After five years of construction, changes and growing pains, the Disneyland Resort finally celebrated the grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure. The park’s tortured beginnings faded away Friday as Disney CEO Bob Iger officially welcomed the first guests to the newly re-imagined park. With the stunning new Buena Vista Street as its opening act and the spectacular new Cars Land as its grand finale, the park can finally stand alone as a worthy counterpart to Disneyland next door. Today, we bring you a recap of the various media preview events, grand openings and first crowds that came to Disney California Adventure last week. We’ll also look at the new offerings at Disneyland as the Resort enters what is sure to be one of its busiest and most successful summers ever.

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[center]Inside Dateline Disneyland[/center]

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[center]WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND![/center]

The construction walls are down and the crowds have arrived for Cars Land at the new Disney California Adventure. Are you ready for long wait times? Our friends at Touring Plans can help you avoid some of the wait.

Last week’s Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure launched what should be the busiest summer season in the history of Disneyland Resort. can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. With huge summer crowds on the horizon, it’s a good time to subscribe to to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton, Statistician,

[center][/center] [center]Resort-Wide
Crowd Calendar Prediction
[center]Crowd Tips[/center]
Tues., June 19 [center]10 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • Full block outs on Saturday.
  • This is the final week of Grad Nites.
  • Be sure to start your day by grabbing a FastPass to Radiator Springs Racers, as they have been selling out very early.
Wed., June 20 [center]10 /10[/center]
Thu., June 21 [center]10 /10[/center]
Fri., June 22 [center]10/10[/center]
[center]Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.[/center][center]See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on youriPhone, Android, or Smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.


Last week Disneyland’s Main Street Opera House welcomed the debut of the Voices of Liberty. The a cappella group has been a long-standing tradition at EPCOT’s American Adventure at Walt Disney World, and has now been duplicaed here at Disneyland.

It’s a great little pre-show to the very patriotic “Mr. Lincoln” show.

Below, a video clip of the new Voices of Liberty:

Also on Wednesday, Disneyland reopened the popular Carnation Cafe on Main Street following its remodel and expansion project. The Cafe once again has an indoor dining room after reclaiming the space that was vacated by the Blue Ribbon Bakery when it closed earlier this year as the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe opened at the end of Main Street. We gave you a first look at the newly reopened cafe Wednesday in our special edition of Dateline Disneyland.

A look at the new lunch and dinner menu:

A look inside:

The interior is gorgeous, with dark woods and rich burgandy wallpaper and beautiful new lighting fixutres. Framed photos of Walt Disney at Disneyland and Main Street concept art are scattered throughout the waiting area and dining room.

The gorgeous new indoor dining room:

For a closer look at the new Voices of Liberty and the newly reopened Carnation Cafe, please see our special June 13th edition of Dateline Disneyland:

Thursday evening, Disneyland finally soft opened the iconic Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction after a refurbishment project that spanned the first half of this year.

No more walls!

With only Disneyland open to guests on Thursday and Grad Nite crowds in the parks, demand for the Matterhorn was high and the line grew quickly.

The attraction now features single rider queues, available on both tracks.

The signs now reflect the new seating arrangement. No more “smaller riders first” here.

The new bobsleds:

Larger guests should be prepared to ride in considerable discomfort in the new bobsleds and smaller guests will have to wait a little longer to ride: The bobsleds now offer much less legroom for taller riders and the minimum height requirement is now 42 inches, up from 35.

Below, we have a video ride-through of the refurbished attraction. Not much of the on-ride experience has changed beyond the new ride vehicles, save for upgraded lighting throughout.


The wait is over! Disney California Adventure has finally relaunched after five years of construction, remodeling and new additions. Below, Disney has put together a montage of the new Resort-wide offerings from the last five years.


Disney brought out some of its notable stars from ABC and Disney Channel for Wednesday night’s Cars Land grand opening. Below, Nolan Gould from ABC’s “Modern Family”

Also from “Modern Family,” Ariel Winter.

Rico Rodriguez from “Modern Family”

Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs

And of course the voice of Mater, Larry the Cable Guy

A live band warmed up the crowd

Disney CEO Bob Iger took the stage, discussing the challenges of fixing Disney California Adventure and the opportunity to collaborate on a larger level with Pixar following Disney’s acquisition of the animation studio.

Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs followed Iger, calling Cars Land a “defining moment” in the history of Disney California Adventure.

And finally, John Lesseter came up to discuss creating Cars Land and working with the Imagineers

John and Tom went on to introduce key talents in the Cars films to the audience.

Randy Newman, composer for “Cars”

Brad Paisley, who wrote songs for the films

Edie McClurg, voice of Minny in Cars 2

Jennifer Lewis, voice of Flo

Cheech Marin, voice of Ramone

Bonnie Hunt, voice of Sally Carrera

Finally, Larry the Cable Guy took the stage, saying that we couldn’t open Cars Land without Lightning McQueen and Mater who were still on their way

The stage pulled apart and Lightning and Mater drove up Cars Land’s Route 66

An EZ Charge battery was brought out to power the Cars Land neon…

John Lasseter flipped the switch, the neon flickered on and the fireworks lit up the Cadillac Range

Dancing in the street to celebrate the Cars Land grand opening!

Below, Disney released a video of the complete web broadcast of the Cars Land opening ceremony.

For our complete coverage of the Cars Land grand opening, visit:

Cars Land is a great addition to the California Adventure landscape. It brings together rich detail, great attractions and unique dining options to create a truly immersive environment.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is surprsingly fun and tends to get modest waits early in the morning as big crowds head directly to Radiator Springs Racers. We’d recommend getting a FASTPASS for Racers and then check out Mater. It’s a lot more fun than photos and video may let on.

The expected popularity of Cars Land has Disney ready for the worst, according to the LA Times:

Disney park braces for ‘carmageddon’ as Cars Land opens
An onslaught of visitors eager to see the new Cars Land area could force periodic closures of Disney California Adventure over the next two weekends.

The next two Sundays, June 17 and 24, appear to be the most worrisome dates on the calendar for park officials when up to a million annual passholders — in addition to regular park visitors — could inundate the Anaheim theme park.

“We know many guests have been waiting to experience the newly expanded resort,” Disneyland spokeswoman Melissa Britt said. “We expect this to be a popular time.”

With up to 100,000 visitors expected at the two-park resort on those days, Disney California Adventure could be forced to shut its gates and direct fans to Disneyland, according to David Koenig, “Mouse Tales” author.

The next two Sundays stand out because they are the last weekend dates when most annual passholders can visit the park following the Friday grand opening of Cars Land. Fans with the Southern California annual passes will only have eight days to see the new themed land before a seven-week blackout period kicks in for most of the summer. Those days — June 17-19 and June 24-28 — would be particularly good times to avoid DCA.

In anticipation of the crowds, Disney theme park employees will be required to park at Anaheim Stadium, Honda Center and GardenWalk on June 17 and 24 to open up additional parking spaces for visitors in employee lots on Katella Avenue and Ball Road. [ FULL STORY ]

Luigi’s Flying Tires is a rather fun ride, not being as hard to maneuver as early reports led on. Still, the attraction is an insanely slow-loader and wait times climb high for this short ride. It’s enjoyable, but we’d recommend waiting until the initial hype dies down.

The new Radiator Springs Racers is the big draw for Cars Land. During opening weekend, the new E-Ticket drew wait times of over six hours and sold out of FASTPASS tickets within one to two hours.

Radiator Springs Racers is a stellar addition to Disneyland Resort’s impressive E-Ticket line-up. The attraction combines the classic Disney dark ride, truly impressive Audio-Animatronics, and a thrilling finale against the backdrop of the stunning Ornament Valley to create the first truly remarkable experience at Disneyland since the Indiana Jones Adventure. Despite being a bit short, the experience is solid and the hype isn’t lying — this is one you’ve got to see.

Below, see some of the sights and sounds from the Radiator Springs Racers queue and surrounding area

Take a complete ride-through of Radiator Springs Racers:

Or, a night ride:

For more on Cars Land, including its attractions and restaurants, please visit


Thursday night, the Carthay Circle Theatre hosted its world premire and introduced invited guests and media to the new Buena Vista Street.

The party featured dancing infront of Carthay Circle Theatre to the tunes of a 1920s big band.

Meanwhile, the new Mad T Party nighttime dance party in Hollywood Land also held its world premiere for invited guests and media.

The evening concluded with a first look at the new “Glow with the Show” version of World of Color and the first performance of the new “Brave” segment. For $25 a pair, Guests this summer can buy a pair of light-up Mickey Mouse ears that interact with the World of Color show as well as the Mad T Party in Hollywood Land. The Glow with the Show ears were given to all guests in attendance at the media event, which proved to create a surprisingly impressive experience for those in the audience. With everybody wearing the Glow with the Show ears, the entire audience became part of the show and the effect was staggering. It’s too bad that this effect will be lost on regular audiences that won’t be wearing the Glow with the Show ears en masse, as it is really quite impressive.

Video below shows the World of Color intro with the “Glow with the Show” ears in effect as well as the new segment based on Pixar’s upcoming “Brave” film.

[center]A GRAND RE-OPENING[/center]

Friday was the big day as Disney California Adventure officially re-opened to the public as a new park. No more walls were up and for the first time all guests got to see the results of the last five years of construction. Thousands camped out overnight for the big day, filling Disneyland’s main entrance plaza.

Disney California Adventure held it’s grand reopening ceremony at 8:00 a.m. The Red Car News Boys took the stage before introducing Disney CEO Bob Iger for the official rededication.

The News Boys welcomed Disney CEO Bob Iger on stage

Iger welcomed Mickey Mouse on stage to help with the grand re-opening

Mickey led the Red Car News Boys in a rousing rendition of “California, Here I Come,” in which a huge group of California Adventure Cast Members joined the celebration in the streets

The streets around Carthay Circle were flooded with California Adventure Cast Members dancing and singing along, celebrating the grand reopening of their park

And with a burst of fireworks, Bob Iger announced “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the new Disney California Adventure!”

Disney Parks Chariman Tom Staggs shared his thoughts on the grand reopening on the Disney Parks Blog:

Celebrating the Culmination of a Five-Year Journey with the Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure Park

Today, we celebrate a defining moment in the history of the Disneyland Resort: the Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure park.

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street are the culmination of a five-year journey that has infused the park with more of our guests’ favorite characters and stories, more attractions and entertainment and more of the creative touches that make a Disney Parks experience truly unique.

These new areas are examples of what we do best — transporting guests to magical times and places where our characters and stories truly come to life. From the rockwork of the Ornament Valley Mountain Range to the hand-laid tile mosaics of the Carthay Circle Theatre, the level of artistry, craftsmanship and attention to detail is spectacular.

As you have seen here on the Disney Parks Blog over the last three days, the Disneyland Resort has hosted tons of media, celebrities and invited guests from around the world to give them an in-depth look at the transformation.

Today also marks the completion of an extraordinary period of expansion across the entire Disneyland Resort. Since 2007, we’ve completed major projects at both the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and have added more than 20 new attractions and shows.

At Disney California Adventure park alone, “World of Color,” Toy Story Mania!, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Silly Symphony Swings have already proven to be extremely popular, and now Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are exciting additions that give guests even more entertainment options.

I’d like to thank all of the Imagineers, cast members, artists, designers, builders and craftspeople who worked so tirelessly and collaboratively to make this remarkable transformation possible. I’d also like to thank all of you — our loyal guests — who have believed in our dream for Disney California Adventure park and supported us every step of the way. [ LINK ]

Following the reopening, guests were allowed to enjoy the park and everybody was ready to head into Cars Land. Cast Members waited to pace thousands of anxious guests into Cars Land

The first guests enter Cars Land

Disney released a video recap of the opening day festivities here:

For complete coverage of Disney California Adventure’s grand re-opening, visit:

Buena Vista Street is the first act that this park has always needed. It’s beautiful and entrancing — a mesmerising escape into a bygone era.

The new wait time board and park braille map

The great new “Storytellers” statue of a young Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse arriving in California

The new dedication plaque at the base of the Buena Vista Street flag pole at the entrance of Disney California Adventure

For more on Buena Vista Street, see our in-depth looks at the new land:


Last week we gave you a first look at the Red Car Trolley Boys and Citizens of Buena Vista Street…

…today we take a look at the wonderful new Five & Dime live band that performs on Buena Vista Street.

The group is led by Dime, a sultry singer that brings great energy to the show and interacts with the crowd to great effect.

The band is great as well and the music is a perfect addition to the Buena Vista Street experience.

Below is a video sample of the show:

Even the audio tech for the show is costumed well for Buena Vista Street.

[center]THIS AND THAT[/center]

The old Tower of Terror mural in the back of Hollywood Land has been replaced with a great new ad for the Red Car Trolley.


Back on Buena Vista Street, Trolley Treats offers a lot of great new sweet treats, unique to the new shop. Below, Mickey Ear Har brownies

Lightning McQueen candied apples and candy ice cream cones

Red Car Trolley cupcakes

Fresh taffy in unique flavors including lemon lime and cherry limeade.

Specialty marshmallows

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.[/CENTER]
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

[CENTER] and Annual Passholder Discounts Available Every Day![/CENTER]
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.


[center]Weekly Theme Park Hours
June 18 – 24, 2012
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
8 am – 12 midnight
8 am – 11 pm
8 am – 12 midnight[/CENTER]
8 am – 11 pm[/CENTER]
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Theme Park Calendar
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[B]6.3—9.1[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[B]9.7—9.8[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

[B]For crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • No closures at this time.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • No closures at this time
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
  • [B]Compass Books and Cafe:[/B] Book store and cafe closed permanently March 31. Earl of Sandwich dining location to open in space late-spring 2012.
Okay, that wraps up our recap of last week’s grand openings and big debuts. Be sure to check in with us next week as we take a look at additional new entertainment that debuted last week thorughout Disney California Adventure as well as updates on construction projects in Disneyland and Downtown Disney.

For more Disney California Adventure coverage, please check out our recent columns:

Don’t forget to visit our great sponsors over at Touring Plans when planning your next visit to Disneyland!

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[B]- Andy[/B]

[CENTER]Please support our sponsors

[/CENTER][B]FTC-Mandated Disclosure:[/B]
Promotional consideration for the June 18, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
Do More. Wait Less.