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.

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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,

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
Crowd Tips
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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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.


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.


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:


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 Theme Park Calendar
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[B]1.1—4.8[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[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
[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 | Do More. Wait Less. and the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.
  • eicarr

    Cool update! The amazing Mark Twain Fantasmic photo looks like concept artwork. I’ve felt a little too dorky in Mouse Ears though since I was 6, so they could get Glow with the show participation from me if I could get a baseball cap or a thick Lei like necklace. I think toys like swords would sell more(since owners could enjoy the glowing with the show themselves).

    The Ariel seaweed might temporary while they adjust blocking. The realistic seaweed dosen’t seem to jive well with the neighboring 2D cut-out plants and cement coral.

    I’ve always loved the village haus and the weird stuff they always offer( I remember the raisins with burgers years ago). However, I fear the onset of anxiety while squinting while rushing to read that digital board and pick between unique items like the pastrami burger and chicken sausage. But maybe the board is big enough and placed in an area I can read it far back in line.

  • mratigan

    I think Fantasmic looks better than world of color

  • Badger

    Dateline Disneyland is always a welcome start to the week that helps to mitigate the Monday morning blahs. As usual this was a nice update with lots of cool photos and updates from around the park.

    I too find it sad that the Eisner philosophy of “every square inch of the park must show a profit” is still so prevalent at Disneyland, as shown by the constant pimping out of the quiet little corners of New Orleans Square. My recommendation is to avoid these retail locations like the plague so we don’t reward this undesirable behavior.

  • jcruise86

    Outstanding update, Andy! THANK YOU!
    My favorite sentences: “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.”

    Despite the above Pressler, I love how Disneyland is mostly improving!

    I don’t like OSHA: Ordering Superfluous Handrails, Arrrrrrrg!
    The have the opportunity to destroy some of the original charm of the Storybook/Casey, Jr. area with unnecessary rails. It would be cool and worthwhile if Disney fought this one.

    • big nick

      i dont know why but it seems that osha has a beef with disneyland and its staff. i dont know if it is the union for the staff or osha but it need to stop. all the little things that make the park seems to be going away. i dont know who to talk to but lets hope disney puts a stop to it!!!!!! thank god my son who is 9 has seen all the old stuff with out the “safey guide lines” crap but with a new granddaughter she will never get to see what i fell in love with 35 years ago.

  • AzGizmo

    Thanks for the videos. It’s always great to take a look at those when one is going through serious Disney withdrawals..

    I was initially skeptical about the Glow ears with Fantasmic, but after having watched the video I must concur with others here that the ears work better with Fantasmic than with World Of Color! I don’t know if I’m willing to spend that kind of money to get a pair of ears, but it is enjoyable to see how they interact with the overall show.

    I must agree with the disappointment regarding the late opening of the Disney Gallery. It’s always one of the first shops I go into (usually after riding the train once around the park right after entering) and I just fail to see the real reason for the daily delay in opening it. The story is that it cuts costs, but when you look at the overall operational cost of the park, keeping the Disney Gallery closed until 11:00 AM really doesn’t save the company any substantial amount of money.

    Thanks again for the great offering. I miss being at the park, but this helps to bring the park to my home here in Phoenix!

  • David Mercury

    What, no additional rails going up in the Disney Gallery?

    • Marko50

      Great. Give them ideas.

  • AliKzam

    Wouldn’t those ears be great with the MSEP if it came back to DL? I’d buy them then.

  • Chernabog

    They need more seaweed everywhere in Little Mermaid – along with fixing those last two scenes – so that it looks more like a real space rather than moving through a sterile disney store display.

  • rwsmith

    The crowds were large, but lines flowed well yesterday. The only downer was Autopia. The cars run worse every time we go there. We had a 7 car back up and half the cars won’t idle.

    • Nivens McTwisp

      Yeah, the last time I tried Autopia they actually shut it down and kicked us out of line after waiting 40 minutes. We need a MiceAge investigation!

      Great update Andy!

  • Nerd4Disneyland

    Thanks for the Update!! Radiator Springs Racers will be packed for awhile!!
    Any news for the Big Thunder Mountain major rehab?!?

  • Algernon

    So now they’re going to ruin Casey Jones with safety railings. The tide of destruction continues…

  • WesternMouse

    The new ears look cool, but $25? Whose eyeballs get any value out of those glowing ears? Certainly not mine if I buy a pair. As another poster put it, this only works if many people buy them. They should consider retooling this so that they can be handed out and collected like 3D glasses. This way, the new effect enhances each guest’s experience at no additional cost. Like 3D glasses, the glowing ears have no effect or value beyond the show.

    • jcruise86

      Maybe they could give them out free to guests at city hall if photo ID proved that it was their birthday, or better yet, if it was within one week of their birthday.

      The year when Disney let people in for free on their birthdays was a brilliant way of getting guests to associate Disneyland with honor birthdays. Some probably see it as a right! Ka-ching!

    • Marko50

      I think there would be issues with this. Worse than the 3D glasses issues they’ve had. I sure wouldn’t want to get head lice this way. Well, any way. But this would be a “good” way to get them.

  • Thank you Andy. I concur on the retail invading quiet spaces. Let some of the quiet, out of the way places remain.

    • jcruise86

      I hope they don’t get any clever ideas for the remote area under the Hungry Bear!
      Give peace (& quiet) a chance.

  • QPerth

    Andy, Thanks so much for all the hard work that goes into DLDL. It is a highlight of my reading every week, and I eagerly look forward to the next installment, same with DLWDW. As someone who lives so far away from Disneyland (well ALL Parks really, even HKDL is a 7+hr flight), these awesome posts are a terrific way of seeing the current state of the Parks. One small request though – as not all readers are as involved with the Parks, can you sometimes please post Comparrison Photos. I have no clue what the Coke archway looked like. Or compare the recent additions in the Little Mermaid attraction to what it looked like before. That’s all. I love these posts, thankyou! -Q.

  • Susan Hughes

    I think “Glow with The Show” would work really well with “Remember, Dreams Come True”. And there’s a very strong rumor that The Main Street Electrical Parade will return to…Main Street USA at Disneyland. If that is actually true, I can’t think of any better show to “Glow with The Show”.

  • Crazee4mm

    I think the white elephant in the room in regards to the very thin crowds (until the passholders showed up around 5:00) is that it has become just too expensive to go to Disneyland anymore. I used to have 9 friends who all had passes. Now I have only one (and myself) who remain. I went to various parks this past weekend (Magic Mountain, Universal, and Knott’s) to get passes from them and was surprised to see that each of these parks were packed (on Saturday). After spending an hour or two inside each park I finally made my way to Disneyland. I walked onto Main Street around 3:30 and was amazed to see that Main Street was practically deserted! There was about 45 minutes to go before the parade reached that point and I couldn’t believe that there were so few people. When the parade DID come by (around 4:50 p.m.) everyone was crowded onto the Candy Palace side of the street due to the sun. The East side of the street was almost completely devoid of humanity!

    I asked a ticket booth cast member if passholders were renewing at lower levels or letting them lapse altogether. She told me that the renewal rate was not what Disney was expecting and that I should take note that the posters recruiting new passholders were, once again, up in front of the ticket booths. All I know is that I was once a member of 10 pass holding Disney fanatics and that group has dwindled to just myself and my friend Ian. Tellingly though, most of my former group now have passes to other So. Cal. parks instead. Something most of them would have never done before the price increases. It’s a hardship for me BUT I think I can renew my pass in October but if the price increases further, I’ll have to let it go. And for someone who has been a pass holder solidly since the 1990’s, it’s going to leave a very hollow feeling in my wallet by not being there.

  • Mac Daddy

    Great update Andy! I’m kicking myself for not getting tickets for the Fantasmic Glow show as that shot of the M.T. going by with the ears all lit up is AMAZING! Secondly, the pirate mess in the Court of Angels really is a travesty. Way to junk up one of the most gorgeous areas of the park, Disney!


  • Ortizmo2000

    Those shots of the Royal Courtyard are throat-gaggingly awful. The pirate trappings are perhaps the worst tackiness I’ve seen in Disneyland ever. This is temporary, right?

    One day is too long. Shabby……very shabby.

  • Gibson510

    I just think it’s sad that every inch of storefront in New Orleans Square is being converted to retail space. A beautiful, charming corner of the park is now being used so Disney can sell more packaged toys and clothing made in China at a huge markup. Sad sad sad!

  • DisneyMan

    I personally wish that the Pirates League had some guy pirates around doing the work or at least doing some guest interactions. While my daughter enjoys the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique girls, I would like more male interactions when dealing with pirates. Thoughts?

  • jjjay69

    For those that are interested. Sometime at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. The Court of Angels will no longer be there. It will be the new enterance to the Club 33..

  • brianpinsky

    Hey that me in one of the photos. It was the 11th Fantasmic photo the one of the close up crowd. The teenager on the right of the screen is my sister and she has a family friend on her lap. Me I am the one in the blue shirt on the left. The other adult we were with is behind the people in the center of the photo. The event was so much fun and the cupcakes were almost the best part. One detail he left out is that the ears did not work of on the last 50 feet of both ends of the viewing areas or for the balconey of the dream sweet. The are probaly going to fix that. If you view the video in the post you will see two things that you may miss is you were there. At the first part there is the strange ears that seem to be higher than the rest. That was some guys ears he modifed to make into ailen ears that did not sync with the show, so the set of ears on the farthest right that was not syncing the whole show was a kid in a stroller who fell alseep half way through the show. Cann’t wait for the Frankenwinnie AP event 🙂

  • whamo

    I hit the parks on Tuesday afternoon. River Rapids was very popular. It was a long wait, but it was worth it. That’s such a fun ride when the weather is hot. Single rider got us on Soarin lickity split. Ice cream on Buena Vista is rather bland compared to the offerings on Main Street. Starbucks was doing a lot of business, in the afternoon, while the ice cream store workers were standing around waiting for instead of on customers. The line for Star Wars was a long one, but some good guy gave us his Fastpasses because his child was too small to go to Naboo. The crowd wasn’t as light as I expected. I saw a lot of kids that should have been in school. The parade was a nice way to end the day.

  • monorail91

    Great update as always! I look forward to these every week.

    Where did you take the picture with the “E. Valiant” label? I assume somewhere Buena Vista Street or Hollywood Land, but I missed that during my trip in August! I love seeing Roger Rabbit getting represented in the parks!

  • STeph8

    Hi Andy! Thanks so so much for highlighting the DisneyRuns! I travelled from Houston, TX and successfully did the Half Marathon! While, I did not run it in an hour’s time – I did have a respectable time and had such a blast!! For any of you that have ever thought about doing a half marathon – this is the one to do! It was so much fun and at times I actually forgot that I was running! There was so much to see and experience! I was smiling the whole 13.1 miles! Thanks again for thinking of us runners!!!