Disney California Adventure kicked off summer this Memorial Day weekend with the debut of its big new Frozen — Live at the Hyperion musical stage show. With limited showtimes and high demand, the show is selling out quick every day as guests flock to see how the much-hyped replacement for the theatre’s long-running Aladdin musical measures up. Today we have a photo-heavy look at the new show with some thoughts on how it turned out. We also fill you in on the latest Star Wars construction at refurbishments at Disneyland.

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!

Get a closer look! Don’t forget that you can always click on any photo in Dateline Disneyland for a closer look with a larger, higher resolution version of the image!

We’ve got a big Frozen-filled update for you today!

Welcome to Disney California Adventure!

Fans of Soarin’ Over California should plan to get their final rides in soon. Soarin’ is set to be closed on June 16 and reopen on June 17 with the new Soarin’ Around the World movie. The original California film will play through June 15.

Dateline Disneyland Farewell Season

Dateline Disneyland is glowing away!
Last week we announced our glowing away and mentioned we were putting together a big giveaway to celebrate the end of Dateline Disneyland. To thank all of you for your readership and support over the years, we’re giving back to you! As we wrap up Dateline Disneyland in June, we’ll be giving out spectacular prizes from our friends at the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground, Courtyard Marriott Anaheim Hotel & Waterpark, Progress City Press, POP! Comics & Culture Emporium, and TouringPlans.com! The giveaway is our way of saying thanks to all of you for your readership and support over the last eight and a half years! We simply couldn’t have done it without you!

We’re giving out prizes every week during June 2016!
Find out what you can win and how to enter below!

Enjoy a 2-night getaway at Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel or the Courtyard Marriot Anaheim Hotel!
Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will enjoy a two-night stay at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground! Ranked in TripAdvisor’s 2016 Travelers’ Choice — Top 25 Hotels for Families in the United States, the HoJo is conveniently located across the street from the Disneyland Resort and is a short, eight-minute walk to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The delightfully retro HoJo is packed full of fabulous family-friendly amenities including the swashbuckling, pirate-themed Castaway Cove Water Playground!

One (1) Grand Prize Winner will enjoy a two-night stay at the Courtyard Marriott Anaheim Hotel & Waterpark — the HoJo Anaheim’s beautiful new sister property. Located next to the HoJo Anaheim, the Courtyard Marriot Anaheim Hotel is only a short five minute walk to Disneyland’s front gate. The new Courtyard Marriott features an array of amazing amenities including rooms that sleep six and boast over 530 square feet of space with WiFi and Netflix streaming! Guests can enjoy Starbucks Coffee in the lobby, great dining, and the elevated Surfside Waterpark — a watery oasis that features six water slides, a 400-gallon drench bucket, swimming pool, kid’s pool, and dazzling views of Disneyland’s nightly fireworks!

Explore Disney history with the Progress City Primer!
Four (4) winners will win a hardcover copy and four (4) winners will win a audiobook download of The Progress City Primer: Stories, Secrets, and Silliness from the Many Worlds of Walt Disney by Disney historian Michael Crawford. From Progress City Press, The Progress City Primer features 340 pages of Disney lore, with 33 stories touching on topics ranging from Walt himself to “the Disney that never was.” You’ll learn about legendary Disneyland projects such as Liberty Street, and hear weird and wacky episodes of Walt Disney World history. There’s even a selection of recipes from the Parks’ past, so you can have a Progress City supper party as you read!

Win Disney comics from POP! Comics & Culture Emporium!
Four (4) winners will win copies of select Disney comic books, courtesy of the new POP! Comics and Culture Emporium! Located just minutes away from Disneyland in historic Downtown Anaheim’s Center Street Promenade, POP is Anaheim’s newest and best little comic shop featuring the greatest comics from big publishers and innovative indies! POP is also home to the best comics events and signings in Orange County! Four (4) winners will each win one (1) of the following prizes from POP:

  • Haunted Mansion #1 — POP! Exclusive Variant signed by artist Jody Daily and Disney Imagineers Tom Morris, Josh Shipley and Brian Crosby
  • Darkwing Duck #1 — Signed by writer Aaron Sparrow
  • Seekers of the Weird #1 — Variant signed by artist Brian Crosby and Disney Imagineers Tom Morris and Josh Shipley
  • Seekers of the Weird #1 — Full set of all four covers (unsigned)

Win a year subscription to TouringPlans.com!
Four (4) winners will receive a one-year Disneyland Resort subscription to TouringPlans.com, where they can enjoy access to 365 days of Disneyland crowd predictions, accurate attraction wait times, Computer-Optimized Touring Plans and much more! TouringPlans.com will help you get the most out of your Disneyland Resort vacation, allowing you to do more and wait less.

The Dateline Disneyland Farewell Season Giveaway will run each week during June 2016! Check back next week for our first week of prizes and details on how to enter-to-win!

Thank you for your support over the last eight years!

Love is an Open Door

WARNING: There are plenty of spoilers here, so if you want to see the new show with fresh eyes, click here to skip this section.

The big news from the Resort this week is the debut of the new Frozen — Live at the Hyperion musical stage show in Disney California Adventure. The new Frozen show replaces the long-running fan-favorite Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular and brings the hit animated film to life on stage.

Demand for the new show is, as expected, very high and we’d recommend getting FASTPASS at park opening if seeing this show is a priority for you. On Friday, opening day, FASTPASS for all three shows of the day sold out within an hour of park opening.

Speaking of showtimes, the show is currently only running three shows per day while the cast and crew continue to rehearse in the mornings. Expect Disney to ramp up to five showings per day this summer.

Disney is now allowing food and drink inside the Hyperion Theatre and has Cast Members selling concessions outside in the queueing area prior to showtimes.

Inside the theater, the stage has been reworked, new “aurora borealis” curtains wrap around the front half of the theater, and new large-scale video screens dominate the stage. The show is very projection-heavy and this is evident as soon as you enter the theater with projections of the Arendelle landscape covering every projection surface.

The show itself is a pretty close beat-by-beat adaptation of Frozen, with only a couple notable moments missing. Because of this, it’s a long show — clocking in between 60 and 70 minutes. Keep this in mind if you plan on attending as there’s no intermission break or restrooms available inside the theater itself.

[photo: Disney]

Sets in the show are mostly comprised of projected backgrounds with a few smaller physical set pieces. These three doors from the Arendelle castle play a big role in the show.

Elsa and Anna as kids, playing in the castle.

Uh oh.

Getting help from the trolls

The death of the King and Queen

Time for the ball

Anna and Hans

[photo: Disney]

Coronation ceremony

[photo: Disney]

The show is sprinkled with clever moments, utilizing surprise stage effects and props, trap doors, and projection effects. Below, Elsa accidentally shows her magic when Anna announces her engagement to Hans resulting in large ice spikes that jut out toward the audience.

Anna promises Hans she’ll return safely with Elsa

The “Let it Go” sequence is big, as expected, but perhaps lacks a bit of extra oomph needed to really sell it.

[photo: Disney]

Elsa’s ice palace chandelier sparkles from the ceiling.

Meanwhile, Anna and Kristof are en route to find Elsa

They pick up Olaf along the way…

…where he tells them his summertime dreams in a big number.

Anna finally arrives at Elsa’s…

Elsa demands Anna to go away, freezing her heart in the process

Kristof rushes Anna to the trolls where they try to marry the two before they realize just how precarious Anna’s situation is…

[photo: Disney]

Kristof rushes Anna back to the castle so Hans can give her true love’s kiss, only to be deceived.

The climactic search for each other in the blizzard is perhaps one of the show’s least interesting moments — an arguably difficult scene to translate to live theater. It does end up culminating in what is perhaps the show’s most impressive use of projection technology as Anna is transforms to ice through projection mapping when she sacrifices herself for Elsa.

Of course, Anna’s sacrifice ends up saving her and the kingdom and everybody lives happily ever after.

So how does Frozen — Live at the Hyperion measure up? All-in-all, it’s a decent theme park show. It’s perhaps a bit too long by 10-15 minutes but it’s evident the team already did their best to trim the fat to keep the show’s pace moving. The use of projections mostly work in transporting us to the different locales demanded by the story. The quality of the projections, while not perfect, felt notably better than those used in the recent Frozen Sing-along show or at Disneyland’s Mickey and the Magical Map show, which is nice to see — if you’re going to go with digital sets, they need to look good and this Frozen show gets this mostly right. At times, the projections transport you in a Soarin’-like way across the landscape — moments like that are really effective and impressive. Still, nothing trumps well-done physical sets and props and scenes “For the First Time in Forever” and “Fixer Upper” where there’s a lot of physical props or more elaborate set pieces are some of the strongest moments. If I had to choose one major thing that just didn’t work for me, it would be the design of the stage and surrounding curtains. The three-tiered circular shape of the stage backdrop is strange and feels disconnected altogether from Frozen and its aesthetic. And while naming the new curtains surrounding the stage the “Aurora Borealis curtains” is clever, the curtains just seem like an afterthought in practice. They’re never treated as anything but a flat projection surface, which isn’t even what they are to begin with.

[photo: Disney]

The cast I saw for the 2:55 show on Friday was great, and do a great job in bringing these characters to life. Disney has opted to go with color-blind casting for this show in favor of simply finding the best performers. I would agree that there’s no need to stick to an all-white cast and I think Disney made the right choice here. The cast works, the talent shines, and you can tell that everybody is really putting in their all to make this new show work. The biggest weaknesses here can probably be traced back to two things: a reliance on digital projections and the story issues that came with the source material. Despite breaking every record in the books, Frozen is a bit of a messy story and with this new stage show being a pretty close adaptation, a lot of the film’s story issues are now evident on stage as well. Is Frozen — Live at the Hyperion worth checking out? If you’re a fan of Frozen, then absolutely. Everything you like from the film is right there on stage (except Marshmallow) and it’s definitely an entertaining hour or so. If you aren’t, then it’s probably best to wait until the hype dies down a bit. You won’t be missing much if you choose to wait a while to see it — after all, it’s unlikely the show will be going anywhere anytime soon as Frozen‘s continued popularity is a pretty good guarantee that the show will be a hit for Disney California Adventure.

Looking for video? Our friends at MouseInfo and TouringPlans have full video of the show:

There’s a small selection of merchandise available for the show near the Hyperion Theatre’s FASTPASS distribution area

Of course, there’s plenty of other Frozen merchandise available 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.


[ View Map Large ]

Building a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Rivers of America

Back in Critter Country, the Hungry Bear provides a good view of the ongoing construction…

Big Thunder Trail

Over by Big Thunder Mountain, the old Big Thunder Trail and Ranch continue being reshaped for Star Wars.

This & That

In Disneyland, Tarzan’s Treehouse remains closed through June 9.

In Tomorrowland, the Space Mountain restrooms have reopened after their remodel and expansion

Starcade remains closed and it does not appear that the adjacent restrooms did not expand into that space as had been previously rumored

Some facade refurbishment work is underway at the Grand Californian Hotel.

And in Downtown Disney, Starbucks construction continues next to the DVC sales center.

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 30—June 5, 2016
Disneyland Park California Adventure
Mon.-Fri.: 8 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 12 am
Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Daily: 8 am – 9 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Closure and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse: Closed through June 9 for refurbishment.
  • 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!
Disney California Adventure
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Closed through June 9 for refurbishment.
  • Soarin’ Over California: Closed one day on June 16 to change to new Soarin’ Around the World.
Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels
Tomorrowplan Crowd Estimates for Disneyland Resort from Mouseaddict

May 30 – June 5


  • Take time to honor those who served – the Disneyland Flag Retreat at the Town Square flagpole takes place at 5:15pm today and every day this week.
  • Want to see the new “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” stage show? Get a Fastpass first thing to guarantee a seat.
  • How many pins have you earned? Tell us on Twitter at @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 edition of Dateline Disneyland. What do you think of the new Frozen show? 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.