It’s Halloweentime at the Disneyland resort and the season is just about ready to kick into high gear.  The first Mickey’s Halloween Party will stroll into Disneyland park a week from today (on September 27th) and the new Starbucks location on Main Street will be opened on September 25, just in time to serve up Pumpkin Spice Lattes to all the revelers.  In the meantime, the Fantasyland railing work continues and King Arthur Carousel is down for several weeks of TLC.  Over in Disney California Adventure we go searching for signs of HalloweenTime and share our thoughts on the sweeping changes to the disabled access programs that broke in the MiceAge update on Tuesday.

Ahhhh, the autumn air breezes through the harvest style bunting on Main Street U.S.A and a world class theme park prepares to hold its annual Mickey’s Halloween Party, starting September 27th.

A LITTLE MUSIC TO GET YOU IN THE MOOD

MiceChat has partnered with the phenomenal Window to the Magic podcast on our MicePod network to bring you the sounds of the parks. Today, we’ve got a special recording in the park of the Main Street music loop. Hit play below and enjoy the sounds of Disneyland while reading this update. And for a special treat, put on some headphones, it’s simply amazing what you’ll hear on this high fidelity recording.

Direct Download

A Peek Inside Starbucks

This week we chanced by the new Starbucks location, set to officially open on September 25th. and found a large hole in the window covering.  So, we looked inside. Wouldn’t you?

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The store is on track and seems just about ready to open.  The menu boards do not appear to have been installed yet.  But notice there are already cast members in full costume being trained behind the counter.    Also, notice the coolers.  There are fresh, perishable goods, ready to be sold in the cold cases.  How long a shelf life can a yogurt parfait have?  Not long.  Which means we could see this location open sooner than expected . . . perhaps for cast member testing or limited soft openings.

HalloweenTime

Let’s take a moment to enjoy Halloween Time at Disneyland Park.  The bright, dazzling tones of orange, red, and yellow throughout are so much fun, as are the additions of the themed overlays of Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. And don’t forget the ADORABLE Halloween Carnival in Big Thunder Ranch. For Family Halloween fun, you really can’t beat Disneyland at this time of year.  You might pay dearly for it, but it is the best.

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Celosia in Town Square.

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Pumpkins dot the balconies along Main Street.

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The hub with pumpkins representing every land in the park.

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The stunning floral displays at the Dia De Los Muertos plaza in Frontierland are often overshadowed by the colorful display.
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The Dapper Dans in their black and orange best.

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Haunted Mansion Holiday in the 13th year is better than ever.

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Holiday antenna toppers for those that still have antenna.
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Ghost Galaxy returns and provides an extra kick to the classic attraction

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Fantasyland Rooftops

Fantasyland continues with the safety railing enhancement project on the rooftops.  What has been revealed so far actually looks pretty good. If they have to install railings, this is the way to do it.

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The castle-like walls keep workers (who presumably can’t be trusted as the workers of the past 60 years could) from falling off the rooftops. But at least the new walls/railings don’t look too bad here.

 King Arthur Carousel

The refurbishment of the King Arthur Carousel allows the rust to be removed from the canopy, repaint the horses and care for the ride mechanism.  The attraction is not set to reopen until Friday, October 11th.

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It’s a shame that with all of the spectacular offerings inside Disneyland park, that hardly any Halloween decorations have made their way into Disney California Adventure.

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Nothing on Buena Vista Street that is overtly Halloween themed. Where’s the orange bunting, pumpkins and window overlays?
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Not much in the windows.

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Wait! Okay, rust-colored mums. That works.

Mad T Party has a few very subtle bits of theme here and there.  If you weren’t looking for it you would easily miss the Ikea style cut-out swirls and white spiders on the arch way.  But notice the funny, green candelabras.  See?  Spooky.

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While a mere shadow of the one season when they really decorated it for Halloween, the Tower of Terror does have a few knickknacks here and there.  They mainly populate the exit gift shop and the store windows there.

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Paradise Garden Grill is offering a stretch in the Halloween Time theme by offering extra garlic on a flatbread pizza.  Now that’s theme. 😉

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The lack of Halloween Time in Disney California Adventure is disappointing.  The wonderful retro Halloween decor that has been seen in the past is gone and not used.  Instead of decorations there is only the slightest suggestion of this increasingly popular holiday.

After the HUGE Friday the 13th crowds, perhaps Disney has learned that they underestimate the power of Halloween to draw a crowd. Adding decorations and attraction overlays in California Adventure could further enhance the resort’s bottom line, not take away from it. Ramp it up Disney. We want a haunted DCA. Give us a digital Halloween update to Midway Mania. Put a spooky new film in California Sorin’, add some pumpkins on Buena Vista Street. Put the vampire bat arch back up in front of Tower of Terror. Put the Cars Land characters in Halloween costumes. Have some FUN with this wonderful holiday.

Come on readers, give Disney some ideas in the comments section below. Hopefully we’ll see some of them implemented next year.

Boudin Exterior Refurb

The Boudin Bakery exterior has gone behind scaffolds to allow for exterior refurbishment.

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Duffy Halloween

There is a small bit of Halloween at the Duffy meet and greet.  We caught him without his festive backdrop, as it was still being constructed apparently.  But hey, Duffy’s in a pumpkin costume. Still no line of guest though. This adorable guy just doesn’t get the love.

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Please hug me

Paradise Garden

Lastly, we see that the Paradise garden area has gone back behind construction walls.  Could we be seeing something better here soon? PLEASE!

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DISABLED ACCESS IN THE PARKS – GAC/DAS

Finally, we get to the news that broke on Tuesday that the current Guest Assistance Card system which hundreds of thousands of disabled folks have used over the years is being completely transformed. In the place of the well known GAC will be the new Disabled Assistance System, or “DAS.”  The idea behind the change is to eliminate fraud in the system and restore fairness. Those folks who have been abusing the system won’t get much advantage out of the new system. And a wheelchair along won’t be enough to get  you right up to the front of the line.  Many unscrupulous folks who weren’t disabled learned how to use the GAC as the ultimate FastPass.

But, as described in the MiceAge column on Tuesday, the new DAS system looks like it will be able to tackle the cheaters without denying access to those who need it. Though, we are sure that there are kinks in the system surrounding issuing of the passes at Guest Relations and the creation of kiosks where DAS users will need to schedule their ride times.  It’s obvious that Disney wants to do the right thing here and they are to be commended for addressing such a touchy issue.

But, from the comments we’ve seen so far, MANY folks who used the old GAC system aren’t happy with the situation. Some are downright hostile about it. Which is why Disney will be staffing security at Guest Relations.

Through all the debate, pros and cons of this situation, we would like you to keep one thing in mind . . . the whole point of this system is to allow folks with injuries and disabilities to enjoy Disneyland. Take for instance Tim Grassey’s wonderful article on how the GAC card has helped to make his autistic brother’s visits to the Disney parks more enjoyable and less stressful. When we scoff at the cheaters in the system, we need to be careful not to condemn the folks, many of whom suffer through life, who really do need supportive services from Disney.

You can read all about the GAC/DAS changes in our last MiceAge Update.

Our guess is that while the system seems very strict and perhaps even complicated to some, Disney will find a way to make things work for those that need it.

And now, for your listening pleasure:

Need a feel good Disney experience? The last MiceChat Podcast delivers on that promise. In fact, some of you may even experience tears of joy, as our own Dusty Sage did during the recording of this episode. And the broadcast seems to have touched a nerve, delivering record downloads for the last three days in a row. Give it a listen and see if you have a similar reaction.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

That about wraps up this update.  We hope to see you soon In The Parks!