Disneyland’s Splash Mountain to be closed this spring

If you plan to visit Southern Cailfornia this spring, a ride on Splash Mountain won’t be in the cards. Disneyland’s famous water ride is closed for refurbishment until just before Memorial Day.

The 4-month closure is part of a regular refurbishment program at Disneyland. Big rides get spruced up every 5 to 10 years, and it was Splash Mountain’s turn, reports the Orange County Register.

Splash Mountain opened at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 1989. It is a 9-minute long log flume ride that winds through scenes from Song of the South, the classic Disney film that tells the stories of Brer Rabbit. At the end, Splash Mountain riders find Brer Rabbit’s laughing place – at the bottom of a five-story drop.

The ride has become one of Disney’s iconic attractions, and versions of Splash Mountain have spread to two other Disney theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

No major changes to Disneyland’s Splash Mountain are expected during the refurbishment period.

[Image credit: Flickr user lrargerich]

Disney to dismantle iconic California sign

disney California sign is coming down

Disney is in the midst of a major overhaul at its California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, and the latest change is the removal of an iconic sign at the entry.

The California sign – really more of a monument than a sign, with letters spelling California stretched out in front of the park – will be removed next month.

That sign has been in countless family photos over the years, as many groups gather around it to take a picture before entering the park each day.

The letters get a makeover for certain seasons and for special events. When the theme park opened its World of Color show this summer, the letters were in technicolor. This holiday season, they have candy cane stripes.

disney california sign to be replaced by this gateThe remodeled entrance will echo the design of the legendary Pan Pacific Auditorium, and look a lot like the gate at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Florida.

That fits with the park’s re-theming, which is supposed to reflect back on Southern California in the 1930s, after Walt Disney arrived and started his studio.

The official Disney Parks blog reports that the CALIFORNIA letters will be kept for “possible future use.”

[Image credit (CALIFORNIA sign): Flickr user PunkJr]

Duffy the Disney Bear – New face to see (and buy) at Disney Parks

Duffy the Disney Bear at Walt Disney WorldIf you are planning at trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World at the holidays, you will likely encounter Duffy the Disney Bear.

And when you do, I imagine you will likely think, “Hey, who the heck is this?”

No, you’ve never seen Duffy in a Disney movie. He’s never been in a Mickey Mouse cartoon or a Pixar animated short. And he’s not the star of a new series for preschoolers on the Disney Channel.

Duffy the Disney Bear is the first character conceived and introduced solely in Disney Parks. That’s right – Disney made him so that they could sell you another souvenir.

Duffy’s “backstory” is that he was sewn by Minnie Mouse as a present for Mickey, to accompany him on his travels around the world. We here at Gadling told you this summer how many grown men take teddy bears on business trips, I suppose grown mice need a stuffed animal to cuddle on their business trips, too.

Duffy was introduced as a costumed character at Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure this fall after six years of popularity at Tokyo Disneyland Resort. In Tokyo, Duffy is such a craze that young women line up outside Disney stores when a new Duffy outfit is released.

And just in time for Black Friday shopping, he is being sold in three sizes at Disney’s Florida and California theme parks, along with a variety of outfits, Duffy keychains and other souvenirs. The Orlando Sentinel reports that about three dozen Duffy items are expected to arrive in the coming year.

In addition to his souvenirs, Duffy has a shiny new Facebook page with more than 5,000 fans.