Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Depressing Disney Week

Well, this has certainly been a depressing Disney week.  Within the past week, Disney theme park fans have had to say goodbye to numerous theme park favorites- some temporarily and some which are now gone forever.

I have to admit that it leaves me feeling a little bit glum.  There were closures at both theme parks, most notably this past weekend at Disneyland.  With the Star Wars section of the park set to start construction anytime now some attractions were forced to close for the next year or so.  Unfortunately, it's probably only a matter of time before the same thing happens to Hollywood Studios.

Speaking of Hollywood Studios, the first victim of future expansions happened last Wednesday when we said goodbye to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  I've been lucky enough to see the lights multiple times during our trips over New Years.  (The lights have been a part of Disney World since 1995.)

The Osborne lights were the only closing attraction that I grew up with.  However, as sad as I am that they've "been retired", I'm not upset about it... yet.  Some part of me feels like the lights will find a new home.  Disney has spent so much time updating them to LEDs, and creating the dancing programming.  Something in my gut says it's not over yet.  And I really hope my gut feeling is right.

Disneyland had a lot of changes over last weekend.  In fact, some park guests were dubbing their weekend the "Goodbye Tour" in which they went from attraction to attraction saying goodbye to their favorites.  One of the biggest casualties of adding a Star Wars section was Big Thunder Ranch.

Big Thunder Ranch consisted of a petting zoo including goats, donkeys, a horse and more.  There was also a barbecue restaurant and a jamboree.  The ranch section of the park was tucked behind Big Thunder Mountain Raildroad and it was a nice place to unwind and catch your breath.  In fact, I didn't even know it existed until my most recent trip to Disneyland.  (I don't think we even went over there my first time!)

I enjoyed seeing the animals and I'm sure I would have loved the food offerings at the restaurant.  They used to have egg decorating and pumpkin carving over there during the Easter and Halloween holidays.  That would have been cool to see.  Elissa is devastated about Big Thunder Ranch closing.  I'm not devastated, but it is sad to see another small part of what makes Disneyland Disneyland go.  And I do wish I'd seen the "goat run" at least once.  Thankfully, the animals all have nice homes to move to!

Another casualty of building Star Wars land, is the temporary closure of the Rivers of America.  Translated, that means the Disneyland Railroad, canoes, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Tom Sawyer's Island, and Fantasmic will all be gone to accommodate construction.  I have to admit, I'm a big fan of the train so this is a bit depressing for me.  I also love Fantasmic and it's sad it'll be gone for a year or more.

Plus, this leaves Disneyland with less space per person in the park.  Disneyland is already very crowded on a good day.  Eliot's so annoyed about all the construction and the closures that he's vowed not to go there again until it's all over- except for the pre-determined trips we've planned and are hoping to go on over the next two years.

However, there are a few pluses.  The new construction on the Rivers of America looks gorgeous.  Disney released a rendered image of concept art yesterday.  It appears that when the train returns, the waterfront will have new waterfalls with an elevated train track.  I love waterfalls!  Also, during the construction, Disneyland plans to have two of the trains stopped at stations so guests can see the trains up close and learn more about how they run.  My Papa loved trains so much.  I'm excited to experience this and to take a picture with one of the trains.

The saddest goodbye for me was the ending of Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.  I posted a fun find with Genie's jokes last Friday.  Even a few days later, I have to admit that I'm still sad when I think about it.  (More on that soon...)  But, Walt Disney himself said that "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."  And while we are all sad to say goodbye to some fan favorites, building Star Wars themed lands definitely fits into that philosophy.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." ~Walt Disney  °o°

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