Disneyland kicked off its annual Mardi Gras celebration over the weekend with the return of the New Orleans Bayou Bash! celebration. The Mardi Gras-themed live entertainment and food offerings in New Orleans Square return on weekends through mid-February this year as part of the 2013 “Limited Time Magic” promotion. Meanwhile, the Disneyland Resort hosted over 14,000 runners that turned out this weekend for the third annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon. The race, geared toward women, drew big crowds to the theme parks as well, boosting the holiday weekend crowds as Disneyland continues various refurbishment and construction projects in both parks.

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.

Welcome to Disneyland!

Disneyland’s Main Street Station continues its refurbishment project.

Below, our friends from Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast.

Perfect weather and moderate crowd levels at Disneyland this week. It doesn’t get much better. TouringPlans.com can 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. 22 [center]4 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Saturday is a 8 out of 10.
  • There are no Annual Pass blackouts in effect this Monday through Friday.
  • Saturday is the best day to visit Disney California Adventure.
  • Fastpass tickets for Radiator Springs Racers usually “sell out” within the first hour of DCA’s regular park hours.
Wed., Jan. 23 5 /10
Thu., Jan. 24 4 /10
Fri., Jan. 25 5 /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.

You can spot the crane for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment from parts of Main Street

No more snow on Sleeping Beauty Castle

Construction Kingdom

Construction continues at the end of Main Street on the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area, set to open this spring.

Lots of new detail continues to emerge from this area, which promises to be a very aesthetically-pleasing addition to the park.

More new trees going in

The Castle wall extension and new turrets are getting paint…

Back in Fantasyland, work continues on getting the Fantasyland Theater facility ready to host the new “Mickey and the Magical Map” stage show opening this summer.

Nearby, “it’s a small world” holiday’s last day is today before it closes to remove its holiday overlay.

Over in Frontierland, the Fantasmic!, Mark Twain Riverboat and Big Thunder Mounntain Railroad refurbishment projects continue.

A view of the Fantasmic! work aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia.

The Mark Twain’s refurbishment:

With Fantasmic! and the Mark Twain both not offered right now, the Columbia is a great option to enjoy the Rivers of America — and a rare treat, is offering night cruises while Fantasmic! is dark.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s 10-month refurbishment continues to get underway this week. Big Thunder Trail has reopened for guest traffic.

Themed lighting fixtures on construction walls

Over at Big Thunder Ranch, the ranch gate that had been cut down last year has finally been replaced.

The old gate was made from real logs, but the new one is fake. Not a big deal, but a small bummer to see more real wood and texture removed from Frontierland.

Limited Time Magic:
New Orleans Bayou Bash!
and A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue

Disneyland kicked off its annual New Orleans Bayou Bash! celebration this weekend. While the Mardi Gras-themed Bayou Bash offering isn’t new to the park, it is being promoted as being part of Disney’s 2013 “Limited Time Magic” promotion. Still, even if Bayou Bash! would have returned with or without “Limited Time Magic,” it’s nice to have this sort high quality offering instead of the recent sad “Winter Wonderland” offering at Walt Disney World.

New Orleans Bayou Bash!
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
January 18-21, January 25-27, February 1-3, February 8-12

Entertainment includes Princess Tiana’s Mardi Gras Celebration, a short show featuring characters and music from “The Princess and the Frog.”

The show begins with a procession through New Orleans Square…

…until Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the Alligator and dancers reach the stage on the edge of the Rivers of America and put on a great little show

Also featured is the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band with Goofy in his Mardi Gras attire.

Below, a video clip of some of the New Orleans Bayou Bash! entertainment:

Restaurants throughout New Orleans Square are offering a variety of special menu items. Royal Street Veranda:

Blue Bayou:

Cafe Orleans:

The French Market:

Shrimp Corn Fritters meal:

French Market specialty desserts for Bayou Bash include bananas fosters cheesecake and specialty cupcakes.

The Harbour Galley:

Lobster Roll:

Shrimp cocktail:

The New Orleans Square churro cart is also offering churros with chocolate dipping sauce

Mickey and Minnie meet guests in their Mardi Gras king and queen costumes

Carts in Magnolia Park near the Haunted Mansion sell Mardi Gras beads, masks and other items as well as offer face painting.

In Frontierland, A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue continues its limited engagement.

A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue
Thursday through Monday, now through February 4
11:30 am, 12:45 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 5:15 pm

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

Coming up next for Limited Time Magic, Disneyland’s Lunar New Year celebration will return and move to Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure. The celebration will feature colorful performances from dancers, musicians, and martial artists as well as appearances from Mulan, Mushu, Mickey and Minnie.

Happy Lunar New Year Celebration
at Disney California Adventure
10 am — 5 pm, February 8 — 11

Racing Through

Over 21,000 runners turned out for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend of events and 14,000 of them participated in Sunday’s Half Marathon.

The Half Marathon title went to Angela Escay, who crossed the finish line with a time of 1:24:10.

The Half Marathon weekend also featured a large health and fitness expo at the Disneyland Hotel with event merchandise and vendor and sponsor booths.

Plenty of event merchandise was available for purchase

runDisney medals on display

Official runDisney training consultant and former Olympian Jeff Galloway was on hand to talk with runners and fans

New Balance had a booth where their special Limited Edition runDisney shoes were available for purchase

The shoes were popular, with the mens style selling out by Saturday afternoon.

Welcome to California Adventure

Over in California Adventure, Buena Vista Street’s Glendale-Hyperion Bridge got a quick new paint job last week.

The change, neither good or bad, is rather inexplicable. It adds a bit of color to Buena Vista Street, but isn’t exactly accurate; the bridge is based off the real Glendale-Hyperion Bridge in Los Angeles which never featured a color scheme like this.

From afar, the new paint looks like it may be meant to simulate brick but up close is just a mottled reddish-brown color

Over in Cars Land, the temporary poles that were installed for holiday decorations down Route 66 have been removed.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is now operating a half-capacity while one half of the attraction is closed to get its floor redone.

Across the street, the bead curtain has returned to Fillmore’s

Blue Sky Cellar goes to Fantasyland

Across from the entrance to Cars Land, the Blue Sky Cellar reopened Saturday with a new exhibit previewing the upcoming Fantasy Faire project at Disneyland.

For a full tour of the exhibit, click here.

This & That

Over in Grizzly Peak, Grizzly River Run continues its refurbishment.

Back in Disneyland, the Wreck-It Ralph meet-and-greet has been removed and all of the Starcade’s arcade games have been removed as well. The back portion of the arcade is now behind construction walls.

Haunted Mansion has reopened following the removal of its holiday overlay

In Downtown Disney, the ice skating rink is now gone

and the Fossil store is now closed for remodel.


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 HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat

MiceChat.com and Annual Passholder Discounts
Available Every Day!

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
January 21 — 27, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]Disney California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 11 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 10 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Monday 8 am – 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday 10 am – 8 pm
Friday-Saturday: 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 9 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]MEDIUM—HIGH[/B]
[B]3.0—8.4[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]LOW—HIGH[/B]
[B]2.9—8.3[/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]Fantasmic!:[/b] Dark through February 14 for refurbishment.
  • [b]Mark Twain Riverboat:[/b] Closed through March 28.
  • [b]Disneyland Railroad — Main Street Station:[/b] Closed through March 28.
  • [b]Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:[/b] Closed for extensive refurbishment through October 30.
  • [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 through February 17 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Grizzly River Run:[/B] Closed 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]
  • A “surrealist, genre-defying” black and white movie filmed without permission in Disney theme parks took the Sundance Film Festival by storm.
  • Guillermo del Toro says his upcoming Haunted Mansion movie “is very much alive and in process.”
  • Audio Animatronics wizard Roger Broggie Jr., known for work on “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” The Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean, has died at age 73.
  • An undercover cop accidentally struck a Disneyland Cast Member with his car early last week, causing minor injuries.
OK, that’s it for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thank you for reading! Did you check out New Orleans Bayou Bash! this weekend or run in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon? Let us know in the comments section below.

Did you miss our 2012 Year in Review over the holiday break? Check it out (in two parts!) below:
[center]
[/center]

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]

Support Dateline Disneyland

Support Our Sponsors

[center]Follow Dateline Disneyland!
| | | | [/center]

FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less. and the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.
  • Trumpet

    Great Update Andy

    I don’t like the paint scheme on the Buena Vista Street Bridge. It does not fit the area. Poor show Disney. It needs to be changed back.

    Thanks Again Andy

    Trumpet

  • MiceChat Staff

    EXCELLENT update Andy Thank you!

  • Wonderful, Now I’m clicking over to read the Bonus Dateline Disneyland on the Blue Sky Cellar! Thank you Andy!

  • Internitty

    I agree the colour on the Buena Vista Street Bridge isn’t as good as it was but could it be they are hoping it will fade to the colour they want in time? Or something I really hope isn’t right but is the first thing that came to my mind is a message from Meg…

    Love the detailed look at the Fantasy Faire on your other page Andy, is it just me or does there seem to be a little too much empty space in the area it loses the village feel with the vast emptiness around the tent and fountain, I know it’s difficult with the crowds that will fill the space or it could just be how the model looks. The ober the fence photos of the area look beautiful.

    Shame about the gate in Frontierland, it does look great but yes real wood would have been much better.

    Is there any clue as to what might be happening in the Starcade? I hope it’s something worthwhile.

    A nighttime cruise on Rivers of America would be so much fun, it’s a pity I can’t make it there to enjoy the opportunity, I hope as many people as possible take advanatage of the chance to enjoy such a rare opportunity.

    I just wanted to say thank you also for including images of food and merchandise in your updates, I always love seeing stuff like that.

  • disneyohno

    For crying out loud its just a bridge!!!

  • QuiGonJ

    I hope they haven’t given up on the Arcade part of Starcade. We don’t need more retail space in Disneyland. Honest.

  • tcsnwhite

    I think the bridge looks much better. It has some character, and contrast now.
    Disney environments are meant to be fantasy, “inspired-by” recreations of certain times and eras, including paint schemes and even the architecture. Look at DL and every other park. They’re not perfect, natural recreations…and they’re not meant to be. They’re meant to evoke a time…and feelings. Creative license has always been taken in whatever WDI has created. Did real turn of the century Main Streets look like Main Street USA? No. Did a 1920-30s Los Angeles look as beautiful and quaint as Buena Vista Street? No. Were all these various Disney environments as quaint, clean, pretty, and colorful in real life? Hell no. So Disney playing around with arch./color schemes is nothing new…it’s what they do.

  • DisneyDrums

    I’m kinda sad to see Wreck-It Ralph have to go. I enjoyed playing his game.

  • eicarr

    In 1987, Tomorrowland had no equal in the park. Now, photos like the boarded up Starcade just turn my stomach. I feel embarrassed for Disneyland at the ghetto this land has turned into. Abandoned ride tracks, revolving product showrooms and “historic” 3D movies bring down the image of the entire park. This shame needs to be priority #1.

    The newly painted DCA bridge does look nicer than the actual bland bridge and the old Golden Gate travesty. As with the entire Buena Vista Street, I applaud anything that enhances guest experience, even at the expense of historical accuracy.

  • dlfreak

    Looks great! Really wish we could have gotten one last look at Small World Holiday before it closed.

    Also, the beads at Fillmore’s look like they are crooked… that or they were flapping in the wind having been agitated by someone or something.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Great update!

    The bridge looks strange to me. It is not period at all to Los Angeles. It also makes the bridge a focal point to the street. It reminds me of London bridge. The street is supposed to take you to the period of the twenties to forties of Los Angeles. The texture feel just is not accurate to that time period.

  • HeeHee

    Excellent update! Photos were stellar! So informative-so much so I don’t need a trip to the park this week! Thank you for all your hard work, it is truly appreciated. 🙂

  • niklj

    Churros are HOW MUCH?!

    Also, I hope the arcade games are out for…refurbishment.

  • Tinkbelle

    The bridge looked better before. Change it back!

  • WorldLover71

    If it’s cost-effective to produce lots of unique merchandise for a one-time event like a marathon, why must every store sell the same 10 items? Why not lots of unique things in each store like “the good old days?” Also, why must all 6 US parks have the same bags/plates/ napkins, etc? With the volume they go through, they can’t possible be saving that much. I know stores and restaurants that do MUCH less volume that have unique disposables. A complaint as old as time I guess.

  • Awe_inspired

    Great job! Thanks Andy.