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News and Views

All open

Although it is not official until July 15, the 4th of July weekend saw every Disneyland Resort attraction, show, and store open for the first time in several years. On Friday, Disneyland's crowds were pleased to see the completely rebuilt Space Mountain going through “soft openings” dress rehearsals, which serve to provide final training to the cast members (not to mention absorbing part of the large holiday-weekend crowd).


An Anaheim-area bus stop includes an ad for Space Mountain. Photo by Matthew Bassett.


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Karin Luster-Hubbard made a trip out to Disneyland to ride Space Mountain, and provides these impressions:

When we heard that Disneyland would be doing a soft opening of Space Mountain starting Friday, July 1, we decided to head down and see if it might end up actually happening. It did, and we were ecstatic! My husband Kenji and I went straight into Tomorrowland after entering the park around 4:15 p.m. The sign out front stated a 75-minute stand-by time. We really didn't have anything else we wanted to do in the park that day other than stake out a spot for the fireworks, which we knew would require staking out a spot for the parade at about 5:45 p.m., so we decided to go ahead and stand in line. They weren't giving out any Fastpasses at that time and I don't think there were any given out that day at all.


The second-floor entrance to Space Mountain is looking bright and new. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

It was exciting to be back in that line for the first time since it closed on April 10, 2003. All the paint was fresh, a metallic blue-gray, and a cool logo of sorts on the upper level in the rotunda area.

The sun had set enough that we were only in the sun for about six minutes, which was nice. If you're going to have to stand in line and wait, I definitely recommend that time of day for minimum sun time. We met some nice people both in front of us and behind us, so the time passed even more quickly with some lively conversation.

Soon we entered the building and got to see some of the visible changes. They've changed the hallways with different lighting and fixtures. The video monitors that showed commercials previously are gone, but the monitors showing the safety spiel are still there. It's a new spiel and the costumes are fantastic: Mostly white with a dark blue collar and dark blue pants. Very clean-looking and futuristic! The “windows” as you walk along are rethemed, although you cannot see through them, and reflect that you are in Space Station 77. We thought that it was a nice touch to give a nod to the year the attraction opened. You can no longer see into the attraction while in line until the moment you make the last turn to your left to descend down the ramp. The ship in the loading bay has been redesigned to match the new theming. Animation of a gas planet shows on the large video screen at the far end of the inside of the attraction. It still shows the large “chocolate chip cookies” spinning in space.

There are now safety gates keeping guests from darting onto the track before the cast members want them to. The gates are transparent with appropriate theming. It appears there is a separate area for guests with mobility needs at the front of the loading area. We didn't see it in use, but the larger safety gate and aisle way led us to this conclusion.


Windows are now decorated with an illustration of “Space Station 77,” an homage to the attraction's opening year. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

The ride vehicles and track are new, and the track layout is exactly the same. The ride was pleasantly very smooth. As we ascended, the new music started. It seemed to me to be similar to Mission: Impossible and James Bond themes: Very futuristic and foreboding of the adventure to come. There are three speakers in each row, one on the outside for each person and one in the middle that you share. We enjoyed the music immensely, and would have liked to hear more, but about half-way through it cut out, then a moment or two later came back on. When it came back on, it sounded as if it had started the loop over again, although not being familiar with the music, I'm not entirely certain that's true. Then it cut out again and we finished the ride in silence. Very disappointing, but understandable since a soft opening is their trial time to work out the bugs.

As soon as you leave the loading area, you can see the new lighting effects throughout with the most impressive being on the second lift hill. Whereas at the top of the hill it used to be a red light that spun making you feel as if the whole tunnel was spinning, now the effect is on the walls and gives the illusion that the tunnel is spinning. Very effective.

We both agreed afterward that it was darker inside than we remember it being previously. Also, the spinning “chocolate chip cookies” in space were gone. Again, disappointing. There are just some things you get used to seeing and miss them when they're gone. That was one for us. We hope it was just a temporary glitch and that they'll come back in the future.


The loading area now includes new safety gates. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

At the end of the ride, there used to be a white strobe effect, now you're in a tunnel filled with different colored shooting stars.

The ride seemed faster, but perhaps that was in part to the fact that it was definitely smoother.

After disembarking and turning right to go up the ramp to exit, we found a new set of stairs. Presumably there's another way to exit for guests with special access needs, although since we weren't looking for one we didn't immediately see it.


The ship over the loading area is touched up. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

There is the requisite photo taken in the same spot as before and the newly rethemed area to buy your ride pictures was nice. The paintings on the walls surrounding the waiting area and bathrooms at the exit are definitely a plus!

Welcome Back Space Mountain! You've been sorely missed, but your total redo is fantastic and promises a wonderful ride!

As Karin suggested, one of the additions to Space Mountain is a separate loading and unloading area for guests who need additional time to get into or out of one of the ride vehicles. There is a side area at the front of the loading area into which a rocket can be diverted. This allows the freedom to load and unload more slowly without holding up the rest of the ride. Once loaded, the rocket moves back onto the main track and goes on its way.

It should also be emphasized that the track is exactly the same layout as before. Though completely rebuild nothing was changed in this regard. So if you ride it and it seems different it is either a trick of memory or because of the changes in surrounding visuals.


There is a second loading area for those needing additional time. Photo by Jeff Moxley.


The second loading area has a rocket ready to load. Photo by David Michael.

Turtle Talk

Over in Disney's California Adventure park, Turtle Talk with Crush has also experienced some soft openings in preparation for its official debut on July 17. In the newest addition to the Disney Animation Building in the Hollywood Studios Backlot area, advanced computer-animation technologies are combined with an off-stage cast member to allow Crush from Finding Nemo to interact directly with the audience. In addition to Crush, Dory (not voiced by Ellen Degeneres) also makes an appearance, teaching the audience how to speak whale.


Crush speaks to Dory. Photo by Matthew Bassett.


The entrance of the attraction currently displays a soft opening sign. Photo by Matthew Bassett.

Kimball on the tracks

July 23 was the official dedication day for the Ward Kimball, Disneyland Railroad's newest engine. Author Steve De Gaetano was fortunate enough to attend the dedication, and posted this recap to MousePad (link), MousePlanet's message board, as well as the Disney Railroads discussion board (link) at Burnsland.com (link).

The day began early—about an hour earlier than I expected—at 3:00 am. I had promised to give Preston, the college student who did the drawings for my book, a wake-up call, but in my flurry of activity the night before, I had placed his number in my camcorder manual! My wonderful wife Alice found it, and I called Preston. Happily, he was already awake, and 5 minutes from my house! He had stayed up all night, and needed no wake-up call.

We headed out, and got to the park around 5:30. We checked in with security, and began walking to the roundhouse. The sun was up and it was a bit overcast. As we walked to the TDA compound, we saw Chris Allen and Ken Kukuk checking in, and we walked the rest of the way to the roundhouse with them. Chris, well-know in the large-scale live-steam modeling community, was heavily involved with restoring the Ward. Ken, an aficionado of pipe organs, had fashioned the little classification lamps that you see on ol' No. 5.

When we got to the roundhouse, the little engine was already under steam, having undergone additional testing with two trainsets in tow the night before. Dale Tetley, a good friend of mine and a roundhouse operating engineer, was polishing the tiny beast. Sucker that I am for strenuous polishing work, I volunteered to help. Dale handed me some rags and brass polish, and I went to work. I recruited Preston to help, because he looked like he needed to sweat a little.

We were even then under the assumption that the engine would be released for service later that day, and we were determined to make the Ward Kimball sparkle on her big day, in the best tradition of a Disneyland steam locomotive. I polished the brass bands and one cylinder casing; Preston got the steam dome, running board edges and the other cylinder. I also climbed up and put some elbow grease to work on the headlight top and bezel.

In the midst of all this frantic polishing other invited guests showed up. I suspect that Paul Boschan, president of Boschan Boiler and Restoration, Inc., organized this very special occasion as a sort of “thank you” for his friends and associates who helped wit the project. There were maybe 10 or 15 people total.

As I finished the headlight and stepped down off the pilot deck, I saw a gentleman off to the side, admiring the work (as many of the others were). This gentleman was dressed better than we were, and seemed to be enjoying watching the little engine get primped and preened. I had seen his face before—maybe once—and as I drew closer, I looked at the gold cast member name tag he was wearing. His name was Matt.

I walked over and introduced myself, and we exchanged pleasantries. Mr. Oiumet said that the restoration crew had done a remarkable job, to which I heartily agreed. I told him that I thought he was doing a wonderful job at the park, and thanked him for his efforts. He immediately deflected that praise, and said it was not he who had done anything special, but that it was really them—and he pointed to Dale and some of the other cast members working on the engine. Then I said, “I have a friend who would very much like to meet you.” Matt said, “Well, it would be my pleasure to meet him.” I tapped Preston's shoulder, and told him I'd like him to meet someone. Preston stepped down, and shook Matt's hand. We again thanked him, but there was work to be done and we didn't want to take up his time, and so we returned to our “chores.”

The polishing continued. Pledge furniture polish was used on the jacket and paint work. Soon enough, the engine shone to a high sheen. I asked Paul if I might climb into the cab one last time, as I knew this opportunity would never happen again, and I wanted just a minute more with the 103-year-old steamer. Paul obliged, and I climbed up. She was beautiful, inside and out. It was getting late, and Paul indicated it was time to move the engine for her morning blowdown. Paul mounted the cab, and the headlight and class lamps were turned on. It looked awesome. Two toots of the whistle, steam screaming from the cylinder cocks, and slowly, inch by inch, the engine rolled 40 feet past the door of the roundhouse.

With Dale and Craig Ludwick, Roundhouse Lead, in the cab, Paul went down and opened the blowdown manually. Steam blasted out, and the lower portion of the firebox was cleared of boiler-damaging sediment. Then the engine was backed up and coupled onto car 201, the first stock car.

Paul, almost demurely, said, “Well…All aboard!”

We climbed aboard the car with the other guests. Paul was in the cab with Craig and Dale, and another gentleman whom I did not know. Two more toots, and we began moving down the lead tracks to the main line. The switch at Tomorrowland was thrown, and away we went!

What an amazing sight to see the park so empty, save for maintenance workers hosing down walkways and watering plants. We rolled through Tomorrowland station, and entered the dioramas. There were only bird sounds in the Grand Canyon, and the sounds of thunder in the portion where it rains. No Grand Canyon Suite, and no Mysterious Island in the Primeval World. The engine up front steamed well, and we rolled to a stop in front of Main Street Station. There, we disembarked. Folks were already camping out in front of the entrance gates below, and one can only wonder what their thoughts were, as this little train, one car only, rolled to a stop.

Now we were able to wander around the engine some more and take more pictures. Cast Member Matt was here, having walked over from the roundhouse. Group photos were taken of the Boschan crew, and of the DRR CMs standing next to the 1902 Baldwin. Matt posed for a few as well. After the pictures, Matt said a few words—nothing formal—and expressed his thanks to the Boschan crew for their outstanding work on the Ward Kimball. He said the Fred Gurley would be coming up soon for work, but indicated that would, in all likelihood, be done after the Lilly Belle is brought back. Paul, ever the salesman, noted, “We do coaches too!” Afterwards, Paul and Matt had a few words to themselves while others continued to look the engine over, and I heard Paul compliment Matt for working to bring the park back to its former glory. Again, Matt said it wasn't him who was responsible, but the thousands of cast members to whom that honor should go. I commented that it took teamwork. Matt agreed completely. Then he bade his good-bye, and began his walk back to TDA.

We went out of the station and walked down to the Floral Mickey, and took a few pictures from that location. Main Street was deserted except for CMS still hosing the street and performing minor maintenance. We climbed back up to the train, and boarded again. This time, a veteran Disneyland Railroad engineer properly attired in blue stripes and a red bandanna ascended the cab steps. His name was Earl, and he took off like someone who has been running trains a long time, and who knew the road ahead like the back of his hand. The cylinder cocks were opened, and the steam spewed forth in a rhythmic “Hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss…” Paul was now back with us in our “private car,” trying not to stay seated and not perform any of the apparent dance moves that are now prohibited in the cars, according to the safety placards. Our conductor, Tracey, seemed to enjoy the antics.

We rolled into Frontierland and stopped shortly. Then we took off again. We rolled along the quite Rivers of America, which were completely tranquil and very relaxing in the early morning hours. Paul and I tried to extend our cameras out the side of the car on curves, but I don't think these came out very well. We rolled to a stop near the mainline switch, and Earl disembarked. Paul got back on and we headed to Tomorrowland, where we stopped again. Both Craig and Dale were taking turns firing and pulling, and we once more took off for Main Street. Once there, Paul looked back at me as I stared rapt into the cab, and silently motioned me forward. I could not believe what was about to happen. Preston and I stepped out of the cattle car, and reverently climbed the steps of the cab. The three of us—me, Preston and Paul—stood while Dale pulled the throttle and Craig fired. Two toots, and we were off!

At the risk of sounding sexist (and I do apologize in advance if I do), I can say with certainty that before women became engineers, barber shops and steam locomotive cabs were two of the last refuges of men. And true to form, some of our conversations can't be repeated in polite company. But I can say that it was a magical experience being in this cab. The sounds of the engine were loud and soothing all at the same time. Licks of flame sometimes shot out of the peephole in the firebox door, and I could feel the heat radiating from the backhead. Craig was masterful with the firing valve and injector, keeping the needle pegged at 150. Dale pulled like a pro. Paul, standing inches from Dale, who was seated on the cushion, complained that all he could see was the back of Dale's head. But Paul could hang out the gangway and take in the cool breeze, a respite from the warm cab.

We had videos and still cameras with us, and while we rolled down the line, we began to do “interviews.” Craig and Dale are cast members from the old school, and they “get it.” Craig said he was honored to be part of the Disneyland Railroad, and took very seriously his charge to keep Walt's legacy running.

Through the tunnels, the brass gauge lamps glowed warmly, and we rolled along to Tomorrowland, where we again stopped. Paul wished to give cab rides to those who wanted to go, and at each station stop, new riders could come aboard. Preston and I climbed down, and a man and woman took their places in the cab for the trip to Main Street. Once there, they disembarked and came back to the cattle car. The woman said, “Gee, it sure is hot in there!” Paul came back and asked who else wanted a cab ride. Preston and I knew we had our opportunity, and we knew we had to “share.” But out of the 15 of us in the car, no one else volunteered to go! I was shocked, but before we took off again, I caught Paul's attention in the cab, and asked if we could board again. Paul nodded.

So again, Preston and I entered the cab for another trip around the park. Both Preston and I got some whistle time, and I made sure when I yanked the lever, that the whistle would be heard throughout Anaheim. Paul said I blew it so loud that the sound would travel into outer space, and that one day, an alien in the form of a 40 foot tall whistle would emerge from its flying saucer and wonder where its brethren was.

Paul was at the throttle now, and we rolled past the switch to the roundhouse, where we stopped. Our adventure was almost over. A truck unloading a container backstage was straddling the track, however, and we had to wait until they moved before backing in. Paul stepped down to go back and throw the switch, and gave his seat to Craig. When we were ready to go, we began backing in, whistle blowing three times along the way. Slowly, we backed in until we came to a gentle stop in the same place that the day began.

Craig shut everything down, and stepped off. Dale stayed a few more minutes with us and chatted. He asked me to turn off the main header valve, to which I obliged. Some discussion took place about the nature of the throttle lever. It's a bit shorter than the others, and it is placed farther back on the backhead. Making it feel slightly different from the other engines. It is also somewhat tight.

Preston and I stepped out of the cab for the last time, and I compulsively grabbed a rag, and polished a little bit more. The engine may burn diesel, but soot was still deposited on the flat surfaces of the engine. We had a few more pictures with the engine. Paul wanted to get one of me posing with the headlight art, for some reason. The Boschan crew was getting ready to head out for breakfast, and Preston and I would soon be doing the same, so we said our good-byes. Dale and Craig got back to work keeping Walt's trains running. I thanked Paul for the utterly magical experience he had given us today, and he walked away, the back of his dark blue overalls now proudly embroidered in red thread “Boschan Boiler.”

I did not want to say “good-bye” to this little engine that I've come to know so well, but I knew that the next time I see her, it will be from behind a gate at Main Street Station. We began to walk back to the car, but before doing so, I went back, and gave the little teakettle one last pat on the number plate.

Now, I look forward to the day when I will go to the park again with my family (maybe in September, after the kids go back to school?). I'll climb those steps at Main Street Station, wander its waiting room, and head out to one of the platforms. There, wrought iron gates and a friendly conductor will impede my attempts to get closer to this engine, and I will have to content myself with hearing her first from around the bend, and then watching, as she grows larger and larger as she approaches. The bell and whistle will sound, and she will roll past. I will wave at the engineer, and silently think about cherished memories. And then I will board the first passenger car, as close to the front as I can get, and I will point out the cab interior to my 16-month-old son Chris, wondering if an experience like this will shape him as it shaped me. My wife Alice will look at us with lovingly condescending bemusement.

And then, we will all enjoy a ride or three behind the locomotive Ward Kimball, at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Unfortunately, it seems the Ward Kimball was taken off-line on July 1 for a couple of weeks of tweaking, and returns in time for July 17. For those wondering what is next for the Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland Resort President Matt Ouimet makes some remarks at the dedication that indicate work on the Lilly Belle may proceed before the Fred Gurley is taken off-line for refurbishment.

DVC announces Disneyland perks

The Disney Vacation Club has announced a list of perks for DVC members visiting Disneyland. The perks cover various admission, dining and shopping purchases. It also does not appear that you must be staying at a Disney resort on DVC points in order to reap the benefits.

The park admission benefits give DVC members and members of their immediate family residing in the same household a $20 discount on Deluxe or Premium Annual Passports. This basically allows members to get a new Annual Pass for the cost of an AP renewal. There is no discount on AP renewals. (The family eligibility requirements parallel those for discounts on Walt Disney World APs.)

Benefits also include discounts on food at two locations inside Disneyland Park, four locations in Disney's California Adventure and 11 locations in Downtown Disney. Shopping discounts are available at 14 locations in Downtown Disney, and admissions discounts are available for adults at the AMC Theatres complex in Downtown Disney.

In addition, those who take advantage of the Annual Passport discounts can also reap the benefits of Passholder discounts. Please note that all adults must show valid driver's license or government ID to prove same-household status for the Annual Passport discount.

These perks are available now, and no end date has been announced. Members must show their membership card to take advantage of any of these discounts. See the Disney Vacation Club members-only site (link) for details.

A busy weekend for the fire department

In two calls that had nothing to do with fireworks, two small fires made things exciting around the resort over the weekend. At the Mickey & Friends parking garage a small engine fare happened on the third floor but otherwise didn't cause any damage.

The second fire caused a bit more ruckus. Starting in a fryer in the second-floor kitchen at Downtown Disney's Rainforest Cafe, this fire didn't do a whole lot of damage but did make fore plenty of smoke. The restaurant and Disneyland Monorail station were evacuated and the Downtown Disney parking behind the restaurant was closed for a period. In the end the restaurant was closed for about eight hours before opening again for dinner. Though they are temporarily reduced to using just the downstairs kitchen, diners are still being seated upstairs.

Mickeys for sale

The 75 six-foot-tall Mickey statues of the “75 InspEARations” display, which began their national tour at Walt Disney World on Mickey's 75th birthday (November 18, 2003), have been scheduled for auction by Sotheby's auction house. The statues, which were decorated by Disney legends and other celebrities, will be auctioned off on September 27, with proceeds to benefit charities selected by each artist. The 700-pound statues are expected to bring in a combined total of over $1 million.

In the run-up to the auction, 15 of the statues will be displayed in locations around New York City in August, including the New Amsterdam Theatre and the World of Disney store. A full exhibition takes place from September 20-26 in Sotheby's third floor galleries, and will be free and open to the public.

A catalogue featuring all 75 statues is available for purchase, and the first 5,000 to buy the catalogue also receive a limited-edition Tuxedo Mickey pin. You can order the catalogue in advance now by logging on to www.sothebys.com or by calling 888-752-0002. The price for the catalogue is $41 including shipping and handling.

You must register if you wish to bid in the auction. You can register in person at the Sotheby's New York headquarters any time before the sale, or via fax when submitting an absentee bid form. Please call the Sotheby's Bid Department at 212-606-7414 for further information. Bidding may take plae either in person, by phone, by an absentee bid or by Internet at ebayliveauctions.com.

For more information on the charity auction, visit the auction's web site (link).

It is only fair

After chronicling the complaints of participants in the 50th Anniversary merchandise event, it is only fair to report the vast improvement in mood. Late last week, participants began receiving their Random Selection Process assignments for both merchandise and seminars. Despite concerns, every person who reported in to our message board noted getting everything they had asked for.

Time will tell if the event actually lives up to expectations, but for the moment people are happy again.

Ears to the ground

…In order to help reduce the crowds that leave Disney's California Adventure to catch the fireworks at Disneyland, the Disney Electrical Parade in DCA has now reversed direction, running from Paradise Pier to Sunshine Plaza. The course reversal makes it pretty much impossible to watch the parade and then quickly shift back over to Disneyland for the fireworks. In the past, guests could watch the parade at its beginning in Sunshine Plaza near the park entrance, then quickly leave to go to Disneyland to watch the fireworks. This is no longer possible, as watching the parade at Paradise Pier means being farthest away from the Esplanade courtyard between two parks, and it takes too long to wait for the parade if you wait at Sunshine Plaza. Park guests will now have to choose one or the other.


Disney's Electrical Parade floats now head the other way. Photo by David Michael.

…It may not be an issue as important to many as it is to frequent MousePlanet contributor David Michael (or, as he is generally known, Darkbeer), but he was very pleased to see that draft beer is once again available from the Cove Bar at DCA.


Beer taps are back in at the Cove Bar. Photo by David Michael.

…If you took the 50th Anniversary tour of Disneyland and did not receive your gifts, the word out of Tour Guide Garden is that they have finally been received and will be mailed within the next couple weeks.

…A substantial prize has been introduced for people who do the in-park quests for the online Virtual Magic Kingdom game. If you visit the Virtual Magic Kingdom kiosk in Tomorrowland and complete all three quests available, you'll receive a voucher for a threehour behind-the-scenes tour of Disneyland that also includes back-door access to five attractions. The tour is held a couple times per day and depending on availablity can be scheduled for the same day. The voucher is good through the end of the year.


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 (with ongoing soft openings now).
  • 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 closure does not have an official announcement supporting it; it should be taken as strong rumor and not certain fact). New rumors say that this refurbishment may be pushed out to early 2006 and be as long as four months. As soon as anything is confirmed, we'll say so.
  • 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 Sully to the Rescue which will open January 2006.
  • Turtle Talk with Crush is being installed in Animation Building; opens mid-July.
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

  • Magical Milestone – A Pin Celebration. June 24 – Aug. 15 at the Disneyland Resort (link).

July

  • 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 Purchased 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 Purchased 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 Purchased 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 Rental

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
7/4 7/5 7/6 7/7 7/8 7/9

 

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

7/10 7/11 7/12 7/13 7/14 7/15 7/16

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

7/17 7/18 7/19 7/20 7/21 7/22 7/23

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

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

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



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