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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?

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.