Refurbishments and minor construction projects continue to pop up and make progress around Disneyland as the park gets ready for the start of the Halloween Time season Friday. The park-wide work and changes include the addition of safety-minded handrails throughout the Golden Horseshoe, to the detriment of the saloon's show quality. Over in New Orleans Square, work continues on installing the Haunted Mansion Holiday seasonal overlay as Pirates of the Caribbean closes for a two-month refurbishment. Meanwhile, the park's historic Carnation Plaza Gardens stage gets ready to close down later this month before it is transformed into a performance area for princesses; a part of the new Fantasy Faire. Over at Disney California Adventure, another milestone in the park's remodel was made last week as Disney Imagineers crowned the Carthay Circle Theater with its new cupola. Nearby in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, the after-dark ElecTRONica dance party has gone dark for September and the popular California Screamin' roller coaster along Paradise Pier is closed while its loop is replaced.
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!
It's another busy week before we jump into the Halloween season! Let's get started!
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast for the Disneyland Resort.
Light crowd levels continue this week until Disneyland's popular Halloween Time offerings begin this weekend. TouringPlans.com 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 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 Hazelton Statistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction
|Mon., Sept. 12|
|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 7 on Friday as Halloween Time officially kicks off.
- Disneyland park's lowest days will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when it's an 1.1.
|Tue., Sept. 13|
|Wed., Sept. 14|
|Thu., Sept. 15|
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
SCARE UP THE SEASON WITH MICECHAT
Disneyland kicks off its annual Halloween Time festivities on Friday, but if Haunted Mansion Holiday and Disneyland's extra-cost nighttime family costume parties aren't scary enough for you, the team here at MiceChat have put together a line-up of truly terrifying events for your haunting pleasure. Our MiceChat Nights of Horror
events take you behind-the-scenes and to the front-of-the-lines at Southern California's best Halloween haunts. Tickets are on sale now and are going fast, so take a look at our line-up and get your tickets before it's too late!
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.
Discusion and updated info on MiceChat HERE.
| |THE EVENT WILL INCLUDE:
- Admission & Early Entry
- Backstage tour (Maze/costuming/make-up)
- Pre-Scare Dinner
- Meet and Greet with Haunt makers and legends
- Raffle with your chance to be a monster in a haunt maze that night
- Front of the line access to mazes
- VIP seating to all shows
A $150 value for only $85!
Discusion and updated info on MiceChat HERE.
| |THE EVENT WILL INCLUDE:
- Admission & Early Entry
- Pre-Scare Dinner
- Meet and Greet with John Murdy
- Front of the line access to mazes and Terror Tram (One time use per maze)
- VIP seating to all shows
A $160 value for only $95!
A look at the current refurbishments and construction projects underway at Disneyland. CARNATION GARDENS' LAST DANCE
Last week the OC Register's Around Disney blog shared new information on the construction plans for Disneyland's iconic Carnation Plaza Gardens area, which is set to be removed and turned into an interactive Disney Princess meet-and-greet area. Disney told the Register that construction in the area will start later this month, but wouldn't disclose a specific date.
Here's what the OC Register had to say:
Carnation Plaza Gardens to bid Faire well
An iconic Disneyland entertainment area is soon to be transformed into a meeting place for favorite Disney princesses.
Disney announced that Carnation Plaza Gardens, a fixture in the Plaza Hub since 1956, will be replaced by Fantasy Faire.
Disney Imagineer Michel Den Dulk said the new area will be a storybook village where park-goers can meet Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel.
Den Dulk said the style of the location will change.
“Fantasy Faire will naturally blend together with the existing architectural styling of Fantasyland,” he said. “Walt Disney Imagineering is hard at work on the design elements of Fantasy Faire to give this area the same warmth people love so much about the existing Fantasyland.”
Carnation Plaza Gardens was part of Main Street, U.S.A. and over the years served as a restaurant and outdoor band stand. Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnet, Les Brown, Count Basie, Bob Crosby, Harry James and Benny Goodman played the Gardens.
The U.S. Air National Guard Band ensemble, Fuego Azul, is scheduled to play salsa, cumbia, mambo and Latin rock on Friday from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Carnation Plaza Gardens.
Additionally, the location is also known for swing dancing on Saturday nights.
Den Dulk said Fantasy Faire will allow park-goers to meet fairy-tale princesses during the day, but will retain the entertainment of the Carnation Plaza Gardens in the evenings.
“The Fantasy Faire Stage will remain a multi-function location,” he said. “Recognizing that classic music and dancing has been very popular with Disneyland park guests for many years, the stage will continue to present this type of entertainment in the evenings.”
[ . . . ] Disney would not say when the transformation of the area would begin, but construction is expected to begin this month. [ FULL STORY ]
Back in Fantasyland, it looks like Rapunzel is already getting ready to move into her new home at the Fantasy Faire. Her meet-and-greet between Pinocchio's Daring Journey and the Village Haus Restaurant is still open for business, but the exterior tower overlay and Rapunzel's hair is now gone.
Don't let the photo fool you; you can still meet Rapunzel, we just took the photo after her meet-and-greet had closed for the day. GOLDEN HORSESHOE HANDRAILS
Walking down the nearby Big Thunder Trail into Frontierland, the Golden Horseshoe's boardwalk is still getting some refurbishment work done.
Inside, the saloon's balcony has reopened after being temporarily closed by Cal/OSHA in recent weeks. It was unclear why the area was closed, but now that it's open it's pretty hard to miss the changes made upstairs.
Additional handrails have been installed on top of all of the balcony banisters. The addition is obviously safety-related and while we're unable to confirm if Cal/OSHA mandated the new safety railing, it's likely their closure of the balcony is related to the installation of these new handrails. Keep in mind, Cal/OSHA are the same folks whose safety concerns forced Disney into putting up the ugly safety scaffolding around the outdoor portion of the Alice in Wonderland track last year.
The addition looks pretty silly.
Not only is the new safety railing kind of ugly, the addition also impacts the guest experience at the venue. If you're sitting at a table upstairs during a Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show, you'll have to deal with the new handrails in your way.
It's understandable that safety is a top priority at Disneyland, but we couldn't find any reported incidents of guests falling off the balcony here in the park's 56-year history. So, with such a long history of Disneyland guests not
hurting themselves here, why add these handrails now? Why sacrifice show quality for seemingly unnecessary safety precautions?
The silliest part of this might be the addition of a handrail on top of the banister that runs down the stairs as well as a handrail that runs alongside the staircase banister. Three ways to hold on as you come down the stairs is just enough for the new Cal/OSHA-approved Golden Horseshoe! NEW ORLEANS SQUARE CLOSURES
Further down the Rivers of America in New Orleans Square, the land's two major attractions are currently closed. Pirates of the Caribbean and the connected Blue Bayou Restaurant are closed through late November for refurbishment.
Nearby, the Haunted Mansion remains closed until later this week when it reopens with its annual Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
Last week, Disney released a sketch of this year's animated gingerbread house that will be the centerpiece of the ballroom scene. From the Disney Parks Blog:
Sneak Peek at Haunted Mansion Gingerbread House at Disneyland Park
We caught up with “Pumpkin King” Brian D. Sandahl, Senior Designer for Disney Entertainment Creative Development, and the whiz behind the annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house.
This is the tenth year a “freaky gingerbread house” has been the centerpiece on the table in the Haunted Mansion ballroom, says Brian.
Brian shared with us a quick color sketch that was used to inspire pastry chef Jean-Marc Viallet to create the edible overlays.
The foundation is wood and wired for animation, then the house goes to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply more than 500 lbs of gingerbread, ten yards of fondant and miles of frosting and oversized candies. Because the six-foot house stays on display through Christmas, the design is a blend of the holidays, inspired by Jack Skellington and the animated film, “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.”
“Imagine if Jack Skellington had landed on the Haunted Mansion and decorated it with his vision of Halloween and Christmas,” says Brian. “The two holidays collide with pumpkins, freaky presents, a dead Christmas tree and more.”
This year’s house is more pastel, done with light orange and purple. But the cuteness gives way to a “freaky twist” when the house opens to reveal evil teeth, red eyes that light up, a “happy cookie” that revolves to a “mean cookie.” [ FULL STORY ]
It's almost ready to open.
Along the river, walls are up for some plumbing work.
The work has put one of the area's drinking fountains out of commission for now. TOMORROWLAND REPAVING
Over in Tomorrowland, repaving work in front of Captain EO is underway. CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION
Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion... BUENA VISTA STREET
Last week Disney crowned the new Carthay Circle Theater with its pre-fabricated cupola. The installation of the new piece gives a sneak peak at the great detail coming to Buena Vista Street and the Carthay Circle Theater at the park's main entrance.
You can spot the Carthay spire from the ground of the Main Entrance Plaza as well as aboard the Monorail.
Disney released a video of the cupola's installation, which took place overnight last Wednesday.
Carthay Circle Theatre Cupola Installed at Disney California Adventure Park
Late Wednesday night, Walt Disney Imagineering topped the new Carthay Circle Theatre at Disney California Adventure park with its crowning feature – a cupola modeled after the one which sat atop the historic theatre which was the site of the 1937 world premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The Disney Parks Blog video team was on hand to catch some great footage of the cupola as it was raised into position on top of the theatre – take a look! [ FULL STORY ]
Tron-themed show taking September off
ElecTRONica – the night-time party based on the “Tron” movies at Disney California Adventure – is taking a break to “re-digitize” [ . . . ].
ElecTRONica features performances that start near the park’s entrance and move into a laser-decorated Hollywood Pictures Backlot after dark where visitors continue dance parties. Visitors can also buy cocktails, go to Flynn’s Arcade to play 1980s video games and see a 3-D clip of the movie.
Disney spokeswoman Michele Himmelberg said the feature is getting a slight refresh and will resume on Sept. 30.
Disney launched ElecTRONica in October 2010, more than two months before the Dec. 17 premiere of “Tron: Legacy,” a sequel to the 1982 movie.
In February, the company announced it was extending ElecTRONica through the summer, but is now keeping the feature longer. [ FULL STORY ]
No word yet on what kind of enhancements will be coming to the Tron: Legacy
-themed nighttime dance party as it nears its one-year anniversary. PARADISE PIER
Over at Paradise Pier, California Screamin' is closed through mid-October for refurbishment and a complete replacement of the loop's track.
The bridge to Paradise Pier has received some new decorative wrought-iron railing. With World of Color crowds lining this bridge nightly, it makes sense that the bridge get altered in a way that would deter parents from sitting their young ones on the handrail during the show.
It's not quite finished yet... CARS LAND
Meanwhile, work continues in Cars Land...
Views from the Pacific Wharf area show new wooden boxes installed in the rock work at the Cars Land entrance.
You can also get a better look at the "toothpicks" along the backside of the Cars Land mountain range that faces Paradise Pier. These toothpicks are the beginnings of the sea bluff that will hide the backside of the Radiator Springs mountains from guest view in Paradise Pier.
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree:
Looking down Route 66
DATELINE DISNEYLAND BOOKSHELF
HELPING YOU CAPTURE BETTER FIREWORKS PHOTOS
Editor's Note: We added this review of the fantastic new "Fireworks Photography" e-book to last week's column after we initially published. We're running it again this week in case you missed it. Also, I just couldn't pass up the chance to run these ridiculously great Disney fireworks photos again! — Andy
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 DisneyTouristBlog.com Tom Bricker contacted me about a new eBook he co-authored with Cory Disbrow and Adam Hansen, the team behind the fantastic DisneyPhotographyBlog.com. 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 www.howtophotographfireworks.com
! DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
Progress continues to be made at the Disneyland Hotel remodel as the project nears its November completion date.
New walls are up in the main lobby as remodeling work continues here in phases.
You can once again exit the Fantasy Tower through its rear doors.
To the right, the Fantasia Shop is now closed for remodeling.
To the left, the walkway to Downtown Disney is once again open.
It's good to have this entry point open again.
Construction continues at the E-Ticket Pool
THIS & THAT
With the Soundsational Summer banners gone, new banners are up for Aulani, Disney's new Hawaiian timeshare property.
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!
WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
Weekly Theme Park Hours
September 12 — 18, 2011
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 10 pm
Disney California Adventure
LOW-MEDIUM 1.1—6.9 out of 10
|MEDIUM 3.8—7.0 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 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 through September 15 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
- Space Mountain: Closed through September 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.
- Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed through November 23 for refurbishment.
Disney California Adventure
- Redwood Challenge Creek Trail: Closed October 3 — 28 for refurbishment.
- California Screamin': Closed through October 14 for refurbishment and loop replacement.
- 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
- Fantasyland Tower lobby areas, Never Land Pool, Adventure Tower-area walkways: Areas closed for remodel and re-theming. Hotel remodel set to be completed in November 2011.
|Alrighty, that wraps up our column for this week. Go check out the How to Photograph Fireworks e-book and visit our sponsors at Touring Plans!|
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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!
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