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News and Views

Disneyland Railroad events

Steve DeGaetano passes along a couple pieces of information from the tracks at Disneyland.


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The first relates to a piece we ran last week about a train called the Marie E. we saw being delivered to Disneyland, and an event involving animator Ollie Johnston. According to Michael Broggie's book Walt Disney's Railroad Story, the Marie E was built in 1901 by the H.K. Porter Company and hauled coal in Puyallup, Washington, for years. Eventually Ollie Johnston purchased it from a scrap yard, restored it, and ran it on his property in Julian, California, until he sold it to Pixar producer John Lasseter in 1993.

The delivery of the Marie E. to Disneyland was for a special event with Ollie Johnston, and the whole thing was a surprise to him. Here's Steve's telling:

[Ollie Johnston] was in a wheelchair… with Ollie under the platform near the DRR attraction poster. All the biggies were there—Eisner, Oimet, Iger. I've heard ABC was there covering the story, as well as Disney TV (Cast Member TV?). Michael Broggie gave a speech, and as he finished, the Marie E, kept out of sight on the track near the Jungle Cruise, whistled, and ran up to the platform. Ollie was completely taken aback that his old engine as there! He was wheeled to the handicapped loading platform, the engine was backed into position, and a diamond tread plate was placed as bridge into the engine. Ollie walked into the cab with his son, and was strapped in, hand on the throttle. He whistled a very loud blast, pulled the throttle, and took off like a bolt of lightning!

He made two circuits of the railroad, and came into the station with tears in his eyes.

An attendee of this event reported on the Disneyland Railroad discussion board at Steve's Web site Burnsland that they had to keep the train from blowing its whistle until right before it came into the New Orleans Square station lest Johnston recognize it too soon, which he did as soon as it was blown.

Those interested in the fate of the Lilly Belle might be justified in a slight uptick in hope. While in the park for this event, Disneyland Resort President Matt Ouimet took a tour of the roundhouse and specifically requested a tour of the Lilly Belle. We've no word beyond that, though.

Finally, some more information on the Ward Kimball. Last week we reported the word from one Disneyland Railroad cast member who said that Ward Kimball would have gold highlights as part of the golden vehicles program for the 50th Annivserary. According to Steve, who has seen the paint job, this isn't really true. The bright brass bands on the boiler and also the brass bell and whistle could be misinterpreted. The lettering, however, is all hand–applied gold leaf, which is unique to Ward Kimball, as the other engines possess painted lettering. On May 7, Ward Kimball operated under steam for the first time on the tracks at the roundhouse. Steve notes:

The locomotive moved back and forth on its track smoothly and without incident. The boiler steams very well on spot and there is a sharp bark to the exhaust. I believe this engine will be a little noisier than they are use to. She definitely wants to run. It will be good to get her out on the open railroad

$0.51 for $26.01

If you're a pressed penny collector, you may want to bring a couple rolls of quarters and pennies on your next visit. For the 50th Anniversary, Disneyland has replaced existing press machines with new stamps: 51 new stamps in all. Each new design calls out an event from one of Disneyland's 50 years (such as Caroussel of Progress opening in 1967).

If you want to go all out, for each press use a penny from the same year.

Left hanging

Along with increased complexity comes more possible points of failure, and that proved out during the May 12 performance of the Remember… Dreams Comes True fireworks. In the new show Tinker Bell has a much more elaborate set–up than before, allowing her to do crowd–pleasing moves near the castle.

The risk, though, comes in when you consider that the whole flight of Tinker Bell is no longer a simple function of gravity and on that night everything locked up about 15 feet into her flight. Show directors quickly got her out of the spotlight and shortly after guests could faintly see her being slowly pulled across the sky. Commendably, Tink stayed in character the entire time and everything was in proper working order for her second flight later in the show.

Of more interest to anybody wondering about the show mechanics, this incident highlighted the level of flexibility crew have even when a show has started. On very short notice, it was possible to prevent castle area effects that would have put the cast member playing Tinker Bell at risk without entirely disrupting the show.

50th merch event controversy

Our message board buzzed to life earlier this week with word that attendance adjustments had been made to the various packages available for the 50th Anniversary merchandise event on July 15–17.

Originally the three most expensive packages—Walt's Dream, Roy's Plan, and Lillian's Inspiration—were limited to 50, 50, and, 140 people respectively. The official information on the Walt Disney Event Services Web site (link) now lists the limits as 78, 46, and 187 (though if you look at the individual plan pages, they say 80, 70, and 200).

This may not seem a big deal at first blush, but when someone has spent almost $2,000 (for Walt's Plan) for an exclusive opportunity, it is easy to see that some would be upset at the number of people getting this opportunity has increased by 56 percent.

A bit of a debacle happened with the initial registration process with some people registering early while others were able to make a purchase after a particular plan had sold out. Either way, Disney was going to make somebody unhappy, either by accommodating these extra people or by telling them they were out of luck.

MousePlanet has been in contact with Martha, in Walt Disney Event Services, who offers assurances that these extra people will not compromise the experience. Despite this, many people have expressed concerns about the increased difficulty of getting into desired seminars, and more demand for limited edition merchandise.

Other questions floating around involve the concern that event participants will have to leave Disneyland after their breakfast on July 17 and then wait in line with everybody else to get back into the park. Martha also assures us this is not true, and said that ater the breakfast, participants will go over to Space Mountain and then be able to stay inside the park until official opening.

Walt Disney Event Servcies will honor refund requests until May 24 because of these changes. They have also posted more information about the event, including a tentative itinerary (link), artist appearances (link), auction items (link), and a list of RSP (Disneyland's Random Selection Purchase program) merchandise (link).

Discounts updated

With all the focus on the 50th Anniversary, our Discounts section got a bit out of date. We've updated it to the best of our ability. Updates include information on the Southern California 1–Day Park Hopper, and other new travel packages. If you know of any deals that aren't in that section, let us know.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. E–mail us here.

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • Space Mountain opens July 15.
  • Haunted Mansion closed September 6–29 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay; closed Jan. 9–25, 2006 to remove overlay
  • Pirates of the Caribbean closed October 3 through December 13 (this is what we're hearing, it could change; feel free to send the paniced emails, but that's the response for now).
  • Submarine Lagoon is currently beginning work on a new Finding Nemo attraction; still unofficial at this time with an opening date unannounced.

Disney's California Adventure

  • The former SuperStar Limo building is now the future Monster, Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue which will open January 2006.
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

  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. June 18 at Disneyland Park. Two new Main Street pieces in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Main Street Train Station and Main Street Train. Also released will be Dapper Dan and Fab Five character packs.
  • Shag merchandise release and reception. June 24 at the Paradise Pier Hotel. Five new Shag paintings and associated merchandise will be sold and a reception and meet–and–greet with the artist will be held. Reservations open May 9 (link).
  • Magical Milestone – A Pin Celebration. June 24 – Aug. 15 at the Disneyland Resort. No details have been announced (link).
  • USPS Disney Stamps. June 30 at Disneyana Shop in Disneyland Park. Artist Peter Emmerich and other officials will be on hand. Guests can purchase first day of issue cachets in various forms (link).

July

  • Disneyland 50th Anniversary special event. July 15–17. Three days of merchandising events with multiple purchase plans (link).
  • July 2005 NFFC convention. July 9–13. The Show and Sale is scheduled for July 10.
  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. July 16 at Grand Californian Hotel. The first non–Main Street piece in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Mad Tea Party.

September

  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. September 10 at Disneyland Park. Several new pieces in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Disney Showcase/Magic Shop/20th Century Music and Jungle Cruise as well as a pin trading cart and a marching band character pack.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Several current promotions offer discounted admission to the Disneyland Resort. For convenience sake, we have grouped the discount offers based on the number of days the tickets are valid. Check out the category that best matches the amount of time you plan to spend at the resort, and pick the offer which works best for you. And keep those tips coming – let us know if you find a better / different offer, so we can share it with other readers!

One Day

Southern California 1–Day Park Hopper ($68/$58) – Residents of Southern California (zip codes 90000–93599) and and northern Baja California, Mexico (zip codes 21000–22999), can buy discounted one–day park hoppers. You can purchase up to eight tickets at a time, one order per day, and two orders in any seven–day period. Valid ID showing zip code will be required with ticket for admission.


Two Days

AAA Flex Passport ($98/$78) – Some AAA offices offer a 2–day Flex Passport at $98 for ages 10 and up, or $78 for ages 3–9. This ticket does not require a hotel or package purchase—check with your local office to see if the ticket is available in your area.

A reader let us know that AAA offices in Oregon and Idaho do not offer the 2–day version of this ticket, but instead offer a 3–day pass.


Advance Purchase 2-Day Park Hopper ($105/$85) – Available for online purchase directly from Disney (link) or Northern California, Nevada, and Utah AAA offices (link).


Three Days

AAA Flex Passport ($129/$99) – Some AAA offices offer a 3–day Flex Passport at $129 for ages 10 and up, or $99 for ages 3–9. This ticket does not require a hotel or package purchase – check with your local office to see if the ticket is available in your area.


City Pass ($185/$127) – The cost of a CityPass increases to $185 for ages 10 and up, but decrease to $127 for ages 3–9. The pass includes a 3–Day Disneyland Resort park hopper bonus ticket (includes a $10 ESPN Zone game card and one early admission), one day admission to Knott's Berry Farm, Sea World San Diego, and either the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Wild Animal Park. The CityPass still expires 14 days after first use. Purchase CityPass through the Disneyland Web site, at the Disneyland Resort, at the other theme parks included in the pass, or directly from the CityPass Web site (link).

The Southern California City Pass can also be purchased online from Costco at a cost of $164.99/$112.99 (link).


3–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets ($109/$109) ($139/$109) – The park hopper bonus tickets currently include one early entry admission to Fantasyland, and a $10 ESPN Zone game card.

You can take advantage of the Advance Purchase discount as detailed above. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or January 15, 2006, whichever comes first. The first visit must occur before January 2, 2006.

Both offers are available at the Disneyland Web site (link) and from AAA. You must buy these tickets in advance; they are not available at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths.

Several readers wrote to tell us that the Safeway stores in Central and Northern California, and Vons stores in Las Vegas, are also offering the 3–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets. Check with your local Safeway store for details, as the dates and benefits may differ.


Four Days

4–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets ($159/$129) – The park hopper bonus tickets currently include one early entry admission to Fantasyland, and a $10 ESPN Zone game card.

You can take advantage of the Advance Purchase discount as detailed above. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or January 15, 2006, whichever comes first. The first visit must occur before January 2, 2006.

These tickets are available through the Disneyland Web site (link) and from AAA. You must buy these tickets in advance; they are not available at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths.


Five Days

Disney's AAA Passport Plus Package 2005 ($169/$139) – The 5–day Passport Plus park hopper ticket is $169 for ages 10 and up, and $139 for ages 3–9. This package includes:

  • 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 – may not be available when you order)
  • Free parking at Disneyland Resort theme parks
  • Early entry into Fantasyland on select days

An additional handling fee of $10 is charged per mailing address. These tickets are available to AAA members only when purchased through participating AAA offices.

Several readers report that their local AAA offices do not offer this ticket, or that the benefits differ. You may remember that this also happened with the 2004 version of this package.

MousePlanet has contacted AAA offices around the country and encountered the same problem. If your local AAA office does not offer the ticket, check with another AAA office in your area. The decision to offer this ticket seems to depend on which regional AAA “club” you belong to, and in some cases rest with the office manager at each location.

The Auto Club of Southern California (ACSC) is not participating in this offer, and AAA Oregon/Idaho offers the 5–day tickets. Some readers have also been told that the California Diamond Fun Book is no longer available.


5–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets ($139/$139) ($169/$139) – The park hopper bonus tickets currently include one early entry admission to Fantasyland, and a $10 ESPN Zone game card.

You can take advantage of the Advance Purchase discount as detailed above. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or January 15, 2006, whichever comes first. The first visit must occur before January 2, 2006.

Both of these ticket offers are available through the Disneyland Web site (link), and from AAA. You must buy these tickets in advance; they are not available at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths.


Alaska Airlines “Kids Fly Free” promotion through June 29, 2005 – If you have to fly to Southern California, Alaska Airlines has a package that includes either a free 5–day park hopper with each paid adult ticket, or an adult 5–day park hopper for the children's price. You must book packages by June 1, and travel must be completed by June 29. Visit the Alaska Airlines Web site (link) for more details.


Six or Seven Days

Disney's AAA Passport Plus Package 2005 – The Parkhopper Plus package may be available in 6– or 7– day increments at participating AAA offices. Check with your local AAA office for availability and pricing:

  • 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 – may not be available when you order)
  • Free parking at Disneyland Resort theme parks

An additional handling fee of $10 is charged per mailing address. These tickets are available to AAA members only when purchased through AAA offices.

Several readers report that their local AAA offices do not offer this ticket, or that the benefits differ. You may remember that this also happened with the 2004 version of this package. MousePlanet has contacted AAA offices around the country, and encountered the same problem. If your local AAA office does not offer the ticket, check with another AAA office in your area. The decision to offer this ticket seems to depend on which regional AAA “club” you belong to, and in some cases rests with the office manager at each location.

The Auto Club of Southern California (ACSC) is not participating in this offer, and AAA Oregon/Idaho offers the 5–day tickets. Some readers have also been told that the California Diamond Fun Book is no longer available.


Special thanks to MousePlanet reader David Michael for some of this information.

Fourth Night Free

Get a fourth night free if you stay at any of the three Disneyland Resort hotels for three or more consecutive nights. Visits must happen August 28 through December 18, 2005 (link).

2005 Resort Magic Package

This package (link) for couples includes two nights' lodging and a park hopper tickets. Travel must occur "value seasons" now through July 2, 2005; August 28–November 21, 2005; and November 27–December 23, 2005.

  • 50th Anniversary commemorative certificate (one per package)
  • Park Hopper bonus ticket, which includes one early entry into Fantasyland and a $10 ESPN Zone game card. (Park hopper tickets can be upgraded to an annual pass for an extra fee)
  • Preferred seating to select shows at Disney's California Adventure
  • Entry into Mickey's Toontown Madness
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. lanyard and pin (one per person)
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. luggage tag
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. fun book (one per package)

Two versions of the package are available. For $349 per person (double occupancy) you can stay at one of the on–property Disney hotels. For $229 per person (double occupancy) you can get the same package while staying at the Jolly Roger Hotel or Red Roof Inn Maingate.

50th Anniversary Package

The Happiest Homecomings on Earth package has been revised for the new year. The previous promotion was good only for three–night stays at the Disneyland Resort hotels; the new offer is valid on longer stays and includes Good Neighbor Hotels as well.

Instead of the 50th anniversary commemorative clock and Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour, the new packages include all the following:

  • “Enchanting” commemorative certificate (one per package)
  • Park Hopper bonus ticket, which includes one early entry into Fantasyland and a $10 ESPN Zone game card. (Park hopper tickets can be upgraded to an annual pass for an extra fee)
  • Preferred seating to select shows at Disney's California Adventure
  • Entry into Mickey's Toontown Madness
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. lanyard and pin (one per person)
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. luggage tag
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. fun book (one per package)

The “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” package is available for arrival dates through December 31, 2005. The package must be booked online through the Disneyland Web site (link) by December 28, 2005.

Kids Fly Free

Alaska Airlines “Kids Fly Free” promotion through June 29, 2005 – Alaska Airlines has a package that includes either a free 5–day park hopper with each paid adult ticket, or an adult 5–day park hopper for the children's price. You must book packages by June 1, and travel must be completed by June 29. Visit the Alaska Airlines Web site (link) for more details.

United Airlines “Kids Fly Free” promotion through June 10, 2005 – United Airlines has a vacation package from many airports to the three Disneyland–area airports. Packages includes roundtrip airfare and 2–nights lodging at the Best Western Pavilions hotel on Harbor Blvd. One child, aged 2–11, can fly free for each paying adult. Also, one child per paying adult can eat for free at the Denny's restaurant next door to the hotel. You must book by May 24, 2005 and complete your travel by June 10, 2005. Visit the United Airlines Web site (link) for more details.

ESPN Zone MVP Club

If you sign up online for ESPN Zone's MVP Club (link) you can receive a $20 voucher (for food, merchandise, or game cards), a 40–point game card (about $10 worth), and an ESPN Zone mini–cooler. ESPN Club in Orlando is excluded from this offer. You must pick up these items in person, although they do not have to be used as the same store from which you get them. There are some fairly strict requirements for registering and getting your rewards, so make sure you read the details carefully (link).


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
5/16 5/17 5/18 5/19 5/20 5/21

 

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

5/22 5/23 5/24 5/25 5/26 5/27 5/28

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

5/29 5/30 5/31 6/1 6/2 6/3 6/4

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2005 page to see more dates. You can see future calendar schedules at Disneyland.com here.

Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for this week at Disneyland.com here.



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