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News and Views

California Screamin' accident

Last Friday, the Disneyland Resort experienced a collision between two coaster vehicles. This collision, which occurred on the California Screamin' ride in Disney's California Adventure park, is the fourth to occur in the last three years, three of which resulted in injuries to passengers. On August 29, 2002, Space Mountain suffered an similar incident in which when a "cascade stop" was triggered, one train failed to stop in its brake zone and collided with the next train in front of it.


Access to the area immediately surrounding California Screamin' is blocked off. Photo by David Michael.


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The accident on Screamin' occurred at 6:40 p.m., with both involved trains (purple and red) completely full with 48 total passengers. When for an unknown reason the coaster engaged a cascade stop, train red stopped properly in its next brake zone, just beyond the final left turn before returning to the loading platform. Unfortunately, train purple did not, and rear-ended red. Fortunately speeds in this portion of the ride are low and no fatalities or serious injuries resulted.

MousePlanet spoke to Nate, a 17-year-old annual pass holder from Riverside, CA, who says he was on the loading platform when the accident happened, and would have been on one of the next two trains to load. The accident occurred out of sight (though it was very audible) of the loading platform, but he says the response from park staff, including security, was very prompt. Almost immediately, cast members began assisting passengers from the trains. Though the accident happened at a mostly level portion of the track, the last four cars of the second train were on a banked slope. These passengers required extra assistance to evacuate, which took about 45 minutes to be completed.

Approximately 100 emergency personnel responded from nearby fire departments and ambulance services, with equipment used to lift those with the worst injuries over the retaining wall behind California Screamin' and into a triage area. In the end, 15 injured passengers were transported to several area hospitals, though all were released the same evening after examination.

A MousePlanet reader, Kathryn, reports that her 7-year-old cousin Caroline had used a single-rider pass to board California Screamin' and was one of the eight passengers requiring special evacuation. She reports that there was a delay before parents were allowed in to find their children (including one irate father seeking access to find his four children who had been on the ride), and when they were, only one parent was let in. Caroline was evaluated by EMS personnel and when no injuries were found, they had the mother sign a waiver saying they were fine with not going to hospital. She was then released back out into the park, where the rest of her family was waiting. While waiting through all of this, a cast member had given all the children in the family plush dolls (including an extra for when her cousin came out). Similarly, the Los Angeles Times has reported that Kevin Bromagen, one of the passengers in the first train along with his young daughter, was given a $30 in food and priority seating at a show.

It appears that this accident could have been much worse than it was. Though some eyebrows were raised when Anaheim city spokesman John Nicolletti downplayed the incident, saying, "it was like a fender-bender," that appears to be not too far from the truth, though it must have been a horrible fender-bender for everyone involved.

California Screamin' will remain closed for the foreseeable future, likely at least a couple weeks. The attraction is now in the hands of the California Department of Occupation Safety and Health (Cal-DOSH), the agency with oversight when an amusement park attraction causes injuries. After the fatal collision at Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in September 2003, it took a couple months for Cal-DOSH to issue a report and then more time for Disneyland to implement the necessary changes and repairs. While it seems clear that there was a brake failure, it will be a while before anything official is known and, more importantly, why it happened.

Immediately after the accident, King Triton's Carousel was also closed (due to its proximity to the accident site) but has since reopened.

Recent roller coaster collisions at Disneyland

August 29, 2002 - During a cascading stop on Space Mountain, one rocket continued through its brake zone, impacting the next rocket in front of it. Seven passengers report injuries, though none are serious.

April 3, 2004 - During a reset operation on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, two trains collided. The trains were unoccupied and nobody was injured.

July 9, 2004 - A switching error at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad caused a train entering the loading station to be allowed into the side already occupied by another train. 3 were injured, none seriously.

The accident at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on September 5, 2003, that resulted in one death and 10 injuries, was not a collision between two trains, but rather a collision between one train's engine and the cars it pulled.

Mickey's Halloween Treat tickets

Advance ticket sales for October's Mickey's Halloween Treat events at Disney's California Adventure begin today. Four dates are available (10/21, 10/22, 10/28, and 10/29) and each is from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The number to call and purchase tickets is 714-781-4400; keep calling if the number is busy. Until September 15, when the tickets go on general sale, only Disneyland Annual Pass holders can purchase tickets.

Off Guard (from David Koenig)

Disneyland may finally have figured out how to remedy the severe cast member shortage in Operations—by reassigning security officers to work Guest Control for parades, fireworks and Fantasmic! In the aftermath of 9/11, the resort greatly beefed up Security, hiring over 100 new officers. Since Security cast members earn a lot more per hour(usually in the $12 to $15-an-hour range) than other entry-level Operations employees, the department has experienced significantly less attrition over the last three years. At the same time, part-time security officers at “Casual Regular” status were eligible for benefits if they worked sufficient hours. With continuing cutbacks in the number of hours available for officers to work, management has been trying to limit the number of CRs qualifying for benefits. What was happening, though, was many CRs were picking up shifts from Full-Timers, whose benefits were ensured.

Security's latest contract, however, eliminates the Part-Time and “Casual Regular-25” levels. Officers are either Full-Time (and must work an average of 30 hours and five days a week) or Casual Regular (and cannot receive benefits). CRs who do not go FT will lose their benefits by April 2006. FT's who don't meet their minimums, lose their status and benefits.

In addition, rules are tightening on shift changes and expectations that officers will work 40 hours a week. This week and last, officers have been attending meetings to be briefed on a new shift change policy. To get those hours, many officers will be assigned Guest Control duty.

Operations could use the help. “It's no secret the Hub-centric fireworks have turned Disneyland into barely controlled civil unrest on busy summer nights, and until they can bring in the bulldozers to rip out planters and widen walkways this fall, they are desperate to try anything,” said one insider. “[Management] feels it would be beneficial to have some security officers working Guest Control shifts, as most people would obey the "Stay To Your Right!" command from a mature Security officer over the desperate pleas of a pimple-faced ride operator in a pirate outfit or yellow polyester shirt. Those security cast members will still make their normal pay rate, and it will usually be $6 or $7 more per hour than the average part-time ride operators who currently fill all of those Guest Control shifts. It will also be a way to get more Security cast members working a full 40 hours per week, since most other cast members in Operations departments are working 50 or 60 hours per week this summer.”

Officers are primarily nervous that their pay rate might not be preserved while on Guest Control. As well, they fear that if this week they can suddenly be scheduled parade duty, what's to prevent them from finding themselves bussing tables next week. One officer, however, did breathe a sigh of relief that the average height of security guards make them unlikely to be handed a chipmunk or dwarf costume.

New To The Jungle (from David Koenig)

The long-awaited “wheelchair boat” has finally been put into action on the Jungle Cruise. Last Monday evening, the first disabled guest was loaded onto the vessel by its large, specially equipped metal platform. The boat had been in storage for two years before it began testing in the lagoon last summer. Skippers were update trained on its special procedures last week. “It's really a sight to behold to see a guest being loaded into it,” remarked one ride operator. “However, it won't be a part of the regular cycle of boats. It will be kept backstage unless someone is unable to get in a normal boat and specifically requests the wheelchair boat, called the ‘Ucayali Una.' This is because the loading procedure, what with the elevated platform, takes forever to load, thereby backing up the river and severely hurting our hourly counts.”

Disney Online contest

Disney Online is fishing for new registrations and is holding a contest to entice you. It is open to all registered members of Disney Online and it is free to register. Running from July 4 (not sure how we missed this) through September 25, there one grand prize that is a trip for four people to Disneyland. The trips are 5 days, 4 nights and include hotel, transportation, park admission, a private tour of Walt's Apartment and the Tower of Terror lobby, a backstage tour of Disney's Aladdin, a park tour guide for a day, dinner at Napa Rose, breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen, priority seating for Remember..., Fantasmic, and Parade of Dreams, and an exclusive pin (limited edition of 50). 49 other winners will receive the pin (link).

The drawing of winners will happen on October 3, 2005.

Ears to the ground

...The ESPN Zone VIP Club offer has been changed to no longer include a $30 food voucher. Game cards and mini-coolers are still given for joining. ESPN Zone (at Downtown Disney) will continue to honor vouchers already given. If you already joined and have not yet turned in your amyl confirmations for your gifts, the original package will still be honored, until the listed expiration date (link).

...Just a reminder that as the late summer winds come through the Los Angeles area, it may wreak havoc on the Remember... Dreams Come True fireworks. After being canceled twice the weekend before last, the fireworks were delayed 30 minutes on Friday while waiting for winds to die down.

...It looks like the empty space in Downtown Disney (caused by the closure of MainSpring, last April) will be filled by two stores: Anne Geddes, which sells designer baby clothes, and Sunglass Icon, a division of Oakley.


A sign on the construction wall surrounding the storefront. Photo by David Michael.


The other sign on the construction wall surrounding the storefront. Photo by David Michael.


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

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • 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.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently under construction and will open sometime in 2007.

Disney's California Adventure

  • Monster, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue is under construction and will open in early 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

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

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.

October

  • Mickey's Halloween Treat. October 21, 22, 28, and 29 at Disney's California Adventure. A separately ticketed trick-or-treating event at DCA from 7:30-10:30 each night. Tickets are $20, and until September 15, Annual Pass holders may pre-purchase tickets for $15 at 714-781-4400.

Current Discounts & Promotions

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

One Day

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


Two Days

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

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


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


Three Days

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


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

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


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

You can take advantage of the Advance 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 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” from 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.

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 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
7/25 7/26 7/27 7/29 7/29 7/30

 

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

7/31 8/1 8/2 8/3 8/4 8/5 8/6

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

8/7 8/8 8/9 8/10 8/11 8/12 8/13

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

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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