Wall Street, USA at Disneyland
It’s refurbishment season at Disneyland! Normally, that means a pretty lengthy list of refurbishments as Disney attempts to do as much routine maintenance and improvements during a time of the year that’s historically off-season (last year being the exception).
In addition to the normal refurbishments like Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world (both of which have already reopened and are looking good), Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run tend to have refurbishments this time of year due to the weather, and there are also usually a few other major projects in January and February in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
We’ve already covered the huge Pixar Pier Construction Project that is engulfing a big chunk of Disney California Adventure, so today we thought we’d head across the Esplanade to see Disneyland’s big project: the Main Street, USA track replacement. To be honest, this isn’t all that exciting of an update, but we wanted to provide photos and video as several of you have asked just how “bad” Main Street looks during construction. So, here you go…
The Disney Parks Blog first announced this project in January, and worked started shortly thereafter. Per that announcement, “For the first time, the horse-drawn streetcar track on Main Street, U.S.A., will be replaced in its entirety, temporarily pausing the operation of all Main Street, U.S.A. vehicles.”
Disney further stated, “this complete replacement will incorporate new brickwork that will enhance the look of the iconic thoroughfare. The pieces of original track that remain today will be salvaged and preserved, and the previously updated pieces of track will be recycled.”
In addition to how Main Street looks, the scope of this work also means no Main Street vehicles, fireworks, or parades. (Although given the crowds this time of year, daily entertainment likely would’ve been scaled back regardless.)
While this project is visually intrusive for guests and the lack of entertainment might put a damper on first-time and once-in-a-lifetime visits to Disneyland, we have to give kudos to Disney for exactly that reason. Guest Relations has no doubt received a barrage of guest complaints, and we’re sure the phrase “vacation ruined” has been thrown around with reckless abandon.
Replacing the trolley track is not exactly a sexy project, and the “fruits” of this work is essentially just smoother trolley operations and a slightly nicer aesthetic thanks to the added brickwork. Even if the track had degraded to the point that the trolley would have to cease operations, doing that might’ve been the easier choice for Disneyland.
Of course, the easy option is often not the right one, and we think that’s true here. Moreover, that type of decision-making leads to a slippery slope of neglect and closures that is detrimental to the guest experience and safety in the long-term. While we definitely aren’t fans of the way Main Street looks right now and the lack of entertainment, this is the kind of refurbishment that is essential to maintain Disneyland’s standards.
We say all of this as a preface to the construction photos because we know some people will be agitated by the scope of this work, but we think it’s important to underscore the fact that projects like this are what makes Disney, well, Disney. You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place if Disneyland were just Six Flags Magic Mountain, but with more characters.
Anyway, here’s a look at the work…
As soon as you step foot into Town Square, you can see that Main Street has transformed into Wall Street. As you can see in the above video, the entire center area is totally consumed by construction.
Here are some photos starting in Town Square, and continuing up Main Street:
Much like Town Square, the entire Hub/Central Plaza is blocked off with walls. The bad news is that this means no photos with the Partners statue and the Tabebuia trees and their beautiful pink blossoms. The good news is that you can walk directly in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle for an unobstructed photo.
The (second) bad news is that literally everyone else will be doing this, so even on uncrowded days, we’ve noticed a lot of guests in front of the castle.
Above is a photo of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I realize this is off topic, but I forgot to take other photos for an update on that, so…this is the consolation. This rock-work is visible from many spots in the park.
Once you leave Main Street, Disneyland is lovely. Even though other refurbishments (Splash Mountain, Dumbo, Casey Jr. Circus Train) remain ongoing, those are not obtrusive. On the weekdays we’ve visited thus far this year, crowds have been comparatively low relative to last year, with New Orleans Square and Frontierland being especially pleasant. On these low crowd days, you won’t even need to purchase MaxPass.
Disneyland has not released an official date for when this construction project will be completed, but we would hazard a guess that target is the beginning of March. This is when spring crowds begin to rise, and Main Street simply cannot handle peak season crowds in its current condition. The absolute latest it should be finished is March 15, 2018, as that is the date that Orange County public schools begin their Spring Break, which typically spells a huge surge in crowds at Disneyland.
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
What do you think of the Main Street trolley track construction and this sea of walls? “Vacation ruined!!!1!!” or a necessary part of maintaining Disneyland? Any questions about Disneyland’s refurbishments or the current state of the park? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!
Seems like way to much prep for this, is this a government job. Why couldn’t some hydrolic machine like a front end load with chains pull up the track and a machine that strips the asphalt off of roads follow in behind with brick layers following right behind that. They actually have machines that lay brick in any pattern as it runs along. You just have to feed the bricks into the sorter as it moves along. Need some better project managers maybe. 2, 12 hour nights tops.
Or, like someone else said, sections at a time doing this.
While I understand and agree that the work needs to be done – I’m not sure why they needed to block the entire track path instead of working in sections down Main Street. We planned our trip knowing that we would hit some refurbishments during the off-season, but even with that, it felt like a sea of walls between Main Street, Pixar Pier, Naples and World of Disney. It made us realize that for Disneyland we can’t be as cavalier about going during the off-season since we only make it out there once every 5-7 years.
Now, if we can just get DL to fix the security process so it won’t take an hour to get through security and the ticket booths in the morning…
Those are some really pretty construction walls though.
Good to hear Kelly! I will be there with my girlfriend in 2 weeks.
Why is Disney park tickets going up so high.
My friend took his family of 4 for one day at the Disney parks and paid over $1,100. He said just parking and entry tickets cost him $640. Disneyland used to be that any person could visit the happiest place on earth, now it only for the rich families.
It’s mainly for crowd control, but obviously doesn’t seem to be wokring. We’re far from rich, but I plan a trip every year for our family and we always go 3 days. You get more for your money that way.
$160pp for unlimited rides and entertainment is fair, in my opinion. I don’t quite understand why so many complain. Vacations are a luxury.
Unlimited rides, even though several are under construction at once. Still seems like a lot of money regardless. The whole point also is that Walt Disney wanted Disneyland and Walt Disney World to be affordable for the masses: lower, median and higher income families, which it no longer is.
It seems like you’re suggesting Disney should operate as a socialist attraction, basing prices on family or personal income amount instead of basing it on supply and demand… When a business is selling so many of it’s items or so much of its services that it can no longer meet the demand, it raises prices to slow the demand and then if it hits a bump in the road (a financial slow down), it then offers freebies or “sales” in order to keep business steady. The bottom line for any business is that it has to bring in enough money in order to keep its product or service at a certain level and to pay it’s employees and investors. Disney has a history of excelling in this regard by meeting and exceeding customer expectations and taking superb care of their employees financially.
The new developements of Disney are straight to my heart. I can”t say how much the park is so future….istic. Love!
Were there any parades running in DL prior to this refurbishment that might come back immediately once it’s over? I’m planning on visiting on March 17 and currently there are no parades planned. That’s might be because, like you mentioned above, there is no definitive completion date.
It’s unclear what’s going to happen in terms of parades. Either Pixar Play Parade could debut early, or Mickey’s Soundsational Parade could make a temporary appearance…or neither could run for a few weeks.
I’d be shocked if this work is not done before March 17.
If you go through the calendar in the Disneyland app. it is confirmed for march 16th is when the main street vehicles returns. So just in time for spring break. Yay crowds. Tuesday and Wednesday felt like the mid 90’s. hardly any crowds.
My suspicion is that March 16 is the “drop dead” date for the project being done and those vehicles returning. I would not at all be surprised if that date is adjusted forward and they start running the first or second week of March if work is done by then.
I was there last week, and though it was slightly depressing to miss seeing the normal view, I feel like they did a good job making a construction wall look nice. I certainly don’t feel like it ruined our trip, though it was my son’s first visit. The lack of crowds was totally worth it!!