Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort.  This is the time of  pageantry, spectacle and this weekend it will also be a time of reverence.  The Candlelight Processional returns for 2013, for this one weekend only.  We explain how to either avoid, or survive, the event here.  But there is also a bit of news to cover.  It seems that after many years of neglect, the Skyway chalet in fantasyland will finally become history.  We also get to the bottom of the dirt collecting on Space Mountain’s white dome and what’s being done about it. And we have news on how guests of the resort can give to Toys for Tots, even though Disney has put an end to the annual cast member christmas party toy drives that generated a huge amount of donations.

Editor’s note: We have clarified the information regarding Disney Company and their donations to Toys For Tots. Our original wording seemed to be misunderstood in the opening paragraph, inferring that Disney does not donate to that charity any more. They DO donate to the Toys for Tots organization, however they have since stopped holding their annual cast member Christmas parties which asked for a toy donation to enter.

 

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Candlelight Processional at Disneyland this Weekend

The Candlelight Processional will run December 7 and 8, 2013 with two performances each night, at 5:30 and 8:00 pm. The two presenters this year will be . . .

  • December 7:  Blair Underwood
  • December 8: Kurt Russell

By Tuesday of this week the set was already up and ready to go, aside from a few botanical touches.

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The control booth foundation is built at the base of the flag pole in Town Square.

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There are only a few ways to enjoy the Candlelight Processional this year if you are not a Club 33 member, VIP, or invited guest.  There will be specific benches on the outer flanks of the seating area that will be designated for day guests.  You can, if you choose, take a seat at park opening and stake your spot until the show later that evening.

Another option is to leave things to chance and wait on the side of Town Square until the 5:30 showing concludes and its audience dissipates.  You can then try to swoop in and take a seat then.  It’s a more high-pressure approach, but it doesn’t take the whole day up.

If the Candlelight Processional is not your thing and you would really like to just enjoy the park, it’s going to be pretty easy to do.  Last year, the cast members in crowd control got plenty of practice making the park function despite a month of Candlelight presentations.  Our guess is that, with only two nights to worry about, they will be able to keep Town Square moving just fine (even though a full-fledged stage extravaganza is being performed in the center of the main traffic artery for the park).

Still, if you’d like to avoid the Candlelight choke point at the front of the park, you can always try to enter the park using the Monorail from Downtown Disney.

Space Dirt

Sharp-eyed visitors have been noticing the increasingly dirty dome on what should be a pristine white Space Mountain dome.  The reason?  Fall protection of course.

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In Space, no one can hear you clean.

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But don’t worry folks, safety systems have been installed and this dirty situation should be cleaned up by Christmas.

Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train

The small complex of the Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Junior Circus Train enjoyed a very brief refurbishment this week and, as of this morning, they should both be back up and running.  Here are some pics from their refurbishment.

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Frozen Meet and Greet

Frozen is an unqualified hit this holiday season.  Having made a healthy $93.3 million, breaking box office records for opening weekend of a film on Thanksgiving weekend (even though Hunger Games walked away with an even higher gross for it’s 2nd weekend) and earned a CinemaScore of A+. That’s better than Disney could have hoped for. So, how is this translating to Disneyland . . .

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The film’s popularity is also evidenced by the massive wait times for a simple meet and greet inside Fantasyland.

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The animatronic Olaf watches the crowds from above.

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Congratulations to Disney animation for their tremendous early success with Frozen. What did you think of the film? Would you like to see more Frozen in the parks? Is it perhaps time for Disney to dust off the Marc Davis plans for a Snow Queen boat ride in Fantasyland?

Skyway Chalet to go away

It was announced by Disney that, after many years of neglect, the structure that used to act as the load/unload area for the Fantasyland Skyway will soon be demolished.  While it is sad to see another special bit of Disney history join Yesterland, it was pretty much inevitable.

Firsthand accounts from cast members tell of rat infestations and dilapidation.  “It’s pretty much beyond saving” said one cm.

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Armchair activists cry foul as many have though this would be the perfect spot for a character meet and greet or coffee spot (if only ADA accessible walkways could be built). Sadly, the building is not to remain and the last vestiges of the Skyway will soon be no longer.

Our guess is that they will just plant a few more trees to obscure the area further until they can get a budget approved for something more substantial in the future.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

We have goat!  Yes, the famous dynamite-chewing goat is back on his little peak, chomping combustibles.

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Hello old friend.

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Big Thunder is still on track, heading towards a February opening.  That’s just a few months kids!

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies moving to Knott’s

Well, it seems that you can’t keep a good act down.  Even though Disney has decided to part ways with the crowd pleasing antics of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, front man Kirk has notified fans that they have a very interesting non-Disney gig coming up.

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The Hillbillies will be performing one night, on New Years Eve, at Knott’s Berry Farm to help ring in the new year.  This will certainly be a great opportunity for the Billies to strut their comical, musical chops for a brand new crowd, and a few loyal fans. And if they prove popular with the crowd, perhaps we’ll see even more of the Hillbillies in the park after their Disney job ends in January.

Anyone up for spending New Year’s Eve at Knott’s this year?

Pirates Exit Refurb

The refub at the exit of Pirates continues…

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Haunted Mansion Holiday

The new week brings a new Jack Skellington face on the Gingerbread house in the Ballroom scene of the Haunted Mansion.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

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Even if you are disappointed by the rather boring revelations from the advent calendar, you can’t help but enjoy this wonderful overlay.

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Guests Can Give to Toys for Tots

Disney management nixed the cast member holiday parties last year, which invited cast members and their families to enjoy the park in exchange for a toy valued at $20 or more, donated to Toys for Tots.  However, the management team in Orlando decided that this tradition, that began with Walt himself, no longer had a place within the One Disney initiative.

To quote the Disney Parks Blog…

Disney was a founding sponsor of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots when the program began in 1947. Disney artists even designed the first Toys for Tots promotional posters and Walt Disney personally supervised the creation of the original Toys for Tots logo, which is still in use today!

Disney is still trying to recover from the nasty public relations mess this has left them with, but is still unwilling to resume the after hours parties that were a large generator of toy donations.  Instead, they are now suggesting paying guests pay Disney prices inside Downtown Disney and then donate to Toys for Tots.

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Collection boxes are stationed in the doorways of nearly every storefront in Downtown Disney.

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If TDA really wanted to save face in this mess, without going against their orders from One Disney Orlando, they would simply donate a certain amount of money to Toys for Tots.  Another idea might be to have a highly publicized toy drive event in Downtown Disney, offering discounted prices or tickets into the park.

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and Anaheim Fire and Rescue will be on hand December 7 and December 14 from 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. to collect toys at the west end of Downtown Disney District, by AMC Theatres and ESPN Zone.

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While there is not much to see just yet, we still can’t wait for this to open as it will take additional pressure off of the busy in-park locations (especially the oft-packed Buena Vista Street location).

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Hotel Decorations

It’s old news, yes, but The lobby decorations have gone up in both the Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel.

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This tree is one of our favorites. It has a rustic elegance about it.

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Don’t forget to give to Toys for Tots.

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Inside the Disneyland Hotel, a large, fiberglass, gingerbread house has been erected.
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It’s artfully gingerbready.
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The entry has festive decorations above.
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Don’t forget to give.

 

MICECHAT PODCAST: SAVING WALT, CHRISTMAS IN THE PARKS, DISNEYLAND RUMORS AND MORE

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The LONG awaited next episode of the MiceChat Podcast is back and it’s a fun one. Robo-Dusty and Doug Barnes lead us on a quest to save Walt’s Birthplace, look at Christmas in the parks, explore the latest Disney Imagineering rumors, and jump into danger at Orlando’s IAAPA theme park expo. You won’t want to miss a minute of this action packed show:

RSS  |   iTunes   |  Direct Download

 

UPCOMING MICECHAT EVENTS

MiceAge/MiceChat Anniversary Weekend

aniversary  Save the dates of Feburary 7th, 8th and 9th, 2014 for special Disney presentations, cocktail parties, Lunches, breakfasts, meets in the park, giveaways, friendship and more. Make sure you don’t miss out, add your name to the Anniversary Weekend Email List HERE:



Gumball Rally 2014 – Saturday May 3rd

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The world famous MiceChat Gumball Rally will be rolling your way the first Saturday in May. Lots of fun and surprises are in store. Join the info list now so you won’t miss out on early discounted registration (just after the first of the year).  Last year’s event sold out in record time with over 100 names on the waiting list. Don’t end out shut out of the best fan event of the year, add your name to the list HERE and we’ll notify you when tickets go on sale.



 

CRUISE THE MEDITERRANEAN WITH BOB GURR AND THE MICECHATTERS

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What’s better than a Disney Cruise? A Disney Cruise to an exotic location with beloved Imagineering legend Bob Gurr!!! Join us on the reimagined Disney Magic (Aquadunk anyone?) as we travel from Barcelona Spain to Monaco and several ports of call in Italy. And if you are REALLY up for adventure, add an extension after the cruise to join us in Disneyland Paris! This is the journey of a lifetime that you simply can’t miss. Contact MiceChat’s Fairy Godmother, Teresa Cory, at [email protected] for full trip details and pricing (it’s MUCH more affordable than you think)!

 

That about wraps things up from the Disneyland Resort for this week.  What do you think should go up where the Skyway building is now?  While we know who’s narrating Candlelight this year, who would YOU like to see narrate the annual event?  We would also like to invite our readers, if they have the ability, to support the U.S Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program by making a donation. Brighten up Christmas for someone less fortunate, you’ll be glad you did.

That’s it for now. See you In The Parks!