Welcome back to Dateline Disneyland and happy Veteran’s Day! The holidays at Disneyland are now in full swing with the weekend acting as a soft-launch of Christmastime at the Resort, which is officially set to begin Tuesday, November 12. This weekend brought just about all of Disneyland’s holiday offerings a few days early for the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend, including new offerings such as the Jingle Cruise as well as returning favorites like “it’s a small world” Holiday. In addition to its nearly-complete holiday line-up, Disneyland also filmed its portions of the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade over the weekend with celebrity appearances and live filming on Main Street, U.S.A.

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 today’s blog to see a larger, high-resolution version.

Happy 6th Anniversary! Before we get started, I’d like to mention that this week marks Dateline Disneyland’s 6th anniversary! Thank you so, so much to all of you for reading every week. This blog wouldn’t be here without you — so thanks!


Welcome to Disneyland!

Outside the park, in the Main Entrance Plaza, the Guest Relations building continues its refurbishment.

Just steps away, Disneyland’s main entrance turnstiles are now all decked out for the holidays as the parks rapidly switched from Halloween to full Christmas mode.

Last week, Disney Imagineer and Legend Tony Baxter received a window on Main Street while we were on break last week. Baxter’s new “Main Street Marvels” window is on the facade of the Main Street Magic Shop.

The “Imagination is at the heart of our Creations” slogan pays tribute to Baxter’s famous “Journey into Imagination” attraction at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center. MiceChat had full coverage of the dedication ceremony.

The Disney Parks Blog released a short video covering the dedication ceremony.

Unwrapping the Holidays

The big news this week is, of course, the start of Disneyland’s popular holiday season. It may seem a bit like Christmas in July as Anaheim is set to hit the high 80s this week, but it is indeed time for the holidays and Disneyland is ready to go.

The garland isn’t up across Main Street quiet yet as high clearance was needed for the filming of the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade over the weekend, but garland is up along Main Street buildings. New this season, the entrances to most of the larger Main Street shops and restaurants feature their own store-specific themed garland.

Fortuosity Shop’s garland includes small birdcage ornaments.

Carnation Cafe’s garland features bright white and red carnations.

Main Street Photo Supply

The new Market House also has its own garland as well as special Christmas trees inside.

The Dapper Dans are now performing their holiday set

On Saturday and Sunday, Main Street hosted the film crew and celebrity guests for the Disneyland portions of the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, which will air on ABC on Christmas morning.

On Sunday, characters and floats from both Mickey’s Sounsational Parade and A Christmas Fantasy Parade were filmed throughout the day along Main Street with Nick Cannon hosting the festivities at Christmas Tree Point.

The large stage in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle included performances from Mary J. Blige, Demi Lovato and others. Our friends at MouseInfo have great coverage of Saturday’s concert performances.

In Adventureland, the new “Jingle Cruise” holiday overlay for the classic Jungle Cruise attraction soft-opened on Saturday. The overlay here is actually pretty subtle in comparison to most of the holiday offerings elsewhere in the parks. Below, the new Jingle Cruise attraction poster is up in the Main Street Station tunnels.

Some nicely-themed decorations are scattered throughout the attraction’s queue and strung up on the jungle boats and that’s about it as far as decorations go. There aren’t any decorations in the jungle, which is a relief.

Some Christmas lights are strung up in the ticket agent window along with some Christmas cards.

The Jungle Cruise’s Christmas “tree” is up in the queue. Apparently a planned lighting ceremony in the evening was ditched and the tree currently stays lit throughout the day.

This banner greets guests as they enter the queue.

The upstairs queue got some decorations as well

The boats received a few decorations and got new holiday-themed names. Skippers also wear burlap Santa Claus hats.

Below, a video ride-through of the Jingle Cruise.

Meanwhile, the rest of the park is also now in full holiday mode. Not far from the Jingle Cruise, New Orleans Square is celebrating the holidays Mardi Gras-style.

A new Mardi Gras mask has replaced the moon-faced jester figure that was previously featured here.

Over in Critter Country, the garland is up as well.

In Frontierland, the traditional pine garland has been strung up…

Back in Big Thunder Ranch, the Jingle Jangle Jamboree is now underway where guests can meet Santa, enjoy some live entertainment and partake in carnival games and arts and crafts.

Disney announced last week that the popular Billy Hill and the Hillbillies will retire in January. You can enjoy the Billies throughout the season back here in Big Thunder Ranch.

Little ones can meet Santa back here.

Expect big lines – the queue is already set up.

Reindeer games include a beanbag toss and a Plinko-style game

You can color a reindeer mask at the craft area

Or send a holiday greeting card to the troops

An outdoor vending cart has a selection of snacks and drinks available for purchase

Including decorate-your-own cookie kits

And plenty of characters come out to meet with guests throughout the day

In Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” has reopened with its popular holiday overlay.

The holiday overlay here is always a lot of fun

You can watch a full ride-through of “it’s a small world” Holiday below!

Of course, the facade lights up with thousands of lights at night — a treat to see!

Also new this year, “it’s a small world” will feature a holiday clock show every quarter-hour throughout the evening. Below, a video preview from the Disney Parks Blog:

Back in Toon Town, Mickey and Friends have decorated for the holidays

Across the esplanade, Disney California Adventure is also in full holiday mode with Buena Vista Street looking great with its festive trimmings and Cars Land covered in Cars-themed decorations.

Buena Vista Street is one of the greatest spots in the whole Resort during the holidays

Great period-appropriate decorations line the street.

Santa meets with guests again this year in Elias and Company

The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers are also back this year.

There’s no parade filming to get in the way of Buena Vista Street’s spectacular Christmas tree.

Of course, the holidays on Buena Vista Street look great at night

Cars Land is decked out with all of its automotive-themed decorations.

Some extra lighted garland is new this year at the Cozy Cones

Ramone’s has some new Christmas trees made out of lights on its rooftop

Over in Paradise Park, some big Christmas presents — a part of the upcoming “World of Color: Winter Dreams” show — are now in place in the planters.

Last week Disney released a video clip with some footage from rehearsals, giving a sneak preview of the new holiday show:

Nearby in Paradise Garden, the new menu for the upcoming Viva Navidad! celebration is now available at Paradise Garden Grill, even though the new cultural holiday celebration doesn’t start until November 15.

The regular Paradise Garden Grill menu is not available during Viva Navidad.

Below, the new Torta al Pastor plate

Outdoor vending in the area sells desserts that are also available at Paradise Garden Grill.

Outside of the parks, Downtown Disney has its winter ice skating rink under construction. The ice rink and a holiday village is set to open November 14.

Frozenland

New in Fantasyland, the new meet-and-greet for Disney’s upcoming animated film “Frozen” is now welcoming guests in the space formerly occupied by Rapunzel. Rapunzel still meets with guests in Fantasy Faire.

Olaf, the snowman from the film greets guests waiting in line from the roof of the building, which is covered in snow. The Audio-Animatronics figure is a great touch and is pretty well-articulated.

Olaf sleeps at night after the meet-and-greet has closed.

Below, a video of Olaf:

Snow and icicles

Inside, guests meet with Elsa and Anna from the film. MiceChat’s In the Parks Blog has more photos from inside the meet-and-greet.

Refurbishment Round-Up

Back in Disneyland, the Penny Arcade and Candy Palace facade refurbishments on Main Street are now complete.

Looks good!

In Fantasyland, King Arthur Carrousel has reopened after its refurbishment.

It really looks great

Nearby, Dumbo will reopen from its refurbishment later this week

In Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain’s refurbishment continues with trains cycling frequently on the tracks

In New Orleans Square, the Pirates of the Caribbean exit facade is still covered for refurbishment

…as well as a portion of facade next to the Mint Julep Bar on the backside of the French Market

Limited Time Magic

[center]Savor the Flavors of the Holiday Season
at Disney California Adventure
November 14-17, 2013
[/center]
Limited Time Magic this week is a series of live culinary demonstrations at California Adventure’s new “Viva Navidad!” celebration in Paradise Garden. The demos will teach you how to make the new menu items for sale at Paradise Garden Grill during the celebration. Below is Disney’s blurb:

Cook up some fun for the whole family at Disney California Adventure Park, where a merry party is taking place through January 6, 2014. It’s Disney’s ¬°Viva Navidad!, a joyous event inspired by the warmth, spirit and tastes of the Latino culture. And as part of Limited Time Magic, you can stop by Paradise Gardens from November 14 ‚Äì 17, 2013 to enjoy some savory treats, including Champurrudo and Pineapple Sweet Tamales‚Äîeach prepared by Disneyland Resort chefs during exciting culinary demonstrations! It’s a perfect opportunity to wish those around you a festive occasion, and also purchase specially themed merchandise, like tees, pins, ornaments and more. Don’t miss this chance to celebrate the season in style!

[center]World of Color: Winter Dreams for Annual Passholders
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disney California Adventure

On select dates in November and December
[/center]
Annual Passholders can attend exclusive showings of the new “World of Color: Winter Dreams” at California Adventure on select nights this November and December.

    World of Color Winter Dreams Showings

    Celebrate the warmth and wonder of winter with the all-new nighttime spectacular in Disney California Adventure Park—World of Color – Winter Dreams!

    Annual Passholders are invited to attend a special viewing. Event participants may also receive a special holiday ornament, while supplies last.

    Dates
    November 15 through November 22, 2013
    December 2 through December 6, 2013

    Show Times
    9:00 PM show time on November 15, 16, 17, 22 and December 6, 2013
    7:00 PM show time on November 18, 19, 20, 21 and December 2, 3, 4 and 5, 2013

    Event Ticket Information

      • Registration must be completed in person, by each participating Passholder, at the Grizzly River Run Disney FASTPASS Service machines on the day of the event only; no phone reservations, registration by someone else or other forms of registration will be accepted. Registration and distribution of Disney FASTPASS tickets for each Passholder show will be based on availability. Space at this event is limited and not guaranteed.
      • Cast Members will be available at the Grizzly River Run Disney FASTPASS location to assist Passholders with event registration and to hand out holiday ornaments, while supplies last.
      • Participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passports to an event Cast Member to check event availability and to register and receive a Disney FASTPASS ticket. Photo ID may be required.
      • Registration and Disney FASTPASS ticket distribution for this special event is available on each event day when Disney California Adventure Park opens‚Äîcurrently scheduled at 9:00 AM on November 15, 16, 17, 22 and December 2, 3,4,5, 6; and 10:00 AM on November 18,19, 20, 21.
      • It is recommended that all members of your party register together at the Grizzly River Run Disney FASTPASS location to help ensure that everyone receives a Disney FASTPASS ticket to the event.
      • 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 are accompanied by an adult (age 18 or over) with a valid Disney FASTPASS ticket. Children under 3 will not receive an ornament.
      • A valid Annual Passport is required to receive a Disney FASTPASS ticket to a Passholder show and the accompanying holiday ornament.
      • One ornament and one event Disney FASTPASS ticket for each registered Passholder on each event day will be distributed at the Grizzly River Run Disney FASTPASS location, while supplies last.
      • Passholders will not receive a holiday ornament with a Disney FASTPASS ticket for any of the general audience shows.
      • More information

This and That

In Tomorrowland, Innoventions’ new THOR meet-and-greet is officially open and new banners announce the arrival of Thor on the building’s exterior along with a couple of the existing Iron Man Tech banners.

A new ASIMO banner is also up

New signage at the entrance announces Thor as well

Reworked Iron Man Tech graphics

Over in Downtown Disney, construction at the new Starbucks location is still moving along slowly.


Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.

A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat

MiceChat.com and Annual Passholder Discounts
Available Every Day!

The HoJo Anaheim is now offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn’t listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.

Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
November 11-17, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Monday:
9 am – 9 pm
Tues.-Thurs.:
10 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sun.:
9 am – 12 am
Monday:
9 am – 8 pm
Tues.-Thurs.:
10 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sun.:
9 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [b]Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:[/b] Closed for extensive refurbishment through February 2014.
  • [B]Dumbo the Flying Elephant:[/B] Closed through November 14 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Storybook Land Canal Boats:[/B] Closed December 2-12 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Casey Jr. Circus Train:[/B] Closed December 2-12 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Expected to close early 2014 to install permanent safety railing on outdoor ride portion.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • [B]Flik’s Flyers:[/B] Closed through November 14 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Disney Animation:[/B] Partially closed through November 12 for refurbishment.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
  • Starbucks Coffee: New Starbucks store under construction in former BLINK by Wet Seal location. Opens this winter.
[center]
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]

November 11-17, 2013

MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN

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!

  • The holidays are here! This is traditionally the busiest time of year for Disneyland, and while California Adventure has shown it can now siphon guests from its older sibling, we expect that this Christmas season will be like all the rest – crowded walkways and jammed queues. Try to take deep breaths!
  • Hotels are not heavily booked until the latter part of the week, so early in the week may be your best bet for a visit.

Download the all new, redesigned, reimagined, and remarkable Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad for the amazing Addictometer crowd map overlay that shows exactly where crowds are gathering, right on the map! The free Mouseaddict update features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, park and show schedules up to two weeks in advance, and your favorite MiceChat blogs right in the app. Learn more about the new features at mouseaddict.com.

[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • Minnie Mouse and Disneyland horses participated in the 89th Annual Anaheim Halloween Parade (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Ex-Disneyland Cast Member plead guilty to planting dry ice bombs in park, sentenced to 36 days in jail. (LA Times)
  • Disney Parks and Resorts jumped 15% in operating income in Disney’s Q4 fiscal report. (Forbes)
  • Make-A-Wish children fly to Disneyland in inaugural flight of new Cars Land-themed Alaska Airlines plane. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Disney recently turned over day-to-day operation of its major new $1 billion MyMagic+ project to Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis (Orlando Sentinel)
Alright, that wraps up this week’s holiday edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thanks again for reading over the last six years! It’s been a pleasure writing this blog every week for all of you! Please join this week’s discussion in the comments section below!

We’re only here because of generous readers like you. Do you enjoy reading Dateline Disneyland every week? Consider helping us out by donating so we can pay the bills and keep the weekly updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal, click here!

For more Disneyland news, be sure to read MiceChat’s weekly In the Parks blog. And be sure to check out our sister blog, Dateline Disney World – a fantastic weekly photo blog covering Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

Support Dateline Disneyland

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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.
  • eicarr

    Not an animation fan but Olaf looks cool!

    THOR looks great, even Marvel banners liven up a dead land. Can’t wait for more marvel and Star Wars.

    Wonder if Bill Hill and the Hillbilies chose to leave the nice Horshoe Stage and then they actually chose to retire?

    • The Billies did not choose to leave on their own. They are being forcibly retired.

  • Kateyandstitch

    Everything looks great! Thanks for the long update! The sad part is, I am reminded the court of Angels will be gone this year 🙁 I’ll miss it!

    • Larry Parker

      Agree totally regarding Court of Angels. And we had such high hopes for Michael Colglazier, Disneyland’s recent new president. Instead, we get a profiteer akin to another Michael who unfortunately used to lead.

  • peoplemover1

    Happy Anniversary Andy and thanks for 6 years of some of the most beautiful pictures of the park (especially at holiday time) I have ever seen! I can always count on great information and commentary on everything going on in the resort … Good or bad! 😉 I know you sacrifice personal time, sleep, and sanity to bring us what we want every single week!!! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!
    :wave:

  • FerretAfros

    Thanks for the update! Are the reindeer returning to Big Thunder Ranch this year? I didn’t see them mentioned anywhere

    • Sparky

      They don’t have the reindeer anymore. They haven’t for a couple of years now.

  • Wendygirl

    This was NOT the Billys decision. They were told just before the announcement went up on the Disney Parks Blog. They were as shocked as the rest of us were. What a way to be treated after all they’ve given to not only us but Disney.

  • Wendygirl

    Also, if you are so inclined, please sign the petition. If you elect to leave a comment, please be respectful in what you say.
    https://www.change.org/petitions/disneyland-resort-anaheim-ca-continue-to-provide-billy-hill-the-hillbilly-shows#share

  • 3rdGateFan

    Happy 6th anniversary Dateline Disneyland , and probaly the best DD of the year, keep it up, I love how guests try to get Tony Baxter spill some beans on new attractions coming to the parks, you know he won’t answer any of them but at least they try, LoL !

  • ParkerMonroe

    Nick Cannon’s wardrobe appears to be very Mary Poppins’ Jolly Holiday inspired.

  • Sparky

    Happy 6th anniversary to Dateline Disneyland! Thanks for the reporting and great photos! I got the chance to ride Jingle Jungle Cruise on Saturday. The decorations were good, but the holiday jokes need some work. Most were pretty weak, some were cringe-worthy. I heard little laughter from others in the boat I was in. If this idea is to work, they need some really good and clever jokes and puns.

  • Big D

    Glad to see the holiday decor on Jungle Cruise is actually pretty good. I like the blend of Christmas and jungle themes (especially the Santa hat). Of course, as always, it’s the skippers who really make or break the ride, so hopefully Disney gives them some good material to work with.

  • Happy 6th anniversary to Dateline Disneyland and the amazing Andy Castro!

    BEAUTIFUL update today.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Great update as usual, Andy. I love how you cover everything from food to new decorations.

    My own take on the Frozen meet and greet is that Animatronic is more interesting than the meeting of the two female characters inside. I wonder if crowds will just form to see that.

    I am still ticked that the Big Thunder is still under wraps. It now feels like the same people who brought the Fantasyland improvement to WDW also brought us the renovation for Big Thunder. Nothing seems to be changing. It seems just the same as it will be in February. Maybe they will be putting guests in cages to prevent them getting too close to the rocks for our “safety.”

  • amyuilani

    Nick Cannon could not have been comfortable dressed to the nines in upper 80s weather. Then again, that’s southern CA for you.

    The park looks beautiful, and as always, your gorgeous photos really capture the glorious color and detail. 🙂

  • scarymouse

    Spectacular Job guys! Can’t wait to see fencing around innovations instead of Thor signage…..otherwise its just sad to see the billy’s knowing the end is near……

  • SilverMouse

    Congratulations Andy on 6 magical years of Dateline Disneyland!!! It’s hard to believe its been that long. Thanks for making Monday a day I look forward too, instead of dreading. Would asking for another 6 years be asking too much? Thanks again for all of your hard work!!!!!!

  • pinkertonfloyd

    That jungle cruise skipper needs to work on his timing… completely flat for most of his delivery…

  • TweedlDum9

    Another great update as always.
    But the IASW projection show is NOT “new.” The video you linked looks like a really nice refresh of what they added 3-4 years ago. Definitely one of my favorite things to show people when I go, and another great example of an under-used, ‘hidden’ treasure accidentally stumbled upon like the Court of Angels was.

  • ChrisNJ

    Happy Anniversary Dateline Disneyland. And thank you for sharing so much of what we love about Disneyland. You bring joy to the many of us that can’t get to the park on a regular basis. Thank you!

  • Michael Greening

    Fantastic report Andy and gorgeous photos.
    Your love of Buena Vista Street really shows through in your photos of it.

  • Kimura

    One small note…

    It’s the Guest Services building, not Guest Relations, that’s under refurbishment.

    Guest Services is located next to Disneyland’s main entrance.

    Guest Relations is located next to DCA’s main entrance.

  • KCmike

    When do you think they will add the garland and greenery above main street?

    Congrats on 6 years!

  • johntodd

    Come on BTMRR… you can soft-open on December first. I know you can do it.

  • StrikeYerColors

    Great update. I haven’t been in yet to see all the decorations. I love the new additions to MS, but my favorite is definitely the decor at the Jungle Cruise. I always wanted Adventureland to have Christmas decorations like the rest of the park (and considering the colonial time period, it’s plenty fitting in theme), and what they did there with the mish mash of the crafty, the African inspired, the vintage, and the existing tropical flora is EXACTLY what I envisioned many years ago! I can’t wait to see it in person and ride the cruise. The jokes will be cheesy as always, I am sure, but I think that this will prove popular year after year.

  • TwilitWings

    Happy six years!!

    I love the custom Main Street garland! Always like it when separate stores look like unique entities, even when they’re technically connected on the inside. Most of the decorations, both new and old, look lovely. Only sad note (related to the Christmas decorations, at least) is the return of the lackluster Toontown decorations. Oh well, there’s always next year. 😉

  • Marko50

    Thanks for the update, Andy, as well as for the sad news that the Billys will be leaving.

  • Internitty

    Is Christmas still going to be an event you have to pay extra for and wear a wrist band to attend?

  • DisneylandTraveler

    Many Billy petitions out there. Do it the Chicago way. Vote Early and vote often. Here is my personal pledge. Whatever the replacement for Billy Hill is going to be, I’m boycotting it on principal, especially if its some kind of interactive game. Swapping out skillful trained musicians and entertainers for an interactive element that is done on the cheap is an insult to intelligence.,

  • goldenhorseshoe

    Wow! The decorations look so beautiful. I’ve never been during the Christmas season and hope to go sometime in the future. Thank you for the beautiful photos and videos!

  • Scarlet Spanky

    Thanks for all the updates!!!