Anaheim, California (Abbreviation: DL)
Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(4/15/14) New Animatronics Technology Planned for 60th Anniversary (MORE...)
(3/14/14) Full Ride POV - Big Thunder Mountain (MORE...)
(3/10/14) The New Big Thunder Finale Will Blow Your Mind (MORE...)
(3/8/14) OFFICIAL - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Reopen EARLY (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage - NOW CLOSED through 9/26/14
Club 33 - NOW CLOSED through 7/1/14
Small World - 4/21/14 through 5/29/14
Alice in Wonderland - NOW CLOSED through 7/3/14
Indiana Jones - NOW CLOSED through 5/8/14
Plaza Inn - 4/21/14 through 5/15/14
King Arthur Carrousel - 4/28/14 through 5/8/14
Pirates of the Caribbean - 4/28/14 through 5/22/14
Space Mountain - 5/12/14 through 6/26/14
General Park News - (4/15/14) Disneyland fans may want to take a quick look at a new video Disney has released showing off some the new animatronic characters going into the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Florida, which feature detailed physical animation abilities, but also internal video projection systems used for the facial animations.
According to an additional report at Disney & More, there are plans in the works to update the animatronics in Disneyland’s Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland dark rides with this same new technology as part of the park’s 60th Anniversary celebration in 2015.
(3/20/14) Bob Iger confirmed at the Disney Shareholder meeting that there are no plans to remove the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride at Disneyland, and that it will reopen in the fall, as planned, after an extensive rehab. Iger also confirmed that they are working on plans to add more Marvel and Star Wars to Disneyland… but just not in that spot.
(3/5/14) Behind the Thrills has posted some new pictures from Disneyland this week, showing off the start of a facelift of sorts for the top of Space Mountain, as well as some footage of one of the new Big Thunder trains making test runs around the track.
(2/26/14) People are just wild about Frozen. According to an article posted by the OC Register, the average queue wait for park guests at Disneyland to get some Meet & Greet time with the film’s two princess characters, Anna and Elsa, hovers around 2 hours on a regular basis right now.
(12/15/13) Disneyland confirmed on Twitter than the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage would “close for refurbishment January 6th, to reopen in late 2014”. So yes… you read that right… nearly a full year of closure for this major refurbishment.
The lagoon will be drained to order to give the workers complete access to the attraction. They say when it reopens the underwater scenes will be more colorful and vibrant.
(11/13/13) Jingle Cruise opened at Disneyland on Tuesday and ThemeParkHD was on hand to shoot the first ride of the morning. Check out the video below…. But much like the Florida version, there is really almost no difference between this as the regular Jungle Cruise version of the ride.
(11/10/13) The new Jingle Cruise is now open at the Magic Kingdom and according to all the early reviews I’ve heard, it just does not live up to the hype… nor to the quality level of anything you would expect from a Disney attraction. You can watch a video of a night-time ride through the Jingle Cruise below where the ride experience is still mosty the same experience as the regular Jungle Cruise with some slightly new jokes and no scenic changes at all to the ride itself from what I could see, leaving the new holiday props in the queue.
Given how fantastic all the attraction holiday transformations have been at the other parks throughout the world (Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy (DL & HKDL), Haunted Mansion Holiday (DL & Tokyo DL) or Small World Holiday (DL), this new Jingle Cruise seems like a huge misstep, or rushed after-thought. I doubt it will play over well at the Magic Kingdom, and I’m certain if the Disneyland version is on the same level, it will be bashed harshly by the park’s vocal critics when it opens on November 12th.
Again... the video below is of the FLORIDA version of the Jingle Cruise which just opened a few days ago. The Disneyland version might be a little different.
(11/8/13) Disney & More reports that the end is near for Billy Bill & The Hillbillies. The musical / comedy group will have their last performance at the park on January 6th, 2014.
(11/7/13) Disney gives us our first sneak peek at the new Jingle Cruise attraction poster as well as special props being designed for the holiday version of the ride. In other news, remember that Disneyland employee who got busted for exploding dry-ice bombs in water bottles in the park earlier this year? According to the local news the former employee has now been sentenced to 36 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of possession of a destructive device. He was also given three years informal probation, 100 hours of community service… and ordered to stay away from Disneyland.
(10/31/13) Starting November 12th, guests at Disneyland will find a new surprise over at It’s A Small World Holiday after dark as new projectors have been set up to cover the entire attraction fašade and put on a new show every 15 minutes. You can see a sneak preview below.
(10/24/13) For the Christmas season Disney’s famous Jungle Cruise ride will be transformed into the Jingle Cruise at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, making this the first ride in Florida to be given a holiday makeover. (Note: The Florida park has so far resisted any and all initiatives to try out any of the Halloween or Christmas holiday makeovers that have become very popular at Disneyland such as Small World Holiday, the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion makeover or Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy.)
According to the Disney Parks Blog the Jingle Cruise will launch in early November at both parks with a new storyline about how the Skippers have become homesick for the holiday season, and added new seasonal decorations to the queue and boathouse, as well as all new jokes to be told during the tour. Even the boats will be renamed for the holiday season.
(9/20/13) Disney parks has shares a new video showing off how the Haunted Mansion is transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday every year. Watch it below.
(9/19/13) Westcoaster takes a look at the HalloweenTime upcharge event at Disneyland this week.
(9/16/13) The 2013 edition of the Haunted Mansion Holiday edition is now open at Disneyland and features a number of new special additions, including some new effects in the ride, new portraits, and more. ThemeParkHD has posted a great video showing off the entire queue and ride experience in HD below. It just gets better and better!
If you want more, check out their new video of Ghost Galaxy (aka: Space Mountain) with a full queue and ride experience as well, embedded just below the Haunted Mansion Holiday video. There is also a second version of Ghost Galaxy you can watch shot in NightVision for those who want to see in the dark.
(9/5/13) The original voice of Mara is back… or is it? According to one Screamscape source, while the current voice of Mara may sound like the old one, I’m told that this is still a new voice recording and not the original one. UPDATE - It seems a few others have studied the new and old voice recordings and believe this may be the old voice, though possibly run through a slightly different distortion effect that has changed the pitch.
(8/29/13) The latest word on Captain EO’s departure from Disenyland is that the attraction is expected to reopen once again on November 21st, following a Sept. 11th closure date. Given the dates involved, it sounds like Captain EO may be used as seasonal filler for the busy winter holiday season, but beyond that, the future is uncertain.
(8/28/13) The new Mara voice is still annoying guests at the Indidana Jones Adventure it seems. You can hear it a little more clearly and see a better video showing off one of the new projection mapping effects on the face of Mara in this new video below. There is a different projection effect for each one of the three treasure rooms.
(8/15/13) Big news from Disneyland today as a new set of special effects were added to the Indiana Jones ride that brings projection mapping effects to bring the evil diety Mara to life a bit more. While the visual effect is cool and a bit unsettling, the unfortunate side effect of this new effect (as seen in a shaky video below shot by TouringPlans) is that the once cool evil voice of Mara has been neutered compared to the original voice of Mara. To put it bluntly… it just isn’t scary at all. I can only hope that the new voice is maybe a temporary track and that they will return the old voice to the ride once again.
(7/17/13) According to a report at Disney & More we might see some new mission segments added to Star Tours 2 in 2015, featuring characters and destinations from the new film hitting theaters that same year. If true, this would launch at both Disneyland in California and the Hollywood Studios park in Florida.
November 2013 - Thor: Treasures of Asgard - (10/30/13) The new Thor: Treasures of Asgard is now open at Disneyland, and is actually located right next door to the Iron Man Tech exhibit inside Innoventions, making for a nice little corner of the Marvel Universe to set up shop in Disneyland. Check out the fun video below showing off the detailed Thor attraction, as well as some face-time with the mighty god of Thunder himself who looks quite comfortable filling in for Chris Hemsworth. You may even be asked to try and pick up Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolner… which he tosses around quick easily, but guests will find impossible to lift. It’s a nice touch and a great way to bring the Marvel Universe to life.
(10/28/13) The Disney Parks Blog shows off a sneak peek inside the new Thor: Treasures of Asgard exhibit opening soon inside the Innoventions building in Tomorrowland. Check it out!
(9/18/13) Thor: Treasures of Asgard is the full name of the new walk-through experience being set up inside Innoventions as a cross promotion for the new Thor motion picture. Thor: Treasures of Asgard will open to guests on November 1st when Astrophysicist Jane Foster determines that the Bifrost bridge will open once again to link Earth to Asgard, precisely at Innoventions within Disneyland Park.
You’ll view a display of artifacts brought to Earth from Asgard and then enter a special chamber where the Bifrost will transport you to Asgard for an audience with Thor himself. Nice!
(8/21/13) Fun Marvel news for Disneyland, as the park has confirmed that this fall, just ahead of the release of Thor: The Dark World to theaters on Nov. 8th, Disneyland guests will be able to visit Asgard and come face to face with the mighty Thor. If this summer’s Iron Man Tech experience inside Innoventions is any example, there should be a good line to visit Asgard. No word on if this will go into Innoventions or elsewhere in the park.
2014 - Big Thunder Mountain Rehab - OPENING MARCH 17th - (3/14/14) Another high quality video of the new Big Thunder Mountain, this one showing off the entire ride experience, including a look at the new Bat effect in the first cave, can be see below.
(3/10/14) SPOILER ALERT!
A video showing off an all new special effects sequence added to the final lift hill on Big Thunder Mountain was posted online and simply put… it is amazing. Ok… beyond amazing… I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after watching the video clip A-MAZ-ING! If this new finale sequence looks even half as good in person as it looks in this video, Disneyland has just set a new bar for adding new seriously awesome effects to an existing attraction.
(3/8/14) Great news for Disneyland guests, Disney has confirmed that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will reopen to park guests on March 17th featuring all new coaster track, the restored Rainbow Ridge Mining Town, restored and repainted mountain sections and updated trains… plus they promise a few NEW surprises to be discovered along the way.
(2/21/14) It has been confirmed that the Disneyland CM preview rides of Big Thunder Mountain will take place from March 7th - March 11th. Following this, you can expect to see Big Thunder quietly soft open to general park guests. I’ve also been told that Disney has a media event planned sometime in late March which will essentially serve as the official reopening of the ride as well.
(2/20/14) Good news for the future reopening of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland came in tonight. I’m told that Cast Members have been sent an invitation to come and ride the re-launched Big Thunder Mountain during the final test & adjust phase, which is currently planned for the first two weeks of March. Barring any problems, passholders will likely get to ride next, followed by a soft reopening for park guests by the end of March.
(2/15/14) Is Big Thunder Mountain cursed? Some might think so after seeing how many delays have kept Big Thunder from re-opening, but there is a more logical explanation. While I’m sure there are many little nagging items that are contributing to the delay, one reader managed to get some candid information from a park supervisor about one of the major issues.
According to what they were told the latest delays were caused due to software problems with the ride’s control systems, sensors are apparently detecting ‘ghost’ trains and causing the trim brakes to stop or slow down trains too much in mid-ride, and apparently they’ve even had a couple of trains valley during testing so far. Obviously these issues need to be worked out, but they also indicated that there was a plan to have an Annual Passmember preview event for Big Thunder’s re-launch… but I’m guessing if they do, it may depend on timing of when the ride is ready ahead of the busy Spring Break and Summer seasons.
(2/5/14) Sorry to disappoint everyone, but it seems the already overdue reopening of Big Thunder Mountain has been pushed back from Feb. 14th until April 1st. I’ve heard that they have been testing trains, so an unknown issue of some kind may have come up during testing.
(1/16/14) For anyone who had been thinking that the new Big Thunder Mountain track was from Vekoma, it seems that is not the case. Dynamic Attractions, the same group who rebuilt Space Mountain back in 2005, are the ones behind the re-engineering and fabrication of the new Big Thunder Mountain experience opening in the next few weeks. If the new Big Thunder rides as smooth as Space Mountain did, this should be a real treat.
(1/9/14) If all goes well, I’m hearing that Big Thunder Mountain could soft-open to guests before the end of January. Look for Cast Members to begin riding about a week before guests are invited back on.
(12/2/13) The latest report from ThemeParkOverload takes a peek at the ongoing refurbishment currently taking place on Big Thunder Mountain after finding a camera sized peep-hole near the tracks just outside the station.
(10/2/13) The latest word from the Disney Parks Blog confirms the rumors that Big Thunder Mountain will not be ready to reopen until early 2014. According to the previous rumors, Big Thunder’s reopening has been pushed back to February 2014. With that out of the way, Disney also posted a picture showing off the first new train testing on the ride’s new rails.
(8/19/13) Bad news for Disneyland fans… while I don’t think this has been officially announced yet, I’m hearing that some complications may have come up with OSHA over the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment that could delay the ride’s reopening. How much longer? Would you believe it may not reopen until February 2014 now? Lets hope this is wrong… but stay tuned for the latest update as we get it.
(8/6/13) Disneyland takes us for a behind the scenes peek at the huge rehab project taking place on Big Thunder Mountain. You can see new ride track sections, refurbished themeing and more.
A small collection of new construction photos from Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain renovation have been sent in, after being shot quiet literally, through the cracks of the fence. Take a look!
(6/26/13) Westcoaster takes a look at the latest progress being made on the Big Thunder Mountain rehab, as well as a peek at what took place for The Lone Ranger film premier party that took place inside the park.
(5/10/13) Westcoaster has a good update from Disneyland this week as they check out the progress over at Big Thunder Mountain. The big crane has been removed, which seems to indicate that all the heavy lifting to replace the track pieces has been completed. For those keeping “track” (get it!) the new track pieces were created by Dynamic Structures (part of Empire Ind.), the same group who rebuilt Space Mountain from scratch a few years ago, and also the group behind the Soarin’ ride system and the Radiator Springs Racers track system. (Fun Note: They were also the ones behind the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey system for Universal, now being cloned in Japan and soon in Hollywood, with the heavy lifting done by KUKA of course...)
(3/18/13) A quick construction update showing off the work underway at Big Thunder Mountain this past week was posted to YouTube. Check it out below.
(2/13/13) Apparently Disneyland isn’t fooling around with the Big Thunder Mountain rehab as a picture sent in by a reader shows, a huge tower crane has been installed to help work on the coaster’s refurbishment project. I’m not sure I can remember ever seeing one of those inside Disneyland before.
(12/19/12) Disney and More reports that the old Rainbow Ridge Mining Town building at the end of Big Thunder Mountain will be removed during the rehab. The old buildings, some of which were saved from the old Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland attraction, are in poor condition, and new replacement town buildings will be created instead.
(12/13/12) The Disney Parks Blog has confirmed that the rumored long term rehab of Big Thunder Mountain will take place in 2013. The ride will close on January 7th and not reopen again until Fall 2013. According to the report when Big Thunder reopens it will have a fleet of brand new trains, new track, and the mountain landscape itself will be repaired and restored. If the previous rumors hold true, the new trains could see a seat divided added as well as individual lapbars, bringing to an end the possibility of putting three riders in a single row.
(10/17/12) Screamscape sources have dropped dates for the rumored long-term rehab of Big Thunder Mountain to us. If the schedule stays true, we could see Big Thunder shut down from January 7th, 2013 until October 30, 2013 for this nearly 10 month rehab. I’ve added this with other early 2013 scheduled rehabs on the way to Disneyland and California Adventure.
(5/10/12) According to one Screamscape source, salaried members of management at Disneyland were informed of the rumored plan to take Big Thunder Mountain down for an extensive rehab from January 2013 and reopen it in Summer 2013. Or at least that was the plan… have to wait and see if the timetable of work that needs to be done will agree or not.
(5/7/12) Ok, Here we go again. Maybe… or maybe not. You may remember last year when there were countless rumors swirling about Disneyland about a pending 6+ month overhaul for Big Thunder Mountain? In the end… the major rehab ended up taking place at Matterhorn, and an extensive but shorter rehab is just finishing up on Big Thunder in Florida instead. Well… the rumors about performing the big rehab on Big Thunder at Disneyland have started again, this time claiming that the ride could go down for between 6-9 months, and may see it shut down in early January 2013. Anyone else hearing this?
(6/28/11) Just a quick update on the rumored Big Thunder rehab project. While it seems that the immediate future will see Matterhorn being worked on instead, I did gather enough information to know that the Big Thunder track replacement project is also in development. I just don’t know if and when they will decide to pull the trigger on that project as well. Possibly as a follow-up in 2012/2013 once work on the Matterhorn is done.
(3/29/11) A reader went by the park the other day and discovered the queue at Big Thunder Mountain to have been changed to use a strange new route. Upon asking the CMs about this, they were told that the changes were experiments to help plan out a possible future change to the queue. They also asked about the rumored re-tracking of the ride itself which was actually confirmed. They reported that Big Thunder would be closed between 9 to 12 months to perform the rehab, which could see it shut down for most (if not all) of 2012.
(3/25/11) Adding a little more fuel to the speculation that Big Thunder Mountain is the ride preparing to undergo complete track replacement comes this latest rumor submission. According to one insider, there was a special 30th Anniversary party held for Big Thunder CM’s back in 2009, where Tony Baxter informed them that a major lengthy rehab on the ride was to come in the next few years that would include track replacement, refurbishment to the mountain structures, changes to the queue, widening the exit pathway and if the money was there, to even add some new effects / upgrades to the ride itself. The best right now is that if the ride were to close this year, it likely wouldn’t be until the fall or winter.
(3/21/11) Big Thunder Mountain opened two years after Space Mountain did in 1979 and will turn 32 this year. I’ve got to wonder if Big Thunder will be going “under the knife” later this year for it’s own extensive rehab. Previously I have heard rumors about a push to revise the restraint system in the trains to feature individual lap bars and a seat divider, which would make it impossible to seat a group of three in a single bench ever again. Stay tuned while I attempt to connect all the dots and dig up a little more, since I would think that a pending 9 to 16 month long rehab would be a bit difficult to hide for too long.
Spring 2014 - Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage - (2/12/14) Starting on March 7th guests to Disneyland can visit Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage as the third addition to Innovention’s growing Marvel character wing alongside Iron Man Tech: Presented by Stark Industries and Thor: Treasures of Asgard. (Note: This has to be one of the longest, if not THEE LONGEST, attraction names Disney has ever come up with...)
(1/13/14) Disneyland has confirmed that Captain America will be arriving at Disneyland and meeting with guests this Spring. While there are no more details, this will arrive just in time to help promote the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier film opening on April 4th. This will also be the third such Marvel character Meet & Greet themed attraction to open in the Innoventions building, alongside the existing Iron Man Tech and Thor: Treasures of Asgard attractions. I can only imagine that we will see a similar set-up put in place ahead of the Guardians of the Galaxy film opening this Summer.
2014 - Club 33 Expansion - (1/14/14) DisneyDose reports in with a photo update and last look at the Club 33 Trophy Room before it vanishes into the history books.
(12/2/13) Disney Dose has posted an interview with Disneyland’s Head Chef this week who chats about her time as the Head Chef of the Disney Cruise Line, how new menu items are added to Disneyland and shares some secrets about the new Club 33 menu on the way.
(10/3/13) A great overlook look of Disneyland’s New Orleans Square has been posted to ImagineeringDisney.com, showing the current space taken up by Club 33 as well as the the size and location of the Club 33 Jazz Club expansion, and how the Court of Angels area will become the Club’s new entrance area. They also go over on what Walt’s original intention was for the new Jazz Club space, which was… big surprise… to be used as a Jazz Club to enjoy after a fine meal inside Club 33.
Unfortunately, there is the matter of the loss of the Court of Angels, which is expected to be closed off from public use as it becomes the new entrance for the expanded Club 33. Given that the stairway in the Court of Angels is the access point into the future Jazz Club area, I can only conclude that this too was possibly part of Walt’s plan for the space when it was built in the first place.
I believe the loss of the Court of Angels will go unnoticed by the majority of Disneyland guests who likely never knew it existed in the first place. For those who were more intimate with the layout of Disneyland, knowing all the little secret nook and crannys, the Court was always a unique point of interest, though one that served no real functional purpose other than being a odd quiet out of the way spot. The good news is that the Court of Angels isn’t going away… it will still be there as a unique hidden spot, much like the current lobby and what lies behind the current closed door of Club 33.
In the end, for me Club 33 is pretty much just like Area 51. Everyone has heard about it, everyone knows it exists, and where it is… but very few who frequent the inside ever share any details, which has kept the cloud of mystery about it intact for decades.
(9/16/13) New details regarding the expansion of Club 33 have been posted to DisneyDose this week. Added into the mix this week are more details about the new Jazz Club themed area, which is said to be named Salon Nouveau and themed to Tiana’s Palace, the jazz club seen at the end of the Princess and the Frog. It also seems a new restroom facility will be built, but the unique toilets in the current Club 33 restroom will be relocated to the new facility. (You’ve got to see the picture of the current Club 33 throne room...)
(9/12/13) More details about what we can expect to happen with the Club 33 expansion have been posted to DisneyDose. They report that the Court of Angels area will be blocked off from the public, to be used as a lobby for Club 33 guests, with the current gates to be replaced by new stained glass doors. Also as rumored, the Trophy Room will be removed to help create a bigger dedicated kitchen area.
(9/11/13) According to DisneyDose, the President of Disneyland sent out a letter to all Club 33 members to inform them that Club 33 would be under going a massive renovation and expansion, just as rumored. The work will begin on January 6th, 2014 and they opened an exclusive ‘members only’ preview center to show off some of the changes on the way on Monday.
(5/31/13) Screamscape sources tell us that the plans to expand Club 33 are indeed the real deal. Nothing has been finalized of course, but the plans have been drawn up and I’ve been told they have been sent out to bid as well. The project could see the famous members-only dining facility closed for 4-5 months while they not only expand it, but also renovate several existing features that are said to be in dire need. According to one insider, if approved, we could see Club 33 shut down somewhere between mid-summer and this fall and reopen in late 2013 / early 2014.
According to one reader who dined in Club 33 in April, their food server told them to get a “last look” at Walt’s Trophy Room because it would be closed and renovated to become part of an expanded kitchen area during the renovation. A new dining room is also rumored to be added above the “French Market” There is also talk of adding a “Jazz Club” themed area with a private bar / lounge. The success of 1901 over at California Adventure was apparently the spark to kick this long-overdue project into motion. Other improvements rumored to be on the way include new flooring, a renovated lobby and elevator, bigger bathrooms, new or bigger dining rooms and more.
(5/28/13) This is the first I’ve heard of this rumor, so I’m not backing any of it yet, but Disney Dose is reporting on a possible plan to ‘expand’ the exclusive Club 33 members only dining area hidden in the New Orleans Square buildings. The expansion could see a possible new “Jazz Club” area built as well as a possible second entrance. Can anyone else confirm or deny this rumor?
2015/2016 - Tomorrowland / Star Wars Land - (2/24/14) A fascinating look at just what the Disneyland of the future might look like if the proposed Star Wars land gets built has been posted to Disney & More this week, as designed by S.W. Wilson. It shows off an interesting revision where the Monorail route takes a new path through Tomorrowland, the Subs and Autopia are removed to make way for the forest moon of Endor and a dueling Speeder Biker roller coaster experience, the Millennium Falcon sits proudly docked as a central icon in the middle of Tomorrowland and a look at other possible future attraction sites. It’s just a Blue Sky Dream right now, but it does paint an interesting possible future for Disneyland.
(1/9/14) The latest update posted to MiceAge claims that the first phase of a Star Wars themed overlay for Tomorrowland was approved and will begin this year. This is just new themeing, and not a new attraction in the budget just yet while they still try to hammer things out on the budget end of things. In the meantime, it looks like the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage will sit silent and closed this year, while they determine if it will be removed to make way for a future attraction proposal, or of they will scrap those plans and keep it. For now the work will begin on the exterior of the Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear buildings flanking the entrance corridor to Tomorrowland.
(11/10/13) In something about as close to an official confirmation as you can get before the big official press release, Bob Iger seems to have just confirmed that Star Wars themed lands are in the way to both of Disney’s domestic theme park resorts in the near future. Check out the details over at Disney & More.
(10/14/13) Honestly, I’m not sure how legit this report is, but MiceAge claims that the next big makeover for Tomorrowland will bring in a heavy Star Wars themed overlay to much of the landscape. Star Tours 2 will fit right in of course and popular Disney rides like Space Mountain and Buzz Light Year will remain untouched, but the rest of Tomorrowland may be up for grabs by the Rebels or Empire.
The Astro Orbiter is said to be removed from its current location near the hub, opening up the entrance to Tomorrowland once again, but a replacement version of the ride will likely be placed in the current location of the Magic Eye theater, or on top of it (they will have to rebuild the theater structure to withstand the extra weight). The loading of this ride will likely be through the second floor area of the Starcade. Space Mountain will also have a new entrance path created for it, which will be a good thing since it’s never quite felt “right” to me after they removed the old speedramp entrance.
The Innoventions building will likely be repurposed or demolished to make way for a long rumored Speeder Bikes high speed thrill ride coaster, with indoor and outdoor sections. If this sounds familiar, it should... this matches up with the description of a rumored proposal for an indoor/outdoor Tron Lightcycle coaster that leaked out many months ago. It could be the same kind of ride (Vekoma Boosterbike coaster) just with a different theme. The problem here is that the MiceAge rumor claims that the Speeder Bikes will head outside and also replace the current Autopia attraction to make room for the coaster track. While this sounds good on the surface, a good portion of the Autopia is built out on top of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage indoor caverns, making it difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to put down those massive roller coaster support beams and giant concrete footers that would be required. There is also the issue of the monorail track that also moves through this area as well… so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this rumor shapes up before we know more.
Other new additions may see a lifesized recreation of the Millennium Falcon docked on top of the old Rocket Rods podium building in the heart of Tomorrowland, and the chance to eat inside a copy of the Tatooine Cantina restaurant where the current Tomorrowland Terrace is now.
As for my take… this sounds quite exciting to me as the Star Wars Universe will play a heavy roll in the future of Disney’s film and themed entertainment and adding a Star Wars theme to Tomorrowland will also “fix” the long running problem of Tomorrowland always looking outdated a decade or so after they revamp it. This will be much like what Disney has managed to do with the more fantasy oriented Tomorrowland in Walt Disney World. In short, a Star Wars themed Tomorrowland will serve the park as a Sci-Fi version of Fantasyland. While I’m glad to see the Astro Orbiter removed from the entrance to the park, I don’t think dropping a new one on the roof of the Magic Eye theater in front of Space Mountain is a good idea. I’d much rather see them rebuild it on the site of the old Rocket Jet tower… even if that means demolishing the current tower and building a new one just for the new attraction. This would open up the roof of the Magic Eye theater location as a better location to put the Millennium Falcon, where guests walking the Space Mountain queue can get up close and enjoy the view of one of Sci-Fi’s most well known spaceships while they wait in line.
(4/15/13) MiceChat reports that the former plan to create a Tron themed LightCycle coaster may be back on track for Tomorrowland. Unlike the Shanghai version of the LightCycle coaster which will be enclosed inside a building, there is a chance that the Disneyland version could be a mix of indoor and outdoor locations, possibly reusing some of the old PeopleMover / Rocket Rods track locations. While I’d love to see a Tron coaster… I really do think that it needs to be all indoors to allow for the Tron themeing and special effects to really work and be impressive. Putting it outdoors for more than perhaps a moment would only serve to bring you out of that digital environment and ruin the theme. If this project gets approved, the proposed new expansion project behind Frontierland (rumored to be themed to OZ) may be put on indefinite hold.
(3/23/13) According to a report on SlashFilm, the Disneyland Resort has been sending a few quiet surveys out to passholders to ask, “How interested would you be in visiting a Star Wars themed land at the Disneyland Resort?” Additional questions follow this to get a basis on which films in the series are your favorite, what kind of interesting Star Wars themed merchandise you might want to buy (housewares?!) and so on.
With the rumors of a Star Wars Land now on for Paris as well as starting up in Florida, it only makes sense Disneyland would get in on the action as well. The obvious location within Disneyland would be to locate it in the the backstage area that fits between Space Mountain and Main Street. This site is hardly off limits for development as Disney Imagineering has pitched and almost built new mini-lands back there several times over the years, the most famous of which was the Hollywoodland area announced by Michael Eisner as part of the “Disney Decade” plan for the 1990’s. (NOTE: The infamous Hollywoodland would have had a copy of The Great Movie Ride, the Toontown Trolley simulator, Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy ride, the Superstar TV show and a Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers ride.)
That said... there is one other possibility to consider. I’ve heard rumors for a long time claiming that a large Star Wars themed land was under consideration as a major land for Disneyland’s 3rd Park project. To read more about that, click here and make the jump.
(12/19/12) While Disneyland has admitted nothing just yet, another reader popped in with a rumor about the pending destruction of the Innoventions building. According to this story, there were told that the attraction would close down sometime in February 2014 from a CM on site. If true, I’d expect Disney to confirm this sometime after the start of the new year.
(11/1/12) I’m not sure quite how right on the ball this rumor it, but according to our source we could see Innoventions at Disneyland closed down in February 2013 to demolish the structure and prepare the site for a rumored Iron Man themed E-Ticket attraction. Timewise this sounds about right if Disney wants to have their first big Marvel E-Ticket ready in time for Summer 2015 when Avengers 2 hits the theaters. Rumor has it that while the Iron Man ride concept may not have been given the final green light, they have been told to get it ready to go and closing Innoventions would be the first step needed to begin work.
(9/12/12) While there is very little information leaking at the moment from Disneyland, the few whispers coming out do make it seem like almost a sure thing that a major revamp of Tomorrowland may very well be the next big project for WDI to tackle at the Disneyland Resort. Of course they are also said to be juggling a few other new attraction projects for other sections of the park as well as ideas for a major new land / expansion out behind Big Thunder at some point in the future. But face it… Tomorrowland really needs help now, and if the rumors are true, we may see Innoventions finally closed and demolition work get under way in about a year
(6/29/12) An anonymous tip sent in to Screamscape confirms that the word going around Disneyland is that Innoventions and Autopia are very likely to be walled off by this time next summer as they work to remove them, along with the old Peoplemover track around this area as well.
2015 - New Night Parade - Rumor - (2/26/14) According to a rumor posted at Disney & More, the new interactive Paint the Night Parade being added to Hong Kong Disneyland in late Summer or Fall 2014 could make a quick journey over the Pacific ocean to Disneyland in 2015, just in time to be a last second addition for the park’s 60th Anniversary.
???? - New Land / Frontierland Expansion - Rumor - (10/15/12) According to Screamscape sources, the plan on Disney’s long-term radar to build an entire new land behind Frontierland, all revolves around the success or failure of the new OZ: The Great and Powerful film coming in 2013. I’ve got to admit, the theme kind of fits too, as guests would have to enter the world of OZ by first going through Frontierland. This could be a very interesting development as many people have long wished for an OZ theme park experience. So how will the new film perform? I’ve got to admit that film trailer looks pretty awesome… and having Sam Raimi behind the lens can only help make this an awesome adventure full of great eye candy.
(10/11/12) Assuming the much needed renovation to Tomorrowland gets green lit, we are left to wonder what may follow afterwards. We’ve heard rumors for years of a new project and upgrade for Fontierland, but also the possibility of adding an entirely new themed land beyond the berm behind Frontierland.
The answer to both of these quests may very well lie with what ends up being a hit or a failure from Walt Disney Pictures over the next couple of years. As the tide slows on the Pirates film series, primary star Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski will be putting an all new version of The Lone Ranger in front of audiences in 2013. Disney also their finger in yet another pie with Oz: The Great and Powerful, a prequel of The Wizard of Oz directed by Sam Raimi in March 2013.
Mix this with the rumors that the Marvel Universe may make a first Disney park appearance within the Tomorrowland project, rumors have it that Disney will have an eager eye upon both Lone Ranger and the new OZ film to see if either (or both) could prove popular enough to not only generate more films sequels, but serve as possible future theme park attractions.
(6/27/11) With Cars Land and the rest of the big overhaul to California Adventure in the final 9 to 12 month stretch to completion, rumor has it that a major new expansion plan for Disneyland itself may be ready to get the green light very soon. I don’t know much yet, but it does not seem like this is yet another Tomorrowland revamp, but could be something far more substantial as well as increasing the overall size of the guest area of the park as well, which is a good move considering the crowds the park has been seeing as well in the last few years.
???? - Haunted Mansion Update - Rumor - (8/14/13) I’ve been told that the Hatbox Ghost animatronic seen at the D23 Expo will indeed be installed into the Haunted Mansion sometime in 2014. The earliest opportunity to do so would be during the closure to remove the Nightmare Before Christmas edition in January, but with all that other work to do I’m not sure if that would be the right time.
(1/31/13) Haunted Mansion Holiday 2012 may be packed up and gone, but you can find an incredible video showing off the Halloween/Christmas themed revamp of the Haunted Mansion posted below to tide you through to next October. Just for giggles, you can compare how it looked in 2012 to how it looked back in 2002 to see what improvements and changes have been made over the years to the various scenes. (For example, the finale scene with the mirrors is totally different.)
(1/8/13) A reader sent in an interesting question this afternoon that I thougt I’d share. “Do you know if/when Disneyland will add the CG Hitchiking Ghost FX to its Haunted Mansion a la WDW's new version?”
A very valid question… as the new finale added to the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom has been very popular with guests as well as gaining acceptance from most Disney purists. But would a change like that “fly” with the protective California crowds, especially when it involved Walt’s original Haunted Mansion?
I asked around and was told that essentially it comes down to being just a matter of “when” and not “if’ it will happen. With the massive overhaul of California Adventure now over, WDI has been focused on taking care of a number of important projects at Disneyland… like the new trains on Matterhorn, a much needed rehab on Indiana Jones, and now there are a lot of people involved with the 10 month restoration of Big Thunder Mountain.
From the sound of things there is a bigger plan in the queue for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion that will see the addition of a new and improved 3D audio system, the long anticipated addition of the Hatbox Ghost… and yes… the new digital Hitchhiking Ghosts finale. So be patient… good things come to those who wait.