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Holiday time at Disneyland
Although there's been a Christmas tree on Main Street for weeks, it's Thanksgiving that seems to mark the real begining of the holiday tourist season at Disneyland. At 11 a.m. on Friday, the end of the line to get into Disneyland extended well into the esplanade between the parks, nearly backing into the end of the line to get into Disney's California Adventure (DCA) park.
The lines to enter Disneyland the day after Thanksgiving extends nearly to Disney's California Adventure park. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Santa has taken up his temporary annual residence on Main Street, U.S.A., and caused a line all his own as parents with hopeful children waited over an hour to deliver their wish lists in person. Santa appears daily from 10:00 to 6:00, with periodic breaks to feed the reindeer.
Beach Party Santa waits to pose with a DCA visitor. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Over at DCA, the crowds in Santa's Beach Party Blast were considerably smaller from last year, with only a dozen or so people waiting to get a photo with vacation Santa. Fortunately, the area music has been turned down several notches from last year, so it is actually possible to spend some time enjoying the well-themed decorations and activities.
Disneyland chefs create new treats for the holiday season, including a clever snowman. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The resort restaurants and quick-service locations are adding holiday dishes to their menus. Look for candy snowman apples on Main Street and a roasted turkey dinner at the River Belle Terrace.
Crowds queue up to ride the holiday incarnation of it's a small world. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The holiday Bring a Friend discount promotion kicks off this Wednesday, December 1. Disneyland Resort annual passholders can purchase 1-day park hopper tickets for the same price as a 1-day, 1-park ticket (limit five tickets per person, per day, with a valid annual pass). Admission must be used on the day of purchase. The promotion runs through December 18.
Four weeks to a photo finish
You only have four weeks left to submit your photos to the The Happiest Faces on Earth a Disney Family Album promotion. Just in case the dozens of reminders tucked into your Disney credit card statement, annual passholder newsletter, Disney catalog and shareholder reports have not prompted you to act, Disneyland is making it even easier to particpate.
Mickey really, really wants your photos. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Through December 17, some of the character hosts scattered around the Disneyland Resort are armed with a stack of the release forms necessary to submit your picture for inclusion in the mosaics. Get your photo taken with Mickey, sign on the dotted line, and you're done. If this were any easier, Minnie would come to your house and rifle through your photo albums.
You can also submit your photos by mail or electronically until December 31, 2004; visit the Happiest Faces on Earth Web site for details (link).
New eats in Frontierland
The Rancho del Zocalo restaurant has revamped its menu, completely removing the barbecue section, adding new grilled entrees and tweaking the Mexican food offerings. The restaurant still uses the split-kitchen concept, with separate counters offering Especials Del Norte and the Costena Grill.
Rancho del Zocalo has a brand-new menu. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Here's a sample from the new lunch menu (dinner prices are $1 to $2 higher per entree):
Especials Del Norte
- Burrito Sonora: $9.99
- Tacos Monterrey: $8.99
- Fish tacos Mazatlan: $8.99
- Red chile enchilada and taco combination: $10.99
- Nacho: $8.99
- Chicken with garlic sauce: $13.99
- Shrimp with garlic sauce: $15.99
- Shrimp and chicken with garlic sauce: $14.99
Shrimp entrees are served with Mexican rice.
All Costena Grill entrees come with corn cake and choice of two of the following side dishes: chipotle cheddar mashed potatos, black beans, corn and black bean salad, and roasted pineapple salad.
- Tortilla soup: $4.99
- Tostada salad: $9.99
- Tamale platter: $14.99
Children's meals ($5.99 each) are served in a Cooked Up Comics lunch box with tortilla chips, fresh fruit salad, child's drink and fun straw, with the following choices:
- Bean and cheese burrito
- Chicken nugget taco
- Cheese Funstuffer
The restaurant offers a varying selection of desserts. On a recent trip, options included a Mexican chocolate pecan bar, coconut flan and tres leches cake for $4.99 each, and a plate of fresh tropical fruit for $4.29.
The Stagedoor Cafe next to the Golden Horseshoe Theatre has also revamped its offering, replacing its hamburgers and hot dogs with an all-fried menu of dippable finger foods, which up until now has been available only at the Strips, Chips and Dips in the Paradise Pier area of Disney's California Adventure. The choices include:
- 3-piece fish and chips: $7.29
- 4-piece fish and chips: $8.99
- 4-piece chicken strips with fries: $6.99
- 6-piece chicken strips with fries: $7.99
- 4-piece mozarella sticks with fries: $6.49
- 6-piece mozarella sticks with fries: $7.49
Each selection comes with a choice of buffalo hot sauce, ranch, honey mustard, barbecue, or marinara dipping sauce.
Since the Golden Horseshoe and Stagedoor Cafe share a kitchen, the Golden Horseshoe has added the new fried menu items to its existing lineup of chili fries, chili breadbowl, and desserts.
Princesses invade Hollywood
The entertainment department has been using the interior courtyard of the Animation Building in Disney's California Adventure as an informal post-show character meet-and-greet location since the Drawn to the Magic street show began last spring. Now the Disney princesses have take up a more permanent residence inside the building.
The Animation Building houses a new Princess photo opportunity. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
A new sign outside the building invites park guests to share a moment with a Disney princess, and advises that royal court is now in session. Inside, a photo backdrop has replaced what was the queue area for the Animation Screening Room. Four Disney princesses appear in rotation to sign autographs and pose for photos.
Visitors wishing to see One Man's Dream now wait in line outside the Animation Screening Room's exit doors, and enter the theater once the previous audience has departed.
The Matterhorn reopens after another lengthy refurbishment. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Tickets for Disneyland's Indiana Jones 10th Anniversary event go on sale at 9:00 a.m. (Pacific time) this Wednesday, December 1 . Disneyland is offering two ticket packages for the event: A general ticket for $150 per person, and a hotel package for $450 per person. The event is scheduled for March 3, 2005.
The event includes a buffet-style dinner, ride on the Indiana Jones attraction, photo opportunity, and a lovely parting gift. The hotel package includes a one-night stay at Disney's Grand California Hotel, and breakfast at a Disneyland Resort hotel restaurant.
Participants can also purchase limited-edition merchandise created especially for the event. Visit the Disney Gallery Web site for more information or to register for the event (link).
Ears to the ground
Most of the construction walls around the upcoming Buzz Lighyear Astro Blasters attraction in Tomorrowland have been removed. The ride, which is an import from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida, is rumored to be well ahead of schedule, and some area cast members have speculated that it could soft-open for previews as early as February.
The entrance to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters is revealed. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The Patina Group has changed its discount policy for Disneyland annual passholders who dine at Tortilla Jo's, Catal, and Naples, its three Downtown Disney restaurants. Where passholders once received a free appetizer with every two entrees ordered, they now get a flat 10 percent discount, excluding alcohol. The Disneyland Web site does not yet reflect this change.
To improve their process, Disneyland has borrowed a page from mass retailers like Target. Instead of stocking shelves with fragile items such as frames and snowglobes, resort stores now display samples in front of stock boxes of the same items. Photo stickers identify the products inside the boxes, and colorful Tinker Bell stickers make the plain boxes more visually appealing. This approach makes it easier to stock fragile items, helps relieve holiday crowding in bulging stockrooms, reduces the potential of damaging or destroying packing boxes, and lets guests get out of the shops with safely packed gifts in a jiffy.
Accidental breakage should decase in the Disneyland stores now that the only fragile merchandise on display are the sample versions. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
If the approach is successful, look for it to become a year-round practice, especially next year when collectible 50th Anniversary merchandise floods the resort. Let's just hope they draw the line at installing self-serve price scanners in the Emporium or self-checkout lines in the World of Disney.
The former Lost and Found location next to the Guest Relations lobby in DCA is being used as an Annual Passholder processing area. The holiday season is the busiest time for the processing centers, with new and renewing passholders joining gift recipients in long lines. If you are among the majority of passholders who need to renew during December and January, take advantage of the renew-by-mail option, and avoid the hours-long wait at the parks.
In a previous update, we related a rumor about the demise of the Fantasy Waters show, and possible plans for the theater area. We have since been able to confirm that the Fantasy Waters show has been discontinued, and the holiday version still listed on the Disneyland Web site is not being presented this year.
Got any interesting news or rumors? Contact us here.
Note: Disneyland is progressively refurbishing more and more attractions as the park readies for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2005.
Crews have a lot to do if the Sailing Ship Columbia returns to service on time. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
- Sailing Ship Columbia closed through November 30.
- Fantasmic on hiatus during the Sailing Ship Columbia refurbishment. The show is scheduled to return on December 17.
- Aladdin's Oasis closed through March 11, 2005.
- Plaza Pavilion closed through March 11, 2005.
- Enchanted Tiki Room closed through March 11, 2005.
- Space Mountain closed through November 2005.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely; not listed on park maps or the Disneyland Web site.
Upcoming Disneyland closures
The Plaza Inn becomes the next building to receive a facelift. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
- Haunted Mansion closes January 323, 2005 to remove Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
- it's a small world closes January 1023, 2005 to remove the holiday overlay.
- Mark Twain Riverboat closes January 1728, 2005
- Mad Tea Party closes January 24February 10, 2005
- Splash Mountain closes January 24March 17, 2005
- Disneyland Railroad closes January 31March 11, 2005
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln closes February 22 to install the 50th Anniversary exhibit in the Main Street Opera House.
Disney's California Adventure
Upcoming DCA closures
- Maliboomer reduced capacity (2 of 3 towers operating) January 322, 31 March 12, 2005.
- Jumpin' Jellyfish reduced capacity January 21 March 5, 2005.
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.
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Adora Belle Bellhop Pin Trader doll release at DCA. Dec. 4 (link). Marie Osmond narrates Disneyland's Candlelight Procession and Ceremony this weekend.
- Disneyland's Candlelight Procession and Ceremony, with guest narrator Marie Osmond. Dec. 45.
- Merriest Place on Earth Christmas decorations appear throughout the Disneyland resort.Through Jan. 2.
- Disneyland Resort float appears in Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade. Jan. 1.
- 75 InspEARations exhibit arrives at Disneyland. Jan. 10 Feb. 22.
- Chip & Dale's Wild Wild West Pin Adventure. Feb. 3 at Disneyland. Tickets on sale now (link).
- Indiana Jones Adventure 10th Anniversary event. March 3 at Disneyland. Details not yet announced (link).
- MousePlanet's MouseAdventure event Tentatively Sunday, March 13 at Disneyland. Details to be announced. Want us to contact you when we open registration for this MouseAdventure event? Sign up for MouseAdventure Reminderer.
- 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.
- 2005 Summer Pin Festival. June 24 Aug. 15, 2005 at the Disneyland Resort. No details have been announced (link).
- Disneyland 50th Anniversary special event. July 2005. No dates or details have been announced (link).
Holiday Bring-a-Friend ticket
Disneyland resort passholders can purchase 1-day park hopper tickets for the same price as a 1-day, 1-park ticket. Limit five tickets per person, per day, with valid passport. Admission must be used on day of purchase. Effective December 118.
Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder offers and promotions
- Purchase a commemorative 50th anniversary brick through December 31 to be placed in the esplanade between Disneyland and DCA, and receive a $50 discount off the regular price of $150. The special brick features a brass-toned medallion with the 50th anniversary logo.
- Get January AP rates at the Disneyland Resort, starting at $79 per night at Paradise Pier hotel. Promotion valid Sunday Thursday for arrivals January 2 31, 2005. Additional restrictions apply. Call 714-956-MICKEY (714-956-6425) to book.
- Receive a copy of The Disney Treasures book, worth $60, when applying for a Disney Visa card. The book is shipped after you uses the new account. Apply by phone at 1-800-640-5306, and mention card code 26FF.
- 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).
50th Anniversary Package (Happiest Homecoming on Earth!)
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.
AAA-Disney's Resort Magic Packages
AAA member can take advantage of these packages that include hotel nights and theme park tickets, along with extra amenities:
- 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 through 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: Disney's California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates:
- SL Southern California Select Annual Pass.
- SC Southern California Annual Pass.
- DX Deluxe Annual Pass.
Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2004 page to see more dates.