Construction and deconstruction at Disney California Adventure continued over the week with new progress in the park's main entrance plaza. The California Zephyr began being removed to make way for the new 1920s-era Los Angeles storefronts that will make up the park's new Buena Vista Street area. As part of the area's major overhaul, the authentic Zephyr's train engine has been donated to a California railroading museum and work is now underway on dismantling the remaining storefronts. In Cars Land, Flo's V-8 Cafe received its new stone facade and work progressed on the major Radiator Springs Racers attraction. Meanwhile, Disney closed the Annual Passport processing centers in both parks, freeing up space for Buena Vista Street in California Adventure and a new bakery in Disneyland.
As always, details and news on the construction projects featured in today's column can be found in our Project Tracker threads on MiceChat — just click on any photo with a Project Tracker watermark!
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Touring Plans offers their weekly crowd forecasts again for your planning convenience. After weeks of 10-level crowds Resort-wide, it looks like crowds have eased up a bit as we near the end of the season. Nevertheless, crowd levels remain high so be sure to plan accordingly with the help of Touring Plans!
The two lowest levels of Annual Passholders remain blocked out everyday this week, and crowd forecasts remain high. We don't expect much of a reprieve until late August, when school summer break ends in most locations. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid navigate the crowds 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. Now more than ever, 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 HazeltonStatistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction
Mon., August 8
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
Expect Disneyland Resort-wide 9 level crowds all week.
There will be full AP blockouts on Saturday.
Disneyland park's lowest day will be Thursday, when it's an 8.5.
Tue., August 9
Wed., August 10
Thu., August 11
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
Walls have gone up around the Disney Visa kiosk that was added in 2008 to the front of the Disney Gallery when the space was still called the Bank of Main Street.
The kiosk was added to sell the Disney Visa card to guests. It closed after the Bank of Main Street became the Disney Gallery in 2009. Hopefully it's being removed and the Gallery's facade can be restored again.
Annual Passport processing centers in both theme parks closed on Sunday last week. In Disneyland, that meant the closure of the Plaza Pavillion, which Disney has yet to officially announce plans for. However, the space which was once a restaurant, is now rumored to become a Mary Poppins-themed bakery. With a new, expanded bakery, Main Street's Blue Ribbon Bakery will close and make way for an indoor dining room for the popular Carnation Cafe restaurant.
With the closure, Annual Passport center in Disney California Adventure (a part of the Greetings from California store) sits empty for now, but will close completely later this month when the entire Greetings store closes to become several shops in the new Buena Vista Street area.
With Passport centers closed, guests purchasing new Annual Passports will now receive their new passes at the Main Entrance Ticket Booths. Although photos are no longer being printed on the back of new passes, Disney is still requiring all Annual Passholders have a photo on-file. For new Passholders, a file photo can be taken in-park by a Disney's PhotoPass photographer or it can be uploaded online from home at a later time. | The inside of the Plaza Pavilion center remains intact, for now.
The extended queue for the Passport center was still in place on Saturday.
Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...
BUENA VISTA STREET
We told you last week that the new temporary entrance at Disney California Adventure would be opening on Monday. We were wrong, and as of now the temporary backstage entrance remains behind walls as guests continue to enter through the former Sunshine Plaza.
The new backstage route is likely to open in conjunction with the closure of Greetings from California later this month. At that point, nothing in the entry corridor will be open and heavy work can get underway on transforming the space into Buena Vista Street.
Inside the park, another new tree has been installed behind construction walls.
Looking into the park, walls have expanded around the former Golden Gate Bridge.
The western side of the walls now wrap completely around the California Zephyr train storefronts, the base of the Golden Gate, and around the former stroller rental shop.
It's quite the stretch of walls
Engine Ears Toys completely behind walls
Bye-bye California Zephyr
The light on the rear of the train has been removed
The engine car of the train has been completely removed. Disney has donated the authentic train engine, along with other unique historical artifacts that were on display in the California Zephyr storefronts, to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum. The train engine was set to arrive at the museum over the weekend.
From the Museum's official news blog:
Something Is Coming…
The Western Pacific Railroad Museum is receiving a unique gift. Major portions of the Zephyr train and related artifacts previously located at the Disney California Adventure park have been generously donated by the Disneyland Resort. The park is undergoing a large expansion and the changes underway allowed for the donation of this famous exhibit representing the iconic California Zephyr train.
The cab of the locomotive from the exhibit is currently in transit and will be unloaded at the museum on Saturday. [ LINK ]
With the train engine gone, the former Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream store is being dismantled.
Now that the western-side shops are behind construction walls, the temporary guest relations kiosk in Sunshine Plaza has moved across the way and is now located in front of Greetings from California.
Work continues on the Carthay Circle Theater
A view of the Carthay construction from Mickey's Fun Wheel:
The Carthay Circle pump house is progressing nicely. New metal grates have gone up on the building.
Last week we noted the refurbished sign at the entrance to Condor Flats. The sign is once again rotating, a function that hasn't been working for years.
This week we have video of the sign as it once again slowly rotates at the entrance to Condor Flats. While we aren't huge fans of the sign and question how it'll look at the edge of Buena Vista Street next year, it is nice to have it properly working again. It's been broken for so long that most people were unaware that it ever rotated to begin with!
Cars Land construction continues to race ahead, on track to meet its 2012 deadline.
Flo's V8 Cafe is getting its stone facade.
It looks great and will help create the richly-detailed, textured and immersive Cars Land environment.
A look at the massive Radiator Springs Racers construction:
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree:
A look at the main entrance to Cars Land from the Blue Sky Cellar patio
The green fence blocking backstage traffic from entering Cars Land construction space is now gone with the closure of the backstage route. The removal of the fence cleared up the view into Cars Land a bit, giving a less obscured look down the main street of Radiator Springs.
Nearby, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree continues to take shape. The new "shack" is coming together and new poles have gone up.
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Outside the parks, the Disneyland Hotel remodel continues, with new progress being made at the former Neverland Pool area.
Almost done with the Fantasy Tower room remodel. Up next, the main lobby will be completely overhauled.
The roof here is all gone now. Likely to bring in a more Polynesian-style roofline to match the rest of the structure
The work walls at the entrance to the Frontier Tower are down. Nothing noticeably different to see.
THIS & THAT
This Thursday marks the annual "Taste of Downtown Disney" event benefitting CHOC, the Children's Hospital of Orange County.
Join us as we taste and savor the flavors of fine cuisine, wine and spirits while enjoying the unique ambience and flair of the Downtown Disney® District. Top off the evening by indulging in decadent desserts and coffee. Live entertainment will also be featured throughout the evening for your listening pleasure.
Guests will enjoy a champagne reception, tray passed appetizers, olive oil tasting and select wine/spirits/beer pairings at Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar, ESPN® Zone, House of Blues®, La Brea Bakery® Café, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen® and Tortilla Jo's.
Please arrive at 6:00 p.m. at Downtown Disney®.
Complimentary valet parking
Check-In at CHOC Welcome table.
Festival will begin at 6:00 pm
A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Disneyland with nearby dining and freeway access. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat.
Rooms now available for as low as $59 per night!
The HoJo Anaheim is now offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn't listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.
Experience Disneyland at home with the HoJo Mattercam!
See Disneyland from home via a live rotating video feed of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park from the rooftop of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort! The HoJo Anaheim's newly upgraded Disneyland webcam now features new views including video feeds of Disneyland's nightly fireworks! Check it out now!
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
For daily crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Monorail: Running on a shortened schedule due to Buena Vista Street construction. Monorail opens late at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Monorail operates normally Saturday and Sunday.
Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed through September 1 for refurbishment.
Haunted Mansion: Closed August 29 — September 15 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed September 6 — 7 for refurbishment.
Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed September 7 — November 23 for refurbishment.
Space Mountain: Closed September 9 – 15 to install Ghost Galaxy seasonal overlay.
Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed September 26 — 28 for refurbishment.
"it's a small world": Closed October 24 — November 10 to install holiday overlay.
Disney California Adventure
Francis' Lady Bug Boogie: Closed indefinitely for an unscheduled refurbishment.
Redwood Challenge Creek Trail: Closed October 3 — 28 for refurbishment.
It's Tough to be a Bug! Closed October 24 — November 11 for refurbishment.
Engine Ears Toys, Baker's Field Bakery and Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream: Retail and dining locations are permanently closed. Space will reopen as new offerings in 2012 as part of Buena Vista Street.
Greetings! from California and Candy Shoppe: Retail locations close permanently August 28. Space will reopen as new offerings in 2012 as part of Buena Vista Street.
California Screamin': Closed September 6 — October 14 for refurbishment.
Red Car Trolley: Attraction set to open spring 2012.
Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort
Never Land Pool: Area closed for remodel and re-theming.
Disney Parks president Meg Crofton visits Disneyland Walt Disney World's Meg Crofton made her first trip to Anaheim last week, but she kept a low profile, avoiding the media and park guests.
New Disneyland chief in town
Meg Crofton, Disney’s newly promoted president of operations in the United States and France, is in the midst of making her first official visit to the West Coast, according to miceage.com.
Crofton’s promotion was announced on July 5 by the Orlando Sentinel. Previously, she was the president of Walt Disney World.
Crofton was promoted to her current position, which includes oversight of Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, in wake of the retirement of Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for all of Disney parks and resorts. She is getting part of his duties.
Disney spokeswomen Suzi Brown said Crofton would not be available for interviews or media introductions in either California or Orlando at this time.
Alright, that wraps this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Big thanks for reading and please be sure to visit our sponsors at Touring Plans!
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See you at the parks! - Andy
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