Disneyland Resort More Candlelight Less Balls

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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Published on August 17, 2012 at 1:37 am with 40 Comments

With Disney, things change all the time. Imagineers and management are kept in a constant state of flux by competing ideas and changing conditions in the park. It’s an ongoing test and adjust to get the show just right. Today, we look at some developments with the newer attractions while, and peek into what is just around the corner. One thing is for sure, you can never say you’ve seen it all, because things are sure to change before you have.

Expect delays for the next few days when visiting Downtown Disney. About one quarter of the parking lot is currently being resurfaced.

The highly anticipated sandwich shop is still under construction and moving very slowly.  The location, which was originally supposed to open in early Summer, has obviously been delayed.  Let’s wish them luck.  Those sandwiches are good and we are looking for some affordable options in the resort area!

Late last night construction crews began tear down the old Compass Magazines location.
A special thank you to Club 33 for the photos.

It was reported that the Disneyland Resort is experiencing record crowds.  You wouldn’t know it by entering Disneyland park though.  Wait times this past Wednesday were lower than we have seen them in a long time.

Crowds or no, it is still wonderful to see the little touches enduring and entertaining guests just for the sake of entertainment.

Mountain climbers scale the icy slopes of Matterhorn Mountain several times a day.

Vertical work continues on the Fantasy Faire Village with a new, separate structure appearing in the center of the construction site.

Half a duck is better than none. ;)


If you thought that the Candlelight Processional was crowded and difficult to deal with in the past, wait until you get a load of what the park has cooked up for this holiday season.  Starting December 1st and going nightly through the 20th, Disneyland will present the choral extravaganza, Candlelight, twice each evening.  That’s 20 nights and 40 performances!

The show is performed in Town Square, which is the busy little area at the base of the Main Street Train Station at the pinch point of the entry/exit of the park. With the already insane crowd levels that descend upon the resort during the holidays, this is sure to place even more pressure on the bottleneck at the front of the park. One weekend we can deal with, but 20 nights?

Town Square will likely end up becoming a mad house for the month of December.

While Candlelight has traditionally been performed on the Train Station stairs to a small crowd in Town Square, there was a period where the Fantasyland Theater was used instead. Although the Fantasyland location may not be as historic, it may very well offer a better viewing experience for guests and far superior crowd control. Let’s hope Disneyland has a VERY good plan for this 20 night extravaganza

The first two nights, December 1-2, will be invitation-only events; however, performances from December 3-20 will apparently be open to Annual Passholders and guests booking special, yet-to-be-announced dining packages. At Disney World, the dining packages cost between $32.99 and $55.99 for a lunch package and$49.99 and $66.99 for a dinner package. While Disneyland and Disney World pricing don’t always match up, this should give us an idea of where they are likely headed.


Disney California Adventure is rolling along towards the close of their inaugural Summer as a full fledged Disney park.

It’s the little details that charm.  For instance, have you ever gone up to see who lives in the buildings just above this stoop?  Go check out the mailboxes for a hint.

It's none other than Eddie Valiant, of the Valiant and Valiant Detective Agency (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

Wait times really seemed to mellow this week.

To coincide with the new Fall release, Frankenweenie, The Animation building will host a new exhibit featuring sets, props and figures from the film.

Inside, you can take a class to learn how to draw your favorite character. This handy schdeule will help you plan when to return. Is your favorite on the list?


Luigi’s Flying Tires is an attraction that can’t seem to catch a break. During its test and adjust period with cast members, it was discovered that simply floating around very slowly on a thin sheet of air wasn’t as fun as they hoped it would be.  Months before the big grand opening on June 15th of this year, new music was recorded to play while riders floated about.  In addition, massive beach balls were tossed out into the ride floor.  The hope was that, between the zippy Italian ballads and the bouncy beach balls,  the attraction would really take off.
Last week, we reported that most of beach balls that once filled the ride floor had been removed and guests were instructed not to pick them up or touch them during load/unload.  This week, we see that they have completely removed them altogether, as Dusty predicted.

Wait times hovered in the 50 minute range on Wednesday afternoon.

What do you folks think about this attraction. Is it worth a 50 minute + wait? Does it move too slow for you? Does it lack a sense of purpose?

We hear that Disney is working on some new interactive elements to bump up the fun factor. Let’s hope they get this worked out soon.

We have good news and bad news to report from Radiator Springs Racers.  The good news is that they seem to be tirelessly working on the show effects, refining and fixing them.  The tractor tipping scene is now back up and running and Luigi’s tire effect is working just fine now.

The bad news is that they are beginning to now have problems with the expensive foliage that has been used in and around the stunning rock work on the exterior of the attraction.  A similar problem cropped up during the first few years of Grizzly River Rapids with many trees having to be replaced after opening.    The trees in the beginning of Radiator Springs Racers, which are surrounded by artificial rock work are beginning to slowly fade. Heat and chemicals from the vast amounts of paint on the mountain are likely the cause. This will lessen over time, but it’s going to be expensive for the resort to stay on top of this issue.

Looking closely at the trees, you can clearly see they are in distress.

It looks as if these trees may have to be replaced soon.

These were very expensive trees to put in and I’m sure Disney is doing everything they can to try and save them.

Over near the finish line a few more of the lower trees are suffering a similar problem.

That should do it from the Disneyland resort this week. Will the trees at Radiator Springs Racers make it to the finish line too soon?  Will there be more adjustments to Luigi’s?  How will Disney handle the crowds at Candlelight?  Will the new exhibit in the Animation building be a much needed hit in Hollywood Land? We’ll be sure to let you know.  Thank  you so much for reading and please let us know what you think about recent events in the parks. It’s certainly been an interesting week!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • TomGreen51

    Thanks for the update. I’ve also been listening to the podcast. It’s great to hear from you. You may remember me from the Queen Mary and Sinister Point last year, Adam.

    That Eddie Valiant detail is a nice touch and the animation building has always been my favorite attraction since the Circle Theater shut down. Man I wish they incorporated that into the Buzz Lightyear attraction.

    Anyways, it’s great to hear the updates. I managed to get some tickets and will be planning a trip to see the new DCA.

    Great Job!

  • eicarr

    Great update!!!!!!!!

    I love Luigi’s Flying Tires(It’s the CL underdog). Hopefully less people will go on it so the line goes down. a 25 min wait is about max for me. Sadly, it’s just too popular right now.

    I hope visitors enjoy/support the new value priced themed sandwich locations INSIDE THE PARK on main street(ie Jolly Holiday) and buena vista street and not in a chain restaurant at the far end of the downtown disney shopping mall. Visiting the park only a few times a year, I’d like to spend as much time as possible enjoying the park and not leaving in the middle of the day to walk all the way back-and-forth to a sandwich chain. Park entrance is expensive now, and time is money. Even if I still lived in the area I would grab something cheap/convenient on the way to/from the parks and not at the far end of the mall, far away from the parking lot tram stop.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks, Norm!

    We were also at Disneyland on Wednesday, August 15, and the park felt delightfully uncrowded. Our getting in early with our AP early entry and our collecting four Fastpasses in the morning helped us beat the small crowds. Eating breakfast at the River Belle at about 10am was a scenic & energizing break. (We split the pancake breakfast and the huge fruit plate–which was excellent and a good value, by Disneyland standards. How often are the cantaloupe, honeydew & water melon all delicious?

    We were also at DCA a week earlier and liked Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and loved Luigi’s Tire ride.

    My seven-year-old had a blast dancing with obscure characters on Stage 17 in Hollywood Land in DCA. They could have used another 20 or so chairs for grownups, and most of the chairs in here should be smaller, even though the huge ones in there are interesting looking. This dance party for younger kids was open from 1pm–5pm and is a nice way to beat the heat along with the Animation Building where drawing characters is our favorite thing in this most excellent building.

    In Disneyland you can escape the heat and other people in the Main Street Cinemas, Lincoln’s Theater, the Gallery, the Tiki Room, and in the worthwhile ASIMO show in Innoventions, which you can now get to by walking right into a second-floor entrance.

    So why doesn’t ASIMO run (or job?) any longer? He had less airtime with both feet off the ground than all of the the ridiculous-looking cheaters in the Olympic walking competition, but it was still cool that she (He? It.) had been pushing the engineers and trying something new.

    Go to an earlier Tiki show if you want a Dole Whip–the lines for that on hot afternoons appear to be stupidly slow and long. If so, get a frozen lemonade from a cart instead.

    • jcruise86

      I meant “jog”, not “job”. And remember that at the 6pm ASIMO show he fights Mr. Lincoln!

  • jcruise86

    Prediction: HUGE CROWDS in DCA from August 20-31 (excluding Sat, the 25th) when S. California APs are again admitted after their long summer blockout. We’re saving RSS for the fall–I hope! (Trying to avoid Bill Maher’s “nerd tax” & the temporary Nemo-mania lines at the subs when the subs re-opened.)

  • KENfromOC

    1. Last year we were treated to great construction photos of Cars Land. Now we are getting photos of a freaking sandwich store being built? I understand there is not much going on right now compared to last year – but please! (Yes, I am not enthused about a sandwich shop that , by looking at their online menu, appears to use mostly processed meats and sides that look to be scooped out of a 5-gallon bucket that cheap buffets would use!) Now if it was an In & Out being built…..

    2. The beach balls on Luigi’s: I liked the idea, but when we went on this with my 5-year old daughter (during the media day) my thought was “these are big heavy thick-skinned beach balls, I’d better watch that they don’t fly over and hit my girl on the head”. Hopefully they get replaced my something just as fun, but less weighty! We did have fun on the ride, but only waited a short time to get on.

    3. The foliage around Radiator Springs: We’ve had a tremendous heat spell over the last 10 days, and we’ll have more in the early fall. Some of my foliage around my yard look similar, despite a good amount of water. I would like to think the landscape designers took this into account. This is supposed to be looking like the Southwest – Anyone been out to Arizona or New Mexico lately? Maybe their trees look the same this time of year (not sure).

    • Marko50

      1. I got tired of all the CarsLand construction photos last year, so I guess I agree?

      2,. I did think the balls were big, and by necessity thick-skinned, but heavy? I gotta disagree although it’s possible they changed them out between media day and when I got in…And I do really like this ride! Wish they were faster loading ala the Flying Saucers (ah, it always comes back to the Saucers, doesn’t it?) and had more space, but I hope they last longer than the FS did.

      2a. Surprised that this update didn’t mention the Sau…um, the Tires getting adjusted to be less weighty. Did I miss that in a prior update?

      3. This isn’t supposed to look the the Southwest – it’s supposed to look like an idealized version of the SW. That is all. ;-)

      • KENfromOC

        True about your southwest comment! I think landscaping is one of the hardest thisngs to maintain when it comes to trees and shrubs (annuals always change out anyway). It’s a wonderful look and I am thinking about doing a news segment on it for our communty TV station (maybe get some tips!)

    • WesternMouse


      You’re supposed to keep drinking the kool-aid. Did folks not tell you this?

  • mrpink

    Does anyone think it is strange that the princess fantasy faire was removed in time for a refurb of the theater and this announcement of 20 nights of candlelight are so close. I think that the candlelight processional may be moved to the old snow white theater so that 1) there is not the giant mass of people at the front entrance/exit for 20 straight nights and 2) there is actual seats to block off for paid dining packages. It’s just a theory but it seems possible.

    • As much as Candlelight is a tradition in Town Square, I’ve also wondered if the early closing of Princess Fantasy Faire was to make room for Candlelight. It sure would be a mess to have 40 performances of Candlelight in Town Square for the 20 busiest days of the year at the resort. Fantasyland Theater would make sense. And I think they should move it there if they weren’t already planning to do so.

  • rwsmith

    We stopped by the park last night and noticed the balls removed from Luigi’s. It makes the rider turnover noticeably faster because too many people took their time leaving while playing with the balls. It’s a fun ride when you’re moving fast, but it takes so much time and effort to get the tire moving that by the time you’ve done it twice the ride’s over. Racers and the tractors are much better with a higher rider turnover.

    I also noticed there was a hula dancer missing from Small World…

  • chesirecat

    Since the Cadillac Mountain range was painted a while ago, I have a little doubt about the paint being what is killing the trees, since they have probably been in the ground a year anyway? Plus, since the paint is applied to the mountain, not the ground, the only way for it to get into the root system would be if there were rains and that washed a lot of chemicals down on the trees. Plus, I’m sure how toxic paint is to plants . . .

    Pine trees are normally very drought tolerant, at least such types as Aleppo, though they can have brown needles in some parts during drought. Not sure what the other trees are, douglas fur?

    I think that the trees might not be getting enough water as much of Carsland is xeriscaped, and on one of the videos, the horticulturists talked about not watering them as much as plants in Disneyland. BUT with those trees, they do need extra
    water the first couple years to develop their root system.

  • ayalexander

    Well when I comes to the beach balls on Luigi’s I think the guests should have gotten a grip on themselves! Getting angry because they were hit with giant beach balls!? Even if you are too disabled to be hit with one, that should only mean the attraction itself is not safe enough for you. If you can take a featherweight beating from a beach ball, you shouldn’t be on an attraction that can jerk you around. Those beach balls added a nice synergy to the atmosphere and now they are gone because a few guests can’t get knocked around a little! What next, the snow on Matterhorn too bright for ya?

    • Actually, it is Disney’s responsibility to keep their attractions safe. If Disney is putting people in harms way, the guest has a right to be concerned or take legal action if injured. That’s just the way it works. It was an operational and safety nightmare and it looks like legal and the executives made the right decision. However, they’ve also just made a boring ride insufferable. That will also have to be addressed. It makes no sense for Disney to have a ride this confusing, boring and potentially still unsafe (tripping hazards on the bumpers when loading and unloading, seat belts which can be unbuckled while the ride is in motion, etc).

      • ayalexander

        Actually I agree, though I still think people shouldn’t ride a jerking ride if they can’t stand a feathery slam from a lightweight beach ball, I do agree that the attraction is unsafe and doesn’t put out enough guests per hour. I’m surprised that imagineering didn’t foresee this happening, its 1966 all over again! Now, I have never tripped on the bumpers (because I follow posted instructions) but I have seen people trip for the opposite reason and though I’d like to blame the people, imagineering should know by now that not all guests are going to pay attention to instructions. And I agree on the seat belts, I could have unbuckled them myself if I wished to be a buffoon!

  • Nocturne

    People will moan and groan about anything…”Too many construction updates of the same attractions!” “Who cares about a chain sandwich shop?” This site is about construction updates and new information that you may or may not care about. If you don’t care about it, then move on. There is no need to blast the writer who is just presenting changes and facts (sometimes opinions…but that is a different topic). I love reading comments but really get annoyed when people who claim to be Disney fans complain about something new before it even opens. How many people were huge critics of CL and BVS before they even opened and then proceeded to have their jaw hit the curb (or lack of curb…another stupid controversy) when they first stepped inside DCA 2.0? The Earl of Sandwich is a FANTASTIC place to eat. It’s a cute themed restaurant that has reasonable priced items, all of which are higher quality than anything at Jolly Holiday Bakery (which I love but I’m just being honest). So if that doesn’t excite you then feel free to continue to eat at your favorite places and skip past those EOS updates because many of us are anxious for that place to open!

  • aashee

    Loving the updates and the pictures!!

    In response to KenfromOC: I have no clue what your first complaint was about. You don’t want construction photo of a sandwich shop but you do if it were In-N-out? You do’t like the sandwich menu but you want a place that has restaurants all over OC? Should they filter pictures based on the level of processed meats they use?

    I’m pleased that they are showing all of the changes at the resort, even if it’s a place I don’t plan on frequenting. Thanks Fishbulb!!

  • imayahoo2

    Was there 3 weeks ago and the hula girl from Small World was the only one not moving. Now she’s gone to get fixed. I hope she returns soon. I love watching them shake shake shake.


    That is all.

  • TodAZ1

    I’m on KenfromOC’s side. 1 picture max is what should be spent on, basically, a glorified Subway shop.

  • Swisskapolka

    Visited Disneyland and DCA a couple weeks ago for the first time since Carsland opened. We enjoyed Luigi’s — the beach ball added a little fun, but it was the bouncy music that really made it cute. We waited about 30 minutes — really enjoyed the theming inside of the building and like I said watching the other riders and listening to the music made the time pass pretty quickly. (By we I mean two late 40s adults and our 18 year old daughter who LOVES the Cars movies)

    All of the entertainment added to both parks was great — loved the performances on Buena Vista Street and it was nice to see folks climb the Matterhorn again.

    • jcruise86

      We also had about a 30-minute wait. We liked the Luigi’s activity sheet we were given to help pass the time in line.