NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Magic Kingdom is adding some pop back into its theme parks.
Disney this month brought back the Smith & Wesson guns that guides at Disneyland used to carry on the Jungle Cruise ride, and the company is looking at ways to safely get the famous teacups of the Mad Tea Party spinning faster again.
Disney had somewhat sanitized its parks in recent years.
The Pirates of the Caribbean in 1997 were changed to chase food instead of women. For decades, guides on the Jungle Cruise had fired blanks at the mechanical hippos that rose out of the river. The fired blanks first became warning shots, then stopped completely in 2001.
Frontier-style rifles were taken off Tom Sawyer Island and souvenir muskets pulled from Frontierland.
Earlier this year, after a disabled rider lost his balance and slipped, the spinning teacups were modified, making it more difficult for riders to reach dizzying speeds.
Some fans complained about the changes and the cost-cutting measures that affected the parks' appearance.
"Disneyland was turning vanilla," says David Koenig, author of "Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland" and a columnist for watchdog Web site MousePlanet.com. "It was getting regular, and Disneyland shouldn't be regular," he said.
For more on media stocks, click here
Teacup lovers even marched on Disneyland's City Hall earlier this year, trying to get their gut-wrenching ride restored. Engineers are working on restoring some speed to the spins by early next year.
Disney is refurbishing its original California theme park in advance of its 50th anniversary celebration next year. Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif., on July 17, 1955. The park has been undergoing hundreds of changes, large and small, in recent months, says Koenig.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle is getting a facelift, and the Space Mountain roller coaster, currently closed, is being reengineered. "It's all about restoring the vision that Walt Disney had for several of these classic attractions," says Disneyland spokesman Bob Tucker.
The Mouse House is also restoring some more subtle touches, after years of neglect and cost-cutting left "the happiest place on earth" looking dilapidated in the eyes of many regular visitors.
"There was visibly fading paint, visibly peeling paint, rust," says Koenig. "It was sort of depressing."
Now the horses leading carriages down Main Street USA will get their name tags back. (All of the park's "cast members" or employees wear name badges.)
Cast members' costumes will better match specific areas of the park, too. Workers in New Orleans Square will get colorful costumes more reflective of the Crescent City's jazz heritage, for example.
Not all earlier changes are being undone, though. Tom Sawyer Island is still rifle free. The pirates will still pursue food instead of maidens -- still nothing more lascivious.