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 Calendar, Lines – 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.
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.
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
Disneyland Closed the Turnstiles at 11pm to all guests
This is the lines for the ticket booths…at 2 a.m.
It’s a Jolly Holiday on Main Street
The Mary Poppins themed Jolly Holiday Bakery opened in early January.
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.
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.
The entire block reopened in early June, just in time for the summer crowds.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Instant Concert Just Add Water was added in June to Paradise Bay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elias and Company Department Store.
Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe.
The west side of Buena Vista Street, including the facades to Trolley Treats and Julius Katz & Sons.
The Carthay Circle fountain being tested.
The entrance to Elias & Co. The Candy sign, an original to the park, was repurposed for Trolley Treats.
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.
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!