Disneyland‘s annual Candlelight Processional and Ceremony was held over the weekend, narrowly missing rain that could have otherwise washed the show out. The popular event packs in thousands and brings Town Square to life with music, light and the story of the first Christmas, told by celebrity guest narrators. While Town Square hosted Candlelight, the rest of the park carried on with the rest of its regular holiday offerings and various refurbishments. On Main Street, a colorful new flower market has sprung up, paying tribute to the park’s past. Over in Disney California Adventure, a couple shows on Buena Vista Street got some minor updates. Meanwhile, new 2014-dated merchandise has debuted across the Resort, just in time for the new year.

If you still need to get some holiday shopping done, be sure to check out our gift guide near the end of today’s update. It’s full of gift ideas for the Disney fan on your list and purchasing anything after clicking those links will help Dateline Disneyland pay the bills to keep the updates coming -at no extra cost to you! Your support is what keeps us here – Thanks!

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!

Outside the park, the lockers and restrooms next to the Guest Services windows have finished their facade refurbishment.

The snowflake decorations above Disneyland’s main turnstiles have been in place since the start of the holiday season, but this year they’ve never looked quite finished.

The bases of the decorations were never quite lined up when installed and we’ve been hoping they’d be fixed, but they still don’t look great — it’s not a major issue, but anybody who looks up at the decorations (which is the whole point) can see the issue here.

Last week, Main Street Station was covered with Candlelight Processional set-up, including some temporary character cut-outs on the top of the train station.

The character cut outs were meant to help camouflage some of the Candlelight set-up on top of the train station, but if anything the drew more attention to it.

Luckily they were only temporary for last week.

Inside the parks, flags were at half-staff over the weekend in memorial of Nelson Mandela and also for Saturday’s Pearl Harbor anniversary.

Rain and Shine

On Saturday, the Resort was hit with rain through much of the morning and early afternoon that put that evening’s Candlelight ceremony into question. Despite the rain, crowds didn’t shy away from the parks

A look at Disneyland wait times just before noon on Saturday

The rain put Fantasyland classics like the Mad Tea Party and Alice in Wonderland out of commission.

Crowds were thinner at California Adventure during Saturday’s rain.

In Cars Land, the land’s big Radiator Springs Racers E-Ticket continues to have problems operating in the rain and was often closed on Saturday due to “technical difficulties” caused by the rain.

Cleared queue

No races in the rain!

Cars Land’s two other rides were still open for business, though

Saturday’s rain eventually lifted and the sun broke through, making for a really gorgeous afternoon in the parks.

Candlelight 2013

Saturday and Sunday evening Disneyland hosted its annual Candlelight Processional and Ceremony in Town Square. This year the event returned to its traditional two-night run for invited guests-only after running for 20 nights with plenty of public seating opportunities in 2012.

Candlelight means alternate entrances for Main Street Station and reduced operating hours of the train station and other attractions and shops in Town Square.

Of course, the very limited first-come, first-served public seating in Town Square gets claimed at park opening, with guests camping out all day for the coveted seats.

Luckily the rain didn’t wash out Saturday night’s performances and the shows went off without a hitch.

Even if you aren’t religious, Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional is a really beautiful production and worth checking out if you ever have the opportunity or have the patience to deal with the huge crowds that pack into Town Square for the show.

The trumpeters atop Main Street Station are always an amazing moment.

Great vocal performances

And live narration by celebrity guests. Saturday’s performances were narrated by actor Blair Underwood and Disney Legend Kurt Russell on Sunday.

Our friends at MouseInfo have video of Sunday’s performance with Kurt Russell.

Main Street Flower Market

On Main Street, between Disney Clothiers and the Market House, a new flower market sprung up Friday morning on Center Street.

A few flower carts are parked on Center Street, filled with fake flowers and seasonal plants.

The flower market is a throwback to a similar flower market that was once featured on West Center Street (where the current outdoor patio for Carnation Cafe is) and later here on East Center Street.

The original flower market had flower for sale, but you can’t buy the flowers on display at Main Street’s new flower market.

You might not be able to buy a bouquet of fake Disneyland flowers to take home, but it’s still really great to have this here. It add a lot of color and a ton of charm to the area – which is nice considering the impersonal, cavernous Market House sits next door.

I love that the flower market is back and hope it sticks around with seasonal updates. Kudos to the team that put this together – it’s great.

Refurbishment Round-Up

In Fantasyland, Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train are closed for a brief refurbishment.

In Frontierland, the extended Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment continues

In New Orleans Square, the work continues at the Pirates of the Caribbean exit…

…and atop the French Market.

In Tomorrowland, flags are still up along Space Mountain and the Star Trader for upcoming fall-safety protection.

There wasn’t enough rain over the weekend to wash away much of the filth on Space Mountain…

Welcome to Disney California Adventure!

In Carthay Circle, Five and Dime got a minor update with a new dress for Dime.

This show continues to be a great little part of Buena Vista Street.

The Red Car News Boys also got a small holiday segment added to the regular show – a nice touch for the holidays.

Limited Time Magic

[center]Embark on an Adventure for Elf Days
at Disney California Adventure
December 9 to December 15, 2013
[/center]
This week Disney will offer special “elf training” activities at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail as part of Limited Time Magic. The holiday-themed event will run throughout the week – below is Disney’s blurb:

Train to become one of Santa’s secret helpers during Elf Days‚Äîa yuletide Limited Time Magic event happening at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in Disney California Adventure Park. Santa’s elves are looking for a few good Guests to join their ranks‚Ķ but only if these recruits can tackle a series of master challenges! From the Jingle Bell Bridge to Stocking Stuffers and Present Tracking, test your bravery by taking on each task. Not only will you receive your own official Elf name and learn the secret Elf Handshake, but you can even take a photo flying in Santa’s sleigh! So slip on those curly-toed shoes‚Äîbefore you know it, you’ll be jingling all the way!

[center]The Santa Clause Screening for Annual Passholders
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disneyland

Thursday, December 12, 2013
[/center]

    The Santa Clause Screening

    In celebration of Holidays at the Disneyland Resort, Passholders can join the journey of an ordinary man magically recruited to take the place of Santa—in the family favorite film, The Santa Clause.

    Date and Times
    Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.

    Location
    Main Street Opera House in Disneyland

    Event Registration and Wristband Distribution

      • Registration and wristband distribution for the event will begin at 2:00 PM on the day of the event at the Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park.
      • Registration and distribution of event wristbands will continue while event wristband supplies last.
      • Each participating Annual Passholder must present their active Annual Passport to the event Cast Member to check event availability and to register and receive an event wristband. Photo ID may be required.
      • Registration must be completed in person at the Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A. on the day of the event only; no phone reservations or other registration will be accepted.
      • 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 movie screening as long as there is space available and they receive an event wristband during the registration process.
      • It is recommended that all members of your party register together to help ensure that everyone receives an event wristband.
      • For assistance, you may contact the Annual Passport Member Services team at (714) 781-PASS (7277).
      • More information

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

New Year, New Merch

The 2014-dated merchandise has hit the shelves in time for the first visits of the new year.

A couple of other new merchandise offerings hit the shelves recently as well, including these new tacky holiday sweater t-shirts.

Fun new Oswald the Lucky Rabbit antenna toppers

And Disney theme park food refrigerator magnets (at a pricey $12.95 each!)

This and That

In Downtown Disney, a new kiosk is going up across from La Brea Bakery – could this be the new Starbucks kiosk?

Not too far away, work continues on the full Starbucks store, next to Sunglass Icon.

Throughout Downtown Disney, you can donate to Toys for Tots at various drop-off bins in participating stores.

It’s too bad Disney no longer hosts the Cast Member holiday parties at Disneyland, which also doubled as Toys for Tots donation drives. Hopefully the community steps in to fill the donation void left by the canceled holiday parties and donates at the Downtown Disney drop-off locations.

The Toys for Tots drop-off bins will be in place through December 14.

Over the weekend a table drop-off location was set up in the main entrance esplanade.

Finally, at World of Disney, another new window display has been installed, this time promoting the Glow with the Show ear hats. The display is actually really fun at night, with the lights from Mickey’s Fun Wheel and the ear hats lighting up the display.

Below, a video of the nighttime lighting in the new window displays.


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 9-15, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Mon.-Wed.:
9 am – 9 pm
Thursday:
9 am – 10 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 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 9 – 15, 2013

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THU
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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.

  • Overall Disneyland holiday gridlock this year are turning out to be less than in previous years — a sign that California Adventure is clearly doing its job by absorbing large numbers of guests. Wait times are up and down all day rather than solidly long, and Fastpasses are still available even after 6pm.
  • Weather is tricky this time of year, and a little rain can drastically reduce crowds. These projections are based on a forecast for mostly sunny skies with mid-60s temps.

Download the redesigned, reimagined, and remarkable Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad with the Addictometer crowd map overlay: see exactly where crowds are gathering, right on the map! The free Mouseaddict app 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 at mouseaddict.com.

[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • A Kickstarter project has been launched by a team that is planning to restore and reopen Walt Disney’s birthplace home in Chicago as a museum. (Kickstarter)
  • You can enter Disney’s “Show Your Ears” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Film producer Jerry Bruckheimer will be visiting Disneyland to sign his new retrospective coffee table book on December 14. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Disneyland Paris continues to struggle with a frayed relationship between its management and staff. (The Guardian)
Alright, that wraps up this edition of Dateline Disneyland! Did you brave the Candlelight chaos? What do you think of Main Street’s new flower market? Let us know your thoughts 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.