Disneyland‘s off-season continues with winter refurbishments continuing in both theme parks. In Disneyland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has debuted a gorgeous and dramatic new lighting package as that attraction wraps up its year-long refurbishment. Nearby, New Orleans Square is transitioning to Mardi Gras season despite major Club 33 construction covering many buildings in the area. Meanwhile, Disneyland hosted runDisney‘s popular Tinker Bell Half Marathon events over the busy holiday weekend.

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.

Let’s get started!


Welcome to Disneyland!

It may still be January but the parks are blooming with spring color

On Main Street, the Fortuosity Shoppe is open but behind walls and tarps for a facade refurbishment

The refurbishment has closed the walkway between the Fortuosity Shoppe the Carnation Cafe, making the restrooms accessible by entering through the shops.

Celebrate with MiceChat
MiceChat is celebrating its anniversary this year with another weekend of great events with special guests from the Walt Disney’s Birthplace project, Imagineer Tim Delaney, Disney blogger Jeff Heimbuch and more! Don’t miss out!

For full event information, click here!

Friday, February 7
    An Evening with Walt Disney
    Join the folks at the Save Walt Disney’s Birthplace project as we explore what it was like in 1901 when Walt was born and what Walt’s early years in Chicago would have been like. The event will be filled with very special guests, presentations, dinner, drinks, meet and greets and even an opportunity to bid on some unique items with all proceeds going to support the wonderful project to save the home Walt Disney was born in. Space is strictly limited to 70 guests. Tickets available soon!
Saturday, February 8
    Building The Dream – The Magic of Disneyland Paris
    Celebrated Imagineer Tim Delaney will lead us on a journey through the building of the most beautiful Magic Kingdom of them all, Disneyland Paris. Learn about the challenges, creative opportunities, and wonderful stories that make this park so unique in the universe of Disney theme parks. This will be a breakfast event at the ESPN Zone (bacon, bacon, bacon) with a 90 minute audio/visual presentation and an opportunity to meet a true creative genius. Event is limited to 125 guests and will sell out quickly. Tickets available soon!
    MiceQuest at Disney California Adventure
    Put your Disney skills to the test as Fishbulb presents one of his famous eye spy/scavenger hunt events. This is a two hour event which will be free to enter (you’ll just need park admission). There will be fun prizes sponsored by Fairy Godmother Travel and this is always a great way to meet fellow MicePals and have a great time in the park.
    Communicore Weekly Musical Meet-Up
    Meet Jeff Heimbuch and learn more about the epic Communicore Weekly Musical project. This event will be presented in the same location as the Game Show. Two great events, one great location.
    Monorail Man’s EXTRA Limited Time Magical Game Show
    The game show has become a MiceChat anniversary tradition. Why? Because Monorail Man isn’t just a Disney nerd but a game show nerd as well. And what excuse do we need to have a good time and win prizes? The show lasts for about an hour and prizes will be given throughout.
Sunday, February 9
    Breakfast at the Riverbelle Terrace, a grand circle tour of Disneyland aboard the Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain trip around the Rivers of America, MiceChat noon meet with prize giveaway, group photo, lunch with friends, D23 Fanniversary Scavenger Hunt, “Practically Perfect Tour,” farewell meet with grand prize giveaway. It’s a MiceChat tradition that‚Äôs not to be missed. All are welcome to join us for as much or as little of this day of magic as they’d like.

For full event information, click here!
End of the Season

Spring color is in bloom in the hub now despite snow still being up on Sleeping Beauty Castle

Icicles are gone as are smaller pieces of snow but as of Friday, most of the snow was still up on the Castle.

Back in Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” will close Tuesday (tomorrow) to begin the holiday overlay removal.

Back in New Orleans Square, the Haunted Mansion reopened to long lines Friday following the removal of its holiday overlay.

Unfortunately, Jack Skellington really did wreck the halls and the inside could use some TLC, especially in the stretching rooms where wallpaper is ripped and woodwork is damaged.

Elsewhere in New Orleans Square, the Christmas garland and lights have been taken down while other decorations remain up and additional beads and Mardi Gras-style decorations go up in preparation for the annual Mardi Gras-themed New Orleans Bayou Bash celebration.

The oversized Mardi Gras mask will remain up for Bayou Bash

Garland and lights have been swapped out for oversized Mardi Gras beads, bunting from Christmas will remain up through Bayou Bash

Refurbishmentland

[center]Clubbed[/center]
Meanwhile, much of New Orleans Square remains behind construction walls and tarps while the huge Club 33 expansion project gets underway.

A couple new themed banners went up on construction tarps.

[center]Night Cruises[/center]
On the Rivers of America, Fantasmic is still dark for refurbishment until Valentine’s Day.

The Sailing Ship Columbia is also still in dry dock for refurbishment.

With Fantasmic dark and the Columbia in dry dock, you still have a couple more weeks to enjoy the rare opportunity of taking a night cruise aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat.

With Fantasmic closing all river traffic around sundown on most nights, the Mark Twain typically doesn’t run in the evening and I can’t tell you how great it is to take an evening trip down the Rivers of America aboard the Twain.

Below, enjoy a full video of an evening cruise along the Mark Twain Riverboat along the Rivers of America

[center]Lighting up the Wilderness[/center]
Meanwhile, Big Thunder Mountain continues to wrap up its major year-long refurbishment project that included a complete track replacement, ride vehicle replacement, reconstruction of the mining town of Rainbow Ridge, updates to show scenes and partial mountain repainting.

At night, Big Thunder Mountain glows at night with an impressive new lighting package.

The frontside of the mountain is lit at night with an orange glow

The back of the mountain is gorgeously lit with blues and purples

Looks great!

[center]Whipping Up[/center]
In Adventureland, the Tiki Juice Bar is closed and behind walls for an expansion project.

[center]Dive, Dive…?[/center]
In Tomorrowland, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is now completely behind walls for a refurbishment that is officially set to stretch into late 2014 but rumored to be a permanent closure of the attraction.

Tarps have gone up on the Monorail platform, blocking all clear views of the lagoon.

The lagoon is still full of water for now…

[center]Space Junk[/center]
In Tomorrowland, Space Mountain is still filthy after a safety incident halted all exterior cleanings of the structure since a contract worker fell from the building in late 2012, resulting in hefty fines from Cal/OSHA.

Temporary railings are now up along the base of Space Mountain while new permanent railing appears to be installed. Once the permanent railing goes up, hopefully the mountain will be able to be properly cleaned.

It’ll be nice to see all of this cleaned up

Some safety flags still up atop the Star Trader and Starcade buildings

[center]California Closures[/center]
In California Adventure, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail remains closed through late February for refurbishment

In Condor Flats, Soarin’ Over California will close mid-February for refurbishment and what is expected to be an upgrade to HD projections.

Tinker-Bell Run

Disneyland hosted the Tinker Bell Half-Marathon over the weekend, which included the half-marathon, inaugural 10k, and health expo at the Disneyland Hotel.

The Health Expo included talks and presentations by fitness experts as well as Disney Legends like Tinker Bell herself, Margaret Kerry.

Lots of merchandise for the event.

Lots of third-party vendors and sponsors on the expo floor

The runDisney booth had information on other runDisney events and displayed race medals from other races.

The medals for this year’s Tinker Bell Half-Maraton and 10k

New Balance had a huge presence on the show floor with long lines for the New Balance’s new line of runDisney shoes.

New Sorcerer Mickey shoes

Minnie

Goofy

Cinderella shoes

Oxnard, California resident Melissa Hernandez came in first at the Tinker Bell Half-Marathon in 1:25:40. Congratulations, Melissa!

This and That

In Downtown Disney, the winter village and ice rink is now gone

And closer to the theme parks, the new Starbucks Coffee shop is moving along

Looks like an outdoor awning may be going in

And finally, the MiceChat Podcast has a new episode out where hosts Dustysage and Doug Barnes are joined by special guests Joseph Kleiman, Robert Coker and Jeff Heimbuch to recap 2013 and take a peek in the crystal ball to see what’s coming in 2014. Check it out below!

Direct Link | iTunes Link


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

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
January 20-26, 2014
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 11 pm
Tues.-Thurs.: 10 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sat.: 9 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm
Tues.-Thurs.: 10 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sat.: 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 10 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 January 31, 2013.
  • [B]Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage:[/B] Closed through September 26, 2014 for major refurbishment.
  • [B]Fantasmic!:[/B] Dark through February 13, 2014 for major refurbishment.
  • [B]Sailing Ship Columbia:[/B] Closed through February 14, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed January 21-February 7 for holiday overlay removal.
  • [B]Splash Mountain:[/B] Closed January 21-28 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Disneyland Monorail:[/B] Closed one day, January 22, 2014.
  • [B]Pirates of the Caribbean:[/B] Closed January 27 through February 13, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Closed February 3 through June 5, 2014 for enhancements and redesign of outdoor portion of ride track.
  • [B]Disneyland Railroad:[/B] Closed February 24 through March 7 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed March 3 through May 22 for refurbishment.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • [B]Redwood Creek Challenge Trail:[/B] Closed January 6 through February 27, 2014.
  • [B]Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular:[/B] Dark January 21-February 20, 2014.
  • [B]Mickey’s Fun Wheel:[/B] Closed February 3-6 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Soarin’ Over California:[/B] Closed February 18-June 5, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train:[/B] Closed March 3-6, 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]

January 20-26

MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN

If you’re looking for a replacement for the Mobile Magic app, take a look at Mouseaddict’s unique features, for free!

  • Rooms are scarce – at both business and resort hotels – at the end of this week.
  • Splash Mountain and "it’s a small world" are scheduled to close on Tuesday.
  • Check the "Schedule" page in the Mouseaddict app for information on closures.

Looking for the best replacement for Mobile Magic on your iPhone? Download the 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, and more. Download on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.

[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • Special Disneyland and Walt Disney World Railroad merchandise will be available online January 27 to February 2, 2014. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Happy Lunar New Year Celebration will return to Disney California Adventure with special entertainment, food and more January 31 ‚Äì February 2. (Disney Parks Blog)
Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. What do you think of Big Thunder’s new nighttime lighting? Join the discussion and 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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  • Wedcot

    Great update Andy! It’s a shame that HM was damaged in during the overlay. You would think they would have fixed any damage while it was down for the removal. Hopefully this gets addressed soon.

    • Freddie Freelance

      Damage like this has occurred in other years, I think due to the short time set aside for the removal; when you only have a limited time to get the decorations down & ride reset you can’t always fix minor damage caused by hurrying.

    • Westsider

      It’s the removal that causes the damage in the first place. The Entertainment department CM’s are responsible for putting up and taking down the Holiday overlay. During the installation process they’ll fix anything that breaks. But during the removal process anything that gets broken isn’t a priority because as far as they are concerned their show is over and it’s time to pack it all up and take off for 9 months.

      Stuff gets broken every year in January, and then requires an act of TDA to get fixed. But when Entertainment moves back in next September they’ll fix stuff that may impact “their” show.

      Sad but true. And it happens every year.

  • Freddie Freelance

    I guess the Dole Juice Bar is being made large enough to handle the crowds it attracts?

    • ReallyRussell

      Maybe they are planning a two-storey juice bar like the two-storey Jungle Cruise building. Often the line for Dole Whips is longer than the line for the Jungle Cruise. I bet they have even considered an underground pedway tunnel like they used for the Rocket Rod queue. Think of the money to be made!!

  • DisneySam

    It seems odd that they can’t use some bucket lifts to clean Space Mountain instead.

    • Algernon

      Window washers clean skyscrapers without safety railings going all the way up and around the buildings. I’m sure they could do it the same way.

  • sdawn99

    I thought that they pushed back the POC refurb?

    • blue32

      There is definitely a lot of uncertainty regarding this refrurb. The Disney website contradicts itself and we are hearing different reports from people about the actual dates of the Pirates refrub. Does Micechat have any new info. regarding this one? It might be the one ride I would really care to not miss during a DLR trip.

  • Princess Victoria

    I could have sworn I saw a photo in recent weeks of a crew cleaning Space Mountain. I wonder what happened.

    • sean317

      Due to MyMagic+ expenses, all cleaning has been put on hold until further notice.

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update as always!

  • michael darling

    Do you think the Big Thunder Saloon is going to have an animatronic? There’s been a plastic sheet in the doorway for a few months now.

    • DisWedWay

      They would have to be right behind the swinging doors as there is not much room inside. Originally all the Rainbow Ridge Buildings in Natures Wonderland had flat cut out enlarged photos of WED personnel in costumes that fit the stores brand. My friend being 5′ 2” fit right into the scaled down newspaper office, and before that had worked on Mainstreet during the Disneyland opening period selling papers.

    • ReallyRussell

      Maybe a Johnny Depp as Tonto that pops out and apologizes for the disaster that was the Lone Ranger.

  • DisWedWay

    I do hope they have finally removed the electric 1930 circa gas station goose neck lights on the front Big Thunder sign and put the old kerosene DIETZ Hooded Inspector lanterns back as original in 1979. They still have them in town on the Golden Horseshoe Saloon.

    • SpectroMan

      Wow, I’d forgotten all about those! Nice memory.

  • Algernon

    I love going on the Steamboat at night. They should have a special show area for Fantasmic (with tiered seating), like Waterworld at Universal Studios, even if it’s off property and you get their by a tram.

    • Chadanooga

      They have the tiered seating for Fantasmic! In Florida. In a special show area as you are suggesting. That show is awful! Even though the Disneyland version prohibits evening cruises on the Mark Twain, the show is superior in almost every way compared to the Florida version, which more then makes up for this inconvenience.

    • grizzlybear55

      The Mark Twain at night is fabulous. It’s quiet and dark and peaceful, and it whisks you back in time to the earliest days of Disneyland. It is something that can be experienced for only a brief time each you, and I absolutely love it.

  • DobbysCloset

    This was a wonderful update, thanks so much. As always I appreciated the photos of merchandising, even though I have absolutely no intention of running anywhere. The headline confused me — even Disney Magic can’t make a paddleboat sail anywhere. The video cruise is delightful and the reason I want retirement time in Southern California.

    So far I think the Mardi Gras decor looks chintzy and out of the Dollar Store. And was it Jack Skellington, sloppy Cast Members or rude guests that messed up the Mansion? Whoever it was, I hope the Hitchhiker Ghosts went home with them and gave them nightmares.

  • SpectroMan

    I fully agree; night rides on the Twain are MAGICAL.

    As far as the new lighting package on BTMRR, everything in the Parks is going LED; apparently this, too. I guess it works well.

  • pyttius

    Thanks for the great update!! 😀

  • sean317

    Disney should have given the subs a proper final farewell voyage, if in fact they do plan to close this attraction! Shame on Disney for not giving this excellent Pixar favorite film attraction the good-bye attention it so truly deserved! Please Disney, prove these internet sites wrong & bring back the subs!!

    • mondo

      like

  • sean317

    Ripped wallpaper & cracked wood in a haunted mansion. Am I missing something here?

  • DisWedWay

    If they do add LED lighting to all the period lamp fixtures in Big Thunder will they still have the flicker card capability the old bulb lights had that were so enjoyable. They really made the Kerosene lanterns that were original period antiques and newly manufactured ones per 1979’s opening look great especially in lift C and in the town of Rainbow Ridge at night..

  • DisneyLover66

    Thank you for such a thorough update with excellent pictures! I’m currently having Disneyland withdrawals, but reading your update and looking at your pictures made things better for me. What are the odds that the Soarin’ refurb will be completed by June 5th? I’m currently planning a trip to Disneyland and it looks like we’ll be there the first week of June, departing on the morning of the 7th.

  • ReallyRussell

    I recall a time in the late 90s when Space Mountain was supposed to look dingy and brown. Perhaps they are going back to the Pressler era’s perspective on the future. Think of all the money being saved by NOT washing or painting this structure. Next up, a shabby, derelict Haunted Mansion!

  • Skimbob

    I was there this weekend for the race and boy was it busy. Run Disney did an awesome job as always. I did hear that the 10k did not go off as well with several being swept in error.
    I enjoyed riding all my favorite rides and finally seeing The new Carnation area. I went to see the new show and like all live theater things can and do go wrong. The first thing that happened stopped the show only for a couple of minutes. When they started again everyone roared with applause and cheers. The second time it went down it went down for good and they had to clear the theater.
    The only thing I missed at Nemo was the seagulls and there wonderful Mine Mine Mine. I thought during the race they might have them on but it did not happen. All and all it was a good trip.

  • grizzlybear55

    Stupid question perhaps, but where do the runners run?