Anaheim, California (Abbreviation: DL)
Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(10/23/20) Runaway Railway Building Looms Large Next To I-5 (MORE...)
(10/11/20) Disneyland Parks Canceling The Two Biggest Shows (MORE...)
(9/12/20) Is Disneyland Preparing To Reopen Soon? Quite Possibly... (MORE...)
(9/4/20) Vertical Construction Begins on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures - NOW CLOSED through to TBD
General Park News - (10/11/20) According to various posts on social media by Disneyland performers, the resort is officially shutting down two of their most popular shows: Frozen Live at Disney California Adventure as well as MIckey and the Magical Map at Disneyland. These will only be the start of the reported 28,000 Disney Cast Members to be laid off this fall, with the majority of these expected to come from the Disneyland Resort where the state has not allowed theme parks to reopen where Gov. Newsom is officially in “No hurry” to issue guidelines as to how they can proceed.
(9/12/20) Is Disneyland preparing to reopen? According to one source a possible late September date may have been mentioned as a possible date when the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks could possibly reopen. As we’ve seen before, preparation work is taking place within the parks to make them guest ready, but in the end it will all come down to if Californiia’s Governor Newsom is ready to give theme parks a green light or not. A lot will also depend on the week to week trends of the Coronavirus between now and then, as the ability for each county to reopen anything is determined by a new Four-Tier system. Much of California is still in Tier 1, the worst, but Anaheim is in Orange county which was granted Tier 2 status.
(8/25/20) Does Disneyland know something the rest of us don’t yet? Perhaps so, because according to photos posted at WDWNT, new plexiglass barriers have now been installed at the turnstiles of both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in preparation to reopen. While no date has been set to reopen the parks, the sign of active preparations to ready the parks to do so seems to indicate that Disney may have been given a possible future date to prepare for.
(6/24/20) According to the LA TIMES, the planned opening of Disneyland on July 17 has been delayed. While I have yet to see a statement from Disney about this yet, the official Disneyland website has just been updated and no longer lists the parks opening on July 17. Instead it now says that the theme parks “will remain closed and will reopen at a later date, pending state and local government approvals.” The Downtown Disney area however will still reopen on July 9.
(6/20/20) Disneyland has announced that the previously planned “Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite” special event ticket night will no longer take place on August 27, 2020. They say they are currently working on rescheduling the event. The connected Star Wars Celebration convention that was to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center on Aug. 27-30, 2020 has also been canceled.
(6/11/20) Good news for Disneyland fans, the park has announced a series of dates for a phased reopening plan for the resort.
Downtown Disney will open on July 9, 2020
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will open on July 17, 2020
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel to open on July 23, 2020
(4/25/20) A fantastic aerial video shot by a helicopter pilot gives us a few of Disneyland from the air. Apparently due to the rare times we are experiencing, he was given permission to fly over the park, as normally the park has a strict no-fly zone over the airspace enforced. The view includes a great look at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the air. Pay attention towards the end and you can see how massive the hidden show building for The Haunted Mansion is compared to how tiny the show is building for Splash Mountain hidden back behind the fake mountain structure.
(4/10/20) According to the OC Register, Disneyland had filed plans for a $200,000 renovation of the entrance to Frontierland that would see the entrance gates and sign replaced with a new wider entrance and bridge from the Hub. Will this still happen? Maybe… eventually, but in a world where every penny counts at the moment and Disney is set to furlough thousands of Cast Members, I’m going to say that this plan might be put on hold for the time being.
(3/28/20) As expected, Disney did finally announce that their parks will remain closed until further notice. It was added that they are extending pay and benefits to Cast Members through April 18th, which falls roughly in line with Universal’s announcement timeline to extend their closure through April 19.
As these dates get closure we will have a better idea if Disney and Universal believe they might be ready to reopen around that time, or if it will have to be extended again until May.
(3/13/20) Disney announced late yesterday that as of the morning of March 14th the Disneyland Resort will be closing down Disneyland and Disney California Adventure through to the end of March “in the best interest of our guests and employees” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, there have been no reported cases attached to the Disneyland Resort, and it was nice to see Disney confirm that they “will continue to pay cast members during this time.”
The Disneyland Resort Hotels will stay open through to Monday, March 16, in order to allow extra time for their guests to make any necessary travel arrangements.
The Downtown Disney retail, dining and entertainment area will remain open however.
(2/13/20) According to the OC Register, the cause of the backstage fire that broke out at Disneyland the other night has been revealed. They say that the fire originated from a portable power generator in operation backstage that was supplying power to a construction project. The generator fire sparked nearby vegetation into a further blaze that connected to the Jungle Cruise attraction area. No damage was done to any buildings, and no harm came to any visitors or employees nearby as the fire was put out very quickly. While Adventureland was closed to guests as a precaution during the fire, it was was fully available to guests the next morning.
(2/8/20) According to several reports, a small fire broke out backstage at Disneyland the other night that appears to be behind and to the right of the fake fire station on Main Street. Power also went on Main Street and possibly part of Adventureland as well for a time. The good news is that the fire was put out quickly, though the cause and resulting damage has not been disclosed as of yet. According to a report from Disney, the flames ignited a patch of vegetation in the area and no one was injured and the park was not shut down.
(1/25/20) A sneak peek of the upcoming Pixar animated film, Onward, will begin showing in the Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland starting on Feb. 7th.
(1/1/20) I’m told that the Star Wars themed version of Space Mountain (aka: Hyperspace Mountain) that is currently running at Disneyland will come to an end on January 7th. After that we return to regular Space Mountain for the foreseeable future.
(12/10/19) It has been confirmed that the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland will close for at least two-months for a serious renovation. At the end of the current Nightmare Before Christmas version run, the Mansion will close until Jan. 21, 2020 until sometime between late March to early April 2020 to remove the overlay and update both the interior and exterior of the attraction with fresh paint, updates to the lighting and some needed work to the mechanical side of the attraction as well. No worries though… there are not expected to be any changes to the popular ride’s various scenes and characters this time around.
(11/26/19) We shared a sneak peek at the entrance to Tomorrowland as the first section of walls came down revealing the removal of the themed sci-fi looking rock structures along one side of the Astro Orbiter ride, but now Disney has shared artwork showing off what the completed new entrance to the land will look like sometime next year when they are done with it.
While the change is interesting and a change from the rocky entrance, I do think they may be missing the real problem, which was the 1998 placement of the Astro Orbiter right in the middle of the land’s entrance that has always sort of mucked it up for me. Even if it stays on the ground, I’d love to see the Astro Orbiter moved back inside the land and placed approximately where the old Rocket Jets used to be.
(11/18/19) A reader sent in a picture showing off the entry to Tomorrowland at Disneyland now that some of the construction walls have come down and it looks like they removed a large section of gold/yellow rock formations that were installed at the entrance back in the 1998 “New Tomorrowland” renovation along with the ill-fated Rocket Rods.
(10/27/19) According to this article Disneyland guests can expect to find the Matterhorn shut down for refurbishment on weekdays for the next few weeks to allow for time to refurbish sections of the mountain's exterior that are in need of repair.
(10/24/19) Disney has announced that starting on December 20th, 2019 new destinations will be added to Star Tours - The Adventures Continue inspired by the latest film in the series, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The new addition will be added on the same day to the attraction at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris where your Starspeeder will arrive over the ocean moon of Kef Bir, as seen in the trailers for the film.
(9/16/19) An awesome video with Tony Baxter (Disney Legend and former Imagineer) talks at length about the creation process for the original Star Tours ride at Disneyland in the 1980s. Near the end he even addresses the rumor that Disney had been thinking of retiring Star Tours now that Galaxy’s Edge is open, but instead they seem to have changed their mind about that, and may even add a new action sequence to the current ride later this year that will be themed to some elements from the last film hitting theaters this Christmas. Check it out below.
(5/15/19) Good news for Star Tours fans at Disneyland. According to this article, Disney Imagineers have dispelled the rumor that after Star Wars: Galaxy Edge opens they planned to retire the Star Tours attraction in Tomorrowland. The new land is set entirely in the later years of the Star Wars film franchise, where the Rebels battle the First Order, while the Star Tours attraction in Tomorrowland is set more in the era of the previous six films… though Disney did add a few locations and events from the modern films into the randomizer as well.
While nothing lasts forever at Disneyland… for now, Star Tours is staying put.
2019 - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - (2/23/20) Did you know that there is a secret ‘Chewie Mode’ built into Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run? Apparently if you do something special with the controls as you activate your position, you can change the attraction experience so that you no longer listen to Hondo giving you orders for the entire mission, but instead you get Chewbacca bellowing orders at your crew instead. After a couple of failures, the crew got it right and successfully activated Chewie mode in the video below. The more you wreck the Falcon, the more upset Chewie seems to get, which is to be expected.
(1/20/20) Apparently getting in to ride the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Disneyland is somewhat akin to winning the lottery. Guests are packing the park for the chance to ride, but you can’t just run to the entrance as soon as the rope drops and the park opens, instead you have to have your party assigned to a “boarding group” on the park app, and these boarding groups are vanishing almost as soon as the park opens. According to a post by ThemeParkInsider the entire day’s worth of boarding groups have been getting claimed within 2 minutes or less. As they point out, at that point the concept of having a “virtual queue” gets tossed right out the window, as the few precious seconds to get assigned to a boarding group number becomes more of a lottery than anything else. On top of suffering bouts of extended down time throughout the day that causes lengthy delays, but keep in mind that this is a new attraction, and that’s to be expected. Hopefully things will work out in time, as the situation in Florida where the ride opened in December is no longer quite as dire, so be patient.
(1/11/20) Good news for Disneyland, as I’m hearing that the new Rise of the Resistance attraction has quietly soft-opened for Cast Member previews and their guests. I’m told this will continue through up to the public opening, so any kind of “public” preview isn’t expected to happen.
Speaking of which, the official opening date is still set to Jan. 17th, and they will be following the operational procedure that is currently happening in Florida, requiring all groups wanting to ride to join a “boarding group” (aka: a virtual queue system) on the Disneyland App before being allowing to arrive and experience the new attraction later in the park. You can’t send one person into the park early to establish this group, all members of the group must be present in the park to join the boarding group, and if it works in Disneyland the way it has been in Disney World, expect all the boarding groups for the day to be filled within the first hour or so of availability, so you've got to get in the park early.
Now for a quick spoiler… if you want to see the Rise of the Resistance queue and ride experience at Disneyland, shot on a 360º camera, then check out the video below.
(12/31/19) It is interesting to note that just after word came out that Disney was no longer planning to release droids to wander about the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands, then suddenly an R2-D2 droid is now being seen making test runs roaming about Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. According to an article at the OCRegister, these are “play tests” with the R2-D2 character, but still is not something that may end up as a regular occurrence for park guests.
(12/23/19) For those of you who have been to Galaxy’s Edge and paid for the experience to build your own Lightsaber, you know that you only have a few (4?) blade colors to choose from when making your blade. Afterwards you can purchase additional Kyber Crystals from a nearby shop which will change the color of your blade as well.
According to online hackers those crystals use an enclosed RFID tag that is read by the Saber when ignited,which then selects the correct color. If you have or buy your own RFID R/W coder, you can change the code and get any of the colors you want out of the saber hilt without buying any more Kyber crystals, including extra colors that Disney isn’t even selling crystals for yet like White, Orange, Pink, etc… just by entering the right code number.
Check out the video below to see just how easy it is to DIY color-change your saber for the price of a RFID read/write device, for not much more than the price of buying one extra Kyber Crystal from the park. Read the description of the video for details on the RFID device and color codes to transform your blade into a number of different character colors so you can really embrace the Dark Side. (plus you can google around to find even more color codes not listed here, or experiment yourself…)
(12/18/19) A slight bit of disappointing news for Galaxy’s Edge fans… as I’m hearing that Disney no longer has plans to release any actual roaming Droid characters to wander about the lands in California and Florida. Now technically, Disney never publicly said they had any intention to do so in the first place, though a long time ago (in a galaxy far far away) we were told by our own sources that they were indeed working on developing some Droid characters for just this purpose. Later on, as the openings got closer, we were also told that they Droids would not be a ‘launch day’ addition due to the crowds, but something to be added a bit later on as an enhancement.
So while we can always hope for Droids to be added at some point in the future, for now the current policy is self-running Droids are not welcome in the Black Spire Outpost.
(12/5/19) SPOILER ALERT -- SPOILER ALERT --
Preview rides for media happened a few hours ago and the net is being flooded with some amazing POV videos showing off the entire Rise of the Resistance ride action, along with some great B-Roll footage released by Disney.
Below I’ve embedded two different on-ride videos, showing off the view from both of the ride cars, as they take different paths through the ride at times and sometimes get to see some different visuals, or different views of some of the big show-scenes along the way, so it’s worth watching them both to see what’s going on all over the ride.
The top video however is a nice collection of all the B-Roll footage Disney has released for the new attraction, which includes a look at the queue, the pre-show, your transport flight from the surface of Batuu and a look at the incredible sets you get to walk-through inside the Star Destroyer as you are led to an interrogation room for questioning… all before the actual dark ride portion of the ride even begins.
Below that, you can also catch the replay of the Dedication ceremony of Rise of the Resistance. If you just want to see those X-Wing drones fly over, just jump ahead to the 5:45 timecode mark. Be warned however… they don’t seem to fly over the land, but rise up from behind it, hover... rotate around 180º and fly off away from Batuu and quickly vanish from sight, but they really looked amazing for the brief time they were in flight.
While I will have to wait until I actually get to ride it before giving a full review on the new attraction, but based on the video footage from what I’ve seen, the experience looks simply amazing from start to finish and unlike anything Disney has ever created before. In short, this looks like a game changer, and certainly has raised the bar in the Orlando market.
(12/1/19) All new sneak peek footage of the Rise of the Resistance dark ride opening this week at Walt Disney World was aired over the Thanksgiving holiday. The footage is quickly edited, mixed in with some interview and film clips, but it does give us a peek at a few more sections of the new Star Wars attraction experience.
Watch the clip below (it’s less than a minute) and you see blips of the queue, the shuttle leaving Batuu, and running around the inside of the star destroyer on that droid piloted transport vehicle and more.
And for you Disneyland locals… sorry… you’ve still got to wait until mid-January.
(9/26/19) Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried the Blue/Green Milk at Galaxy’s Edge in California and Florida? I’d had heard some early speculation that the poorly-received California concoction may have had a slight formula tweak before launching in Orlando, but then again the humidity, heat and different tastes on each coast may have just resulted in a little incorrect speculation.
That said… we have heard that there are definitely some menu item tweaks to the food and drink options expected to roll out sometime before Summer 2020 on both coasts, including either a complete drop of the Blue/Green Milk, or a full formula replacement, as they are desperate to create a Star Wars themed beverage as popular as Universal’s Butterbeer.
Since that seems obvious from the start when they first announced the Blue/Green Milk concept, it makes me wonder how they managed to launch such a thing without doing extensive and honest real-world taste-testing ahead of time.
(8/28/19) Some fantastic new footage of the upcoming Rise of the Resistance attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was shown at D23 over the weekend. Obviously this is a theatrical cut and edited experience, but boy does it have all the look and feels of putting you in an actual Star Wars adventure.
(7/21/19) A fun list of all the various Droids that can be found in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge can be found, including not only the droid names and designs, but also the location of where you can find them within the Black Spire Outpost. The list includes the return of your favorite R-3X droid from the original version of Star Tours, the IG-88 Bounty Hunter Droid, MSE (Mouse) Droids, Gonks and more.
(7/12/19) Time for a little “Good News / Bad News”. The good news is that Disney has finally announced when the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction is going to open in Galalxy’s Edge. The bad news is… it’s going to open later than you were probably hoping… especially if you are a California based Disney fan.
Contrary to all popular belief, Rise of the Resistance will actually open FIRST in Walt Disney World, set to open on Dec. 5th, 2019. (Happy Birthday Walt Disney!)
Disneyland guests will have to wait about another six weeks, as it wont open in California until January 17, 2020.
(6/25/19) A new and fairly comprehensive review of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been posted over at Escape Authority which discusses many aspects of Galaxy's Edge I haven’t seen covered in detail anywhere else yet, such as Datapad experience, plus their own take on several of the food and beverages now being offered.
(6/21/19) The time to open Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to the masses is almost here, as you will no longer need a reservation to visit starting on Monday, June 24th. After a month of seeing feedback and reports from those fortunate enough to visit the land during those exclusive 4-hour windows, we will finally see how the Black Spire Outpost survives the full onslaught of the summer crowds at Disneyland. Or at least until Operations deems that the land has reached capacity and starts instructing guests to enter a queue somewhere to gain access to the new land. They will also soon add a virtual queue for your group to gain access to the land for when it is full, which they calling ‘Boarding Groups’. You will be notified through the park app when your Boarding Group has been granted a two-hour window to enter Galaxy’s Edge.
Starting on June 24th I’m told that access to Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop (where you build $200 lightsabers) will be via an online reservation project in the Disneyland mobile app. Reservations to do either are same-day only and for the Cantina you will have to provide a $10 per person deposit (which you lose if you fail to show up) and for the Lightsaber experience you have to pre-pay the full $200 for the experience up-front, as well as listing the name of the person building it and the name of a friend who can tag along and watch the experience.
(6/11/19) Let’s take a good look at the Dark Side of Galaxy’s Edge to see what guests may not care for thus far.
(6/8/19) Lots of talk about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge over the past week, but this time I’m going to get the pictures do the talking. A complete and fabulous look at the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction and queue can be found over at Westcoaster. The pictures are simply gorgeous and other than the ‘required by law’ Earthling style EXIT signs here and there, you will easily believe you are on another world in a galaxy far, far away.
(5/31/19) Just a warning, but the first VIP / Media guests have passed through Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the embargo lifted, so there is a ton of Galaxy’s Edge content out there for everyone to enjoy. I’ll post a few good ones for you all to enjoy, but if you don’t want any spoilers, then don’t play the videos! You’ve been warned.
Go inside Savi’s Workshop where you can build your own lightsaber. I’m told that you have to pay about $200.00 up front before you are allowed into this “shop”, but inside is essentially an experience where you are guided in the creation process to build the saber that fits your personality. Fortunately you can watch the video below and see what your $200 will get you ahead of time.
Want to see what it’s like to pilot Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run? Check out the videos below to see some of the queue as well as some on-ride footage of the cockpit of the Falcon from the LA Times and Attractions Magazine.
Take a quick look around Oga’s Cantina and Ronto Roasters in the two videos posted below.
Lastly, see what it’s like to walk into Galaxy’s Edge from Frontierland via 360 VR video footage.
(5/29/19) Some of the first reviews are starting to drift in from those lucky enough to have visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ahead of the official grand opening, we already know there is much more to come from the Black Spire Outpost when the second attraction opens later this year. However… what comes after that? There were early rumors that building documents Disney filed did include the mention of a third attraction site, as well as other ways to expand the land. After all, Disney wouldn’t box themselves into a corner and just make this land a one-shot and done kind of deal… Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to be around for decades, and evolve over the years. Make the jump over to BlooLoop to see what else may be in store for the future.
(5/13/19) If you want to know what is really in all these crazy new drinks coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), then the Disney Parks Blog has broken them all down for you in enough detail that a good bartender could try to guess the amounts and start trying to make these drinks themselves now.
This is a good thing too, as it could save some of us a little heart-ache when ordering something that reallys sounds good, but may not be to your particular liking. For example, they reveal that the Blue and Green Milk beverages are not milk-based at all, but instead are plant based mixtures of coconut and rice milks.
Want a Fuzzy Tauntaun? Sounds neat… but this one isn’t for me… it’s a mix of peach vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice with tangerine, pure cane sugar and “buzzz” foam. (I’m not fond of peach…)
On the flip side, The Outer Rim sounds more like something I’d try: Silver Tequila, Acai Liqueur, lime juice, pure cane sugar, black salt and some exotic fruit puree. I might go for a T-16 Skyhopper too… vodka, melon liqueur, kiwi and half & half. Meanwhile I think my wife might like the Yub Nub… pineapple rum, spiced rum, citrus juices and passion fruit.
For the kids? Maybe the Blue Bantha… chilled Blue Milk served with a bantha vanilla-butter sugar cookie. Or maybe the Hyperdrive… Powerade Mountain Berry Black, mixed with white cranberry juice, black cherry puree and Sprite.
The list goes on and on… but for your purists out there there will also be special themed beers on tap with fun names like Gold Squadron Lager and White Whampa Ale, a yummy sounding Spice Runner Hard Cider and even some wine on tap (Toniray and Imperial Guard).
So fire-up the Ronto Roasters barbecue pit and serve with a cool Tatooine Sunset, and dine your way into bliss in a galaxy far far away.
(4/19/19) One lucky Cast Member gets some awesome bragging rights, claiming that in addition to Han, Chewie, Lando and Rey… he has also flown the Millennium Falcon as part of testing out the new attraction for Disney Imagineering. Talk about awesome nerd-culture cred… and I have to admit I’m jealous as hell too, because who wouldn’t want to say they got to fly the Millennium Falcon?
Of course, starting this summer, that exclusive group of people is going to grow signifigantly once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disneyland and a short time later at Walt Disney World. Follow the link and read on to hear more about what does seats control what in the Falcon’s cockpit.
Oh, and one more bit of fun Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge news… Paul Reubens himself confirmed that he will provide the voice for the former Captain Rex droid that has been repurposed as DJ-R3X, a joking DJ droid inside Oga’s Cantina.
(4/14/19) Previously I had thought that I had heard Disney would be going the route Universal took with their Wizarding World lands, by not allowing real-world soda and beverages to be sold in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Now a new report from CNN kind of backtracks on that a little, explaining there is a new deal in place with Coca-Cola to be present in the land, but you’ll buy a Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite or Dasani bottled into strange new containers that may keep some of the same color styling of the Earth beverages, but will look like a Star Wars universe take on them, and with the names written in Aurebesh, the lettering system used in the Star Wars universe that you will find used extensively throughout the various structures within Galaxy’s Edge.
It’s an interesting “cheat” on the concept of keeping the land pure to the world of Star Wars, plus what a collectible! These unique bottles will only be sold within Galaxy’s Edge, but you can lug a few home to show off to your friends since they look a bit like a cross between a grenade and a mini BB-8 style droid.
(4/9/19) Ready to get your intergalactic food and drink fix? Our friends at BlooLoop dish more on what we can expect from the exotic and alien food and beverage landscape to be experienced within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Meanwhile the local news in LA sent a chopper to fly over the new land and get us the latest look at the Black Spire Outpost, Millennium Falcon and all the rest as the final touches are being installed in a lengthy 10 minute long overview.
(4/4/19) BlooLoop is back with another look at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge… this time taking a look into how the complicated back-story for the entire land was created so it could fit into the film world and official story-lines.
(3/27/19) While the world may have to wait a bit longer for the Rise of the Resistance dark ride to open inside Galaxy’s Edge, the latest report on BlooLoop goes into a bit more detail about just what we can expect to find inside the world’s most anticipated new dark ride experience.
2020 - Magic Happens - (3/5/20) A great video preview showing off several of the floats in action at the new Magic Happens parade at Disneyland can be seen in the video below shot by Orlando Experience. Check it out!
(2/13/20) Our friends at BlooLoop has posted a first look at the opening float of the new Magic Happens parade coming to Disneyland. The opening float will be made up from “ribbons of magic” and feature Mickey Mouse, followed by other parade sections featuring characters from Frozen, Moana, Coco, Sleeping Beauty, Princess and the Frog, Cinderella and The Sword in the Stone.
(1/24/20) The Disney Parks Blog has posted three new pieces of concept artwork showing off floats units in the new “Magic Happens” parade starting at Disneyland on Feb. 28th.
(12/13/19 The Disney Parks Blog has announced that an all-new daytime parade called ‘Magic Happens” will premiere at Disneyland on February 28, 2020. Jump on over to the official report to see some concept art of the new parade floats that will include characters from Moana and Coco.
(8/27/19) Disneyland will premier an all new parade in Spring 2020 called “Magic Happens”. “Celebrating awe-inspiring moments of magic—both large and small—that are at the heart of so many Disney stories, “Magic Happens” reminds us we don’t need wings to fly, shooting stars were made to wish upon, and magic doesn’t stop at midnight.”
The new daytime parade will feature a new fleet of parade floats themed to various Disney characters. The list includes Moana, Coco and will end with a magical float featuring the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty.
2020 - Snow White Scary Adventures and Indiana Jones Updates - (11/27/19) According to an update posted to the Disney Parks Blog, the changes coming to Snow White’s Scary Adventure in 2020 will make the dark ride attraction a little less scary as well as add a new ending scene showing Snow White being woken from her magic induced slumber and living happily ever after. Other improvements include new LED black lighting, new projection mapping effects as well as some new music.
As they aren’t making the building any bigger, this likely means that the current ending to the ride, where the witch is dropping the boulder down on everyone in a rain storm from atop a hill maybe removed. The outside of the attraction will also receive an updated look as well. Look for Snow White to close down starting January 7th, 2020 for an unknown period of time, but hopefully they will have it reopen in time for the summer crowds.
(11/18/19) It’s worth mentioning that in addition to a major refurbishment to the Snow White attraction, Disneyland has also filed permits for a major overhaul to the Indiana Jones Adventure dark ride as well in 2020.
(11/13/19) A quick update on my thoughts regarding the Snow White upgrade coming in 2020. I mentioned adding projection mapping to the attraction like Alice in Wonderland, but it was pointed out that there have already been two projection mapping effects added to Snow White previously, so this may simply see more similar style effects enhancements added, along with any other planned updates.
(11/12/19) According to local news reports Disneyland has filed permits for a nearly half-million dollar renovation project slated to happen sometime in 2020 to the park’s Snow White Scary Adventures dark ride. In addition to general sprucing up, rumor has it we may see some projection effects added, much like how they upgraded the nearby Alice in Wonderland dark ride a few years ago.
2021/2022 - The Princess and The Frog - Confirmed - (6/27/20) I’m not quite sure where to begin with this post, but Disney dropped a bombshell of an announcement this week that I was not really expecting. Disney announced that they are planning to retheme the Splash Mountain attractions at Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom parks to The Princess and The Frog animated film.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Brer Rabbit and the whole Zippey-Do-Da-Gang are being removed, and the ride will be rethemed around the world of Princess Tiana and friends. According to the Disney Parks Blog this new story will begin just after ‘the final kiss’ from the film where riders will “join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure - featuring some of the powerful music from the film - as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.”
As someone who grew up and was a huge Disney park fan throughout my early years, this kind of shocked me. I’m not the biggest fan of changing some of the Disney attractions, just for the sake of change. The older the attraction is, the more of an attachment I think I might have had to it from my childhood. Case in point, I wasn’t a fan of the idea of changing the classic auction scene in Pirates to the current version where “Redd” is now a pirate.
I do not hate the new scene, as it is well done, but like any major change, I think it just takes some getting used to the idea and seeing the new version in the end to appreciate it. After all, like many of you, I grew up for decades chanting ‘We wants the red head’, which is now only part of the Disney history books.
I was a teenager when Splash Mountain was first built… in fact I had no idea it was even going to be a thing at all until visiting Disneyland during my Grad Nite event in 1988. I could see the huge steel structure rising into the night sky, surrounded by construction walls promoting the new ride to open in 1989. While I was already a fan of Disney parks, it was this moment that made me interested in the process of how Disney designed and built massive new attractions like these. My curiosity was sparked that night, which obviously had an effect on me for years to come.
So understand me when I say that upon first seeing the announcement this week, I probably dropped an F-bomb in disbelief. It didn’t help that a few weeks ago some news outlets were reporting that there was an online petition of activists asking Disney to do this very thing, but according to Disney this is actually a project that the Imagineers “have been working on since last year”.
I’m still surprised… but not entirely. Splash Mountain always had a rather interesting choice of IP in using the characters and theme from the film, The Song of the South. This is the one film that Disney has chosen to lock away in their vaults forever, with no plans to ever release it again, not even on Disney+. The 1946 film is a mix of live action and animated segments set in the old South following the end of the American Cival War and the abolishment of slavery. The film became criticized over the years since then due to the depiction of the Southern African-American characters and their animated counterparts as being potentially racist or offensive.
Despite this, the IP was tapped as the theme to build not just one, but three Splash Mountain attractions at Disney parks across the world. The original Splash Mountain opened in Summer 1989 in California followed by another in Walt Disney World in 1992 and a third at Tokyo Disneyland, also in 1992. There is no reference to the film at all, and the ride seeks to tell its story through the various animated characters from the film mixed with some new friends, that were actually retired Animatronic figures from Disneyland’s America Sings attraction. It is safe to say that the attraction has been a smash hit for Disney parks ever since, and as the ride system itself is staying, it will continue to do so, even with a new theme. The attraction was designed to carry riders through the various scenes accompanied by a fantastic musical soundtrack, so I can easily see how it can be rethemed and ‘plussed’ by Imagineering in this endeavor. If you take a look at the concept art you can see the classic look of Splash Mountain will be altered to look more green and lush, especially at the top of the drop where the old tree stump will now become Mama Odie’s House, featuring a full tree holding the broken boat high in the branches above where the logs emerge and take their plunge.
As a concept, I can easily see how many aspects of the current Splash Mountain layout and scenes can be changed to The Princess and The Frog. The report that this all takes place after the “last kiss” does make me hope that they can somehow include the return of Dr. Facilier (aka: The Shadow Man) as I’d love to see the scenes in the belly of Splash Mountain’s from the mid-drop up to the approach to the big drop be given over to create a scene with the voodoo man and the forces from “the other side”. Of course we all know the ending scene of Splash Mountain with the River Boat will probably be kept and updated to be a Mardi Gras celebration with Tiana and Louis, which is only fitting.
So with all this in mind, I can see how the overall ride experience may actually be improved here by going forward with a new theme. I know how tempting it is to say you wont like it just because it isn’t the ride you grew up with, but look at just how many people seem to enjoy the Guardians of the Galaxy version of the former Twilight Zone attraction at Disney California Adventure now. Many say that the Guardians version was a dramatic improvement over California’s Twilight Zone version, so we really will just need to wait and see what happens.
My only final thoughts here have more to do with the overall theming of the lands and such involved. Clearly changing Splash Mountain to now have a New Orleans theme in Disneyland is a no brainer, as the modified look of the new attraction will fit right like a glove positioned next to The Haunted Mansion there, creating an extension of the existing New Orleans Square theming, and leaving Pooh at the solitary inhabitant of Critter Country. In Walt Disney World however, the change is going to be a bit more disturbing to the current theming of that park where Splash Mountain is set smack in the middle of Frontierland, positioned between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Frontierland buildings that are home to The Country Bears attraction and the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. I don’t have a solution or answer to this particular issue, so I’m curious to see how WDI will address it.
It is also interesting to note that, for now at least, Splash Mountain will live on in Japan, as there has been no plans posted to update or change the version at Tokyo DIsneyland at this time. At this point in time, Disney has given no time-table as to when we may expect to see this transformation process begin at either park, but hopefully there will be time to have a few more final rides on Splash Mountain before the old version is gone for good. (Now if maybe Disneyland can work in a plan to modify their trough system to use the same double-wide boats that WDW uses, that would be great as well...)
2023 - Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway - (10/23/20) A great picture of the huge building that will be home to the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction in Toontown was posted to Twitter this week. The original version built in Florida was design to fit into that park’s pre-existing Great Movie Ride building structure. So it should be interesting to see if this new version built from scratch will make any changes to the overall building design or layout of the attraction, as they have been given the opportunity to custom build it from the ground up.
(9/4/20) Construction on the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction at Disneyland is now well under way. Disneyland President posted a picture and some timelapse footage of the construction site as the first big vertical steel piece has been put into place. They have also set a new timeline that will see the new attraction ready to open in 2023 after work was delayed by the pause in construction caused by the pandemic.
(11/18/19) For anyone curious, a great aerial photo over Disneyland shows off the large cleared space behind Toontown where Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will go.
(8/27/19) The Disneyland version of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will take place inside the El CapiTOON Theater in Mickey’s Toontown, where you arrive for the premier of a brand new Mickey short called “Perfect Picnic”. Before you know it, you are whisked off on a “zany, out-of-control adventure filled with surprising twists and turns.”
(4/24/19) Disney has confirmed this past week the rumor that a copy of the “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway” attraction under construction in Florida will also appear inside Toontown at Disneyland in the near future. Look for the attractiton to open in 2022 where guests will be taken into the cartoon world of Mickey, Minnie and friends.
“With an original story and lovable theme song, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway uses state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to transform the cartoon world into an incredible and immersive multi-dimensional experience.”
(10/31/18) While Disneyland has not yet confirmed anything, the latest rumor making the rounds this week claims that a clone of the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida will be coming to Disneyland’s Toontown as the next big attraction to open inside Disneyland probably about three or four years after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019.
The attraction's large ride building is said to be built almost entirely backstage so that none of the existing attractions will have to be removed, with the exception of a retail space that is likely to be lost to make room for the attraction's entrance and exit pathways.