It’s our first Disneyland Update of the new year. And while Disney mostly paused their announcements during the holidays, there’s still quite a bit for us to update you on. We’ll start with some departures from Downtown Disney, then visit Buena Vista Street to check on interesting changes in operation there, see how the holidays are slowly departing the resort, and look at some rumors on what might be on the horizon.
It’s time to put 2020 behind us and get going on a whole new year of Disney fun . . .
Downtown Disney Updates
The big pre-holiday crowds for Downtown Disney have mostly dissipated. While there are still waits to get into the shopping district on the weekends, the weekdays are very lightly attended, with crowds on all days building a bit toward evening. And with the lull in crowds, comes some closures and departures.
Sprinkles Cupcakes has temporarily closed in Downtown Disney.
And while there has been some speculation online that they are permanently leaving Downtown Disney, their equipment remains in the store, and they recently made a statement that this is a temporary closure:
Due to the Disney Park closure, our Downtown Disney bakery is temporarily closed. However, our Newport Beach location is open and accepting orders. ? We hope to see you soon!
— Sprinkles Cupcakes (@sprinkles) January 9, 2021
We’d like to see them install a cupcake ATM as they have in other locations in LA.
Street Eats Vanishes – But one establishment that appears to have completely left the resort is Asian Street Eats. This is approximately one year since they opened and now the entire structure in front of the shuttered Rain Forest Cafe has been removed.
Open or Closed – While many Downtown Disney food establishments are currently closed due to the no-dining orders for our region . . .
There are quite a few places offering takeout (to be consumed after you leave Downtown Disney, including several outdoor vending carts (which seem to be quite popular) . . .
Some establishments even have new items for the season.
From the Jazz Kitchen’s quick-service counter, you can pick up some new Mardi Gras inspired beignets with a colorful almond-flavored glaze (instead of powdered sugar). We picked some up to go and loved them.
Many establishments are doing mobile order.
Salt and Straw has new flavors. But if you missed the holiday editions, many are still available as well.
The Bourbon & Caramelized Honeycomb sounds pretty good to us.
But you can also still get fall favorites like Roasted Peach & Sage Cornbread Stuffing, and Spiked Eggnog while it lasts…
And Marceline’s Confectionery has swapped out their holiday treats with more generic offerings. And as a result, the lines have disappeared from the store (as well as at Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street which offers the same selection):
Disney has a lot of items they haven’t made since Downtown Disney reopened, perhaps it’s time for them to start rotating items again to give folks a reason to come back.
The immediate thing you’ll notice when arriving in Downtown Disney is that Christmas decor has been completely removed from the exterior areas. Though, there’s a lot of holiday merchandise still in many of the stores (look for the World of Disney section below).
Pandora Returns – Just before Christmas, Pandora suddenly closed without warning and remained closed through some of the busiest days of the season. But, they’ve now reopened just as mysteriously (quite possibly a Covid scare, since no retail operation closes for the busy holiday season willingly only to reopen after the crowds have already died down).
Christmas and Crowds – It’s over! Christmas has been removed from Downtown Disney’s pathways. Though you’ll still find plenty of holiday merchandise here and there.
It does appear that Disney has been further limiting the number of people allowed into Downtown Disney at any given time. The line to get into the shopping district was long when we arrived. But it wasn’t busy at all once inside the shopping district.
We could see from Disneyland Drive that the parking lot behind the old AMC Theater had a long line of waiting guests on Saturday afternoon. So we kept driving to the Anaheim Hotel on Harbor Blvd and used the new MiceChat $10 parking coupon (which is now good 7 days a week). When we arrived in Downtown Disney from the Harbor Blvd side, there was no one in line on that side of the resort and the rest of Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street had only short queues and no virtual queues needed. It felt very comfortable compared to the pre-Christmas period. Or tip is to just park at the Anaheim Hotel since the Harbor side of the resort almost never has a line and the price to park at the hotel is the same as parking in the Disney lot anyway.
If you’re interested in the MiceChat Anaheim Hotel $10 parking offer (the same price Disney charges in their lot), just ask for the MiceChat $10 parking rate at the hotel desk (they are located on Harbor Blvd directly across from the Guardians of the Galaxy tower). Note, we don’t make a penny off of this offer, we just thought you needed some alternate parking options and worked a deal out with the hotel on your behalf:
When we arrived on the Harbor side of the resort, there wasn’t a single guest in line. This is a great option since it’s the same cost as the busier Paradise Pier Hotel side of the resort.
As we were leaving just after sunset, there were still no guests in line on this side.
New Transportation Signage – We did notice some brand new signs up on the bus loading loops for “Sonesta Anaheim.” There were lots of these signs. We did ask cast members working the area and they seemed just as curious about them as we are, since no Sonesta buses arrived in the area all day, nor had any cast member been told what the new signs were for.
Buena Vista Street Updates
Arriving on Buena Vista Street you may notice that cast members no longer guard the gate controlling access to the street. That’s because crowd levels across the entire open portions of the property have equalized. Staff still monitor crowd levels in each individual shop and form outdoor queues as necessary, just as they do in Downtown Disney. There’s also another big change to Buena Vista Street operation, The Stage 17 Hollywood Premiere Shop is now accessible directly from inside California Adventure instead of from the Esplanade. This has made the establishment a much more popular destination. We’ve got some photos for you below.
The shops on Buena Vista Street had moderate to no waits. And the crowd level in the streets felt easy flowing and well socially distanced. As in Downtown Disney, Christmas has been mostly removed from outdoor areas with some holiday decor still inside the shops.
Disney has been experimenting with bringing more items outdoors to give guests an option to shop alfresco. It’s also a great way for them to highlight popular items and items they need to get rid of.
Many holiday items are now 70% off. Keep in mind that you can get a pass holder discount ON TOP OF THAT! That’s practically unheard of at Disney. Snap up heavily discounted gifts and holiday-wear for the next holiday season while you still can. There’s a great selection right out on Buena Vista Street (though the best selection is in Stage 17 and at World of Disney).
Under the Carthay Circle overhang, you’ll find balloons, sipper cups, and popcorn buckets. Many styles that had previously sold out are now back in stock.
With the holiday crowds gone, Gone Hollywood now closes Monday through Thursday and reopens for the weekend.
We had been hoping that Stage 17 would open for access from within California Adventure as the previous entry from the far side of the Esplanade made it too far out of sight and out of mind for most guests. The change to access from Hollywood Land has brought new life to the venue and a reasonable line of guests waiting to get inside.
On your way to Stage 17, you’ll still find outdoor shopping displays near the Studio Store.
Guests queue up just outside the soundstage.
After a short wait, we entered to find the store completely reset since our last visit. While there’s still a small section of deeply discounted holiday items, you’ll also now find Mickey Mouse sections, Marvel, Star Wars, and the ever-popular Minnie Headbands and Spirit Jerseys.
These Shag items are leftover from a merchandise event in the old ESPN Zone building.
You have your choice to exit Stage 17 directly into the Esplanade or head back into DCA.
During our visit, the line to get into Five and Dime was perhaps just 5 parties long. But the line to enter the building across the street, which houses Trolley Treats, had no line at all! During the holidays, that was often the longest line in the park. Why the difference, we suspect it’s the lackluster offerings in Disney’s candy kitchens at the moment:
The same churro toffee, rice krispy treats, and dipped apples are back.
Though, we did learn that they usually offer the red candy apples on the weekends.
Inside the stores on Buena Vista Street, you’ll still find some garland and the occasional tree as well.
And with so much holiday merchandise left unsold, the merchandise displays are still up everywhere.
And discounts of course . . .
Don’t expect the decor to last too much longer, more and more is removed every day. And, eventually, Disney will ship much of this left-over holiday merchandise to discount centers off property.
World of Disney Tour
With the holidays rapidly evaporating we wanted to take a quick look at what’s hot this week at the World of Disney.
There was no need for the mobile waitlist on Saturday. Although the line can appear to be pretty long, it moves fairly quickly and we were inside in about 15 minutes.
Once inside, you’re greeted by some familiar 65th-anniversary merchandise.
On a similar note, everything old is new again with familiar collections of Spirit Jerseys and Loungefly bags.
Introduced a few months ago, Disney has the Wishes Come True Blue collection displayed proudly. This collection celebrates Disney’s 40-year partnership with Make-A-Wish, and for every item purchased from it now through World Wish Day 2021 (April 29, 2021) Disney will donate 25% of the purchase price (up to $500,000) to Make-A-Wish.
Further along, you’ll see the newest addition to the World of Disney, the Lunar New Year collection celebrating the Year of the Ox. Included in this collection are a t-shirt, Spirit Jersey, hoodie, and an ear headband.
There’s a handful of items from Disney-Pixar’s latest movie, Soul.
Christmas no more! What was still a holiday-themed display a few days ago has now been converted to a celebration of Mickey Mouse. Although the merchandise itself isn’t particularly new, it always amazes us to see how quickly Disney converts from the holidays back to normal.
Nobody puts Baby (Yoda) in the corner! That’s why these shirts featuring little Grogu are on display on the main aisle.
These light-up Madame Leota sippers aren’t new, but they still caught our eye because they are back in stock . . . and oh so amazing. They made their debut out at Walt Disney World last year and we’ve been waiting to get our hands on one since.
She also lights up. Here’s Leota powered off . . .
And with ethereal glow. . .
Disney fans, get your ears on! which pair best represents you?
The thing about the ear headbands is that there’s so many styles that it’s hard to keep track of what’s new and which one will look best with your outfit. Luckily for you, the amazing Natalie Kipper has created a guide to the latest ear headbands that you’ll find handy. Take a look at the article below for more about ear headbands!
This was just a quick overview of the latest merchandise from Disneyland. For a more comprehensive look, be sure to read out the latest Disneyland Merchandise Update . . . but watch out for Stitch:
New Year, New Photos – MiceChat Reader Photos
It’s been a few weeks since we’ve done a reader photo section. First, we had our holiday photo contest, and then an in-depth Disneyland year-in-review. But today, our first Disneyland Update of the year, we’re ready and excited to share with you the photos from our readers this week! With the change of season (we’re always sad to see Christmas go), we felt that it was time to update our social media banners. We asked the MiceChat Facebook group to share their photos of Disneyland that evoke the parks and the transitional season. Here are a few of our favorites.
Choose your three favorites:
This was just a small handful of photos from our readers. We had a great time seeing everyone’s photos, especially seeing how many there were. If you’re interested in seeing the full selection of shots, plus join a community of Disney fans, be sure to join the MiceChat Facebook group! Keep a lookout for next week’s reader photo theme!
This & That
Disney Rumored to Relocate Some Jobs to FL
Although The Walt Disney Company has sectors of business all over the world, much of its business is conducted in California. However, according to a recent article from the Orlando Business Journal, a shift in coasts could be in the works for many jobs. The OBJ reported that Disney is allegedly in talks to relocate some of its business operations to Lake Nona in southeast Orlando, Florida.
At this time, however, Disney has not made any statements about the veracity of OBJ’s reporting. Additionally, it’s very unlikely that the company as a whole would be relocating to Florida. As Disney has a large stake in the entertainment industry, it makes sense for some aspects of their operations to continue in California. The OBJ article had no comment on how many departments could potentially be moving to Florida or how many people could be affected.
It should be noted that Disney has been moving certain jobs to Florida for years. Sometimes that works out well for them, and sometimes it doesn’t. While HR, Scheduling, Accounting, and other positions have been relocated over the last decade, they once also had grand plans to animate and do television production in Florida as well. But Florida just isn’t set up to handle the creative sector as California and New York are. But, for administrative jobs, Florida might just be a good fit for some positions. We’re extremely curious to see how this unfolds. Disney will have to make some sort of comment on this one soon.
More Super Nintendo World Info
A few weeks ago, Nintendo shared a glimpse of the upcoming Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. Up until now, the majority of the information about the new land has been in Japanese, but this week the English site launched! You can read all about Super Nintendo World below:
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Let’s Hear From You
Well, that turned out to be a much longer Update than we had counted on! 2021 is off to the races. While much is still up in the air, we’re cautiously hopeful that this year will be better than the last. Disney has been hard at work preparing for the transitional period in which more and more people are vaccinated and they are allowed to offer an increasing number of services. We’re looking forward to that as well. What are your hopes for the new year . . . and when do you expect Disney to be allowed to reopen the parks? And what sorts of jobs do you think Disney might move to Florida?
More Theme Park Reading
Today’s cover image is courtesy Dani Frisby!