Disneyland Prepares for Twenty Nights of Candlelight and More Wretched Merchandise

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, In the Parks

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Published on November 30, 2012 at 6:09 am with 22 Comments

According to Disney, more is more.  Tomorrow, the first of 20 nights of Candlelight begin and Disneyland is all staged and ready for the big, unprecedented run.  Meanwhile Indiana Jones enters its final week of refurbishment and finishing touches continue to be placed.  That is not to forget the progress over at Fantasy Faire Village as much of the structural details are becoming more clearly defined.  All that plus a look inside Pirates of the Caribbean, the expansion of Ramone’s in Cars Land and more crumby merchandise news.

CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL PROCEEDS

The first performances of the Candlelight Ceremony and Processional begin this weekend.  What is unique about this year, of course, is the unprecedented expansion of the run to 20 nights!

The Main Street Train Station will now be a stage for the next 20 days.

Lighting rigs are perched in Town Square.

From an operational standpoint there are a few adjustments.  Most notably are the impact on the Main Street Vehicles and boarding of the Train on Main Street.   Since the Train station itself is the stage now, guests will have to board the train by entering through the exit to the station, near the Disney Gallery.

The entrance to the train is particularly tight and bumpy, with mats covering cables.

Guests departing the train use the staircase on the opposite end of the train station, near city hall.

As for the Main Street Vehicles, the boarding for the Fire Truck, Horseless carriage and Horse Drawn Carriage remain the same as usual for now.

But,  to get on the Omnibus, guests will need to board in front of the Mad Hatter shop near the parade gates.

The center of Town Square, near the flag poll, is now taken over by the control panel for the show.

A weekend of this configuration always caused operational headaches in the past and difficulties and even a few “magical meltdowns” by park guests having to wade through gridlocked crowds in Town Square.  But this will be 20 straight days of Christmas TMagic.

Disneyland Candlelight presenters 2012:

Dec. 1-2: Dennis Haysbert
Dec. 3-5: Kurt Russell
Dec. 6-8: Edward James Olmos
Dec. 9-11: Lou Diamond Phillips
Dec. 12-13: Dick Van Dyke
Dec. 14: Marcia Gay Harden
Dec. 15-16: Patricia Heaton
Dec. 17-19: Molly Ringwald
Dec. 20: Dennis Haysbert

Our very best wishes are with the Disneyland cast members who will likely be taxed to their limit over the next 20 days. It’s hard to understand why the decision was made to turn the main artery in and out of the park into a performance space for three weeks at the busiest time of the year when there are decades of history of the profound impact that very performance makes on that very spot. Still, it’s a magical show and we are sure that the guests are going to love it as always.

TIPS on surviving Disneyland’s Candlelight if you aren’t seeing the show

  • Avoid the Main Street USA in the evenings from December 1st to 20th.
  • If at the park during Candlelight, bring a good attitude and patience. You will likely be herded backstage if you attempt to enter/exit the park around performance times.
  • If visiting Disneyland in the evening, try to enter the park before 5pm and plan to remain in the park until closing
  • If you are in the park during Candlelight and must leave, check to see if the back stage walkway behind Coke Corner is open for guest traffic before proceeding down Main Street.  If backstage is closed, use the shops to move up and down Main Street.

Visiting the park during Christmas has always been a hectic endeavor, especially the time frame from the evening performance of the Christmas Parade through to the end of the Christmas Fireworks. For some, that’s part of the fun, for others it’s a nightmare.  But with the holiday pinch-point of Candlelight being expanded to 20 nights one has to wonder how this will affect those normal folk who plunked down $89 just to get into the park for one day and may not have a clue as to what’s going on.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night . . . indeed!

FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE

We look further down Main Street USA towards the castle and the Fatansy Faire Village project.  Earlier this week we were able to see some of the detailed work happening for the variety of houses, cottages, and storefronts. I’ve got to say it’s starting to look impressive.

Can’t you just imagine the millions of little princesses with their expensive gowns and fake hair poofs this place is going to churn out? Like Disney’s version of a glitter factory.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

On a recent ride through Pirates of the Caribbean we noticed a few minor things, but felt them worth mentioning.  As riders boats enter the battle scene just after the caves, there seems to be a freshened projection of a full moon and fast moving clouds on the far wall.  The effect is wonderful and adds to the drama of the scene.  It also adds to the illusion of the atmosphere, making it pretty convincing.  NICE!

Forgive our night shots here. This is a VERY dark scene and we are taking photos from a moving boat.

However, we did notice again that the troublesome Hat Pirate during the fire scene is still missing his trademark stack of hats.  We do not have a picture for you due to the low lighting and our reluctance to use a flash during the ride, but you surely know the pirate we are talking about.  He’s the one with one foot in the boat, one foot on the shore, arms filled with treasure, and his head, stacked tall with a collection of various hats that he is trying to steal.  Well, no stack of hats.  It has been that way since the last major refurb.  Now, let’s be fair.  The absence of this detail doesn’t ruin the show.  In fact, it would go unnoticed by anyone unfamiliar with the ride.  But it was just one of those little details that Walt Disney himself seemed to love about the attraction and it’s a shame it hasn’t been preserved.  Let’s hope this small, but meaningful detail returns soon.

The rest of the ride looks as great as ever.

Which of these winsome wenches would you take as your wife?

How about a nice juicy bone.

BIG THUNDER TRAIL WASHED OUT

If you plan to visit Big Thunder Ranch this holiday season, be aware that there is currently only one way to get there.  Signs throughout Frontierland and Fantasyland warn guests that Big Thunder Trail is “washed out”.  In reality, the walkway from the exit of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad through to the smoking section behind the attraction is closed for some bridge repair.

The construction wall ahead prevents you from making the short trip to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

INDIANA JONES ALMOST READY TO RELAUNCH HIS ADVENTURES

With just a few weeks left to wait, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye is set to return on Saturday December 8th. Any of you planning to be among the first riders? Outside, designers were putting the final touches on much of the set dressing in the exterior queue area.

Aging the wood – everything new is old again!

This Cast Member was actually painting the bamboo green to mask the years of guests marking it up.

CARS LAND

This area of the park continues to completely blow the lid off of the projections and expectation that Disney had for Disney California Adventure attendance.  Ramone’s expanded shop opened this week, just in time for holiday shopping.

What was originally designed as the Fastpass location for Radiator Springs Racers, has now become expanded shop floor space for the surprisingly successful Ramone’s Body Shop retail location.

Fastpass machines once sat behind those doors, though they were never used due to concerns about over crowding near the entry to the attraction.

From the main part of the shop, you’ll find a new door which leads to expanded retail space.

And what do we find in the new area of the shop?

It’s all of the stuff that was seen before in the original areas but more of it.

FLO’S V8 CAFE

Some new tags have appeared on the ropes inside Flo’s.  It seems that guests have been making it a habit to jump the lines.

DISNEYLAND/WORLD, IT DOESN’T MATTER

We thought last weeks discovery of a Disney World Yard Flag at Disneyland might be an anomaly.  But it appears that there is far more of this generic merchandise.  Another instance is at the merchandise kiosk in Paradise Pier near the Corndog Castle.

What castle is that?

Where?

The castle used in the artwork is an amalgamation of all of the Disney park castles and obscured with snow and lights.   But the insert in the package says Walt Disney World. Muddling the brand is not just confusing for guests it is also sloppy merchandising. We’d like to thank an upset reader (and Disney CM) for forwarding this tip. If you see something in the parks that bothers you, please be sure to forward it along to us.

There you have it.  Candlelight is here for the next 20 days, Indy will be open in a week and Ramone’s Body shop inside Cars Land is expanded and open for business.  See you next week when we show you first hand accounts of Candlelight and its impact on the park.

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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  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Let me just say that I think the sentiment behind offering the passholders 3 weeks of Candlelight was very thoughtful indeed. Let everyone who wants to see it see it before Christmas becomes a special ticket event next year.

    However, I can’t wrap my head around how they think its a good idea to clog up Town Square (and thus the entry/exit to the park) for such an extended period. It really would have made more sense to move it to the Fantasyland Theater, Festival Arena, Golden Horseshoe, or even the Fantasmic stage.

    Ramones has more room now. It would be great if they’d develop more merchandise to fill it up rather than just more of the same old thing. But it looks pretty good.

    • mratigan

      I like that they will clog up Town Square,so we can go backstage!!!!!!!!!!!

      • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

        LOL Mr. R. Have you been back stage? It sure isn’t pretty.

        Situations like this make you wonder why they haven’t built those long discussed arcades behind Main Street for overflow crowds and to help folks better navigate Main Street during events, parades and Fireworks.

        Because of the tights pathways in Disneyland it takes far more cast members for guest control than WDW needs. This could easily be alleviated by building those themed alleys behind Main Street.

        I sure do hope they do it for operational reasons,

  • GiRiMama33

    Thanks for the CP tips!

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update!

  • Mac Daddy

    Following up on Dusty’s comments, I just have a bad feeling that Dec 14-20 will bring epic crowding of biblical proportions to Main Street. Candlelight has always been toward the beginning of December, and even though it’s been on a weekend, it’s before the main Christmas vacation rush. Many schools will already be OUT Dec 17-21, and ALL PASSES ARE VALID from Dec 17-20. It just looks like someone didn’t think this through very well. It’s a weird year in that Christmas falls on a Tuesday and there will be a full week for many, many pass holders with unblocked passes who will rush in there to enjoy the holidays before the blackouts….and find Main Street jammed with hundreds of people trying to watch the performance. I just think we’re looking at another situation like One More Disney Day where you’ll see massive gridlock. Unless they are willing to let guests OUT backstage through the cast member entrance, I don’t see how everyone is going to FIT in there, let alone MOVE. Maybe I’m wrong, but we’re about to find out.

  • SFDave

    I am so curious if they have updated up anything inside Indy. I am planning on heading to DL for the holidays, but am apprehensive about all the Candlelight crowds.

  • garyman

    I agree it may be very busy, We will be there, Dec. 6th – 8th. Hopefully to take advantage of lower crowd numbers. We will see.

    I tried to get a ticket for CP but was not awarded one.

  • Internitty

    When I was there last new years eve I found the best way to get in and out of the park was via the monorail, maybe that is an option to stay clear of the crowds, unless you want to see backstage of course which I totally would ;)

  • no1here

    I bet it moves to the Fantasyland Theater next year, once its available. Maybe they’ll keep the first night on Main Street though.

  • Tomkuwahara

    I sang in the Candlelight Procession concerts for three years. If you think the pathway to the train station is tight, you should try going up to the living Christmas tree platform in the dark, carrying a candle and wearing a choir robe. Also navigating past the guests in a very tight space in the dark without falling down was fun too. Fortunately there were entertainment cast members with flashlights to show you where the bumps were. Having said that the first time I marched down Main street with my electric candle singing carols and seeing the looks on the guests faces brought tears to my eyes.

    I stopped after three years because of the enormous amount of time involved in rehearsals besides working full time. For example on the first Saturday of the concert you had to be there by noon and finished up at 9PM. Full rehearsal with all 900 people, lunch, and then another full rehearsal, complete run through again, with the orchestra. Followed by two full concerts of outside singing. Singers that did not know how to pace themselves soon found themselves hoarse or worse. An occasional fainting on stage but not too often with young singers locking their knees. One time the wind blew so hard all of the conductors music on her stand went flying through the air. She kept going.

    It was all worth it, worth seeing and hearing, and I was so glad I got to do it before I retired.

    • Marko50

      Thank you for the interesting story!

  • brianpinsky

    Hey check your facts before your talk about those lighting rigs… they have up since the end of summer for the Halloween parties and they have been turned on and used during normal nighttime parades.

  • composerboy

    Love the title of the article.

  • airick75

    I’m a merchandise fan, but I totally disagree with the One Park initiative and I’m especially offended when Disney World merchandise is sold at Disneyland in this way. Hoping what? That people won’t notice? (Sadly, many really won’t…) I’m a big fan of items specific to the parks. (Although…I didn’t mind finding an Epcot vinylmation pin, but I suppose that’s different).

  • coasterboy

    Wonder why they didn’t delay the rehab for Fantasyland Theater, and perform Candlelight there…They have done it before, and while not traditional, it would be much less of a headache.

  • ferrarifann

    im curious… with the 20 night show, where will the marching band for the football teams who will play in the rose bowl, play when the main st station is all blocked off?

  • CasaFamilia

    I was at Disneyland this morning, Saturday 12/1, and the crowd was not that heavy but the pinch point they created in Town Square was already agitating. Your’e absolutely right in saying “bring a good attitude and patience” when visiting the next 19 days because if you don’t you’ll drive yourself crazy or at least drive up your blood pressure. I’m glad to get an early look at the madness so that I am prepared and can simply relax and go with the flow-literally.