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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  • airick75

    I’d be curious as to those against the Dance Party – do they have kids? I just got back from a trip to WDW, and the dance party was a hit with my family’s kids. We didn’t stay long, mind you, but they had fun. It really doesn’t impact anyone, and it’s all in good fun. Remember, the parks are still targeting FAMILIES and KIDS.

    Which, surprising, I also learned on my trip to WDW, that kids actually love the People Mover! My niece wanted to go a second time. I agree, this needs brought back at Disneyland. And the issues about people spitting, throwing, spilling things on those below? I doubt the severity of that issue, but warnings can be posted that those who violate the rules of civility will be asked to leave and not return.

    Finally, Innoventions. See ya!

    Micechat should post more polls after posts such as the one above – there could have been at least three in this update.

  • Melonballer

    So at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet today Tony Baxter said that the Peoplemover will not be back. The track is badly deteriorated in spots. It would have to have safety rails added everywhere, like what has happened to Alice in Wonderland. They would have to install stairs and elevators to evacuate people that are not there. Also they would have to enclose the track so that people could not reach out and touch the walls. He wanted all of us there to spread this news.

    BTW, about Alice in Wonderland; he said the railing will retractable and only be visible when needed.

  • tinkermonkey

    I knew there was something more about Alice – and to clarify, when he referred to the temporary fix on Alice, he did say it was ugly too. So, he knows. :)

  • matthunterross

    Please bring back the Peoplemover and restore some dignity to Walt’s original vision for Tomorrowland!

  • growndhawgg

    If Innoventions is the only thing being replaced then I would hope to see Stark tech. The other sci-fi elements of the Avengers should also be implemented.

    I hope to see Tomorrowland makeover that includes replacements for Autopia and the subs.
    I love Lilo & Stitch and the art from that movie would work well in California. Wall-E was a well-received movie that could be worked in somehow.

  • disney4me2001

    It would be amazing if the Peoplemover were to come back in some form. It would be nice to see a new attraction come to the track above Tomorrowland. I tend to associate those tracks with Rocket Rods moreso than the Peoplemover because I’m too young to remember the original Peoplemover, but Rocket Rods was my favorite attraction when it was open. I enjoyed being able to go into the different buildings in Tomorrowland and seeing everything that the land had to offer. I agree with everyone else- putting something new on the track would give a sense of kinetic motion and and life to the area. If people from Team Disney Anaheim (and/or Walt Disney Imagineering) are reading this, PLEASE BRING BACK THE PEOPLEMOVER! I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we would gladly make special trips to Disneyland just to experience this attraction again!

  • Kangel

    Great Report! Thank you!

    I’d love to hear some of the Imagineers stories if you’re willing to share?

  • Dadoo

    The People Mover MUST come back! It’s a fantastic way to relax from a long day of walking, and a great way to give the little ones’ legs a break as well. Plus, what little kid doesn’t enjoy being up high over the crowd and looking down. It has somewhat of a feel of flying, and kids of all ages love that! You also get a different perspective of that area of the park as well.

    Having it go through show buildings and getting glimpses of Star Tours, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and even a screen tunnel (which can be updated with different videos from time to time, to keep it fresh) is ALWAYS a fun way to experience the park. It can even calm the nerves of apprehensive guests, and get them to try Space Mountain, for example, if they were scared to go before.

    The entire Tomorrowland area needs a reboot. Not just the People Mover or the Innoventions building. Remodeling it to be something like what was seen on the mother ship in Wall-E would be FANTASTIC! All the colorful lighting, video screens, etc. would make it MUCH more futuristic than it is now! The murals on Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear could be turned into giant video screens that interact with each other. Maybe a nightly laser light show “battle” between Buzz and the Storm Troopers. The screens could be utilized as ways to entice and attract people to try other attractions or eat at the different shops. They could also be used to make show announcements. All of this, of course, using theme appropriate on-screen actors or “hosts”.

    Tomorrowland could be something AWESOME! PLEASE, Tony and team, PLEASE update it and make it futuristic again. Not retro futuristic! The folks at Pixar had a GREAT vision with Wall-E, and I think it’s a FANTASTIC direction to go in. It doesn’t have to be Wall-E related, but it could have some elements from the show. I’ve gone on long enough! MAKE IT SO!!!

  • Dadoo

    I wish I could “Like” some of these comments on here, or give them some sort of rating! There’s some REALLY good ideas for the People Mover, and some comments I agree with COMPLETELY!

  • lizilovescake

    As far as Dancin with Disney goes, my husband and I have really gotten a kick out of this and the last time we were there actually spent probably 3 hours in the room people watching. If we had kids I would definitely take them there to relax and get out of the sun and let them blow off some energy. Also, whoever was in the cat costume from Aristocats while we were there was soooo much fun to watch as a dancer. If you go in there just to chill for a bit its actually a great time and can be pretty funny. People really get into it and let loose, its Disneyland, thats what you are suppose to do!

  • Donnyabear

    Spaceship Earth West

    I find something utterly intriguing and wondrous about the possibility of walking into Tomorrowland, in Disneyland, rounding the corner past Star Tours and having my eyes filled with that giant golf ball structure that I’ve often seen in pictures of DisneyWorld. Though I’ve never been to DisneyWorld, I just watched a ride-through of Spaceship Earth on youtube. It seems to me to entail just about everything I’ve come to love about the best rides in Disneyland: an Omnimover track, a dark-ride, a plethora of audioanimitronics, and an engaging story being told. Imagine an 18 story geodesic sphere looming up from that corner of Tomorrowland where the little-celebrated, and often ignored Innovations building, squats like a dead concrete stump.
    I’m not suggesting a mirrored duplicate of the ride in WDW, how many rides in both parks are absolutely the same? (Again I don’t know, I’ve yet to visit WDW). Do park guests even ride it anymore? It does not look to be a very thrilling ride, but it does seem to resonate with that nostalgic-type Disney-esuqe charm. The more dark rides the better in my opinion, especially ones that seem geared to sparkle and thump in your imagination. Though it wouldn’t be a completely unique addition to the Disney family of attractions, it could be unique enough in the inspired hands of Imagineers.
    Or it could be the dumbest idea ever. Is Spaceship Earth too much of WDW icon to have a sister out west? Should it be like the Matterhorn Bobsleds, only existing in one park? Or like Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, etc…existing in more place than one, simultaneously the same yet somehow different? I guess if I really want to ride Spaceship Earth, and Spaceship Earth West is indeed the dumbest idea ever, I could just go to WDW.

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