The first signs of the holidays have started to appear at Disneyland as Christmas lights are strung up on the facade of “it’s a small world” and a new ice skating rink gets ready to open in Downtown Disney. At Disney California Adventure, new telephone poles are up in Cars Land where holiday garland and lights will delight Guests as they walk down Route 66. Meanwhile, construction and refurbishment projects continue across the Resort, with new architectural details emerging at Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire, terrazzo replacement at California Adventure’s Carthay Circle Theater, progress at Downtown Disney‘s Earl of Sandwich and a new paint job for the Paradise Pier Hotel.

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!

Disney California Adventure will continue to remain open until midnight Friday nights this month while Disneyland closes early for its popular Halloween parties.

Moderate Halloween Time crowds continue this week at Disneyland. can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. With Halloween crowds here and holiday crowds on the horizon, it’s a good time to subscribe to 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 our Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton, Statistician,

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
Crowd Tips
Tues., Oct. 16 [center]2 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland will boost California Adventure crowds on Friday.
  • Partial blockouts on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Disney California Adventure’s lightest crowds will be on Tuesday when it’s a 5.1.
  • 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., Oct. 17 4 /10
Thu., Oct. 18 3 /10
Fri., Oct. 19 6/10
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.

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Construction Kingdom

City Hall remains behind its scrim as its refurbishment progresses…

At the end of Main Street, construction continues on the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area.

A lot of new architectural details are now starting to appear… This area should look very nice when it’s finished.

Inside Fantasyland, Casey Jr. Circus Train and Storybook Land continue their refurbishments.

The Circus Train bridges are still getting a lot of work done…

Hauntings and Holidays

Over at “it’s a small world,” keen-eyed guests can spot the first signs of the holidays as Christmas lights are starting to go up on the attraction’s facade.

The individual light bulbs will come later, the most of the facade has gotten its empty strings of lights already…

Meanwhile, Halloween Time continues throughout the park. In the far corner of Frontierland the new Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, which struggled to find an audience over the summer has become quite a hive of activity with the new Halloween Carnival.

The Halloween Time pumpkin carvers that have been popular at Big Thunder Ranch for years now get a lot of attention back here while long lines form at the villains meet-and-greet.

The fun Halloween-themed Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show draws big audiences.

Take a look and listen at a portion of the Haunted Hillbillies show below:

Elsewhere in Frontierland, Ray Bradbury’s Halloween Tree has been a part of Disneyland’s Halloween Time offerings since 2007. It’s a nice tribute to an important figure in American literature who also had strong ties to Disney. The tree has always been a little disappointing, though, decorated with orange string lights and cheap faux pumpkins that have faces drawn on with Sharpie markers.

I know every project has its budget, but if Disneyland’s holiday team is having a hard time working extra Sharpies into the budget, I’d be happy to go buy and donate a few so they can finish this pumpkin that’s currently on display in the tree.


In Tomorrowland, the long-neglected Starcade is partially behind walls this week as work is underway to install the new meet-and-greet area for the character from Disney’s upcoming animated film “Wreck-It Ralph.”

While a meet-and-greet in the two-level Starcade isn’t an ideal use of the space, the arcade-theme of “Wreck-It Ralph” will at least make sense here and the overflow merchandise displays from the Star Trader can be stocked with something more relevant to the space. For now, you can stock up on pillow pal plush or the same toys you can find in numerous other stores throughout the Resort.

Yep, Disney still officially labels this space as an arcade… Looks more like a gift shop to me…

You can spot construction walls dividing the Starcade’s space in half

Welcome to California Adventure

Over at California Adventure, construction continues on the new planter on the west side of the park’s main gate.

The new fence posts are now up

At Oswald’s Filling Station, the popular Oswald ear hats were back in stock this weekend. Cast Members told me they weren’t expecting this shipment and the hats were selling quickly. They said they expect a more steady supply in mid-December.

The Carthay Circle Theater’s main entrance is now partially behind construction walls (hedges) while its terazzo floor is replaced.

Large menus are up while the regular menus are obscured during construction

A peek behind walls

Some photos from last week show the terazzo floor as it originally appeared. We’ll see if the design changes at all when the project wraps.

In Hollywood Land, the Sorcerer’s Workshop in Disney Animation recently updated the character personality tests in the Beast’s Library area with new characters.

Characters from Pixar films including Nemo and Syndome have been added as well as classic Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse.

Take a look at a couple new character results in the video below:

Cars Land Changes

In Cars Land, new safety padding has been installed in Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree’s ride vehicles after guests reported injuries including whiplash and chipped teeth.

Meanwhile, the new telephone poles we told you about in last week’s blog have new brackets in place, where holiday garland will be strung from.

Sandwiches and Skating

Out in Downtown Disney, Earl of Sandwich’s new paint job is coming along nicely as work on the dining location’s interior gets closer to completion…

A peek inside…

Steps away from Earl of Sandwich, a new Tinker Bell-themed ice skating rink has sprung up.

Last week, the Disney Parks Blog announced that the ice skating rink would open “soon” and officially open on October 23.

The whole thing is to promote the upcoming direct-to-DVD Tinker Bell movie: “Secret of the Wings”

Ticket booths and skate rental shacks

Re-Painting Paradise

Not too far from Downtown Disney, the Paradise Pier Hotel is finally getting a new color scheme, ridding the place of the awful teal color that defined most of Paradise Pier when California Adventure opened in 2001.

On the left you can see the old teal and on the right the new blue

Decorative sun icons that covered lighting fixtures have been removed

Inside the Hotel, much of the old original 2001 California Adventure concept art has been replaced with new art from the recent remodel and other non-specific art.

California Adventure remodel concept art replaced original Paradise Pier concept art.

Other Pier-themed art in hotel common areas

Up on the roof top pool level, you can see the backside of the hotel tower getting repainted.

The walkway to the handicap ramp up to the pool deck is currently blocked off.

The “Slurpin’ USA” pool bar and the rather sad-looking Pier Side Pavilion are closed for now

Pool restrooms are also closed for refurbishment

A temporary handicap ramp is available for pool access.

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
October 15-21, 2012
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 6 pm
Tuesday: 9 am – 8 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 9 am – 8 pm
Friday: 8 am – 7 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Monday: 8 am – 8 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 9 am – 8 pm
Friday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Saturday: 8 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Theme Park Calendar
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[B]1.3—8.0[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[B]5.1—8.2[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

[B]For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [B]Storybook Land Canal Boats:[/B] Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Casey Jr. Circus Train:[/B] Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [b]Indiana Jones Adventure:[/b] Closed through December 7, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Starcade:[/B] Partially closed to install Wreck-It Ralph meet-and-greet. Reopens October 19, 2012.
  • [B]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed October 22-November 8, 2012 to install holiday overlay
  • [B]Big Thunder Ranch:[/B] Closed November 1-8, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay and install holiday overlay
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed November 5, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Expected to close early 2013 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
  • [B]Fantasy Faire:[/B] New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
  • [B]Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater:[/B] Fantasyland Theater closed August 12. Princesses have relocated to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
  • [B]Earl of Sandwich:[/B] Former Compass Book store and cafe will reopen as the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant fall 2012.
[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • The OC Regsiter is reporting that Disney is testing new RFID wrist bands that Guests would wear to gain admission to parks, get FASTPASS and unlock hotel rooms.
  • The City of Anaheim is considering a $318 million plan to add street cars between the new transportation hub and Disneyland.
  • Disneyland named its 2013-2014 Ambassadors last week.
  • A Disneyland machinist was critically injured after a Space Mountain ride vehicle hit him, reports the OC Regsiter
  • OC Register had photos showing California Adventure’s old CALIFORNIA letter statues were packed up and sent off to their new home in Sacramento, CA last week.
Alright, that wraps up today’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. What are you most excited for this holiday season – Cars Land decorations, ice skating in Downtown Disney or favorites like “it’s a small world holiday”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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For more Disneyland news, be sure to read MiceChat’s weekly In the Parks blog. And be sure to check out our sister blog, Dateline Disney World – a fantastic weekly photo blog covering Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

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  • Ravjay12

    Great update Andy! Looks like the fantasy-faire area is going to turn out really nice! I know I’m going to get a lot of comments for even thinking this, but I think Storybookland and Casey Jr need to go. Maybe replace with Seven Dwarfs mine train? My kids who are 3 and 5 won’t even go on Storybook because it’s dull. Legoland’s miniature cities are much more exciting to my kids because they are interactive. My kids also love the steam trains more than Casey Jr. I know that these are Walt’s original attractions that opened with the park, but I think it’s time for a change. Wasn’t the original idea for that area a roller coaster anyway?

    • Bronco21

      Neither need replaced. Could both use a little refresh? Yep I wouldn’t mind if they added a dumbo/ Casey junior interactive queue and move the loading station back behind dumbo. They could also add a tangled tower, Princess and the frog restaurant, etc to Storybookland. Not everything needs to be a roller coaster or an interactive exhibit for it to be fun. Casey Junior is one of the few rides my niece would ride the first time we went. Take it and Casey junior away and you are taking away more rides that the entire family can enjoy together for another ride with a height requirement. No. Just no.

      • Internitty

        I agree, I really enjoy the relaxation of these rides, don’t get me wrong I am a thrill seeking crazy person but sometimes it’s nice to float along and relax and take a step back in time. I also agree that the 7 Dwarves Mine Train would be cool but why not find another spot for it OR put it in DCA where they still have HEAPS of work to do. Just because it’s in Fantasyland in Florida doesn’t mean it has to be in Fantasyland Anahiem, Little Mermaid is in the Disney World Fantasyland why shouldn’t DCA get a little more retro fun.

  • We Believe

    Great update! Thanks a lot. Excited to see some refreshing at Paradise Pier Hotel.

    I have a question. While looking at the photos of The Carthay Circle Theater’s main entrance terazzo floor being replaced, it reminded me of something stated on this website a while back. I think Mr. Lutz stated in one of his articles that the old tile mural from the old DCA postcard entrance was going to be used to create a terazzo floor (but I thought he said at the Disneyland Hotel). Was he just joking or were the tile pieces broken up and used somewhere?


  • jpg558

    Great update!

  • ducksman

    Before getting all smug about the Disney being cheap did you ever think that there might be a reason one of the jack-o-lanterns is left incomplete? Maybe read the book Bradbury wrote?

    • JMazz

      It makes me wonder if ppl who notice the spire on the castle think Disney/WDI “forgot” or were too cheap to complete it.

      They areboth left incomplete for different reasons, but nither is a mistake rather they are details to relish. I hope your post will inspire others to pick up a book and keep ppl from pointing out a “mistake” that really isn’t a mistake.

      • pameleux

        Interesting! I didn’t know about the spire on the castle. I guess you learn something new about Disney every day.

  • Great update Andy. I’m really surprised that the brand new terrazzo at Carthay is already being replaced. Sure hope they don’t cheep out and put concrete in.

    Glad to see ice skating back at be resort.

  • Lobot

    Man, that terrazzo floor looked great, too bad they’re ripping it out! I can see that surface being really slippery when wet so perhaps they’re just avoiding a potential lawsuit down the road by replacing it?

  • SpectroMan

    Wow – Paradise Pier is just such an eyesore, no matter what color they paint it this time. I really wish they’d invest in a full scale remodel of this property because right now, I’d rather pay less and stay at the Marriott or Hilton.

  • Tinkbelle

    They’ll add padding to Mater’s but not to the Matterhorn bobsleds?

    • JMazz

      LOL. I thought the same thing. I wonder how many more complaints Matty needs to get before they do this to her.

  • JMazz

    That floor is very slippery when spilled on/wet. I would bet that they are fixing it before the winter rains come to socal.

  • Algernon

    I love Casey Junior and Storybook Land. They won’t be the same if they put bogus safety railings on the Casey Junior bridges, like they did on the Matterhorn. But, like destroying Tomorrowland, the Subs, the Swiss Tree House, etc., etc., I expect them to eventually destroy Disneyland itself. They may as well tear it all down now and finish their mega-buck Coney Island, instead of doing it bit by bit, over the years.

    • Monorail Man

      It’s not Disney that wants the handrails. It’s OSHA/DOSH. OSHA believes, that because cast members are expected to walk the track each day, and for any sort of downtime, railings are required for safety to ensure that workers have a steady hold when there’s an elevated platform or area. OSHA doesn’t care about theme or any other requirement, and there are safety rules to be followed. It makes sense, it would be illegal for an office building to have it (drop-off without a railing, accessible by foot), so why should it be legal for Disneyland?

      Also, OSHA isn’t a fan now of the pop-up railings, because if there’s a major power outage and there would be a chance that they can’t be raised.

      There are several OSHA complaints about Disney lacking railings, but based on the timing – it was this one (with the fine) that made them to worry, and where OSHA started finding them out of compliance:

      Any raised area where people work on a regular basis, needs to have a handrail, as per Title 8, Section 3210:

      • Wreckless Abrandon

        I could have sworn OSHA in the past used to work with Disney to comply with safety but also with aesthetics. It seems like these days they don’t care.

  • Princess Victoria

    Hmm. Why are they trying to get away from the Paradise Pier Hotel paint scheme? I understand about updating it, but the fact is that they matched the coloring and triangle patterns to the Paradise Gardens dining area. You see the same colors and triangle pattern throughout the area. If the green was fading, why not just darken it? Seems like there’s too much blue going around the Resort these days.

    • Timekeeper

      Ditto on the coloring scheme, I think having some orange would better contrast itself from the Forest Green/Wood Brown of the Grand Californian Hotel and from the various shades of Blue of the Disneyland Hotel . Also, I liked the sun icons on the hotel and I hope those would stay on the building, not being replaced with some generic Mickey Mouse Icons.


  • Timekeeper

    Also, I love how Imagineering is slowly updating the Animation section by section, with new video loop, the temporary Frankenwinnie exhibit and the updated character personalities, by chance, did they have the new Disney characters from the recent animated features, besides the addition of Pixar characters? Other than that, great update and I hope to get a pair of Oswald Ears sometime in the future. 🙂


  • SoCalFan

    From what I’ve seen and heard, the terrazzo floor in front of Carthay is simply being leveled out, as it apparently wasn’t before and was some sort of ADA problem.

  • ayalexander

    When it comes to the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel and the parking garage… they need to pretty-up the surroundings a little. 2 of the Disneyland Hotel towers look out onto barren parking lots. Perhaps a few more trees to add greenery at least? Paradise Pier Hotel needs some new elements like the ones at Disneyland Hotel and also some greenery to look out onto. Its perfectly fine to have “some” rooms look out onto the parking areas, but if they just install a small planter with a green tree every hundred feet or so… maybe with little lights on them (for nighttime effect) it would look at least a little more pleasing to the eye. A lot of guests don’t like looking out onto the Simba Lot. Please Disney, just some small planters of trees! -Like in the Downtown Disney parking lot.

  • QPerth

    A terrific update, thank you so much for all the hard work that went into bringing it to us! And a BIG thank you for the “Some photos from last week show the terazzo floor as it originally appeared. We’ll see if the design changes at all when the project wraps.” – Comparrison photos!!!!!!!! This was a brilliant addition to the descriptions of the work and I for one greatly appreciated these.

    WHY oh why TDA can’t actually make the Starcade into an…oh I don’t know, an ARCADE, boggles my mind?!! What happened to all the games from FLYNNS over at ElecTRONica at DCA??? geeze, perhaps the reason why the brilliant and ready made TRON franchise won’t take off is because younger people don’t know it’s based on a game in an arcade?! TRON is a deeply detailed world with incredible stories and aesthetics that they continue to ignore. Even non-fans of the TRON world would have to admit it looks cool and would work in Tomorrowland and the detail of FLYNNS arcade, heck, just some TRON and Space Paranoids games, would help that gift shop.

    Already looking forward to the next update, thanks so much again! -Q

    • addiction41999

      I miss the Tron portion of the People Mover. That used to be my favorite thing as a kid and part of why I grew up liking Tron. A tron lightcycle ride seems to be an obvious choice to me and I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet. Oh well, here’s to hoping…

  • jmuboy

    Are the brown diamond patterns on the PP Hotel gone? Looks like those brown columns are dark brown and shinny. But no shaded diamond patterns. And no sun icons on the bottom of the columns. Hmmmm. Not sure yet on these color changes.

  • whamo

    I liked the old threads from Micechatters, and I don’t see them anymore. I thought the update was very informative. You guys have your fingers on the pulse of Disneyland. I went to the park Sunday morning, and it was a blast. Walk-on rides were the normal for a couple of hours. Then the herd came down Main Street.