The first signs of Disneyland’s version of the MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ programs from Walt Disney World have started to appear in the park. Testing and an eventual rollout of the new features are rumored to happen soon. Meanwhile, the classic Autopia attraction has emerged from an extended refurbishment with Honda as a new sponsor. Elsewhere in the park, Star Wars continues to awaken in the northwest corner of the frontier…

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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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We’re back after a couple weeks off. Let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

Welcome to Disneyland, where it’s supposed to be the off season but you wouldn’t know it by the crowds!




Fastpass+ moves in

Disneyland is quietly preparing to roll out its own version of Walt Disney World’s MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ programs. Disneyland’s version is likely to be far less invasive than its Floridian counterpart and will rely heavily on the Disneyland mobile app for smartphones.

Keen-eyed fans may spot the conduits for the upcoming Fastpass+ stanchions appearing near the existing Fastpass entrances at select attractions including Big Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones Adventure

Are you a fan of Fastpass+? Excited to see it come to Anaheim, even if in an altered form?

Honk for Honda

In Tomorrowland, the classic Autopia attraction reopened Friday after an extended refurbishment. The attraction comes with a new Honda sponsorship and now sports a new logo and a new blue-and-white color scheme, bringing it up to date with the rest of Tomorrowland.

Aside from the new logo, color scheme, and paint job for the cars, there’s not much that’s different about the attraction. The ride track remains the same, scenery is cleaned up but otherwise untouched, and the cars are still the clunky gas-powered version.

The queue/grandstand looks good in its new blue scheme.

Most of the cars have been repainted in official Honda colors and now have Honda emblems. The remaining cars will be repainted in the coming weeks.

The large video screen facing the queue and load area no longer shows late-90s Chevron car animations but instead vintage Wonderful World of Disney clips. A nice touch.

The rotunda that the queue travels through has lost its Chevron car dioramas and now features screens showing the same vintage clips from the outdoor screen.

The ride itself is largely unchanged, just cleaned up and repainted in areas.

Riders arriving back at the load/unload station see a message from the new sponsors.

The photo booths remain in place on the exit ramp.

The refreshed Autopia is a nice improvement, even if it’s in paint color only. The massive queue structure never looked good in its Tomorrowland ’98 color scheme and only looked worse as Tomorrowland switched over to its new blue-and-white scheme over the last decade. It looks nicer now, even if the attraction itself remains woefully in need of a real technological upgrade. Disney promises more Honda-sponsored changes in the coming months — while a new fleet of cars is unlikely, hopefully we’ll see more positive changes here in terms of theming and substance.

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

The top of the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure has become a popular spot for curious fans and day guests interested in the Star Wars expansion progress. With most of the demolition completed, Disney has officially broken ground and is now working on getting the land ready for the early phases of the 14-acre land’s construction.

So far, there’s not much to see except a whole lot of dirt…

Demolition of remaining backstage facilities is on-going…

Rivers of America

Not much to see from the guest’s perspective along the Rivers of America from within the park.

Views from the top of Tarzan’s Treehouse.

With the wilderness gone, you can see the hills of Mickey’s Toon Town in the distance…

Big Thunder Trail & Ranch

Lots of tractors can be seen from Big Thunder Trail

In Fantasyland, with the wilderness gone, the backside of the long-abandoned Fantasyland Skyway Chalet is now exposed. Hopefully Disney finds a way to salvage this structure — With the back of the structure exposed due to Star Wars construction, it would be nice if an ADA-compliant ramp could be be installed on the Frontierland-facing side so the gorgeous structure can be converted into some guest-accessible space, whether its outdoor vending seating, retail space, or a meet-and-greet area.

It would be a shame to lose this.

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!

This & That

In Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise’s extended refurbishment will wrap up soon. The fruit stand outside of the ride has emerged from refurbishment

The glass elephant which had been part of a seating area in the old Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street has reappeared atop the shop.

What a surprise!

Jungle Cruise is expected to open later this week with new safety enhancements to the load/unload procedures.

In California Adventure, the old Muppet*Vision Theater is being converted into the “Sunset Showcase Theater,” which will house Disney’s in-park movie previews. Sorry Muppets fans but don’t expect Kermit and Co. to return here anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the Hyperion Theater continues to install its new Frozen show, which will open at the end of this month.

Outside the parks, Disneyland Security has taken over the routine bag checks coming into the parks. This comes after recently taking on the operation of the metal detectors.

In Downtown Disney, the Little Miss Matched sock store was quickly shuttered and turned into a Chapel hat store

And down near the AMC Theater, Starbucks’ second location continues to take shape…


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
May 2-8, 2016
Disneyland Park California Adventure
Monday: 9 am – 9 pm
Tue.-Thu.: 9 am – 10 pm
Friday: 9 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 12 am
Sunday: 9 am – 11 pm
Mon.-Thu.: 9 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sat.: 9 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 9 am – 11 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!
  • Disneyland Monorail: Closed through May 19 for refurbishment.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed May 2-6 for refurbishment.
  • Jungle Cruise: Closed through May 5 for extended refurbishment.
Disney California Adventure
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Closed through June 9 for refurbishment.
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed through 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

May 2-8

Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

  • Good luck to all the participants at this weekend’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon!
  • The Pixar Play Parade returns on Wednesday, while the Matterhorn Bobsleds have one more round of weekend closures.
  • Summer is approaching fast, and with it crowds and grad nites. Check out the premium Tomorrowplan feature in Mouseaddict for two months of continuous crowd projections to help plan your visits.

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.
  • Disneyland donated $60,000 to Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, CA in honor of Earth Day. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Celebrate Star Wars Day, May the 4th at Disneyland with special merchandise and more. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Soarin’ Around the World coming to Disney California Adventure June 17. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Catch a preview of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” special menu items and dining experiences on Mothers Day at select Disneyland Resort restaurants. (Disney Parks Blog)
OK, that wraps up this week’s Dateline Disneyland! Are you ready for Fastpass+ at Disneyland? What do you think of Autopia’s refurbishment? Let us know 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.