The holidays are in full swing at Disneyland as the park gets ready to host its annual Candlelight Processional in Town Square this upcoming weekend. The decades-long holiday tradition was hosted for an unprecedented 20 nights last year, but the event returns to its traditional two-night run for 2013. Meanwhile, as Candlelight begins to take shape in Town Square, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure‘s candy kitchens made their first batch of the wildly popular hand-made candy canes over the weekend. Elsewhere around the park, holiday music can be found from Main Street to Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain‘s refurbishment continues and in Fantasyland, a historic part of Disneyland may soon be disappearing forever.

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.

We’ve got a big holiday-packed update today, so let’s get started!


Welcome to Disneyland!

The Thanksgiving holiday brought big crowds to Disneyland throughout last week. The holiday crowds will be a constant in the parks through the rest of the season, hitting their traditional peak during the week of Christmas. If you plan on visiting the Resort for the holidays, be ready for big crowds!

A look at wait times Saturday afternoon

With Disney’s new animated film “Frozen” now in theaters (and proving to be a quick success) the meet-and-greet in Fantasyland is now posting long wait times, such as this 60-minute wait on Saturday.

Over in Adventureland, the new-this-year Jingle Cruise continues to draw long waits

The added holiday spirit in Adventureland means more stroller parking in the already-cramped land.

Candlelight and Candy Canes

In Town Square, setup for Disneyland’s annual Candlelight Processional is now underway. The holiday show that tells the story of the first Chritmas will run for its traditional two-night run this weekend after running for 10 nights last year.

You can spot temporary railings atop Main Street Station for the show

Speakers and lights are going up in Town Square…

This year, the Candlelight Processional will run December 7 and 8, 2013. Below, the celebrity narrators for this year’s event.

    December 7: Blair Underwood
    December 8: Kurt Russell

As of this writing, there are no public options for seats at this year’s Candlelight Processional. No special tickets, no dining reservations, no Annual Passholder raffle. If you aren’t an invited guest or invited media, your best bet would be to arrive early and stake out a first-come, first-served standing-room only spot in Town Square.

Meanwhile, last weekend Disneyland and California Adventure’s candy kitchens made their first batches of the popular, fan-favorite candy canes of the season.

Of course, the candy canes sold out quick with guests lining up at park opening to secure their fresh, hand-made candy cane.

If you want to get your own candy cane, below are the remaining dates and park opening times when candy canes will be available.

    Candy Palace at Disneyland

  • Tuesday, December 3 (9 am park opening, 8-9 am Extra Magic Hour)
  • Friday, December 6 (9 am park opening)
  • Tuesday, December 10 (9 am park opening, 8-9 Extra Magic Hour)
  • Friday, December 13 (9 am park opening)
  • Tuesday, December 17 (9 am park opening)
  • Friday, December 20 (9 am park opening)
  • Sunday, December 22 (8 am park opening)
  • Tuesday, December 24 (8 am park opening)
    Trolley Treats at Disney California Adventure

  • Monday, December 2 (9:00am park opening, 8-9 am Extra Magic Hour)
  • Saturday, December 7 (8:00am park opening)
  • Monday, December 9 (9:00am park opening, 8-9 am Extra Magic Hour)
  • Saturday, December 14 (8:00am park opening)
  • Monday, December 16 (9:00am park opening)
  • Saturday, December 21 (8 am park opening)
  • Monday, December 23 (8 am park opening)
  • Wednesday, December 25 (8 am park opening)

If you don’t want to get to the parks that early, Disney is selling pre-made candy canes. They are made with the same technique and same ingredients, just off-stage and not on the same day you buy them.

Music on Main Street

Main Street not only celebrates the holidays with Mickey-shaped garland strung up across the street and the huge tree in Town Square. In addition to regular music from the Disneyland Band and the Hook and Ladder Co., guests on Main Street during the holidays can frequently hear live holiday music from the Dapper Dans and the special Dickens Yuletide Band.

The Dapper Dans are always a treat, especially during the holidays.

Special for the holidays, the Dickens Yuletide Band performs holiday classics on Main Street.

In Frontierland, the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are now in their final season at Disneyland and you can catch the group in at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree doing their Christmas set before they’re permanently retired in January.

It’s a shame to see Disney retire such a popular performing group from the park – they’re a big hit with guests and have a loyal fan following.

Refurbishment Round-Up

Nearby in Frontierland, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment project continues without much visible progress to be seen as it pushes toward its February 2014 reopening.

In Fantasyland, Storybook Land and Casey Jr. Circus Train will close for a brief refurbishment this week.

The Fantasyland classics are set to reopen later next week.

And in Tomorrowland, the Xbox 360 area inside Innoventions has reopened with updated displays showcasing the new Xbox One console system.

The new Xbox One stations replace Xbox 360 stations that were promoting the recent Disney Infinity game.

A few Xbox 360 stations remain with Disney Infinity.

Skyway to Yesterland

The big news in the fan community last week was the report from MiceAge that all major new projects at Disneyland and Walt Disney World have been put on hold after a failed rollout of Disney’s major $1 billion MyMagic+ project in Florida. The rumor says that all rumored projects are now on hold or outright canceled for Disneyland, including a major Monsters Inc.-themed expansion of Disney California Adventure, a huge Star Wars-themed reworking of Tomorrowland and major upgrades and enhancements for Disneyland’s Fantasyland dark rides. While the community was in hot debate over MiceAge’s latest, another rumor from Disney author and blogger Dave Koenig about the pending loss of another part of Disneyland history got lost in the shuffle.

The aging Skyway chalet in Fantasyland, across from the Village Haus Restaurant and to the side of Casey Jr., is apparently going to be the next victim of Disneyland history. The building has sat unused and largely unmaintained for years since the Skyway closed in 1994 and now Disneyland plans to demolish it after Imagineering decided they had no interest in keeping it around any longer.

It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful structure that could serve a variety of purposes – from character meet-and-greet, to merchandise location – but sits unused due to a lack of interest from management and ADA compliance for the location.

The original post for the Skyway marquee is still in place

Skyway buckets would leave from here

If you have fond memories of the Skyway, your last chance to see the building (through the trees at least) is now as demolition is expected to get underway after the start of the new year.

Welcome to Disney California Adventure!

Over at the Carthay Circle Restaurant, Disney recently started offering a once-daily walking tour of the restaurant at 10:30 am before it opens for lunch. The tour is quick – only about 15 minutes long – and takes you through the major areas of the restaurant including the lobby, the main dining room, the private Premiere dining room in the Carthay tower, and more.

The tour guide, a Carthay Circle Restaurant Cast Member, shares the backstory on photos hanging in the restaurant, explains thematic design choices, and talks about Hollywood history.

The tour gives a nice inside look at the restaurant and is a great little free excursion to start your day at the park. Even though the tour includes a sales pitch at the end to book a reservation for lunch or dinner, the bulk of the tour is focused on Imagineering’s creative choices inside and Walt Disney and Hollywood history. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Big crowds have hit California Adventure for the holidays as well, with Cars Land packing them in, especially at Radiator Springs Racers which was pushing a two-and-a-half hour wait time Saturday afternoon.

The smaller rides had 30-minute waits

Limited Time Magic

[center]Bite into a Magical Thanksgiving Celebration
at Disneyland Resort
November 24-December 1, 2013
[/center]
Last week’s Limited Time Magic brought some special menu items to the parks for the Thanksgiving holiday (and highlighted a few others that were already on the menu)…

Plaza Inn’s pumpkin yule log

…and pumpkin pie

Special drinks at Jolly Holiday Bakery

Tomorrowland Terrace had a sweet potato pie that looked like McDonald’s apple pies…

[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
    December 2 through December 6, 2013

    Show Times
    7:00 PM show time on December 2, 3, 4 and 5, 2013
    9:00 PM show time on December 6, 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‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö√†√∂‚àö√´‚Äö√†√∂‚àö√úcurrently 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

Below is the free ornament that Disney is giving to Annual Passholders attending the special AP showings of “Winter Dreams”

Dateline Disneyland
Holiday Gift Guide 2013
Give some Disney magic this year!
The holidays are here and we have a list of some of the great offerings Disney released this year that any Disney fan would love to have.

So jump in and check off some names from your list with the Amazon links below! By buying through the Amazon links below you’ll also be helping support Dateline Disneyland at no additional cost to you!

Happy Holidays!
– Andy
Dateline Disneyland

Great Disney Books

Spectacular Diamond and Anniversary Edition Animation Blu-ray

Everything Frozen

New Animation Blu-ray and more

Great Anniversary Edition and New Release Live Action Blu-ray

Amazing Marvel Blu-ray and more

Hotel Holidays

The Disneyland Resort Hotels are all decked out for the holidays as well. At the Grand Californian Hotel, the lobby has its gorgeous Christmas tree and garland strung up.

The Disneyland Hotel is celebrating the holidays as well. Planters in front of the main Fantasy Tower feature poinsettias and these great lights.

Inside, a fun new Sleeping Beauty Castle faux gingerbread house greets guests as they enter the lobby.

Christmas trees at the Fantasia Shop

The Adventure Tower and Frontier Tower lobbies have their own Christmas trees as well.

Frontier Tower

And the popular Trader Sam’s bar is celebrating the season, too

The bar is serving up special holiday cocktails

And inside, Christmas lights and other decorations are strung up for the holidays.

And over at Paradise Pier Hotel…

A seaside-themed tree with themed ornaments and decorations

Surrounded by oversized seashells and presents wrapped with nautical wrapping

Santa meets with guests at the tree

This and That

In Downtown Disney, progress is starting to finally move along at the new Starbucks Coffee location.

A new world map design can be seen going in on the wall inside the coffee shop


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
December 2-8, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Mon.-Wed.:
9 am – 8 pm
Thursday:
9 am – 9 pm
Friday:
9 am – 12 am
Sat.-Sun.:
8 am – 12 am
Mon.-Thurs.:
9 am – 8 pm
Friday.:
9 am – 10 pm
Sat.-Sun.
8 am – 11 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]Jungle Cruise:[/B] Delayed opening at 12:00 noon. December 2-5 and 9-12, 2013.
  • [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] Closed January 6 through May 22, 2014 for enhancements and redesign of outdoor portion of ride track.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • [B]Twilight Zone Tower of Terror:[/B] Reduced capacity through January 1, 2014.
[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]

December 2 – 8, 2013

MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN

About This Week’s Estimates
Our Addictometer™ crowd estimates are an average for the entire day. Expect higher crowds than this in the late afternoon and evenings. For real-time crowd levels — and where the crowds are in the parks — download the free Mouseaddict app.

  • The week after Thanksgiving is traditionally slow, but times have changed. We expect it to be less crowded than holiday weeks, but not deserted.
  • Everyone’s gone back to work and back to school, and area hotels have more rooms available than usual this week.
  • The recent rain has brought crowd levels down a notch, but this week looks mostly clear but chilly after today.
  • Saturday and Sunday will see this year’s Candlelight Processional. Expect crowds to tick up for that popular presentation.

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, weather forecasts, 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]
OK, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland! Will you be visiting the parks this holiday weekend? Let us know 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]

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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.