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When we launched our weekly Disneyland and Walt Disney World park updates in December 2002, our intention was simply to find a way to keep our readers up to date on the news, changes, and rumors that didn't warrant a full column of their own. Two years later, these updates have become one of the most popular features on MousePlanet.
Earlier this month, several of us attended Mousefest at Walt Disney World and spent an afternoon chatting with some of our readers. We were gratified and astonished by the number of people who told us that reading our park updates was an indispensable and regular part of the start of their week.
We enter our third year of updates as we look forward to MousePlanet's fifth anniversary in July (coinciding with Disneyland's 50th anniversary). We'd like to to take the opportunity to recognize you, our readers, for making it all possible. Whether you send us news items, share your photographs, alert us to juicy rumors, or even correct an error, the updates would not be the same without your contributions.
Thank you for your continued support. 2005 will be one of the most facinating years in Disneyland history, and we look forward to sharing it with you.
Disneyland Is Full
That cheerful message greeted visitors as they entered the Disneyland Resort Christmas Day. Disneyland was so crowded that the park halted sales of same day tickets before noon. Only those who already had valid admission media in hand - park-hoppers, pre-purchased tickets and annual passes - were allowed into Disneyland park. All others were encouraged to purchase tickets to Disney's California Adventure.
By 3:00, Disneyland stopped allowing any new admissions, regardless of ticket media. Reports from cast members working that day say that there were anywhere between 70,000 and 85,000 people inside Disneyland when the closure happened. Visitors who left Disneyland for a mid-day trip to their hotels were warned that they might not be allowed to re-enter the park that day. The front gates reopened by 5:30, though same-day ticket sales never resumed.
The park was crowded enough that a third performance of Fantasmic was added Christmas night, and cast members around the park were asked to extend their shifts to help with guest control in the parade, fireworks and Fantasmic viewing areas.
Ring in the New Year
Here is a partial listing of the entertainment offerings planned for New Year's Eve at the Disneyland Resort. Disneyland hours are from 8:00 am - 2:00 am, and DCA will be open from 10:00 am - 1:00 am.
Disneyland Entertainment Schedule:
- Fantasmic: 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and after midnight, at 12:05 a.m.
- A Christmas Fantasy Parade: 3 p.m., 6:45 p.m.
- Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks: 8:30 p.m.
- New Year's Eve Fireworks Spectacular: Midnight
- Lisa Haley and the Zydekats: Rivers of America: 8 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. (between Fantasmic showings)
- Top 40 DJ: Small World Mall 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Soto (Latin rock): Club Buzz 8:45 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
- Stompy Jones (swing dancing): Carnation Gardens 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- New Year's Countdown: Sleeping Beauty Castle 10 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m., 11:45 p.m..
DCA evening entertainment schedule:
- Disney's Electrical Parade: 7:45 p.m.
- The Fab Four (Beatles tribute): Golden State Amphitheater 9:45 to midnight
- Live DJ 8:00 to 10:00 p.m., and midnight to 1:00 a.m.
- Bayadera (Alternative Jazz/Rock): Pacific Wharf 8:15 to 11:55 p.m.
- Year End Wrap Party / live DJ: Hollywood Backlot 8:00 1:00 a.m.
Reminder: The parking lot trams are usually taken out of service right around midnight. If you plan to stay until park closing, expect to walk back to the Mickey and Friends parking structure or the Lion King parking lot.
Ring in the new year at Disneyland with other MousePlanet readers. Meet at the Central Plaza at the far end of Main Street ("the hub") at noon on December 31. For more details, visit our MousePad discussion board (link).
Several AAA travel agents have alerted us to new tickets and promotions to be offered for 2005.
According to new brochures just delivered to local offices, the AAA packages no longer include the magical pocket guide. Those who book AAA packages and stay at Disneyland Resort hotels will continue to receive the multiple Fastpass feature, and will now be entitled to early entry and admission to Mickey's Toontown Madness on select days.
Another source tells us that Mickey's Toontown Madness is a character meet-and-greet experience, and will probably be offered on weekdays when early entry is not. On days when Mickey's Toontown Madness is running, Toontown will probably open to the general public 30 or 60 minutes after the rest of the park.
Travelers who book the AAA packages and stay at a Good Neighbor hotel can still attend Mickey's Toontown Madness, but will not receive multiple Fastpass or early entry privileges.
Prices are going up in 2005: the Good Neighbor package now starts at $225 per adult, and the Resort Magic Package at $325 per adult.
For those who do not need a hotel room, the oh-so-confusing Passport Plus package is still available, along with two ticket promotions. AAA is one of several groups offering the Adults at Kids Price special, valid from January 4 through April 28, 2005. During this promotion, a 3-day Disneyland Resort park hopper ticket is $109 per person for adults and children (check with your local AAA office, as tickets for larger increments may be available) Parking is included with this ticket.
AAA is also offering a 2-day Disneyland Resort park hopper ticket ($105 per adult, or $85 per child) which is valid January 4, 2005 through January 15, 2006. That ticket includes free parking, one early entry pass and a $10 ESPN Zone game card.
Another Costco special
Reader David Michael alerted us to the latest promotional ticket offered at Southern California Costco stores:
The 2005 version of the special Disneyland Resort ticket is back and available at the Southern California Costco stores.
$89 gets you 4 days at the resort.
Each day is valid for either Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. In the past, you could park-hop on the same day by using two days' worth.
This ticket is for anyone ages 3 and above (no children's price).
The purchaser and the person redemming the voucher at the Main Ticket Windows must live in Southern California and have proof of residing in zip codes 90000 through 93599.
These tickets (item# 857857) are good through June 23, 2005, and are blocked out from today through January 1, 2005 and March 19 through April 2, 2005.
Eligible Southern-Californian Costco members may purchase up to five tickets per day.
Of course, all the regular Disney fine print comes along with it, including that everything is subject to change.
This is your last chance to submit photos to the The Happiest Faces on Earth a Disney Family Album promotion. The submission deadline is Friday, December 31, 2004. Bring your photos with you to Disneyland this week and drop them in the boxes scattered around the resort, or submit your photos by mail or electronically. Visit the Happiest Faces on Earth Web site for details (link).
Your current passport is no longer valid, v3.0
For the third year, we remind Annual Passholders that you may experience a bit of difficulty when using your soon-to-expire pass to enter the Disneyland Resort.
In an effort to reduce fraudulent use of expired passes, Disneyland issues new serial numbers and barcodes to renewed Annual Passports. As soon as they put your new pass in the mail, the barcode from your yet-unexpired current passport is deactivated. When you try to use your current passport, even if it has yet to expire, the passport is rejected by the main gate computers
As always, Main Gate cast members are supposed to know about this situation and override the system to accept these passes, but you should be prepared to show additional photo identification.
While this only affects you while your new pass is in the mail, it can cause uneccesary delays at the main gate, and make it difficult to obtain Fastpass tickets. If you renew by mail, be sure to start using your new pass as soon as you receive it.
During summer 2003, Disneyland launched a resort-wide promotion to build brand recognition for its Fantasia ice cream flavor. The banana-pistachio-cherry-flavored concoction was developed for Disney, and was available exclusively at the Disneyland Resort.
Unfortunately, the promotion did little to boost sales of Disneyland's signature flavor, resulting in the park discontinuing production of the rainbow-colored ice cream. We've been told that Nestlé, manufacturer of the Dreyers brand ice cream now sold at the resort, decided that demand for the flavor was insufficient to justify continued production. Efforts to increase distribution of the flavor by also selling it at Walt Disney World fell through when foods managers at the Florida resort declined to add it to their menus.
There may be one tiny glimmer of hope for Fantasia fans everywhere. There is a rumor that Nestlé could offer the flavor as a limited edition during a promotion to support Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. If not, MousePlanet staff member Andrew Rich, a devoted Fantasia ice cream afficianado, offers fellow fans this back up plan: It's not the same as getting it in the park, but you can visit your local Cold Stone Creamery (link) and have them mix up a batch. Ask for a base of sweet cream ice cream with pistachio syrup (and chopped pistachios if they have themchopped walnuts if they don't) mixed with cherry pie filling and banana.
Ears to the ground
Disneyland's traditional after Christmas sale actually began on Christmas Day this year, and shoppers were surprised by the limited selection offered on sale. Only a few major collections of holiday ornaments were included in the 50% off sale - 2004 dated product, the Winnie the Pooh gingerbread collection, some of the Victorian Christmas line, and the Spode Disney Christmas Tree pattern.
The majority of the sale items are available at the World of Disney store, Greetings from California in DCA, and the Showcase Annex in Disneyland. The remaining holiday ornaments were pulled from these stores and sent to the Showcase and China Closet stores on Main Street. These locations are not participating in the after-Christmas sale.
Cast members at the China Closet tell us that their location is going to offer a larger selection of holiday decorations year-round, so the decision was made not to sell off the remaining holiday inventory.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email us here.
Note: Disneyland is progressively refurbishing more and more attractions as the park readies for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2005.
- Aladdin's Oasis closed through March 11.
- Plaza Pavilion closed through March 11.
- Enchanted Tiki Room closed through March 11.
- Space Mountain closed through Novembe.
- Haunted Mansion closed January 323 to remove Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
- it's a small world closed January 1023 to remove the holiday overlay.
- Mark Twain Riverboat closed January 1728.
- Mad Tea Party closed January 24February 10.
- Splash Mountain closed January 24March 17.
- Disneyland Railroad closed January 31March 11.
- 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 reduces capacity (2 of 3 towers operating) January 322, 31 March 12.
- Jumpin' Jellyfish reduces capacity January 21 March 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.
- Merriest Place on Earth Christmas decorations appear throughout the Disneyland Resort. Through Jan. 2.
- Disneyland Resort float in Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade. Jan. 1.
- 75 InspEARations exhibit arrives at Disney's California Adventure. 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. Tickets on sale now (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).
Alaska Airlines Kids Fly Free promotion returns
Alaska Airlines is repeating the popular Kids Fly Free promotion for travel to the Disneyland Resort, and is offering park ticket and hotel discounts as well.
If you book an Alaska Airlines Southern California Vacations package for travel between January 4 and June 29, 2005, one child (age 2-11) can fly free with each paid adult ticket. The package also includes four nights at the Holiday Inn Buena Park and airport transfers via Karmel Shuttle (children 2-11 are free). The packages, including airfare and hotel, start at $429 per person.
Even better, if you travel between January 4 and April 28, you also receive a free child's 5-day Disneyland Resort park hopper for each paid adult. If you are traveling without children, you can instead purchase the adult 5-day park hopper ticket at the children's price. Be aware, however, that Disneyland considers 11-year-olds to be adults for the purpose of admission pricing.
If Buena Park is too far away from Disneyland for you, you can upgrade to a Disneyland Resort hotel and receive up to $200 Disney Dollars with a stay of four nights or more before April 24, 2005.
Finally, if you book the package through alaskaair.com, you get 1500 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Bonus Miles per passenger. For more information, visit the Alaska Airlines Web site (link). You must book packages by March 21, 2005.
Costco City Pass promotion
Costco is offering a Southern California CityPass for $149.99 for adults, and $114.99 for children ages 3 to 9. The CityPass includes a three-day Disneyland Resort park hopper ticket, one-day admission to Knott's Berry Farm, one-day admission to SeaWorld in San Diego, and one-day admission to either the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The first admission must be used by March 31, 2005, and the pass expires 13 days after the first admission is used.
The tickets are available at Southern California Costco stores, or at the Costco Web site (link). You must be a Costco member to purchase the tickets, and a shipping fee applies to Internet orders.
Costco is also offering a discounted 4-day Disneyland Resort ticket at $89 per person, ages 3 and up. This ticket is not a park hopper - each day is valid for admission at either Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. This promotion is available toSouthern California residents only (zip codes 90000-93599). When you purchase the ticket through Costco, you will receive a voucher to exchange at a Disneyland ticket booth. Proof of local residency is required to exchange the tickets, and there is a limit of 5 tickets per day.
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.
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.
Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for this week at Disneyland.com here.