Merry Early Christmas at Disneyland, Plus Earl of Sandwich Opens and Construction Updates

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disney Parks, Features, In the Parks

frontpagepic

Published on November 02, 2012 at 6:48 am with 30 Comments

Welcome to the Disneyland resort edition of In the Parks. Wednesday was Halloween, and by the next morning, we found that Christmas had expanded substantially. We’ve got the photos for you below. But the tasty treat of the week was the opening of Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney. We stopped by to wait in a very long line for lunch. We’ll let you know if the taste lived up to the wait.  We’ll also stroll through Disneyland to survey the latest construction projects at Fantasy Faire Village, Fantasyland Theatre, Storybookland Canal Boats and beyond. Quite a bit to see today, so let’s get going!

EARL OF SANDWICH OPEN

The long awaited opening of Earl of Sandwich officially happens today, November 2nd.  But, the eatery has been enjoying outlandishly long lines and non-stop crowds since it soft opened on Monday morning.  We jumped at the chance to get a taste of the highly regarded food spot. This is what we found.

With a line out the door and around the patio, we dutifully took our place in line (the things we do for you!).

The line moved surprisingly fast for such a new location. The protracted queue took about 25 minutes to reach the register inside.

Once at the counter, we placed our order for a sandwich and were given a beeper that would let us know when to return for our sandwich. Most folks chose to simply stay in line along the front facing displays of chilled pasta salad, desserts and bottled drinks to wait. About 8 minutes after placing an order for the Cannonballs sandwich (Meatball), the buzzer went off and the sandwich lept into my belly.

Let them eat cake

The seating options are limited inside.  The only indoor seating that is available is in the same rotunda that previously housed the coffee shop portion of Compass Books.


The old coffee shop is now the only indoor dining area.

There are power outlets here too!

Outside, there is quite a bit more seating on the patio.  There are plenty of lights and overhead heaters ready to keep diners warm.  A canopy covers the seating area to keep elements at bay.

Now, back to the food.  The meatball sandwich we ordered was actually very good.  The bread was warm, toasted to perfection.  The tomato sauce was tangy and savory with tart, chewy mozzarella cheese covering the hearty meatballs. It really was wonderful.

The small portion of pasta salad, on the other hand, was a bit of a let down.  At $1.99 for roughly 4 oz of pasta, the price seems a bit high – but perhaps not so much when compared to other options at the resort.  Regardless, we decided to give it a shot since here, it really isn’t about the quantity, it’s about the quality.  While the pasta was firm and edible, the  scant amount of vegetables and overabundance of gelatinous dressing created an experience more akin to cold vegetable soup.  Edible, but not really worth the price.

In the end, we would certainly recommend grabbing a bite at Earl of Sandwich.  The crowds will be insane here for a while, but it will subside to a tolerable degree soon enough.  Get out there and give it a try. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

WATCH COUNTER DOWNSIZED

It’s a sign of the times really.  The popular watch shop location inside Fortuosity on Main Street will no longer be selling custom art watches. Sadly, the watch artists working behind the window on Main Street are no more.

They will still sell a collection of watches, just no custom art.

Inside, one of the two artist stations sits, completely empty while the other only has a few remaining supplies in place.  The move apparently came after increasingly poor sales for watches overall.  This is blamed, for the most part, on an increasing dependence on cell phones and other electronic devices to tell time. Do you still wear a watch?  According to a cast member close to the situation, none of the artists were let go. Rather, two of them are now currently working at the Disney Gallery doing sketches there, while the remaining three are currently being trained to paint animation cel reproductions inside the park.

The remaining inventory will be sold off and then the custom watch program will be no more. It’s the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one. Change isn’t always bad, but it does leave us feeling sentimental. We’re glad to hear that the cast members are being taken care of, which was our immediate concern.

DISNEYLAND’S CITY HALL UNWRAPPED

City Hall finally came out from under the construction scaffolds revealing a gleaming, bright, facade.  

The patio for Walt’s Apartment is still being worked on.

it’s a small world holiday

The holidays officially begin on Monday, November 12th.  But it’s a small world holiday is planning to be open by Friday November 9th. All indications point to that opening being met.

Rolly Crump’s clock face has donned its Santa hat

FANTASYLAND THEATRE

More work is visible on the projection booth at the Fantasyland Theatre. But isn’t it time for that big pink princess sign to go? The facility is not longer open, why advertise?

FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE
Meanwhile, more peaks and spires are becoming apparent at the construction site for the new Fantasy Faire Village. 

FRONTIERLAND

Refurbishment continues in Frontierland on the facade of the shop near the Golden Horseshoe. 

But, more importantly, the Fast Pass Distribution for Big Thunder Mountain is now under refurbishment as well.


STORYBOOKLAND CANAL BOATS AND CASEY JR. CIRCUS TRAIN

We see that the Storybook land canal boats and Casey Jr. are still deep into refurbishment.   

FINDING NEMO QUEUE

We recently noticed these interesting ridges that were installed on the queue railings for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  Obviously installed to deter children from climbing, the move is as clever as it is cruel.

Now, if they just sharpen them a bit, that would really serve as a deterrent!

MICKEY’S TOONTOWN

Ready to be underwhelmed again for ToonTown Christmas this year?  Excellent.  ToonTown’s recycled Disney World plasticized decorations are returning for another year of artificial cheer.  


Minnie’s house

Mickey’s house


The worst offender is the City Hall Christmas Tree

The seam is still insanely apparent and ugly.

The sad thing is that ToonTown had GREAT decorations for many years. There was no need to bring in these ugly WDW castoffs. After all the criticism last year, we had hoped for an improvement. Sadly, it looks worse than ever this year. A decline in charm to be sure.

Still no Bennie the Cab. We miss him.

CHRISTMAS MOVES IN

Minutes after the final Mickey’s Halloween Party ended on October 31st an army of Cast Members moved right in and began to transform Main Street, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and nearby Frontierland for Christmas.  A big push was made to get Everything from Town Square to the castle ready for this weekend’s taping of the annual Christmas Day Parade. We hate to spoil the magic for you, but Disney doesn’t bring the Christmas Day parade to you live. Shocking, I know.


Not a single pumpkin to be found on Main Street.

 Town Square is all set up to host the celebrity commentators for the taping of the Christmas Day Parade. It’s also the spot where the Christmas Tree goes, so we can expect the tree to be delayed until the taping is done.

 Well on its way to being fully decked out for the Christmas special.

 Presents flank the sides of the castle.

Meanwhile, Christmas has also begun moving into Frontierland.

The final touches being installed in New Orleans Square.

 The Court of Angels has been reclaimed from the pirates for now.

DCA ENTRANCE

The other planter, on the right side of the Disney California Adventure entrance, is well along its development now. 

CHRISTMAS ON ITS WAY TO DCA

Chriastmas is making a more subtle entrance at DCA.  Hollywood Land and Cars Land are untouched at the moment.  But Bug’s Land is already decked out.

These bugs are festive.

CARS LAND

A quick look at Cars Land gives a real indication of how crowds have died down since the Summer. 

Yes, 35 minutes for the ride that commanded 3 to 4 hour waits all summer.

The Ramon shop expansion is still being worked on.  They are hoping to get things done in time for the holiday shopping season.  It’ll be a race to the finish.

 And that should do it for us this week from the Disneyland Resort.  We have just a couple more weeks before the Holidays are upon us at the Disneyland resort, but you’ll be able to preview it all starting right now, with more added every day. 

Well folks, what caught your eye today?

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

Browse Archived Articles by

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    There’s some good, bad and ugly in today’s update. I’d say that the Earl of Sandwich is very good for the resort and provides a delicious and affordable alternative to other Downtown Disney offerings. Bad, I don’t like seeing Disneyland nearly fully decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I know that they count on this season to make lots of money, but that’s NOT what the holiday is really about. It’s like the opposite of what Christmas is supposed to mean. The UGLY, why on earth did they bring back those hideous decorations from Disney World to ToonTown? Everyone hated them last year. Nothing was wrong with the beautiful decorations they had before the plastic walmart trees with the seams and holes showed up.

    I’d like to leave with a positive. The more I see of the Fantasy Faire Village, the better it looks. It’s an area of the park I’ll never visit when it is complete because I have no little girls in my family, but I think it will look fine from a distance and really does look like a little village at the base of a castle.

    • jcruise86

      The Earl of Sandwich is (by Disney resort standards) an affordable & by all accounts delicious link between Orlando and it’s brother with better weather in Anaheim. I’m looking forward to trying one of these sandwiches–just a scenic monorail ride away.

      So which imbecilic individual(s)–I smell a marketer–decided that it would look OK to cover Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Christmas snow in October?

      (Ignore my silly & perhaps unfair rant below.)
      George Kalogridis! You are ultimately responsible, and buddy, I just learned how to
      spell
      your last
      name!
      That’s not good. Ka log rid is (California’s LOGs & and the rest of the Christmas trees should be gotten RID of and the too early Christmas snow IS to be blamed on Ka-log-rid-is. I know, worst mnemonic ever!)
      Mr. Kalogridis, TEAR DOWN THOSE TREES!
      (And please put them back up the day after Thanksgiving.)
      1. Kalogridis–ender of the workers’ Christmas party
      2. Kalogridis–incontinently spraying Christmas into October & early November
      3. Kalogridis–Don’t make my write a third one.
      Yes I can now spell your name!
      The DIS ends with KalogriDIS.
      (I will further register my objection to Christmas in October by spending Saturday in DCA instead of Disneyland.
      I warned you not to read that.)

      • SoarinMatt

        It’s been a practice even since before they started doing Halloweentime to put up the Christmas decorations during October because it really does take them a long time to get all of the Christmas decor up.

        5 years ago, when I worked Halloween Night at DCA, we had Christmas decorations up in several spots. This was when Ed Grier was the President of the Disneyland Resort. So, sorry, it’s not George Kalogridis’s fault, it’s probably Bob Iger’s.

  • Pingback: Merry Early Christmas at Disneyland, Plus Earl of Sandwich Opens and … – MiceChat | Safes()

  • mratigan

    i dont like the pointy rails for the subs
    it talks away the name of a hand rail

    • MrsMonroe

      I guess its a “Sit On Me and I Swear I’ll Poke You Rail”

      • Poisonedapples

        HAA pointy rails so kids and adults can’t sit on them..good thinking. next up is barbed wire! j/k!

    • calsig31

      They never were hand rails. They were always meant as guide rails to define the path of the line. It’s the same as when they use chains to perform the function of determining the path for the line.

    • Poisonedapples

      i just don’t like the subs at all.. and the snow on the castle in october.. eh it’s fine to me, it’s the ugly TT christmas decor that gets me!

  • Gregg Condon

    The pointy things have been there for awhile, considering our last visit to the park was 2 months ago it’s been at least that long.

    Hopefully we’ll get to the park to see Xmas since we missed Halloween.

  • KENfromOC

    The Good: We won’t have to suffer anymore construction photos! Now then. I have been a naysayer about the Earl and to a point I still am. But I will admit the prices are more reasonable then I thought they would be, although the sandwiches look to be small. (I would like to see a review and price and their “famous” roast beef sandwich.) The sides look horrible, I’d stick to the chips! Overall I think the Earl will be more of a benefit to hotel guests rather than “us”. It gives a nice and fairly inexpensive option for a quick breakfast or grapping a sandwich to bring back to the room or pool. But for the daily guest to leave the parks for this place, I just don’t see it except perhaps on extremely crowed days when a family may want a break. Then again, most daily guest will not even know it exists. I’m sure at some point we will look into it as we occasionally eat at the Jazz Kitchen cafe for lunch on our way back to the parking structure, or stop by for a breakfast sandwich. We shall see….
    But a nice report overall -Thanks!

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Don’t complain about the Earl until you’ve tried it. Most of their sandwiches are really good. They bake their own bread and use top quality ingredients. It’s a great low cost option at the resort and I’ll be visiting frequently.

      We leave the parks for lunch all the time to go to Whitewater or Tangaroa Terrace. We’ll be adding Earl of Sandwich to the mix.

    • eicarr

      Right on KenfromOC. You’re right on about Earl of Sandwich. It’s too far out of the way for non disney hotel guests, and I don’t know why hotel guests would go back to their Disney hotel room for an afternoon break without eating lunch in the park beforehand. There is NOTHING like eating INSIDE a disney park with its theming and views of the park inside. I paid to be in the park for the day and every min. outside is wasted money. That cement Disney strip mall with bland chain stores is just depressing. The original, Universal City Walk is at least a fun spectacle to walk through. I’m just glad we can now get back to park related construction.

  • judearmstrong

    looking at Earl of Sandwich I’m pleasantly surprised at the prices! Its actually reasonably priced! and not $10 a sandwich and $5 for a coke. Love the update, thank you so much!

  • Mickey777

    Yes I still wear watches. I have a few actually. I don’t feel right without one on.

  • FREQDUDE

    First off, the decor in Toontown really is kinda Wal-Mart looking. The original town square tree was so much more of what you’d expect from Disney decorators. I frankly, won’t be visiting Toontown for the Christmas season, and I used to love taking pictures there because of all the unique decorations. What’s the deal guys? Please give us an explanation as to why you’ve decided to cheapen the look so grotesquely.
    Secondly, Everything else is looking great, can’t wait for the Christmas season to hit DCA. I’,m really looking forward to what they’ve cooked up for Carsland decor.
    And finally, what the heck is breakfast sauce? The breakfast sandwich menu at The Earl has my stomach growling, but the gamble is whether or not their sandwich, with a mystery sauce, will be palatable. I know, I can order it without, but I really would like to know. Any help out there? Over all, the place looks great and I’m excited about another eating establishment that isn’t sit down and empty your pockets, looks really good too!

    On that note, Chow! (pun intended)

    • Fantasmic4

      The sad thing is Wal-Mart Trees look better than this. These trees are cheap and tacky and don’t belong, I mean really that giant seam in the middle of the tree? If someone even suggested such a thing at the senior center I work at I would have fired them in a heartbeat.

  • AtomicBear

    It’s looking that they control booth for the Fantasyland Theater is looking to be more than a box and might be themed more, now if they could just hide or theme the more modern looking structure of the rest of it.

    Maybe they could paint or wrap a wood texture that makes it look like the thick supports of the theater are made of large logs, just a thought.

  • ltcguy

    We go to DLR several times a year (again on Monday for a week) and we haven’t set foot in Toon Town for years… very disappointing, really.
    Sad, also to see the watchmakers go…

  • lionheartkc

    Does anyone else still remember when Christmas used to magically appear in the parks overnight? Well, it did at Disney World. I assume it also did at Disneyland. I’ll never forget the night my uncle staked out a chair in the Grand Floridian lobby, overnight, just to watch the enormous tree go up. It really wouldn’t hurt Disney to, one night a year, pay for some extra staff hours and call out all of the troops to make this magic happen once again, and make it happen A LOT closer to Christmas instead of dragging it out over a month.

  • Crazee4mm

    AP discounts at Earl of Sandwich?

  • waymire01

    Forseeing a lot of busted lips from that railing.. and feel sorry for any seniors or otherwise who actually need to use it for it’s intended purpose.

    So glad to see a refub on the storybook canal.. one of my childhood memories. Long live the classic rides. More refurbs! No more removals!!

  • Rex Dopey24

    awesome pictures. i love seeing christmas stuff it cheers me up.

  • camplkc

    I have put off my yearly trip this year (summer) do to family reasons and will be down this Thanksgiving..so all I can say is hurry-up and get ‘er done!
    Last year with all the DCA work going on I wanted to wait a see the “Land” without walls and tarps. It’s getting to the point where we always have to see work being done on the parks in one form or the other…I remember when a time when ALL the magic happened after hours!

    ..see ya real soon ;0)