Disneyland‘s various off-season refurbishments and construction projects didn’t slow down the Presidents Weekend holiday crowds from arriving in big numbers. Today we update you on the current construction and refurbishment projects in both theme parks (including the on-going Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage refurbishments), take a look at Saturday’s fifth annual Celebrate Gospel event at Disney California Adventure, and enjoy a sampling of Valentine’s Day treats.

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.

Before we get started, I’d like to give a big thank you to MiceChat’s Norman Gidney. For various reasons over the last few weeks, including moving to a new home, I have needed extra help with photos or simply been unable to write this blog. Norm and his In the Parks team have graciously stepped up to the plate and helped with photos or run two of their Disneyland updates in a week when I couldn’t meet the demands of this blog. Over the next couple months there may be additional times where I’ll need to take a week off here or there – but never fear, Dateline Disneyland will be back and in the meantime you can count on Norm and In the Parks to bring you an excellent update while I’m away!

We have a full update for you this week, so let’s get to it!


Welcome to Disneyland!

Last year’s Limited Time Magic Valentine’s Day decorations didn’t return but the small additions in Town Square planters from the last few years did return.

The parks saw big crowds over the weekend for the Presidents Day holiday that will continue through today.

Disney California Adventure celebrated its 13th anniversary without much fanfare on February 8.

California Adventure wait times Saturday afternoon

Refurbishmentland

Off-season refurbishments and construction projects continue throughout the parks…

[center]Main Street, USA[/center]
On Main Street, the Fortuosity Shop has wrapped up its facade refurbishment, sporting a new paint job.

The yellow paint scheme is new and it’s a nice improvement over the previous muted tints of pink.

The clock hasn’t returned yet.

[center]Whipping Up[/center]
In Adventureland, the Tiki Juice Bar’s expansion has wrapped up but the space doesn’t look any bigger than before. Still, it’s nice to be able to get your Dole Whip fix once again.

[center]Clubbed[/center]
In New Orleans Square, the Club 33 expansion continues.

The tunnel to the New Orleans Square restrooms has been open at times recently.

[center]Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dry[/center]
In Critter Country, Splash Mountain’s refurbishment continues through the end of the month.

[center]Reopening the Wilderness[/center]
In Frontierland, the Sailing Ship Columbia is sailing once again after its refurbishment and looks great

Meanwhile, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is still closed, with it now expected to reopen by March 31 at the earliest.

[center]“it’s a Cal/OSHA world”[/center]
In Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” is still closed following the removal of its holiday overlay as well as the recent filming for Disney’s upcoming “Tomorrowland” film. The E-Ticket ride’s post-holiday closure has reportedly been extended so Disney can go in and install new Cal/OSHA-approved fall safety protection for Cast Members and maintenance workers.

Not far from “it’s a small world,” Alice in Wonderland is set to close in early March now to begin its multi-month Cal/OSHA retrofit that includes reworking the exterior portion of the ride track and rebuilding it with new fall-safety railings.

The Small World control towers are being rebuilt after they were dismantled for “Tomorrowland” filming

[center]Out to Dry[/center]
In Tomorrowland, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage has now been drained and will sit dry now until the fall. Disney has officially announced an official refurbishment for the attraction but rumors online say that the refurbishment is just an excuse to quietly shutter the attraction as a cost-savings measure before killing the classic attraction for good to make way for a new E-Ticket Star Wars-themed ride.

Whatever happens to the Submarine Voyage, the lagoon has now been drained and signage at the attraction’s entrance has been updated noting the fall 2014 reopening.

The fleet of submarines are now in dry dock until the fall.

[center]Innovengers[/center]
Nearby, inside Innoventions, work is underway to get the new Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage meet-and-greet area ready.

The new photo-op comes with a hilariously long-winded title, but should prove to be yet another popular addition to the growing line-up of small but popular Marvel additions to Innoventions. However you feel about Marvel in Tomorrowland, Innoventions was mostly a ghost town before Iron Man moved in last April, followed by Thor in October so don’t expect the Marvel influence to be phased out anytime soon.

The new meet-and-greet officially opens March 7. Annual Passholders were invited to register to preview the new meet-and-greet March 1-6 – some availability remains, if you’re interested.

[center]Space Junk[/center]
Over at Space Mountain, the new fall safety additions are going up on the attraction exterior and so far they don’t look great.

No, they aren’t adding a loop.

[center]Refurbishment Adventure[/center]
In Disney California Adventure, the Aladdin musical is dark through February 20 for refurbishment.

And in Grizzly Peak, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail remains closed until the end of this month for refurbishment.

And in Condor Flats, the Soarin’ Over California refurbishment has been significantly shortened and is now set to be closed only for a few days at the end of February.

Celebrate Gospel!

On Saturday, California Adventure hosted its fifth annual “Celebrate Gospel!” event in Hollywood Land’s Stage 17.

The one-day-only event continues to be popular and it’s nice to see it return year-after-year.

Disney promoted the “Gospel History Walk,” a walk-through exhibit as part of the event. It turned out to just be a series of informational signs but it was still nice to see the edutainment aspect of the event represented this year and hopefully it can grow next year.

Click these full-panel images for a huge image that you can actually read

This and That

On Buena Vista Street, you can pick up the latest edition of the Buena Vista Bugle on newsstands.

Trolley Treats has some great seasonal offerings including Valentine’s-themed cupcakes, the new Black Forest Gourmet Apple, and new Raspberry Bark.

Cupid Mickey plush available at select shops

In Downtown Disney, the new Starbucks Coffee location is finally looking like it could be opening soon. The facade is coming together nicely.


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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
February 17-23, 2014
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 11 pm
Tue.-Thur.: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday: 9 am – 12 am
Saturday: 8 am – 12 am
Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm
Tue.-Thur.: 9 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]Splash Mountain:[/B] Closed through February 28 for refurbishment.
  • [B]”it’s a small world”:[/B] Closed through April 24, 2014 for fall safety equipment installation.
  • [B]Mark Twain Riverboat:[/B] Closed February 24-28, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Disneyland Railroad:[/B] Closed February 24 through March 7 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]Indiana Jones Adventure:[/B] Closed March 17 through May 8, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]King Arthur Carousel:[/B] Closed April 28 through May 8, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Pirates of the Caribbean:[/B] Closed April 28 through May 22, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Space Mountain:[/B] Closed May 12 through June 26 for refurbishment.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • [B]Redwood Creek Challenge Trail:[/B] Closed through February 27, 2014.
  • [B]Disney’ Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular:[/B] Dark through February 20, 2014.
  • [B]Soarin’ Over California:[/B] Closed February 24-27, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train:[/B] Closed March 3-6, 2014.
  • [B]Mickey’s Fun Wheel:[/B] Closed March 3-6, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure:[/B] Closed March 20-May 9, 2014 for refurbishment and rumored enhancements.
  • [B]Grizzly River Run:[/B] Closed April 21-June 19, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • [B]It’s Tough to be a Bug!:[/B] Closed April 21-May 8, 2014 for refurbishment.
[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 17-23

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!

  • Happy President’s Day! We think it will be very busy today, but settle down later in the week.
  • Resort hotels are heavily booked in the early to middle part of the week.
  • Saturday is Dapper Day!

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]
  • Annual Passholders can continue to enjoy classic Disney movie screenings and sing-alongs at Disneyland on select evenings in February. (Disneyland.com)
  • Remembering Shirley Temple Black’s unique history with Disney and Disneyland. (Disney Parks Blog)
Alright, that’s it for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and be sure to join the discussion in the comments section below!

Dateline Disneyland is only here because of you. We’ve been able to bring Dateline Disneyland to you each week because of your generous donations. Consider helping us out by donating 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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  • steven1972

    Selfishly excited about the reduced refurbishment schedule, since more of the attractions will now be open during our visit, March 8-15. This our first first visit since Feb 2002, and cant wait to see all the changes to DCA, and experience it all with our 3 kids who havent been except as toddlers, so will be their first memorable trip to Disney…….

    • steven1972

      Just secretly hoping there will be a soft opening for Big Thunder Mountain during our stay!!!! Praying to the Disney Gods…..LOL

    • ReallyRussell

      DCA has changed DRAMATICALLY since your last visit. You won’t recognize it as you enter what with the new buildings, music, and CROWDS. We used to go over to DCA for some respite from the mob at Disneyland. Now both parks a packed with people. Be prepared to stand in long lines even for Fastpass tickets. This is now the California Adventure they should have built in the first place.

    • danielz6

      Wow you’re really going to enjoy it! It’s finally worthy of the Disney name. Make sure you visit carsland night time. It’s so much better at night.

  • Lakerfan3224

    Indiana jones and pirates are both getting enhancements?

    • Sorry, no. They will be closed on the listed dates for refurbishment but not necessarily for enhancements. The original list included a couple extraneous lines of text and has since been updated.

      Thanks for reading,
      Andy

  • Idaho Mouse

    Andy, what beautiful spring pictures today. Makes one want to get out of the snow & cold & get a way to the Park. Always enjoy your Monday update as a way to escape & relax. Thanks again & enjoy your new home..

    • Thanks Idaho Mouse! Stay warm!

      Thanks for reading,
      -Andy

  • ReallyRussell

    I haven’t been to Disneyland for almost a year now but I’m pretty sure that Pirates and Indy don’t have outdoor portions of their ride track to refurbish as is described in your Refurbishment Schedule. Could it be that Pirates and Indy will be bursting from their show buildings out into the California sunshine?!!

    • Haha, you are correct – those rides do not have outdoor ride portions. The original refurbishment list had some extraneous text and has since been fixed.

      Thanks for reading,
      Andy

  • M69

    Thanks for another great update! The park is always beautiful this time of year. Surprised by how muchis or will be closed and for how long. (Looks like the refurbishment schedule portion below main article has a technical glitch this morning, as outdoor portions of ride track appears for attractions that do not have such.)

  • Big D

    Wow, somehow I thought the subs were yellow even under the water. You’d think I would have known better having worked there, but I guess the effect was that convincing!

    • DobbysCloset

      Amazing what the imagination can do! I guess I extrapolated from the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine to Disney’s Submarines and assumed they were yellow all over! I am now pretending I never went back to look at that photo so that they can stay yellow…

  • MikeK

    Will the scaffolding and railing come down after the Space Mountain exterior is cleaned and/or repainted?

    • Instidude

      It sure looks like most of that handrail and everything else is temporary for the cleaning. I give DL credit for doing what they can to hide this mandated mess, but that’s what happens when you have a state OSHA regulatory body that is exceeding the requirements of the federal regulations.

  • DisneyLover66

    Super update and awesome pictures, as always! Loved the picture of the colorful flowers with Carthy Circle Restaurant in the background. Thank you so much.

  • SilverMouse

    WOW, Disney did a masterful job on the Tiki Juice Bar expansion/refurbishment….I don’t even notice the fall safety equipment installation!!!!

    • Country Bear

      Well done!

    • Country Bear

      Well said!

  • SusieP.

    Oh, the empty sub lagoon pictures break my heart. 🙁

    • second blue teacup

      …and they make me hopeful.

      Come on, bulldozers! Autopia, Nemo, and Innoventions, GO!

      • Country Bear

        Well if the B.S. story about the subs being refurbed is correct, then your dream will likely not come true.
        However, if they did in fact close it to raze it for a Star Wars attraction, then we should see Autopia and Innoventions closing soon as well. Based on the Captain America placement however, I think that is not likely to happen.

      • TodAZ1

        ALL of the Marvel character meet n greets are very mobile. And I don’t think anyone at Disney has ever said they were permanent additions to Tomorrowland or Innoventions. Just meet n greets like any other character.

    • DobbysCloset

      I am trying to ease my anxiety by taking this chance to take a good look at the artwork on the lagoon bed and imagining what it looked like underwater.

  • amyuilani

    I think they should cover the Subs with a tarp that looks like the filled lagoon. A drained lagoon just looks so sad.

    • jenmurray

      So agree 🙁

  • Great photos, as always. As for a conversation we had a couple weeks ago, I think the tilt works in most of your photos because it usually enhances the composition in some way. That could be by better-positioning a leading line, giving the photo a needed sense of motion, etc. They don’t come across as scenes where you thought, “gee, this photo will be boring–I should add some tilt to make it artsy.” That may not make any sense, but that’s my explanation…

    It’ll be ‘interesting’ to see the end result outside Space Mountain. Thus far it looks awful.

    • DobbysCloset

      Some times the tilt makes me dizzy but that could be because I was riding Tea Cups…

  • Skimbob

    Who knows maybe the Court of Angels will be the outdoor part of POTC instead of being the new entrance to Club 33. LOL.

    As for the subs I don’t think there is any easy way to cover the lagoon but it would be nicer than the empty lagoon and the ugly construction walls. I still think the birds should be active even though you can’t see them.

  • Timekeeper

    The refurbishment dates look alright, but I noticed some additions for King Arthur Carousel, POTC and IJA “…for enhancements and redesign of outdoor portion of ride track.” So does this mean those three are getting a loop? 😀 (No offense mind you, you’re busy with the move.)

    Timekeeper

    • Disney is really trying hard to get the thrill-seekers in the park! Indeed, there was some stray text in the refurbishment schedule and I’ve now cleaned it up.

      Thanks for reading!
      -Andy

  • sixalex

    Dear Andy,

    Thanks for the refurbishment of the stray text in the refurbishment schedule. Made the column feel like I was actually at the park! 😉

    As to Tom Bricker’s comments regarding the tilt composition trick, I agree. When it is done constantly it can be really annoying. When it is done as needed, as I believe you do, it really adds an element of motion and completeness to what can otherwise be a static shot.

    In life, as we move about, we often tilt our heads this way and that. The brain takes the images from the eyes and corrects all the little angles and such, giving us the illusion of steadiness. The reality is we are whipping our heads around a lot. Tilting the camera is actually a rather natural thing to do vision-wise. Upside-down? Let’s not go there!

    And who am I to disagree with the illustrious Mr. Bricker? Anyone who is a Disney fan needs to find Tom’s photography and soak in the stunning art he creates.

    Many thanks to you both for keeping me “in the parks” with your photographic skills and generosity.

  • Tinkbelle

    That apple looks delicious and your flower pictures are sublime. I enjoy the tilt, for what it’s worth!

  • itsxxdomoxxkun

    Dapper Day is Sunday, not Saturday!

  • Larry Parker

    At Disneyland today(2/17)I was told by a cast member at the Monorail Station above the subs that he has seen, IN WRITING, that the subs WILL return-that the refurbishment is for real!

    • Country Bear

      The best way to sell a story is to tell a story. I imagine that’s what Disney is doing internally so no-one will be the wiser. I hope what he heard is true but I am skeptical at this point.

    • TodAZ1

      Even if it’s in writing, I’m more than positive the Cast Member would see, in writing, Disney’s plan to close the Subs forever. If that’s what they choose to do.

      Just because the CM saw something in writing NOW in no way forces Disney to close the subs at a later date. And it really depends on what he saw, doesn’t it? Was it the official refurb schedule that Disney posts on the DL website?

      • TodAZ1

        I mean to say, “in no way forces Disney to keep the Subs open and not announce the closure at a later date.”

  • danielz6

    Wow Andy, the pic of carthay Theater and the pink blossoms may be the most beautiful I’ve yet to see of the theater.

  • dizneydomenic

    Seems silly to ax the subs after all the money spent on it…Now Innoventions…needs a new attraction..big waste of valuable space (i still say keep the building put in a new show)

  • Algernon

    Great pictures. Postcard quality!

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Great update Andy! Thank you so much for your wonderful columns. It’s truly something I look forward to every week!

  • DobbysCloset

    Thank you, Andy, for your report. I am so hoping that Innoventions can morph into something for boys like the Pink Greeting Palace is for little girls. Imagine the marvelous murals and comics that could be themed on the outside of the building.

    The treats look exquisitely delicious and I appreciate being able to view them in full color close-up from a safe distance. The Gospel concert is why I want to stay in Southern Cal for weeks on end with an AP. And I love the pictures that seem to be taken from a Peter Pan Perspective, giving a Pan-oramic view.

  • 3rdshiftCM

    So does the Subs being left out in the open a good thing meaning the park isn’t trying to hide there existence or is it a bad thing meaning they just aren’t concerned with their upkeep being left out in the elements for the next 9 months?

    I hope it’s a sign of good things happening in the caves and that the Subs would have been in the way if stored inside.

    • Will G

      I don’t want to weigh in on the “will it/won’t it?” debate on the subs re-opening, but I don’t think the subs will suffer much from being left in the “elements”
      They cruise around and sit in water most of the time. I think they’re already acclimated. They might fade in the sun, but one year out of the water shouldn’t destroy them. They aren’t parade floats. They’re marine vehicles.

      WillG

  • Country Bear

    Does anyone know why Space Mountain seems to have a temporary delay in opening in the morning? I’ve noticed this sign on the Attraction Wait Times Board a number of times here on MieChat. Just seems a bit odd.

  • TodAZ1

    Looking at the HoJo webcam, the tarp and scaffolding are now down from Space Mountain. Just the oval metal part is left. Wasn’t that way this morning.

    http://www.hojoanaheim.com/take-a-tour/webcam

  • jenmurray

    So no POTC, Indiana, and possibly no Small World for Gumball?

  • HollywoodF1

    Those who can’t tell the difference in the Tiki Juice Bar didn’t look closely enough. They now have twice the number of nozzles for the Dole Whip, and another cash register. According to the CM’s at that location, they can do a whole lot more volume now with those bottlenecks addressed.

  • 17goingon3

    Gorgeous photos in this update! Exciting stuff!