After a delightfully empty summer season, this week brought the long-awaited return of huge crowds. But not for the reason most people (and the Disneyland Resort) were expecting. With a haunted attraction celebrating a huge milestone and the annual CHOC Walk bringing in thousands of extra guests, Disneyland felt like the summer vacation mecca that it is known and feared for. Let’s take a look at the Haunted Mansion’s 50th, updates around Star Wars land and CHOC Walk. Plus shocking news about the collapse of a section of the Matterhorn facade and the sudden failure of the Disneyland Railroad at Galaxy’s Edge.
Yesterday, around 2:45pm the Disneyland Railroad’s Ward Kimball blew out an axle on the Galaxy’s Edge trestle. The cars were evacuated and then pulled back to New Orleans Square, but the locomotive remained on the tracks for the remainder of the day as it couldn’t be towed back to the roundhouse without heavy reinforcements.
Some will recall that train conductors warned that the increase in grade of the Railroad between the New Orleans Station and the new Galaxy’s Edge bridges and waterfalls could put extra stress on Disneyland’s aging fleet of locomotives. We have no idea what precipitated this failure, but it does warrant investigation. Which we are sure Disney will do.
Unfortunately, with one train already down for refurbishment, that leaves just two trains for regular operations until engine no. 5 can be repaired. Be prepared for longer than normal waits for the Disneyland Railroad.
There was another unfortunate incident this week at Disneyland when a door-sized chunk of the Matterhorn facade fell off and partially closed the ride. This could potentially be the result of water damage from the nearby waterfall, but whatever the root cause, we hope there isn’t more compromised rock work on the mountain.
By the weekend, the damaged area was covered with a scrim.
Star Wars Land Update
Boarding Screens Removed
Those big screens that were intended to let the guest know when their boarding groups could enter Galaxy’s Edge have been removed from the park. Aside from a few short uses, the land has remained in “Open” condition, so the signs weren’t really needed. However, they were the only indication to guests of where the entry to Galaxy’s Edge is. Star Wars remains the ONLY land in the park without an entry sign.
The big boarding pass sign was removed from this Fantasyland planter and all other locations in the park.Signs point guests OUT of Galaxy’s Edge to Fantasyland and Frontierland . . . but nothing points you in. It’s also the only land with a completely blind entry. There are NO indications that anything is beyond those twisted entries into Star Wars land. With traffic in the land lower than the rest of the park at most times, perhaps those arrows pointing out should be replaced with signs pointing guests into the new land.Droid Depot Reservations
Although the Droid Depot was rarely busy, guests now have the option of booking a reservation two weeks in advance. We like the idea of reservations in crowded spots, but we’re not sure that this location fits that bill.
Standby Availability for Oga’s
We’d like to address we’ve been seeing online about standby being available at Oga’s Cantina. While there are times that guests may be allowed to join a standby line outside the Star Wars bar, it is rare for that to happen. Your best bet is still to check reservation availability at Disneyland.com. That’s the only way to guarantee your entry into the Cantina. However, if you see very few people waiting out front, it’s worth asking if standby is available.
When hinges creak in doorless chambers . . .
Disney held an expensive late-night party and merchandise event to celebrate the big anniversary. For $300 guests were able to be first to buy limited-edition merchandise and then attend an after-hours party which included specialty haunted entertainment, food, and uncrowded access to some of Disney’s scarier rides.
Madame Leota was found on Walt and Roy’s Dream Suite balcony.
Tightrope-girl (whom Disney was calling “Sally”) was a popular character.
And guests could ride attractions until 4am.
Aside from the star of the evening, the Haunted Mansion (with live actors throughout), guests could also ride Big Thunder, the Mark Twain (with SCAREolers aboard), Indiana Jones, the Jungle Cruise, and Tarzan’s Treehouse,
Event guests were first to buy special Haunted Mansion inspired art, clothing, pins, and artifacts. Including some awesome glowing jars containing famous Mansion ghosts. But by Friday morning, all the unsold goods (of which there were a lot) had made their way to Disneyana on Main Street and New Orleans Square.
This Christmas ornament lights up:
Another set is available to all guests. The bride and . . . is that one of her husbands or the grave digger?
The doombuggy now comes in regular or 50th anniversary editions.
LONG lines of guests queued up at Disneyana/Disney Gallery for a shot at some of the higher end and most collectible items.
This line stretched all the way through the adjecent Opera House.
And there seems to be some sort of craze about these Madam Leota Funko Pops.
Imagineer Kim Irvine designed these collectible ears inspired by the Haunted Mansion. The Madame Leota figure in the center is extra personal to Kim, her Mother (Leota Toombs) was the actual model and namesake of the Mansion’s classic figure (and also the voice of Little Leota).
From an epic wedding cake to crunchy beignets, there were special treats in various locations throughout the event.
Bride and groom churros with Foolish Mortals Popcorn.
Did you attend this event? Was it worth the $300?
The Electrical Parade continues to pack in the crowds. In fact, on several nights, crowds were extremely heavy by sundown in anticipation of this sparkly classic.
Brian Pinsky visited to take some time-lapse video for you.
The refillable Electrical Parade popcorn buckets have arrived.
While the number of guests continues to be erratic, nighttime has been hopping. Meanwhile, during the day you can get on Pirates with a short wait.
Thursday at 2pm.
Red Car Trolley Refurbishment
With Marvel Construction suspending Red Car service, now is the right time for some refurbishment to the Trolley stop and tracks. The vehicles are also getting some refurbishment backstage.
It’s like a flashback to DCA 2.0 construction on Buena Vista Street.
Marvel Land Construction
And just a bit further down the parade route, Marvel Land rises.
On the Guardians of the Galaxy side of the construction site, things are going vertical quickly. This was just a dirt lot a couple weeks ago.
The seating expansion on Hollywood Blvd. continues.
While we are in the area . . . does it seem like Mickey’s PhilharMagic is any more popular than Muppet Vision or any of the movie previews? How much of the problem is location and how much is programming?
Redwood Creek is getting something awesome this Halloween. Oogie Boogie’s Halloween Bash will be using this area for a Disney Villain focused haunt. With a musical score, special lighting, and a spooky feeling throughout, the trail will be a little step toward a spooky, but not terrifying, haunted house. I’m really looking forward to this one.
The Camp Circle has been taken over by Disney entertainment to prepare for Villains Grove.
The parking plaza is just about ready for paving. The bridge and plaza projects booth look ready for a September debut.
The trees are planted and there’s a base for what looks like an icon of some sort.
Safety First (A Fan’s Concern)
We received a letter and phone call from a reader this week who is concerned about the safety of disabled guests. Enhancements in the new Pixar Pals Parking Lot have created some confusion for blind guests and others who might not realize there are inconsistencies in how the resort marks safe and unsafe zones.
Here’s the note:
Yellow line and tactile pad in Pixar Pals loading area.
The whole tactile pad is yellow in Downtown Disney, a completely different design than the pads on the other end of the tram route. This causes great confusion for a blind guest as rules should be applied consistently for safety’s sake.
The bridge is another project which is nearing completion.
The safety fencing is nearly installed on the raised platforms.
This and That
Below is a wooden box where a light post was previously anchored.
The missing lamp looks like these:
Beginning August 23rd until September 2nd, Disney California Adventure will offer commemorative merchandise, special food, entertainment and experiences in celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary!
The Studio Catering Co. Truck in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot will offer Fanta Orange Freeze with Blue Cream.
Hollywood Lounge will have a Be Brave, Be Blue cocktail, as well as Groot-shaped sourdough bread
Award Wieners will serve cinnamon-sugar dusted Funnel Cake Fries with Maple Glaze, Crumbled Bacon and Chocolate Cookie Crumbles. Ummmmm. Get in my belly!
Passholders get an extra hour at Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! August 25th through 31st. Get a free lithograph while supplies last.
Plus meet and greets including Mickey and Palls dressing up as super heroes.
CHOC Walk 2019
Team MiceChat has finished their walk for CHOC Children’s Hospital at Disneyland. Amazing morning with big-hearted friends. Were you there this morning? 🧸 ▪️ ▫️ ▪️ ▫️ #disneyland #disney #choc #chocwalk #dlr #disneylandresort #charity #walk #children #childrenshospital #dustysage #magicalmorning #dca #disneyparks #disneygram #instadisney
Original Disneylanders Event – Aug 21
Grab your Tickets here!
Oogie’s Halloween Bash
We’ll be making opening night of Oogie’s party (Tuesday, September 17th) extra special with an official MiceChat Meetup. We’ll trick or treat, catch the new World of Color, enjoy the parade, and live it up with the villains throughout the night. Don’t miss out on purchasing tickets to the Oogie Boogie Bash before they’re sold out (there’s a pass holder discount available), it’ll haunt you for sure.
You can find out more information about our upcoming meets and events and meet-up locations by adding your name to our event list here:
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Extra Night Free Hotels
That’s it for this week.