Disneyland (CA)

Disneyland’s Rivers of America Closing Day Videos

by on January 15, 2016

Rivers of America closing

Take your last cruise around Disneyland’s Rivers of America until 2017 with closing day 4K videos. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

January 10, 2016 will be remembered as a momentous day in Disneyland history, not only because it saw the permanent closure of Big Thunder Ranch, but because it marked the end of Frontierland’s Rivers of America in its current form. This scenic area of the original Magic Kingdom all all its attractions, whose designs date back to Walt’s day, will be out of service until April 2, 2017, at the earliest. When the Rivers of America reopen, it will have been downsized to accommodate the arrival of Star Wars Land, with the water rerouted along a shorter circuit. The next few years will be an exciting time of expansion at the Disneyland Resort, but before we blast into the future it’s appropriate to pay tribute to the past. If you you couldn’t make it out in person before the long reconstruction begins, relieve the Rivers of America closing day with these exclusive videos.

 

S.S. Columbia and Mark Twain Riverboat Closing Sailings

On the final day before the Rivers of America closing and lengthy refurbishment, I tried three times to board one of the big boats that ply the waters, and was turned away each time because of capacity crowds. That should give you an idea how popular these normally sleepy attractions were with fans saying farewell. I never did get aboard the Columbia that day, though I did capture photos of its final crew coming into port.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Report: Four Glorious New Ways to Kill Time at Disneyland

by on January 15, 2016

January 11, 2016, was a day many Disneyland fans had circled on their calendars. That was the day that a whopping 10 attractions and 1 restaurant closed for refurbishment or removal. One of them will reopen less than a month from now, others 18 months from now, and a few will never return. Before going any further let’s take a look at the list again:

Disneyland Refurbishments
ATTRACTION OR DINING VENUE CLOSED
STARTING
RE-OPENS
ON
Autopia 1/11/16 4/4/16
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes 1/11/16 4/2/17
Disneyland Railroad 1/11/16 4/2/17
Fantasmic! 1/11/16 4/2/17
Haunted Mansion 1/11/16 1/22/16
Jungle Cruise 1/11/16 TBA
Mark Twain Riverboat 1/11/16 4/2/17
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island 1/11/16 4/2/17
Sailing Ship Columbia 1/11/16 4/2/17
Big Thunder Ranch 1/11/16 NEVER
Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue 1/11/16 NEVER

That’s a lot of stuff. By our estimate the closure of the river and its attractions will result in an hourly capacity drop of nearly 3,000. Luckily Disney has come up with a few temporary diversions that will try and soak up some of that lost capacity, and they’re especially exciting for locals who don’t prioritize rides.

1. Skipper School 

IMG_9099

Skipper School is a small show that uses audience interaction to recreate the Jungle Cruise ride. It’s hosted by actual Jungle Cruise skippers, and like the ride it relies heavily on improv comedy. 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Goodbye Goats: Video of Big Thunder Ranch’s Closing Day at Disneyland

by on January 14, 2016

In my professional opinion, one of Disneyland’s greatest assets is its deep bench of minor attractions that can be enjoyed by all ages, to balance out the heavy-hitting E-Ticket rides. Accordingly, ever since I began working on the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, I’ve been advocating for Big Thunder Ranch‘s goats as the park’s greatest under-the-radar treasure. This year, I’ll have the sad duty of deleting all references to the Ranch from the next edition of the Unofficial Guide, as the petting zoo (along with the adjacent barbecue restaurant) ended operations for good at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 10, 2016. Of course, I had to be there for Big Thunder Ranch’s closing day — along with every annual passholder in California, apparently — to witness the end of an era.

I was wise enough to get my final scritchings in with Big Thunder Ranch’s whiskered stars on Saturday, since I knew the competition to get “last petting” bragging rights would be intense among goat groupies. Even on Saturday, the Ranch was busier than I’d ever seen before that weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever January 14, 2016: 48 Hours at Disneyland Resort

by on January 14, 2016

I’ve just had a bittersweet Best Week Ever, because I took a weekend away from my usual Orlando assignments to say adieu to some old friends in Anaheim. January 10th marked the last day for a number of Disneyland attractions before Star Wars Land construction commences. Some, like the Railroad and Rivers of America will return next year in an altered form; others, like the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, are gone for good. I’ll be covering the closing of these attraction in detail over the coming days, but for this Best Week Ever I want to stash the sayonaras; instead, lets focus on some other experiences I was able to enjoy around the rest of the resort during my 24 hours in Disneyland.

My trip was largely made possible by a ludicrously low airfare ($159 round trip!) I found on Frontier. While I was delighted to get such a cheap seat between MCO and LAX, the airline makes their money back through sky-high baggage fees and some of the least comfortable seating in the sky.


Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – January 3 to 9, 2016

by on January 12, 2016

How Crowded Was Disneyland Last Week?

How Crowded Was Disneyland Last Week?

The graph of the crowd levels we saw at Disneyland last week looks less like a January crowd pattern and more like the track at Gadget’s Go Coaster! Up, down, and back up again. Rain was the culprit as Southern California was washed out for much of the day Tuesday through Thursday. Radiator Springs Racers, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mad Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland and many others saw weather related closures last week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – December 27, 2015 to January 2, 2016

by on January 7, 2016

How Crowded Was Disneyland Last Week?

How Crowded Was Disneyland Last Week?

The final week of the year is also the busiest of the year at Disneyland Resort and this year was no exception. The Disneyland Crowd Calendar correctly predicted the dip in wait times on Thursday and Friday thanks to lower wait times at Disney California Adventure. Don’t be fooled however, New Year’s Eve was extremely busy but the crowds were mainly concentrated at Disneyland Park. That park hit a crowd level ’10’ every day last week except for New Year’s Day.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Zootopia Sneak Peek to Take Place Beginning in January

by on December 31, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Are you excited to see the latest release from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Zootopia? I have good news! You’ll soon be able to catch a sneak peek at both Disney California Adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Guests will be able to catch the preview beginning on January 21 at the Bug’s Life Theater with in theater effects at DCA and at in the theater at the end of One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Zootopia takes us into a world that is populated by animals, living together in habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown.

Zootopia is opening in theaters on March 4.

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

A Disney World Historian’s Exploration of Disneyland Park

by on December 28, 2015

The light in Walt's apartment window above the Disneyland Fire Dept.

The light in Walt’s apartment window above the Disneyland Fire Dept.

One of the many things I love and appreciate about the Disney Parks is that, while they are constantly evolving and improving, they stay true to their history and even celebrate it; and when I’m at Walt Disney World, I’m always looking for it. Much to my family’s chagrin, I have this inner need to educate them about the history of each attraction we find ourselves waiting in line for or about the individual windows on Main Street, U.S.A., or about the original name of Cinderella’s Royal Table or…well…you get the idea. As you can imagine, this self-pronounced Disney World Historian was beyond thrilled to experience her first trip to the Disneyland Park to finally walk in Walt’s footsteps, a literal treasure trove of Disney History and the original. So stay tuned for A Disney World Historian’s Guide to the Disneyland Park.

Walt's Bench

Walt’s Bench

Main Street, U.S.A.

There is so much history for the Walt Disney World fan to appreciate on the original Main Street, U.S.A., more than I could ever mention in one article! However, a personal favorite of mine has to be Walt Disney’s Griffith Park Bench found just inside the Opera House. According to Walt, he was sitting on a bench in Griffith Park watching his daughters ride the merry-go-round when he first dreamed up a Disney-themed park where families could have fun together.

The Opera House is also where guests can take in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the predecessor to the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Walt originally wanted audio-animatronic American Presidents in a show, but the technology just wasn’t available at the time for such a large-scale show. It was possible, however, when Walt Disney World opened and The Hall of Presidents was somewhat of a fulfillment of Walt’s original vision. Therefore, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is something every Disney World Historian should check out and is sure to create an even greater appreciation for The Hall of Presidents.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – December 20 to 26, 2015

by on December 28, 2015

How Crowded Was Disneyland Last Week?

How Crowded Was Disneyland Last Week?

Last week, Disneyland Resort was slightly less crowded than expected during the week but wait times were still extreme most days. The dips in mid-week crowd levels were caused mostly by lower than expected wait times at Disney California Adventure. The Christmas holiday season is the busiest time of the year at the Disneyland parks and it looks like this year will be no exception.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – December 13 to 20, 2015

by on December 22, 2015

How Did The Disneyland Crowd Calendar Do Last Week?

How Did The Disneyland Crowd Calendar Do Last Week?

Last week, the Disneyland Crowd Calendar did very well predicting crowd levels at both Disneyland parks. Of the twenty-one predictions, only two missed by more than one index level and both of those days saw lighter crowds than predicted. Weekend crowds continue to be larger than midweek. Thursday was the least crowded day and Saturday the most crowded.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print