Summer crowds continue to hit the parks at the Disneyland Resort following the busy Fourth of July holiday. Still, Disney California Adventure continues to get finishing touches throughout the park as the masses queue up at Radiator Springs Racers and visit the new shops along Buena Vista Street. Meanwhile, California Adventure now plays host to its own flag retreat ceremony — a new addition for the park with the debut of its new Buena Vista Street area. In Grizzly Peak, a “Happy Camper” plays popular campfire songs for guests on a hammered dulcimer, lending a unique sound to the National Park-themed area. In Disneyland, construction continues on the upcoming Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area.

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]

It’s another busy summer week here at Disneyland. Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast for you below.

It’s another week of heavy summer crowds at Disneyland Resort. 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 10 [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 Saturday.
  • 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 11 [center]10 /10[/center]
Thu., July 12 [center]10 /10[/center]
Fri., July 13 [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 wait times from Saturday afternoon.

[center]MAGIC KINGDOM MAKEOVERS
[/center]

At the Penny Arcade, a new stained-glass sign for “CANDY” has been added to the entrance of the arcade.

The sign makes no secret of the fact that the Penny Arcade is less arcade and more overflow Candy Palace retail space. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising.

Looks like this sign is salvaged from the stained glass “Candy Palace” windows that used to be above the windows of the candy store’s old on-stage kitchen before it was remodeled and expanded.

Further inside the Penny Arcade, prop candy lets you know that this is Candy Palace territory.

The five-month remodeling of the Carnation Cafe, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Penny Arcade and Candy Palace cost Disney at least $8.4 million, according to the Orange County Register. Details below:

Disneyland remodels classic restaurant, shops
Disneyland visitors can now dine indoors at a classic café, watch candy makers from more windows and find more space to buy ice cream or candy on Main Street, U.S.A.

The final business on a block of Main Street, U.S.A. recently re-opened after a five-month renovation project. Disneyland revamped the northwest quadrant of the entrance corridor, which stretches from Carnation Café to Refreshment Corner.

Disneyland remodeled shops and restaurants mostly to create more walking and elbow room; patrons often spilled out the door to line up for ice cream or crowd up to buy peanut brittle and candy apples. The project cost at least $8.4 million, according to city documents.

Carnation Café was the last venue to re-open, on June 13, with new indoor seating where Blue Ribbon Bakery used to operate. There are 86 outdoor seats and 48 indoor spaces.

Disney moved Blue Ribbon items to the new, bigger Jolly Holiday Bakery when it opened in January in the former Plaza Pavilion. [ FULL STORY ]

Just desserts, indeed.

Next to Sleeping Beauty Castle, work is progressing slowly on the Fantasy Faire project.

Seems like work here has slowed down a bit… not much new progress to see.

Views from the Omnibus:

[center]WELCOME TO
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
[/center]

Work continues on the new flower planter on the western side of the California Adventure main entrance.

The new edition of the Buena Vista Bugle has hit newsstands along Buena Vista Street. It’s great that they’re coming out with new editions; hopefully this can continue for some time…

A look at wait times Saturday afternoon:

Wait times in Cars Land seem to have stabilized after the initial rush. Radiator Springs Racers routinely posts between 100-120 minute wait times.

Luigi’s Flying Tires is often found with a wait time ranging between 60 and 90-minutes.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree typically has the shortest wait between 10-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Disney continues to push the new “Glow with the Show” ear hats in California Adventure. After several Annual Passholder events where attendees were given the $25 hats for free, Disney is now promoting the hats on the Disney Parks Blog with video clips and in-store displays that show video of the hats in action.

The light-up hats are actually a lot of fun during World of Color when the entire audience is wearing them, but they lose their impact otherwise. Hopefully the hats catch on and more guests buy them, but so far it seems like the $25 price point is just a bit too high for the hats to gain real traction.

The Disney Parks Blog promo video

[center]FLAG RETREATS & HAPPY CAMPERS[/center]

In the Grizzly Peak area, another of California Adventure’s new entertainment offerings for summer 2012 is bringing some relaxing tunes to the Grizzly River Run area.

Happy Camper plays popular “campfire songs” on a hammered dulcimer across from Rushin’ River Outfitters

It’s a nice, relaxing addition to this area, more in line with the early National Parks theme that Disney is trying to create here. Take a listen with our video below:

Back on Buena Vista Street, with the park now featuring its own flagpole, a daily flag retreat ceremony is required.

Just like at Disneyland, California Adventure’s United States and California State flags are lowered and folded by uniformed officers.

The retreat ceremony is currently done in silence, with Cast Members guiding Guests around and away from the flagpole area. Disneyland’s daily ceremony, on the other hand, is much more of an event and features audio and is much more of a show.

Regardless, it’s great to see California Adventure with a flag retreat ceremony of its own. It’s a great tradition at Disneyland and it’s nice to see it across the esplanade as well

[center]FINISHING TOUCHES[/center]

California Adventure continues to get minor finishing touches applied though out the park. Small details that many guests may not notice, but that do help keep the experience in line with that Disney’s Imagineers are aiming to create. At the edge of Carthay Circle, the dinosaur fossils that were in the rock work at the entrance to Condor Flats have been removed.

The Bug’s Land mural is done, with the subtle green background added.

On Paradise Pier, the frozen lemonade outdoor vending cart got a remodel. Looks nice.

In Hollywood Land, the neon sign of a smoothie cup with star-shaped sunglasses was removed from the facade of Schmoozies.

The smoothie shop’s bad name remains, but at least some more of Hollywood Blvd’s kitchy signage is gone.

Nearby Schmoozies, the window display that once advertised “Ben Hair – An Epic Salon” has been redressed with a Hollywoodland-themed backdrop, various luggage and some Hollywood-themed props. The barber pole that sat outside the window has been removed as well.

[center]DOWNTOWN DISNEY
[/center]

In Downtown Disney, construction continues on the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant.

[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 9 – 15, 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]7.4—8.3[/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.
Disney tests mechanical flying dragon near Bakersfield, California

Some interesting news about a mechanical flying dragon Disney has been testing for use in its theme parks:

[b]Dragon spotted over Minter Field[/b]
Flying a mechanical dragon hundreds of feet in the air above Shafter’s Minter Field is no way to keep the thing a secret.

That was apparently Disney’s intention, however, when it swore airport officials to secrecy by having them sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of its rental of a hangar, a golf cart and rights to test the modified ultralight before shipping it off to Florida later this summer.

But what about everyone else who has business at the airport and happened to look up at the sky at various times over the past year?

Maybe they wouldn’t notice.

They did.

“It looks real,” flight trainer Justin Dyck said. “I thought it was going to be in a movie or something and they throw a little dragon in there.”

Restaurant manager Tammy Zaninovich snapped photos and posted them on Facebook. So much for the surprise.

“It breathes fire and the mouth opens and closes,” she said. “It’s pretty cool.”

The independent Disney fan website Neverland Gazette says the dragon is part of a show Disney World is putting together based on the movie “Avatar.”

The site links to a March 2010 patent application for a “flying entertainment vehicle” complete with technical drawings and explanations of how the dragon’s tail wags and the wings fill up with air without upsetting the aircraft’s aerodynamics.

Despite all of this, mum remains the official word at Disney.

“I can’t really tell you much. So sorry,” Disney spokeswoman Angela Bliss said Thursday, confirming only that what people around the airport saw (she never used the word “dragon”) was a project of Glendale-based Walt Disney Imagineering.

“We’re really always looking for new ways to expand the magic at Disney Parks,” Bliss said. “But we really don’t have any specific comments about what you’re asking me about.”

[b]Full story: The Bakersfield Californian: Dragon spotted over Minter Field[/b]
OK — that’s all for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and be sure to join the discussion 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 9, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
[center]TouringPlans.com
Do More. Wait Less.
[/center]

  • mratigan

    Thanks Andy

  • SoCalFan

    Great update as always. Love the patriotic Buena Vista Street shots. Thanks for showing the continuing addition of small changes in DCA. I noticed that Hollywoodland window a week or so ago and really like the vintage stuff inside of it. Small steps in the right direction all around the park.

    I wonder why the fossils were removed…? They seemed to fit in (kinda reminded me of the La Brea Tar Pits which is right in the heart of LA/Hollywood) and were non obtrusive…hmmm

    And thank you for showing the wonderful Happy Camper in Grizzy Peak. He is such a small yet great and relaxing addition to the area. Along with the dulcimer playing “camper” you reported here, there is another man who comes out and plays campfire songs on an acoustic guitar. I believe the guitar guy is actually the same one who down the campfire stories underneath the huge hearth in the GCH lobby.

  • George Taylor

    Another great update!

    I have to find some way to make to DCA from the East Coast.

  • Emmanuel_4

    Great Update!!!!

  • eicarr

    Great update. Hate though that I always have to zoom in super close on my iPad to get rid of the annoying follow sidebar that does nothing but annoy people. Links to social sites that used to be popular with people 1-3 years ago should be on the top and bottom of pages and not a constant annoyance/distraction.

    The painfully annoying ads for articles with plenty of links to, serves no purpose other than to annoy, and cheapen the great work you do.

    • We are working on that eicarr. That sidebar was something included with the base theme we are using and we haven’t had the time to research removing it and that bottom right pop-up for mobile users. No worries, it’s on our list.

  • eicarr

    THe problem with glow with the show is you’re paying for something you or your kid can’t even enjoy unless you bring a mirror to watch yourself. How is the person wearing the hat getting anything out of doing so? A glow with the show sword, gloves, or spinning thing might sell.

  • DisW

    It’s interesting that they’d take the time and money to remove the faux fossil in the rock work of Condor Flats (and such touch-up work is a good sign that the park’s overseers have a watchful eye), and yet be so blase about the big, bulky floodlights and loud speakers that are attached to the light poles of what’s supposed to be a street in LA from over 70 years ago. But I’m assuming such streets never came with modern-looking floodlights and hanging loud-speaker boxes?

    I originally thought (incorrectly, thank goodness!) that the entire street didn’t have actual curbs, but I’m still baffled why they chose to make the front area, including Oswald’s and the small town square where the flag pole is located, totally flush with the ground level. A bit of the illusion of Buena Vista being a real street is undermined by the decision to do that.

    • The lack of curbs near the front gates is for safety reasons. During the morning and evening rush of people coming and going, curbs would be a hazard. It’s a bit of necessary creative license. But the rest of the street does have its curbs.

      I agree with you that it looks a little funny near the front gate. But I think it was something they had to do.

    • Nivens McTwisp

      No disrespect meant, but can we all agree that this will be the last comment about the damn curbs at DCA?!! Comment about the rides, attractions, shops, restaurants, flowers, whatever, but I’m tired reading about the curbs! I’ve been to the new DCA twice and looking at the curbs was never part of my agenda. What’s next, critiquing the manhole covers?

      Sorry, I had to vent. Great update, Andy

      • Actually, I think the fact that folks still have a strong opinion about them means that it likely won’t be the final comments regarding the curbs. It’s good for Disney to hear these sorts of things so they know how their guests really feel. And as for the curbs at the entry of DCA, something feels ‘out of place’ about them. Thankfully, the street as a whole is fantastic. But I’d wager that folks will be talking about these “curbs” and asking why they look the way they do until Disney does something about them.

  • Algernon

    Princess Meet and Greet belongs in Fantasyland, not Main Street. And the Penny Arcade should be a penny arcade, not a candy shop. Each time they dilute the experience, they move an inch closer to the tipping point. Right now they are pretty much the only game in town with every place else having nothing but thrill rides. But one day there will be a new kid in town, and, like Las Vegas, they will pay for all the bogus changes they have made in diminishing business.

  • Internitty

    I’m really surprised how slowly work is progressing on the Fantasy Faire, you’d think with all that’s going on they’d want to get it done and maybe even open it a little early.

    Nice to see something new in the Grizzly Peak area, after seeing the new Hong Kong Disneyland Runaway Mine Cars I would so love to see it incorporated into the Grizzly Peak area, no reason they can’t have an abandoned mine in a national park and how perfect for the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area which is dead space really.

    I wonder if Earl of Sandwich WILL open this summer, it’s really not looking good with so much work left to do to matc the artist impressions and only 7 weeks of summer left (going by a 3 month season cycle)

    Love the updates as usual, thank you for always getting them up there for us, it helps with my Disneyland withdrawal symptoms 😉

  • QuiGonJ

    So only three weeks after opening Cars Land, and the parks are that empty on Saturdays?

    Wow. Did they pop the champagne a bit early, or what? Seems to me they might be adjusting the pricing down a bit next year.

    • SpectroMan

      Simple matter of the APs being gone. Lines may not be at ridiculous levels but most guests waiting in them are full fare-paying customers. Better for Disney’s bottom line, and better for overall guest satisfaction.

      • QuiGonJ

        I dunno, supposedly a third of the APs are Premiums, and we aren’t blocked out.

    • pineapplewhipaddict

      I also find it kind of laughable that the crowd projections are SO HIGH when in reality the parks are now easier to navigate than we’ve seen in years. I was there on Sunday and both parks had people in them but wait times weren’t so bad. Carsland gets the most traffic, but even those waits have become more bearable. Disneyland is a breeze – getting on Splash Mountain in the middle of a summer weekend with a wait of 15 minutes? Amazing!

      Anyhow the crowd projections really need to be adjusted. All of the normal tourists are being scared away because they think the parks are going to be nightmarishly crowded when in fact they aren’t at all.

  • Awesome as always Andy. My only way to see DLR is through your words and your camera. I see all of the wonderful additions to the parks both big and small. I know that DCA is on the rise to where it should have been. I hope that it maintains that focus for a very long time. I can see the “The Bean Counters” are happy with what they see too. The park is full of “Full Pricers” That looks good for bottom line. Not too sure about the interactive Mouse ears though, 25$ for someone else to see the show. Hmmm….

    • Sadly, I think the $25 ears are too high priced. It’s a shame too, because Disney is starting to incorporate them into other shows and attractions and they are wonderful! Perhaps they’ll see the light and lower the price.

      • rwsmith

        I was standing behind a dozen or so of them Friday night and they work really well, but at $25 they only work when you’re around the show. If they “magically” came on when you were at home during showtimes via wifi they’d make you feel connected to the park even when you are disconnected.

      • pineapplewhipaddict

        I wish the actual hat design was, well, nicer…it looks too Mickey Urban right now for my taste. But because they are so cool, I am planning to purchase a pair. It’s cheaper for me to buy those ears than getting a cute top at the resort for myself. At least my AP will give me a discount.

  • rwsmith

    We stayed at the DLR from 6/19 to 6/23 and last Friday night and Saturday. The crowds don’t seem to have decreased. Disneyland is less crowded than this time last year. It was getting to the point that we reconsidered annual passes and our DVC because it’s just not as much fun when it’s so packed. Disneyland has seemed less crowded than DCA. I’m sure this will even back out.

    The quick fast pass distribution for Radiator Springs Racers is crazy, but lines were down to 95 minutes Saturday night. Much better that our 4 1/2 hour quest on the night of 6/19. FANTASTIC ride, however. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is fun and the shorter wait makes it more desirable. Luigi’s Tires has a beautiful and imaginative queue, like all three new rides, but with the slow turn around, so-so tire movement, breakdowns and those exiting playing with the balls this ride isn’t very fun.

    The new eateries are great as is the improved traffic flow throughout the park. Got a great roast beef sandwich at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, and a nice beef meal at Flo’s to compliment the new Paradise Garden Grill.

    If only there was something to do inside Grizzly Peak…

    Once again stalling repeatedly on Autopia and seeing all of the under used space in “Tomorrowland” I sure hope the next billion is sunk into that space.

  • sixalex

    Great update. Over the past months we have experienced some absolutely HUGE news about our parks and the danger now is to be a bit jaded. Last week I thought to myself, “Avocados? That is all we can update about?” Well, it can’t always be a new land opening can it? 😉

    Now we get to dig into the details. My opinion (and everyone’s got one, right?) about the Glow with Show ears is that for them to be effective, they need to be gathered in one place. The purchasers should be given a special ticket to a specific, highly visible area of the show. Returning guests can be placed in less optimal but still high visibility viewing areas. This justifies the high price and encourages the peer pressure advertising of AP’s. Tracking of sales can done fairly easily and, if necessary, returning guests with Glow w/t Show ears can be allowed entry to the main Glow Area on a first come first served basis. This also takes some of the sting out of the price. Over all I LOVE the look of them and found the videos of special events (where everyone had ears) to be exceptionally beautiful.

    We were at DCA just after the fossils were removed. In talking with two cast members who were doing some touch up to the “rocks” comments were made about the “visual flow” and the removal of certain props. I will not miss the jet smashing out of the front of the Condor Flats burger joint, but the fossils were pretty cool. Nevertheless I do understand and support the decision. That said, I agree that the speakers and lights could have better theme integration. Actually, the jet was pretty cool too.

    We love Grizzly Peak Area and the prospect of some hammered dulcimer music is pleasant. The Redwood Creek Challenge is woefully under appreciated, but also, I believe, a little misguided. It is a cool playground for the kids, but it truly is “just” a playground. It is also fairly quiet and cool spot to wander when the population and temperature of the park gets to hot and heavy. A churro and a coke and about half an hour of sitting in Redwood Creek always recharges us. That said, it is valuable property and something a little more Disney can be designed and applied. Plus it!

    Thanks to Dusty and all who are working on Plussing the MiceChat site. It continues to look great and greater.

  • Susan Hughes

    I was at the AP “Glow with The Show” event. It was spectacular. Unfortunately, I will never see that again. It’s very unlikely the entire audience will be wearing the special Mickey ears again.

  • DisneyDrums

    Happy Camper does a fine job with the music. I loved the Ring of Fire part big time. Not much of a Jonny Cash fan, but the song is awesome.

  • Liquidspaceman

    From the Lagoon of Liquidspaceman…
    WOW! Things are really starting to pop at DCA!. Being an Alumnus of Santa Clara Vanguard, I really appreciated hearing the cast member playing Simple Gifts on the dulcimer. I have found my new favorite spot in DCA! I like all the small touches that are being added throughout the park, keep it up!
    …Liquidspaceman, over and out!

  • DubiousEndeavors

    Anybody have any more info on this DRAGON? They are saying it is for an Avatar show, but I thought they scrapped that. Totally geeking out about that thing!

  • laurabhil

    Great update 🙂 just encase you are looking for more information check out this website as well -> http://www.touramerica.ie/destination/orlando