Disneyland‘s winter off-season is now in full swing but despite numerous attractions being closed for refurbishment or construction, crowds continue to hit the parks to see Disneyland’s ongoing 60th Anniversary celebration. Among the closures is, of course, the Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad which will undergo major changes as part of the park’s huge 14-acre Star Wars-themed expansion gets underway. The River and Railroad closures will stretch well into 2017 but other projects around the parks now in progress will wrap up throughout the spring, including work at the Jungle Cruise, Autopia, and Soarin’.

Before we get started, we’d like to thank all of you for your support and readership over the last couple weeks as we covered the major Star Wars-related closures at Disneyland. We saw our readership numbers spike over the last two weeks thanks to all of you liking and sharing our posts across various social media platforms. Dateline Disneyland is a work of love and we appreciate your readership! If you’d like to support what we do, please consider donating via PayPal or by becoming a patron on Patreon (and get fun rewards in return!). Thanks!

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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Let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

The last of the holidays have disappeared from the theme parks as the off-season gets underway with a ton of new refurbishments and construction…

Spring color has been planted throughout the park…

At the end of Main Street, the “Tangled” show at Fantasy Faire’s Royal Theatre has returned, joining the Frozen show. The Beauty and the Beast show has not returned.

The Frontier Awakens

Disneyland’s Star Wars Land expansion will get serious this week as construction walls go up today, closing Big Thunder Trail. Scrims and walls have already gone up at the Hungry Bear Restaurant, blocking views of the Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad locomotives are already parked for the next year and a half.

Disneyland Railroad

Last week we showed you the new Disneyland Railroad photo-ops that will be in place while the Railroad is closed to accommodate Star Wars construction.

The train parked at Main Street Station has been shortened and the Lilly Belle has been brought out. Railroad conductors can open the Lilly Belle Presidential Car for you to peek into but unfortunately guests cannot enter. Windows are open, however, and you can still get an up-close look.

Of course, you can get a wonderful close look at the E.P. Ripley engine

A similar railroad experience can be found at the New Orleans Square Station. Last week we noted the ability to step inside the caboose at the New Orleans Square station but that was no longer an option this week. It seems as though this experience is still being adjusted before construction gets underway.

Engineers are happy to show and explain just about anything about how the trains operate — below, a look at the electrical panel for the Ernest S. Marsh

There are no Railroad experiences at Mickey’s Toon Town Station or at Tomorrowland Station.

Rivers of America

On the Rivers of America, the Columbia remains docked at the Frontier Landing. The ship is open for exploration while the Mark Twain Riverboat is in dry dock at Fowler’s Harbor getting some TLC.

Meanwhile, the Hungry Bear Restaurant’s seatings areas are now wrapped in scrims to block views of the Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad route during construction.

Walls up along the Hungry Bear’s lower seating area

The walkway up to the Hungry Bear’s upstairs foodservice and dining area

Scrims are themed with imagery of foliage and baby bears

Nearby, the views of the River could still be seen over the weekend from above the canoes dock but expect more walls and scrims along this area this week.


Big Thunder Trail

Big Thunder Trail is now closed, starting today as work gets underway on removing Big Thunder Ranch, the Jamboree area, and carving out new paths and walkways that will lead to the new Star Wars land.

Old Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland features near Big Thunder Mountain will likely survive the expansion.

Expect big changes coming to this area

Big Thunder Ranch was closed and goat-free over the weekend. It will soon disappear forever.

Refurbishment Round-Up

In addition to the Disneyland Railroad and the Rivers of America, several other attractions in both parks closed over the weekend.

End of Season

In Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” is still celebrating the holidays while the Haunted Mansion sheds its holiday overlay.

Speaking of the Haunted Mansion, the attraction should reopen in its traditional format this Thursday

A new arch has been installed at the entry gates

Meanwhile, New Orleans Square has transitioned from its Mardi Gras-inspired holiday to full-on Mardi Gras. The giant Mardi Gras mask will stay up through the spring.

Garland and holiday decorations are now replaced with Mardi Gras masks and more beads.

Honk for Honda

Autopia’s big refurbishment project is underway as it prepares to welcome Honda as its new sponsor.

Lots of work underway

Scaffolding is up around the queue building

Hopefully a refreshed color scheme will come along

Sprucing up the Jungle

In Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise remains closed. The Skipper School we showed you last week is still taking place in front of the construction but with additional props and concept art on the wall.

The Jungle Cruise will reopen in early May.

Frozen Over

In Disney California Adventure, no changes to be seen at the Hyperion as the new Frozen musical begins to move in.


Cars Land is getting ready to open the new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters attraction. The ride’s new marquee signage has been installed outside and banners are going up on lampposts surrounding the ride.

The trackless-style ride will take riders on a “dance” with Luigi’s extended family from Italy.

No Fly Zone

Soarin’ Over California remains dark while programming for the new “Soarin’ Over the World” ride takes place inside.

The California version of the attraction will open intermittently at the end of January and beginning of February before the ride permanently switches to the new “World” version.

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
January 18-24, 2016
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 11 pm
Tue.-Thu.: 8 am – 11 pm
Friday: 9 am – 11 pm< Saturday: 8 am – 11 pm< Sunday: 9 am – 11 pm
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm
Tue.-Thu.: 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]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

January 18-24


  • Despite closures, refurbs, and construction, Disneyland continues to draw large crowds evenings and weekends during the “off season.” But be prepared for rain!
  • Hotels are quite full this week around the Disneyland Resort. Still, there are many deals to be had.
  • California Adventure is lagging behind Disneyland in crowds, but expect them to pick up shortly with the opening of the re-imagined Luigi’s Rollickin’ Rollers possible this week.

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]
  • Disney has named Bob Weis the new head of Walt Disney Imagineering; current head Bruce Vaughn will leave the company. (New York Times)
  • Star Wars villain Kylo Ren will begin appearing at Disneyland’s Star Wars Launch Bay in February (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Decorate your home with new ceramic figurines based on classic Disney theme park experiences (Disney Parks Blog)
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Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

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