Happy Holidays! We’ve got a huge update for you this week as Disneyland kicks off its annual holidays season with all-new offerings across the Resort! New this year are spectacular seasonal decorations and entertainment in Disney California Adventure‘s Buena Vista Street and Cars Land areas, bringing a lavish allotment of holiday cheer to the recently re-imagined theme park. At Disneyland, Santa has new digs in the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks paid a visit to the park last week as his upcoming movie, Saving Mr. Banks filmed on location at Disneyland.
November marks Dateline Disneyland’s 5th Anniversary! To celebrate, Dateline Disneyland has teamed up with our friends at the Howard Johnson Anaheim and TouringPlans.com to give back to you, our readers! It’s our way of saying thanks for reading for the last five years. Details on our 5th Anniversary Giveaway Celebration can be found in today’s column.
Before we get started, thank you to Ryan Pastorino of the ISO 5571 Disney Photography Podcast for contributing some additional 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.
|We’re Celebrating 5 Years!|
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To celebrate, we’re giving back to you, our readers, with 5 weeks of prizes from our friends at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground and TouringPlans.com!
Starting today, we’re giving out prizes for five weeks through December 10!
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Also available from TouringPlans eBooks is the beautiful Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise — a photographic journey through Disneyland’s 2012 24-hour Leap Day party.
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|Welcome to Disneyland!|
This week should be relatively quiet before Thanksgiving draws massive crowds next week. 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
|Tues., Nov. 13||Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
|Wed., Nov. 14||2 /10|
|Thu., Nov. 15||2 /10|
|Fri., Nov. 16||6 /10|
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|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.
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By Friday, the Castle had most of its icicle lights in place but guests watching the seasonal debut of the “Believe… In Holiday Magic” fireworks didn’t get to see the Castle snow light up while light installation was still underway.
The Castle lights and fireworks show won’t see any big changes this year, but Disney did announce that the “Glow with the Show” ear hats will soon work with the holiday fireworks show.
The new Jingle Jangle Jamboree has evicted Santa’s reindeer from the ranch and relocated Santa Claus from his traditional meet-and-greet location in the Big Thunder Ranch cabin to an outdoor area in the Jamboree.
The downsizing of the FASTPASS Distribution area certainly frees up much-needed space in the area, which is often a point of significant bottlenecking, thanks in part to the large and poorly-placed outdoor vending structure that opened last year across from the Big Thunder FASTPASS Distribution.
|Filming Mr. Banks|
Early last week Disneyland saw film crews turn parts of the park into a snapshot of the park from the early 1960s for filming of the upcoming “Saving Mr. Banks” movie. The film tells the behind-the-scenes story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” came to be. It hits theaters December 2013 and stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers (author of “Mary Poppins”) and Colin Farrel as Travers Robert Goff (P.L. Travers’ father).
A window display underneath the Elias Disney window on Main Street was filled with vintage souvenirs and had a bronze Castle placed above the window, similar to the one seen in this vintage photo.
For more photos from filming, including pictures of Tom Hanks on set, see MiceChat’s In the Parks blog from November 9.
|Welcome to California Adventure|
California Adventure’s new Buena Vista Street and Cars Land areas may have skipped Halloween Time this year, but it certainly hasn’t passed up the holidays. Buena Vista Street greets guests with a spectacular 1930s-style community holiday celebration, complete with a gorgeous Christmas tree and bell ringers.
Disney released its 2012 Christmas TV commercial last week. Of course, the spot makes a big effort to focus on Disney California Adventure’s new Buena Vista Street and Cars Land offerings.
Take a listen with our video clip from the show:
The Bell Ringers are a fantastic addition to the Buena Vista Street atmosphere for the holidays. Much like the Christmas carolers on Main Street, USA during the holidays, the Bell Ringers add an important element to the overall Buena Vista Street holiday experience.
Some windows at Big Top Toys and Elias and Company have been completely replaced with giant pop-up book style window displays inspired by the 1932 Silly Symphonies cartoon “Santa’s Workshop”
You’ll spot a building that looks a lot like Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn. A fun nod to Disney history.
It’s a small issue, but it’s interesting Disney featured Disney characters on and around the Buena Vista Street tree — after going on about the “story” of Buena Vista Street this summer being when Walt first stepped off the train, wouldn’t most of these characters not exist yet, let alone be featured on public Christmas trees?
In true Cars Land fashion, many questions are raised by the land’s holiday overlay — how exactly do the cars decorate, for example… and most importantly — why do they decorate with car parts? Isn’t that kind of… weird?
Overall, the Cars Land holiday decorations are more or less what would be expected from the Cars universe… Interestingly, a lot of the decorations feel very much in the DCA 1.0 vernacular — tongue-in-cheek, kitschy, intentionally tacky… The difference here is that the Cars Land decorations had a sufficient budget, unlike much of the original park.
In celebration of Dateline Disneyland’s 5th Anniversary, we’re taking a look back at photos from the Dateline Disneyland archives. Over the next five weeks we’ll look back at some photos from past updates and talk about the changes seen at the Disneyland Resort over the last five years. It’s a fun look back at some big changes over the last half-decade.
This week we go back to our very first month, back in November 2007. Our very first edition of Dateline Disneyland from November 22, 2007 took a look at the holiday offerings at Disneyland, including returning holiday favorites as well as new offerings including the Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle overlay…
The Christmas Tree in Town Square was still a real tree. The real tree was replaced in 2008 with an artificial tree to accommodate special lighting effects, breaking a 50+ year tradition.
Sleeping Beauty Castle got its winter snow overlay for the first time in 2007 and the first year saw plenty of unfinished areas and lighting glitches that have been refined and worked out over the last several years.
Sections of lighting just didn’t work the first year
Over in Critter Country, Pooh and Friends decorated for the holidays in a much more noticeable way than in they do now.
Garland strung up with Pooh’s balloons floated over Critter Country
The following week, we took a look at progress at the then-under construction Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure. The new Toy Story attraction had been under construction for months at this point, but the community was excited to see any progress as the new ride marked the start of the 5-year Disney California Adventure remodel and expansion project that Disney had just announced in October.
Facade details seen over construction fences were particularly exciting — this level of detail was new territory for DCA, a park that was built on-the-cheap and opened to terrible reviews.
|Weekly News & Information Round-Up|
|Weekly Theme Park Hours
November 12—18, 2012
|Disneyland Park||Disney California Adventure|
|Monday: 9 am – 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 12 midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Monday: 9 am – 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 10 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
1.1—8.5 out of 10
2.7—8.2 out of 10
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.
Okay, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland! Before we end for the week, I’d like to once again thank all of you for your support. Whether you just started reading today or if you’ve been with Dateline from the start, your readership is greatly appreciated. Dateline Disneyland couldn’t be here without your support and it’s because of you that this column continues to be published here on MiceChat every week. Thank you for reading, donating, click Amazon links, watching YouTube videos, and supporting our sponsors. Happy 5 years!
Don’t forget to discuss this week’s column in the comments section below! Your comment on the Cars Land holiday decorations or the Jingle Jangle Jamboree could win you a prize in our 5th Anniversary Giveaway Celebration!
We’re only here because of your continued support. If you’ve enjoy Dateline Disneyland over the last five years, please consider helping us out by donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal — click here!
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!
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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.|