Disneyland‘s newly expanded Market House reopened on Main Street, U.S.A. last week, officially marking the controversial debut of Starbucks in Disneyland. The addition of the coffee giant brought significant changes to Main Street’s classic Market House shop, making its corner of Main Street a bit bigger and a lot less intimate. Meanwhile, Disneyland’s private Club 33 is getting ready for a major expansion that’s set to bring controversial changes to New Orleans Square. Disneyland fans turned out throughout the day Saturday to see the quiet Court of Angels for what had been expected to be the final time before Club 33 would move in to make the space its new main entrance and lobby. Elsewhere in the parks, refurbishments continue in Frontierland, safety changes are changing Fantasyland‘s rooftops and a fan-favorite show in Disney California Adventure is getting axed.
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.
There’s a lot to see in this week’s update, so let’s get started.
Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Disneyland’s one-day admission price as $86. It has been corrected to reflect the correct price, which is currently $92.
|Welcome to Disneyland!|
Today, Disney has announced their latest marketing campaign, “Disney Side,” where you’re encouraged to “show your Disney Side at Disney Parks.” Looks like Disney’s tired “Let the Memories Begin” campaign will soon be changing to “Show Your Disney Side.”
Below, the first commercial for the new campaign.
|Coffee Street, U.S.A.|
A huge queue takes up most of the space making the Market House feel larger and emptier. While the huge queue will likely be a smart decision during peak crowds, it will probably often feel like overkill and the vastness of the space will stand out.
While the old Swift Birthday Cake room was removed for this project, the wooden trim seen in the photos below have been carried over from the original Market House.
These two pieces cost Walt Disney Imagineering only $10 each online. Only the best at Disneyland, folks!
The new Market House will let Disneyland guests get a cup of coffee that far exceeds the terrible NesCafe that the old Market House served. But, better coffee has come at the expense of a Main Street interior that had largely gone unchanged for nearly 60 years (take a look at the old Market House). Of course, change must happen at Disneyland, but is this change for the better? A very prominent Main Street interior is now a massive cavern that is dramatically off-scale from the rest of Main Street. With Starbucks here, the Market House’s new ability to handle huge crowds is absolutely needed but comes at the sacrifice of Disneyland’s otherwise smaller and intimate scale. The problem isn’t that Starbucks moved in, the problem is that the execution of the project is so notably sub-par.
Saturday night, about a dozen or so fans gathered in New Orleans Square’s quiet Court of Angels. The courtyard had seen a steady stream of guests throughout the day, many of which had come to see the space one last time before it was rumored to close forever, but a small group gathered later in the evening for a final send off. Most in the courtyard knew each other in some way; Disney photographers, bloggers, Twitter friends; and lively conversation, only dampened by the impending closure of the courtyard, kept everyone engaged until well after park closing. Disney security was gracious enough to let us all stay in the courtyard until 1 a.m., at which time we were asked to head out for the night.
In many ways, Saturday’s gathering is a testament to why areas like the Court of Angels are important to the Disneyland experience. That something as simple as a hidden courtyard with stairs leading to nowhere, can create such strong emotional connections with different people over the years is a really important part of understanding why Disneyland is far more than a simple collection of rides and characters. Disneyland is a place where things like small, quiet spaces can create inexplicable and unexpected emotional connections that become a point of common interest between strangers. Over the years, that blue staircase in that small little courtyard has been the site of countless family portraits, numerous marriage proposals and an untold number of “a-ha!” moments for those who have mistakenly stumbled upon it looking for Pirates of the Caribbean, only to discover why Disneyland is so special. It’s a space that exists solely to be discovered so that you can experience its beauty. The Court of Angels is a kind of Disneyland attraction that isn’t listed on park maps and isn’t featured in splashy promotional campaigns; it’s a part of the Disneyland experience that might not sell first-time vacations but helps ensure repeat visits.
In the days leading up to Saturday’s rumored closure, the Disney Twittersphere lit up with fan outcry for the Court of Angels and photos of final visits.
— Cory Leland Larson (@Coryllarson) September 23, 2013
I love the Court of Angels, but my biggest complaint is that that area is going to be member exclusive now…
— Adam Willis (@AdamVonWillis) September 25, 2013
Herb Ryman's concept art for what would become The Court Of Angels. We will miss the court. http://t.co/UltaG8tG4G
— SeenUnSeenD (@SeenUnseenD) September 24, 2013
Some fans Tweeted about the courtyard’s history.
— Michelle D (@MinnesotaMinnie) September 18, 2013
And, unfortunately, some Disney fans openly mocked other fans for having a connection to a part of Disneyland that they did not share or understand.
I never see anyone in Court of Angels, yet, OMG COURT OF ANGELS IS GOING AWAY! (It's not).
— Mr. G (@BlueSkyHigh91) September 25, 2013
Meanwhile, Disney moved a PhotoPass photographer to the space while they took measurements for the upcoming remodel.
— Matthew Gottula (@DLthings) September 25, 2013
Looks like they're taking measurements on the good ol Court of Angels pic.twitter.com/ajqlwj4tsV
— Guy Selga (@guyselga) September 25, 2013
By Saturday, Disney fans on Twitter couldn’t escape the Court of Angels as fans Tweeted their final photos, stories about their experiences and live-Tweeted from the Court of Angels itself.
— Jason Sasaki (@SasakiTime) September 29, 2013
Said goodbye to Court of Angels today. I'll miss this quiet little corner of Disneyland! http://t.co/jRJf70vdiU
— Mindy @ BFT (@BudgetFairyTale) September 29, 2013
I forgot to mention earlier, I saw a Cast Member soaking in Court of Angels for what appeared to be her last time as well. Sad for everyone.
— Ryan Pastorino (@RyanPastorino) September 29, 2013
Sitting in the Court of Angels for maybe the last time. There's a constant flow of people back here all lamenting the loss of the area.
— cegoodman2 (@cegoodman2) September 29, 2013
When I finally saw the Court of Angels in person last month, it never occurred to me that it wouldn’t be a place I could visit over and over
— EPCOTCitizen (@EPCOTcitizen) September 28, 2013
Others took to Twitter to express how annoyed they were that fans were upset that the Court of Angels was closing. Pointing out that “it’s just stairs” became a popular line while others suggesting that if anybody actually cared about the Court of Angels, it would have always been filled will people.
Everyone needs to have a drink and chill. It's stairs. If you really need to see that spot, but a club 33 membership.
— DeeMagicGurl (@DeeMagicGurl) September 29, 2013
With the amount of angry people posting about it, you would think that Disneyland's Court of Angels was always jam packed with people #NotSo
— TimBabbComedian (@TimBabbComedian) September 30, 2013
The divide in the community over the issue reached a breaking point Saturday afternoon with fans arguing over why and why not the courtyard is important, with some belittling others simply for enjoying a small corner of the park.
— Kyle Duffield (@KyleJDuffield) September 29, 2013
Change is inevitable at Disneyland. In just the last six years this blog has documented a huge amount of change at the Disneyland Resort. From various remodeling projects on Main Street, U.S.A. to the complete rebirth of Disney California Adventure, we’ve covered it all. Dateline Disneyland would not exist if Disneyland didn’t change. Change can be good, and at Disneyland change often is good. For Disney, change encourages people to return to the parks, to renew Annual Passports, to book those special once-a-year vacations. Change keeps the park alive and thriving. And yet, so does the park’s history.
Part of Disneyland’s draw is the place it has earned in popular culture. The park survives simultaneously on its rich legacy and on its ability to constantly change, evolve and progress. But what is progress? Some fans argued last week that progress is change that betters the experience for a majority of guests, in which case closing the Court of Angels only to be enjoyed by a small percentage of guests would be regressive. Others argued that Disneyland is a business and as such it must do what needs to be done to ensure economic viability. Both of these arguments are true, but at what point is it appropriate for Disney to choose easy profit over the satisfaction of the average guest?
In August, the Orlando Sentinel reported the following numbers on Disney’s most recent fiscal earnings:
The company’s theme parks and resorts, closely watched as an economic bellwether, were its biggest profit driver. Operating income at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts jumped 9 percent to $689 million on sales that rose 7 percent to $3.7 billion.
And if those numbers seem impressive, the Orlando Sentinel reminds us that this jump in numbers was nothing compared to the previous quarter, which saw operating profit skyrocket 73 percent. Clearly, Disneyland is able to thrive even without an invasive Club 33 expansion. So, yes, Disney is a business that has to juggle difficult business decisions with challenging creative obstacles. But is it good business to close parts of Disneyland so that only an elite few can enjoy those portions of the park that were once open to all guests? This happened in 2007 with the original Disney Gallery above Pirates of the Caribbean. Since then, a sprawling multi-room gallery above New Orleans Square has been reduced to a small corner of the Main Street Opera House’s main lobby. The original Gallery space was converted into the lavish Disneyland Dream Suite, the grand prize in the park’s Year of a Million Dreams giveaway marketing campaign. The Disneyland Dream Suite now sits unused except when being used by corporate executives like John Lasseter or on the rare occassion Disney gives a stay in it away in a sweepstakes. So was the Disneyland Dream Suite progress if only a handful of Disneyland’s nearly 16 million annual guests have the opportunity to see it?
The Court of Angels didn’t close after all on Saturday night. The rumored date apparently changed between the time it hit the internet and Saturday rolled around. So, for now, Disneyland guests are now said to have another week to visit the Court of Angels before it really does close. In any case, much like the Disney Gallery, the Court of Angels will soon be closed to the general public, only to be seen by an elite few. In this case, Disney will profit handsomely from the closure, as the larger Club 33 expansion will allow the club to welcome quite a few new members.
So is this progress? Even if you don’t care about the Court of Angels, does closing a part of the park that was open to all guests for nearly 50 years mark a milestone of progress in Disneyland’s history? Is a day at Disneyland still worth $92 if there’s less park to enjoy? At what point should fans stop caring if Disney no longer cares about the fans?
|Limited Time Magic|
at Disneyland Park
September 23-29, 2013
Last week, Disney celebrated “Pirates Week” with entertainment offerings in New Orleans Square and on Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. The Bootstappers provided lively music
Below, a video of some of the offerings
and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Poster
at Disneyland Park
Now, while supplies last
You can get a free double-sided poster promoting Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray and the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show for free at Innoventions, while supplies last. Below is Disney’s official information on it.
Experience the latest Iron Man technology firsthand at Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries, an interactive exhibit at Innoventions in Disneyland Park. This is your chance to virtually “suit up” and test out Iron Man’s Mark 42! Plus, as part of Limited Time Magic, you can take home a special poster celebrating the release of Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray as well as ABC’s new TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‚Äö√Ñ√Æboth debuting September 24th! Enjoy all the action as you go behind the mask with Tony Stark on his latest adventure, and don’t miss the premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 8:00 PM / 7:00 PM Central on ABC.
in Downtown Disney
October 5-6, 2013
For this week’s Limited Time Magic, Disney is hosting a Chalk Art Festival in Downtown Disney this upcoming weekend. Disney’s details below:
Add a dash of color to your weekend when Limited Time Magic presents the Downtown Disney Chalk Art Festival! Watch in wonder as talented artists intricately transform concrete walkways into a series of canvases for their works. This is your chance to marvel at each eye-catching creation as they’re carefully crafted together from chalk, paint and other materials. Plus, you can even meet popular artist Miss Mindy‚Äîfrom 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM, October 4-5, 2013‚Äîas the Disneyland Resort celebrates the release of some new pieces in her collection at WonderGround Gallery, in addition to a special artist showcase by Haunted Memories‚Äîfrom 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, October 5-6, 2013. It’s all happening for a limited time, only at Downtown Disney District!
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland Park
October 3, 2013
Passholders can attend a screening of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad at the Main Street Opera House this week.
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Screening for Annual Passholders
- Registration and wristband distribution for the event will begin at 12:00 PM (noon) on the day of the event at the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House in Disneyland Park.
- All participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passports 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 Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House in Disneyland Park 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 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.
- For assistance, you may contact the Annual Passport Member Services team at (714) 781-PASS (7277).
To celebrate Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, Annual Passholders can attend a screening of the spooky and funny Disney classic: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad at the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House (home to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln) in Disneyland Park.
This film is a compilation of 2 unforgettable children’s classics, The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Dates & Time
Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM
|Welcome to California Adventure|
|This and That|
And finally, if you’re interested in submitting a handmade holiday greeting card to be used in the upcoming “World of Color Winter Dreams” show, you still have a few days to drop it off before the October 4 deadline.
|Weekly News & Information Round-Up|
|Weekly Theme Park Hours
September 30 – October 6, 2013
|Disneyland Park||California Adventure|
10 am – 9 pm
8 am – 6 pm
10 am – 9 pm
8 am – 7 pm
8 am – 12 am
10 am – 8 pm
8 am – 8 pm
10 am – 8 pm
8 am – 12 am
8 am – 10 pm
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.
|Alright, that wraps up this week’s huge Dateline Disneyland. What do you think of the new Market House with Starbucks on Main Street? Do you think it’s just right for Main Street? What do you think about the upcoming closure of the Court of Angels? Be sure to join the discussion and 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.|