Published on October 15, 2012 at 5:37 am with 26 Comments
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. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times Appthat gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plansdetailing 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 TouringPlans.com 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 ourCrowd Calendar.
— Fred Hazelton, Statistician, TouringPlans.com
Tues., Oct. 16
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
Thu., Oct. 18
Fri., Oct. 19
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. Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by TouringPlans.com.
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.
The whole thing is to promote the upcoming direct-to-DVD Tinker Bell movie: “Secret of the Wings”
Ticket booths and skate rental shacks
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
Disney California Adventure
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
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded. For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
Closure and Refurbishment Schedule
Storybook Land Canal Boats: Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed through December 7, 2012 for refurbishment.
Starcade: Partially closed to install Wreck-It Ralph meet-and-greet. Reopens October 19, 2012.
“it’s a small world”: Closed October 22-November 8, 2012 to install holiday overlay
Big Thunder Ranch: Closed November 1-8, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay and install holiday overlay
Space Mountain: Closed November 5, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay
Alice in Wonderland: Expected to close early 2013 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
Fantasy Faire: New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater: Fantasyland Theater closed August 12. Princesses have relocated to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
Disney California Adventure
Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels
Earl of Sandwich: Former Compass Book store and cafe will reopen as the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant fall 2012.
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.
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.
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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Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.