was stable but had the gap.

    It seems counter-productive to have a post sticking out of the dock that a Guest can now trip over. I know the tie-off on the boat is the same style that we used for the Ucy, different location though (was between front and back doors for the Ucy).

    At a minimum it’s going to limit where a boat can dock, and depending on complexity it may hinder the overall ride count. Looks to be overkill but hey it’s there for a reason.

    • techskip

      Minor correction (now that I’m in contact with my friends) the new rigging setup is at Load, and rumor is it will be installed at Unload as well. That will make things “interesting”. It might mean no more “Doubles”. I also worry about the posts being trip hazards. But it’s for safety. All in all you roll with the punches. I’m sure they’ll hammer it out.

      • tinkermonkey

        A post was installed at unload when we were there the 11-18th. Before we left, there were “props” put around the post because someone had already tripped over it. :)

  • JR DLlover

    I agree Innovations needs to go. I’t's a great space for something new. Autopia should stay, but that’s the nostalgia in me, having been riding them since 1956. Peoplemover should be brought back. As others have said, a great way to relax, see things and “preview” other attractions.

  • jcruise86

    Why are today’s “In the Parks” and comments like the one I’m written in light grey? Please use a darker, easier to read color.

  • jcruise86

    And how come we can no longer edit comments for errors after we post them?

  • CptRex

    Where are you seeing the August 13 closing of the Haunted Mansion? I checked the Disneyland website and didn’t see it. I’m planning a trip for the 13th and would hate to miss the HM.

  • Tiny Mermaid

    Would love to see the People Mover brought back! Tomorrowland needs a return of the kinetic vibe it used to have.