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Dateline Disneyland

Happy Halloween!, Seasonal snow, Cars Land courthouse, Hotel progress, Train art MORE

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by , 10-31-2011 at 03:37 AM
Happy Halloween! Disneyland will close early tonight as it hosts its final Halloween party before packing up the jack-o-lanterns to get ready for the big winter holiday season. Work will get underway quickly lining Main Street in Christmas lights and garland before Disneyland's November 14th launch of the holidays, and plenty of the season can already be seen at Sleeping Beauty Castle and in New Orleans Square. As the holiday team works overnight to get everything in place, construction rages on at Disney California Adventure, especially in Cars Land where more details emerge and new construction seems to start every day at the new 12-acre expansion. Likewise, the Disneyland Hotel continues to make progress in its main lobby and E-Ticket Pool as that project nears its mid-November deadline.

As always, 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 full update today, so let's get started!

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Halloween at Disneyland ends its seasonal run today, making way for the holidays to move in, and they've spared no time doing just that.

Seasons collide in the Central Plaza with jack-o-lanterns around "Partners" and snow on Sleeping Beauty Castle.

With the Halloween season ending Monday, Disneyland crowds are expected to be light while the resort prepares for the Christmas season that is quickly approaching. 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. 31
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.
  • Disney California Adventure's low day will be Thursday, when it's a 2.1.
  • Disneyland park's lowest days will be Monday through Thursday, when it's an 1.1.
Tue., Nov. 1
Wed., Nov. 2
Thu., Nov. 3
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.

Frontierland's Dia de los Muertos altar display will remain up through November 2, in observance of the Latin-American holiday.

Out in Downtown Disney, a pumpkin patch was available over the weekend for guests staying at the Resort for the holiday. Pumpkins were available for purchase along with extra-cost pumpkin decorating, a photo-op and some other activities.

A look at the preparations for Disneyland's annual holiday season

Seasonal snow
At the gateway to Fantasyland, Sleeping Beauty Castle is now covered in snow for its seasonal overlay despite Halloween not yet being over.

The backside of the Castle's winter overlay has never been able to get it quite as right as the front, as you can see here with these very obvious seams in the snow, above the passageway to the Snow White Wishing Well.

New Orleans Square is all decked out for the holidays as well, making some nice changes to its seasonal decorations.

Gone are a lot of the gaudier, tackier elements of the New Orleans Square holiday overlay, and in their place are some much more tasteful changes, including simple string lights, festive bunting and decorated garland.

Simple string lights stretch across and down Royal Street, a nice change from the excessive, lighted white garland strung across in years past.

Also missing this year are the rope-light "sculptures" that would be placed along the balconies throughout New Orleans Square. Instead, more garland and Mardi Gras beads are up.

The oversized ornaments and hanging holiday lanterns are back up in the trees.

Meanwhile, work continues at the nearby Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment, which is set to wrap up this month.

Holiday world
Over at "it's a small world," work continues on installing the attraction's popular holiday overlay.

The flume has been drained while work goes on inside.

While the attraction is down for the overlay installation, Disney has taken the opportunity to close the shop to install new flooring.

Bah humbugs
Hopping over to Disney California Adventure, Flik's Fun Fair has gotten its holiday decorations.

Giant Christmas lights!

Santa Flik

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

As the holidays move in to both parks, construction continues at full speed on Buena Vista Street.

You can see the new facades beginning to take shape behind the green tarps

The backside of construction (probably not as cool as the backside of water, but potentially more interesting!)

The Disney Parks Blog ran a feature on the upcoming Red Car Trolley last week. Take a look:

Red Car Trolley at Disney California Adventure Park Will be a Ride Back in Time

When Buena Vista Street opens at Disney California Adventure park next year, guests will be transported back in time to Los Angeles of the 1920s and ‘30s. This trip to the past would not be complete without one of the most beloved symbols of Los Angeles history, the Pacific Electric Red Cars. The Red Car Trolley, making its debut along with the rest of Buena Vista Street, will be inspired by this landmark transportation system.

At its peak in the mid-1920s, the Pacific Electric Railway was the largest electric railway in the world, connecting Los Angeles and the surrounding Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and Riverside counties. Established in 1901, the Pacific Electric Railway carried passengers throughout the Southern California area for the next 60 years.

As you can see in the map above, the Red Car Trolley will carry guests from Buena Vista Street to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and back with “Comfort – Speed – Safety” – not to mention style.

Exterior paint schemes like those detailed above will reflect the various Red Cars that appeared during different periods in the Pacific Electric Railway’s history, while the interior design (seen in the rendering below) employs some of the very design elements featured in the original cars. [ LINK ]

The Disney Parks Blog also featured an interview with Imagineer Lynne Itamura, Senior Principal Interior Designer for Buena Vista Street, who shared some concept art and talked about creating the interiors of the new shops and dining along Buena Vista Street.

An ‘Inside’ Look at Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park

[ . . . ] We’ve talked about rooftops, storefronts and bridges on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park, but now it’s time to take a peek inside a few of the doors. I recently chatted with Lynne Itamura, Senior Principal Interior Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, to find out how colors, materials and design are bringing the whole experience to life – inside and out.

Lynne told me that her team worked very closely with WDI creative directors to make sure that the environment which envelops guests on the exterior of Buena Vista Street translates to the interior spaces as well. They also focused on making the design elements fit the time period of the area – the 1920s through ‘30s. Even the patterns and glazing used for the tile will be typical of the time.

She also explained how different design elements can help create separate spaces – for example, the different spaces within Elias & Co., which will be the main merchandise location for the area. Separated into four areas, it will be built to resemble a classic department store. The main space, inspired by some of the older department stores along L.A.’s Wilshire Blvd., will make a grand statement with lots of stone – especially lighter-toned, pinkish-hued marble [ . . . ]. By contrast, the kids’ “department,” which will be the toy location, will be colored with a brighter, more playful palette.

“Color is a very important design element,” Lynne said. “It creates mood and volume.”

The accessories space, pictured in the rendering above, will feature more earth tones, while the jewelry location – at the end of the street – will shine and sparkle as if you’re inside a jewelry box. When choosing colors, Lynne’s team looked at historical color palettes from the time period.

“Because of the range of that time period, we had a lot to choose from,” she said.

For Trolley Treats and Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, the team looked for colors and materials that would showcase the candy and ice cream treats that would be available in those locations. Tiles on the wall of Trolley Treats will look like NECCO Wafers and the colors on the walls of the ice cream shop will be reminiscent of neapolitan ice cream.

“We had a great time talking about what would make this place say ‘ice cream,’” Lynne told me, adding that guests will find the decor very “lickable.”

“Although we really don’t encourage that,” she said. [ LINK ]

Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream interior

Elias and Co. interior, main retail space

Elias and Co. interior, accessories room

Future home of the Elias & Co. Department Store

Some new signs on the construction walls point the way to alternate shopping while Buena Vista Street construction continues

"Buena Vista Street Improvement Project" — a nice touch!

Disney recently tried to block the view of Buena Vista Street construction with walls along the track that passes through California Adventure, but you can still catch a glimpse.

Progress continues to be made at Cars Land. New details emerge every day, and it's shaping up to look like it'll be a great addition to the park, despite our concerns over the "Cars" theme.

New facade details can be seen at the Radiator Springs Courthouse. It reads "Town of Radiator Springs" above the courthouse entrance.

Also new this week, the steel framework for Sarge's Surplus Hut has sprung up.

Flo's V8 Cafe

The side of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Mater's shack

The old Bountiful Valley Farm building is now getting the same tin roof treatment that Mater's shack recently got

All of the street lights are in place now

The Cozy Cone Motel

The new Paradise sea bluffs on the backside of the Cars Land rock work are taking shape nicely.

This should look pretty good when completed

Work continues at the Disneyland Hotel's main lobby and E-Ticket Pool.

New palm trees along the front of the Fantasy Tower

The entire main entrance walkway and bell services desk is now behind walls.

The terrazzo has been ripped out and they're starting from scratch

You enter through the doors next to the main entrance doors, so there luckily isn't too much inconvenience when entering the main lobby to check in during construction.

Another new Monorail pool gate has been installed at the E-Ticket Pool

Another new directional signs is up

Other directional signs have gotten new classic Disneyland marquee flag finials. A nice little retro touch.

Another new directional sign has been installed by the new dining complex, pointing the way to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar and to Tangaroa Terrace — Casual Island Dining.

Back in Disneyland, the Central Plaza Information board is behind walls for refurbishment. A Cast Member is still located here at a podium to answer questions.

This was new-to-me on Saturday — one of the bike units from the old Celebrate! A Street Party has been slightly redressed for Mickey's Soundsational Parade. It's not part of the parade, however. It comes out earlier in the day before the parade and a couple members of the talented drum line warm up Guests along Small World Promenade.

Over in California Adventure, the Bug's Land mural is looking pretty shabby. While we hope that a better facade will find its way here in the future, until then the mural could use a re-paint.

This guy has seen better days

A large crack runs down the center of the mural

Outside the parks, a similar situation can be seen at the long-unused Guest Information booth near the Toy Story bus drop-off zone.

It's already sad that these Information buildings sit here completely unused, but it's even worse that their signage is cracking and peeling as well.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
October 31 — November 6, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday: 8 am - 6 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 9 am - 11 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8 am - 11 pm
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 9 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—4.4 out of 10
LOW-MEDIUM 2.1—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.
  • "it's a small world": Closed through November 10 to install holiday overlay.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed through November 23 for refurbishment.

Disney California Adventure

  • It's Tough to be a Bug! Closed through November 11 for refurbishment.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania! Closed November 15 — 17 for refurbishment.
  • Buena Vista Street: Re-themed main entrance including new Red Car Trolley attraction are under construction through summer 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Fantasyland Tower lobby areas, E-Ticket Pool: Areas closed for remodel and re-theming. Hotel remodel set to be completed in November 2011.

Disney Gallery exhibit to celebrate trains of Disney theme parks
Disneyland's Disney Gallery will soon close its excellent Mary Blair exhibit to install a new show celebrating the art and history of the trains of Disney theme parks. This should prove to be a great exhibit and some great art and collectibles will accompany it in the Gallery gift shop.

All Aboard . . . A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney

On the very first episode of the Disneyland® television series, aired October 27, 1954, Walt Disney proclaimed that "I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse." However, an argument could be made that Disneyland® may have been started by a train. Walt's fascination with trains began when he was a small boy growing up in Marceline, Missouri, in the early 1900s. At one time he actually worked on a railroad, selling fruit, drinks and newspapers to passengers when he was 15. His fascination with trains was rekindled in the 1940s, thanks to a number of Studio employees who were also railroad enthusiasts. This passion culminated in the construction of a 1/8-scale "live steamer" at his home in Holmby Hills. When Walt Disney started to plan Disneyland in the early 1950s, it was clear from the start that trains would play an important part in his creative vision - and trains have continued to be a focal point at Disney parks worldwide.

Now arriving at The Disney Gallery is a Disney railroad retrospective, so all aboard for All Aboard, showcasing the artwork and inspiration for Disney railroads, trains and train attractions throughout the years.

Full story: Art of Disney Parks: All Aboard . . . A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney

Disneyland has no plans to adopt Walt Disney World dining cancellation fees
Some good news for guests visiting Disneyland and making advanced dining reservations. From Around Disney:
Disney restaurants in Anaheim reject cancellation fee

Restaurants in Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort will not follow the lead of Disney’s Florida theme parks – which recently started charging a fee to cancel restaurant reservations at the last minute.

At some Walt Disney World signature restaurants, patrons who fail to cancel dining reservations without giving at least 24 hours notice are charged $10 per person, according to the theme parks’ website (Credit card information must be provided when making the reservation).

The policy, which took effect Wednesday, applies to about 20 restaurants in Walt Disney World Resort’s six theme parks.

According to the Florida resort’s website, the move was taken “to ensure consistent guest service” – which apparently means to make sure people aren’t stuck waiting for tables reserved for parties that never show up.

There are no plans to establish such a fee here at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure or Downtown Disney, a Disney spokesperson said Thursday.

Full story: Around Disney: Disney restaurants in Anaheim reject cancellation fee

Alrighty, that's all for this Halloween edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thank you for reading — have a very happy and safe Halloween out there!

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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. Trumpet's Avatar
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    Great update Andy

    Finally, the facades of Buena Vista Street are starting to appear. Also, Sarge's Surplus Hut is starting to be constructed and details are emerging on the courthouse. YAY!!!

    Shame about the mural for a bug's land, but I assume that it will be repainted before Cars Land opens.
  2. peoplemover1's Avatar
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    Awesome Update Andy!!
  3. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update! Happy Halloween everybody!
  4. bamato's Avatar
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    The mural in A Bug's Land has needed some touch up paint for a while now. You can't blame them for some items going unnoticed in the park. When there's that much construction going on, I could see them having their attention drawn elsewhere. Is it really excusable? Not really according to Disney's standards, but it happens.
    Thanks so much for the update though! I'm only two weeks away from my next trip, and these reports always help hold me over and get my "fix".
  5. MrTour's Avatar
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    All the park improvements look great! Anything that follows over the next few years will certainly be anticlimactic!
  6. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice updat!
  7. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    Great pictures of New Orleans area.
  8. Dizzey's Avatar
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    Love the new toned-down decorations in New Orleans Square. Previous years were really gaudy and over-done. Now if we could only get rid of the merchandising carts in the pretty little court there (Court de Angeles? <-- I hope I didn't butcher that too badly).

    And I still vote for the H.M. overlay every two years instead of every year. That would give some of us a chance to catch the original during the holiday season, which is the only time we can visit.

    Fantastic update!
  9. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    I like the color scheme in the new Electric Trolleys. Also, nice update!

  10. mickeyfan4ever's Avatar
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    looks good i cant wait to compalte
  11. waltopia's Avatar
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    Really happy to see the backside of the Carsland rock-work looking as excellent as the rest! And that there will indeed be 5 Cozy Cones.
  12. donaldduckfan#1's Avatar
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  13. RedHandedJill's Avatar
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    It's all coming along so lovely! I can't wait to see it all completed and walk the park in summer! Fantastic job!
  14. Princess Jasmine's Avatar
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    Really hope the interior of the new shops translate as well in execution as they do in the concept art.

    Also, glad they're replacing the flooring in Small World Toys, the last time I was in there, I was honestly appalled by the condition of the flooring.