The weekend brought a taste of Hollywood to the Disneyland Resort as the taping for the annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade took place on Main Street, U.S.A. and in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. TV star Mario Lopez was host of the Disneyland portion of this year’s TV special which will air Christmas morning on ABC. Mario Lopez also played host to Friday’s grand opening ceremony of the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant in Downtown Disney. The new restaurant serves up a variety of sandwiches and salads at fair prices, adding another great dining option to the popular shopping and entertainment district. Meanwhile, construction projects continue in Disneyland as both parks continue to get decked out for the holidays.

A big thank you to MiceChat’s Fishbulb for help covering the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade taping for today’s column.

Welcome to Disneyland!

Some Halloween decorations remained in place over the weekend as Disneyland transitions to the holiday season. Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly Resort crowd forecast below.

Expect moderate crowds throughout the week at both theme parks as Disneyland approaches the launch of the holiday season. 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 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,

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
Crowd Tips
Tues., Nov. 6 [center]6 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Partial blockouts through the three-day Veteran’s Day weekend.
  • Both parks will see their biggest crowds on Friday, with Disneyland crowds at a 9.3 and Disney California Adventure crowds at a 7.9
  • Due to its incredibly low capacity, consider riding Luigi’s Flying Tires standby right after starting your day by grabbing a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers.
Wed., Nov. 7 6 /10
Thu., Nov. 8 6 /10
Fri., Nov. 9 9 /10
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.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.Do more. Wait less.

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Hollywood holidays on Main Street

“Extra” host Mario Lopez replaced comedian Nick Cannon this year as the host of the Disneyland portion of the annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade. The special will air on Christmas Day on ABC with footage filmed at Disneyland this weekend as well as footage filmed in the coming weeks at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade took the spotlight in this year’s taping instead of the traditional A Christmas Fantasy Parade.

Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party and DJ from Cars Land made appearances on Main Street for the parade taping

On Sunday, musical guests Backstreet Boys and Toby Mac performed in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Construction Kingdom

Construction walls are down at City Hall, Guided Tours building and Fire Department.

The Guided Tours building no longer has its signage, probably because the facility is no longer used for Guided Tours, with all tour business done steps away in the guided tours garden.

At the end of Main Street, the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area continues to come together behind construction walls…

Back in Fantasyland, the Storybook Land and Casey Jr. Circus Train refurbishments and safety enhancement project continues as the attractions get closer to their mid-November re-openings.

Back in the Fantasyland Theater, new vertical construction is underway at the back of the theater’s seating area…

Construction walls have gone up at the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FASTPASS distribution area

Christmas Countdown

Throughout the park additional signs of the holidays continue to appear throughout Disneyland as the holiday season approaches. The holidays aren’t officially set to start until Monday, November 12, but the parks should be in full holiday mode by Friday, with the season’s first showing of the “Believe in Holiday Magic” fireworks scheduled for 8:45 that evening. The Castle’s snow overlay is now complete, save for the icicle lights which will be now be added following the completion of the Christmas Day Parade taping

Frontierland is all decked out for the holidays

We showed you New Orleans Square’s seasonal decorations already up in last week’s update, but now that Halloween is over, the temporary Pirate’s League in the Court des Anges has been removed and replaced with the annual holiday ornament shop.

Nearby, Haunted Mansion Holiday now has FASTPASS.

The attraction opened at the start of Halloween Time without FASTPASS and wait times, while long, were manageable. Expect stand-by wait times for this attraction to climb higher now with FASTPASS reinstated and Christmas crowds hitting the Resort.

Critter Country is now decked out for the holidays as well…

In Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” will reopen November 9th with its annual holiday overlay.

The attraction flume is drained during overlay installation

Mickey’s Toon Town is also ready for the holidays

Goofy’s Gas is still behind walls for refurbishment.

Welcome to California Adventure

Progress can be seen over the construction walls at the California Adventure entrance

The Carthay Circle Theater terrazzo replacement project continues…

California Christmas

Disney California Adventure is getting ready for the holidays as well, with lavish decorations coming for the new Buena Vista Street and Cars Land areas. Disney released a rendering of the Carthay Circle Christmas tree last week on the Disney Parks Blog.

Despite the strange style of the rendering, the Buena Vista Street holiday overlay promises to be truly special, with a period-appropriate Christmas tree in the park area in front of Elias and Co., and a Santa Claus meet-and-greet inside the department store itself.

The ficus trees have been removed to prepare the area for the installation of the new Christmas tree

Elsewhere in the park, holiday decorations continue to go up…

Donald poses in his holiday attire

…And in Cars Land, the first signs of the holidays have appeared with some Christmas lights strung up at Radiator Springs Curios…

According to the OC Register, Disney will be using the Muppet*Vision Theater for 4D screening the made-for-TV animated special “Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice.” The “Prep and Landing” screenings are set to begin November 15.

Welcome, Earl

In Downtown Disney, the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant began hosting soft openings on Monday, offering guests a 25% discount on all orders throughout the week. The new dining location drew long lines, with many guests reporting waiting up to an hour to get their food after ordering.

Sure, an hour to wait for a sandwich might seem unreasonable, but the restaurant, crammed into the relatively small area that was formerly home to Compass Books, was being put through its paces for the first time. Restaurant employees were very nice and as helpful as they could be during the long waits.

The new dining location is a welcome addition to Downtown Disney, offering a high-quality quick-service option at reasonable prices. All sandwiches and salads are $6.99, with various sides and desserts available as well as breakfast options.

Workers put the finishing touches on the restaurant’s marquee Monday evening

On Friday, the restaurant was ready for its grand opening ceremony, bringing together Downtown Disney general manager Janet Knox with restaurant co-founder Robert Earl, former Angels player Bobby Grich and “Extra” host Mario Lopez.

Earl of Sandwich co-founder Robert Earl and Downtown Disney general manager Janet Knox:

Angels player Bobby Grich joins the stage

TV star Mario Lopez is welcomed to the stage to cut the ribbon

The ribbon is cut…

…and the new restaurant is opened with a confetti blast.

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
November 5—11, 2012
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 9 am – 12 midnight
Monday-Thrsday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday-Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Theme Park Calendar
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[B]3.6—9.3[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[B]5.2—7.9[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

[B]For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [B]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed through November 8, 2012 to install holiday overlay
  • [B]Storybook Land Canal Boats:[/B] Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Casey Jr. Circus Train:[/B] Closed through November 15, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [b]Indiana Jones Adventure:[/b] Closed through December 7, 2012 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Big Thunder Ranch:[/B] Closed November 1-8, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay and install holiday overlay
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed November 5, 2012 to remove Halloween overlay
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Expected to close early 2013 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
  • [B]Fantasy Faire:[/B] New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
  • [B]Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater:[/B] Fantasyland Theater closed August 12. Princesses have relocated to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • The big news over the week was Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, officially making Star Wars into the Disney fold. The Hollywood Reporter has more on the big news and Al Lutz shares his thoughts on the purchase.
  • Disney will release “The Circle Sessions: The Music of Carthay Circle,” a selection of songs pulled from the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge’s fantastic background music loop. The disc hits store shelves in the park on November 6.
  • Disney has poured over $300,000 into local Anaheim candidates and committees this election season, according to the OC Register.
Okay, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thank you for reading and please join in the discussion in the comments section below! Were you in the park for the filming of this year’s Christmas Day Parade? Will you be watching on Christmas morning?

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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!

Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by | Do More. Wait Less. and the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.