After an unusually mild Spring Break season, big crowds finally arrived last week at Disneyland. The crush of big crowds comes as Disneyland prepares to bring back four major nighttime spectaculars this upcoming weekend, including a 50th Anniversary run of classic Main Street Electrical Parade. The big news this week, however, is some major springtime gardening underway in Disneyland. Chip and Dale’s Treehouse has been chopped down as part of Toontown’s major re-imagining project. While over in Adventureland, Tarzan’s Treehouse is getting pruned as well as that attraction prepares for some major changes including ousting its title character, Tarzan. Meanwhile, New Orleans Square’s gardens and waterfront continue major re-imagining project as well.
We’ve got some big news you’ll have to read to be-leaf, plus lots of construction updates and photos, so let’s get started…
Welcome to Disneyland!
Before we get to our big news on Tarzan’s Treehouse and the rebirth of entertainment, let’s set the stage a bit… It was a beautiful week in the parks with mild temperatures and clear blue skies. With favorable weather and spring break in full swing, it was no surprise that crowds finally decided to arrive. Mickey floral is slowly returning to normal after the removal of the Minnie Mouse overlay.
The park is really looking lovely with spring floral in bloom throughout both parks.
Spring break crowds finally arrived this Easter week, with packed walkways and long wait times.
A look at Disneyland’s wait times Thursday afternoon.
Long lines formed to take photos with the Partners statue in the hub.
“it’s a small world’s” extended outdoor queue area was packed full Friday afternoon.
Long lines at popular attractions over the weekend.
Alice in Wonderland had extended queue setup in anticipation of big crowds.
Long lines at the Disneyland Railroad’s Toontown Station stretched along the back of the Fantasyland Theater.
Big crowds in Fantasyland…
Crowds in Critter Country
It was also the final weekend for distanced character meet-and-greets. Traditional character greetings return starting today (including hugs and autographs).
While the return of more one-on-one character interactions will be welcome, we’ll certainly miss the ability to walk up and snap a selfie so easily with so many characters. It would be great if Disney could find a way to keep some of the distanced character greetings around so guests could have options in the way they interact with their favorite characters.
More on the return of character interactions, meet and greets, hugs, autographs, & character dining in our dedicated article here:
But our big news today is the work underway and two of Disneyland’s treehouses. Between Adventureland and Mickey’s Toontown, two longtime treehouse attractions are in the spotlight today as we reveal new information on their fates…
Major Transformation Set for Tarzan’s Treehouse
In Adventureland, you may see some demolition on part of Tarzan’s Treehouse starting today. The tree trunk in the middle of the pathway (along with the rope bridge that extends over the Adventureland walkway) will start coming down. This project comes as part of Disneyland’s ongoing efforts to make walkways in the parks easier to navigate. But that’s not all that’s changing.
The treehouse itself is a classic Disneyland structure and originally home to the Swiss Family Robinson which opened in 1962. Imagineer Tony Baxter saved the treehouse from demolition in the 1990s with the Tarzan-themed overlay that we know today. The tree stump-themed entry stairs and rope bridge was added as part of the Tarzan re-theme in 1998 and has been a source of crowd flow issues ever since.
Disneyland is now looking to remove that 1999-era entrance to Tarzan’s Treehouse entirely, pruning the treehouse back to something closer to its original 1962 footprint. Work on removing this feature of the attraction is expected to start as early as today. Longtime Disneyland fans needn’t worry about the Treehouse itself. Disneyland has no plans to remove the attraction outright and it’s likely that this change will lead to larger re-investment in the longtime Disneyland fixture.
In 2019, a plank on the bridge snapped when a guest jumped on it and forced an emergency closure which was quickly fixed. Additional issues with the stairs caused a sudden unannounced closure of the attraction back in September of last year and the attraction has been down ever since. Ultimately, the decision was made to fix crowd-flow issues and bring the attraction up-to-date with a new theme as well.
So, what about Tarzan? Well, we may not be talking about Tarzan for very long… but we will be talking about a different character soon. Indeed, a complete re-imagining of the treehouse is in the works. Just last week, Dusty posed the possibility that a new theme was on the way to the Treehouse and that an Encanto-themed overlay could be a good fit. He even included a poll in which nearly 3,000 of you voted (about half of you for Encanto).
But don’t get too excited about La Familia Madrigal moving in quite yet – Disneyland hasn’t yet made a final decision on which Disney property will be moving in. And with a reboot of The Swiss Family Robinson set for Disney+, it’s just possible that some version of the original attraction could return as well.
But the one sure thing is that the bridge and entry tree stump is leaving.
Don’t be surprised if you see the treehouse closed for quite some time as Disneyland makes final decisions on a new direction.
In my opinion it will be great for this pathway to be easier to walk through again for the first time since the late-1990s. And it’s exciting to think of what new things may get into this old attraction. What Disney properties fit the Adventureland theme AND would pull in a modern audience to an attraction which requires a lot of walking up and down stairs? Let’s hear your thoughts…
Chip and Dale’s Treehouse Removed from Toontown
Talking about pruning Disneyland’s treehouses, work has quickly gotten underway in Mickey’s Toontown on the land’s major re-imagining. The Toontown redo is a massive effort to breathe new life into the aging land as it prepares to welcome its first new attraction since the area opened in 1994.
New aerial views of the sprawling Toontown project show that walkways throughout the land have been removed. To accommodate the massive crowds expected when Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens next year, walkways are being rerouted and repaved, without the trolley tracks from the long-defunct Jolly Trolly attraction.
Both of the land’s themed fountains are now gone as well. A single larger and interactive fountain will be added as part of the new CenTOONial Park addition to the land. That new green space will incorporate interactive features in a sprawling green space, anchored by a new Dreaming Tree.
That sculpted artificial Dreaming Tree will be added as another artificial tree has been removed from the land. Chip and Dale’s Treehouse is now history. The treehouse was conspicuously absent from concept renderings from the land that Disney released when they announced the project. But other vague areas in the concept drawings and Disney failing to mention any changes for Chip and Dale left the fate of the treehouse in the air, until now.
The treehouse is officially gone and our expectation is that clearing this little corner of Toontown will open up a direct pathway to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The addition of a permanent, connecting path here makes perfect sense. Toontown will no longer simply be home to meet-and-greets and a couple of C-ticket rides for kids. A sprawling, major new attraction will be here soon, and Toontown can no longer afford to be the dead end it’s been since it opened in 1994. Stay tuned to MiceChat for the latest on this developing project.
But one thing you don’t need to worry about are Mickey and Minnie… they’ll be back in their houses, along with their new attraction. Roger Rabbit has also been confirmed to return
Getting Ready to Re-ignite the Night
As big changes take place in Adventureland and Toontown, Disneyland is wrapping up major refurbishments and enhancements to its big nighttime spectaculars. The Resort is re-launching its nighttime entertainment in a big way this Friday (April 22nd). In Disneyland, the Main Street Electrical Parade will return for a run in honor of the classic parade’s 50th anniversary along with the return of the Disneyland Forever fireworks (Fantasmic is lagging behind and will return next month). In Disney California Adventure, the popular World of Color water and projection show will return to Paradise Bay on Friday.
We have ALL the info for you on the returning nighttime spectaculars, including a VIRTUAL QUEUE for World of Color and how to use it, special foods and merchandise, and those cute new Electrical Parade popcorn buckets in a dedicated article here:
Below is Disneyland’s new commercial promoting the return of nighttime spectaculars:
That commercial gives a glimpse at the new “it’s a small world” themed finale float coming to the Main Street Electrical Parade. And an even better view in this video interview from Disney Parks (note the “50 Years” on the iconic drum float and new color changing LEDs on the final unit):
If you’re hoping to see as much nighttime entertainment as possible this weekend, keep in mind excellent fireworks viewing is available along the Rivers of America and in front of “it’s a small world.” Both locations offer versions of the projections you’ll see along Main Street, U.S.A. and on the castle, without the crowds that gather on Main Street. You can watch the Main Street Electrical Parade from Small World Mall as well.
The new finale segment will include characters from classic and contemporary Disney films, including the recent Encanto.
UPDATED: Some new images of the Main Street Electrical Parade Small World/Mary Blair inspired grand finale unit have just become available:
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW GRAND FINALE FOLKS?
In New Orleans Square, Fantasmic! is getting finishing touches ahead of its big debut next month. Work on the projection and pyro pits on the water has wrapped up but some work continues on Tom Sawyer Island. The lighting tower pits along the New Orleans waterfront are behind walls as well.
Meanwhile, construction continues on flattening out New Orleans Square. it’s nice to see that Disneyland is taking the time to retain a lot of the trees and garden spaces here instead of just turning the entire waterfront into an unshaded expanse of concrete.
Below, we have a video overview of all of the work underway on the New Orleans Square waterfront, as seen from the Mark Twain Riverboat. The video gives a great perspective on just how much is happening right now that can be sometimes hard to capture the full scope of in photos.
A peek behind the wall shows a lot of work still left to do in finishing up this project…
In Disney California Adventure, most of the visible work has seemingly wrapped up on World of Color. Scaffolding has been removed around the new, larger lighting towers along the back of Paradise Bay. They seem ready to go for this weekend!
It’s a Bruno World After All
Last week Disneyland debuted a new nighttime mini-show on the facade of “it’s a small world.” The new show plays every quarter hour after the nighttime fireworks show and is a quick rendition of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Encanto. The show transforms the facade with projections and brings the popular song to life. It’s all part of an increased effort to bring the latest Disney hit films into the parks more quickly than before.
You can watch the full show in video below:
Unlocking the new Magic Key Terrace
Over in the Golden Vine Winery, the Magic Key Terrace continues its rolling remodeling project. A lot of the new thematic elements have been installed and the space is looking a lot nicer than it ever did before. Despite originally being home to a high-end Mondavi Winery dining experience that opened with the park, the space was never themed all that much. Walls were largely bare with uninspired lighting fixtures and unwelcoming seating areas. The upscale restaurant never took off and quickly closed after park opening (mostly due to the lack of crowds in the park when it opened). It has been used off-and-on for its great outdoor bar area until recently being permanently converted into a lounge for Magic Key pass holders.
In converting the space permanently into a pass holder lounge, Disney finally looked to give the space some proper theming and character. While the design choices are kind of weird and confusing the fact that there’s theming at all makes the space a hundred times more inviting and desirable to be in than before.
According to Imagineer Kim Irvine, the new backstory for the lounge casts the space as “a beautiful hacienda recently purchased by a young couple that wants to keep the charm of the old place while adding some comfortable contemporary touches.”
Below, a look at the current state of the project. New chandeliers and lighting fixtures have been installed, new decorative tiles, a large new mural, and more.
Peacock-themed lighting fixtures flank the new mural.
Views of the park really remain the star of the show here.
New faux stained glass depicting peacocks have been installed.
While it isn’t a masterpiece of themed design, it’s a pretty notable upgrade from what was here before.
New wrought-iron lighting fixtures add a lot of warm light to the lounge.
A new wall fountain with strange but interesting decorative glass wall sconces has been added.
Hacienda bookshelf details.
A quirky little corner with a couple of al fresh paintings of California sights, a stained glass window, and a peacock feather-themed sconce.
Nice detail here.
The couple that bought this hacienda really seems to have a thing for peacocks. Decorative tiles on the walls feature a peacock feather motif.
The lovely outdoor bar patio remains one of the best hidden getaways in the park.
If peacock feather tiles weren’t your thing, then head outside for abstract cat tiles.
Moody cat watercolor paintings are inspired by the wild cats you’ll see wandering around Grizzly Mountain as you sip your drinks.
The theming here is kinda weird but overall this is one of those forgotten corners of California Adventure where any theming would help — and it certainly does. The space before was cold, uncomfortable, and had shockingly little to look at. There’s now quite a bit of visual interest here with a lot of warmth and comfort added in — and that’s exactly what was needed (with more still on the way we understand). The Magic Key Terrace is open limited hours daily to Magic Key holders and their invited guests. Reservations are available and recommended, however, mobile waitlist is often available if you keep an eye on the app.
Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment
In Disneyland, the Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment continues with the outdoor queue getting a complete overhaul.
Pirates is not expected to reopen until after the debut of Fantasmic next month. You can just imagine the mess that would occur if a newly reopened Pirates caused queue lines to extend out into the viewing area for Fantasmic.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage refurbishment
In Tomorrowland, work continues on the very extended Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage refurbishment. We have a couple aerial images for you that show scaffolds over the coral reef have been mostly removed, but a giant white tented structure has been erected along the track (likely for powder coating and repainting to prevent or treat rust).
Views from a little lower in the air, aboard the Disneyland Monorail, let you see more detail in the work that’s in progress. In the couple of days between the aerial photos and these Monorail photos, those big tents were removed, revealing freshly painted track…
Just a few spots of work remain. You can see a small scaffold in the image below.
All bright and ready for water.
At California Adventure, sidewalk repaving continues in Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land.
Curb lowering by the Trolley stop on Buena Vista Street.
And sidewalk repaving on Hollywood Blvd.
Stage 12 (the old Hollywood and Dine) is out from refurbishment walls with fresh paint on the facade. Captain Marvel’s airplane had been here before. The Food and Wine Festival-themed meet-and-greet area for Goofy was pushed back here, although the festival wraps up this weekend.