Main Street USA is already littered with pumpkins as Halloween is very much the new season at the Disneyland Resort. We also share our reader suggestions for the rather bland display inside Disney Showcase and ask you to vote for the winner.  It seems that the Imagineers have heard your comments loud and clear and have altered the voice of Mara yet again inside Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. But will this change make the fans happy, take a look and listen to our videos and let us know what you think.  We’ll also take a look at Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and the Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure.  There’s a lot going on it today’s Disneyland Resort update.

Holiday Displays

More pumpkins have found their way to Main Street. Most of this year’s Halloween displays are tasteful so far.






This one is nice enough, but looks incomplete (and was left like this last year as well)


We asked our readers what they thought should go into the blank space in this display.  We got some amazing entries and have selected our 8 favorites based on creativity and execution. But YOU will pick the winner.

#1 Hitchhiking
#2 FrankenPressler
#3 Runaway Brain
#4 Falling Stars
# 5 Easy fix
Out of competition entry – Safety Starbucks

It is now up to you to decide which window dressing would look best inside Disney Showcase. Copy the caption below the your favorite entry and let us know your selection in the comments below. (We’ll identify the artists behind these photos, along with the winner, next week).  The winning entry will get a wonderful bag-o-crap randomly selected from the MiceChat prize box. You could end up with something shiny and new or a complete set of expired Fastpasses. What you get only Mara knows.


The Starbucks logo and window filigree became visible this week to visitors of the park.  Everything looks expertly designed and crafted, very much in line with the Main Street aesthetic so far.


A saying scrawled in the window references the year that Starbucks went into business, 1971.









When we were at the park, the windows are covered up tight, not allowing a single person to peek in and see the progress being made inside the new store.  Thankfully, a curious reader was on the scene when a little bit of this paper became detached from the window, allowing a clear look inside.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Our deepest thanks to Allen Wolf for the Starbucks photos above. If you have photos or tips you’d like to share with the MiceChat readers, please send them to and perhaps we’ll be able to use them in one of our weekly columns.


Wednesday, imagineering made one more change to the voice of Mara in Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.  It seems that they heard the loud reaction by fans of the attraction and have adjusted the show accordingly. It’s no James Earl Jones, but it’s certainly better than it was. Let us know what you think.



These fixes and improvements to this brilliant attraction are appreciated by visitors and fans alike.  But we would really like to see them fix some of the things in the attraction that desperately need attention.  The rat room scene has never really worked.  Would it be too difficult to liven up that lull by bringing the Tokyo smoke-ring effect here?  Or something new altogether?  How about a foolproof way to synch the onboard audio commentary by Sala with the path your vehicle takes at the beginning of the ride?  Speaking of the doors, would there be any way to fix the effect so it always works (it seems that it is broken more often than working)? And what about the oft malfunctioning boulder. It’s a tricky thing to pull off with the amount of vehicles that have to roll through there, but wouldn’t it be an awesome thing to have that working consistently? Or what about the underwhelming dart room? They got the Mara room up to par, now how about renovating a little bit more of this broken down temple?


The trail along Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is nearly finished with its resurfacing and should be open any day now.  In the meantime, work continues on getting this classic 1979 attraction up to today’s workplace safety standards.

















Get your last visits to the Court of Angels in now.  It will soon be going down to be transformed into the new entrance to Club 33.  Yet another quiet spot in Disneyland will soon be gone.  It’s an understandable move on the part of Disney, but still a bummer.








The mansion is now closed, and will be for the next few weeks as Jack Skellington moves in for the next 4 months.  Haunted Mansion Holiday will open as Halloweentime begins at the Disneyland Resort on September 13th.  We expect to see some very special things this year as it is the 13th anniversary for the overlay.








As Halloween approaches, more and more seasonal merchandise gets rolled out into the stores on Buena Vista Street.








Don’t worry, Christmas still has a strong foothold as the major holiday.  See?  Ornaments.




Blue Sky Cellar

The Blue Sky Cellar received very minor updates recently to feature, of all things, the Starbucks on Main Street and the pool expansion at Aulani.



It’s fun to see these color and pattern boards. A neat look into the mind of Imagineering.




So the good news here is that the stove will return.  And the Party Line Telephones will remain.


Now, onto updates at the Aulani resort, which is getting more pools and fast food.









Both additions to the cellar are placed in the shadow boxes on either sides of the screening room.  Here’s to hoping that the board approves some major theme park investments soon so that we can have something interesting to look at.


The TSPP MicePod team discusses Carthay Circle Restaurant with Creative Director and Walt Disney Imagineer Ray Spencer. Also, Conversation with V.P. of The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Sarah Roots, and CCO of Thinkwell, Craig Hanna, on the hit attraction “The Making of Harry Potter” experience.

There you have it.  A look at Starbucks, another voice change for Mara and reader suggestions for the Halloween display at Disney Showcase.  Enough of us, let’s hear from you!

  • rowanofthestrata

    Regarding Indy, I’d like them to fix the wall of mirrors at the beginning of the ride: as you waited for your vehicle to embark, the mirrors would move in a way that you could see which of the 3 doors the vehicle in front of you took, showing that not every car takes the same path. Seems like that would be an easy fix.

    • Quentin

      The safety mirror, yes. I haven’t seen that work since my trip in 2011.

  • Lord Alfred

    While I understand the merchandise, I wish they’d wait until September to start putting up Halloween displays.

    As for the best Disney Showcase idea: # 5 Easy fix

    • Internitty

      Kinda like how in the stores here Easter merchandise is in the shops mid January with the Valentines merch.

  • WDWorldly

    Why couldn’t they just easily synchronize the new projection mapping effect with the old voice…. Another example of Disney getting overzealous with refurbishments and fixing things that aren’t broken (Matterhorn)

  • crmwed

    Well the new Mara voice is a great improvement over what it was, but still no where near as good as James Earl Jones.

    And the halloween merchandise is neat, as always, but why can’t we get more location-specific merchandise in general? It seems like they have made a generic set of merchandise that they sell at every single location in the park. I went to Knott’s this summer and one of the coolest thing was all of the location-specific merchandise they sell in areas like ghost town. You know like real cowboy and indian stuff, not just Duffy with a cowboy hat.

    • Your merchandise comments are spot-on. Merchandise is one of the last remaining disasters of the Pressler era. Maintenance, foods, and so much else has been restored. But, Training and Merchandise remain stuck firmly in the Pressler era to this very day in both Florida and California.

      • ScottOlsen

        Miss the old days when a certain Jack Olsen headed merchandise….

      • coffeecheryl

        I completely agree, if I want the stuff I can get in Florida, I’ll go there. I remember going to Disney with my sister just to eat fritters, drink coffee and xmas shop in New Orleans Square.
        I am not into generic… GoalieFamily misses running into you and Norm at the parks but Hockey calls…. On the previous question, I would have put a old, rundown picture of the Haunted Mansion behind that fence, but my computer skills lack the ability to show that…. Have a great Labor Day…

    • skubersky

      I keep seeing the claim lately that Mara’s voice was James Earl Jones, but the only source I can find of that is a single comment in 1995 Variety article with no citations. Does anyone have more definitive evidence that the JEJ credit is more than a legend perpetuated by Variety’s history of less-than reporting regarding theme parks?

  • eicarr

    For me, Indy is a classic Disney ride right up there with Pirates. This is the best upgrade since it opened! It’s so good I don’t mind the loss of the old iconic Mara voice.

    A cool 3D projection effect(ie stone wall falling apart) would be cooler than a smoking statue from Japan.

  • rstar

    Great update, as usual! Thank you for the hard work!

    I vote for #1 Hitchicking

  • jcruise86

    It’s not smart of Disney to lose the not-for-profit Court of Angels. Will the new Club 33 entrance be more conspicuous? That’s not what Walt wanted and slithers away from the illusion that every guest is a VIP.

    Thank you for the update!

    –Tom Sinsky

  • MrTour

    I am hoping with a future Disneyland expansion that they include the same level of details they created for New Orleans Square; and the same quiet areas. Remember, it’s supposed to be a “park”, and not a shopping mall.

    • jcruise86

      Right now, several Disney professionals are agonizing over the guests who are having a nice time without spending extra money in the scenic, less-crowded, shaded area under the Hungry Bear. Maybe make that a VIP area with an upcharge.

      • MrTour

        That’s really sad, and not the original intent of the “park”

  • notlemc

    Great update! You do mention some valid points about Indy. I do hope that after Big Thunder, they do make some improvements to the ride.

  • mpdb6

    Everyone, that’s the same voice as before the new effects. Compare the video with ones from before the enhancement and they are the same. So to say its not as good as the original is a little odd. It is a popular misconception that the previous voice was James Earl Jones but frankly, that is not true. Imagineers briefly considered Jones for the voice but were concerned that it would sound like “Darth Vader in the Temple”. This information came from a conversation with an Imagineer who was very involved in creating the attraction. It looks like the myth of James Earl Jones was started by an article about the attraction in Variety magazine.

    • You are incorrect. If you’ll listen to the old audio (regardless of if it is James Earl Jones or not), you can CLEARLY tell that the new voice is not the same as the original. Listen to the voice of the idol. The old voice was deep and booming, the new voice isn’t. And for all the world, the old voice did sound like Darth Vader to me. Take a listen:

      • Quentin

        It is the same recording, just been modified. Listen to the way he says curtain of time in this one and the original old one. The timing and articulation is exactly the same. It has been modified clearly as it’s not as deep as before, but the timing and how he articulates everything on all three “doors” is too identical to be a new recording.

  • mybelleprncess

    Thanks for the update, for the Disney showcase photoshop contest have to got with #1 Hitchhicking

    • BC_DisneyGeek

      #1 Hitchicking

  • poohmeg

    Love #1 Hitchicking (or Hitchhiking, but you did say to copy and paste. 🙂 )

  • ericmryan

    # 5 Easy fix

  • Peoplemover Priit

    Just fix Indiana Jones already. There are so many things wrong that it could use a long overhaul like Big Thunder and Matterhorn. *sigh*

  • DisneyanaFan

    Do we really need to see that tacky photoshop picture #4 on a fun web-site like MiceAge?

    • She was a Disney star for a long time. It’s fair game and a great example of a fallen star.

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    It’s hard to really tell from the video, but the new voice of Mara seems to be a bit monotone. It lacks a certain dramatic effect.

  • trebor13

    #5 Easy Fix

  • svonkco

    Easy Fix #5

  • Anaheimhomeboy

    Good update. And good call on the dart room. I hate the dart room. It is the cheapest looking part of the ride. It totally pulls you out of the illusion of the rest of the greatly themed ride. All they need to do here is make the walls look like stone carvings like in the movie where the suppose-ed blow darts would come out of.

    Do it Disney!

    • danielz6

      That is exactly what Tokyo Disney sea has in the dart room and it is much more convincing then the strange, painted walls.

  • Lighten up and allow yourself to have fun once in a while. Not everything in life is Disney. 😉

    • StevenW

      Even in a Disney window display? Ridiculous.

    • Dizzey

      Kudos to MC for even posting #4! Totally cracked me up in a “Wow is THAT out of context!” sort of way. Maybe not what one expects to see here, but I agree with Dusty. Relax, have some fun, then go back into “make believe” for the rest of the article.

  • DonaldBeckermann

    I vote for #1 Hitchhiking.

  • Spacepainter

    It is so easy to focus on the new changes to Mara, it has been a topic of debate since the new effects were introduced. However, for me, the larger issue is the closing of the Court of Angels; a beautiful and historic scenic area of the park. What a shame.

  • Gregg Condon

    I’ll still never understand why the Nightmare before CHRISTMAS has to run starting in September. I personally think the original mansion should be there until after Halloween.

    • churrocharlie

      Absolutely!!! 100% agree!

  • bayouguy

    A vote for #1.

  • chjalmarson

    I vote for #1…even though #4 really cracked me up!!

  • Chadanooga

    #1. Hitchhiking. Very clever next to Minnie on her broom…

  • Big D

    I vote for Starbucks! The NEW happiest place on earth! 😀

  • WJNM

    Hey guys – head’s up: All of your articles keep saying James Earl Jones, but it was never him. It’s Thurl Ravenscoft (“Tony the Tiger” fame). I thought it was JEJ too until I wrote in (back in the mid-90’s) to confirm this with Disney Corporate for an article I was writing at the time. Dave Smith of the Archives wrote back about it being Ravenscoft.

  • Demigod

    Great article this week. About the photoshop contest…says 8 favorite pics and only 6 are listed! 😉

  • mondo

    Can you remove the Miley pic. I think it is inappropriate.

  • Minnie Momma

    2, 4 and Starbucks made me LOL.

  • SeaSiren421

    #1 please 😀

  • Fukai

    If you’d seen the sculpted face which blows a massive smoke ring around your vehicle at Indy in Tokyo DisneySea, you wouldn’t call it “a smoking statue.”

  • micksgal

    #1 Hitchhiking

  • MagicFantasy

    Glad to see that the deeper Mara voice is back! 🙂 My vote goes for Hitchhiking!

  • william

    #1 Hitchhiking

  • DisneysMagic

    I will choose #1 Hitchhiking. It’s all spooky and Halloweenish (but then I guess #2 is spooky in its own way!)

  • levenese

    My vote is for #1 the hitchhikers, but the frankenpressler is hysterical.

    Keep up the good work! I love the park updates. 🙂

  • Chadanooga

    Gotta love the “Light Magic” button on Pressler’s jacket! I was working there during the summer of ’96 when they were hyping it up as the replacement for the MSEP. Such a shame it didn’t live up to its’ potential…

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    Disney may be a “kid-friendly” company, but MiceChat is not necessarily so, as it is a site ABOUT Disney, and is under no obligations to meet any similar standards.

    If someone doesn’t like that, they may wish to get their Disney news from the official blog and sources.

    • TacAlert

      I think what people are upset about is that if you posted something like that on the boards, you would get so much negative rep and your account would be frozen for awhile.

      It doesn’t bother me, I think the photo was funny. But for a site that criticizes other things, they may have dropped the ball on this one.

      Just my opinion.


    Golly people the voice is that of actor Tony Jay.

    Disney uses him all the time.

  • dazyhill

    My vote is for #2. We’re still dealing with that nightmare!

  • Badger

    Thanks for the update!

    My vote is for #1 Hitchhiking.

    Although I would vote for replacing a particular photo in the exit of Great Moments with Mr Lincoln with #4. It is brilliant!

  • danielz6

    Oh thank goodness they fixed the voice. It’s not the same as before but it sounds really good and way better the aweful one they had before. Court of angels is a real shame…hopefully guest complaints will change their minds about that.

  • DobbysCloset

    #1 Hitchhiking

    But I wish there’d been more choices…

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Thank you for another great update!

  • anmal2

    #1 Hitchhiking is the best by far.

  • wendyjean1313

    # 5 Easy fix

  • Marko50

    We used to take a picture of our daughter on the steps of the staircase in Court of Angels about once a year. Haven’t done it for a loooong time, but now she won’t be able to do it with her kids. Well, unless she becomes a Club 33 member.

    And I gotta vote for #1 Hitchhiking. At least until I see the rest of the 8 pictures.

  • Sifferz

    Safety Starbucks is pretty hilarious, even if I don’t mind the Starbucks additions because of their strong theming.

    Frankenpressler is easily the scariest, as his return would be the worst thing possible.

    But the hitchiking ghosts certainly looks the best.

  • MainSt1993

    Oh how I long for the days when holidays were contained to their time of year. Halloween up in August is beyond offensive. It has nothing to do with how much time it takes to set a new Plan-o-Gram (POG in industry speak), and here’s how I know. The grand tradition of Disneyland Grad Nights required a major reset of many Main Street shops, which happened several times a week. Stores would convert from regular to grad night to regular in the period of just a few hours. There’s no reason to have Halloween up so early other than for reasons that have nothing to do with show.

    The new new Mara voice still isn’t working for me. I’d actually put the previous one ahead of it. But I’m with you on other enhancements. From the moment you leave the big room (when you head through darkness to the rat scene), you’re in absolutely unthemed space. It’s awful, and far too often you can tell that you’re rolling though boxy rooms of drywall. It’s time to plus this grande dame and make her more complete!

  • Kevinsharris

    One more vote for #1 Hitchhiking. That is iconic Halloween to me.

  • UnderCvrDisneyGeek

    Thanks for The Season Pass Podcast!

  • laurainwonderland

    Out of competition entry – Safety Starbucks
    LOVE this one! That’s just too funny.