Disneyland celebrated America’s Independence all last week with special fireworks shows, desserts and character meet-and-greets. The Independence Week offerings were part of Disney’s continuing Limited Time Magic promotion, which expanded the traditional four-day run of Disneyland’s Fourth of July fireworks show to a full week. Around the parks, Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad continues its major refurbishment project with details continuing to emerge along the newly rebuilt mining town of Rainbow Ridge. At Disney California Adventure, a new grab-and-go menu is being tested at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe which has currently replaced the regular menu of hot sandwiches and soups.

Get a closer look at today’s update!
Click on any photo in the blog for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

Let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

A look at wait times around noon on Saturday

Celebrating the Stars & Stripes

Disneyland celebrated the Fourth of July with a week of special fireworks shows, specialty treats, and a photo-op with Mickey Mouse in Town Square.

The photo-op with patriotic Mickey was in Town Square, next to to the Disney Showcase.

Mickey appeared in the evenings, starting at 7 p.m.

The Candy Palace, Jolly Holiday Bakery and Plaza Inn had some special treats available for Fourth of July.

Plaza Inn’s “apple crostata” was the special offering for the week, however, I’m pretty sure this dessert is a standard offering at the restaurant.

In the evenings, Disneyland featured its special “Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” fireworks show. The show was offered in a trimmed 10-minute format every night throughout the week, except for July 4th, when the full show was presented. In any case, it’s a good show that crowds seem to enjoy, especially at this time of the year.

MiceChat’s In the Parks blog has a video of the full 14-minute show:

Refurbishment Round-Up

On Main Street, Starbucks construction in the Market House continues…

In Frontierland, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment project continues, with new rumors suggesting the extensive overhaul may be seeing delays.

The newly rebuilt Rainbow Ridge facades are looking pretty nice, though

Every week I take a ride on the Mark Twain Riverboat to get photos of Big Thunder Mountain progress. Every week, this trip around the Rivers of America is one of the highlights of my visit. If you haven’t taken a trip around the Rivers of America aboard the Mark Twain recently, you really should make a point to do so the next time you visit. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the park and is a really fantastic classic Disneyland experience.

Limited Time Magic

[center]Disneyland Park – A Salute to 58 Years of Magic
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland Park
July 2, 9 and 16, 2013
Disneyland will celebrate its 58th anniversary over the course of three weeks, starting tomorrow, with special presentations by Disney artist Stacia Martin. The events are Annual Passholder-exclusive and each week the presentations will focus on a different part of Disneyland. Each presentation will be offered twice. Details are below:

Celebrate 58 years of the “Happiest Place on Earth” with 3 special presentations highlighting the original lands of Disneyland Park. Passholders are invited to join Disney artist Stacia Martin for this series that features videos and slides of historic photographs spanning over 5 decades of Disneyland Park.

    Anniversary Tributes to the Original Lands

    Schedule of Presentations
    Week 1 – July 2, 2013: Adventureland & Frontierland
    Week 2 – July 9, 2013: Fantasyland & Tomorrowland
    Week 3 – July 16, 2013: Main Street, U.S.A. & Disneyland in 1955

    Presentation Location
    Main Street Opera House in Disneyland

    Presentation Times
    5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

    Event Registration and Wristband Distribution

      • Passholders may begin registration at 12:00 noon at the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House (home to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln) in Disneyland Park.
      • All participating Guests (ages 3 and older) must be valid Annual Passholders on the day of the event. Guests under the age of 3 do not need an Annual Pass, but will need a wristband to attend.
      • Registration must be completed in person at the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House 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 a wristband.
      • All participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passport to the event Cast Member, who will check event availability. Photo ID may be required.

      More information

The first presentation of this series took place last week and did not disappoint. Stacia Martin offered a really great look at the early days of Disneyland, weaving in information on the Disney studio artists and Imagineers that helped form the park in its early days. Also featured was some great, rare audio including the official theme songs for Adventureland, Frontierland and Disneyland. Below are some photos of some of the slides Stacia featured in her presentation.

Lots of old record sleeve art work was featured due to Stacia’s love of old Disneyland LPs.

Firehouse Five plus Two

Stacia shared some great information on Imagineer Harper Goff who was responsible for a lot of early Disneyland work including the Jungle Cruise. Goff has his own window in Adventureland.

Stacia shared footage of the first time Fess Parker appeared on TV as Davy Crockett.

The Rainbow Caverns’ soundtrack was the first time the theremin was used in a Disney project.

The next presentation in this series takes place tomorrow evening and will focus on Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. If you can make it to the park, don’t miss it!

[center]Enjoy the Magic of Matterhorn Mountain
at Disneyland Park
July 8-14, 2013
Disneyland’s Matterhorn Mountain climbers will be joined by Alpine musicians this week as part of Limited Time Magic. The musicians will perform while the Matterhorn climbers scale the icy peak during the mornings at Disneyland. You’ll also be able to get a Matterhorn Macaroon (regularly available at the Jolly Holiday Bakery) at the Edelweiss Snacks stand near the Matterhorn.

Alpine Musicians return to the Majestic Matterhorn
This July, take advantage of your chance to indulge in the return of a tasty treat near Matterhorn Mountain! Make your way to Edelweiss Snacks for a delicious Matterhorn Macaroon, available while supplies last as part of Limited Time Magic. Then, while you munch down on your scrumptious sweet, direct your attention toward the icy white slopes of the mountain to enjoy the delightful Alpine melodies of Happy Hans and his strapping son Erik as they celebrate the brave climb of mountaineers ascending the famous peak!

Welcome to California Adventure

A new edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is now available on Buena Vista Street newsstands

A look at wait times Saturday afternoon

Cars Land’s smaller rides continue to see short wait times even with big summer holiday crowds in the parks.

Radiator Springs Racers, however, continues to draw big wait times.

Over at the Cozy Cones, the fountain has been turned back on but it seemed like it was still having problems on Saturday. The jet of water wasn’t making it to the cones to turn the wheel.

Over in the Grizzly Peak area, the truck leftover from Grizzly River Run’s extreme sports theme has been removed.

Taste Test

Back on Buena Vista Street at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe… a new grab-and-go menu is being tested out. During the test, guests can choose from a selection of cold sandwiches and salads from coolers. The regular menu at Practical Cafe is not available during the test, so none of the hot sandwiches or soups are currently available.

The new grab-and-go selection consists of a roast beef sandwich, roasted turkey sandwich, an apple cheddar salad and a turkey apple cheddar salad. The four-item grab-and-go menu is smaller than the previous menu which offered three hot sandwiches and one cold sandwich along with two daily soups.

You grab your sandwich or salad from the cooler now and take it to the register with you.

Hopefully this grab-and-go only menu won’t stay. Practical Cafe offered some great items on their regular menu including the Turkey Reuben and Salami Royale – along with two soups that changed daily. It would be a shame to see the soups and hot sandwiches go for pre-made cold sandwiches that are sold for about the same price.

The regular food menu has been covered up for now. The Starbucks breakfast sandwiches are still available.

Nearby at Trolley Treats, the gourmet marshmallows that came in various flavors such as banana split, s’mores and luscious lemon have now been discontinued.

The display table that featured the various marshmallow flavors has now been taken over by Disney kitchen merchandise and peanut brittle.

Ursula Speaks!

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the latest edition of the MiceChat Podcast you should take a listen now. It includes amazing special guests Pat Carroll – the voice of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and Disney Legend and Imagineer Bob Gurr! It’s an incredible show this time – don’t miss out!

New Releases

Note: We got a lot of positive feedback on this feature from readers last week, so we’re including it here again in case you missed it.

Disney has been slowly releasing digital versions of some great theme park audio online in recent months. The releases have been quietly rolled out on Amazon MP3 and iTunes without any big announcements, which is a shame because some of the new offerings is great stuff that fans are sure to want. Below is a list of some recent new releases from Disney of some great theme park audio, including the Electrical Parade Soundtrack (only $2.99!) and the original official album from Disney’s California Adventure (yes, you really can download the soundtrack to Superstar Limo). Also available is a new compilation of piano performances recorded for the Carthay Circle Restaurant’s lobby and lounge area, which compliments the CD Disney released in the parks last year of the instrumental versions heard in the upstairs dining room.

Below are some additional theme park releases that have been available for some time now, including the original Carthay Circle Sessions album as well as soundtracks from Disneyland’s iconic Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean attractions.

Any audio you buy through the Amazon links above will also help support Dateline Disneyland (at no additional cost to you) which will help keep this blog running!

To Infinity and…

On Sunday, Downtown Disney hosted the Disney Interactive team out on the first stop of their “Summer of Endless Fun Tour” promoting the new Disney Infinity video game.

This weird modified Cinderella coach from the game was on display

Disney Radio folks were on the Downtown Disney stage giving away free Disney Infinity swag

Lines to get into the tent to preview the game were long

Inside folks could test drive the new game on a variety of consoles.

Players use small character figurines with RFID chips on the Disney Infinity base to play the game. You can read more about the game and some early thoughts on it by Imaginerding’s George Taylor.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto are among characters available to buy

If you preordered at the event, you got a free Dash figurine for free.

This and That

A couple new Oswald shirts were recently added to Oswald’s Filling Station on Buena Vista Street

Back in Disneyland, the new 50th anniversary Enchanted Tiki Room merchandise seems to be selling well – a victory for quality merchandise offerings. The tiki mugs are already sold out. (Note the Disneyana sign has been fixed, with the “Gifts” portion replaced)

The gorgeous figurines of tiki goddesses Pele and Uti are still available

As are these great bowls

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
July 1 – 7, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
8am – 12am
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 early 2014 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
[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]
  • Disneyland’s popular Halloween Time will return September 13-Octover 30 this year, with the special-ticket Mickey’s Halloween Party expanding to 13 nights.
  • The oversized C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A letters from Disney California Adventrue’s old main entrance have been installed in front of the CalExpo entrance in Sacramento, home of the California State Fair.
OK — That does it for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks reading and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

We’re only here because of generous readers like you. Do you enjoy reading Dateline Disneyland every week? Consider helping us out by donating so we can pay the bills and keep the weekly 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]

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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.
  • eicarr

    Man does that TIKI merchandise look good!!

    Glad the wait time is down for Luigi’s Tires. However, the 45min. wait for Midway Madness is still way to long for one of the most boring lines at the resort. I love that ride, but skip it most of the time due to its miserable line.

    Parks are looking wonderful, great report!

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update, Andy.

    Tickets for the Halloween Party go on sale for AP holders today. Here’s a link to a sloppy thread with a couple of numbers missing, but that might be a useful starting point for some of you.


  • danielz6

    Wow no hot food at a CAFE? Should change the name to Fiddler fifer and Practical 7/11 then.

    • Disneymike

      Yep, the cheapening continues…….

  • BestBeatingHeart

    Looks like someone got a new ND Filter… great shots.

  • Disneymike

    If Disney is getting rid of the hot sandwiches, it just shows that the cheapening continues….

  • WheresMickey

    Nice update!

  • Happiestcruiser

    I was a really big fan of the roast beef and cheddar sandwich. This cheapening of the experience really disturbs me. I know it takes longer to make a hot sandwich than it does to package a cold sandwich, but it makes it far more likely that I will cross the Esplanade, enter Disneyland and grab a much nicer (and hotter) bite to eat at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café! Almost $10 for a cold sandwich is crazy when — like Andy said — this is about the same price as the hot sandwiches were!

    I worry that enough people will “grab-n-go” these cold sandwiches — just because they are hungry and it is the easiest place in the area to get a bite to eat — that Disney will consider the change successful. Depressing!

    Thanks for the update Andy!

    • sjdimon

      But if Disney considers that the change is successful, then isn’t it likely that they will do the same thing at the Jolly Holiday Bakery? I sure hope not…but that seems to me that it follows the recent pattern of how things are done at the parks .

    • Marko50

      I was in the FF&P Cafe Tuesday. I went there for some dinner and found out about the changes. Big disappointment. Seems like I wasn’t alone in feeling that way – almost all the tables were empty. I meant to stop by the Chamber of Commerce to let them know of my feelings, but I forgot. I plan to make up for my forgetfulness this Tuesday.

  • bayouguy

    Loved the pictures, as always. Too bad about the test menu at Fiddler, Fifer, Practical Cafe. We really don’t want to grab and go, but would prefer to sit a relax during our meals, even if it meant standing in a line to order our food and drinks. We’ll wait patiently for the return of the regular menu items.

  • Disneylandfan85

    I just got back from a trip to Disneyland (Big Thunder being closed was a great disappointment to me, because it’s one of my most favorite rides). The highlight was the Mark Twain, because I was invited to go up inside the wheelhouse and man the craft! I blew the whistle and rang the bell and everything! It was fun!

  • Big D

    Question about FF&P, I never got anything there other then coffee, so did you get the sandwiches in a separate area from the coffee? If so, then this sucks, but if if it was the same line, then I think this is a great change and something they should have done from the beginning. Someone standing in line for their Starbucks doesn’t want to wait behind people ordering lunch, so the grab and go makes sense. There are plenty of other places in the park to eat, but only one place to get good coffee, so as long as it keeps the Starbucks line moving quickly, then I’m a fan.

    • Disneymike

      So, because someone needs a Starbucks means that people who want to eat a hot sandwich can go take a flying hike? I feel the complete opposite, if someone NEEDS a Starbucks, go hit one up on Harbor blvd.
      “Someone standing in line for their Starbucks doesn’t want to wait behind people ordering lunch”
      The same could be said for someone standing in line for lunch, we don’t want to wait behind someone ordering a coffee.

      • Big D

        But there are at least 15 different places at DCA you can go to in order to get lunch, and there is only one place at DCA you can go to in order to get half-way decent coffee.

      • Disneymike

        So? Should Starbucks junkies get preferential treatment over someone who wants a Salami Royale sandwich?

      • Big D

        [QUOTE]So? Should Starbucks junkies get preferential treatment over someone who wants a Salami Royale sandwich?[/QUOTE]

        Hi Disneymike, it wouldn’t let me reply directly to your quote, so I had to post this here instead:

        I would hope that Disney would offer those sandwiches somewhere else as they have done in the past when they closed down or modified a restaurant. I would be disappointed if a unique food offering were removed altogether specifically because of Starbucks even though I personally have never been interested in that particular food item. But honestly, I think that making sure that Starbucks orders have a separate area with separate lines is best for both groups. Someone who shows up for coffee at 11:30AM won’t get stuck behind a bunch of people ordering lunch, but conversely someone showing up at 2:30PM for lunch won’t get stuck behind a large group of people getting their afternoon coffee. I definitely want the food to be available, I just think that they need to be two totally separate things.

      • Big D

        Oh, I guess the reply worked out after all. Okay, ignore the first part then!

  • What a shame about the loss of the hot food at FF&P. The new Starbucks at the Magic Kingdom in Florida serves Starbucks items only. My guess is that they are trying to get us accustomed to the same thing here so they can do the same at Disneyland’s Main Street Starbucks when it opens later this year.

    I can go to a Starbucks on nearly every corner in America. While I don’t mind having one inside Disneyland (in fact, I’m looking forward to it) I would like it to be unique and offer more of a Disney quality experience. I REALLY hope they rethink the offerings.

  • SiRocket

    another unhappy customer due to the removal of the hot food items… wasted my time walking from one end of the park to the cafe…

  • ex-wdi

    Those albums are available on Google Play as well, sometimes for less money.

  • martinjbell1986

    Great Update!

  • Rick Wright

    I also think the Mark Twain trip on the Rivers of America is highly underrated. For me, it represents a trip back in time to the original Disneyland. Think of the many musical stars of the day that played on that ship, including Louis Armstrong!

    The fireworks photos are awesome, but my favorite is the GRR waterfall.

    Thanks Andy!

  • FarFromHome

    I don’t know how ‘official’ you’ll consider this, but:

    “Work continues behind that tall, wooden fence in Frontierland at Disneyland park, as the major refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad nears its fall 2013 completion.”


  • SimbaSpot

    Disappointed at the change to grab n go sandwiches too… partly cuz I rarely choose Roast Beef or Turkey… but I guess Ham was probably not an option at the Pig Cafe, huh?

  • JulieMouse

    Great update, Andy! Also, I loved the absolutely beautiful fireworks photos! I also hate to see the “grab and go” menu at the FF&P…I would really like to see the menu expanded as it’s a great location to have lunch, but I guess I can give up on that thought!

  • Tinkbelle

    That is great that they are going to have live music at the Matterhorn! I wish they would do that often. I’m of Swiss descent and really appreciate it. I hope there will be video of this in next week’s update.

    It is awful that they discontinued the hot sandwiches at FFPC. We often got the roast beef and cheddar and sat down at a booth to enjoy it. Hopefully this is temporary and the hot sandwiches will return.

    Great update, Andy! You had a lot to share this week.

  • daveyjones

    can’t agree more about the mark twain. was just there last monday and rode up in the wheelhouse. be sure to request it from the loading CM on your next visit—you get to enter your name in the logbook and get a special “captain’s certificate” signed by walt! something that only club 33 members used to be able to do in years’ past.

  • Big D

    One of my favorite things to do is to ride the Mark Twain down the Rivers of America at night. I actually look forward now to the times when Fantasmic is closed and I have a chance to do this. I’ve always thought it was a really special experience that Disney should find a way to capitalize on. I love the part of the Disneyland After Dark DVD where they have Louis Armstrong performing on the Mark Twain and I wish there was a way to experience something like that (not Louis Armstrong of course, but the Disney house bands in New Orleans Square are all very good) today.

  • Disney Analyst

    Sounds like they are trying to make the Starbucks all follow the route of Magic Kingdoms, the line zips by at MK typically, and only includes grab and go fare.

  • renderman7

    its a real shame that amazon wont sell the digital music outside of america.. its digital for god sake..

    instead i am forced to buy second hand cd if i want it, and people want like 30 bucks for a song that amazon is selling for 3 bucks… sigh

  • QPerth

    Thanks for the great article Andy, some wonderful pictures too!

    It should be known, those truly awesome Disney Digital releases are perhaps only available to US residents. They are sadly not available for purchase on Amazon MP3 from Australia, and not a single one is available on our Aussie iTunes also. #cries

    Who can I email at Disney to ask them to please make these available out of the US? Anyone know a department or contact please?

  • DobbysCloset

    A lovely report but The Chihuahua wants it to be known that he’s totally disappointed with the new restaurant menu. At those prices for a cold sandwich he would rather scavenge under a popcorn cart.

  • Tiny Mermaid

    As someone who has gone to DCA specifically for a Salami Royale, I could not be more disappointed in this new grab-and-go menu. I really hope this new, weaker menu is reconsidered, or that the sandwich reappears elsewhere in the park. It was truly a step up in the quality and uniqueness department, and not just another bland cold cut sandwich typically served at the resort.

  • paratka

    Great firework’s pics! Dateline Disneyland photos are always excellent.

  • Awe_inspired

    Is there a way to buy those Tikis Pele and Uti and have them shipped to me?