Disneyland guests enjoyed light crowds as the park entered a short post-summer off-season last week. Various projects around Disneyland continue, including Starbucks nearing completion on Main Street, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad‘s refurbishment moving along and King Arthur Caroussel now closed until mid-October. Meanwhile, Halloween continues to creep in around the park, with Jack Skellington moving in at the Haunted Mansion and ghosts invading Space Mountain as the park prepares to kick off Halloween Time this Friday with a special Friday the 13th celebration that will keep Disneyland open until 1 a.m.

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!

Park guests last week enjoyed a short break in crowds with a brief off-season that will stretch through this week.

High temperatures, Southern California Annual Passport block-outs contributed to low off-season crowds Saturday afternoon.

Refurbishment Round-Up

On Main Street, the Market House gets its final touches before it reopens on September 25 as Disneyland’s new Starbucks Coffee location.

A new border in the traditional Starbucks green has been added to the Market House windows

Walls have gone up along the walkway between Frontierland and the Fantasy Faire for what appears to be a simple repaving project.

Over at the queue for Fantasy Faire’s Royal Hall, the unthemed safety railings that had recently been installed have now been obscured by shrubs.

Work continues along the rooftops of Fantasyland to build themed fall-safety protections that will satisfy Cal/OSHA.

Also in Fantasyland, the King Arthur Carrousel is now closed and behind tarps for a refurbishment that will stretch into October.

Back in Mickey’s Toon Town, Mickey’s House is now closed for refurbishment. Mickey will meet with guests elsewhere in Toon Town during the closure that will run until later this month.

In Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain’s extended refurbishment continues…

Creeping in…

Halloween Time continues to creep in around the park before the festivities officially kick off this Friday the 13th, including the return of favorites including Haunted Mansion Holiday, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, and Halloween enhancements for California Adventure’s Mad T Party.

In New Orleans Square, Jack Skellington is just about all moved in at the Haunted Mansion.

Unfortunately, signage is up indicating Disney will once again offer FASTPASS at Haunted Mansion Holiday this year.

Last year, Disney didn’t start using FASTPASS at Haunted Mansion Holiday until the end of October and standby wait times were far more manageable until FASTPASS returned.

It’s too bad to see FASTPASS return here. The service causes Haunted Mansion Holiday standby wait times to skyrocket, often contibuting to notable crowd control issues in the area.

In Frontierland, Big Thunder Ranch is closed to install its Halloween overlay.

The villains meet-and-greet tent is being built again and looks like it will be much bigger than last year – hopefully this time with an indoor, air-conditioned queue.

No goats for now

Elsewhere in Frontierland, Rancho del Zocalo has its Dia de los Muertos decorations up.

The restaurant’s menu has recently been updated as well, with new offerings like Pollo en Mole, Burrito Guadalajara and Carnitas Tacos.

Pollo en mole:

In Tomorrowland, Space Mountain will be closed until Friday to install its annual Ghost Galaxy overlay.

Signage advertising Mickey’s Halloween Party is now up above the main entrance turnstiles

Welcome to California Adventure

In California Adventure, no big news to report as the park rests a bit following its second successful summer after its relaunch in 2012.

Very manageable wait times Saturday afternoon

Limited Time Magic

[center]Celebrate Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
at Disney California Adventure
August 26 to September 2, 2013
For this week’s Limited Time Magic, Disney is repackaging a bunch of things it normally offers at Disney California Adventure and calling it an celebration for Oswald. Below is Disney’s blurb on the offering:

Come along for a moment 86 years in the making‚Äö√Ñ√Æon September 5, 1927, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit debuted in a short film titled “Trolley Troubles.” And to celebrate the anniversary, you’re invited to attend a Limited Time Magic party for all things Oswald at the Disneyland Resort! Hop on over to Clarabelle’s in Disney California Adventure Park for a delicious Oswald Ice Cream Sundae in a souvenir Red Car Trolley cup. Also, be sure to stop by Oswald’s or Elias & Co. on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park where you can find Oswald-inspired merchandise that will have you smiling from ear to ear, including artwork, vintage signs, Oswald Ear hats and more!

Last week Disney “celebrated” Oswald the Lucky Rabbit by highlighing the merchandise and an ice cream sundae that has been available for some time already in the parks. Not quite “limited time” or particularly “magical”…

There actually was a new Oswald’s t-shirt that hit shelves last week, but it wasn’t exclusive for the Limited Time Magic promotion.

At Clarabelle’s, and ice cream sundae that Cast Members had created some time ago but that hadn’t been officially added to the menu became the special offering for the week.

[center]Unleash the Villains on Friday the 13th
at Disneyland Park
Friday, September 13, 2013
Disneyland will stay open until 1 a.m. on Friday the 13th with 13 Disney villains meeting with fans around the park in the evening to celebrate. Below is the information Disney has released so far on the event.

Coming Friday, September 13, get ready to experience the most spine-tingling bit of Limited Time Magic yet at the Disneyland Resort! From 8:00 PM until 1:00 AM – a.k.a. the 13th hour‚Äö – the Disney Villains will be waiting for your arrival as they make their way to various areas of Disneyland Park. Come along for this devilishly delicious affair, on a night jam-packed with 13 dastardly Disney baddies and a host of fiendish festivities. It’s a one-time event you won’t soon forget, even if you try! And be on the lookout for further announcements and more details as the date of the event draws closer, only at Disney Parks!

Last week, Disney detailed some of the offerings coming to this Friday’s special event. In Town Square and New Orleans Square, villains and dance parties will scare up some fun in the evening:

  • Party Like a Villain Celebration in Town Square: Soak up a series of nefarious sights as a seething selection of the most infamous Disney Characters make a series of appearances.
  • Unleash the Villains Dance Party, near New Orleans Square Railroad Station: Scare up an unforgettable time as a spooky Station Master unleashes the evil evening in tandem with a collection of detestable Disney baddies, including the Evil Queen, Captain Hook, Dr. Facilier, Judge Frollo, Lady Tremaine and the Queen of Hearts.
  • Official Merchandise: Official “Unleash the Villains” tee, available while supplies last at the New Orleans Cart in Disneyland Park, as well as Tower Hotel Gifts in Disney California Adventure Park.

…the Friday the 13th event will also include some special food offerings in the park:

  • French Market: Fiery Meatloaf Sliders with Cajun House Chips and Grapes, Oreo Mousse Coffin Dessert and Haunted Mansion Holiday Souvenir Hot Mug
  • Caf√© Orleans: Pumpkin Beignets Served with Vanilla Cream Anglaise
  • Royal Street Verandah: Pumpkin Fritters with Apple Cider Caramel Custard Dipping Sauce, Pumpkin Latte, Haunted Mansion Holiday Souvenir Hot Mug and Spooky Kooky Gingerbread Cookie
  • Mint Julep Bar: Pumpkin Latte, Pumpkin Beignets, Haunted Mansion Holiday Souvenir Hot Mug and Spooky Kooky Gingerbread Cookie
  • Frozen Lemonade Cart: Spooky Kooky Gingerbread Cookie
  • New Orleans Square Popcorn Cart: Haunted Mansion Holiday Souvenir Popcorn Bucket
  • Harbour Galley: Spooky Kooky Gingerbread Cookie

Pumpkin beignets with vanilla creme anglaise at Cafe Orleans.

Spooky Kooky Gingerbread Cookies at Royal Street Verandah, New Orleans Square Popcorn Cart and Mint Julep Bar

Pumpkin fritters at Royal Street Verandah.

[center]Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Screening
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disney California Adventure Park
September 13, 2013

    Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Screening for Annual Passholders

    In celebration of the start of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, Passholders can join Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, as he discovers Christmas Town in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

    Date & Times
    Friday, September 13, 2013
    7:00 PM and 9:00 PM

    Event Details

      • Registration and wristband distribution for the event will begin at 12:00 PM (noon) on the day of the event at the Muppet*Vision 3D Theater in Disney California Adventure Park.
      • All participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passport to the event Cast Member to check event availability and to register and receive an event wristband. Photo ID may be required.
      • Registration must be completed in person at the Muppet*Vision 3D Theater on the day of the event only; no phone reservations or other registration will be accepted.
      • This is an all-ages event. However, all participating Guests ages 3 and older must be valid Annual Passholders on the day of the event. Children under 3 may attend the movie screening as long as there is space available and they receive an event wristband during the registration process.
      • It is recommended that all members of your party register together to help ensure that everyone receives an event wristband.
      • For assistance, you may contact the Annual Passport Member Services team at (714) 781-PASS (7277).

        More information

[center]Disney California Adventure Park After-Hours Event
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland Park
September 5 & 19, 2013
Passholders can enjoy an after-hours party at California Adventure on September 5 and 19th with select attractions, dining locations and more available.

    Disney California Adventure Park After-Hours Event for Annual Passholders

    At this Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic event, Passholders can experience select Disney California Adventure Park attractions, merchandise and dining locations for an additional 3 hours after regular Disney California Adventure Park closing.

    Thursday, September 5, 2013
    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    After regular park closing on these days (currently scheduled at 8:00 PM) until 11:00 PM.

    Special Gift
    In celebration of The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition releasing for the first time on Blu-ray Combo Pack and HD Digital on October 1, 2013, registered attendees can also get a special gift upon exiting the event (while supplies last).

    Event Details

      • Registration and wristband distribution for the event will begin at noon on the day of the event near Ticket Booth #4 in the Main Entrance Esplanade at the Disneyland Resort.
      • All participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passport to the event Cast Member to check event availability and to register and receive an event wristband. Photo ID may be required.
      • Registration must be completed in person near Ticket Booth #4 in the Main Entrance Esplanade on the day of the event only; no phone reservations or other registration will be accepted.
      • Registration and distribution of event wristbands will continue while event wristband supplies last.
      • This is an all-ages event. However, all participating Guests ages 3 and older must be valid Annual Passholders on the day of the event. Children under 3 may attend the event as long as there is space available and they receive an event wristband during the registration process.

      • It is recommended that all members of your party register together to help ensure that everyone receives an event wristband.
      • More information

The first of these two Limited Time Magic after-hours events took place last week and was a great opportunity for Passholders to enjoy some extra time in California Adventure with light crowds and many attractions, restaurants and shops open.

Disney kept the World of Color fountains running in Paradise Bay throughout the evening – a small, but nice touch.

This & That

In Downtown Disney, construction continues on the upcoming Starbucks location with the interior now gutted in preparation for the new cafe.

Note the missing windows and doors

Signage on construction walls announce the new Starbucks location

New Agents of Shield and Once Upon a Time ads have gone up on the back of California Adventure’s Stage 17, visible from the Harbor Blvd. transportation hub.

Glowing Away

Note: Last week’s Dateline Disneyland included the following section on the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square, a quiet corner of Disneyland that is soon expected to undergo major changes. We felt it was important to re-run this feature this week following MiceChat’s recently updated report on the Club 33 expansion. The major Club 33 expansion is now expected to begin later this month in the Court of Angels, with the rest of the Club following in January for a six-month refurbishment and expansion project. While there’s a lot of speculation and mixed information about the changes coming to Club 33 and the Court of Angels, we still feel it’s important to underscore the importance of areas like this to the greater Disneyland experience. Hopefully we’ll all still be able to enjoy the Court of Angels in the future. – Andy

In New Orleans Square, we told you last week about rumors surrounding the quiet Court of Angels. Current rumors suggest the courtyard will be closed to become Club 33’s new main lobby as part of a larger expansion for the private club.

In recent years Disney has tried to turn the courtyard, which is tucked away off New Orleans Square’s main path, into a revenue-generating space. During the holidays, the courtyard has been converted into a holiday ornament shop, and last year the Pirate’s League kid makeover experience set up shop in the space during Halloween Time.

Now, the space is expected to become part of Club 33’s expanded footprint, which will effectively (at least on paper) make the space a permanent revenue-generator. There’s nothing wrong with making Club 33 bigger to make more money, but it’s a different issue when the club – which has traditionally been out-of-sight and out-of-mind to the average guest – begins to take over space once open to all park guests and makes it space that only a privileged few can enjoy.

It’s true that right now information is largely unclear and unofficial. Disney has yet to make any official announcements on the issue and rumors have been conflicting and unclear. If Club 33’s entrance does relocate to Court of Angels, it would make sense for the space to be closed to the public so that the club can maintain the same sense of exclusivity for its members. It’s also worth mentioning that Disneyland’s hugely popular “A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour” takes guests into the Club 33 lobby and Disney uses that as a major selling point for the tour – if the new Club entrance was open to the public, Disney would lose a big selling point of one of its most popular tours.

While Disney’s financial interests in the Court of Angels is a major point in this discussion, the importance of the Court of Angels to the guest experience is equally important, if not more so. Disney photographer and blogger Tom Bricker over at Disney Tourist Blog summed up the issue quite well and I encourage you all to read his piece on the subject.

At the end of the day, it’s true that many guests probably won’t notice if Club 33 expansion closes the Court of Angels to the public. But even if that argument is true, that doesn’t mean it makes anything right. There’s a reason that Disney theme parks are built with these sorts of hidden corners, pathways and courtyards. As Tom discusses, these spaces are the “Disney details” that set Disney apart from the competition.

It’s spaces like the Court of Angels that allow guests to explore and discover; it’s these little corners of quiet discovery that make the entire Disneyland experience believable. Being able to take an unexpected turn around the corner from the main path into a hidden courtyard makes places like New Orleans Square feel real and lived in. Places like the Royal Courtyard (which was turned into an overflow Pirates of the Caribbean shop in 2006) and the Court of Angels are part of the reason why New Orleans Square feels so authentic and hits such a strong nerve with so many guests. So, while Disney may see the empty space in the parks as opportunities for increased profits, they’d do well to take a moment to consider why the original park designers included these spaces. There’s immense value in these spaces that Christmas ornaments, Pirates of the Caribbean t-shirts, or Club 33 membership dues can never recoup. These spaces are a large part of the magic that Disney endlessly touts in its marketing but so often fails to understand and respect.

The Court of Angels is the last of New Orleans Square’s wonderful hideaways and even if fan outcry does nothing, I think it’s important that Disney hear what its paying customers think about decisions like this. In 2006 The small Royal Courtyard between the Port Royal and Pieces of Eight gift shops slipped away and became overflow retail space. In 2008 the invaluable original Disney Gallery became the lavish, but now-often unoccupied, Disneyland Dream Suite and nobody but Disney benefited. Hopefully the Court of Angels rumors end up being false or plans are changed – but if it does go away, then if nothing else, hopefully Disney will notice the fan outcry and perhaps start to notice that we aren’t always just complaining to complain and that some things are worth saving.

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
September 9 – 15, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
10am – 7pm
9am – 5pm
9am – 1am
9am – 12am
8am – 11pm
10am – 8pm
9am – 10pm
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]Market House:[/b] Closed for conversion and expansion for new Starbucks location. Opens September 2013.
  • [b]Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:[/b] Closed for extensive refurbishment through February 2014.
  • [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 and November 1-7 for holiday overlay installation.
  • [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 September 9-12.
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed September 9-12 for Ghost Galaxy overlay installation.
  • [B]Captain EO Tribute:[/B] Scheduled to close September 11-November 20, but postponed indefinitely.
  • [B]Sailing Ship Columbia:[/B] Closed September 17-19 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Mad Tea Party:[/B] Closed October 14-24 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Storybook Land Canal Boats:[/B] Closed October 14-24 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Casey Jr. Circus Train:[/B] Closed October 14-24 for refurbishment.
  • [B]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed October 27-November 7 to install holiday overlay.
  • [B]Dumbo the Flying Elephant:[/B] Closed October 28-November 11 for refurbishment.
  • [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]Flik’s Flyers:[/B] Closed October 27-November 14 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.
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]

September 9 – 15, 2013


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 — levels will fluctuate from open to close.

  • The beginning of the week starts slow, with plenty of refurbs and prep for Halloween Time.
  • Halloween Time – well, the Disneyland version, at least – starts on Friday. Disneyland will be open until The 13th Hour, and we expect decent crowds in the evening for the “Unleash the Villians” event… but the rest of the day looks like there will be plenty of space to meet your favorite villian.

Are you already a Mouseaddict? Your wait time submissions have already helped us with these projections. Thank you! Keep those submissions coming!

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]
  • Our friends at MouseInfo reported last week that Disney has acquired a parcel of land that it will convert into a new Cast Member parking lot, opening in 2015.
Alright, that’s all for this week’s Dateline Disneyland. Are you ready for Halloween Time to kick off? Will you be attending this weekend’s Friday the 13th Limited Time Magic event? 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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