View RSS Feed

Dateline Disneyland

Holidays are here, World of Christmas, Buena Vista shade, DCA's new tires +MORE!

Rate this Entry
by , 11-21-2011 at 03:23 AM

Welcome to our special fourth anniversary edition of Dateline Disneyland! That's right, we turn four this week as Disneyland enters one of its busiest periods of the year — Thanksgiving holiday week. With the holiday season in full swing and the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend upon us, the parks are set to be packed to the gills. We've got a look at more of this year's holiday offerings including the new World of Color holiday pre-show and the seasonal version of "The Magic, the Memories and You!" projection show at "it's a small world." Of course, there's always some sort of construction progress to report on, and this week we see progress at the upcoming Luigi's Flying Tires attraction in Disney California Adventure's major Cars Land expansion. Over at the Disneyland Hotel, the newly remodeled E-Ticket Pool is now open and progress continues at the Fantasy Tower's lobby remodel.

As we mentioned above, we're celebrating our fourth anniversary and this week's Thanksgiving holiday is appropriate for our little column's birthday. We're especially thankful to you, our readers. We wouldn't be here every week if you weren't reading, so big thanks to you for your continued support! It's been a fantastic four years and we can't wait to bring more Disneyland to you in the future!

A special thanks to Daniel K. Lew for help with some World of Color photos this week.

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 in the parks! Let's see what's new...

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by | Do More. Wait Less.

The Thanksgiving holiday always brings huge crowds to the Disneyland Resort theme parks. If you're planning a visit, check out the Touring Plans crowd forecast below and then get detailed information on crowds and attractions wait times with a Touring Plans subscription. It'll definitely help out with navigating the parks this weekend.

If you're heading to Disneyland this week, expect incredibly dense crowds and high wait-times as Thanksgiving week is historically one of the busier weeks of the year. Because of these heavy crowds, it's more important than ever that you have a good Touring Plan. 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., Nov. 21
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Full AP blockouts all Thanksgiving-weekend.
  • Disney California Adventure's low day will be Monday, when it's a 4.1.
  • Disneyland park's lowest days will be Monday, when it's a 7.2.
Tue., Nov. 22
Wed., Nov. 23
Thu., Nov. 24
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.

A look at the holiday goings-on around Disneyland...

The holidays are in full swing at Disneyland with the season officially starting last week.

The garlands over Main Street weren't quite up for our update last week, but with Mickey's Soundsational Parade dark for the rest of the year, the garlands went up without danger of being hit by the parade's tall floats.

The popular "A Christmas Fantasy Parade" is back for its seasonal run.

Santa rounds out the parade

The recently remodeled Emporium is decked out for the holidays. A festive red glow and Christmas garland in the main room.

The Fortuousity Shoppe on Main Street has their unique holiday decorations up as well.

Fancy Christmas stockings and shelves lined with countless holiday tchotchkes and trinkets.

At night, the holidays light up Main Street and Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle.

Frontierland is also decked out for the holidays.

Santa's Reindeer Roundup is back for the season.

This is one of my favorite parts of Disneyland's holiday line-up. The area has great decorations that make for a wonderfully festive atmosphere. Also, great are the arts and crafts and opportunity to meet Santa for kids.

A nice photo-op

Long lines for Santa

Next door, Big Thunder Barbecue also gets into the holiday spirit.

Disney's "The Magic, The Memories and You!" projection show on the facade of "it's a small world" has been updated for the holidays and now features some holiday-themed sequences. In addition to the regular quarter-hourly mini-projection show for the holidays, there's a lot going on at "it's a small world" during the Christmas season.

Here's the regular two-minute projection show that traditionally runs during holiday evenings every quarter-hour following the chiming of the "it's a small world" clock.

And below is the 10-minute "The Magic, The Memories and You!" projection show that highlights daily photos from guests in the park. The show now features a segment specially created for the holidays.

Across the esplanade at Disney California Adventure, some modest, but additional holiday decorations are up in the Paradise Pier and Golden State areas of the park.

Nice, new garland at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Garland up on some of the light posts alongside the Little Mermaid attraction

Poinsettias and wreaths up at the San Francisco Street facades

Over at Paradise Garden, a Christmas tree greets guests entering the new Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta

Poinsettias help add a festive touch to the landscaping in the area...

At night, the World of Color water show on Paradise Bay now features a short holiday pre-show featuring Wayne and Lanny, two elves from ABC's hit animated holiday special "Prep & Landing."

It's a short segment (just under two minutes long) that amounts to a nice "Happy Holidays!" message before the main show gets underway. It's nothing to make a trip for, but its a nice bonus to see if you're already planning on grabbing a FASTPASS for the show.


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

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

New shade awnings were installed last week on the ends of the new Pan Pacific Auditorium-themed entrance turnstiles.

The new awnings are only installed on the ends of the new structure where the roof is at a higher level.

It's not a prettiest solution for the harsh sunlight issues Cast Members working at the end turnstiles were dealing with.

Hopefully this is a temporary solution until a more attractive fix can be worked out.

The upcoming Elias and Co. department store

Progress continues at the new 12-acre Cars Land area... More new trees have arrived...

More steel up at Sarge's Surpluss Hut

Mater's Junkyard shack

Electrical posts around Mater's Junkyard...

New light posts for Mater's area

A leaning tower of tires and signage for Luigi's Casa della Tires is up

Looks good!

Cozy Cones

Flo's V8 Cafe and Luigi's Flying Tires

Radiator Springs Racers progress...

The Paradise Pier-side of the Cars Land rock work...

The Disneyland Hotel's Fantasy Tower continues its remodel with repaving in the drop off and valet area out front and progress in the Hotel's main entrance area

The fountains have a new semi-metallic blue/silver paint job

The main entrance area with remodeled bell services counters

New plants add some life to the newly remodeled main lobby and registration area

The new Fantasy Tower marquee has been installed, joining the Frontier and Adventure Tower signs that we showed you last week

The E-Ticket Pool is also now open for business.

From the OC Register:
Disneyland Hotel opens E-Ticket Pool
The swimming pools are all open at the Disneyland Hotel.

Monday, the hotel opened its third swimming pool, the E-Ticket Pool and the Mickey Spa. Previously opened were the D-Ticket Pool, the Minne Spa and the Monorail Slide/Pool.

The pool is named after the E-tickets visitors to the hotel’s namesake theme park once used to gain admission to its highest-end attractions, such as Pirates of the Caribbean.

Embedded in the tiles along the waterline are replicas of the E-Tickets.

The area around the swimming pools has been redone as well, with new walkways, signage and landscaping.

The hotel has been undergoing a two-year renovation that has seen all of the rooms and all three towers nearly gutted and redone. [ FULL STORY ]

The walkways around the pool areas are now fully open as well.

New signage for Goofy's Kitchen

Back in Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean re-opens this week following its lengthy refurbishment.

Over in California Adventure, the Paradise Pier parade gate has been repainted...

It's a lot plainer now.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort.
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

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.

See Disneyland from the comfort of 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 Theme Park Hours
November 21—27, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Daily: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday-Friday: 10 am - 10 pm
Saturday-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
HIGH 7.2—9.9 out of 10
MEDIUM-HIGH 4.1—10.0 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 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.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed through November 23 for refurbishment.
  • Jolly Holiday Bakery Café: Opens January 2012 in location of the former Plaza Pavilion.
  • Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Palace: Food service locations and shops close January 2012 for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.

Disney California Adventure

  • Buena Vista Street: Re-themed main entrance including new Red Car Trolley attraction are under construction through summer 2012.
  • Cars Land: New 12-acre land in former Timon Parking Lot opens summer 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Fantasy Tower lobby areas: Areas closed for remodel and re-theming. Hotel remodel set to be completed in November 2011.

D23 announces amazing 2012 member events
D23 announced some really special member events for 2012. They're pricey, but look like excellent events:

D23 Sprinkles Disney Magic Across the Country with a Year of Spectacular Events

Throughout 2012, D23 will delight Disney fans from Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Palm Springs to Orlando, Burbank, and even Marceline, Missouri—Walt Disney’s boyhood hometown—with the thrill and excitement of unique Disney experiences.

“To help D23 celebrate its third “fanniversary,” we developed the most exciting lineup yet of special events to bring our members truly one-of-a-kind Disney experiences,” Steven Clark, head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, says. “We’re excited to visit our fans all around the country, and to create events we hope will surprise and delight them.”

Starting the year are two new extraordinary experiences: D23′s Journey to Marceline and D23 Presents the Smoke Tree Ranch Roundup.

For the first time ever, a special tour of Walt’s boyhood hometown—Marceline, Missouri—will take place for D23 Members on March 14. Led by Disney archivists, the daylong Journey to Marceline explores this small town (population 2,221) in ways that will have special resonance for Disney fans.

In his later life, Walt found unique inspiration at Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs, and during the incredible three-day Smoke Tree Ranch Roundup (January 23-25), D23 Members can experience this exclusive retreat in a completely unique way (click here to read more on Smoke Tree Ranch). In another first-of-its-kind immersive experience, Disney fans will get to see what Walt called “my own laughing place,” taking part in screenings, presentations, activities, and delectable meals, all while staying in a Smoke Tree Ranch cottage.

In the spring, D23 takes the party on the road with the D23 Fanniversary Celebration. It commemorates more than 40 unforgettable Disney magical milestones, each celebrating an anniversary in 2012. Hosted by Disney archivists, D23 Fanniversary Celebration events will be held in Orlando, New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and revisiting some of the most beloved Disney theme park attractions, animated and live-action films, TV series, and more from 85 years of Disney history. Fanniversary events will be open to the public, with special admission and surprises created especially for D23 Members in attendance.

In the summer, D23 will offer an all-new “Destination D” event, Destination D: 75 Years Of Disney Animation, held over the course of two days at the Disneyland Resort in California (August 11-12). As Disney marks the 75th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, D23 marks the occasion by gathering many renowned Disney animation legends along with top Disney animators, voice talent (past and present), and composers—plus interesting demonstrations, fascinating presentations, autograph sessions, and the chance to see entertaining animation rarities from the Disney vaults—all in celebration of 75 years of Disney feature animation.

Throughout the year, D23 will continue its popular series of movie screenings at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. With a new series, From the Vaults, D23 will bring favorite live-action films back to the big screen, including special 20th anniversary screenings of Newsies (February 25) and Sister Act (May 26), plus the classic Disney adaptation of Treasure Island (September 22). D23′s 50 and Fabulous series also returns in 2012, with In Search of the Castaways (June 23).

The year also includes four special weekends of D23 Member-only tours of The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Archives in Burbank, which are planned for February 11-12, April 28-29, September 8-9, and November 10-11, doubling the capacity of these consistently sold-out D23 events.

In the fall, during Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, D23′s popular Sip & Stroll event gets a Halloween twist and becomes Sip & Scream (in October). And during the holiday season, D23 will again hold back-to-back presentations of its popular holiday offerings—Disney and Dickens (in Burbank in December) and Magic & Merriment (at Walt Disney World Resort; tentative dates: December 7-8 and 9-10), doubling your Disney holiday fun.

Look for more D23 events to be announced throughout the year, including details on an Epcot 30th anniversary celebration and a fun-filled D23 third anniversary party at the Disneyland Resort. All events and dates are subject to change.

Full story: D23: D23 Sprinkles Disney Magic Across the Country with a Year of Spectacular Events

Star Tours, Imagineer Joe Rhode win awards
Disney won recently won some TEA Awards. Details from the Disney Parks Blog:
Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, ‘The Magic, The Memories & You!’ and Animation Magic Receive Honors

Earlier today, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the winners of the 18th Annual Thea Awards, recognizing excellence in the creation of extraordinary visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. We’re thrilled that the following projects were all honored:

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios was honored with the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Attraction Refresh
  • “The Magic, The Memories & You!” show at Magic Kingdom Park was honored with the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Show Spectacular
  • Animation Magic in the Animator’s Palate Restaurant aboard Disney Cruise Line’s ship – Disney Fantasy was honored with the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Ingenious Use of Technology. The technology behind the forthcoming Animation Magic show made its public debut at the Walt Disney World Resort press event in May 2011. In this forthcoming show on the Disney Fantasy, guests can draw pictures on their placemats and see those pictures come to life on the walls around them, fully-animated alongside favorite Disney characters in scenes from beloved Disney animated films.

Also, Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde was honored with The Buzz Price Thea Award – Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements, including his work as executive designer on both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the recently-opened Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa at Ko Olina, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, among many other projects he has worked on throughout his 30-year involvement at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Joe and each of these winning projects will be honored at the Thea Awards ceremony, a black-tie gala to be held March 17, 2012, at the Disneyland Hotel.

Full story: Disney Parks Blog: Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, ‘The Magic, The Memories & You!’ and Animation Magic Receive Honors

Disney CEO Bob Iger joins Apple, Inc. board
Bob Iger is now part of the Apple, Inc. board of directors. Details from the ABC News Technology Review blog:
Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger Joins Board of Apple

Robert A. Iger, the president and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, will take on an additional role as a member of the board of Apple Inc.

Arthur D. Levinson becomes Apple’s new chairman, succeeding Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs, who died in October.

The announcement was made by Apple this afternoon from its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

“I am honored to be named chairman of Apple’s board and welcome Bob to our team,” Levinson said in a statement. “Apple is always focused on out-innovating itself through the delivery of truly innovative products that simplify and improve our lives, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of.”

Iger, 60, has been the chief executive at Disney since 2005 and before that was the company’s president and chief operating officer starting in 2000. He first came to ABC, Inc., in 1974, rising to become president and chief operating officer of ABC from 1994 to 1999.

Jobs and Iger knew each other for many years. Shortly after Iger became Disney’s chief executive, the two agreed in 2006 for Disney to acquire Pixar Animation Studios — a company that, under Jobs’ aegis, had reimagined the business of animated films. Under the agreement, Jobs joined the Disney board and became the company’s largest stockholder.

Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and successfully marketed some of the world’s first successful personal computers. Later, as CEO from 1997 until shortly before his death, he introduced a succession of products, including the iPod, the iTunes online store, the iPhone and the iPad. He has been given credit for reinventing personal computing, recorded music, modern animation and wireless communications.

Iger has been given credit for nurturing Disney’s core businesses in animation and theme parks and resorts, while expanding its media networks and moving the company into new media.

Full story: ABC News: Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger Joins Board of Apple

Alrighty, that wraps up our column this week! Thanks again for your continued support over the last four years. Happy Thanksgiving!

Take a closer look at today's update! See all the photos in today's update in high-resolution at our Dateline Disneyland Smugmug gallery! Click here!

Don't forget to join the discussion! What do you think of the World of Color holiday pre-show? Would you like to see a full holiday-themed show next year?

We're only here because of your continued support. If you've enjoy Dateline Disneyland over the last four years, 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

Interested in sponsorship or advertising opportunities
with Dateline Disneyland?
Contact us!
Please support our sponsors

Keep the updates coming!
Please support us

FTC-Mandated Disclosure:
Promotional consideration for the November 21, 2011 edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by | Do More. Wait Less.

Submit "Holidays are here, World of Christmas, Buena Vista shade, DCA's new tires +MORE!" to Digg Submit "Holidays are here, World of Christmas, Buena Vista shade, DCA's new tires +MORE!" to Submit "Holidays are here, World of Christmas, Buena Vista shade, DCA's new tires +MORE!" to StumbleUpon Submit "Holidays are here, World of Christmas, Buena Vista shade, DCA's new tires +MORE!" to Google


Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
  1. Tinkbelle's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    The beginning of this update really brightened my day and brought a smile to my face. Disneyland is looking so cheerful right now. I love Christmas.

    On another note, I really don't care for the Prep and Landing opening to WOC.

    Congratulations on a great 4 years! I echo everyone in saying that your articles make Monday mornings something to look forward to.
  2. Timekeeper's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Congradulations on four years!
    I was kind-of hoping LuminAria would return in the world of color, oh well.
    Also, the blue color on the tower signage, why?

  3. jpg391's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Congratulations on 4 years of Dateline Disneyland.

    I love the parks this time of the year with all the Christmas decorations and other things happening.
  4. TodAZ1's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Is it wrong that I like the quarter hour show at Small World better than "The Magic, the memories and you" show? That ending is just amazing when the lights pop on!!
  5. bayouguy's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Dateline has surplanted MNF as my Monday ritual!!
    The pictures are great. Some confusion. Al mentioned that the crowds may be lighter Friday and Saturday. But then the predicted crowd levels seemed to indicate heavy crowds. We will be picking either a Friday or a Saturday this year due to the predicted rains.
  6. Spongeocto4's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Thanks for the pictures and happy 4th!
  7. WDWFigment's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Congrats, Andy!
  8. Barbossa's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great update! And Happy 4th Dateline Disneyland!
  9. Moustachioed's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I don't post often, but I had to show my gratitude for this wonderful weekly update. I have been reading since 2008, and Andy all I can say is THANK YOU. I honestly can't tell you how amazing it is to have this to read every week, I couldn't live without it. I owe you and everyone who helps out a great deal of gratitude. Happy Fourth anniversary, and here's to many more!
  10. Internitty's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by TodAZ1
    Is it wrong that I like the quarter hour show at Small World better than "The Magic, the memories and you" show? That ending is just amazing when the lights pop on!!
    Me too I love that quarter hour show, looking forward to seeing it again next month
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12