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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  • MWH1980

    When I went on Luigi’s last week, I did wonder about some of the people not really liking to be hit by 4 ft beachballs, but everyone on the ride the two times I went seemed to be having a good time. It was fun squishing a ball between my tire and another person’s, and seeing it just fly up 12 ft in the air!

    When I went on RSR, I recall it was the Tractors that didn’t tip, and in Ramone’s, we didn’t see our car’s new paintjob. The two times I went through Luigi’s for tires, we came out with our Whitewalls intact.

  • WesternMouse

    I think I know what is the issue with the foilage. It’s called…summer.

    • First, thank you for reading. I know you are one of our biggest supporters ;-) But if “Summer” were the reason the trees are dying at Radiator Springs, they’d be dying all over the resort (which they aren’t). Something IS wrong with the plants in this area.

      • WesternMouse

        Hi, Dusty! I was kidding. No criticism was intended. Disney horticulture has been a major draw for guests for decades. The reason for its popularity is due to Disney always being able to figure out how to make flora thrive in atypical locations. I loved working at the Wilderness Lodge because of the western trees and plants. Horticulture transports guests to far off places and, if design and Imagineering is the cake, then horticulture is the icing. You appreciate the cake more when it’s got great frosting. They will figure it out.

        BTW, I love all the articles on Miceage. Having attempted a travel blog of my own for just my family, I can appreciate the work that it takes to create interesting content. Keep up the great work!

  • ParkWalker

    Let’s all be honest here, Carsland is a wonderful addition to the park–an amazingly done land that has one great ride (Radiator Springs), one ok ride (Junk Yard), and a big dud (Luigi’s). The sooner they close this ride and reimagine a better one–the better! It’s not a big deal either. They tried something that sounded good and it just wasn’t. It only answered one question, “What new ride could be more disappointing than The Little Mermaid?”

    Not to despair–there are better ideas for the area that could have a much higher capacity also! How about an Aquatopia ride system in a junk yard of tires covered with an oil spill? Fun for the whole family, trusted, true and fun for everyone.

    Whatever happens, one thing is clear: the sooner they close Luigi’s the better. It was a good idea–but it just doesn’t deliver.

    • I couldn’t agree more. We actually discussed this on our last podcast. The trackless Aquatopia system would be a great substitute ride system (and could look essentially the same). They could even pretend you are still floating and leave the fans underneath. It would greatly ease load/unload, make the ride safer, allow for a more controlled environment, and enable the Imagineers to plus up the attraction with some interactive elements. This is a ride in desperate need of a big fix. And you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    • WesternMouse

      What’s amazing to me is that for years many people yearned for the return of the flying saucers. When we got it, we realized that it wasn’t so great after all. Talk about irony. With all the armchair Imagineering we do on these boards, sometimes I like to just trust the experts with knowing what will work. I think Luigi’s was a gift to all that wanted to revive a very short-lived attraction. Too bad it isn’t working out.

  • Princess Victoria

    Unless I missed it, I haven’t seen it mentioned yet. But as of a few weeks ago, the motionless Brer Rabbit on Splash Mountain has been functional again.

  • TrueBlue

    The need to move guests on and off of Luigi’s more expeditiously is obviously a key factor in removing the beach balls. The only thing worse then an “eh” attraction is having an unnecessarily prolonged wait for that attraction. However, the safety issues cannot be underestimated. There is a case currently before the California Supreme Court involving the bumper cars at Great America that could potentially have a major impact on amusement parks. In that case, a woman somehow injured her wrist when her bumper car, amazingly, got bumped by another car. Her claim was tossed based on assumption of the risk, since she knew that bumping was part of the ride. (Much like hitting a tree while skiing is a known risk.) If the Supreme Court rejects assumption of the risk for such attractions and reinstates her lawsuit, Legal will have its hands full and the removal of the beach balls may have been a preemptory measure. Amusement parks are already considered common carriers for certain rides, and for those rides are held to the utmost duty of care standard just like operators of subways, taxicabs, etc. (That ruling arose out of a claim involving Indiana Jones, which is why that attraction is no longer what it was when it opened.) If the Supreme Court not only rejects assumption of the risk but also extends the common carrier duty to all rides, the lack of beach balls will be the least of anyone’s complaints.

    • ayalexander

      Just out of curiosity, what do you mean Indiana Jones is no longer the way it used to be? I never noticed a difference over the years on the attraction.

      • TrueBlue

        The ride vehicles are less herky-jerky and a bit slower in parts. The fire effects also used to be much more intense, although it is unclear if that change related to the lawsuit. Such changes are purposely subtle, but Legal cannot allow the attraction to remain unchanged, lest somebody else claim a similar injury, along with a claim for punitive damages because nothing was done after the park knew of a problem (even if it is not really a problem).

  • DLHWaterfalls

    Your reporting on trees….. Bwahahaha. Ah, Am I the only one that finds this insanely hilarious?

    • Nivens McTwisp

      Actually, I didn’t mind reading about the trees. Pictures of the parking lot being repaved, however…

      Great report otherwise.

  • Susan Hughes

    20 shows of Candlelight Processional? The two shows they did a year were a headache. How can they manage 20 in Town Square. Let’s hope the Fantasyland Theater is getting prepped for them to do it there. Add more seats and you’re good to go.
    As for the beach balls on Luigi’s Flying Tires, I’ve seen rowdies using those big balls to try and cause head damage. And that’s just the summer crowd. Lift the AP Blockout dates and you’ll get some real low lifes on that ride. Better to get rid of the balls now before August 20th.

  • Quacky4Donald

    I just noticed something minor (and probably trivial to some) about the graphic which is used for Disney California Adventure in this blog. The graphic still shows the Maliboomer even though that attraction has been gone for a while. I just figured I’d mention it. ;)

  • Timekeeper

    Well, I’m glad that there are twenty Candlelight professions, but performing them in front of Main Street Station seems chaotic, which would make sense for them to close the fantasy faire early to change it for the holidays; and brings up a new question: Who will be narrating the story? Will it be the same celebrity for all twenty days or it be a different celebrity each weekend?


  • danyoung

    Fishbulb, I appreciate all the hard work you do. But leave it to hardcore DL fans to be upset about the extended Candlelight Processional schedule. They take an incredible annual event, one that is always packed and leaves hundreds if not thousands wanting to see a show but finding no room at the inn, and they massively extend the schedule. And all people are worried about is the congestion. Hard to fathom sometimes.

    And I don’t think the problem with Luigi’s was ever boredom. It was that people didn’t know how to work the tires. So the beach balls were added as a distraction. I rode one time about a month ago, had just a total blast, and didn’t touch a single beach ball. Once you know how to make the tires move, you can really get up some great speed across the air table. Very fun, and at least for me the beach balls will not be missed even a little bit.