The Rivers of America lit up with a colorful glow last week as Disneyland premiered the new “Glow with the Show” addition to the popular Fantasmic! nighttime spectacular. Fantasmic’s “Glow with the Show” premiere was a special event for Disneyland’s Annual Passholders who brought their own ears to light up the Rivers of America with Mickey Mouse. Meanwhile, construction on Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire continues as the Fantasyland Theater prepares for a new show. And Halloween Time continues to creep in around the park, with Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion preparing for their seasonal overlays and the new Pirates League now open to guests in New Orleans Square.

Get a closer look at today’s update! Click on any photo in today’s column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

Welcome to Disneyland!

Until Halloween crowds start to materialize, Disneyland Resort will have light crowds. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. With Halloween and holiday crowds on the horizon, it’s a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton, Statistician, TouringPlans.com

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
[/center]
[center]TouringPlans.com
Crowd Tips
[/center]
Tues., Sept. 4 [center]1 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Expect this to be one of the lightest weeks of the year.
  • Partial blockouts on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Disneyland (park) is a 1.1 on Thursday.
  • Due to its incredibly low capacity, consider riding Luigi’s Flying Tires standby right after starting your day by grabbing a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers.
Wed., Sept. 5 1 /10
Thu., Sept. 6 1 /10
Fri., Sept. 7 4/10

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Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

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Our friends at MouseInfo reported last week that Disneyland’s Voices of Liberty a capella group would be extending their limited engagement through the holiday season. Originally, the group’s final performances were scheduled for labor day weekend.

Below, see our video of the Voices of Liberty from their debut earlier this summer:

A look at Saturday afternoon’s wait times. Not bad for Labor Day weekend!

Construction Kingdom

The Coke Corner archway has been completely removed. To be honest, I walked by this area twice before realizing it was missing. It’s sad to see the arch go, as it supported the Main Street theme and helped establish the dining area, but if you aren’t specifically looking for it you probably won’t realize it’s gone.

Hopefully it’ll come back, but as of now, it looks like it’s history. Trashcans and flower boxes cover the holes in the pavement left by it.

Next to Sleeping Beauty Castle, the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area continues to take shape…

Inside Fantasyland, refurbishment walls are still up around the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique facade

Meanwhile, the removal of the forest-theming from the Fantasyland Theater continues as the theater is readied for a new entertainment offering.

Choo-Choo-Changes

Elsewhere in Fantasyland, Casey Jr. Circus Train and the Storybook Land Canal Boats are set to close Tuesday for a two month refurbishment.

Rumor is that the refurbishments will include the installation of new safety railing to the bridges and areas of track that pose a danger to Cast Members when inspecting the attraction or to Guests during evacuations.

We hope views like those below do not become obscured by safety rails. We’ll soon find out.

Below, take a ride on the Casey Jr. Circus Train from the backwards-facing caboose seat, as Guests saw it this weekend, just before its closure.

Nearby in Fantasyland, the Village Haus Restaurant recently received new menu screens.

The digital menu screens surprisingly don’t look terribly out of place here. The themed frames are an appreciated touch.

The old Kids’ menus are still up, even though the kid options are also listed on the new menu screens.

Over in Adventureland, Indiana Jones Adventure will also close tomorrow for a three-month refurbishment.

Rumors for Indiana Jones also suggest the installation of safety rails, this time along the bridge in the attraction’s main big room.

Glowings-on

On Tuesday, Annual Passholders were invited to the premiere of Fantasmic’s first “Glow with the Show” performance. First introduced in June at Disney California Adventure, the light-up Glow with the Show ear hats interact with the popular “World of Color” show, the Mad T Party event and the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land. Now, the ear hats work in Disneyland at the park’s Fantasmic! nighttime water-and-light show.

From 10 p.m. until Midnight, Passholders were invited to enjoy operating attractions and shops in Adventureland, Frontierland and New Orleans Square. Passholders could also enjoy special menu items at several restaurants throughout the area.

The River Belle Terrace offered open-faced sandwiches

The French Market served up the French Dip sandwich that has been featured on several recent special event menus, including the One More Disney Day event.

Also available: Panko-crusted red snapper and a Na’ Awlins salad

Restaurants offered a special Fantasmic! cupcake for dessert

..and the Royal Street Veranda had special pumpkin fritters

As for “Glow with the Show,” it proved to be a successful addition to Fantasmic!; adding an additional layer to the show. The view of the audience during the show is really a lot of fun, enhanced by the way in which the river wraps around this area of the park.

While the free event for Annual Passholders is a nice gesture, every viewing of Fantasmic! with the new “Glow with the Show” addition won’t be this spectacular for regular guests. Much like with World of Color, “Glow with the Show” only really succeeds when the majority of the audience is wearing the light-up ears, otherwise the effect is lost.

Disney is really trying to get “Glow with the Show” to catch on but with the light-up ears priced at $25, it’ll continue to be a hard-sell for regular guests.

Take a look at our video of Fantasmic! “Glow with the Show” below:

Crew’d

Nearby the Rivers of America, in New Orleans Square, the new Pirates League pirate-themed makeover boutique has opened in the typically-quiet Court of Angels. Guests looking to “join the crew” enter the Pirates League through the old Le’ Ornament Magique storefront.

The small shop space is now stocked with pirate costumes and accessories

Once you pay at the register for your makeover, you pass through to the Court of Angels where you get your face painted and take a pirate’s oath.

The Pirates League overlay here is minimal and will won’t leave any intrusive leftovers when it leaves after the Halloween season.

Still, it would be nice if Disney stopped converting the quiet corners of New Orleans Square into retail space. We already lost the Royal Courtyard between the Port Royal and Pieces of Eight gift shops a few years ago to overflow Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise displays.

Nearby, the Haunted Mansion has now closed to install its Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween/holiday overlay. The attraction is set to open by September 14, in time for Halloween Time.

Speaking of Halloween Time, Space Mountain in Tomorrowland will close briefly next week to install the Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy overlay, but projectors and sound equipment for the Halloween overlay are already going up outside the attraction.

Welcome to California Adventure

Over at Disney California Adventure, the park continues to see healthy crowds as the last weekend of its busy summer season passed by.

A look at park wait times just before noon on Sunday

In Cars Land, a look at wait times early Sunday afternoon

Under the Seaweed

Over at the Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure dark ride, a small change can be seen in the ride’s big musical “Under the Sea” scene.

Ariel is now flanked on either side by extra seaweed. The addition of the seaweed is likely to better obscure the mechanism that holds up the Audio-Animatronics figure as well as block the view of her new hair, which looks strange from side angles.

Below, video of the re-worked scene.

Half-Marathon Results

On Sunday, Disneyland hosted its seventh annual Disneyland Half-Marathon. The event was sold out, drawing. over 17,000 registered runners

Jimmy Grabow, from Running Springs, CA, won the race, clocking in at 1:05:29.

Cindy Lynch won the women’s title at finishing with a time of 1:24:45. Congrats to all those who participated.

Building Sandwiches

In Downtown Disney, Earl of Sandwich is still in the works in the former Compass Books space

The old Compass Books newsstand kiosk is completely gone now but the area has yet to be paved over

Steps away at the Disneyland Hotel, walls and work is underway once again on the side of the Fantasy Tower

This & That

The 15-minute parking lot at the Harbor Blvd. entrance is expected to close this week with plans to rework the lot as a three-lane loading zone for drop-offs and pick-ups.

The outside lanes will be used for loading and unloading, with a center lane used for passing-through only.

There will no longer be parking spots here

Back in Disneyland, our sister In the Parks blog here on MiceChat recently noticed that the Disney Gallery is opening later than the rest of the park, usually around 11 a.m.

I was disappointed to see this delayed opening schedule continue this weekend, during a busy Labor Day weekend. As one of the first places guests can walk into upon entering Disneyland, the Disney Gallery should be open for business as soon as park gates open. Guests shouldn’t be greeted by closed doors when entering Disneyland. That’s just bad show.


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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
September 3-9, 2012
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Tuesday-Wednesday: 10 am – 8 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 5 pm
Friday: 9 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Sunday: 9 am – 11 pm
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 10 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by TouringPlans.com[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]LOW-MEDIUM[/B]
[B]1.1—4.8[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]LOW-MEDIUM[/B]
[B]1.8—6.1[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

[B]For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
[/B]
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [B]Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater:[/B] Fantasyland Theater closed August 12. Princesses have relocated to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
  • [B]The Haunted Mansion:[/B] Closed August 27—September 13 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
  • [B]Storybook Land Canal Boats:[/B] Closed September 4 – November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Casey Jr. Circus Train:[/B] Closed September 4 – November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [b]Indiana Jones Adventure:[/b] Closed September 4 – December 7, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed September 10-13, 2012 for Halloween overlay installation.
  • [B]Big Thunder Ranch:[/B] Closed September 10-13, 2012 for Halloween overlay installation.
  • [B]Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes:[/B] Closed September 17-18, 2012.
  • [B]Sailing Ship Columbia:[/B] Closed September 18-20, 2012.
  • [B]Mark Twain Riverboat:[/B] Closed September 25-28, 2012.
  • [B]Starcade:[/B] Closed October 8-18, 2012.
  • [B]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed October 22-November 8, 2012 to install holiday overlay
  • [B]Big Thunder Ranch:[/B] Closed November 1-8, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay and install holiday overlay
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed November 5, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Rumored to close early September to install permanent safety rails to outdoor portion of ride track.
  • [B]Fantasy Faire:[/B] New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!: Closed September 5, 2012 for software upgrade.
  • Muppet*Vision 3D: Closed September 10-13, 2012.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
  • [B]Earl of Sandwich:[/B] Former Compass Book store and cafe will reopen as the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant summer 2012.
[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. What do you think of the addition of “Glow with the Show” at Fantasmic? Do you think it’s as good as World of Color’s “Glow with the Show”? Do you even like the “Glow with the Show” ear hats? Let us know in the comments section below!

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For more Disneyland news, be sure to read MiceChat’s weekly In the Parks blog. And be sure to check out our sister blog, Dateline Disney World – a fantastic weekly photo blog covering Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less. and the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.