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Update for December 5-12, 2005

Go directly to: News & Views | Current Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Schedule/Blockout Dates

News and Views

Another light week...

Matt Ouimet going home to Florida?

Jim Hill, of Jim Hill Media has run a story today (Monday, December 5) reporting strong rumors that Disneyland president Matt Ouimet may be moving back to Florida to take on the President of Walt Disney World office left vacant by the recent promotion of Al Weiss.


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While we can not confirm the degree to which this is a done deal, we can confirm that the same scenario is coming out of the Disneyland offices as Jim received from sources in Florida. Unfortunately, what information we have was shared under terms that prevent us from saying any more than that.

If this moves from speculation into reality, then expect a lot howling from the online Disneyland fan community. In his short tenure at Disneyland, Matt Ouimet has quickly won the respect of park watchers and cast members with his apparent dedication to the idea that good money follows good show rather than the other way around.

Candlight Procession photos

December 3 and 4 saw this year's performances of the Candlelight Procession, Disneyland's traditional Christmas celebration. This year's ceremonies were hosted by Dick Van Dyke and closed off the Town Square portion of Main Street each early evening. We present here a selection of photos from Saturday's edition of the procession. Thanks, as always, to David Michael, for the photographs.


The seating arrangements for Candlelight Procession. Photo by David Michael.


The choir processional down Main Street to the stages. Photo by David Michael.


One sectionof the choir formed a human Christmas tree. Photo by David Michael.


The rest of the choir was situated to the side. Photo by David Michael.


Some spectators found that the orchestra's new position on the first riser obstructed views for parts of the show. Photo by David Michael.


There were solo and duet performances during the show, but the singers were not identified. Photo by David Michael.


The main draw, of course, was Dick Van Dyke as host and narrator. He did not take advantage of his time at the park to appear as one of the chimney sweeps at the end of Fantasmic. Photo by David Michael.

Closure of sorts

Though it wasn't on the radar of most Disney fans, today was scheduled to begin the wrongful death civil trial stemming from the Big Thunder Mountrain Railroad accident in September 2003. In that accident, Marcelo Torres was killed and his friend, Vicente Gutierrez, was injured.

Instead of going to trial, it was announced last Friday that Disney had reached a settlement the family of Marcelo Torres (as well as in a separate suit involving Gutierrez). The specifics of the settlement are confidential, though a new scholarship at Brooks College (Long Beach, California) was also announced. For most watchers, the most interesting part of the announcement was that it came with an explicit statement of responsibility by Disney, since many lawsuits like this are settled with no admission of responsibility. Disneyland spokesman Ron Doughty released this statement:

We agree with the conclusions of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health that the accident was caused by incorrectly performed maintenance tasks on Big Thunder Mountain, required by our policy and procedures, which resulted in a mechanical failure, for which we, of course, accept responsibility.

It should be noted that this is not an admission by Disney that their general maintenance policies were flawed, but rather that the specific maintenance of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was faulty in this instance. While not as wide-reaching an admission as some would have liked, it is still a very unusual admission for Disney to agree to.

Celebrity tree ornament auction

Last Thursday, a new Disney auction was posted at eBay (link). The auction is of a 7-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree bearing 50 ornaments, 41 of which have been individually decorated by various celebrities. The ornaments were on display over the weekend at Disneyland, so the opportunity to see them in person has passed, but the auction itself will run until 4:00 p.m. this Thursday (December 8), with proceeds going to the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots Foundation. Here is the official press release:


John Stamos provided one of the 41 ornaments on the tree. Images of all the ornaments can be seen at the eBay auction linked to above. Photo © Disney.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Dec. 1, 2005) – Some of Hollywood?s legendary stars of past and present are making the holidays a bit brighter for the young victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes as they assist the Disneyland Resort in southern California in a unique fundraising effort for Toys for Tots, starting today at 4:00pm/PST (7:00pm EST) on eBay.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Christina Aguilera, Susan Sarandon, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher, Kirk Douglas, Keith Urban and William Shatner are among the 41 celebrities who have contributed their imagination and creativity in personally decorating gold holiday ornaments that are shaped in the familiar three-circle design of Mickey Mouse. These one-of-a-kind celebrity designed ornaments adorn a 7-foot tall artificial tree that has been augmented by various commemorative Disneyland 50th Anniversary decorations for a total of 50 ornaments. The tree is topped with a miniature version of the special 50th Anniversary tree-topper that presently sits upon Disneyland?s signature 60-foot tall Christmas tree in Town Square.

Bidding on the tree, with all of its special holiday ornaments, will begin at $1 to encourage as many bidders as possible for such a worthy cause. The auction can be found at www.ebay.com and closes at 4:00pm/PST (7:00pm/EST) on Thursday, December 8. The celebrity ornaments are currently on display through Sunday, December 4, on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland.

Each ornament has been personally decorated and signed by the respective celebrity and each unique ornament reflects their own distinct style and personality. Actor John Stamos utilized old Disneyland tickets to decorate his ornament while Christina Aguilera emblazoned her ornament with a big red lipstick smootch. The unique gold patina (not commercially available) on the ornaments was created exclusively for Disneyland?s 50th anniversary celebration.

"Disneyland Resort has enjoyed a long association with the Toys for Tots Foundation and we?re proud to partner with them again this year," said Matt Ouimet, President, Disneyland Resort. "2005 has been a particularly difficult year for our fellow citizens in the Gulf Coast and so we look forward to bringing them a little holiday cheer through this fundraising effort."

"This year Marines are conducting the 58th annual Toys for Tots campaign," stated Matthew T. Cooper, President and CEO, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "In addition to striving to reach millions of needy children nationwide, Marines will strive to bring the joy of Christmas to the thousands of children whose families lost everything as a result of the hurricanes of the summer of 2005."

The complete list of participating celebrities includes Christina Aguilera, David Arquette & Courtney Cox, Zach Braff, Carol Channing, Leonardo DiCaprio, Phyllis Diller, Kirk Douglas, Brendan Fraser, Greg Grunberg, Deborah Harry, Teri Hatcher, Josh Holloway, Anjelica Huston, Hugh Jackman, Shar Jackson, Jewel, Chris Kattan, Glen Keane, Johnny Knoxville, Shia LaBeouf, Cloris Leachman, Evangeline Lilly, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mia Maestro, Eric McCormack, Bob Newhart, Marie Osmond, Terry O'Quinn, Jeremy Piven, LeAnn Rimes, John Stamos, Susan Sarandon, William Shatner, Donald Trump, Aisha Tyler, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Sela Ward, Betty White, Wynonna

El Cap Narnia exhibit

The Disney-owned El Capitan Theater in Hollywood will be presenting The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from December 9 through January 26. Following each screening, moviegoers will then be able to take in an exhibit of props and images from the film, including the wardrope mentioned in the title and a lamppost that has a prominent presence in the movie.

Each visitor will also have an opportunity to enter a drawing for a Kodak EasyShare Digital Camera package (one winner each week) and at the adjacent Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store, a new sundae will be offered: the Narnia Winter Wonderland representing the 100 Year Winter in the film (two scoops of rocky road ice cream topped with marshmallow, chocolate and whipped cream. The commemorative bowl is yours to keep.

The movie will be shown five times daily at 10:00 a.m., 1:20 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 11:20 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 1-800-347-6396, online (link), or in person at the theater.


Marshmallow (on the right) and his friend Yam make their current home in Frontierland. Photo by David Michael.

Refurbishment note

Some adjustments to the refurbishment schedule below. We've been lax in making this change, but Haunted Mansion will be going down for an extended period (January 18 to March 9) when it closes to remove the Nightmare Before Christmas holiday overlay. We've heard no solid news or rumors of any significant show changes. The other change is related to the Disneyland Monorail. We've known for a while that it didn't appear the monorail would shut down in January as had been previously expected, but we knew something was still up and haven't been able to get details. Though we haven't been able to indepdently confirm the details provided last week by Al Lutz at Miceage.com, they do match with what we knew. He details that the monorail will go into “shuttle mode” in January so that work can proceed in the lagoon. Taking a segment of the track out of commission means that the monorail can still run, though rather than completing a loop, monorails will run back and forth along a segment of track. During this mode of operation the monorail will leave the Disneyland Hotel station in the opposite direction as normal, and then come back from Disneyland as normal. This also essentially limits the monorail to running only two trains at a time. Complete closure for Tomorrowland station reworking will happen in the last quarter of 2006.

When a similar “shuttle mode” was used in 2002 during the constrution of Disney's California Adventure, it greatly increased the wear and tear of the monorail fleet. It'll be interesting to see if the more-worn monorails experience similar issues this time around.

Animation Building

As we mentioned last week, the Disney Animation Building in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot section of DCA is out from under the scaffolding and sports a new exterior look. The new neon-heavy look seems designed to look best at night (a time of day not generally seen most of the year with the park's limited hours). Particularly odd is that the rotating four-part sign in the middle of the facade still displays old show placards for the four shows originally housed in the building.


Photo by David Michael.


Photo by David Michael.


Unfortunately, these show posters have been installed over the murals that used to cover these walls. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Mixed message

Talk about a mixed message. Not only has Disneyland stooped to advertising on property for employees, but apparently they can't find enough people to man the cart.


A "jobs available" cart has been established in Downtown Disney near the tram area. This photo was taken during regular business hours last Tuesday. Photo by David Michael.

And once again

We know it is repetitious but we want to keep people aware that the Remember...Dreams Come True fireworks can be expected to see frequent wind-related cancellations at this time of the year. The fireworks were cancelled on Saturday, December 3, following the Candlelight Procession. On that evening the wind was more apparent (staff member Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix reports seeing windblown “snow” all the way over by the Downtown Disney tram loading area) but this may not always be the case.


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

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • Snow White, An Enchanted Musical closed. On hiatus during off season; expected to return for final season in summer 2006.
  • it's a small world closed January 4 – 18, 2006, to remove holiday overlay.
  • Haunted Mansion will close January 18 – March 9 for removal of the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay and more extensive refurbishments.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean closed March 6 – June 16, 2006 for major refurbishment and show updates.
  • Blue Bayou Restaurant closed March 6 – June 16, 2006 for the duration of the Pirates of the Caribbean closure.
  • Disneyland Monorail goes into shuttle mode (one way trips only) January 2006. Complete closure for station redesign will not happen until later in 2006.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently under construction and will open sometime in 2007.


Even if you've already been to the park this holiday season, keep an eye out as new decorations are still being installed. Photo by David Michael.

Disney's California Adventure

  • Department of Untapped Hilarity (D.U.H.) on hiatus. Might return for the 2006 summer season.
  • Disney's Electrical Parade on hiatus for the off season, except for a two-week run starting December 16.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue is under construction and will open in early 2006; current target is around January 27.
  • Rizzo's Props and Pawn Shop closed and is being rethemed into a mixed Monsters, Inc./Muppets store.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail closed January 3 – February 28, 2006, for major refurbishment.
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

December

  • Refreshment Corner and Carnation Cafe Olszewski Release. December 10. Official product release of new Robert Olszewski scultpures for Candy Palace/Refreshment Corner and Carnation Cafe/Penny Arcade pieces. 10:00a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (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
11/28 11/29 11/30 12/112/2 12/3

 

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–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

12/4 12/5 12/6 12/7 12/812/9 12/10

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 9a-6p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-6p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-Mid
DCA: 10a–9p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

12/11 12/12 12/13 12/14 12/1512/16 12/17

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 9a-8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a-8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
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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