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News and Views

Possible cruise itineraries

It looks like Disney Cruise Line may be looking to expand its reach even further than cruises out of Florida and California. The cruise line sent out a survey to some Castaway Club Members (previous DCL cruisers) with a survey on possible 2007 itineraries.


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In addition to Mediterranean cruises out of Barcelona and a Baltic cruise out of Southampton, England, there were two West Coast possibilities listed (in addition to the expected Mexico route).

7–Night Alaskan Cruise out of Vancouver (Canada)

Ports:

  • Vancouver
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Haines
  • Glacier Bay
  • Ketchikan

Price estimate: $1,799 – $2,999

7–Night Alaskan Cruise out of Seattle

Ports:

  • Seattle
  • Victoria
  • Hubbard
  • Juneau
  • Ketchikan

Price estimate: $1,799 = $2,999

While these show an interesting amibition for expansion by Disney Cruise Line, it definitely highlights the need for DCL to bring online a third or even fourth ship. Right now, the line is in a zero–sum environment where each cruise on a new itinerary has to replace one or more of the existing cruises.

ASIMO

Disneyland unveiled a futuristic new exhibit last week with the premiere of “Say ‘Hello’ to Honda’s ASIMO,” a “live science show” inside Tomorrowland’s Innoventions attraction. After two national tours and demonstrations in front of 130,000 people, ASIMO has established its only North American home at Disneyland.


ASIMO and Mickey Mouse meet in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Photo ©Disney.

Honda calls ASIMO the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, and this show will give Disneyland park guests the opportunity to watch as a human host puts the robot through its paces.

ASIMO is said to stand for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, (though many believe that the robot was named in honor of the late Isaac Asimov, author of “I, Robot.”) Honda says that ASIMO was designed to be a “helper to people,” and that it represents a milestone towards the goal of creating a robot that can help people in need.

ASIMO is four feet tall, allowing it to “assist a person confined to a bed or a wheelchair” and to look directly at an adult who is seated or sitting upright in bed. ASIMO has two arms and two hands, and in the future might be able to open and close doors, operate light switches, and carry objects. For now, ASIMO serves to provide a tantalizing glimpse at the future, and participates in educational and outreach programs like the one at Disneyland.

The pre-show recaps the world’s fascination with robots since Egyptian times, and highlights the representation of robots in entertainment, animatronics, science and industry. When the curtain rises, we meet our human host, Katie McGuire. Katie explains that she and her husband Tom are both engineers at Honda, and they have been selected as the very first family to get to bring ASIMO home.

Lest you forget Honda’s altruistic intentions for ASIMO, a “video call” with husband Tom reveals that he uses a wheelchair, and Katie’s comments include several references to the robot’s potential value to people with disabilities. Some might find this angle over played and a little patronizing. The McGuire children and Katie’s parents also make video appearances during the show.

During the 15-minute show, ASIMO will demonstrate that it can walk (forward and backward), talk, stand on one foot, dance, kick a soccer ball and follow verbal directions. ASIMO will climb and descend stairs and demonstrate how it recognizes human faces. Mobile Web technology gets a new definition when ASIMO uses a wireless Internet connection to access a local weather report.

Honda’s literature makes it very clear that ASIMO is neither male nor female, and should be referred to as “it” – no anthropomorphism here. Despite that, ASIMO is decidedly cute, with its childlike voice and subtle molded “smile.” Honda also explains that ASIMO’s intelligence “lies in the technologies with which it is equipped, not in the ability to think or reason as a human.”

Honda executives admit that this ASIMO model executes a pre-programmed demonstration during shows, but say it is a fully operational unit. For example, this unit is programmed with the details of the theater and knows where the edge of the stage is. It won’t walk off the edge during demonstrations, even if told to follow a human host. (Insert your own Kelsey Grammer joke here)

During a media preview, ASIMO demonstrated its ability to respond with a collection of about pre-recorded phrases, and gave an “interview” in Spanish. (The robot also responds in Japanese.) One reporter noticed that ASIMO’s response list included phrases such as “You're watching ABC.”

“Say ‘Hello’ to Honda’s ASIMO” is presented in the new Honda ASIMO theater on the upper floor of Innoventions. While the show seems geared toward children, adults will appreciate the numerous nods to the Carrousel of Progress. In fact, the set looks like what you would expect the “Modern Day” scene to look like, and the show closes with “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

Show times will vary by day, check with the cast member at the entrance for the day’s schedule.

Hollywood Walk of Fame registration

If you have registered for one of the Celebrating 50 Years of Magical Memories packages for July 15–17, registration for the recently added Walk of Fame experience on Thursday, July 14, is now open (link). For $105 per person, attendees get reserved seating at the unveiling of Disneyland's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, transportation to and from the event, lunch at Tam O'Shanter restaurant, and a commemorative gift. Registration opened on June 3 and is limited to 50 participants. As of this writing, slots are still available.

50th Anniversary Tour seating

The most frequent question we get about the new 50th Anniversary tour offered at Disneyland is "Where is the priority seating?" The first tour of the day does not get priority seating, instead they get to go on all five of the possible rides.

The second and third tours get priority seating for Parade of Dreams. In both cases, the seating is in a reserved section on Matterhorn Way, between the Central Plaza hub area and Alice in Wonderland. The answer hasn't been so simple for attendees of the fourth tour, which gets seating for the Remember…Dreams Come True fireworks. The location has bounced around a bit but things finally seem to have settled on a single location: Front and center on the Main Street Station platform.

While this location provides good clear views of the fireworks and laser effects used in the show, the castle lighting effects are barely visible and you lose that sense of being in the middle of things that being in the hub provides. For more details on this location, see our Viewing Guide (link).

Discount Updates

MousePlanet reader SeansMom pointed out the following Disneyland benefit for Disney Visa cardholders:

Disney’s Visa Cardmembers can enjoy up to 2 free Stroller Rentals when visiting the Disneyland Resort. Stroll along Main Street and enjoy all the exciting new shows and attractions in celebration of the 50th Anniversary.

This is similar to the free stroller rentals that cast members receive at Disneyland. The offer is good through September 30, 2006. You must present a valid Disney's Visa card at the time of rental. Since the wording isn't clear on that, this offer is good for up to two strollers per card per day, and is good for rentals from both Disneyland park and Disney's California Adventure. We've added this to the discounts and promotions section below.

Annual Passholders can currently purchase discounted 2–Day Parkhopper tickets for friends and family. Through June 17, 2005, each passholder can purchase up to eight 2–Day Parkhopper tickets at a $20 discount ($86 for adults/$66 for children). The tickets expire the earlier of 13 days after first use or June 30, 2005. A current annual pass must be presented at time of purchase.

Ears to the ground

…Characters from Chicken Little, Disney's exploration of computer-generated animation without Pixar, have been spotted in Disney's Califonria Adventure.

…Herbie the Love Bug can currently be seen in the Esplanade between Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure park. He is there to advertise both the June 22 release of Herbie: Fully Loaded and the screenings of it at Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.


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).


Annual Passholder 2–Day Park Hopper ($86/$66) – Annual passholders can purchase 2–Day Parkhopper tickets for their friends and family at a $20 discount. Each passholder can purchase eight tickets per day. Offer expires June 17, 2005, and tickets expire the earlier of 13 days after first use or June 30, 2005..


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.

Free Stroller Frental

Holders of a Disney Visa card can get up to two free stroller rentals per day at the Disneyland Resort. This offer is valid through September 30, 2006 and you must present a valid Disney Visa card at time of rental.

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

 

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–6p
SL

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p
SL/SC

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

6/12 6/13 6/14 6/15 6/16 6/17 6/18

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 9a–11p
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 9a–11p
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–6p
SL/SC

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–8p
SL/SC

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

6/19 6/20 6/21 6/22 6/23 6/24 6/25

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 8a–9p
DCA: 10a–8p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–9p
DCA: 10a–8p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–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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