The curse of the idol Mara was transformed with new magic at Disneyland‘s Indiana Jones Adventure ride last week. The ride’s enhancements brought new state-of-the-art projection technology along with a controversial new voice for the double-dealing deity to the popular thrill ride. Not far from the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Frontierland‘s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad continues its major refurbishment project with new delays rumored to have set back the ride’s reopening an extra four months. Elsewhere in the Resort, construction continued on the new Starbucks Coffee location on Main Street, U.S.A. as Disney announced two new locations for Downtown Disney.

Dateline Disneyland ran on Tuesday last week, so we could bring you the best coverage of the 2013 D23 Expo. If you missed last week’s re-cap of The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, be sure to check it out today! Click here!

Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at MouseAddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!

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!

Disneyland’s busy summer season is quickly coming to an end as we approach the traditional end of the season on Labor Day. The Labor Day holiday might still be two weeks out but Disneyland has begun to slowly reduce operating hours and new refurbishments are quietly starting to spring up as summer vacation ends and kids head back to school.

In Town Square, Halloween has begun to move in at the Disney Showcase shop. Showcase is one of several shops aroudn the Resort (including The Emporium, Julius Katz and Sons and World of Disney) where Halloween merchandise and decorations has already hit the shelves.

So far, there aren’t really any new offerings this year as far as Halloween merchandise goes.

Below, enjoy a trip down Main Street, U.S.A. aboard the Omnibus from Friday afternoon.

A look at wait times Friday afternoon

Refurbishment Round-Up

On Main Street, construction continues inside the Market House as Disney works toward getting the new Starbucks location open by its scheduled September opening.

Peeking inside, it looks like there’s still quite a ways to go before the new coffee shop will be ready for guests.

I could be wrong, but it looks like the old Swift Birthday Cake Room (which had been used as gallery space for Disneyana) is now gone. This isn’t a loss that will affect any guests, but it is a loss for early park history fans.

At Sleeping Beauty Castle, tarps have gone up along portions of the Fantasyland roofline. Looks like it could either be regular refurbishment work or in relation to the recent Cal/OSHA fall safety requirement changes that we’ve seen elsewhere around the park.

Over in the new Fantasy Faire, the hillside behind the queue for the Royal Hall has received some new black fall safety railings. They aren’t the nicest looking things, but I guess extra railings like this are the new normal around the parks.

Over in Frontierland, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment continues and has reportedly hit delays that have forced Disney to push back its opening from this October to February 2014. Hopefully such a lengthy delay won’t be the reality, but it currently looks like it certainly could be the reality.

Most of the scaffolding has come down from the rock work and queue structure.

Meanwhile, Big Thunder Trail was still closed Friday but it does look like the repaving project is just about finished. From what can be seen from the upper deck of the Mark Twain Riverboat, the new themed pavement looks great.

Projections of the Forbidden Eye

The big news last week was, of course, the debut of new special effects at Indiana Jones Adventure. The new special effects in the ride’s “Hall of Promise” scene were announced on the Disney Parks Blog after MiceChat’s In The Parks blog broke news about the new additions in their August 9 edition.

The new effects affect the “Hall of Promise” scene and bring new projections as well as a new voice to the idol Mara. The projections are a nice new addition that comes in three flavors, based on which of the three “rooms” you enter ‚Äî Chamber Earthy Riches, Observatory of the Future or Fountain of Eternal Youth. The new voice, however, has certainly not gone unnoticed by fans. I will say that while the voice is not good, a lot of the more subtle treatment gets lost in online videos and it does sound a little better in person. Still, I’d agree with the general consensus that the original voice was far superior.

Below, video of the new scene from us and MiceChat’s In The Parks blog:

To Infinity… and Innoventions

Over in Tomorrowland, the Xbox Kinect free play area in Innoventions (futuristic, right?) has been completely converted into a Disney Infinity zone, allowing guests to give the new game a test run.

Will you be playing Disney Infinity?

Limited Time Magic

[center]Reunite with Long Lost Friends Week
at Disneyland Park
August 19 – 25, 2013
[/center]
Disney is bringing back Long Lost Friends Week for Limited Time Magic. Based on the votes Disney got from fans on the Disney Parks Blog, some of the characters that will be appearing are: Hercules and Megara (“Hercules”), Merlin (“The Sword in the Stone”) and Tarzan, Jane and Terk (“Tarzan”).

[center]Long Lost Friends Return – Annual Passholder Character Greetings
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland Park
August 19 – 25, 2013
[/center]
Passholders can get early access to Long Lost Friends character meet-and-greets during this week’s return of Long Lost Friends Week.

    Annual Passholder Character Greetings

    Get reacquainted with some long lost friends as rarely seen Disney Characters visit Disneyland Park. Annual Passholders can enjoy special Character Greetings—30 minutes before regular park Guests are admitted to the Character Greeting area in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree—thanks to this Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic opportunity.

    Dates & Times
    August 19 – 25, 2013
    10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

    Please note that Annual Passholders may be admitted to the Character Greeting area at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree at 10:30 a.m. — 30 minutes prior to regular Guest admittance, which is at 11:00 a.m.

    Location
    Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Frontierland at Disneyland

    Event Details

      • All participating Guests (ages 3 and older) must be valid Annual Passholders on the day of event participation. Children under 3 years of age are permitted to attend the event as long as space is available.
      • All participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passport to the event Cast Member at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Frontierland at Disneyland Park. Photo ID may be required.
      • The event is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and lasts for 30 minutes each day.
      • Space is limited. Admission to the area will be granted subject to capacity, scheduled park events and other restrictions.
      • Participation does not include early Disneyland Park entry or parking.
      • More information

Welcome to California Adventure

Meanwhile, there isn’t much news to report at Disney California Adventure…

A look at wait times Friday afternoon

Over at the edge of Condor Flats, the billboard for Grizzly Peak is now (unfortunately) promoting Disney’s Planes movie

Somehow the airplane has avoided getting cartoon eyes added to it.

Coffee and Cartoons

Last week, Disney announced that Downtown Disney will be getting two new Starbucks locations this winter. The main location will be a full coffee shop, which will go in where the recently-closed BLINK by Wet Seal store was.

The new Starbucks location will be in a prime location for guests staying at Disneyland’s hotels as well as guests arriving to the resort via Mickey and Friends tram.

Over the weekend, the Phineas and Ferb Waffle-inator made a post-D23 Expo appearance in the Downtown Disney taxi zone.

This and That

Back in Disneyland, the Disneyana shop is now selling the new theme park signs Disney recently promoted on the Disney Parks Blog.

The signs cost a pricey $150, unfortunately they aren’t really deserving of the high cost due to low print quality.

Up close, you can see the grainy, pixelated nature of the print.

It’s too bad these signs aren’t high quality as this sort of merchandise offering has a lot of potential.

If you do want to spend money on a good Disneyland collectible, the great tiki mugs and figurines from Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily are all back in stock.

And there’s also a new Jose tiki bird figure available (not by Kevin and Jody).


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
August 5 – 11, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Daily:
8am – 11pm
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]Mad Tea Party:[/B] Closed August 19-22 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Matterhorn Bobsleds:[/B] Closed August 19-22 and September 3-5 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Haunted Mansion:[/B] Closed August 26-September 12 for Haunted Mansion Holiday installation.
  • [B]Big Thunder Ranch:[/B] Closed September 3-12 for Halloween overlay installation.
  • [B]Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island:[/B] Closed September 3-4.
  • [B]Mickey’s House:[/B] Closed September 3-26 for refurbishment.
  • [B]King Arthur Carrousel:[/B] Closed September 3 – October 10 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Mark Twain Riverboat:[/B] Closed for one day, September 9.
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed September 9-12 for Ghost Galaxy overlay installation.
  • [B]Sailing Ship Columbia:[/B] Closed September 17-19 for refurbishment.
  • [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]Muppet*Vision 3D:[/b] Closed September 9-12.
  • [b]Toy Story Midway Mania!:[/b] Closed September 16-19 for refurbishment.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
  • Starbucks Coffee: New Starbucks store under construction in former BLINK by Wet Seal location. Opens this winter.
[center]
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]

August 19 – 25, 2013

MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN

About This Week’s Estimates
Our Addictometer™ crowd estimates are designed to give you an idea of how busy the resort feels. These estimates are an average for the day ‚Äî levels will fluctuate from open to close. This is the beginning of the shortened Fall off-season, before Halloween Time starts on September 13.

  • School is back in session.
  • Weekday Passport blackouts have ended.
  • Hotel rooms are plentiful.
  • The Anaheim Home and Garden Show takes place Friday-Sunday but shouldn’t affect resort crowd levels noticeably.

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.

[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • Variety is reporting that the upcoming documentary on Walt Disney Imagineering will have a 2016 release date, following the opening of Shanghai Disneyland.
OK – That wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks, as always, for reading. What do you think of the new projection effects and voice for Mara in Indiana Jones Adventure? Do you think Disneyland is getting too much Starbucks? Let us know in the comments 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.