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Disneyland Article
Attraction Lineup Through 2023 With Spidey Tiana And Mickey Rides

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
ID:
TMS-4678
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Brady Macdonald
Dateline:
September 10, 2020
Posted:
September 15, 2020
Status:
Current
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Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have three major new attractions tied to Spider-Man, Princess Tiana and Mickey Mouse that are expected to debut over the next three years once the Anaheim theme parks reopen following extended coronavirus closures.

Avengers Campus, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and a “Princess and the Frog” makeover of Splash Mountain have all been announced — making for a full slate of new attractions coming to Disney’s California parks in the coming years.

But when will they open?

Avengers Campus was set to open this summer before COVID-19 put the new Marvel land on hold. The Splash Mountain makeover was announced in June during the coronavirus closure of Disneyland amid online outcry over the ride’s controversial “Song of the South” backstory. Disney has not announced opening dates for Avengers Campus or the Princess Tiana log flume ride.

The decision to delay the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway until 2023 offers a glimpse at how and when Disneyland plans to roll out its new lineup of attractions over the next few years.

Disneyland announced last week that Runaway Railway would shift from a 2022 opening date to 2023 because of the extended coronavirus closure as vertical construction began on the project behind Mickey’s Toontown.

An identical version of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened in March at Disney’s Hollywood Studios just a few weeks before Disney’s Florida theme parks were closed due to the pandemic. Disney World’s four theme parks have reopened while Disneyland and California theme parks remain closed indefinitely while they await reopening guidelines from the state.

Runaway Railway is expected to serve as anchor for a larger refurbishment of Disneyland’s Toontown -— which debuted in 1993.

The faded faux mountain range that serves as a backdrop to the land has already been removed to facilitate Runaway Railway construction. Gadget’s Go Coaster in Toontown was expected to undergo an overhaul starting in April and is listed as closed for refurbishment on the Disneyland website. Scaffolding went up around Mickey’s House for an exterior refurbishment shortly before Disneyland closed due to the pandemic.

Pushing Disneyland’s Runaway Railway project back a year was likely a financial move by Disney’s accountants.

Back in May, Disney paused $900 million in construction and refurbishment projects at its theme parks as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Then in August, that eye-popping number was adjusted down to a $700 million reduction in capital expenditures.

Capital expenditures is theme park corporate-speak for new rides and themed lands. Cutting $700 million in capital expenditures meant that many Disney theme park projects already in the pipeline would be delayed or canceled.

Fortunately for Disneyland, Runaway Railway was merely delayed rather than canceled. Before last week, the project was little more than a pile of dirt located backstage far out of view from visitors -— making the Mickey Mouse trackless dark ride a top contender for the chopping block. With the announcement of vertical construction, Disneyland confirmed that the project is moving forward -— albeit at a slower pace.

That slower pace will likely allow Disney’s accountants to spread the cost of Disneyland’s Runaway Railway project over more fiscal quarters which will in turn result in cost savings during the eventual post-pandemic recovery.

Moving Runaway Railway back a year also clears a spot on the calendar for the recently announced Splash Mountain makeover.

Slowed construction means Avengers Campus still remains unfinished. The new Marvel themed land with a Spider-Man dark ride as its centerpiece is likely looking at 2021 opening date.

With Runaway Railway moving to 2023, that leaves 2022 wide open for Tiana’s takeover of Splash Mountain and sets up a colossal lineup of new attractions over the next three years that Disneyland can use to lure cautious visitors back to the Anaheim parks after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Slotting the Splash Mountain makeover into 2022 makes sense on a number of fronts.

Disneyland has said the original Splash Mountain will remain after the park reopens so the beloved log flume ride can get an appropriate farewell sendoff. The Splash Mountain ride at the Magic Kingdom saw the longest lines in the park when the Florida park reopened in July as fans came to take one last ride before Tiana moved in.

Moving Disneyland’s Splash Mountain into the 2022 slot likely represents a significant savings on Disney’s financial ledgers since an extensive makeover of an existing ride costs far less than building a new trackless dark ride from the ground up.

And Disney would likely not have been able to tamp down the brewing controversy surrounding Splash Mountain’s “Song of the South” backstory for several years if the Tiana transformation was pushed to 2023 or 2024.

Splash Mountain features characters and songs from Disney’s 1946 “Song of the South” film based on the “Uncle Remus” stories — a collection of folktales from the Southern plantation era compiled by Joel Chandler Harris and published in the 1880s — that have been criticized for perpetuating racist stereotypes.

Walt Disney Imagineering announced it had been working for more than a year on a “Princess and the Frog” makeover of the Splash Mountain rides at Disneyland in Anaheim and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida following an online petition signed by tens of thousands of supporters calling on Disney to re-theme the log flume attractions to Princess Tiana.
 
Attractions Referenced

Gadget's Go Coaster

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Splash Mountain

 
Lands Referenced

Toon Town

 
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