Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel are going to feel a lot more crowded soon. A new hotel is being plopped down on the Western end – or should we say ON TOP OF – Disney’s shopping district.  We’d be more excited . . . but . . . well, read below. We also have the latest photos from DCA at Halloween time where the weather has been smokin’ hot.

New Hotel and Parking

The new hotel that we’ve been talking about for years has FINALLY been revealed. The unnamed hotel is set to be located practically touching the Disneyland Hotel and will take over the land currently occupied by the ESPN Zone and AMC Theater.  It’s a big change which also involves the abandonment of the Eastern Gateway parking project and relocation of some of those spaces to the West side of the resort.

As you can see in the photo above, this isn’t a themed hotel. It’s designed not unlike a funnel to channel people into the security checkpoint between the new hotel and Disneyland Hotel.

Speaking of the Disneyland Hotel. The classic Disney hotel which once boasted Monorail access will soon have an entire hotel sitting between it and Monorail access. That’s going to make the aging hotel a bit less of a draw. And perhaps all of this is just a first step to allow the eventual demolition and rebuilding of that property.

Here’s how the Disney Parks Blog describes the new hotel:

The stunning 700-room hotel will feature a sophisticated design and be a game-changer for Anaheim, creating a dynamic dining, entertainment and hotel experience for resort visitors and local residents. Extensive landscaping and water elements will create a resort oasis, showcasing nature on every level of the hotel. The hotel’s location embraces the iconic Disneyland Monorail with a dedicated platform inside the hotel for direct transport into Disneyland park.

Guest rooms, public spaces and gardens will provide views of the Downtown Disney District. In addition, an upper-level restaurant and lounge will give guests a view of the popular Disneyland park fireworks.

The ground level of the hotel will include shops and restaurants opening onto an expansive landscaped plaza complete with playful water features, creating a gathering place for guests and visitors. The new hotel also connects all four Hotels of the Disneyland Resort through lush gardens and beautifully landscaped walkways, transforming the gateway on the west side and creating a welcoming entry for our Disneyland Resort guests.

New Hotel Coming to the Disneyland Resort in 2021
How long do you think those balconies will last? They had to remove them all from the Disneyland Hotel to keep people from jumping.

The new hotel will have a dedicated monorail platform. It hasn’t moved, but the only entrance/exit will likely be on the far end of this line of hotel rooms.

Construction is slated to start in summer 2018, and the new hotel will open in 2021. With Star Wars Land opening less than a year after construction starts, it should make for terrible timing for Disneyland Hotel guests to walk all the way around the construction zone and the loss of Downtown Disney establishment just as Disneyland hits its highest ever attendance is regrettable. Doesn’t it all seem like this project should have been built in time to open before Star Wars Land? Why is it so hard for modern Disney to make a bold decision and not wait until their hand is forced?

1. New Security gate
2. New Monorail station, same location.
3. Disneyland Hotel will enter through the new hotel
4. Paradise Pier will enter through the new hotel.
5. Downtown Disney parking guests will enter near the monorail.
6. Downtown Disney parking will be pushed back quite a ways
7. Limited hotel parking?

Highly anticipated new Star Wars & Marvel lands are going to need additional parking.  6,500 spaces to be exact.  The new spaces will be built next to the Mickey and Friends parking structure on the current Pinocchio lot.

Unfortunately, they were very vague on how exactly this new project will “speed up guest arrival” or how it will “enhance the transportation experience” so we’ll have to see what they mean by that. At the very least, this will add a decent amount of parking to the resort to accommodate the influx of Star Wars crowds.

Construction of this new structure will begin in February, and they hope to have it finished within a year. If construction moves smoothly, this should be ready in time for Galaxy’s Edge to open, which will be appreciated.

There’s not much to go on yet for either of these projects. But, while pretty at first glance, the new hotel looks a bit boring. If these are the images Disney is trying to sell us on, they don’t convey the vision, whimsy and charm I’ve come to love and expect from Disney. I sure do hope that there is more to this than meets the eye.

What are your thoughts?

To the theme parks!

Halloween Party-Pooper


With the exception of a few dud days of excessive 100 degrees, Disneyland has been PACKED this Halloween. But with Mickey’s Halloween Party’s moving over to California Adventure next year, we can expect the crowd craziness to flip over to DCA as well. I was able to visit DCA on Friday night when the party was happening at Disneyland and here’s the INSANE truth.

The biggest Halloween attraction at DCA is Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark. Both standby and Fast pass lines explode with the nightly overlay opening at 5pm. On party night this last week, wait times for Guardians jumped to over 150 minutes while the Fastpass line for the attraction had to use the backstage queue area that was set up earlier this summer. That area usually is used for overflowing standby but instead standby was queued down the street.

Over in Pacific Wharf, lines for food exploded to points I have never seen before with walkways turning into queues, which made walking through the area almost impossible.

Someone find the end of that one

In Paradise Pier, lines for Corn Dogs came out of the queue and ran down to Goofy’s Sky School.

There was about a 45-minute queue for Little Mermaid, causing the take-over of the standby viewing area for World of Color, which made the walkway around the viewing zone insane.

Even the lamest attraction at DCA had a 35-minute wait…

Why would you even wait for Heimlich’s?

California Adventure reached a point which it could not properly accommodate enough guests with an adequate amount of Attractions, Shows, and Dining, which made the park extremely uncomfortable to traverse. Next year when Disneyland is the only park open, it will have not the same extremes due to the park having almost double the amount of attractions (often with double the capacity) and the ability to operate more shows at night.

Personally, I find that the Halloween overlays on Buena Vista Street and in Cars Land still do not compare with the attraction lineup that Disneyland currently has. When the Halloween Party jumps to DCA next year I may not pay $100+ to be stuck in DCA on top of my AP/Park Ticket. DCA needs a more fleshed out attraction lineup (and has for a while), plus several more Halloween overlays for me to consider buying a ticket for a DCA Halloween Party.

We assume that a new party-only Halloween World of Color will be coming to the event next year, along with a fancy Hallowen version of Radiator Springs Racers. Even with those additions, in my opinion, DCA will still need at least one more Halloween overlay attraction to help distribute crowds throughout the park.

I really hope that Disney borrows the family-friendly Halloween maze concept that Hong Kong Disneyland currently has. It can be placed in Stage 17 or Stage 12 in Hollywood Land. That would bring some love to the dark corner of the land and add something to do to the notoriously empty parties. I also think Disney could do a quick overlay to Midway Mania since it’s mostly screens. It would be very similar to how Mission Breakout has been updated for Monsters After Dark. Unfortunately, these are just things I want to see, not necessarily things we will actually see next year.

Will you buy a ticket to next year’s Halloween Party at DCA, or do you need to wait to hear more? And with the resort becoming so hyper-crowded, should they do away with special ticketed events like Mickey’s Halloween Party and simply leave both parks open to all guests to better spread out the crowds? Let us know your thoughts and solutions down in the comments section down below.

California Adventure

Buena Vista Street

Welcome back to the park that is old enough to get a drivers license…

Oswald thought he saw Oogie Boogie

Personally, I think the decorations are nice but it’s repetitive over a vast area. Next year, I hope they go all out and give Buena Vista Street a real Halloween town feel to it. And it would be nice if Buena Vista Street got a meet-and-greet with Jack, Sally, and talking Oogie Boogie.

The Headless Horseman is AWESOME, but there need to be more surprises like this.

And more bats please . . . from ALL sides of the Carthay cupola.

Diving into the air-conditioned shops along Buena Vist Street; it was sooooooo hot this week! At times the temps flirted with 105°. TOO hot for us fragile SoCal folks.

Something does not look right

A register has been awkwardly placed next to this door. Perhaps due to theft?

Hollywood Land

Months after the end of Summer of Heroes, the Back Lot Stage just sits empty.

And now to duck into the Animation building to cool off in the A/C.

I lucked out and got to try my hand at drawing Scrooge McDuck. How did I do?

Due to extreme heat, Doc McStuffins has been meeting guests inside the lobby.

Outside and across the street, I noticed a display window that references the lands around the park that I thought was pretty cool.

5 minutes in the oppressive heat. . . let’s duck into Frozen. It seems like there are always seats for this show nowadays.

Disney has changed the opening projection again. But besides that, not much has changed.


Tower of Terror…. I mean Monsters After Dark will be operating for the full day on October 31st.  I think next year the overlay should just run all day during Halloween to avoid the craziness we’ve seen this year.

It’s always Spider-Man’s fault!

For more A/C, how about Monsters Inc?


Long wait, but I need the A/C.

When your girl gives you this look… you have definitely messed something up…

We’ve got a 23-19!

Jingle Bugs

Over in Bugs Land, Christmas decorations have already been installed

She really like those lollipops

It’s Tough to be a Bug is closed for a three-week refurbishment.

Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak has also gotten Christmas decorations.

Talk about airing out your stockings

Grizzly’s Fastpass line spilled out of the overflow queue and down towards Redwood Creek. It would’ve been faster to dump water cups on yourself than wait in the FastPass line.

Over at Redwood Creek, Santa hasn’t started setting up yet, but it’s expected soon.

The Ahwahnee Camp Circle is being repaved

I think we are short a nephew, I bet you it’s Dewey.

Over at the Hibernation Hollow Cave water crossing, some of the padded stones are coming loose. It might be time to replace the padding in the entire area.

Quick tell me what movie this is from?
Were the nets always this hard to cross?
Great view of the Grand’s refurbishment from the nets
This security camera along the walkway between Grizzly and Redwood Creek always stands out and destroys the illusion of the land. Isn’t there a better way to hide the cameras?

New door replaced a gate along the back of Grizzly’s Loading Dock. It seems out of place. Why does a door need to be taller than the fence which contains it? Couldn’t someone just hop over that low fence? Silly and ugly.

Cars Land

Over in Cars Land, the spooky season is almost gone but the Christmas Season should be up fairly quickly as the previous infrastructure for Christmas was used to hold up Halloween decorations.

It was so hot that RSR was posted at 30 but had an empty queue during the day. By early afternoon both parks had cleared out as guests gave up and went home. OR perhaps they evaporated.

The projected mouths felt out of sync with the animatornics.
I can barely make out Lightning’s mouth as well.

DJ has a spooky dance party for Halloween, have you seen it yet?

Pacific Wharf

Over at the Pacific Wharf Bakery, the first of the Christmas decorum is already up.

…With Visions of Sourdough Bread dancing in their head!

Across the way, the Winery’s Christmas pine leaves are already hung above every fridge.

Paradise Pier

The Pier will be celebrating its last non-Pixar Holiday this year.

Refurbishment work continues on Goofy’s Sky School. Safety enhancements we are told; they haven’t posted a reopening date yet.

A giant crane looms over the attraction moving refurbishment pieces all day.

But still lots of disgusting rust. The sky is bleeding.

This week I finally waited in Stand By for Midway Mania.

I was finally able to enter the now Air Conditioned queue and it looks amazing without all the fans.



It’s nice that the ugly fans were removed.

On our visit CMs where not loading Row 1 due to a screen completely out on the main track.

Not too shabby!
I wish they would actually sell a real Midway Games Play Set.
How much are those doggies in the windows?

I would have loved this if it came out when I was 10.

Along with Paradise Bay, barges have been anchored for the Holiday World of Color this year.


Work has seemed to pause for the enclosing the walkway under the Screamin’ track near Silly Symphony Swings. But the REAL Work will begin after the Holidays this year when Screamin’ goes down for its Pixar Conversion.

The coaster track looks so dirty!

Screamin’ track running lights across the structure are looking very disgusting. Half broken and half burnt out. Hopefully these get replaced with some cool Dash chaser lights – just a thought.

View at night

On the inner side of the helix, no work has progressed on the staircase to nowhere.

Is is weird that Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida also put this poster up?
Will these sun logo “P” cement circles near the Carousel be removed with the land refurb, or will they remain?

It’s still pretty hot, even at night, let’s dive Under The Sea to cool off.

Don’t you hate having to watch a show behind the wall of Cell Phones?


Downtown Disney and Resort


Downtown Disney is still celebrating Halloween. Thankfully.

Amazing, right?

A Poster is up for Last Jedi inside World of Disney

Construction Work continues on the new Star Wars VR experience.

Windows now adorned the front of Splitsville. Will Guests (locals) be allowed to bring their own bowling balls into the resort for use in Splitsville? Traditionally bowling balls would be turned away at security. At Disney World, Disney Springs is not inside a security area, meaning locals can bring their own balls in. What is California going to do?

That looks familiar

I was finally able to explore the two new shops in Downtown Disney, the Dream Boutique and the Disney Dress Shop. the Dream Boutique feels so very drab and boring. If this shop is supposed to embrace the Dream Big concept, blank white walls don’t help sell that message. This is a low point in Disney design. Perhaps they’ve hired the old designers from Sears and Kmart to do the new Disney stores.

This is worse than a pop up store in an outlet mall.

Maybe a Colorful Mural or just any color anywhere!

It feels every bit as depressing as it looks!

Over at the Dress Shop, Disney was able to repurpose the space much better, though this shop is only supposed to last through the holidays.

Over at the Build-A-Bear, every time I visited the shop this week, the upstairs was closed. Did Build-A-Bear clear out their upstairs space already? Disney told Build-A-Bear and Ridemakerz to clear out by the end of Summer and then had a change of heart after the restaurant Disney wanted to fill the spot dropped out. It’s not quite clear if Ridemakerz or the very popular Build-A-Bear shops will be gone in January but they are here for at least this holiday season.

RideMakerz has also been running on a limited daily schedule.

At the Mickey and Friends Tram Stop, a new Ramp deck has been installed to help speed up the disabled access bus loading process.

Sephora is receiving an exterior refurbishment cosmetic treatment. It’s been like this for a while now. It better look at least 10 years younger when the wraps come off.

Mickey and Friends Parking Structure

Disney allows Long Lines to Build up at the Tram Station during the middle of the day most days. Which was REALLY unfortunate on these hot days.

Brick Work has wrapped up but up at the top of Minnie level, some equipment replacement has started.

Also, new signage has replaced the emergency signs across the structure. Now there is no emergency button. It is just one button for assistance and you are told to call 911 for emergencies.

In other words . . . Disney security isn’t here to help you. Call the police.

New Merchandise


The next Japanese merchandise item has shown up in Anaheim. The Ufufy is a sitting up version of the Tsum Tsums that have scents. The only smell here at the moment is the Apple Blossom scent.

Anyone for a Dole Whip Plush Pillow?

Interchangeable Minnie Bows

Around the resort last week the new interchangeable Minnie bows have popped up. You buy the base headband for $29.99 and then buy the supplemental bows for $16.99.

Base Bow

She’s too hip to quit

School Spirit

Across the Resort a new set of School Spirit Resort Merchandise and it looks good.

Do you color coordinate your family’s wardrobe for a Disney Trip?

Other Cool new Merch has also shown up.


The Donald foam hat bil looks a little too long.


Spend A Night with Dick Van Dyke and Dusty at Garner Holt 

Come join us at an amazing event Dusty Sage is throwing with the help of the folks from Garner Holt for the launch of the Dick Van Dyke Foundation for the Performing Arts.  It’s going to be a very rare opportunity to see inside Garner Holt’s animatronics factory and rub elbows with a Disney Legend. Tickets and more info HERE.

See Ya Real Soon
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 contributions from Dusty Sage and Scott Attula.


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The 8th wonder of DCA . . . the backside of tortilla!

That’s it for today’s update. Join Scott for his update on the experience of Mickey’s Halloween Party HERE.

Now, we know you’ve got things to say about the new hotel and parking and the death of the Eastern Gateway project. Might the focusing of parking in one area actually be better than spreading it out? And what about that ho-hum hotel concept art? Give us your ideas on what sorts of Disney concepts and themes you’d like to see or wish they’d add.