Mardi Gras at Disneyland, Charging lockers, Cone Zone, Downtown sandwiches, +MORE!
by, 02-13-2012 at 02:38 AM
New Orleans Square is decked out in its celebratory finest as it kicks off its multi-weekend Mardi Gras celebration. The New Orleans Bayou Bash! events bring an array of live entertainment and special food items to New Orleans Square. Meanwhile, work continues on the Main Street U.S.A. dining expansion projects as well as the major Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment. Over at Disney California Adventure, the new neon Cozy Cone Motel marquee has arrived in Cars Land and construction on the park's new Buena Vista Street area continues as it moves closer to its June opening. In Downtown Disney, the popular Earl of Sandwich restaurant will open its first California location this summer after the Compass Books and Cafe closes at the end of March. Meanwhile, Downtown Disney has a variety of special events scheduled for a fun Valentine's Day outing.
Get a closer look at today's update! You can now click on any photo in today's column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.
It's been another busy week at Disneyland, so let's get started.
Inside Dateline Disneyland
- Welcome to Disneyland!
Touring Plans crowd forecast, New details at Jolly Holiday Bakery
- Magic Kingdom Makeovers
Carnation Cafe work, Main Street facade refurbishments, Matterhorn work
- Lock(er) and (Re)load
New charging lockers allow guests to charge a variety of devices
- Mardi Gras Land
New Orleans Bayou Bash! celebrates Mardi Gras with characters, entertainment and food
- California Construction
A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
- Downtown Disney changes
Earl of Sandwich announced, LEGO Store remodel
- Disneyland Hotel remodel
More finishing touches appear at the Disneyland Hotel
- This & That
Downtown Disney cosmetic work and Valentine's Day offerings
- Weekly News and Information Round-Up
Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments
Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Fred from Touring Plans has his weekly crowd forecast again this week. Light crowds predicted for Valentine's Day — what a great date night idea!
Another slow off-season week 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. With spring break crowds on the horizon, it's 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 Hazelton Statistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction
Crowd Tips Tues., Feb. 14 3/10 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 1.9 on Thursday.
- Disneyland is only a 2.5 on Valentine's Day!
Wed., Feb. 15 1/10 Thu., Feb. 16 1/10 Fri., Feb. 17 6/10 Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
The new Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at the end of Main Street continues to get some minor changes and additions...
Additional figurines have been added to the display cases in the bakery's indoor queue
This change happened a few weeks ago, but the "Please Come Again" sign on the back of the Jolly Holiday's marquee has been changed to Bert's last line from the film, "Don't stay away too long!"
Over at the Carnation Cafe, work continues on that restaurant's expansion project.
A couple awnings are starting to come down now on the restaurant's outdoor dining patio.
Next to the Carnation Cafe, the facades that were being refurbished are now out from behind painter's tarps and look fresh and new again
Over at the Matterhorn, work continues on that attraction's major overhaul that's set to run through mid-June.
Details on the Matterhorn's major renovation project from the Orange County Register:
Disney’s iconic Matterhorn undergoes upgrades
One of Orange County’s most recognizable structures — Disneyland‘s Matterhorn mountain — is under a net of scaffolding visible, from the I-5 freeway and beyond.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds ride is officially undergoing “routine maintenance,” but the appearance looks anything but routine.
The entire 147-foot-high structure, designed to look like the peak in Switzerland, is covered in pipes, wood and construction materials for the $1-million makeover project, according to a city document.
The bobsled ride is expected to be closed for six months — one of the longest renovations in the ride’s 52-year history.
The Matterhorn shut down Jan. 9 and is scheduled to return this summer. Disney usually schedules major renovation projects early in the year when tourism is slower.
Matterhorn also was closed between July and September when safety railings were installed and other maintenance work was done
During this closure, crews will paint the white exterior of the five-story mountain, do rock-work repair and add new bobsleds, said Betsy Sanchez, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman.
The former bobsleds had tandem seating, making riders sit in between each other’s legs on a seat that they straddled. The new vehicles will have three individual seats in each car and two cars will be linked together, Sanchez said.
When open, up to 120 riders will be able to go on the roller coaster’s two tracks at a time, according to city documents. [ FULL STORY ]
Back on Main Street, the locker rental area on East Center Street now offers Charging Lockers.
LOCK(ER) AND (RE)LOAD
There are two options when selecting your Charging Locker, the first option offers cables that allow you to charge Apple, Andriod, and mini-USB devices and cameras. The other option allows you to charge devices via AC power.
We tried one of the multi-device lockers on Saturday. The lockers run $2 per hour and you are required to pay for the first hour up front. If you exceed your pre-paid first hour, you'll have to pay $2 for each additional hour before you can re-open your locker to retrieve your device.
We're big fans of enjoying a show at the Golden Horseshoe while our phone charges at one of the many free outlets along the upper balcony, but these new charging lockers are a good option if you don't have a spare hour to spend waiting for your phone to recharge. Also, if you need to recharge your camera battery, keep in mind that the Main Street Photo Supply at the end of Main Street has long-offered complimentary camera battery charging services.
MARDI GRAS LAND
In New Orleans Square, Disneyland is celebrating Mardi Gras with several weekends of its "New Orleans Bayou Bash!" event.
Disney's press release gives details on the event that will run weekends through mid-March.
‘New Orleans Bayou Bash!’ at Disneyland Park
It’ll be party time in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park when “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” brings the sights and sounds of a New Orleans-style celebration on weekends, Feb. 10 through March 11, plus Feb. 20 and 21 for the Presidents’ Day holidays. Jazz musicians will perform throughout New Orleans Square, and Princess Tiana and her friends from “The Princess and the Frog” will lead guests in hand-clapping, dancing-in-the-streets fun.
- Dates for “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” will be Fridays through Sundays, Feb. 10-12, 24-26, March 2-4 and 9-11, and Friday through Tuesday, Feb. 17-21 (Presidents’ Day weekend). Entertainment is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- New Orleans Square and the adjoining banks of the Rivers of America will be adorned with masks, beads, feathers and colorful celebration banners in bright shades of purple, green and gold.
- A stage along the Rivers of America will provide a performance area for a variety of “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” talent, including “Tiana’s Mardi Gras Procession” and the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band.
- In “Tiana’s Mardi Gras Procession,” Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the alligator and a crew of colorfully costumed dancers burst into New Orleans Square in a musical celebration taking place six times a day. They sing lively tunes from “The Princess and the Frog” as they make their way through the streets and down to the Rivers of America stage.
- The New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band will appear five times per day in a rousing Mardi Gras procession through New Orleans Square. In traditional “second line” style, an umbrella dancer leads the mash-up of musicians and colorful street performers. Guests are asked to join the procession, which travels through the streets and down to the river stage.
- Additional “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” entertainment will include performances by Jambalaya Jazz Band and the bluesy Royal Street Bachelors on the stage at the French Market restaurant in New Orleans Square.
- In the Court of Angels Photo Location in New Orleans Square, guests celebrating the New Orleans Bayou Bash can pose for pictures with an ever-changing lineup of beloved Disney characters in Mardi Gras attire: Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Chip and Dale.
“New Orleans Bayou Bash!” fills New Orleans Square with vibrant excitement, jazzy music, street performers and the sensational food of New Orleans. Guests can savor a celebration seasoned with Southern hospitality. [ LINK ]
Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen and Louis from "The Princess and the Frog" perform regularly along the Rivers of America and appear for meet-and-greets
The New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band performs throughout the day as well
A couple third-party vendors have carts in Magnolia Park between the French Market Restaurant and The Haunted Mansion. Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen's cart sells a selection of New Orleans cook books and mardi gras beads and the Kaman's Art Shoppe cart offers themed face painting for kids.
New Orleans Square restaurants offer a selection of special-menu items during the Bayou Bash weekends.
French Market offerings
Harbour Galley item:
New Orleans Square's popcorn cart bacon-cheddar flavored popcorn:
Buena Vista Street continues to take shape at the entrance to Disney California Adventure...
The major expansion projects underway at Disney California Adventure as well as new attractions, parks and cruise ships Disney is building across the world will add thousands of new jobs over the course of 2012. The Orange County Register had details on their Around Disney blog:
Disney parks’ expansion creates thousand of jobs
The renovated Disney California Adventure will create 2,300 permanent jobs when the makeover is completed this year, the Disney parks’ head said in a speech Thursday night.
Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, gave the keynote speech to about 700 attendees of the annual Orange County Business Council dinner in Irvine.
Staggs said Walt Disney Co.’s parks are in the largest period of expansion in its history, including the $1-billion makeover of Disney California Adventure and the construction of a new resort in Shanghai. The company plans to add 10,000 jobs worldwide, including 7,000 in the United States, in 2012.
That includes the permanent jobs at California Adventure, mostly in customer-service type roles, when the final features open, including Cars Land in June. In addition, another 700 jobs are being added elsewhere at the Disneyland Resort, including for the recent makeover of the Disneyland Hotel.
During California Adventure’s renovations, about 1,700 construction jobs were needed annually.
“They obviously generate a whole lot to the economy,” Staggs said in an interview after his speech.
[ FULL STORY ]
Disney has auditions scheduled on March 10 and 11 for a variety of musicians that will be part of a new musical group called "Five and Dime" set to debut as part of Buena Vista Street in "early June." It's worth mentioning that the Disney Audition's "early June" timeframe for the debut of this show could point to a target date for the opening of Buena Vista Street. The DisneyAuditions.com page has a description of the new performing group:
Five & Dime, a high-energy musical group ("Five") fronted by a female singer ("Dime") with the vocal stylings of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Together, they will play and swing to popular standards of the ’30s while interacting with park Guests. Rehearsals begin early May, show opens early June.
Elias and Co. Department Store
Over in Condor Flats, the entrance continues to undergo subtle changes to make it look less worn and contemporary and more idealized and period-appropriate.
Further into Condor Flats, the new stage is set for the new Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline show.
The new show is set to debut this Friday and will bring the sounds of the 30s, 40s and 50s together with Minnie Mouse.
Nearby in the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, the Grizzly River Run water rapid ride is still drained for its refurbishment that runs through early March.
Work continue in Cars Land...
Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed last week the new land will open in June. More from the OC Register:
Disney announces Cars Land opening time
Disney California Adventure will open the major Cars Land area in June, the Disney president announced Tuesday.
Bob Iger, the Walt Disney Co.’s president and chief executive officer, announced the opening month for the 12-acre Cars Land during a conference call with investors about quarterly earnings Tuesday.
Up until this point, Disney would only confirm that Cars Land will open in the summer, when it will conclude the park’s $1-billion makeover project.
Last week, Al Lutz, editor of the Miceage.com Disney watchdog blog, reported that Cars Land would open June 15. But Disney officials refused to confirm a date.
Cars Land is the largest part of the five-year expansion project with three rides, a man-built mountain range, stores and restaurants that look like Radiator Springs, the fictional town in the “Cars” movies. [ FULL STORY ]
The new neon marquee for the Cozy Cone Motel food service location has been installed and a new brick facade is up on a building in Cars Land as that land continues to move toward its summer opening.
Disney will host a special merchandise showcase in March featuring new items designed for Disney California Adventure, including Cars Land. The showcase will be exclusive to Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders and will be open on select dates in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Details from the Disney Parks Blog below:
Save the Date! Annual Passholder Preview at the Disneyland Resort
Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders: from March 27–29, take advantage of a special sneak peek of the amazing merchandise, food, entertainment, new costumes and guided tours the Disneyland Resort will bring to life this summer.
As part of this preview in Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure park, I’m excited to share that some of the merchandise being created for the park and the opening of Cars Land will be available to purchase, including items from collections such as the Disney California Adventure park logo program, Attraction Posters, Low & Slow Car Club, Champions Custom Speed Shop and Radiator Springs Racers, to name a few, before they hit store shelves at locations such as Ramone’s House of Body Art, Sarge’s Surplus Hut and more.
There’s no need to sign up! The showcase will be open from 10-8 p.m. daily, March 27–29. [ FULL STORY ]
Below, a couple previews at logos that will appear on some new Cars Land merchandise.
The beginning of the Cars Land entry sign
New lampposts around the Cars Land perimeter
The old Bountiful Valley Farms barn facade, which is being repurposed as queue space for the upcoming Mater's Junkyard Jamboree attraction continues to get its new yellow paint and aging treatment for the structure's new tin roof.
Flag banners over Luigi's Flying Tires
Cozy Cone Motel
The scaffolding has come down on the Paradise Bluffs-side of the Cars Land mountain range
Paradise Pier's new Midway Shops facades got new colors over the last week that seem to better match the existing signage.
Disney announced last week that the first California location for the popular Earl of Sandwich restaurant chain will open in Downtown Disney this summer, replacing the Compass Books store.
The OC Register had further details on an opening timeline on their Around Disney blog:
Sandwich inventor’s family opening Disney shop
Descendants of the inventor of the sandwich plan to open their sole California restaurant at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Disney has announced.
Earl of Sandwich, which has a strong following, will open this summer at a location now occupied by Compass Books and Cafe. There are 17 Earl locations worldwide, including at Walt Disney World.
Earl of Sandwich shops have ties to the creator of the sandwich — John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who invented the mainstay in 1762. The 11th Earl is involved in the creation of the current restaurants. Robert Earl, chairman of Earl of Sandwich, joined with Disney to open the first location at Downtown Disney in Orlando in 2004.
The shops serve signature hot sandwiches, including The Original 1762, with roast beef, sharp cheddar and horseradish sauce. Breakfast sandwiches, pastries, drinks and other items will be available.
“We pride ourselves in giving our guests a unique experience at Downtown Disney through different retail and food offerings,” said Tony Bruno, vice president of resort hotels and Downtown Disney, in a statement. “This will be the only Earl of Sandwich in California, and it is sure to be a favorite among our guests as it has been at Walt Disney World.”
The Compass store will close March 31, paving the way for the construction of Earl of Sandwich.
The sandwich shop opening is among several changes ongoing at Downtown Disney this spring. [ FULL STORY ]
A rendering of the new shop shows a covered outdoor dining patio for the new sandwich shop.
A look at the Compass Bookstore as it exists today
Nearby in Downtown Disney, the LEGO Store continues its major remodel.
The new Disneyland map mural has been uncovered at the main entrance of the Disneyland Hotel.
Lots of fun to look at this vintage art!
THIS AND THAT
Back in Downtown Disney, the work continues around the various storefronts, with new walls up in front of Ridemakerz and Wetzel's Pretzels...
Walls are down around Catal
Also, Downtown Disney is celebrating Valentine's Day today and tomorrow with some special offerings.
A look at the offerings from the official Disneyland website:
Dazzle Your Valentine at Downtown Disney District
If you're looking for a creative way to get your sweetheart to swoon, there's no better place than Downtown Disney District. Choose from an array of romantic options:
The sound of swing lindy-hops its way to the Downtown Disney District main stage for 4 consecutive nights. Take in velvet vocals, rowdy horn sections and vintage grooves from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. the entire weekend.
- Monday February 13 The Wise Guys
- Tuesday, February 14 Tim Gill & The All-Stars
Performers subject to change without notice.
Gone With the Wind at the AMC
Through February 16
Take advantage of this rare opportunity to the see this timeless, epic love story on the big screen! Considered one of the most beloved and popular films of all time, Gone with the Wind continues to amaze audiences over 70 years after its release.
Check AMC Theatres to purchase tickets and view showtimes online.
Select dining establishments including Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, Catal and House of Blues will be featuring special menus for a decadent night out. On Valentine's Day, House of Blues will be featuring Will Denny White and Zappa Plays Zappa in the music hall. [ LINK ]
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WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP Weekly Theme Park HoursFebruary 13 — 19, 2012
Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure Monday-Tuesday: 9 am - 9 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-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 Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Expected Crowd Levels presented by TouringPlans.com Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure LOW-HIGH 1.1—8.7 out of 10 LOW-HIGH 1.8—8.5 out of 10
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.
- 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 through March 9.
- 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 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. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifi
Take a look inside Walt Disney's firehouse apartment with the Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray
The new Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray combo packs has a great new bonus feature where Dianne Disney Miller takes you inside her dad, Walt Disney's firehouse apartment at Disneyland. The Disney Parks Blog ran a story on the Blu-ray feature. We've included a link to the Amazon product page so you can get your copy today!
Take a Peek Inside Walt’s Apartment with Diane Disney Miller in the ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Diamond Edition Blu-ray and DVD Combo Packs
It’s a place of history and lore here at Disneyland park – a place many people have heard about but few have seen. But your chance is here to take a peek inside Walt Disney’s famous apartment – above the Fire Dept. on Main Street, U.S.A. – with his daughter, Diane Disney Miller!
A special bonus feature on the new Diamond Edition release of “Lady and the Tramp” – available today on Blu-ray and DVD – takes you inside Walt’s apartment as Miller explains the story behind its development and history. Walt Disney was working on the film at the same time he was opening Disneyland park, so “Lady and the Tramp” has its own special place in Disneyland Resort history.
Plus, the “Lady and the Tramp” Diamond Edition includes another special feature: Disney Second Screen, which brings you exclusive digital content through your computer or iPad – including a tour of Walt’s apartment with an interactive VIP tour guide!
Here’s a special sneak peek of Diane Disney Miller’s interview. See the whole thing in the “Lady and the Tramp” Diamond Edition – now available on Blu-ray and DVD!
Full Story: Disney Parks Blog: Take a Peek Inside Walt’s Apartment with Diane Disney Miller in the ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Diamond Edition Blu-ray and DVD Combo Packs
Visits to Disney theme parks increased late last year
Disney spoke with investors last week about their quarterly reports and noted the increase in guests and spending at Disney theme parks. Around Disney has more info:
Visits increased to U.S. Disney parks late last year
Tourists ramped up their visits to U.S. Disney parks late last year, and they upped their spending even more, Disney announced Tuesday.
Theme parks in Anaheim and Florida experienced a 3-percent jump in attendance in October through December compared to the same period in 2010.
Those who came gave up more money than before: Spending increased 8 percent during that quarter, said Jay Rasulo, Walt Disney Co.’s chief financial officer in a conference call with investors. Visitors mostly spent more money on tickets and food.
Hotel visits stayed about the same as the previous year, Rasulo said. But overnight guests spent about 6 percent more money.
The Disneyland Resort is Orange County’s largest private employer with 22,000 workers at two theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney entertainment-shopping district.
Disney no longer breaks down figures for Anaheim and Florida parks, instead releasing only numbers for U.S. parks.
Rasulo said U.S. parks are returning to regular prices after offering many discount packages in previous years during the economic downturn. In June, the Disneyland Resort boosted ticket prices to $80 for a one-day, one-park pass, up $4.
The quarter covers a traditionally busy time at the Disneyland Resort — the Halloween season and the holidays. Disney offers special decorations and after-hours trick-or-treat parties during Halloween. Around Christmas and New Year’s Day, Disney runs seasonal parades, a special fireworks show and other features. Click on the photo to see the top 10 features of the Disneyland Resort’s holiday season.
Disney President Bob Iger said he is “very pleased” with the performance of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, which include Disney Cruise ships.
He credited the makeover of Disney California Adventure as part of the reason for a 10-percent increase in revenue among parks and resorts. The division also saw an 18-percent hike in operating income. Iger noted that the biggest part of the California Adventure’s expansion, Cars Land, is set to open this summer.
Full Story: Around Disney: Visits increased to U.S. Disney parks late last year
Modern Family may be visiting Disneyland
ABC's hit sitcom Modern Family may be eyeing Disneyland as filming location for a future episode. TV Guide has more:
Will Modern Family Meet Mickey?
Following their trips to Hawaii and a dude ranch, Modern Family's next family outing will take the whole Pritchett/Dunphy/Delgado/Tucker gang to the happiest place on Earth.
Disneyland, part of the ABC/Disney family, is being eyed as a shooting location for an episode to air during May sweeps. My spies also tell me the Dunphys may run in to a familiar face at the park... someone not seen in several months. Hint: Think dim-witted and musically inclined.
Full Story: TV Guide: Will Modern Family Meet Mickey?
Okay, that's all for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland. Many thanks, as always, for reading. Please join in our discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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