Once upon a time, January was the quiet season for the Disneyland Resort. Many attractions closed for refurbishment, attendance dipped a little, and all in all, there wasn’t much to report. But those days are long gone (though the refurbishments still happen), at least in the last few years! I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but there was no shortage of news, updates, or events this past month. Let’s take a look back at January at the Disneyland Resort.
GOODBYE, PARADISE PIER
On January 8, California Adventure reached the end of an era. Paradise Pier officially closed for good, splitting into two new lands. And now, walls all around the back of the park give hints as to what’s coming in the next year.
The only trace of the former pier is Midway Mania, which will remain open throughout construction. Imagineers removed all of the Fun Wheel cars within days of its closure, beginning the redesign featuring Pixar characters. The rest of the new Pier remains somewhat of a mystery, but we’ll start seeing attractions take shape in the next few months.
In the meantime, here’s a beautiful photo of Ariel’s Grotto and its lovely royal hosts. Farewell, waterfront princess dining!
Source: Miss Johnson
WALLS, WALLS, WALLS
Unfortunately, the walls don’t stop in California Adventure. Walls interrupt Disneyland’s beautiful views on both Main Street and in Fantasyland. For the first time since 1955, Main Street USA’s track will be completely refurbished. The bad news – this strip of the street hides behind walls, all the way from the railroad station to the castle.
Source: Laughing Place
Over in Fantasyland, two spaces also put up walls for construction. It’s A Small World’s queue will be redirected to the right-hand side of the attraction, freeing up space in the plaza. And in central Fantasyland, Dumbo is getting some TLC. This queue is also transforming, extending behind the attraction and incorporating much needed shading. However, the walls look pretty awful.
Source: Touring Plans
Thankfully, these refurbishments should end by springtime. I love seeing the explosion of color as the flowers bloom in Disneyland, and I hope the walls are long gone by then!
REIMAGINING DOWNTOWN DISNEY
And of course, the walls extended to Downtown Disney as well. This month, RIDEMAKERZ and Build-A-Bear closed their doors to make way for a massive new “Disney Home” shop, slated to open later this year.
A little further down the pathway, Downtown Disney’s largest restaurant has also put walls up. Naples will be expanding and reconfiguring its layout.
Source: Laughing Place
Like the construction projects in the parks, Downtown Disney’s walls should be coming down in the spring. But with Disney not offering a specific opening date, delays and changed timelines seem inevitable at this point.
DISNEYLAND AFTER DARK EVENT #1
This month, Disneyland launched the first in a new series of after hours ticketed events: Disneyland After Dark. Event #1 celebrated “Throwback Nite”, a celebration of Disneyland’s early days in the 50s and 60s. To learn more about the event’s offerings, check out my post here.
Source: Laughing Place
The event turned out to be a mixed bag. It didn’t sell out, still offering tickets the day of, which is a remarkable feat for a ticketed Disneyland event. Visitors LOVED the photo stations and some of the throwback merchandise, but feedback remained consistent: the offerings did not justify the price tag. We’ll have to see how Disneyland modifies the next After Dark event to draw more interest.
Source: Inside the Magic
MICKEY’S TOONTOWN TURNS 25
Mickey, Minnie, and the gang celebrated a huge milestone this month: their neighborhood turned 25! In January 1993, Disneyland opened the gates to Toontown, allowing park visitors to follow Mickey and friends home and explore the town.
Source: Disneyland AP
Tons of characters came out to play in Toontown on the anniversary (January 24th), and photo pass stations offered special frames and props for guests to pose with. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase Mickey’s Toontown, a land often overlooked or skipped by so many park visitors!
This month, Downtown Disney finally opened the Star Wars virtual reality experience: Secrets of the Empire. Tickets cost $30 a person, and participants must be at least 10 years old and over 48” (122 cm).
Disneyland has a brand new VIP tour experience, connecting the Walt Disney Studios to the park. For $2,129+, guests embark on a 4 day trip. The “Disneyland and Southern California Short Escape” includes private tours of Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Walt’s Apartment in Disneyland, plus other VIP perks inside the park. To learn more about the new tour, visit the official page here.
And finally, happy Lunar New Year! Ok, it’s not until next month, but California Adventure’s festival celebration began last week. To learn more about this year’s festivities, check out my post here.