Welcome back to the Disneyland Resort. Today we look at changes coming soon to Downtown Disney and California Adventure. If you missed our Disneyland Update Monday you can check it out HERE.

No More Free Parking

Park Somewhere Else!

Disney has changed its Downtown Disney parking policy. In order to receive 2 hours of complimentary parking you now have to spend a minimum of $20 (at one location) in any Downtown Disney shop, quick service restaurant or kiosk.  You can receive 4 hours of complimentary parking from AMC or one of the full-service restaurant by having them validate your parking ticket.

Fee Break Down:

  • First 15 minutes- Free
  • $12 Per Hour- charged in $6 increments every 30 minutes
  • Lost Ticket- $48

The maximum charge is $48… if you are unsure if you’ll be buying $20 worth of merchandise, just park in Theme Park Parking. This may also affect ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber, as they usually spend more than fifteen minutes in the parking lot waiting to pick people up. Hopefully, Disney has some sort of procedure or location for ride-share drivers to wait.

Wide Open Lot from now on.

The real reason Disney is removing free parking at Downtown Disney is to eventually shut down the main Downtown Disney Parking Lot so they can build their new hotel with its Star Wars themed wing. A new parking structure will also be built where Lilo Parking lot is to also accommodate both the new hotel and Downtown Disney guests.

Hotel and parking structure coming soon

Maybe, Disney can update these temporary security booths with something more permanent once the new hotel and parking get built.

Star Wars: A VR Experience


Disney is adding a Virtual Reality experience to Downtown Disney later this year. The experience takes place in the universe Star Wars. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, based on the concept art Disney released, looks to center around Rogue One in the Universes Timeline. This is Disney’s first VR experience in both resorts (if you don’t count those early 2000’s version that used to be found in Disney Quest). If you don’t want to wait to try a VR game, Knott’s Berry Farm has already introduced a similar type experience, Showdown in Ghost Town. You can read our review of Knott’s VR experience HERE.

Brian and Scott Attula experiencing Knott’s VR Game

Disney has not yet announced the location of the new experience but it could be going into the building that Build-a-Bear currently operates. Almost everything in that building will be closing soon to make way for new dining and other experiences.

Ridemakerz, Build-A-Bear, and Chapel Hats are closing. It’s a two story building with a lot of space.

Disney California Adventure


Let’s take a walk around California Adventure as the pressure is on to relieve Disneyland crowds before Star Wars drowns the park.

Buena Vista Street

Grizzly Peak

Smokejumpers Grill will be closing for a short refurbishment on September 11th. We rarely eat here because the lines are long and the food isn’t very good (except for the milkshakes).

Your Burgers are awful.

Grizzly River Run’s Fastpass is experiencing terrible overcrowding at Fastpass return. I’m at the point where I’m thinking Disney should start handing out Magic Bands to alleviate the Fastpass return problem; Florida does not have this issue with their Fastpass return.

The Camp Info board at Redwood Challange Trail is not looking so hot.

Hollywood Land

Most boring summer marketing campaign in a very long time.

Why does Stage 17 continue to sit unused, filled with the Frozen Snow Fest stuff, while Anna and Elsa meet and greet inside the Animation Building blocking huge portions of that facility for dressing rooms?

10 minute wait to meet Anna and Elsa
The words, Exclusive Sneak Peak have been painted over

Guardian’s average wait time has been about an hour all summer. Not too bad for a “new” attraction.

They’re really trying to break people out of the habit of using paper Fastpasses. Regardless, Fastpass scanners still back up at most attractions.


Scott took this almost same exact photo last week. Why? Because if you use a Fastpass you essentially lose the opportunity to check out half of the exhibit space.


It’s a foolproof plan!
Pipes and lights



Award Wieners sign is starting to fade from Sun Damage.

Frozen: Updated

Inside the Hyperion, Disney has made some significant changes to Frozen in an attempt to help the show get under an hour run time (it’s still an hour long). Even with its three shows a day, Disney is still not pulling enough people to fill every show. My previous two trips, Disney has not filled a whole floor for each show. Let’s take a look at the changes:

Since the show no longer opens with the ice carvers, the animation has changed to flying into the castle
Projection on Net Screen not working properly
Head Staff have more spoken lines.
No More Funeral March for Anna just time with Head Staff delivering the bad news

Anna and Hans no longer run into each other on the steps. They now meet after “For the First Time in Forever.”

The entire ball room scene has had a full music update with what sounds like real ball room music.

Improved lighting on the stage for this scene.

Later in the show, when Anna finally gets to the ice castle, she enters the scene alone and later Christoff enters almost at the end of Anna and Elsa’s duet.

Alone, just like the movie
Olaf and Sven enter just after Anna is struck

When Elsa forces the band out of the castle, new doors drop across the set. This allows for a faster removal of Elsa’s staircase and quicker setup for the troll’s scene.

Open Sesame!
The trolls have traded their knee pads for rolling chairs
“Look Mommie, look at the ice statue!”

The changes were necessary to help the show flow better/faster but even with the updates the show still clocks in at over an hour run time. With popularity starting to fade for this show, Disney might need to start looking for a replacement that has a short enough run time for little ones to be able to sit through.

Paradise Pier Bay

Over outside Corn Dog Castle, Disney has moved the registers outside to help expedited the ordering/serving process.

Over at Midway Mania, the construction project has completed on the inside queue as Disney has removed all the fans and closed all the doors and replaced them with frosted windows and air conditioning.

It looked like this earlier in the week.

This should help with making the sweltering summer more bearable as the wait times have shot up for this attraction since the introduction of FastPass.

Woody and Buzz
Rex for the emergency exit door
Looking inside the queue room, all overhead fans now missing
In loading room, all overhead fans have been replaced for newer fans

Mr. Potato Head is going to have a front row seat for the reconstruction of the Pier!

Pixar Remodel Pier

If you have not read our huge Miceage Rumor Update that came out on Tuesday, please read it HERE. Let’s dissect the article:

Disney announced that Pixar Play Parade is moving over to Disneyland. With Play Parade at Disneyland, that would leave Soundsational in mothballs or prepared to have the bases stripped and rebuilt with a new theme.  Paint the Night will be moving over to DCA in the evenings.

Rex is not sure he’s ready for a Main Street Flip.

Moving down to Pier’s largest attraction, Screamin’. . .  our sources say that the rollercoaster will be rethemed to the Incredibles. The Holidays will end this year with plenty of construction walls encircling almost the entire boardwalk side of the pier. Midway Mania will be the lone operating attraction at the back of the park, all spring.

Ariel’s Grotto will be ditching it’s Princess dining for a Pixar Dining experience.

My money is down on Finding Nemo

Not sure what property would attract character diners quite like Ariel and the princesses, but we’ll see.

The Cove Bar will also be getting a refresh.

Moving over to unused real-estate as Disney is planning to replace the empty sand lot inside the east Screamin’ helix (near load/unload), with an Incredibles themed spinner. I’m kind-of sour over the fact that we’re getting an Omnidroid themed spinner instead of the originally proposed Ursula-themed spinner.

Land is at a premium here in California… every space is needed

Moving over to the West Helix of Screamin’, this is where the Pixar part of the pier will end.  The attractions on the North side of Paradise Bay will remain as they are for now.

Over the last few weeks, we have noticed a small construction project just off the walkway in this area.

Here’s the artists conception of Pixar Pier.

Along the Boardwalk, our sources indicate that a theater which will house the relocated Turtle Talk with Crush but themed far better than where it currently resides.

We are not too sad to see the gift shops go in this area. It’s all DCA 1.0 cheesy.

Maliboomer Park, on the other hand, is not going to be getting anything quite yet as the area is being saved to for a larger E/D ticket darkride attraction.

Maybe, for the time being, they can move the Toy Story Meet-and-Greet up to the old Maliboomer pad and have full character meet and greets in that space.

As for the Fun Wheel, it will likely be rethemed as well. We are betting on the Luxo Lamp or Pixar ball (with the star on it).

King Triton’s Carousel will be closing for a full facility upgrade and re-theme… probably to a Finding Nemo theme.

No more riding sea animals while this mural stares into your soul.

At least Treasures in Paradise will be getting a re-theme…I cannot believe that this shop also made it through DCA 1.0.

Will these billboards be replaced with Pixar themed stuff? Probably.

Sorry, Jumpin’ Jellyfish in not going anywhere for the time being.

Cars Land

Cars Land is getting ready for its Christmas Halloween overlay.

Remember that Imagineering is working on a Halloween overlay to Radiator Springs Racers, but it was not ready for this season.

Pole coming here soon


New tree planted in the Pacific Warf area.
Bugs Land might be pulled apart as soon as this Fall.
Downtown Disney

Grand Cal Renovations

The Grand California’s exterior continues its major refurb. At the moment the focus is over the World of Disney store.

Work at Night

Splitsville construction continues.

The back of the building is getting dry wall and the Downtown Disney side is starting to get wall installed.

Over at the LEGO store, the Ninjago movie promotions have been rolled out. This is the only non-Disney movie I am looking forward to for the rest of the year.

Have not seen this sign before…

Mickey and Friends Parking Structure

Tile Replacement

Brick continues to replace all that colorfull tile at the Mickey and Friends parking structure.

Daisy Level’s area near the escalators is near complete. As for the rest of the levels, they are all over the place in the terms of progress.

Say good bye to these beautiful colorful tiles shots. They are going to Yesterland



Tickets at: http://scaryfarm2017.eventzilla.net/

This is the 12th anniversary of our ultra-popular Halloween event and we are working with the great folks at Knott’s Berry Farm to make this our best haunt ever! Leave the real world behind and enter a dreamland of spooky fun with fellow Micechat readers.

This is a VIP experience. You’ll get exclusive access to the haunt designers, special tours, front of line access, and an amazing Mrs. Knott’s buffet dinner before the scares begin. This is the ultimate way to experience Knott’s Scary Farm and the best package for the event.

Event includes:

  • Admission into Knott’s Scary Farm
  • Meet and greet with maze designers
  • Backstage tour of a new maze before the event
  • All you can eat Private Pre-scare Boo-fet dinner
  • Early entry into Haunt
  • Unlimited front of the line access to all mazes!
  • Fastlane front of the line for rides!
  • Priority Seating for the final performance of ELVIRA at Knott’s Scary Farm!!!
  • For one simple price, you’ll get an entire night of food, entertainment, friends, frights, fun and EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITIES!!!

Get your tickets while they are still available, they are selling very fast this year! For questions, please contact [email protected]

Tickets at: http://scaryfarm2017.eventzilla.net/


Thank you!
All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot and assembled by Brian Pinsky with additional photo contributions from Dusty Sage, Scott Attula, and Dsny Debbie.


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:

Look, the back side of Summer!

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]