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Dateline Disneyland

Elias & Co takes shape, Buena Vista details, Romance & Ragtime, Matterhorn +MORE!

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by , 02-06-2012 at 03:50 AM
Disneyland continues its off-season with a number of big and small refurbishments, including the major six-month Matterhorn Bobsleds project. Meanwhile, work continues on projects along Main Street, U.S.A. as the Disneyana collectibles shop reopens after getting some work done. Over at Disney California Adventure, new details continue to emerge on Buena Vista Street as that project and the major new Cars Land expansion gear up for a mid-June grand opening. Meanwhile, on Paradise Pier the Midway Shops continue to get new facades. Nearby in Pacific Wharf, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company moves into the former Mission Tortilla Factory. Outside the parks, big projects get underway in Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel continues to get some additional final touches as it wraps up its multi-year remodeling effort.

Don't forget 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've got a huge update for you today, so let's jump right in!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

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Our friends at Touring Plans are back with their weekly crowd forecast, but you can always get a complete forecast and avoid big crowds by subscribing today:
Another slow off-season week at Disneyland. 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 spring break 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
Tues., Feb. 7
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.
  • Disney California Adventure is a 2.3 on Thursday.
  • Saturday in Disneyland is a 5.8.
Wed., Feb. 8
Thu., Feb. 9
Fri., Feb. 10
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.

Valentine's Day decorations and spring floral are back in Town Square


The Disneyana shop has reopened after its refurbishment. The store looks great with restored fixtures, display areas and cash wraps, and all-new flooring and wallpaper. The overall changes here aren't major, but what was done is another fine example of the great interior work Disney has been doing on Main Street, U.S.A. in the last few years.

Gorgeous new wallpapers with shiny gold accents.

In the Central Plaza, the coffee stand has closed for a refurbishment, putting additional strain on the new Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe for coffee and pastries.

Across the hub and into Fantasyland, the Matterhorn continues its major refurbishment that includes a full repaint of the mountain as well as new ride vehicles and show upgrades.

A section of refurbishment walls have new signage detailing the history of the attraction, from concept stages to the current enhancements being worked on today. It's a nice touch and a great way to explain what's happening during this attraction's long six-month refurbishment.

Be sure to click these photos for high-resolution versions so you can read the signs!

Further back in Fantasyland, "it's a small world" has reopened following the removal of its holiday overlay.


Meanwhile at "it's a small world," the new romance segment has debuted in "The Magic, The Memories and You!," which plays nightly on the attraction's facade.

Below, video of the show, featuring the new "romance" segment.

Over in Frontierland, the Mark Twain Riverboat continues to play host to the ragtime pianist while Main Street's Refreshment Corner restaurant continues its refurbishment.

We highly recommend enjoying a cruise on the Twain while the ragtime piano is on board. It's truly a fantastic treat.

Below, video of some live ragtime aboard the Mark Twain.

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


Construction continues on California Adventure's new Buena Vista Street main entrance area, with new details starting to emerge.

A new weathervane. Cats or playful bears?

Practical Cafe and Clarabelle's Ice Cream progress...

More ice cream details

New trees have gone in around the Carthay Circle fountain

Lots of work going on at the Elias and Company Department Store

The Elias and Co facade facing the main street is getting some great art deco details applied as well as new signage

Later this year, you'll be able to find some great new merchandise featuring some of California Adventure's new attraction poster designs:

The Disney Parks Blog had details on the new merchandise:

What’s the ‘Attraction’ at the Disneyland Resort, You Ask?
Disney California Adventure park attraction posters, of course! I know that many of you have been eagerly waiting to find out when the attraction posters artwork would actually be ready for a sneak peek. Not only was I was able to get some details on when you can expect to see them, and which ones will be released first, but I also managed to snap a couple quick pics of some of the attraction poster-inspired products to share with all of you as well.

So which images will be released first? Luigi’s Flying Tires, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Radiator Springs Racers and the ever-popular Red Car Trolley. Expect to see these images in stores in late March/early April, on an array of items including tees, deluxe prints and metal signs.

What about pins? Wonder no more.

So if you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t see my favorite attraction poster here,” I’ll let you in on a little secret. Every three months or so, a new collection of attraction poster-inspired merchandise will be released. So if you don’t see it now, it might be in the next series. [ FULL STORY ]

New palm trees are up along the side of the Carthay Circle Theater.


Over in the Golden State area, Grizzly River Run has closed for refurbishment

Across from Grizzly River Run, longtime California Adventure performers, Jedadiah Jones and the Miner 49ers have been notified by Disney that their contract is not being renewed. The popular bluegrass band's last day in the park will be February 13.

Below, the Miners perform "Ole Slew Foot" from Disneyland's defunct Country Bear Jamboree

Nearby, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has reopened after refurbishment.


Cars Land continues to take shape. Tires have been added to the top of Mater's shack.

Last week, MiceAge's Al Lutz reported in an Editor's Note that Cars Land is now scheduled for a June 15 grand opening date. Here's the full editor's note:

EDITOR’S NOTE 2/2: The dates for DCA's grand re-opening event have finally been chosen. June 14th will be the media day and private celebrity party, and June 15th will be the official first day of operation for customers. There will only be a handful of days for AP Previews and soft openings for Cars Land in early June, and those dates aren't confirmed yet. June 15th will also kick off DCA's new operating schedule of daily 8AM to 11PM hours through the summer.

The Disney Parks Blog recently gave a look behind-the-scenes with Larry the Cable Guy as he recorded vocal tracks for the upcoming attraction

Imagineers were testing the attraction over the weekend

All of the cones are orange now

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

In Flik's Fun Fair, work is getting underway on that land's new entrance to Cars Land.

Over in Pacific Wharf, work continues on that area's entrance to Cars Land including new lighting fixtures and trees


Meanwhile, scaffolding and tarps have gone up around the former Mission Tortilla Factory as work gets underway on changing the outside for the upcoming Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Soda Fountain.


The newly remodeled facades for Paradise Pier's Midway Shops continue to come together. They look dramatically better than the on-the-cheap stucco finish the shops opened in 2001 with.

Where the Midway Games and new Midway Shops facades meet. They match rather nicely.

Unfortunately, speakers like this are still exposed.

The old Man Hat-n-Beach facade is looking nice.

The signage on these shops still remain. Hopefully they'll be getting some changes soon.

New lighting fixtures

While the shop exteriors sport nice new facades, the interiors still reflect the level of tackiness that only the original California Adventure designers could accomplish.

Rope lighting passing through funhouse mirrors. Yeesh.


The parks aren't the only place with big projects underway, Downtown Disney is seeing significant changes as well. The La Brea Bakery near the main entrance security tents is currently undergoing a major expansion that includes the addition of a new exhibition bakery and an expanded quick-service dining area.

La Brea Bakery Café to Expand at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort
If you’ve been to the Downtown Disney District lately, you’ve likely noticed the exciting changes underway. On January 3, La Brea Bakery Café began a significant refurbishment of its current location including expanding the restaurant’s footprint, creating a new exhibition bakery, adding a new kitchen in the express area, and placing an awning over the outdoor seating in the full-service dining section.

The remodel, as seen in this early concept artwork, also will allow La Brea Bakery Café to produce fresh baked items at the restaurant, which will include a selection of breads, pastries, sweets, flatbreads and foccacias.

The café will feature menu items inspired by La Brea Bakery’s founder, Nancy Silverton. From double-dipped French toast and fontina strata at breakfast to burgers, salads, panini and authentic Italian focaccias made fresh throughout the day, the focus will be on fresh, healthy and flavorful foods.

La Brea Bakery’s full-service restaurant remains open during the refurbishment through mid-March. The restaurant will reopen its doors with a fresh new look in April. [ FULL STORY ]

Green tarps have gone up all around the restaurant now, blocking views of construction.

The sit-down portion of the restaurant remains open for business.

Deeper into Downtown Disney, the LEGO Store has relocated to the former Island Charters location while the main store closes for a major remodel that will include the addition of new LEGO sculptures and an outdoor children's play area.

The temporary location offers a smaller merchandise selection while the main store is closed.

Walls are up around the main store.

LEGO Store at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort Prepares for Changes
A brand-new and completely remodeled LEGO Store is coming this spring to the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort! The current store opened in 2001 and has held some of the largest and most amazing LEGO models found anywhere in world. Millions of guests have visited the store and created memories that will last the rest of their lives.

This month, the LEGO Store will move into a temporary location in the Downtown Disney District, while its permanent site gets a complete LEGO overhaul! Guests will enjoy a brand-new interactive outdoor play area, all-new play areas inside the store, and of course, new large-scale LEGO models located both inside and outside the re-imagined LEGO Store. [ FULL STORY ]

Some work around the Catal Restaurant is starting to finish up.

Similar work in front of Sephora has been completed.


At the end of Downtown Disney, work continues at the Disneyland Hotel as Imagineers apply some more finishing touches at the remodeled hotel.

Some repaving work

The recently unearthed fountains are now working on a regular basis in front of the hotel's main tower.

They look great

At night, the fountains light up and the Hotel tower glows blue

The main doors were closed over the weekend

Upon entering, a curtain shows that work is being done on the wall guests see when they first enter the hotel.

A peek through the semi-open curtain shows a giant reproduction of a vintage "fun map"

New lighting fixtures and themed chairs have been added to the check-in area

Tea cups!

A closer look at the new chandeliers


Over at Downtown Disney's AMC Theaters, a special Valentine's Day run of "Gone with the Wind" is being advertised.

Back in Disneyland, New Orleans Square will host a new Mardi Gras-themed event on select weekends through February and March.

Let the Good Times Roll at Disneyland Park During New Orleans Bayou Bash!
We’re getting ready to party New Orleans-style here at Disneyland park. During February and early March, the streets of New Orleans Square will be filled with music, Disney characters, street performers and delicious food at New Orleans Bayou Bash!

Come join the party from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the following dates:
  • February 10, 11, 12
  • February 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
  • February 24, 25, 26
  • March 2, 3, 4
  • March 9, 10, 11

Special entertainment will include performances by Princess Tiana, Louis and Naveen and meet & greet opportunities with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale – all dressed up in their Mardi Gras finest! [ FULL STORY ]

In New Orleans Square, Cafe Orleans has reopened after a brief closure. During its down time, the restaurant moved its entrance to the opposite side of the building. The move is a smart idea, moving guests waiting for a table to Orleans Street, freeing up some space on Royal Street where Pirates of the Caribbean's handicapped queue forms and the attraction exits.

The new entrance on Orleans Street.

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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
February 6 — 12, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday: 10 am - 8 pm
Tuesday: 10 am - 6 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
LOW-MEDIUM 1.1—5.8 out of 10
LOW-MEDIUM 2.3—6.3 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

  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles through June 14.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed for refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Fantasmic!: Dark while under refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: Closed for refurbishment February 1.
  • Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Palace, Penny Arcade and Refreshment Corner: Food service locations and shops close January 2012 for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.

Disney California Adventure
[*]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.[/list]
Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • Island Charters: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
  • La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Rumor is that this portion may be expanded and reopen as a new dining/retail location, possibly a Starbucks Coffee store.

Anaheim okays $158 million in tax incentives for Garden Walk hotels
In a strange series of events last week, the City of Anaheim approved $158 million in tax incentives for new hotels for the Anaheim Garden Walk mall, and then called an emergency meeting to discuss the plans, and then they canceled the meeting. Details from the OC Register:

Hotels can get $158 million in tax incentives after all
The Anaheim City Council called off a meeting Tuesday (today) to reconsider a previous decision to give up to $158 million in tax incentives for two Disney-area hotels, paving the way for the contract to become effective Wednesday.

A majority of council members, who had voted in favor of the deal, were unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting, forcing the last-minute cancellation, according to a city agenda.

Councilman Harry Sidhu had back surgery, city officials said. Two other members, Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, said they had prior commitments.

Mayor Tom Tait, who was against the tax incentives, said he decided Monday to schedule the meeting because council members were unable to see the final contract before voting to help hotels at the Anaheim GardenWalk mall near Disneyland.

Also, some residents complained that they were unaware the vote would be taken on Jan. 24, Tait said. The Jan. 24 agenda lists the proposal as a “discussion” item. A 3-2 vote ordered the city manager to execute the contract, which goes into effect at midnight. See a story about the Anaheim City Council vote.
“It’s a very, very big deal, and I felt we should take another look at it,” Tait said. “I think the public didn’t realize a big vote was coming that night.”

Councilwoman Gail Eastman said she had a personal commitment Tuesday night and stands by her vote.

“I feel comfortable that I made a good decision a week ago,” Eastman said Tuesday.

On Jan. 24, supporters packed the meeting room. About 20 spoke in favor of the tax incentives, saying they would create thousands of jobs. No one spoke against the deal.

The city will not provide any money up front for the $283-million hotel project, which is to include 866 four-star rooms. Instead, the hotels would get money later from hotel bed taxes. In Anaheim, guests pay 15 percent of their room rentals for the bed tax, which normally goes to the city.

Anaheim Hills resident Larry Larsen said he is against the tax “giveaway.” He was unable to attend the Jan. 24 meeting, but he believed he would be able to speak at a future meeting about the issue.
“I think it was under-handed and a slap in the face to the entire city,” Larsen said.

Tait and Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who voted against the tax break, said they planned to show up at City Hall on Tuesday night anyway to talk to residents who might show up on the matter.

“I called the meeting. I should be there,” Tait said.

Full Story: Around Disney: Hotels can get $158 million in tax incentives after all

Alright, that wraps up this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading, and please be sure to share your thoughts in our comments section below!

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See you at Disneyland!
- Andy

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  1. BestBeatingHeart's Avatar
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    Great update as usual... the hotel looks absolutely gorgeous at night. I love those Tea Cup chairs inside too. Sad about the Miner 49 band though, they added great atmosphere.
  2. Trumpet's Avatar
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    Great Update Andy,

    Cars Land and Buena Vista Street look fuuuunnn!!!! (Quoting Mater)

    Finally visable progress on the Chocolate Factory.

    I don't know if they will chage the insides of the Paradise Pier shops, but it would be nice!!!

    Thanks again Andy,

  3. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update!
  4. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    Ahhh, my least favorite time of year begins, sunnied only with the hope spring training brings looming in the distant horizon.

    Thanks for the greatness once again Mr. Andy. It will be sad to see the bluegrass guys go, as my kids loved participating. But I won't miss the bottleneck they created when it was busy in that area.
  5. JCSkipr79's Avatar
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    Omg, the vintage DL map and Tea Cup waiting charis in the DL Hotel lobby are EPIC! WDW could only DREAM to be so Disney! And GWTW playing at DTD? LORD. WHy must I be stuck in this godforsaken swamp out East...
  6. DisneyDrums's Avatar
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    Everything is looking awesome! How I want to go back, just to ride Radiator Springs Racers!!!!!
  7. disneygirl's Avatar
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    I love those tea cup chairs!
  8. Crazy Larry's Avatar
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    Moving the entrance of Cafe Orleans is a fantastic idea. The old location was such a bottle neck.
  9. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    Disneyana looks beautiful, but it's a shame to see all those Jim Shore and Vinylmation boxes taking up shelf space in what used to hold fine collectibles once upon a yesteryear.
  10. SpcMtn77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disneygirl
    I love those tea cup chairs!
    + 1
  11. Westsider's Avatar
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    Another awesome update! The entire Resort is really coming together with greatness.

    2012 is truly a Golden Age for the Disneyland Resort, and will go down in history as one of those truly epic years when utterly fantastic things happened and amazing attractions opened like 1955, 1967, and 2005.
  12. TodAZ1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan
    Disneyana looks beautiful, but it's a shame to see all those Jim Shore and Vinylmation boxes taking up shelf space in what used to hold fine collectibles once upon a yesteryear.
    I can't STAND the Vinylmations!! Fine, if you want to offer it, but why do they have to be in every store in the park, DTD and DCA????? Come on, Disney!! Do better!!

    Omg, the vintage DL map and Tea Cup waiting charis in the DL Hotel lobby are EPIC! WDW could only DREAM to be so Disney!
    Quoted for truth!! DLH is awesome!!
  13. Jayce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider
    Another awesome update! The entire Resort is really coming together with greatness.

    2012 is truly a Golden Age for the Disneyland Resort, and will go down in history as one of those truly epic years when utterly fantastic things happened and amazing attractions opened like 1955, 1967, and 2005.

    ^ This!

    Hopefully we'll be saying this again in the not too distant future about tomorrowland enhancements!
  14. DisneyResort's Avatar
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    What the hell? They're dumping the Miner 49ers? That's just sad because for most of the park guests, they're just background music. But if you stop and listen to them, they're a very good bluegrass band.
    First Drawn To The Magic is let go in place of (puke) Disney Dance Crew. And now this very talented group is...I'm guessing...being let go in favor of Minnie's Fly Girls.
    I say give these boys a second chance an put them in Frontierland. There's plenty of space to set them up and everyone will like them.
  15. Disneymike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider
    Another awesome update! The entire Resort is really coming together with greatness.

    2012 is truly a Golden Age for the Disneyland Resort, and will go down in history as one of those truly epic years when utterly fantastic things happened and amazing attractions opened like 1955, 1967, and 2005.
    Can't forget 1959 can we? The year the Matterhorn, Monorail, and the Subs opened!
  16. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Hope the La Brea Bakery is fixing the restroom problem for the facility, so you don't have to walk across the parking lot. The parade lights in your update photo look very distracting on top of the vintage looking posts and lamp heads. Hope they disappear during the day. There is plenty of space over in Fronteirland for The Miners 49ers. Cowboy Cookout at Paris Disneyland which has live music, is much like Big Thunder Ranch BBQ which could use this band while your dinning. PD
    Updated 02-06-2012 at 07:36 PM by DisWedWay
  17. Dreamagineer's Avatar
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  18. ColonelWalrus's Avatar
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    Great Update! It makes me uncomfortable to ask, but can we see more pictures of the Radiator Springs street and rock lighting display at night?
  19. DarthBrian's Avatar
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    I think the weathervane is clearly depicting cats. Bears don't have tails that long.
  20. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    This is one of the great years at the Disneyland Resort!