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Race car testing, Hollywired, Carthay lights, Makeover merchandise, Matterhorn +MORE!

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by , 04-01-2012 at 08:25 PM
Last week, Annual Passholders got a first look at new merchandise celebrating the major new attractions coming this summer to Disney California Adventure. While the merchandise was available early for Disney's Passholders, the public will have to wait to buy until the park hosts its grand re-opening June 15. Meanwhile, as the June opening date approaches, work continues on the big Buena Vista Street project as new Red Car Trolley wires go up around the Carthay Circle Theater and into Hollywood Land. Over in Cars Land, Imagineers are taking the Radiator Springs Racers race cars for test rides as finishing details are added throughout the new 12-acre land. At Disneyland, work continues on Main Street, U.S.A's Carnation Cafe expansion project and the major Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment.

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.

Thanks to our friends Fishbulb, Ron W and Michael Greening for some additional help with photos this week.

We've got all the news today after yesterday's April Fool's Day pranks. Are you ready to get started?

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Our friends at Touring Plans have a look at this expected crowd levels as the busy Spring Break season winds down this week.

It will be another busy week of Easter and Spring Break crowds 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 here, 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., Apr. 3
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Full block outs this Friday and Saturday.
  • Disney California Adventure's lightest day is Tuesday, when it's a 5.4 on the Crowd Calendar.
  • Disneyland's lightest day is Tuesday, when it's a 5.8 on the Crowd Calendar.
Wed., Apr. 4
Thu., Apr. 5
Fri., Apr. 6
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.

More tarps came down at the former Blue Ribbon Bakery, revealing more of its refreshed paint job.

A look at the work on the outdoor patio from the Omnibus:

At the end of Main Street, the Matterhorn's refurbishment continues.

The mountain really looks great.

Over in California Adventure, the display case in the Blue Sky Cellar that features a rendering of the new Matterhorn ride vehicles now includes a maquette of the new bobsleds.

Last week, Disney hosted a special merchandise event in California Adventure's Stage 17 that gave Annual Passholders their first chance at seeing and buying new park merchandise. The event also offered a sneak peek at food offerings coming to the upcoming Mad T Party and costumes for Buena Vista Street and Cars Land Cast Members.

While the turn-out for the event wasn't as big as Disney might have hoped for, some fans lined up early for their chance to spend hundreds on the new merchandise. From the OC Register:
Disney fans flock to product sneak peek
Tom Snyder is aiming to get every Disneyland Resort postcard ever made. So, he wanted to be among the first to buy new ones designed for the upcoming Cars Land at Disney California Adventure as soon as the postcards were released.

Hundreds of Disney park annual passholders, including Snyder, are getting a first chance to buy Cars Land merchandise almost three months before the area officially opens. For the first time, Disney is holding a special showcase to give annual passholders a sneak peek at new products and features of California Adventure’s revamp over three days.

Snyder, 54, of Huntington Beach, was among the first in line about 6 a.m. Tuesday, about four hours before the showcase was schedule to open on the first day. Eight people were in line until about 8 a.m. when others joined them. Employees opened the doors early around 9:30 a.m.

Snyder wanted to make sure he got a set of 12 postcards, which cost $12.95. He spent a total of about $200, including one of the first vinyl collectibles shaped like Monorail vehicles, called Vinylmation, that were released Tuesday.

“I had to get one. It’s unique. It’s something different,” Snyder said.

Disney is preparing for the completion of its five-year, $1 billion makeover, including the June 15 opening of Cars Land based on the “Cars” movies and the Buena Vista Street entrance corridor. Most of the showcase products were for Cars Land and they won’t be available again until the area opens.

Some fans especially were interested in the collectibles that were released, including a pin set with poster designs from Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. A limited edition set of five coins, including one with a Carthay Circle Theater design, was only sold at the showcase for $125 per set.

The most expensive item was a $380 leather jacket.

Bobby Patterson, 43, of Cerritos, pulled into the Disney parking lot at 5:45 a.m., mostly so he could buy pins. He spent about $150 total.

“It keeps the passholders happy,” Patterson said about the showcase. “We come year round and spend money and enjoy the place. It’s one of the perks of being a passholder.

A Cars Land Cast Member costume

Cast Member costume for Buena Vista Street stores

Below is a selection of the new Cars Land merchandise previewed at the event. A more complete look at the merchandise offerings can be found in MiceChat's In the Parks column.

The event also gave a sneak peek at merchandise and special food offerings coming to the upcoming Mad T Party nighttime dance party. More information from the OC Register:

Disney reveals new details about nighttime party
Visitors can sip neon-colored drinks from a squiggly, yard-long cup and munch on uniquely flavored popcorn at bars or a food truck at the upcoming Disney California Adventure nighttime party.

Disney this week revealed details about the Mad T Party, an entertainment extravaganza that opens June 15 at California Adventure.

Annual passholders got a sneak taste at dill-flavored popcorn and two frozen drinks — green apple and blue cotton candy.

A food truck will sell three or four non-alcoholic frozen drinks, which will be “wild, wonderful and wacky,” said Karlos Siqueiros, a concept development manager. The flavors can be mixed together. The apple flavor was rating well among passholders, he said.

The truck will sit near the current Flynn’s Arcade, but the use of that building for Mad T Party has yet to be announced.

Two bars will serve drinks in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, which soon will be called Hollywood Land. The Drink Me Bar will sit behind the Schmoozies facing the stage. The House of Cards Bar will replace End of Line club, which is being used for the current nighttime event, called ElecTRONica.

Beverage containers will include a yard-long, squiggly, neon yellow cup; a teacup shaped like the Mad Hatter’s hat and Cheshire Cat sipper. Light-up martini glasses will come with glowing cubes.

Disney is testing out popcorn flavors for the expansion of Disney California Adventure, which includes the upcoming Cars Land that opens June 15. Flavors include bacon cheddar and sweet and spicy, Siqueiros said.

Vending carts will carry funky colored sweets, like rock candy and light-reflective lollipops.

By the weekend, the new California Adventure "road trip" and attraction poster merchandise that was previewed at the event was moved to shops throughout the park. Guests can find a large selection of the offerings in two locations: Rushin' River Outfitters in Grizzly Peak and Point Mugu Tattoo on Paradise Pier. Other locations in the park (such as Off the Page, Treasures in Paradise and some "pop-up" shops) offered limited selections.

The "pop-up" shop next to the Cars meet-and-greet offers the Cars Land attraction poster shirts.

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

New layers of detail continue to be revealed every week on Buena Vista Street.

New trees have been planted in a new planter to the left of California Adventure's main entrance.

It's great to see so much plant life coming to the park, even outside its main gate.

Views of north Buena Vista Street construction from the Monorail

South Buena Vista Street:

The new tile roof here looks great

The tile roof on the Carthay is just about done

The marquee has been painted black

...and lighting fixtures have gone up under the marquee

Some gorgeous new lighting fixtures have also gone up on the theater's facade

Elias and Co. Department Store

Hyperion Bridge towers

The former Candy Shoppe facade

Red Car Trolley wires are starting to go up through the Carthay Circle area


The Red Car wires extend down Hollywood Blvd. into Hollywood Land.

The criss-cross of Trolley wires where the Trolley turns onto Sunset Blvd.

Wires around the Tower of Terror

Disney has been testing the new Red Cars and released some great photos of the trolleys on the tracks in front of the Tower of Terror.

Inside the Red Cars are great ads for Buena Vista Street shops and restaurants.

It's going to be fantastic to take a ride on the Red Cars this June!

The Monsters Inc. facade refurbishment continues...

The Monsters Inc. ride vehicle photo-op is now gone...

The props and signs around the restrooms area at the back of Hollywood Land have been removed.

We've known for years now that the Hollywood Pictures Backlot would be renamed as part of the $1 billion remodel and expansion of the park and now the name change is making its way into the park. Trash cans in the area now feature the land's new name and logo. Hello 1930s Hollywood Land, bye-bye early-2000s tacky Hollywood Pictures Backlot!


Finishing touches continue to be added to Cars Land as Imagineers test out the new land's rides.

Stanley's statue has been placed in front of the Court House.

The "Welcome to Radiator Springs" billboard at the entrance to Cars Land...

The new neon sign for Sarge's Surplus Hut has gone up.

Lamppost decorations around Fillmore's

Wait time signage for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Over the weekend, Imagineers were taking test rides on the new Radiator Springs Racers.

Below, we have video of the ride testing...

Note the giant beach balls at Luigi's Flying Tires...

...and the new marquee on the front of Flo's V8 Cafe

Over in Flik's Fun Fair, the connector path to Cars Land is progressing. Popsicle sticks mark the transition between the two lands...


Our friends at recently let us preview a couple new eBooks they just released. "10 Must-Take Photos" are quick reads but don't let that fool you! These books are gorgeous 20-page volumes that fill readers in on one of the most-requested topics at the Disney Photography Blog — recommendations for must-take snapshots at Disney theme parks. The two books cover the top-ten must-take photos at Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The books are filled with gorgeous photos, both in a large format and in a small format accompanied with smart but concise summaries on how, when and why to get each shot. Adam, Cory and Ryan also have great bonus tips with each photo that will help you get that perfect shot. While the writers are talented photographers with impressive portfolios of their own, these books aren't intimidating for the casual photographer — anybody can pick up these eBooks and get some great Disney photography ideas and helpful tips.

These eBooks are available now for $4 each. They're high-quality .PDF eBooks, compatible with all of your favorite eReaders, including your shiny new iPad.

For more information or to buy, visit

Outside the parks, work continues on Downtown Disney projects...

La Brea Bakery expansion:

LEGO Store remodel:

Prince Phillip's LEGO horse:

The final days for the Compass Book Store were this weekend. The store will be converted into the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort.
A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit and Annual Passholder Discounts Available Every Day!
The HoJo Anaheim is now offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn't listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.

See Disneyland from the comfort of home with the HoJo Mattercam!
See Disneyland from home via a live rotating video feed of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park from the rooftop of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort! The HoJo Anaheim's newly upgraded Disneyland webcam now features new views including video feeds of Disneyland's nightly fireworks! Check it out now!

Weekly Theme Park Hours
April 2—8, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Daily: 8 am - 12 midnight
Daily: 10 am - 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
MEDIUM—HIGH 5.8—9.4 out of 10
MEDIUM—HIGH 5.4—9.9 out of 10
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

For daily crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park

  • 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, and Penny Arcade: Food service locations and shops are closed for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.

Disney California Adventure
  • ElecTRONica: Tron-themed nighttime dance parties will end April 16. The new Mad T Party evening dance party will begin June 15.
  • 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.
  • Disney California Adventure: Entire park will be closed to the public to apply finishing touches and for a media event on June 14, 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifications.
  • Island Charters and LEGO Imagination Center: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
  • Compass Books and Cafe: Book store and cafe to close permanently March 31. Earl of Sandwich dining location to open in space late-spring 2012.

Disney Dreams light up the night for Disneyland Paris' 20th Anniversary
Disneyland Paris kicked off its big 20th anniversary celebration over the weekend with the debut of its all-new "Disney Dreams!" show that utilizes incredible projection technology with fireworks, lasers and water fountains. We've embedded Disney's video of the show below and we definitely recommend checking it out. It's fantastic.
More Information: Inside the Magic: ‘Disney Dreams!’ debuts at Disneyland Paris, perfecting nighttime spectacles from theme parks worldwide

Alright, that's it for this week's column. Thank you for reading and be sure to join the discussion in the comments section below!

Thanks again to our guest contributors: Michael Greening, Fishbulb and Ron W.

Don't forget to visit our great sponsors over at Touring Plans when planning your next visit to Disneyland!

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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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  1. FredSimmons's Avatar
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    The new paint job on the Matterhorn looks like the snow is melting and running down the mountain...
  2. Sparky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbossa
    Great Update. Just my 2 cents on the Red Car Trolley, something doesn't sit right with me - the design of the front end (cow catcher). Being around steam trains and trolleys and other rail equipment, I could point it out right away, but I guess this was done for safety reasons.
    We've got some old photos of LA from the 1920's and 1930's as wall art in the office where I work. Some of them have the Red Car trolleys in them. I do like the look of the cow-catchers on the trolleys in those photos. Maybe they will eventually make the DCA ones look more like that. They do add to the authenticity of the era, I feel.
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