Construction ramped up at Disneyland‘s new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet village next to Sleeping Beauty Castle last week. A crane and steel framework now peeks over construction walls next to the Castle as a new permanent home for Disney’s popular princesses takes shape. Meanwhile, Disney cashed in on the success of Disney California Adventure‘s new Cars Land with record attendance and profits as reported by the company’s latest earnings report. In Downtown Disney, construction walls at the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant have expanded as that new eatery aims to open later this year. Over the weekend, D23 – The Official Disney Fan Club hosted its two-day Destination D event that took attendees through a spectacular whirlwind celebration of 75 years of Disney animated films.

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]

Disneyland crowds will start to wind down this week as the busy summer break season comes to a close. Our friends at Touring Plans are here with their crowd forecast and touring tips.

The summer vacationing tourists lighten up after this week, but will quickly be replaced by Annual Passholders previously blocked out for the summer itching to experience Cars Land. 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 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,

[center][/center] [center]Resort-Wide
Crowd Calendar Prediction
[center]Crowd Tips[/center]
Tues., Aug. 14 [center]9 /10[/center] Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • It’s the last full week of Southern California Annual Passports Summer blockouts.
  • Full blockouts on Saturday.
  • Disneyland (park) is a 5.5 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. 15 [center]9 /10[/center]
Thu., Aug. 16 [center]9 /10[/center]
Fri., Aug. 17 [center]9/10[/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.

Wait times Friday afternoon were manageable

Disney recently announced special ticket offers for U.S. military

Special Tickets, Room Rates for U.S. Military at Disneyland Resort
Support for those who have served in the military and their families is a long-standing Disney tradition, so we’re excited to announce the details of our latest special theme park tickets and special pricing for accommodations for military and their families. Take a look at the details:

At Disneyland Resort – from August 17, 2012 through September 26, 2013, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

  • Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $125 each

Disneyland tickets may be used October 1, 2012 through September 28, 2013, except December 23, 2012 – January 2, 2013; February 15-17, 2013; March 25 – April 5, 2013; and July 4, 2013 at all theme parks.

Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased by active and retired U.S. military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. Proper military identification is required and certain blockout dates apply. [ FULL STORY ]


Last week, Disneyland announced changes to the popular “A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” guided tour. The current tour, priced at $64 will be replaced September 9 with an updated tour costing $108, an over $40 increase.

The tour will now feature what Disney is calling “an exclusive look into Walt Disney’s private apartment.” While details remain vague, we’re hearing that this “exclusive look” will only be a partial tour of the small apartment. Still, getting closer than street level could be enough to get some fans to pay $100+ for the revamped tour. A partial look at the apartment is still more than Disney has ever afforded regular day guests and that may be just enough for many fans. The relaunched tour doesn’t start until September 9, but is available to book now by calling 714-781-TOUR. Disney Rewards Visa, AAA card holders, Disney Vacation Club members and Disneyland Resort Annual Passport holders are eligible for discounts.


In the Main Street Opera House, Disney updated the “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” display case in the “Disneyland Story” lobby with the new concept art of the upcoming Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area under construction next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. The concept art had been released on the Disney Parks Blog earlier last week.

At the end of Main Street vertical construction on the new Fantasy Faire is now underway.

A crane and steel framework can now be seen peeking over construction walls

Back in Fantasyland, the Princess Fantasy Faire in the Fantasyland Theater closed on Sunday to make way for an upcoming stage show.

The princess meet-and-greets will now be found along Small World Promenade while construction on Fantasy Faire next to Sleeping Beauty Castle continues.

It’ll be interesting to see how this new temporary location for the popular princess meet-and-greets impacts crowd flow through the area during the popular Halloween and Christmas seasons.

Some new walls have popped up near the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique


Last week, Al Lutz shared news on a significant closure for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in his 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

This week we take a look at the attraction as it currently exists before its rumored closure later this fall.

Below, a video ride-through:

Nearby, Disney continues to try their best at pulling people into the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. In addition to broadcasting a rather loud announcement for the Jamboree along Main Street USA a various times throughout the day, additional signage is now up along Big Thunder Trail and at the entrance to the Jamboree.

[center]WELCOME TO

No progress to be seen next to Disney California Adventure’s main entrance.

Across from Disneyland, California Adventure’s big relaunch summer proved to be an early success according to Disney’s quarterly earnings report released last week.

Anaheim’s Disney parks hit attendance record
Trips to Disney’s Anaheim parks hit an all-time high for the spring and early summer season, just as the transformation of Disney California Adventure was being unveiled, the company announced Tuesday.

The Walt Disney Co. reported its earnings for the third quarter, which ran April 1 to June 30, a period when the Disneyland Resort saw record attendance. The quarter ended just 15 days after the completion of Disney California Adventure’s $1 billion makeover, including the opening of Cars Land.

Until recently, the 11-year-old Disney California Adventure greatly struggled to keep up with the next-door Disneyland.

For the first time, Disney California Adventure was drawing half of the visitors who come to the resort; it is unclear whether the company includes the three Disney hotels and Downtown Disney in that statistic, or just the two parks.

Before, California Adventure drew just about 25 percent of tourism traffic, said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Co.
“California Adventure is now an excellent park in its own right,” Iger said during a conference call with investors.

Overall attendance at U.S. Disney parks experienced a 1 percent increase in attendance, compared to the same period for last year. Occupancy dropped by 1.5 percent at Disney hotels, most of which are in Florida’s Walt Disney World. The three Anaheim hotels are booking rooms “substantially ahead” of Walt Disney World’s pace, Iger said.

“It’s being driven, we believe, by the investment in California Adventure,” Iger said. [ FULL STORY ]

A look at California Adventure wait times Friday afternoon.

The latest edition of The Buena Vista Bugle is now available at various locations down Buena Vista Street. It’s so great that new editions of the Bugle continue to come out.

The touring “The Art of Frankenweenie” will soon come to Hollywood Land as part of the Disneyland Resort’s Halloween Time offerings.

‘The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition’ Coming to Disney California Adventure Park September 14
From September 14 – November 5 at Disney California Adventure park, you can see the touring art exhibit, along with a special, extended sneak peek of Tim Burton’s animated feature film, “Frankenweenie,” releasing on October 5.

“The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” captures the magic of filmmaking and gives an exclusive glimpse into the stop-motion animation process brought to life by visionary filmmaker Tim Burton. From original sketches drawn by Burton to extensive props, sets and puppets, the exhibition showcases the artistic detail and vision that has gone into telling the tale of a boy who, inspired by science and the love of his dog, brings his beloved pet back from the dead. [ FULL STORY ]

Below, a video preview of the Frankenweenie exhibition from Disney:

In Cars Land, a look at wait times:

At Luigi’s Flying Tires, we’ve recently noticed a big reduction in the number of beach balls in the tire yard.

Along with fewer beach balls, Cast Members are no longer handing out beach balls to guests boarding their tires. This change is in direct response to the attraction’s notoriously slow loading times. The goal here is to reduce wait times and so far it appears that this change is notably speeding up loading times.

With the success of Cars Land, the project’s lead Imagineer, Kathy Mangum has been promoted and moved to Florida. Mangum will now oversee the design at all Walt Disney World theme parks and Resort hotels. Details from the Orlando Sentinel:

Cars Land exec takes on role at Disney World
The Walt Disney Co.creative executive who lead the development of a hit “Cars”-themed attraction in Southern California has been given a new assignment: overseeing all attraction and resort design at Walt Disney World.

Burbank, Calif.-based Disney said Wednesday it has appointed Kathy Mangum to the newly created post of “executive producer” for Disney World, the company’s biggest theme-park resort, with four theme parks, two water parks, and two-dozen hotels and time shares.

Mangum is a vice president with Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney’s in-house creative-engineering unit. Her star has soared since the mid-June opening of “Cars Land” in Disney California Adventure, one of two theme parks at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

Disney, which reported fiscal third-quarter results Tuesday, said Disneyland set an attendance record during the period thanks largely to fan interest in Cars Land. A chronically underperforming park since opening in 2001, California Adventure is now generating nearly 50 percent of Disneyland’s total attendance — up from 25 percent in previous years.

Disney also says the 12-acre land’s anchor attraction — “Radiator Springs Racers” — has drawn rave reviews from visitors. Company President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said it is scoring a perfect 100 percent on surveys in which guests are asked if they intend to ride the attraction again.

“We have huge satisfaction and higher spending on merchandise and food and beverage, as well, and we raised our ticket prices,” Iger said during a conference call with analysts. “So it all is very, very good news and bodes well for the future.”

There have been unsubstantiated rumors that Disney wants to copy all or part of Cars Land in Orlando, possibly in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But a spokesman for Walt Disney Imagineering said Mangum’s reassignment was not tied to any new projects. [ FULL STORY ]

In Grizzly Peak, the FASTPASS return queue for Grizzly River Run has been slightly relocated in an effort to reduce crowd flow issues in the area.



Construction walls at the upcoming Earl of Sandwich restaurant have been extended further into the walkway after a planter was removed to free up some space in the area.

A planter has been removed and paved over

The old Compass Books newsstand is now behind construction fences, ready for removal.

Over at the Disneyland Hotel, construction walls have sprung back up next to the Fantasy Tower

[center]D23 CELEBRATES

Over the weekend, D23 — The Official Disney Fan Club hosted Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animated Features at the Disneyland Hotel.

The two-day event was packed with panel discussions featuring numerous Disney artists, animators, Legends and Imagineers discussing 75 years of Disney feature animation.

The event was priced at a lofty $225 per person and tickets exclusively available to D23 members. I attended the event as invited press and was highly impressed with the quality of panels and entertainment. With two spectacular concerts, sneak peeks at upcoming Disney animated films and numerous panels with Disney Legends and animators, the event gave an excellent look at the Disney Animation Studios. Panels included “Walt and the First Golden Age of Disney Animation” which took D23 guests on look at early Disney films under the leadership of Walt Disney and created by his “Nine Old Men.”

Host Becky Cline talked with Ted Thomas, Joe Hale and Burny Mattinson discussed working at the Disney studio.

Below, Burny Mattinson (right) discusses working as an in-betweener on “Lady and the Tramp” and the cheats made to Tramp’s head when nudging the meatball to Lady during the Tony’s Restaurant sequence.

In the excellent “Animating the Disney Parks” panel, Imagineers Tony Baxter, Eric Larson and former Imagineer Eddie Sotto discuss the impact early Disney animators had on creating Disney’s theme parks. Below, Tony Baxter discusses the influence of Mary Blair and Claude Coats on Disneyland.

Baxter spoke highly of Coats, who became Baxter’s mentor when he joined Imagineering: “He gave you the chance to come up with your own ideas.” Baxter also talked about the great Fantasyland dark rides and made special mention of the Alice in Wonderland attraction: “We all know about the mess out front & I’ve heard we got the approval to go in and clean it up.”

Former Imagineer Eddie Sotto discussed working with Disney Legend and early Imagineer Herb Ryman, noting Ryman as “the wisdom” Imagineers needed to bring the needed “DNA” to make the Main Street at Disneyland Paris work.

The “Wacky and Wild Disney Animation” panel brought together Disney animation director Eric Goldberg and animation historian Jerry Beck in a 45-minute presentation that delved into Disney’s weird and experimental animation, including “Mother Goose Goes Hollywood” (1938)

“Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom” (1953)

Panelists discuss Fantasia’s “Dance of the Hours” sequence

Animator Eric Goldberg’s favorite animated film is “Dumbo” because it has “so much emotion impact” but “still has room to experiment” with the Pink Elephants on Parade sequence

A big treat of the weekend was Disney animator Andreas Deja’s “Drawing with Personality” presentation in which he discussed various character sketches from Walt’s famed “Nine Old Men”

Deja also drew some of characters including Mickey Mouse in both his classic state and how he appeared in “Runaway Brain.”

Deja also drew a couple villains he personally worked on, including Scar from “The Lion King” and Jafar from “Aladdin”

Another highlight of the weekend was the “Hearing Voices: A Salute to Disney Voice Artists” panel, which brought together an impressive group of classic Disney voice talents: Dickie Jones (Pinocchio), Kathryn Beaumont (Alice and Wendy Darling), Lisa Davis (Anita from One Hundred and One Dalmatians), David Frankham (Sgt. Tibbs from One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Bruce Reitherman (Mowgli/Christopher Robin), Bill Farmer (Goofy), and Chris Sanders (Stitch).

Below, Bill Farmer discusses playing Goofy in “A Goofy Movie”

Fittingly, the weekend panels were capped off with a discussion of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first Disney feature animated film.

Host Tim O’Day talked with film historian Alex Rannie who discussed the original music in the film, shared clips of songs cut from the film and shared images of original music sketches used when writing the songs and music for the film.

Rannie explained that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was the first motion picture to have a publicly released and sold soundtrack.

Below, Rannie shares images of original Snow White music “sketches”

93-year-old Marge Champion, the original live-action reference model for Snow White then joined the panel. Marge shared stories of running through ropes hanging from clothes lines to simulate tree branches in the forest sequence of “Snow White” — “I was scared to death,” Champion said, explaining that she thought she was going to fall.

Finally, Gabriella Calicchio, CEO of The Walt Disney Family Museum, joined the panel.

Calicchio gave the audience some background on the incredible Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco before announcing new programs and exhibits coming soon to the museum. The highlight is an all-new exhibit, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic,” opening this November at the museum. The exhibit will showcase art and other items from the film, including original production sketches.

In the early concept sketch below, Snow White is depicted with blonde hair

Destination D came to an incredible conclusion Sunday evening with a rare live performance by Disney Legend Alan Menken. Menken is noted for having received more Oscars than any living person and is also a Disney Legend who is responsible for songs and scores from some of Disney’s most beloved films including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and most recently, Tangled (to name just a few).

Menken treated the D23 audience to a spectacular line-up of songs from his Disney productions as well as his non-Disney films and stage shows including “The Little Shop of Horrors,” below:

Menken performed songs from Disney’s animated film “Aladdin,” including songs that were changed or cut from the final film.

Also featured were songs from Disney’s “Newsies,” a film that flopped at the box office but has since become a wildly successful hit on Broadway.

Menken is also responsible for the songs from Disney’s “Enchanted”

…and “Tangled”

…as well as “Star Spangled Man” from Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”

Below, a selection of merchandise offerings from the two-day convention:

Tote bags made from recycled D23 Expo banners

Notebooks designed to look like the storybook from the beginning of “Sleeping Beauty”

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

[CENTER] and Annual Passholder Discounts
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[center]Weekly Theme Park Hours
August 13—19, 2012
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
8 am – 12 midnight[/CENTER]
8 am – 11 pm[/CENTER]
[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Theme Park Calendar
[center]Expected Crowd Levels[/center] [center]presented by[/center]
[CENTER][B]Disneyland Park[/B][/CENTER] [CENTER][B]California Adventure[/B][/CENTER]
[B]5.2—10.0[/B] out of 10[/CENTER]
[B]9.7—9.8[/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
[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]
[b][center]Disneyland Park[/center][/b]
  • [B]Princess Fantasy Faire at the Fantasyland Theater:[/B] Fantasyland Theater closed 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.
Disney promises better Expo experience as tickets to 2013 D23 Expo go on sale
2013 D23 Expo tickets are on sale now. After the troublesome 2011 convention, will you attend the 2013 expo? The OC Register has details on how Disney plans to improve the next expo.
[b]Tickets go on sale for D23 Expo [/b]
Some fans waited hours to get into presentations, like for a sneak preview of “The Avengers,” only to find venues full at last year’s Disney fan club convention.
Next year, the company plans to add extra space and improve the wait lines for the D23 Expo.

Tickets go on sale Thursday for the 2013 D23 Expo, the major convention of the official Disney fan club that will be at the Anaheim Convention Center. Three-day tickets start at $115 for club members, with packages going up to $1,500 each.

The expo attracts celebrities such as Johnny Depp and Scarlett Johansson and offers high-profile presentations, including announcements of upcoming park attractions and Disney Channel concerts. Up to 45,000 people have attended each expo, held every other year. The 2013 expo, which runs Aug. 9 to 11, will be the third.

Last year, Scott Morgan of Massapequa Park, New York, and his girlfriend had trouble finding the line for an awards presentation and then waited an hour to get in. The space was full, so they missed the event. He’s unsure if he will attend next year.

“The expanded capacity sounds good, but the frustration with the event was brought about more by preparation and organization problems than capacity problems,” Morgan said in an email. “Disney park-goers are used to being told what to do, where to line up, and what to see first.”

Steven Clark, the head of D23, said major venues will have more seats and spillover viewing areas next year. The arena holds 4,000 people; the convention also will set up a 2,000-person overflow theater. The second-largest venue will increase from 750 to 2,000 seats.

Disney, for the first time, will hand out wristbands to guarantee spots in major presentations.

[b]Full story: OC Register: Tickets go on sale for D23 Expo[/b]
Disneyland President urges Anaheim to consider elections by district
News from the OC Register:
[b]Disney takes stand on Anaheim elections[/b]
Disneyland Resort’s president has taken the rare step of urging the Anaheim City Council to consider allowing elections by district in a city where Disney is the largest employer and biggest tax generator.

George Kalogridis sent a letter to Anaheim City Council members on Tuesday, the day before the council was expected to discuss whether a proposal to elect council members by district, instead of at-large, should go on the ballot.

The idea of district elections has gained momentum in recent weeks, following two fatal police shootings that prompted protests, sometimes violent. Small protests took place just outside Disneyland’s gates.

Some in Anaheim want council members elected by district instead of at-large in part to gain more Latino representation on the panel. More than 50 percent of the residents are Latino. Of the five council members, four are not Latino; one is half-Latina.

“We believe that city leadership should reflect the diversity of its entire population,” Kalogridis wrote. “We support a City Council elected from districts and encourage the city of Anaheim to move from at-large elections to district voting. This shift will allow each valued neighborhood to be represented by a local council member of their choosing.”

Disneyland Resort is Orange County’s largest employer with 23,000 workers. Hotel bed taxes, centered on theme park tourism, make up the biggest chunk of Anaheim’s revenues.

[b]Full story: OC Register: Disney takes stand on Anaheim elections[/b]
Alright, that wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading! Did you attend this weekend’s Destination D event? How did you enjoy the convention line-up?

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[B]- Andy[/B]

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[/CENTER][B]FTC-Mandated Disclosure:[/B]
Promotional consideration for the August 13, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
Do More. Wait Less.