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Dateline Disneyland

Carthay uncovered, Junkyard friends, Mary moves in, Water slide woes, Crowds +MORE!

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by , 12-12-2011 at 12:34 AM
Disneyland is gearing up for the season's biggest crowds over the next couple weeks as local schools get out for the holidays and people take their annual Christmas trips to the Disneyland Resort. Still, the big crowds aren't slowing down construction crews as new details emerge at the upcoming Jolly Holiday Bakery-Café at the end of Main Street and large portions of the Carthay Circle Theater in Disney California Adventure are uncovered. Meanwhile, Cars Land continues to see major new show elements and props go up as that project races toward its summer 2012 completion date. Outside the parks, a long-running Downtown Disney shop prepares to close its doors and the Disneyland Hotel's fancy new Monorail water slides are forced to go into early refurbishment due to problems with rusting.

Don't forget that 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!

Thanks to MiceChat's Fishbulb, David Yeh and Ron W for help with photos in today's column.

We continue in our slightly abbreviated format this week as we take care of some technical issues with our camera. We'll be back to normal next week. Thank you for your patience!

Let's go see what's new at Disneyland!

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The folks at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast for your trip-planning convenience...

Holiday crowds begin to ramp up this week as we get nearer to the busy Christmas and New Year holidays. 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 arriving, it's the perfect 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., Dec. 12
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Partial AP blockouts Saturday and Sunday.
  • Disney California Adventure's low day will be Thursday, when it's a 4.8.
  • Disneyland park's lowest day will be Tuesday, when it's a 1.6.
Tue., Dec. 13
Wed., Dec. 14
Thu., Dec. 15
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.

The Jolly Holiday Bakery is expected to open early January, but the first visible sign of the new Marry Poppins theme can now be seen in the form of the building's new weathervane.

Definitely some great little details on the new weathervane, but wouldn't this be better suited for Fantasyland and not Main Street, U.S.A.?

Out front, the construction walls have been pushed back a bit to allow for some guest seating area during the busy holiday weeks ahead. Small construction wall boxes cover the spaces where the former "Plaza Pavillion" marquee stood.

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

Work continues on the new Buena Vista Street facades.

Further down Buena Vista Street, a good portion of the new Carthay Circle Theater facade has been revealed.

It looks pretty fantastic, showing care in detail and craftsmanship that the former Sunshine Plaza could only dream of.

Great wrought-iron details!

A look at the future home of Elias and Co. Department Store

Carabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream and Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe

Views from the Monorail:

The inside of Elias & Co. remains empty for now...

The entrance the park...

You can see the structure for Oswald's Filling Station taking shape.

Back in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, the walls that were up around the Red Car Trolley tracks next to the Tower of Terror have been removed. The work was for loop sensor installation along this portion of the trolley route.

Too bad the Tower of Terror mural on the trolley gate couldn't get some TLC while the walls were up.

More and more show elements continue to be added to the massive Cars Land expansion. It's pretty fascinating watching this area come together like this.

Disney released a video showing how Imagineers recently installed the leaning tower of tires in front of Luigi's Casa della Tires:

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Note the "RS" symbol taking shape...

Progress on the Paradise Bluffs rock work

You can now spot new ride vehicles on the tracks at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Sarge's Surplus Hut is coming together...

Give some Disney magic this year!
Santa's coming to town and it's your last chance to finish your holiday shopping before the holidays arrive! So check your list twice and take a look at our selection of some of the best recently released Disney books, Blu-ray and video games — you're sure to find something that will bring some holiday cheer to every Disney fan on your list!

Keep in mind that's final day for FREE Super Saver Shipping to ensure delivery by December 24 is this Thursday, December 15. For more information on holiday shipping, click here.

Happy Holidays!
- Andy

The new Monorail water slides at the Disneyland Hotel abruptly closed last week with no prior warning. Work is now underway to repair and make changes to the structure, which was reportedly already rusting after only a single summer season of use.

No word yet on when the water slides will re-open.

Access to the Monorail slides from the D-Ticket Pool area is blocked off

Downtown Disney was hosting a Christmas Tree decorating contest over the weekend. Guests could vote for their favorite by texting in their vote.

The Island Charters shop next to D Street is closing. Everything in the store has been discounted.

An public notice of application for ownership change for Disneyland's Club 33 alcohol license has been posted at the park's main gate.

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.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
December 12—18, 2011

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Tuesday: 8 am - 6 pm
Early closure for annual Cast Member holiday parties
Wednesday-Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday-Friday: 10 am - 9 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
MEDIUM-HIGH 1.6—7.8 out of 10
MEDIUM 4.8—6.8 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

  • Jungle Cruise: Closed for one day, December 5.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed for refurbishment December 6 and 7.
  • Big Thunder Ranch: Closed to remove holiday overlay January 9 - 18.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles January 9 - June 14.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed for refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • "it's a small world": Closed to remove holiday overlay January 23 through February 2.
  • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes: Closed for one day, January 24.
  • 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

  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed for refurbishment January 9 - 27.
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed for refurbishment January 23 - March 2.
  • Soarin' Over California: Closed for refurbishment January 30 - February 3.
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Soda Fountain: New Ghirardelli chocolate shop and soda fountain will open in the space formerly occupied by the Mission Tortilla Factory. New dining location opens late-spring 2012.
  • 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

  • Disneyland Hotel Monorail Slides & Pool: Closed indefinitely to address rusting/structural issues.
  • Island Charters: Downtown Disney retail location closes permanently January 8, 2011. A replacement has yet to be announced.

Four-year Disneyland Resort Hotel contract battle ends
Finally, an agreement has been made, ending the four-year battle over the Disneyland Resort hotel workers contract. The OC Register has details:

It’s official: Disney, hotel union labor feud is over
The Disney hotel union approved an employment agreement, finalizing a contentious feud that left 2,100 workers without a contract for almost four years, the parties announced Thursday. (Story updated at 10 a.m.)

Union members cast ballots Wednesday on the new agreement at a conference room in the Disneyland Hotel. Disney and the union, Unite Here Local 11, announced Thursday that “an overwhelming majority” of union members voted in favor of the new contract.

About 80 percent of voters were in favor of the agreement.

The fierce debate was marked by a hunger strike, a walkout, a one-day strike, arrests and dozens of prot
ests. One demonstration featured a concert by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine in front of the Disneyland Hotel.

“We’re extremely pleased that the Disneyland Resort hotel cast members (employees) represented by UNITE HERE Local 11 have overwhelmingly supported this fair and comprehensive agreement,” said Tony Bruno, vice president of Disneyland Resort hotels and Downtown Disney, in a statement. “We know the efforts of these cast members, along with more than 20,000 others throughout the Resort, are responsible for making lasting memories for our guests every day.”

Some union members said they are thankful that the fight is over.

“This is the best Christmas gift from Disney in a long time,” said June Mekker, who works in Disney Dining at the Disneyland Hotel, after casting her ballot Wednesday. “It feels good to be working with a company hand-in-hand again.”.

Full story: Around Disney: It’s official—Disney, hotel union labor feud is over

Harry Potter attraction officially announced for Universal Hollywood
Universal officially announced a Wizarding World of Harry Potter project for their Hollywood theme park as well as a major expansion to the Harry Potter experience in Florida. Details:

Theme park based on J.K. Rowling novels to get second home in Hollywood after Orlando success
Universal Studios will spend several hundred million dollars to build a Harry Potter attraction inside its existing Hollywood theme park in hopes of mimicking the success of a similar park in Orlando, Fla.

Executives announced the project Tuesday with much fanfare, spraying confetti and hoisting mugs of the wizardly brew butterbeer.

The attraction, based on the Warner Bros. movies about the boy wizard in J.K. Rowling’s novels, will create more than 1,000 jobs at Universal and even more indirectly from an expected boost in tourism, officials said.

At the same time, Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter will get an expansion. Since the Harry Potter attraction opened in Florida in June of last year, company executives have said attendance has jumped by about 50 percent, but did not give raw figures.

“It was a game changer for us and frankly for Orlando,” Universal Studios president Ron Meyer told reporters after an announcement at the Universal Studios Hollywood. “The expansion in Orlando will make it that much more of a must-see, and we’ll have the same experience here.”

Executives did not immediately detail their plans for the Hollywood park, but Meyer said there was enough room to expand.

“We’re not landlocked,” Meyer said. “We’re (on) 400 acres on this lot and 200 of them are still not developed.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he was told that a live concert venue, Gibson Amphitheatre, would be scrapped to make way for the attraction. He said it would open around 2014, but officials did not give a date.

The widely expected announcement happened in typically dressed-up Hollywood style, complete with staff wearing scarves representing the various houses of the fictional wizard’s school, Hogwarts, beneath a theater marquee that said, “Hogwarts is coming to Hollywood.”

James and Oliver Phelps, who play the twins Fred and George Weasley in the movies, were present, as was California Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor appeared a day after he proposed raising taxes to help make up for the state’s projected shortfall.

Full story: Washington Post: Theme park based on J.K. Rowling novels to get second home in Hollywood after Orlando success

Great new photo-heavy eBook gives tour of Disneyland during the holidays
Our friend Tom Bricker who runs the excellent Disney Tourist Blog with his wife Sarah has released a new eBook extensively covering Disneyland's line-up of holiday offerings. Everything from attractions to shows to decorations and food are covered here. It's a great trip-planning tool for those who are planning a visit to the parks during the holiday season.

If you're a pro and don't need tips to plan your holiday visit, the book is still worth the ridiculously cheap price of $3.99 for the excellent full-color photography found inside. Tom has made a name for himself with his excellent Disney photography and this great eBook doesn't disappoint.

Also, between now and December 23, half of Tom's proceeds from the book will be donated to Toys for Tots! So, skip your Starbucks gingerbread latte today and check out this book instead!

A Disneyland Christmas
A detailed tour of Disneyland Resort at Christmas, featuring over 170 full color photos of decorations, fireworks, the Christmas parade, "it's a small world" holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and many other seasonal offerings at Disneyland! A Disneyland Christmas also includes descriptions of the decorations around Disneyland Resort during the holidays, including those at Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, Downtown Disney, and the three Disney hotels.

Reviews of the many holiday desserts sold in the restaurants during the holiday season will assist you in always picking the most tasty desserts at Disneyland. A great guide to Disneyland at Christmas-time!

Half of proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to Toys for Tots.

Get the book!: A Disneyland Christmas

Alrighty, that's all for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thanks, as always, for reading and please be sure to visit our awesome sponsors over at TouringPlans! They'll help you plan your next Disneyland visit over the next couple weeks and give you the best tips on how to dodge the big holiday crowds!

As you may have noticed, we've recently reinstated our Amazon Associates links. If you still need to complete some holiday shopping for folks on your list, consider making your purchase using our Amazon referral code. It doesn't cost you anything, but your purchases will help support Dateline Disneyland so we can keep the updates coming to you every week through the next year! To start shopping on Amazon using our referral code, click any Amazon item in today's update or click here.

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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,

    Carthy Circle looks great and Cars Land looks AMAZING!
    Disneyland Resort must be ashamed of having to close the monorail slide after 1 summer, its embarrasing!
    The Californian Governor must of covered his tax increase with his visit to Hollywood Studios by talking about the job increase.

    Thanks again Andy,

  2. jpg391's Avatar
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    Great update. Carsland looks like it is going to make it's 2012 summer opening.
  3. Ukulele Guy's Avatar
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    Isn't the ToT mural supposed to look like that?
    Fantastic to see so much progress since last week!
    Great update!
  4. Internitty's Avatar
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    Amazing amount of detail in Cars Land (still wish they'd name it Radiator Springs instead) added in just one week, it's looking awesome!
  5. Donald1980's Avatar
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    You will see another element of the Jolly Holiday Bakery with the new sign being up now.
  6. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  7. Tinkd's Avatar
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    What does application of "new ownership" of club 33 mean?

    Does anyone else see an eagle's head in the sea side bluff of the Car's Land rock work? I don't know if it's the angle it's shot from, or subtle image added in?
  8. Concieved@DL's Avatar
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  9. Concieved@DL's Avatar
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    Once again you have filled our heads with priceless infomation. I am really happy to see the workmanship on the CCT. Just to sit back and think that this was a parking lot not so long ago.
  10. chesirecat's Avatar
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    Personally, I like the Marry Poppins weather vane. After all, the Jolly Holiday Bakery will have a lot of other nods to the iconic film. Besides the plethora of specially made weather vanes in Fantasyland, the Haunted Mansion has its sailing ship weather vane, and HK Disneyland has a tinker bell weather vane on the train station. And the Plaza Inn still has its golden rooster weather vane . . .
  11. dictionary's Avatar
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    Wow so much is getting done over in carsland. Thanks so much for keeping us up to date. Before you know it the grand opening will be occuring.
  12. Sparky's Avatar
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    Unless I have just missed it, I haven't seen any mention on any of the fan sites that I read other than the Disney Parks Blog of the awesome "Toy Soldier Drummers" that have been performing in Small World Mall as holiday entertainment. The act consists of four drummers, who a Cast Member told me are some of the drummers from Soundsational, who come out dressed as Toy Soldiers and do a lively drum routine to several Christmas songs, with choreography. They are great and each time I have managed to catch them, the crowd has loved them. Unfortunately, their showtimes are not being published in the entertainment schedule, so guests only see them if they happen to be walking in the area at just the right time when they come out. I hope you guys will give them some exposure, as more people need to know about them and enjoy their performances. When I caught them over the weekend, it seemed to be approximately a quarter before the hour.
  13. DisneyFunGuy's Avatar
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    Personally, I love the Mary Poppins weather vane!! And why are certain people stating that this bakery is considered on Main Street??? It's not. The location is considered in "the hub" of Disneyland. Main Street consist from the Emporium to Coke Corner only! So for those of you who are concerned that this new bakery does not fit the theme of Main Street...get over it.
  14. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    Looks like a lot of progress in the last week. Great update.
  15. DizMiiLand's Avatar
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    The weather vane is very nice and smartly themed in context. Hopefully some signage will be place soon. Going to be very hard not to have access to MM waffles at Carnation for the Spring/Summer though. lists the Plaza Inn as part of Main Street so not sure I agree that the Mary Poppins cafe will be something else.

    Great update. Hope they enveil Carthay soon since it will give hope during the rest of the area's construction.
  16. DisDreamin's Avatar
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    Does anyone know the exact dates that Blue Ribbon bakery closes and when Jolly Holiday Bakery opens?? I thought I read a few days ago on the Miceage home page that Al Lutz said Jolly Holiday Bakery was opening on January 6 but there was no mention of it in today's Dateline Disneyland. On another fan site I read The Blue Ribbon bakery was closing on January 5th but made no mention of a date for the Jolly Holiday Bakery to open. Can anyone shed some more light on the dates??
  17. TodAZ1's Avatar
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    Plaza Inn is part of Main Street, as is the entire hub.
  18. nish221's Avatar
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    I personally don't have too much issue w/ Mary Poppins weather vane in the Hub. Time-wize, Main street is in late 19th century while Mary Poppins is very early 20th. It's also faces the Hub which is transitional area. Architecture wize, one would have seen that style in the US as well during the entire time period.
  19. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    I like the new weather vine regardless of theme, I just wonder if they are going to put a New MP Mural in tribute to the old Stoffer's Mural.It would be pretty and might be cool too. Also, I wonder if the DLH is reconsidering changing the slides to the Matterhorn, along with a Monorail slide attached to the mountain? And one final note, I am glad that the 4 year Union feud is over!

  20. Barbossa's Avatar
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    I really like that the style of the Carthay matches the time period style of Tower of Terror. Carsland is looking great, but one thing still bugs me about it, its longevity; it's one whole land dedicated to just one movie/franchise. Great update!
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