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News and Views

Notes from the New Year

The Disneyland Resort rang in the New Year with a week of capacity crowds, park closures, and a return to the Rose Parade.


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On December 27, Disneyland halted sale of one-day tickets around noon, when the park reached capacity. Cast members estimate that there were over 80,000 people in the park. Electronic signs flashed a “Disneyland is full” message to travellers as they approached the resort parking lots. Visitors who could not buy tickets to Disneyland were encouraged to visit Disney's California Adventure park, or spend time in Downtown Disney until the park resumed ticket sales in the evening. This scenario was repeated daily until New Year's Eve, when the crowds subsided.

Live bands entertained crowds in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Live bands entertain crowds in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Perhaps visitors were put off by the reports of overcrowding, which were unusual enough that they made the local newspaper. Perhaps it was the fear of a terrorist attack at the park. And perhaps it was the weather—New Year's Eve was cold and slightly windy, and a storm was moving in. Whatever the reason, frequent New Year's Eve visitors noted that crowds at both parks felt lighter than in previous years.

Crowds at 'it's a small world' particpate in the live 'midnight' broadcast. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Crowds at “it's a small world” particpate in the live “midnight” broadcast. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Those who did brave the parks found a variety of entertainment options all around. California Adventure was the home of the “Noon Year's Eve” celebration, aimed at families with small kids. After dark, the park hosted several live bands and disc jockeys. Disneyland had a live disc jockey in the esplanade in front of “it's a small world,” and crowds in the area were featured in a live broadcast at 9:00 p.m. (celebrating the East Coast midnight moment).

Dancers swing in the new year at the Plaza Gardens. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Dancers “swing” in the new year at the Plaza Gardens. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Many people make New Year's Eve at Disneyland an annual tradition. For example, a large crowd spent the evening swing dancing to music from the Eric Ekstrand Ensemble. Ragtime pianist Rod Miller dressed for the evening in a rhinestone-studded tuxedo, and his fans brought refreshments and decorations, and spent the evening gathered around the piano. A large, mixed group of pin traders, NFFC members and readers of several different Disney Web sites counted down the hours until midnight at the Plaza Pavillion, where they played card and board games, traded pins and took turns making snack runs.

Ragtime pianist Rod Miller shows off his holiday best. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Ragtime pianist Rod Miller shows off his holiday best. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

Some visitors said that Disneyland's midnight fireworks were less impressive than in previous years, but those who spent the evening at DCA got a special treat. Disney tested new pyrotechnic launchers over Paradise Bay, and those who saw the show said that the excessive smoke that doomed the LuminAria show from a prior year was not in evidence this New Year's Eve. These new launchers are said to be part of the resort-wide fireworks show planned for Disneyland's 50th anniversary.

Fans of Rod Miller brought their own party to the park. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Fans of Rod Miller brought their own party to the park. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

On New Year's Day, Disney made a record-setting return to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena with its float called “A Sudden Drop in Pitch.” The float, a replica of the Tower of Terror attraction currently under construction at DCA, claimed the record as the tallest float to ever appear in the parade.

Stunt performers entertain the crown during a 'show moment.' Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Stunt performers entertain the crown during a "show moment." Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Make that a portion of the parade. Instead of completing the parade and joining the other floats on display in Pasadena, the Disney float peeled off the parade route early, and began a trip back to the Disneyland Resort, where the float will be on display at Disney's California Adventure through Tuesday, January 20. On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can watch scheduled “show moments,” when the float will run through its parade routine, which includes lightning effects and a sudden drop of the “elevator.”

The float is built on two drive bases, which join at this point. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
The float is built on two drive bases, which join at this point. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

This past Sunday, cast members said that the float was experiencing electrical problems. Although the stunt performers appeared in the elevator, the lightning effects were not visible and the car did not drop. Around the base of the float, Disney characters and performers in fright wigs greeted the crowds. Decorators replaced wilting and dead flowers with fresh roses and daisies.

Photos and a video show how the float was built and decorated. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Photos and a video show how the float was built and decorated. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

A tent in the Pacific Wharf Amphitheater featured a video and photographs of the construction and decoration of the float. Another tent housed artist renderings of the interiors of the Tower of Terror attraction. Decorators demonstrated floral techniques, and a craft area was set up for children to make their own paper flowers.

A decorator places fresh flowers on the float. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
A decorator places fresh flowers on the float. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

The Disney float has been not been without controversy, with some questioning whether the theme and name of the float—of a tall “tower” in peril and too reminiscent of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center—in poor taste; while others were simply annoyed that the float was not put on display in Padasena with the other Rose Parade entries. Other fans dismiss these concerns, and are thrilled that Disney has returned to the Rose Parade.

At 106 feet tall, the Tower of Terror float is over half the size of the actual ride. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
At 106 feet tall, the Tower of Terror float is over half the size of the actual ride. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Visitors get a sneak peek at the interior of the Tower of Terror attraction. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Visitors get a sneak peek at the interior of the Tower of Terror attraction. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Circle D Ranch cast members received a holiday surprise when they reported for work Christmas morning and discovered that Jekel, a white quarter horse mare, had given birth. The newborn fillie was named Noel in honor of her natal day, and cast members tell us she is adorable.

Another year, another dollar

The Monday after New Year's is the day that Disneyland usually raises the price of admission. In November, the Disneyland Web site was updated with new prices for 2004. The three-day park hopper was to increase by $10 per adult, and the two-day hopper to decrease by $1 per person. New 5- and 6-day Park Hopper Bonus tickets were introduced, and all of these changes were to take effect on January 5th.

It seems there was a change in plans. When Disneyland opened on Monday, ticket prices were unchanged. The Disneyland Resort Web site has been updated with the new/old prices, (though the two-day park hopper ticket is still listed for $1 less on the Disney site than at the park ticket booths). The new 6-day Park Hopper Bonus ticket previously advertised on the Disneyland Web site has vanished, but the 5-day version remains.

Current prices and packages for 2004 are as follows:

New 5-Day Park Hopper Bonus Ticket

  • Adults: $184
  • Children ages 3 to 9: $149

Each ticket comes with a $10 ESPN Zone Arena Game Card. This ticket is not available at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths. A $55 discount, ($50 for ages 3-9), applies to this ticket when you purchase it in advance through the Disneyland Web site (link).

3-day Park Hopper

  • Adults: $129 ($10 increase).
  • Children ages 3 to 9: $99 ($4 increase).

A $5 discount applies to this ticket when you purchase it in advance through the Disneyland Web site (link).

2-day Park Hopper

  • Adults: $99
  • Children ages 3 to 9: $79

One-day One Park Ticket (Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure)

  • Guests 10 and over: $47 (unchanged)
  • Guests 3 to 9: $37 (unchanged)

Construction continues on the facade of the new Tortilla Joe's restaurant in Downtown Disney. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, copyright MousePlanet.
Construction continues on the facade of the new Tortilla Joe's restaurant in Downtown Disney. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • Haunted Mansion closed January 5 to 16
  • Mark Twain Riverboat closed through January 10
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely
  • Space Mountain closed through 2005
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closed indefinitely

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Superstar Limo closed indefinitely

Future Attraction Closures

  • “it's a small world” closed January 12 to 25
  • Indiana Jones Adventure closed January 20 to April 2
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey January 26 to February 19
Note: Refurbishment schedules are estimates only. All information is subject to change without notice. To get the most recent updates, call Disneyland at (714) 781-7290.

Park Events

January

  • 75 Years with Mickey auction, January 31.
  • Cast Member Create-A-Pin Contest pin release, date not announced. (Moved from November 2003)

February

  • Sleeping Beauty's Royal Ball, details available at the Disney Gallery Web site (link). February 14.
  • Snow White – An Enchanting Musical premieres February 22

April

  • Tower of Terror event, details to be announced at a later date. April 22 & 23

May

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Opening at DCA. May 4
  • A Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics – “A Disney Blast to the Past” Registration open to returning participants through October 15, open registration begins October 16. May 14 to 16.

Current Discounts & Promotions

New AAA tickets

AAA announced new ticket plans for the Disneyland Resort:

  • 2-day adult Flex Passport $98 (children: $78)
  • 5-day adult Flex Passport $129 (children: $99)

The new prices took effect December 24, 2003, and all tickets include free parking.

Live an Artful Life with an OC Arts Card

The Disneyland Resort partnering with Arts Orange County sponsor the OC Arts Card, which provides cardholders with benefits such as savings on tickets, classes, merchandise and memberships at more than 40 nonprofit arts venues in the local Orange County community.

Annual passholders can purchase the 2004 card for $37.50, 25 percent off the regular price. In addition, the first 500 passholders to purchase a card receive a second card for free.

For more information or to order a card, visit the OCArts card Web site (link) or call (888) 556-5160. To receive the annual passholder discount, use offer code C04DIAP. The first card is mailed immediately; those who are among the first 500 will have the second card mailed at a later time.

Disney's Wildfire Heroes Salute

“Disney's Wildfire Heroes Salute” entitles active California firefighters, law enforcement and rescue personnel, with proper organization and photo ID, to one free three-day park hopper ticket. They can also make a one-time purchase of up to five three-day park hopper companion tickets for $39 each. Discounted hotel rates are also available at the three Disneyland Resort hotels.

The promotion is valid through March 31, except for blackout dates of February 14 to 16. For more details, visit Disneyland's Disney's Wildfire Heroes Salute Web page (link) or call (714) 520-5069.

Have a Coke and a pass

Specially marked 12-packs and two-liter bottles of Coca-Cola in Southern California are currently offering a $20-off coupon towards the purchase of a new Deluxe or Premium Disneyland Resort Annual Pass. The coupon is valid through January 31.

A Nightmare deal at Costco

In September, MousePad member Tiki Junki purchased a copy of The Nightmare Before Christmas at a local Costco store, and discovered a Disneyland Resort offer inside. The $13 Special Edition DVD comes with a voucher for up to four pre–issued Fastpass tickets for the Haunted Mansion, and a voucher for one free cloisonné pin from the Le Bat en Rouge Shop in New Orleans Square. The vouchers are good until March 31, and are redeemable at Disneyland—there is nothing to mail in, and no four-to-six-week wait for the passes and pin to arrive.

Annual Passholders nights at the Disneyland Resort hotels

Annual passholders can also book a room at the Paradise Pier hotel for $59. This offer is valid only on Sunday nights, through March.

Get 5 days and 4 nights for the price of 3

Book a package at the Disneyland Resort for a minimum four-nights through the Walt Disney Travel Company, and the package price includes one night's free accommodations at participating hotels. Your package will also include a five-day Disneyland Resort park hopper ticket for the price of a three-day Disneyland Resort park hopper ticket. Click here for a list of participating hotels and dates.

City Pass available with AAA packages

You can purchase the Southern California City Pass with Walt Disney Travel Company packages.

A Southern California City Pass booklet includes admission to five separate entertainment options:

  • 3-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket
  • 1-day ticket to Sea World Adventure park
  • 1-day ticket to the World-famous San Diego Zoo
  • 1-day ticket to Knott's Theme Park.

Instead of the Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket currently included in California packages from the Walt Disney Travel Company, guests can select a Southern California city's for an additional charge of $47 per pass ($32 per pass for children 3 through 9).

Note: The Southern California City's does not include the $10 ESPN Zone Arena Game Card, or the California package's feature that allows guests to collect multiple Fastpass tickets at once for free in advance.

AAA Passport Plus Package

For $122.75, you can get a 5-day park hopper and the following extras:

  • Multiple attraction Fastpass (The “Unlimited” option)
  • Breakfast in the park (one per person)
  • Free ESPN Zone arena game card ($10 value)
  • AAA Free parking at the Disneyland Resort Theme Parks

A $13.75 FedEx fee applies to each reservation, (not per person). This package is available without an air or hotel purchase, and must be purchased at your local AAA affiliate office at least 5 days before you plan to use the tickets.

Many readers have experienced difficulties when trying to purchase this package from their local AAA affiliate. Be sure to read this thread on our MousePad discussion boards, for more information about the package and tips on how to help your AAA travel agent book your package.

AAA-Disney's Resort Magic Package

This package requires a minimum 2-night hotel stay, and includes:

  • Accommodations at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel, or Disney's Grand Californian Hotel
  • Disneyland Resort Hotel self-parking and Fitness Center access
  • Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket – valid for entry into Disneyland park and Disney's California Adventure park with full park-hopping privileges
  • Free ESPN Zone Arena Game Card – $10 value (one per person)
  • New. Collect Fastpass tickets for multiple attractions at one time. Preferred Seating at a choice of select shows in Disney's California Adventure
  • Exclusive – Walt Disney Travel Company collectible pin and lanyard (one per person)
  • Exclusive – Walt Disney Travel Company California Fun Book (one per package)
  • Exclusive – Disneyland Resort Magical Pocket Guide (one per package)

You can book this package through your local AAA affiliate travel agent.


Park Hours/Blockout Dates

DL: Disneyland
DCA: Disney’s California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates: SoCal - Southern California Annual Pass. DX - Deluxe Annual Pass

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
  1/5 1/6 1/7 1/8 1/9 1/10
 

DL 8a–12a
DCA 10a–9p

DL 10a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

DL 10a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

DL 10a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

DL 9a–10p
DCA 10a–8p

DL 8a–11p
DCA 10a–8p
SoCal

1/11 1/12          

DL 9a–10p
DCA 10a–8p

DL 10a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

         

Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2003-2004 page to see more dates.


Entertainment Schedule

Disneyland Park
Disney’s California Adventure
Downtown Disney
Monday 1/5

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Fantasmic 8p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:30p 2:15p 5:00p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 10:30p 11:30a 12:30p 2:15p 3:15p 4:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

 

Tuesday 1/6

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Fantasmic 8p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:30p 2:15p 5:00p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 10:30p 11:30a 12:30p 2:15p 3:15p 4:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Doug Lacy 6:30p

Wednesday 1/7

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Fantasmic 8p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:30p 2:15p 5:00p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 10:30p 11:30a 12:30p 2:15p 3:15p 4:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

 

010 D>
Thursday 1/8

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Fantasmic 8p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:30p 2:15p 5:00p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 10:30p 11:30a 12:30p 2:15p 3:15p 4:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

 

Friday 1/9

Disneyland Parade of the Stars 4:15p, 8p

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30p, 12:30p, 1:30p, 3:15p, 4:15p. 5:15p

Fantasmic 9p, 10p

Sword in the Stone Ceremony 10:45a 11:45a 12:45p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Aladdin and Jasmine's StoryTale Adventures 11a 11:55a 12:55p 1:55p 3:34p 4:40p 5:35p 6:30p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Tower of Terror Parade Float “Show Moment” Noon, 1p, 2p, 3p

Disney's Electrical Parade 8p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:45p 2:30p 4:45p 6:15p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Pacific Wharf Stage Presents The Fenians 3p, 5p, 7p

 

Saturday 1/10

Disneyland Parade of the Stars 4:15p, 8p

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30p, 12:30p, 1:30p, 3:15p, 4:15p. 5:15p

Club Buzz Stage Presents The Basix 7p 8p 9:30p, 10:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Sword in the Stone Ceremony 10:45a 11:45a 12:45p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Aladdin and Jasmine's StoryTale Adventures 11a 11:55a 12:55p 1:55p 3:34p 4:40p 5:35p 6:30p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Jump, Jive Boogie Swing Party Featuring Pete Jacobs and his Wartime Radio Revue 7p, 8:30p, 9:30p, 10:30p

Tower of Terror Parade Float “Show Moment” Noon, 1p, 2p, 3p

Disney's Electrical Parade 8p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:45p 2:30p 4:45p 6:15p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Pacific Wharf Stage Presents The Fenians 3p, 5p, 7p

 

Sunday 1/11

Disneyland Parade of the Stars 4:15p, 8p

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30p, 12:30p, 1:30p, 3:15p, 4:15p. 5:15p

Fantasmic 9p, 10p

Sword in the Stone Ceremony 10:45a 11:45a 12:45p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Aladdin and Jasmine's StoryTale Adventures 11a 11:55a 12:55p 1:55p 3:34p 4:40p 5:35p 6:30p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Tower of Terror Parade Float “Show Moment” Noon, 1p, 2p, 3p

Disney's Electrical Parade 8p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:45p 2:30p 4:45p 6:15p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

Pacific Wharf Stage Presents The Fenians 3p, 5p, 7p

House of Blues Gospel Brunch 10a, 1p ($16.50 – $33)

Monday 1/12

Disneyland Parade of the Stars 7p

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – 11:45a 1:15p 3p 4:15p 5:30p

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30a 12:30p 1:30p 3:15p 4:15p 5:15p

Once Upon a Time Storytelling 11a Noon 1p

Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular 12:30p 2:15p 5:00p

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! 10:30p 11:30a 12:30p 2:15p 3:15p 4:15p

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It! Noon 1p 2p 4p 5p

The Ugly Bug Ball 11a 12p 1p 2:30p 3:30p 4:30p

 



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