Are you ready to go back to 1955? Well, keep it in idle for a minute—we’ve got a couple of quick points of business to cover here in 2017, and then we’re off.

First, sharp-eyed visitors will notice that after workmen removed the Christmas decorations from Sleeping Beauty Castle, they reinstalled the glittery roof décor used in the park’s expired 60th anniversary promotion. The reason is that the roof badly needs fixing—a problem compounded by recent heavy rains.

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The constant decorating for this event or that promotion has literally left its marks on the castle. Yet the suits in the Team Disney Anaheim building didn’t want to have the castle covered in scaffolding when the Main Street Electrical Parade made its return last week. The plan now is to fix the castle when the Electrical Parade finishes its run June 18.

Second, workmen are already busy inside the Fantasyland courtyard remaking two different spaces. The Castle Heraldry Shoppe closed January 12 and, since it’s adjacent to the Peter Pan ride, which is on the short list to get FastPass this year, first thoughts were that the shop would become a FastPass dispensary.

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What I’m hearing, though, is that it will remain a merchandise location. The latest story going around is that it will be a store specializing in merchandise for the new live action film Beauty and the Beast, which premieres March 17. Like recent meet & greets and other movie tie-ins, the store will only be temporary, lasting only until interest in the movie dies down—and merchandise management decides what to put in there for the long term.

On the other side of the courtyard, carpenters and painters were spotted sprucing up the interior of the original Frozen character meet & greet area between Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and Village Haus. Stay tuned for more on what they’re up to here.

Over in Frontierland, the Big Thunder Railroad FastPass is moving across the path. The building can be seen over the construction wall just north of the viewing patio which is next to the Mark Twain dock. (Correction: I’m now hearing the structure is actually an addition to the entrance of the attraction, designed to provide some cover for the attendant and to more clearly differentiate the FastPass and standby lines. – DK)

The shrinking Rivers of America may also claim another victim. Operations is considering shortening the Canoe dock. The result: only four canoes can operate at one time, instead of its previous capacity of eight.

Back to 1955

Finally—before it’s sold out—I wanted to extend one last invitation to join me for a special presentation on “Walt’s Disneyland with the Original Disneylanders” this Saturday morning January 28 at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney.

Moderated by yours truly, the event will feature three early cast members all of whom encountered Walt during their adventures:

The last to retire of the original '55ers, Bob Penfield will be featured at the MiceChat anniversary kick-off. In his spare time, he's trying to get Disneyland's Midget Autopia back running again in Marceline, Missouri.
The last to retire of the original ’55ers, Bob Penfield will be featured at the MiceChat anniversary kick-off. In his spare time, he’s trying to get Disneyland’s Midget Autopia back running again in Marceline, Missouri.

Bob Penfield started on the Carrousel on Opening Day and worked his way up through the ranks of management in Operations and Facilities before retiring in 1997—the last of the originals to check out from Disneyland. He’s also the author of a new book, The Last Original Disneylander (which you can get signed at the event!)

Ray Webster (far right), who welcomed Indy driver Marshall Teague and his daughter Patty, to celebrate the grand opening of Disneyland's Midget Autopia in 1957, will be a featured panelist at the MiceChat anniversary event.
Ray Webster (far right), who welcomed Indy driver Marshall Teague and his daughter Patty, to celebrate the grand opening of Disneyland’s Midget Autopia in 1957, will be a featured panelist at the MiceChat anniversary event.

Ray Webster started the day after Opening Day as the park’s first Space Man, then moved to Operations as a lead on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, into Guest Relations under Tommy Walker, and finally to Holidayland.

They'll be joined by Becky Morris (left), longtime chief PBX operator for Disneyland, shown here in 1977 at the switchboard with Virginia Swan.
They’ll be joined by Becky Morris (left), longtime chief PBX operator for Disneyland, shown here in 1977 at the switchboard with Virginia Swan.

 

Becky Morris joined the PBX (Disneyland’s switchboard on the second floor of the Opera House) as an operator in July of 1960, working her way to chief operator and assistant manager before retiring in October 1999.

The presentation will be supplemented by vintage park photos and some color film footage from Disneyland in the fall of 1955 that I guarantee NONE OF YOU HAS EVER SEEN. You’ll see stagecoaches, wildly unrestrained tea cups, and even a rustic keelboat sitting in the original Fowler’s Harbor, months before it would ever take its first guests. (And somebody will have to tell me if it was typical to see kids running free along the outside balconies of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon.)

The event includes a buffet breakfast and the opportunity to purchase books signed by me and Bob Penfield at a 20% discount. Click HERE for more info about the MiceChat Anniversary events and tickets. And I hope to see you all there!

 

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MiceChat Anniversary Weekend Events

MiceChat Anniversary is coming your way January 27th through 29th at the Disneyland Resort. We’ve got some great surprises for you this year, including Disney Legend Bob Gurr, beloved author David Koenig, The ORIGINAL Disneylanders, meet-ups, meals, contests, friendship and a whole lot of fun!!!

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Friday Evening January 27th – cocktail party with Bob Gurr

8pm Anaheim Plaza Hotel. (including a teaser screening of his documentary, panel discussion, and a screening of his celebrity roast!) Bob is a treasure and a big fan of MiceChat.com. Don’t miss this amazing event. Tickets HERE.

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Saturday morning January 28th – “Walt’s Disneyland” breakfast and panel with David Koenig and the Original Disneylanders at the ESPN Zone.

David is leading a discussion with two original Disneylanders about their days in the park and their interactions with Walt Disney. These are stories which have never been heard before. This NOT-TO-BE-MISSED opportunity will warm your heart and make you feel thankful toward the generation which created the Disney magic we love so much today. Breakfast Event Tickets HERE

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In addition to the two ticketed events above, we have a full schedule for the weekend, these activities are free to join in! We love to see all of our MiceChat fans join us in celebrating twelve years of magic!

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Saturday, January 28, 2017 — Our Annual DCA Day of Play

  • Noon – Let’s do lunch at the Paradise Garden Grill & Lunar New Year celebration
  • 1:30pm – FREE Eye Spy Game – Meet in World of Color stadium – SIGN UP HERE
  • 2:50pm – Group Photo at World of Color Stadium
  • 3:30pm – Frozen Musical meet-up
  • 4:25pm – DCA Animated Experience – Meet in the Animation building to learn how to draw a character, ride some animated attractions and enjoy the park.
  • 5:30pm – Drink-Up and relax with your MicePals at the Wine Country patio
  • 7:00pm – Monorail Man Trivia Night at the Hearthstone. Have a drink, share your trivia knowledge, and you might even win a prize or two (outside patio)

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Sunday, January 29, 2017 — Disneyland Day of Play

There’s been a disturbance in the Force and our traditional spots are currently closed. That means new opportunities and new magic to be made.

  • 9:00AM — This Is The Breakfast You Are Looking For, Galactic Grill
  • 10:30AM — Storm the Galaxy Meet-Up & rides
  • NOON — MEET up in the central Hub of Disneyland (by the Walt and Mickey statue)
  • 12:30 PM — Photo in front of the Castle
  • 1:00 PM — Head West! Lunch at Stagedoor Café (grab food from anywhere and bring it back to the outdoor patio at Stagedoor)
  • 2:30 PM — West Side Wonder Meet-Up – Meet at Magnolia Gardens (the round garden next to the Mansion) where we will then venture on to ride Haunted Mansion (Then Pirates & Tiki Room)
  • 4:00 PM — Great Moments Meet-up (Lincoln)
  • 7:30 PM — BONUS EVENT – Electrical Parade viewing (Small World Mall)

RSVP for the the weekend activities to receive the latest information and meet locations!

 

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