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
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
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 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

[center]Set Out on a “World’s Fair” Tour
with an Official Disney Ambassador

at Disneyland Park
September 16 – 20, 2013
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

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.

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MiceChat.com and Annual Passholder Discounts
Available Every Day!

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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]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.
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]

September 16 – 22, 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.

  • 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!

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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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