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Dateline Disneyland

One More Disney Day Recap, Road to Cars Land, Buena Vista details, Matterhorn paint

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by , 03-05-2012 at 02:17 AM
Disneyland was forced to close its gates Wednesday evening due to the unprecedented popularity of its 24-hour Leap Day party. Despite an overcrowded park, sold out food and merchandise and long lines for attractions, guests continued to pour into the park late into the night to be part of the special occasion. Meanwhile, construction continued in both parks, with the Matterhorn Bobsleds getting a fantastic, fresh new look and new details emerging in California Adventure's Buena Vista Street area. Guests at California Adventure also got a sneak peek at the upcoming Cars Land area with an all-new exhibit in the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar that gives an up-close look at concept art, scale models and other elements from Disney's creative process.

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.

Big thanks to MiceChat's Fishbulb and CaptPhoebus for extra help with One More Disney Day coverage this week.

We've got a huge update for you today, so let's get right to it.

Inside Dateline Disneyland

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Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast as we approach the first wave of Spring Break!
Now that "One More Disney Day" is over, crowds at Disneyland should return to their low off-season norms this week. Don't expect this to last, as we are right on the cusp of Spring Break season. 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., Mar. 6
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.
  • Expect a busy weekend as some Spring Breakers arrive.
  • Disneyland is only a 1.2 on Thursday!
Wed., Mar. 7
Thu., Mar. 8
Fri., Mar. 9
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.

Work walls are still up in Town Square.

A painted scrim has gone up around the former Blue Ribbon Bakery as it continues its transition back into indoor dining space for the popular Carnation Cafe restaurant.

Refreshment Corner has reopened after its refurbishment.

Looks fresh and new again inside

The ragtime piano has returned to the outdoor patio now that the restaurant has reopened.

The Matterhorn continues its major six-month refurbishment and repaint project.

Photos don't really do it justice, but the new paint job so far looks fantastic. The mountain looks more realistic and dramatic now, but not to the point of calling too much attention to itself next to the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle.

They're doing some great work here.

At California Adventure's Blue Sky Cellar preview center, a sneak peek at the new Matterhorn Bobsleds ride vehicles is on display:

A look at the Matterhorn from California Adventure's Fun Wheel:

Over in Tomorrowland, the Monorail is down for refurbishment.

Nearby, the Tomorrowland Train Station is also closed for refurbishment.


Last week Disney celebrated Leap Day by keeping Disneyland open for a full 24 hours. The event reportedly broke numerous records for Disneyland in both attendance and revenue. MiceAge's Al Lutz shared details on the Leap Day events in a special report.

Long lines of eager fans formed the night before the 24-hour party.

From the OC Register:
Thousands flood through Disneyland’s gates for 24-hour day
More than 3,000 people waited for the gates of Disneyland to open at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the start of One More Disney Day.

The event is Disney‘s promotion to celebrate Leap Day, seeing the park open for 24 hours through Thursday morning. Most of the crowd had been in line since 10 p.m. the night before, including Anaheim resident John Mattyszenko, the first in line.

Mattyszenko, 49, arrived at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and just wanted to make sure that he was among the first 2,000 in line to receive a commemorative Mickey Mouse ears hat.

“I don’t know how I manged to be first in line,” Mattyszenko said. “It makes me so excited.”
Mattyszenko planned to stay at Disneyland for a couple of hours, go get one of his grandchildren and return later in the day.

Farther back was Melissa Clausen of Las Vegas and Maureen Gillen of San Diego; they got here at 11 p.m.

“We’re Disney nuts,” Clausen said. “We’re staying all day.” [ FULL STORY ]

Disney shared a video of the Leap Day opening of Disneyland

Banners at Disneyland's entrance tunnels marked the occasion

Long lines formed for the special Leap Day photo-op in Town Square

The coveted limited edition One More Disney Day Ear Hats

The cast of Modern Family also showed up, adding to the chaos of the Leap Day festivities. Filming for a special episode of the hit ABC sitcom took place in the park on Leap Day. From the OC Register:
‘Modern Family’ films episode at Disneyland
The cast members of “Modern Family” began a three-day shoot at Disneyland on Wednesday, the same day that crowds came for a 24-hour Leap Day party.

The boy character Manny sported Mickey Mouse ears and character Cameron donned a Disney pin-studded lanyard. Other main cast members milled about during a 3 p.m. filming session inside the entrance turnstiles to Disneyland.

Employees directed visitors in and out of the park, forbidding anyone from stopping too long to gawk or take flash pictures. A roped-off area kept the camera crews and actors separated from the visitors.

Some guests looked on from the Main Street Station of the Disneyland Railroad above the courtyard where the actors filmed the segment in front of the Mickey Mouse-shaped flower garden. Actor Ed O’Neill, who plays Jay, waved to riders on the train above. Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cameron, held on to a leash for actress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who plays his young daughter, Lily.

From the station, people tried to take pictures and get a better view.

Michele Himmelberg, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman, confirmed that camera crews would be at Disneyland for three days to film the show on ABC-TV, a Walt Disney Co. property.

Early Wednesday, an area was roped off for filming along the Rivers of America in Frontierland.

At the same time, thousands of people streamed into the park to begin a 24-hour party, which began at 6 a.m. and is set to end at 6 a.m. Thursday. The promotion is called One More Disney Day.

The Emmy-winning “Modern Family” has aired episodes with plots of the family taking trips, including to Hawaii and a dude ranch. [ LINK ]

Stars from the show:

The big morning crowds subsided mid-day but Orange County locals flooded the parks after the end of the mid-week workday, bringing the park to a complete halt by the evening. By 9:30 p.m., Disney was officially reporting that the park was full and the gates were closed. City streets and the I-5 freeway around Disneyland were gridlocked and all signage at Resort parking switched over to say "Disneyland is full."

The huge crowds didn't deter the droves of people trying to get in, and eventually the park was re-opened for new guests. The unexpected popularity of the event was underscored by the notable understaffing of the park in everything from attractions to crowd control to dining with huge lines at attractions and special merchandise and food items selling out throughout the park. Below, Rancho del Zocalo's blue corn tamale special was one popular menu item that sold out.

French Market's red beans and rice

French Market's shrimp pasta

Stage Door Cafe's chili-cheese corn dog

Cafe Orleans' excellent Creole eggs benedict

Also from Cafe Orleans, the three-cheese Monte Cristo French Toast

The Soundsational Parade ran for a second evening performance at 10:00 p.m.

Mickey and Friends in pajamas had huge lines throughout the night. Here they are at sunrise at the end of the 24-hour party

The Disney Parks Blog posted a neat split-screen video of 24-hours at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom in honor of the Leap Day festivities


Over in California Adventure, the Blue Sky Cellar reopened with a brand new exhibit previewing Cars Land, which is set to open this June.

New Cars Land attraction posters greet you as you enter

A look at Radiator Springs Racers

The attraction's marquee


Flo's V-8 Cafe

Cozy Cones

Ramone's House of Body Art

Cars Land concepts and early layouts

Cars Land scale model

Lots of great Route 66-inspired graphics on the walls

The shovel from groundbreaking

A small display on Buena Vista Street gives a look at a couple new pieces of concept art that weren't on display in the previous exhibit.

Look at that great Red Car signage!

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


Back at the front of the park, new details continue to emerge in the new Buena Vista Street area

New poles showing up near the former Lost and Found/Guest Relations windows outside the park

Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe area

Disney recently buried a time capsule in Buena Vista Street. Take a look at the video below:

Elias and Co. Department Store

Lots of new stuff to see here. We really hope this area turns out to be spectacular.

The new towers are going up along the Monorail track's Hyperion Bridge area

New lampposts in the area are going in

At the Carthay Circle Theater, scaffolding has come down from the marquee space. It's not finished yet, but we are now getting our first look at the great wrought iron work

Some new walls are up in front of the Carthay Circle pump house


Refurbishment work is on-going on the Max Factor Building facades in Hollywood Land.


Over in Grizzly Peak, the new paint jobs for Grizzly River Run buildings and the Rushin' River Outfitters retail location are starting to emerge.

More focus is being put on the Eureka Gold and Timber Company now that the hip and contemporary extreme sports theme is gone.

The whole area is saying good-bye to its 2001-era contemporary theme and turning the clock back to a 1950s National Parks theme. Buildings are getting fresh new paint jobs so they look maintained and new, not repurposed after being abandoned. It's a great change.

Hopefully the attraction signage gets swapped out soon as well.


The Pacific Wharf bridge has reopened after a quick refurbishment.

It looks less teal than before. Nice.


Work continues next to the Silly Symphony Swings elevator.


Work continues in Radiator Springs...

The sign for Fillmore's is now up

The Disney Parks Blog recently ran a story on Cars Land food offerings:

Fill ‘Er Up at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park
The food is just as fun at the rest of spectacular Cars Land, with Disneyland Resort chefs having fun in the test kitchens. Here’s a sneak peek at some of their delicious creations debuting this summer.

With design inspired by the kitschy roadside eateries along on Route 66, Flo’s V8 Café starts with old-fashioned, filling breakfast dishes like chicken tamale with scrambled eggs, salsa verde and pico de gallo; or brioche French toast served with salted caramel and bananas. For lunch, we get a taste of the delicious, filling veggie-tater casserole with roasted veggies, bulgur wheat, Boca Crumbles and smashed red skin potatoes topped with melted cheddar. But it’s the sweet pies everyone’s waiting for, including apple-cheddar and cherry.

The adorable Cozy Cone Motel is a quick-service restaurant inspired by the quirky “wigwam” motels along Route 66. In the Cars Land version, each wigwam offers a different filled cone, such as “chili cone carne” or “cone on the cob.” Flavored popcorn is a fun offering at one of the five wigwams, including salt and vinegar, pickle, sweet and spicy, bacon and cheddar, and nacho cheese.

In the “Cars” movie, Fillmore is an advocate of natural products and makes his living by selling organic fuel, so Fillmore’s Taste-In is, appropriately, the spot for fresh fruit, bottled beverages and juices. [ LINK ]

Chili cone carne:

Cherry pie:


Over at the Disneyland Hotel, the new oversized vintage Fun Map of Disneyland is on display again, but not yet "turned on."

Projected animations are expected to bring this map to life.

The vintage photos of Walt Disney and visiting celebrities are once again on display in the Hotel.

They're located on the backside of the giant fun map of the park, near the elevators.

The Mickey and Minnie topiary area is still being worked on.


In Downtown Disney, the LEGO Store is getting a new color scheme.

And more work in front of Downtown Disney storefronts.

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Weekly Theme Park Hours
March 5 — March 11, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 9 a.m. - 12 midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 8 a.m. - 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-HIGH 1.2—9.4 out of 10
MEDIUM-HIGH 3.9—9.2 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.
  • 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

Suspicious object shut down Disneyland Saturday morning
From the OC Register:

Suspicious item harmless, Disneyland open
Guests streamed into Disneyland after the Orange County Bomb Squad determined that a suspicious object left in a tree outside the park entrance was harmless, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

After catching wind of the situation through media reports, a man contacted police officials explaining that the object was a "goodwill spiritual message for guests," written on a rolled up piece of paper, Dunn said.

A Disneyland employee discovered the object outside the gates of the park early Saturday morning, causing Anaheim Police officials to clear the area and request the assistance of Orange County Bomb Squad to identify it, Dunn said.

The employee found the suspicious object around 7:10 a.m. in a tree outside the park that was "out of the ordinary to that particular area," Dunn said, as Disneyland staff members were conducting a routine inspection.

The area outside the park gates was cleared and no guests were admitted into the park, Dunn said.
A large crowd formed outside the gates as park-goers waited in anticipation to be allowed into the park, which was scheduled to open at 8 a.m., said guest Rosemaria Altieri. Guests were allowed to enter the park shortly before 11 a.m.

Police officials are speaking further with the man who left the letter, Dunn said.

"The safety of our Guests and Cast Members is our top priority," said Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown in an emailed statement. "In an abundance of caution and to allow the security teams the opportunity to learn more, we kept guests away from the area. Officials responded to an unknown object, which was determined to be harmless. The Resort has reopened. We thank our guests for their patience," she said.

Full Story: OC Register: Suspicious item harmless, Disneyland open

Anaheim City Hotel tax incentive may go to vote
Also from Around Disney:

Will Anaheim public vote on $158 million incentive?
ANAHEIM – About 100 people rallied outside Anaheim City Hall before Tuesday's City Council meeting calling for a public vote on the $158 million tax incentive to build two luxury hotels near Disneyland.

Some of those same leaders said that on Wednesday they will announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging the incentive as an "illegal gift of public funds."

Meanwhile, time is running out on forcing a public vote through the referendum process.
Tuesday’s rally, co-led by Jose Moreno, member of the Anaheim City School District Board, included community leaders from across the city. They carried signs with slogans such as "Do the Right Thing, Let the People Vote."

"This council made a very important decision to give $158 million to a single developer without getting the proper amount of public input," said Moreno, who also leads a community activist group called Los Amigos. "That's not a shining example of democracy."

In January, the council voted 3-2 to approve a tax incentive for a developer to build 866 rooms in two four-star luxury hotels at GardenWalk, across from Disneyland. The project is expected to cost about $283 million.

Visitors to Anaheim resort hotels pay a 15 percent bed tax – called a TOT – to the city. The GardenWalk incentive allows the developer to keep 15 years' of bed taxes that otherwise would go into city coffers. That's projected to be about $158 million over the 15 years.

Full Story: Around Disney: Will Anaheim public vote on $158 million incentive?

Alrighty, that wraps up this giant edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thank you for reading! Share your thoughts on today's news in the comments section below!

Thanks again to Fishbulb and CaptPhoebus for their additional help with photos this week.

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See you at Disneyland!
- Andy

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  1. Spongeocto4's Avatar
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    The update was good. Thank you.
  2. Awe_inspired's Avatar
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    THANK YOU! I really appreciate the ability to make the photos larger. It makes a HUGE difference. Great update as usual.
  3. SoarinMatt's Avatar
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    It just occurred to me: Disney has THREE MONTHS to complete Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. Cars Land looks like it's right on track, but Buena Vista Street is beginning to seem like it may open a month or two late. Then again, the work that's being done on Buena Vista Street seems like it's going up really fast. Are they working 24/7?

    Thanks for keeping us updated, Andy. As always, it's greatly appreciated.
  4. Dadoo's Avatar
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    Honestly, do they really think these are going to be better? The lines are going to get LONGER because they are losing 2 people per train with this arrangement! Unless they put more trains on the tracks and run them more often, expect to see MUCH longer wait times!
  5. Hildy's Avatar
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    The detail emerging on the Buena Vista Street buildings is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I can't wait to see the finished product. I am anxious to see what they do with the monorail bridge and how that will fit in with the theme.
  6. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    Xanadu-oooooo... Xanadu-oooooo..!

    That's what goes through my head everytime I see DCA's entrance. I admit it: the movie "Xanadu" is one of my guilty pleasures. I love Olivia Newton John and the music of the Electric Light Orchestra and the 1980's visual effects, all done without computers. It is also the final appearance of Gene Kelley and his amazing dancing talents.
  7. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    In your "Closures and Refurbishment Schedule," you should mention that the Tomorrowland Station of the DLRR is being re-constructed and is closed for the duration. I was there on the 29th and it bugged me that I couldn't go from there to Main Street when the park was closing.

    Or is the station open and I've goofed
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