Disneyland Resort Made Some Major Updates During the Closure – Inside the Magic

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With Disneyland Resort closed, many fans have been left craving a visit to the theme parks. Although a reopening is not looking like it is in the near future, one good thing that has come out of the closure is the amount of work Imagineers and Cast Members have been up to inside the parks!

disneyland at night
Credit: Disney

During the pandemic closure, Disneyland Resort has tackled 20 different projects in both Disneyland and Disney California Resort to hopefully have Guests return to something a little extra magical once the gates reopen. Amid the 28,000 layoffs, and the OC Register’s reporting that “Disney announced plans to cut $700 million in capital expenditures as a result of the pandemic’s impact on company coffers,” it’s pretty remarkable that the theme park is still able to continue innovating, just as Walt always wanted.

Local Southern California news source the Orange County Register recently compiled a complete list of each ongoing project at Disneyland Resort! So let’s break this down between the two theme parks, and see what Disney has brewing while we’ve been gone. Disneyland updates are always fun to track, and we have been following many of these for a while.

Note that we have also added links to all of the projects that we have reported on, as well. So if you want more information about any of these projects, attractions, and more, please click on the name of that project and you’ll be directed to an article for more details.

Disneyland has been undergoing the most updates while it has been closed, with 15 of the 20 projects going on within the park. One area this article will not cover is the new Star Wars inspired land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Guests who want to visit Batuu will be able to once the park reopens, but considering that Star Wars is such a new IP to Disneyland, updates have yet to be made.

1) Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Since this attraction opened up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios over at Disney World, Disneyland Guests have been very excited to hop on this train ride. Luckily, it seems that vertical construction has begun on this attraction which will find a home in Mickey’s Toontown.

The attraction will not debut until 2023.

Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway
Credit: Disney

The Delay announcement came from Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock who shared on his Instagram that,

” I am thrilled to share my “Happiest View on Earth” with you today, a special peek outside a window at our Team Disney Anaheim building. This particular view offers a behind-the-magic look at a momentous milestone that happened today at @Disneyland park – the first steel beam has been placed for what will be the future Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction, scheduled to open for guests in 2023! Swipe and take a look! “

Having been on the Disney World version, I can tell you that this is an attraction worth waiting for.

2) Haunted Mansion

The OCR also reported that, “construction crews have been spotted outside the classic dark ride that was undergoing refurbishment before the closure of Disneyland. The project calls for the interiors and exteriors of the Haunted Mansion to be refreshed and some attraction mechanics to be refurbished.”

haunted mansion gingerbread house
Credit: David Nguyen/Disneyland Resort

As we know, every year during the Halloween and holiday seasons, The Haunted Mansion would typically see a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay with Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie around every turn. It looks like we will forgo that, but hopefully see a spookier mansion instead.

3) Snow White Scary Adventures

Snow White Scary Adventures also has been updated with the exterior being painted lighter tones to look a little less scary. You can expect turquoise and pink colors and to take over the building next time you return. The makeover reportedly cost $445,000, and “will add new music, LED black lighting, laser projections, animation systems and audio-visual technology to the dark ride while removing the ‘scary’ finale,”

Here’s how Disney describes the updates coming soon to Snow White’s Scary Adventures:

Walt Disney Imagineering is reimagining how the classic tale of Snow White lives happily ever after, and guests will be invited to follow along with her story.

In addition to experiencing familiar elements of the attraction you know and love, you’ll discover enhanced story details and all-new scenes. For example, a new vignette will show Snow White in a beautiful forest setting waking up from her deep sleep. Also, the attraction will conclude when Snow White is reunited with her animal friends and a shimmering castle is seen in the distance.

Imagineers are implementing state-of-the-art audio and visual technology throughout the attraction, including new music, LED black lighting, laser projections and a new animation system. The exterior of the attraction will be completely refreshed with new, fairy tale-inspired details to complement the nearby charming Sleeping Beauty Castle.

4) King Arthur Carrousel

The carousel has a scrim up so that the horses inside can get a little sprucing up! This will just be a general cosmetic update, but a shiny carousel is always welcome at Disneyland!

Prior to the closure, the carousel was set to be closed  through April 7, 2020, but now that closure has been extended. Good news here however is that with such a early timeline, this refurbishment is likely to be complete.

5) Indiana Jones Adventure

Indiana Jones Adventure is one of the more popular and exciting rides at Disneyland Resort, and permits have been filed “to replace a plank bridge and its steel structure in the show set of the motion-based dark ride.”

It will be exciting to hop back on the attraction and try to spot the changes and see if they really affect the Guest experience or not.

6) Mickey’s House

The Orange County Register also noted, “Disney crews performed a $115,000 reroofing of Mickey’s Toontown residence where visitors meet the famous mouse and pose for photos. Scaffolding went up around Mickey’s House shortly before Disneyland was closed by the pandemic.”

mickey toontown
Credit: Disney

Between Disneyland’s Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and this, Toontown is going to look like the best cartoon land we have ever seen once we are able to return.

7) Space Mountain

This refurbishment won’t be a big one for us unless you are ever riding Space Mountain and the attraction breaks down. Emergency stairs have been refurbished on this attraction, and although it is ‘behind the scenes’, the fix has a big price tag at $1.1 million dollars.

Who knew stairs could cost so much?

8) Gadget Go Coaster

This kiddie coaster in Mickey’s Toontown needed some seasonal maintenance, so Disneyland used this closure to spruce it up and have it ready to ride when Guests return.

9) Tomorrowland Entrance

The rock work in front of Tomorrowland, which many Guests have deemed as the ‘french fry’ rocks, have been fully removed.

Disneyland chose to do this in order to widen the walkway into Tomorrowland, which will be of great help for social distancing measures once the park is able to reopen, creating a larger bottleneck for Guests to use.

Credit: ITM

10) Frontierland Entrance

Speaking of making things wider, Frontierland has reportedly spent $200,000 to widen a bridge within the land, and also brought a totally new entrance marquee to the land. This will be very exciting for Guests to see when they return to the park!

11) Parade Route

Missing the Magic Happens parade at Disneyland a little more than usual today?

Crews have finished renovating the brick apron between Sleeping Beauty Castle and Matterhorn Bobsleds near the Disneyland hub.

This might not do too much for Guests, but it will mean prettier pictures from the parades and better looking videos since the brick apron will be looking spiffy! We are also excited to hopefully see the parade route being utilized for character cavalcades once the theme park reopens.

magic happens Disneyland parade
Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

If you can’t wait until Disneyland reopens, check out the parade right now!

NEW Magic Happens parade at Disneyland Resort!

Magic Happens Parade TODAY!!!Special performance before it’s official debut tomorrow February 28th at Disneyland.Read our article here: https://insidethemagic.net/2020/02/disneyland-magic-happens-parade-early-tm1/

Posted by Inside the Magic on Thursday, February 27, 2020

12) Tom Sawyer’s Island

$350,00 went into fixing up the Cider Mill and Blacksmith shop. This is more than just an update for Tom Sawyer’s island, but also for Fantasmic! since the tin-roofed building is the focal point of the show.

13) Matterhorn Bobsleds

The Matterhorn Bobsleds just needed some maintenance done, and Disneyland has it under control! We might not notice asthetically what changed, but for a ride that is pretty bumpy to begin with, routine maintenance is important.

14) Main Street U.S.A.

The Emporium was being worked on with scaffolding and scrims covering the Disneyland gift shop. It seems that scaffolding has come down, and Guests can look forward to reentereing The Emporium soon.

15) Splash Mountain

We know Splash Mountain is set to be re-themed to the classic Princess and the Frog Disney film, but work has not begun on the attraction just yet.

Or has it?

Disney is working with the Disney Animation Studios to flesh out the backstory of the new attraction. This is exciting for Princess and the Frog fans, who have likely been guessing where songs will be placed, and what scenes will happen where. Looks like Disney is digging a little deeper on this one.

Splash Mountain Concept Art
Credit: Disney

Disney California Adventure Park

Here are the projects that have been going on inside Disney California Adventure.

Remember: Buena Vista Street inside DCA is reopening soon! Click here for more info.

16) Avengers Campus

The OCR confirmed, “Construction continues on the Marvel superhero-themed land. Ride testing was underway on the new Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure attraction just before the closure of DCA.” We originally should have jumped into the MCU in July 2020, but due to the pandemic, the opening has been pushed back to an unknown date.

d'amaro avengers campus
Credit: Josh D’Amaro/Instagram

17) Administration Building

We also learned that “the new backstage office building is being built behind Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters in Cars Land.” And if you have been to Cars Land, you know that anything that happens there is a work of art and immersion!

18) Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Speaking of Cars Land, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree has also had some maintenance to make sure Guests can keep whipping around with a smile on their face.

19) Pixar Pal-A-Round

At Pixar Pier on the Pixar Pal-A-Round, stationary gondolas have been removed for routine maintenance. The Pixar Pal-A-Round is was changed back in 2018 to accomidate the re-theming of Pixar Pier, and favorite characters from films like “Coco,” “The Incredibles,” “Inside Out” were decorated on the exterior of the ride.

Since the closure, the ride has been seen testing, likely a result of the routine maintenance!

20) Hyperion Theatre

After discovering the Hyperion Theatre was losing Frozen with the massive entertainment layoffs, Guests have been sad about the theatre’s empty feeling. It seems that a cloud backdrop has been repainted on the side of the building. Perhaps this could be an Instagram wall? We will have to wait and see, but whatever it is won’t replace the spectacle that was Frozen.

hyperion theater dca
Credit: Disney

So that’s it! All the updates you can expect to see in Disneyland Resort’s future! For now, you can explore Disneyland Resort by visiting the Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street which has been recently added to the area!

When will Disneyland reopen?

As of now, Disneyland Resort’s reopening is looking rather grim. Inside the Magic has been closely reporting the reopening news, and as of late Governor Newsom’s latest theme park reopening guidelines will not allow Disneyland or Disney California Adventure to reopen until Orange County is in Tier 4. At the moment, the county sits in Tier 2 with projections of not reaching an opening level until summer 2021.

Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro placed heavy blame on the state of California for having to layoff many of the 28,000 Cast Members due to the extended closure of Disneyland, and even after CA officials toured Disneyland with no concerns, or health and safety updates needed, the theme park guidelines have not budged.

Anaheim Mayor is begging Newsom to allow Disneyland Resort to reopen in Tier 3, since the surrounding businesses that rely so heavily on Disneyland tourism, have suffered greatly. Unfortunately, Visiting a Disney park in California is not possible at the moment, but. we can’t wait until we can book our next stay at the Disneyland Hotel and plan our next Disneyland vacation.

The idea of Disney taking legal action against Newsom has been brought up, but it seems that Disneyland would like to work alongside him, instead of engage in a battle. Stay tuned to ITM to get all the updates you need!

What are you most excited to see new and improved at the Disneyland Resort theme parks after they reopen? Let us know in the comments!

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