Disney California Adventure celebrated the Year of the Horse over the weekend with a special three-day Lunar New Year celebration. The Lunar New Year festivities included plenty of live entertainment, characters, arts and crafts and special food in the park’s shady Paradise Garden area. Meanwhile, Disneyland continued with various off-season refurbishment and construction projects including the repeatedly-delayed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment. In Tomorrowland, work is now underway to bring Captain America to Innoventions and speaking of Tomorrowland, film crews prepared “it’s a small world” for this week’s filming that will take place at the attraction for Disney’s upcoming “Tomorrowland” film.

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.

Thanks to MiceChat’s Norman Gidney and reader Jenny Solo for some additional help with photos this week!

There’s a lot to get to this week, so let’s get started!


Welcome to Disneyland!

Guests arriving by electric car now have access to one of Southern California’s largest public collections of electric vehicle charging stations at the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure. Disney opened the new set of twenty ChargePoint electric vehicle charging stations on the Chip and Dale level of the structure over the weekend, with an additional 10 available elsewhere on property for Cast Members.

Charging costs $0.35/kWh and you must pay for parking in the structure to access the new charging stations.

Celebrate with MiceChat
MiceChat is celebrating its anniversary this weekend with a huge weekend of great events with special guests from the Walt Disney’s Birthplace project, Imagineer Tim Delaney, Disney blogger Jeff Heimbuch and more! A few tickets are still available for the headliner events and, of course, much of the weekend is full of free meet-ups, scavenger hunts, and other events that you won’t want to miss!

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. Almost sold out! Get your tickets now!
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. Almost sold out! Get your tickets now!
    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 (register for free now!). 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, farewell meet with grand prize giveaway. It’s a MiceChat tradition that’s 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 weekend information and schedule, click here!

Despite the cooler weather and light showers over the weekend, Disneyland is in full spring mode already with gorgeous floral color throughout the park.

On Main Street, the Market House has introduced the warmed La Boulange pastries that Starbucks is slowly rolling out in its stores nation-wide. Stores throughout Los Angeles and Orange County have been serving La Boulange pastries for months now and the Disney locations have finally caught up.

The pastry cases have also been reorganized with signage to help you more quickly find the type of pastry you’re looking for.

Of course, a small selection of “Disney favorites” are still available

A new “Disney favorite” has been introduced at the Market House – the Berliner jelly-filled doughnut.

Refurbishmentland

[center]Main Street, USA[/center]
On Main Street, the Disney Gallery area of the Main Street Opera House lobby will close soon to install a new show, set to open February 22.

The current Tiki Room anniversary exhibit will make way for a new show called “Mechanical Kingdoms: Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future,” which will explore Disney’s steampunk-style, Jules Verne-inspired attractions around the world. Below is Disney’s description of the show:

Steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction loosely built around retro-futuristic visions of a steam-powered society, has been gaining (pardon the pun) steam over the past several years. The movement, which is expressed culturally and stylistically in everything from technology and design to music and fashion, was dubbed steampunk in the late 1980s. Though certainly not part of the steampunk “wave” (at least not consciously), Walt Disney Imagineers have been creating their own visions and versions of retro-futuristic technologies since well before that time, incorporating them into Disney parks and attractions around the world.

In Town Square, the Churro cart recently got a makeover.

Looks nice.

Halfway down Main Street, the Fortuosity Shoppe’s facade refurbishment continues…

[center]Whipping Up[/center]
In Adventureland, the Tiki Juice Bar expansion continues.

[center]Clubbed[/center]
In New Orleans Square, the Club 33 expansion continues as well. There’s not much new to see from the ground on this project.

New directional signage has been put up to encourage guests to actually go inside the gift shops that are still open but obscured by scaffolding and construction walls.

Meanwhile, the rest of New Orleans Square is ready for Mardi Gras.

[center]Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dry[/center]
Over in Critter Country, Splash Mountain is now closed for refurbishment.

[center]Reopening the Wilderness[/center]
Along the Rivers of America, the Fantasmic pits are no longer drained and open as the show gets ready to reopen mid-February.

Work lights are still up on Tom Sawyer Island

Over at Fowler’s Harbor, scaffolding and scrims are down at the Sailing Ship Columbia. The Columbia should reopen alongside Fantasmic by February 14.

Meanwhile, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment has been pushed back once again and is now expected to open by the end of March.

[center]Space Junk[/center]
In Tomorrowland, scaffolding is up along the top rim of Space Mountain as work gets underway to install Cal/OSHA safety additions that will allow Disney to once again access the exterior of the structure for cleaning and maintenance.

Nearby, construction is now underway inside Innoventions.

The terribly outdated and underutilized Nanooze Labs exhibit area in Innoventions is now closed and behind construction walls and will reopen this spring as a Captain America meet-and-greet area in time for the theatrical release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April.

The new Captain America meet-and-greet will be located on the upper level of Innoventions and immediately to the right to the current guest entrance of Innoventions, with Iron Man Tech and Thor: Treasures of Asgard to the left.

With the new Thor: Treasures of Asgard exhibit and meet-and-greet, the Iron Man Tech exhibit isn’t as busy as it had previously been but it certainly still sees plenty more visitors than Innoventions did pre-Marvel.

The Thor meet-and-greet is still pulling long lines even during the off-season.

[center]Refurbishment Creek[/center]
In California Adventure, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is still closed for refurbishment through the end of the month.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Disney celebrated the Lunar New Year over the weekend with three days of festivities that included character meet-and-greets, live entertainment and arts and crafts all in a very festive atmosphere back in Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Garden area.

This year, the Lunar New Year moved a bit down the parade route into Paradise Garden after being awkwardly set up in the area between The Little Mermaid and the San Francisco Street restrooms last year. It was a smart move and the Lunar New Year celebration essentially adapted the layout of the popular Viva Navidad holiday offerings.

Happy New Year!

Wishes for the new year

Meet-and-greets with characters in their Lunar New Year costumes drew big lines

Live entertainment took place along the parade route in in front of the Paradise Garden entrance

More live entertainment on the Paradise Garden Bandstand

Educational signage explains the holiday

What year are you?

Free face painting

A food cart had a few offerings for the holiday

T-shirts and special red envelopes were available to buy

Downtown Disney celebrated the Lunar New Year as well with select restaurants offering special menu items for the weekend.

“it’s a future world”

Over at “it’s a small world,” the film crew for Disney’s upcoming “Tomorrowland” movie set up shop over the weekend for filming that is expected to take place February 4 and 5 at the attraction. Shade structures reminiscent of those covering the load area at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair version of the attraction have gone up over the load dock at the Disneyland ride and large blue screens have gone up in front of portions of the attraction facade.

If you’re hoping to visit the park during filming to catch a glimpse at some movie stars, don’t get your hopes up. Certain walkways, attractions and areas will be closed during filming and views onto the set will be highly guarded and obscured.

Retro-style park benches

Developing…

In both theme parks, signs for the new Nikon Pictures Spots have appeared and can also be seen designated on the printed park guide maps. Many of the old Kodak Picture Spot signs were standalone signs but from what we saw over the weekend, all of the new Nikon Picture Spot signs are flat signs attached to existing lampposts.

Former Kodak Picture Spots designated on Disneyland park maps included: Floral Mickey, Partners Statue, Matterhorn Way, Rivers of America, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin. The new Nikon Picture Spots as designated on park maps are: Partners Statue, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Matterhorn Way and the Sword in the Stone.

In Disney California Adventure, the old Kodak Picture Spots included one in Flik’s Fun Fair as well as the “Record Catch” fish sack on Pacific Wharf. The new Nikon Picture Spots include the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Grizzly Peak waterfalls from the Parade Route, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly Peak water wheel and one in Paradise Park near the Golden Zephyr.

As part of the Nikon sponsorship deal, Disney’s PhotoPass photographers have been equipped with new Nikon DSLR cameras. It’s unclear if the PhotoPass and camera stores in the parks, which were previously sponsored by Kodak, will get Nikon sponsorship signage.

This and That

In Downtown Disney, the new Starbucks Coffee location continues to come along slowly…


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
February 3-9, 2014
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Mon.-Thur.: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 11 pm
Sat.-Sun.: 8 am – 12 am
Mon.-Thur.: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday.: 9 am – 10 pm
Sat.-Sun.: 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 and delayed several times. The attraction is currently expected to reopen March 31, 2014.
  • [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 through February 28 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Closed March 10 through July 3, 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 through February 27, 2014.
  • [B]Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular:[/B] Dark through 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]

February 3-9

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!

  • This coming weekend is the big MiceChat Anniversary Celebration! Keep track of the events on the Mouseaddict schedule page.
  • There are plenty of hotel rooms available all week, but the Grand Californian is booked solid on Friday.
  • Disneyland’s schedule of refurbishments is still very much in flux, so check the app before you go for the latest information on closures.
  • Small World Mall will be closed off in the middle of the week for filming of Brad Bird’s "Tomorrowland."

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]
  • Disney hosts the “Discover Together” symposium, bringing together non-profit organizations to explore ways to help kids in their communities. (Disney Parks)
  • DisneyParks competitor Universal saw revenue grow 7.2% in 2013 and parent company Comcast plans to grow business even more in 2014 with new attractions (NY Post)
OK – that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading! Did you attend the Lunar New Year celebration this weekend? Let us know what you think 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.
  • FerretAfros

    Remember in 2004, when installing the new white roof to Space Mountain, how Disney said that it was made from a special material that would essentially clean itself in the rain? So much for that one!

    The Lunar New Year stuff looks like a lot of fun. I’m a little surprised that DLR hasn’t tied the annual celebration to the various characters more, like at HKDL. This year would have been a great time to bring out Horace and Bullseye again

    • jedzz

      Almost the entire state of California is going through a massive drought right now. There hasn’t been much rain to speak of.

    • DobbysCloset

      I can’t imagine even Monsanto could make a material that could self-clean in the midst of SouCal pollution.

      Didn’t you love the illustrations for “What year are you?” Only it looked like the word “Rat” was missing!?!

  • Dhawkins1

    The Chinese New Year celebration looks fun. I was just sad to see some details were overlooked. In the parade, consumed performers had normal sneakers on. Disney should have had matching shoes. I hope this isn’t a trend.

    • DobbysCloset

      I think it will get better every year.

      It fulfills one of Walt’s intentions for his park — education. I think the community wants a more vibrant & diverse presence in DLR and the merchandising opportunity is tremendous.

      If we can’t have merchandise themed to “lands,” at least the holiday stuff can be special.

  • LoveStallion

    Come on, Micechat, I want some insider info on the constant Big Thunder delays.

  • eicarr

    Still waiting for Agents of SHIELD to join the others at Innoventions. Would love to see Lola or walk into a section of the plane. A great place for an interactive computer exhibit! Disney’s best TV series needs to be celebrated in the park just like Davy Crockett was.

    • Internitty

      Good point, Agents of SHIELD should definitely be represented. They could turn Innoventions into a reproduction of SHIELD Headquarters then integrate all the current exhibits as well as the new ones, turn it into something really worth visiting.

  • SFDave

    The movie Tomorrowland has George Clooney, Tim McGraw, and Hugh Laurie from House. They filmed late last year at the Carousel Of Progress at MK.

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      Yep they did last November. I just happened to be in the park that day and got a bunch of photos in 60s period costumes hanging around outside as they waited to go in Carousel of Progress for some interior shots. None of the main stars of the film were there though.

      • Amy VandenBoogert

        Photos of the extras I mean.

  • EC82

    With Marvel in Innoventions, Disney again proves that you can’t go broke underestimating the taste of the American people. I never thought Innoventions was well-done, but it was thematically and creatively better than a movie ad.

    Leave it to Disney, too, to have a movie crew come in and make “it’s a small world” look better with those shades. Sad, though, that filming a movie takes precedence over guest satisfaction — Big Thunder, subs and Small World are all down, but as always Disney charges full price for a less-than-ideal visit.

    • Internitty

      Small World was already down to remove the holiday overlay so a few more days to film isn’t such a big deal in the big scheme of things, however, with so many major attractions down at once, I wouldn’t go near DLR until at least May.

    • DobbysCloset

      I was nearly brought to tears by this report. For me, Asian New Year would have been my focus. A real movie crew would have been interesting all by itself.

      Big Thunder, Subs, Small World AND Splash are down, as well as Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train.because this is the down time of the year. There is a lot more to loving Disneyland than thrill rides.

    • sixalex

      Disneyland IS a bunch of movie ads. Always was, probably always will be. I’m personally okay with that.

      As for Innoventions, who was even going there? So outdated and static. Give me an interactive movie ad any day. Especially for the excellent Marvel franchise.

      I do agree with you about the number of closures. If I were a guest that had traveled from the Midwest to escape the cold and see Disneyland for the first time, I would feel extremely let down. “Full price for a less than ideal visit” indeed.

    • Not My Real Name

      One of the earliest exhibits in the park were sets from “20 Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea,” so Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are just the latest versions.

  • jibbly

    I know these dates are always changing, but the Disney website is now showing May 12 – June 26 for the Space Mountain refurb.

  • DisneyLover66

    Once again, THANK YOU for the fabulous pictures and commentary. I loved the Lunar New Year photos. Loved the food and menu pictures, too. Uva is one of my favorite places to eat, so I liked seeing what’s on their menu right now. I really look forward to your updates and photos. When my kids get home from school today I have some really cool Disney photos to show them thanks to you.

  • Big D

    Man that churro cart is huge! Did you talk to the CM to see if they changed the oven or added something? In the picture they look as big as a pretzel cart, which has a bigger oven.

    Happy year of the horse!

  • cjkelson

    I’m so bummed I’ll be going to Disneyland in two weeks and Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Soarin will all be down, so lame, there aren’t very many other adult rides to stay entertained if you’re an adult or a teenager.

    • DobbysCloset

      Go ride the roller coaster a few times and get the need out of your system. Do the shooting & scoring rides. Enjoy shorter lines.

  • Erik Olson

    As much as I love my trusty D50, the term “Nikon Picture Spot” will never have the right ring to it!

    • DobbysCloset

      At least both words have two syllables and a “k” sound. I have a pocket L20 which confuses me just fine. I am sad to lose Kodak as a cultural icon but film is too obsolete even for a Luddite like me, but Nikons have always been fine cameras and it will be all right.

      • Susan Hughes

        It should be noted that Disney’s Photopass Photographers are still using the old (and beat up) D90s. They were supposed to be on the new D7100s in January, but as of now, still no new cameras have been spotted in the parks.

  • rwsmith

    Spent Friday and Saturday at the DLR and thanks to refurbishments and breakdowns a light crowd seemed busy. Especially at Disneyland.

  • DobbysCloset

    What a wonderful report; thanks so much.

    At first I thought I was riding Alice in Wonderland because the pictures of the flowers were all angled, but it also could have been that I’d not had my coffee or that I’d smoked the wrong side of the mushroom.

    Having a special celebration like Chinese New Year involving the local community is what keeps the dream of having DLR as a neighborhood resource alive. Looking forward to enjoying times like this in the future brought tears to my eyes.

    The Mickey logo is tattoo-worthy; are there Mickeys in the artwork for the horse that these old eyes missed? And Lilo and Stitch, being from Hawaii, would have enjoyed the party. Anyone see them?

    That Starbucks will be open by June, goilly, ubetcha.

  • tooncity

    Datedland

    No new E-ticket attraction in over 20 years. If they started today, it would still take them 5 years to build one. Yet the only thing they can do with Marvel is post reused exhibits from trade shows and the San Diego Comic Con.

    Stay classy Disney.

    • Internitty

      Have a look at the Iron Man ride coming to Hong Kong Disneyland, if that is the best they can do then the other Disney Parks are better off without any Marvel rides for a while yet.

  • Dizzey

    Kudos to DL for installing the electric car chargers! It’s the perfect place to recharge, since charging generally takes a few hours and guests are easily in the parks that long. That should encourage EV owners from further out to bring their cars to DL (which will help save energy otherwise needed to pump millions of gallons of water through Splash and Grizzley 😉

    Too bad they need to put up signs to get people into the New Orleans shops. Maybe other people like me are boycotting these shops ever since they decided to absorb one of my favorite quiet spots for exclusive use of the 1% crowd. (I know – get over it already).

    • sixalex

      I’m all for change and adaptation, but, yeah, I’m gonna hold a grudge over the loss of the Court of Angels.

      • Internitty

        Me too, because it shows the contempt Disney management currently have for regular, not wealthy guests, while still shaking them by the ankles to get every last cent out of our pockets.

    • Internitty

      It would be nice to see the if the EV chargers are the solar powered ones (which do switch back when necessary), with the amount of sunshine SOCAL has each year it would be nice to see.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Great update as usual! It’s amazing that an existing attraction BTMRR, is refurbed for over a year…and Disneyland was built in a year. Not sure that’s a great sign of things today.

    • Internitty

      That is such a good point

  • ralzap

    Thanks for the pictures and updates!!!!

  • Haven

    I find the remark about Club 33 construction that “there is not much to see from the ground” amusing, since for 99% of Disneyland guests, there will be nothing to see once it is finished either!

  • manifest

    It feels like forever since Disney has done anything even remotely exciting…

  • Gullywhumper

    I like the retro benches.

  • billyjobobb

    Yeah! Another meet and greet!

    Can’t get enough of those!

  • bummerkit

    I’m curious why on the “what year are you” signs, the label for the year of the rat was left off. odd.