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News and Views

Dog days of summer

The last weeks of summer. The energy is running low and what is left is being corralled for one final party on Labor Day. As the summer hours come to an end this week (and in just a couple weeks things will be back to their off-season hours) it is without much in the way of news. This week's update is definitely on the quiet side, with most of the work going into maintenance items (getting the discounts and rehabs list current again, for example).


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Apparently it was too hot for anything exciting to happen at Disneyland this last week.

Did you ever show up at a party you weren't invited to?

MousePlanet reader Tinker Bell (presumably not the real one) shared her experience (link) at the heavily advertised Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg book reading and signing. First, here is the exact announcement as it appeared on the Walt Disney Event Services Web page (link):

Event: “Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg” Signing & Product Release
Event Date: Sunday, August 28, 2005

Book Reading: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Book Reading Location: Brisa Courtyard, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel®

Event Signing: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Event Location: Brisa Courtyard, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel®

Event Information:

What if there were a world where fairies lived... where they played music and danced and sang under the light of the fireflies? The wonder of it is that there is such a place. It is the world of Disney Fairies.

Newbery Honor Award-winning author Gail Carson Levine will be on hand to read an excerpt from her new book and then will join illustrator, David Christiana and the inspiration for the original Tinker Bell, Margaret Kerry, for a special appearance and signing of the “Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg” book and other merchandise related items, including a Fairies matted petite print, a Tinker Bell sculpture and pin. Merchandise will be available to purchase at World of Disney®, Downtown Disney® District.

So she and her daughter, both big Tinker Bell fans, apparently visited the park, purchased a copy of the book, and went to sit for the reading. Unfortunately, they were turned away and told that the reading itself was by invitation only, and that the line for the signing had already formed.

There was nothing in the announcement about the reading being limited. The announcement page contains the standard “information subject to change without notice” disclaimer and it is certainly possible that it was a last-minute change in response to an unexpected turnout (while the book was promoted heavily in recent weeks, with a little brochure being handed to each car coming in to park, the event itself was not mentioned).

However, this should be taken as a cautionary tale to anybody attending one of Walt Disney Event Service's free merchandise releases or appearances. It is always a good idea to contact them shortly before the event and confirm that the details are still accurate and that your understanding of the open availability of the event is clear.

Refurbishment clarifications and reminders

Drawn to Animation in Disney California Adventure's Animation Building—the show in which the audience learned about the animation process—is now closed. When it reopens , it will be a more interactive show called Animation Academy, in which the audience will get to learn to draw, actually doing so on sketch pads. The new show is scheduled to open on September 17.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion also goes down for 18 days in September to do a general cleanup and put in the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. The overlay for "it's a small world" will be done from October 24 to November 10. Both attractions closes again in January to remove the overlays.

It has been confirmed, but we've been lax in saying so, that the Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment has been pushed out to spring 2006 and expanded to almost three and a half months, from March 6 to June 16. The details of any show changes to be installed are not known, though speculation runs rampant.

Disney Teacher Awards

Nominations are currently open for the Disney Teacher Awards. The award program has been running since 1989 and will culminate in the selection of a Teacher of the Year at a gala event in July 2006 at Disneyland (where honorees will also participate in a parade down Main Street and a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle). Additionally, the selected honorees each receive $10,000 and another $5,000 for their school.

All teachers at K-12 institutions, public, private, or parochial all eligible and nominations can be made until October 15, 2005. To nominate a teacher visit the DisneyHand Web site (link) or call 877-282-8322.

Poker at ESPNZone

On Tuesday, September 13, the Texas Hold' Em poker craze will come to ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney. Professional poker player and host of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, Phil Gordon, will be on site for the Degree All-In Poker Experience, a free poker tutorial.

Space is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. The event starts with a 45-minute tutorial from Phil Gordon and then attendees break into stations to test what they have learned. Correct answers earn entries into a raffle, the winner of which will get to visit with Gordon in Las Vegas prior to the 2006 World Series of Poker. This "poker experience" is being held in each city, and each of the individual raffle winners will be eligible to win the grand prize of an entry into the 2006 World Series of Poker. Full rules are available online (link).

Merchandise releases.

An updated schedule of October and November product releases has been posted (link and link). To recap:

Saturday, October 1 – Nightmare Before Christmas pin release and signing. Graphic artist Keri Murphy will be on hand at La Bat en Rouge in New Orleans Square to sign the featured pin. Five pins in total will be released.

Sunday, October 2 – A new line of Mickey Mouse Club 50th Anniversary merchandise will be released. Unnamed former Mouseketeers will be on hand for signings (two items per person) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Plaza Gardens.

Tuesday, October 4, to Saturday, October 22 – Guests who purchase the 2-disc Platinum Edition of Cinderella will also receive a complimentary pin.

Saturday, October 22 – Several larger Nightmare Before Christmas items will be released. Included is a new Walt Disney Classics Collection sculpture called "The the Head of the Team, Zero!" and artist Dave Pacheco will be on hand at Disneyana to sign from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 12 – Several 50th Anniversary items from the artist Shag will be released, including the much anticipated park map.

Saturday, November 19 – A new painting featuring Woody and Jessie from Toy Story 2 by artist Noah will be released. Noah will be on hand for signing from 10:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Off the Page.

 


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 12–29 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay; closed Jan. 9–25, 2006 to remove overlay.
  • it's a small world closed October 24–November 10 to install holiday overlay; closed January 9-25, 2006, to remove overlay
  • Pirates of the Caribbean closed March 6–June 16, 2006 for major refurbishment and possible show updates.
  • Disneyland Monorail closure beginning sometime in January 2006. Not yet announced, though expected involve almost a complete rebuilding of Tomorrowland Station to accommodate Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, a complete refurbishment (though not reconstruction) of the track, and hopefully new monorails to replace the existing vehicles.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently under construction and will open sometime in 2007.

 

Disney's California Adventure

  • California Screamin' is still closed following accident on July 29, 2005. Reopen date has not yet been announced.
  • Drawn to Animation closed to be replaced with Animation Academy September 17, 2005.
  • 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

September

  • Thomas Kinkade painting release and breakfast. September 10. Details not yet released (link).
  • Degree All-In Poker Experience. September 13. Poker tutorial and contest at ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. Limited free seating on first-com first-serve basis.
  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. Postponed to September 17 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. Online ticket purchases are available through the Disneyland Annual Pass Web site. Tickets can also be pre-purchased on site at the Disneyland Guest Services window (link).
  • "To the Head of the Team, Zero!" October 22 at Disneyana. A new Nightmare Before Christmas scultpure release in the Walt Disney Classics Collection. Artist Dave Pacheco will be on hand for the release and signing (link).

November

  • SHAG Park Map release. November 12. Details not currently available (link).

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.


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 Child's Member pass

While supplies last if you make a $75 purchase at Downtown Disney's LEGO Imagination Center you will get one free child's Membership Pass to Legoland in San Diego, CA. The pass is good for children ages 3-12 and comes with unlimited park admission, special discounts, and a subscription to the Legoland Newsletter.

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
8/29 8/30 8/31 9/1 9/2 9/3

 

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

9/4 9/5 9/6 9/7 9/8 9/9 9/10

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–10
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

9/11 9/12 9/13 9/14 9/15 9/16 9/17

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–10p
DCA: 10a–8p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

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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