Happy 2017! This year certainly came in with a bang, in the form of major rain at Disneyland. In fact, the weather got so crazy, the park actually closed down early due to safety concerns. Disneyland has only closed down early three other times in its history, in response to: JFK’s assassination, the Northridge earthquake, and 9/11. Two attractions experienced electrical fires (Thunder Mountain and the Little Mermaid), and many areas in the park started to flood.
Somehow, the weather was far from the wildest event this month. Every time I think Disney can’t throw more at us, they prove me wrong once again. Let’s take a look back at the events, announcements, and controversies that happened in January.
THE 13TH HOUR ARRIVES
Well guys, it’s official. The Tower of Terror is gone. One of California Adventure’s most iconic attractions, and one of the most popular rides in either park, dropped into the Twilight Zone for the final time.
Now, the tower is 100% covered by scaffolding, as the Guardians of the Galaxy move in. The building will be under construction for a few more months, and though no official date has been announced, we have to assume it will open just in time for Vol. 2 to hit theaters.
STAR WARS HALF – THE LIGHT SIDE
Congratulations to all the runners who competed in the Star Wars Half! This year’s route led runners through Downtown Disney, both parks, Angels Stadium, and Disneyland Drive. The race, held the weekend of January 11-13, is known as the “Light Side”, with theming tied to the light side of the force. Its counterpart in Walt Disney World is the “Dark Side”, with more ominous theming and Darths abound.
To register for the next runDisney race, or for more information about the half marathon, visit the official runDisney site here.
YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
Happy Lunar New Year! 2017 marks the year of the rooster, and this month kicked off the official celebration. Mulan, Mushu, Chinese acrobats, dancers, and food stands have arrived in California Adventure, and the party runs through the first weekend in February. For all the details about entertainment, food, and characters, check out my previous post here.
MAIN STREET ELECTRICAL PARADE COMES HOME
Nostalgic Disneyland fans, rejoice! The Main Street Electrical Parade, a Disneyland parade dating back to the 70s, has made is triumphant return after years in Walt Disney World. Disneyland hosted an after-hours party and premiere to celebrate, and fans have been obsessing over the parade in its first week of operation.
For a full recap of the parade and its specialty merchandise and snacks, check out my longer post here.
You can now get the royal treatment inside New Orleans Square. Disneyland is offering a new, exclusive dining experience inside 21 Royal, a.k.a. the Dream Suite. Guests can book a private meal overlooking the square, for a whopping $15,000!
Fast passes will have a brand new addition in the coming months: MaxPass. This $10 service won’t replace paper tickets, but it will allow you to make mobile reservations.
Not all Anaheim locals are happy about the announcement that Disney will build an Eastern Gateway (new transportation center) off Harbor Boulevard. Many businesses along the street formed the “Harbor Boulevard Merchants Coalition”, which officially opposes the new structure. Why? They say that with the elevated bridge from the transportation center, guests will bypass their businesses altogether, whereas now many tourists stop by on the way to and fro. They’re not asking Disney to forgo the project, but instead want serious modifications, including public access to the bridge without security outside the park gates.
The House of Blues officially moved! The concert venue/restaurant hybrid has a new home in a larger space as part of the Anaheim Garden Walk (a few streets away from Downtown Disney). A Splitsville Bowling Alley will arrive in its place within the next year.
Disney confirmed the official dates for the upcoming Food & Wine Festival in California Adventure: March 10 – April 16. You don’t need a separate ticket to attend the general event, but some minor activities like cooking seminars or specialty wine tasting requires an additional ticket. Tickets, official events, and entertainment announcements should be available very soon.
And finally, I want to leave you this month with one last tribute to the Tower of Terror. I snapped this photo without much thought from A Bug’s Land, but I think it’s a very flattering angle of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. I absolutely love the forced perspective in action here; we’re just tiny little bugs looking up at a domineering structure. This ride PETRIFIED me, which was the absolute genius of it; all of the scaring happened before you ever set foot in the elevator shaft. I will miss that terrible, scary, overwhelming, incredible tower every time I walk through Hollywood Land.