Disneyland gets ready for Candlelight as the busy holiday season continues

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on December 02, 2013 at 5:40 am with 47 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • LoveStallion

    Bummer about the Skyway station. It’s quite the architectural delight. I wish they could find something to do with it, but, as you said, ADA stuff would come into play, and Disney doesn’t exactly appear to be in the mood to splurge on anything of late.

    It’s a minor loss, but it’s also one of the oldest structures in the park and it brought character to the area. It could have EASILY served as the entrance to a new dark ride built in the backstage areas behind the station.

    • sinatra12

      I think if they spent some money to add an elevator or wheelchair ramp, and do the maintenance required to restore it, they could use it for some sort of character meet and greet, or a quiet area

  • ahecht

    Your crowd calendar seems a bit off. Touringplans.com has Mon-Thu as 1 out of 10.

    • LLCMC

      Agreed. It appears they have last week’s calendar up (Thanksgiving week). It’s incomprehensible that this Tuesday would “break” the gauge. 🙂 While the holidays raise attendance on weekends, weekdays when school is still in session will be pretty low until the “winter vacation”

      • Sorry for the error, we have updated the original post with this week’s crowd forecast.

        Thanks for reading!

    • Rongo

      Oops! Looks like last week’s projections were accidentally posted again. Our Mouseaddict projections for this week are:

      Monday: 4
      Tuesday: 2
      Wednesday: 2
      Thursday: 2
      Friday: 6
      Saturday: 8
      Sunday: 8

      Our apologies, and we hope to have the correct information posted in this edition of Dateline Disneyland shortly.

  • Malin

    I’m happy to see the Skyway Station leave. I know a few Disneyland fans will be saddened by its removal but I’m not one of them.

  • judearmstrong

    For the average guest, you don’t even know the Skyway Station is there. Aside from being such a neat ride and being able to see over Disneyland and a faster way to get across the park I will always remember being at the bottom steps and watching tinker bell fly straight into the mattress with my brother, sister and mom and dad. And taking my friends, who didnt believe me, to see her land. I’ll be sad to see it go but it hasnt been used in almost 20 years, aside from storage, they arent bringing the buckets back so, I guess it is time to move one. Just dont turn into a corn dog cart or a stand to sell trinkets, thats all I ask

    • napamaninsocal

      It wasn’t a faster way to get across to TL. My mom, who was afraid of heights, would walk across the park and beat us every time.

  • Larry Parker

    They(arrogant, non-art appreciative, corporate bean-counters)could have made the Skyway Station a charming coffee/snack cafe. The view onto the gardens below is beautiful. But with no artistic appreciation and profit the paramount objective above all else, their decision to demolish the beautiful building with the beautiful view is understandable-unfortunately.

  • stevek

    The log jam of strollers outside the Jingle Cruise is crazy. Disney completely over marketed the product and the final quality is pretty meh in my opinion.

    Can’t say I’m overly disappointed to see the Skyway station being torn down. It was pretty clear that nothing was going to be done with it so it really made sense to tear it down before it fell down. Bigger question is if they can do anything with that property. Maybe expand Casey Jr? Likely will just stay as a green, undeveloped area which quite honestly is ok with me.

  • Zoe Necrosis

    I have to side with ahecht there – or at least I hope we’re both right in thinking this will not be a jam-packed week, as I’ve planned the family trip for Tuesday. I mean, they don’t open until 9and close at 8pm; not typical signs of a very popular week…

  • Oathkeeper

    I personally am really sad to see it go – I was too young to ever remember riding the skyway, but I have always had a fascination for that building and thought how cool it was that this piece of Disneyland history was tucked away among those trees. I only wish I could have gotten a closer look at the building myself, there is some really pretty artwork on there and I have never seen what the full version of that rhyme that goes along the top is. It would have been a perfect place to move the Tangled meet n greet to 🙁

    • stevek

      Good location, likely not ADA compliant which would potentially be a big problem.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I, too, remember the skyway fondly. I am amazed that the building is in such good shape. I remember going up those stairs many times and it was my favorite way to get to Tomorrowland. I took the skyway to Tomorrowland many more times than the skyway to Fantasyland. It is sad to see it go. I guess we just have to expect Disneyland to decline over the years.

  • Kenny B

    That sucks about the skyway station, I only rode the WDW one, and have only been to DL once…… But this saddens me.

    BTW — Whatever happened to the former Disney accountant, who was writing articles? We all enjoyed his posts, and I think he never even finished his story……

  • bayouguy

    Thanksgiving weekend really didn’t seem very busy. It was nicely decorated and managable for us.

  • redrocker

    I can see them using the skyway area as a new smoking area..completely away from guests traffic. and there is no room behind it for a dark ride in the backstage area. Theres a fairly brand new kitchen and talent break room just behind it and road access. Its small enough as it is back there

    • Marko50

      I would think that even a smoking area would have to be ADA compliant, but that’s just a guess.

  • ScottOlsen

    I wonder how I was actually able to view parades at Disneyland in the past without all that studio lighting??

    • stevek

      The fancier studio lighting in the article is actually temporary for Candlelight.

  • TodAZ1

    If Disneyland and DCA are only open from 9 am to 8 pm til Wednesday and 9 am to 9 pm on Thursday, how busy could they be? That’s almost off season hours.

  • Dizzey

    It used to be a fun “look to the past” to see the Skyway building. I told my kids about the old cable ride a few times while showing them the building and challenging them to imagine it, but it makes sense to take it down. It’s probably fairly rotted at this point. Worse to lose the Court of Angels, in my opinion.

    Side story – Disney must not like the negative press about this latter issue… I was in the park last week and held my camera up to see over the cheesy plywood gate at COA. I was immediately jumped on by a cast member telling me that that was not allowed. He wasn’t very nice about it, either. Very un-Disney. Sheesh. Soured me even further to the whole thing and made me think about the nearly $1000 I spent in park hopper tickets for the family. Overall it’s still the Happiest Place on Earth, but this guy must not have got the full training. It’s just a construction photo for Pete’s sake… the kind of thing I’ve seen here on MiceChat all the time. Fully cover the opening if it’s such a big deal.

    • stevek

      I think most people, including the owners of this site and many of the various site photographers, will tell you that it’s a no-no to take pics over a fence. My guess is that the guy has had a billion peeps trying to take pics and is pretty tired of telling everyone no…or he was just being a bit jerky about it.

  • MikkiandtheMouse

    I have incredibly fond memories of the Skyway, but it gone. Seeing the Skyway Station go isn’t really a point of sadness for me. It’s a shame they haven’t used it for a Meet and Greet because it’s a beautiful building and could be nicely utilized but since it’s gone so long without a guest inside, tearing it down is the way to go.

  • Indy Fan 1

    Really upset about losing the Skyway station. But it does make sense because it likely has fallen into disrepair and has been eaten by termites. If it were up to me, I would try to bring the Skyway back in some new form that is ADA compliant.

  • Country Bear

    Great update Andy. Thank you for the wonderful pictures and especially the videos. It’s nice to be there without actually “being” there. I have ridden the skyway many times and really enjoyed this station because it was a unique area and building. It always felt like when you got off at this station you had been transported to another time and place. Part of the old Disney magic. I’m nostalgic about it, but the gondola really took you away from the show at Disneyland. You could see generic roof tops and behind the scenes of several areas. A delight for a Disney geek, but probably less so for your average guest.

    Thanks again for the update.

  • parker4fm

    The Skyway area is clearly large enough to hold another flat ride of some type, Meet & Greet, or light snack stand. I’m looking forward to seeing something happen with that…whenever that may come. Disney World received beautiful restrooms…that could always happen…

  • Algernon

    What a great ride the Skyway was. Imagine going all the way through the Matterhorn, coming out on the other side and looking down to see the Peoplemover, the non-Nemo Submarine Voyage, the elevated Astrojets, the smooth, colorful pavement, and then going up the old (and much nicer) entrance to Space Mountain, before going on the very uplifting Carousel of Progress, and the Adventure Through Inner Space. If only somebody would open up Yesterland for real! Maybe when virtual reality arrives….

  • pattimarie


  • msjstricker

    I love the holiday decorations in the hotels and at Trader Sam’s. They actually make me want to make the trek to see them in person! I just might…

    I’m not super sad to see the Skyway chalet go, either. I mean, WE know it’s there, but to the casual guest, it probably goes unnoticed for the most part. It would have made a great character meet-n-greet area, but… it is what it is.

    I am getting a little scared though about this seemingly slow process of demolishing pieces of Disneyland history, though. I was unfazed by the Court of Angels closure, but now there’s the Skyway chalet… What’s next? Tom Sawyer’s Island? Makes me nervous :/

  • EC82

    Was there ever a time when the general public could view the Candlelight Procession? It seems so wrong to have the seating area be open only to invited VIP guests and media.

    • stevek

      The general public can see Candlelight. Every year we’ve gone, we have not been in the seated section. We just get early and either A) get one of the green benches they put out first come, first served or B) find a place on the curb to the side over near the Opera House.

  • EC82

    BTW, why not just use Aladdin’s Oasis as a stroller parking area, away from the crowds and the walkways? (My own opinion is that the stroller set are incredibly short-sighted and fail to realize their kids don’t even CARE that they are at Disneyland — perhaps I’m just tired of having my foot run over by strollers or having strollers block so much of the walkway that grown-up types can barely even get through.)

  • stitch1085

    I’d like to take the time to complain about the new system over in Florida. I recently went over to Florida and upgraded my Premium DLR pass to a Premier pass. When I returned from my vacation, the Premier pass I had just acquired was not valid at DLR. The cast members simply rolled their eyes and called a lead, it would seem that because this new AMAZING system that is being rolled out over in Florida is not able to connect with DLR’s system and results in some passes not being recognized. For three weeks now I have been unable to get access to the park without calling a lead nor have I been afforded my 20% discount without either waiting for a lead or simply just saying “forget it I don’t need the discount.” It’s really ridiculous that I shelled out over $1000 for this new pass and the damned thing doesn’t work properly because of Florida’s new “State of the art” system. Hate to say it but it is a complete bust! If something is broken DON’T FIX IT! *RANT OVER*

    The Skyway station going away makes me sad, maybe they will level it and convert it into a Rapunzel meet and greet with a gorgeous new tower (similar to the one in WDW). That would be awesome!!!

    • LBJeff

      It’s not the new system. Last year, during my visit to WDW, I accidentally brought my expired Premium annual pass, instead of my current one. WDW ticketing people told me directly that their ticketing system has never been tied into DLR ticketing. They could not upgrade my pass without having the current one, even though they could verify I had a current Premium pass, nor could they replace my pass. My husband went through the same experience, though, that you describe after he upgraded at WDW and then we tried to enter DLR.

      Between us, it took Guest Services at DLR to get our situations corrected. They ended up cancelling the WDW Premier pass, and issuing him a new Premier pass from DLR.

  • Will G

    I don’t know if this has been noted or changed more recently, but Saturday night I noticed from the Train that the 3 geese on the top deck of the Zip-A-Dee Lady in Splash Mountain are once again animated.

    I would have taken a picture – but what would have been the point?! 😉

  • KCmike

    Glad the WDW magic pass is a bust. I hated the thought of this idea of planning out my vacation to the last second. Is the magic band really over or are they still toying with the idea?

    The Christmas tree and garland at the GCH looks great. Still really sad about Billy Hill. We got to see them a few weekends ago but missed Elvis Billy as he was off that day. I see he’s not in your picture as well. Is he already gone for good or are we just both missing him on his off days?

    Thanks again for the great updates.

    • Wendygirl

      No Elvis Billy is not gone. He was out for awhile due to some medical stuff. He has been back since – he was there today for instance. Billy Bald (Duane) is on a two week vacation right now. Also, The Billy page on Facebook is being renamed to Kirk Wall and The Billys. That would be Kirk, Dennis, Anders and Rick. The other group of Billys is called Billy and the Hillbillies and is John Eaden, John Marshall, John David and Duane. In Disneyland both groups are called Billy Hill and the Hillbilles. Hill was added by Disneyland. The two groups do gigs outside the Park – looks like they will be trying to do more of that in the future. Disneyland is making a big mistake in my humble opinion!

  • raidermouse

    Hey that’s me in the Carthay Tour pics in Red! How cool! Great tour by the way and my 2 daughter’s really enjoyed it too!

  • Tinkbelle

    I loved the Skyway. If there was one “yesterland” ride I could bring back, it would be the Skyway. I’m very sad to hear that the historic building will be demolished. I’ve not been impressed with many decisions made at Disneyland in 2013. Every Dateline leaves me more at peace that we have no plans in the works for a future visit.

  • Mark Wilkinson

    Oh my god. I get depressed just reading how sad everyone is that an abandoned building is being removed. Even people who never went on the Skyway! Huh? I’m sorry but I have had enough real tragedy in my life to be overly sadden by this.

  • MrOCT31

    I think the depression comes more from the losing of another historical area of the park used or unused. “They” could do something with that building, they’ just don’t want to and it’s a shame since now you have to wonder, what will be next to go?

  • Klutch

    Failed rollout of MyMagic +? What’s the story here? I’d like to read more about that. Is there an article about it somwhere which I missed?

    • stevek

      It hasn’t necessarily failed…just very challenged at this point. Haven’t read Kevin Yee’s new article on the front page but maybe something in there…looks like it’s talking about magic bands, etc.

      • Klutch

        OK, I found a Micechat article from 26 November which explains all the big projects being cancelled due to major delays and problems with MyMagic+. And I’ve seen a few other online articles about problems with it. But I haven’t really seen any details of specific problems.

  • Turboman

    Waited 40 minutes for Jingle Cruise and it was fairly awful. Our skipper was obviously uncomfortable with the material.

    Waited 0 minutes for the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and we were repeating our guide’s jokes the rest of the weekend. It was a hit with our entire family.