Happy Halloween! Disneyland will host its final Mickey’s Halloween Party of 2012 on Halloween this Wednesday night, but guests trick-or-treating in the park will find much of it already decorated for the next big holiday season. The overlap of Halloween and Christmas decorations may be jarring, but preparation for the holiday season is well underway as is set to officially launch on November 12. As snow appeared on Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland welcomed the stars of Disney’s upcoming animated film “Wreck-It Ralph” to Tomorrowland‘s Starcade. The character meet-and-greet puts brings guests face-to-face with Ralph and his friend Vanellope and allows fans of the film to play the “Fix-It Felix” video game from the film. Meanwhile, Main Street is losing another bit of tradition as hand-painted watches fade into history and Downtown Disney prepares to open its newest restaurant.

Thanks to MiceChat’s Fishbulb for some extra help with some photos today.

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!

Expect Disney California Adventure to see after-dark crowd levels jump Monday and Wednesday nights as Disneyland hosts its final two hard-ticket Halloween parties of the season. TouringPlans.com 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 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 our Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton, Statistician, TouringPlans.com

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
Crowd Tips
Tues., Oct. 30 [center]1 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Disneyland will host its final Mickey’s Halloween Party events Monday and Wedneday nights
  • Partial blockouts on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Disney California Adventure’s lightest crowds will be Tuesday, when it’s a 3.2.
  • 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. 31 1 /10
Thu., Nov. 1 1 /10
Fri., Nov. 2 5 /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.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by TouringPlans.com.

Disneyland continues to test out having an additional gate open for guests in wheelchairs.

The parks are also testing out a separate entry gate for guest with four-and-five-day tickets, where they are required to show ID along with their tickets. It’s an effort to cut down on ticket fraud where multi-day tickets with extra days leftover are being sold on the secondary market, which is against Disney’s non-transferable ticket policy.

Inside Disneyland, window awnings are retracted on Friday as the first strong Santa Ana winds of the season swept through the park.

Time’s Up

A long-time Main Street tradition has ended as Disney has discontinued its custom watch program at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The Fortuosity Shop was the home of Disneyland’s custom watch program. In fact, the store was previously known as New Century Timepieces until Disney downsized the presence of the watch program and reopened the space as the half-hearted “curios”-based Fortuosity Shop in 2008. The clock from its days as a dedicated watch store remains on the facade.

Saturday was the last day custom art and watches were made at the shop. Remaining watches in stock will continue to be sold at the location for the time being, but working artists will no longer be present in the store.

With cell phones increasingly replacing watches, it’s understandable this offering is being discontinued in the parks. That’s not to say the loss is unfortunate, however. These sort of themed offerings beyond the basic t-shirts and plush are important to the overall Disneyland experience. Unique offerings like the watch shop, silhouette studio and Penny Arcade are part of the character and DNA of Main Street, U.S.A. Unfortunately, this DNA continues to be chipped away at in favor of expanding retail space for generic souvenirs or candy.

There are undoubtedly some who will read this and reply that Disney is a business and businesses are designed to make money. This is true, but Disney theme parks weren’t always designed with the intention of turning a profit in every corner. There was a time when Disney didn’t view their theme parks as profit centers, but rather “entertainment centers” that turned a profit if the experience was right. The interest now isn’t so much if the experience is right but if every profit is hitting its maximum potential in every available inch of retail space.

The silver lining here is that artists aren’t gone entirely from Main Street. The Disney Gallery will continue to feature live sketch artists in the Gallery’s studio space and some of the watch artists will move to this space. The remaining watch artists will relocate to Burbank where they’ll paint animation cell reproductions found in the parks.

Construction Kingdom

In Town Square, the scrims have come down from the City Hall, Guided Tours and Fire Department buildings as the refurbishments here wrap up.

Rumor was that the facility was being repainted in more appropriate colors for the filming of the upcoming “Saving Mr. Banks” film, which will take place in the park November 6 and 7. While the refurbishment took place and filming is scheduled, it now looks like the two were possibly unrelated as the color scheme isn’t any closer to its 1960s colors.

Still, the repainted buildings look good now after some TLC.

More progress can be seen at the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area next to Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Back in Fantasyland, work continues on the Casey Jr. Circus Train and Storybook Land refurbishments.

Walls have been extended around the waterfall and rock work next to Monstro, near Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

The Goofy’s Gas refurbishment in Toon Town continues….

Christmas Countdown

Snow fell on Sleeping Beauty Castle last week, as the park gets ready for the popular holiday season, which kicks off November 12.

The overlay looks largely the same as previous years so far, with perhaps more glitter shimmering in the faux snow. We don’t expect any changes, but it would be nice if the icicle lights on the Castle got an aesthetic upgrade this year…

“it’s a small world” is now closed as it gets its holiday overlay installed.

Meanwhile, more Christmas lights are up on the facade.

Meanwhile, New Orleans Square is already completely decked out for the holidays.

Welcome, Ralph

In Tomorrowland, the new Wreck-It Ralph meet-and-greet opened Friday.

A banner points the way to the rear entrance of the Starcade for the meet-and-greet.

Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz from the film greet guests at the portals to their games…

The meet-and-greet empties into what’s left of the Starcade and it’s here that guests can find a couple of arcade cabinets featuring the Fix-It Felix 8-bit video game from the movie.

A fun touch to feature these here

Welcome to California Adventure

Over at California Adventure, construction on the west side of the main gate continues, with progress closing the gap in the wall that will separate guest areas from backstage.

Inside the park, the terrazzo replacement at the Carthay Circle Theater is still underway.

California Christmas

Cars Land’s new telephone poles are ready and waiting for their new holiday garland…

And Christmas lights have been strung up through Pacific Wharf…

Building Sandwiches

Earl of Sandwich is getting its finishing touches applied as the new Downtown Disney sandwich shop gets ready for its grand opening, now set for this Friday, November 2

A peek inside…

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
October 29—November 4, 2012
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 6 pm
Tuesday: 10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday: 8 am – 6 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 12 midnight
Saturday: 9 am – 12 midnight
Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Monday-Wednesday: 8 am – 8 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 9 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 9 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by TouringPlans.com[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[B]1.1—7.8[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[B]3.2—6.6[/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]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed through November 8, 2012 to install holiday overlay
  • [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]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] New restaurant officially opens November 2.
[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. What do you think of Disneyland discontinuing its custom watch program? Is it a non-issue or a sad loss for Main Street, U.S.A.? 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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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less. and the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.