New stuff at Disneyland?

I’m very rarely in the vicinity of the Magic Kingdom w/o my wife (who despises THPoE), so it turns out that in our upcoming road trip, she’ll need to leave for work a day early, leaving me solo in SoCal for the last trip leg up through California.

Now, my two favorite rides are in New Orleans Square (The Haunted Mansion and Pirates), and I haven’t seen the revised versions of either (Nightmare & Johnny Depp respectively), so those are a must. To be honest, though, there really isn’t too much else I’m interested in revisiting. But I would like to see anything that’s new or revamped.

The last time I was there (3 years ago? 4?), I think the newest thing was the pseudo-psychadelic Winnie-the-Pooh ride in “Critter Country”. I also think I read recently about the submarines in Fantasyland getting a Finding Nemo upgrade. Is there anything else that’s new or particularly seasonal that’s worth catching (without hopefully bogging me down for too long before my 400-mile trip)? I’m not going to pay a separate admission for CA Adventures (which I’ve seen once), so please keep any suggestions limited to Disneyland itself. (Note: I plan on being there right when the park opens…)


Have you been to Disney’s California Adventure? If not, there’s a ton of new attractions there, many of which are excellent (Tower, Soarin’, Screamin’, Muppets, Bugs Life, Grizzly, etc).

If so, Tower of Terror may still be new enough that you missed it the first time. As for Disneyland, you pretty much covered it.

The Hated Palace of Evil ?

TetraHydroPooh ortho-Eeyore?

The Happiest Place on Earth.

The Herpitic Putrescence of Eisner?

Here in Orlando, the updated Pirates’ ride was tastefully done, for Disney. The only thing that really changed for me was in the beginning, although everything is still “there” from the old ride’s beginning, there’s something in the middle that mars the experience somewhat. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

Spoiler it?

I visited Disneyland for the first time as an adult about two or three years back. The “updated” Pirates is pretty much relegated to a couple new animatronic models that look vaguely like movie stars. I don’t even know what they changed for Haunted Mansion. But I was surprised at how poorly the experience of both those rides has aged for me. They just seemed old and hokey to me. And it’s not just a matter of me not being a kid, because they’ve got two new attractions that were great fun, and captured exactly the spirit I remembered from when I was a little kid: The Tower of Terror, and Indiana Jones Adventures. The Tower has all the spookiness of the Mansion, without (as much of) the kitsch, and is a genuinely good ride, as well. The Indy ride has skeletons and ruins and piles of gold like Pirates does, but with state-of-the-art special effects and an actual roller-coaster, not just a boat ride with a drop-off half-way through. I think I can comfortably go the rest of my life without ever riding Pirates of the Caribbean again, but I’m still kicking myself over putting Tower of Terror off until so late in my trip, I didn’t have enough time to go twice.

If you’re hitting it late enough for them to have their Christmas stuff up, there was a music-synchronized light show up against the It’s a Small World facade that was interesting. It happened in place of the clock chiming the hour.

This inside of It’s a Small World had been Christmassed, which did not improve it.

You think the new animatronics look vaguely like the characters? Really? The likeness if flippin’ UNCANNY to me. Like, the damned thing even moves exactly like Depp does the character! We were stuck on the ride once for like an hour and the captain Jack robot thing was creepy! The other ones look fake- that one does not. I was hesitant about the update on Pirates, but I think it turned out very nicely.

I’m a huge Disneyland fan, myself. Haunted Mansion Holiday isn’t as fun as the regular Mansion, but it’s definitely worth seeing if you’re there (particularly if you like the movie A Nightmare Before Christmas). I will say that while the Holiday overlay inside the Mansion is kind of lame, what they do to the outside is AMAZING. A few pictures from Oct 7th.
We didn’t get a chance to go on the Nemo Submarine thing, because it had like a 2 hour wait and, frankly, I wasn’t interested enough to wait 2 hours.

Have you been on Space Mountain since they updated it a few years ago? The new track really is a ton smoother and makes the ride more enjoyable.

The one thing though that I would say is can’t miss would be the fireworks show Remember: Dreams Come True. It seriously is AMAZING. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the show, but every time I am totally blown away. If you are there on a busy day and Main Street is packed, head over by It’s a Small World for the fireworks- that’s the secret, Disney insider spot to watch the fireworks (one of the best views in the park). Oh, and during the Christmas season, there is snow during the fireworks!

And, now I’ve just reread your OP about being there in the morning. :smack: Well, you guys should totally come back for the fireworks :stuck_out_tongue: . That said, I’d definitely check out the Mansion, Pirates, Indie (always a fun one, especially if the line is short), and Space (if you haven’t been on it since the refurb). If you’ve got some more time, you can’t go wrong with Splash and Big Thunder, too.

In between the “wetter” cave entrance and the beach with the bones and the wind there is now a wall of mist in which a laser-created image leers at you. I forget what exactly it was or said since I only went on it once. But if you can ignore that the rest of the beginning is still pretty chilling

Every recent Disneyland visitor my wife or I have asked about the new submarines has said this. It’s like the Yogi Berra quote “No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded.”
I was there on my birthday in 1998 for the last day of operation of the previous version.

Well, that’s not really that impressive, since Jack Sparrow moves exactly like a run-down animatronic. :smiley:

Oh, you just have to know how to rock the Disney lines, my friend. My plan that always works just swimmingly?

Get there at opening, go straight to the left and get your Haunted Mansion, Pirates, and Indie fix. Then get your Splash fix (lines are still low that early in the day). Then head over to Big Thunder, which usually has a fast line. All of what I just listed can easily be done even on the busiest of days within 2.5 hours of opening. On non busy days, we’ve gone through all of those things in a little over an hour. The key is, of course, getting there early.

After that, we usually head over towards Space Mountain and either get a Fast Pass or hop in line. Still being early in the morning, the wait is usually no more than 30 minutes.

At this point, we pretty much wander and check things out- maybe shop, catch smaller rides, etc. Then we eat lunch around noon (usually at the Blue Bayou).

It’s about lunch time that the park really starts to get crowded with families. This is where the key to my plan comes in: have a hotel within walking distance from the park so at lunch time you can go lay in a nice comfy bed and hang out for a few hours. We usually do this, then eat dinner near the hotel. After that, we head back to the park at about 6 or 7 PM (usually 7, though). By 7, the families are starting to leave, the lines are lessening, and things are awesome.

By 9, Fantasmic! is going on, so you can go back on any of the rides in New Orleans Square, Adventureland, and Frontierland with almost no wait. By this time, the Matterhorn’s line is also almost nonexistent.

I love the fireworks, like I said, so we always watch those. After the fireworks, all the families leave, so Fantasyland is yours. Mr. Toad, Snow White, Dumbo, etc. in an almost child-free (and therefore lineless) environment. Oh yes. Tis glorious.
As far as the submarines, it’s just because they are new. I remember when Indy opened and that day the line seriously went around the castle. Good times.

I guess I wasn’t clear. We know exactly how to rock the lines if we so choose (we’ve seen it all so we generally take our time). I’m frustrated by not having a first-hand review of the new ride, as everyone we know chose to skip it due to the line length.
We’ll just have to check it out ourselves when we go in a few weeks. (Our second trip to Club 33, yay! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: )

As for new stuff, there’s now the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.

Now Tom Sawyer Island was were we used to go for lunch. When I was young my Uncle decided not to keep up with who was wearing what size or liked what toy and just took all his nephews and nieces to Disneyland for Christmas. We approved. Tom Sawyer Island was great for letting all the younger kids run off some energy.

It was also a good place to meet up if the older kids had split into different groups. Adults could get off of their feet.

Interesting, that’s my favorite part of the new ride. I love that effect. It’s Davy Jones. His likeness is just a movie projected from behind on the wall of mist, he says a line and then fades into the mist.

You can see the new WDW version of Pirates on Youtube right here. The part spoilered above is at 45 seconds in.

Mods feel free to remove the link if it’s not kosher, but if Disney’s let it go on Youtube for 16 months, I assume it’s okay.

My understanding, though, is that this isn’t really visible until it starts getting dark. Still, I may check it out when I’m in Fantasyland.

So it sounds like there’s not much else to catch. I guess my plan of attack will be:

(1) Nemo. First thing, beeline to the subs.
(2) Indiana Jones–get the fast pass.
(3) New Orleans Square. Go to Haunted & PotC.
(4) Ride Indiana (not a new ride for me, but I’ve only been on it twice before)
(5) See if I can get on Big Thunder (I hate Space Mtn but I’ve always liked this one)
(6) Eat at Blue Bayou (I’ve always heard about it but never have gone)

#s 4-6 are optional if I’m running late (though hopefully, as a solo rider, I’ll be able to get on quicker than usual). The ultimate endgame: Out by Noon to Go Home.

p.s. I heard a rumor that you can mail objects from Disneyland and/or get some kind of park-unique postmark. Is this true? If so, where would I go?

Call Disney Dining and get reservations. It’s impossible to get in otherwise. To be safe you should call about a week in advance.

The ambience at Blue Bayou is definitely great and they used to have the best food in the park, but lately I’ve actually had better meals at Cafe New Orleans across the street. They revamped it in 2006 and really improved the menu.

Every quarter hour actually. It is pretty cool. Small World Holiday is a big improvement over regular Small World. Not that that’s saying a whole lot.

Was Buzz Lightyear there when you were there last? That’s a fun ride.