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News and Views

Getting ready to launch

Starting last Friday, Disneyland Resort cast members were being recruited to test drive the rebuilt Space Mountain. While not running continuously, this is part of the shakeout process to iron out any outstanding problems, and allows further training of the cast members who will be working on the ride when it reopens. Of most excitement to regular park visitors is that this is also generally an indicator that unannounced soft openings (dress rehearsals) are in the near future (the strongest rumors are saying soft openings over the Fourth of July weekend will be used to help absorb crowds).


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Several MousePlanet readers have been on the ride under these tests and posted about it (link). None have provided detailed specifics, but they confirm that the track layout is identical to what was there before Space Mountain closed. This has been generally known for a long time, but we still get e–mail asking if it is true that they've added a loop. Hopefully that will now end.

They also say that the loading station is looking great and that the new effects are disorienting.

Car Burglary Suspect Nabbed

Staff writer David Koenig sends in this item on security at the Mickey & Friends garage:

Anaheim police have arrested a suspect in a recent string of vehicle burglaries in Disneyland's Mickey & Friends parking structure. According to one security officer, this spring dozens of cars have been broken into and robbed of stereos, clothing, cameras and other belongings. The high point, he claimed, came Saturday April 23, when as many as 20 vehicles were burglarized. (The Anaheim Police Department confirmed that the number of break-ins has been unusually high, but could not provide an exact total.)

The good news: On April 23, security cameras captured a suspect's photo, which was circulated among security and police. Then, over Memorial Day weekend, said the officer, “The suspect showed up again wearing the same clothes and baseball cap! They followed him around and he broke into several vehicles before Anaheim police arrived and he was arrested. We were told that he has a very extensive rap sheet and was a professional.”

Anaheim police called it “a good arrest,” since security observed the man committing multiple thefts before stepping in. In addition, the suspect will likely be charged for some previous crimes which were carried out in a similar fashion.

The guard feels especially “lucky in catching this guy because management never increased the number of officers in the parking structure. They were running short almost every day.” Over the last 18 months, security has had to make do with fewer officers assigned fewer hours. “The Security Department has been taking cuts for a couple of years now,” he said. “The company blames it on over hiring after 9-11, but the truth is they are just trying to save money at the expense of guest safety and the safety of their property. They cut the number of officers in the parking structure by at least two and the number of officers that patrol the Downtown Disney parking lots by two. The company doesn't care about the break-ins because they are not losing any money. They also aren't doing anything about it, just trying to keep it quiet.”

When contacted for comment, Disneyland spokemsman Bob Tucker replied, “The security of our Guests and Cast Members is our highest priority and we always uphold that committment.”

Grad Night rejection

David also received this story from a recent Grad Night event:

Cast members have also been debating a controversial incident preceding Thursday June 2's Grad Nite. In mid-evening, a bus of graduates arrived from Tijuana, Mexico. But before the teens could enter, a Parking cast member searched the bus and found about three six-packs of beer on the bus with several cans open. The hourly reported the discovery to his manager, who briefly filled in security over the phone. He then turned the entire bus away.


Club Buzz during a recent Grad Night. Photo by William Shandling.

Evidently, there was no attempt to find out just who was drinking—everyone was sent home, even before security managers could arrive. “Kids were crying. The chaperones were pleading to let them in. It was a mess,” said one source. Security addressed the incident during the next morning's “roll call” meeting. An attendee revealed, “One of the officers brought up the fact that, if the bus was from Simi Valley or Laguna, would we have treated them the same? You could have heard a pin drop. Nobody said anything. The sad truth is we would have treated them differently. If the bus was from Laguna and we treated them like that, you would have read about that in the Orange County Register the next day. But because they were from Mexico, no one is the wiser.”

Disney spokesperson Bub Tucker directed requests for comment to the Anaheim Police Department, saying it was a matter that they handled. As of writing, Anaheim Police Department had not responded to a similar request.


Welcoming banner at a recent Grad Night. Photo by William Shandling.

A Gubornatorial Ceremony

Shortly after park opening last Friday, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (perhaps you out-of-staters have heard of him?) was joined by several sports celebrities at Disney's California Adventure to announce the establishment of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, which will promote health goals among Californians. Schwarzenegger served as chairman of the similar President's Council on Physical Fitness and Health from 1990-1993, during the first George Bush administartion.

Schwarzenegger and guests spoke to a crowd of 30 Boy Scouts and 100 performers from DCA's Block Party Bash parade. The attending sports celebrities were Reggies Jackson (baseball), Julie Fowdy (soccer), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Lindsay Davenport (tennis), Peter Vidmar (gymnastics), and Jerry Rice (football).


Governor Schwarzenegger working the crowd after the ceremony. Photo ©State of California.


Governor Schwarzenegger with Mickey Mouse and fitness guru Jack Lelane (left). Photo ©State of California.

The confusion of planning

When it comes to planning a Disney trip, sometimes it just seems easier to just show up and worry about money later. Unfortunately, that isn't an option for a lot of people. MousePlanet received this e-mail from reader Bill Lund that highlights some options that are avaialble to travellers and also shows the importance of shopping around in finding the best deals.

You might want to mention in the DL update section that AAA has a deal with Disney in which your passport can collect multiple fastpasses. You have to book your Disneyland Resort hotel through AAA and buy the park hopper passes through them. Your pass is now good to collect multiple fastpasses without waiting until the first one becomes valid. You cannot collect more than one fastpass for the same ride, but you can walk around picking up as many fast passes as you like from different attractions. This deal isn't even available from Disney itself, which seems odd to me. I called Disney reservations and they confirmed that the only way to get this deal (at least this year) is from AAA. You have to be staying at one of the Disney resort hotels. The multiple fastpass tickets are not available if you are staying at one of the "Good Neighbor" hotels.

Regarding prices, Disney reservations and their Web site quoted $1,069 for three days, and three people staying at the Grand Californian. The AAA price, which included the multiple fastpass feature, was $1016!

While we try to keep current information in the Discounts and Promotions section of this page current, it is just too varied a subject to be completely comprehensive. If you're planning a trip to one of the Disney parks, check out our message boards (link) for the combined knowledge of thousands of Disney fans.

More 50th Merchandise details

Walt Disney Event Services has released more information for those attending the Celebrating 50 Years of Magical Memories merchandise event on July 15-17. In addition to giving the edition size for merchandise available through the Random Selection Process, they have also added information (link) about how many pieces of the edition will be available at the event. While some items are exclusive to the event, and therefore the entire edition will be available for sale, other pieces are not exclusive meaning that they will be available through other stores.

This valuable information will better allow participants to prioritize their RSP lists.

Alice Comedies

It is short notice, but tickets appear to still be available to a screening of 12 of the "Alice Comedies" during the Los Angeles Film Festival. These films were Walt Disney's first successes from 1923-1926 and combined live action with animation. The screening is Sunday, June 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the Director's Guild of America theater at 7820 Sunset Blvd., in Los Angeles. Tickets are $10 and the combined show is 98 minutes long. The included shorts are:

Alice Gets in Dutch
Alice on the Farm
Alice Solves the Puzzle
Alice the Peacemaker
Alice the Piper
Alice's Circus Daze
Alice's Mysterious Mystery
Alice's Spooky Adventure
Alice's Wild West Show
Alice's Wonderland

Disney's On the Record opens at Kansas City Starlight Theater

Although this is not in Disneyland itself, landlocked readers near Kansas City may be interested in this Disney experience. From a place close to Walt Disney's heart comes a musical called "On The Record":

What: Disney's ON THE RECORD is the show-stopping new musical revue set in an enchanted recording studio where singers, dancers and musicians come to perform 64 songs made popular by Disney films from the past 75 years. ON THE RECORD is directed, choreographed and co-conceived by Tony Award nominee Robert Longbottom.

For tickets, log on to KCStarlight.com (link) or call the box office at (816) 363-STAR (7827).

When: Tuesday, June 14 – Sunday, June 19 8:30 p.m.

Where: Starlight Theatre in Swope Park 4600 Starlight Road Kansas City, Missouri

Ears to the ground

…The Ward Kimball, the newest addition to the Disneyland Railroad's fleet of trains may be getting some track time this week during park hours. This isn't nearly solid enough that anybody should change plans to get to the park, but if you're there anyway you might want to keep an eye out.

…The Fastpass system at Disneyland is not the straightforward affair that you might expect. David Michael (known all around the Internet as Darkbeer) recently updated his amazingly detailed guide to the system, and it is something everybody should check out (link).


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 Mansionclosed September 6–29 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay; closed Jan. 9–25, 2006 to remove overlay
  • Pirates of the Caribbeanclosed October 3 through December 13 (this closure does not have an official announcement supporting it; it should be taken as strong rumor and not certain fact).
  • 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 Purchasediscount 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 Purchasediscount 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 Purchasediscount 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
6/13 6/14 6/15 6/16 6/17 6/18

 

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

6/26 6/27 6/28 6/29 6/30 7/1 7/2

DL: 8a–12p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2005 pageto see more dates. You can see future calendar schedules at Disneyland. TARGET="_blank">here.

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



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