Minnie Mouse took center stage this weekend in a charming new aviation-themed musical show in Disney California Adventure as construction continued to make big progress elsewhere in the park. New facades are starting to be revealed in the park's new Buena Vista Street area, giving a sneak peek at the work Disney Imagineers are doing to create an authentic representation of 1920s-era Los Angeles. Over in Cars Land, additional trees are moving in, ensuring guest comfort as they explore the desert town of Radiator Springs this summer. Over at Disneyland, the former Blue Ribbon Bakery is behind tarps as it is converted into indoor dining space for an expanded Carnation Cafe and the extensive Matterhorn Bobsleds refurbishment continues.

Get a closer look at today's update! You can now click on any photo in today's column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

Let's get started!
<center><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="670"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" height="" width="100%"><center><img src="http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/micechat/Dateline%20Disneyland/2012/02-20-12/ac022012opena.jpg" width="660">
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="155" align="right" border="0"></a>
  • <a href="#DD1">Welcome to Disneyland!</a>
    Touring Plans crowd forecast
  • <a href="#DD2">Magic Kingdom Makeovers</a>
    Carnation Cafe work, Espresso stand reopens, Matterhorn refurbishment, Sailing Ship Columbia
  • <a href="#DD3">Minnie Takes Flight</a>
    California Adventure's new show offers good entertainment without being hip and edgy
  • <a href="#DD5">California Construction</a>
    A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
    • <a href="#DD5-1">Buena Vista Street</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-2">Golden State</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-3">Cars Land</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-4">Pacific Wharf</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-5">Paradise Pier</a>
  • <a href="#DD7">Disneyland Hotel remodel</a>
    Main entrance map behind curtains again
  • <a href="#DD8">This & That</a>
    Mardi Gras food, Gospel in DCA, Downtown Disney projects
  • <a href="#DDNEWS">Weekly News and Information Round-Up</a>
    Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments
</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>
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<center><a name="DD1"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%">
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
</td></tr></tbody></table></center> Main Entrance ticket booths have dropped their ads for Annual Passports and are now promoting Park Hopper tickets.




Our friends at Touring Plans are reporting higher crowds throughout this week following the busy holiday weekend.
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Expect a spike in crowd levels everyday this week due to the Presidents' Day holiday. 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. With spring break crowds on the horizon, 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&amp;utm_medium=website&a mp;utm_source=dateline&amp;utm_content=r1&amp;prop erty_id=2">Crowd Calendar.</a>

Statistician, TouringPlans.com
</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>
<center><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" cellpadding="5" width="575"><tbody><tr><td colspan="1" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" rowspan="1" width="22%">
</td><td colspan="1" width="25%" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1">
RESORT-WIDE
Crowd Calendar Prediction
</td><td colspan="1" width="53%" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1">
Crowd Tips
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Tues., Feb. 21</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
7/10
</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:
  • Partial block outs this weekend.
  • Disney California Adventure's low is a 7.7 on Tuesday.
  • Disneyland is only a 5.0 on Mardi Gras!
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Wed., Feb. 22</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
7/10
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Thu., Feb. 23</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
7/10
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Fri., Feb. 24</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
9/10
</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>








<center><a name="DD2"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%"></td></tr></tbody></table></center>
Tarps have gone up around the old Blue Ribbon Bakery as it continues its transformation into indoor dining space for the Carnation Cafe.








Refreshment Corner remains closed for refurbishment




The espresso stand in the Central Plaza has reopened after a quick refurbishment





Over along the Rivers of America, the Sailing Ship Columbia wrapped up its refurbishment over the weekend and should be reopening today.





The Matterhorn refurbishment continues as well...




Painting the mountainside.





<center><a name="DD3"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%">
MINNIE TAKES FLIGHT
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Over at California Adventure, the new Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline show debuted late last week. The new show brings a trio of Pan Am-esque flight attendants to a small stage across from Soarin' Over California, where they sing aviation and travel-themed songs from the 30s, 40s and 50s. The female flight attendants sing alongside Lee, a flight mechanic as they wait for Minnie to arrive.


It's a surprisingly enjoyable show, a departure from the typically loud and unbearable entertainment that Disney sticks in this park. It makes no attempt to be hip or edgy, and it benefits greatly from this.


It comes in close to 25 minutes in length, which may be a bit long for a show of this type with no seating.


Minnie takes her time arriving to the scene, to the point that the rest of the cast even asks where she is. This seemed a bit odd for a show with Minnie's name in the title, but her absence isn't really a problem since the rest of the cast shines so brightly. To be honest, the show could have been written without Minnie altogether and it would be just as charming and enjoyable.


Minnie talks and sings in the show, much like Mickey does over at the grating "Disney Dance Crew" show and in Disneyland's excellent Mickey's Soundsational Parade


The show is sprinkled with nods to old Mickey Mouse cartoons ("Plane Crazy"), Walt Disney and other attractions in the park (Soarin' Over California, Goofy's Sky School). They're nice touches and don't feel forced, with the possible exception of the Walt reference which leads into a medley of Disney songs including "You Can Fly" and "Let's Go Fly a Kite."




The OC Register's Around Disney blog shared some details on the debut of talking Minnie in new show last week:

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Talking Minnie Mouse makes debut at Disney park[ FULL STORY ] </blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>


The show plays several times throughout the day.



<center><a name="DD5"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%">
CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION
A look at the on-going $1 billion remodel and expansion efforts at Disney California Adventure
<hr width="100%" color="white"><a name="DD5-1"></a>BUENA VISTA STREET
<img src="http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/micechat/Dateline%20Disneyland/dcatracker-minibanner-formoreinfo-long2.png" width="375">
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>
At the entrance to California Adventure, the Buena Vista Street project is showing some progress with a couple of new facades starting to emerge.








So far, the facades look rather flat. We suspect there's still some finishing work to be done here as the rest of the street continues to take shape... at least we hope so.






Looks like some nice wood work hidden back there
















KCET recently ran a story on the Buena Vista Street project, detailing the Imagineer's work on recreating 1920s Los Angeles in an Anaheim theme park.

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>How Disney Imagineers Recreated '20s and '30s L.A. in 21st-Century Anaheim[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>








The Elias and Co Department Store








The side of Elias and Co.


Across the street from Elias and Co.






The Carthay Circle Theater is set to open this summer as a new dining location and the OC Register revealed last week that it will feature a menu created by acclaimed Napa Rose chef Andrew Sutton.


<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Major changes under way at Disney park[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>


A look at the side of the Carthay, from the Playhouse Disney extended queue area





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GOLDEN STATE
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>
Grizzly River Run's refurbishment presses on. Looks like the paint job here has changed a bit. It looks less worn and newer, fresher. This would make sense with the attraction abandoning its former extreme sports theme and the entire area shifting towards a more idealized 1940s National Parks aesthetic.






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With Grizzly Peak drained during refurbishment, the Pacific Wharf retention pond is dry for now.


Nearby, work is underway on the new Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.


New signs up announce the arrival of Ghirardelli.





<center><a name="DD5-3"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%"></td></tr></tbody></table></center>
More trees at the entrance to Cars Land obscure the view into the new land.


New "Welcome to Radiator Springs" sign is up


Cozy Cone neon was on during the day Saturday.
















The Disney Parks Blog gave a look at the creation of the Cars Land mountain range last week:

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Making Mountains in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park[ LINK ] </blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>

<iframe width="675" height="373" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jJ3oD4aG1PE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>











<center><a name="DD5-5"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%"></td></tr></tbody></table></center>
The new facades on Paradise Pier's Midway Shops looks like they're just about done.








The changes here look as good as can be expected for a quick overlay and while they aren't ideal, they help the area a lot. If nothing else, there isn't anymore stucco over here making the place look closer to a Six Flags property instead of a Disney park.










It's too bad this ugly thing was put back up.



Throughout Paradise Pier, the awful teal color that dominated the area when the park opened in 2001 continues to slowly disappear. The lampposts throughout the are now being repainted a new green color. It's definitely a welcome change.


Old teal lampposts.


New green color


On the water, the evening World of Color show will soon debut a new scene based on Pixar's upcoming film "Brave." More information from the OC Register:

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>[ FULL STORY ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>



<center><a name="DD7"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%"></td></tr></tbody></table></center>


The new map mural at the main entrance is behind black curtains again


The Mickey and Minnie topiaries near the E-Ticket Pool are missing





<center><a name="DD8"></a><table style="border: medium none;" border="0" width="100%" style="border: 1 solid black"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#e1e1e1" width="100%">
THIS AND THAT
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>
Downtown Disney projects continue


La Brea Bakery





Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen will celebrate Mardi Gras tomorrow with entertainment and special menu items.

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>
  • Red Beans & Rice
  • Gumbo
  • New Orleans Jambalaya
  • Be sure to enjoy the famous Jazz Kitchen Beignets!

Special entertainment will feature:</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>


In Disneyland, the New Orleans Square Mardi Gras celebration continues on weekends...


We missed it last week - but here's a look at the Blue Bayou's special menu items during New Orleans Bayou Bash







Over at California Adventure, the "Celebrate Gospel!" event returned to Hollywood Land's Stage 17.




Singers honored the late Whitney Houston at Saturday's event. From the OC Register:

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Singers recall Whitney Houston at Disney event[ LINK ] </blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>







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<a name="DDNEWS"></a>
<table style="border: medium none;" border="0" cellpadding="5" width="670"><tbody><tr><td colspan="3" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="">
WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
</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><SCRIPT charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070 822/US/disneylandres-20/8001/4fbf2cff-aca2-4b01-a4a2-0f4400889107"> </SCRIPT> <NOSCRIPT><A HREF="http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070 822%2FUS%2Fdisneylandres-20%2F8001%2F4fbf2cff-aca2-4b01-a4a2-0f4400889107&Operation=NoScript">Amazon.com Widgets</A></NOSCRIPT></center>
</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">
Monday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Tuesday-Thursday: 9 am - 10 pm
Friday-Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight</td>
<td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
Monday: 10 am - 9 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan="2" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="">
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar

</td></tr><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-HIGH out of 10
</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top"
LOW-HIGH 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">
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles through June 14.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed for refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Fantasmic!: Dark while under refurbishment January 23 - February 17.
  • Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Palace, Penny Arcade and Refreshment Corner: Food service locations and shops close January 2012 for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.
</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">
  • Grizzly River Run: Closed for refurbishment through March 9.
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Soda Fountain: New Ghirardelli chocolate shop and soda fountain will open in the space formerly occupied by the Mission Tortilla Factory. New dining location opens late-spring 2012.
  • Buena Vista Street: Re-themed main entrance including new Red Car Trolley attraction are under construction through summer 2012.
  • Cars Land: New 12-acre land opens summer 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">
  • Island Charters: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
  • La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifi
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>


<center><table style="border: 0pt solid black;" bgcolor="#d6d4ac" cellpadding="5" width="670"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" width="100%">First 2,000 guests on Leap Day to get free Ear Hat
While Disney has been quiet on what the 24-hour Leap Day party will consist of, it has announced the first 2,000 guests arriving for the party will get a free pair of commemorative Ear Hats</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="75%">
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Guests Celebrating One More Disney Day at Disneyland Park Could Receive Limited-Edition Commemorative Ear Hats[list][*]Guests may begin lining up no earlier than 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28.[*]Guests planning to line up before Disneyland park opens must park in the Pumbaa Parking Lot on Disney Way between 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 and 6 a.m. on February 29. Please note that the Pumbaa Lot will not begin to offer shuttle service to the East Esplanade until 6 a.m. on February 29. Click here for a map of Disneyland Resort parking areas.[*]Restrooms will be available for guests who line up before Disneyland park opens.[*]A special ticket booth will be available prior to Disneyland park opening for guests needing to purchase park admission for February 29. Valid park admission is required in order to enter Disneyland park and to receive the commemorative ear hat.[*]Commemorative ear hats will be distributed, while supplies last, to guests who enter through the designated turnstiles beginning at 6 a.m. on February 29, when Disneyland park officially opens. Limit one ear hat per person, and you must be present at the time of distribution.[*]Please remember that being in line and entering the park does not guarantee that you will receive a commemorative ear hat. Ear hats are limited to a supply of 2,000 for guests who enter through the designated turnstiles when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29.[*]Be sure to check the list of items that are not permitted inside Disneyland park as you plan what you will bring with you that day. Admission to the park is subject to capacity restrictions.
</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>
</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" height="" width="100%">Full Story: Disney Parks Blog: Guests Celebrating One More Disney Day at Disneyland Park Could Receive Limited-Edition Commemorative Ear Hats</td></tr></tbody></table></center>

<center><table style="border: 0pt solid black;" bgcolor="#d6d4ac" cellpadding="5" width="670"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" width="100%">Disney Parks chief things Anaheim should get NBA franchise
From Around Disney: </td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="75%">
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Top Disney official supports NBA team in O.C.Full Story: Around Disney: Top Disney official supports NBA team in O.C.</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>Alright, that wraps up this week's column. Big thanks for reading. Be sure to join our discussion in the comments section below.

Don't forget to visit our great sponsors over at Touring Plans when planning your next visit to Disneyland!

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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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