Halloween is still a week away but snow has already fallen on Sleeping Beauty Castle as Disneyland continues to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. This week we’ll fill you in on the latest goings-on in the parks from the increased Christmastime presence to continued refurbishment and fall-safety projects around the parks.

In The Parks blogger Norm is still away on a much-deserved vacation, so I’ll be filling in for him today – but don’t worry, my regular Dateline Disneyland blog will also run on Monday. A big thank you to Disneyloon and Edgar Lopez for taking the photos for today’s blog.

Guest Relations refurbishment continues

The facade refurbishment at Disneyland’s Guest Relations building continues…

Inside the park, Halloween Time enters its final stretch this week.

Main Street refurbishments

On Main Street, the Penny Arcade and Candy Palace facade refurbishment continues

Some minor repainting over at Disney Clothiers is underway as well

Snowfall and Small Worlds

At the end of Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle is now covered in snow as the park gets ready for the upcoming holiday season.

The Castle’s holiday overlay is usually one of the first major holiday features to go up in the park so it can be ready in time for the start of the holiday season in mid-November.

In Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” is now closed to get its holiday overlay installed and Christmas lights are now being put in the strings that are already lining the facade.

The flume is dry while the overlay is installed

Topiaries are already covered with lights.

In Disney California Adventure, A Bug’s Land already has its holiday decorations up.

Oversized ornaments are in place

In Cars Land, the extra light posts on the right side of the street to support the garland that runs down Route 66 are now in place.

Radiator Springs Curios is now fully stocked with Cars holiday merchandise, much of which is specific to Cars Land.

Other stores throughout the parks now offer a wide variety of general holiday merchandise as well as new items from Disney’s upcoming animated film, “Frozen”


Back in Disneyland, new fall-safety additions continue to progress in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

Flags are still up around the bottom of Space Mountain to prepare for upcoming fall safety additions.

And work continues on the new awning under the Monorail track over the former Motorboat Cruise lagoon.

Refurbishments in the parks

King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland is still covered during refurbishment.

Nearby, the Mad Tea Party was still closed during the week for refurbishment but is expected to reopen today.

In Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain remains closed through February for its major refurbishment project…

In New Orleans Square, some work at Pirates of the Caribbean is underway. Tarps are up at the ride’s exit.

And walls and tarps are also up at the exit ramp inside the building.

Not far away from Pirates, the Court of Angels is still behind walls as part of the Club 33 expansion.

And new tarps and scaffolding have gone up on the roof of the French Market – could this be related to the Club 33 expansion that will be taking over the upstairs area above the French Market?

Meanwhile, in California Adventure, the refurbishment at Flik’s Flyers continues…

as well as some light refurbishment work near the Red Car Trolley stop by Tower of Terror.

Starbucks in Downtown Disney

Outside of the parks construction on the new Starbucks Coffee shop continues. Not much progress can be seen from our perspective, but with the coffee shop set to open this winter, construction will need to ramp up soon…

Okay, that’s it for this week’s In the Parks! Are you excited for the holidays to come or do you think it’s still too soon to see snow on Sleeping Beauty Castle? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Marko50

    Good update, Andy! As far as the snow on the Castle, it sometimes *does* snow before the holidays, y’know. In the real world, anyway.

  • amyuilani

    I always recognized the difference between Chip and Dale because of their noses. (Chip has a chocolate chip nose – that’s how I remembered it.) Were their teeth always like that? I might have to find some old Chip & Dale cartoons on YouTube and see if that’s the case.

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      Yep their teeth have always been like that. Chip always has one tooth showing & Dale always has 2 showing.

      • HollywoodF1

        Chip has two front teeth, set together. Apparently Chip remembered to wear his retainer.

  • mousegirl72

    Thanks for the update! It’s always nice to have that Disney “fix” for those that don’t live in Socal.

  • Sparky

    Besides having the snow on the Castle ready in time for the start of the holiday season, they also put it up early so that it is in place for the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade special filming in early November.

  • Monoautorail

    Newsflash! The Court of Angels is not “still” behind walls: it will FOREVER be behind walls. Whatever treatment the old gates may receive, it will definitely not be such that crowds of nostaligic Guests can leer and gawk and gajillionaires on their way up to enjoy highballs and crudités.

  • FredSimmons

    I’m really tired of premature Christmas celebrations overshadowing other holidays.

    I remember well when no one would think of putting up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving (when the big Macy’s Day parade in NYC issued in the official Christmas shopping season).

    Last year, I went to the mall on Halloween night, and while trick-or-treaters were walking the halls, there were Christmas decorations hanging overhead and cluttering store windows. It’s getting ridiculous. Each holiday deserves its own time.

    Thanksgiving, for instance, is a celebration of the Fall harvest season. Christmas a celebration of the Winter season (and a birthday, of course). The two shouldn’t be in competition.

    • Kenny B

      I’m only 28 years old, and it’s been this way for at least 10 years.

      But yes, Christmas decorations in the park(and in general) IMO, should not start going up(at the earliest) until mid November, and taken down a week after new years(at the latest).

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Great report, Andy!

    I love the Car’s Christmas stuff. They look great and creative. I understand how people feel about the Christmas stuff coming out so early. The merchants just make too much money from it.

    My pet peeve is that many Christmas items get sold out by mid December. I understand that Disney does not want holiday items on the shelves when the holiday actually is hear. It just annoys me how out of sink the shelves seem compared to the shoppers.

  • Rex Dopey24

    great pictures and love seeing the snow on the castle and looks nice love the holidays alot thhans

  • ScottOlsen

    I might be the only one but I’ve never liked the snow on the castle. But then, I never liked the star they used to put on the matterhorn, either.

    A couple of lighted trees in the moat and a simple garland above the entrance to the castle was enough for me.

  • zeitzeuge

    Great update. So many refurbs going on. We’ll be there the first weekend in December, so we can’t wait. It’s been a few years since we’ve been back for Christmas, so it’s about time. 🙂 I’m a huge Christmas fan, so I’m one of those that doesn’t mind decorations going up early. I typically have my decorating done by Thanksgiving as I put up 3-4 trees and lots of garland. Takes a while!

  • mondo

    Does anyone know what is the main reason for the awning for the monorail track. No guests go under it. Is it for a future walkway/attraction? Do workers go under it? Is it to prevent things from falling into the water?

    • HollywoodF1

      Every square foot of the park gets a lot of attention. The canopy is there because the monorail beam does not play nice with others. It does not like to be touched.

    • Freddie Freelance

      I’m hoping it will be a ride or attraction, but I hope that any time that anything is done in that area.

  • ELD

    Any idea when this winter Starbucks in Downtown Disney is slated to open?

    Thank you!

  • sean317

    Does anybody know how they get the snow on the top of the castle like that?

    • HollywoodF1

      Look closely at good quality pictures of the Castle with and without snow. You’ll figure it out. It’s not what you think.

  • airick75

    The snow up so early really annoys me!! One thing at a time, Disneyland!

    I also think the snow overlay is getting a little long in the tooth. It was fun for awhile, but it’s always been a little cheesy. I might go for a throwback, less is more, retro holiday look if I were the imagineer in charge.

  • Crazee4mm

    Any word on Disney having hard-ticketed, after-hours parties for the Christmas season? Everyone went bonkers when the rumor hit that Disney was considering putting Candlelight, The Christmas Fantasy Parade, Believe, In Holiday Magic, and other Christmas staples aside so that only those who purchased an evening party ticket could enjoy them. As Christmas gets closer and closer, I have yet to see any of these rumors materialize. Has anybody heard anything about this lately?

  • ELD

    No ticketed parties this holiday season. There was a discussion on it over on the Disney Blog.

  • whamo

    If there’s snow on the castle, does that mean they’re pumping fake snow on Main Street at night yet?

  • Nonsuch

    The construction at the exit to Pirates might be part of the Club 33 remodel, allowing the existing kitchen to be merged directly to what is now the Trophy Room (rather than connected with a narrow hallway).

  • laurainwonderland

    I love it! I’m glad they are getting it ready now so it’s all in place when we arrive mid-November.

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