Walt Disney Co. (SAY) theme parks are constantly updating and transforming their rides and attractions to keep their loyal fans coming back for thrills and fun.
In some cases, rides are temporarily closed to allow for the construction of new rides and attractions. In other cases, long-standing classic rides are refurbished, redesigned or reinvented.
At Walt Disney World in Florida, the Magic Kingdom Railway closed in December 2018 and has remained closed while the park builds its Tron Lightcycle Run roller coaster. During this shutdown period, the park has been refurbishing the railway’s trains so that they will be in top condition when the ride reopens. The train ride is expected to reopen in October 2022 at the earliest and possibly as late as early 2023.
At Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the park reopened a reimagined classic underwater voyage ride in 2007 as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, based on the Disney Pixar animated film “Finding Nemo.” When the covid pandemic hit and the park closed in March 2020, the theme park drained the underwater route and completely renovated the ride over two years by updating and improving the ride, adding new colors, new lighting, special effects, projections, 3,000 pieces of coral and around 12,000 feet of seaweed.
The ride even added a new character, septopus Hank from the “Finding Nemo” sequel “Finding Dory,” and reopened on July 25.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland both plan to reimagine their “Song of the South”-themed Splash Mountain ride and convert the theme from its animated film “Princess and the Frog.” No specific date has been announced for the transition.
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Another classic tower to renovate
Disneyland’s classic Matterhorn Bobsleds ride underwent major overhauls in 1978 and 2012, which left the popular ride closed for months. The ride was also partially closed in 2019 for cosmetic rock work, but Disney continued to operate one of the tracks and had minimal closures until repairs were completed.
The bobsleigh ride consists of two different tracks with riders plunging into turns through the replica mountain trying to stay one step ahead of an abominable snowman, Harold. Harold was added to the iconic ride in 1978.
Needless to say, theme park goers were upset to see the ride unavailable during these closures. The ride itself is rated by many Disney theme park fans as one of the best rides.
Not only were the Matterhorn Bobsleds the first roller coaster at Disneyland, but also the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world. The ride was one of the first to use water in the braking system and was also the first coaster to allow two cars on the same tracks. This was possible due to the way the ride was designed with brake points in the ride.
Disneyland sets reopening date
Disneyland closed the Matterhorn Bobsleds again for renovations on August 8, and the ride will be closed for about two months. Part of the renovation includes interior reinforcement.
The timing is probably the best for Disneyland, as it coincides with a slower time of year for the theme park, as summer winds down and children and young people head back to school. The current date set for reopening is October 14, also just in time for the last two weeks of Halloween time.