Designing new Disneyland rides and attractions is a huge and expensive undertaking, which is why you don't see it happening very often at the Southern California theme park. On average, the park renovates or opens a new ride every few years.
Diary of a New Disneyland Ride
There are many facets that go into developing a new ride or attraction at the Disneyland Resort. The designers, commonly called Imagineers, go through several steps even before determining if the ride (or attraction) will be a hit. However, all it takes is one concept or inspiration to create a success. Some of the steps taken to build a new Disneyland ride include:
- Storyboarding: This is a brainstorming session where Imagineers discuss an idea brought forth by either a Disney honcho or other individual. They create storyboards to illustrate the story or adventure the ride will tell.
- Matrix management: Imagineers most interested in the project will stay on board no matter what department of Disney's Imagineering Division they work. This matrix style allows Imagineers to work on one project or several depending on their workloads, skills and interests.
- 3D models: Special computer software will create a 3D model of the ride that is being planned. They use the storyboards created to help design all of the different aspects of the ride including motion, sound and structure.
One ride or attraction can take years to design, yet only months to actually construct. Many times, it take more than 100 Imagineers to put the ride in motion from the initial concept until opening day.
Newer Disneyland Rides and Attractions
New rides and attractions at Disneyland are few and far between, but since the turn of the century, several of both have opened at Disneyland:.
- Disneyland rides
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (2007)
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (2005)
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (2003)
However, rides such as Space Mountain, which closed in 2003 and reopened in 2005, underwent major renovations. So when it open up again, some felt it was new ride. It's a Small World (closed in 2008 and reopened 2009) also received a facelift.
- Disneyland Attractions
- Celebrate! A Street Party (2009, parade)
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough (2008)
- Disney Princess Fantasy Faire (2006)
- Goofy's Playhouse (2006)
- Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams (2005-2009)
Big Thunder Ranch was refurbished in 2009 and now offers a "Celebration Roundup" and a character barbecue-style dining.
The Rumor Mill: What's Next?
Disneyland Resort officials are usually pretty hush-hush when it comes to the park's future plans. Nonetheless, visitors to the park in 2009 and beyond will see improvements to a few of the long-time rides such as the Indiana Jones Adventure and Astro Orbitor. The Cosmic Waves area is also undergoing a major renovation.
As for new rides, a Star Tours 2 is being planned for the park, set to open in 2011 or beyond. It will replace the current Star Tours attraction. There is also some talk about reopening the park's PeopleMover also as part of a Tomorrowland overhaul. Other renovations being talked about include new cars for the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Rides and Attractions Never Built
With every new Disneyland ride or attraction that comes to fruition, there is always one or two that didn't quite make it. Those include:
- Atlantis Expedition: This was supposed to go where the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is located, in the water where the park's old Submarine Voyage was housed. However, when the 2001 Disney movie, Atlantis - The Lost Empire flopped, this project was scrapped.
- Geyser Mountain: This planned Frontierland ride was loosely based on the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror attraction except a massive geyser would throw the riders into the air.
- Space Port: Based in Tomorrowland, it eventually became the basis for Space Mountain.
- Mary Poppins Ride: Similar to the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride but with a Mary Poppins theme.
A Final Note
New Disneyland attractions and rides are planned years in advance, since it takes just as long to not only design them, but also pay for them. However, when the park loses money because of an economic recession, plans such as those mentioned earlier, may be put on hold.