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!

Halloween Time is now underway at Disneyland, with the oversized Fab 5 jack-o-lanterns above the main entrance turnstiles.

A look at park wait times Saturday afternoon.

Haunting the Kingdom

Halloween Time officially started on Friday, bringing back many of the offerings from years past.

Main Street is decked out with orange bunting and lined with jack-o-lanterns – including the giant Mickey pumpkin in Town Square.

You can take a Halloween Time trip down Main Street aboard the Omnibus with our video from Saturday below:

Many pumpkins correspond to the shops they’re located at.

The Central Plaza has character pumpkins corresponding to each land around the Partners statue.

In Frontierland, the Ray Bradbury Halloween Tree has returned

…along with the Dia de los Muertos display in Zocalo Park

Back in Big Thunder Ranch, the Scaredy Crow Shack has returned…

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.

Carnival Treats are available at an outdoor vending cart:

Games of Fun!

Free crafts for kids

The villains tent is back and draws long waits. It was consistently 45-60 minutes throughout Friday and Saturday afternoons.

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 popular pumpkin carvers are back at work for the season.

New to this location this year is the Pirates League, which was located in New Orleans Square’s Court of Angels last Halloween.

The implementation here is smaller and a better fit with the Halloween Carnival setting.

Of course, a merchandise cart is available for Halloween merchandise, pirate gear and other items.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies will perform their Halloween show back here throughout the season

Over in New Orleans Square, Haunted Mansion Holiday has returned.

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.

Thankfully, Disney has decided to not offer FASTPASS at the attraction and removed all FASTPASS signage before the ride opened to the public on Friday.

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.

In the Hallway to Limbo, the changing portraits for Haunted Mansion Holiday now have a subtle addition: Zero, Jack’s ghost dog, flying through the portraits.

Below, video of the new special effects including this year’s version of the ballroom gingerbread house.

In Tomorrowland, Space Mountain’s Ghost Galaxy is back with no significant changes this year.

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 event brought huge crowds to the park. With dance parties, fireworks and two showings of Fantasmic, the crowds brought Town Square and New Orleans Square to a slow crawl for much of the night.

Long lines formed for the villains meet-in-greet in Town Square at two photo-ops near the flag pole.

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.

Friday the 13th weirdness: a DJ in ghostly makeup and a train conductor costume spun tunes at the New Orleans Square Station dance club. I don’t know if I’d believe it if I hadn’t seen it.

Disneyland Railroad trains were parked on either side of the dance floor, lit with spooky light

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

    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.

    Dates
    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Times
    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

[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!

Refurbishment Round-Up

Back on Main Street, the Market House expansion is nearing its completion.

Walls have come down, revealing the new door that was added.

Fall safety work is being done on the Star Tours building behind the Plaza Inn.

At the end of Main Street, walls are still up along the Royal Theatre at Fantasy Faire.

Tarps and scaffolding are up at Snow White Grotto for refurbishment.

Meanwhile, work continues on the new fall safety additions along the Fantasyland rooftops.

The King Arthur Carousel refurbishment continues

New signage detailing the Carrousel history on the refurbishment walls

In Adventureland, walls are up along the side of the Enchanted Tiki Room

And over in Frontierland, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad project continues

Members Only

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.

On Saturday, the CAST MEMBERS ONLY sign usually placed at the top of the stairs was moved further down.

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?

The main Club 33 dining room will remain largely the same. Below, a table in the current dining room.

The project is expected to bring new china and glassware to the Club.

…as well as a reworked menu. Below, the lamb and chicken entrees currently on the menu.

On the right, the current Club 33 bar.

Welcome to California Adventure

In California Adventure, Halloween Time largely leaves the park untouched. No pumpkins or orange bunting on Buena Vista Street.

A look at wait times on Saturday afternoon. (click for larger view)

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.

Back at the Mad T Party, the nighttime dance party has a special Halloween Time overlay including a changed setlist for the band. We’ll have more on this next week.

On Paradise Pier, Duffy is meeting with guests in his Halloween costume but the Duffy’s Pumpkin Patch overlay for his meet-and-greet wasn’t brought out this year.

MiceChat Podcast
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.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

This and That

In Downtown Disney, Starbucks construction continues.

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.


Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the

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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
September 16 – 22, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Mon.-Thurs.:
10 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sat.:
9 am – 12 am
Sunday:
8 am – 11 pm
Mon.-Thurs.:
10 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sat.:
9 am – 10 pm
Sunday:
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]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]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]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]Toy Story Midway Mania!:[/b] Closed September 16-19 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Disney Animation:[/B] Partially closed September 30-November 12 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]

September 16 – 22, 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 — levels will fluctuate from open to close.

  • Halloween Time is here, and with it the end of the all-too-short off season. However, we don’t expect major crowds to materialize until closer to October.
  • Thursday night features Annual Passholder exclusive hours at California Adventure, but we don’t think this will have an effect on the average crowd level for the day.

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 friend Foxxy at Passport to Dreams wrote a great, thought-provoking post about living close to Disneyland from a Walt Disney World local’s perspective.
  • The first trailer for the Sundance hit “Escape from Tomorrow” gives a disturbing, surreal look at Disneyland, Walt Disney World
  • The Hollywood Reporter is saying that the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film has now been pushed back following the aftermath of the “Lone Ranger” flop.
  • The upcoming “World of Color: Winter Dreams” show at Disney California Adventure will include new custom animation for the holiday-themed show.
  • Our friends at MouseInfo are reporting on new holiday offerings including a new “Fiesta Navidad” offering coming to Disney California Adventure this holiday season.
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!

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]

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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.
  • whamo

    I love the character pumpkins, and Halloween Time looks better than ever this year. I’m frothing to get back to the park.

  • Tinkbelle

    Great update as always, Andy!

    I wonder why the felt the need to move the sign down lower in the COA. We were looking forward to having our picture taken there this coming weekend and I hope we can avoid getting that sign in it. Speaking of this weekend and Club 33, we are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary on Sunday and if there are any lovely members that would be willing to sponsor us, we’d be so thrilled.

    I’m glad to see that addictometer is expecting low crowds this week. With how wildly popular the kick off party appears to have been, that is a relief. I’m surprised at how much is behind tarps/walls right now.

  • eicarr

    Glad that pirate thing doesn’t clutter the court of angels, sad though they’re removing the courtyard from the park. I guess DL wasn’t crowded enough. At least they aren’t putting in a timeshare there.

  • DZNY LVR

    Not only is Court of Angels going away but the Club 33 is also taking over the Christmas ornament store that is right thereIn regards to Friday the 13th it was HORRIBLE!!! My husband & I waited an hour and a half for Haunted Mansion at around 9:00. It was way tooooo crowded in specific areas to where you couldnt walk it was worse that New Years Eve in those spots. When we got there we were rerouted to Toy Story & Friends and it was early afternoon. When I drove past there were several floors that we could see from the ramp that were completely empty of cars. When we went to get home we had to stand in a line to get to the bus that took over 45 minutes. We were unable to get any special food or merchandise.

    • Country Bear

      Hmmmm. This sounds familiar. It sounds like a Disney World Manager was in control. Oh Wait! A Disney World Manager is in control!

  • No more Court of Angels? This sucks.

    • Haven

      Yes, the angels are weeping. Me too.

      • Marko50

        Don’t suppose complaining would do any good? Yes, I know, one more line to stand in.

  • stitch1085

    Greetings friends! So I attended the Friday the 13th event, I was so excited to meet Disney villains and check out the parties. We arrived to the Anaheim area around 7:30 PM exiting the usual Disneyland Drive exit…BIG MISTAKE! Just to get off that God forsaken off ramp took well over an hour. When we finally reached Mickey and Friends it was full and so we were directed to Toy Story. When we finally got to Toy Story (another 30 – 40 minutes in traffic), a manager (I am assuming she was a manager since she was not wearing a traditional uniform and was dressed business casual) informed us that the Toy Story lot was now closed and we would need to park in Mickey and Friends. Immediately I told her we had just come from there and it was closed and asked her “Did your team not plan for this and why is there ZERO signage, police, or cast members present directing traffic?!” We ended up driving in to Toy Story and just as we were about to turn around a regular CM asked us if we wanted to just look and see if there were spots available. My friend said “Let’s just do that!” So we did and wouldn’t you know it, there were at least 60 available spaces! We parked and decided to walk from Toy Story to Disneyland (the shuttle bus line was HORRENDOUS!) When we got into the park, of course, Main Street was a total mess (mind you this was just after fireworks had ended, that’s right folks it took us almost 2 1/2 hours to get into Disneyland!) We headed over to New Orleans Square because this is where the villains were. What we came upon was a stage with a DJ and a crowd of people taking photos of villains on platforms while we waited in line the DJ decided to play what seemed like the entire musical score to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When we finally got onto the temporary platform built over the train tracks we saw Shan Yu, Frollo, the wicked Stepsisters and Captain Hook on the platforms dancing to songs like Ke$ha’s “Blow” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” they were no meet and greets except for the two spots in Town Square that we passed over due to the HUGE line and crowd surrounding it. I immediately thought to myself “what the hell is going on here?!” We ended up just riding Mansion and Space and left. It was a complete waste of time and poorly planned. I don’t understand the constant need for Disney to try and seem relevant by having these “clubs.” I don’t go to Disneyland to dance (and from the looks of those in the “dance party” many of them didn’t either, they wanted to meet the villains and take photos of them!) Seeing classic characters dance around to lyrics like “Cuz you’re a good girl, I know you want, I know you want it,” just was pathetic in my opinion. They should’ve just had the villains on rotation set up over at Big Thunder Ranch (like Long Lost Friends week) for meet and greets and set a DJ up on that stage, so there would’ve been more room and an actual location to meet with villains that aren’t usually in the park. Anyway sorry this post was so long. But my experience was NIGHTMARISH (what did I expect, right?, it was Friday the 13th) compared to Andy’s and thought I would rant about it.

  • dfan07

    “Has Disney fully thought out these plans in their haste to cash in here?”

    I’m sure Disney has a DVC-esque marketing strategy waiting in the wings.

  • KENfromOC

    RE Club 33 update: As far as the changes that will come, you can’t hang on to the past! With all the ADA and state requirements now (compared to 1967) Club 33 just doesn’t work. Yes certain historical areas will either change or be removed, but that was bound to happen. Although the last time I was in there was about 12 years ago, as nice as it was, even then it looked “tired”.
    I completely agree that the Court of Angels should be left opened to the public as they could still create a private and elegant entrance to Club 33 within that space as well. Maybe enough protest will change their minds.

  • Wendygirl

    I had been so looking forward to this villains event and was so disappointed. I got to the Park early afternoon and had no problems with parking and getting into the Park. Getting back to Toy Story? That was a whole other story and so we just walked. By doing that I could see why there were no buses picking people up – they were stuck in traffic. And I could also see which way not to go to get out of the area! Main Street was a mess and there were no “lines” to see the villains – just a mob. New Orleans Train Station – seriously? Unless you somehow managed to get up there (and I still don’t know how people did that), you could not see anything, only hear the awful music. I really should know better by now about these types of events and just stay away.

  • StevenW

    You said “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?”

    Disney can only “Cash In” if you’re wrong. They must know what they are doing if they’re willing to invest in the future. The original plan to change the membership by increasing fees didn’t disintegrate the Club. It is apparent that things are looking better (subjective, certainly).

  • tystock

    while many guests may not appreciate offerings in the quiet nooks of the park like Court of Angles, i took my daughter to pirates league in the space last year and it was an amazing experience. needless to say, if it was in the carnival area it would be nearly as intimate an experience and definitely not worth the level of money you shell out for it. So count me as one that’s disappointed that the court is losing general public access and disney’s decision to cheapen the pirates league to a face paint station at the carnival.

    • tystock

      Sorry, Court of Angels.

  • churrocharlie

    I am a die hard Disney fan, just like the rest of you on this site I love the place for a million reasons. Having just experienced the 5pm closure on Thursday and then the mess on Friday the 13th has made it impossible to ignore the Decline and Fall of Disneyland.
    I have been to Disneyland three times in the last year and each visit has been a little less magical and the last was down right terrible. Yes there are small pockets of magic tucked away if you look hard for them; the baby care center on Main Street for a nursing mom, a free, unique, birthday cupcake at the Holly Jolly and the total beauty of Radiator Springs Racers and the cute Cozy Cones. But I am an out of towner, out of state even. I pay a lot to come and I plan a long way out to try to avoid crowds. Friday the 13th meant, sold out and jam packed. The ride times were ridiculous, the walk ways impassible and all the special merch. was gone way too early. I don’t come to Disneyland for a Rave? I come for nostalgia and to enjoy the details and magic but that stuff is going, going, almost gone. I feel like I’m grieving the death of a very old, very close friend.

    • Dizzey

      Well said, Churrocharlie. Disneyland needs to change to survive – I get that. How satisfied would we all be if we shelled out the current day ticket price to get bit by pack mules, suffer the ill-fated flying saucers, and stroll the barren landscape of the original park? However, some of the “changes” we are suffering aren’t merely to keep the place modern… they are to provide a better experience for the few at the expense of the many. A microcosm of our increasingly classist society, if I may use a bit of hyperbole. Take the Disney Gallery. A nice, quiet enclave in the past where we could see awesome original artwork, pieces created for films, etc., and a place that had that sense of awe, if you knew the history of “Walts VIP apartment.” It was fun to inform friends of that history, if it was their first time inside. Now it’s a Dream Suite that, statistically, NONE of us will ever experience. A very few highly-placed people will. Not you or me.

      We have taken family pictures in the Court of Angels every year as our children grew up. When we look through our old photos we can mark the growth of the kids, the disappearance of some family members and the arrival of new ones on those steps. No doubt there are many other families that can say the same. That tradition ends next year, except for a few, highly-placed or connected people.

      Things change, that’s a given. But sometimes it sure feels good to have a few touchstones that we can rely on, get comfort from, and perhaps use to capture, just for a moment, a simpler or nostalgic time. For me, one of these touchstones will soon be lost. The death of an old friend, indeed.

    • Westsider

      churrocharlie, if you are bugged by the 5pm weekday closure of Disneyland (while DCA stayed open until 8PM with a World of Color), and then the crazy AP event on Friday night to kick off HalloweenTime with Disneyland open until 1AM, then you would have absolutely HATED the place back in the 1960’s when Walt was running the joint.

      If this was 1965 instead of 2013, Disneyland would be closed entirely Monday/Tuesday, and open 10AM to 6PM Wednesday/Thursday, with only a blacktop parking lot where Cars Land now is to welcome you to the real world when they kicked you out at 6PM. On Friday’s in the off season Disneyland also closed at 6PM, but then reopened at 7PM for private corporate parties nearly every Friday night in Fall and Winter. Talk to the old-timers and you will hear about The Gas Company, McDonnell Douglas, General Dynamics, Nabisco, Ford, GM, Ralphs, and on and on in a list a mile long of big successful companies who threw annual employee private parties at Disneyland on Friday nights. Corporate America rented out the whole park on Friday evenings, and Walt loved it and made big bucks off of it.

      To this day, part-time employees still have a union contract based on that well established practice of mandatorily working “private parties and Friday nights after 6PM”, even though it died out in the 1990’s when companies cut out employee events.

      If you were a tourist in 1965 on a September Friday evening, you would have to go sit in the Denny’s on Harbor Blvd. for a fun “night out” in Anaheim. The reality of the 2010’s, with two lavish theme parks operating nearly continually is a huge change from the 1950’s-80’s when Disneyland was closed more than it was open in slow months like September.

    • Marko50

      The Decline of Disneyland? Maybe. Subjective. The Fall? Hardly. It’ll be a long time before that happens. Also subjective but I don’t see them about to close the gates.

  • sfjgarcia

    I was there for Friday the 13th and it was a hot mess. Luckily I was in the park earlier and enjoyed many of the Halloween decorations, rides and treats. As soon 5 pm hit the crowds was insane. The line for the limited t-shirt, meet and greet with villains and dance party section was poorly organized. Getting in and out of the park was a nightmare. Given most of the activities were held near the entrance it created a bottleneck for those entering and exiting the park. I tried to get through the large crowds to see the villains and party area but it was so hard I left by 10 pm.

  • JulieMouse

    Great update as usual!! The Friday the 13th party was (almost) exactly as I expected. I had hoped to be able to be there by 4pm to beat the major crowds, but made it at 5pm, luckily, I decided to go to Toy Story from Chapman, instead of Katella, which was less congested. It was disappointing that I just missed the Pumpkin Beignets, especially since I got there at 6pm and my friends were able to get them at 5pm!! Yes, NOS was insanely crowded between Haunted Mansion Holiday, 2 showings of Fantasmic, Fireworks, and the 9:45pm Dance Party on the NOS Train Tracks!

    It probably should have been planned better, but my group made it through the congestion and enjoyed HMH, managing to get in line exactly as the first F! was ending. We waited almost an hour, all the while agreeing that we could just come there Saturday morning and wait 10 minutes! When we got out, it was almost 10pm and the Dance Party was just starting, so we got in line for that and ended up spending about 30 minutes in line and about 90 minutes dancing/watching the characters dance on the plexiglass light-up disco dance floor over the train tracks! It was fun, mainly for the experience of dancing on a disco floor on the train tracks and for watching these characters dance to things like “Kung Fu Fighting” and “This is How We Do It” and “Blow” and “Roar”!! We were getting back on the Toy Story Bus at about 1:45am and were happy with the night, but that was mostly because we knew exactly what we were getting into when we went in, and we just went with the flow!

  • grrandram

    I was there Friday for the Villains event. It was an unorganized mess of people at the Villains meet and greet at the Town Square. What would make someone think that setting up a night club at the entrance of the park a good idea? Awful. I wish people and their damn strollers would leave early. I don’t know why anybody would bring a child who cannot walk to Disneyland.

    • MonteJ

      Really? … you can’t imagine why anyone would bring a child in stroller to Disney? I’m the parent of a special needs child who couldn’t walk through Disney on his own power. There is no excuse for inconsiderate parents who use a stroller as a weapon against the crowds, but …. please… remember that there are also thoughtful parents who are just trying to bring some happiness into there child’s life.

    • Marko50

      Cannot walk? That’s not the only reason to put a child in a stroller. Did you ever think how small a child’s legs are to a grownups? Walking the same distance is not comparable. It’s actually *advised* that you use a stroller for a child even if they’re old enough to walk, up to several years beyond them learning.

      Sometimes it helps to think things through before you speak. 😉

      • grrandram

        I don’t care. There are still way too many strollers.

  • TodAZ1

    On another topic, I thought the new HMH stretchinig room effects were pretty cool! 🙂

  • grrandram

    I really HATE HATE HATE all those stupid railings going up all over the place. They ruin the look of the entire place. Especially on Sleeping Beauty Castle. There’s a special place reserved in hell for the jackass who decided that Disney needs to put those railings everywhere. A very special place. For those people who say “safety first”, they can join him.

  • MagicMike

    I attended the “Unleash The Villains” event at Hollywood Studios. While the park may have ran out of some food items I know Farfax Fair served its typical menu selection well past 9:00pm (because I ate there). Sold out of “all” food around 9 p.m might be a slight overstatement.

  • Malificent2000

    Sounds to me they should have blocked out all annual passes for Friday’s event. That would have deterred many of the locals that fill up the park for these types of events.

  • Stanley

    Is there anything we can do about the Court of Angels?? Its one of my favorite places. I hate to see it go to the privileged few – but also hate that its taking away a detailed, thematic part of New Orleans Square. Anyone want to sneak in picket signs? Make the news. What about a Change.org page, Facebook, Instagram account letting the public know what major change they will shortly see if nothing is done???

    • The Lost Boy

      I couldn’t encourage an in-Park demonstration more. Not only would it give those who see the need the opportunity to make their point, but more importantly it would give the guest gene pool a good cleaning.

      • Larry Parker

        You can email your concerns to Disneyland at their website at: http://www.disney.go.com/Mail/Disneyland/mailForm.html

      • The Lost Boy

        Storming the Bastille demonstrates a much higher level of commitment than sending a mere e-mail. I’m sure that not unlike The Haunted Mansion, the Park’s security facial recognition database “always has room for one more…”

  • wdwfan22

    Once again Miceage doesn’t have a clue of what occurs in Florida. Disney Hollywood Studios did not sell out of food on Friday the 13th or merchandise for that matter. All limited offerings were even available on Saturday the 14th as well. You really should check your facts before posting, because it really makes us Floridians question your California updates as well.

    • tenchikiss

      At Villains in Vogue they ran out of the T-shirt, the Ursula ears, and Maleficent ears. I could not find WHERE the popcorn bucket had been sold when when I asked the manger at Villains at Vogue he said it was sold out too. Hours before most of the horde was let in the park. Now the ears and popcorn bucket I did find at the Magic Kingdom the next day. So perhaps it was restocked at Hollywood Studios on Saturday as well but at the party Friday night all that stuff was sold out. Several quick service restaurants were reopened after management realized how AWFUL things were. And because you know…there was hardly anyone staffing the park. But they had been closed earlier in the night thus limiting where people could get food. While I was in line several people were told “sorry we are out of that, sorry we are out of this”. So I am sure at the end of the night the food choices were very scarce if you wanted real food and not sugary cookies and treats.

      If anything Miceage didn’t go far enough to talk about how awful things really were in Florida.

    • WhaleOfATale

      Actually the food at Hollywood Studios was sold out very early in the evening – people couldn’t even get water. The merchandise was available the next day, and they restocked food as well (imagine!), but there was no food to be had in the park on Friday evening. “Check your facts.”

  • MrOCT31

    Hum, sounds like it was a good thing I went to the park yesterday and not Friday! Yesterday, while it was hot, there was a lot less people in the park then I expected and was very easy to walk around with a lot of wide open space. The longest wait we had was at the conjure a villain tent, but the wicked queen we got to see was excellent! Loved the update to the HMH as well. As for the rest of what’s going on, who’s surprised anymore by anything WDW err.. Disneyland does? Was disappointed at the lack of Halloween over in DCA however.

  • Rongo

    Regarding Club 33: I think we are rapidly approaching a tipping point. People who spent big bucks to be a part of a club that Walt designed, vs. people who pay big bucks to have an exclusive experience. I have always yearned to be a member of Club 33, but you know what? With the opening of 1901 and the expansion of 33, it doesn’t seem special or connected to Walt any longer. It just seems like yet another way that DLR is creating different classes of guests. Which, frankly, also seems un-Waltlike.

  • Haven

    Looks like Court of Angels is going the way of Knott’s Church of the Reflections, Our Little Chapel by the Lake, the California Missions dioramas, basically all the charming elements of the parks of yesteryear that don’t generate direct revenue. I say, lets keep the Theme’s in theme parks!!

  • Larry Parker

    To voice complaints re: Court of Angels closing, Disneyland has an email access: http://www.disney.go.com/Mail/Disneyland/mailForm.html

  • scarymouse

    Great job guys, This is my favorite time of year. I really like the omnibus view and all the offerings at Disneyland for this Halloween season . Very disappointing about the lack of festiveness at DCA ……very upsetting. Very puzzling , is there going to be any decor or what? Duffy in a pumpkin outfit and some stuff in the tower’s gift shop…..What? Its not like Disney to miss out on a chance for more profit. With the response for the Friday the 13th , I am shocked… Would have thought they would be doing something to stay in the spirit of the season….bummer listening to the podcast now …keep up the good work guys!

    • grrandram

      Spirit of what season? Summer barely ended. It’s not even Halloween yet. Although you couldn’t tell at the park. It felt like October already. I’m not big on clutter or lots of decorations, so it didn’t bother me that DCA was regular.

      • MrOCT31

        I would think most consider mid-Sept. thru Oct. 31st to be the “season.” You don’t wait for just the day to enjoy most annual events especially Halloween! Just like all of Dec. into Jan. is the Xmas season, we’re entering/entered the Halloween season.

  • grrandram

    RE: railings

    I’m really upset about those railings being put up all over the Fantasyland village, Alice in Wonderland, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Casey Jr. Train, etc. The park now needs to fall under some sort of protection for works of art. The castle and the village are more than standard buildings. These structures are actual art. You don’t go messing with another person’s art. Cal OSHA doesn’t have jurisdiction over art. So if their book calls for railings to be installed where they have never been for over 50 years, that’s too bad. That rope railing they put on the Matterhorn ruins the illusion of the forced perspective. Whoever put those railings on the castle should be given the Old Yeller treatment. Alice in Wonderland was ruined. Part of the charm and magic of that particular ride is riding down the leaves at the end. Just leaves. No railings. I don’t know if ever there was an incident on Alice. How could there be? That ride is so slow and tame. But if parents mind their kids the way they’re supposed to, then there shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve heard of other incidents in the park, but come on. Over 50 years this ride has been there and nothing has happened. Some yokel with a bug up his arse that works for Cal OSHA decides to alter the art? No Buddy. Get the _______ out of here.

  • WhaleOfATale

    Andy,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thorough post. I enjoyed seeing the updates for Halloween Time and I really look forward to seeing the decorations in person!

    I also wanted to let you know that your points about Club 33 and the Court of Angels make great sense, and we can only hope that those in charge of this travesty will see the light.