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News and Views

The Happiest Construction Site on Earth

Disneyland visitors can be overheard remarking on the striking number of construction projects visible around the park. If you thought the holiday season was interesting, with the rolling repainting project working its way down Main Street, just wait until you see what is in store for the next few months.


Visitors to Disneyland are greeted by a massive construction wall in front of the City Hall complex. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix


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The first thing you may notice when you enter Disneyland is that the City Hall complex, including the AAA Tour Guide Gardens, the Main Street Fire Station and the City Hall rest rooms, are surrounded by a giant construction wall. Scaffolding and tarps hide the work from view, but the entire building is receiving a fresh coat of paint and some much-needed repairs to the wood trim.


The path to the Fantasyland theater looks ready for some pavement repair, but at least the fences were painted. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix


The scaffolding in Toon Town may finally be put to work, as painting resumes after a several-month delay. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

Back in Fantasyland, the walkway around the Fantasyland Theater and the Toontown Station are marked for paving work, and the fences and railings in the area have a new coat of paint.

Although the scaffolding in Toontown has been in place for months, workers are finally repainting the neglected backdrops.


Peeking behind the wall, the construction area outside the upcoming Buzz Lighyear ride turns out to be anything but exciting. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

Tomorrowland is still a maze of construction walls. Folks who like to peer behind the walls are in for a disappointment - there's little to see beside paving bricks, sheets of plywood and concrete mixers.


Paving continues outside the Monorail exit, and visitors still can't find the Winners Circle store. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

Where some visitors are put off by the construction noise and mess - not to mention the long list of attraction closures and reduced capacities - longtime fans are thrilled to see the work continue. A member of our MousePad discussion boards, posting as MrTomMorrow, wrote "Yay! The park is getting the attention it deserves. I guess all those years of neglect are finally catching up. I can't wait to see everything spruced up again."


The Hatmosphere store serves as a staging area for construction equipment. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

Annual Passholders second-rate citizens?

[In the following incident, the victim and one of the witnesses are MousePlanet staff members.]

Lines seem to bring out the worst in some people, even when visiting the "happiest place on Earth." As visitors waited to enter Disneyland this past Saturday, one man decided that he did not want to wait in line for a bag check, and roughly shoved his way past a disabled visitor. When others waiting in line objected, the man halted, but then pushed forward again, slamming the same visitor into the metal gates around the entrance. As the astonished onlookers shouted for the main gate cast member to call security, the man ran off, followed by a witness and a Disneyland management cast member. The subject's bewildered wife and son were left behind.

The pursuit lasted nearly twenty minutes, and wound through the esplanade and Downtown Disney. Each time the man saw a security guard, he ran the other way. By the time Disneyland security finally caught up to him, the man had ducked into Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen restaurant. Officers from the on-site Anaheim police department substation arrived, and interviewed both the subject and his victim.

If the assault and chase were not bizarre enough, the response by the Disneyland resort management was surreal. Rather than taking action against the subject for an assault that was witnessed by at least six people, including two Disneyland cast members and the subject's own son, Resort Stage Manager Lori Grimsley and Security Manager Martha Smith threatened to remove the victim and a witness from Disney property and revoke their annual passports for "causing a disturbance."

At no time did anyone from the Disneyland Resort even ask for the full name, address or phone number of the victim. Representatives from the resort declined to take statements or even names from any of the witnesses, including the two cast members.

An assistant security manager, introduced only as "Tabi," further refused to even take a written statement from the victim about the incident. Tabi went so far as to threaten to revoke the victim's annual passport if they insisted on filing a written complaint, saying "It takes two to start a fight."

The Anaheim police department took the names and addresses of both subject and victim, but again declined to interview any of the witnesses at the scene, or to even file a police report. Again, representatives of the Disneyland resort told the victim that their annual passport would be revoked if they "formalized the matter."

In fact, the only resolution offered to the victim was to file formal charges against the subject for assault and battery. When the victim declined to do so, on the advice of the police officers who responded to the scene, Ms. Grimsley and Ms. Smith simply allowed the subject to walk away.

You read that correctly - no action whatsoever was taken against the man.

The moral of this story: If you're going to commit random acts of violence against complete strangers at Disneyland, make sure that your victims are Annual Passholders. The moment it was disclosed that both subject and victim were APs, the matter was seemingly downgraded by management to little more than a playground scuffle. Ms. Grimsley actually called the assault an "accident," and lamented that "two grown adults" could not "make up" and enjoy the rest of their day at Disneyland.

Apparently the word "passholder" is enough to prevent Disneyland management and security from taking reports of violence seriously, even when the assault is witnessed by cast members, non-passholders, and the subject's own family. (The subject's son actually apologized to friends of the victim for his father's actions.)

Of Disney's "Four Keys," Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency, it would seem that the first two do not apply when dealing with APs. You can be certain that this situation would have been handled much differently had the victims been $50-a-day ticket holders, or a family shelling out $300 for a Disneyland Resort hotel room.

We're disapointed by the manner in which Ms. Grimsley and Ms. Smith handled the situation and treated the victim and witnesses. It seems incredible that Disney is willing to let visitors assault other guests with relative impunity, actually threatening to take action against the victim for "causing a disturbance" by reporting a crime.

With the resort so intent on presenting an image of a safe, family-friendly place to visit, it seems absurd that you will be denied entry to Disneyland for having a knitting needle and some yarn, but not for assaulting another guest.


Streaks of dirt from the recent windstorm may serve as a reminder of why Space Mountain was painted brown in the first place. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

Speaking of Passholders

The latest Annual Passholder newsletter began arriving in homes this weekend. The highlights:

  • "Reserved" Annual Passholder showtimes for Snow White – An Enchanting Musical are scheduled for February 23-27 & 29 at 6:00pm. Passholders will receive a "commemorative gift" when they attend. Reservations are required for the free events. Registration begins Friday, February 13, via the Disneyland.com Web site.
  • Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen will be hosting a Mardi Gras celebration February 21 and 22. Call 714-776-5200 for details.
  • Now through March 28, Annual Passholders can book rooms at the Paradise Pier hotel for $79 a night, Sunday through Thursday. Weekend rates and discounts for the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Grand Californian are higher. Make reservations at 714-956-MICKEY, and ask for rate plan APN. (Note: this offer runs concurrently with the "AP Nights" rate of $59, good only on Sunday nights at the Paradise Pier hotel. If your trip includes a Sunday night stay, be sure to ask for the lower rate for that night)
  • Jackson and Perkins nursery is now offering the Disneyland Rose. The rose is described as a "New Generation" floribunda, and is prominently planted around Disneyland and DCA. Order by phone at 800-769-9469 or on their Web site (link), and ask for item #29085A. Annual Passholders receive a 10% discount off the retail price of $16.95 per plant.


Somewhere beneath the tarps, the new Tortilla Joes takes shape. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

  • Tortilla Joes, still under construction in Downtown Disney, will offer Annual Passholders a free appetizer when two APs order two lunch or dinner entrees. This offer is currently in effect at the other two Patina Group restaurants in Downtown Disney, Catal and Naples.
  • Passholders can purchase Terrace Level tickets for 50% off, or Plaza and Club Level tickets for 33% off for selected Mighty Ducks games. This offer is only available for specific dates and opponents - visit the Passholder Web site (link) for details.
  • Department 56 in Downtown Disney will discontinue their 10% Annual Passholder discount on February 1, 2004. (The discount listing in the most recent newsletter is incorrect)
  • ESPN Zone offers Annual Passholders a discount of 10% off food and beverage every day (Monday-Sunday) excluding alcohol and holidays or special events. ESPN Zone will also match every dollar spent on game points in the Sports Arena every day (Monday-Sunday). Must present AP ID to receive discount. AP must be in attendance and must present payment to receive the discount. 8 person party maximum.

Ears to the Ground

David Koenig reports:

• The “Character Finder,” a position that for the last several years has been stationed at the Information Board in front of the Plaza Pavilion, evidently has been eliminated. The cast member would answer questions about Entertainment in the Resort and help guests track down their favorite characters. Now, a sole Guest Relations cast member will staff the Info Board.


A lone Guest Relations cast member stands watch at the Information Board. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

• Some ride operators are grumbling after being instructed that they are now responsible for cleaning up the entrance and queue of their attractions themselves. Attractions managers want them to keep a dustpan and broom nearby. A few ride operators have questioned whether this is crossing union lines into Custodial’s territory. (Personally, I remember the days when all employees, no matter the department or rank, reflexively picked up any trash they came upon.)

• Changes may be on the way at the Mad Tea Party. A couple of weeks ago, a young guest suffered minor injuries when he fell out of a Teacup. “The cup was being spun so fast by family members, the child might have fallen out, or tried to get out because of being frightened,” said one cast member. “The guest was not seriously hurt; however, management has reacted to this by making it harder for guests to spin the teacups. The tables in the center of the cup are more difficult to spin. And there is even talk of installing seat belts!”

• Some performers in the Parade of the Stars have been spotted in new costumes. Sleeping Beauty now wears a purplish-pink ball gown instead of a blue one.


Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • Indiana Jones Adventure closed Jan. 26 to April 2
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey closed Jan. 26 to Feb. 19
  • Mark Twain Riverboat rehab extended until February 6. (May be extended even further)
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely
  • Space Mountain closed through 2005
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closed through March 4.
  • Tomorrowland Railroad Station closed through February 22.
  • Autopia - Fastpass will be unavailable January 26 through February 22.

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Superstar Limo closed indefinitely

Future Attraction Closures

  • Orange Stinger closed Feb. 2 to March 12
  • Dumbo closed March 8 to April 1
  • Peter Pan's Flight closed April 19 to May 22.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room closes in September for a two-month rehab
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.

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, "soft opening" previews begin February 9.
  • Snow White – An Enchanting Musical "Reserved" Annual Passholder showtimes February 23-27 & 29 at 6:00pm

April

  • Tower of Terror event, details available at the Disney Gallery Web site (link). 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” May 14 to 16.

Current Discounts & Promotions

New SoCal Salute announced; two parks, two days at one-day price

Beginning January 6 through April 30, the Disneyland Resort will be offering a new version of the SoCal salute. Residents may spend a day at Disneyland and a day at Disney's California Adventure for the price of a one-day ticket. Eligible residents may purchase up to five "2fer" tickets per day with proof of Southern California residency (zip codes 90000 through 93599, or Northern Baja California residents within zip codes 21000 through 22999; valid ID required). "2fer" tickets are priced at the regular one-day ticket prices for the Disneyland Resort theme parks -- $47 for ages 10 and up, $37 for ages 3 through 9 -- and are available at Resort ticket booths as well as at www.disneyland.com. The first day of use must occur on the date of purchase; the second day of use must occur within 30 days of purchase or before April 30, 2004, whichever occurs first.

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.

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.

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.

Annual Passholders can also book rooms at the Paradise Pier hotel for $79 a night, Sunday through Thursday.

Weekend rates and discounts for the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Grand Californian are higher. Make reservations at 714-956-MICKEY, and ask for rate plan APN. (Note: these offers run concurrently. If your trip includes a Sunday night stay, be sure to ask for the lower rate for that night)

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-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
  1/26 1/27 1/28 1/29 1/30 1/31
  DL 10a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

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–9p
SoCal

2/1 2/2          

DL 9a–10p
DCA 10a–9p

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 1/26

Disneyland Parade of the Stars 7p

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

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

Calling All Space Scouts… A Buzz Lightyear Adventure 11:30p, 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

 

Tuesday 1/27

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

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

Wednesday 1/28

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

 

Thursday 1/29

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

 

Friday 1/30

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

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 Delta Boogie Blues Band 2:45p, 3:45p, 4:45p, 6:15p, 7:15p

 

Saturday 1/31

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 10:45p, 11:45p, 12:45p, 2:30p, 3:30p, 4:30p

Club Buzz Stage Presents The 80'z All Stars 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 Doc Anello and the Swing Machine 7p, 8:30p, 9:30p, 10:30p

Disney's Electrical Parade 8:45pp

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 Delta Boogie Blues Band 3:45p, 4:45p, 5:45p, 7:15p, 8:15p

 

Sunday 2/1

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

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

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

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

Disney's Electrical Parade 8:45p

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 Delta Boogie Blues Band 3:45p, 4:45p, 5:45p, 7:15p, 8:15p

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

Monday 2/2

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 11:30p, 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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