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The wait is over
Last Wednesday, the Walt Disney Company made the long-awaited announcement of The Happiest Celebration on Earth, which marks the 50th anniversary of Disneyland with the introduction of new shows and attractions at all of its 10 Disney theme parks. The 18-month-long promotion begins May 5, 2005, and includes a three-month move of its Disney Magic cruise ship from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Los Angeles.
Florida's Walt Disney World is opening an original attraction at Animal Kindgom, called Expedition Everest, and importing attractions from other Disney theme parks, including Cinderellebration from Tokyo Disneyland, the Lights, Motors, Action show from Walt Disney Studios park in Paris, Soarin' from Disney's California Adventure (DCA) park, and Lucky the Dinosaur, which was on trial display at Disneyland last year.
Disneyland Paris is introducing its version of the Wishes fireworks show, originally from Walt Disney World. Tokyo DisneySea opens two new rides by 2006: its own version of Tower of Terror, and a new thrill ride in the Lost River Delta section of the park.
The Disney Cruise Line comes to California from late May to mid-August for a series of 12 seven-night cruises between Los Angeles and Mexico. Two 14-day repositioning cruises will move the Disney Magic through the Panama Canal on its way to and from Los Angeles.
MousePlanet Streaming Video
Watch Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Announcement (35
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Michael Eisner, Julie Andrews, Art Linkletter and Minnie Mouse help announce plans for Disneyland's birthday. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, video of anniversary announcement by Jeffry Moxley.
Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Disney President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts President Jay Rasulo attended the announcement, which featured guest appearances by Art Linkletter and Julie Andrews. Andrews will serve as Disneyland's Honorary Ambassador during the promotion.
Disneyland will celebrate with a promotion called The Happiest Homecoming on Earth, which includes:
- An overlay on Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, a new parade at Disneyland
- Remember Dreams Come True, a new fireworks show at Disneyland
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland
- A re-Imagineered Space Mountain
- A Disneyland history exhibit at Disneyland's Main Street Opera House, featuring a new film.
- Block Party Bash, a new parade at Disney's California Adventure, featuring The Muppets, Lilo & Stitch, and characters from three Disney-Pixar films.
Read our complete coverage of the announcement ceremony and plans for the 50th anniversary at this link.
Tower's big debut
The West coast incarnation of the Tower of Terror also opened last week, dedicated in ceremony Tuesday night attended by Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Carol Serling, wife of Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling.
MousePlanet Streaming Video
Watch the Tower of Terror dedication and AAA presentation
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The Hollywood Tower Hotel provides the backdrop for the Tower of Terror dedication and AAA Presentation. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, video by Jeffry Moxley.
Tower of Terror's first official weekend started slow as the new E-ticket was down until noon on Saturday. No Fastpass tickets were distributed before the ride was reopened, but guests were allowed to take their chances by waiting in the stand-by line, which at one point extended to the entrance of the Animation Building. However, just two hours after the ride opened, stand-by wait time shrank to 40 minutes. Lines were considerably longer by dusk, reaching 120 minutes.
Drawn to the Magic premieres
"Drawn to the Magic, DCA's new streetmosphere show, debuted this weekend. The show, which takes place on a sidewalk in the Hollywood Backlot District features three animators who invite audience particpation in their songs. The show ends when three Disney charactersincluding Sorcerer Mickeyappear, and invite the audience to join them in a meet-and-greet inside the Animation Building.
Start making plans
Although Disneyland's online booking system is not yet taking reservations for most travel during the 50th anniversary promotion, one new package is now available. If you book a three-night resort stay at any of the Disneyland Resort hotels, your package includes a four-day Park Hopper ticket, a special 50th anniversary commemorative clock, and a Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour.
The 50th Celebration Package is available only for three-night stays, with arrival dates from May 5, 2005 through December 31, 2005. The package can be booked through the Disneyland Web site (link), or by calling (714) 520-5060.
Come sail away
While many complain that the West Coast Disney cruise packages are too expensive compared to the East Coast intineraries, as word spreads about the cruises, the rate that travelers are snapping up rooms is rising dailyallowing Disney to continue increases its rates for the remaining inventory. The 14-day eastbound repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal is sold out, and many cabin categories are wait-list only for seven-night cruises.
Some travel agents have been advising travelers that the best stragegy may be to wait until the initial booking frenzy subsides. Customers who made their reservations the day the bookings opened have until today (Monday) to make their deposits. After that, the cabins go back into available inventory. According to a MousePlanet reader, her travel agent said that prices should come down again in the year before the first cruise departs in May 2005.
Blast To The Past2004 Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics Public Day
The Disneyland Resort hosts a public day at the conclusion of the Disney Blast To The Past2004 Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics event this week. Public day is Sunday, May 16 from noon to 6:00 in the Marina East Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel.
Remaining event merchandise from A Disney Blast to the Past2004 Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics and other select art and collectibles will be offered as part of a merchandise opportunity from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. There will also be meet and greet and signing opportunities with Disney artists.
The following Disney artists will be appearing in the Pavilion at the Disneyland Hotel from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m:
- Disney artist David Pacheco, Creative Director for Walt Disney Art Classics signs Walt Disney Classics Collection sculptures including the latest releases in the Disney's it's a small world after all collection.
- Disney artist Kent Melton, renowned sculptor signs select Walt Disney Classics Collection sculptures.
- Disney artist Dusty Horner, noted sculptor signs select Walt Disney Classics Collection sculptures.
The following special guests are appearing in the Marina East Ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel:
- Disney author Robert Tieman signs his latest book The Disney Treasures. 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Mouseketeers Sherry (Alberoni) Van Meter and Bobby Burgess. 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Disney author Carlene Thie signs her latest book Disneyland the Beginning. 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Merchandise available while supplies last. Information subject to change without notice. Disney asks that you bring no personal items to be signed. Limit two (2) signed pieces per person.
Grab a bite to go
After many mornings of guests not being able to get to the La Brea Bakery early in the morning because of long lines, guests exiting the Mickey and Friends tram can now stop at the restaurant's new outdoor vending cart, which sells coffee and pastries.
Ears to the ground
In last week's update, we reported that there will be a test of the Believe There's Magic in the Stars fireworks on Wednesday, May 19 at 9:15 p.m. We incorrectly said that the park is scheduled to close at 10 that evening. Although the showing is still scheduled, Disneyland is scheduled to close at 8 that night, so park visitors may not be able to view the after-hours fireworks test.
Got any interesting news or rumors? Contact us here.
Francis' Lady Bug Boogie remains closed while work continues on the base units. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
- Peter Pan's Flight closed through May 28.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely.
- Space Mountain closed through 2005.
Disneys California Adventure
- Superstar Limo closed indefinitely.
- Francis' Lady Bug Boogie closed indefinitely.
- Alice in Wonderland closed June 1 July 3.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle closed June 21 October 2.
- Snow White's Scary Adventures closed August 23 September 11.
- Enchanted Tiki Room closes September 8 October 30.
- Haunted Mansion closed September 13 October 1 for installation of Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
- Matterhorn Bobsleds closed September 13 November 5.
Disneyland Resort Hotels
- Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel Pool closed May 38.
- Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom closed July 216.
- Disneyland Hotel Convention Center lobby, upper level & lower level closed July 16 September 1.
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.
- A Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics A Disney Blast to the Past May 1416.
- Grad Nights: May 13, 20, 27
- Grad Nights: June 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17
- 2004 Haunted Mansion Holiday Event Thursday, September 30. Reservations will be accepted at the Disney Gallery Web site (link). May 24 at 9:00 a.m. PDT.
- CHOC Walk this fun-walk through Disneyland park is a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital of Orange County (link). October 3.
- Disneyland's 50th Anniversary celebration begins May 5.
50th Anniversary Package
If you book a three-night resort stay at any of the Disneyland Resort hotels during the 50th anniversary promotion, your package includes a four-day Park Hopper ticket, a special 50th anniversary commemorative clock and a Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour.
The 50th Celebration Package is available only for three-night stays, with arrival dates May 5 through December 31, 2005. The package can be booked through the Disneyland Web site (link), or by calling (714) 520-5060
The Disney Treasures offer for APsAnnual Passholders can receive a copy of The Disney Treasures book, worth $60, when they apply for a Disney Visa card. The book will be mailed after the cardholder uses the new account. Apply by phone at 1-800-640-5306, and mention card code 26FF.
Car rental discounts
Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders save up to 20 percent on car rentals from Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental. Restrictions applyget full details and the necessary discount codes on the Annual Passholder Web site (link).
Anaheim Angels tickets
Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can save 50 percent off the regular price of tickets for the following home games of the Anaheim Angels baseball team, which plays at nearby Angel Stadium of Anaheim (formerly Edison Field):
- Baltimore Orioles: Saturday, May 22, 7:05 p.m.
- Cleveland Indians: Friday, June 4, 7:05 p.m.
- Oakland Athletics: Monday, June 21, 7:05 p.m.
- Boston Red Sox: Thursday, July 15, 7:05 p.m.
- Seattle Mariners: Sunday, August 1, 1:05 p.m.
Prices are: Terrace Box, $12.50 (reg. $25); Lower View Box, $7.50 (reg. $15); and Upper View, $6.00 (reg. $12).
Although there is no limit to how many tickets a passholder can purchase, you must use mail or fax in the order form provided at the Annual Passholder Web site, and you cannot purchase these tickets online or obtain them at the ticket window on the day of the game. See the passholder Web site for details (link).
AAA-Disney's Resort Magic Packages
If you are a AAA member, you can take advantage of these packages that include hotel nights and theme park tickets, along with extra ammenities:
- 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.
- New Preferred seating at a choice of select shows in DCA
- 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)
Sample prices include:
AAA Disney's Resort Magic: Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel for two nights from $269/adult, $127/ages 10-17, $97/ages 3-9
AAA Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor Magic: Jolly Roger Hotel for two nights from $193/adult, $127/ages 10-17, $97/ages 3-9
These packages require a minimum two-night hotel stay, and are good for travel between April 18 to July 1, August 29 to November 21 and November 28 to December 23, 2004. You can book this package through your local AAA affiliate travel agent.
Disney's AAA Passport Plus Package 2004:If you don't need a hotel room, the Passport Plus Package offers AAA members a discount on Park Hopper tickets, and comes with extra benefits:
- Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket
- $10 ESPN Zone Arena Game Card
- Preferred Seating at select shows in Disney's California Adventure Park
- California Diamond Fun Book (one per package)
- Free parking at Disneyland Resort Theme Parks
- 5-day: $129 (children: $99)
- 6-day: $159 (children: $129)
- 7-day: $184 (children: $149)
An additional handling fee of $10 is charged per mailing address. These tickets are available to AAA members only when purchased through AAA offices.
AAA ticket offers
For shorter stays, AAA offers 2- and 5-day tickets for the Disneyland Resort:
- 2-day adult Flex Passport $98 (children: $78)
- 5-day adult Flex Passport $129 (children: $99)
These tickets include free parking (the back of the passports note the free parking, so you will need the passport with you when you park your car).
The Southern California CityPass 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 either the world-famous San Diego Zoo or San Diego Wild Animal Park
- 1-day ticket to Knott's Theme Park (includes a free Knott's Berry Farm T-shirt with each child's City Pass)
The CityPass is $172 ($129 for children).
You can purchase the Southern California CityPass with Walt Disney Travel Company packages. 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 for an additional charge of $47 per pass ($32 per pass for children 3 through 9).
Note: The Southern California CityPass 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.
DCA: Disneys California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates: SoCal Southern California Annual Pass. Sel Southern California Select Annual Pass. DX Deluxe Annual Pass.
Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2003-2004 page to see more dates.
Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for May 10 to 16 at Disneyland.com here.