Disneyland Update: Racers Fix, Frozen, Christmas Rush

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, In the Parks

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Published on November 04, 2013 at 3:00 am with 36 Comments

Welcome to the Monday edition of In the Parks and the Disneyland Update. Andy Castro and Dateline Disneyland are taking a much deserved break this week and In the parks is stepping in. We’ll check up on the progression of work at Starbucks in Downtown Disney. Review the awkward change that occurs between the 31st of October to November 12th as Halloween moves out and Christmas moves in. Thor has taken up residence in Innoventions  and we see that a meet and greet for Disney’s Frozen is taking shape in Fantasyland. All this, plus changes in the Mansion, testing on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and we’ll give you the scoop on why Radiator Springs Racers is closing for a non-routine refurbishment.

Let’s start with the latest crowd forecasts from MouseAddict!


November 4 – 10, 2013

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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 go both higher and lower during the day. You’ve already helped these predictions by reporting your wait times in the Mouseaddict app. Thank you!

  • This is the “off week” between holidays, which come fast and furious these days. Although the official start of the holidays is Tuesday, November 12 (Tuesday?) the weekend of November 8-10 will be the unofficial start with “it’s a small world holiday” opening and the annual taping of the Disney Parks Holiday TV Special. It’s also Veterans Day just to add icing on the cake. Expect decent sized crowds this coming weekend, but nothing like what is to come.
  • Hotels are wide open this week.
  • Radiator Springs Racers is scheduled for a 4-day closure Monday through Thursday.

The holidays are fast approaching, and so is something special for our loyal Mouseaddicts! Keep an eye out this week…

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.

Starbucks in Downtown Disney

The coffee takeover of the Disneyland resort continues as Starbucks takes over the corner storefront vacated by Blink in Downtown Disney.  This is a massive overhaul.

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Hallochristmas

It’s that special time of year when Halloween recedes and Christmas grows its presence throughout the park.  It’s almost as if Jack Skellington himself has broken out into the park.

Last week, as Halloween drew near, Christmas was nipping at its heals.

Yesterday, Town Square was entirely clear of any Halloween paraphernalia and areas of the park are now well along into Christmas mode.

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Pumpkins are gone

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No pumpkin in Town Square

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But the poppies are nice.

The Castle has its snow and decorations are rapidly going up.

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The backside of the castle looks great this season as well.

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Storybook land is even receiving little touches here and there as the holiday approaches.  It’s these little touches that make Disneyland one of the most magical places to visit during the holidays.

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Frontierland is all gussied up in the usual holiday goodness.

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The Golden Horseshoe is lined with garland.

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Zocalo has the usual, southwestern, holiday charm.

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New Orleans Square is the festive epicenter of the park at the moment.

Fantasyland

The Disney Parks Blog made the predictable announcement that a new meet and greet based on the upcoming film Frozen would be appearing in the park.  It is being installed in the former spot of the wildly successful Tangled meet and greet.

Snowcaps were already being installed on Wednesday.

We are certain that they will also be giving attention to the structure as well.

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This November, the enchanting story and characters from “Frozen” will be brought to magical life with new experiences coming to Disney Parks. At Disneyland park, Olaf is preparing a special, snow-capped spot in Fantasyland, where you can spend time visiting with Anna and Elsa.

FULL STORY HERE

By Sunday the meet and greet had already enjoyed a soft-opening of sorts before park opening.  However, by the time the park had opened the photo-op was shuttered and the animatronic Olaf snowman was scuttled backstage.  MiceChat Columnist Gwendolyn Dreyer snapped these pics last night of the closed meet and greet.

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Peeking through the blurry window we catch a glimpse of what is inside.

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Nummy Nordic Treats

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King Arthur Carousel

The month-long refurbishment will end on Tuesday, November 5th, for the King Arthur Carousel.   Get your riding gear ready.

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Dumbo

Our little flying friend Dumbo, however, is not scheduled to return until Friday November 15th.

Thor: Treasures of Asgard

The Thor meet and greet opened in Innoventions on Friday.  Aside from a rather cold and sterile queue, it features an impressive throne room where guests can meet the superhero.

 

There are some very impressive details lavished on this small meet and greet.

The floors too are covered in a vinyl graphic that completes the immersive illusion.

Then, of course, we exit after getting our photopass pictures and cards and we filter through a hallway of posters advertising the new film.

Overall, this was a rather impressive meet and greet.  The only downside, as with any character visit, is the line.  They do attempt to keep things moving as best they can, but when you have a hot property like Thor, long lines are to be expected.  FULL ARTICLE HERE

it’s a small world holiday

The holiday overlay of Fantasyland’s singing doll ride will be returning this year on Friday, November 8th.  But, according to the Disney Parks Blog, the facade will begin sporting a new digital projection show on Friday November 12th.

Big Thunder Mountain Testing

While in the park this week we caught sight of something long absent.  Big Thunder Mountain’s trains were running the full circuit and technicians were there, testing and adjusting from the platform.  It was strange to see the attraction running without the trademark locomotive sounds.  But it was nice to see some motion returning to that area of the park.

Big Thunder Mountain is set to return in February of 2014.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

More fun over at Haunted Mansion Holiday as the Cadaver Dans have begun singing from the balconies above the line.  It happens every so often during the day and if you are lucky enough to catch it, it’s a real treat!

Moving inside we see more additions being added every week leading up to Christmas.  Here we see the newly revealed Skellington face.

In the attic there are also a bunch of presents wrapped with orange “13″ wrapping paper.

We find this years Haunted Mansion Holiday to be a refreshing change from years past.  Each week brings a new little surprise.

Social Media All-Stars to Show Their Disney Side at Disneyland Park November 5

The folks in the Social Media department have cooked up a rather humorous plan to have all of the recent pop-culture icons from the internet visit the park on November 5th.  As part of this years marketing campaign, they will “show their Disney side”.

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Social media all-stars in attendance will include YouTube sensations Mike Tompkins,Tiffany Alvord,RealityChangers and Mindy McKnight of CuteGirlsHairstyles.com, as well as familiar faces like Ridiculously Photogenic Guy and of course the world’s grumpiest cat … Grumpy Cat.

FULL STORY HERE

Tony Baxter honored with a Window on Main Street

Disney Legend Tony Baxter was honored on Friday with his very own window on Main Street.  With a career that has spanned over 40 years and brought us such wonderful attractions as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Star Tours, and Splash Mountain, it is only fitting that he receive such distinguished recognition.

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Our heartfelt congratulations to Tony.  Thank you for all of the magic and memories you have given us over the years. You have left a legacy of quality and entertainment that is going to be very hard for future generations of Imagineers to top.

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FULL STORY HERE

Animation Courtyard

The animation courtyard inside the animation building remains under refurbishment.  Despite that, the Animation Academy and Turtle Talk with Crush continue to operate.

 

Flik’s Fliers

The simple spinner ride, Flik’s Fliers, is still down for a lengthy refurbishment that will not be completed until Saturday, November 23rd.  While it is good to see them taking care of things, it does boggle the mind why this of all rides requires a refurbishment that takes this long.

Bug’s Land Christmas

Christmas has already moved into Bug’s Land with the same, classic decorations.

Blue Sky Cellar

In the meantime, until any major announcements are made, the Blue Sky Cellar will remain closed.

Cars Land Christmas

Along with the Holidays comes the wonderfully inventive holiday decorations in Cars Land.  They are now being installed in time for the beginning of the holiday season at the resort beginning November 12th.

Along with the decor, shelves are already being stocked with holiday merchandise.

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New Turf

The Cozy Cone Motel has replaced its real grass lawn with evergreen astro-turf. It gives the area an old school motel vibe.

Radiator Springs Racers Refurb

This week the Radiator Springs Racers ride is going down for a scheduled refurbishment to rework the loading area of the ride.  It seems that the attraction has been suffering closures a minimum of five times per week due to guests jumping down onto the track to retrieve lost items during the load/unload process.   Of course, this causes the ride to shut down, often evacuated, and lots precious time to be wasted reboot.

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The new gates will be designed to alleviate this issue and will be installed on both the regular and disabled loading platforms.

Ghirardelli

It’s time to head back to Ghirardelli for some new, delicious chocolate treats.

 

Frozen Merchandise

Last but not least, new Frozen Merchandise is popping up everywhere in the parks.

 

The final shot today, reminds us that while Disney California Adventure is a billion times better today than it was 5 years ago, it may still have some growing to do.

We found the following ugly tape queue at the beer truck in the Pacific Wharf  – Stay klassy DCA  ;-)

 

We’d like to leave you with the latest MiceChat podcast which follows the MiceChat crew on their October travels as well as some exciting gossip about changes being discussed for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Take a listen:

Direct Link  |  Subscribe on iTunes

Thanks for reading everyone, we hope you enjoyed the update! Andy Castro will be back next week. Please be sure to share your thoughts about the latest changes to the park in the comments below.

 

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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36 Comments

Comments for Disneyland Update: Racers Fix, Frozen, Christmas Rush are now closed.

  1. New Orleans Square looks almost too fancy. I love it. But garlands over the Frontierland Shooting Gallery? Please.

    • That garland has been there for years and I’ve always personally liked it. But to each their own.

    • They’ve been cutting back on Christmas decorations the past few years. New Orleans Square in particular is much watered down from the Cynthia Harris era (which was the height of holiday decorations).

      • Who would’ve thought the Harris era would ever be described as the “height” of anything, except saving money? heh.

  2. I wish they had more Marvel so the THOR lines would be smaller. Hoping for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America prop/sets in Innovations or in the Star Trader soon. Talk about an easy way to boost revenue

    Bummer that it takes 2-5 years to build anything a Disneyland, and a Starbucks is the only thing under construction.

    Everything is looking great in this wonderful report!

  3. The Addictometer will come in very handy. Thanks!

  4. Did they ever fix the tractor tipping scene on Racers? I haven’t been in awhile.

    • I went the weekend before Halloween and it was working perfectly for me. :)

  5. The tape just shows the popularity of the beer cart. they didn’t used to have it and it suddenly appeared on a very busy night and made a big difference to keeping the walkways around it clear.

  6. The Dream Suite contest is already closed… bummer. Thanks for the update!

  7. Just a note, Isn’t Friday November 8th, 2013. Great update as always.

  8. Great park decorations. Amazing Thor meet and greet. Looks great.

  9. Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” had a soft opening on Sunday the 3rd. Olaf, who was up on the roof, was taken down before park opening. Problems with the animatronic?
    Although it was normal to see little kids there to meet the sisters, the majority were older/young adults, no doubt following the social media alerts about what was going on with the meet and greet. Kinda creepy seeing some of the solo guys chatting with the girls as if they were best of friends. Stalker Alert Anna and Elsa!

    • Nothing more transparent than guys interacting with attractive ladies. We always think we’re so smooth when we’re really acting like idiots. But us guys just can’t resist royal beauty. And, I gotta admit, the Anna face character is quite lovely.

      Surely at least a few ladies were acting silly around the Thor face character?

  10. $90 for a small metal sign?????

  11. Until they announce renovations for Tomorrowland and the hopeful destruction of Innoventions building, they should take opportunity to add more marvel meet and greets.

    A complete line-up of Avengers would be good and give us some of the bad guys too.

    Hopefully the building has a short life span though

  12. LOL the Beer Queue!!!!

    • The exclamation mark is what makes it so funny to me! It’s like it wasn’t enough to just say “BEER”. It had to be “BEER!” :D

  13. any way to show me where the beer is is ok by me :)

    • I wish the Service Dog liked beer…he’d take me straight to it! Starbucks he can do already…it’s the cream & sugar…

  14. I’m guess I’m one of those that despite enjoying the Marvel flix, I have no desire to visit the Thor or Iron Man meet and greets. Guess I’m too old school and they just feel like they don’t belong…maybe with time I’ll be more accepting of Marvel in the parks like I am of Star Wars and Indy now.

    • I agree, there is something about Marvel characters in Disneyland, It just doesn’t fit the park somehow. If and when they ever build the third park in Anaheim they should build it with them in mind.

      “To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past…and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America…with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

      Tigger Fan

      • The dedication plaque includes the following items: A greeting, an assertion of experiencing times gone by and yet to come, a dedication to American values, and a promise of what we may take away. Of these four items, the second tells two of what you will find, but the statement is not portended to be comprehensive. This is demonstrated in the more succinct plaques over the train tunnels, which promise that you will find three things in Disneyland: yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy; and one thing that you are promised not to find: the real world of today.

        In accepting these documents, the concept of Marvel characters fits. However, the dedication of Tomorrowland contains no element of fantasy in its promise of, “…science, adventure, and ideals.” This is not to say, however, that Tomorrowland’s dedication may not someday give way to a re-dedication.

  15. Looking forward to making it down for the Holidays..Jingle Cruse,Jingle Cruse, ;-)

    • And I was wondering what time Thor got off for his sauna…a meet-and-greet I’d look forward to!

    • Puh-puh-puh-PLEASE! bring back any new jokes for a special share!