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Monday theme park news round-up: Attraction closures, plus Disneyland SoCal resident ticket deals

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Published: January 6, 2014 at 12:37 PM

The new year brings several notable attraction and restaurant closings at major theme parks around America.

Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue has closed at Universal Studios Florida, to be replaced with a new monster musical production later this year.

Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King has closed at Disney's Animal Kingdom, as Disney eliminates Camp Minnie-Mickey to make way for the new Avatar land. Festival of the Lion King will reopen in a new theater in the Africa section of the park, later this year.

Doc Brown's Fried Chicken has closed at Universal Studios Hollywood, as the last hold-out of Back to the Future goes away to clear the way for what we hear will be a new Simpsons-themed eatery, inspired by the wild success of the Springfield Fast Food Boulevard at Universal Studios Florida.

And the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage has closed at Disneyland. Disney's calling this an extended refurbishment, but given that the subs are wildly expensive to operate when balanced against the relatively small crowds that they can handle, coupled with ongoing Imagineering plans to bring more Star Wars to Disneyland's Tomorrowland, many fans are skeptical that we'll see the subs return. Keep your eyes on this one. If the subs sit around for months with no sign of work, that's not a good sign for their return.

Speaking of Disneyland, the California resort has announced its annual ticket deal for Southern California residents. Southern California residents can buy a 2-day ticket (one park per day) for $129, a 2-day Park Hopper for $164, a 3-day, one park per day ticket for $159, or a 3-day Park Hopper for $194. All days must be used by June 6, but Disneyland has not said anything about having to use all the days within 14 days of the ticket's first use, as it has required in the past. March 31-April 20 is blocked out for these tickets, however. Tickets are available at Disneyland.com, resort ticket booths, and many local grocery store checkout lanes.

Update: For comparison, Florida residents can buy a three-day Walt Disney World pass (one park per day) for $129 plus tax. Four days is $149 under the WDW resident deal.

Readers' Opinions

From Manny Barron on January 6, 2014 at 12:58 PM
The subs have been open for 7 or 8 years, they couldn't possibly close down after that limited time, right?! Well hopefully not. Didn't Rocket Rods close down like this for an extended refurb? Of course we know what happened there.
From 75.22.38.221 on January 6, 2014 at 1:22 PM
Only a certain fan site is claiming that the subs will close for good. Nothing but rumors and speculation.

For now, there is absolutely no real evidence that the subs will not come back.

Right now, we have one real source that says that the ride will re-open in late 2014; http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/12/finding-nemo-submarine-voyage-at-disneyland-park-to-close-for-refurbishment-january-6/

From N B on January 6, 2014 at 1:37 PM
We have been to Universal Orlando countless times and not once did we even consider watching the Beetlejuice show.... glad it's going away because I heard it is painful to sit through.
From Anon Mouse on January 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM
"announced its annual ticket deal for Southern California residents"

Except it wasn't announced last year after Carsland debuted in 2012. I guess Carsland has made its mark and now attendance will go back to normal in the spring. I've seen it. I would be tempted to buy the ticket. It's a great deal, but I am planning a trip to Disney World and I'm saving my bucks for this trip.

From Tyler Stover on January 6, 2014 at 5:30 PM
I've seen a lot of comparisons made between the subs and the Rocket Rods' "refurbishment" but I think in this time of intense internet scrutiny a quiet closure like that is a lot more difficult to pull off. The Disney Parks Blog gave a tentative reopening timeframe and a rough description of the work to be done. Obviously "plans are subject to change", but I still have a hard time believing Disney would put their official blog's credibility on the line so needlessly when they could have otherwise kept it quiet. Just to be safe we rode it on New Year's Day. It sure could use a legitimate refurbishment. Things are looking rather worn and faded down there. Hopefully they can just kill two birds with one stone, fixing things up while reducing operating costs for a year. I also wouldn't mind seeing them go away to make way for a truly spectacular new ride, but I definitely don't want to see a decrepit lagoon sitting unused again. If they do go with a new ride for that area, I hope they keep some form of clear body of water in that area because it does look good at the base of the Matterhorn.
From M. Ryan Traylor on January 6, 2014 at 6:53 PM
Nemo does need some work done on it. Paint is fading, but worse is the smears and smudges on the glass walls in the show building. Plus projector lamp bulbs need to be replaced. Characters swim and change brightness from "screen" to "screen".

Also, can they get rid of the baby farts smell in there?

From Stevo B on January 7, 2014 at 2:46 AM
Another bottom line decision, so I'd like a My Magic + account credit for the loss of the another classic attraction that's been sacrifice to fund, what?
From 75.69.20.247 on January 7, 2014 at 10:24 AM
'so I'd like a My Magic + account credit'

I am a big Disney fan, and read this site often but rarely comment. Sometimes comments like this get to me.

No one here deserves anything from Disney, they're a business. Either the combination of rides/attractions at the park is worth the price, or its not. People will vote with their hard earned cash.

No one deserves anything simply for complaining. The fact that the park is an attraction and all pros and cons must be weighed for the total park package (ride capacity, cost to maintain, etc). If people stopped going, the investments would be made, but people continue to fill the parks!

People take these simple decisions far too personally. /rant over :)

From Annette Forrest on January 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM
I never understood the point of the subs once they became the Nemo ride. I enjoyed the subs when it was 20k Leagues because I liked feeling like I was underwater and seeing the underwater animatronics. That was cool. I appreciate that the water was needed to complete the illusion of those animatronic sea critters being real. It made sense.

But the Nemo version is mostly cartoons playing on screens. I think the only animatronics are in the lagoon before the cave scene. That's just the little girl diver and then a man diver. I don't think there are more. Then it's into a cave and it's just cartoons in the portholes from there.

It feels pointless to have all that water in there and for guests to be trapped in those leaky subs when really they are just playing cartoons on glass screens. A lot of money is wasted on the water bill and upkeep, and for what? They could build a Nemo ride at DCA and play cartoons on screens in that for 1/4 of the operating cost.

I could see if Nemo was just spectacular, but I don't think the effects work very well and frankly watching cartoons through a porthole is just not as cool as seeing those old animatronic sharks and mermaids and sea serpents and things. Just my opinion.

From M. Ryan Traylor on January 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM
With these rumors surrounding the removal of Nemo Subs and Autopia to make way for Star Wars, what will happen to the monorail? If that goes, well, I may have to draw the line there.

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