View RSS Feed

Dateline Disneyland

Ringing in 2012, One More Disney Day, Buena Vista Street progress, Hotel work +MORE!

Rate this Entry
by , 01-02-2012 at 02:58 AM
Heavy fog blocked out the view of Disneyland's New Year's Eve fireworks, but that didn't stop big crowds from celebrating in both parks until the early hours of the New Year morning. As crowds packed the park to count down to 2012, Disney announced plans for a 24-hour Leap Day party this February 29 at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Nearby, the finishing touches are going up at the new Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. as it gets ready to open this Thursday. Meanwhile, significant construction progress is being made throughout Disney California Adventure, with new facades going up along the park's new Buena Vista Street main entrance plaza and more trees and neon signage being installed throughout the heavily-themed Cars Land area. Outside the parks, the Island Charters shop has closed in Downtown Disney and more details continue to emerge at the Disneyland Hotel.

We're happy to announce that you can now click on photos in Dateline Disneyland to view a higher-resoultion version of the image. Because of this new feature, you will no longer be able to click on photos featuring Project Tracker watermarks to be redirected to those threads on our MiceChat discussion boards. For your convenience, we've added handy Project Tracker banners at each relevant section of the update, so if you'd like to learn more about any project in today's update or join the on-going discussion on the MiceChat forums, all you need to do is click on through!

We hope you and yours had a very happy New Year celebration. Let's jump right into 2012 with our first Disneyland update of the year!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by | Do More. Wait Less.


The Disneyland Resort theme parks rang in the new year with a big selection of live entertainment, music and midnight fireworks shows.

Electronic signs at parking lots and by main entrance plaza security checkpoints encouraged guests to celebrate at California Adventure instead of Disneyland, promising midnight fireworks.

Disney also encouraged guests to celebrate at DCA with a special ticket offer — buy a one-day, one-park New Year's Eve ticket for Disney California Adventure and get a free one-day ticket to Disneyland for use in January.

Despite the ticket offer, Disneyland was extremely busy, with guests claiming space along the Central Plaza early in the afternoon for the midnight show.

New Year's Eve stage up in Small World Promenade

Univision broadcasted live from the park in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and in Small World Promenade.

Over at Disney California Adventure, ElecTRONica was set to ring in the new year:

Live entertainment and a champagne bar was scheduled for Paradise Garden's first New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve balloons flying over Paradise Garden

A very festive bandstand

Sideshow acts and other live entertainment was set for Paradise Pier

The warm daytime temperatures helped bring in heavy evening fog that rolled in mid-evening, several hours before the midnight celebration.

With the fog, the best bet to see any New Year's Eve entertainment was California Adventure. Low-level fireworks and the World of Color fountains would be easier to see in the fog than Disneyland's fireworks display.

Below, our video of DCA's "Fountains and Fireworks" midnight show. As you can see, by the middle of the five-minute show, the fireworks smoke, mist from the fountains and the fog had completely obscured the show. Note: A technical difficulty cut a portion of the 10-second countdown-to-midnight from our video. The rest of the show is intact.

Over at Disneyland, the fog completely washed out the show, as you can see in MiceChatter asianbma's video below:

The post-midnight lighting at Sleeping Beauty Castle was pretty spectacular.

Happy New Year!

With 2012 officially underway, our friends at Touring Plans have the first look at crowd levels as we enter the new year.
Crowds begin to ease up following the New Year holiday, but remain moderately high throughout the week as Disneyland continues its popular holiday offerings through January 8 this year. 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., Jan. 2
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Blockouts return to the weekends for SoCal/SoCal Select Annual Passes.
  • Disney California Adventure's low day will be Tuesday, when it's a 7.4.
  • Disneyland park's lowest day will be Tuesday, when it's a 7.8.
Tue., Jan. 3
Wed., Jan. 4
Thu., Jan. 5
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.


As promised, Disney revealed its not-so-secret "One More Disney Day" promotion at midnight Eastern time on Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve telecast. The secret reveal wasn't anything Disney fans were surprised by, but the announcement confirmed rumors of a 24-hour party at Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park on Leap Day, February 29. In addition to the 24-hour Leap Day party, Disney will also choose a daily winner for 60 days straight who will receive a Disney theme park vacation for four. More information in the press release below:

Leap Year 2012 Calls for ‘One More Disney Day’ As Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resorts Turn Feb. 29 Into 24 Hours of Nonstop Theme Park Magic

Disney Parks guests can get the most out of February 29 when Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California celebrate Leap Year by keeping a theme park on each coast open for 24 hours of nonstop memory-making fun.

For the first time ever, both the Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland Park will stay open for 24 hours straight as part of a bi-coastal salute called “One More Disney Day.” From 6 a.m., February 29 to 6 a.m., March 1, 2012, local time, guests can fill the extra day of leap year with a marathon of Disney magic and fun.

And for 60 days straight – from Jan. 1, 2012 to Feb. 29, 2012 – a daily winner will be chosen in the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” to receive a Disney Parks vacation. One entrant each day will win a vacation for four to make memories at either Disneyland Resort in California or Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

For the past year, Disney Parks has invited guests to “let the memories begin,” noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

“We’re honored that so many guests have shared their Disney memories with us as part of ‘Let the Memories Begin’, and I’m pleased to announce that the campaign will continue throughout 2012,” Staggs said. “To celebrate, for the first time ever, the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Parks will remain open for 24 hours on Leap Day, so that our guests can take advantage of every minute of their extra day to make memories with friends and family.”

In addition to the extra time, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California will feature a special offer:
Guests get one more day and night of memory making, free when they buy a 3-night/3-day non-discounted Walt Disney Travel Co. room and ticket package at select Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort hotels. The package offer is good for arrivals most nights Feb. 26 – March 10, 2012 and must be booked by Jan. 31, 2012. [ FULL STORY ]

Despite the announcement, details remain vague on the 24-hour event. Will it be a special-ticket event? Will the 24-hour event offer special entertainment or attractions? Or will it just simply be business as usual for 24 hours? Below, Disney's promotional video for the 24-hour Leap Day event:


At the end of Main Street, the new Marry Poppins-themed Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe is nearly ready to go with an opening date set for Thursday, January 5.

The new LED-lit marquee is now turned on and looks nice.

Below, a video of the new lit marquee at night. It's not as noticeable in the video, but the light pattern does have a hard change at one point. A minor issue, but it would be a nice detail to get fixed.

A new light fixture at the entrance to the cafe.

A look at the on-going $1 billion remodel and expansion efforts at Disney California Adventure


Construction is progressing quickly now on the new Buena Vista Street facades. It's pretty exciting to see the progress here!

Heading back toward the main entrance, the backside of the west shop facades

Further in the park, the new Carthay Circle Theatre continues to emerge. It looks pretty fantastic so far; a great new icon for the park.

The time-lapse camera atop the theatre looks down Buena Vista Street.

Tower tile work

The new wrought-iron marquee is going up behind the green tarps


The future Elias and Co. store

New work on the former Candy Shoppe facade

Eastern Buena Vista facades

The upcoming Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream parlor and the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe

Lots of progress!


New trees have blocked much of the view down Radiator Springs' Route 66 from the Blue Sky Cellar patio.

Through the trees you can spot new neon signage up on the buildings.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

New string lights up over Mater's Junkyard

Looking toward Fillmore's Taste-In

Views from Mickey's Fun Wheel:

Cozy Cone Motel

More new trees in front of Radiator Springs Curios


Back in Disneyland, we noticed some new-to-us changes at Innoventions.

A couple sections of the upper level have been remodeled, most notably the XBox 360 area, which is now almost exclusively a free play area for the XBox Kinect.

The area looks nice, but it still is a little disappointing to see an over glorified video game department from your local Best Buy open as part of an attraction at Disneyland.

Even more odd is that you can now play the new Kinect Disneyland Adventures game here while you're at Disneyland. Seems weird - why wouldn't you just go explore the park in-person? You're already there!

Nearby, this area has gotten a slight refresh and now a name — Nanooze Zone. At first glance, it's still unclear what you do here.

Honda is back with a display for their new 2012 Civic Hybrids.


Outside the parks at the Disneyland Hotel, the Monorail water slides have reopened after some unscheduled maintenance.

Over at the Adventure Tower, a new mural is up and Jungle Cruise animatronic animal moquettes are on display

The Davy Crockett floral Mickey near the Frontier Tower is now all planted and growing in.

Over in the Fantasy Tower, shiny new chrome accents at the Fantasy Shop have been installed

The new Mary Blair-inspired carpet looks great throughout the Fantasy Tower lobby areas

Outside, the main entrance is slowly starting to get some texture and color work done on its cement.

And some repaving work is taking place along the outside of the hotel's convention center


The old Island Charters shop next to D Street has finally closed after its recent going-out-of-business sale.

The empty shop will soon reopen as a temporary location for the LEGO store down the way while LEGO's permanent location closes for a major remodel project.

Over at the AMC Theatres, banners are already up for Disney's next live action flick - John Carter.

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 Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit and Annual Passholder Discounts Available Every Day!
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
January 2—8, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Saturday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Sunday: 8 am - 11 pm
Monday: 10 am - 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday : 10 am - 9 pm
Friday-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 4.9—9.0 out of 10
MEDIUM-HIGH 6.5—9.9 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

  • Jolly Holiday Bakery Café: Opens January 5.
  • Big Thunder Ranch: Closed to remove holiday overlay January 9 - 18.
  • Haunted Mansion: Closed to remove holiday overlay January 9 - 23.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles January 9 - June 14.
  • "it's a small world": Closed to remove holiday overlay January 23 - February 2.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed for refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes: Closed for one day, January 24.
  • 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 opens summer 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Island Charters: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A replacement has yet to be announced.

Disneyland fireworks return following injury-related hiatus
Disneyland stopped their fireworks for several days over the last two weeks following some firework-related injuries that Disney employees suffered. The fireworks were back by the New Year's Eve holiday.

Disneyland fireworks return
Disneyland brought back its holiday fireworks Friday night after canceling the show eight times in nine days.

Disneyland first halted its “Believe in Holiday Magic” fireworks show on Dec. 22 after an employee was injured in a behind-the-scenes accident. Since then, the show has only been held Sunday, Christmas Day.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health determined this week that the employee’s injury was minor and decided against launching an investigation, said Dean Fryer, a division spokesman.

Disney, fire officials and other experts had been trying to fix the problem and making a determination on a day-to-day basis whether the show would go on that night.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Disneyland traditionally holds a special fireworks show, “Fantasy in the Sky.” The nightly “Believe in Holiday Magic” show is set for earlier Saturday night.
“Believe in Holiday Magic” is to explode over Disneyland through Jan. 8.

Full Story: Around Disney: Disneyland fireworks return

Disney recognizes 55 years of service from longest-tenured Cast Member
Carnation Cafe's Oscar Martinez celebrated his 55th year with Disney last week. Congrats!

Happiest Worker marks 55 years at Disney
ANAHEIM – In his signature, tall white chef's hat, Oscar Martinez holds out a hand out as he greets just about every breakfast guest sitting on the patio at Disneyland's Carnation Café.

With a warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes, he asks a series of questions: "How long have you been here?" "Are you having a good time?" "What are you having? Some answer politely, not knowing anything about the friendly chef. But many jump up to ask for a picture or a hug.

They know Martinez for who he is – the longest-tenured worker at Disneyland.

Born in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, Martinez moved to Arkansas at around age 9. He grew up with a farmer father and, later, worked on a farm himself. He never did much cooking, but watched his mother in the kitchen.

At age 20, the siblings of his girlfriend, Shirley Ann, wanted her to join them in California. Shirley Ann said she'd go only if longtime boyfriend Martinez would come with her. So Martinez moved to California and, later, he and Shirley Ann got married.

When he landed a job as a busboy at the Fantasy 1 restaurant in Disneyland, Martinez had never been in a restaurant, let alone work in one. The park had only been open about 17 months when he first walked down Main Street U.S.A.

"I said, 'What am I doing here?' I'd never seen so many people in my life," Martinez said.
From there, he worked in just about every role in several Disneyland restaurants. He got his first job cooking because his boss noticed his speed. "He said, 'You work fast. We need you to work on the grill,'" Martinez said.

Full story: Happiest Worker marks 55 years at Disney

Alright, that wraps up our New Year edition of Dateline Disneyland! We wish you a happy and prosperous 2012 — and big thanks, as always, for reading! Don't forget to visit our fantastic sponsors over at TouringPlans!

Did you celebrate at Disneyland on New Year's Eve? Are you planning on attending the 24-hour Leap Day party? Let us know in the comments section below!

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.

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 January 2, 2012 edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by | Do More. Wait Less.

Submit "Ringing in 2012, One More Disney Day, Buena Vista Street progress, Hotel work +MORE!" to Digg Submit "Ringing in 2012, One More Disney Day, Buena Vista Street progress, Hotel work +MORE!" to Submit "Ringing in 2012, One More Disney Day, Buena Vista Street progress, Hotel work +MORE!" to StumbleUpon Submit "Ringing in 2012, One More Disney Day, Buena Vista Street progress, Hotel work +MORE!" to Google


  1. Trumpet's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great Update Andy, and Happy New Year.

    2012 looks promising. Forget the Olympics in my home country, the UK - Disney CaliforniaAdventure is where the magic is!

    I am loving the new facardes for Buena Vista Street. They are getting me really excited for the new entrance!!!!!!
    Cars Land continues to progress. i love how detailed Radiator Springs actually is.

    Hope all Micechatters have a great New Year.

  2. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great Update!!
  3. rstar's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Yes, thank you Andy! Dateline Disneyland is the only thing I like about Mondays! People are amazed that I know exactly what stage any and all work is at in the parks.
  4. DisneyResort's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I love that they used Paradise Gardens for New Year's. It's such a beautiful new addition to Paradise Pier and certainly worthy of more special events in the future. Way to go DCA!
  5. Fishbulb's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    GREAT WORK ANDY! Love the fog shots too.
  6. DisWedWay's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Maybe some things can get better with age, but I just can't see it in LED signage on Disneyland's Mainstreet. Esmeralda and I, still prefer the old pear shaped GE low 15 wattage bulbs and hope they don't replace the one's that still exist including on Carnation Plaza Gardens. The bulbs give it that Walt's 1920's pre-neon feeling that LED's don't give, and are a Historical element that should not be lost in case Mainstreet is made Historical. Hope they are not used in Fronteirland or Adventureland. What would Mark Twain say about his name sake without bulbs or Indy say if his generator was lighting up LED's. LED's are fine in Tomorrowland or Las Vegas on the always evolving newer non period architecture. Esmeralda and I took a tour of the Vegas Old Neon Sign Park which also features period bulb and socket signs. We were glad to hear Las Vegas is restoring a lot of the Historical Sign Icons and mounting them along it's prominent streets. The Silver Slipper is all bulbs and sockets. PD
    Updated 01-03-2012 at 04:22 PM by DisWedWay
  7. sir clinksalot's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    3 day refurb for Soarin'? Doesn't seem long enough IMO. Maybe they are installing digital projectors? (one could hope)
  8. Magical Biscuit's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I'm sorry, but 55 years of being a tool to an evil corporation is kind of a sad way to waste a life.
  9. Baloo's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Hopefully they add digital projections, give the screens a good cleaning and fix the fog machines that used to make the cloud effect when the park first opened
  10. mickeyfan4ever's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    well i think invtaions need to go and bring back corosol of progess
  11. SoarinMatt's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    The Carthay Circle Theater is looking fantastic!
  12. Wreckless Abrandon's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo
    Hopefully they add digital projections, give the screens a good cleaning and fix the fog machines that used to make the cloud effect when the park first opened
    TOTALLY agree! The screens started looking extremely worn the last time I was there in October. And a year before that... and before that. I was annoyed with the Back to the Future Ride when it was on its last legs for the same reason!
  13. Timekeeper's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I think the Nanooze Zone is a smaller version of the Epcot Innoventions Nanooze Exhibit, see links below.
    WDW Exhibit: - National Science Foundation (NSF) News - Take a Nanooze Break - US National Science Foundation (NSF)
    DL Exhibit: Cornell Chronicle: Disneyland exhibit stems from professor
    I'm surprised and yet not surprised, you cover nearly all the new things at DLR, but don't cover Innoventions, as that place is a "Glorified Best Buy" which is true in some points, but I think you should cover the new stuff in the building, as Innoventions is rumored to be removed for something better in the future.
    Other then that, great new article for the first week of the year!

  14. Ralphathoner's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    A quick correction in regard to Disneyland being open 24 hours. In 1980 for the celebration of Disneyland's 25th anniversary, the park stayed open for 25 straight hours. Then again in 1987 for the opening for Star Tours, the park was open for 36 hours.
    Updated 01-05-2012 at 01:03 PM by Ralphathoner
  15. Ralphathoner's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Sorry all, a correction to my correction. The Star Tours opening was 60 hours.
  16. frankiefalzon's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink