We have a hot Disneyland Update for you today . . . and we don’t just mean the skyrocketing 110+° Anaheim heatwave. But the temperature hasn’t deterred Disney fans from waiting in outrageous lines just to visit Downtown Disney. Plus, we’ll take a look at vertical construction for the newest Disneyland attraction, the reopening of a San Diego attraction, and a bit of news for Orange County that could mean GOOD THINGS FOR DISNEYLAND.
And please read all the way to the bottom for our STUNNING reader photo contest. We’ll need your help to select the winner!
Disneyland Resort Updates
Although the Disneyland Resort theme parks remain closed, there’s all sorts of work happening behind closed gates, and people are flocking to Downtown Disney, eager for a taste of some Disney magic.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
At long last, there is some vertical construction at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Things will start moving more quickly now. We took a few photos from just outside the resort to share with you for today’s update . . .
Disneyland Resort’s new President, Ken Potrock, also shared some special photos and video of his own from the Team Disney Anaheim building (you can scroll to the right to see the video):
Disney California Adventure
While there may be some good news for Disneyland on the horizon, it looks like Disney is still waiting for official confirmation from the state before taking steps to decorate for the season. Peeking into the park reveals that the display windows of Five & Dime on Buena Vista Street have not been updated since the park closed in March.
At the other end of the park, the Pal-A-Round still has missing gondolas.
EXTREMELY Busy Week for Downtown Disney
It would make sense that a holiday weekend would be busy at Disneyland, but the entire last week has been filled with frustration for Downtown Disney visitors, even in the nearly 110º heat. We visited on Thursday evening around 6:30 pm (about an hour and a half before closing) and found an insane switchback line snaking in the parking lot behind the abandoned AMC Theater. All those folks were waiting to get into Downtown Disney. All available spots to visit World of Disney, Marceline’s, the Disney Home Store, and the Disney Dress Shop had already been claimed . . . ON A WEEK NIGHT!
That crazed level of attendance continued through the rest of the holiday weekend. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more messages from Downtown Disney today about parking and capacity limits. If you’re planning on going, be sure to keep an eye on the temperature and stay hydrated!
We’re expecting increased interest to visit #DowntownDisney this Labor Day weekend. Please allow extra time for your arrival. Due to limited capacity, we may need to pause parking and pedestrian entry. Guests with dining reservations will be accommodated during this time. pic.twitter.com/cEz2wjhKhF
— Disneyland AP (@DisneylandAP) September 5, 2020
Speaking of staying hydrated . . . because of the heat, Disney rolled out a water vending cart for those waiting in the long lines to get into Downtown Disney.
And, nearby, a self-pay parking station has been installed. While parking is free for now, that clearly won’t be the case much longer.
The pay stations are currently covered.
The Latest On When Disney Might Return
Disney is now contacting guests with hotel bookings through September 19th so they can reschedule or cancel their Disneyland plans. The first available new reservations start on October 2nd. However, before you get too excited about an October reopening, Disney has been kicking the can down the road like clockwork since March. This is just the new goalpost. Disney could still open before or after October 2nd.
But thoughts of the parks reopening are much closer to reality than it looked like last week. Disney and other theme park operators have been in talks with the state of California about reopening plans. The governor confirmed last week that good progress was being made on those plans, but they weren’t ready to issue new guidance yet. However, those guidelines could be clarified very soon!
The main concern for Disney has been Orange County’s standing in the highest category of infections (Widespread), and as a result, the highest level of business restrictions. However, there may be good news this week as Orange County hopes to move to a less restrictive tier this week.
At the red (Substantial) tier, some indoor activities can resume. For example, San Diego moved to the “Substantial” tier last week, and as a result, Legoland’s SeaLife Aquarium was able to reopen, and SeaWorld was able to reopen their indoor Penguin, Shark, and Turtle exhibits. In addition, restaurants can reopen 25% of their indoor dining space, and movie theaters can also reopen at 25% capacity.
While theme park guidelines haven’t been released, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine many theme park activities returning at 25% capacity in the “Substantial” tier. So a potential reopening of Orange County’s theme parks (Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm) might not be as far away as many think. Food for thought!
San Diego Attractions
Speaking of San Diego theme parks, guests have been visiting SeaWorld’s “Zoo Days” for a couple of weeks now, and just last week, the event was enhanced with the reopening of some of the park’s indoor activities.
Meanwhile, Legoland’s two hotels are operating and the SeaLife Aquarium has reopened at reduced capacity. Guests can also visit Miniland in the theme park (an outdoor walk-through experience) with a $25 purchase in the shops.
We booked the affordable $10 tickets to SeaLife to check it out.
To ensure limited capacity, guests purchase a ticket for a specific entry time. Once inside, the experience is very much like it was in the good old days . . . only now you are reminded not to touch anything and to stay at least 6 feet away from other guests. Groups are surged into the aquarium about every minute and a half.
Surprisingly, the entry of the park is open to all guests. The Big Shop, bakery and an outdoor shopping area are open to the public. AND, if you spend $25, they let you visit Miniland as well. A pretty good deal, but it was really hot outside, so after the aquarium, we retreated to the airconditioning of the car.
Both of Legoland’s hotels are now open as well. And while the park isn’t open for the little ones, this is a good basecamp for your adventures to the beach, San Diego Safari Park, and other outdoor activities.
Disneyland After Dark – MiceChat Reader Photos
Summertime can be brutal at Disneyland. Between the searing heat during the day and the traditionally large summer crowds, it can be overwhelming at times. But even when dealing with all that, there’s nothing quite like the magic of Disneyland – especially after dark.
We asked the MiceChat Facebook group to share their favorite glamour shots of Disneyland after dark, and my gosh, did they! We added a bit of friendly competition this week as well (we’ll get to that in a minute) and ended up with over 350 responses! First, enjoy all these beautiful pics of our happy place from throughout the year.
Top Photo Finalists
For this week’s photo request post, we added a little incentive: a $100 Disney gift card for the winning image. With over 350 pictures to choose from, it was hard for the MiceChat staff to pick a winner. So we’re sort of shifting the weight to you, our readers. Below, we’ve posted the 4 pictures that stood out to us the most. Take a good look and pick your favorite in the poll below. Be sure to vote soon because the polls close at 11:59 pm on September 8th!
Thank you to all of our MiceChat readers! There were a lot of fantastic photos, and we weren’t able to include them all in today’s article. To see the rest of the pictures of Disneyland after dark, be sure to head to the MiceChat Facebook group!
This & That
And now for some of the other Disney and theme park news from this past week.
Tokyo Disneyland Reintroduces Entertainment
When Tokyo Disneyland reopened back on July 1, it set an example of how a theme park could operate in these challenging times. The park significantly limited attendance, required masks, and didn’t have any entertainment (aside from a brief character welcome). But after operating for a few months, the park has reinstated parades and nighttime firework spectaculars. Nightfall Glow (the parade usually saved for rainy days) will have nightly showings, and the park’s firework show, Light Up the Night, has been scheduled every night.
Freeform Drive-Through Halloween
Though Halloween will certainly be different this year, the year 2020 has taught us all the importance of adaptation. Freeform (previously known as ABC Family) will be holding its 3rd annual haunted house event, but with a twist. Instead of walking through a haunted house with a staged photo-op, attendees will now drive through themed areas. And with the Fox acquisition last year, the iconic Halloween film “Ghostbusters” is now part of the Disney family. To read more about Freeform’s Road to Halloween event and info on how to score tickets for the free event, take a look at the article below.
Mulan Now Streaming
Mulan, the hotly anticipated and frequently delayed live-action remake of a Disney animated film made its small-screen debut, skipping its theatrical release entirely. The film is available now on the Disney+ streaming service for $29.99. Supposedly divorced from the animated film and instead leaning more into the Chinese folktale, the new movie has left fans with some mixed feelings. While the movie costs a premium on top of the cost for a Disney+ subscription, on December 4, 2020, it will be available with no extra fee for subscribers.
The MiceChat Facebook group has held several discussions, and a poll with divisive results about whether the film is worth the pricetag. Follow the link below to read more about Mulan’s journey to Disney+.
The Mandalorian Season 2 Date Released
Speaking of Disney+, the mega-popular series, The Mandalorian, is incoming! The show’s second season has garnered significant interest after the show gained a cult following due to the impossibly adorable alien, “The Child” (let’s be real, it’s Baby Yoda to the rest of the world). The second season begins October 30th with new episodes weekly.
Give! Us! More! Baby! Yoda!
Time to Make New Magic
Theme parks are reopening, and whether you are ready to travel yet or not, there’s no better time to lock in low rates on future travel. But waiting on hold and not knowing what questions to ask isn’t the magical part of a vacation. That’s why MiceChat has partnered with Get Away Today to handle all the difficult stuff for you . . . all for no extra cost. That’s right, they do all the work and it doesn’t cost you extra.
Our travel partners at Get Away Today are here to help you with your theme park booking and rescheduling plans. We know you’re as uncertain about the future as we are. That’s why Get Away Today is offering the most flexible Disney travel options available. Ask about:
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Layaway Plan – Lock in your 2020 or 2021 Walt Disney World Resort vacation for just $175 down. By booking early, you secure your availability and have the flexibility to pay as you go. Make as many interest-free payments as you’d like, whenever you’d like, with final payment due just seven days prior to travel.
Give your family something to look forward to:
Let’s Hear From You
Well, that just about covers it for this week. We (just like the rest of you), are hoping for more concrete details about the reopening of California theme parks in the near future. Be sure to follow us online for more information as soon as those plans are revealed.
What do you think of the construction happening for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, an attraction that’s opening date has been pushed back a year? Are you hoping for some positive news about Orange County moving to the Red Tier for reopenings? Did you watch Mulan over the weekend? AND did you vote in the photo contest? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
More Theme Park News
If you’re still looking for more recent updates from theme parks, look no further. Here’s some of our latest articles you might find interesting.