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News and Views

The lazy days of summer

News out of the Disneyland Resort is slow now that two years of intensive work has mostly come to an end.

Disneyland Railroad events


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Steve DeGaetano continues to keep us updated on events out at the Disneyland Railroad roundhouse.

Disneyland engine #5 the Ward Kimball, rolled out of the roundhouse at a little before 2 a.m. last Wednesday morning. Members of the restoration crew fired and pulled the throttle, and with Disney cast members in the gangway (between tender and cab) and on the back ladder, they headed out onto the mainline for the very first time. They paused just past the yard switch to realign the switch for the mainline and continued to Tomorrowland Station. Word has it that No. 5 does not like being held back! She steams like a house on fire and runs with a sharp, crisp bark and no lope. At Tomorrowland the engine stopped so personnel could inspect the wheel bearings and check for loose parts. The engineer's side front cylinder cock (what causes steam come out of the cylinders when the engine first starts) was stuck open, but no sign of any additional problems. Off they went to Frontierland Station. Said one observer, "What a rocket!" Apparently, the engine tracks nicely and rides comfortably, even with the heavier springs in the tender truck.

At Frontierland they checked the bearings and fittings again. The main crank pin on the engineer's side was warmer than the rest, but nothing alarming, so they took off on a nonstop grand circle tour. According to those knowledgeable, #5 really feels the railroad. Nearby observers noticed when the engine hit a grade as the pitch of the exhaust changed. The engine runs nicely with the throttle left untouched and just adjusting the Johnson bar (the engine's reverse lever, that can adjust the engine like stick-shift in an automobile is adjusted for different speeds). When they hit Frontierland again they noticed the engineer's-side main crank pin was starting to get warmer. One could keep one's hand on it, but it would get uncomfortable. They took the engine back to the roundhouse to make some adjustments on the rod wedges (used to minutely adjust the length of the main drive rod) and clean out the cylinder cock that was stuck open. The cars that were stored behind the No. 5 (the Holiday Green cars) were having their new awning tops put on so they needed a different string of cars. The Fred Gurley was sitting on track 4 so they tied into her (a double header?) and moved her over to track 3. Back on track 4, they tied onto the string of coaches, tested the brakes and away they went. Ward broke out the cars and pulled them through the tight "S" curve in the yard, no complaints and no slipping. They eased out onto the mainline again and opened her up a little more. She started showing off what a sweet sound she makes when working. They stopped at Tomorrowland and Frontierland again to check things. The main crank pin was cool now and the cylinder cocks were working fine.

They made ten complete laps around the park, some with stops, some without. At one point they were doing a good 15 mph and everything was coming up roses. At the end of it all the test crew was beat tired, but very happy that the engine performed as well as it did.

The engine ran again Wednesday night, only this time the entire test was run by roundhouse CMs. They pulled the Holiday Green, as the rehab on those was complete and the cars needed to be tested as well. Everything, including the newly installed class lights (little lanterns mounted on the front of the engine, below the headlight-the only engine on the Disneyland Railroad to sport these authentic signal lamps), performed very well. They kept trying to make it fall on its face trying to anticipate every possibility and things continued to operate well.

Last night, the testing continued-this time, an accelerometer test was conducted. This is a contraption that reads the G force a guest would feel as the engine speeds up, slows down, or goes into a curve. While one can see the need for this kind of data on a roller coaster, it's interesting that they also require it for a 7 m.p.h. steam train! There is no State requirement to have the data, but Disney's internal ride testing protocols do. Of course, maybe it's better having the data than not.

So, it looks like the engine will finally be getting on the mainline soon. There is still a little electrical left to do, but it is suspected the engine will be released for guest use very soon.

In other news, from a source close to the roundhouse: "The Lilly Belle was moved out of the back of the roundhouse today and the plywood was removed from the window frames. As I understand it, Matt Ouimett was to inspect the coach on May 19th."

It would be great news if Disneyland Resort President Matt Ouimet's interest gets the Lilly Belle on a path back to the tracks.

Down in the Jungle

David Koenig reports…

Recent visitors may be wondering exactly what's so "gnu" about the Jungle Cruise. As of last week, the gold Jungle boat was still backstage being worked on. The piranhas were temporarily turned off after one of them broke and caused minor injuries to a guest. And, the new misters in the rainforest were out of commission after a maintenance worker accidentally broke the new mist piping.

Also, less than half of the newly installed lighting has been turned on since jungle reopened. An expensive new lighting tower in the elephant pool—supposed to create an eerie moonlight effect at night—has yet to be turned on. "Lots of these things are due to the fact that the rehab went behind schedule but had to open on May 4 no matter what," explained one skipper. "There was no testing phase for the new stuff, just a hard open."

In addition, expect new costumes in 2006 for both the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Tiki recently reopened with "new" costumes, but they're only temporary--evidently borrowed from the Polynesian resort in Walt Disney World.

Fears, however, that skippers would be forced to use a new, more serious script appear to be unfounded. "The spiel is virtually the same," the ride operator acknowledged. "Same old jokes, nothing different. Skippers have also been instructed to let the new show scenes speak for themselves and not to speak that much over them. Any jokes over the new gorilla camp or piranha sequences would just be distracting."

Continuing 50th merch event changes

Raising further concerns about the big 50th Anniversary merchandise event being held July 15-17, the last week saw some more adjustments to just what is included. One of the unique opportunities for purchasers of the Walt's Plan package was attending the 2005 Disney Legeneds induction ceremony. For unknown reasons this has been cancelled.

One of the "additional experience" packages has also been dropped. The Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa Experience has been cancelled for insufficient enrollment, though we have no word on how many people had signed up for this, it was already a pretty limited opportunity.

A new experience has been added. If you've purchased any of the event packages, you can pay an additional $105 to attend the addition of a Disneyland star to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This includes transportation to and from the event, reserved viewing, a commemorative gift, and lunch at Tam O'Shanter. This event happens one day earlier than the merchanidse event on July 14, so additional accommodations for sleeping may be needed.

Happiest Music on Earth

For those looking for something to do over the Fourth of July weekend, you may want to check out the Happiest Music on Earth concert being held at the Hollywood Bowl (link). Being held July 2, 3, and 4, the concert will present music from 50 years of Disneyland with appearances by Richard Sherman, Fess Parker, and and the Dapper Dans, video from the park, and fireworks at the end of the evening. Tickets are still avilable for all three shows.

Disneyland's a star

As mentioned above, on July 14 Disneyland is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We've been hearing about this for a while, but wanted to wait until we had some actual information before sharing it. So far as we can find no real information that has yet been put out, but considering that Disney is selling tickets to see it, it seems a safe bet that it's really happening.

What is unclear is how exactly Disneyland qualifies for a star. One of the requirements for consideration is, "The recipient must agree to attend the dedication ceremony." It would be sad for those park visitors turned away on July 14 because "Disneyland isn't here today, it had an appointment in Hollywood." Recipients must also fall into one of five categories (motion pictures, live theater, television, recording, or radio), and it is unclear which would best fit Disneyland. If you'd like to nominate someone for a star, click here for the form.

This would be at least the fourth star on the Walk of Fame featuring the Disney name as both Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney both have them as well. Walt Disney has two at 6747 and 7021 Hollywood Boulevard (for motion pictures and television) while Roy Disney's is at 6833 Hollywood Boulevard (motion pictures). Mickey Mouse also has one (at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard).

A quick look at the star list from the Hollwywood Chamber of Commerce (link) indicates this would be the first star that wasn't for a real person, a fictional indidual (Big Bird and Godzilla also have stars), or a musical group.

Ears to the ground

…At the Disneyland Web site, there is currently nothing indicated in the "Closed for Refurbishment" section. This has sparked rumors of imminent soft opening for Space Mountain. While there will almost certainly be soft opening opportunities in the days (and possibly weeks) before Space Mountain officially opens on July 15, this disappearance from the Web site is likely just a data entry issue and isn't uncommon.

…It was first noticed that Spaghetti Station on Ball Road near the Sheraton hotel (a popular after–work spot for cast members) had closed. It didn't seem worth mentioning, but based on the reaction to the news on our message board (link), it seems something readers may want to 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.

Events

June

  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. June 18 at Disneyland Park. A new Main Street piece in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Main Street Train Station. Also released will be Dapper Dan and Fab Five character packs (link).
  • 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 are open (link).
  • Magical Milestone – A Pin Celebration. June 24 – Aug. 15 at the Disneyland Resort (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

  • Happiest Music on Earth. July 2-4. A concert at Hollywood Bowl presenting music from 50 years of Disneyland (link).
  • Disneyland star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. July 14. Disneyland will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, no details have yet been released.
  • 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. Also Main Street Train.

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

 

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

6/5 6/6 6/7 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-10p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-10p
DCA: 10a–6p
SL

DL: 9a-10p
DCA: 10a–6p
SL/SC

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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