It has been an a truly remarkable year at the Disneyland Resort.  Disney California Adventure finally came into its own and can now handle half the daily traffic at the resort.  Disneyland has been able to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on upkeep while maintaining the showmanship it is known for. Certainly, there’s a lot to celebrate. Today, we’ll take a look at what you can expect to find at the Disneyland Resort for New Year’s Eve, plus some observations from the parks as they close out 2012 and ready for the the biggest party of the year.

The cool breezes of an Anaheim winter course through Main Street U.S.A as we begin today’s update, the final In the Parks column of 2012. Christmas is over, very few projects are underway at the moment, so what is there to talk about? A lot more than you might imagine.

All Aboard!



Yesterday and today are expected to be the busiest of the year. The Esplanade was gridlocked by 10am yesterday (Thursday the 27th) and front gate access was restricted by early afternoon. Disney had hoped that with the added capacity at DCA, gate restrictions wouldn’t be necessary this year. However, the insane crowding yesterday put a stop to those assumptions very early in the day.  Luckily for us, we took the photos below on Thursday, just before the crowds hit.

If you are planning on visiting the resort, here are a few tips for keeping things fun and enjoyable.

You’re gonna have to wait.
  • When arriving to the resort, avoid Harbor and Ball Road if at all possible. Katella is generally a better option.
  • Do not use Mickey and Friends parking structure, instead try the Toy Story lot or Pumba
  • Drive defensively
  • Be patient.
  • Get there early and collect your fast passes ahead of time.  They have not begun to enforce strict return times on the passes just yet.
  • Get a locker as soon as the park opens. They sell out right away on busy days.
  • Don’t forget your phone charger!

Disneyland New Year’s Eve Entertainment

Our dear friend, Andy Castro, collected the NYE info you’re looking for:

Hours: 8 am – 2 am (the park is scheduled to be open one hour later than California Adventure)

New Year’s Eve Countdown Central
at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle
Countdown party with live host, D.J. and character appearances.
9 p.m. – 12 midnight

New Year’s Eve Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks
in the Skies above Disneyland
Midnight fireworks above Disneyland to ring in 2013
12 midnight

Rockin’ the Rivers of America
Rivers of America, Frontierland
Countdown to 2013 between showings of Fantasmic! with live music, special effects and your Glow with the Show ear hats.
7:00 p.m. – 2 a.m.

“it’s a small world” Dance Party
at “it’s a small world” Promenade
Live D.J. and Disney Characters dance the night away.
7:00 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Suburban Legends at Tomorrowland Terrace
at Tomorrowland Terrace
Live performances by Suburban Legends and countdown to midnight.
8:45 p.m., 9:45 p.m., 10:50 p.m., 11:45 p.m., 12:45 a.m.

Disneyland Closes Out 2012

Luckily for us, we took the photos below on Thursday (December 26th) just before the crazy crowds arrived.

The last vestiges of Candlelight have been removed.


Here is the latest look at Fantasy Faire Village.  The project, which will be opening in 2013, will be the new Princess meet and greet for the park.


Fantasyland Theatre is also in the middle of major changes. With the princesses evicted, the space is free to return as an actual theater.

The entry arch awaits new signage.
The control booth has been rebuilt to look like a little cottage.

Venturing over to Disney California Adventure we see that they have already begun the removal of Christmas in certain areas as the park to prepare for a spectacular New years celebration.  Below is a full listing of what will be happening in DCA for New years eve courtesy of Andy Castro and Dateline Disneyland.

New Year’s Eve at California Adventure

Park Hours: 8 am – 1 am

New Year’s Eve World of Color
at Paradise Bay
Countdown to New Year’s Eve with fountains and fireworks.
12:00 midnight

  • If you’d like to watch the midnight fireworks at Disneyland, secure your spot several hours before the main event. The crowds just keep growing down Main Street the closer it gets to Midnight. If you aren’t up for the insanity of Main Street,

Mad T Party Countdown to 2013
in Hollywood Land
Countdown to midnight with live music and fireworks in Wonderland.
12:00 midnight

New Year’s Eve in Carthay Circle
at Buena Vista Street
Live swing music by The Tim Gill All-Stars.

Paradise Garden New Year
at Paradise Pier
The Ellis Island Boys ring in 2013 with live music.

Radiator Springs rings in 2013
in Cars Land
The Kelly Rae Band celebrates the new year with live country music.



As Christmas left, so did the Santa meet and greet inside Elias and Co.  Overnight the area was returned to shopping floor space.  But one thing that we seemed to have missed on previous visits were the beautiful tableu cut outs around the perimeter of the floor space.  The holiday decorations on giving Buena Vista Street had a distinct charm which was nothing short of first class.  Kudos go out to Disney on this tasteful addition to the Christmas festivities this year.


If you haven’t seen the second Prep and Landing, the one that was released last year, you have until Sunday, January 6th to see it in 4D in the Muppets theater. It’s a little long, but if you are looking for a nice warm place to take a 20 minute nap, this is it!


The pistons are firing on all cylinders in Cars Land as Radiator Springs Racers continues to command upwards of 2 hour waits for a single spin.  In the meantime, Luigi’s is now averaging 30-40 minute waits, without the need for outdoor queuing.  Finally, after a little bit of downtime to one of the two sides, Mater’s has returned to full service.  It seems that the recent rains took down one half of the attraction’s turntables, which immediately doubled wait times.  Oils well that ends well and Cars Land is revving up for the New Years rush.

Don’t wait this long folks. Use Fastpass or Try the single rider line.
It’s still a deceptively long wait at 40 minutes
If you haven’t let Mater take you on a tow ride, you are missing out on some simple but very cute fun.
Both sides are operating again, which keeps the lines moving!

If you are looking for a comprehensive Disneyland year in review article, please check out the extensive report filed by Andy Castro in Dateline Disneyland earlier this week.

We want to thank all of our fantastic and supportive reader for making this a rewarding year for us. We’ve spent the last several years covering the transformation of California Adventure from flop to star, and now that the project is complete, you’ve continued to check back in with us every week in record numbers. That’s dedication and we sincerely appreciate it. As we look to the horizon, what changes would you like to see come to the Disneyland Resort?  What attractions, shows, and changes do you think are just around the corner? Place your bets folks, 2013 is nearly here. Let’s celebrate!