Disneyland Resort theme parks might be enjoying a period of light off-season crowds, but the parks remain very busy with numerous remodeling, refurbishment and construction efforts. In Disneyland, the Matterhorn mountain is quickly disappearing behind scaffolding as the attraction undergoes a major six-month refurbishment that will include a complete re-paint. Meanwhile, a block of Main Street, U.S.A. has disappeared behind construction walls as the area's restaurants and retail spaces undergo major remodeling projects. Over at Disney California Adventure, the Buena Vista Street project continues to make progress with new details emerging at the Carthay Circle Theater and the new Carthay Circle Fountain seen testing behind construction walls. Back in Cars Land, more Radiator Springs neon is going up and off-season projects including parade route repaving is taking place along Paradise Pier.
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 have another full update this week. Let's get started.
With the holidays over, banners throughout Downtown Disney are now promoting Star Tours and World of Color.
Theme park crowd levels remain light this week as we continue through the winter off-season. Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast to help you plan your visit:
As seasonal refurbishments continue, the next few weeks should be relatively quiet at Disneyland. TouringPlans.com 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. It's always a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com 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 HazeltonStatistician, TouringPlans.com
RESORT-WIDE Crowd Calendar Prediction
Tues., Jan. 17
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
Partial block outs this weekend.
Wednesday and Thursday Disneyland will be a 1.9.
Crowds in both parks drop off considerably after MLK Day on Monday.
Wed., Jan. 18
Thu., Jan. 19
Fri., Jan. 20
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
As we told you last week, the awkward "Let the Memories Begin!" marquee has mercifully been removed from the Disneyland Resort main entrance plaza.
JOIN US TO CELEBRATE 7 YEARS OF MICECHAT!
MiceChat's 7th anniversary weekend is approaching and only a few more tickets to our incredible line-up of events are left. Sales end today on our spectacular Adventures By Disney "Hollywood Magic" tour, and now is your last chance to snag one of the last remaining tickets before time runs out. Also, you won't want to miss our special Disney celebrity breakfast at ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney featuring Disney Imagineer and Legend Bob Gurr! We've got all the details below including a link to our ticket sales page where you can reserve your place in this excellent anniversary weekend now.
It all begins on Friday January 27, 2012. Join us on a very special one day Adventures By Disney "Hollywood Magic" trip that starts at the Walt Disney Studios and then takes you to other famous Hollywood locations with your MiceChat pals. We'll tour the Walt Disney Studios, see the famous Disney Archives, dine in the commissary and shop in the studio store. Then it's off to Hollywood where you'll tour the El Capitan and the Kodak Theaters (the latter the home of the Academy Awards) as well as other famous tinseltown and Sunset Strip sights and landmarks. The day wraps up with a cocktail reception on Malibu Beach at sunset. What better way to kick off the MiceChat anniversary weekend! The event is currently listed as SOLD OUT, BUT it is likely that we'll be able to add an additional 10 folks, so get your name in to Teresa Cory from Fairy Godmother Travel today: [email protected]
The fun continues on Saturday, January 28th, with the MiceChat Celebrity Breakfast at ESPN Zone. A wonderful buffet breakfast/meet and greet with Disney celebrities including Susan Egan (Broadway's Belle and the voice of Meg from Hercules), Disney author Sam Gennawey, Margaret Kerry (the original reference model and actress for Tinker bell), and other invited guests. The event will take place from 9am-11am, Saturday, January 28th at the fabulous ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. And YES, the world famous, ESPN Zone Maple Bacon will be served! Following the breakfast we will spend the day in Disney California Adventure. CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS
The grand finale is on Sunday, January 29th which is our traditional Disneyland day with breakfast along the Rivers of America, a grand circle tour of the happiest place on earth and the classic noon meet at the right hand of Walt Disney himself. We hope you'll be able to join us. More details about the meets, events and special opportunities will be posted soon. CLICK HERE FOR UPDATED INFO ON THE FUN-FILLED WEEKEND
Inside Disneyland, the Christmas garland and decorations are now mostly gone following the end of the annual holiday season.
Sleeping Beauty Castle still had snow over the weekend, but not for long...
On Main Street, more walls have popped up along the facades of the dining and retail locations undergoing major changes including the Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Penny Arcade and Candy Palace.
Some facade refurbishment work Center Street's Crystal Arcade entrance.
Some outdoor vending carts selling ice cream novelties have been parked in front of the Penny Arcade, near the closed Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor.
On the opposite side of the street, Disneyana is closed for refurbishment. A selection of collectibles and art are available at the China Closet while Disneyana is closed.
The entrance to Disneyana from inside the Market House is closed off
Walls surround the Refreshment Corner patio
With the Refreshment Corner patio closed, the Ragtime Piano has been relocated to the lower deck of the Mark Twain Riverboat.
It's a rare treat to enjoy live tunes aboard the Mark Twain, so if you're able to make it to the parks be sure to take advantage of this opportunity!
Another rare treat — evening cruises aboard the Mark Twain. With Fantasmic! dark during the off season, now is your chance to enjoy the Rivers of America late into the night.
The Matterhorn is quickly disappearing behind scaffolding as Disney prepares to repaint the landmark.
The growing scaffolding structure has caused a tunnel between the mountain the Submarine Lagoon to pop up.
A look at the on-going $1 billion remodel and expansion efforts at Disney California Adventure BUENA VISTA STREET
Work continues on the park's Buena Vista Street project.
Further inside the park, the new Carthay Circle fountain is now running behind construction walls.
From what can be seen over the fence, it sure looks nice
Below, a quick video of the fountain testing.
Nice new copper rain gutters are up at the Carthay Circle Theater
The backside of the theater has now emerged from tarps and scaffolding
Disney finally announced the upcoming aviation-themed Minnie Mouse show coming to Condor Flats in February. The new show, Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline will hit the streets of Condor Flats with an all-new show featuring songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Below is the announcement from the Disney Parks Blog:
‘Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline’ to Take Off at Disney California Adventure Park on February 17
Beginning February 17, guests at Disney California Adventure park can take flight with Minnie Mouse in a tune-filled “travelogue” of song, dance and interactive moments in Condor Flats, beneath the control tower across from Soarin’ Over California. “Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline” features the charter airline owner herself and her four-member crew singing and swinging to songs from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in the show and meet Minnie Mouse. So take wing with “Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline,” beginning February 17! [ LINK ]
Meanwhile... the Condor Flats sign on the fence is in the process of being repainted...
Last week Disney announced the replacement for the increasingly stale ElecTRONica dance party in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Instead of letting the park enjoy its first summer without major construction without a tacky dance party in the Hollywood area, they're continuing the concept with a new Alice in Wonderland-themed version.
The new offering will take influence from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and feature a live band and plenty of Alice-themed activities and decorations.
This psychedelic soiree will be filled with surprises and new takes on some familiar characters from the world of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Join us for a party like no other as you fall into the rabbit hole and land in a wild and whimsical world where up is down, this is that and nothing is what it seems. A live band, unique entertainment, fun-filled games and plenty of dancing all await guests seeking an escape into a bright and vivid alternate reality.
Throughout the Mad T Party, we will “tip our hats” to the world of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” with wild and fabulous imagery and imagination. Familiar faces will be re-imagined in fresh, new ways, all combining to immerse guests in a captivating world that’s filled with exclusive signature foods, beverages and merchandise offerings.
So get ready to step through the rabbit hole and into Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure park, coming summer 2012! [ LINK ]
The Bratz in Wonderland Band?
The End Of Line Club will be replaced with the House of Cards lounge.
Bye bye ElecTRONica!
Over on Paradise Pier, the section of parade route in front of the Little Mermaid attraction is behind walls for repaving.
On the other side of Paradise Bay, the Midway Shops continue their facade remodel. Another cluster of outdoor vending carts to clutter up an area with construction walls.
A new semi-transparent canvas awning has gone up on the Sideshow Shirts facade.
The facade behind walls has been painted on and looks to have a new wooden trim.
With the Cars 2 meet-and-greet now gone from the construction walls at the entrance to Cars Land, Mater and Lightning McQueen have moved to the Grizzly Peak waterfall photo-op area across from A Bug's Land.
Of course, Cars and Toy Story souvenirs are available at the photo op's exit.
Down the road, Cars Land continues to come together behind construction walls.
Looks like the framework for the future Cars Land sign
The Flo's V8 Cafe sign is up
Disney released a time-lapse video of the work done on the facade for Ramone's House of Body Art:
DISNEYLAND HOTEL REMODEL
A look at the work at the Disneyland Hotel's main entrance...
THIS AND THAT
A new So. Cal surf wear shop has moved into the old Compass Books newsstand.
Some flower planter work in front of Sephora
Back inside Disneyland, the Adventureland arch is behind tarps for refurbishment.
With the bridge to Adventureland cramped with refurbishment walls and tarps, the Tiki Juice Bar line can't run into Adventureland via the bridge. It is currently being rerouted across the entrance to the Tiki Room entrance and along the edge of the Jolly Holiday Bakery's outdoor patio
Finally, a bit of FASTPASS news. The Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin FASTPASS service is now finally connected to the park's main FASTPASS network. Previously, with the attraction disconnected from the network, you could obtain a Roger Rabitt FASTPASS even when you held a FASTPASS for another attraction. With it now connected to the network, you must wait for your window to obtain another FASTPASS to come up.
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 HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat.
MiceChat.com 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 NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
Weekly Theme Park Hours
January 16—22, 2012
Disney California Adventure
Monday: 8 am - 11 pm Tuesday-Thursday 10 am - 8 pm Friday: 9 am - 10 pm Saturday: 9 am - 12 midnight Sunday: 9 am - 10 pm
Monday: 10 am - 9 pm Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm
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
Big Thunder Ranch: Closed to remove holiday overlay through January 18.
Haunted Mansion: Closed to remove holiday overlay through January 23.
Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles through 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 through January 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.
Rare Disneyland Paris book set to return! The long out-of-print Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality book is coming back in its spectacular collector's edition format. We own a copy of this book and white it's a bit pricey, it's an excellent volume filled with tons of concept art and color photos of Disneyland Paris. It's a must-own for any Disney theme park fan, and now is your chance to get a copy!
Over the years, I've become a close personal friend of the author and recently discovered something which will benefit all of us (or at least the first 250 or so of you who respond).
The rights to the book, which was once sold at Disneyland Paris, have gone to a new publishing company, and as Alain went through the details with them, they discovered that about 730 of the English "Collectors Edition" were never printed (due to printing expenses and other reasons at the time). I've offered to help finance the printing of the remainder of the allotment of the Collectors Edition if we meet a certain number of preorders (200 to 250 preordered books on my end).
If we are able to obtain 200 preorders (at the original printing price of the book), we'll have the books sent to print and deliver them to those who preorder. If we don't meet the preorder requirement by March 15, 2012, we'll cancel the print and refund all the money. If we are able to complete the printing, those who buy the book after preorders are over will pay the new 'higher' cover price (the book will go up an additional $40 after the preorder). So, it definitely pays to get in early and help us with the preorder requirement.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the collector's edition of Disneyland Paris, From Sketch To Reality, it is one of the most collectible Disney books ever printed. The collector's edition is printed on a luxury glossy paper and has gold printing on the cover and dust jacket, it was limited to 2000 copies in English ( and 2000 in french ), each copy has a number, AND each copy includes four beautiful "lithographs" of WDI artwork for the Walt Disney Studios. Each of these lithographs is suitable for framing. It's a big book with 320 pages and 750 pictures in it. We're pretty confident that we can achieve the required number of preorders and have the book printed and shipped this Spring.
10 years ago, the collector's edition was 100 euros (plus 15 euro for shipping, which is about $150). When the pre-orders are over and the book is back in regular stock, its price will increase to 130 euros plus 15 euro shipping(which is about $190), which means that pre-ordering the book will help you save a substantial amount and does a good deed at the same time.
The book is expected to be released late March or April 2012, as we hope to have the collector's edition released in time for Disneyland Paris' 20th Anniversary.
Offers are due Jan. 27 on the bank-owned mall, which is about half occupied. The mall, at 321 W. Katella Ave., went on the market last month.
While restaurants have thrived, shops and other venues have struggled since the mall opened in 2008 when the economy was taking a dive, despite its proximity to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
Banks took over GardenWalk in 2010 when the original owners defaulted on a $210 million loan. When the mall failed to attract a buyer in an auction, it went back to bank ownership.
This is the first time that the mall has gone up for sale through a broker, said Philip Voorhees, senior vice president for broker CBRE, Inc. It is expected to sell for less than its replacement cost, which is $280 million.
The 493,000-square-foot mall sits 1,500 feet away from Disney California Adventure and across the street from another Disney property, where a third theme park eventually could go.
"You just don't see this kind of opportunity in the western U.S.," Voorhees said. "It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime project, to be owning this type of project right next to Disney."
Voorhees said hundreds of potential buyers have inquired about the property, but he declined to name them. Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown declined to comment when asked if Disney is interested in the property.
Alright, that's it for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks, as always, for reading and be sure to visit our fantastic sponsors over at TouringPlans! And don't forget to buy your tickets for MiceChat's fantastic 7-year anniversary events!
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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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