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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  • mttk2724

    The People Mover is a great way to remember a little bit of Disneyland history even if it is in Tomorrowland. Besides, it’s better than just leaving the track as an eye soar and the People Mover would be one of the few attractions that offers a bird’s eye view!

  • Omnispace

    Disney, Bring back the People Mover and the unbridled optimistic future that it represented. We don’t need space aliens, Pixar characters, or Marvel characters in Tomorrowland. We need the Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow that Walt Disney was a proponent of.

  • Tas2357

    Disney should bring back the People Mover – its a great break. While were at it, they should convert Red Rockets Pizza Port to Pizza Planet.

  • ralzap

    People mover, and a great big future tomorrow……
    Tmorow land is out of date.
    People Movers return from the parking lots, and the carosel of prgress returns in some form. The rest will be a debate. All of the future is now. How does Disney do that. If anyone can, they can. Go for it…..

  • drtarr

    Love the Update! I would love to see the People Mover back! I know my following comments will echo many other peoples fine and succinctly stated comments but I think repetition on a petition a good way to go! ;) I got to ride the People Mover once before it was gone. I do remember it being a bit slow and wanting it to be just a bit faster but I loved the vantage point I got and the that break from walking. I loved getting peeks at other rides (Like the wait line for Star Tours) it was fun doing people watching on the People Mover. I’d love to see them make it into a more true transit system with stops not only in tomorrow land but to other lands close enough to make logical stops (main street USA, Fantasyland, Toon Town, though looking at the satellite map it might be too costly of an endeavor to do that!) So that’s that! I’d also like to see a MAJOR overhaul/reboot (if you will) of the Jungle Cruise! Updated animatronics and a fun fun show. I enjoy the humor of the ride as it is, but its obvious you can’t take this ride serious anymore and constant “making fun of” the ride is both humorous and fun but also sad. Well that’s my two penny’s

  • TrueBlue

    A top to bottom re-thinking of Tomorrowland is sooooo needed, and removing the Innoventions building is the obvious first step. Carousel of Progress was a “must” attraction in its day (especially since, along with Voyage Thru Inner Space aka “Monsanto”,it had the best air conditioning in the park and did not require a ticket), and even America Sings was a very enjoyable Disney-style attraction. However, I have never been interested in Innoventions. Wasted space or a brand-new E-ticket? No brainer.

    As a kid, Tomorrowland was the first destination on entering the park and the last stop before leaving. Now, there is no “there” there. The invitation to what might some day come to pass presented by the silvery facades of the Circlevision and Monsanto buildings and the gleaming white track of the Peoplemover is an iconic image now lost to fake bronze-colored basalt formations and an out-of-place rocket jets. Tomorrowland felt like no other part of the park: bigger, newer, more kinetic. Now it is just crowded, generally dark, and has no snse of purpose. Exactly what about this land says “Tomorrow”? The promise of what the Peoplemover could be outside the berm spoke of the future, as did the opportunity to take the gantry up to the rocket jets (just like the astronauts!). A current imagining of Tomorrowland will need to appeal to similar images in a 21st century mindset. (Does anybody under 25 even know what a gantry is?) And, yes, by all means, please include the Peoplemover in those plans!

  • tinkermonkey

    I can’t wait to talk to Tony Baxter tomorrow and see if I can get him to comment on any potential plans for Tomorrowland and where his heart is on the People Mover specifically.

  • Mac Daddy

    The fact that they have left the people mover track sitting lifeless for DECADES is a travesty and an embarrassment to the company at large. I’m sure multiple suggestions have been made over the years, and just the fact that none of them were green lit continues to drive me nuts. As I’ve mentioned in numerous threads in Micechat, Tomorrowland USED to be my favorite land as everything was MOVING as you entered, from the people mover to the rockets ABOVE you, to the space mountain walkway, to the skyway coming in from Fantasyland, to the subs to America Sings…it was pure kinetic energy from the moment you set foot in that land. It’s been DEAD for far too long. The fact that Bob Iger stepped up to the plate to address the embarrassment of DCA a few years ago while green lighting a nearly 2 billion dollar makeover is very encouraging. Fixing the people mover shouldn’t cost anything near that much, but would go a long way toward correcting the accepted negligence of that once great area of the park.

  • FredSimmons

    About the PeopleMovers. Funny, but over the years, I only went on the PeopleMovers once, and found them sort of meh as a ride. However, I liked them for what they added to the overall look and ambiance of Tomorrowland, which was a sense of motion and life, not unlike what the various boat rides add to the River in Frontierland. Imagine what the River would look like if there was no Mark Twain, no canoes, no rafts, no Columbia, etc. The constant motion of those rides make the River come alive, and the PeopleMovers did something similar to Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland has always seemed less alive, less real as a place, since they stopped the PeopleMovers. So, even though I wasn’t crazy about them as a ride, I’d like to see them back in motion again. (Or, barring that, replaced by some similar ride which helps bring a sense of life and motion back to Tomorrowland.)

  • strikeuptheband

    Disneyland’s Tomorrowland today looks like a really bad hybrid of Discoveryland and Tomorrowland at WDW. I’ve recently been to Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland and I have to admit it was the better Tomorrowland out of the two in the US. It sold the “tomorrow” and “future” look. The Disneyland version needs to just redo the entire land from scratch. First, remove Innoventions. What a BIG waste of space. Next, put Astro Orbitor back on top of the PeopleMover loading platform, add planets around it like MK. Speaking of PeopleMover, bring it back. End of story.

  • Dpr

    What futuristic thought does everyone think about?…flying cars! Keep the Innovations-ex-Carousel of progress building, just the shell and gut it. Create a Peter Pan type ride using ski lift technology to create the sensation of flying cars, up, down, left, right, dips, climbs. Think Jetsons, buildings, all at “night” to help hide the ride track…with neon, etc. Theme it perhaps like flying taxis or limos. Have perhaps 4 different tracks that soar above, below and around each other and at one spot all 4 tracks come together where the 4 flying cars all come roaring into an intersection at once facing each other with a turntable on tracks so each car rotates around then off they go again, perhaps on a different track. High speed ski lifts have a detachable chairs which slow the chairs for easy, safe loading and unloading…this same type of detachable method could be employed. No charge Disney. You’re welcome.

    Resurrect People Mover which could be a part of the show (ride) too, not just to peek in through a window (a la Inner Space).

  • DisneyContinent

    While your small staff at Mice Chat may be in “near agreement” that Dancin’ With Disney is horrific, let me assure you that many guests including myself really enjoy it. I’d go so far to say that it is my favorite new thing at the parks. Is the space ideal? No. Is it imagineered properly? No. BUT, as a concept and experience Dancin’ With Disney overcomes all these obstacles and when you participate it is SO MUCH FUN! It’s silly, wacky, Disney fun!

    Likely you don’t listen to Radio Disney or watch DCOMs or enjoy It’s A Laugh productions on Disney Channel. THAT is the target demographic for Dancin’ With Disney and I think it’s super-duper fun! I would love to see it plussed in the future with more characters, better decor, a better space…but I DO NOT want to see it go away and here are some reasons why:

    I love that each Disney character presented has their own tongue-in-cheek song that corresponds with their personality. For instance, Clara Cluck does the Chicken Dance.

    I love that there is a comical dissonance between these classic characters and their new dance party context.

    I LOVE IT – thats all

  • whamo

    What will replace “Innoventions”? How about a time machine ride? I’ve always wanted to go on an H.G. Well’s type of ride through time into the future.

  • ParadeDude

    I wholeheartedly disagree with the assessment on Dancin with Disney. This show is meant to give kids a chance to have fun, run around, and be crazy. This provides parents a chance to sit back and relax. If you do not have kids, don’t expect much since this show is designed around the kids. If you have kids, this is a great experience.

  • GlennAlexander

    TomorrowLand at Disneyland is a joke. I hardly leave TomorrowLand when I go to Disneyworld. The overall show is incredible. At DisneyLAND it even lacks the expected area theming music until you are halfway in and then it clashes with whatever is happening on that retro stage. Also, don’t even get me started on the age limit to becoming a Jedi. ha! Buzz Lightyear is horrible compared to midway mania. Star Tours is awesome but has an awkward line. and… Innovention’s is embarrassing. Thank god for the return of Captain EO! Although if you look closely there are decaying remains of Honey I shrunk’s imagination institute signage.

    Disney; fix tomorrowland. It’s not a mystery. Space Mountain is awesome. Hire back those people. k thanks. bye