Disneyland was forced to close its gates Wednesday evening due to the unprecedented popularity of its 24-hour Leap Day party. Despite an overcrowded park, sold out food and merchandise and long lines for attractions, guests continued to pour into the park late into the night to be part of the special occasion. Meanwhile, construction continued in both parks, with the Matterhorn Bobsleds getting a fantastic, fresh new look and new details emerging in California Adventure's Buena Vista Street area. Guests at California Adventure also got a sneak peek at the upcoming Cars Land area with an all-new exhibit in the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar that gives an up-close look at concept art, scale models and other elements from Disney's creative process.

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.

Big thanks to MiceChat's Fishbulb and CaptPhoebus for extra help with One More Disney Day coverage this week.

We've got a huge update for you today, so let's get right to it.
<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/2012/03-05-12/ac030512opena.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="165" 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, Matterhorn repaint
  • <a href="#DD3">One More Disney Day Recap</a>
    Disney's 24-hour Leap Day party shatters records
  • <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">Hollywood Land</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-3">Grizzly Peak Recreation Area</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-4">Pacific Wharf</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-5">Paradise Pier</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-6">Cars Land</a>
  • <a href="#DD6">Disneyland Hotel Remodel</a>
    Finishing touches at the Disneyland Hotel
  • <a href="#DD3">This & That</a>
    Downtown Disney work.
  • <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>


Our friends at Touring Plans have their weekly crowd forecast as we approach the first wave of Spring Break!
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Now that "One More Disney Day" is over, crowds at Disneyland should return to their low off-season norms this week. Don't expect this to last, as we are right on the cusp of Spring Break season. 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>
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</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., Mar. 6</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
3/10
</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.
  • Expect a busy weekend as some Spring Breakers arrive.
  • Disneyland is only a 1.2 on Thursday!
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Wed., Mar. 7</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
3/10
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Thu., Mar. 8</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
2/10
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Fri., Mar. 9</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
6/10
</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>

Work walls are still up in Town Square.





<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> A painted scrim has gone up around the former Blue Ribbon Bakery as it continues its transition back into indoor dining space for the popular Carnation Cafe restaurant.




Refreshment Corner has reopened after its refurbishment.


Looks fresh and new again inside


The ragtime piano has returned to the outdoor patio now that the restaurant has reopened.



The Matterhorn continues its major six-month refurbishment and repaint project.


Photos don't really do it justice, but the new paint job so far looks fantastic. The mountain looks more realistic and dramatic now, but not to the point of calling too much attention to itself next to the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle.




They're doing some great work here.








At California Adventure's Blue Sky Cellar preview center, a sneak peek at the new Matterhorn Bobsleds ride vehicles is on display:





A look at the Matterhorn from California Adventure's Fun Wheel:




Over in Tomorrowland, the Monorail is down for refurbishment.




Nearby, the Tomorrowland Train Station is also closed for refurbishment.





<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%">
ONE MORE DISNEY DAY RECAP
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Last week Disney celebrated Leap Day by keeping Disneyland open for a full 24 hours. The event reportedly broke numerous records for Disneyland in both attendance and revenue. MiceAge's Al Lutz shared details on the Leap Day events in a special report.

Long lines of eager fans formed the night before the 24-hour party.


From the OC Register:
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>[ FULL STORY ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>

Disney shared a video of the Leap Day opening of Disneyland
<iframe width="675" height="373" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7EuB0Qhufdc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Banners at Disneyland's entrance tunnels marked the occasion


Long lines formed for the special Leap Day photo-op in Town Square


The coveted limited edition One More Disney Day Ear Hats



The cast of Modern Family also showed up, adding to the chaos of the Leap Day festivities. Filming for a special episode of the hit ABC sitcom took place in the park on Leap Day. From the OC Register:
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>



Stars from the show:




The big morning crowds subsided mid-day but Orange County locals flooded the parks after the end of the mid-week workday, bringing the park to a complete halt by the evening. By 9:30 p.m., Disney was officially reporting that the park was full and the gates were closed. City streets and the I-5 freeway around Disneyland were gridlocked and all signage at Resort parking switched over to say "Disneyland is full."


The huge crowds didn't deter the droves of people trying to get in, and eventually the park was re-opened for new guests. The unexpected popularity of the event was underscored by the notable understaffing of the park in everything from attractions to crowd control to dining with huge lines at attractions and special merchandise and food items selling out throughout the park. Below, Rancho del Zocalo's blue corn tamale special was one popular menu item that sold out.


French Market's red beans and rice


French Market's shrimp pasta


Stage Door Cafe's chili-cheese corn dog


Cafe Orleans' excellent Creole eggs benedict


Also from Cafe Orleans, the three-cheese Monte Cristo French Toast



The Soundsational Parade ran for a second evening performance at 10:00 p.m.


Mickey and Friends in pajamas had huge lines throughout the night. Here they are at sunrise at the end of the 24-hour party


The Disney Parks Blog posted a neat split-screen video of 24-hours at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom in honor of the Leap Day festivities
<iframe width="675" height="373" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZjQi-O3FnPE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



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Over in California Adventure, the Blue Sky Cellar reopened with a brand new exhibit previewing Cars Land, which is set to open this June.




New Cars Land attraction posters greet you as you enter





A look at Radiator Springs Racers












The attraction's marquee


Costumes



Flo's V-8 Cafe






Cozy Cones




Ramone's House of Body Art



Cars Land concepts and early layouts






Cars Land scale model






























Lots of great Route 66-inspired graphics on the walls






The shovel from groundbreaking







A small display on Buena Vista Street gives a look at a couple new pieces of concept art that weren't on display in the previous exhibit.








Look at that great Red Car signage!




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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">
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Back at the front of the park, new details continue to emerge in the new Buena Vista Street area


New poles showing up near the former Lost and Found/Guest Relations windows outside the park


















Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe area







Disney recently buried a time capsule in Buena Vista Street. Take a look at the video below:
<iframe width="675" height="373" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lAR4Gdg-Jqk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Elias and Co. Department Store




Lots of new stuff to see here. We really hope this area turns out to be spectacular.












The new towers are going up along the Monorail track's Hyperion Bridge area





New lampposts in the area are going in








At the Carthay Circle Theater, scaffolding has come down from the marquee space. It's not finished yet, but we are now getting our first look at the great wrought iron work













Some new walls are up in front of the Carthay Circle pump house



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Refurbishment work is on-going on the Max Factor Building facades in Hollywood Land.





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Over in Grizzly Peak, the new paint jobs for Grizzly River Run buildings and the Rushin' River Outfitters retail location are starting to emerge.




More focus is being put on the Eureka Gold and Timber Company now that the hip and contemporary extreme sports theme is gone.







The whole area is saying good-bye to its 2001-era contemporary theme and turning the clock back to a 1950s National Parks theme. Buildings are getting fresh new paint jobs so they look maintained and new, not repurposed after being abandoned. It's a great change.










Hopefully the attraction signage gets swapped out soon as well.



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The Pacific Wharf bridge has reopened after a quick refurbishment.


It looks less teal than before. Nice.







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Work continues next to the Silly Symphony Swings elevator.





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Work continues in Radiator Springs...






The sign for Fillmore's is now up














The Disney Parks Blog recently ran a story on Cars Land food offerings:

<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>

Chili cone carne:


Cherry pie:






















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Over at the Disneyland Hotel, the new oversized vintage Fun Map of Disneyland is on display again, but not yet "turned on."


Projected animations are expected to bring this map to life.


The vintage photos of Walt Disney and visiting celebrities are once again on display in the Hotel.


They're located on the backside of the giant fun map of the park, near the elevators.


The Mickey and Minnie topiary area is still being worked on.





<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%">
THIS AND THAT
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In Downtown Disney, the LEGO Store is getting a new color scheme.




And more work in front of Downtown Disney storefronts.





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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 Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat.

MiceChat.com and Annual Passholder Discounts Available Every Day!
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.



See Disneyland from the comfort of 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>

<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-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 9 a.m. - 12 midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 8 a.m. - 12 midnight</td>
<td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
Monday-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"
MEDIUM-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.
  • 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%">Suspicious object shut down Disneyland Saturday morning
From the OC Register:</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="75%">
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Suspicious item harmless, Disneyland open
Guests streamed into Disneyland after the Orange County Bomb Squad determined that a suspicious object left in a tree outside the park entrance was harmless, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

After catching wind of the situation through media reports, a man contacted police officials explaining that the object was a "goodwill spiritual message for guests," written on a rolled up piece of paper, Dunn said.

A Disneyland employee discovered the object outside the gates of the park early Saturday morning, causing Anaheim Police officials to clear the area and request the assistance of Orange County Bomb Squad to identify it, Dunn said.

The employee found the suspicious object around 7:10 a.m. in a tree outside the park that was "out of the ordinary to that particular area," Dunn said, as Disneyland staff members were conducting a routine inspection.

The area outside the park gates was cleared and no guests were admitted into the park, Dunn said.
A large crowd formed outside the gates as park-goers waited in anticipation to be allowed into the park, which was scheduled to open at 8 a.m., said guest Rosemaria Altieri. Guests were allowed to enter the park shortly before 11 a.m.

Police officials are speaking further with the man who left the letter, Dunn said.

"The safety of our Guests and Cast Members is our top priority," said Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown in an emailed statement. "In an abundance of caution and to allow the security teams the opportunity to learn more, we kept guests away from the area. Officials responded to an unknown object, which was determined to be harmless. The Resort has reopened. We thank our guests for their patience," she said.</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>
</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" height="" width="100%">Full Story: OC Register: Suspicious item harmless, Disneyland open</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%">Anaheim City Hotel tax incentive may go to vote
Also from Around Disney: </td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="75%">
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Will Anaheim public vote on $158 million incentive?Full Story: Around Disney: Will Anaheim public vote on $158 million incentive?</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>Alrighty, that wraps up this giant edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thank you for reading! Share your thoughts on today's news in the comments section below!

Thanks again to Fishbulb and CaptPhoebus for their additional help with photos this week.

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

You can help us by buying yourself something through one of our Amazon.com product links! All you need to do is click on any Amazon link you see in today's column. It doesn't cost you anything, but your purchases will help support Dateline Disneyland so we can keep the updates coming to you every week! To start shopping on Amazon using our referral code, click any Amazon item in today's update or click here.

We're only here because of your continued support.click here!

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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