Disney is expected to finally announce its big plans for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary this Wednesday in a special media preview event, but guests visiting the parks can already see a glimpse of what’s to come as refurbishment and enhancement projects continue in both theme parks. In Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty Castle is now closed and the moat is now being drained so refurbishment work can get started. Meanwhile, the first signs of the long-rumored return of a certain specter seem to have materialized inside the Haunted Mansion. Over in Disney California Adventure, the Boudin Bakery Tour is set to reopen this week with big changes as Condor Flats‘ big transformation continues. In addition to all the work in both parks, Starbucks and Disney released special park-specific mugs last week, which have proven to be quick hits with park fans.

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!

There’s a lot to see this week, so get some fresh coffee in your new Disneyland Starbucks mug and let’s get started!

Welcome to Disneyland!

There’s a lot closed in both parks as refurbishments ramp up to get the Resort ready for Disneyland’s big 60th Anniversary… Still, light crowds and great weather make it a perfect time to visit.

Buena Vista Street is as beautiful as ever…



Starbucksland

At long last, Disney and Starbucks debuted new Disney Parks-branded Starbucks merchandise at its California and Florida theme parks last week. The new park-specific mugs are part of Starbucks’ “You Are Here” line and are available only at each park’s respective Starbucks location. So, if you’re looking for Disneyland’s mug, you’ll have to head to the Market House on Main Street to get yours.

The designs are really great and already big hits with park fans.

And if you want Disney California Adventure’s mug, you’ll need to head over to the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe on Buena Vista Street.

The mugs cost $14.95 and are not available at Downtown Disney Starbucks locations.

Acrylic cold tumblers are also available for $19.95. Ceramic hot tumblers are expected to arrive sometime this week. The acrylic and ceramic tumblers feature the generic “Disney Parks” designs and will be available at all in-park Starbucks locations (but not in Downtown Disney)

UPDATE — January 26, 2:12 p.m.: It has come to our attention that the Disney Parks-branded Starbucks items at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were completely sold out by Sunday, January 25. There is no official word on when more will be available but due to the popularity of these items we’d expect more to arrive soon.

Getting Ready for the 60th

Work continues in both theme parks as the May launch of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary inches closer. Disneyland is expected to host a media announcement detailing the 60th Anniversary plans this Wednesday. We’ll fill you in on all of the official announcements and plans in next week’s update.

Stroller Refurb

Facade work continues on the Stroller Shop next to Disneyland’s main entrance.

Full Steam Ahead

The Disneyland Railroad is closed starting today and running through February 12. The closure is mostly to accommodate the it’s a small world’s facade refurbishment but hopefully the downtime will allow Disney finish the Disneyland Railroad’s sound system upgrades.

Currently, only two of the trains have received upgraded sound systems. There’s a bit of a delay in getting the other three trains upgraded as the new sound system has caused some power issues in the first two trains so far…

Despite some technical difficulties, the new sound systems are really spectacular, especially in the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World scenes. After years of hearing the railroad narration and scores over outdated, staticky speakers, I was honestly blown away at how rich and crystal-clear the audio now is.

Below, the old speakers are still in place on three of the trains.

Below, video of the Grand Canyon and Primeval World with audio from the new sound system. The video doesn’t quite do it justice, but anybody familiar with the Disneyland Railroad should be able to note the difference.

This might be a relatively small upgrade compared to other projects going on around the parks but it’s one of those small things that makes a huge difference. Do yourself a favor and make a point to take a Grand Circle Tour of Disneyland when the Disneyland Railroad reopens in February. You won’t regret it.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Sleeping Beauty Castle is now behind walls as work starts to get underway on the Castle’s big refurbishment and overlay project for the 60th Anniversary.

Medieval-themed construction wall blocking drawbridge access.

Castle moat is being drained

Snow White Grotto is now closed as part of the castle refurbishment.

Refurbishment walls along the entire backside of the Castle

The Castle Walkthrough is now closed

What’s Getting into the Matterhorn?

Nearby, the Matterhorn’s refurbishment and enhancement project continues…

it’s a small refurbishment

In the back of Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” is completely behind tarps now for its much-needed facade refurbishment.

The attraction is finally closed, starting today, to remove its holiday overlay. It’s set to reopen February 6.

Materializing…

Over in New Orleans Square, the Haunted Mansion reopened Friday following the removal of its holiday overlay.

Inside, the ride is back to its traditional state and everything looks pretty good without many big changes…

The one big change riders will notice happens just outside of the attic scene…

Riders will notice a new faux-wall added to the right of the ride track immediately after exiting the attic scene. The wall looks temporary and stylistically unlike anything else in the Haunted Mansion. This has led a lot of fans to speculate that it’s a temporary addition, likely hiding the new home or staging area for the long-rumored return of the Hat Box Ghost.

A weird lenticular picture of one of the bat stanchion toppers from the ride’s interior queue is in a fake window on the wall.

Below, a short video passing by the new wall.

Do you think the new wall is to hide the Hat Box Ghost while Imagineers prepare him for his big return?

Elsewhere in New Orleans Square, La Masquerade d’Orleans is still closed for refurbishment.

Hibernating…

Steps away from the Haunted Mansion, Critter Country is closed while Splash Mountain is down for refurbishment.

Recalibrating…

In Tomorrowland, the Magic Eye Theater is now closed indefinitely for refurbishment. The Big Hero 6 signage is still up and at this point it’s unlikely we’ll see Captain EO return to this space anytime soon.

This venue will likely remain a flex venue, open only for the occasional 3D movie preview and not much else until big Tomorrowland plans are finally approved and get underway.

Meanwhile, Innoventions may soon see some big changes for the park’s 60th anniversary. MiceChat recently reported in an Editor’s Note that the lower level of Innoventions may soon close to be transformed into a special anniversary for the park’s Diamond Celebration.

The lower level of Innoventions is currently home to the Innoventions Dream Home, an interactive exhibit of expensive (but not necessarily cutting-edge) technology for your home.

The Dream Home is sponsored by Microsoft, HP, and Taylor Morrison Home Builders, so it’ll be interesting to see if this significant exhibit from multiple sponsors survives much longer.

It’s worth noting, however, that the outer ring of the lower level which was originally home to several preshow areas now sit unused, roped, or curtained-off.

So, if the sponsorship deal means the Dream Home must remain in place, there’s still plenty of room to install an exhibition to celebrate Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary.

Will we soon see diamonds instead of curtains?

Flatlined

Over at Disney California Adventure, work is moving along briskly in Condor Flats as it is transformed into the new Grizzly Peak Airfield.

From the Monorail, guests can see that much of the land’s pavement is now torn out…

Note that pile of metal on the ground…

…You may recognize it as the remains of Soarin’ Over California’s original marquee. Looks like we’ll be seeing a new period-appropriate logo and signage for the attraction when Grizzly Peak Airfield opens later this spring.

Meanwhile, Grizzly River Run is now closed for refurbishment

The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail remains closed as well

Flying Away?

In Cars Land, Luigi’s Flying Tires is still open after dropping off all refurbishment and closure schedules. Did this ride get saved last minute or is Disney trying to hush rumors of its removal until its ready to publicly announce it?

Fresh Bread

Over in the Pacific Wharf, the Boudin Bakery Tour should reopen today, but walls came down over the weekend revealing a wonderfully refreshed bakery exterior.

The Bakery Tour has new red and white-striped awnings, a vintage delivery truck, and nicely-designed new signage and graphics.

The new vintage delivery truck parked out front is a nice touch and really helps lend some additional authenticity to Pacific Wharf.

A nice touch:

New signage throughout

Don’t expect to see Rosie O’Donnell or Colin Mochrie the next time you visit this bakery…

Looks great.

With such nice enhancements outside, I’m excited to see what Disney did inside with this previously easy-to-skip walk-through attraction.

Meanwhile, work continues on the Pacific Wharf Cafe…

World of Color

Over in Paradise Bay, World of Color’s refurbishment continues…

Hotel Happenings

Over at the Grand Californian Hotel, Storytellers Cafe is closed for refurbishment through February 6.

Napa Rose hosts a character breakfast during Storytellers’ closure, with a dinner buffet offered in one the hotel’s ballrooms.

Meanwhile, pools are closed at both hotels, including the smaller pools at the Grand Californian Hotel and the Monorail pool/slides at the Disneyland Hotel.

Fall safety work continues at the Disneyland Hotel.

This & That

Downtown Disney’s Winter Village and Olaf’s Frozen Ice Skating Rink is still up for a couple more weeks.

No replacement has been announced for the Apricot Lane Boutique’s former home… but you’ll most likely see something brewing up here soon…


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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]
Mon.-Tue.: 10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday: 9 am – 6 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 12 am
Sat.-Sun.: 8 am – 12 am
Mon.-Tue.: 10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday: 9am – 10pm
Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 9 am – 10 pm
Sat.-Sun.: 8 am – 10 pm
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
[/CENTER]
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • 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 through February 12 for refurbishment.
  • “it’s a small world”: Closed through February 5 to remove holiday overlay.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight: Closes February 2 for refurbishment, reopening date unknown.
  • Magic Eye Theatre: Closed indefinitely.
[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]
  • 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 through February 12 for refurbishment.
  • Ariel’s Grotto: Closes February 2 for refurbishment, reopening date unknown.
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires: Originally scheduled to close in early 2015 for conversion into a new attraction, this attraction has since dropped off official closure schedules but is still rumored to be replaced.
  • 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 – 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 26-February 1

Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

  • We expect details of this year’s 60th Anniversary plans to be released later this week, and a small bump in crowds this weekend.
  • To prepare for the anniversary, even more attractions are closed this week, including the Disneyland Railroad and it’s a small world.
  • Look even further into the future with Tomorrowplan crowd projections in the Mouseaddict app.

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]
  • Disney Parks’ Chief Medical Officer issued a statement on the Orange County measles outbreak that started at Disneyland, explaining the measures taken “in an abundance of safety” at Disneyland. (Disneyland Pubic Affairs)
  • Disneyland’s Circle D Corral is now a certified Zero Waste facility. (Disney Parks Blog)
  • Take a look at designer John Harwood’s work behind Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary logo design. (Behance)
  • Disneyland Annual Passholder appreciation parties will return in 2015 with the first party February 23 & 24. (MouseInfo)
Ok, that wraps up this week’s update. What do you think of the new Starbucks mugs? What do you think’s happening in the Haunted Mansion? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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

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