Disneyland is quickly becoming a park full of construction walls as more and more closes for refurbishment as the park gets ready for its big 60th Anniversary celebration this summer. Today, Sleeping Beauty Castle begins its refurbishment and transformation for the park’s Diamond Celebration. And that’s not all — repainting, repairs and renovations are underway in both theme parks, from “it’s a small world” to Paradise Bay as the Resort gets ready to celebrate. Meanwhile, Disneyland hosted the inaugural RunDisney Star Wars Half-Marathon over the busy holiday weekend.

Update – January 19 at 9 p.m.: We’ve made updates to closure dates for a variety of facilities including Sleeping Beauty Castle, Magic Eye Theater, and amenities at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort.

Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at MouseAddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!

Let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

Disneyland is enjoying light off-season crowds throughout these slow winter weeks, a nice change of pace following the busy holiday season.

Getting Ready for the 60th

Refurbishment are now underway throughout both parks with more on the way, as Disney rolls up its sleeves and gets working on sprucing up its theme parks for Disneyland’s big 60th Anniversary celebration set to launch in May.

Stroller Refurb

Outside the main gate, the stroller rental facility is still behind tarps for some fresh paint. It’s still open for business during refurbishment.

Full Steam Ahead

The Disneyland Railroad will close for refurbishment next Monday, January 26 for a couple weeks. The trains recently got upgraded sound systems, which we’ll take a look at in next week’s update.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

At the end of Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle will begin disappearing behind construction walls and refurbishment scrims starting today. The Castle is expected to get some fresh paint and a special overlay for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, which is set to start in May.

Some fans are hoping the Castle will finally shed what remains of its decorative gold accents leftover from the 50th Anniversary overlay. It’s been a decade since the Castle got a bright paint job that included a lot of pink, gold and glitter for the 50th and it would be nice if the 60th Anniversary brought back some of the more subdued blue and gray hues that characterized the Castle’s appearance in its first five decades.

Indeed, the decorative gold railing leftover from the 50th has now been removed and it’s pretty surprising how nice the Caste looks without it. I had become so used to it, I didn’t realize just how much it messed with the Castle’s forced perspective. It’ll be interesting to see what replaces it (hopefully nothing!).

No more gold railing!

Looks like this window will have to be fixed during the refurbishment.

These decorative gold pieces still remain… hopefully glowing away soon

The Enchanted Chamber will be closed during the Castle’s refurbishment.

Update: The Enchanted Chamber will reopen March 3.

The wonderful Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough is also expected to be closed while the Castle is being worked on.

Update: The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough will reopen March 3.

Snow White Grotto and Wishing Well will also be closed for refurbishment starting today until May 1.

Disneyland’s 60th celebration is expected to officially kick off this Memorial Day weekend in late May, with 60th offerings soft-opening by mid-May.

Off to Neverland

In Fantasyland, Peter Pan’s Flight closes February 2 for its big refurbishment and enhancement project that will bring new show enhancements and special effects to the classic Fantasyland dark ride.

Good video of the ride is hard to get with its extremely low-lighting, but below is a full ride-through from Friday morning.

What’s Getting into the Matterhorn?

Nearby, the Matterhorn Bobsleds are closed through mid-May for another big refurbishment that is also rumored to bring in some upgrades for that ride’s Abominable Snowman and ice caverns.

Waterfalls are dry during the refurbishment

it’s a small refurbishment

In the back of Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” is now mostly behind tarps and scaffolding as that attraction finally gets a much-needed facade refurbishment.

Still open for now. The ride closes January 26 through February 5 to remove the holiday overlay.

They’re Just Stairs

Over in New Orleans Square, the Royal Courtyard has reopened. The Courtyard closed in early September for a project that removed much of the overflow retail fixtures and included a complete rebuild of the stairs here.

The stairs lead up to what was originally planned to be a private apartment for Walt Disney and his family, which later became the Disney Gallery and more recently the Disneyland Dream Suite. A portion of that upstairs apartment space that isn’t utilized by the Dream Suite has now been converted into banquet space for Club 33, after the club replaced its existing banquet room with an expanded kitchen in its major expansion. The Royal Courtyard stairs will now likely act as a separate entrance to the Club 33 banquet space or emergency exit stairs. Regardless, the Courtyard’s stairs were rebuilt and upstairs passageways have been enclosed now as part of the project.

The stairs (or at least the banister) appear to be taller than they were previously, which disrupts the scale of the space a bit. Also new is a color scheme of royal blues and purples (strongly reminiscent of the now-closed Court of Angels), forgoing the far more subtle beige and light greens that characterized the space previously.

Upstairs walkways are now enclosed

Two cases of merchandise remain. Hopefully no more will be added.

Elsewhere in New Orleans Square, the L’Masquerade d’Orleans shop is closed for refurbishment.

And nearby, the Haunted Mansion reopens on Friday following the removal of its holiday overlay.


Steps away from the Haunted Mansion, Critter Country is now completely closed while Splash Mountain is down for refurbishment until April 3.


Over in Tomorrowland, the Magic Eye Theater is still dark but currently scheduled to reopen January 29. No word yet if it’ll be a return of Captain EO or something else.

Update: The Magic Eye Theater is closed indefinitely now, according to internal Disney closure schedules.


Over in California Adventure, work is quickly getting underway in Condor Flats to remove that land’s opening-day theme and bring in the new Grizzly Peak Airfield theme.

The Taste Pilots Grill facade is now stripped. The restaurant re-opens mid-March.

Views from the Monorail show concrete getting ready to be torn out for new themed pavement and the tower with the rocket engine mister already removed and the steel tower structure disassembled and piled on the ground.

Soarin’ Over California reopens May 15.

Flying Away?

Luigi’s Flying Tires didn’t close last week as initially expected. The ride is now rumored to close in early February for its replacement attraction that will be built on top of the ride’s existing air table.

Currently, the attraction is no longer listed on any official closure/refurbishment schedules. We’ll keep an eye on this project and update you as it develops.

Refurbishment Wharf

Over on Pacific Wharf, the Bakery Tour reopens next week and expected to come with a brand new show to replace the dated show the attraction opened with starring Rosie O’Donnel and Colin Mochrie.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Wharf Cafe is still closed for refurbishment.

World of Color

Over at Paradise Pier, the bay has been mostly drained as work continues on the World of Color platform.

Much of Paradise Park is closed now to keep guests far away from the work.

Rumors point toward Disney debuting an dramatically updated show when World of Color opens in March.


Last week we showed you all of the new Frozen Fun offerings in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, except for the new Freeze the Night dance party. Below is a quick look at the former Mad T Party with its new Frozen overlay.

Iced T

The nightly Freeze the Night! dance party in Hollywood Land is probably the biggest misstep in this winter’s special Frozen Fun offerings. Obviously a rushed affair, Freeze the Night is an overlay of the preexisting Mad T Party dance party. Frozen, however, lacks any of the teen and young adult appeal that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland film had that lent itself to a nighttime dance party. With Frozen’s target demographic skewed so young and female, the dance party based on the property is nothing short of awkward in just about every way.

The rabbit hole from the Mad T Party is now just a icy portal to Freeze the Night, lit with glowing blue light.

Unlike Mad T, Freeze the Night has no live band, so the huge stage sits mostly unused throughout the night, save for occasional dance performances by a group called the “Icebreakers” and, of course, a DJ.

The Icebreakers are so awkward that it’s hard to explain what it’s even like to witness one of their performances. Forced and desperately trying to be hip. Below is a video of the group’s opening performance which kicks off the dance party every night. Don’t they look like they’re straight out of a Target ad?

The DJ spins hits from Taylor Swift and Katy Perry throughout the night.

Live ice carving demonstrations are held four times a night. Neat to watch but an odd choice as live entertainment for what’s supposed to be an energetic nighttime dance party. Ice carving isn’t exactly high-energy.

Leftover House of Cards structure from Mad T Party… projected interactive floor activities are now here

The arcade is no longer available and is blocked by a wall where Marshmallow from Frozen takes photos with guests. Marshmallow initially debuted as a puppet, with two puppeteers controlling his legs and arms. The puppeteers were quickly let go and now Marshmallow is stationary. Still a pretty cool photo opportunity, though.

Of course, you can get your Frozen-themed alcoholic beverages at a couple bars in the area…

The Course Awakens

Disneyland hosted the inaugural RunDisney Star Wars Half-Marathon over the weekend.

31-year-old Nick Arciniaga from Flagstaff, AZ came in first place at 1:08:13 in Sunday’s race.

Jennifer Berry, 34, of Denver, CO took the women’s title on Sunday, clocking in at 1:22:34.

Congrats to the winners and everybody who participated over the weekend!

Of course, any RunDisney event comes with a lot of special merchandise. Below is a sampling of what was available at the RunDisney store at the RunDisney Health Expo.

RunDisney Star Wars Dooney & Bourke bags…

New RunDisney Steamboat Willie NewBalance shoes debuted this weekend. Pretty cool!

A look at race medals from the weekend…

And look what’s coming soon…

This & That

The holiday-specific decorations have been removed in New Orleans Square, leaving behind the stuff that can double as Mardi Gras decor. Additional beads have been strung up and New Orleans Square will now be celebrating Mardi Gras through spring break.

Work continues on the former Apricot Lane Boutique location in Downtown Disney. No official announcement yet on what is moving in.

Looks like the Disneyland Hotel is getting new fall safety additions installed…

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Weekly News & Information Round-Up
Weekly Theme Park Hours
January 19-25, 2015
[B]Disneyland Park[/B] [B]California Adventure[/B]
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm
Tue.-Thu.: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 12 am
Monday: 8 am – 10 pm
Tue.-Thu.: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 9 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • Haunted Mansion: Closed to remove holiday overlay. Reopens January 23.
  • Magic Eye Theatre: Closed to remove Big Hero 6 preview. Reopening date unknown.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for refurbishment, reopens May 16.
  • Snow White Grotto and Wishing Well: Closed for refurbishment. Reopens May 1.
  • Critter Country, including Splash Mountain: All Critter Country attractions, stores and restaurants are closed for refurbishment and will reopen April 3, 2015.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle: Castle will be closed for refurbishments and installation of 60th Anniversary overlay. The Enchanted Chamber gift shop and Walk-Through attraction are scheduled to reopen March 3. Castle overlay will debut by May 2015.
  • Disneyland Railroad: Closed January 26-February 12 for refurbishment.
  • “it’s a small world”: Closed January 26 through February 5 to remove holiday overlay.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight: Closes February 2 for refurbishment, reopening date unknown.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • Bakery Tour: Closed through January 26 for refurbishment.
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!: Closed through January 29 for refurbishment.
  • Soarin’ Over California: Closed for refurbishment and enhancements. Reopens May 15.
  • Taste Pilot’s Grill: Closed refurbishment and enhancements. Reopens March 13.
  • Pacific Wharf Cafe: Closed for refurbishment. Reopens February 6
  • World of Color: Dark for refurbishment and enhancements. Reopens March 13.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed for refurbishment. Reopens March 3.
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed January 20 for refurbishment. Reopening unknown.
  • Boardwalk Bazaar, Point Mugu Tattoo, Sideshow Shirts: Closed January 26-February 12 for refurbishment.
  • Ariel’s Grotto: Closes February 2 for refurbishment, reopening date unknown.
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires: Closes February 3 for conversion into new attraction. Opening unknown.
  • Muppet*Vision 3D: Dark indefinitely while theater is used for Frozen-themed show.
  • [B]Blue Sky Cellar:[/B] Closed indefinitely.
[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]
  • Disneyland Hotel Monorail Pool: Closed through February 8 for refurbishment.
  • Grand Californian Hotel – Storytellers Cafe: Closed through February 6 for refurbishment.
  • Grand Californian Hotel – Mickey Pool: Closed through January 21 for refurbishment.
  • Grand Californian Hotel – Redwood Pool: Closed through February 3 for refurbishment.
  • Grand Californian Hotel – Mariposa Pool: Closed February 4-6 for refurbishment.
  • Grand Californian Hotel – Mariposa Spa: Closed February 9-11 for refurbishment.
Tomorrowplan Crowd Estimates for Disneyland Resort from Mouseaddict

January 19-25


  • Closures continue as Disneyland begins preparing for its 60th anniversary. This week, Sleeping Beauty Castle closes, followed by Grizzly River Run in California Adventure.
  • The NAMM show starts on Wednesday, and may create a small bump in evening crowd levels through Sunday.
  • The Haunted Mansion returns on Friday. We don’t expect the return of a familiar 60-year-old phantom, but stay tuned this spring…

The free Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, weather forecasts, park and show schedules, the latest news and articles from MiceChat, and more. Download free on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.

[center]Headline Roundup
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
  • Disneyland was the “ideal” incubator for the worst measles outbreak in the U.S. in 15 years. (LA Times)
  • Disney CEO Bob Iger received a 35.5% raise in 2014, earning $46.5 million through salary, stock, pension options and more. (Variety)
  • Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has opted to not negotiate a new contract until he knows who will be named COO. (Variety)
  • Disneyland Resort restaurants including Steakhouse 55, Catal will be featured in OC Restaurant week, March 1-7. (Disney Parks Blog)
Alright, that wraps up today’s update. What do you think of all the refurbishments getting underway? Are you excited to see what Disneyland does for Sleeping Beauty Castle’s 60th overlay? Let us know in the comments section below!

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For more Disneyland news, be sure to read MiceChat’s weekly In the Parks blog. And be sure to check out our sister blog, Dateline Disney World – a fantastic weekly photo blog covering Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.