Those of you with keen eyes will notice that this week’s title is a bit different, the ‘Photo Report’ has been replaced with ‘News Report’.  I’m taking a bit of a break this week to rest up for this Wednesday’s ‘One More Disney Day‘ 24 hour Mickey Marathon…okay fine, the Daytona 500 was on this weekend.  Note:  They postponed it on me.
But don’t worry, I still have this week’s news and a few photos of major changes to go along with the stories!

First up, here’s a prediction from our friends at Touring Plans!


Crowd levels should be heavy on “One More Disney Day,” but otherwise it’s a light to moderately busy week. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines – Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans 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 Crowd Calendar.

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Day
Resort Crowd Prediction
Tues, Feb 28, 2012
3 out of 10
Weds, Feb 29, 2012
9 out of 10
Thurs, March 1, 2012
out of 10
Fri, March 2, 2012
out of 10

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.
  • The crowd level for “One More Disney Day” has proven difficult to predict, but we’re anticipating a very busy day during at Disneyland; expect lighter crowds overnight.
  • Disneyland is only a 1.8 on Thursday!

See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

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First up this week, the Blue Sky Cellar over at Disney California Adventure park closed for what may be the last update for the 1 billion dollar park makeover!

Blue Sky Cellar Closed for an Update

The Blue Sky Cellar, a preview center for Disney Parks projects at Disney California Adventure park, has once again closed to receive an update.

The Blue Sky Cellar was created to showcase the Disney California Adventure expansion, which started in 2007. Since then the exhibits have been changed routinely to coincide with the next major project at the resort.

Blue Sky Cellar - Buena Vista Street

Currently the Blue Sky Cellar features elements for Buena Vista Street, the new 1930′s erra entrance ‘land’ for Disney California Adventure park, which is expected to open this June.

As of today the Blue Sky Cellar has closed to receive another update. When the exhibit opens back up on leap day, February 29, 2012 it will feature the nearby Cars Land project. Opening in June of of this year, Cars Land will be like stepping into Radiator Springs from the Disney/ Pixar movie Cars.

Read More —> 

 

Grizzly River Run continues its refurbishment and new paint job.  Who knew the basin here was so deep!

Grizzly River Run Refurbishment

Grizzly River Run Refurbishment

 

Once every four years we get an extra day on our calendar, and even more rare we get to enjoy Disneyland for a 24 hour period!  We have tips for your trip.  We also have the entertainment schedule, special event information and special food menus!

Preparing for your One More Disney Day

Post image for Preparing for your “One More Disney Day”

We are quickly approaching leap day 2012, where Disneyland park in California and the Magic Kingdom park in Florida will remain open for 24 hours straight! Disney announced the promotion just a few months ago on New Years Eve where guests could obtain a free night at the resort hotels and win vacation package give aways. The entire promotion will culminate this Wednesday with 24 hour operation of the two parks on leap day.

Disneyland has announced a few special events during the 6am – 6am operating hours of the park and we have also heard quite a few rumors from various cast members about attraction operating hours.


Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks are both open on February 29, 2012, but Disneyland park hours will be from 6am on Feb 29th until 6am on March 1st. There are no special tickets needed for the “One More Disney Day” event, and there are also no blackout days for Annual Passports! If you have an Annual Passport or a park hopper ticket, you can go to both parks that day; think of it as extended hours for Disneyland. California Adventure’s operating hours will be 10a – 8p.

Read More —>

Disney finally released its Mobile Magic smart phone app on iPhone and Android!  The new app gives guests access to maps and official wait times!  However it does have some limitations when compared to another popular mobile app.

It is difficult to make out in this photo, but the wait time and Fastpass return time is exactly the same!

Disney's Mobile Magic App

Disneyland Releases an Official Wait Time App

Disneyland Releases an Official Wait Time App

Disney has announced the iPhone release of its mobile in park app, ‘Mobile Magic’.  The app was first made available 3 years ago exclusively for Verizon customers giving them access to the park’s official wait times and Fastpass return times.  The app also features show times, attraction information, behind the scenes videos, GPS mapping of the parks and maps of the hotels and the Downtown Disney District.  With the app now coming to iPhone and Android, more guests can now get access to the magic.

Read More —>

Something Bazaar is happening on Paradise Pier.  Actually the external makeover of “Man Hat ‘N Beach” is compete.  The store is now called the “Boardwalk Bazaar”.

Boardwalk Bazaar, California Adventure

Boardwalk Bazaar, California Adventure

Boardwalk Bazaar, California Adventure

The interior of the store still retains the old Man Hat ‘N Beach theme, including the half burned out neon sign seen here in the background.

Man Hat 'N Beach - Disney California Adventure

Although the change is still very welcome.  This is the way it looked about a month ago!

Man-Hat-n-Beach

 

In sad news this week, the Disneyland family lost an icon and Disney legend.  Ernie McLean, the jazz guitarist who could be seen many times quietly sitting on his stool near the Court des Angels, playing some of the smoothest jazz possible, passed away this week.  Ernie is truly a park icon, and I spent a lot of time on the bench across from where he played just listening and taking in the atmosphere of New Orleans Square.  That corner of the park will never be the same to those who knew of him.

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Remembering Legendary Disneyland Performer Ernie McLean

Ernie McLean, Legendary Disneyland Jazz Performer

Yesterday we were sad to learn of the loss of Ernie McLean, the legendary guitar player who performed at Disneyland park for more than 30 years. Known for his warm smile and amazing jazz guitar, Ernie was an original member of the Royal Street Bachelors – now a guest favorite in New Orleans Square.

“Ernie was the last of his breed here at Disneyland,” remembered Stan Freese, Disneyland Resort talent booking director and friend of Ernie’s. “He was a blues and rock legend. He was a kind, classy gentleman who never spoke badly about anyone or anything. He loved his job, and we all loved him. His presence will be sorely missed.”

The best person to tell Ernie’s story is Ernie himself. Below is a recent interview with the man Disneyland guests would often see sitting on a wooden stool just outside Pirates of the Caribbean, playing jazz tunes on his guitar.

Did you have a musical family?
My father taught me how to play the guitar. I started playing at the age of 11, but don’t ask me what I was playing back then because I couldn’t tell you. My father had a job playing in a government concert band in New Orleans. They told him the banjo player needed to double on guitar. When he started to learn the guitar he taught me too.

Did you continue your musical training after high school?
After high school, my father said, “Look you’re not gonna be running around like you’re crazy, this is World War II.” So I joined the Navy. When I auditioned for their band, they put music in front of me to audition and I messed it up something terrible. Then they told me I did okay. They taught me everything I needed to know about music. I played for four-and-a-half years in the Navy.

What did you do after your military service?
After I got out of the service, I decided I wanted to continue playing music for a living. When I played with Dave Bartholomew things really took off. We recorded with Fats Domino, Nancy Wilson, Little Richard, Sonny and Cher, and even did Chrysler commercials.

How did you end up working at the Disneyland Resort?
I auditioned as a guitar player for a tour. I didn’t think I was going to get the job. Then they started to talk about rehearsals and going to the studio, so I stopped them and said, “You haven’t offered me the job,” and they replied, “Why do you think we are telling you this if you didn’t get the job?” Once the tour ended, [Walt] Disney eventually called me to sub for the banjo player at Disneyland. That is when I became permanent at Disneyland.

We will miss Ernie and the joy that his talent brought to millions of guests in one of the most unique locations in any Disney park.

 

Trees still obscure most of the view into Cars Land, but we can see that Fillmore’s Taste In literally poped up overnight!

Fillmore's Taste In, Cars Land Construction

The Disney Parks Blog also gave us a look at some new Cars Land concept art as well as a look at a few of the merchandise locations for the new land opening this June!  (Tip: take a look at the water play area to the right of the Radiator Springs Curios Shop)

The Inside Track to Cars Land Stores at Disney California Adventure Park

Rev up your engines Disney fans, and hang on, because I’m taking you on the inside track for a quick look at some of the stores racing your way this summer into Cars Land.

Radiator Springs Curios Coming to Disney California Adventure Park

Our first destination will definitely have you putting on the brakes, because Radiator Springs Curios is sure to ‘drive’ you crazy for trading. Fill up on kitsch roadside must-haves like pins and Vinylmation themed to all things “Cars,” or grab some quick pick-me-up items like antenna toppers, window clings, license plate frames and magnets that are sure to make you the envy of others on the open road.

Ramone’s House of Body Art Coming to Disney California Adventure Park

I’m going to need you to keep your cool for our next stop… because we are cruising into Ramone’s House of Body Art. This high-octane, garage-like environment has all the tools needed for you to hit the road in style. While some will race in to become a member of the Low & Slow Car Club Radiator Springs, the Champion Custom Speed Shop collection is sure to meet your need for speed with signature pin-stripe style and laid-back look which appears on a variety of shirts for work and play, hats and accessory items.

Next week, I’ll be able to give you a glimpse at some of the actual products from these collections. Until then, check out the renderings of the store fronts. Sweet, right?

Had enough? Me neither.

Sarge’s Surplus Hut Coming to Disney California Adventure Park

So finally it’s time to earn your stripes as you “march in” to the barracks of Sarge’s Surplus Hut, but don’t let its military-style characteristics fool you – it’s sure to get your engine racing. Don’t be fearful that you’ll have to “drop and give Sarge twenty,” because you’ll find that every inch of merchandise in this facility will pass “inspection” by the troops, with its broad selection of offerings featuring Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and other classic “Cars” characters. From kids clothing, costumes and hats to novelty items, toys and plush, you will find all the necessary rations before you race on to your next adventure.

So where will you make your first pit stop? Radiator Spring’s Curios, Ramone’s House of Body Art or Sarge’s Surplus Hut?

 

The Matterhorn Bobsleds continue with the 5 month long refurbishment.  The exterior of the mountain is receiving a new paint scheme which is darker and more in line with the late 1950’s paint theme.

Matterhorn Refurbishment

That’s going to do it for this week’s update, I will have a full sized photo update for you next week!

You can see the past updates here.

All Current Resort Closures & Special Event Information

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Google + for breaking news all week long.

See You At Disneyland!

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