The Disneyland Resort kicked off the new year with festivities in both theme parks including new entertainment options at the recently-relaunched Disney California Adventure. But the New Year’s Eve festivities weren’t the end of new offerings for the new year. Throughout the year, Disneyland will be hosting various pop-up entertainment offerings and special events as part of the larger Disney Parks “Limited Time Magic” promotion. First up was the second annual Dia de Reyes Celebration at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, celebrating the Latin American holiday with special entertainment, food and activities. The Dia de Reyes celebration capped off Disneyland’s ever-popular holiday season, making this last weekend the last chance to enjoy the popular holiday offerings in both theme parks. With the holidays wrapped up, Disneyland will now embark on a series of construction and refurbishment projects including a major overhaul for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, construction on the new Starbucks location on Main Street U.S.A., and the completion of the under-construction Fantasy Faire meet-and-greet area.

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.

Did you miss our 2012 Year in Review over the holiday break? Check it out (in two parts!) below:
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Welcome 2013!

New Year’s Eve brought big crowds to Disneyland for the midnight countdown.

The busy holiday season is finally past us but crowds will unfortunately remain for this week. TouringPlans.com 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. Now more than ever, it’s a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com 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, TouringPlans.com

[center][/center] [center]Overall
Crowd Prediction
[/center]
[center]TouringPlans.com
Crowd Tips
[/center]
Tues., Jan. 8 [center]7 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Saturday and Sunday are 8 out of 10.
  • There are no Annual Pass blackouts in effect this Monday through Friday.
  • Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend is January 19 and 20, 2013.
  • Fastpass tickets for Radiator Springs Racers usually “sell out” within the first hour of DCA’s regular park hours.
Wed., Jan. 9 8 /10
Thu., Jan. 10 7 /10
Fri., Jan. 11 8 /10
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 TouringPlans.com.

Guests began camping out in the Central Plaza as soon as the park opened. Below, a view of the hub around 5:00 p.m.

For the second year in a row, Disneyland’s New Year’s Eve festivities was broadcast live by Univision. The Univision presence included a large control booth just behind the Partners statue. Not the most crowd/Guest-friendly place to set-up.

California Adventure was a much easier place to navigate with lighter crowds than Disneyland and new entertainment made it a good option for those who didn’t want to deal with Disneyland’s crowded walkways. Below, swing dancing in Carthay Circle:

Meanwhile, Main Street at Disneyland was a huge sea of people waiting for midnight.

But the midnight fireworks made it all worthwhile

On New Year’s Day, Disneyland’s impressive “Destination: Cars Land” float made its debut at the Pasadena Rose Parade.

End of the Season

Sunday marked the final day of Disneyland’s busy holiday season. Crowds will persist into this next week while many schools are still out for winter break, but the holiday season has finally come to an end. Below, a last look at the 2012 holiday season.

Haunted Mansion Holiday is now closed to remove its holiday overlay.

Some of New Orleans Square’s more Mardi Gras-style decorations will remain up for the upcoming Mardi Gras celebration — the New Orleans Bayou Bash

“it’s a small world” holiday will remain open until Haunted Mansion reopens later this month

A look at Disneyland wait times on Sunday

A last look at California Adventure’s exceptional first holiday season since its major remodel and expansion.

A look at California Adventure wait times on Sunday

Holiday treats are now gone until next Christmas.

Limited Time Magic:
Dia de Reyes & Golden Horseshoe Revue

For the second year, Disneyland celebrated Dia de Reyes (Three Kings Day) in Frontierland.

The celebration moved from Zocalo Park to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, giving it a much larger area for live performances, activities and character meet-and-greets.

Lots of entertainment over the weekend

Arts and crafts area

Face painting

Folklorico dancers

Mariachi Divas

A look at the Dia de Reyes live entertainment

Three Caballeros

Fiesta Mickey and Minnie

Sweet Tamales and Roscas de Reyes available

The next up in Disney’s Limited Time Magic will be a limited run of “A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue” from January 10 to February 4. Disney describes the show as: “Inspired by the world-famous Frontierland show that Walt Disney himself began in 1955, A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue features a variety of songs and dance numbers from past productions and is an homage to fun-filled, family friendly musical entertainment.”

Disney has opened reserved seating for the show to Annual Passholders via special dinner performances.

Annual Passholder Dinner Show Dates:
Thursdays through Mondays, January 10 through February 4, 2013

Time:
6:30 p.m.

Price:
$35 per Passholder, per show

Reservations:
Call (714) 781-PASS (7277) and select option 0

Menu:
Starter: Corn chips in a souvenir Golden Horseshoe boot mug
Entrees: Black forest ham and roast beef sandwiches
Sides: Golden raisin and carrot salad, Yukon golden potato salad, Very Berry fruit salad
Children’s Menu: 2 PB&J sandwiches with sides
Vegetarian Option: Vegetable and cheese sandwiches with sides
Beverages: Mint Julep, water, coffee
Dessert: Walt & Lilly’s 30th Anniversary Celebration Cake

If you want to attend a performance but aren’t an Annual Passholder or interested in the dinner package, you should visit the podium at the entrance to the Golden Horseshoe where a Cast Member will issue a ticket for your requested show time, based on availability.

On the Horizon

2013 will bring some notable changes to Disneyland. Below, a look at some of the big projects coming our way this year:

[center]Starbucks comes to Main Street, U.S.A.[/center]
Disney recently confirmed to the OC Register that Main Street’s Market House will close “sometime this year” to be converted into the new Starbucks location.

The new Starbucks shop will open by late 2013 and will likely bring big changes to the interior of the Market House, one of the few remaining Main Street interiors that hasn’t seen much change since opening day.

The Market House is significantly smaller than California Adventure’s Starbucks location, which sees massive lines. Will the Market House location need to utilize Center Street as extended queue space once Starbucks moves in?

[center]Fantasyland’s new Faire[/center]
At the end of Main Street, the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area is progressing quickly toward its May 2013 grand opening.

The new canvas canopy over the stage area has gone up

[center]Mapping the way to the Fantasyland Theater[/center]
Back in Fantasyland, the Fantasyland Theatre is getting ready to host its first full stage show since the end of “Snow White — An Enchanting Musical” in fall 2006.

The marquee is ready for signage for the new show, “Mickey and the Magical Map,” which is set to debut this summer.

Disney announced the new show last week with the following description:

The wise sorcerer Yen Sid tells of a wondrous map – one unlike any other – with the power to take dreamers to any place imaginable. But when young apprentice Mickey Mouse attempts to paint the map’s one unfinished spot, he stumbles into a fantastic adventure through worlds of music, color and beloved characters, as he discovers the mystery of the map’s magic!

Some concept art for the show:

The structure at the back of the theater is progressing nicely

Copper rain gutters

[center]Big Refurbishment Mountain[/center]
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is now closed as it begins a major refurbishment that will span most of the year.

The refurbishment will cost around $4 million dollars and include the repainting of the mountain, new ride vehicles and show enhancements. A crane will loom over the Frontierland mountain January through April.

Take a final ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with our video from last fall.

This & That

Disney recently made it easier for parents to help choose healthier options for their kids when eating at the parks by introducing the “Mickey Check.” The Mickey Check indicates complete meals that meet Disney’s nutrition requirements. The Mickey Check is now present on quick-service restaurant menus and will soon be added to sit-down restaurant menus as well.

Disney has begun offering reserved viewing areas at World of Color, Disneyland fireworks shows and at Fantasmic! for Guests wearing “Glow with the Show” ear hats.

The viewing areas are pretty good, particularly for World of Color where Glow with the Show guests get a roomy central viewing section. The new reserved viewing areas were quietly rolled out and promoted mostly by Disney’s @DCAToday and @DisneylandToday Twitter accounts.

Back at California Adventure, the curb in front of Carthay Circle Restaurant has been painted white.

Over at Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, the floor of the turntables the ride vehicles roll on are looking pretty beat up after only six months.


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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
January 7 — 13, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 10 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Monday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday-Saturday: 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by TouringPlans.com[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]Disney California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]HIGH[/B]
[B]7.5—8.8[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]MEDIUM[/B]
[B]3.4—6.9[/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
[/B]
[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]Disneyland Railroad — Main Street Station:[/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]Splash Mountain:[/b] Closed January 22 through February 14 for refurbishment.
  • [b]Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes:[/b] Closed January 22-23
  • [b]”it’s a small world”:[/b] Closed January 22, 2013 through February 28 to remove holiday overlay.
  • [b]Mad Tea Party:[/b] Closed January 28 through February 14 for refurbishment.
  • [b]Goofy’s Playhouse:[/b] Closed February 25 – March 7 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Expected to close in 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]World of Color:[/B] Closed January 28-31, 2013 and February 4-7 for refurbishment.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
    None.
[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • As part of the Limited Time Magic promotion, Disney has launched the “Disney Time” sweepstakes, giving away a free vacation every day through the month of January.
  • Tourism experts predict a 4-to-5 percent tourism boom in Orange County in 2013, according to the OC Register.
  • Disney has announced details of their new “MyMagic+” vacation-planning program for Walt Disney World visitors, part of the $1 billion Next Gen project.
Okay, that wraps up our first Dateline Disneyland of 2013. Thanks, as always, for reading! I hope all of you had a fantastic holiday season! Happy New Year!

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!

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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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  • Trumpet

    Great Update Andy

    The Fantsayland Changes are looking good and I can’t wait to see them in person.

    BTMRR should give the ride a fresh look. I am looking forward to riding it when it is completed later this year.

    Thanks Again Andy, and happy new year

    Trumpet

  • Malin

    One thing you should take into account with the Starbucks location and its size vs the DCA location is that Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe also sells bakery goods and hot sandwich’s. While Starbucks may or may not include a few food items. The main food items will still be at Jolly Holiday Cafe. So the new Market House location will be selling the drinks only. Which might factor in on why it doesn’t need such a large retail space like the Fiddler Cafe.

  • WheresMickey

    Great update!

  • WesternMouse

    Whoaa! Did you say that Glow with the Show people get better seats? So if I spend another $100 for my family of 5 to where the new ears then we’ll see the show front and center and if I don’t we’re stuck somewhere on the side?

    Ummm, not sure that I like that.

  • We visited the Three Kings Festival on Sunday. It was neat, but simple. An ODV cart, dancers, face painting, and character meet and greet. It’s nice to see these little pop up festivals and it’s a great use of the Festival Arena.

  • Algernon

    Ah, Big Thunder back with safety railings no doubt, just like Casey Jr., the Matterhorn, and soon, Alice in Wonderland. Welcome to Coney Island, as they slowly dismatle the old Disneyland and replace it with a generic Frankenstein of the same name.
    1. Twin Falls — gone.
    2. Peoplemover — gone.
    3. Swiss Treehouse — ruined.
    4. Submarines–ruined.
    5. Skyway — gone.
    6. Mine Train — gone
    6. Jungle Cruise — safety nets; safety railings everywhere else.
    I could go on and on. Enjoy your visit to Coney Island. Maybe you’ll even see a Marvel character there.
    As for me, I won’t be back…

    • jcruise86

      I think the Disneyland resort is currently in great shape, thought I’d like Tomorrowland improved and the employees treated MUCH better. It’s Disney World I’m more worried about.

    • Marko50

      Actually, it seems like you have gone on and on. Enjoy your visits on your 3-D screen and please let the rest of us enjoy.

  • jcruise86

    Outstanding update, Andy!

    THANK YOU!

    There were some excellent photos this week that you should save to a special folder in case Micechat puts out an internet “Fishbulb & Andy at Disneyland” ebook.

  • Tiny Mermaid

    Re: the premium seating for Glow with the Show ears: It seems to be the way going forward that guests able to shell out extra cash get a more magical experience. What a shame.

  • Tinkbelle

    Wow, whoever goes in January or February is going to feel like half the park is closed for refurbishment!

    Why did they paint the curb in front of Carthay? It doesn’t look right to me.

    Thank you for the nice update, Andy.

  • eicarr

    Thanks!! everything looks great. Toontown theater theming would seem to fit the area more for the mickey show, but I guess it works. The food nutrition signs help.. I would have thought the baked chicken with vegetables would be healthier than the pasta… go figure.

    The glow-with-the-show viewing area is a good idea since I see no value in buying/wearing them otherwise since the wearers can’t enjoy them themselves. And finally, the wear and tear on the tractor pull actually blends in nicely with the theme.

  • Tinkbelle

    Are people with glow with the show hats allowed to have other members of their party with them that don’t own ear hats? Or do they have to watch the show alone if they want a spot in the reserved area?

  • bayouguy

    Thus the Christmas/Holiday letdown begins.

  • Tom319

    Can’t wait to see “Mickey and the Magical Map”. It kind of sounds like Fantasmic!

  • Ukulele Guy

    I think the wear on Junkyard Jamboree actually serves the purposefully run down feel of the attraction. One of those unintentional things that enhances the theme.

    • diva98ri

      seems the are already refurbing it and it’s less then a year old. Tents went up this week on half the ride.

  • kat3010

    Great update. Thanks! Good questions too.

  • Hawaii Disney Fan

    Funny how people are annoyed about buying GWTS ears to get better seating, but won’t flinch to pay for a dinner package that costs more. At least with the ears you get multiple usage and multiple VIP seating, but with the dining it’s a one shot deal. Id rather get the ears.

  • SpectroMan

    Wow – I just realized what the “limited time” feature for Oct is going to be: an expanded Dia de los Muertos celebration at Big Thunder Ranch!

  • QPerth

    Terrific update, and Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for keeping us all in the loop, it’s truly appreciated. -Q

  • Awe_inspired

    “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. ”

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!