In the Parks Crowds, Christmas, and Corn Dogs at the Disneyland Resort

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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Published on December 27, 2013 at 3:00 am with 16 Comments

Christmas may be over, but the holiday crowds are still growing at the Disneyland Resort. Club 33 is being expanded above New Orleans Square and we get a glimpse into the renovation. Have you noticed the Mickey and Friends parking structure from Disneyland park? The loss of many trees around the Rivers of America have exposed the big concrete box from within the park. We also check on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is now approaching one full year under refurbishment.  There is also news from here and there, and a survival guide for those visiting the parks at this VERY busy time of year, and more.

Club 33 Refurbishment

As you all know, the exclusive Club 33 restaurant above New Orleans Square is receiving a major expansion and refurbishment. While the restaurant itself isn’t expected to close for renovations until January 7th, work has already started in the expansion zones. Above the French Market restaurant, a new jazz club is under construction. It will be the first full time bar inside Disneyland, but sadly will not be available to regular guests, it will be for Club 33 members only.

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While visiting the park we noticed that one of the doors on the upper veranda was wide open.  You can just make out the framing for some interior walls.

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Spying through an open door, we see that they have just begun to frame things up in the new Jazz Club

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Facing the train tracks, one balcony is obscured with a wide stripe screen.

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Near the Court of Angels some posters has been added to one of the construction screens.

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Some Toulouse-Lautrec knock-offs are used to obscure construction.

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Some of the screens have been printed to look like the balconies they are covering

Rivers of America

Back on the Rivers of America, the winter months and waning foliage as well as the removal of many trees around the river make for a perfect view of the parking structure and backstage areas. But that’s not really a good thing.

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The little boy along the river has returned to his perch on the tree.  However, his canine companion has yet to return.

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The structure makes the little Indian boy cry.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Testing on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has been continuous.  Trains were even testing on Christmas day.

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Despite testing, show effects were not running.

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The vultures have returned to their pinnacle.

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Flower Market

In another bit of wonderful news, the Flower Market on Center Street has survived thus far.  The busy holiday season will be a major test to see how this decorative crowd buffer can withstand the festive masses.

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So far, everything looks good. The guests don’t seem to be walking off with the faux flowers.  Let’s cross our fingers that the market will remain after the holidays.

Corn Dog Queue

In a “Why didn’t they think of that sooner?” moment, we see that they have finally turned the line for the Corn Dog Cart into a switchback.  Insider Tip: You can get the same corn dogs at the stage door with a quarter of the wait.

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Esplanade

The terrazzo compass in the esplanade continues to deterioriate.  We hope that a more permanent solution is found for this area soon as it really looks terrible.

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At this point, it would probably look better if they just pulled the compass out and put brick down.

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

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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. It’s a Disney geek’s dream:

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UPCOMING MICECHAT EVENTS

MiceAge/MiceChat Anniversary Weekend

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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)!

 

¡Viva Navidad!

It was recently announced that the successful ¡Viva Navidad!  will be returning next year and expanded.  No details were given, but this is spectacular news.  If you have not been over to enjoy some of the food offerings from ¡Viva Navidad! or seen the delightful street show, add it to your list if you can.

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¡Viva Navidad! is running through January 5th.

Christmas Time Crowds

‘Tis the season for insane crowds.  But there are ways to enjoy the park despite the masses.  If you are planning on visiting the resort, here are a few tips for keeping things fun and enjoyable.

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Try enjoying the smaller shows and attractions

  • When arriving to the resort, avoid Harbor and Ball Road if at all possible. Katella is generally a better option.
  • Do not use Mickey and Friends parking structure, instead try the Toy Story lot or Pumba (across from the Garden Walk mall – if open)
  • Drive defensively, tourists often don’t pay attention or know where they are going.
  • Be patient.
  • Get there early and use the fastpass system wisely.  They have begun to enforce time frames.  Manage your time efficiently so you don’t miss out on your valid Fastpass window.
  • Get a locker as soon as the park opens. They sell out right away on busy days. It has been hot during the day but can get downright cold at night, so it’s nice to have a locker to stow items you won’t want to carry all day (such as coats, scarves, etc).
  • Don’t forget your phone charger!
  • Although lines can still get quite long (Haunted Mansion was running a 50 minute wait  and Indy 100 minutes on Thursday evening), certain attractions have lines which move much quicker than others. In particular, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Small World, and Little Mermaid are super high capacity rides . . . which means the lines keep moving.  Captain EO, the Tarzan Treehouse, Enchanted Tiki Room, Mr. Lincoln, The Main Street Cinema, The Mark Twain, and Tom Sawyer Island are all great options on busy days. You might also want to see Mickey and the Magical Map, the Aladdin musical, It’s Tough to be a Bug or the Muppets 3D.
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A photo from last night shows Indy at 100 minutes.

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  • It sounds cliché but grabbing your fast pass and enjoying the lesser attended attractions nearby is a perfect way to pace yourself in a hectic environment.
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The crowds are only going to get worse as we get closer to New Years, so breathe deep and go with the flow.

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You also need to keep in mid that there are many attractions that allow single rider as an option.

  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
  • Matterhorn
  • Splash Mountain
  • California Screamin’
  • Soarin’ Over California
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Radiator Springs Racers

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It’ll be rough through January 5th.  If you can avoid the parks, we would suggest postponing your visit for a couple of weeks.  Otherwise, be warned and make the best of the situation.

We hope that all of you have had a wonderful holiday so far and we wish each and every one of you a safe and happy New Year!!! We’ll see you again soon . . . In The Parks!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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16 Comments

Comments for In the Parks Crowds, Christmas, and Corn Dogs at the Disneyland Resort are now closed.

  1. I don’t get why they want people waiting in long lines for Corn Dogs and Dole whips. I don’t understand why they don’t expand those facilities or the amount of locations selling those premium-priced cheap-to-make items.

    • ^^ The Dole Whip lines seem particularly stupid, and they are a time waster even on some moderately crowded and/or hot days. If Disney wants people to spend less time in line so they have more time to spend money to increase per guest spending, fixing things like the Dole Whip line would be smarter than the expensive MyMagic+ system. At least WDW is serving as a testing ground for Disneyland so, hopefully, some of the flaws can be repaired before it comes here.

      THANK YOU for another excellent update, Norman!

    • Tokyo Disney Sea, from what I’ve heard, only has one stand selling gyoza. People wait in the long line to buy and eat the park’s gyoza because then they get bragging rights. Waiting for a tempting treat found only in that one place is part of the experience. However, the corn dogs at Disneyland are also available at the Stage Door Café where there are multiple ordering windows, as well as the Corn Dog Castle in DCA where they’re also sold as a fried cheese stick and a hot link corn dog. But, yeah, you’re stuck with the one stand for Dole Whips. The Tiki Juice Bar does take orders from the Tiki Room’s waiting area, so you should try going into the waiting area next time. And while you’re enjoying your treat, why not have a seat inside and watch the show while enjoying your treat?

      • I never knew you could still get the Corn Dogs at Stage Door. Great tip.

        As for the Dole Whips, just pretend you are going to go on the Tiki Room and order from the other side. You might get a few looks as you hop the turnstile to get back out of the Tiki Room courtyard, but you’ll save 20 mins.

  2. Really glad to hear that they’re planning to bring Viva Navidad back next year. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. While I had some time off from work a couple of weeks ago, I went to the park on several weekdays and spent a good amount of time in the Viva Navidad area. One day there was some management types going around the area and talking. One of them had what looked like blueprints or schematics of the layout of something, maybe the Paradise Gardens area. I wondered if they were planning a follow up to Viva Navidad or were already planning for next year. Personally, I’m really hoping they’ll do more cultural celebrations in that area throughout next year. It’s the perfect place for it. One evening, I also saw an entourage come through the area that included Michael Colglazier and Meg Crofton. They stopped for awhile to watch guests enjoying a Mariachi Divas performance.

    Recently, I learned that Menchie’s Frozen Yogert sells a Dole pineapple soft serve that is essentially the Dole Whip. They will be opening a Menchie’s in the Huntington Oaks Shopping Center in Monrovia, CA, which is right across the street from where I live. I’m very happy that if I have an urge for a Dole Whip, I can have one without waiting in the unbearably long line at the park!

  3. Its really terrible show to leave the Esplanade looking like that. It is supposed to be the gateway to the parks and is one of the first impressions guests have of Disneyland and DCA.

    Hopefully after the Christmas season they will replace the whole thing with some nice fountain and landscaping. Even if they are planning on ripping it out, the cracks should be filled now.

  4. The dole whip line could be solved easily… why not have a second spot some where outside Aladdins oasis between it and gift shop… its basically a dead area most of time.

  5. Its striking how most other plans were cancelled but the ultra-exclusive Club 33 project, which takes over a space formerly accessible to all, is moving full steam ahead.

  6. Why on earth would anybody spend all that money to wait in huge lines and battle gigantic crowds? Not my idea of a good time…

  7. I couldn’t help but notice the top of the berm while traveling along in the passenger cars that have you sitting facing forward. There were all kinds of pipes, nets, and things that really stood out. I wondered if the berm was eroding away. It definitely needs some work.

  8. Goofy is pretty corny but I don’t know that he’s a dog. I am concerned about the other dog, the Indian boy’s dog. Did he get in line for a corn dog and never return? Viva Navidad? Ay, Chihuahua! Here I come!

    The vast sea of strollers is one of the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Where are the children? Have people taken to bringing a stroller along just to carry their stuff and not to transport a child who is too small to ride anything?

  9. I really enjoyed the Viva Navidad street show. High energy and great music. I would actually like to see it expanded to a full scale parade celebrating the holidays and latin culture which is a huge influence on California culture.

    • No. Please don’t expand it. Please!

      • I agree, don’t expand it!

      • Ooops, didn’t finish. I think if it were part of a bigger parade being inclusive of other cultures it would be good. But an exclusive plug for one demographic just seemed like a desperate plea to appease one specific demographic.

  10. Got home to Disneyland again this weekend cause my brother from St. Louis was in town visiting my niece for the holidays. The drive down from Vegas Friday was brutal but SOOO worth it!

    It was our first experience with the new DAS cards with my daughter who is autistic. We only had a minor meltdown Saturday but my overall opinion of the new system is “WAY TO GO DISNEY”!!! We managed to ride several rides despite the very heavy crowds and closing of the park 2 days in a row. Anyone who has connections on this blog please express my family’s gratitude for a job well done!