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]

[center]Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.[/center]
[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]
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!
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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 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]
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to visit our great sponsors over at Touring Planswhen planning your next visit to Disneyland!We’re only here because of your continued support. If you’ve enjoy Dateline Disneyland over the last five years, please consider helping us out by donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal — click here!

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 23, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
[center]TouringPlans.com
Do More. Wait Less.

[/center]

  • eicarr

    Cool update!! Cone lines look good. Sad that instead of updates on cool new lands and attractions I’ll have to be content with constant in-depth updates on a new sandwich shop and princess meet-and-greet area for some time to come. Just feels like xmas morning when all the presents are opened and realizing that that’s it till next xmas. Except in this case 2-5 years till we get a new ride. I guess the Alice update will be interesting to see unfold. Hey, but its all still interesting to read each week.

  • mratigan

    Thanks andy

  • Asylim

    Great update as always Andy.

    Can’t wait for September 16th to arrive. That’ll be the start of a week long trip to the resort and most likely our last one for five or six years, though we’ll probably get to Disneyland Paris and WDW inside that time.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update!

  • jcruise86

    P.S. I’m looking forward to hearing the Scary Symphony inside of Oswald’s. I liked that making of video!

  • bamato

    Very cool update! Thanks so much!

    I’m a little bothered by the addition of handrail-sitting-deterrents though. I understand why they don’t want kids sitting and climbing on the handrails, but in a queue that has little shade and usually a decent wait time, it’s nice to park my bottom sometimes. Call me lazy, but I feel like any chance to lean or sit on something in a queue is a nice relief from walking around a theme park all day.

  • Gregg Condon

    I noticed the Cone Queues yesterday, but since there is no “entrance” or “exit” signs people were getting confused. Hope those get added.

    I like the “Bumps” on the rails. Would be interesting to see if these get implemented everywhere in the parks and even outside of Disney.

    Although, I will say it’d be a shame if the nicer wooden rails in the FL Dark Rides and older attractions got these. They work on the cheap switchbacks for Nemo, etc … but probably not elsewhere.

  • sucho23

    Thanks for the update. Its a shame that Mater’s is not getting more love. It is a decent ride that is worth going on more than once. I guess it looks like a kiddie ride but it reminds me of the Tilt a Whirl.

  • [email protected]

    Great update as usual Andy. I do have a couple minor thoughts ( like I could have anything else). Why does Otto have teeth ? looks a little creepy. Second, I have no disabilities, other being a little color blind. I have a hard time with blues and greens. I do not ask Disney not to use those colors in their color schemes. I do believe that people with disabilities should have good parking, good seating, short lines and whatever else they are entitled to. But I am against me losing my rights to benefit others, whoever they are. Segways in amusement/theme parks are a very bad idea. I have been hit by one before. I can tell you that it hurts. If you have a condition that inhibbits you from walking or sitting in a wheelchair. I am very sorry, but I have rights too. What is next ? No restaurants in the parks because of Bulimai Nervosa. Or maybe, No daylight park hours, there might be someone who has Photosensitivity. Sorry for the Non-PC rant. Oh, by the way, “Happy B-Day DL, and many many many more”.

  • DisneyDrums

    I’m just totally loving your DL updates, Andy. Thanks so mush for doing these.

  • Algernon

    Just think of a couple of thousand Segways among the crowds.

    Window washers always work around dangerous heights, with the possibility of falling. So they wear safety lines. It seems to me that all they needed to do to keep workers from falling was to make a modified ride car with a boom to attach a safety line to. It could be either driven out, or pushed out, when they need to go out there.

    I hope what other multi-million dollar plan they have come up with will allow the riders to feel like they are about to go off the side, as the cars ride the leaves down.

  • skoolpsyk

    So is the Disneyland Hotel refurb completed? I haven’t seen an update on it in a long time…

  • Dizzey

    I agree with Bameto – the bumps on the handrails are a drag. I’m kind of tall and like to flip one leg on the handrail to take a little load off my legs while I’m waiting. I see a lot of people doing not-so-smart sitting/balancing acts, though. Ugh.

    Also wonder about the wisdom of the S.F. judge that allowed Segways – actually is forcing Disney to accommodate Segways – in the park. I did a DCA Segway tour a few years back, and they are a very cool device. But I also saw two older guests run into each other by just leaning a little bit towards each other to talk. They both hit the deck and caused a panic among the C.M.s. There was also a guy that tried to back up a little too close to a wall and launched the Segway into a “back and forth” mode that kept whacking into the wall. I realize that we were all rookies, but just a little imbalance causes the machine to compensate, sometimes without ultimate control. Maybe they can make these so that they run with a joystick, more like an electric wheelchair, so that if the user just lets go, the thing will quickly put down feet and stop. Or maybe Disney can hold the judge accountable for injury and damages… yeah, right.

    As always, love these updates. They are the highlight of my Monday lunchtime.

    • Susan Hughes

      It bothers me when judges outside of a metro area are allowed to make rulings. So when a San Francisco judge makes a ruling on Segway use at Disneyland, you know it has to go “against” Disney.
      I’m bothered by this. Hell, they’re hard enough to use by none-disabled people, let along someone with mobility problems. They’re huge, hard to control and would only be a menace to the other park guests.
      Segways are a horrible thing to have in a crowded theme park. And would only lead to more lawsuits against Disney…when people are injured by them.
      It’s like the guy who sued Hooter’s because he said he had a right to work there. I just shake my head and say, “What the hell is going on?”

  • Spongeocto4

    Thanks for the update!

  • Bass Shakers

    With respect to the bumps on the handrails – never mind the sitting, don’t they look incredibly uncomfortable to put your hands on as well? They’re called *hand* rails, yes? Don’t these bumps defeat the purpose of having handrails at all?

  • Timekeeper

    Great Update, I have got to DCA some time; as for Alice, I hope what they have planned will not be intrusive to the rest of the area. As for the new bumps, they should have actually added seat benches like what they have over by main entrance of Tomorrowland.

    Timekeeper

  • jtamura69

    Thanks for another great update! I think those bumps on the handrails are a bad idea, it just looks like an accident waiting to happen. Aren’t the handrails there for holding so that someone doesn’t slip or fall? I can just see it now, someone slips, tries to grab the handrail and rips their hand on those bumps.

  • FriendlyMouse

    This Sunday was just too hot and humid in the parks. We left and went to dinner in seal beach and then made our way back in the evening when the parks were a bit cooler.

    I finally picked up the limited edition cars land CD from Ramones. It is nice to have the Mater songs from his Junkyard Jamboree and the full ride music for the Radiator Springs Racers.

    I like the bumps on the rails since you can still lean against them. The segway issue is a big one. Several people use the strollers, wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs as battering rams to get themselves through the crowds. With the the segway it is based on balance, what happens if they bump into someone while they are moving forward and lean back or to the side and ram into people that are in close proximity? Would Disney have their own segways where they can limit it’s speed.

  • silentcmh

    Any further details on Indy closing? Lots of people wondering about that on the forums (including me!)

  • TrueBlue

    Great report! Nice to see the rousing send-off for the volleyball teams.

    Regarding the Segway lawsuit, it should be noted that the 9th Circuit did not require Disney to allow the Segway, but simply returned the case to the trial court for further consideration. The risks posed by two-wheeled vehicles are obvious, but the claimant maintains this is the only way she can enjoy the park. However, she’s had at least three other lawsuits seeking access for a wheelchair or power chair and never claimed she needed to use a Segway. There are also likely “reasonable accommodations” available that do not involve a Segway, such as a lifting powerchair or those “mall cop” Segway wannabes. By the way, Judge Kozinski is based in Pasadena, not San Francisco.

  • Sleepy505

    Great update as always, As far as the handrails it just looks bad, when you are at the park all day and want to just relax and lean against one and your in line for 45 minutes it gives you some comfort to relieve the pressure from standing in line all day..

    The Segway really don’t they see that the park is always packed as is, Disneyland has always been very good with people that have a disability, but that is taking it to a hole new level, there is plenty of wheel chair access through the parks Segways seem to be more of a danger to people who walk around also getting your foot ran over by one would not be that plesent.

  • laurabhil

    Thanks for a great update again 🙂 would love to come here some time soon 🙂 woop woooop 😀 Tour America also has got a lot of information and some very interesting updates. Check their website for more!

  • WonderingAlice

    So glad to see they’re finally taking care of Alice. Is there an estimated completion date for the refurb? “Multi-month” doesn’t bode too well for our once-a-year visit in December, but one can always hope! 🙂

  • victoriaskitten

    I hate to say it but the bumps on the rails won’t stop a child from hanging on them it will just be a new challenge. When I used to have to stand I would lean on the rails to rest my hips in a long line. Sad, what is the reason for this new ugly addition anyway?