Disney California Adventure begins construction on its new Buena Vista Street complex this week, shutting down the park's main entrance plaza in the process. The closure is needed so major construction can get underway on the re-theming and alterations that will transform the former Sunshine Plaza into the new 1920s Los Angeles cityscape. The entrance corridor's closure will result in a new entrance route via backstage walkways that will empty guests into the park's Condor Flats area. Meanwhile, construction rages on in Cars Land as that park works toward its 2012 grand opening alongside Buena Vista Street. At Disneyland, work continues at the Main Street Emporium as a portion of the redesigned store was unveiled last week and some popular characters from Star Wars are now making the rounds in Tomorrowland.

<img src="http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/micechat/Dateline%20Disneyland/2011/08-22-11/trackers.png" width="250" align="right" border="0"></a> We recently launched a fresh new look for our popular Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Project Trackers on MiceChat. With the re-launch, we've given the Trackers and updated look, which is now reflected in their special Project Tracker watermarks seen on related photos in today's column. Of course, you can always click on any photo featuring a Project Tracker watermark to learn more information on the project or join on-going discussion on the MiceChat forums!

We've got another busy week here, so let's jump in.

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Inside Dateline Disneyland</center></td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="100%"><a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=3874837" target="new"><img src="http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/micechat/Dateline%20Disneyland/donatetoplong.png" width="135" align="right" border="0"></a>
  • <a href="#DD1">Welcome to Disneyland!</a>
    TouringPlans.com crowd level forecast
  • <a href="#DD2">Main Street Changes</a>
    Main Street Emporium refurbishment, Candy Palace walls.
  • <a href="#DD3">Tomorrowland Tourists</a>
    Star Tours waits and Star Wars characters
  • <a href="#DD4">California Construction</a>
    A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
    • <a href="#DD4-1">Buena Vista Street</a>
    • <a href="#DD4-2">Cars Land</a></a>
  • <a href="#DD5">This & That</a>
    Hollywood pins, Bobsled testing, Golden Horseshoe work
  • <a href="#DDNEWS">Weekly News and Information Round-Up</a>
    Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments, MiceChat Nights of Horror tickets on sale now!
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" height="" width="100%"><center>Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.</center></td></tr></tbody></table></center>

The off-season has returned to Disneyland after a busy summer. Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast to help you make the most of your visit.

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Crowd levels drop even further this week, as even more schools return to session. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park <a href="http://touringplans.com/disneyland-resort/crowd-calendar?utm_campaign=ads&utm_medium=website&utm_s ource=dateline&utm_content=r1&property_id=2">Crowd Calendar</a>, <a href="http://touringplans.com/disneyland-app?utm_campaign=ads&utm_medium=website&utm_source =dateline&utm_content=r1&property_id=2">Lines - Mobile Wait Times App</a> that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and <a href="http://touringplans.com/disneyland-resort/touring-plans?utm_campaign=ads&utm_medium=website&utm_sour ce=dateline&utm_content=r1&property_id=2">Touring Plans</a> detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com 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 <a href="http://touringplans.com/disneyland-resort/crowd-calendar?utm_campaign=ads&utm_medium=website&utm_s ource=dateline&utm_content=r1&property_id=2">Crowd Calendar.</a>

Statistician, TouringPlans.com

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</td><td colspan="1" width="25%" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1">
Crowd Calendar Prediction
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Crowd Tips
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</td> <td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1"></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Mon., August 29</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top" rowspan="4">Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Full blockouts this weekend.
  • Resort-wide crowd levels rise to 5 on Sunday, but still should be fairly manageable.
  • Disneyland park's lowest day will be Thursday, when it's an 2.4.
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Tue., August 30</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Wed., August 31</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Thu., September 1</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
</td></tr></tr><tr><td colspan="7" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0">
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
</td></tr><tr><td colspan="7" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="">
See <a href="http://touringplans.com/disneyland-resort/crowd-calendar?utm_campaign=ads&utm_medium=website&utm_s ource=dateline&utm_content=r1&property_id=2">Disneyland crowds</a> for the next 365 days.
Get <a href=""http://touringplans.com/disneyland-resort/lines?utm_campaign=ads&utm_medium=website&utm_sour ce=dateline&utm_content=r1&property_id=2">Disneyland wait times</a> on your<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/disneyland-lines-from-touringplans/id412482020?mt=8"> iPhone</a>,<a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.touringplans.dlrlines.android&featu re=search_result"> Android</a>, or Smartphone.

Do more. Wait less.

</td></tr> </tbody></table></center>

The Main Street Emporium's major refurbishment is progressing as its main room has reopened with reconfigured cash wrap areas and display space.

The cash registers, previously centrally located in the store, have been pushed against the walls with more defined queue areas set up. The result is a lot more similar to the World of Disney check-out counters now and the sales floor has been opened up a lot more now for easier crowd flow.

The central check-out area with the giant Sleeping Beauty Castle snow globe that was previously here is now gone. A new Tiffany-style chandelier is a new visual focal point. Looks good!

A new large check-out area, with a switch-back queue with space for plenty of impulse-buys.

A reworked check-out area underneath one of the classic Emporium vignettes.

Speaking of those vignettes, they look great but were not turned on (or even functional) over the weekend. They're only minimally-animated, but when they do work they're a nice touch for the store. It would be nice if they were working again after the lengthy refurbishment.

With the main room reopen, the back of the Emporium is now behind walls for refurbishment.

Down Main Street, the interior of the Candy Palace and Penny Arcade are also now partially behind construction walls. The Candy Palace enhancement project isn't set to begin until January, but it looks like some early work may already be underway.

Walls in the back of the Penny Arcade:

The faux candy drawers that were filled with display taffy have now been emptied. Getting ready for big changes?

No visible work has started yet at the Jolly Holiday Bakery that's moving into the Plaza Pavilion.

With the off-season here, it might be a good time to get an extra ride in at the new Star Tours. While your wait will likely still be around an hour or so, it's much better than the wait times that could hit two hours during busy days this summer.

Much of the extended queue was pretty empty during the early evening on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Tomorrowland, we've had a hard time catching the appearances of these new characters, but our friend Loren Javier has recently spotted popular new Star Wars walk-around characters in Tomorrowland.

R2-D2 roams Tomorrowland interacting with guests.

Boba Fett out and about

Captain Rex

You can see more of Loren's excellent Disneyland photos on Flickr.

Meanwhile in Tomorrowland, speakers are popping up around Space Mountain as preparations for the ride's Ghost Galaxy overlay for the Halloween season.

Ghost Galaxy speakers on the old Peoplemover track

Work continues on the remainder of California Adventure's $1 billion-dollar remodel and expansion...

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<a name="DD4-1"></a>BUENA VISTA STREET
California Adventure guests got their last look at Sunshine Plaza over the weekend as the new temporary backstage entrance route behind Soarin' Over California opens today.

The Pan Pacific motif is carried through the new temporary entrance corridor.

Even the construction wall lighting maintains the Pan Pacific theme

<hr width="75%" size="2" color="silver">
NEW PHOTOS ADDED! August 29, 1:50 PM:
New photos of the park's new temporary entrance taken this morning by MiceChat's Fishbulb have just been added below!

It's a tight squeeze when you first enter

The new backstage route really does look more presentable than Sunshine Plaza did in its last couple weeks of operation.

Guest relations has set up shop in a trailer located along the backstage route

With Greetings! From California closed, merchandise ops has set up carts along the entrance corridor selling souvenirs. Seems a little tacky, considering the inconvenience this detour is causing for guests.

New attraction posters and concept art line the Pan-Pacific-themed walls

New landscaping along the backstage path. A nice touch.

"The fences are about to come down! (We promise!)"

Finally entering the park

This way to adventure!

New lamppost banners point the way to popular attractions

The information kiosk has moved from Sunshine Plaza to a former smoking area next to the Condor Flats restrooms.

You exit the park the same way you came in. A digital sign points the way, but will change at night when large post-World of Color crowds will simply exit the park through the utility gates straight ahead.

For now, you still pass in front of Greetings from California, but this will soon change. The retail location is now permanently closed.

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Having to enter the park via a temporary backstage entrance path is another inconvenience Disney has asked guests to deal with while they transform the lackluster Sunshine Plaza into an entrance plaza befitting a Disney theme park. For guests, there will no longer be major shopping opportunities or a place to get a drink or an ice cream cone after immediately entering the park. However, considering the recent appearance of Sunshine Plaza as it continued to be dismantled before guests' eyes, the backstage route will likely be any more of a negative impact on the Guest experience and at the very least it really can't look any worse than Sunshine Plaza did on its last weekend of operation.

Here's how the Disney Parks Blog explained the entrance changes:

<blockquote><blockquote>Buena Vista Street Ready to Take Shape at Disney California Adventure Park

The rendering above shows the west side of Buena Vista Street, including the restroom area in the top image.

The next rendering shows the east side of the street. In the center image you can see the new merchandise location, Elias & Co., rising above the other buildings. [ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote>

The old locker and restroom area. It's sad to say, but this minor theming was arguably some of Sunshine Plaza's more charming detailing when it opened in 2001.

It's all part of Yesterland, now

Across the walkway, the Greetings from California store's last day was Sunday, August 28. Without the Sunshine Plaza murals covering it up, this big box of a store has really stuck out.

The old Guest Relations area


Sunshine Plaza theming: this is as good as it got.

A last look at the Greetings! neon facade

The old California Zephhyr train station facade all covered up

From the Monorail, a look at the Carthay Circle area

The pump house and the new fountain

A peek through the construction wall gives a closer look at the new fountain

It's not finished yet, but is looking pretty good

A look at the new pump house from the "It's Tough to be a Bug!" queue

Naturally, a merchandise cart is parked near the new temporary guests entrance in Condor Flats

Some of the more generic souvenir offerings are offered here. Last-minute pens, keychains and plush before you head in or out of the park for the day.

<a name="DD4-2"></a>CARS LAND
Construction continues on the major 12-acre Cars Land expansion.

Note the big wall running along the back of the photo. This wall will separate the on-stage Luigi's Flying tires attraction with the backstage of Cars Land including the air mechanisms for the Tires attraction.

The new wall will extend all the way to the new path connecting Flik's Fun Fair and Cars Land.

The scaffolding continues to come down and the toothpicks cut off.

Progress at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

A new facade is going up on the side of the old Bountiful Valley Farms building. The Farm building serves as a facade for the DCA Cast Member cafeteria and will also be used as a backdrop for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. The side of the building that will face the main street of Cars Land is getting a new facade.

Lots of trees and progress at Junkyard Jamboree

New speakers on the poles

The Disneyland Hotel's remodel continues...

The Hotel convention center is all beige now

Permanent new directional signage has been installed around the new Monorail Pool and Tangaroa Terrace/Trader Sam's area.

It's rather plain, isn't it?

It gets the job done, though.

<a name="DD5"></a>THIS & THAT
Back inside the parks, a new pin cart has popped up in California Adventure's Hollywood Pictures Backlot area

In Disneyland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment is just about finished, with Bobsled testing now underway.

It'll be a while still until the new bobsleds hit the tracks. When the attraction reopens in a couple days, the old bobsleds with the cozy seating arrangement will still be around.

The new, sleek bobsleds with individual seats made an appearance last week, but were undercover by the weekend.

In Adventureland, Tarzan's Treehouse is still closed for refurbishment.

And in Frontierland, walls are up around half of the Golden Horseshoe again. The restaurant and entertainment venue are still open.

Nearby, the new cart across from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad exit we showed you last week was being used for Disney Vacation Club sales. The cart doesn't look like it was designed specifically for DVC. None of the signage is permanent and there are no stands for the DVC marketing binders.

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Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort.
<blockquote>A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Disneyland with nearby dining and freeway access. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat.

Rooms now available for as low as $59 per night!
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.

Experience Disneyland at 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!</blockquote></td></tr></tbody></table></center>

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</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778">
Weekly Theme Park Hours
</td><td rowspan="16" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top" width="166"><center></center>
</td></tr> <tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Disneyland Park
</td> <td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Disney California Adventure
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Monday-Thursday: 9 am - 10 pm
Friday: 9 am - 11 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 9 am - 12 midnight
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Daily: 10 am - 10 pm
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For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar

<tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778">
Expected Crowd Levels presented by TouringPlans.com
</td></tr> </td></tr> <tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Disneyland Park
</td> <td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Disney California Adventure
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
LOW out of 10
</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top"
MEDIUM out of 10
<tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="">
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
<img src="http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/micechat/Dateline%20Disneyland/Sponsors/touringplans-small.png" width="175">
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778">
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Disneyland Park
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top" align="left">
  • Disneyland Monorail: Running on a shortened schedule due to Buena Vista Street construction. Monorail opens late at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Monorail operates normally Saturday and Sunday.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed through September 1 for refurbishment.
  • Haunted Mansion:Indiana Jones Adventure:Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Bayou Restaurant:Space Mountain:Mark Twain Riverboat:"it's a small world":
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Disney California Adventure
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top" align="left">
  • Redwood Challenge Creek Trail:It's Tough to be a Bug!Engine Ears Toys, Baker's Field Bakery and Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream: Retail and dining locations are permanently closed. Space will reopen as new offerings in 2012 as part of Buena Vista Street.
  • Greetings! from California and Candy Shoppe: Retail locations close permanently August 28. Space will reopen as new offerings in 2012 as part of Buena Vista Street.
  • California Screamin':Red Car Trolley: Attraction set to open spring 2012.
</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top" align="left">
  • Never Land Pool: Area closed for remodel and re-theming.

<center><table style="border: 0pt solid black;" bgcolor="#d6d4ac" cellpadding="5" width="670"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" width="100%">MiceChat Nights of Horror tickets are on sale now!
Tickets for MiceChat's popular Nights of Horror events taking you behind-the-scenes at So. Cal's Halloween haunts are on sale now! Don't miss out on backstage access, front-of-line privilege, and terrifyingly great fun with all your friends here at MiceChat. Get your tickets now!</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="75%"><blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>

The time to haunt is upon us once again. Prepare to sink deep into the thick fog and roam the night looking for the most terrifyingly fun haunted attractions around the SoCal area. Welcome to MiceChat Nights of Horror.

For a full event listing, tickets and more information click here!

</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" height="" width="100%">More information: MiceChat Nights of Horror Event Store</td></tr></tbody></table></center>

<table style="border: medium none;" border="0" cellpadding="5"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" valign="top" align="left"><a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=3874837"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v647/dustysage/FridayVisions/supportsmalltop.gif" width="100" align="left"></a>Okay! That's it for this week's edition of Dateline Disneyland! Thanks for reading and be sure to visit our sponsors at Touring Plans!

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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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FTC-Mandated Disclosure:
Promotional consideration for the August 29, 2011 edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by
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