Disneyland kicked off its big Monstrous Summer with a big line-up of events over the long Memorial Day Weekend including a 24-hour party, a Greek festival and the debut of a major new stage musical. The huge summer season is now officially underway and we’re here to fill you in on the weekend’s events, including a review of Disneyland’s new Mickey and the Magical Map musical.

Before we get started, big thanks to MiceChat’s Norm Gidney, Jeff Heimbuch and Hastin Zylstra for their help with photos this week.

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.

There’s a lot to get to on this Memorial Day holiday, so let’s get started!


Welcome to Disneyland!

Memorial Day Weekend brought Disneyland’s traditional patriotic lamppost decorations and bunting to Main Street, USA. The patriotic decorations will stay up through Labor Day at the end of the summer season.

Scaring up a Monstrous Summer

Disneyland hosted the big launch to its “Monstrous Summer” promotional campaign over the long holiday weekend with a 24-hour party in both theme parks, a special Greek festival and the debut of the new “Mickey and the Magical Map” musical stage show in Fantasyland.

[center]Monstrous Summer All-Nighter
Friday, May 24 | 6 a.m. – 6 a.m.
at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure
[/center]
The big launch party for this summer was the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter, which took place in both Anaheim theme parks as well as at the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Crowds lined up overnight for the 24-hour event.

The Disney Parks Blog live-blogged from the 24-hour event with photos and video from both coasts

A burst of fireworks kicked off the 24-hour party Friday morning.

Guests could commemorate the All-Nighter with a special photo op in Town Square and Carthay Circle

The Disneyland Band welcomed guests to Disneyland

News Boys handed out Buena Vista Bugles to guests entering Disney California Adventure.

Grad Nite resulted in closures in California Adventure.

The new Monsters University photo op opened in Hollywood Land to big lines

Special All-Nighter merchandise

Guests could screen the original Monsters Inc. film in the Muppet Theatre at different times throughout the night

Lots of special food offerings in both parks.

Plaza Inn:

Award Wieners:

Pacific Wharf Cafe:

Special treats available at Trolley Treats and Candy Palace

Grad Niters could get special decorated apples as well

A look at wait times in both parks around noon:

Monster-color balloons

By night, Disneyland came alive with special Monstrous All-Nighter special entertainment including swing dancing, a pajama party in Toon Town, and Disney characters in Star Wars costumes

The Castle came alive with a special Monsters colors and Mike and Sulley voiceover.

By 6 a.m., the party was over and Cast Members and Disney characters were waving guests good-bye

[center]Opa! A Celebration of Greece
May 25, 26 and 27
at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure
[/center]
Both parks held a special Greek festival over the weekend resulting in a miniature food and wine festival and some great live entertainment, character meet-and-greets and guest activities.

You can still catch Opa! A Celebration of Greece today, Monday, May 27.

Citizens of Greece interacted and educated guests

Mickey posed for photos in his traditional fustanella attire

And guests could get their photo with Hercules and participate in some games

In California Adventure, Opa! took over the Paradise Garden dining area

Special food and wine seminars brought a Food and Wine Festival-style aspect to the festivities.

Live entertainment in Paradise Garden

[center]Mickey and the Magical Map
at Disneyland Park[/center]
Disneyland’s new “Mickey and the Magical Map” musical stage show debuted this weekend and is a pleasant return to stage productions to the Fantasyland Theatre.

“Mickey and the Magical Map” continues Disney’s recent trend of combining multiple characters and film properties into a single show. Unlike “World of Color” at California Adventure, the show does so with a storyline and largely benefits from it, even if the story is simple or predictable. The 22-minute show revolves around Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and his journey to become one of Yensid’s Map Makers. Perhaps the most delightful aspect of the show is having a Mickey with some character. He’s mischievous again and breaks the rules, which is a nice departure from how Disney has handled his character in recent years. The huge LED screen which fills the role of the titular “Magical Map” is surprisingly effective as the stand-in for a traditional theatre set. Mickey and other characters interact with the map in unexpected ways, rising and lowering from the map itself. The map isn’t perfect, though, and is sometimes relied on too heavily to carry the show. Mickey as a physical being disappears for some time and a pre-recorded Mickey becomes “part of the map” for a big portion of the show. I didn’t find it terribly distracting, but I also didn’t think it was necessarily the best creative decision, either. The CGI-animated Yensid isn’t great and sometimes looks second-rate on top of the mostly-lovely watercolor-esque animated map graphics. The musical numbers pull from films including The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Lilo and Stitch and The Princess and the Frog with a special medley from Pocahontas, Rapunzel and Mulan. The Jungle Book number with King Louie is delightful, with the inclusion of a fully articulated King Louie character, and the Princess and the Frog finale number is especially great, with a fantastic riverboat set piece that emerges from the map. The Lilo and Stitch segment is nice, but without a character from the film on stage, feels awkward and incomplete. The Little Mermaid number is about what you’d expect. Ariel is absent and while the Sebastien puppet is a nice touch, the inclusion of the segment feels forced, as if The Little Mermaid is a mandated must-have in any new Disney parade or show. Unfortunately, the Mermaid is getting tired and maybe it’s time Disney stops forcing us on unwanted trips under the sea. Still, the show is solid fun that successfully combines technical wizardry with Disney storytelling, offering a high-quality show that (for the most part) zips along with an engaging freshness. Is it worth making a special trip to see? Probably not. Should you see it if you’re already planning on visiting? If you’re a fan of stage shows, then it’s worth a watch.

MiceChat’s In the Parks blog also has its own review and additional photos of the new show.

Mickey and the Magical Map
at the Fantasyland Theater
Prepare yourself for a magical adventure into the heart of imagination as you join Mickey Mouse on a thrilling, live musical show! With a magical map as your guide, you and Mickey will find yourselves in the middle of fantastic worlds of excitement, color, beloved characters and some favorite songs.Daily Showtimes:
11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:25 p.m., 5:40 p.m.

A clip from Disney on the production of the show:

Weird bubble people during “Under the Sea”

Refurbishment Round-Up

On Main Street, the Market House expansion and Starbucks installation project continues without much progress on the outside…

In New Orleans Square, the repaving project at the Railroad Station has wrapped up

Nearby, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment continues as well

 

Fail Safety

Sharp-eyed guests may have spotted safety rails and roped-off areas on Disneyland rooftops recently after Disneyland’s recent run-ins with DOSH. While the visible railings are temporary, we hope the issues are addressed soon so sightlines don’t suffer for too long.

At Frontierland’s Golden Horseshoe:

Atop Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland

New Orleans Square:

Rooftop railings in Toon Town

Tarps on the Innoventions rooftop

Welcome to California Adventure

Patriotic bunting and banners are also now up along Buena Vista Street for the summer season.

Sunshine Circle

The new terrace awnings at the Carthay Circle Restaurant are coming along nicely, with the side closest to Grizzly Peak finished and ready to go.

They aren’t ideal and it’s too bad no decorative wrought-iron touches could have been incorporated to match the rest of the building, but the shade should help with guest comfort and restaurant capacity.

Work continued on the Buena Vista Street-side terrace over the weekend.

Don’t miss the new MiceChat Podcast!

If you didn’t catch this week’s brand new MiceChat podcast, we bring you our guide to the best new attractions of summer 2013. Take a listen below!

Limited Time Magic

[center]Mickey and the Magical Map: Show & Presentation
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disney California Adventure
May 28, June 4 and June 11, 2013
[/center]
Annual Passholders can attend a special showing of the new “Mickey and the Magical Map” show and a behind-the-scenes presentation on the creation of the show. Event details below:

Celebrate the opening of the new magical, musical show, Mickey and the Magical Map. Annual Passholders are invited to attend special, Passholder performances of this thrilling production. After the performance there will be a special behind-the-magic presentation by some of the creative team responsible for the production.

Mickey and the Magical Map: Show & Presentation

Dates
May 28, June 4 & 11, 2013

Show & Presentation Location
Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland Park

Show Time
5:40 p.m.

Event Information

    • All participating Annual Passholders (ages 3 and older) must present their active Annual Passport for event admission to the event Cast Member at the Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland Park, who will validate and scan the Passport and check event availability. Photo ID may be required.
    • Each participating Annual Passholder may bring up to three (3) guests, and such guests need not be Passholders themselves. Children under 3 years of age may attend the event as a guest of an active Passholder.
    • All members of your party must enter the theater together.


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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
May 27 – June 2, 2013
>
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8am – 11pm
Tue.-Sat.: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 8am – 12am
Monday: 8am – 10pm
Tue.-Sat.: 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]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][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]
  • From the LA Times: Man arrested after posing as Disney family member and giving away stolen Disneyland tickets
  • Imagineer Tony Baxter looks back at Disneyland’s “New Fantasyland” as it celebrates 30 years.
OK, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland! Did you visit during Disneyland’s Monstrous All-Nighter? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!Happy Memorial Day to all of you in the United States!Thanks again to our guest photographers who helped with this week’s update!

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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.