Merry Christmas! The biggest crowds of the year will hit Disneyland starting this week, running through the New Year holiday. Guests visiting this week should be sure to plan for some of the longest wait times of the year in every corner of the parks as guests flood the parks to celebrate the end-of-year holidays at the Merriest Place on Earth. This week we give you a taste of the crowds you should expect in the parks this Christmas week and fill you in on the latest refurbishments and construction projects around the Resort.

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’re back after our holiday break last week and we’ve got a full update for you today. Let’s get started!


Welcome to Disneyland!

Disneyland will see some of its biggest crowds of the year this week during the extremely popular Christmas holiday week.

I really love the new Main Street Flower Market on Center Street.

Christmas Crowds

Be sure to prepare for big crowds and long wait times if you plan on visiting the parks this weekend. Disneyland has been known to sell out frequently, hit capacity and close its gates at times during the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you plan on visiting, arrive with the proper expectations and a lot of patience – eat meals during off hours, don’t expect to ride more than a small handful of rides, plan and utilize Fastpass and be kind and patient with fellow guests and Cast Members alike.

Wait times from Saturday are a taste of what this week in Disneyland will be like.

Tight corridors like Adventureland are even more difficult to manage during this time of year with overflow stroller parking.

Indiana Jones Adventure’s FASTPASS Distribution even has overflow queue.

The Jungle Cruise remains extra popular this season with its new holiday overlay.

A few extra decorations were added a couple weeks back to the queue and in the ride itself.

The Bengal Tiger got ahold of one of the skippers’ burlap Santa hats

And the gorillas that have taken over the safari camp have also found the safari’s Christmas gifts…

Big crowds also means big traffic problems in New Orleans Square. Large portions of New Orleans Square walkways are now roped off throughout the day for overflow Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion Holiday extended queues.

Pirates was posting a 50-minute wait time Saturday afternoon while Haunted Mansion Holiday had a 90-minute wait.

Cast Members at both attractions hold up directional signs so guests can more easily find the queue entrance.

The new “Frozen” meet-and-greet had the longest wait on Saturday, however, with an impressive 120-minute wait time.

In the back of Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” Holiday had a 30-minute wait Saturday afternoon.

Without the holiday attraction overlays that Disneyland has, crowds at Disney California Adventure are still big but easier to manage.

Wait times around noon at Disney California Adventure. (click for larger view)

The big draw at California Adventure remains Cars Land, especially while the land is decked out for the holidays.

Cars Land wait times on Sunday afternoon:

Full extended queue at Radiator Springs Racers

Refurbishment Round-Up

Back in Disneyland, a couple Fantasyland classics reopened while we were away last week.

Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train are open following their brief refurbishment.

Nearby, the churro cart got a very nice new Casey Jr.-themed makeover.

Smokestacks

Yep – you can ring the bell

Over in Frontierland, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad project continues, with trains cycling quite often now.

Keen eyes may spot new safety railing installed along portions of the mountain that Cast Members access during walk-throughs and maintenance – all part of Disneyland’s on-going appeasement of Cal/OSHA.

The goat is back

In New Orleans Square, the Club 33 expansion project continues, with new scaffolding up to widen an enclosed bridge which will lead to the new Jazz Club portion of the Club above the French Market.

Backside of the French Market is still behind walls and tarps

Work continues atop the French Market as well

The Pirates of the Caribbean exit is still getting work done as well.

In Tomorrowland, Space Mountain and the Star Trader/Starcade complex are still in the process of getting their new Cal/OSHA-approved fall safety additions…

Meanwhile, Space Mountain is still quite filthy for the time being.

Nearby in Tomorrowland, the official word from Disney is that the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage will officially close on January 6 for a multi-month extended refurbishment project that will run through late 2014. Disney’s announcement follows a lot of rumors and speculation that Disney is quietly shuttering the attraction, one of the park’s most expensive to operate and maintain, to save money with no plans to reopen it.

It wouldn’t be the first time Disney has closed an attraction for an extended “refurbishment” and never reopened it, but with so much money spent to revive the subs last decade and the “Finding Dory” sequel to “Finding Nemo” coming out in 2016, another Submarine Voyage closure is hard to believe for many fans.

In any case, if you’d rather be safe than sorry, you should be sure to get your final ride in at the Submarine Voyage before it closes on January 6 – just in case it never reopens.

It would be a shame to lose such an iconic piece of Disneyland history, especially after Imagineer Tony Baxter and his team worked so hard to bring it back just a few years ago.

Limited Time Magic

[center]Celebrate Mary Poppins
at Disney California Adventure
December 16-22, 2013
[/center]
Last week Disney had a special meet-and-greet in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land with Mary Poppins, Bert and a penguin to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary as well as the release of “Saving Mr. Banks.” Meet and greet guests also got a free “Saving Mr. Banks” movie poster.

Free “Saving Mr. Banks” posters…

Dateline Disneyland
Holiday Gift Guide 2013
Give some Disney magic this year!
Today, Monday, December 23 is your last chance to order from Amazon with one-day shipping. So, if you need to get some last-minute shopping done for that Disney fan on your list (or a little something for yourself) it’s not too late! We have a list of some great Disney gift ideas below for any Disney fan on your list.

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

Don’t see what you want above?
Search for that special gift using the search box below:

Holiday Video Playlist

We featured nearly a dozen holiday videos from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this holiday season. From a holiday ride on the Omnibus and Jingle Cruise and to Viva Navidad and Winter Dreams, relive some holiday magic from the parks from home with our 2013 holiday YouTube playlist below:

This and That

In Downtown Disney, the new walk-in Sunglass Icon kiosk has opened, replacing the smaller walk-up sunglass booth.

Not too far away, the new Starbucks location continues construction…


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 23-29, 2013
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Daily:
8 am – 12 midnight
Daily:
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]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 23 – 29, 2013

MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN

Merry Christmas from the Mouseaddicts!
Thank you for being an addict with us. Here’s to fun new stuff coming in the new year!

  • Bring a little patience along with your holly jolly spirit — this is one of the most crowded weeks of the year at Disneyland.
  • Hotel rooms are still available before Christmas, but if you need to stay somewhere after the 25th… you’re better off finding a manger in a stable.
  • Some of our Addicts suggest staying away from the parades and shows, which are guaranteed to cause gridlock. Find a comfortable corner of the park and explore there instead. You might also want to get away from the madding crowds at one of the resort bars. We suggest the Mele Kaliki-Mocha at Trader Sam’s.

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]
OK! That’s it for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland! This will be our last regular update of 2013, with our annual year-in-review running next week. We’ll see you again with the latest news and information from Disneyland in 2014! Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

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

Support Our Sponsors

[center]Follow Dateline Disneyland!
| | | | [/center]

FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.
  • eicarr

    I’m not a fan of Disney photo pass shakedowns, but getting a photo with Mary Poppins with a backdrop that makes you look like you’re in the animated segment of the movie with her is priceless.

    While crowds look bad, imagine trying to navigate the park to make ride reservations made with magic plus 6 months ago, or the mega standby lines created by magic plus leaving your only options as a 3hr wait for Lincoln or Innovations. Hope all make the best out of their holiday adventure if they go this year.

  • MrTour

    The Submarine Lagoon is beautiful and adds a sense of space to that corner of the park. Hopefully what ever will replace it will keep a similar sense of atmosphere. We can only hope…

  • mainejeff

    Wall to wall people…….sounds like so much fun!

  • rstar

    Been there, done that. Don’t plan to repeat it any time soon. Though I may pop on over Christmas day for an hour just to take a quick look before dinner…..

  • Fukai

    Disney PhotoPass is not a “shakedown.” It’s real simple: if you don’t want your photo taken, just don’t pose with a character. If you want the Photopass photographer to use your camera, just hand it to them and they’ll be happy to take the picture and it won’t cost you a penny. But don’t accuse the Disney company of illegal activity when it’s plainly not true.

    • Idaho Mouse

      Thank You, I could not have said it any better. I feel that it is one of the best features they offer as your whole group can get into one shot & the fact that they will also take your camera & get the same picture for you for free is an added bonus.

  • DobbysCloset

    I feel well updated, thanks so much. It looks like everything at Disneyland is going just perfectly. The mistletoe at the flower market looking very romantic, the goat in place, Jingle Cruise getting into the spirit as I imagined it might. Space Mountain showing off a fine coating of the residue from Anaheim’s air — local folks breathe that stuff!!

    Andy, I would love to see a forecast of the weather linked to the crowd projections — in my heart I am hoping that those who planned this trip to Southern California from northern climes have good weather to go along with their hour-plus waits.

    The Santa Claus parade is a long time Hollywood tradition. I am wondering how that might be worked into Buena Vista Street. And I desperately need a little Tow Mater Angel to dangle from my rear view mirror…

    • WaltWaltWalt

      If you come from NoCal to SoCal you don’t really need to check the weather…it’s better.

  • SLUSHIE

    Funny that a Sunglasshut that is literally a hut, has to have some other special branding.

  • WaltWaltWalt

    Re: crowds
    In ’75, I was 3 years old and was bouncing off the walls…couldn’t wait for Santa. My dad took me to Disneyland to wear me out on Christmas Eve. It worked, so it became a tradition. We did it every year until I was 18. I’ve got to say that it was the best day of the year to go! The longest line was probably Matterhorn at 25 minutes, but the rest of the park was empty! I remember my sister and I going on Space Mountain, and immediately running back in line to do it again. We would not hit a line until we got halfway through the room with the ship hanging from the ceiling. We probably rode it 4 times in an hour. Same goes for Big Thunder Mountain. Tom Sawyer’s Island? We owned it.

    I haven’t tried to go on Christmas Eve since, but I’ve noticed over the years that things have changed. Glad to have the memories of my sister and I running around an empty park all decked out for Christmas.

  • Idaho Mouse

    A BIG THANK YOU to you Andy for keeping us all informed each week through out the year. For those of us that can only make it to the Parks once a year it keeps us all up to date with what is going on & changing. Plus it helps with planning the yearly trip around any thing that might be closed for a refurb. A Merry Christmas to you & the whole gang & looking forward to the coming New Year & what it brings.

  • EC82

    Gotta say, I agree with the anti-PhotoPass person. Of course it’s not illegal activity, but it IS a huge scam that takes the best position for a photo and gives it over to a photographer whose first goal is to charge you for the picture. I’m sure some people think it’s a good deal, but the cost they charge for what should be free (taking a picture!) is kind of outrageous. But, I’m a curmudgeon, and I also believe Disney needs to do something about the stroller madness. Putting hundreds of strollers right in the middle of a walkway is a lousy idea. Then again, I think bringing a kid to Disneyland who is young enough to need a stroller is a pretty awful idea, too. Wait until they’re old enough to walk, at least! OK, curmudgeonly guy is checking out for the holidays … 🙂

    • AvidTurtleTalker

      I’m sure 75% of the kids in the strollers CAN walk, it’s just that they’re still little and can’t handle all the walking adults can. Then what? You get tired, cranky baby. You can start carrying the kid, but how long are you going to be up for that? I think a good solution would be to designate a large “parking lot” in each land where you can drop off the stroller for the entire time you’re in that land and you can retrieve it when you leave the land.

  • Tigger Fan

    Is there someplace I can find out if the resort will be offering special Christmas day menu items. I’ve found the holiday treats they are offering during the season.
    Thanks, Tigger

  • DisWedWay

    I can Imagine Disney Legend Mark Davis looking down on his Jungle Cruise filled with Christmas Spirit and chuckling. I was hoping to see what Trader Sam was passing out for Christmas? Hope they weren’t mindless gifts. The Big Thunder safety handrails could use a few angled sticks from top to opposite bottom corner for structural realism as in TDS.

  • train man

    I don’t forsee the subs closing for good, it is important to remember that the original submarine voyage would undergo rehabs every few years in which the water was drained and everything got TLC and honestly I think it could use some at this point the colors under water have faded most of the subs could use a paint job and the scuba suits on the AA’s underwater have tears in them. I don’t think we need to worry about loosing Walt’s eighth largest submarine fleet again!