Published on September 17, 2012 at 2:06 am with 26 Comments
Halloween Time has arrived at Disneyland with the return of popular attractions including Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. New this year is the Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch, featuring carnival games for families and villain meet-and-greets. In Disney California Adventure, Hollywood Land is scaring up the season with the Art of Frankenweenie exhibition, featuring character models, props and sets from Tim Burton‘s upcoming animated film. Meanwhile, Buena Vista Street was cleaned up a bit after its themed window displays were cluttered with piles of cheap theme park merchandise.
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!
Halloween time at Disneyland spikes crowds slightly, but they’re still very manageable this week. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times Appthat gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plansdetailing 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 ourCrowd Calendar.
— Fred Hazelton, Statistician, TouringPlans.com
Tues., Sept. 18
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
Expect crowds to pick up a bit this week now that it’s Halloween season.
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. 19
Thu., Sept. 20
Fri., Sept. 21
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.
Do more. Wait less. Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by TouringPlans.com.
The Mickey floral didn’t get a Halloween overlay again this year
Scaring up the Season
Disneyland’s popular Halloween Time kicked off over the weekend…
The Mickey jack-o-lantern remains a very popular photo spot, both day and night.
The Mad Hatter is closed for refurbishment
Some great jack-o-lanterns at the Mad Hatter
Some work underway in front of the Carnation Cafe.
New this year, the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree is hosting a Halloween Carnival.
The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Halloween Carnival features some Halloween-themed carnival activities, including a ring toss and fortune teller wheel.
At the wheel of fortune, Cast Members give guests fortune cards after spinning the wheel
The biggest new feature is a rather plain-looking carnival tent that houses a meet-and-greet with villains.
Small groups are let in to meet one villain at a time.
The popular pumpkin carvers are back and located in the carnival area this year.
Nearby in Big Thunder Ranch, the cabin is once again the Scaredy Crow Shack for Halloween Time.
Frontierland’s Dia de los Muertos display is back…
…the Ray Bradbury Halloween Tree has also returned.
In New Orleans Square, Haunted Mansion Holiday has returned.
There aren’t any major changes at Haunted Mansion Holiday this year, except, perhaps that FASTPASS is not offered.
The pet cemetery in the queue features a new grave — for Sparky from the upcoming “Frankenweenie”
Nearby, the French Market has a received a reworked menu. Gone is the Salmon creole and the four-cheese pasta… Added are the corn chowder from the recent Mardi Gras celebrations and the French Dip and Na’Awlin’s Salad from recent special event menus.
The French Market is also serving up a couple seasonal Halloween items…
In Tomorrowland, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is back.
Tarps went up on the Fantasy Faire steel framework last week, obscuring views of the construction progress…
Snow White Wishing Well and Grotto are closed for refurbishment.
The facade work continues at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Refurbishment work continues at Storybook Land and Casey Jr. Circus Train.
A look at the Fantasyland Theater work…
Welcome to California Adventure
The latest edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is now available on newsstands throughout Buena Vista Street.
In Cars Land, wait times were very reasonable this week as the off-season and high temperatures thinned crowds at the parks.
Only 10 minutes for Luigi’s Flying Tires!
Not bad for Radiator Springs Racers…
Meanwhile, the permanent FASTPASS distribution area for Racers has had its FASTPASS machines removed and the space has now been completely converted into stroller parking.
The attraction’s FASTPASS distribution had yet to be used after it was temporarily relocated to the old FASTPASS distribution area for “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” The attraction’s FASTPASS was moved before opening summer to avoid crowding issues at the would-be permanent distribution area next to the ride’s main entrance.
A podium for Cast Members to distribute rider switch passes remains
The neon signage for the would-be permanent distribution area remains in place…
Radiator Springs Racers remains a FASTPASS attraction and tickets continue to be distributed near “It’s Tough to be a Bug!”
…and FASTPASS for the attraction continues to sell out quickly every day.
Last week I reported here on a very dramatic change for the themed, period-specific Buena Vista Street window displays that helped set the tone and tell the story of the park’s new main entrance plaza. Large amounts of California Adventure merchandise had been added to the windows, obscuring many of the antique and custom-made props that Walt Disney Imagineering had artfully arranged in shop windows. By Friday, a lot of the damage had been undone, with a lot of the excess merchandise removed from windows, allowing the themed props to shine a little more.
In Five and Dime’s fan-favorite book window, a lot of the Red Car Trolley merchandise that was piled onto stacks of books and other props has been removed. The mannequins remain and there’s still a lot of merch in the display… but believe it or not, the merchandise is notably obtrusive than before.
What’s disturbing, however, is that it appears that some of the original props have been removed along with some of the excess merchandise. Perhaps in a move to make the windows appear less cluttered, the merchandise folks have taken away some of the extra merch in addition to some of Imagineering’s antique and custom-made props. One of the most notable losses in this window is the removal of the antique diving helmet that was on the floor next to a stack of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea books.
We’re happy to see Disneyland’s merchandise team ease up on the merchandise in the windows, but removing props from the windows to make space for Red Car Trolley souvenirs is in rather poor taste.
Five and Dime’s baseball window is looking a lot better. The three mannequins wearing Cars Land apparel are still here, unfortunately, but the mannequins sporting the custom-made Buena Vista baseball jerseys have been moved up front and a lot of the extra Cars Land postcards and other souvenirs that were scattered on the floor have been cleaned up.
Not ideal but looking better…
The rack with the baseball bats can be seen clearly again now that it isn’t hiding behind mannequins!
Other Five and Dime windows that featured antique typewriters have been cleaned up a bit as well. No more scrapbook paper in the typewriters!
The Julius Katz and Sons window no longer has a mannequin and a lot of the Red Car Trolley merchandise clutter has been taken out.
Remaining Red Car merch is more carefully placed…
Next door, the Atwater Ink and Paint Supply window has lost its apron-wearing mannequin and some of the excess kitchenwares that were put on display last week.
Still, Mickey placemats are tacked up on the wall…
…and it appears the Atwater School teaches future Disney artists to mix paint with cheese spreaders…
Many of the Buena Vista Street windows remain the same, however. The Big Top Toys window still features a very prominent Disney Parks Candy Land display and Disney character figurines and plush are scattered throughout the display.
The Elias and Company windows are also still cluttered with character merchandise and mannequins wearing ugly Buena Vista Street t-shirts and hoodies that feature Noah Fine Art’s “Storytellers” painting.
While there’s still plenty of merchandise still in crowding the beautiful themed window displays, I’m rather happy to see Disney go in and undo some of the damage. To be sure, there’s still a lot left to fix and I hope Disney finishes the job. It would be ideal to see all of the merchandise removed, but if there must be some on display, then the merchandise team is making a good step toward a fair compromise.
In Hollywood Land, California Adventure’s only real offering for Halloween Time is the The Art of Frankenweenie exhibition in the Disney Animation building.
In addition to the art of exhibit in the Animation Building’s lobby, Animation Academy has added Sparky and Victor from the film to their roster of characters.
Four large display cases make up the exhibit, each filled with props, character models, sketches and full sets from the film.
It’s a rather nice exhibit with plenty to look at, despite looking small at first glance.
While the exhibit didn’t change my indifference toward the film, I enjoyed looking at the sets and character models. There’s a lot of detail to be seen there and I appreciated it.
A full recreation of the film’s attic scene is on display, with switches that guests can flip to control the various lights throughout the set.
Victor’s classroom set…
Two cameras are positioned in the set and you can snap photos of yourself viewing the set and submit them to the movie’s Facebook page via touch screens on the display case.
Off the Page features a selection of Frankenweenie merchandise including t-shirts and poseable plush.
Across from Off the Page and the Animation building, Award Wieners is selling two new items themed to the film.
In a recent article, executive Chef Christine Weissman told the OC Register that the new bacon-wrapped “Frank-n-Weenie” is intended to look like Sparky from the movie. Appetizing!
Nearby at the Muppet*Vision Theatre, a extended Frankenweenie 4D trailer plays throughout the day.
It’s worth a watch for the added lightning, wind and rain 4D effects. They’re a fun touch.
Fun posters at the exit…
In Downtown Disney, work on Earl of Sandwich’s outdoor dining patio has gotten underway…
Earl of Sandwich paint test on the side of the storefront.
This & That
I may have jumped the gun last week when reporting on generic soda cups appearing in restaurants throughout Disneyland restaurants. This weekend Halloween-themed cups replaced the regular sized soda cups which had begun to be replaced with generic Coca Cola-branded cups last week. The large soda cups still feature the red Disney Parks-branded design, although I’ve heard that the large cups have started to go generic at Walt Disney World parks in Florida.
Still, it’s important to note that paper napkins remain blank throughout resort restaurants (napkins haven’t been Disney-branded since at least June) and turkey legs continue to be sold in non-Disney “Hot Food Bags.” Disney typically announces a new global theme park promotion in the fall, after the start of the new fiscal year, so hopefully generic paper items are a temporary issue until new paper goods featuring designs for the new promotion are rolled out.
Halloween popcorn boxes and souvenir buckets are available now.
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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours September 17-23, 2012
Disney California Adventure
Monday: 10 am – 9 pm Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm Friday: 9 am – 12 midnight Saturday-Sunday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Monday: 10 am – 9 pm Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm Friday: 9 am – 10 pm Saturday-Sunday: 8 am – 10 pm
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded. For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
Closure and Refurbishment Schedule
Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater: Fantasyland Theater closed August 12. Princesses have relocated to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
Storybook Land Canal Boats: Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed through December 7, 2012 for refurbishment.
Space Mountain: Closed September 10-13, 2012 for Halloween overlay installation.
Big Thunder Ranch: Closed September 10-13, 2012 for Halloween overlay installation.
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes: Closed September 17-18, 2012.
Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed September 18-20, 2012.
Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed September 25-28, 2012.
Starcade: Closed October 8-18, 2012.
“it’s a small world”: Closed October 22-November 8, 2012 to install holiday overlay
Big Thunder Ranch: Closed November 1-8, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay and install holiday overlay
Space Mountain: Closed November 5, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay
Alice in Wonderland: Rumored to close early September to install permanent safety rails to outdoor portion of ride track.
Fantasy Faire: New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
Disney California Adventure
Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels
Earl of Sandwich: Former Compass Book store and cafe will reopen as the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant summer 2012.
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.
You can mix your own Carthay Circle Lounge Bloody Mary with this recipe from the Disney Parks Blog.
Speaking of ear hats, Annual Passholders can get a free pair of Glow with the Show ears if they spend $50 or more through September 22.
The OC Register reports that Disney recently donated retired ride vehicles from the Matterhorn Bobsleds and signage from California Screamin to the National Roller Coaster Museum.
More than 200 volunteers helped build a new playground for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, details at at the OC Register.
Alright, that wraps up this week’s Halloween Time edition of Dateline Disneyland. Are you planning on visiting Disneyland during this year’s Halloween Time? Also, what do you think of the Buena Vista Street window revisions — do the windows look better to you? Is more change still needed? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.