ComicbookLandby David Koenig, contributing writer
Innoventions' sudden announcement that it is shutting down March 31 was a surprise to many—including the cast members who work the attraction. They learned about it on March 5, the day before it was announced to the public, by reading it on The Hub employee portal.
The employees, except for the Honda workers who man the ASIMO exhibit, will be "retasked" to other locations.
But what about Innoventions, which has enjoyed a surge in popularity since drafting Marvel superheroes?
First, the building isn't going anywhere. After all the hard work to get the park up to snuff for its 60th anniversary, Disney has no interest in breaking out the bulldozers and the jackhammers once the party actually starts. Sources say the building will not be torn down—at least for the foreseeable future. And no ride will be built inside it.
Instead, Disney is aiming for a shorter-term fix. It will reopen with more "displays, activities, and meet-and-greets," but instead of being tied to emerging technology, they will be themed to Disney-owned properties.
Upstairs will continue to be ruled by an even larger contingent of Marvel superheroes, although there's no word on whether Thor and Captain America will temporarily appear elsewhere during the construction.
In addition, Star Wars characters and exhibits are also expected to set up home in Innoventions.
To fill up the rest of the building, Disney is expected to open a historical exhibit (think the Imagineering pavilion at one of the D23 shows), to coincide with the park's 60th anniversary celebration.
A Fatter Matterhorn
Guests are noticing this year's rehab for the Matterhorn is longer than usual. The typical two-to-three-month refresher will last nearly 19 weeks this time, both to add "show enhancements" and to make repairs related to new bobsleds that were introduced in 2012.
"The new sleds are much heavier than the old ones, and when fully loaded puts a little more stress on the track," said one source. "Portions of the track have to replaced and strengthened."
The Matterhorn is planned to reopen May 16.
Yanking the Last of the Gold
In 2005, when Sleeping Beauty Castle was decorated with gold for Disneyland's 50th anniversary, maintenance use the opportunity to install gold railing extensions on the upper ramparts of the castle.
But since they were mandatory to meet fall protection standards, the gaudy extensions couldn't be removed when the rest of the decorations came down. They sat there, visible to guests, for 10 years.
During the castle's just-completed makeover, it received not only a more muted paint job, but WDI (Walt Disney Imagineering) finally got the time and funding to remove the ugly extensions and install retractable railings.
Party Like It's 1955
The Disneyland Alumni Club continues to pack the entertainment lineup for its once-every-five-years reunion, set for Saturday, August 1, in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel.
Performers will include Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy; longtime Coke Corner piano player Rod Miller; former Golden Horseshoe comic Jim Adams; Hollywood Clarinet Quartet; and the Japanese Taiko Drum Group.
Other big anniversary parties coming up: Disneyland Security will hold its 40th annual reunion on Friday, Augugst 28, at J.T. Schmid's, Anaheim, while the Order of the Red Handkerchief has tentatively set Saturday, November 7, at the Holiday Inn, Anaheim, for its annual banquet, celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Mine Train.