Disneyland marked its 57th birthday with a cavalcade of characters singing “Happy Birthday To You” and a parade down Main Street celebrating the U.S.A. Volleyball teams headed to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Meanwhile, the park continues construction on the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area. Nearby, the Alice in Wonderland dark ride is preparing to close later this summer to install a permanent fix for the temporary handrails and scaffolding that went up two years ago after Cal/OSHA closed the attraction due to safety concerns. Over at Disney California Adventure, wait times continue to cap out around two hours for the park’s new marquee E-Ticket, Radiator Springs Racers. Outside the parks, construction has ramped up at Downtown Disney‘s new Earl of Sandwich restaurant.

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]

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[center]WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND![/center]

Crowd levels remain high across the Resort, but with crowds more evenly disbursed between both parks, wait times are feeling a bit more manageable this summer. Touring Plans has their weekly crowd forecast for you below:

Expect heavy summer crowds at Disneyland Resort again this week. 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 24 [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.
  • Disneyland (park) is a 9.1 on Monday.
  • 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 25 [center]10 /10[/center]
Thu., July 26 [center]10 /10[/center]
Fri., July 27 [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]

Crowd levels continue to remain manageable as seen mid-day last Thursday.

Disney has recently rolled out a new automated phone service that can help you plan your day at the park. “Ask Otto!” is a voice-based service currently being tested by Walt Disney Imagineering that can give you a variety of current Disneyland information including park hours, attraction wait times and more.

Got a Disneyland Resort Question? Just ‘Ask Otto!’
This summer, Disneyland Resort guests have a new way to get answers to many of their questions: Ask Otto! You can reach Ask Otto! at 714-520-7090.

A test program by Walt Disney Imagineering, Ask Otto! is a voice-based guest service designed to answer frequently asked in-park questions, such as:

  • Attraction locations, wait times**, and Disney’s FASTPASS Service return times
  • Park operating hours
  • Parade, fireworks, “Fantasmic!”, “World of Color” show times
  • Park food and beverage options, restaurant locations, and general dining information

Ask Otto! can also connect you to cast members in Disneyland Guest Information & Ticket Sales, Disney Dining (for dining reservations), Walt Disney Travel Company/Hotel Reservations, as well as the Disneyland Hotel Operator. [ LINK ]

[center]BIRTHDAYS & VOLLEYBALLS
[/center]

Disneyland celebrated its birthday last week with a parade honoring the U.S.A. Volleyball teams headed to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Disney released a press release on the celebratory parade:

The Disneyland Resort Salutes USA Volleyball Teams with a Magical Send-off Along Main Street, U.S.A.
The Disneyland Resort saluted USA Volleyball Tuesday with a festive cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A.

The patriotic tribute celebrated two Anaheim-based teams and recognized the dreams of all U.S. athletes on their way to the Olympic Games. Mickey Mouse and his pals joined in a rousing send-off for the volleyball athletes who will represent the United States in London beginning July 27.

The place “where dreams come true” proved to be the perfect backdrop as athletes and coaches from USA Volleyball were showered in red, white and blue confetti and The Disneyland Resort All-American College Band added to the memory-making with a special song, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”

The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team begins play in London as the No. 1-ranked team in the world, seeking gold after winning the 2008 Olympic Games silver medal. The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team is the defending Olympic Games champion and is ranked No. 5 in the world.

Anaheim is the official host city for the men’s and women’s U.S. National Volleyball teams. The men’s team moved its training headquarters to Anaheim in 2006, followed by the women’s team in 2009. For more information about the USA Volleyball teams, visit www.usavolleyball.org. [ LINK ]

Disney shared a video montage from the parade:

Later Tuesday afternoon, Disneyland held a small celebratory event for its 57th anniversary in Town Square.

The 2:30 p.m. event was small, featuring characters flooding the streets with Mickey balloons, a “Happy Birthday To You” sing-a-long, and a replay of Walt Disney’s opening day speech.

Low-level fireworks marked the occasion

The OC Regsiter had a great story on a mother-daughter duo that was at Disneyland on its opening day who visit the park every year for its birthday:

Women at Disneyland’s 1st day return
Mary Lechlitner and her daughter were among the first to ever ride the Disneyland train on the park’s opening day on July 17, 1955.

On Tuesday, the mother and daughter returned to sit in the train station to watch a ceremony commemorating the park’s 57th birthday.

Lechlitner, 96, said she’s been at every Disneyland birthday celebration. Her daughter, Kathy Parks, 71, has joined her for major anniversaries – the 40th, the 50th and 55th.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Lechlitner of Balboa Island said from her wheelchair just after the ceremony.

Lechlitner’s husband, Dick, helped build a train for the Disneyland railroad. Lechlitner and Parks have vivid memories of the orange groves and the way crews plotted out the different lands before the park was constructed. Dick Lechlitner went on to work on other rides, including the Matterhorn, build models and work in the studios, they said. He died in 1986.

“We’ve grown up with it,” Lechlitner said.

On Disneyland’s opening day, Parks said the family had to wait to for the first group of celebrities, including Art Linkletter, to ride the train before they could get on.

Lechlitner still has a lifetime Disneyland pass, which includes guest tickets, so she often takes people to the park. A few days ago, four generations of the family went to Cars Land in adjacent Disney California Adventure.

At Tuesday’s ceremony, Lechlitner sat beneath shade in the front as dozens of Disney characters, including Mickey, of course, came out to lead a group that sang “Happy Birthday” to Disneyland. Hundreds of fans crowded around the circular plaza in Town Square to watch the five-minute gathering. [ FULL STORY ]

Overall, the event was short and sweet — but it’s still great to see Disneyland acknowledge its birthday, even non-milestone years.

Our friends at MouseInfo have video from the birthday moment

[center]MAGIC KINGDOM MAKEOVERS
[/center]

Visible work continues to move slowly at the upcoming Fantasy Faire area

In Fantasyland, the Alice in Wonderland dark ride will soon close to begin work on installing a permanent fix that will replace the tarps and makeshift safety rails that went up along the outdoor track portion two years ago. The temporary tarp-covered safety scaffolding went up after Cal/OSHA determined that, after over 50 years, the outdoor portion of the track was unsafe for Disneyland employees who would need to walk the track when performing maintenance or routine attraction walk-throughs.

Al Lutz reported on the new work schedule in a recent Editor’s Note on the MiceAge.com home page.

The long delayed and much debated redesign for the outdoor track portion of Alice In Wonderland has finally been decided on. The multi-month rehab at Alice is now scheduled to begin September 4th, along with shorter rehabs starting that same day at Indy, Storybookland, and Casey Jr Circus Train. After shorter rehabs, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain will open as their Halloween versions on Friday, September 14th.

Cheap wooden cut-outs of Wonderland leaves clash with the permanent leaves

It’ll be good to see these go

They’re tied to temporary safety rails with wire. Magic!

It’ll be great to see these tarps gone as well

Hopefully the permanent fix looks good and isn’t too invasive.

Meanwhile, Disney is testing new bumps to deter climbing and sitting on handrails at the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage queue.

Only some portions of queue handrails have the new bumps

It’ll be interesting if handrail additions like this are adopted on a wider scale throughout the park.

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

Not much progress at the former temporary entrance to California Adventure.

Disney recently shared a video from Imagineering that gives an inside look at the creation of some old-time radio skits that play in the Oswald’s Filling Station on Buena Vista Street

A look at attraction wait times midday Thursday afternoon. Not bad for the middle of July!

Over in Cars Land, a more permanent solution for the Cozy Cone queues has been added. The temporary rope-and-stanchions have been replaced by removable metal posts and chain queues.

Radiator Springs Racers at 110 minutes midday Thursday afternoon

Luigi’s Flying Tires

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is often an easy wait.

Empty queue on a busy summer afternoon!

Last week, Disney shared a video of Imagineers Russell Larsen and Jennifer Mok discussing the landscape architecture of Cars Land

[center]DOWNTOWN DISNEY
[/center]

Work is ramping up at the Earl of Sandwich location in Downtown Disney

Tarps are up on part of the facade where the new Earl of Sandwich marquee will be installed

The planter behind the walls in front of the restaurant continues to be removed, likely for a new outdoor dining patio

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

[center]WEEKLY NEWS & INFORMATION ROUND-UP[/center]
[center]Weekly Theme Park Hours
July 16 – 22, 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]9.1—9.6[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B]HIGH[/B]
[B]10.0—10.0[/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 plans to continue in-park ban on Segways
From the OC Regsiter’s Around Disney blog:
[b]Court questions Disneyland’s Segway ban[/b]
Disneyland for now plans to continue its ban on visitors using Segways, despite a federal appeals court opinion.

On Wednesday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals justices wrote that Disney should consider the safety of the two-wheeled, personal transportation devices before making policies forbidding disabled visitors from using Segways. The case was returned to a lower court.

Disney officials believe Segways are unsafe in theme parks and plan to await the lower court’s decision before making any changes.

The court took up an appeal of the 2007 case by Tina Baughman, who was forbidden from using a Segway at Disneyland where she wanted to celebrate her daughter’s eighth birthday. Baughman has “limb girdle muscular dystrophy,” which makes it difficult to walk or stand from a seated position, according to the court document.

Riders stand on Segways, which roam about kind of like a motorized scooter would.

Baughman of Pacific Palisades sued Disney under the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act. A lower court sided with Disney, because the company does allow motorized scooters and wheelchairs.

But appeals court judges said that wasn’t good enough: Disney also should consider new devices.

“Technological advances didn’t end with the powered wheelchair,” wrote Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. “As new devices become available, public accommodations must consider using or adapting them to help disabled guests have an experience more akin to that of non-disabled guests.”

David Geffen, the attorney for Baughman, said his client is thrilled with the decision

[b]Full story: OC Regsiter: Court questions Disneyland’s Segway ban[/b]
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[B]- Andy[/B]

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[/CENTER][B]FTC-Mandated Disclosure:[/B]
Promotional consideration for the July 23, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
[center]TouringPlans.com
Do More. Wait Less.

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