Disney California Adventure‘s new 12-acre Cars Land is getting a final finishing touch over a year after opening but guests inside the park won’t be seeing it. The massive Cars Land mountain range is in the process of getting a printed wrap to cover up its unfinished backside which can be seen outside of the park along Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue. The wrap is covering up the largely exposed steel framework for the mountain range, which was only partially obscured by a decorative zig-zag design before the new land opened last June. Meanwhile, Disneyland will celebrate its 58th anniversary this week while projects in the park including a major refurbishment for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the construction of Starbucks on Main Street, U.S.A. continue.

We’re excited to welcome our friends from Mouseaddict to Dateline Disneyland! Starting this week, you’ll be able to find weekly crowd forecasts and tips for visiting right here in Dateline Disneyland from our friends at Mouseaddict!

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

Welcome to Disneyland!

We’re happy to announce a new feature to Dateline Disneyland this week. Our friends over at the Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad are now offering daily crowd levels for the Disneyland Resort and we’re happy to be teaming up with them to bring crowd forecasts back to the blog to help you plan your weekly visit to the parks! In addition to crowd forecasts, attraction wait times, theme park information and interactive park maps, Mouseaddict also offers the latest MiceChat columns for quick reading on-the-go — all for FREE, right on your iOS device!

July 15-21, 2013

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TUE
WED
THU
FRI
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SUN

About these Mouseaddict Crowd Estimates
Mouseaddict&#8482 is excited to partner with Dateline Disneyland to bring you the latest updates on the parks – and predictions for the coming week.

Our Addictometer™ crowd estimates will appear here every Monday. These estimates are designed to give you an idea of how busy the resort feels – not just an attendance number. To do this, we look at where crowds gather in each park, the ability of each park to move crowds into attractions, historical data, crowd sourcing, and proprietary algorithms used in the Mouseaddict iOS app. Among the variables affecting crowd levels this week are:

  • Southern California and SoCal Select passports are blocked every day through mid-August. Deluxe passports are blocked out this Saturday.
  • It’s summer break for schools.
  • Resort hotels heavily booked early in the week.
  • The SIGGRAPH convention begins on Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
  • Over the last month, 80% of FastPasses have been distributed by noon.
  • And finally, Wednesday is Disneyland’s 58th anniversary. Happy birthday, Disneyland!

Are you already a Mouseaddict? Be sure to submit your wait times to help us help you!

Download the free Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad for current crowd estimates, crowd maps, and wait times along with 60 categories of searchable resort information and your favorite MiceChat blogs.

Plenty of Monstrous Summer buttons are still available and often being given out for free at Main Entrance turnstiles.

If you’re surprised by Mouseaddict’s medium crowd level rating for the weekend, you shouldn’t be. With Annual Passport block outs in full effect, Fridays and Saturdays this summer are often two of the least busy days at the parks. Below, a look at wait times midday Friday.


Refurbishment Round-Up

On Main Street, construction walls have sprung up along a portion of the Market House facade as work its expansion and Starbucks conversion continues…

Over in Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad continues its major refurbishment project.

Limited Time Magic

[center]Enjoy the Magic of Matterhorn Mountain
at Disneyland Park
July 8-14, 2013
[/center]
Last week’s Limited Time Magic was actually a fun addition to Disneyland ‚Äî and probably something that should be offered on a regular basis. The Matterhorn Mountain climbers were joined by Alpine musicians ‚Äî Happy Hans and Erik.

The musicians performed Alpine melodies and yodeled from the icy slopes of Matterhorn Mountain several times daily.

Below, a video clip of Happy Hans and his son Erik performing on the Matterhorn.

[center]Disneyland Park – A Salute to 58 Years of Magic
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland Park
July 16, 2013
[/center]
Disneyland will finish its three-week celebration of its 58th anniversary with its final presentation by Disney artist Stacia Martin. The event is Annual Passholder-exclusive and this week’s final presentation will focus on Main Street, USA and Disneyland in 1955.

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

On Tuesday, the second presentation in this series was held in the Main Street Opera House.

Unfortunately, all forms of photography were banned from the actual presentation, but Disney artist Stacia Martin once again delivered a fantastic presentation covering the early history of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

[center]Dapper Dans sing Boy Bands… Again.
at Disneyland Park
July 15-21, 2013
[/center]
Apparently out of ideas, Disneyland is reviving the Dapper Dans’ boy bands show, which was first offered at the end of February for Limited Time Magic. In true Disney Parks fashion, the obvious idea to do something small to honor Disneyland’s 58th Anniversary this week (special rare footage in the Main Street Cinema, a special photo-op, a historical exhibit, a daily rededication ceremony, really – anything) was passed up to have the Dapper Dans sing boy band songs on Main Street again. Happy birthday Disneyland!

Below, video from the first run of this so-called “Limited Time Magic” below:

Coming Ashore Soon

Disney has announced that The Pirates League will return to Disneyland again in mid-September. The pirate-themed kids makeover experience was located in New Orleans Square’s charming Court of Angels last year. While the location this year has yet to be confirmed, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t use the Court of Angels again.

If the Pirates League does set up shop here once again, August will be your last chance to enjoy a quiet moment in the beautiful Court of Angels until 2014. Following the closure of the Pirates League after Halloween, the space will be converted into a seasonal holiday ornament shop. The ornament shop will remain in place until the holiday season is over in early January.

Enjoy it while you can!

Welcome to California Adventure

Meanwhile, Disney California Adventure continues through its post-makeover period with minimal news.

A look at wait times Friday afternoon.

Back in the Paradise Garden area, we learned that the Paradise Garden Grill is still serving the beef gyro platter that had been featured during the Opa! A Celebration of Greece event back at the end of May.

The price is a bit high, but on-par with the other offerings at this quick service restaurant.

Still, even with the high price, the food here is great and a worthwhile choice while at California Adventure. The beef gyro platter isn’t the best gyro I’ve ever had, but it was flavorful and filling. I’m not a fan of tabouli, so I was happy when the Cast Member allowed me to substitute for the rice instead.

Not only can you get a great meal at Paradise Garden Grill or the adjacent Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, but the outdoor Paradise Garden dining area really makes these two restaurants some of the best quick service options in the whole resort. The outdoor dining area, complete with bandstand, puts it on-par with the fantastic French Market restaurant in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square.

The live music here is great, too – especially the Ellis Island Boys. If you have the opportunity, don’t miss enjoying a meal while listening to these guys. They’re fantastic.

Below, a video clip of the Ellis Island Boys at Paradise Garden.

Wrapping up Cars Land

On the other side of California Adventure, Cars Land is getting a big change, but not something guests inside the park will be able to easily notice (unless they’re riding California Screamin’).

While views of the Cadillac Range have been stunning since the land opened last year, the backside of Cars Land has been less impressive for those seeing the backside of the new mountain range from outside the park, along Harbor Blvd. and Katella Ave.

Spectacular views inside the park…

When Cars Land was completed, the backside of the mountain range was given a simple zig-zag motif on the backside, looking decidedly unfinished from outside of the park.

That’s now changing, and those driving or walking along Katella Avenue, behind Disney California Adventure, will now see that the backside of the mountain range is getting wrapped up with printed scrims.

The unfinished backside of the Cars Land mountain range looms over the defunct Katella Ave. pedestrian entrance. The old Katella Ave. pedestrian entrance used to drop guests off in the former Timon Parking Lot, not too far from the tram loading area. The pedestrian entrance, along with the Timon Lot, closed to make way for Cars Land but the Disneyland marquee remains in place, directly across from the Anaheim Convention Center.

The new wrap isn’t the most elegant solution and it’ll be interesting to see how this ages, but at least Disney is trying to dress it up a bit.

The Cadillac Range towers over the Alpine Inn.

Talkin’ with Tony

The folks over at the Season Pass Podcast, which is now part of MiceChat’s MicePod podcast network, just released an amazing interview with Disney Imagineer (and soon-to-be Disney Legend) Tony Baxter in their latest episode. You don’t want to miss this!

This and That

Back in Disneyland, the Main Street Emporium has spent the last several months adding small changes here and there to help guests find what they need. The store emerged from a major remodeling project in October 2011 that moved most of its cash wraps from a central location to locations around the store perimeter.

In recent months, new directional signage has been added at the entrances to the store, highlighting the various departments and directing guests where to go for the items they’re looking for. Now, new “CASHIER” signs have been added at the various cashier locations. The Emporium is Disneyland’s biggest store, but it isn’t exactly difficult to find a place to check out at and these signs look a little unnecessary, making this move look a little desperate on Disney’s part.


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 15 – 21, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Daily:
8am – 12am
Daily:
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 early 2014 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]
  • The C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A letters from Disney California Adventure’s original entrance are now installed and were dedicated at CalExpo, home of the California State Fair.
  • Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland are now on sale, with a slight discount for Annual Passholders.
  • Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs are among those that will be honored as Disney Legends at the 2013 Legends Ceremony at this year’s D23 Expo.
  • The Ink & Paint program from Walt Disney World is debuting at the end of this week at Disneyland, featuring artists that were formerly part of Disneyland’s defunct Artisan Watch program.
  • The first trailer for Disney’s upcoming live action film “Saving Mr. Banks” was released, featuring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and includes scenes shot at Disneyland.
  • D23 has launched a new alternate reality game where players can explore an imagined vision of the future by Walt Disney; the game will culminate at the upcoming D23 Expo.
Alright, that’s all for this week’s Dateline Disneyland. What do you think about the new wrap for the backside of Cars Land? Are you planning on visiting Disneyland for its 58th anniversary on Wednesday? Let us know 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]

Support Dateline Disneyland

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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.
  • Susan Hughes

    Are you aware that Luigi’s Flying Tires is now part of New Fantasyland in Orlando? At least operationally speaking. Luigi’s must call in regularly during the day to Orlando to update it’s operations from wait times, when the ride goes down, the number of tires, the number of belt checkers, etc.
    Why Orlando needs this information and not the Disneyland Resort is a mystery to me. But several rides at the resort are now under the umbrella of New Fantasyland…at least when it comes to reporting their current operational status.

  • Love the Addictometer! I think a lot of folks will find it interesting that weekends in the middle of summer are now the best times to visit the parks. A complete change from conventional wisdom.

    We’ll see how that Cars Land wrap looks when complete. But so far, it looks half-assed.

    Queuing up that Tony Baxter podcast right now. His presence is already missed at the resort and I really fear some of the decisions which the company may make without Tony around to provide reason.

    Great update Andy!

  • pbrsaau

    Frequently when the DL wait time board is shown each week, Indiana Jones is temporarily closed. Why is that? The caption says the wait times are at noon… why would a major attraction like that be closed so frequently? Does it have daily mechanical issues?

  • eicarr

    For me, Paradise Gardens is right up there with New Orleans Square as the most beautiful and immersive places to eat. I feel bad when I skip splitting a pizza and salad over there, but its often inconvenient to get over to that dead corner of the park. All the new central cars land and buena vista st. locations aren’t helping its popularity either. Glad they have an item I’d finally try at the Medeterranian place.

    Love the Matternorn show!!!!!

    • Happiestcruiser

      Eicarr,

      You are echoing my own sentiments regarding Paradise Gardens! I frequently go there and just sit — taking in the atmosphere. Because, make no mistake, with the bandstand area and trees it is right-on-par with New Orleans Square French Market for a relaxing atmosphere. I am thrilled they added the palm trees (magnolias? — sorry — not good with tree types). The shade cools off the area and gives a much-needed buffer-zone to all the park noise in the Pier.

  • Tinkbelle

    Yay, you included video of the Matterhorn musicians! Thanks, Andy. It’s too bad this is just a Limited Time Magic offering. It would be neat if they had an alphorn player there sometimes, too.

    Thanks also for the music from Paradise Garden. We always stop to watch the bands play there on our visits. I love live music at DLR.

    That gyro looks very skimpy for $12. I can get one at my local mall for @ $8 that is stacked mile high.

    I don’t know what to think of that scrim for Cars Land. It was a nice idea but it just doesn’t look right.

  • SLUSHIE

    I don’t think the scrim looks very great. It’s fine when they do it in the park during construction, that is actually going beyond the call of duty, but doing this and having it be permanent is pretty tacky.

    I actually think the metal zig-zag thing looks better.

    Honestly I’m surprised they don’t use that space for advertisements, like they do on the side of studio buildings in LA, or maybe some abstract art or something.

    • Internitty

      I like your idea of advertising like on the sides of the studio buildings too, it would be a much cooler idea than the scrims

  • jcruise86

    We enjoyed DCA yesterday, partly because the crowds weren’t bad. When I worked at Disneyland as a teen in the summer of 1983 I remember miserable, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in Tomorrowland.

    My daughter, her friend and I all had a nice, air-conditioned hour at Dancin’ With Disney in Hollywood Land. I like all of the decorations, misshapen plastic chairs, and effects at this party. The many characters and other dancers there seemed like the most high-energy CMs at the Disneyland resort and seemed to be having by far more fun than any entertainers dancing out in the heat. And thanks to the middle-aged vendor in the back of the room who danced so enthusiastically while working. The four-hour afternoon time frame for this seems perfect. I know I Dancin’ With Disney this more than some Micechat leaders.

    And speaking of them, we saw some celebrities in front of the Carthay Circle!

    Dusty and Fishbulb themselves were there apparently for a meet and greet,
    and as we walked away my daughter was genuinely was thrilled to learn that Dusty was a co-founder of Micechat, which has been so central in guiding our fun since she can remember.

    • It was great to see you and your fearless daughter (who was proud to tell us about her trip through Universal’s House of Horrors). Sounds like she is training for Haunt in a few years.

  • Country Bear

    Amazing pictures Andy! Your talent shines through every time I read your articles. Thank you for sharing your gift with us, weekly!

  • disneylandanddcafa

    Jeesh… who gives a rats a$$ how it looks from the OUTSIDE!!!

    • LoveStallion

      I do. Others do. It’s better advertising for the park to show what’s going on on the inside.

    • The Matterhorn acts as a beacon to draw people into the Disneyland Resort. You can see it from the freeway and it looks magnificent. Cars Land looks like a blight from the outside and not an exciting draw at all . . . . until you see it from inside the park. It’s a total missed opportunity.

      • Marko50

        I can barely see the Matterhorn anymore from the freeway (coming up from the south). And since I’m driving, if I try too hard…

        But that’s OK. I *know* where I’m going. 🙂

  • dizneydomenic

    I say Disneyland still needs a new Marquee.. we lost the old one with California Adventure going in…the BIG one that used to be on Katella. Well, now that They are done with Cars land…a great spot for a new Marquee would be right there behind the Cadillac range.. just high enough and low enough not to be seen from inside carsland.

  • Norman Gidney

    Andy this is some great work. Thanks for the article!

  • ScottOlsen

    I would think lots of big trees on the back side of the mountain range would be a good fix.

    • LoveStallion

      Given the present state of the back end of Rivers of America, I’m not sure that installing trees is management’s top priority.

  • LoveStallion

    Seriously, in this day and age, you haven’t concurrently developed the app for Android? Come on, folks. Not all of us use iOS.

    • evergreen

      More people use Android than iOS.

    • My friend, when you are willing to pony up the $$$ to develop the Android version, give me a call. Until then, enjoy what we give you for FREE. Which at this moment is an iPhone version 😉

      • LoveStallion

        A totally fair point, Dusty. It’s hard to find developers. I feel that pain; but you’re still alienating over half of the market by not providing Android apps. We’re not in 2010 anymore.

  • Gregg Condon

    Wow, that wrap looks terrible. Almost as bad as the one on Indy.

  • Haven

    Whatever happened to “green out” paint for show buildings? Dark colors always minimize the appearance of larger objects and green makes it “go away” easier. Add trees in front of the building too and now you’ve got something, Although the mountain scrims will be even better, for a while at least, the original backside scaffolding should have been green IMO. Especially that view of the Alpine Inn could have benefited from a darker backdrop color behind it. No more light colored backsides!

    • Internitty

      If they planted trees in front of the scrims it would look pretty nice I think but then as someone pointed out given the back of Rivers of America trees don’t seem to interest management at the moment, maybe in 3 years they will plant some…

  • WaltWaltWalt

    Great memories of the Matterhorn musicians from the 70’s…and the time the ride shut down while I had just reached the top of the mountain. I got to take the exposed elevator down the center of the mountain. They gave me a free ticket to ride again (yes they used tickets still).

  • DisWedWay

    Great picture of the ugly 1930 gas station down lights on the Big Thunder main gate sign. It used to have Dietz inspector lights as Golden Horseshoe still has. Please bring back the themed original lights Greg. The Big Thunder sign on the load building had a darker background maybe hunter green, which made it more readable. I have to check Daves photo’s.

  • SpacemanSpiff

    I attended a conference at the Anaheim Convention Center at the end of June 2012, and the exposed metal structure was very obvious as you drive onto Katella from the convention center parking lot near the Alpine Inn. At the same time, I don’t think I would have thought it was the back of Cars Land, except that I had been following the re-opening of DCA in the news, and I had seen graphics of the mountain range and how it was built.

    I agree with what someone posted earlier– that adding the scrims might be because the D23 Expo is coming to the convention center in August, and since it’s held only every two years, they didn’t have to worry about people seeing the unfinished backside of Cars Land last summer. From the photos posted in the report, my feeling is that the scrims don’t really look very good at all.

    Disney isn’t in the habit of putting up scrims to cover something for more than a few months, is it? I’m thinking about the scrims on the Main Street train station, the buildings on Main Street, the Mark Twain when it was in drydock. It’s possible that they Disney is getting ready to complete the mountain range on the backside.

    (Someone suggested in the discussion forum that Disney might be getting ready to expand with new attractions behind the mountain range, but there really isn’t any room on the side directly facing Katella Avenue.) I think it’s more likely that they want to make the visible parts of the park more attractive from the outside, like the Matterhorn, Space Mountain, the Twilight Zone Tower, or Paradise Pier.

  • DisWedWay

    Great interview with Disney Legend to be Tony Baxter. His recollections of life at WED in the early 70’s when First String WED Imagineers hired by Walt, some in their 60’s approaching 70, worked and mentored the new Second String WED Imagineers like Tony, was such a great period in WED Enterprises history, not duplicated today at WDI Imagineering. His mention of musical chairs after a big project was more true with today’s WDI Imagineering. In the WED days there was always something to keep the staff busy in refurbs, arcade games, updating models. The first Black Friday layoff during the Space Mountain design and the energy crisis, cut WED’s staff from less than 500 to just over 150, when management realized they had made a mistake and people would still go to Disneyland even if getting gas was hampered by odd and even days. Maybe Tony will talk about that strange time at WED.

  • WDWorldly

    DLR needs to improve the way the resort looks outside of the theme parks overall When first driving there years ago, someone traveling with us wondered why DCA looked like a cheap carnival from the outside…then again, 2006-era DCA, maybe that wasn’t so far off. It matters because it gives a poor impression sometimes. They need to address: the ugly backside of the Tower of Terror and Hyperion, the tacky and inadequate “Disneyland Resort” signs that greet people driving into and around the resort.

  • Larry Parker

    Thanks Andy for the updates and pictures. I am worried about what the interior of the Main Street Starbucks will look like. Will it be devoid of Main Street character, as apparently is the case with the WDW Main Street Starbucks? As much interior space as it will occupy, that would be a major downgrade of the Disneyland Main Street experience. Well, should that be the case, I intend to voice my complaint to Guest Services(as I hope others also would)with the hope that alterations would follow. Hopefully this won’t be necessary. But, for example, given the treatment of the Buena Vista Street window displays, it wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Marko50

    I hadn’t seen the Dapper Dan video till now, so I want to thank you for featuring all five Dan’s. Yes, I’m the one in the ‘chair. Unfortunately, I misplaced my mike, so had to lipsync that performance. 😉

    So, who did I miss meeting behind the camera?

    • Marko50

      PS – Thanks for a great report, Andy!

  • TodAZ1

    The comment about the ‘cashier’ signs may be correct if the Emporium was always as uncrowded as when those pics are taken. But it’s THE most crowded place every night when the park closes and I’m positive the ‘cashier’ signs have been helpful.

    And I’m not really seeing the “desperate” angle of simply putting up a ‘Cashier’ sign above the registers.

  • paratka

    Great to see the Ellis Island Boys mentioned. They have a Facebook page w/ showtimes and days they play DCA. Always a must-see act on DCA visits!