Candlelight continues to draw big crowds this holiday season as it performs twice nightly for 20 nights in Town Square. Candlelight might bring a bit of gridlock to Main Street, U.S.A. this holiday season, but it might get a run for its money when Starbucks opens up late next year, bringing big crowds to its new Main Street location. Disney is currently planning to bring the coffee giant to the Market House, Main Street’s go-to stop for coffee since the park’s early days. But just how will the extremely popular Starbucks brand fit in the small Main Street location? Meanwhile, as Starbucks gets ready to move in, long-time Disneyland sponsor Kodak is getting ready to leave as the company struggles with bankruptcy. Elsewhere, Indiana Jones Adventure has reopened and Cars Land gets new Christmas merchandise.

We’re wrapping up our 5th Anniversary Celebration this week. To celebrate, Dateline Disneyland has teamed up with our friends at the Howard Johnson Anaheim, and Disney Photography Blog to give back to you, our readers! It’s our way of saying thanks for reading for the last five years. Details on our 5th Anniversary Giveaway Celebration can be found in today’s column.

Get a closer look at today’s update! Click on any photo in today’s column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

We’re Celebrating 5 Years!

Dateline Disneyland is turning 5 years old!
To celebrate, we’re giving back to you, our readers, with 5 weeks of prizes from our friends at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground and!

This is our last week of giveaways! Find out what you can win and how to enter below!

Congratulations to our fourth week winners: Gary from Seal Beach, CA; David from Port Hueneme, CA; and Blake from Sacramento, CA and more! We hope you enjoy your prizes and thanks for reading!

Enjoy a 2-night getaway at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel!
One (1) Grand Prize winner each week will enjoy a two-night stay at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground, Anaheim’s premier family hotel! Named 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice “Best for Families” in Anaheim, the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground is located across the street from the Disneyland Resort. A short eight-minute walk to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, the seven-acre Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground features free Wi-Fi, free parking and is home to the pirate-themed Castaway Cove – A Watery Pirate Playground featuring a 30-foot pirate ship with drench bucket, slides, water canons and much more!

Win a year subscription to!
Two (2) winners each week will receive a one-year Disneyland Resort subscription to, where they can enjoy access to 365 days of Disneyland crowd predictions, accurate attraction wait times, Computer-Optimized Touring Plans and much more! will help you get the most out of your Disneyland Resort vacation, allowing you to do more and wait less.

Celebrate and save 25% off at!
Even if you don’t win our 5th anniversary giveaway, TouringPlans is offering all Dateline Disneyland readers (that’s you!) new Disneyland Resort subscriptions for 25% off!
Click here and use promo code HAPPY5THDATELINE when subscribing!

Win a Disney eBook!
Two (2) winners each week will win their choice of a eBook, including two new holiday eGuides for the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. The Holiday TouringPlans eGuides are spectacular volumes packed with hundreds of gorgeous photos, plus:

  • 92 pages (Disneyland) and 111 pages (Walt Disney World)
  • Information & tips for enjoying all holiday entertainment
  • Tips to avoid the holiday crowds
  • Full November & December 2012 Crowd Calendars
  • Holiday snack recommendations
  • Historical tidbits, facts, and more

Also available from TouringPlans eBooks is the beautiful Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise — a photographic journey through Disneyland’s 2012 24-hour Leap Day party.

Win Disney Photography Blog’s newest iPhone App!
Five (5) winners this week will win the Disney Photography Blog‘s Disneyland Christmas Photo a Day App for iPhone and iPad.

Enjoy a new Disneyland Resort holiday photo on your iPhone and iPad for the rest of 2012 from the talented team at Disney Photography Blog. The App even includes brand new photos from Cars Land showing off the new 12-acre land’s brand new holiday decorations.

Leave a comment and win! All you need to do is leave a comment about today’s blog in the comments section at the end of the column and you’ll be automatically entered-to-win!

You can enter-to-win until 11:59 p.m. this Friday, December 14 for this week’s giveaway!

Rules and Restrictions:

  • No purchase necessary. To enter for free, you must be a registered user. Click here to sign up for a free account.
  • Entrants must be 13 years or older to win.
  • Grand Prizes can only be mailed where allowable by law and in the United States of America.
  • Winners will be selected at random using at the end of each week during the giveaway period.
  • By entering-to-win you give including Dateline Disneyland, its staff and its sponsors permission to publish your name, city of residence and/or your birthday online and in print.
  • Winners will be notified via the e-mail address used to register at Please check your e-mail inbox to see if you won.
  • All prizes must be claimed within 30 days. Unclaimed prizes will be awarded to another entrant.
  • Contest may be altered or canceled at any time and for any reason without notice.

Happy anniversary and good luck!

Welcome to Disneyland!

This is the last week of moderate crowd levels before Disneyland begins its busy holiday season. If you need tips for visiting during the holidays, check out our Disney Holiday eBooks! can also 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., Dec. 11 [center]5 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Tuesday is the best day to visit Disneyland.
  • Partial Annual Pass blockouts on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Crowd levels are a 9 on Saturday and Sunday.
  • 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., Dec. 12 7 /10
Thu., Dec. 13 6 /10
Fri., Dec. 14 8 /10
Celebrate 5 Years of Dateline Disneyland
with 25% off a Subscription! is celebrating Dateline Disneyland’s five year anniversary by giving Dateline Disneyland readers (that’s you!) a 25% discount on new one-year Disneyland Resort subscriptions! Subscribe to and get 365 days of access to premium Disneyland Resort trip planning tools including crowd predictions, accurate wait times, Computer Optimized Touring Plans and much more!

Use promo code HAPPY5THDATELINE when subscribing!

Click here to join today!

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.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by

A look at wait times mid-day Saturday.

Construction Kingdom

Construction at the end of Main Street continues at the upcoming Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet location next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. notes the new area is set to open May 2013.

The new Castle wall extension is coming along

You can spot details emerging on the chimney of one of the facades

Back in Fantasyland, construction continues at the Fantasyland Theater. Tarps and scaffolding are now up at the theater entrance marquee.

The new structure at the back of the theater gets closer to completion…

In Frontierland, the rock work refurbishment across from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s exit has wrapped up…

In New Orleans Square, the popcorn cart near the Haunted Mansion got a new look.

It looks great.

Oogie Boogie is still here for the holidays

Starbucks moves in, Kodak moves out

Last week the OC Register ran a story in which Disney confirmed that Starbucks Coffee would open its Disneyland location by the end of 2013 inside Main Street’s Market House.

This choice isn’t exactly surprising, since the Market House has been Main Street’s coffee house since opening. It is surprising, however, because the location is so small. If California Adventure’s Starbucks location has taught us anything, it’s that we’ll see long lines throughout the day here.

Don’t be fooled by the wide-angle lens used to take these photos, the Market House is a tight space.

Hopefully the antique potbelly stove will be saved in some way during the Starbucks remodel.

We’re hoping the party lines stay, too.

An unadvertised tradition at the Market House is free coffee refills all day. Starbucks hasn’t commented on whether they’ll honor the tradition when they take over.

Long lines can form here even for the terrible coffee Disney currently serves here.

Great old fixtures

It’ll be interesting to see how the Disneyana shop next door will be affected by the addition of Starbucks. The space used to be part of the original Swift Market House — will it once again become part of the Market House or simply closed off?

Disneyana’s circular gallery space was originally designed for Swift’s 100th Anniversary Birthday Cake display. Wouldn’t it be great if this became seating area for a turn-of-the-century-themed coffee shop?

Or will this space become a part of Disneyland history?

Meanwhile, as Starbucks prepares to move into the Market House, another long-time sponsor is getting ready to leave. Kodak, Disneyland’s official film sponsor from the park’s early days (with only a short break in the 1970s when GAF took over) is finally going to call it quits. The company is ending its sponsorship deal with Disney as it continues its corporate restructuring so it can emerge from bankruptcy in 2013.

Kodak’s complete departure from Disneyland should come as no surprise as the company ended its sponsorship of Disneyland’s Captain EO show and Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion at Walt Disney World back in 2010.

What this means is no more Kodak at the Main Street Photo Supply or at California Adventure’s Kingswell Cameras, park maps will no longer be “Compliments of Eastman Kodak,” and Disneyland’s “Kodak Picture Spots” will likely become a thing of the past.

No more picture spots?

What will become of the old original Fantasyland Ticket Booth that became a Kodak merchandise kiosk in the 1980s?

Hopefully this little historical gem isn’t lost when Kodak leaves.

Candlelight shines

Disneyland’s 20 nights of Candlelight continue with celebrity narrators including Kurt Russell and Edward James Olmos gracing the stage in Town Square last week, with Lou Diamond Phillips narrating Sunday through Tuesday.

At night, the event shines. Candlelight remains one of Disneyland’s best-produced live shows and is worth checking out, especially with it available so many nights this year.

The remaining nights of Candlelight have reserved seating for Annual Passholders, which were chosen by an online lottery. Below, the schedule of remaining performances and celebrity narrators for those nights.
Celebrity Narrators and Dates

  • December 9, 10, 11: Lou Diamond Phillips
  • December 12, 13: Dick Van Dyke
  • December 14: Dennis Haysbert
  • December 15, 16: Patricia Heaton
  • December 17, 18, 19: Molly Ringwald
  • December 20: John Stamos

Indy returns

In Adventureland, Indiana Jones Adventure has reopened after an extended refurbishment.

The refurbishment didn’t make any major changes to the show, but the attraction did get a lot of TLC. It now runs smoothly with major TLC given to the ride system and numerous special effects fixed along with various lighting upgrades.

Due to the nature of the ride, we opted to take video of the attraction instead of on-ride photos. Check it out below, but be aware that the video is rather dark, just like the ride.

Of course, the ride continues to draw big crowds, especially with big holiday crowds arriving.

Give some Disney fun this year!
The holidays are here again and what better gift to give this holiday season than Disney?

Below is a list of some of the best books, movies and video game releases for the Disney fans on your shopping list. Everything from this year’s spectacular books including Poster Art of the Disney Parks and It’s Kind of a Cute Story, to the year’s biggest Disney blockbusters including Marvel’s The Avengers, Brave and Wreck-It Ralph; we’ve got you covered.

So jump in and check off some names from your list with the Amazon links below! By buying through the Amazon links below you’ll also be helping support Dateline Disneyland so we can continue bringing Disneyland to you through 2013!

Happy Holidays!
– Andy
Dateline Disneyland

Welcome to California Adventure

Over at California Adventure, the holidays continue without much news to report.

A look at park wait times Saturday afternoon.

Cars Land continues to be wildly popular especially with its holiday decorations

Lots of new Cars Land-specific holiday merchandise can be found at Radiator Springs Curios.

Adult sweatshirt

Adult t-shirt

Kids’ tee

Kids’ tee

Commemorative plate

Disney continues to try to get all of the Cars Land Christmas lights working after encountering power supply issues for all the new lights. Sarge’s tree should be lit all the time now, after only being on intermittently earlier this holiday season.

Still, on Sunday night some of the Cars Land lights were still not working including the Cozy Cone’s cone Christmas tree and cone stars.

Get in the holiday spirit with a photo a day

We’ve got a new app tip for iPhone and iPad users. Our friends at Disney Photography Blog have released their latest Disney Photo A Day app, this time with focus on the holidays.

For only 99¢, you can get a photo a day from Disneyland on your iPhone or iPad, including great photos from Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. You’ll get a new photo every day that you can use as your iPhone or iPad wallpaper through the end of 2012.

We’re giving away five copies of the app in this week’s Dateline Disneyland 5th Anniversary Giveaway, so be sure to enter-to-win. Or, you can buy the app now in the iTunes App Store by clicking here.

In celebration of Dateline Disneyland’s 5th Anniversary, we’re taking a look back at photos from the Dateline Disneyland archives. Join us as we look back at some photos from past updates and talk about the changes seen at the Disneyland Resort over the last five years. It’s a fun look back at some big changes over the last half-decade.

As we wrap up our 5th Anniversary we go back to just last year for our final week of “From the Archives.” Disneyland celebrated its 56th Anniversary on July 17 as Disney California Adventure had just unveiled its brand new main gate turnstiles, modeled after Los Angeles’ iconic Pan Pacific Theater.

The new turnstiles were a big deal, as they were the first completed part of the park’s re-Imagined main entrance area.

California Adventure’s old main gate structures were still partially in place, awaiting permanent removal.

And the Golden Gate Bridge was in its final days…

…it was already gone a week later.

Besides the Pan Pacific-themed main gate, the only other part of Buena Vista Street under construction was the Carthay Circle Restaurant.

It’s really surprising to look back at these photos and realize that the majority of Buena Vista Street was completed in less than a year. The California Zephyr and Engine Ears Toys were still open in mid-July 2011.

Remember this mess?

Beautiful new Buena Vista Street shops including Trolley Treats and Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe now call this space home.

The old Baker’s Field Bakery:

…and the Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream shop

Meanwhile, Greetings! From California would soon be removed to make way for the Elias and Co. Department Store.

Yes, all of this actually existed.

Everywhere you went — the store was nothing but tacky.


Meanwhile, Cars Land was still heavily under construction…

Mater’s Junkyard had a long ways to go… Amazing what they can do in a year, right?

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.

A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit and Annual Passholder Discounts
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The HoJo Anaheim is now offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn’t listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.

Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
December 10 — 16, 2012
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday-Tuesday: 9 am – 9 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 9 am – 10 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8 am – 12 midnight
Monday-Tuesday: 9 am – 8 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8 am – 11 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]4.8—9.1[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[B]5.5—8.2[/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]Mark Twain Riverboat:[/b] Closed January 7, 2013 through March 28.
  • [b]Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:[/b] Closed for extensive refurbishment January 7, 2013 through October 30.
  • [b]Haunted Mansion:[/b] Closed January 7-17, 2013 to remove Holiday overlay.
  • [b]Big Thunder Ranch:[/b] Closed January 7-17, 2013 to remove holiday overlay.
  • [b]Fantasmic!:[/b] Dark January 7, 2013 through February 14 for refurbishment.
  • [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]Silly Symphony Swings:[/B] Closed January 7, 2013 through February 17 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Grizzly River Run:[/B] Closed January 7, 2013 through February 28 for refurbishment.
[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]
  • California Adventure expansion helps add 5,000 new jobs to Disneyland Resort, according to the OC Register.
  • The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney Parks head Tom Staggs says Walt Disney World’s Avatarland is still in the works as well as a possible Cars Land copy.
OK — that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland!

As I wrap up the final week of Dateline Disneyland’s 5th Anniversary Celebration this week I’d like to once again say thank you. To everyone that has ever helped with photos, sent in tips, shared our blog with your friends or family, donated to the blog via PayPal or clicked on our Amazon links — thank you. Dateline Disneyland wouldn’t be here without you and your continued support. Happy Anniversary!

Don’t forget to discuss this week’s column in the comments section below! Your comment could win you a prize in the final week of our 5th Anniversary Giveaway Celebration!

We’re only here because of your continued support. If you’ve enjoy Dateline Disneyland over the last five years, please consider helping us out by donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal — click here!

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.