As the Disneyland Resort enters the final stretch of its long summer season, new details are emerging on the plan to bring big changes to Disneyland‘s Fantasyland. Disney has confirmed the Fantasyland Theater will close at the end of the week to make way for a new “entertainment experience” which will temporarily displace the princesses while their permanent new home is under construction next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. In Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise has reopened after a brief closure that saw the addition of the some safety enhancements. Nearby in New Orleans Square, pirates are set to takeover the quiet Court of Angels this fall for a pirate-themed makeover boutique. Meanwhile, work continues on Downtown Disney‘s new Earl of Sandwich restaurant and we take a look at some more of the Disneyland Hotel‘s finishing touches.

Get a closer look at today’s update! 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]

Crowds remain high this week at a resort-level, but begin further decreasing in Disneyland (park). 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 here, 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., Aug. 7 [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 7.9 on Thursday.
  • 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., Aug. 8 [center]10 /10[/center]
Thu., Aug. 9 [center]10 /10[/center]
Fri., Aug. 10 [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 mid-day Sunday.

Today, Al Lutz shared news on a significant closure for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in his MiceAge.com Editor’s Note:

EDITOR’S NOTE 8/6: Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mt. will be closing for a major rehab this fall, and remain closed through most of 2013. The 33-year-old coaster will receive a similar treatment as the one Space Mt. got in ’03-’05, (without the extensive foundation work that Space Mt. needed). New track will be installed, the load/unload area will be widened for 21st century riders, and a new ride control system tops it all off. The queue will be prepped for NextGen additions, and unlike the recent WDW Thunder rehab Tony Baxter has returned to his first E Ticket to plus up the show and the aesthetics. Take your last ride on Big Thunder 1.0 in September. – Al Lutz

[center]FANTASYLAND FAIRE-WELL
[/center]

Next to Sleeping Beauty Castle, work continues on the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area.

A peek behind the construction wall

Last week, Disney finally confirmed the August 12 closing date we shared with you last week of the current Princess Fantasy Faire in the Fantasyland Theater. With the announcement, Disney also released photos of the scale model of the upcoming Fantasy Faire area under construction next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. The photos show a gorgeous Fantasyland-themed area, rich with detail, on the edge of the Central Plaza.

New Entertainment Experiences Coming to Fantasyland at Disneyland Park in 2013
The Creative Entertainment team is hard at work on a spectacular live entertainment experience for the Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland park. This amazing new show is set to debut in summer 2013. In order to get everything ready, Princess Fantasy Faire will be closing August 12.

Of course, you can still meet your favorite Disney Princesses whenever you visit Fantasyland. You’ll be able to find them along the path to “it’s a small world” from August 13 through the opening of the all-new Fantasy Faire near Sleeping Beauty Castle next spring. [ FULL STORY ]

Closing Sunday, August 12:

[center]ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
[/center]

A couple weeks ago, we shared with you Disney’s plan to close the Alice in Wonderland dark ride in early September to install a permanent fix for the attraction’s outdoor portion, which received temporary safety scaffolding two years ago after Cal/OSHA expressed concern about safety concerns.

Today, we have a full video ride-through of Alice in Wonderland as the attraction gets ready to close to install a hopefully much more aesthetically pleasing safety fix for this Fantasyland classic.

We’re very happy this ride is getting a fix after two years of being covered by eyesore tarps and scaffolding.

[center]BUMPER BOATS[/center]

In Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise has reopened after a brief closure where bumpers were added to the jungle boats’ starboard side, which rubs up against the dock during load/unload.

The bumpers are intended to close the gap between the dock and the boat, enhancing guest safety.

Also added during the closure are new mooring lines that are tied to jungle boats at both load and unload.

Jungle skippers on the dock use a pole to hook/unhook the mooring line on a jungle boat

Signage near loading warn guests to mind the gap

Also recently added are new nets that prevent hands of guests (especially those of little ones) from being smashed when the boat arrives at the dock.

The nets make sense but they can’t be too much fun for the little ones to look through.

[center]HOSTILE TAKEOVER
[/center]

Nearby in New Orleans Square, now is your last chance to enjoy a quiet escape in the beautiful Court of Angels.

The quiet courtyard has been converted into a temporary retail space in recent years for Christmas ornaments during Disneyland’s busy holiday season, but this year the courtyard will also be temporarily used this fall for a copy of Walt Disney World’s Pirates League, a pirate-themed makeover boutique.

Swashbuckling Fun Comes Ashore in September at Disneyland Park with The Pirates League
A roll of the dice can change your face, your fate or even your name. A new wave of swashbuckling fun is set to hit land (Court of Angels in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park, to be exact) September 1, as The Pirates League plants its flag in the sands of the western shores.

Captain Jack and his trusted mates have searched across the land to find treasures and new recruits to join their crew. In The Pirates League, savvy pirates will transform guests, giving them their own pirate look and name, training them to swashbuckle and teaching them the official Pirate League Oath! The Pirates League is an interactive pirate experience you won’t want to miss.

The Pirates League is the ultimate pirate transformation available to guests ages three and up that lets you live your pirate dreams and learn the ways of the seven seas from veteran pirates straight from Captain Jack’s crew!

The Pirates League will offer three different packages for guests to choose from: Jake and the Never Land Pirates, First Mate, and Empress (created especially for all the pirate princesses!). Packages range from $29.95 – $34.95. Which will you choose to fulfill your pirate destiny?[ FULL STORY ]

Nearby, the Haunted Mansion is set to close August 27 to install the annual Nightmare Before Christmas-themed holiday overlay.

Haunted Mansion Holiday is scheduled to open September 14.

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

In California Adventure, crowds for the park’s new offerings continue to hold up as we enter the final stretch of summer.

A look at wait times throughout the park Sunday afternoon.

Disney recently released a video giving a look at how the new “Glow with the Show” ear hats work.

In Cars Land, long wait times are the norm at the notoriously slow-loading Luigi’s Flying Tires and the popular Radiator Springs Racers E-Ticket.

The Single Rider sign hasn’t been in use in recent weeks. When asked, Cast Members at Radiator Springs Racers are telling guests that there just isn’t an accurate way to gauge just how long the single-rider wait will be, but the line is open.

New stanchion posts have been installed for extended meet-and-greet queue at the Cozy Cone Motel

[center]DOWNTOWN DISNEY
AND DISNEYLAND HOTEL

[/center]

Out in Downtown Disney, work continues at Earl of Sandwich.

Planters have been paved over, ready for outdoor dining space

The old Compass Books newsstand remains in place for now but is set to be removed soon.

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in at the Disneyland Hotel but a friendly reader recently let us know that the Hotel has gotten a couple new finishing touches.

Inside, the new animated 1968 Disneyland Fun Map has been working for a while now. The rear-projected map is perhaps not as vivid as the map of Disney California Adventure that was long on display in the Blue Sky Cellar, but with the lighting conditions in the Hotel’s main foyer, the map provides a great touch to the main entrance and sets the tone for the rest of the Hotel’s retro take on Disneyland.

Take a look at the animated Fun Map in our video below:

New signage is now in place for the Disneyland Hotel’s Convention Center

The Coffee House also has a new marquee

Nearby, Goofy’s Kitchen has moved its stroller parking outdoors, freeing up some more waiting area inside. A smart move for this popular 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

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[center]

[center]WEEKLY NEWS & INFORMATION ROUND-UP[/center]
[center]Weekly Theme Park Hours
August 6—12, 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]9.8—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]
  • [B]Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater:[/B] Fantasyland Theater closes August 12. Princesses will relocate to Small World Promenade allowing the Fantasyland Theater to close and prepare for a new show.
  • [B]The Haunted Mansion:[/B] Closed August 27—September 14 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
  • [B]Alice in Wonderland:[/B] Closes early September to install permanent safety rails to outdoor portion of ride track.
  • [B]Fantasy Faire:[/B] New princess-themed meet-and-greet area in former Carnation Plaza Gardens is under construction and expected to open in early 2013.
[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.
Police say most unruly protestors not from Anaheim
Some interesting news from the recent Anaheim police protests from the OC Register:
[b]Most unruly protesters from outside Anaheim, police say[/b]
As protesters took to the streets on Sunday, marching from Anaheim police headquarters along Harbor Boulevard toward Disneyland, many of those obscuring their faces with bandanas and carrying gas masks were not from Anaheim.

Numerous interviews confirmed they were from elsewhere. And police statistics revealed on Monday that seven of the nine people arrested in the unruly protest were from outside the city boundaries, five not even from Orange County.

Those arrested included two from San Diego County and one from San Bernardino. Another was from Indiana.

“This is an injustice here in this city, but it’s also a problem we see happening everywhere,” said Michael Gomez, 26, from Los Angeles. “We’re here to support our brothers and sisters experiencing the injustice here in Anaheim.”

But many Anaheim residents say they don’t want the help, fearing outside, unruly demonstrators will paint local protesters as unreasonable troublemakers.

[b]Full story: OC Register: Most unruly protesters from outside Anaheim, police say[/b]
Pixar helping with Jon Favreau’s alternate-reality Disneyland movie
New information on the upcoming “Magic Kingdom” movie from “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau:
[b]Pixar is Helping with Jon Favreau’s ‘Magic Kingdom’[/b]
After we got the scoop on his original John Carter plans, we spoke with director Jon Favreau again at the NBC Television Critics Association cocktail party. Favreau directed the pilot for their new series “Revolution,” but we steered the conversation towards his Magic Kingdom film for Disney. Favreau was happy to explain why we may have to wait a while for this one, and that will be a good thing.

“I went back to back to back with three movies in a row, Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens, all of them with release dates announced as I walked in,” Favreau said. “As I cracked the script for the first time we already knew the date and the poster, in some cases the cast. On this one, Magic Kingdom is a big film. It’s a very special piece of intellectual property with all the characters from the park and the legacy of Walt Disney.”

The film will be based on Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom theme park, but Favreau says the storytelling development of the film is inspired by Pixar. Pixar develops their stories for years before investing in animation production, because they can afford the time to craft the story, and sometimes go back to the drawing board midway through.

“What we’ve been doing is writing a script, going up to Pixar, meeting with the brain trust, coming back down, bringing on artists, story editors and putting it together as though it were an animated film so that by the time we actually film it, we’ll have a rock solid story,” Favreau continued. “I don’t want to rush anything. I want this thing to be perfect. I want it to be one shot one kill, like a sniper. I want to make sure this movie’s right in the crosshairs that we can really knock it out of the park so to speak.”

To be clear, Magic Kingdom is not a Pixar film. However, John Lasseter has introduced the Disney production to the Pixar staff and let the synergy flow.

“As far as I know it’s a Disney production but they’ve been very good about Pixar,” Favreau said. “[I’ve known] Lasseter for many years now. It’s our first time collaborating together but he’s opened up all the resources of Pixar. I’ve been up there a few times now and stayed up at the ranch. It’s just been a dream come true. Taking a tour of Pixar is special enough but to sit in a room and pitch to those people and hear their ideas, it’s very, very exciting. I want to learn as much as I can from them and hopefully have their success in storytelling that they do as well by learning from their process. I really want to hold this film to a very high standard so I’m not rushing it but it’s coming along very well.”

The story as it exists so far is this: “It’s going to be a family in the park. It’s an alternate reality version of the park that they get launched into. So much of it is just how it weaves together as a tapestry and what the visuals look like in creating this rich world. It’s informed by everything that I remember and know about the park from going there since I was a small child.”

[b]Full story: Crave Online: Pixar is Helping with Jon Favreau’s ‘Magic Kingdom’[/b]
Okay, that’s all for this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Big thanks for reading and be sure to join the discussion below. What do you think of new photos of the Fantasy Faire concept model?

Don’t forget to visit our great sponsors over at Touring Planswhen 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 August 6, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
[center]TouringPlans.com
Do More. Wait Less.

[/center]

  • eicarr

    Great update! The Diseneyland movie sounds more promising. I’d kill for a mini Rainbow Caverns in Big Thunder… but look foreword to whatever they’re planning.

    • skoolpsyk

      that would be amazing! but unfortunately, instead of enjoying the mood and music, all the other riders would just be screaming at the top of their lungs, like what currently happens…

  • Emmanuel_4

    Great Update!!!!

  • mratigan

    Great thanks

  • Susan Hughes

    I knew the majority of those protesters were “NOT” Anaheim residents. One reporter remembered many of the faces as being those from the failed Occupy L.A. movement.
    I cannot stand those people who have nothing better to do with their lives than cause trouble wherever tv news cameras can be found. And protesting Disneyland was their best “high value target” despite it having no connection whatsoever with the Anaheim P.D. problems.
    And I blame the majority of the local media for not pointing this out. Seems they have the same agenda as well; report a “false” news story just to get some ratings. They knew the protesters were bogus, but chose not to say anything about it.

  • Reeder

    Disney still doesn’t have Alice and Wonderland on their refurbishment schedule. How sure are we about Al’s sources?

  • WDW1971

    The Disneyland Hotel’s Convention Center new look is very banal and disappointing. I expected more than this given the caliber of the type of hotel they tried to redesign it to. To me it looks worse than WDW value hotels. The design team really missed the ball on this one.

  • MonstersGoBoo

    This is going to be one of the very rare times I log in to make a comment, but Alice in Wonderland will not being going down in September for refurb. Working Fantasyland attractions myself, I can confirm that Book and Casey Jr. will be going down in about three weeks for refurb. Casey jr. Is getting better fall protection for us when we do our opening procedures in the mornings. Book has to go down because some of the fall protection needs to be placed under the bridges and therefore needs to be drained (we’re possibly getting some show enhancements as well as having lights get replaced and fixed). At this rate Alice is expected to go down. It we’re not sure when, but it’s definitely not in September. 🙂

    – Danielle

  • Algernon

    I hope they fix Alice in Wonderland so it looks like it did before, with that feeling like you’re going to go off the side of the leaves at the end.

    I noticed some frowns on the faces of people in the pictures I’ve seen of the Jungle Cruise–especially the kids–with that safety netting installed. I, personally, do not like it.

    • Tony Baxter confirmed this past weekend that Alice would be getting pop-up railings to preserve sight-lines. But we’ll have to wait and see what really happens.

      The sadder news is that he also confirmed that PeopleMover will not be returning. It’s too far gone. I’m devastated. If ever there was a perfect attraction for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, the family friendly PeopleMover is it.

      • rwsmith

        There’s a few retired attractions that I miss. The PeopleMover is tied for first.

  • rwsmith

    Good to hear about the Big Thunder rehab. The family and I were there Saturday and both times we were in line it broke down.

  • Timekeeper

    Great Update, glad that Big Thunder is getting a makeover!

    Timekeeper

  • SpectroMan

    It wouldn’t be the first time Disney, or any theme park, used the “Unfortunately this ride is no longer stable enough to resuscitate now” excuse. And I know it’s deliberate. It’s a much easier PR spin than “We chose to let infrastructure deteriorate to this point so that we wouldn’t have to reuse it”.

    • Melonballer

      It has much more to do with the OSHA regulations than the deterioration of the track. Tony Baxter said that they would have to put railings and stairways along the track in case of evacuation , not to mention enclosing the ride vehicles or track so that people could not reach out and touch the buildings as the cars moved into them.

  • rcurrier

    I know I’m a type geek, but the kerning (space between the letters) is just awful on the Coffee House sign. You’d think they’d know better.

  • Sleepy505

    Great Update, wow I can’t believe October is around the corner and my travels go through old Route 66 the I40 lol, It is 12 hour drive well worth it from Rio Rancho, NM to Anaheim, CA
    Disneyland, CA Adventure, Knotts Scary Farm, and drinks on the beach what else can you ask for to go on a Vacation List.

  • TrueBlue

    Hopefully the re-working of Alice in Wonderland will fully preserve the original experience, especially so the very young visitors get to enjoy the finish. Even as my early childhood memories become less clear, the winding trip down the vine remains one of the most enduring memories. Unfortunately, the same bureaucratic overreaching that has left an eyesore across from the Matterhorn these past 2 years is one of the key factors why the Peoplemover as it was known and (at least in retrospect) loved probably will not be coming back. Hopefully, there will be a substantial re-working of TomorrowLand, and that some form of elevated transportation attraction will be included. Given the payoff on the big Cars Land expenditures, even if the current Peoplemover track system had to be removed, re-Imagineered and rebuilt it would be worth the expenditure and effort.

  • Crazee4mm

    The “Glow With The Show ear hats would be cool if more people bought them. Disney keeps showing scenes where they had given everyone a free hat and the effect is indeed awesome. But when only a handful of people are wearing them, the effect is negligible. And at $25 each, it’s no wonder that people aren’t buying them. If only they’d reduce the price instead of giving so many of them away for free. The $25 charge obviously includes the cost of the freebies. Charge around $12 and I’ll buy them for my whole family when I go next time (Sept. 16th.)

    • sixalex

      I’ve said it before and I will stick to this idea, Sell the Glow with the Show Ears and the buyer gets admission to a specific viewing area, where other buyers are standing. Make it a particularly high visibility area where all the pictures that get taken can’t miss the GwtS effect. Allow for the buyers party to enter as well, up to, say four other guests so that families don’t get separated.

      This is a beautiful concept, but as mentioned, it needs a mass of people for the optimal effect. Intensifying by compressing the wearers into a specific location will achieve some of that.

      Also, have an area, same or near by, for returning guests who have previously purchased a GwtS device to stand. On slow nights make it all the same corral.

  • sixalex

    Is it just me or does it look like nothing is changing at the new Princess Faire site? I understand that there might be some foundation work in process, but the pix don’t seem to indicate progress.

    Good update! Nice to have a heads up on the soon to be heads down Big Thunder. Catch it while you can and wait with bated breath for the upgrade! Refurbishment is not a new attraction, but if it is cool enough it counts. Note Star Tours.

    As to the People Mover…I never experienced it so I cannot really miss it. That said and nostalgia aside (sorry Dusty), I’m not sure how cool it actually would seem to be in this day and age. It seems to have been a sort of moving park bench that went in a big loop. Take a load off your feet and roll around Tomorrowland? I don’t know how interesting that would be, especially given Tomorrowland’s current state of blahness.

    I never experienced the Skyway at Disneyland either, but I love the concept. A total refurb of Tomorrowland might include an update that combines both People Mover and Skyway into one, lawyer friendly, attraction.

    At any rate, the key words are “total refurb of Tomorrowland” IMHO.

    Thanks as always for the good job on MiceChat!

  • I don’t know if I’m humbled, or disappointed that Haunted Mansion is usually always one of the shortest waits…haha

  • [email protected]

    Great update Andy. Last week I had a day at Disneyland (first time in over a year). I am so glad for DCA. It looks great. I have to admit though, Tomorrow Land looks terrible. People mover or not, the whole thing looks downright offensive. Shame on Disneyland to let Walt’s dream of tomorrow become so devastated. If this seems a bit harsh, well damn it. This really urks me to no end. Other than Space Mountain ( not looking so good itself ) StarTours ( a little over hyped for my taste) and Buzz Lightyear (still a good ride). The whole thing needs to go. It truely saddens me that it has come to this. I am about to drop almost 2k on AP for the family and me. I am thinking long and hard on this to see if it is worth it. Once again, great Update.