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!
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.
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.
Yesterday, Town Square was entirely clear of any Halloween paraphernalia and areas of the park are now well along into Christmas mode.
The Castle has its snow and decorations are rapidly going up.
The backside of the castle looks great this season as well.
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.
Frontierland is all gussied up in the usual holiday goodness.
The Golden Horseshoe is lined with garland.
Zocalo has the usual, southwestern, holiday charm.
New Orleans Square is the festive epicenter of the park at the moment.
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.
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.
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.
King Arthur Carousel
The month-long refurbishment will end on Tuesday, November 5th, for the King Arthur Carousel. Get your riding gear ready.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
The animation courtyard inside the animation building remains under refurbishment. Despite that, the Animation Academy and Turtle Talk with Crush continue to operate.
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.
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.
The new gates will be designed to alleviate this issue and will be installed on both the regular and disabled loading platforms.
It’s time to head back to Ghirardelli for some new, delicious chocolate treats.
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’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:
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.