Spring break is here! The park is in bloom and packed as holiday crowds descend on the Resort, despite recently-increased ticket prices and numerous construction and refurbishment projects underway. In Disneyland, the early stages of Star Wars construction continues in the northern wilderness of Frontierland. Meanwhile, changes are afoot at Soarin’ Over California in Disney California Adventure as The Jungle Book moves into A Bug’s Land for a sneak preview.

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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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There’s a lot underway in the parks this spring, so let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

Disneyland is stunning this time of year as spring flowers bloom throughout the parks, even with big spring break crowds hitting the Resort.

A look at some spring break wait times on Sunday afternoon

Disney California Adventure is as beautiful as ever this spring, as well.




The Frontier Awakens

Disneyland’s new Star Wars project will be unprecedented in terms of scale for the park, dedicating 14 acres to a single property with massive new facades, rock work, and massive E-Ticket attractions that dwarf even Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones Adventure. Below, a map showing how the new land is expected to impact Disneyland’s landscape once completed in late 2018.

StarWarsExpansion-BeforeStarWarsExpansion-After

[ View Map Large ]

Relocating Backstage

Major work continues backstage, removing trees, clearing land, and moving the berm as Disneyland prepares to officially break ground on the new Star Wars expansion in April.

Looks like some of the old Mine Train thru Nature’s Wonderland rock work will be saved

The old settler’s cabin from Tom Sawyer Island and its fake tree have been moved backstage while Tom Sawyer Island is cut down in size to accommodate the reduced and rerouted Rivers of America. The cabin is expected to return to the Island.

Rivers of America

Inside the park, the Rivers of America have been dammed and the back half of the river has been drained. The back portion of the river will be reduced in size and rerouted to accommodate the southern boundary of the Star Wars expansion.

Buoy in the water

Peeking through the scrims at the Hungry Bear Restaurant

Views from the backside of the restaurant’s deck are obscured by trees

The construction walls along the waterfront in Critter Country recently got new handrails

Meanwhile, the Mark Twain Riverboat remains docked and open for exploring, live music, relaxing and character meet and greets

A screen showing the Disneyland opening day broadcast is now located up on the second level.

A nice little touch!

Views of the river from the Twain’s top deck

The eastern cofferdam

Big Thunder Trail & Ranch

The Big Thunder Trail landscape continues to rapidly change as trees have been cleared and the Ranch totally removed. The clearing of the wilderness has eliminated the forest behind Big Thunder Mountain but the lack of trees helps the mountain look bigger, which is an interesting silver lining here.

The old Mine Train thru Nature’s Wonderland tunnel remains, but the hillside and foliage surrounding it has thinned.

Disneyland Railroad

Over at New Orleans Square Station, some new educational signage has been added around the station.

The History of Steam Trains

Connecting our Country: The Telegraph

Great information on the display steam train boiler, where you can pull the whistle!

Information on steam train whistles.

Diagram of the boiler and its parts.

Closures & Changes

In addition to the major Star Wars expansion, several other notable changes and projects continue around the Resort.

Beauty and the Beast return to Fantasy Faire

Frozen has finally left Fantasy Faire’s Royal Theatre and the Beauty and the Beast show has returned.

If you haven’t seen the Royal Theatre shows, they’re certainly worth checking out. They’re a lot of fun and unlike other traditional Disney stage shows.

Jungle Cruise refurbishment

The Jungle Cruise is still closed for an extensive refurbishment through early May.

Mickey’s Toontown beautification

Facades continue getting fresh paint throughout Mickey’s Toontown.

Matterhorn Bobsleds cushions

In Fantasyland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds recently received new seat cushions to help make the ride more comfortable for guests. I rode on Sunday with the new seat cushions and while they helped, they weren’t enough for me to make the Matterhorn a regular stop for me again. Even with the cushions, the ride still feels incredibly rough, a problem the ride has always suffered from but was exacerbated by the new bobsled fleet that was introduced in 2012. The cushions help those 2012 ride vehicles a bit but sadly not enough. Of course, your mileage may vary.

The new cushion in the existing ride vehicle

Autopia gets a new look

In Tomorrowland, Autopia is emerging from its tarps, revealing a new blue and silver paint job that really looks nice. A huge improvement over the c. 2000 darker teal-and-bronze palette.

Kylo Ren Awakens

Not far from Autopia, the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show at the Tomorrowland Terrace recently received a notable change. Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister are still featured and are the first two visions from the temple that the Jedi must defeat.

Kylo Ren, the villain from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has replaced Darth Maul as the third vision that must be defeated. Darth Maul was never an unpopular character in the show, but Kylo Ren is certainly a fresher option for Disney to utilize here and definitely in high demand from guests.

Super Hero HQ closing

Nearby, the recently-opened Super Hero HQ will soon glow away after just getting a light redesign a few months ago. Disneyland announced Super Hero HQ will officially close April 2 and Spider-Man will move to Disney California Adventure where he will be joined by a newly-returning Captain America.

Disney author David Koenig reported that the closure is to allow for the expansion of Star Wars Launch Bay to the upper level of the former Innoventions building. The Star Wars expansion is expected to include a preview center for the new Star Wars-themed expansion under construction at Disneyland.

Super Hero HQ has never been a well-executed area and it won’t be sad to see the exhibits and meet-and-greet areas go away, especially considering the rumors that Marvel characters will soon find a permanent home at Disney California Adventure in the form a new mini-land near Hollywood Land.

Goodbye Super Hero HQ, here’s to a better future for Marvel in the parks.

Buena Vista Street work

Over at Disney California Adventure, a couple Buena Vista Street store entrances are getting work done.

Soarin’ changes

Nearby, Soarin’ Over California recently got new signage in its queue areas, replacing old c. 2001 signage as the ride prepares to introduce the new Soarin’ Over the Horizon film later this spring.

The ride’s new marquee, introduced when Condor Flats became Grizzly Peak Airfield last year. The logo is lifted from Epcot.

Unfortunately, it looks like much of the old queue theming will remain. A shame — it’s dated and no longer matches the style and theme of the land it exists in.

New signage featuring the new logo and no California references

Grizzly River Run reopens

Nearby, Grizzly River Run recently reopened from its winter refurbishment.

Frozen — Live at the Hyperion

In Hollywood Land, the new Frozen musical coming to the Hyperion Theater continues to take shape behind closed doors.

Disney recently released a video on adapting the movie for the stage.
https://youtu.be/5SzeLMMyna8

Nearby, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post has lost its snow and some of its exterior theming as it was reverted back to the simply named Studio Store. Inside, the shop is still totally Frozen-themed and fully-stocked with Frozen merchandise.

The Jungle Book Preview

In A Bug’s Land, a new extended 10-minute preview for Disney’s upcoming live-action “Jungle Book” film has moved into the Bug’s Life Theater.

The preview utilizes in-theater special effects and is presented in 3D. You’ll be treated to an extended scene from the film that transitions into a trailer for the movie, which hits theaters April 15. Like all of the movie previews, this isn’t worth a special trip to the park but worth checking out if you’re in the park already and have a few spare minutes to kill.

Movie posters along the theater’s exit path

Beyond the Berm

Outside the parks, Disney’s own security personnel have taken over metal detector screening at bag check, eliminating the third party security company.

The new security role has caused a bit of a mess with security Cast Members who don’t want to work the metal detector post.

In Downtown Disney, the long-expected second Starbucks location is now under construction in the space next to the Disney Vacation Club sales center.

Opening this summer

MiceChat Gumball Rally
10th Anniversary!

There is only one event in the world of Disney fandom which holds the status of the legendary… MiceChat Gumball Rally. It is a full day adventure through Disneyland to see how many attractions you can ride in a single day. Sound easy? It isn’t. However, we are told over and over again that this is the most fun our attendees have ever had in the parks.

  • Compete in teams of 2, 3, or 4 people.
  • You don’t have to be a trivia buff, ride warrior, or theme park nerd to play. The game is designed to put everyone on a level playing field.
  • You can play at the speed that you like. Take it easy or tear through the park. It’s up to you.
  • For one low price you get the game and Awards Party, complete with entertainment and prizes. (admission into the parks is NOT included)
  • Prizes will be awarded for 1st – 10th place, Best Team Logo, Best Team Name, and Spirit of MiceChat Award. There are plenty of chances to win!
  • Plus, while you are waiting for the results, we’ll present you with great entertainment and prizes!
  • An all day race through Disneyland to see who can ride the most attractions in a single day . . . There is simply no better way to challenge yourself, what you think you know about Disneyland, and have a fantastic time with your family and friends (whether you win or not).
  • Two types of tickets available – General ticket includes coffee, juice, and breakfast pastries in the AM and access to the Award Party in the PM. Please note that the Awards Party will take about two hours. You’ll have an hour and a half between the end of the Gumball Rally and the Awards Party to relax and find something to eat for dinner before the party.
  • VIP TICKETS – In addition to the above, VIP ticket holders will receive early registration, full breakfast at the ESPN Zone, full post-Rally dinner at the Anaheim Plaza Hotel, VIP Reserved spots up front for both the kick-off and the Awards Party, Rally T-Shirt, and special commemorative Tenth Anniversary Gumball Rally pin. Make your Gumball Rally experience extra special with our VIP package! (the VIP package is a value of over $90 plus guaranteed seating and express game-day registration for just $75 extra per person). This is your best Rally deal!

For more information or to register for the event, CLICK HERE!


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
March 21-27, 2016
Disneyland Park California Adventure
Daily: 8 am – 12 am Daily: 8 am – 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Closure and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park
  • 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!
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Closed April 11-14 for refurbishment.
  • Disneyland Monorail: Closed April 11-May 19 for refurbishment.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed April 18-22, April 25-29 and May 2-6 for refurbishment.
  • Autopia: Closed through April 28 for refurbishment.
  • Jungle Cruise: Closed through May 5 for extended refurbishment.
Disney California Adventure
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Closed April 11-June 9 for refurbishment.
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed April 18-May 17 for refurbishment.
  • Frozen — Live in the Hyperion: New stage musical show opens May 27.
Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels
    None.
Tomorrowplan Crowd Estimates for Disneyland Resort from Mouseaddict

March 21-27

Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

  • Happy Spring! And with it comes Spring Break – for the next two weeks, expect AP blockouts, peak pricing, and continued crowds.
  • Expect beautiful spring weather – high 70s to 80s every day this week. Perfect park weather!
  • Worried about lines during Spring Break? Lose wait now with our exclusive Wait Watcher feature. Just dial in how long you’re willing to wait for an attraction, and Wait Watcher will… well, watch the wait and notify your iPhone or Apple Watch when the queue has shortened. Only in Mouseaddict.

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.

Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.
Alright, that wraps up this week’s Dateline Disneyland! What do you think of the Star Wars Land construction? Did you catch the Jungle Book preview? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
– Andy




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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.