The parks are celebrating the Independence Day holiday this week with a holiday fireworks show at Disneyland and a special addition at Disney California Adventure’s World of Color water-and-light show. The Disney Gallery opened a new exhibit Saturday with a focus on the company’s most recognizable park icons: castles. The new show takes a look at concept art of the various Castles that welcome guests to Magic Kingdom parks around the world and features new art for sale by Disney-commissioned artists. Meanwhile, construction continues next to Disneyland’s own Sleeping Beauty Castle, as the new Fantasy Faire princess-meet-and-greet area continues to take shape. Over at California Adventure, crowds continue to come but may seem more manageable as more and more Annual Passholders are blocked out as we enter peak summer season. Outside the parks, Downtown Disney is celebrating California Avocado Week, offering cooking demonstrations, activities and special menu items at participating restaurants.

You may notice our format here at Dateline Disneyland and MiceChat has changed. You’ll continue to see changes over the next few weeks while we adjust our format as we transition to our new home. In the future, Dateline Disneyland will be split up into smaller portions that are easier to read and share with your friends and family. Thank you for reading and your patience as we change to bring you a better MiceChat!

Get a closer look at today’s update! You can now click on any photo in today’s column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

[center]Inside Dateline Disneyland[/center]

[center]Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.[/center]
[center]WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND![/center]

Summer crowds are here and Cars Land is proving to be extremely popular with guests. Our friends at Touring Plans are here with their crowd forecast and tips for your visit to the Disneyland Resort.

Summer vacation season kicks into high gear this week, but with SoCal Annual Passholders blocked out for the rest of summer, there should not be a significant increase in crowds.  TouringPlans.com 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 summer crowds arriving, it’s a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com 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, TouringPlans.com

[center][/center] [center]Resort-Wide
Crowd Calendar Prediction
[/center]
[center]Crowd Tips[/center]
Tues., July 3 [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:

  • Southern California Annual Passports are now blocked out through August 19.
  • Full blockouts on Independence Day.
  • Waits at the FASTPASS machines for Radiator Springs Racers (located near It’s Tough to Be a Bug) have been as long as 45 minutes at official park opening.
  • Due to its incredibly low capacity, consider riding Luigi’s Flying Tires standby right after starting your day by grabbing a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers.
Wed., July 4 [center]10 /10[/center]
Thu., July 5 [center]10 /10[/center]
Fri., July 6 [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.
[/center]

A look at Disneyland wait times mid-day Friday.

[center]CREATING CASTLES[/center]

The Disney Gallery reopened Saturday with a new exhibit celebrating the castles of Disney theme parks.

Of course, the Gallery’s gift shop is filled with new collectibles featuring art work from the new exhibit

It’s not my cup of tea, but I’m sure it has its fans.

Vase

Tile mosiacs on display in the bank vault

The first art room in the gallery is, as usual, filled with new art commissioned by Disney.

Click for closer view:

Click for closer view:

The second room is where the exhibit shines. Of course, with a room filled with gorgeous Imagineering concept art, it’s no surprise.

Click for closer view:

A model of Disneyland Paris’ beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle is on display

The concept art on the walls is grouped by what’s inside the castle, the longview, blue-sky concepts and royal celebrations.

Tokyo Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle

The Disneyland original

Hong Kong Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle

The concept art for the interior of Shanghai Disneyland’s castle

[center]MAGIC KINGDOM MAKEOVERS
[/center]

Work continues on the Fantasy Faire project at the former Carnation Plaza Gardens area.

[center]RELOCATED HILLBILLIES[/center]

Over in Frontierland, the popular Billy Hill and the Hillbillies from the Golden Horseshoe have been moved over to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.

An attempt to bring more people back into the Jamboree?

It’s a big stage and the Hillbillies show is a lot less intimate back here, but the show is still a lot of fun.

Over at the Golden Horseshoe, there is no signage to let guests know that the Hillbillies have moved.

Ragtime is now performed in the horseshoe

[center]CALIFORNIA CROWDS[/center]

In Disney California Adventure, crowds continue to come to the park to experience the new Cars Land offerings, but guests visiting when Annual Passholders are blocked out will find wait times throughout the park to be rather reasonable for the middle of summer.

Radiator Springs Racers had a wait time that hovered around 100 minutes Friday afternoon. A far cry from the huge three-hour waits that guests experience on days that there are no Annual Passholder block-outs.

Only 30 minutes for Single Rider

[center]FOURTH OF COLOR[/center]

The Fourth of July pre-show at World of Color returned Sunday night for its annual run through July 4th. The pre-show is unchanged from last year’s version. Below, a quick iPhone video of Sunday night’s performance from MiceChat’s Fishbulb

The Fourth of July pre-show for World of Color will run nightly through July 4. At Disneyland, the annual “Celebrate America!” fireworks will play instead of the regular “Magical” show. Juyl 1-3, the “Celebrate America!” show will play in an abbreviated 9-minute format, saving its full 13-minute show for July 4th holiday.

Independence Day Entertainment Schedule
July 1 — 4
Disney’s Celebrate America!
A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky

Disneyland Park
9:30 PM
World of Color
with special Fourth of July pre-show

Disney California Adventure Park
9:00 PM, 10:15 PM

[center]DOWNTOWN DISNEY
[/center]

Downtown Disney restaurants are celebrating California Avocado Week through July 7 with special menu items and cooking demonstrations with restaurant chefs.

The Downtown Disney stage near ESPN Zone hosts cooking demonstrations daily at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday evening, House of Blues Executive Chef prepared the restaurant’s special Avocado Week entree –

It’s great to see these sorts of events at the Resort — it’s like a mini Food and Wine festival and hopefully we’ll see a full-scale Food and Wine Festival return to California Adventure in the next year or so.

Other special-menu items… Catal:

Tortilla Jo’s

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen

La Brea Bakery Cafe

Other actives take place on the main stage as well, including guacamole-making contests where winners walk away with a $100 gift card to a Downtown Disney restaurant and an $85 gift basket

[center]THIS AND THAT[/center]

Back in California Adventure, the Bug’s Land mural continues to get extra work

Adding more green foliage in the background

In Condor Flats, something we missed: the facade of Taste Pilot’s Grill has been touched up after the removal of the jet plane.

[CENTER]
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 HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat

[CENTER]MiceChat.com 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]

[center]WEEKLY NEWS & INFORMATION ROUND-UP[/center]
[center]Weekly Theme Park Hours
July 2 – 8, 2012
[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[CENTER]Daily:
8 am – 12 midnight[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Daily:
8 am – 11 pm[/CENTER]
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by TouringPlans.com[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]HIGH[/B]
[B]7.3—8.1[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]HIGH[/B]
[B]9.9—10[/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
[/B]
[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]Earl of Sandwich:[/B] Former Compass Book store and cafe will reopen as the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant summer 2012.
Disneyland raises ticket prices for annual Halloween parties

Disney recently announced dates for the annual Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland and along with this year’s dates were higher prices for the after-hours trick-or-treating party. The OC Register has details:

[b]Disneyland increases Halloween prices[/b]
Disneyland visitors will pay $2 to $5 more to go to the park’s popular after-hours Halloween parties this year.

Disney is already getting ready for its big fall promotion, Halloween Time. The company this week announced the dates and prices.

Halloween Time runs Sept. 14 to Oct. 31 with a few ride revisions and special decorations that can be seen by all visitors. The after-hours Mickey’s Halloween Party events at Disneyland for trick-or-treaters require extra tickets on 11 nights.

The tickets, for annual passholders, go on sale July 9. Regular park-goers can buy them starting July 16.

Tickets start at $46 for annual passholders and $54 for regular park-goers, when purchased in advance. The most expensive tickets, for Oct. 29 and Oct. 31, go for $69, even if purchased in advance or by annual passholders.

Prices have gone up dramatically since the first 2005 party at Disney California Adventure, which charged just $18 a night.

“Since they moved it to Disneyland and made it more expensive, not only do we not go, but I also do not attend Halloween Time or the Halloween party,” said Oleg Chaikovsky of Irvine in an email. “I am the lone passholder in the family, and I can’t justify paying … almost $50.”

The after-hours events include trick-or-treat stations, exclusive viewings of the Halloween Screams fireworks show, a mini parade, villain greeting areas and dance parties. Ticket holders also can get into Disneyland three hours before the parties start.

[b]Full story: OC Register: Disneyland increases Halloween prices[/b]
Alright, that wraps up this week’s Dateline Disneyland. Thank you, as always, for reading and please be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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

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Don’t forget that MiceChat has lots of new content throughout the week! Our new MiceChat.com homepage has all of our content organized by category for your browsing convenience. So be sure to check out all of our great weekly content including In the Parks, Weekend Update and our sister column covering Walt Disney World in Florida, Dateline Disney World.

[B]- Andy[/B]

[CENTER]Please support our sponsors



[/CENTER][B]FTC-Mandated Disclosure:[/B]
Promotional consideration for the July 2, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
[center]TouringPlans.com
Do More. Wait Less.
[/center]

  • mratigan

    Thanks

  • whamo

    I went to CA and DL on Sunday. The cable car operator told me that Radiator Springs has been down a lot in the mornings, as it was this day, causing long lines in the Fastpass line. I had a great time. I just avoided rides with long lines and took in the shows. Away from Carsland you could find walk on rides, or at least, short lines. The Creating Castles exhibit was totally beautiful. We also enjoyed the orchestra that played in Hollywood Land from Irvine, Orchard Hills, and the singers that open for Abram Lincoln. The meat loaf at the Carnation Cafe was tasty, but I heard mixed reviews of the peanut butter soda and the waiter brought my wife the wrong salad.

  • camplkc

    Thanks..great as always ;0)

  • Avocado…. The perfect California summer food. It don’t get any better than that. I do hope the Food and Wine festival does return. It is a great event for DLR. Awesome update Andy. One of the only things good about Mondays. Thank you.

  • Algernon

    Fantasy Faire is not only unecessay, it is inappropriately placed outside the walls of the castle, on Main Steet. Maybe Trader Sam should have a shop next to the Arcade, and they should put a monorail station next to the trains.

    • Susan Hughes

      I totally disagree. What do all Disney Princesses have in common? A castle! There is no other place that fits as well. So it’s appropriate that the new Fantasy Faire should be right next to Sleeping Beauty Castle.
      I don’t recall any of the Disney Princess movies where they go running off to It’s A Small World or Toon Town.

  • Pencotron

    I park hopped on Friday. Wait time were insanely short – why? Have the summer crowds not hit yet? I have never remembered the park being that light on guests. It reminded me of going in February or March. I’m not complaining – just hope it’s like that when I go back in August!

  • Sparky

    A friend and I did the Annual Passholder Early entry on Saturday morning. Racers was down when we first got into Cars Land and was down for awhile. We got in line for Luigi’s, which had been our intent anyway, to ride it before the line got long. Then, we did Mater’s with no wait. After that, Racers was up and running and we got in the Single Riders line which was about 10 minutes or less. After we ate breakfast at Flo’s, we got in the Single Riders line again. About 20 minutes. If you play your cards right, you can make very good use of that Early Entrance instead of spending the whole hour in line for just one attraction or in line for FastPass.

    I was extremly disappointed with the Postcard set for the new Castles exhibit. It only has TWO images (five or ten of each) in the set. This is just stupid. As a postcard collector, I want a set that has all different images with no repeats. Who is going to pay that much for postcards in a fancy tin to mail them out? The merchandise people need to get a clue.

  • SpectroMan

    The new exhibit in the Gallery was really great. I went to the merchandise release and had zero wait at 10am – I HOPE there was a line earlier because otherwise it felt almost disrespectful to the artists!

    Wait times are going to be great this summer with the APs blocked. Last Saturday the 30th was a delightful park day. All this hype about TDA “scrambling” to try to understand guest’s new touring patterns is such BS. They’re in DCA because of all the new stuff, but that’s nothing to scratch heads about. It will all even out again once the initial waves die down.

  • Coheteboy

    The World of Color Pre-Show is GREAT! They ought to have that as a post-show. The rest of World of Color will come off a little dull in comparison.

  • DisneyDrums

    Looking good in DCA. I hope I can make a trip down there for my B-day…

  • Wendygirl

    The sound system over at the Thunder Ranch Jamboree is excellent and the Billies don’t have to compete with the sounds of people ordering food! But, the stage is much too large for them. At least Billy comes down into the audience to do his teeth thing. People are slowly finding them, but that whole thing is still not drawing in crowds.

    Also, it is not ragtime music in the Golden Horseshoe now it’s the very talented Laughing Stock Company. One song is played on the piano before the show starts. no where near as many people come in to see this as they do the Billies. But it is a good show, especially the one where they are looking for a husband for Sally Mae.

  • gawama

    The Laughing Stock Company is now playing inside the Golden Horseshoe seven days a week. This is the reason for the piano on stage.

  • ghosty4

    No coverage of the mini facial at Sephora for Avocado Week? Sadness. Guess I’ll have to go check it out and report back!

  • Algernon

    Does Sally Mae come out into the audience looking for a husband? I don’t want anybody coming up to me. I want to be…invisible…

    • Wendygirl

      They do come out and pick three guys from the audience as potential husbands. There’s no where to run, there’s no where to hid LOL!!!

  • Riebi

    “Bavaria´s Black Forest” *lol*

  • Susan Hughes

    Who would have ever dreamed in their wildest imagination that Disneyland would have light crowds because everyone is heading to Disney California Adventure.

    Not as surprising, but equally “cool” is that the weekends are now a breeze because that’s when the Deluxe Annual Pass joins the other two lower passes on the Blockout list.

  • Crazee4mm

    While the lack of blocked out AP’ers does have a significant effect on the attendance, I think that the $125 One-Day Park Hopper ticket is turning a lot of people away as well. To say that the lighter than usual attendance is solely due to the lack of AP’ers is only partly correct. While purchasing single day tickets for friends I have twice seen entire families get to the ticket windows and then get hit with a total of approximately $500 for a single day at DLR. Both of these families left in disgust at what they both were calling Disney’s greediness. I was at Universal today and overheard more than a few times that Disneyland is now too expensive to go to. Needless to say, Universal was packed.