Disneyland kicked off its popular Halloween Time season with a bizarre and insanely busy Friday the 13th event that brought out villains, special dance parties, special food and huge crowds until 1 a.m. on Friday night. Meanwhile, the popular Halloween Time promotion brought back favorite seasonal offerings including Haunted Mansion Holiday, now in its 13th year, as well as a Halloween Carnival in Frontierland and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Work also continued on various refurbishments and construction projects around the Resort, including the new Starbucks Coffee locations on Main Street and Downtown Disney. We’ve got a big update today, so let’s get started!
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!|
|Haunting the Kingdom|
You can take a Halloween Time trip down Main Street aboard the Omnibus with our video from Saturday below:
The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree is once again host to a Halloween Carnival, which is surprisingly a nice little diversion. You could spend a good couple hours back here if you were to partake in the villains meet-and-greet, play the carnival games and watch a Billy Hill and the Haunted Hillbillies set.
If you don’t want to wait for the villains, Mickey and friends in their Halloween costumes walk around and meet with guests throughout the day in the area and waits to meet these characters are typically much shorter.
The holiday overlay that runs from Halloween through Christmas is celebrating its 13th anniversary with a garish “banner” on the front of the Mansion along with a couple new projection effects inside the attraction.
This managed to keep wait times down to about 45 minutes throughout the day on the very busy Friday the 13th and around 30 minutes on Saturday. If FASTPASS had been in use, standby wait times could have easily been double what they already were.
Inside, the stretching room has been fitted with new special effects that transform the ceiling of the stretch room with CGI projections, replacing the giant Jack Skellington head that used to be here. The ceiling is now a projected stained-glass roof that eventually shatters, revealing Jack Skellington in a CGI recreation of the rafters above the ceiling. Overall, the effect seems to be getting a positive response from guests, it’s just a shame the quality of the animation couldn’t be higher. The animation isn’t as bad as what’s being presented on stage at the Mickey and the Magical Map stage show, but it isn’t as high-quality as it probably should be.
Below, video of the new special effects including this year’s version of the ballroom gingerbread house.
|Limited Time Magic|
[center]Unleash the Villains on Friday the 13th
at Disneyland Park
Friday, September 13, 2013[/center]
On Friday, Disneyland celebrated Friday the 13th by keeping the park open until 1 a.m., offering two dance parties in the park, having Disney villains on hand to meet with fans and special food items. The “Party like a Villain” dance party set up in Town Square:
The whole scene in Town Square felt like a bizarro Candlelight Processional, with the DJ and dance floor taking over Main Street Station and the area immediately in front of it. Guests not on the dance floor crowded the streets in Town Square, trying to get a view of the festivities.
While the dance party in Town Square felt like a strange mix between Candlelight Processional and Grad Nite, the scene in New Orleans Square was completely insane. Huge crowds turned out for the two showings of Fantasmic and the typical heavy Fantasmic crowd flow turned into downright gridlock once the “Unleash the Villains” dance party got underway around 9:45 p.m.
The real weirdness of the New Orleans Square dance party was that someone at Disney pitched the idea to close the Disneyland Railroad and build a dance flooron top of the train tracks at New Orleans Square Station – and then they actually did it!
The entire event was crazy and weird and the crowd that managed to get into the “dance club” seemed to love it – and really, if for no other reason than the bizarre novelty of the whole thing, it was all amazingly entertaining.
I was luckily with a group of friends that helped make the event a really fun time. While I personally had a good time, I noticed a lot of talk on social media that many guests didn’t have as positive an experience. From the guest perspective, the entire Friday the 13th event came off as very poorly-planned on Disney’s part. Much like the One More Disney Day event in 2012, it seemed like Disney seriously underestimated the demand for the Friday the 13th event, which took place on the first day of the popular Halloween Time promotion and on a Friday with no Annual Passholder block-outs. Parking for guests arriving in the afternoon and evening, parking quickly became a nightmare. The Mickey and Friends Parking Structure filled up in the late afternoon, followed by Toy Story Parking Lot closing with guests eventually being forced to park at the Anaheim GardenWalk. For many guests in the park, the scenes in Town Square and New Orleans Square were complete chaos, with crowd control seemingly unable to maintain any control. On top of that, several of the special menu items available for the event were sold out by the early evening and guests wanting to buy the special event t-shirt waited up to two hours before the shirt eventually sold out completely.
Still, for all its problems, the Disneyland event still managed to go over much more smoothly than its Walt Disney World counterpart, which was held in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park. That event saw similarly huge crowds, ran out of parking for guests early in the day and sold out of all food around 9 p.m. While Disneyland added special menu items for the event, Walt Disney World reportedly decided it would be a better idea to have limited restaurants serving limited menus during the event, and everything sold out hours before the event was over. While you couldn’t get the advertised pumpkin beignets at Disneyland by 7 p.m., at least you could still get any one of the regular menu items at a number of restaurants throughout the park, throughout the evening. While it would do well for both Team Disney Anaheim and Team Disney Orlando to learn to take planning events like this seriously, kudos to TDA for not cutting corners and leaving guests hungry and thirsty like TDO decided to do.
Below, a video clip of the Friday the 13th insanity
[center]Disney California Adventure Park After-Hours Event
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland Park
September 19, 2013[/center]
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
- 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.
- It is recommended that all members of your party register together to help ensure that everyone receives an event wristband.
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 19, 2013
After regular park closing on these days (currently scheduled at 8:00 PM) until 11:00 PM.
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).
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.
[center]Set Out on a “World’s Fair” Tour
with an Official Disney Ambassador
at Disneyland Park
September 16 – 20, 2013[/center]
Disney held a drawing last week for a series of free one-hour tours at Disneyland that celebrate Walt Disney’s involvement at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Folks who won a spot on a tour will have already been notified.
Relish in the history of Disney Parks and Resorts, including the integral role the 1964-1965 World’s Fair played in many beloved experiences! As part of Limited Time Magic, you can follow official Disneyland Ambassadors on a tour of Disneyland Park. Created by Walt Disney in 1965, the Disney Ambassador Program has carried on a rich heritage of imaginative storytelling and goodwill service for Disney. Enjoy their stories‚Äîfrom Imagineering innovations to the legacy of the Program itself‚Äîand hear how Walt’s involvement at the World’s Fair inspired technology that still exists in attractions today! This one-hour tour takes place once daily and space is limited‚Äîregister at the Disney Parks Blog to see a new side of Disneyland Park!
Back in New Orleans Square, more details continue to emerge about the imminent Club 33 expansion project. Disney recently opened a preview center for Club members and confirmed that the Court of Angels will soon be closed to the public to become the new lobby for the expanded Club 33.
The folks at Inside the Magic have details on the Club 33 expansion. Among the changes is the unfortunate closure of the Court of Angels to the public, which will be walled off with “opaque glass panels” to keep the Court of Angels private for Club 33 members. The Club itself will expand its kitchen into what is now the Trophy Room dining space and a new lounge area themed to Tiana’s Place from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog will be built in the second floor space above the French Market. Below, a view down the main corridor in the current Club 33:
What’s been lost in all the fan concern over the Court of Angels closure is the major changes to historical features of Club 33 including the loss of the original Club 33 entrance/lobby and Walt Disney’s Trophy Room. A lot of Club 33’s allure comes from being able to step into the private club that Walt Disney oversaw the design of. With such major changes coming, much of this history is going to fade away and much of that appeal will be lost with it. So not only will space currently open to the average guest be lost, but a big part of the reason people spend thousands of dollars to be Club members will be dramatically changed. Has Disney fully thought out these plans in their haste to cash in here?
|Welcome to California Adventure|
In Hollywood Land, the Tower of Terror is advertised as a Halloween Time offering for the park, but the attraction once again doesn’t offer the Tower of Terror plaza-area decorations or ghost characters and storytelling that was present during the first year of Halloween Time. Also lost this year are the Halloween decorations from the hotel lobby. Some Halloween decorations are up in the exit gift shop.
The Big D23 Expo Geek-Out
If you haven’t had the chance to yet, don’t miss the latest MiceChat Podcast as hosts Doug Barnes and Dusty Sage discuss all the happenings from the recent D23 Expo. Find out what Disney did at the Expo that actually made Dusty cry! This show is for the Disney fan in all of you.
|This and That|
Back in Disneyland, we recently reported that Captain EO was going to close for a three month refurbishment that was rumored to be the permanent closure of the 3D Michael Jackson show. Turns out Disney changed its mind at the last minute and Captain EO will remain in place at least until early 2014.
|Weekly News & Information Round-Up|
|Weekly Theme Park Hours
September 16 – 22, 2013
|[B]Disneyland Park[/B]||[B]California Adventure[/B]|
10 am – 8 pm
9 am – 12 am
8 am – 11 pm
10 am – 8 pm
9 am – 10 pm
8 am – 10 pm
|[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]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]|
|[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]|
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
|Alright, that’s wraps up this week’s Dateline Disneyland. Did you attend the crazy Friday the 13th event? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments section below!
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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.|