Welcome back to the Disneyland Resort
Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are headed into a brief period where we’ll see reduced crowd sizes. This time of year is often referred to as the “off season” and typically Disney scales back the park hours and frequency of shows and parades. Traditionally it is also the time of year where refurbishments are performed on those hard working attractions. There’s not much time off for the rides between the busy summer season, Halloween Time and the Holidays, so it’s very common to see many of Disneyland’s major attractions closed between January and spring break.
Guests also said goodbye to Billy Hill and the Hillbillies this past week and Disney added a rare character meet and greet to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. New Orleans Square has become a maze as the Club 33 expansion goes into full swing, Captain America is coming to Innoventions and we take a look Around the Resort!
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Closure
This month we are seeing a high number of refurbishments at Disneyland, and at the top of the list is the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The attraction was scheduled to close on January 6th, but in reality it closed a day prior with intermittent operation in the days leading up to it being shuttered.
Officially, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is closing for an extensive refurbishment and Disney has said they plan to reopen the attraction in “late 2014”. However online rumors are circulating that the attraction may very well close for good. There are various versions of this rumor, that seem to change weekly. Personally, I don’t take much stock in the Disney rumor mill, even if accurate, Team Disney Anaheim and Corporate could easily have multiple plans in play, and with the type of time frame we’re talking about, they could take many different routes if they see fit.
For now, we’ll watch the attraction for signs of work. If Disney management truly seeks to close the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage then it makes little sense to pour money into it. As of this week some of the water seems to be receding. It is not yet clear if Disney has begun the process of redirecting the 5 million gallons of water to the Orange County Sanitation District or if we are simply seeing evaporation or leaks.
Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – Frontierland Troupe
It’s official, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are no more – at least at Disneyland.
The popular musical group held their final performance last Monday to what can only be assumed to be a record number of guests. Big Thunder Ranch was jammed packed with hundreds of fans saying goodbye to the Hillbillies.
In an attempt to keep The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree alive, Disney began a new character meet and greet called the Frontierland Troupe. Guests who remember last year’s Limited Time Magic event “Long Lost Friends Week” will experience a bit of deja vu with this event. The backdrops are the same, with a bit of rebranding, a performer plays the piano and sings songs and occasionally each group of characters are lead out by a cowboy and horse.
Behind a new smaller stage set up for character introductions and small piano performances is the larger stage now being used for Disney Performing Arts, most of the time it just sits empty.
Disney silently launched the Frontierland Troupe early last week, and perhaps that may be to blame for the poor turn out this weekend.
Despite larger park crowds on Saturday and Sunday, the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and the Frontierland Troupe drew very, very small numbers. Two of the three meet and greets were walk ups! When Limited Time Magic hosted “Long Lost Friends Week” each of the five character stations had a minimum wait of 20 minutes on most days.
When the performing arts demonstration pictured below finished, the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree nearly cleared out.
I’m not sure what the Disneyland Entertainment Department is up to, but it seems very strange as of late.
No waiting for Pinocchio and Geppetto
No waiting for Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow either
Not much of a crowd for the new Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree entertainment
New Orleans Square and the Club 33 Expansion
Back in August when we brought you the news that the Court of Angels, the beautiful and masterfully detailed corner of New Orleans Square, was set for closure to day guests. The area is slated to become part of the expanded and redesigned members-only Club 33.
The closure of the Court of Angels is now only a part of the story. Apparently the Club 33 expansion is going to be very disruptive to New Orleans Square. Most of the interior spaces are now covered in building-high walls and tarps. Some of the tarps are “photo tarps”, but the internal streets have very ugly generic coverings.
The intersection of Orleans and Royal Street is a literal maze. I stood there for a while watching guests come around the corner and become annoyed when they were greeted with more walls, tunnels and dead ends.
The stores are open, but it’s very difficult to know that unless you begin to hunt around each corner. All of the shop’s windows are covered as well, only the doors are left uncovered, creating a very dark space.
The New Orleans Square guest restrooms are open, but they can only be accessed from the side closest to the train station.
Also, the new rumored bridge appears to be under construction. This new bridge will extend from Mille. Antoninette’s Parfumerie and Café Orleans and will connect the new Club 33 night club to a dining room.
Disney should probably just consider closing this entire space, of course that would mean closing three to four shops as well and I just don’t see the disruption to the overall theme and guest experience being more important than the revenue these shops may still generate.
The new bridge is under construction
Royal and Orleans Street
The former entrance to the Court of Angels
The New Orleans Square restrooms can only be accessed on the side near the train station. This area now leads to a dead end
This is definitely “refurbishment season” at the Disneyland Resort. Many attractions and shows are closed for repairs, touchups and maintenance.
We told you about the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at the beginning of this Photo Report, but there are quite a bit more throughout the Resort. Here is how they currently appear.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
January 6 – “late 2014”
January 6 – February 13
Sailing Ship Columbia
January 6 – February 13
Haunted Mansion Holiday
January 7 – 17
World of Color
January 7 – 16
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
January 6 – February 27
Coming Up: Soarin’ Over California …
February 18 – June 5
… Alice in Wonderland
February 3 – May
… “it’s a small world” Holiday
January 21 – February 7
Captain America coming to Innoventions
Disney announced this past week that Captain America will be joining Iron Man and Thor at Innoventions this spring.
What remains to be seen is which exhibit Captain America will be replacing…
Nanooze Labs … probably Nanooze Labs
Around the Resort
Here’s a quick trip around the Disneyland Resort
¡Viva Navidad! has been removed from Paradise Garden and the Paradise Garden Grill’s menu has returned
With Fantasmic! dark for a brief refurbishment, guests can take night-time excursions on the Mark Twain!