Disney California Adventure‘s new Cars Land area is getting some major work done as its version of Route 66 gets repaved less than a year after opening. The repaving work was needed after the incredibly popular area saw heavy foot traffic over the last year of operation. Meanwhile, Disneyland continues with some off-season refurbishment projects as it prepares to launch another busy summer season with the debut of its new “Mickey and the Magical Map” musical stage show in Fantasyland. The new show will begin Cast Member previews in just two weeks before its public debut Memorial Day Weekend. Meanwhile, folks elsewhere in Orange County got a taste of Disneyland with the special opportunity to get an up-close look at the Disneyland Railroad’s Ernest S. Marsh Locomotive #4 and the Kalamazoo Handcar over the weekend. The locomotive and handcar were featured as part of the 2013 Railroad Days in Fullerton, a great annual event hosted by the Southern California Railway Plaza Association.

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!

The Main Street Opera House has reopened after a brief refurbishment.

Not much has changed inside, but the facility looks great.

Tony Baxter’s Disneyland Ticket Book collection has been removed from its display case.

The exit lobby has been cleaned up as well. Looks good.

Market House Makeover

Work continues at the Main Street Market House as Starbucks moves in.

Not too much to report as some minor facade refurbishing continues while major work gets underway inside.

Some fresh paint

More new paint coming here soon

Kodak Fades Away

Meanwhile, Disney has finally started removing Kodak logos from the park. The Kodak sponsorship logo signage at the Main Street Photo Supply and the Kingswell Camera Shop in California Adventure has been removed.

The Kodak logo that was underneath the shop logo on the window is now gone

Inside, thematic elements still refer to Kodak. Will these be removed?

Kodak Picture Spot signage is still in place in both parks.

In California Adventure, the Kodak signage at the Kingswell Camera Shop has been removed.

Vintage ads on the walls still reference Kodak products

Refurbishment Round-Up

In Frontierland, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment continues with the removal of the big yellow crane from the Disneyland skyline.

Nearby, New Orleans Square’s railroad station is closed while some repaving work in front of it gets taken care of.

DOSH Downtime

Speaking of New Orleans Square Station, word spread recently that DOSH has now put new restrictions on the Disneyland Railroad Conductors. As per DOSH’s regulations, Cast cannot stand on objects over 30 inches from the ground without adequate fall protection, so this means the Disneyland steam trains can no longer take water from the water tower at the New Orleans Square Station because in order to do so, Cast Members would have to stand on the tender deck, which exceeds the 30-inch limit. Never mind that Cast Members have been doing just this for over 55 years!

Disneyland’s steam trains are now refilling in Tomorrowland using a water hose at Tomorrowland Station. These 30-inch fall safety restrictions are affecting the Disneyland Railroad in additional ways, as reported by Disneyland Railroad historian Steve DeGaetano at the Burnsland message boards.

DOSH has also deemed Tom Sawyer Island to be a safety hazard, and the Fantasmic! stage on the Island is now closed to guests for the time being.

But in Tomorrowland, Space Mountain has reopened after being closed for three weeks and costing Disney $234,850 in DOSH fines related to an incident in which a contract worker cleaning the mountain was injured.

The attraction reopened Friday night.

Monstrous Mix-Ins

One aspect of Disney’s Monstrous Summer All-Nighter event that Disney has been shy of mentioning in its press materials is that the Disneyland event co-incides with one of the summer’s popular Grad Nite events.

This is going to mean even bigger crowds as thousands of graduating high school seniors share the parks with regular Disneyland guests visiting for the 24 hour party. In recent years, Disney has given Grad Nite attendees mix-in tickets, allowing them to mix-in with regular park guests during the day at Disneyland before Grads are required to head over to California Adventure for their private, grad-only party later in the evening. With both parks open for 24-hours for regular guests May 24, Grads and Guests will effectively be competing for space and popular attractions at DCA throughout the night. To ensure that the Grad Nite attendees don’t feel totally ripped off, Disney will be making big portions of Disney California Adventure Grad-only zones; a plan they’ve quietly announced on the official Grad Nite Facebook page:

Seniors we have exciting news to share about Grad Nite taking place on May 24th.

Disneyland Resort will kick off its “Monstrous Summer” season with a special event that will keep Disneyland Park and portions of Disney California Adventure open for 24-hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. Rest assured that our May 24th Grad Nite will be even more special and we wanted to be sure you knew about the important changes and enhancements being made to ensure that your special celebration is unforgettable.

While some “Monstrous Summer” activities will take place in parts of Disney California Adventure during Grad Nite, your party will still be private. Much of Disney California Adventure becomes Grad Central, including Cars Land and Paradise Pier, where you can enjoy exclusive use of select portions of the park and experience our world-famous attractions including Radiator Springs Racers and Tower of Terror. Be prepared to be wowed too, because we‚Äôre adding even more entertainment that will only be offered for the May 24th Grad Nite.

Another exclusive benefit: with Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure both opening earlier on the 24th, your senior class can “park hop” as early as 6:00 a.m. and as late as 9:00 p.m. After that the party continues at Disney California Adventure until 3:00 a.m. at the Grad Nite Private Party.

It’ll be interesting to see how the already-busy Grad Nite event mixes with what is expected to be a huge two-park 24 hour party for the Monstrous Summer event. If you’re planning on attending, be sure to bring a lot of patience with you.

Setting the Stage

Over in Fantasyland, the new “Mickey and the Magical Map” musical stage show at the Fantasyland Theater is getting closer to opening, with Cast Member previews set for the days leading up to the public debut of the show Memorial Day weekend.

Sound, lighting and the stage’s new huge LED screen were being tested over the weekend. Gests in the area could, at times, hear bits of the show’s new theme song “Journey into Imagination” coming from behind construction walls (it sounds pretty good!)

Below, a behind-the-scenes video from Disney showing King Louie and crew rehearsing the “Jungle Book” portion of the show. Note King Louie’s articulated mouth.

The Troubador Tavern is expected to open with a new menu when the new show opens later this month. Cast Members attending previews will have the opportunity to try its new menu.

Signage is still up for the old menu. No word yet if the popular baked potatoes that were previously featured here will remain at the Harbour Galley in New Orleans Square or if they’ll quietly disappear in the coming weeks.

Welcome to California Adventure

In California Adventure, the Big Top Toys window on Buena Vista Street removed its terrible, poorly-Photoshopped carboard cutout of the plush circus “audience,” built up the bleachers another level and added more actual plush to the display. It’s a mess. This window is so tacky and cheap that Disney should really be embarrassed by it.

Yes, that’s really a Stitch plush with a bowling pin in Stitch’s mouth as the plush “juggles” more pins. It’s just… bad.

The “Storytellers” statue was temporarily behind shrubs last week for a quick refurbishment.

Repaving Radiator Springs

Over in Cars Land, the incredibly high volume of foot traffic that new area has received over the last year has necessitated an early repaving of Route 66.

Guests shouldn’t experience any impact while Cars Land gets repaved.

Limited Time Magic

[center]Glow with the “Magical” Show
at Disneyland Resort
Available Select Nights through May 19, 2013
[/center]

Disneyland’s current Limited Time Magic offering is special “Glow with the Show” performances of the park’s “Magical” fireworks show. Guests watching the show with their “Glow with the Show” ear hats can view the show from a special reserved viewing area.

Below is Disney’s information:

This May, come glow with a “Magical” new show at Disneyland Park‚Äîpurchase your very own light-up interactive ear hat and engage with shows and attractions across Disneyland Resort like never before, including “Magical,” Disneyland Park’s newest fireworks spectacular. But that’s not all‚Äîas part of Limited Time Magic, discover a “Magical” fireworks viewing area along Main Street, U.S.A., reserved just for you when you’re wearing your “Glow with the Show” ears. Space is limited and will be first come, first served on the following dates: May 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19, 2013.

Disneyland goes to Fullerton Railroad Days

Over the weekend the 2013 Railroad Days was held at the Fullerton Transportation Center, just a short 15-minute drive from Disneyland. The event, put together by the Southern California Railway Plaza Association and included Disneyland as one of its featured participants.

Disneyland fans attending the event were treated to the Ernest S. Marsh and Kalamazoo Handcar, both on display and open for inspection.

It was a rare opportunity for fans to get an up close look at these historic features of the Disneyland Railroad.

You could get in line to step into the locomotive’s cab and even pull the whistle! A really fun, unique opportunity.

Very cool!

The Kalamazoo Handcar was also on display and open as a photo-op.

It’s a rare treat to be able to get this close to the handcar, which is usually parked above the Floral Mickey at Main Street Station and inaccessible to guests.

The Carolwood Foundation had a booth with some great merchandise available and information on Walt Disney’s Barn that’s located at Griffith Park.

Some great historical Disney railroading items on display as well.

A model of Walt’s barn, which you can visit every third Sunday of the month in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.

The rest of the Railroad Days event included countless model trains on display. Fun stuff!

Fun Disney stuff incorporated into the model train displays

This and That

In California Adventure, the Condor Flats restroom refurbishment continues…

And in Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire area, Figaro the Cat is working again after some recent downtime.

Apparently, the animatronic was having issues, including his right eye not working properly. You can see where his eyelid is still damaged, but he’s at least working correctly once again.

New permanent ropes have been installed to block guest access to the stage tech’s spot for the Royal Theatre shows.


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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
May 6-12, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Mon.-Thurs.: 10am – 8pm
Friday: 9am – 12am
Saturday: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 8am – 11pm
Mon.-Thurs.: 10am – 9pm
Friday: 9am – 11pm
Saturday: 9am – 10pm
Sunday: 8am – 10pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [b]Goofy’s Playhouse:[/b] Closed May 6-8 for soft play material replacement.
  • [b]Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes:[/b] Closed May 8-9.
  • [b]Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:[/b] Closed for extensive refurbishment through October 30.
  • [b]Market House:[/b] Closed for conversion and expansion for new Starbucks location. Opens fall 2013.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Expected to close in 2013 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
  • [B]Fantasyland Theater presenting Mickey and the Magical Map:[/B] New stage show to debut May 2013.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
    None.
[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]
  • Grammy-winning group Lady Antebellum recently celebrated the release of their new album “Golden” with a special performance at Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe.
  • Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon recently renewed their wedding vows in a private, after-hours ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Are you still planning on attending the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter with Grad Nite mix-ins? Were you able to check out the Fullerton Railroad Days over the weekend? Let us know in the comments section below!

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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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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.
  • michael darling

    This is a superbly put-together report.

    What significance are the 3 items in the “Great Moments” lobby? (Carousel horse, bench and buggy?)

    Windows: yes, the Big Top window is a mess. I’ve been to rummage sales set up better. Odd how the windows on Main Street don’t get some type of indoor scrim plussing, to look like window displays.

    Enjoyed the Kalamazoo cart closeups! I grew up just down the road from there. Love seeing things up close, that are normally off limits.

    Great job. Especially on some of your staged photos….like the trolley conductor.

    • The significance is that those items belong to Tony Baxter, along with the ticket books which have been removed. Since Tony no longer works for the company, it’s interesting to see what he’s taking back. Good for him!

    • Westsider

      The three items (carousel horse, bench, and peanut vendor cart) are very significant, for without them there would be no Disneyland.

      In the 1950’s and 60’s, Walt often told the story of how he came up with the idea for Disneyland. You’ve probably heard that story; In the 1940’s, Sunday was “Daddies Day” and Walt would take his two girls to Griffith Park and sit on a bench eating peanuts while they rode the Carousel, and while sitting there alone he thought there ought to be a place where children and parents could have fun together. The rest is history.

      The three items were obtained by the Walt Disney Company from Griffith Park and are all original to the 1930’s-40’s period. The carousel horse is from their Carousel that his girls rode, the bench is an actual park bench used in the 40’s in the area around the Carousel, and the peanut vendors cart is one which Walt likely bought bags of peanuts from on his Sunday outings.

      This is all explained in the little exhibit just as you step inside the Opera House doors. And what a better way to tell the story of Disneyland than using these three original pieces of history. It could only happen in Disneyland, as it’s the only park that Walt ever built and planned and expanded and walked in himself. All the other parks are just corporate clones of Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom of Disneyland.

      • michael darling

        Thank you! I knew the story of Disneyland’s inspiration….but didn’t put two and two together. What a great display.

  • eicarr

    Knowing it takes 2-3 years to build attractions at DL, its dissapointing to see no non-referbishment construction. Hopefully they’re learning from guest interest in the non-Pixar non-Old animated movie live action Iron Man exhibit. Hoping for tron, marvel or Star Wars construction walls before any more of the countless Main Street and frontierland ones. Building attractions on movies that make billions would bring a major return on investment with LA crowds.

  • garyman

    Great Update as always

  • Curly Kyle

    Awesome update!
    Is there any 2013 graduation merchandise out? I’m heading there this weekend!
    🙂

  • Gregg Condon

    Did they change any of the pictures in the Opera House exit?

  • WheresMickey

    Nice update!

  • DobbysCloset

    If Stitch is in the middle of something, there’s bound to be trouble…

    Kodak…end of an era. RIP, film. Onward, digital…

  • Chernabog

    Saturday afternoon we were on the train and they refilled at the New Orleans station just fine. Unless DOSH did something that just happened yesterday.

    And whoever put together that window on Buena Vista Street needs to be put in another job NOT doing those windows. It looks like a 2 year old’s collection that mommy haphazardly picked up and threw on a shelf — complete with mutilated plush toys.

    • Good to hear that things must have changed with DOSH’s decision on this. Thanks for the correction/update!

      -Andy

  • Sue Kruse

    The Big Top Toys window display is “just bad.” Oh Andy, you were too kind! That window is a fail of epic proportions. It looks like someone regurgitated plush all over the place and then didn’t bother to tidy up. I shudder to think about how they disposed of the vintage toys and Steiff animals that made up the display when Buena Vista Street opened (most of which were worth $$$$$). That display lured me into the shop & I spent money. This display looks like an untidy child’s room. There’s not one single thing about it that beckons me to explore the shop and let loose of some of my money. Au contraire, it makes me feel that the store will be a mess & that I should not set foot inside, let alone buy something. Whoever did that display should be fired.

  • It is such a disappointment that those beautiful window displays on Buena Vista Street are being butchered by the Merchandise team. They clearly don’t have the ability to do their own windows and this needs to be turned back over to Imagineering. It’s almost shocking to see such a tacky display in a Disney Park.

  • melissafent

    When Big Top Toys opened I was really pleased to see the little circus pieces that had been on display in the Emporium Toy Store,they are charming and fit the theme perfectly. I imagine the tin toys were a problem because everybody wanted to buy them.The new window does look like a 3 year old arraigned it,they need to fix it.

  • villagecreator

    Has anyone noticed that the temporary restroom sign in Condor Flats says Ariels under water adventure? Is Ariel’s showbuilding sinking as well? Bring your snorkel!

  • Tinkbelle

    Nice update. I especially like your picture of the Hungry Bear. I’m not used to seeing it from that angle since we usually ride the Mark Twain up front.

  • JCSkipr79

    Wow. MKs Main Street now has better period window displays that DCA!! JUST WOW. Lasseter really needs to step in and stop the DCA Merch reign of terror

  • Bongo

    While everyone else is fidgeting about the other stuff, please please PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one that is now a bit huffy over the railroad not being able to water up at New Orleans Square anymore. I can’t really explain why in much detail, but NOT using the water tower at that station due to regulations is just really really REALLY aggravating my nerves. I know I shouldn’t be huffed up over something that small, yet I am…

    • Haven

      I agree Bongo. STOP the insanity. Someone in the CalOsha office has it in for Disney right now. My company (Wynn Resorts in LV) experienced a similar meltdown of common sense by building inspectors about 4 years ago, but we chocked it up to the sluggish economy and that they had to “find” anything wrong they could since there we so few new building projects happening to keep them busy. Not the case anymore. Hopefully the staff at CalOsha will change again soon and this will all be a memory.

    • Quentin

      Word is it’s back to using NOS station. At least was on saturday.

  • danyoung

    I’m not sure when or if procedures are changing, but I can tell you that as late as this past Friday, 5/3, the Disneyland trains were indeed still getting water from the New Orleans station. Even though the station was closed to people entering or exiting the train, we made an extended stop there to take on water.

    • Thank you for reporting this. DOSH must have changed their stance on the issue, which is good to hear. Thanks for the info!

      -Andy

  • Soulquarian

    1) DOSH sucks…

    2) The Monstrous Summer event sounds like a DISASTER. The One More Disney Day challenged my patience more than I thought possible, don’t know if I want to even bother with this one with Grad Nite mixed in!

  • RodeToad

    Wow – that Stitch with bowling pin in his mouth – wow.

    Exceptional photos, thanks!

  • QPerth

    Great update Andy, what a gorgeous train and what a chance to be able to see it so close

    • jcruise86

      Yes, thanks for the update, Andy!

  • jcruise86

    Having worked at Disneyland’s Grad Nights, I think this mixing in Disney fans of all ages with the teens might make improve the grad night. Teens tended to focus on the coasters, so they can focus on their thrills and have less competition (from an almost all teen scene guest list) over the same few rides.

    Actually as I get older the idea of staying up all night seems like a mild torture. Disney should exploit this brain-bending all-nighter with extra aggressive Disney Vacation Club seminars.

  • Great update Andy. Nice angle of the Hungry Bear. I was a bit confused that there was no wake on the water.

  • DisneyDrums

    TRAINS! HOW I LOVE TRAINS!

  • darkamor

    These pictures are beautiful (even if they also reveal the faults that Team Disney Anaheim us committing) …

    Exhibit Hall on Main Street looks fantastic (& I look forward to something spectacular for Disneyland’s 60th). Should it really be taking this long to change the Main Street Market House into a Starbucks? (I know its an old building, but where there some “building code” issues that necessitated such a l-o-n-g time being spent leaving Main Street USA a construction zone?). I hope there will be new paint, because things are starting to look Six Flags shabby …

    I am really sad to see KODAK leave Disneyland (from sponsoring the maps, to an actual Shop on Main Street USA). Times have changed as we no longer rely on printed images when our smart phones and tablets allow for instantly sharing directly from the Theme Park (I hope these Historic parts of Disneyland are saved for exhibition in the future). Refurbishments, CAL-OSHA shut downs, zero improvements to Tomorrowland – the main reasons I am not going to Disneyland until 2015 (60th Anniversary) when I hope things are finally dealt with properly ….

    I wonder if the New Orleans Square’s railroad station closure for repaving also involves dealing with the Water Tank issue that CAL-OSHA has? Cast no longer being allowed to stand on objects over 30 inches from the ground without adequate fall protection CAN and WILL effect every single Theme Park (TDA knew this was an issue but they shouldn’t be sitting on their rears about it waiting to be shut down by CAL-OSHA). Tom Sawyer Island was originally deemed inadaquate for handicap access and this was dealt with over 5 years ago. I wonder if CAL-OSHA also had issues regarding safety hazards at that time? (if so? Again, why did TDA wait so long to handle this situation?) ….

    Thank gawd Space Mountain was re-opened (I can only imagine how l-o-n-g-e-r the lines must have been for the other Rides / Attractions in Tomorrowland (again, this was an issue dating back to November 2012 – why did TDA wait 5 months later to deal with it?). As much as I <3 the concept of an ALL NIGHTER @ DIsneyland / DCA, I think having it occur during GRAD NIGHTS is ridiculous (more then just the extra crowds, look what Cast Members are going to have to endure! Grad-only zones within DCA is going to piss off Park Guests who schilled out extra money for their 24 hour experience – can you say one more reason why I don't like "up-charging" park guests? I guess the suit n' ties in Burbank don't care about the testing of patience for park guest and cast members) …

    Repaving Radiator Springs – too soon? Well with projected park guests estimates more then double what TDA assumed they would be? I shouldn't be surprised that Radiator Springs needs plenty of TLC! But Radiator Springs isn't the only section that needs TCL – most of the Anaheim Resort needs continuous maintenance on some level. Glow with the “Magical” Show – yawn – cheap mouse ear hats that break easily. Thank you for covering Fullerton's Railroad Days (and thank you TDA for participating). This is a wonderful family friendly event. Fantasy Faire, its nothing more but another toddler zone where Disney can schill out cheaply made overpriced merchandise that parental units will be forced to buy their toddlers (as if Pixie Hollow wasn't enough?) …