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

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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.

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30 Comments

Comments for Merry Early Christmas at Disneyland, Plus Earl of Sandwich Opens and Construction Updates are now closed.

  1. I tried Earl of Sandwich when I went to Vegas a few years back and really enjoyed the Cannonballs sub. I’d love to have one in NorCal. While I hated to see the bookstore go, I’m looking forward to eating there next time.

  2. Great pictures as always Norm. I was hoping for a week or so of just Disneyland. No holiday crap. Oh well, I guess mid-January is right around the corner.

  3. I like that 35 minute wait for Racers. I have two more tickets from a KDOC drawing and November is my favorite time to go.

  4. I had never heard of Earl of Sandwich until we visited Disneyland Paris. I thought it was good, but not worth the price. The portion size is small compared to the price, but we also were paying Euros for it. Toontown used to be one of the best decorated areas of the park. Now it looks like trailer trash lawn ornaments thrown around everywhere. What happened to the old stuff? Why would they go to something worse? Its bad enough Benny hasn’t been there for a year and all the paint is peeling and faded, throwing that cheap stuff in there just enhances all the neglects.

  5. For what it’s worth, I walked through our local super mall in the Dallas area on Saturday, and they’re already playing Christmas music (way too soon!!!). So it’s not just Disney – more of a cultural, market-driven thing.

  6. Love the photos of the food from Earl Sandwich.. but when I scrolled down to the christmas décor in toontown, it just totally gave me a sour taste! I am sad that TT used to be so great and now it’s drab and like a ghost town.. and I can’t believe they even put as much décor in TT for christmas as they did. And yeah I agree the christmas tree in town center in TT is ugly.. Also I do not see a difference in City Hall on Main St, it looks the same even before the refurb..but Fishbulb the photos look great!