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In the Parks

In The Park's - Disneyland Christmas, Calico Mine's 50th Anniversary, Construction

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 11-18-2010 at 10:30 PM

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us at MiceChat! Turkey time is just one week away and snow has begun to fall nightly at the Happiest Place on Earth. Join us as we take a special look at the sparkling nighttime festivities at Disneyland. We'll also stroll over to Disney California Adventure to find progress on Cars Land, The Little Mermaid and Goofy's Sky School. Then we'll be off to Knott's Berry Farm to wish a very happy birthday to the Calico Mine Train which turns 50 years old on Monday! There's also news from Universal and we announce the first winner of our Science of Gingerbread Giveaway.

Dusty wants you to know:

YOU'RE INVITED to MiceChat's Holiday Celebration on December 12th - Join us for an AMAZING day of old time Christmas fun, shows, tours, parades, dinner, and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Knott's Berry Farm's Calico Mine Ride. It wouldn't be the same without you! find full event details here and join the fun:
This week, we have two more HOLIDAY SPECIAL ALERTs for you. Keep an eye out for your chance to win some prizes in today's update. You'll want to read all the way through. Let's get to it, there's more cheer to uncover.

Park Hours:
Fri. 11/19 - 8:00am-12am
Sat. 11/20 - 8:00am-12am
Sun. 11/21 - 8:00am-12:00am
Mon. 11/22 - 8:00am-12:00am
Tues. 11/23 - 8:00am-12:00am
Wed. 11/24 - 8:00am-12:00am
Thurs. 11/25 - 8:00am-12:00am

Christmas time began at the Disneyland Resort last Friday, November 12th, and all is now merry and bright. The parade is showing, fireworks blowing, and Main Street is snowing. For the most part, Christmas looks wonderful at Disneyland. Let's take a look at what is going on this week, and perhaps visit the little holiday dolls of the world.

Nov 18th 1928

After all these years he still looks great!

Main Street is a treasure trove of Holiday gifts and goodies. Each store seems to have its own little specialty but the essentially all carry the same merchandise. So, visitors can find most of the same items throughout the park. But, on Main Street can you find everything!

Disney Showcase:
Disney Showcase specializes in ornaments, stockings and other accouterments pertaining to Christmas cheer.

Let's peek inside.

Traditional decorations

The resort ornament.

Very "Cost Plus World Market" looking. But it's nice.

Mickey with a very international feel

Another nice piece.

The Main Street Emporium, on the other hand, offers a more homogenized selection of yule tide souvenirs. There are the usual hats and silly antlers. But they are also carrying the last minute buys that tourists are on the look out for as they leave the park.

C'mon, those gifts won't buy themselves!

Ah Jack. Well, featured everywhere at any time of year.

Mickey and Minnie hats.

A big Ho-Ho-HO down is going on at the Big Thunder Ranch. Mrs. Chris from the Barbecue place has let Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus stay at her cabin and greet guests. They even brought their reindeer.

The Big Thunder Barbecue is all decked out.

Surreys full of holiday cheer.

Enter the cabin and see what Mrs. Claus has prepared for you. Just look at all the little details here! This little cabin is a delight.

Santa wants to know what you want for Christmas.

Mrs. Claus, impeccably cast, greets visitors to the ranch.

You would be hard pressed to find a more festive and colorful place at the holidays than right here at the Disneyland Resort. But, the real magic happens when the sun goes down and all of the magical, twinkly lights come alive.

The Tree glitters in Town Square.

A close up of the ornaments.

The Snowflake decorations on the Main Entrance at night.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle:
Every half hour, after the tree lighting ceremony, Sleeping Beauty's Castle takes part in a "frosting" of sorts. Music swells and the Castle is suddenly shimmering in sparkling lights. We really can't stand to see the cheap strings of lights dangling from the castle during the day, but at night they are a sight to behold. The castle lighting is then followed by a showering of "snow". Pure magic.

The lighting is magical enough. But...

Add snowfall and it suddenly becomes a real life winter wonderland.

If only they could perfect those icicles.

Believe in Holiday Magic:
Believe in Holiday Magic returns, essentially unchanged from last year. This beloved show has become a SoCal classic.

Shades of holiday green and red.

Silent Night.

What a show.

The Castle effects are amazing.

But we can only think of one thing . . .

Please don't make us pay more to see this wonderful show next year.

it's a small world Holiday:
it's a small world Holiday is once again delighting visitors with dancing sugarplums and towering Christmas trees. This year, there are actually some new surprises in store.

Welcome to it's a small world Holiday!

This is truly one of the most beautiful holiday displays that you will ever see. Simply amazing.

The digital projections return to dazzle riders as they queue up for the ride.

Inside the ride looks just wonderful.

The scent of pine fills the air here.

The Chinese ice dragon.

The jungle in a merry mood.

The Mexico scene has some updated decorations with new lanterns strung up over your path.

And the universal message of Peace on Earth is a fitting conclusion to our world tour

New Orleans Square:
One of the loveliest and most detailed areas of Disneyland is New Orleans Square. Usually, this little corner of the park rocks the socks off of Christmas with over the top decorations. But, it seems the budget was cut back for New Orleans this year. It is still absolutely beautiful mind you, but there seems to be fewer lights dangling and less magic in the air. Again, what is there is lovely, just not what was there in the past.

The lovely New Orleans Square.

Blue Bayou's decorations.

This area is missing the canopy of lights hanging over the walkway and just feels a bit unfinished.

The voodoo balcony is nicely lit up.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade:
The classic Christmas fantasy parade returns this year to delight visitors with the magic of the season. This is a classic Disney parade that lives up to the fine tradition of the long form parade. Filled with characters, dancers, and music this 15 minute parade doesn't have show stops or other cheap budget cutting tricks. The show keeps moving and keeps delighting down the entire parade route. It is wonderful that honest parades like this still exist in today's Disney.

The first float.

A crowd favorite.

Those crazy crazy elves.

Hi Donald!

Mickey goes ice skating on his float.

Goofy and his wacky gingerbread house.

Look out, chipmunk at the wheel!

Jiminey Cricket making toys.

All the Dwarfs come out to dance too.

We love these guys

The star of this show makes his grand appearance right on schedule!

Before we get to the rest of today's update, we have the first of two HOLIDAY SPECIAL ALERTs for you


MiceChat is holding a contest through December 15th 2010. Just follow us on Twitter and retweet the following message up to once a day:
RT @MiceChat Follow us on Twitter and you could win an iPod Nano in time for Christmas! Post and Retweet #disneyland #contest

Winner will be notified on Twitter, so be sure to follow us so we can contact you.

That's all there is to it. There is no cost to enter, you just need to be following us on Twitter and retweet the message above. Full contest details HERE.

Park Hours:
Fri. 11/19 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Sat. 11/20 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Sun. 11/21 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Mon. 11/22 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Tues. 11/23 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Wed. 11/24 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Thurs. 11/25 - 10:00am-9:00pm

Disney California Adventure remains in transformation overload mode. Despite this fact, the park continues to operate and pull in the crowds with the World of Color spectacular and ElecTRONica. Both have proven that if quality attractions are built, people will show up. This bodes well for the park that is now headlong into a 1.2 billion dollar overhaul. Let's visit Disney Construction Adventure.

The Tile Mural is 3/4 down and walls surround what was once the Sunshine plaza. The plan is still to transform one side of the street at a time so crowd flows can be better controlled.

No mural here

Walls now surround the base of the Tile mural on the opposite side of the entrance.

It'll be gone soon, don't worry

The Red Car's route has rounded the corner in front of the Hyperion theatre and walls should be coming down very soon.

Almost ready to go.

Facade work continues.

It all looks pretty good.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure:
Walkways, barriers grow around the front of the Mermaid building, forming the queue and planters of this soon to open attraction. This ride is on schedule and should be ready for soft openings sometime this Spring, well in time for an official Summer 2011 opening.

Walls within walls within walls

A closer look.

Carsland's borders have been well established and more structure and detail continue to emerge from this massive 12 acre project.

A look behind the walls along the parade route.

Fins in the distance.

What's going on back here?

More details cropping up. We are a long way from the vast expanse of dirt of just a few months ago

Rounding the bend.

One side rock, the other side . . . flat

What will they do to hide that HUGE wall facing the rest of the park? We all know how well that worked out for Indy and Expedition Everest.


Work on the awning continues.

All theme has been stripped from this off the shelf carnival coaster for the Goofy's Sky School overlay.

Park Hours:
Fri. 11/19 - 10:00am-6:00pm
Sat. 11/20 - 10:00am-10:00pm
Sun. 11/21 - 10:00am-7:00pm
Mon. 11/22 - 10:00am-6:00pm
Tues. 11/23 - 10:00am-6:00pm
Wed. 11/24 - 10:00am-6:00pm
Thurs. 11/25 - 10:00am-8:00pm

Knott's Berry Farm's Christmas festivities do not officially start until Thanksgiving day and already there are plenty of decorations up and a myriad of holiday crafts to buy. But the biggest news this week is that one of our all time favorite rides is turning 50 years old this week. Let's pay tribute to the wonderful Calico Mine Train and then take a look at what is happening in the park.


Early artist rendering of the Calico Mine Train

On November 22nd, 1960, passengers first boarded the Calico Mine Train ride at Knott's Berry Farm. It was only months earlier, in May of the same year, that Disneyland had opened the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland attraction at Disneyland. With very similar ride systems and theme, comparisons were inevitable. After 50 years, this brilliant family attraction continues to endure . . . and delight. What has given this attraction such a legacy of success? To answer that we need to look at its development.

Concept art for the prime real estate in Calico Square.

We spoke with Chris Merrit (co-author of Knott's Preserved) and Harry Suker (Bud's right hand man) for this tribute, their help on today's article and love for this attraction are profound.

Bud Hurlbut was the man responsible for designing some of the most memorable Knott's attractions. In the early days, each attraction was independently owned and operated. Bud was the first person to be allowed to build multiple attractions in the family owned park due to his meticulous attention to detail and upkeep. When Walter Knott decided to demolish the Mark Smith Horse Show arena which once stood on the lot of land where the mine ride is today, he enlisted the help of Bud to build an attention grabing attraction. And that's exactly what they got.

Walter Knott worked closely with Bud over the years - particularly during the design of the Calico Mine Ride. Bud (now in his 90's) recalls, “So, I started drawing up a dark ride. One day I was looking at it and Mr. Knott said he’d like to bring to my attention that this area was pretty good land. He said, “That’s the best there is in Knott’s, right there in Calico Square. You better think about what you’re doing, don’t come in here with a Bewitched Village or some other thing!” Bud knew it had better be good.

The employee newsletter, 'The Knotty Post', reported that there was an overall joint investment of $750,000 between the Knott family and Hurlbut initially. The concept started out as a two-story dark ride, with little cars carrying two people at a time. Eventually, Bud's ideas turned that into a seven-story building with engines that carried upwards of 50 passengers at a time. The estimated final cost was close to $1,000,000 by the end. Just think about what a tremendous sum that must have been to come up with in those days.

Early Pictures of the construction.

Just a tangle of metal and scaffolding at first

Bud began early concepts along with Dick Bagley and Harry Suker sometime in mid-1959. The Mark Smith Horse Show arena was cleared by Fall of 1959, and they started construction in earnest soon after. During the design and development stages, Walt Disney would often stop by and offer advice. He was a model train man and this was the ultimate train set.

The mine was a unique attraction. It would take passengers on a ride through the dark and sometimes scary caverns of a working Mine presenting many technical challenges. The passageways would be very tight and confined, and that led to but one of many challenges. Bud didn't want diesel or gasoline to be used on the engines, as the exhaust fumes within the narrow, low-roofed and claustrophobic tunnels inside the attraction would have been unpleasant to smell - and possibly even dangerous. He purchased modern battery powered mining locomotives, built by General Electric. The final theming to make them look like engines of the 1800s would be done by Hurlbut.

Another unique feature of the ride was its indoor lift hill, located mid way through the attraction, which pulled visitors up into the breathtaking glowing cavern scene. Bud himself developed the enforced chain drive that was specially engineered to pull the trains up a very steep grade. The lift hill also reversed engineering convention seen at every other theme park in those days by placing the motor for the chain lift at the top of the hill rather than at the bottom.

Lowering the engines onto the track.

We spoke with Harry Suker about the construction of the ride and learned that the most challenging aspect of the construction had nothing to do with these new ideas, but rather with financing. Harry mentioned, "When you have a project like this, you are always running over cost, you cant foresee these things. We were building everything from the ground up." Bud initially paid for everything himself, including rent of the land (a standard agreement of concessionaires at Knott's in the earlier days) and all demolition of the mammoth concrete arena for the former horse show. Hurlbut had to sell almost all of his holdings to finance the attraction - including his ranch, his home in Whittier and his brand-new Cadillac. He says, "...I didn't have nothing else to sell... my wife and I drove around in a pickup!" He finally came to Walter Knott and told him he didn't have enough money to finish the construction. Bud recalled, “So, I had to go to Mr. Knott and tell him, 'Hey, I’m down to the bottom of the barrel.' And he says, 'Well, you know what you’re doing, right?' And it was the only time I really didn’t tell him the truth. I said yes!” Walter Knott told him that he didn't have to pay rent for a while, and that he would help by making a promotional film to advertise the attraction - 'A Family Builds A Mountain' - which was shown on television throughout early 1961.

The T.V. guide ad that featured the special show.

The long awaited day finally came "We opened and the ride worked. Many were skeptical" said Suker. People came from far and wide to see this brand new family attraction and it turned out to be a smash success.

Hurlbut inspecting the scenery in the attraction.

One of the only known photographs of Walter and Cordelia Knott aboard the Calico Mine Train

Even Bud's old friend Walt Disney returned to see how it all turned out. Bud recalls, “I remember one time, Walt Disney came over to ride it, and he had some friends with him. And he told me he was kind of in a hurry, and he wanted to ride. I said O.K. and at that time there was nobody out in front there… and we walked back to the trestle and the whole line was full of people! He said, 'My God, that’s a sneaky thing! Here there’s 200 people in line back here and I didn’t know there was anybody!'" Bud had invented the very first hidden switchback queue - something used by theme parks all over the world to this day.

Walt and his team of Imagineers thought that it was an amazing family attraction. Later Walter Knott allowed Bud to invite them back later to take much longer looks at the ride after hours. They were particularly fascinated with the Cavern room at the top of the lift hill.

The Calico Mine Train ranks as a Knott's legend and certainly one of the best dark ride attractions of all time. The ride is a highly themed, richly detailed adventure that takes you to the 3,000-foot level of an 1880s mining operation - encountering underground waterfalls, mysterious caverns and dangerous cave-ins. It still has that 1950s/1960s design feel to it. It is very much an experience like it was upon opening 50 years ago. When asked why the ride has survived, Harry Suker mused, "It was an 8 minute family attraction that the whole family could enjoy together. It's an interesting ride. Nobody had done anything like it before"

The Mine Train ride today

Disney's Mine Train through Nature's wonderland faded into Yesterland long ago, but the Calico Mine Train is now celebrating 50 years of taking families on an unforgettable adventure. It has survived the test of time because of the determination of its designers to create a one of a kind family experience that everyone could enjoy together. And with any luck, the ride will receive the loving care and refurbishments it needs to thrive for another 50 years.

Our warmest congratulations to Bud Hurlbut, Harry Suker, Knott's Berry Farm and an endless list of employees (past and present) who made this attraction their home over the last 50 amazing years in the Calico mines. Thanks for the memories!

Happy 50th Birthday!!!

Special thanks to Chris Merritt of Knott's for his contributions to this article and interview with Bud Hurlbut. Also,
much thanks to Harry Suker for taking the time to speak with Fishbulb about the building of this classic attraction. We'd also like to extend our appreciation to Chris Jepsen of the Orange County Archives for the use of their images for this tribute. And finally, thanks to Knott's Berry Farm for access to the attraction and employees for information related to this article and for maintaining this attraction for 50 wonderful years!

We hope that all of our readers will make a special point of visiting Knott's and the historic Calico Mine Train. Bring the whole family, that's what this attraction was built for!

Christmas celebrations will begin on Thanksgiving day at Knott's. But there's already plenty of holiday cheer.

Ghost Town:
The holiday spirit is creeping into the old west. The stores are stocking up and the lights and wreaths are being hung with care. Crafts booths have opened up in the walkways of Ghost Town and are preparing for the Holiday rush.

Christmas has come to the recently refurbished house of ill repute. Sad eyed Joe remains silent for now and there is still no leg kicking out the window - but we have it on very good authority that all will be back and in working order soon enough.

The building looks wonderful and has been aged to fit into the area.

No leg yet, but a spot has been left open for it in the window next to the red door.

The stores in Ghost Town have been filled with garland and gifts for all to enjoy.

Let's mosey into the General Store

Shop for a spell.

Gold Trails Hotel Mercantile

Some lovely findings in here too.

The crafts are already on sale.

Deck the Halls Y'all!

Even something for the Dungeons and Dragons set.

Very down home. In fact, all of Ghost Town feels like Christmas should. Not glitzy. Not overproduced. Just real. And crafty. And homey. And . . . well . . . filled with heart.

Camp Snoopy:
More decorations have been hung around the campgrounds

Colorful decorations.

Where's my Christmas Snoopy?

THERE he is!

Some cleaver decorations have even popped up in the store near Xcelerator.

That is one shiny tree

Timber Mountain Log Ride:
Timber Mountain log ride continues its transformation into Elf Mountain. Show pieces have already begun installation within the mountain and all should be up and running next Thursday.

Off you go to Santa's Workshop.

MiceChat Holiday Celebration at Knott's Merry Farm:
Does all this Knott's goodness have you hankering for a visit to this classic Southern California destination? Why not join your fellow readers for a MiceChat holiday celebration on December 12th. For one low price, you'll get dinner, a tour of Ghost Town, a tribute to the Calico Mine Ride, a show in the Bird Cage Theatre, reserved viewing for the Christmas Parade, an ice show and admission into the park! YOUR INVITED - full event details here join the fun

Special Offers:

Saluting the military.

Military Tribute Days
Knott's annual tribute to our Military, past and present, starts November 1st. FREE admission for Veterans or current serving military personnel and one guest with proper I.D. presented at turnstile. (DD214, Veterans Administration Hospital ID or Active Military Service ID.) Plus purchase up to six additional tickets for just $15 each! Ends Thanksgiving Day.
Fire and Police Recognition Days

Starting Thanksgiving Day and running through December 19, Knott's will honor all those who protect life and property with Fire and Police Recognition Days. FREE admission to the park will be offered to all active fire and police personnel and one guest. Up to six additional tickets can be purchased for only $15 each.

Social Services and County Welfare Employee Appreciation Days
November 25 through December 19 Knott's Berry Farm will once again offer FREE admission to full-time County personnel and one guest. The employee must be an active State of California employee in the area of Child Support, Children & Family, Mental, Human, Health or Public Social Services. This includes county Health Care agencies. Employee must present a current state of California County photo i.d. Up to six additional tickets can be purchased for only $15 each.

Coming November 22nd - the Discovery Science Center celebrates the 5th Anniversary of the Science of Gingerbread!:

Come see over 100 gingerbread houses on display, play with model trains, decorate cookies and discover your inner kitchen scientist! Check our calendar for special events schedule.
The Sience of Gingerbread Winner (WEEK 1 OF 4):
In celebration of the upcoming Science of Gingerbread exhibit, the Discovery Science Center of Santa Ana is giving away four sets of four tickets. To win, we asked our readers to answer a gingerbread related question. Last weeks question was "How many types of gingerbread are there?" The correct answer was 3. All who answered correctly were entered into a random drawing to win a set of four tickets to the Discovery Science Center. And the winner is...

Congratulations to DisneyContinent
There are still 3 more chances to win! Just answer the new question below in the comment section of this blog and you will be entered for your chance to win!
Post the correct answer to the question below in today's update and you'll be automatically entered to win. Here's this week's question:

QUESTION: Which one of the following was NOT one of the medicinal uses for Ginger during Medieval times?
  1. Controlling a person's health and temperament
  2. Relieving respiratory difficulties
  3. Strengthening weak skin tissue
  4. Expelling the Plague

For hints to this question please visit the link below

The Science of Gingerbread: Gingerbread Facts
Winners will be narrowed down by correct answer then chosen at random prior to the publishing of next week's article. One winner of four tickets per week. You may only enter once per question.

Park Hours:
Friday 11/19 10-6pm
Saturday 11/20 10-7pm
Sunday 11/21 10-7pm
Monday 11/22 10-6pm
Tuesday 11/23 10-6pm
Wednesday 11/24 10-6pm
Thursday 11/25 9-7pm
Each night of Grinchmas, you can catch a celebrity reading of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The first week's schedule of celebrity readers has been announced. All readings are at 4:40pm.

Saturday, December 11: Stephen Moyer
Sunday, December 12: Jeffrey Tambor
Saturday, December 18: Brandy
Sunday, December 19: Fred Willard

A Grinchmas promo video has also been released

Christmas has arrived. Music themed garland, wreaths, and other decorations now deck the halls.

The tree is now up and fully decorated next to the CityWalk Stage.

Christmas Kong is back

Guitar wreaths

Upper Lot:

The Main Entrance Arch has its letters back and the entire main entrance is now covered with blue and gold lights

The USH neon sign and surrounding fountain is still undergoing refurbishment

The park Studio Store now has Grinchmas and Dr. Seuss merch

NY Street is dressed nicely for the holidays. Notice the light up snowmen.

Mel's Diner is closed for refurb. Cyber Grill is open in the interim. Mel's reopens 11/20

Baker Street is decorated

As has Paris Street

The Grinchmas tree is starting to go up

Fast & Furious Photo Op:
The F&TF photo op has changed again. The cars are gone but the music is still themed to the photo op.

Curious George Play Area:
The Curious George play area is still down for refurb. The rocket is behind tarps.

Studio Tour:
ST has been given the Christmas touch

Production is starting soon at the new back lot facades

The Whoville sets and vehicles have received a new coat of paint in preparation for Grinchmas

The Mummy's Tomb is closed for a Grinchmas overlay

The Starway is decorated with a Gold star at the very top and very bottom of the Starway.

Join Legoland for a spectacular Holly Jolly Holidays! Holiday festivities include a life-sized LEGO® brick Santa and Reindeer, miniature Santas and reindeer delivering toys throughout Miniland USA and "Let it Snow" the musical.

And every night from December 26 to the 31, we’ll be lighting up the sky with nightly fireworks at closing time.
Sea World is where the Season meets the Sea - Nov 26-28; Weekends Dec. 4-12 and Daily Dec 18-31.

Enjoy live shows inspired by the natural world, go ice skating with the whole family, share a smile with a sea lion, and get immersed in the wonders of The Polar Express 4D experience. Plus an all new pet-stravaganza of Christmas Tails. Get it? Christmas "Tails"

Sea World's President, Jim Atchison, has revealed that Shamu will be getting a new show next year. The show has not been the same since a trainer was killed during a performance of Believe (the current Shamu show) in February of this year. Trainers were always a part of that show, but since the accident, trainers have been kept at a safe distance from the Orcas, which has deeply impacted the show which featured many stunts involving trainers in the water. The new show should be able to enhance both safety and story.
Thanksgiving Lunch
Thu, Nov 25, 11 am - Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach

Give Mom a break this year, let Buster's do the cooking, and the little ones eat for FREE. Enjoy Hand Carved Turkey or Ham with all the trimmings and your choice of Pumpkin, apple or Pecan pie. Adults $19.95 (kids 9 & over 1/2 price, under 9 FREE)
Nutcracker Craft Boutique
Fri & Sat, Nov 19 & 20 - The Brea Community Center, 695 E. Madison Way (Corner of Madison & Randolph)
Offering shoppers one-of-a-kind items perfect for the holiday season. Over the two days, 250 vendors will be on site displaying and selling beautiful handcrafted holiday gifts, decorations, food and collectibles. Shoppers can come one day or both to shop for one-of-a-kind items. Due to large numbers of shoppers, strollers cannot be accommodated at this event. Admission $2.00 with proceeds benefiting youth, teen and family programs Parking is free.

Holiday Open House
Thu & Fri, Dec 9 & Dec 10, 4 - 7 pm - Rancho Los Alamitos, 6400 Bixby Hill Road, Long Beach
Visit the beautifully decorated ranch house and gardens at the Holiday Open House and enjoy the Yuletide sparkle of the ranch house, the magnificently trimmed tree, mantles and hearths festooned with greens, complimentary holiday treats and strolling carolers. Complimentary on-site parking at the Rancho. $5.00 Donation Suggested.

The North Pole Express
Thu-Sun, Nov 27-Dec 27 - Fillmore & Western Railway
364 Main Street, Fillmore / (800) 773-8724
Make this year one to remember. Come in your pajamas and bring your teddy bear for a ride to the "North Pole" to pick up Santa. Enjoy storytelling, caroling, cookies & chocolate milk and elves while on board. Visit Santa's Village in the park and ride the Carousel or shop at the Christmas Craft Booths. Reserve your tickets today--(800) 773-8724. Other holiday trains include: Dinner With Santa, Christmas Tree Trains, and Santa's Shopper Holiday Train.

Del Mar Antique Show & Sale
Nov 19, 2010 11:00 am - 7:00 pm | Friday
Now in its 50th successful year, Calendar Antique Shows is proud to present 65,000 square feet of antiques, vintage collectibles and decorator items (Over 250 premier antique dealers from all over California & the Western United States). These exhibitors will be selling the finest in antiques & collectibles including all types of glass, pottery, paper ephemera, crystal, jewelry, art, silver, Americana, primitives, American & European furniture, and much more. Adults, $8.00; $5.00 with coupon; younger than 17 free with accompanying paid adult. Location: O'Brien Hall Parking: $9.00
Pumpkin Launch Sat, Nov 20, 9 am - 12:30 pm - Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton
Discovery Science Center and California State University, Fullerton, are teaming up to offer a day of hands-on science fun! The day of family-friendly activities will be hosted at Fullerton’s Titan Stadium. Free activities will include: carved-pumpkin contests (bring your own carved pumpkin), catapult contest, music & entertainment.

Queen Mary
17th Annual Long Beach Holiday Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Wed, Dec 1, 6 - 7:30 pm - Queen Mary, 1126 Queen's Highway, Long Beach
Start the holiday season by celebrating aboard the historic luxury liner and the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree.

Holiday in the Park
Fri, Nov 19, 5:30 - 9:30 pm - Magnolia Park, Between 3300 & 3400 Magnolia Blvd, Burbank
The official kickoff to the holiday season, this event is a Magnolia Park tradition. Thousands come to drop by open house parties hosted by the neighborhood’s shops & eateries, listen to holiday choirs, visit with Santa and enjoy live entertainment.

Santa Monica Shines
Sat, Nov 20, 6 - 7 pm - Santa Monica Place, 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica
Join Jason Bentley for an amazing tree-lighting with lights that don’t just dance, they groove to a special soundtrack from KCRW DJs, plus a performance by The Living Sisters and lots more live music and dance from Santa Monica High School, Crossroads School, the GRAMMY Foundation and more.

Tree Lighting Spectacular
Sun, Nov 21, 4 - 10 pm - Simi Valley Town Center, 1555 Simi Town Center Way, Simi Valley
Bring out the family and enjoy a musical performance by Discovery Kidz, along with fun activities for the kids. At 6 pm will be the tree lighting, which will include laser light show and artificial snowfall, Santa arrives at 8 pm followed by an encore tree lighting and visit by Snow Princess. FREE

Sat, Nov 20, 10 am - Macarthur Park, 1321 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach
This is the second year that the open-air festival will have hands-on demonstrations of a variety of art forms from Cambodia’s rich and ancient culture. Local Cambodian artisans and culture bearers will share their expertise through interactive demonstrations. Among the arts and cultural practices on display will be Cambodian court dance and costuming, drawing, shadow puppets, music and musical instruments, textiles, dressmaking, weddings, cooking, and games.

Surfing Santa Arrives at Seaport Village
Saturday, Nov 27 1:00p Seaport Village, San Diego
Kicking off the holiday season, Santa will arrive by pirate ship sporting board shorts and flip flops for pictures with kids on his giant surfboard and wave on Thanksgiving weekend.
The legend continues . . .

Save the date folks - January 28th through 30th, 2011. It is hard to believe, but MiceChat is turning a vibrant 6 Years old. This is going to be an amazing weekend! Expect a party on Friday evening the 28th, DCA on Saturday the 29th, and Disneyland on Sunday the 30th! We'll have more details on schedules, events, fun and deals very soon. If you are looking for a place to stay, please contact our good friends at HoJo: Howard Johnson Anaheim Resort

More details will be posted here: MiceChat 6 Year Anniversary Weekend
Did you spot our HOLIDAY SPECIAL ALERTS above? If not, scroll up to the Discovery Science Center and Disneyland section for a chance to win in two different contests this week!

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Today's update was brought to you by our fantastic and talented crew of photographers and news contributors F!an, Sir Clinksalot, Captphoebus, Pratt55, Fishbulb, and Dustysage.

If you have photos or news to share, please contact [email protected]. We'd love to hear from you!

And that brings us to the end of another In The Parks update. Until next week . . .

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Updated 11-19-2010 at 08:22 PM by In the Parks



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  1. TDLFAN's Avatar
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    Great Update as usual and fab photography from DL park. Everything looks great.

    IT all started by a mouse.
    Updated 11-19-2010 at 12:18 AM by In the Parks
  2. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!!
  3. DisneyTrains's Avatar
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    Great update once again!
  4. Disney Liz's Avatar
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    Wonderful update! I wish I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Claus. She looks so sweet.

    I love Disneyland at Christmastime.
  5. RedHandedJill's Avatar
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    Wonderful, wonderful update!

    I can hardly wait to go!
  6. Mouse13's Avatar
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    Great update! Love the Christmas photos! The correct answer to the Gingerbread question is: 3. Strengthening weak skin tissue.
  7. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    I can't get over how AMAZING Fishbulb's photography is in this update. From that opening shot with Mickey and the band to the fireworks...he just continues to out do himself every week. Thanks for these STUNNING photos and for the wonderful update! I still have no idea how you guys find time to get out and take all these shots, load them, and create reports every Friday, but THANK YOU for all of your hard work!!
  8. All Aboard's Avatar
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    Great update + awesome photos = awesome. On a side note in one of the New Orleans Square decoration photos it is mentioned that lighting had not been put up over the walkway, not only is it missing the lights but also the large hanging ornaments. I wonder if this is due in part to the string of ornaments that came became detached from the crystal arts shop roof top and swung down and hit a guest last year?
  9. TCadillac's Avatar
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    That was a great piece on the Calico Mine Ride. I love that vintage 60's attraction feel also, this ride is always a must on each visit to Knotts.
  10. StevenW's Avatar
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    Knott's needs to renovate their stores near the entrance. They sell outdated merchandise and the stores smell horrible with their ragged rugs.
  11. Wendygirl's Avatar
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    I saw Mrs. Claus over at Big Thunder yesterday and now seeing her photo I think that just maybe her twin sister might be Fairy Godmother!

    The answer is Strengthening weak skin tissue.
  12. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Excellent update!
  13. ni_teach's Avatar
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    50 years of the Calico Mine Ride, it's hard to believe. I wonder if the 'A Family Builds A Mountain' movie can be found some where? It would be a kick to see now.
  14. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!

    The answer is:
    3. Strengthening weak skin tissue

  15. bamato's Avatar
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    Thanks for the updates gents
  16. FREQDUDE's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the updates, theyy sure do brighten the day.
    The correct answer is #3- Strengthening weak tissue. Makes a good stir fry too!
  17. soundhound's Avatar
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    Wow, the Knotts mine ride portion really brings back memories. When I was a kid, I rode that ride over and over. I was especially fond of the cavern. Little did I know how much my future would intersect with that cavern.

    Decades later, I became fiends with the man who maintained the tape loops of the sound effects and music in the mine ride and the log ride. One day, I told him how much I loved the mine ride and especially the cavern. So he pulls out from his vault the original master tape of the organ music from the cavern! He allowed me to make a copy of it (which I still have today). It was then that he realized that the original master was getting a bit old, so he decided to hire an organist and re-record the organ music again fresh. To make a long story short - I was the recording engineer who recorded the new version of the cavern music!

    That version is still used today, although somebody has edited it very poorly. I still get a thrill going through that ride and being able to tell family "I recorded that music!".

    I also got to go inside the bowels of the ride many times while my friend was doing his work. All of this way beyond the dreams of that kid in me who rode the mine ride over and over again.
  18. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundhound
    Wow, the Knotts mine ride portion really brings back memories. When I was a kid, I rode that ride over and over. I was especially fond of the cavern. Little did I know how much my future would intersect with that cavern.

    Decades later, I became fiends with the man who maintained the tape loops of the sound effects and music in the mine ride and the log ride. One day, I told him how much I loved the mine ride and especially the cavern. So he pulls out from his vault the original master tape of the organ music from the cavern! He allowed me to make a copy of it (which I still have today). It was then that he realized that the original master was getting a bit old, so he decided to hire an organist and re-record the organ music again fresh. To make a long story short - I was the recording engineer who recorded the new version of the cavern music!

    That version is still used today, although somebody has edited it very poorly. I still get a thrill going through that ride and being able to tell family "I recorded that music!".

    I also got to go inside the bowels of the ride many times while my friend was doing his work. All of this way beyond the dreams of that kid in me who rode the mine ride over and over again.
    That is an amazing story. Thank you SO much for sharing.

    The Mine is very near and dear to me as well. As a kid, we would often choose Knott's over Disneyland, and we would Ride the Mine Train over and over. We LOVED it. Still do. It is just one of those timeless family attractions.

    While I wish that Knott's had completely refurbished the ride in time for its 50th anniversary, I'm just happy that it still exists at all.
  19. soundhound's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was there several months ago and it was looking pretty shoddy. It also bugs me that somebody butchered the editing of the cavern music. I almost fell like contacting somebody there and offering to re-edit the music for free, just so it sounds like it's supposed to.
  20. k_peek_2000's Avatar
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    Great Mine Ride segment!

    This year I had the pleasure of being a monster in the mine ride for Black Widow's Cavern at Haunt, so much like the others I have a very special connection with the mine ride. I was stationed in the Cavern Scene, just opposite of the main room in my own little dark corner. I wish that the mine ride would get a major refurb, that ride has taken a lot of abuse over the years and when you get to see all the behind the scenes stuff, especially the cavern room (with the lights on) it wear and tear really shows. All the broken props, stalactites and what not are hidden in the dark parts of the ride as if it was a graveyard.

    Also, the mine ride is haunted. Very haunted. Almost every monster this year in MR has had some sort of experience that they can't explain including myself. It gets scary when your in one of the rooms alone. I think they should do a Ghost Hunters/Ghost Adventures in there. They would get a lot of evidence.
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