Welcome back to the Disneyland Resort. Well, it’s finally the
slow season. Today we are going to look at the highly anticipated Disneyland After Dark event. But we’ve also got a full Disneyland update for you, including new merchandise in the parks. And check out the second half of this week for continuing coverage of California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Parking Structure Updates HERE.
|Disneyland After Dark-Throwback Nite
Disneyland threw its first Disneyland After Dark event Thursday night to mix reaction from locals and low ticket sales. The event sparked some controversy among the folks who support Dapper Days in the parks. But there were a lot of interesting things about this event.
Maps given out to guests had a retro vibe:
Character opportunities were one of the highlights of the party. Mickey as Zorro in Frontierland, Minnie and Goofy in spirit outfits in Town Square along with Mary Poppins, Bert, and some Penguins. Merlin, Sleeping Beauty characters, Alice, and Pinocchio were in Fantasyland.
Disney also put out several photo opportunities, including a Skyway bucket and the Disneyland sign from the 2015 D23 Expo. There were new photo opportunities as well, a backdrop of the Mickey Mouse Clubouse and a soda shop set up in front of the Carefree Corner sign on Main Street.
The rest of the opportunities were in the form of attraction posters around the park, all of which featured vintage rides.
Disney had a limited number of event products available for the party: Male & Female T-shirt, a tumbler, and a Christmas ornament. Modern day products for a vintage event. Where were the pennants, vintage Mickey Ears, skirts for the ladies, mid-century hats?
Disney went retro with fireworks by choosing Fantasy in the Sky. This was the only scheduled firework show until April (due to the Main Street refurbishment project).
Playing throughout the park was Radio D-LAND, featuring DJ Wendy. The booth was placed at the end of Main Street, in front of the construction wall around the Hub. Wendy played throwback tracks all night as her cohost read shoutouts to the guests.
Aboard the Mark Twain, the most popular attraction of the night, guests were treated to a great band.
Over at Small World mall, guests could jump and jive to a swing band.
At Royal Theatre there was a Boy Band quartet.
And over in Adventureland, Disney had a less-swingin’ band, Tupua. Too bad they couldn’t have recreated the Tahitian Terrace for the evening.
Was The Event Worth The Price?
The estimated amount of tickets sold was under 10 thousand, and that means short waits for attractions. A total bonus. But at $95 apiece for just 7 hours in the park, it felt too expensive to me. There seemed to be no justification for the steep price tag. Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party comes in at the same price with a larger list of benefits: better (longer) firework show, more character interactions, “Free” candy stations, a parade, multiple nights to visit, two themed attractions, and for locals: AP discounts. The bands for the After Dark event were amazing! But except for a few reused photos spots from the 2015 D23 Expo, there was not much going for it. Last year, the private party for the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade felt much more desirable to me.
Disney encouraged guests to dress up, something they can do on any day in the park (just look at the Dapper Weekends). I wish they had offered some kind of costume contest. This event sounded good on paper, but in actuality, it required guests to be into swing dancing and photos spots to get the most out of it. If neither of those is your cup of tea, then it was all about rides with low waits.
Disney closed Critter Country for the entirety of the party. ToonTown closed for Fantasy In The Sky, which is understandable. But did not reopen after 10:30pm for the additional 2 and a half hours of the party. For Critter Country, Splash Mountain is down for refurbishment so it wasn’t a huge loss. A sign in the middle of the walkway in front of the bridge to Splash Mountain read, “Critter Country- Coming Soon.” The CM manning the Info kiosk was stopping guests from entering Critter Country and telling them of “Coming Attractions” as the land was slated to open in “1972”.
Over at the Haunted Mansion, the last night of its scheduled refurbishment, Disney decided to keep the attraction closed. A sign in front of the attraction approximated the one that stood at the Mansion’s gates before the attraction opened in 1969.
Personally, I give Disney props for trying to cover up the attraction refurbishments with a storyline of “Coming Attractions” and trying to place the party in the period from 1965-69. Of course the vast majority of the attractions open that night were from later decades: Big Thunder (1979), Indana Jones (1995), Space Mountain (1977), Astro Blasters (2005), Star Tours (1986/2010), Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (1983), ect. Could the event have worked with only 50s and 60s attractions open?
For me, the event felt like it would be worth a $65 ticket price. If they wanted to justify a price close to a full day’s admission, then they needed more entertainment, longer Fireworks (not just the 4-minute version of Fantasy in the Sky, but the 12-minute version), more characters, more event-exclusive food items, entertainment in Tomorrowland, how about changing the music on Space Mountain to the 1996 retro sounding version.
Also, one more thing…
…the maintenance lights accidentally turned on the castle during the party, they were turned off again after about 10 minutes but I think it looks more retro this way.
Was the event a dud? Not in the slightest. But it just didn’t live up to the price for me. Did you attend? What did you think?
The most notable thing in the park right now is the continuing Main Street rail replacement project.
During the Day the Main Street Vehicles are being parked in front of the Fire House for Photo Opportunities.
Disneyland has unleashed Valentine’s Day balloons. Careful of Cupid’s arrow!
As we approach the castle, the snow has finally melted! This is the first we’ve seen of the original roofs since prior to the 60th Anniversary of the park. Although, the front two round turrets are missing their roof topers as well as the central tower.
Over in Fantasyland, construction continues on Dumbo as the decorative parts of the spinner have been sent off for refurbishment. Also, pathways around the spinner have been torn up as the new Dumbo queue will have a slightly new location and proper shading when it returns in April. According to the refurb calendar, Casey Jr. and Storybook Canal Boats will go down for refurbishment February 5th to allow construction work around the two attractions tracks and pathways. Storybook Canal Boats will return February 16th and Casey Jr. will return March 2nd.
Over at It’s A Small World, the outer reaches of the facade had a very busy week. Disney confirmed that Small World will have a longer Queue (hopefully shaded) to help with keeping Fastpass on attraction (which it does not really need most of the year). As a result, Disney is moving the parade gate to the right a bit. Disney has also said Small World will have a new designated stroller parking area. This work is expected to be done by April when Pixar Play Parade moves to Disneyland Park for the kick-off of Pixar Fest.
By Thursday the construction walls were pushed out to about where the Small World entrance is located, with standby queue wrapping around the wall.
Tuesday afternoon we caught the construction crew tearing out sections of the facade wall. Disney will probably save the pieces for reinstallation in a few weeks or create replicas. Disney looks to have removed the gate for relocation in a new spot as well.
The map below is how I expect the area to look once it’s complete. You can see Small World having a larger queue and the parade route being slightly shifted down.
In other Small World new, It’s A Small World Holiday closed last night to begin its de-holiday-fication. Regular Small world will reopen February 2nd.
Over in Tomorrowland, it is definitely time for Disney to be replacing the Pretzels and Churros carts as they definitely look to be stuck in the 80’s.
Just look at the Popcorn Cart that Disney replaced about a year ago, it looks amazing compared to its nearby carts.
Over at Star Wars Launch Bay Disney has installed Rey and Luke full-size Lego figures.
On Saturday, the Fastpass Queue for Space Mountain was spilling out of the Hallway and out past Pizza Port. Disney definitely needs to reconsider the number of Fastpass Space Mountain should be allotted, as the line regularly spills out into the Tomorrowland walkways.
Over at the Submarine Lagoon, noticeable amounts of rust can be seen around the lagoon and on the Subs themselves.
Also on the Monorail queue, rust can be seen all over the outer rails of the queue.
The Haunted Mansion has reopened after a short closure to remove the Nightmare Before Christmas Overlay. It’s a welcomed return.
Over near the Haunted Mansion, Disney has replaced the DVC cart, it matches the trash can color scheme in the area.
Disney has recycled some of the Christmas decorations around New Orleans Square for Mardi Gras.
Over at Pirates, nothing is happening. In my opinion that’s a good thing, Disney has not yet placed a refurb date to change the Redhead scene. The refurb calendar is now posted through the beginning of Spring Break and there is no downtime for Pirates listed. Anaheim may have to wait to do the transformation later this Spring or kick it down the road into August. Personally, I’d like them to keep Red as she is.
Over at Port Royal Curios and Curiosities, Disney has replaced the penny press machine with this new coffin shaped machine, with an LCD display screen. In fact, Disney has been replacing Penny Press machines around the resort with digital screens. If you see a new one, let us know.
Work continues on Splash Mountain for its long need refurbishment. The attraction is expected to return sometime in April.
Also, the Disneyland Resort Beverage cup has returned after a shortage at the end of October. The change to Tower is now reflected on the cup.
Star Wars Land Rising
Work continues on the Land as we can now see even more mountaintops began to poke out of the Battle Escape building. Also, Battle Escape’s queue building is being enclosed and partially buried and will act as part of the new outer berm.
Inside the park we can see even more steel and meshwork begin to cover the outside of Battle Escape.
Over at Hungry Bear, I can now envision the background picture that Imagineering was aiming for. I can’t wait for it to be completed.
Well, it’s 2018 and that calls for new merchandise to commemorate your visit to a Disney Park.
The sweatshirt below sort of seems like marketing: “The Year To Be Here.” Hmmm. . . perhaps they should pay me to wear this item instead of the other way around.
And one last thing, I don’t quite get this one. Is it a hat, or plush, or both?
My thinking is that someone said: We should make a plush based on the this year’s Chip and Dale icon. And then everyone agreed…
Go Explore Merchandise
We pointed out last week the new Penny Press books and AP popcorn bucks that are inspired by this line. If I’m going to buy anything from the parks right now it’s from this design. This merchandise screams Disneyland to me and not the usual generic Disney Parks merchandise. I hope more styles come out because I just love it.
Anyone for a Dumbo car antenna topper?
Or a Buzz Lightyear one?
|Micechat’s AMAZING Anniversary 15th Weekend!
Come join us and celebrate MiceChat/MiceAge Anniversary with another AMAZING evening of food, wine, celebrities and Disney history!
Join us on the evening of February 2nd at The Anaheim Hotel (across the street from Disneyland)
Welcome To The Jungle:
David Koenig presents a panel of original Jungle Cruise skippers! The jokes will be corny and the history will be heartfelt.
First Lady of the Haunted Mansion:
Garner Holt, the legendary creator of the world’s best animatronics, presents one of the original female Imagineers, Tania Norris, who worked with Walt Disney and all the early Disneyland creatives. Tania joined Imagineering to help design New Orleans Square and the Haunted Mansion! You are going to LOVE her story!!!
Amazing Disney Authors:
Meet award-winning Disney authors David Koenig, Mindy Johnson, and Dave Bossert as they discuss their latest releases. Get your signed copies of:
- Mouse Tales
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons
- Ink & Paint – The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation
PLUS: We’ll have delightful hors-d’oeuvres, a bar, and an opportunity for you to meet with our special guests and authors.
EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITY: If you are also competing in the Gumball Rally the next day, you can early register at this event.
And that’s not all folks!
MiceChat Gumball Rally – Feb 3rd
Join us for the world-famous Gumball Rally on February 3rd, 2018. It’s a competition to see who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have in the parks. For more information please visit the Gumball Rally Page HERE.
MiceChat Anniversary Mega Meetup – Feb 4th
And on February 4th, we’ll meet at Disneyland for a full day of meets, events, meals, and fun. To be notified of the full schedule of events, please enter your email below:
|All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot and assembled by Brian Pinsky with additional photo contributions from Dsny Debbie.
|Are you a member of the MiceChat Sunday Meet-up Facebook group? If you are interested in meeting up with fellow theme park lovers in the parks, please be sure to follow this group: MiceChat Sundays in the Park. And please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the Disneyland Resort and beyond:
That’s it for today’s Disneyland Update. You can check out our continuing coverage of California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and news from the Mickey and Friends Parking structure this week right HERE.