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News and Views

Believe it or not

A little over a week ago, rumors started circulating on our MousePad message boards (link) that Disneyland's beloved Believe… There's Magic in the Stars fireworks show would be replaced in June with a rehashed version of Fantasy in the Sky. These dire reports were dismissed by some readers as “highly suspect” or a “joke.” After all, Disneyland.com listed performances of Believe… for June, and the internal resort entertainment calendar listed performances through the end of July. Further, why would Disneyland shelve such a popular show at the start of the summer tourism season?


Disneyland's popular Believe… show gives its final performances over the past weekend. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


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After last week's Park Update: Disneyland was published, we received confirmation that the rumors were true—the show was going away after Memorial Day weekend, with the final performance on Sunday, May 30.

Suddenly Believe… was replaced on the Disneyland.com Web site with a new show called Disney's Imagine… A Fantasy in the Sky. An e-mail message sent to Resort cast members on Thursday announced that the new show would begin the following weekend, on Friday, June 4, and a revised resort entertainment calendar was released with the new show scheduled through August.


Part of the popularity of Believe… stems from its use of unusual fireworks not seen before at a Disney park, such as the popular “comet through a heart” effect. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Many park visitors are asking why. There are several interesting theories running around the various Disney discussion boards and Web sites:

  • Remember, the fireworks show planned to debut in less than a year for the 50th anniversary celebration, must be so disappointing that Disney has decided to replace the popular Believe… show with something so bad that anything would be considered an improvement.
  • Disney is bowing to the pressure of local Anaheim residents who complain about the smoke and noise created by Believe…. The new show is said to be shorter than Believe…, and use fewer shells—most importantly, fewer low-burst shells that explode close to the ground.
  • Believe… has been cancelled because the planned refurbishment of Sleeping Beauty Castle will prevent Disney from presenting the full show (no pyrotechnics from the Castle, no Tinker Bell flying over the scaffolded Castle). Rather than presenting a scaled-back version of Believe…, Disneyland dusted off an old concept.
  • Disney was forced to dramatically alter the show because of California Assembly Bill 826, a measure designed to reduce perchlorate contamination in groundwater sources. Perchlorate is a main ingredient in fireworks.

While this last explanation is considered to be one of the more credible ones, the timeline doesn't make sense. AB 826 does not go into full effect until January 2006. One provision does take effect on July 1 of this year: A reporting requirement for perchlorate users within a five-mile radius of a contaminated public drinking water well. Nothing in the bill, however, seems to explain why Disneyland suddenly replaced such a popular show.


The glow from dozens of camcorder screens fills the viewing area in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle as the show begins. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Whatever the reason, this change was made so quickly that many cast members are just learning of it. Worse, there is now rampant speculation among cast members that the holiday version of Believe… is also in jeopardy.

Discover the Magic

A new tour, based loosely on the “Family Magic” tour currently offered at the Magic Kingdom in Florida's Walt Disney World, was introduced at Disneyland this past weekend.

“Discover the Magic” is a designed for families with children ages 5 to 9, and is highly character-focused. The tour starts with a meet-and-greet with one of Mickey's friends, who presents the group with a mystery to solve. Participants then join a tour guide on a trip through Disneyland, looking for clues and meeting characters along the way. These encounters are just quick meet-and-greets, and are not designed as photo or autograph opportunities.


The new Discover the Magic tour uses Disneyland as the set for a mystery adventure. Photo courtesy of Disneyland, used with permission.

The tour includes a two rides, a trip onto Tom Sawyer Island for a special adventure, and a light lunch midway through. It ends with a meet-and-greet in Toon Town. The experience is highly interactive and requires a lot of moving about, and a willingness (by parents, too!) to just be a kid and be a little silly.

Strollers are not recommended on the tour. Guests with disabilities are welcome, and should be aware that the nature of the tour includes climbing stairs and crawling through caves on Tom Sawyer Island. When a guest with mobility impairments participates, the tour can be adapted to avoid physical barriers.


Tom Sawyer and a crew of “pirates” try to decipher a treasure map during the Discover the Magic tour. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Tickets are $49 per person for the first two guests, and $39 per person for each additional guest. There is a two-ticket minimum to book this tour. Disneyland Annual Passholders can receive $10 off each ticket for tours taken through Friday, July 2.

Initially, the tour is available on weekends only through June 13. Starting June 19, there will be two tours per day for the rest of the summer. You can book a tour up to 30 days in advance by calling (714) 781-4400, or by visiting any Guest Services location.

Check back soon; MousePlanet will have a more detailed review of this tour.

Costco offers “Play 4 Days” tickets

MousePlanet reader DJ_MENTOS let us know that Costco is again offering “Play 4 Days” tickets to the Disneyland Resort. The $79 ticket (for ages 3 through adult) is good for four one-day admissions to Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. The tickets are non-transferable—the same person must use all four admissions.

The ticket expires once the four admissions are used, or on June 30, 2004, whichever comes first. This is not a park-hopper pass, although you could probably use one admission per day at each park, in effect using the four admissions as a two-day park-hopper.

The tickets are available only to Costco members who are residents of Southern California. A Costco membership and proof of residency is zip codes 90000 through 93599 is required. Tickets must be purchased at Costco, with a limit of five tickets per member per day.

The one-day Park Hopper is here

The Disneyland Resort quietly began selling one-day park-hopper tickets this past weekend. The $69 ticket ($62 for Southern California residents) allows you to visit Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure in the same day.

Ears to the ground

Snow White – An Enchanting New Musical will go “dark” with no performances on June 15, 16, and 17. There will be only three performances each day on June 14, 18, and 21 to 25.


Got any interesting news or rumors? Contact us here.

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

Note: Disneyland will progressively begin closing more and more attractions as the park readies for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2005.

  • Alice in Wonderland closed through July 2.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely.
  • Space Mountain closed through 2005.

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Superstar Limo closed indefinitely.
  • Francis' Lady Bug Boogie closed indefinitely.

Future Closures

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle closed June 21 – September 18.
  • Aladdin's Oasis closed July 30 – March 12, 2005.
  • Plaza Pavilion closed July 30 – March 12, 2005.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room closed July 30 – March 12, 2005.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures closed August 23 – September 11.
  • Star Tours reduced capacity, as each of the four cabins rotate through refurbishment September 7–22.
  • Haunted Mansion closed September 7 – October 1 for installation of Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. Closed January 10–25, 2005 for removal of Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
  • Maliboomer reduced capacity (2 of 3 towers operating) November 1–25, January 3–22, 31, 2005 – March 12, 2005.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds closed September 13 – November 24.
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish reduced capacity January 21, 2005 – March 5, 2005.

Disneyland Resort Hotels

  • Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom closed July 2–16.
  • Disneyland Hotel Convention Center lobby, upper level & lower level closed July 16 – September 1.
  • Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel pool slide & kiddies pool closed through June 5.
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

June

  • Grad Nights June 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17
  • AIDS Walk Orange County. Join Team MousePlanet and the Disneyland VoluntEars at this fundraising walk at UC Irvine (link). Sunday, June 6
  • The next piece in Robert Olzewski's “Disneyland in Miniature” series—the City Hall and Fire Station complex—is being released at Disneyland. Saturday, June 26

September

  • 2004 Haunted Mansion Holiday Event Thursday, September 30.

October

  • CHOC Walk – this fun-walk through Disneyland park is a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital of Orange County (link). Sunday, October 3.

May 2005

  • Disneyland closed on May 4, 2005 to “put the finishing touches” on the 50th Anniversary celebration. DCA open on May 4.
  • Disneyland's 50th Anniversary celebration begins May 5.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Costco offers “Play 4 Days” tickets

MousePlanet reader DJ_MENTOS let us know that Costco is again offering “Play 4 Days” tickets to the Disneyland Resort. The $79 ticket (for ages 3 through adult) is good for four one-day admissions to Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. The tickets are non-transferable—the same person must use all four admissions.

The ticket expires once the four admissions are used, or on June 30, 2004, whichever comes first. This is not a park-hopper pass, although you could probably use one admission per day at each park, in effect using the four admissions as a two-day park-hopper.

The tickets are available only to Costco members who are residents of Southern California. Costco membership and proof of residency is zip codes 90000 through 93599 is required. Tickets must be purchased at Costco, with a limit of five tickets per member per day.

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 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 APs

Annual 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 apply—get 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):

  • 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 (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)
  • Collect Fastpass tickets for multiple attractions at one time.
  • Preferred seating at a choice of select shows in DCA
  • An exclusive Walt Disney Travel Company collectible pin and lanyard (one per person)
  • An exclusive Walt Disney Travel Company California Fun Book (one per package)
  • An 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 now through 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

Prices:

  • 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).

CityPass

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.


Park Schedule/Blockout Dates

DL: Disneyland
DCA: Disney’s California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates:

  • SL – Southern California Select Annual Pass.
  • SC – Southern California Annual Pass.
  • DX – Deluxe Annual Pass.
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
  5/31 6/1 6/2 6/3 6/4 6/5
 

Memorial Day: Holiday
DL 9a–10p
DCA 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL 9a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

DL 9a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

DL 9a–8p
DCA 10a–6p

DL 9a–11p
DCA 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL 8a–Mid
DCA 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

6/6 6/7 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11 6/12

DL 8a–11p
DCA 10a–9p
SL

DL 9a–10p
DCA 10a–7p

DL 9a–10p
DCA 10a–7p

DL 9a–9p
DCA 10a–7p

DL 9a–9p
DCA 10a–7p

DL 9a–11p
DCA 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL 8a–Mid
DCA 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

Visit ourAnnual Passholders Blockout Dates 2004 page to see more dates.

Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for May 24 to 30 at Disneyland.com here.



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