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Dateline Disneyland

Buena Vista Street detours, Halloween creeps in, Disneyland Hotel progress, +MORE!

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 09-05-2011 at 02:59 AM
Guests passing through the front half of Disney California Adventure park may feel like they're walking through an endless maze of construction walls with new detours in place to accommodate the major Buena Vista Street construction that will continue into next summer. The minor inconvenience is only a small price to pay for the high-quality experiences Disney has planned and the park's temporary entrance corridor is actually quite a bit more pleasant to pass through than the former Sunshine Plaza was in its final weeks of operation. Over at Disneyland, Halloween Time has started to creep in along Main Street, U.S.A. with seasonal merchandise hitting store shelves and window displays getting Jack-O-Lanterns and other themed decorations. Elsewhere in the park, the Matterhorn's refurbishment has wrapped up as some refurbishment work at the Golden Horseshoe continues and the Haunted Mansion closes to install its annual holiday overlay. Also special this week, we have a review of an exceptional new photography how-to book designed for the Disney theme park fan.

We recently launched a fresh new look for our popular Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Project Trackers on MiceChat. With the re-launch, we've given the Trackers and updated look, which is now reflected in their special Project Tracker watermarks seen on related photos in today's column. Of course, you can always click on any photo featuring a Project Tracker watermark to learn more information on the project or join on-going discussion on the MiceChat forums!

We've got another busy week here, so let's jump in.

Inside Dateline Disneyland

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Disneyland is getting ready for Halloween Time as the final remnants of the summer crowds make their last visits this long Labor Day weekend. Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast:

Already light crowd levels drop even further this week after we pass the Labor Day holiday. 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. Now more than ever, 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,

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Crowd Tips
Mon., September 5
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Partial blockouts this weekend.
  • Resort-wide crowd levels rise to 5 on Saturday, but still should be fairly manageable.
  • Disneyland park's lowest days will be Tuesday through Thursday, when it's an 1.1.
Tue., September 6
Wed., September 7
Thu., September 8
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.

Do more. Wait less.

Disneyland's annual Halloween Time offerings officially kick off September 16, but guests visiting the Resort can already see the first signs of the season creeping into window displays and store shelves. Disney Showcase on Main Street is your go-to store for seasonal merchandise and souvenirs.

It's already Halloween in here!

Window displays along Main Street are already mostly sporting their Halloween decorations.

And even the Fortuosity Shop is already decked out for the season:

Birds, everywhere.

In Downtown Disney, World of Disney already has their Halloween displays up as well.

Nearby at the end of Main Street, not much visible progress can be seen at the Plaza Pavilion as it undergoes its transformation into the Jolly Holiday Bakery. On Friday, the marquee (which is typically on at all times) was turned off.

Around the park, the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Tarzan Treehouse have reopened after their refurbishments.

In Frontierland, the boardwalk around the Golden Horseshoe continues to get some TLC.

The New Orleans Square-side of the boardwalk is finished and looks nice.

A short walk along the Rivers of America, the Haunted Mansion is now closed to install the annual Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.

Back in Frontierland, the Big Thunder Ranch marquee is gone.

Looks like it was just sawed off as its posts remain in place.

Inside the Ranch, the cabin hasn't yet been turned into the Scaredy Crow Shack for Halloween Time.

Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...

Contact [email protected] or [email protected]!

Over at Disney California Adventure, the new alternate entrance route has opened as the main thoroughfare is closed to be rethemed as the new Buena Vista Street.

We added photos of the new temporary entrance corridor to last week's Dateline Disneyland after we had published. Due to the late-addition some of you may have missed our first look at the new entry corridor, so we're taking a second look at the rerouted entrance route here again today.

Upon entering the park, Guests are immediately forced to the right through the new corridor behind Soarin' Over California. The walkway occupies space formerly used as backstage area, so in order to make it presentable for everyday use by park Guests, Disney dressed it up with construction walls that continue Pan-Pacific Auditorium motif and are decorated with attraction posters of current attractions and concept art of what's-to-come.

Signs explain the detour:

As you approach the Soarin' Over California building, a new temporary Guest Relations bungalow is location on your left hand side and a merchandise cart on your right.

The temporary Guest relations building

Great new background audio in-theme with the 1920s Los Angeles of Buena Vista Street can be heard along the new entrance route. You can hear a sample in the video below:

Further along, new landscaping along the path gives some shade and visual interest on the right and a couple benches are located on the left.

The added landscaping along the route is a small touch that really helps it feel less like a backstage road.

Finally, you round a corner and arrive at the park entry point between Condor Flats and the Grizzly Peak Recreation area.

The information podium has been moved to a former smoking area next to the Condor Flats restrooms.

Next to the Fly 'n Buy pin store, a new outdoor retail space has been set up along with a Disney's Photo Pass sales counter.

As you head toward the former Sunshine Plaza, construction walls funnel you away from the site of the former California Zephyr and around the new Carthay Circle fountain, which will remain behind construction walls until it's unveiled with the rest of Buena Vista Street next year.

The pump house and Red Car Trolley stop remains behind walls, but has received nice new shade trees in front of it.

Looking back, you can still see remnants of the old California Zephyr train station facade, covered with black tarps.

The new pump house, close up.

At this point, you can turn right and head toward A Bug's Land and Paradise Pier...

Or, you can continue through the construction wall path and reach the Carthay Circle Theater

Being this close, you realize just how big this structure is.

Really nice new brick crosswalks across the Red Car Trolley tracks fit the Buena Vista Street theme

Looking toward the Hollywood Pictures Backlot

The Greetings from California signage and facade remain intact for now...

Looking back toward the pump house from the Hollywood Pictures Backlot entrance.

From the Monorail, you can see some of the old Sunshine Plaza pavement is already being torn out to make way for new Red Car tracks, street, and curbs

Construction continues in Cars Land...

Note the big poles up behind Radiator Springs Curios

Scaffolding up on the Cozy Cones...

New street light posts are going up along Cars Land's main street.

New light posts and scaffolding up around the Courthouse

More speakers going up at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree


Every now and then we like to feature products on Dateline Disneyland that I think are great additions to any Disney fan's collection. In the past, we have featured new theme park-related books and DVD sets Disney has released that we think our readers would enjoy. Today, we're taking a look at a new book that is brought to you buy some great Disney theme park photographers and that we think is a fantastic read for just about anybody who visits Disney parks. Do note that for the purposes of this review, Dateline Disneyland received a complimentary copy.

I'm terrible at fireworks photography, which is why you really don't see too many fireworks photos here in Dateline Disneyland. Despite owning a DSLR and feeling pretty confident about my photography in other areas, I've never been able to get fireworks right. It's a shame considering how often I'm at Disneyland with my camera. So, I actually got pretty excited when friend, fellow Disney photographer and owner of Tom Bricker contacted me about a new eBook he co-authored with Cory Disbrow and Adam Hansen, the team behind the fantastic I've been following Tom, Cory and Adam's incredible Walt Disney World and Disneyland photography on Flickr for years now and have always marveled at their fireworks shots. My admiration for their work resulted in me silently letting my disappointing attempts at fireworks photos sink into the abyss of my photo archive. Luckily, I now have their secrets thanks to their new eBook, which despite its pretty utilitarian title — Fireworks Photography: Helping You Capture Better Fireworks Photos — is full of excellent information that won't confuse or bore you to tears. And despite the lack of Disney in the title, this book is written with you—the Disney vacationer—in mind.

I was worried when I first picked up my iPad to read this text that it would be another typical photography book: dry, more confusing than it should be, and dense like a text book or manual. Luckily, this book isn't written by the folks who write the Canon manuals, nor is it a college photography text book. It's written for just about anybody who can pick up a camera, and that's a very good thing. Photography can be pretty intimidating, and it can be tough to find tutorials or tips that really put the technical aspects of photography in terms that are easy to understand. Fireworks Photography does this, and it does this exceptionally well. The book is littered with witty, playful banter from our authors and it summarizes the tedious technical information into simple terms that everybody can understand. Most pages include quick tips that will help you along, and the book is filled with gorgeous photos that serve as inspiration for your future fireworks photography endeavors.

I think one of the book's major strengths is that it understands that all photographers have to start somewhere and creative, masterful photography won't happen overnight. I could see that this was kept under heavy consideration throughout the writing and the authors do a great job of encouraging repeat attempts and even offer some sample camera settings for beginners. And for those of us who lack DSLR cameras and other professional equipment, Tom, Cory and Adam include full sections and chapters on shooting with point-and-shoot cameras (as opposed to DSLR models) and without a professional tripod.

The book is just over 50 pages, which is very manageable, but could seem like a lot considering the book only focuses on one type of photography. However, the wonderfully approachable writing style and the number of photos in the book make it a breeze to read. The book zips by and after finishing it I felt empowered to try my hand again at fireworks photos.

The best part of this book, however, may just be the price. It's currently available at 50% off for only $7. It's an eBook, so you can instantly download it as a .PDF and start reading, which is great for those of us who enjoy instant gratification or who are preparing for a visit to Disneyland or Walt Disney World this weekend. It may be the team's first book, but it's a pretty remarkable first effort. And, after looking over their Flickr portfolios and browsing their blogs, picking up this book is a no-brainer. Why wouldn't you want to return from your Disney vacation with photos like theirs?

To get a copy of Fireworks Photography, visit!

Work at the Disneyland Hotel continues as the Hotel nears its November completion deadline.

New palm trees have been planted between the Fantasy Tower's main enhance and the convention center.

Walls were being moved around on Friday around the Hotel's Downtown Disney entrance as the walk wayalong the back of the Fantasy Tower was getting some final touches in preparation of reopening.

The walkway doesn't yet connect to the Adventure Tower, so Guests still need to walk around the the back entrance of the Adventure building to enter it.

Fresh landscaping.

Work continues on the E-Ticket Pool

Over at the Frontier Tower, the new geyser hasn't seemed to be properly working for some time now. Actually, we're not sure if it ever was ever working on a regular basis. It currently sits turned off, covered in moss.

Too bad...

Back inside Disneyland, a new Braille map has been installed at the end of Main Street, next to the Central Plaza's information board.

It's quite nice

As you exit the parks and head toward Downtown Disney, you may spot an ad for Disney's recently-opened Hawaiian property.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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Weekly Theme Park Hours
September 5 — 11, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday: 8am-12midnight
Tuesday-Wednesday: 10am - 8pm
Thursday: 9 am - 6 pm
Friday: 9 am - 11 pm
Saturday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Sunday: 9 am - 11 pm
Monday: 10 am - 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
LOW 1.1—5.2 out of 10
LOW 1.6—5.9 out of 10
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 Park

  • 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.
  • 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

  • Redwood Challenge Creek Trail: Closed October 3 — 28 for refurbishment.
  • California Screamin': Closed September 6 — October 14 for refurbishment.
  • It's Tough to be a Bug! Closed October 24 — November 11 for refurbishment.
  • Sunshine Plaza: Main entrance plaza and related dining, retail and guest services are closed. Space will reopen as Buena Vista Street in 2012.
  • 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.

MiceChat Nights of Horror tickets are on sale now!
Tickets for MiceChat's popular Nights of Horror events taking you behind-the-scenes at So. Cal's Halloween haunts are on sale now! Don't miss out on backstage access, front-of-line privilege, and terrifyingly great fun with all your friends here at MiceChat. Get your tickets now!

The time to haunt is upon us once again. Prepare to sink deep into the thick fog and roam the night looking for the most terrifyingly fun haunted attractions around the SoCal area. Welcome to MiceChat Nights of Horror.

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  • Admission & Early Entry
  • Backstage tour (Maze/costuming/make-up)
  • Pre-Scare Dinner
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  • Raffle with your chance to be a •monster in a haunt maze that night
  • Front of the line access to mazes
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  • Admission & Early Entry
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  • Meet and Greet with John Murdy
  • Front of the line access to and Terror Tram (One time use per maze)
  • VIP seating to all shows

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  • Admission
  • Dinner
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More information: MiceChat Nights of Horror Event Store

Disney moves forward with movie based on Disneyland's Matterhorn ride
Some news on Disney's next theme park-inspired movie, this time based on Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds
Disney’s Matterhorn Movie The Hill Will Have A ‘Supernatural Twist’

Back in June we heard that Disney was developing a movie based on the Matterhorn roller coaster, a ride that has lived in the Fantasyland section of California’s Disneyland since 1959. Some new details emerge today to prove that this is something that really is happening, though one look at the billion dollar-plus box office for three of the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies was all we really needed when word first slipped out.

The movie will be called The Hill, Bloody Disgusting confirms. The script is still coming from Spread writer Jason Dean Hall, as was previously confirmed. Hall’s take follows five “adventure seekers” who travel to the top of a mountain for unspecified reasons and then run into Yetis on the way down. BD notes that the movie features some sort of “supernatural twist,” presumably something above and beyond the mythical Bigfoot-like snow creatures.

Full story: Spinoff Online: Disney’s Matterhorn Movie The Hill Will Have A ‘Supernatural Twist’

Okay! That's it for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland! Go check out the new How To Photograph Fireworks eBook, you won't regret it!

Join in on the discussion below and don't forget to share Dateline Disneyland with your friends and family!

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Don't forget that MiceChat has lots of new content throughout the week! For even more Disneyland news, photos and information check out the In the Parks column on Fridays. And MiceChat's Weekend Update, tours the world of Disney theme parks and other worldly sights and landmarks!

See you at Disneyland!
- Andy

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  1. smallworld's Avatar
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    Wonderful update! Loved being able to listen to the music.
  2. C. Andrew Nelson's Avatar
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    I agree. I played the music over and over as I read through the update. Thank you so much! Great update!
  3. hrimaliv's Avatar
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    would anyone be able to send me the item number for the T-shirt with the Spiderweb on it so I can order it online? THANK YOU! :-)
  4. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update! Happy Labour Day everyone!
  5. LuckyJack65's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update (on posted on a holiday, too!)
    I have to agree that the new background music is fantastic and adds to the delightful atmosphere of the new entrance. Just thinking out loud here, it would be neat to add in the background tracks of some of the Silly Symphony cartoons or Mickey cartoons. Shoot, the jazzy sound of the Oswald cartoons would be fun!
    Has anyone heard if there are plans to add 'street-mosphere' characters? Or what about live bands playing period tunes? Just curious. I'd get a kick out of seeing a couple of flappers with a small ensemble teaching guests how to Charleston or Shimmy!
    Oh, before I forget, HUGE KUDOS to the DCA execs who financed the impressive temporary entrance!! Talk about exceeding guests expectations!!!
  6. InspiredByWalt's Avatar
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    Thank you to all who's pictures made it into the update. Always appreciated and ....

    Great update!
  7. mickdaddy's Avatar
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    Is the removal of the Big Thundar Ranch sign a hint to the transformation of that area into the new Frontierland attraction soon?
  8. DisneylandManFan's Avatar
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    Excellent update! It's been a little while since I've been to the Parks and I'm MORE than looking forward to the middle of next year when I'll be moving back in the "neighborhood". Saving for my Premium AP now. Thanks for all the great info. It's like I've never left. ;-)
  9. vnormth's Avatar
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    Don't you mean "Upon entering the park, Guests are immediately forced to the RIGHT through the new corridor behind Soarin' Over California." (or did you mean the OTHER left? )
  10. MasterGracey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vnormth
    Don't you mean "Upon entering the park, Guests are immediately forced to the RIGHT through the new corridor behind Soarin' Over California." (or did you mean the OTHER left? )
    D'oh! Thanks for catching that, it's been corrected.

    Dateline Disneyland
  11. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update
  12. Tiny Mermaid's Avatar
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    Great update.

    I see under park hours that this Thursday Disneyland is only open until 6 p.m. Is this for an event, or is it typical of off-season hours?
  13. TifaOnACloud's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. Did they make the pool smaller, or does it just look that way without all the landscaping?
  14. DL4DJ&JULES's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hrimaliv
    would anyone be able to send me the item number for the T-shirt with the Spiderweb on it so I can order it online? THANK YOU! :-)
    Me too! I also would like the BOO T-shirt.

    I know I can call DelivEARS to order, but could I email as well? I haven't used DelivEARS for quite sometime.


    PS...Love the updates...and the music
  15. BassBone's Avatar
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    Actually, those planters have been there for a long time. That backstage corridor is visible from guest rooms at the Grand Californian, so they've been landscaped for a while.
  16. hrimaliv's Avatar
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    I tried ordering something from there once, but without the item # it was useless. If you find the number for the spiderweb shirt please let me know!!! TY!

    Quote Originally Posted by DL4DJ&JULES
    Me too! I also would like the BOO T-shirt.

    I know I can call DelivEARS to order, but could I email as well? I haven't used DelivEARS for quite sometime.


    PS...Love the updates...and the music
  17. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    nice update
  18. TodAZ1's Avatar
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    A Matterhorn movie. I have the same feeling of excitement and trepidation that I had when I heard they were doing a Pirates movie. Keeping my fingers crossed about the movie. BUT hopefully this will mean some major, long overdue upgrades to the mighty Matterhorn. I know there's rumors out there of re-painting it (which is MASSIVELY over due) and an even murkier rumor of a new AA yeti, but with a movie behind it (and god, please, let it make gobs of dough), it seems upgrades may be coming after all! Love it!
  19. Moonwalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update Andy!
  20. DLFreak71's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update.
    Am I the only person who finds all that blue on the Disneyland hotel to be a little much and kinda unattractive?
    Maybe it looks better in person than photo's.
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