“To all who come to this happy place: – WELCOME – Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past. . . and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.” Those words were as true when Walt Disney spoke them on July 17th, 1955, as they are today. It was heartwarming to stand in Town Square with thousands of other fans on Sunday and hear Walt’s words echo as though we were right there with him 61 years ago. Happy Birthday to Disneyland, you don’t look a day over 20. Join us on a journey 61 years in the making.

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Disneyland’s 61st Anniversary

Disneyland celebrated its 61st Anniversary this past Sunday. Folks started packing into Town Square right around park opening for this little event.

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You can’t even see Town Square because of all the folks packed in waiting for the birthday celebration.

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Mickey and Minnie led a cavalcade from the castle forecourt down Main Street to Town Square. They were followed by the Disneyland Band and the rest of the Fab Five. Select cast members, who were holding classic Mickey head balloons, danced their way down Main Street with the procession.

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After the ambassador of Disneyland welcomed the crowd, Walt Disney’s opening day speech was played over area speakers. It was incredibly emotional to hear Walt’s words echo in the very spot where they were first uttered 61 years ago. The Dapper Dans led the crowd in a sing happy birthday to Disneyland, which led to the release of a flurry of white doves. They wrapped up with a rendition of “Live the Magic.”

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At the end of the “Live the Magic” sing-along there was a rain of confetti which covered the entire crowd around the train station. The event lasted a little under ten minutes and was toned down from the 60th Anniversary last year, but it was a nice little tribute to the very first Disney theme park.

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You could also take a photo op on Sunday with this great little sign showing that you were there for the 61st Birthday of Disneyland.

 

Disneyland

Main Street, USA:

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Now on to other areas of the park, strolling down Main Street to take in the sights, first stopping by the Main Street Magic Shop.

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Another great quiet area that is on Main Street is the Cinema, that shows six Disney animated shorts on six different screens. Often the cinema is empty with the occasional guest who ventures in to cool off.

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Click the image above for a larger view.

Tomorrowland:

Season of the Force is still in effect in Tomorrowland.

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Crowds weren’t bad at all on Sunday.

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Hyperspace Mountain was down for a while in the morning, but reopened later with a peak wait of 80 minutes.

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Frontierland:

Off to Frontierland and the wildest ride in the wilderness. This visit we were greeted with entertainment up on top of the Golden Horseshoe.

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Star Wars land construction provides a stark overlook for ride-goers on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. As you can see from the photos below, the new support wall is being constructed, which will start to block out the vast dirt mound.

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This mural was posted last week. Unfortunately, it looks like the printer ran out of ink on one side of the graphic (or perhaps one week of sun exposure has already started to fade it). You can clearly see the color change bottom left side of the photo.

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Here’s the version released by the Disney Parks Blog.

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New Orleans Square & Pirates of the Caribbean:

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Did you know you can still visit the Disneyland Railroad on Main Street and in New Orleans Square, even though they aren’t in operation? They still make a wonderful diversion. And you can take great photos since guests are now allowed to cross over in front of the engine. Perfect place for a family photo.

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Star Wars Land Construction

Our thanks to Andy Castro for sending us an updated version of the MiceChat Star Wars construction map. The slider shows the current progress of Star Wars Land at Disneyland, with an overlay of where all the new buildings area going.

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[ View Map Large ]

Below is the current view from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure, you can click the first image for a larger view.

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New Parking Structure

A new parking structure is being constructed behind the Pumbaa lot (across from Garden Walk) and Carousel Hotel (on Harbor Blvd).  The hotel will soon be demolished to make way for a direct path to Disneyland.

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We have LOTS more Star Wars photos for you on our latest MiceChat Star Wars Update HERE

Refurbishments

Over at the New Orleans Square Train Stop, they are well under way giving it much needed TLC, you can still visit the train and blow the whistle while this is underway.

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While fantastic is dark and large part of the rivers of America being drained, Disney looks to be giving the stage area and infrastructure a much needed refurbishment. You can see from the photos below that everything has already been primed for new coats of paint.

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Halloween Time

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It is barely July, but many locals and tourist are planning their Halloween time visits to the Disneyland Resort. This year’s Mickey’s Halloween Party will run on select nights from September 9th through October 31st. The Headless Horseman returns to the Disneyland event this year.

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Photo: Disney
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If you want to see the wonderful Halloween Screams fireworks, you’ll have to buy an event ticket. Photo: Disney

Annual Passholders will be able to buy tickets beginning July 21st (Disney Rewards Visa and Disney Vacation Club members will also be able to begin purchasing on this date). Tickets become available to the general public on July 28th.

Unfortunately, parking is NOT included in the ticket price this year.

Disney has also revised their adult costume guidelines. Adults may dress in their favorite Halloween costume this year, but must follow these guidelines:

  • Costumes should be child-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive or violent.
  • Guests may wear masks. However, masks must not obstruct vision and eyes must be visible at all times.
  • Guests who dress like Disney Characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
  • Costumes should not drag on the ground.
  • Costumes should not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
  • Costumes should not contain any weapons which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Guests of all ages may only wear costumes to the Disneyland Resort Halloween event to which they have valid tickets.
  • Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into the event unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.

Take note that these guidelines are subject to change at anytime, so keep an eye out on any official changes on Disneyland’s website.

Are you a Mickey’s Halloween Party fan? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the event and and at what price point it’s worth it to you.

Disney’s California Adventure

Let’s make our way over to DCA and see what’s jammin’ in the park this summer. Our thanks to Dusty Sage for the photos and comments below.

Grizzly Peak

First stop is the Fastpass distribution for World of Color. At 5pm in the afternoon, passes were still available for the 9pm showing.

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Meanwhile, stand-by for Grizzly River Rapids was an hour and twenty minutes. That’s a long wait in the heat.

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Big wooden raft bear says, “Only you can prevent long waits. Use Fastpass or Single Rider.”

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Nearby, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is a great escape from the heat and is an often overlooked spot. IMG_0720

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Kenai and Koda greet you at the entry

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The water wasn’t flowing during our visit.

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Paradise Pier

Just past Redwood Creek is San Francisco and the Little Mermaid attraction . . .

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At 2pm on Saturday afternoon, Little Mermaid was a walk-on, so we did!

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What’s the matter with you? Kiss the girl!

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From the ride to the restaurant. Just across the way from the ride is Avalon Cove and Ariel’s Grotto. The heavily in demand Cove Bar is upstairs and Ariel’s character meet and greet restaurant is below. I hadn’t been in this establishment in years. Time to poke around. IMG_0817

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Ariel awaits guests at the bottom of the stairs near the hostess stand.
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Ariel knows a lot of other princesses. They wander around greeting the guests.

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Outside is a dining patio which jets out into the lagoon. It offers great views of Paradise Pier.

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Nice view!
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Upstairs is the popular, and recently expanded, Cove Bar.
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This is the patio expansion.

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After a quick drink at the Cove, it’s time to launch!
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OK screamers, three, two, one . . .
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I’ve always loved this carousel. Bright colors, fanciful aquatic theme. It’s just adorable. Unfortunately, tucked away in a corner between Screamin’, the bathrooms and Midway Mania, it doesn’t really offer much in the way of views. Would have been lovely if they could have placed this closer to the lagoon. Still, it’s a real work of art.

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Toy Story Midway Mania waits have moderated. 30 minutes isn’t too bad for this popular attraction.

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Jeff Rossen of the Today Show had been reporting all last week about how midway games are rigged. It’s not that all games are rigged, but that it’s easy for them to be. So, I wanted to visit DCA’s games to take a look.

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DCA’s games don’t appear to be rigged to me. They don’t need to be. The prizes cost much less than your game play. Disney makes their money whether you win or lose. Do you ever stop to play the midway games at DCA or any other theme parks? Do you have a favorite game or prize?

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The former home of the Maliboomer is still an unused space. There’s already a queue hidden behind the hedge. Seems like this would be a great spot for Disney to build a meet and greet pavilion up on the old ride platform. (there’s a small meet and greet area in front of the old ride entry now).  Originally, when it was announced that the old ride was going to be removed, Disney promised a park for this area. But that never happened.
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This beer hut gets very popular on a hot day.

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Please forgive my obsession with this dining location. I love the park-like setting, the live entertainment, and the food at the Garden Grill. I was so hungry that I took a pause in the photo shoot to have my favorite chicken skewer.

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YUMMY

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I couldn’t help myself. I’d heard that the parks are a great place to find Pokemon. Since Paradise Pier was nearly empty, I opened the wildly popular new game on my iPhone and captured a few critters right off the bat. I’ve got to catch them all. 😉

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That’s a lot of activity in a very tight area. You can see why so many people are playing the game in the parks right now.

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Pacific Wharf

Because of how DCA is laid out, it’s hard to miss the Wharf. But one of my favorite things is located here.

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Free chocolate. Got to stop by Ghirardelli. This is the reason I can’t wear a Speedo any more (not that I ever should have to begin with).  IMG_0944

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A quick cut-through to get to Tower of Terror is to go through Bug’s Land.    IMG_0960  IMG_0962

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6 of the Drive ‘Em Buggies were out of service. The Orkin Man must have made a visit.
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There’s one 4-leaf clover in Bugs land. Have you found it?

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

With the rumored retheme of this beloved attraction to Guardians of the Galaxy, I really wanted to take a ride. The level of detail in this attraction is exceptional.

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I waited to be the last out of the pre-show room so I could take a couple flash photos without disturbing any other guests.  IMG_1040

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They asked me to put my camera away for the ride. So, no photos for you there. But I really love this little detail as you exit your elevator. If you look in one of the cages, under the stairs, you’ll find a body stashed away behind some boxes.  Creepy . . .

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The gift shop doesn’t have as many Twilight Zone Tower of Terror themed items as it once did, but it’s still a great store.

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The ultimate bath robe.

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Much of the merchandise has become Jack Skellington, Haunted Mansion or Disney Villains.

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Not Jammin’ On The Backlot

Just around the corner from Tower of Terror is Disney’s latest Dance Party. Sadly, it lacks the energy, excitement or theme of previous parties. This one has been downsized to a single DJ who tries to get guests to dance and/or sing along. No band, no professional dancers, no streetmosphere, no big props. I asked a nearby cast member if that was all there was to this dance party and he said “Yes, this is as good as it gets.” This may be Disney’s way of killing off the nightly DCA dance parties.

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An hour into the nightly party and there were just a smattering of people wandering through the area (on a Saturday night).

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They didn’t even bother to open the beverage booth nearest the stage.

 

 Nightfall

Night was falling fast on DCA. My short trip to Disneyland’s sister park had ballooned into 5 hours. But there were a few last photos I wanted to take before leaving. . .

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Let’s take a quick look inside the shops and see if there’s anything we can’t live without . . .

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First, the stuff you can’t buy. The Five & Dime has been decorated with stacks of vintage merchandise on the upper shelves.

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In my day (said in my best old person voice), we didn’t need fancy computer machines from Skynet to embroider a hat. We had talented young folks who could twist a nob and whirl a doohickey to actually write your name of the back of your Mickey Ears. Those day’s are long gone. You can get your ears in a variety of different fonts these days, and no cast members need to be harmed in the process.

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Ladies, could one of you please explain to me the religious experience some of you seem to have when you her the name “Dooney and Bourke”?  While photographing this section of the store, a young lady cried out to her mom in a breathless voice “Dooney!  They have DISNEY Dooney bags mom!”  The two discussed price and how cute the pattern was. It was a show I couldn’t pull myself away from. They walked away with a bag and a wallet.

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The mens section is now mostly Star Wars . . .

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With a shirt this awesome, who needs pants?

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If sorin’ has a long wait, do it at night. The queue is brutal in the heat of the day, but very manageable in the dark.

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MouseaddictGet Mouseaddict Here You can keep track of the wait times and even where in the park people are congregating by downloading the app for yourself (iPhone only at this time).

Thank you !
All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update contributors were Anthony Hayes (Disneyland Section) and Dusty Sage (DCA)
Are you a member of the MiceChat Sunday Meet-up Facebook group? If you are interested in meeting up with fellow theme park lovers, in the parks, please be sure to follow this group: MiceChat Sundays in the ParkAnd please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the parks:

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Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]