It’s January, which means it’s officially the off-season for theme parks. Typically this is the time of year when theme parks will temporarily close attractions for refurbishment, to either spruce them up or make some changes. Disneyland is no exception and generally lots of attractions go down in January, but this year seems especially rough. Disneyland refurbishment periods are never fun; however, the photos that have been circulating on the Internet definitely make things look worse than they actually are.
I visited Disneyland over the weekend to see the refurbishment areas for myself, and it’s not nearly as bad as I was expecting.
There are a lot of walls up on Main Street USA right now because Disneyland is refurbishing the horse drawn carriage tracks. Some of these tracks haven’t been worked on or replaced since the park opened in 1955, so this is a project that is very much needed.
Because the tracks are right in the middle of Main Street USA and also surround the two hubs, the walls seem very intrusive. The sections of Main Street USA that are blocked off right now are the hub at the top of Main Street where the flagpole is, and the hub at the other end where the Partners statue is located. However, the majority of Main Street is clear and open.
Even though there are walls around the Partners statue near Sleeping Beauty Castle, your castle selfies will still come out okay. The castle still looks great (even though the snow seems kinda ridiculous in 85 degree weather).
There are some downsides to be aware of, though. Due to the restricted space on Main Street USA, there are no Main Street vehicles operating at this time. Also, the parades and fireworks have been cancelled while this refurbishment is going on. The refurbishment of the Main Street USA tracks is rumored to be on-going until late winter at the earliest. The Disneyland website has no scheduled return date listed for the parades, fireworks, or Main Street vehicles. Fantasmic! is still taking place on select nights.
In Fantasyland, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is getting a major overhaul. Disney is making major improvements to the queue area, moving it back behind the ride and adding a shade cover. This is going to dramatically improve the waiting experience for this attraction once it reopens in early spring. But for now, Dumbo is all walled off and the attraction has completely disappeared.
In Frontierland, Splash Mountain has closed for refurbishment which is typical in the colder winter months. It is scheduled to reopen in April.
Across the way in Disney California Adventure, Paradise Pier has started undergoing a massive renovation project. California Screamin’ and Mickey’s Fun Wheel have both closed and are noticeably under construction (it’s nearly impossible to cover such large structures from the public’s view. The Treasures in Paradise gift shop and ice cream shop are closed, as well as Cove Bar and Ariel’s Grotto. Snack carts have been added outside of Cove Bar.
Many parts of Paradise Pier are still open for now, including King Triton’s Carousel and Toy Story Midway Mania. However, that back pathway is blocked off once you get past Midway Mania.
On the other side of Paradise Pier, the Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta restaurants are still open as well as the Golden Zephyrs, but the Silly Symphony Swings are not. And the best news of all – it appears World of Color is still happening on select nights.
Despite the high level of construction going on right now, guests visiting during this time should still have a very enjoyable Disney trip. While it is a shame some of our favorite attractions and restaurants are temporarily closed, the magic of the parks is still as vibrant as ever. During my brief visit on Saturday, I witnessed more characters roaming the park than usual, more band performances, and Cast Members are doing their very best to make sure everyone has a magical time despite the construction. So if you have a Disney trip planned in the next couple of months, there is no need to worry! You’re still going to have a great time!
Here is a complete list of attractions closed in the early part of this year and their closure dates. Information from Touring Plans.
Splash Mountain: 1/2/18 – 4/14/18
Dumbo the Flying Elephant: 1/8/18 – 4/27/18
Flag Retreat Ceremony: 1/8/18 – Uncertainty
Haunted Mansion: 1/8/18 – 1/19/18
Main Street Vehicles: 1/8/18 – 3/15/18
it’s a small world: 1/22/18 – 2/2/18
Casey Jr. Circus Train: 2/5/18 – Unknown
Storybook Land Canal Boats: 2/5/18 – 2/16/18
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: 1/2/18 – Uncertainty
California Screamin’: 1/8/18 – Uncertainty
Games of the Boardwalk: 1/8/18 – Summer 2018
Grizzly River Run: 1/8/18 – Uncertainty
Mickey’s Fun Wheel – Non Swinging: 1/8/18 – Summer 2018
Mickey’s Fun Wheel – Swinging: 1/8/18 – Summer 2018
Ariel’s Grotto: 1/8/18 – Uncertainty
Cove Bar: 1/8/18 – Uncertainty
Do you have a Disneyland trip planned for early this year? What are your thoughts?