Disney fans gathered to mark the end of an era this weekend as the final swing dancing performances took place at the iconic Carnation Plaza Gardens at the edge of Disneyland's Central Plaza. The performance space closes today to make way for the controversial new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area which will temporarily evict the swing dancing and permanently displace the visiting performing arts groups that have called the stage home for over five decades. Meanwhile, work is wrapping up at Main Street's Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Palace as those locations prepare to reopen this week after major changes. In Fantasyland, bobsleds are now hitting the slopes at the Matterhorn as that attraction begins ride testing now that its major repainting project has wrapped up. In Disney California Adventure, construction continued on the park's new main entrance area over the week as Disney officially announced the first in-park Starbucks Coffee location will open on Buena Vista Street this summer. We also take a first look at some views from inside Cars Land and in Downtown Disney, the LEGO Store unveils some fantastic new features.

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.

We've got a huge update today, so let's get started!
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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="160" 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 expansion, Gibson Girl and Candy Palace get ready to re-open, Matterhorn ride testing
  • <a href="#DD3">Last Dance</a>
    Big crowds turn out for Carnation Plaza Gardens' final swing dance
  • <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">Paradise Pier</a>
    • <a href="#DD5-4">Cars Land</a>
  • <a href="#DD7">Downtown Changes</a>
    Downtown Disney remodels and changes
  • <a href="#DD8">Sunrise to Sunrise</a>
    A new E-Book from our friends at Touring Plans
  • <a href="#DD9">This and That</a>
    AP-exclusive Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary party
  • <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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WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>With crowds expected to be very light this week, this may be one of your last chances to see the parks with so few people for the foreseeable future. Our friends at Touring Plans their crowd forecast to help you plan you visit.


<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Expect another lightly crowded week at Disneyland. Now is the time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds certain to flock to Disneyland once Disney California Adventure reboots. 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 here, 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., May 1</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
2/10
</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:
  • Full block outs but light crowds on Cinco de Mayo.
  • Thursday will be the lightest day for crowds this week in both parks.
  • Disney California Adventure is a 2.7 on the Crowd Calendar on Monday.
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Wed., May 2</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
2/10
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Thu., May 3</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
1/10
</td></tr><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f7f6f0" valign="top">Fri., May 4</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
5/10
</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>


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Work continues on the Carnation Cafe's extended refurbishment and expansion project.





Next door, however, the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is just about ready to reopen. Last week, the Disney Parks Blog announced that the Gibson Girl, Penny Arcade and Candy Palace would all reopen on Wednesday, May 2.


<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Candy Palace, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Penny Arcade to Re-Open May 2 at Disneyland Park[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>

A look at a new chandelier inside the Ice Cream Parlor:









A look at the new themed exit sign for the Candy Palace



Over at the Matterhorn, work has wrapped up on the mountain's complete repainting.




Some of the walls along the Tomorrowland side of the mountain have come down now that painting is done.


We've said it before here, but photos don't really do the new paint job justice. It really looks great.


The ivy has been completely removed from the Tomorrowland side of the mountain and it doesn't look like it will be returning. You can also see what effects the recent mud-throwing had around the base of the mountain. It looks good!


On Saturday, Disney was sending the new fleet of bobsleds out for test runs.




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







The chalet at the attraction entrance is still getting some work done











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This weekend marked the official end of the Carnation Plaza Gardens at Disneyland. The performance space will now begin its controversial transformation into the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area. The stage is expected to remain largely intact, with a Fantasyland-style redressing that will serve as a backdrop to story time with princesses and other kid-friendly activities. Still, the popular evening swing dancing events will be temporarily relocated to Downtown Disney and the performing arts groups visiting from schools around the world will be permanently displaced throughout Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

This weekend marked the final performances for both the performing arts groups and the swing dancers and big crowds turned out for Saturday's final evening of swing dancing and guests attending were lighting up Twitter with photos of the packed Carnation Plaza stage..



Last week, the OC Register shared fan memories of Carnation Plaza Gardens:
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Fans share memories of closing Disneyland plaza
The iconic Carnation Plaza Gardens, a staple at Disneyland since 1956, is closing next week.

The plaza has been used for many purposes: It used to have an ice cream parlor. The floor has held swing dances since 1958. Community group performances also are hosted there.

After its final day Monday, crews will begin transforming the plaza into the Fantasy Faire, a princess meet-and-greet area that will open next year.

We asked readers to share their memories of Carnation Plaza Gardens. Here are a few of their stories, which were edited:

From Leona Owens of Anaheim:From Ethelyn Bernstein of Fullerton:From Larry Watkins of Monterey.From Tiffany Eliot of Fullerton:[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>

For more photos of Carnation Plaza Gardens, see our August 22, 2011 edition of Dateline Disneyland where we documented the area when the Fantasy Faire project was originally announced.



Meanwhile, back in Frontierland's Big Thunder Ranch, the old Festival Arena's stage upgrades are progressing. This area will open this Wednesday as the new Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and will be the new home for Disney Performing Arts groups at Disneyland as well as additional character meet-and-greets, arts and crafts and other activities.







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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">
</td></tr></tbody></table></center> Construction continues in Disney California Adventure.


Work at Oswald's Filling Station




Los Feliz Five and Dime











Scaffolding has come down at the Carthay Circle Theater's tower



Last Monday, Disney officially announced the long-rumored arrival of Starbucks at Disney theme parks. The announcement came with the confirmation of Al Lutz's reports that the first Starbucks location in a Disney theme park will be at the new Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe in California Adventure's new Buena Vista Street area.


The OC Register's Fast Food Maven had additional details on the Starbucks announcement:
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Starbucks: Six cafes coming to Disney theme parks[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>





Nearby the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, the new Trolley Treats candy store will be home to a great new model of Big Rock Candy Mountain, a tribute to a never-built Disneyland attraction. Disney gave us a small sneak peek last week.


<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>So Good You Could Eat It! Rock Candy Mountain at Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure Park[ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>


At the Carthay Circle Theater, scaffolding has come down from the building's tower. The scaffolding unexpectedly went up recently to remove the bumpy texture from the front of the tower. The bumps are all over the Carthay Theater structure as well as the adjacent Carthay Circle pump house and this texture is typical of this style of building and was found on the actual Carthay Theater in Los Angeles. For whatever reason, Disney has decided the bumps on the front of the tower needed to be removed, but they remain on the rest of the building. An interesting creative decision.




Theater marquee:




New lighting fixtures:





Elias and Co Department Store


Hyperion Bridge towers






South Buena Vista Street:







Last week, Disney released a reel of B-roll footage of the Buena Vista Street and Cars Land construction. Take a look:
<iframe width="675" height="373" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/q_SQlPkU9p8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<center><a name="DD5-2"></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> Over in Hollywood Land, the upcoming Mad T Party nighttime dance party continues to take shape.


The set-up in this area is already significantly larger than the former ElecTRONica structures.










Lights








The former End of Line bar is now the House of Cards






Flynn's Arcade is gone, but the Madcade will coming soon...





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PARADISE PIER
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The new California Screamin' queue canopies are all in place...




It's been a couple weeks now, but the Toy Story 3 toy box photo-op has finally been removed.





And the Cove Bar continues its refurbishment...





<center><a name="DD5-4"></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>Work continues in Cars Land as the land gets very near to completion..


The street has been paved




Last week, Disney released photos of the marquees for the three new attractions opening in Cars Land.









Mailbox at Sarge's Surplus Hut







Ramone's neon surrounded by scaffolding



Disney also released a series of day and night photos of the new land:


Wow!
































<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> Downtown Disney's various projects continue to make progress...


La Brea Bakery



Sunglass Icon's facade is completely stripped behind the tarps



Catal's Uva Bar is closed for refurbishment







The LEGO Store's fantastic new LEGO sculptures have been uncovered.








Buzz and Woody




Beauty and the Beast





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SUNRISE TO SUNRISE
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>Our friends at Touring Plans have just released a new e-book by DisneyTouristBlog.com blogger and photographer Tom Bricker. Tom is well-known throughout the Disney community for his incredible Disney photography and this new e-book does not disappoint.


"Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise" chronicles Disneyland's 24-hour Leap Day event and is filled with over 200 gorgeous photos on 75 pages.


While the book doesn't follow any strict chronological order, every photo found within was taken during this year's One More Disney Day event. This book offers a unique look at the very rare opportunity of being able to spend a full 24 hours inside the Happiest Place on Earth. And, if the spectacular photos weren't enough, Tom includes fun facts and trivia with every photo in the book!


The book is available now in PDF format for only $8, but Tom and Touring Plans are offering it to Dateline Disneyland readers for 25% off with the coupon code SUNRISE2012! Click here to buy!

<center><a name="DD9"></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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Back in the parks, the center portion of the Soarin' Over California marquee has finally been replaced


This could use a touch-up, though



Over in A Bug's Land, the entrance to Flik's Fun Fair is getting some TLC







And finally, Disneyland Annual Passholders can now sign up to attend a special after-hours Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary event on one of four dates next month.
<blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Disneyland plans exclusive events for Fantasmic!
Disneyland is inviting annual passholders to exclusive events to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fantasmic! show.

Disney sent email invitations starting Wednesday to passholders, who can sign up to attend one of four nights. No anniversary events are planned for regular park visitors, said Michele Himmelberg, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman.

On May 13, Fantasmic! will turn 20 years old. Fantasmic! made its debut at Disneyland and later was added to Florida and Tokyo parks, as well.

To sign up for the anniversary events, passholders must visit a Disneyland Resort ticket booth to get vouchers. The events are set for 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. May 14, 15, 21 and 22.

On those days, annual passholders can watch Fantasmic! at 11:30 p.m. and stay after hours until 1 a.m. in Adventureland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square.

Fantasmic! runs along the Rivers of America and features mist screens, characters and performances on boats. Several additions have been made over the years, including a 40-foot-tall animatronic dragon that debuted in 2009. [ LINK ]</blockquote></blockquote></blockquote>

Passholders must RSVP for the Fantasmic! events in-person at a Disneyland Resort ticket booth.



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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="99%"><tbody><tr><td colspan="3" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="">
WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP
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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: 9 am - 9 pm
Friday 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday 8 am - 12 midnight
Sunday 9 am - 12 midnight</td>
<td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top">
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday 10 am - 10 pm
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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
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LOW out of 10
</td><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="" valign="top"
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, and Penny Arcade: Food service locations and shops are closed 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">
  • ElecTRONica: Tron-themed nighttime dance parties ended April 16. The new Mad T Party evening dance party will begin June 15.
  • 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.
  • Disney California Adventure: Entire park will be closed to the public to apply finishing touches and for a media event on June 14, 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">
  • La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifications.
  • Island Charters and LEGO Imagination Center: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
  • Compass Books and Cafe: Book store and cafe to close permanently March 31. Earl of Sandwich dining location to open in space late-spring 2012.
</td></tr></tbody></table></center>


<center><table style="border: 0pt solid black;" bgcolor="#d6d4ac" cellpadding="5" width="99%"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#263778" width="100%">Ponzi scheme to sell milk to Disneyland gets women 3 years in prisonA strange story from the LA Times:</td></tr><tr><td cellpadding="5" style="border: medium none;" bgcolor="#f1f1f1" width="75%"><blockquote><blockquote><blockquote>Women sentenced in Disneyland milk sale fraudFull Story: Women sentenced in Disneyland milk sale fraud</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 wraps this week's Dateline Disneyland. Thank you for reading and be sure to join the discussion in the comments section below! Are you sad to see the Carnation Plaza Gardens close? Are you happy about Starbucks joining Disneyland?

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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