It was Valentine’s Day this week, but you wouldn’t have known it if you were at Disneyland! I visited on Wednesday, it was the perfect time of year/the week for a trip to the park, with low wait times, sunny weather, and another week of AP Days. Well, that is, unless you parked at Mickey and Friends on Monday.

Getting Toasty At Mickey And Friends Parking Structure

The Mickey and Friends parking structure was in the news this week, as several cars caught on fire. Things were quickly taken care of, but several people had a bad day when they returned to their car after a day at the parks.

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Here’s what it looked like when I visited two days later: IMG_3668

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This is the general area where the fire happened
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They coned off the area, even on Mickey level parking
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You know crowds are light when they only have two security lanes open..

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During the day, you can clearly see the area where they’re building Splitsville. That big empty lot was House of Blues.

Main Street USA

I love days like Wednesday at Disneyland, especially on Main Street. Most of the time when I visit lately, I can’t enjoy Main Street because it’s so packed full of people. That was not the case for me this week, but it was back to packed as usual by Sunday.

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It feels rare to see Belle out at Park Entry.
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I can actually see the street part of Main Street! And this was around 12:30 pm on Wednesday.

Being able to actually enjoy this land is always a treat. Considering I spent my entire College Program doing Custodial on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, days like this were always my favorite days to come to work. I might be a little biased because of my residency on Main Street, but seeing people walk down the street not with panicked faces, but happy expressions is really what a visit to Main Street USA and Disneyland is all about.

…I also really liked when it wasn’t so busy as it was a chance for fun (and sometimes funny) guest interaction. Ask me about it sometime. IMG_3699

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I can never resist photographing the Main Street vehicles… The horses are so graceful clopping down the street.

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Annual Pass Days are back in full swing, but this time Disney has opted to move it to the Starcade in Tomorrowland…for whatever reason. I don’t truly understand why they decided to move the event to busy Tomorrowland, considering the space over in Hollywood Land at California Adventure has always worked well and had, well, more space. 

Coming from a Cast Member who spent a lot of time on the streets (that sounds funny now that I’ve written it down…but “Main Street Streets” is legit what my schedule used to say), Tomorrowland is not a great place to put an event, especially considering Tomorrowland in Disneyland is considerably more crowded than Magic Kingdom’s or any other land at any Disney Park. The silver lining is that the Starcade was just sitting empty, so at least we get to use the space again.IMG_3731 Seems everything is Electrical Parade themed, which I’m totally okay with. The buttons are in-demand though, when I went back to Tomorrowland later on, they didn’t have any left. Whether that’s because they only have so many per day or in general remains to be seen. The designs should change every week on Friday though, as when I was there on Wednesday it was the turtle with the sombrero, and now it’s the Cheshire Cat.

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I’m salty that they left a couple of decent arcade games, but didn’t include Fix it Felix, Jr
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The line for the photo ops are long, even when it’s not busy at the park.
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Yup, this is still the old Starcade
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This is really my only real complaint about how things were set up. They could’ve done a lot more than throw what looks like a “space” blanket over the stairs.
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Do you feel like you’re in space yet?

The main attraction at AP Days is a rare character encounter. When I visited, they had Robin Hood and Friar Tuck out. Later on, Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham were out. Robin Hood is an interesting pick for a rare encounter considering a lot of children have likely never seen the film, but lets be serious here…a lot of the people in line were adults, and I’d venture to say that most were older than I am. Nonetheless, I was happy to see the old fox out. It’ll be interesting to see if they’ll be swapping Robin Hood characters for another set soon.IMG_3747

Call me a nitpicker if you will, but I’m incredibly peeved at the crappy lighting they set up for this photo opportunity. The lights aren’t bright enough and the colors are off.

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This photo was heavily edited by me to get the colors more natural. The ISO is skyhigh because the area wasn’t lit well.
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This is straight from PhotoPass. Usually their photos look just as good or better than my photos because they use a flash and some standardized settings, but the colors here are just wacky. I edited this image to make it look a little more natural, but it’s still not great, and I’m sorry to the PhotoPass CMs, this isn’t your fault.
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A place to sit and listen to the odd assortment of retro music they had playing. “Miracles From Molecules” and “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” seemed standard, but there were some background tracks from New Orleans Square and other oddities mixed in…I’m a connoisseur of sorts of Disney Parks music, so I enjoyed it.

IMG_3769 There’s a few bits of Annual pass merchandise to buy, but none of it seemed to be anything to write home about. IMG_3773   You can also pick up your AP merchandise at Disneyana as well.

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I actually like the shirt design, I would actually wear this…
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Don’t think this would be my first choice for serving a guest a glass of wine…

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This display has the locations of a bunch of different AP Days food offerings. None of them really stand out to me, though.
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This “Starcade Retrospective” kind of feels like a slap in the face. I’d love to still be able to come in on a hot day and plop a couple quarters into the machines.

Tomorrowland

The land of Tomorrow is still in Season of the Force mode. It’s still strange for me to hear Star Wars music instead of the Tomorrowland loop. IMG_3720

Construction finished underneath the PeopleMover track and moved to Star Tours. This will likely be for MaxPass expansion. IMG_3725

Have a look at wait times during early afternoon on Wednesday, and definitely balk at that short lived 20 minute wait time for Space Mountain. Interestingly enough, Star Tours remained under 30 minutes for most of the day when I’ve been used to about an hour lately. I essentially walked onto it in the evening.

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This is what a photo looks like with correct lighting. I still decided to edit the photo slightly, but the colors are much nicer here.
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I find it interesting that everyone always cheers for Vader, and only Vader.

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IMG_3858  Fantasyland

Over in Fantasyland, Matterhorn is still under refurbishment for an undetermined amount of time. They have nice signs to read about the history of the attraction if you have time to kill.

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Usually Disney announces when attractions are coming back from refurbishment, so it’s interesting to see that there is no return date for Matterhorn yet. We can only speculate at this point, but I seriously hope they do more to remedy the jerkiness and overall uncomfortable ride and seat designs.

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Wait times were also fairly low in Fantasyland for most of the day. Some lines kicked up by the time I returned later in the day, Peter Pan was a 30 minute wait.

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The Heraldry shop is still lying dormant for the moment, mostly being used as an impromptu stroller parking area.

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The window display is still up though

The Snow White Grotto is still under refurbishment. I didn’t walk back there, but I assume not much has changed since all the dwarves were stripped off. Hopefully they’ll fix Snow White’s Wishing Well while they’re working in the area, as I haven’t heard Snow’s voice singing from it in a very long time.

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I’m happy to report that the water bottle over the doorway is now gone, a few months after we first initially noticed it.

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The bottle used to be on the top left of this doorway and has thankfully been removed.

It’s strange what you find when there’s not overcrowding, but I happened to walk into the ADA version of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough on a whim. It’s tastefully done and lets guests who can’t make it up the steps watch a computer generated video of the walkthrough and see one of the storybooks while sitting on the provided bench.

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Beauty and the Beast

Fantasyland and Fantasy Faire will be hosting Beauty and the Beast promotions soon. The first is already up in the form of “Royal Reception,” a Beauty and the Beast-centric shop between Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, and Village Haus.

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Mostly standard merchandise, but it is much quieter than other stores around Disneyland and is a one-stop shop if all you want is Beauty and the Beast merchandise. Oddly enough, though, I didn’t seem to find much merchandise from the new film, most is from the 1991 film. The Belle doll looks like Justin Beiber with long hair, which would work better in some sort of Chucky remake more than as a children’s doll.

Other promotions will include an overlay for the Village Haus restaurant which will turn it into the “Red Rose Taverne.” It will include murals from the film (probably much like the murals from Pinocchio that are currently on the walls), and a new menu. The menu is definitely a welcome change, as the menu at Village Haus currently is pretty boring and mostly tasteless. It is confirmed though, that Disney will be selling the “Grey Stuff,” which is definitely going to be a hot seller. It’s something I miss from my time at WDW, and I’m glad to see it coming here (I also miss the Village Haus menu of flatbread pizzas at WDW as well, but that’s besides the point). Village Haus hadn’t changed yet when I visited.

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Maurice’s Treats in Fantasy Faire will host promotional items as well in the form of “a twist on the current twists.” No clue as to what they mean by that, but it was stated that we will have dipping sauces for the twists soon, one actually being the “Grey Stuff.” That’ll be an interesting combination, as the “Grey Stuff” is generally served on a sweet dessert like a cupcake or a brownie, and the twists are definitely more pastry than sweet.

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Gaston should also begin roaming around soon. I’ve always wanted to bring him an egg carton to sign and have him tell me how is he able to stomach five dozen eggs a day.

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A cast member told me to check back next week for the promotions, but there’s no official word on when it’ll all happen.

Frontierland

In the Old West, we’ve got the usual Star Wars Land construction going on behind it, but also some changes at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. There’s a new shack over the entrance, probably for upcoming MaxPass integration.

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I’m going to make a new game: “from where can you see the SWL crane?” I seriously tried to not have it in a lot of photos, but you can see it as far back as Tomorrowland. Seeing a big crane from all over the park reminds me of the crane that appears above Cinderella Castle for decorating and refurbishing the castle.
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I just realized that this sign has to do with the final lift on the ride and is why the cave is full of red lanterns…

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Always glad when the Sheriff’s in town!
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It’s strange seeing Zocalo Park empty. This is obviously due to the extended queue getting reworked, but it’s still nice. By Sunday, this area was once again filled to the limit with the Big Thunder overflow line.

Adventureland

It was around 80°F in Anaheim on Wednesday (probably the hottest day of the year so far…which is hilarious), so it was a good day to stop and get a Dole Whip, especially considering it was a walk-up almost all day. They currently have a Moana sipper available for purchase, which will come with pineapple juice. Personally, I don’t think I could drink that much pineapple juice at one time, but if you really want the cup…

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All of the birds in the Tiki Room have been re-feathered in the last two months. It’s bright, clean and colorful.

 

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Speaking of Moana, the Master Wayfinder seems to been called back to the sea. I didn’t realize she was leaving, but hopefully she comes back in some capacity considering how popular her meet-and-greet was.

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Moana may be gone, but you can still try out the pineapple parfait with a chocolate heart of TeFiti on top. I actually decided to give it a try (I’m a sucker for limited time food), and I was surprised that it was pretty good. I can’t eat large amounts of things that are overly sweet (so, like the majority of standard treats at Disneyland), but this one wasn’t too bad, especially with the cake mixed in to soak up some of the mousse. 8/10 would recommend if you had extra money.

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New Orleans Square

It’s almost Mardi Gras in New Orleans Square. The decorations have been up since the holidays ended, but Mardi Gras is next week, on the 28th.IMG_4167

Jack Sparrow and the gang are still on hiatus until March 16th.

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Most of the tarps are down around Tom Sawyer’s Island. I’m happy because I can take photos at this angle again!

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The new coat of paint on everything looks pretty good.

 

I noticed something interesting, that you can clearly see Tom and Huck’s treehouse from out in front of Haunted Mansion. Not sure if I just missed it in the past, but it looks inviting.

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But don’t get too excited. The stairs have been removed, so no more guest access.

 

The Sailing Ship Columbia is still under refurbishment, but it’s starting to look nice with it’s new rigging.

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Compared to last week where Haunted Mansion was 100 minutes in the middle of the day, I’d say wait times on Wednesday were a huge improvement.

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I noticed this a few weeks ago, but line route is different at the Mint Julep Bar. It goes through the dining area instead of filling up the walkway when it’s long. It’s also similar at the Royal Street Veranda as well, the line wraps around the bridge over Pirates’ queue instead of right through all the tables of people eating. A nice touch, really, as it helps alleviate traffic, and particularly at the Veranda, it alleviates people crowding your table while you’re just trying to eat some gumbo.

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Does the Mint Julep look a little less…green? Someone told me that they changed the recipe, but I didn’t taste a difference.
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Just like Zocalo Park, much of the small areas of New Orleans Square are much quieter without attraction lines routing through them. HOWEVER, our Sunday Meet-Up MiceChatters reported EPIC crowding on Sunday with this entire area used as an extended Mansion queue.

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I actually like when Mansion stops, as I can take pictures, but I get irritated when it stops and I have nothing to take pictures of. Shot this on a whim and it came out well.

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I noticed it about two weeks ago, but the crow is missing from his branch when you descend into the graveyard

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If you hadn’t noticed now, Mansion is my favorite attraction to photograph, so expect anytime I’m working on the Photo Update to see plenty of photos of the attraction.

I didn’t take any photos in Critter Country, but the only thing going on over there is Star Wars Land construction around the Hungry Bear Restaurant. Darth Daver has you covered for photos of progression of that project, and you can check out his latest update here.

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Star Wars Land News and Photos HERE

Limited Time Magic

If you haven’t stopped by to see the return of the Electrical Parade, it’s still happening until June. Even though I watched the thing every single night for nine months during my College Program, it’s still fun to go see, but I recommend getting there early as it pulls in big crowds!

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I’m still surprised how an almost 45 year-old parade can drum up almost as many crowds as a new one, but it really shows you how magical the Electrical Parade is for a lot of people. I hope they don’t scrap it after its run ends in June.

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When you finish watching this classic parade, definitely check out the other returning classic, Remember…Dreams Come True fireworks! Disney added some projections that help enhance the show, bringing it up to speed with Disneyland Forever. Make sure you check the schedule before you go though, as Disneyland has shortened hours and may not be showing it every night, as I learned when I arrived and the park closed at 9 with no fireworks. Oh no…guess I just have to go to Disneyland again.

California Adventure

Across the esplanade, California Adventure was a bit more busy than Disneyland was. Part of that could be that several attractions are closed, and DCA is a park that needs more attractions to eat up the crowds. Unfortunately, it seems to almost always be struggling, even at full attraction operation, but Disney does have a few plans to remedy that in the near future…

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The meat of that ongoing overcrowding battle is bringing Marvel into the park. Unfortunately, what we’ve been seeing of the first big Marvel push thus far isn’t that impressive.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! is set to open on May 27th, but just from what the facade looks like, it looks chaotic to me. The exposed area is likely where the sign is going to go, so it might break up the unimpressive parts. Imagineering usually does a bang-up job of that kind of stuff in the end.

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It’s obviously unfinished right now, but my first reaction was “wow, that looks cheap.” This reminds me of  the 1998 “New Tomorrowland” that was eventually scrapped because of how poorly it was received…even the color scheme is similar..
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It may look like there’s depth to it, but look closely…that’s just paint. There’s very little here to bring depth onto the building, and the result makes it look flat.
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I seriously don’t even know what’s going on here
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Shiny pipes! But…what do they even do? Story wise and in reality…do they do anything but just exist?

I’m excited to see what they do with a great property like Guardians of the Galaxy, but I’m not impressed so far with the exterior of the building. I guess the silver lining is that they announced I can go meet Groot at the Summer of Heroes promotion if I don’t like Mission Breakout.

There’s more Beauty and the Beast to be had in Hollywood Land at the Sunset Showcase. It’s just a preview, but if you were on the fence on if the new live action film was going to hold a candle to the original 1991 animated film, this is one good way of being convinced.

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I have to think that the cast members did this on purpose. The way the Beast is looking at Belle is priceless.

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The props from the film are neat. It certainly gives the space a little more than just doors and red carpet.

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A good use of the side screens, as different characters pop up on the mirrors. It had a strange Harry Potter vibe to it though.

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Wait times were a little higher overall at California Adventure, but most of the smaller attractions had very little wait. It didn’t take long to get on Screamin’ this past Wednesday.

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The Paradise Garden Grill is still serving the Lunar New Year menu. The short ribs are pretty good, albeit a little pricy for what you get. I didn’t like the almond milk tea though, it was incredibly strong.

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Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and Grizzly River Rapids are still down for refurbishments. You should be able to earn your Wilderness Explorer badges again this week, but if you’re looking to take a trip down the river, you’re going to have to wait until the end of March.

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A reminder that the current version of Disney Junior is leaving soon. Dusty wrote about the more heartbreaking story of why it’s changed in last week’s update HERE.

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Looks like they’re adding FastPass for Midway Mania on Paradise Pier near the Don Tomas turkey leg stand.

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And The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down…

Disneyland on Friday looked like it was essentially taken out of the classic Winnie The Pooh film, as there were flash floods all over Anaheim. Brian Pinsky was nice enough to provide a few photos of what it looked like around the resort after the heaviest rain.

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No fast pass needed tonight…

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Can Luigi’s family breath under those tarps?

When the rain comes, the crowds leave. It’s quite magical seeing the parks empty and reflective. I had a family friend come to Disneyland just to get an AP button, and she could barely get from Downtown Disney Parking to Tomorrowland. She was disappointed though, as apparently when they ran out of the turtle on Wednesday, there were no buttons on Thursday, and then they started the Cheshire Cat button earlier than anticipated.

Main Street was flooded up to guest’s ankles and they had to slosh their way through the Hub. It was even worse when my friend went to the Honda Center after her Disney adventure, as the rain was torrential and everything was flooded. With the stadium being cold for the hockey game, it was certainly a chilling experience.

After-Hours at Disneyland

If you read my Universal Studios Hollywood feature or follow any of my photography, you’d know that I like to stay after-hours to take photos at the parks. I ended that Universal feature with some post-closing photos, so what better way to end this update than the same way!

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This was literally one of four similar Valentine’s Day decorations. That’s all that Disney decided to do this year for V-Day.

That’s it for my first full Disneyland Photo Update! Thank you so much for reading. There’s going to be more rain this week, so stay safe out there folks!

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Thank you !
All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot and assembled by Scott Attula with additional photos from Brian Pinsky.

Are you a member of the MiceChat Sunday Meet-up Facebook group? If you are interested in meeting up with fellow theme park lovers in the parks, please be sure to follow this group: MiceChat Sundays in the Park. And please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the Disneyland Resort and beyond:

That’s it for this week’s Update.Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]

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