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Dateline Disneyland

Halloween Time, Hundred Acre upgrades, Buena Vista Steetlights, Cars Land, +MORE!

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by , 10-03-2011 at 03:07 AM
Disneyland's Halloween Time continued over the weekend as October officially got underway. The seasonal offerings include special character meet-and-greets throughout the park and unique holiday menu items at select park restaurants. Meanwhile at Disney California Adventure, construction pushes on at the park's main entrance as the new circa 1920s Los Angeles-themed shopping and dining locations take shape and new street lights are installed along Buena Vista Street. Elsewhere, the 12-acre Cars Land expansion is progressing nicely and Disney released special "behind-the-walls" photos of the major construction. Outside the parks, the Disneyland Hotel's E-Ticket pool area has made some nice project as that project gets closer to its November grand opening. In other news, Jane Lynch from the hit TV show Glee made an appearance at this weekend's annual unofficial Gay Days events at the Disneyland Resort.

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!

Big thanks this week to Fishbulb and Loren Javier for their help with photos today.

There's always something to see at Disneyland, so let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

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No-so-scary crowds this week, as the initial rush to see the Halloween overlays subsides. However, this low period will end soon, as the fall and winter holiday seasons approach, 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. With holiday crowds on the horizon, 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., Oct. 3
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Partial AP blockouts this weekend.
  • Expect heavy crowds over the weekend as Guests come to experience the Halloween overlays.
  • Disneyland park's lowest days will be Monday and Tuesday, when it's a 1.1.
Tue., Oct. 4
Wed., Oct. 5
Thu., Oct. 6
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.

Last week we gave you a taste of the annual Halloween Time offerings. Today we continue our look at DDisneyland's Halloween celebration, including special food items and character photo-ops.

Vampire Mickey and Witch Minnie greet guests along Main Street, USA.

Goofy, Donald, and Chip and Dale also appear in their Halloween costumes

The Dapper Dans ditch their individual colors for orange stripes during Halloween.

Even the Refreshment Corner pianist gets in the Halloween spirit

Over in the Small World Promenade, the special Halloween Time villains meet-and-greet area is back.

Popular villains including the Evil Queen and Captain Hook make appearances here

And rarely-seen villains like the Sheriff of Nottingham also stop by during Halloween.

In New Orleans Square, Jack Skellington and Sally meet with guests

Nearby at the Haunted Mansion, Jack Skellington has moved in for his annual holiday stay

There's nothing new in the attraction besides the ballroom scene's gingerbread house, which is different every year.

From the OC Register:
Disney ghosts feast on Gingerbread House
Halloween and Christmas collide at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland when characters from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” take over the home of 999 Happy Haunts.

Brian D. Sandahl is the art director in charge of the annual conversion of the mansion into the Halloween/Christmas-themed ride that plays off of Burton’s animated movie. He said one of the most anticipated features is the Gingerbread House in the ballroom scene.

A new house is created every year.

“We partnered with the foods team and thought it would be fun,” he said. “It’s a good message; it’s something new to come back and see every year.”

After the concept is selected, a supporting structure is built and the foods team covers it with real gingerbread, fondant, icing and frosting.

“It’s very heavy, because gingerbread is very heavy,” Sandahl said.

The house is about four feet wide, four feet long and six feet tall and weighs 500 to 600 pounds.
As riders are carted along in their Doom Buggy, from the seance scene into the ballroom, the narrator notes that “even a gingerbread house can be scary.”

Sandahl said the theme of this year’s house – which takes up most of the ballroom table in the scene – is based on the spiel. The house, called “Gingerbread Monster,” transforms from a gingerbread mock-up of the Haunted Mansion into a living creature.

The faux gumdrops turn from shades of pink and purple to orange, yellow and green eyes. The front opens into a mouth, with the front columns becoming huge teeth.

Said Sandahl: “Basically, the whole thing turns evil.”

A pneumatic device powers the mouth, which opens and closes.

One touch that was added last year is the smell of gingerbread that is pumped out as the riders pass by.
“As you round the corner out of the seance circle, you’re hit with this gingerbread smell,” Sandhal said. “You really can’t smell it (from the actual gingerbread house), because there’s glass between you. Down in the actual ballroom, you can smell it like crazy.”

Sandahl said the pumped smell completes the experience.

“Sight, sound, smell hits all at once, so it’s quite fun,” he said. “It’s quite powerful.” [ FULL STORY ]

Nearby at the French Market, special Halloween Time menu items can be found.

You can also get this neat Jack Skellington coffin filled with popcorn at New Orleans Square popcorn carts

Over in Frontierland, Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante has been decorated for Dia de los Muertos for the first time this year. The nearby Zocalo Park still offers its annual Dia de los Muertos displays and entertainment as well.

Holiday menu items here complete the Halloween fun. Halloween Donald Duck demitasse cup:

Jack Skellington tres leches cupcake

A look at the current refurbishments and construction projects underway at Disneyland.

Back in Critter Country, the Winnie-the-Pooh meet-and-greet area is behind walls as it gets some re-theming and upgrades.

Red balloons and signage matching the recent film's logo can be seen over the fences

New props and themed elements are being installed

You can still find Pooh and friends elsewhere in Critter Country while construction continues.

Facade refurbishments around the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean continue. The walls and scaffolding have now covered up the Blue Bayou restaurant and Club 33 entrance while the attraction is down for refurbishment.

Club 33 remains open

The Frontierland boardwalk continues to emerge from its refurbishment. Looks good.

The restrooms at the entrance to Adventureland are closed for refurbishment.

The fountain here is getting some work while the restrooms are closed.

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

Work continues on the park's new Buena Vista Street main entrance complex.

A view inside the former Greetings from California store from the Monorail:

Formerly Engine Ears Toys:

The old Greetings gift shop

New street lights and parade light posts are starting to go up along Buena Vista Street

California Screamin's refurbishment continues through the middle of this month.

Repainting continues along the launch track... well as in the queue. Unfortunately no major (or even minor) thematic additions or changes here. It's the same ol' ugly Paradise Pier from 2001.

Last week Disney gave a sneak peek "behind the walls" look at Cars Land construction with high-quality versions of photos that are now on display in the Blue Sky Cellar.

Behind the Wall: Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park
On Friday, Blue Sky Cellar re-opened at Disney California Adventure park with new looks inside the continuing development of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land. Among the behind-the-scenes peeks featured are these images, which show Cars Land in its current state of production.

You can see Radiator Springs Racers continuing to take shape, with details like the bridge in the photo above beginning to peek through.

In this photo, you can see the double track where cars will soon be speeding around this banked turn.

Elsewhere in Radiator Springs, the round facade of Flo’s V8 Cafe is recognizable, and across the street (pictured below) Sally’s Cozy Cones are springing up. [ LINK ]

Good progress is being made at the Courthouse.

The backside of the Cars Land rock work...

Big progress is being made at the Disneyland Hotel's E-Ticket pool area as the Hotel moves closer to its November deadline.

The whole area is getting its sidewalks and landscaping put in.

Looking good!

Work continues at the Disneyland Resort marquee at the Harbor Blvd. pedestrian entrance.

This last weekend marked the annual Unofficial Gay Days events at Disneyland. The Gay Days welcome center in the Grand Californian Hotel included an appearance by Glee star Jane Lynch.

Jane Lynch with the Jeffrey Epstein (the D23 Disney Geek) and Eddie Shapiro of Gay Days.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
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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.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
October 3 — 9, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Tuesday: 8 pm - 6 pm
Wednesday: 9 pm - 8 pm
Thursday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Friday: 8 pm - 7 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 10 pm - 11 pm
Saturday-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-MEDIUM 1.1—6.6 out of 10
LOW-MEDIUM 2.3—7.6 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.
  • "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.

Plot to sell fake Disney pins gets man one year in jail
From the OC Register's Around Disney Blog:
Man gets year in plot to sell fake Disney pins

An Anaheim man will spend a year in jail after pleading guilty to importing $2 million worth of counterfeit Disney pins from China that he and a co-conspirator planned to sell online as genuine collectibles.

Robert Edward Smyrak, 52, pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony manufacturing and sale of counterfeit goods, according to court records. In addition to jail time, Orange County Superior Court Judge Nicholas Thompson sentenced Smyrak to three years of probation and ordered him to pay restitution.

Co-defendant Larry James Allred, 57, of Walnut, still faces trademark counterfeiting charges, including a felony count of manufacturing and sale of counterfeit mark. Allred also faces sentencing enhancements for two prior strike convictions for rape in 1975 and multiple kidnapping and rape convictions in 1978, Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn, the prosecutor on the counterfeit case, said.

Allred is next scheduled in court on Oct. 12. He remains in custody on $1 million bail.

Full story: Around Disney: Man gets year in plot to sell fake Disney pins

Man stages flash mob in Downtown Disney marriage proposal
Congrats to the happy couple! From Around Disney / YouTube:
Man uses flash mob at Downtown Disney to pop the question
A YouTube video shows an original way to use the Disneyland Resort as a backdrop to propose marriage.

The romantic suitor, identified as “Jamin,” is walking through Downtown Disney with his girlfriend when they come across a flash mob dancing to the Bruno Mars song, “Marry You.”

As the group grows, Jamin joins in and eventually drops to one knee and proposes to his teary-eyed girlfriend.

Full story: Around Disney: Man uses flash mob at Downtown Disney to pop the question

Disney CEO's secret visit to Indian theme park sparks rumors
Could India be the next home to a Disney theme park? At least one Indian news outlet thinks so after Bob Iger pays a secret visit to an Indian theme park.
A Disneyland in Gurgaon? Top honcho’s visit sparks speculation

In a secret yet high-profile visit, Walt Disney president and chief executive officer Robert A Iger made a quick stop at the Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon on Tuesday. The hush-hush affair gave rise to speculation whether Gurgaon will be the next destination to house a Disneyland.

The visit by Walt Disney's top boss has once again rekindled hopes of setting up of a world-class amusement park in the city. The idea was first mooted by former Haryana chief minister OP Chautala in the early ’90s. Iger, escorted by about a dozen private bodyguards, reportedly spent more than two hours at the Kingdom of Dreams in Sector 29.

Anumod Sharma, managing director, Kingdom of Dreams, remained tightlipped and neither confirmed nor denied Iger's visit. He also refused the divulge details regarding the purpose of top honcho's visit.

Highly-placed sources, however, said that Iger reached the venue around 4pm after landing at the IGI Airport in his private aircraft and remained there till 6.30pm.

He took a round of the site and saw rehearsals of the musical 'Jhumroo' in the Nautanki Mahal. Officials also explained to him the backstage technology used during performances. Iger also visited Cultural Gully and was particularly impressed with the theme-based restaurants offering culinary delicacies of various Indian states.

The purpose of the visit is still not clear and this has sparked several speculations that range from his plans to set up a Disneyland in Gurgaon or taking the Kingdom of Dreams concept to other countries such as the US, UK, Australia and China. The promoters of the Gurgaon facility had earlier hinted at massive expansion plans.

It is also rumoured that Walt Disney might be interested in acquiring a stake in Kingdom of Dreams and further developing the project.

Full story: Hindustan Times: A Disneyland in Gurgaon? Top honcho’s visit sparks speculation

Alright, that wraps up our column for today. Thanks again to MiceChat's Fishbulb and Loren Javier for their help with photos in today's column. You can find more of Loren's great Disneyland photography at his Flickr Photostream! And a big thank you to you for reading. Don't forget to visit our sponsors at Touring Plans when you're planing this weekend's visit to Disneyland!

We're only here because of your support. If you enjoy Dateline Disneyland every week please consider helping us out by donating a buck or two so we can pay the bills and keep the updates coming! You can donate with a click of a button via PayPal — click here!

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. Disneymike's Avatar
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    I don't think flashing "Mom" is a very romantic way to propose to somebody.....
  2. NetteNutt's Avatar
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    I read that too and first thought was "someone flashed their mom, how sick is that person" But I watched this last week and can't watch it again because A) makes me cry because it's just so sweet, and B) this song just stuck in my head for DAYS
  3. michael darling's Avatar
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    One of the Dapper Dans looks like young Jerry Seinfeld.
  4. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  5. TravisMT81's Avatar
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    Is that a new Absolut Vodka??
  6. dictionary's Avatar
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    Thanks again. Mondays are always the best with a Dateline Disney update to look forward to.
  7. DizMiiLand's Avatar
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    Cars Land is looking great. And the new light posts on BV street really are Disney Parks quality. Awesome to see that.

    Thanks for the update.
  8. Emily Baker's Avatar
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    I LOVE the gingerbread house this year--I think it's their best yet and here I was thinking they couldn't beat the carousel!

    I'm missing the Ray Bradbury Halloween Tree, though. What happened to it?? It was my favorite Halloween decoration in the entire park! :'(
  9. disneylanddreamerr's Avatar
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    Disneyland in India?! I'm sold. I'll be there opening day, just like I will be in Shanghai!
  10. DubiousEndeavors's Avatar
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    i've watched that proposal video about 10 times since friday. it is truly amazing, i cant get over it!

    Progress on DCA looks great!

    Why the color change on CS?
  11. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    The Jack Skellington Coffin lunch box is a keeper for sure. It goes great with my Frankenweenie! PD
  12. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update!
  13. stitch1085's Avatar
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    I love that Jeffrey Epstein has some Vodka in his photo...who knew the Disney Geek likes to drink
  14. Kuzcochik's Avatar
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    Not to be that jerk, but Sally from Nightmare's last name is not "Stitches". She doesn't have a last name.
  15. MasterGracey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disneymike
    I don't think flashing "Mom" is a very romantic way to propose to somebody.....
    Quote Originally Posted by NetteNutt
    I read that too and first thought was "someone flashed their mom, how sick is that person" But I watched this last week and can't watch it again because A) makes me cry because it's just so sweet, and B) this song just stuck in my head for DAYS

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuzcochik
    Not to be that jerk, but Sally from Nightmare's last name is not "Stitches". She doesn't have a last name.
    Whoops! Thanks for the corrections, folks. I've updated the original post.

    Dateline Disneyland
  16. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice update!

  17. Quentin's Avatar
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    Best Dateline Disneyland update yet!
  18. niklj's Avatar
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    Another wonderful set of photos from Loren Javier!
  19. bayouguy's Avatar
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    The pictures are terrific.
    Seems Iger just loves to buy new toys.
  20. 4Apples4Disney's Avatar
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    Another great update! Thanks to the many who put in so much time to make this happen. It's something I look forward to every week.
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