The only constant in the world is change, and that’s even more of a truth in the theme park industry. At the moment, Disneyland is in a major state of flux. Seasons are changing. The 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration is ending. Star Wars land construction has forever altered parts of Disneyland’s back country. Marvel is making a move on California Adventure . . . and . . . Halloween is just about to burst into the parks with fall colors, villains and extra cost tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Speaking of Halloween, we spotted something new at the Haunted Mansion that we think you are going to really like. A new graveyard! We also have a new Disneyland Update author to introduce you to, Beth Castles, who shares her opinions in the “Diamond Anniversary” section of today’s update.
|Diamonds Aren’t Forever
The Good, The Bad & The Dazzling of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary
by Beth Castles
The Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration is coming to a dazzling end next week and I am finding myself feeling especially nostalgic. The main focus of the Diamond Celebration has been Walt Disney and the magic that he was able to create through his unique storytelling, hard work and a very talented and dedicated team. While I won’t deny that there are a few things about the Diamond Celebration that I would have done differently, the Disneyland Resort is the only Disney resort that was built and enjoyed by Walt Disney himself. I have loved seeing Disneyland showcased worldwide as the crown jewel of Disney Parks.
Park hours were extended greatly throughout the Diamond Celebration at both Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure Park and that has definitely been a big highlight. There is simply more time for more magic and merriment to be had. These extended hours have helped a lot, especially considering the huge crowds of people who have visited the Disneyland Resort during the Diamond Celebration. Longer hours allowed guests to enjoy more of what Disneyland has to offer – including a brand new Hatbox Ghost in the Haunted Mansion, new nighttime spectaculars, new food, drinks, merchandise, and decorations.
For me, Disneyland Forever has been the real gem of the impressive Diamond Celebration offerings. It does a great job of celebrating the classics that made the Walt Disney Company the biggest entertainment company in the world and that made Walt Disney a cultural icon, while still showcasing more recent commercial Disney successes. With all the colorful projections, memorable music, impressive special effects and pyrotechnics, Disneyland Forever is the biggest fireworks presentation ever presented at Disneyland and is my personal favorite. In fact, it is the Disneyland experience that I will miss the most once the Diamond Celebration has concluded.
I have always enjoyed watching the Paint the Night Parade, but I must admit that I have mixed feelings about it. Anyone watching this very popular nighttime parade can see that it is visually striking and that the infectious music has a way of pumping up all but the grumpiest Disneylanders. I just wish that it had been based more on the storytelling found in Walt’s Disneyland. The classic attractions of Disneyland feature so many timeless stories that could have easily been perfect for such a colorful nighttime parade, such as Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. Lastly, I would have also hoped that the Diamond Celebration itself would have inspired its own new nighttime parade, not simply an updated and improved version of a parade from Hong Kong Disneyland.
Again, I will not say that I do not enjoy World of Color Celebrate!, because I do. I absolutely love that the focus is mostly on popular Disneyland attractions, Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. I also appreciate that it is hosted by Mickey Mouse, the mouse that “started it all”, and Neil Patrick Harris, a self-proclaimed Disneyland fanatic. The biggest highlights for me are seeing the old footage of Walt and hearing his voice being carried throughout the area. I am always touched by his special good night message at the very end of the show. After years of saying good night to Walt when leaving the resort, Walt is now able (symbolically, of course) to return the gesture to me and his other parting guests. While I do enjoy the show, I must also admit that there are still moments when it feels forced and more like a syrupy sweet commercial than a cohesive show.
Another Disneyland experience I will surely miss is the Diamond Celebration Photo Spots, featuring six very popular Disneyland Resort destinations: the Haunted Mansion, the Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disneyland Park and a bug’s land, California Screamin’ and Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure Park. During the Diamond Celebration, guests have been able to use the magic of forced perspective to recreate Disneyland postcards where they could scale the Matterhorn or even experience life as a bug. These memorable photo opportunities are all very playful and fun and Disney PhotoPass services have been provided (including photographers during select times) at each photo spot to allow guests to further personalize their photos. I hope similar photo spots are coming in the future and become permanent offerings at the Disneyland Resort.
The variety of merchandise created for the Diamond Celebration has been quite substantial. There really was something for everyone. Hundreds of products were created to commemorate the Diamond Celebration, including apparel, pins, artwork, collectibles and toys. My favorite offerings are the artwork, the iconic Mickey balloon popcorn buckets (in red, blue and purple), the (somewhat uncomfortable but still very beautiful) crystal Minnie Mouse headband, the Disneyland Forever Alex & Ani bracelet and the Disneyland Diamond Celebration Tumbler with Straw by Starbucks. My biggest disappointment with the merchandise has been the focus on the 60th Diamond Celebration logo and not on the actual history of Disneyland. I would have really loved to have seen more merchandise featuring Disneyland’s history, such as attractions, parades and shows from the past sixty years like the Totally Minnie parade I so vividly remember seeing as a child.
Much like the decorations found throughout the resort and the merchandise, the Diamond Celebration foods and drinks being offered are mostly inspired by the Diamond Celebration logo and color scheme. Everywhere you look, guests can find tasty cake pops, caramel apples, various lemonades and more to enjoy. The only offerings I cannot personally endorse are the visually pleasing but oddly tasting Disneyland Park Diamond Lemon Cupcake, the Disney California Adventure Park Diamond Orange Cupcake and the Diamond Celebration Chocolate Cake due to the somewhat strange banana/passion, fruit/mango/lemon mousse.
The Diamond Celebration started with a big party, an all-night party to be exact, and it really was a perfect way to kick off the 60th anniversary celebration and to be introduced to the new nighttime entertainment offerings. While my family and I thoroughly enjoyed the 24 hour party and being at Disneyland during the Elton John performance for the then upcoming Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Special, I was more than a little disappointed when the special aired because I felt it should have been more focused on Disneyland and less on unrelated musical performances. It was an opportunity lost to fully capture why Disneyland continues to be so special and unique to those watching.
Walt Disney is my personal hero, so I have really enjoyed that he and his storytelling has been the main focus of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. Disneyland will always be special. This is the park where Walt proved that his grand dream of a magic kingdom for both adults and children alike to enjoy together was indeed possible. Disneylanders have always been a passionate and dedicated group, and sixty years of Disneyland is truly something to celebrate. I have enjoyed being a part of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration and witnessing firsthand much of its epic run; I will definitely miss it once it’s finally over. What about you?
Disneyland Is Your Land
Time marches on, but even as things change, there are some things which remain the same.
Next to the train station is Disneyana. It’s a favorite stop for Disney collectors. . . and I can’t help myself . . .
On the river, there’s all sorts of work going on.
Spoiler Alert!!! . . .
The merchandise mix has shifted to mainly Jack Skellington.
Let’s make the hop over to Fantasyland.
Not far away is Tomorrowland, where Season of the Force is on its final leg.
Star Trader has all sorts of fun merchandise right now. It’s one of the most innovative stores in the park.
A line of merchandise featuring Disneyland/Star Wars attraction poster parody are really awesome.
The next series of shots were all taken from the hub. I shot one or more from each spoke. Gives you a good idea of how the park currently looks/feels.
The Market House facade refurbishment on Main Street continues (where Starbucks is located). A section of scrim was missing when we took this photo, which allows us to take a closer look.
|StarWars Construction Update|
Darth Daver published a complete update on the current state of Star Wars land construction:
If you want the full collection of Star Wars land construction photos and news click here and jump on over to Darth Daver’s update!
|Disney California Adventure|
Take a few steps and you’re in a whole new world. While there isn’t much visible progress in California Adventure, there soon will be.
Halloween has arrived in the stores of Buena Vista Street.
Beloved artist, Noah, was signing at Off the Page this past weekend.
On the Pier, Treasures in Paradise has given up completely on Duffy the Disney Bear. Duffy’s room has been taken over by Mickey and Minnie. I couldn’t find any trace of Duffy.
Just outside of Treasures in Paradise is the Cover Bar. Although seating has nearly doubled, lines to get in are longer than ever. At noon on Saturday, the wait was 50 minutes for a seat.
The backlot is a bit dull during the day. The Pete’s Dragon preview has closed, leaving only Monster’s Inc open in this section of the park.
|Refurbishment Round Up|
Disneyland continues to grow and change, now more than ever. Here is a brief list of some upcoming projects:
- Haunted Mansion is closed through Sep. 9 to transform into Haunted Mansion Holiday.
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is closed until mid-September.
- Hyperspace Mountain closes Tuesday Sept. 6 to become Ghost Galaxy on Friday, Sep. 9
- Diamond Celebration ends on Sep. 6. And with it goes the extensive décor which will switch to Halloween Time as well as:
- Paint The Night, which goes dark after Sep. 5 and is coming back for select dates during the holidays before changing to the Main Street Electrical Parade early next year.
- World of Color – Celebrate! Which will change to the original World of Color show.
- Disneyland Forever will be replaced by Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks, which will run mostly on a weekend only schedule.
- A remodeled Rivers of America with the Sailing Ship Columbia, Mark Twain Riverboat, Tom Sawyer’s Island, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes and Disneyland Railroad will reopen next summer (2017) as well.
Disney California Adventure:
- Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror will close in January to become “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT” next summer.
- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is closing for a lengthy refurbishment September 6 through 28th
|Upcoming MiceChat Events|
Looking for a bit of fun? We have a series of great events coming right up. Parties, Halloween,
September 3rd – An Evening with Former Imagineer Terri Hardin at the Anabella Hotel’s Tangerine Bar and Patio
This is a free event at the Anabella Hotel. Join us for cocktail and drink specials and some amazing inspiration from former Disney Imagineer and runDisney fangirl, Terri Hardin. The event will take place September 3rd from 6pm until 7pm at the Tangerine Grill & Patio. The party is in celebration of the big runDisney event that weekend. But whether you are racing or not, come join us for drinks with Terri! There’s also an exclusive hotel rate and perks for MiceChatter for that weekend – MiceChat Runners Deal at the Anabella Hotel
October 1st – MiceChat Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt Event
Join us in the fog for a night of spooky treats and VIP experiences. For one low price, you’ll get an all you can eat BOO-ffet dinner, early entry into the event, tours, meet and greets with Knott’s creatives, front of line for the mazes, VIP seating for shows, Skeleton Key access and a night of fun with your mice pals at the haunt which started it all. We have a VERY limited number of tickets available this year, SIGN UP NOW – HERE
October 10th – Mickey’s Halloween Party @ Disneyland
Join the MiceChatters for a not so scary Halloween event on Monday October 10th. Please buy your own tickets directly from Disney. Then sign up for our event list HERE to be notified about event meeting times and locations. It promises to be a night filled with candy, friendship and fireworks!
November 3rd and 4th – New York Meet-ups and events
The MiceChatters invade NYC in November before their New York to Puerto Rico cruise. We’ll be seeing Aladdin and Cirque Du Soleil Paramour as well as taking a city tour. If you are interested in any or all of these activities, please contact [email protected] for more information.
|Get Disneyland Wait Times with Mouseaddict|
Get Mouseaddict Here You can keep track of the wait times and even where in the park people are congregating by downloading the app (iPhone only at this time).
Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot and assembled by Dusty Sage, the Diamond Celebration section was written by the amazing Beth Castles. Please help us welcome her in the comments section below.
Are you a member of the MiceChat Sunday Meet-up Facebook group? If you are interested in meeting up with fellow theme park lovers in the parks, please be sure to follow this group: MiceChat Sundays in the Park. Don’t miss out on all the fun! This coming Sunday, we’ll celebrate the final weekend of the Diamond Celebration. We’ll see you at noon on Sunday at the Walt and Mickey statue in the central hub of Disneyland!
And please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the Disneyland Resort and beyond:
That’s it for this week’s Update. Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]