Disneyland enters its final stretch of its spring off-season before the big summer season, which will launch over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. The Memorial Day kick off to summer will also include the debut of the new “Mickey and the Magical Map” which will mark the return of large-scale musical stage productions to the Fantasyland Theater. In Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad‘s major overhaul will continue through summer into the fall, but the project is showing some notable signs of progress with the Rainbow Ridge facades starting to really take shape. In Disney California Adventure, Cars Land‘s repaving project has wrapped up with Route 66 getting a new fresh layer of slurry just in time for the busy summer months. Meanwhile, Disneyland’s series of popular Grad Nite events kicked off over the weekend and will run through late June, bringing hoards high school mix-ins to the parks during the early part of the summer season.

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!

Just a couple more weeks of manageable crowds before the big “Monstrous Summer All-Nighter” kicks off the traditional summer season Memorial Day weekend.

The first of Disneyland’s annual Grad Nite events was held Thursday, May 9. The event has recently changed, giving participating high school seniors 1-Day Park Hopper tickets good for the entire day of their event. After having the parks available to them all day, Disney California Adventure for the first time ever becomes the exclusive headquarters for Grad Nite. The after-hours party in California Adventure runs from park closing until 3 a.m.

The Grad Nite events won’t do much to impact regular guests like they did in previous years when Disneyland used to close early for the private party. Instead, the parks may just seem a bit busier during the day with many schools taking advantage of the new 1-Day Park Hopper tickets that can be used all day before the after-hours party in California Adventure. Grads will be able to enjoy three different dance parties, a private World of Color showing, and select attractions during their after-hours party.

Grad Nites will run on select nights through June 21.

Market House Makeover

Main Street’s Market House will remain closed through the summer while it is transformed and expanded for Disneyland’s new Starbucks location. The Market House name and turn-of-the-century general store theme will remain intact.

The facade refresh at the Market House and former Disneyana shop is coming along and the results look very nice.

Refurbishment Round-Up

Meanwhile, other Disneyland refurbishments continue… In Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s major 10-month project is making progress with new details emerging on the new Rainbow Ridge facades.

The stage on Tom Sawyer Island is still closed to guest access as part of the recent DOSH-related series of attraction closures around the park.

Tom and Huck’s Treehouse has also been closed due to DOSH and is now behind tarps. Hopefully this won’t be closed off to guests forever.

Nearby, the New Orleans Square Railroad Station remains closed for refurbishment.

Setting the Stage

In Fantasyland, the new “Mickey and the Magical Map” has just about a week before it begins Cast Member previews, followed by its big public debut over Memorial Day Weekend.

A Cast Member is now positioned near the construction walls in case guests wonder what the light or sound testing is all about.

Welcome to California Adventure

Over in California Adventure, the park continues to enjoy big crowds even in the remaining couple weeks of spring off-season.

We let you know that the curbing along the front of the Carthay Circle Restaurant was painted white a few weeks back, but now it is sporting curb markings for valet drop-off and taxis.

More and more I’ve been noticing the side door to the Carthay Circle Restaurant has been open, perhaps to help lure guests in? The check-in desk is right inside to the left.

Graduation-themed Duffys are available for the grads in your life. Duffy is what every graduate wants, right?

Repaving Radiator Springs

In Cars Land, the repaving of Route 66 has wrapped up and the street markings have been repainted.

The fountain at the Cozy Cone Motel is drained while it gets some work done.

Limited Time Magic

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

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‚Äö√Ñ√Æpurchase 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‚Äö√Ñ√Æas 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.

[center]Annual Passholder Animation Academy
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disney California Adventure
Friday, May 17, 2013

Annual Passholders can enjoy a special “Animation Academy” event this week with Disney animator Eric Goldberg where he’ll share stories on being an animator and teach attendees how to draw a character.

    Annual Passholder Animation Academy
    Sharpen your pencils and get ready for a very animated experience. Annual Passholders are invited to hear behind-the-scenes stories from iconic Disney Animator Eric Goldberg, the Supervising Animator of great characters such as Genie, Phil, Louis and Rabbit. Plus, Eric will teach Passholders how to draw some classic Disney Characters!


    • May 17, 2013
      Event Location

    • Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure Park.
      Event Times

    • 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. – Each event presentation will last approximately 45 minutes.
      Event Details

    • Passholders may register inside the Disney Animation building in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure Park upon Park opening (currently scheduled for 9:00 a.m.).
    • All participating Guests (ages 3 and older) must be valid Annual Passholders on the day of the event.
    • Children under 3 years of age may attend the event as long as space is available and they receive an event wristband during the registration process.
    • Registration must be completed in person at the Disney Animation building on the day of the event only; no phone reservations or other registration will be accepted.
    • It is recommended that all members of your party register together to help ensure that everyone receives an event wristband.
    • All participating Annual Passholders must present their valid Annual Passport to the event Cast Member, who will check event availability. Photo ID may be required.
This and That

Over at the Grand Californian Hotel, the custom-designed carpet for the main lobby was replaced overnight last week. It had been missing for a few months now, with temporary brown carpet in its place. Nice to see the great custom carpet back.

You can see where the carpet meets the tile work seamlessly.

Back in California Adventure, the restrooms in Condor Flats have reopened after a brief refurbishment.

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MiceChat.com and Annual Passholder Discounts
Available Every Day!

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
May 13-19, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Mon.-Thurs.: 10am – 9pm
Friday: 9am – 12am
Saturday: 9am – 12midnight
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]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [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]
[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]
  • DOSH reduced fines and citations against Disneyland over safety violations that recently shut down Space Mountain and several other attractions.
  • Theme parks and ESPN helped push Disney to post record profits in its fiscal second quarter, with its Parks and Resorts division profit skyrocketing 73%.
  • Disneyland’s upcoming Opa! A Celebration of Greece event will feature a variety of authentic snacks and flavors for park guests
  • Universal Orlando recently announced details for its upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion, themed after the Diagon Alley location from the books and films. Opening in 2014, the expansion will continue to grow Univsersal’s immensely popular Harry Potter-themed offerings in Florida.
OK – that should do it for this week’s Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and please be sure to join in the discussion in the comments section below!

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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.