Hello, and a very Merry Christmas to you! Disneyland has beefed up security at its themes parks just in time for the final rush of holiday crowds. The increase in theme park security, which includes bomb dogs and metal detectors, comes following a bulletin by the Department of Homeland Security noted concern for possible terrorist attacks at public places this holiday season. And Disneyland isn’t the only theme park increasing security for the season — major theme parks across the country are boosting security efforts including Walt Disney World, Universal theme parks, and Sea World. Meanwhile, crowds continue to come and the parks are as busy as ever as we enter the final two weeks of the year, which also mark the busiest two weeks for Disney parks throughout the entire year as guests arrive to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays. The end of 2015 also marks the final days for major attractions in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, as Star Wars, Frozen and more prepare to move in next year.

Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at Mouseaddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!

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It’s our final update of 2015! Next week we’ll run our annual Year-in-Review before we jump right into 2016! Let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

Disneyland’s busiest two-weeks of the year are now here, with peak crowds hitting the Resort for the Christmas and New Year holidays. While the holidays are a wonderful time to visit, they’re also insanely busy. So, if you’re planning on visiting the parks over the next two weeks be sure to bring your patience — from fellow guests to Cast Members, everybody is feeling the pressure during this time. Be courteous to those around you and be reasonable with your expectations for what you’ll get to see and do during your visit and you’ll have a great time.

A look at wait times Saturday afternoon

Over at Oswald’s, the Packard has returned after being gone for a while. Looks good as new.


The big news last week, however, was Disney’s rollout of revised park rules and increased security measures. The increased security measures including additional security guards, bomb-sniffing dogs, and metal detectors now seen at Disneyland are changes that were adopted overnight and implemented Thursday morning by major U.S. theme park operators including Universal and SeaWorld. This increase in theme park security across the United States comes on the heels of a bulletin issued on Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security stating it was “especially concerned that terrorist-inspired individuals and homegrown violent extremists might be encouraged or inspired to target public events or places.”

For Disneyland guests, the standard bag check now includes metal detector screenings for randomly-chosen guests. While Disney claims the metal detector screenings are random, some fans arriving to the parks alone have noted they’ve been selected “randomly” quite often. I was also randomly chosen for a metal detector screening this weekend on one out of two separate visits I made to the Resort over the weekend to take photos for this blog. While a metal detector screening is never a particularly pleasant experience, the third-party security staff managing the metal detectors were friendly and the experience was quick and painless. After waiting in line for 20 minutes to get through bag check, the extra 60 seconds passing through the metal detector was no problem at all. Of course, your mileage may vary.

The new updated park rules are posted on signs outside of security checkpoints. The updated park rules now include a ban on all toy weapons for all guests and costumes for guests ages 14 and up. The new ban on toy weapons means that all toy guns — from wooden guns sold in Frontierland to bubble guns sold along the parade route — have been discontinued from Resort retail operations. And while Disneyland once had a long-standing no costume rule for adults, those rules had been relaxed over the years before being totally lifted for the Show Your Disney Side promotional campaign a couple years ago. Disney had encouraged guests to arrive in costumes for recent events including Friday the 13th event, 24 hour parties, and even the current Star Wars Season of the Force celebration. The prohibition on adult costumes is now once again in full effect, even for Star Wars fans looking to ride Hyperspace Mountain in their finest Jar Jar Binks costume.

Security guards with bomb-sniffing dogs patrol outside Resort security checkpoints now. Don’t be surprised to see them along parade routes in the parks as well.

A Whole New Window

On Main Street, the final enchanted window has debuted featuring a spectacular recreation of the Cave of Wonders scene from “Aladdin.” Like the other Enchanted Windows, this display is richly detailed and features wonderful animated elements and lighting effects.

Unlike the other windows, the Aladdin window doesn’t change between two totally different scenes from the same film — instead, this window stays inside the Cave of Wonders throughout but expands on this one scene in three different stages. The magic carpet holds Abu back from getting his hands on the gem

Aladdin steps up to the Genie’s lamp

Jafar watches from the entrance to the cave…

…but the Cave of Wonders closes once Aladdin grabs the lamp.

Aladdin reappears further back in the cave with the lamp…

…as Genie erupts through clouds of magic smoke

And with some of the Genie’s magic, the Cave is transformed into a treasure horde

..And Abu finally gets his gem

Watch the window come to life in our video below:

Dateline Disneyland
Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Christmas may be on Friday but it’s not too late to order a last-minute gift or two from Amazon! The last day for two-day shipping via Amazon Prime is on Tuesday, December 22 and if you’re really cutting it close, the final day for one-day shipping is on Wednesday, December 23. Below, once again, is our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide where you can find a number of great books, Blu-rays, and more for every Disney fan on your list! Disney fans were treated to a number of excellent books this year ranging from the reprint of the classic Little Man of Disneyland Little Golden Book to the new collection of Disney essays in the fan-released Progress City Primer. Keep in mind that your Amazon purchases using the links below always get you the best prices on Amazon but also help out Dateline Disneyland at no additional cost to you. It’s a great way to get some shopping done and help out your favorite Disneyland blog at the same time! Thanks and happy holidays!

The Progress City Primer:
Stories, Secrets, and Silliness from the Many Worlds of Walt Disney

Michael Crawford | Available now
First on our list and hot off the presses is the only fan-released title in our gift guide this year. Not only is Michael Crawford’s Progress City Primer exceptionally well-written but it comes from years of thorough research by Crawford, who has contributed to both D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and the Walt Disney Family Museum. The book foregoes a single topic in favor of a variety of Disney subjects ranging from “Walt” to “The Vacation Kingdom” and “The Wonderful Weird of Disney.” There’s something for every Disney fan here, with stories from the annals of Disney history ranging from the charming to the obscure.
The Silly Symphony Collection 1929-1939
16 LP Box Set | December 18. 2015
Previewed at the D23 Expo, Walt Disney Records’ stunning box set of 16 LPs with the soundtracks to all 75 of Walt Disney’s classic Silly Symphony animated shorts will finally be released on December 18. The music has been brilliantly restored, transferred to vinyl, and presented in 8 gatefold jackets featuring original animation art. The set comes with liner notes by Disney historians J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt and comes in a numbered slipcase. While it’s pricey at $400, this unique release is a must-have for any Disney music fan, vinyl collector, or animation enthusiast.
The Haunted Mansion:
Imagineering a Disney Classic

Jason Surrell | Available now
The third printing of former Imagineer Jason Surrell’s definitive book on the iconic theme park ride, The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic has dropped the section on the lackluster 2003 film and filled new pages on more than a decade of new additions to the attraction. This new expanded edition includes new information on the return of Disneyland’s Hat Box Ghost, the addition of Walt Disney World’s graveyard queue, and more. Also featured is Hong Kong Disneyland’s highly-praised Haunted Mansion surrogate — Mystic Manor.
Walt Disney’s Little Man of Disneyland
Available now
Back for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, Walt Disney’s Little Man of Disneyland is a reprint of the classic 1955 Little Golden Book that tells the story of a leprechaun named Patrick Begorra who lives in the Anaheim orange groves that would later become Disneyland. Mickey and Donald convince Patrick to let them build Disneyland in his orange groves after they show him the fantastic plans for the park. The little $5 book is really a just clever vintage marketing piece for the then-under construction park but 60 years later is still wildly charming and filled with spectacular illustrations typical of Disney’s classic Little Golden Books.

Below are additional books, movie, and video game releases perfect for every Disney fan on your list.

Disney Books

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Disney, Pixar and Miyazaki Animated Films

Disney and Marvel Live Action Films

California Changes

Cove Bar Expansion

The new Cove Bar expansion looked like it was rapidly nearing completion on Friday and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this space open this week, in time to help absorb holiday crowds.

Unfortunately, the expansion continues some of Paradise Pier’s unfortunate opening-day aesthetics. The expansion more or less matches the existing Cove Bar instead of being the first phase in a much-needed re-imagining the design of this portion of Paradise Pier.

What is of nice quality here is the new seahorse topper, which includes a nice sparkle lighting effect in the waves.

The new Cove Bar marquee is nice but feels oversized.

Views from the Fun Wheel

Is that a new bar added in the expansion area?

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

In Cars Land, the replacement attraction for the failed Luigi’s Flying Tires, the new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters appears to be very close to completion as well. Disney has officially announced the ride would open in early 2016 but rumors say it could open this week, in time for Christmas.

Flying Away Soon

In Hollywood Land, the popular Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular in the Hyperion Theatre will close on January 10 to make way for a new musical stage production based on Frozen. Due to the increased popularity of the show over the next couple weeks, Fastpass is now being offered.

Portable Fastpass machines are parked near the Hyperion Theatre.

Guests with Fastpass enter the queue through the main entrance

Guests entering the stand-by queue enter through the side entrance.

Grizzly Peak

In Grizzly Peak, the popular Soarin’ Over California will get its new Soarin’ Over the World film early next year. If you like the California version, you’re quickly running out of time to see it before it glows away forever.

Walls remain up along the nearby restrooms

Enjoy retro fun just steps away from Disneyland at
Howard Johnson Hotel & Water Playground

A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat

Save with MiceChat & Passholder Discounts Every Day!
The HoJo Anaheim is now offering daily discounts for MiceChat members and even DEEPER discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn’t listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.
Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
December 21-27, 2015
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Daily: 8 am – 12 am Daily: 8 am – 11 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • Disneyland Railroad: Closed for over a year starting January 11 while the Railroad path is rerouted for Star Wars Land.
  • Rivers of America: All River traffic and attractions are closed for over a year starting on January 11 while Star Wars Land construction reduces and reroutes the northern portion of the River. The extended closure includes:
    • Mark Twain Riverboat
    • Sailing Ship Columbia
    • Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island
    • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
    • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
    • Fantasmic!
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday: Closed January 11-21 to remove holiday overlay.
  • Jungle Cruise: Closed January 11-May 5 to remove holiday overlay and for extended refurbishment.
  • Autopia: Closed January 11-April 28 for refurbishment.
  • “it’s a small world”: Closed January 25-February 4 to remove holiday overlay.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters: New attraction opens early 2016.
  • Soarin’ Over California: Closed January 4-22, January 25-28, February 1-4 to install new Soarin’ Over the World attraction.
  • Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular: Closed permanently starting January 11. A “Frozen”-inspired musical stage show will take its place.
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed January 11-14 for refurbishment.
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!: Closed January 13-21 for refurbishment.
  • World of Color: Closed January 19-February 1 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Blue Sky Cellar:[/B] Closed indefinitely.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
Tomorrowplan Crowd Estimates for Disneyland Resort from Mouseaddict

December 21-27


  • ‘Twas the week before Christmas, in the land of the mouse
  • The wait times were crazy – even Tarzan’s Treehouse!
  • So we’ve decided to spread some holiday cheer, with discounts on features through the new year!
  • For the rest of the year, get Tomorrowplan crowd projections and the unique Wait Watcher feature, for only 99¢ each.
  • And Merry Christmas to all our Mouseaddicts!

The free Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, weather forecasts, park and show schedules, the latest news and articles from MiceChat, and more. Download free on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.

[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
Well, that wraps up our final Disneyland update from 2015! We’ll be back next week with our annual Year-in-Review – we’ll return to our regular updates at the start of the new year! Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas!

Special thanks to our Dateline Disneylanders!
A very special thank you to all of our Patreon supporters for their monthly support keeping Dateline Disneyland alive, especially our special top-tier supporters:

    Kendra H., Brian A., Dusty Sage,
    Benjamin, Mark D., Bruno, and Casey!

To help support Dateline Disneyland and get some fun swag in return, visit our Patreon page now!

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 the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.