My business is traditionally slow in the first half of January, so this week I took advantage of the "down time" to spend a couple of mornings at the Disneyland Resort.
Last Sunday was an historic day as some park attractions closed forever, while others began a lengthy hiatus due to the construction of Star Wars Land. Other areas, such as the Rivers of America, are due to return but with changes made. Details are at Dateline Disneyland.
My preference would have been for a "third gate" to be built to accommodate Star Wars and Marvel, which makes more sense to me thematically and wouldn't negatively impact the Rivers of America and Thunder Ranch; the latter has permanently closed.
The Disneyland Railroad will not be running during Star Wars construction, but the park is doing something nice by having trains parked at both the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations. Guests can examine the trains up close and discuss them with conductors and engineers.
I visited the New Orleans station with a friend this morning, and it was a surprisingly fun experience. The cast members who are usually preoccupied with running the train and supervising passengers seemed delighted to have the chance to show off the Ernest T. Marsh, telling us all about its history and how it operates.
You can read about the Ernest T. Marsh at the Disney Parks Blog. It was built in 1925 and came to the park in 1959. Ernest T. Marsh was the president of the Santa Fe Railway at the time the engine came to the park.
Disney train fans will want to get a book I received for Christmas, ALL ABOARD: THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY TRAINS by Dana Amendola. The book covers every aspect of Disney trains, including Walt Disney's history working on trains as a young man, trains in Disney movies and theme parks, the personal train collections of Walt and several legendary Imagineers, and more. I spent time reading it after today's visit, and it's a superb book.
Elsewhere in the park, the Christmas decorations in New Orleans Square have been modified to a Mardi Gras look for the first part of the year...
...and there were numerous entertainment groups in the park today, which helped make up for how many attractions were shuttered.
Meanwhile at California Adventure, ALADDIN closed last weekend after a 13-year run. Coming this summer: A FROZEN musical.
I'm not sure why items featuring Disney World's Orange Bird are being sold in California, but I'm not complaining! I snapped up this mug the minute I saw it in the World of Disney store:
In other Disney park news, the Happy Lunar New Year celebration returns to California Adventure February 5-8, and after taking last fall off, MouseAdventure has announced its next game day will be April 10, 2016.