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.

JUNGLE CRUISE
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.

INNOVENTIONS
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?

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
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.

HAUNTED MANSION
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.

FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE
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?

BUENA VISTA STREET
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?

CARS LAND
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

DISNEYANA FAN CLUB
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.

COLLECTABLES SALE
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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  • kate liddle

    I would love to see the People Mover come back to Disneyland. I also wonder how it will work in today’s society. I agree they will need to to something so you when you are walking below it you will be safe. About a year ago I got spit on riding Space Mountain. I could see a lot worse happening from the People Mover. Thanks for another great article.

  • ddb1556

    Please bring back The People Mover! Was the best ride ever at Disneyland. My whole family loved that ride. Every time we walk by the tracks we always talk about how much we miss the people movers.

  • r1hert2

    Bring the peoplemover back!!! If its safety concerns then build to look like the one at WDW or something similar. All that empty space needs to be used perhaps now that DCA2.0 is for the most part done.

  • methinks

    It would be great if they updated the peoplemover to once again be a demonstration of an actual potential future mode of transportation. Disney should make a deal with ULTra to have pods like the ones at Heathrow. Maybe with a cool Disney twist. How cool would it be to have those pods, say, glowing Tron-style as they glide above Tomorrowland!?

  • CupcakeTerror

    I have yet to get to California Adventure, but it seems like the Dance Party is more of a respite from the crowds and heat that has taken over a large portion of the park. It certainly may not have all the ear markings of a Perfect Disney Offering, but having a large air-conditioned space to go to when the heat is high? Sounds FABULOUS to me.

    If the Dance Party is around in September, I’ll be able to make a better judgement…. until then, I’m stickin’ to mah guns! :)

  • disneyfan1964

    Please bring back the people mover. I was able to have my daughters ride on it, now I want my 5 year old to experience it.

  • Timekeeper

    I would rather not jump the gun until there’s more photographic evidence in front of Innoventions, in the form of those “Look-A-Way Blue” Construction Walls and a sign that says, “Sorry, We’re Re-imaginaming this attraction for you” the sign not left up there for another decade. I know there already is some signs of deterioration in front of the building, but I would wait until it closes and there’s a press announcement of a new attraction and a blog post on the Disney Parks Blog. Autopia, with Carsland next door, does seem redundant, but I would rather keep it for the sake of nostalgia, it’s the only attraction that’s from opening day and because every child still wants to drive a car.

    As for the Peoplemover, build an updated version in the form of Personal Rapid Transit or PRT for short and use it to transport people across from Disneyland, to California Adventure, to the Downtown Disney District, to the Grand Californian, Disneyland and Paradise Pier Hotels and to the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, with stops at Tomorrowland, Hollywoodland, The Grand Californian Hotel, the DTD Transportation Station (which houses both the Monorail and PRT systems), the Disneyland Hotel, with a junction to either the Paradise Pier Hotel or the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure; and, as for a phase two, build a junction from Hollywoodland to the Toy Story Parking Lot, the Pumbaa Parking Structure (TBA*), the Anaheim Gardenwalk and the Anaheim Convention Center. (Rocket Rods, at the time, did try to present itself as a PRT System of sorts, listing future stops at the then owned Disney properties, thinly masking the whole thrill aspect of the attraction.)

    Also, Earl of Sandwich is an eatery, not a shop.

    Timekeeper

  • mondo

    My favorite ride was the Peoplemover. If the tracks are planned to be torn down, I hope it is the first step of PM 2.0.

  • Snake

    I don’t understand everyone’s objection to the Innovations building. There is nothing wrong with the building that a little creativity cannot correct. For example, I would love to see the building used as a revolving dinner theater with a musical stage show such as a cirque du soleil (think also Pink’s Funhouse) except based with futuristic characters like Tom Morrow (& Band?). This venue, expecially the lower revolving portion is perfect for reserved sit-down dining packages while the upper portion could be used for counter-service, first-come-first-seated basis. An advantage to using this building in such a manner would be close and free-up Tommorowland Terrace and Pizza Port spaces for rides/attractions. I figure the Pizza Port kitchen could be repurposed to support the venue so no real hard dollars need be spent except on the show elements, which should be an E-ticket attaction in itself. I see no need to knock the thing down. Am I missing something?

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Unfortunately, Imagineering doesn’t see how they can pull in crowds to another animatronic show. What they want is the space. So the decision has been made to level the building to make room for something bigger. I’m with you, I’d like to see an animatronic space review or something like that, but it won’t happen. If Disney wants to compete with Universal’s Harry Potter (coming soon), they have to think bigger. And that’s why the small-ish and aging Carousel building is all but history.

  • SpectroMan

    I’ve been lamenting the closure of the Peoplemover since my last bumpy ride on it in the 90s. It’s such a mainstay for Tomorrowland and a horrible shame that it’s been neglected this long. I really hope they don’t tear out the tracks – they can’t be that far gone if they withstood the 60s to the 90s without issue – hire a team of structural engineers NOW to figure out what, if anything needs to be done and get it open again! Sheesh!

    And it’d be really great if they’d keep the Carousel Theatre for either a live or animatronic show rather than building from scratch.

  • yoyoflamingo

    Would love to see some form of Peoplemover to return, since I’d love to see the difference with its unique track layout as opposed to the flat track of the WDW version.

    Hopefully we’ll hear something soon!

  • Disneylandfan85

    I say bring back the PeopleMover ride, by any means necessary! Please do!

  • ThisLandIsOurLand

    I love checking in everyday for my daily dose of Disney! You guys all do such a great job:-) I wish they’d bring the peoplemover back–it’s as a classic to me as riding the train so I will be crossing my fingers. C’Mon Disney and make it happen!

  • tonyrr1

    Ok, so since you asked, I’m just gonna say what’s in my heart to say about Tomorrowland. For the record, I live in the mid west, but I grew up mostly around the LA area, and DL was a regular summer trip for my family back in the day.

    That said, I think that removing the PeopleMover was one of the STUPIDEST things the Disney Co ever did at Disneyland. I was just there with my family this past Xmas, and TL was the land we spent the least amount of time in because the place no longer has a soul. The place is devoid of the energy it once had, and the PM was a big part of that in my opinion. All of the reasons for having the PM have been addressed above, but there is no sense of kinetic energy and motion in the land, and frankly, taking the Rocket Jets down to ground level and shoe-horning them in the front of the PM track coming off the hub did nothing to improve but rather created a big distraction and annoyance. The land’s theme is broken, and that’s perhaps the worst part of it all. So, yes, they for sure need to bring the PM back, that’s a no-brainer. They also need to bring back attractions that address the potential future of humankind / technology / space. I can remember riding the Rocket Jets as a kid and thinking, “Wow, I wonder what it’s like to go up in a real rocket ship!?” I want my kids to wonder about things like that and maybe be inspired to do amazing things with their lives.

    My two cents’ worth… :-)

  • BigCountry

    bring back the People Mover! the People Mover and Sky Buckets offered the most unique perspective of such a beautiful park that was UNFORGETTABLE! Bring at least the People Mover back so that future generations can build the same memories!