2012 Disneyland Resort Year in Review
2012 was a monumental year at the Disneyland Resort. The resort saw the completion of the largest expansion since Disney’s California Adventure park first opened more than ten years ago, Disneyland stayed open for a consecutive 24 hours – but had to close the gates due to overwhelming crowds – and history flew over the Disneyland Resort as the Space Shuttle Endeavor made its final flight to the California Science Center.

Trying to cram all that happened this past year into one single year in review article isn’t possible. It was actually very difficult to get all that happened into two. Disneyland 2012 Year in Review, Part 1 is below and takes you (loosely) through the first six months of 2012.

But first a word from Touring Plans on this week’s Disneyland crowd predictions:


Happy New Year! Expect heavy crowds during the first couple weeks of 2013. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd CalendarLines – Mobile Wait Times Appthat 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.

Day
Resort Crowd Prediction
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
9 out of 10
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
10 out of 10
Thursday, January 3, 2013
8 out of 10
Friday, January 4, 2013
8 out of 10

Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:

  • DCA is the best park to visit on Thursday of Friday of this week.
  • Annual Pass blackouts are in effect for SL and SC APs until Sunday.
  • Disneyland Resort holiday decorations will be removed after January 6, 2013.
  • Fastpass tickets for Radiator Springs Racers usually “sell out” within the first hour of DCA’s regular park hours.

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

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One More Disney Day

2012 started off with a bang as Disney announced the One More Disney Day promotion. 2012 was a leap year, and Disney fans all across the U.S. asked themselves one question – What do you do with an extra day?

Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida opened their gates for an entire 24 hour period. For most guests the One More Disney Day was much longer than just 24 hours. Guests began to line up along Harbor Blvd and in the esplanade between the two parks the night before. But the enormous crowds everyone had thought may show up in the morning never materialized until much later.

Most of the February 29, 2012 was like any other winter day at Disneyland. Lines remained short and crowd levels were pleasant. But once word got out, and people punched out of work and school, the massive crowds began to descend. Traffic reports from LA radio stations reported massive backups on the 5 Fwy off ramps and Anaheim City streets. Guests were found waiting in hour long lines at the ticket booths as late as 2 a.m. This massive influx of guests forced Disneyland to completely halt park entry for several hours.

But the seeming chaos that loomed outside of Disneyland didn’t effect the One More Disney Day crowd one bit. Guests continued on with their night, and for the most part the 24 hour party was a success.

But will it be repeated in 2016?  Only time will tell.

Crowds lined up in the esplanade the night before

One More Disney Day, Tuesday Night Line Up

Disneyland Closed the Turnstiles at 11pm to all guests

One More Disney Day - Closed Turnstlies

One More Disney Day - Club 29, Tomorrowland Terrace - DJ Drew

This is the lines for the ticket booths…at 2 a.m.

One More Disney Day - Ticket Booth Crowds

One More Disney Day - Mickey and Minnie in PJ's

It’s a Jolly Holiday on Main Street

 The Mary Poppins themed Jolly Holiday Bakery opened in early January.

Disneyland's Jolly Holiday Bakery, Opening Soon

Jolly Holiday Bakery

Jolly Holiday Bakery

Jolly Holiday Bakery - Details

Jolly Holiday Bakery - Details

Jolly Holiday Bakery

Main Street Changes

The north, west side of Main Street USA underwent some major changes and refurbishment through the first half of the year.  The Blue Ribbon Bakery, replaced by the Jolly Holiday Bakery, was re-purposed for indoor seating for the Carnation Cafe. The entire block saw a complete internal makeover which saw an improvement in queue space at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and viewing space for the Candy Palace kitchen.

Carnation Cafe

Blue Ribbon Bakery

Blue Ribbon Bakery Refurbishment

Penny Arcade Refurbishment

Disneyland - Main Street Refurbishment - Carnation Cafe

With Refreshment Corner (or Coke Corner) closed for the refurbishment, the Ragtime piano player was moved to the Mark Twain. Listening to rag on the piano as the Mark Twain circled the Rivers of America was a real treat.

Disneyland - Mark Twain Riverboat

Disneyland - Rag Time Piano on the Mark Twain

Blue Ribbon Bakery / Carnation Cafe Refurbishment

The entire block reopened in early June, just in time for the summer crowds.

Carnation Cafe - Disneyland

Penny Arcade - Disneyland

Penny Arcade - Disneyland

Gibson Girl - Disneyland

Candy Palace - Disneyland

Candy Palace - Disneyland

Candy Palace - Disneyland

Candy Palace - Disneyland

 

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Added to the very popular Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, the first ever Tinker Bell Half Marathon was held at the Disneyland Resort in January. The race weekend was a major success and is once again sold out for January 2013.

A few Disneyland Live readers completed the race and shared a few photos of themselves with their finisher medals!

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Medal

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Merchandise

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Starting Line

2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Finisher, Sarah Woloski (@JediTink)

2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Finisher, Monique.

2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Finisher, Christine W (@ChristineCre8s)

 Celebrations

In what seems to have been a precursor to the upcoming Limited Time Magic promotion, Disneyland held a few special celebrations in first few months of the year.

Three Kings Day, Chinese Lunar New Year and the New Orleans Bayou Bash.

Disneyland - Dia de Reyes

Disneyland - Dia de Reyes - Three Kings Days -  Mariachi Divas

Disneyland - Dia de Reyes - Three Kings Days

Disneyland - Dia de Reyes - Three Kings Days

2012 Lunar New Year Celebration - Disneyland

2012 Lunar New Year Celebration - Disneyland

2012 Lunar New Year Celebration - Disneyland

New Orleans Bayou Bash, Disneyland

Jazz Band, New Orleans Bayou Bash, Disneyland

Goofy, New Orleans Bayou Bash, Disneyland

Jazz Band, New Orleans Bayou Bash, Disneyland

Matterhorn Refurbishment

The Matterhorn Bobsleds were closed for most of the first half of 2012. The famous attraction underwent a major refurbishment which saw the replacement of the bobsleds and the entire mountain covered in scaffolding.

Matterhorn Refurbishment, Informational Wall - Disneyland

Disneyland - Matterhorn Refurbishment Scaffolding

Matterhorn Refurbishment, Informational Wall - Disneyland

Matterhorn Refurbishment, Disneyland

Disneyland's Matterhorn

When the Matterhorn reopened in June, Disneyland brought back the popular mountain climbers. Guests could once again see climbers ascend the famous mountain while listening to yodelers.

Matterhorn Mountain Climbers - Disneyland

Matterhorn Mountain Climbers - Disneyland

 

Windows and Voices

In March we lost a true Disney icon. Robert Sherman, and Academy Award wining music composer most well known for his work on Mary Poppins, died. Along with his brother, Richard, the “Sherman Brothers” composed some of the most memorable music for Disney.

A wreath was placed near the “Two Brothers Tunemakers” Main Street window shortly after Robert’s death.

Richard Sherman Memorial, Disneyland, Main Street

Alice Davis, legendary Disney Imagineer who is best known for her work in costume design for ‘it’s a small world” and Pirates of the Caribbean, received the highest honor at Disneyland this past year, by receiving her own window on Main Street.

Alice Davis Window - Disneyland

Alice Davis Window - Disneyland

In a tradition that dates back several decades at Walt Disney World, the amazing 8-part a cappella group, the Voices of Liberty, debuted at Disneyland this past year.

Vocies of Liberty

Voices of Liberty - Disneyland

 

Princesses On The Move

The Princess’ from the Princess Fantasy Faire were moved out from the former Fantasyland Theater in August and across the way to the “it’s a small world” mall.

Disneyland announced that the Fantasyland Theater would be converted back to a stage show venue starting in 2013.

Princess Fantasy Faire - Fantasyland - Disneyland

Princess Fantasy Faire - Fantasyland - Disneyland

Princess Fantasy Faire - Fantasyland - Disneyland

Fantasyland Theater Construction

Fantasyland Theater Refurb

Fantasyland Theater Construction - Disneyland

Fantasyland Theater Refurb

Princess Royal Walk - Disneyland

 

 Goodbye to the Carnation Plaza Gardens

Hundreds turned out to give the Carnation Plaza Gardens a glorious ‘send off’ in April.  The tight community of swing dancers, some of which who have been coming to this location for generations, showed up in such mass that crowd control was required.

The Carnation Plaza Gardens, after 56 years of hosting music and dancers, closed to be transformed into the Fantasy Faire princess meet and greet.

Carnation Plaza Gardens

Carnation Plaza Gardens

Final Night at Carnation Plaza Gardens

Final Night at Carnation Plaza Gardens

Swing Dancing - Carnation Plaza Gardens

Swing Dancing - Carnation Plaza Gardens

Swing Dancing - Carnation Plaza Gardens

The Carnation Plaza Gardens closed for good the following morning and construction equipment moved in.

The project is still under construction and is expected to open sometime in 2013.

Princess Fantasy Faire Construction - Disneyland

Fantasy Faire Construction

Fantasy Faire Construction

 

Fantasmic! Turns 20

Fantasmic! celebrated its 20th anniversary in May. Disneyland held a series of after hours Annual Passholder events where guests were treated to special foods, attractions and a showing of the famous spectacular.

Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary Event

Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary Event

Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary Event

Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary Event

 

 California Entertainment

Leading up to the relaunch of Disney California Adventure and the opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, some of the street entertainment saw a few changes.

The Miner 49’ers held their last performance in February.  They were replaced with a single guitar player known as “Happy Camper” and an act in Condor Flats, Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline.

Jedadiah Jones and the Miner 49'ers, Disney California Adventure

Miner 49'ers, Disney California Adventure

“Happy Camper”

Happy Camper - Disney California Adventure

Untitled

Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline

Instant Concert Just Add Water was added in June to Paradise Bay.

Instant Concert…Just Add Water - Disney California Adventure

 

End of Line – Down the Rabbit Hole

After an 18 month run, guests finally said goodbye to the Tron: Legacy inspired California Adventure dance party ElecTRONica.

California Adventure - Flynn's Arcade

ElecTRONica - Final Weekend - Flynn's Arcade

ElecTRONica - Final Weekend

ElecTRONica - Final Weekend

ElecTRONica - Final Weekend - End of the Line Club

ElecTRONica - Final Weekend

The Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland themed Mad T Party opened in June in the newly re-named, Hollywood Land in Disney California Adventure.

Rabbit Hole - Mad T Party

Alice, Mad T Party Band  - Mad T Party

White Rabbit DJ - Mad T Party

"Who Are You" - Mad T Party

Flamingo  - Mad T Party

House of Cards - Mad T Party

Mad T Party - Alice

 

LEGOs and Sandwiches

The Downtown Disney LEGO Imagination Station went through a complete makeover earlier this year. The rather plain over sized LEGO bricks were replaced by impressive Disney inspired creations.

Downtown Disney Lego Store

LEGO Imagination Center Refurbishment - Downtown Disney AMC

Lego Imagination Station, LEGO Dragon

LEGO Imagination Station Dragon / Prince Philip - Downtown Disney

LEGO Imagination Station Woody / Buzz  - Downtown Disney

LEGO Imagination Station Dragon / Prince Philip - Downtown Disney

LEGO Imagination Station -

The Compass Books store, an original tenant to Downtown Disney closed in early 2012.

The space was renovated for the first Earl of Sandwich location in California.

Compas Books & Cafe - Downtown Disney

Compas Books and Cafe

Earl of Sandwich - Downtown Disney

Earl of Sandwich Grand Opening

Earl of Sandwich

Earl of Sandwich

Earl of Sandwich Sign

 

Glow with the Show

Disney introduced a new, interactive way to experience World of Color. Dubbed “Glow with the Show”, the infrared and LED Mickey Mouse ear hats lit up the audience.

The ears of the hats cycle color in unison to the show, creating effects such as sparkles and waves through the audience during the World of Color performance. The lights are activated during certain parts of the show, not to distract, but to enhance scenes such as the opening and closing scores and the Genie’s “Friends Like Me” scene.

Glow with the Show Ear Hat

World of Color, Glow with the Show Annual Passholder Event - Disney California Adventure

World of Color, Glow with the Show Annual Passholder Event - Disney California Adventure

World of Color, Glow with the Show Annual Passholder Event - Disney California Adventure

The Glow with the Show technology was later expanded for use at Fantasmic! and during the “Glow with the Snow” Holiday Fireworks.

Building Buena Vista Street

The most watched and anticipated part of 2012 was the expansion of Disney California Adventure park.

All eyes were on Disneyland’s neighbor as the largest, and most publicly viewable, Disney Park expansion took place. Never before in the history of Disney Parks has a theme park been completely reconstructed while remaining open to guests. This gave us the ability to watch, and document, the transformation of Disney California Adventure.

The highlight of the California Adventure expansion was the creation of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land. The construction for each of these new areas began in 2011, but most of the progress was noted in 2012.

Below you can see what would become the very top of the Sepulveda Building and the Elysian Arcade.

Buena Vista Street Construction

Elias and Company Department Store.

Buena Vista Street Construction - Elias & Co

Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe.

Buena Vista Street Construction

Buena Vista Street Construction - Los Feliz Five and Dime

Buena Vista Street Construction

Buena Vista Street Construction

The west side of Buena Vista Street, including the facades to Trolley Treats and Julius Katz & Sons.

Buena Vista Street Construction

The Carthay Circle fountain being tested.

Buena Vista Street Construction - Carthay Circle Fountain Testing

The entrance to Elias & Co. The Candy sign, an original to the park, was repurposed for Trolley Treats.

Buena Vista Street Construction - Elias & Co

Buena Vista Street Construction

Buena Vista Street Construction

Carthay Circle Theatre, Buena Vista Street Construction

Elias & Co Sign, Buena Vista Street Construction

Buena Vista Street Construction

Buena Vista Street Construction from Monorail

Buena Vista Street Construction - Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice Cream

Buena Vista Street Construction - Elias & Co

Buena Vista Street Construction - Elias & Co

Buena Vista Street Construction - Carthay Cirlce Theatre

Buena Vista Street Construction - Monorail / Glendale- Hyperion Bridge

Buena Vista Street Construction - Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe

Buena Vista Street Construction

Buena Vista Street Construction - Carthay Circle Fountain

Buena Vista Street Construction -

Buena Vista Street Construction -

Buena Vista Street Construction - Elias & Company Sign

Buena Vista Street Construction - The Buena Vista Bugle Sign

Buena Vista Street Construction - Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe

Buena Vista Street Construction

Disney California Adventure Entrance / Buena Vista Street Construction at Night

 

Cars Land Countdown

Cars Land was to be the largest undertaking of the entire Disney California Adventure project. A completely new 12 acre land was built on a portion of the original Disneyland parking lot.

The town of Radiator Springs from the Disney/ Pixar film Cars was being constructed right down to the last detail.

Cars Land Construction - Flo's V8 Cafe

Cars Land Construction - Radiator Springs Racers Ride Testing

Cars Land Construction - Court House

Cars Land Construction - Radiator Springs Racers Ride Testing

Cars Land Construction - Luigi's Flying Tires

Cars Land Construction - Flo's V8 Cafe

Cars Land Construction - Cozy Cone

Cars Land Construction - Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Cars Land Construction - Pacific Warf Entrance

Cars Land Construction - Radiator Springs Racers Fast Pass Sign

Cars Land Construction - Cozy Cone Motel

Cars Land Construction - Cozy Cone Motel

Cars Land Construction - Route 66

Cars Land Construction - Cadillac Range

Ramone's House of Body Art Neon, Cars Land, Disney California Adventure

Casa Della Tires Neon, Cars Land, Disney California Adventure

Flo's V8 Cafe Neon, Cars Land, Disney California Adventure

Cozy Cone, Cars Land Construction

Cozy Cone Sign Installation, Cars Land Construction

Cars Land Construction - Route 66

Cozy Cone Sign Installation, Cars Land Construction

Cozy Cone Sign, Cars Land Construction

Welcome to Radiator Springs - Cars Land Construction

Cars Land Construction, VIP tour

Cars Land Construction - Stanley Statue

Cars Land Construction - Stanley Statue

Cars Land Construction - Radiator Springs Racers

Cars Land Construction

 

I hope you enjoyed the Disneyland 2012 Year In Review, Part 1, but we are just getting started.

The best is yet to come with opening day from Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, the fly over of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort!

2012 Disneyland Resort Year in Review