Disneyland Resort News Roundup – Summer 2017

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We have selected a fun roundup of Disneyland Resort news for Summer 2017.

Disneyland Tomorrowland Entrance Sign
Photo credit: Javier Loren

MaxPass Arriving Soon

Visitors at Walt Disney World already know about digital FastPasses with FastPass+. Disneyland Resort will soon have its own upgraded digital FastPass system, but it differs from the system at Walt Disney World. First, MaxPass allows park guests to reserve FastPass return times using the Disneyland official app. Second, it allows unlimited downloads from Photo Pass. But there’s a catch. Guests must purchase this service at an introductory rate of $10 per day. Guests who choose not to pay for this service can still obtain a FastPass at the kiosks. MaxPass will arrive sometime in 2017.

Additionally, the FastPass system went digital June 21, 2017. With the new system, guests still go to the kiosks to get a FastPass. However, guests only receive a reminder slip with their return time. Now, park entrance tickets digitally track FastPasses. When guests return to the attraction, they give their entrance ticket to the cast member for scanning instead of the paper slip received at the kiosk. Will this system work better? Only time will tell, but Disney has a good track record for logistics like this.

Thankfully, Toy Story Mania and the Matterhorn Bobsleds also now have FastPass availability. These two attractions have suffered from very long wait times for a long time. This is a welcome change!

Disneyland Railroad Updates

In our opinion, a visit to Disneyland is not complete without riding the Disneyland Railroad. Starting on July 29, the Disneyland Railroad will take guests again on the Grand Circle Tour of Disneyland.

As one of the park’s original attractions, the Disneyland Railroad will now travel across the rocks on a trestle that extends out into the Rivers of America. For the first time ever, the route takes a left-hand turn on its journey. Guest will still enjoy the legendary Dioramas of the Grand Canyon and Primeval World, which Disney has carefully restored, with a bit of new magic.

Guests on board the Disneyland Railroad also will discover a new view along the north bank of Rivers of America. The route now includes a new Columbia River Gorge section. Passengers can see five new waterfalls from the train and from the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. I can’t wait to see how Disney recreated these landscapes inspired by four of America’s majestic rivers–the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Missouri and the Rio Grande. The scenes include indigenous rock formations, natural forests and wildlife, and waterfalls.

Return of the Classics

Fantasmic

“Fantasmic!,” which tells the story of Mickey Mouse and his vivid imagination, is back at Rivers of America in Frontierland! Now, the show features new scenes with characters from “Aladdin,” “Tangled,” “The Lion King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” In one new sequence, Aladdin and Jasmine discover “A Whole New World” as they float on their flying carpet over a bed of fog.

Those sensational “Fantasmic!” adventures come alive with new mist screens and innovative, state-of-the-art projection technology to create visuals that are brighter and more vibrant than ever before.

Main Street Electrical Parade

Additionally, the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade continues nightly performances in Disneyland through Aug. 20. This parade features favorite scenes such as Cinderella’s ball and the appearance of Elliot, the smoke-breathing, tail-wagging “Pete’s Dragon.” Make sure you stay for the glittering “To Honor America” finale.

Classic Space Mountain

On June 1, 2017, classic Space Mountain returned to Tomorrowland in honor of its 40th anniversary in Disneyland Park. More than 450 million guests have enjoyed a variety of experiences there, including Hyperspace Mountain and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. I remember when Space Mountain first opened in 1977. As I stood in line to ride it the first time, I anxiously waited for what would be become one of my favorite roller coasters. Where else can you fly through space?

Space Mountain Trivia

For all you history buffs out there, check out this Space Mountain trivia:

  • When Space Mountain opened in 1977, the park hit new attendance records.
  • As early as 1964, Walt Disney wanted to build a roller coaster in the dark. With the technological advances of 1960s and 1970s, Walt Disney Imagineers managed to use lighting, music and pinpoint projection technologies to bring Walt’s dream to life.
  • The Flying Saucers attraction sat where Space Mountain sits today.
  • In order to preserve the scale of Tomorrowland buildings in Disneyland, the base of the Space Mountain structure is 17 feet below ground level.
  • The design of the “Space Probe DL05,” suspended over the Spaceport boarding area inside Space Mountain, was inspired by the iconic Discovery One spacecraft from the classic 1968 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
  • Composer Aarin Richard worked with Disney Imagineers to fuse surf music and Sci Fi sounds to compose the first onboard musical score. The composer based the score on Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals,” featuring synthesized music like he beach-sounds of guitarist Dick Dale.
  • From 2003 to 2005, Space Mountain underwent a major refurbishment. Disney recreated the track, using the same layout as the original design. Now, the attraction featured a new generation of effects, lighting, music and technology. Also, Disney added the unique rotating rings through which guests travel as their rocket voyage begins.
  • The attraction’s 2005 “re-launch” featured a new musical score by Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino. The new score employs the eerie sounds of the theremin, an early (1920s) electronic musical instrument, along with other electronic and classical instruments.

Do you have any Disneyland Resorts news you’d like to share? What are your thoughts about the new MaxPass? Who remembers the Flying Saucers and Mission to Mars?

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