Update for December 19-26, 2005
Go directly to: News & Views | Current Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Schedule/Blockout Dates
It was a good weekend for testing Disneyland chemical emergency procedures. In two unrelated incidents, Disneyland cast members were sent to local area hospitals after exposure to toxic gasses.
Early Friday morning (December 16) three workers were sent to the hospital after hydrochloric acid and sodium hydrochloride were mistakenly mixed, producing an unexpected gas. The chemicals are used in the chlorination of water systems at Disneyland. In this case, the incident occured backstage behind Flik's Fun Fair and was intended to chlorinate Dot's Puddle Park, a water play area for young children.
The three cast members were not seriously injured and left the hospital after a few hours. The incident happened at 5:30 in the morning and had no impact on park guests..
Then Saturday afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., a resin used to repair fiberglass vehicles began producing smoke (early reports were that a barrel had fallen, breaking open; that has not been confirmed). Several workers were exposed to the smoke and evacuated by paramedics, though only one was transported to the hospital after complaining of breathing problems.
Though it is difficult to see in this photo, security tape blocks off areas backstage during Saturday's incident. Photo by David Michael.
At least two backstage buildings were closed for cleanup and to keep people clear. The adjacent buildings are behind Rivers of America and one is a costuming and locker room for maintenance workers and the other is the service garage for the pool of vehicles backstage. The only impact on park guests was a three-hour closure of the Disneyland Railroad, which provided the nearest proximity for guests to the area of the chemicals.
The Anaheim Fire Department, which was the primary responder to both incidents, will not be doing investigations into either incident, leaving that, according to spokeswoman Maria Sabol, to Disneyland. Since employees were sent to the hospital, it is quite likely that the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health will do some type of investigation, but this could not be confirmed by press time.
Three Fairies correction
In last week's item mentioning the new Three Fairies Magic Crystal Shop in Sleeping Beauty Castle, we incorrectly said it did not appear that customized personal crystals were available. The store does, in fact, offer personal crystals. On most days the crystals can be made on the same day but during peak periods may require shipping or pick-up at a later date. To have your own Crystal Magic crystal made, bring in a photo of yourself or another subject.
Lilly Belle update
Steve DeGaetano, author of Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad and a wonderful history of the Lilly Belle for MousePlanet (link), was kind enough to send along this update on the rehabilitation of the Lilly Belle:
Several sources tell me the car looks (and smells!) like brand new. From what I hear, the car looks absolutely stunning. Everything on the car has been looked at and refreshed. For instance, the little lanterns that hang at the rear corners of the car (called "marker lamps" because they mark the end of the train) have been plated in brass (they used to be painted black, as they are on the other trains). I'm also told that the fans in the upper corners of the car's interior have also been brass-plated, and are now fully functional.
The interior is mostly complete, waiting only the addition of furnishings. All the windows operate smoothly, as well as the "trap door" on the rear platform (over the steps). Curtains still have yet to be installed. The car also still needs to have its gold stenciling done to the dark-green corner posts. Currently, the car is on track "A" at the very rear of the roundhouse, completely hidden from public view. I've heard that Disney management is taking great pains to keep information about the car's progress extremely close to their vests (for whatever reason... who cares if folks like us know what's going on?).
Anyway, my source tells me that the car will once again be coupled to Holiday Blue (in the 500 series), and will initially run, fittingly, behind engine No. 5.
From everything I've been hearing, the car's restoration has been a complete success! Even some roundhouse curmudgeons are impressed with the work. I sure am looking forward to seeing the ol' girl again, now that she's been expertly dolled up!
Crowds and regaining the magic
Fortunately the significant crowd control problems over the weekend of December 9 do not seem to have repeated this last weekend. The situation was surely helped by a combination of cool weather keeping locals away and the momentary return of the Disney Electrical Parade to Disney's California Adventure park helping keep people in DCA until it is too late to rush back to Disneyland and catch the fireworks.
We did, however, get quite a few letters and comments from people caught in the worst of it on December 9. This letter from Greg stuck out because it asks a question that is probably asked by everybody who has had a bad experience at Disneyland. Rather than trying to answer it ourselves, we thought we'd throw it to our readers.
My family and I were in the gridlock that happened on Friday the 9th. I was shoved, pushed, told I would have my butt kicked, my wife was groped and given the fright of her life when a maniac was going to use our children, who were in a stroller, as a stepping stone. I have bruises on my arm and leg from the incident. It shattered my image of Disney that night due to the fact that 3 employees who were also trapped had no idea what was going on or how to help other than telling us we couldn't use the marked green exit door in the bakery shop. Why mark a door as an exit if you can't use it?
I love Disney. I love to take my kids to Disneyland. We live in Albuquerue, New Mexico so can only go maybe every other year. But now I don't know if I ever want to go back. If you any suggestions on how we can regain our total love of Disney please let us know.
If you have any constructive ideas to help Greg and his family rediscover the magic, send them in and we'll pass them along (email link).
Disney is now taking greater measures to warn park visitors of potential congestion. They have begun distributing this flyer at the parking garage with tips for avoiding the worst of crowding. Flyer scanned by David Michael.
Monsters, Inc., getting closer
Limited cast members previews have been held for the new Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue ride at Disney's California Adventure. Rumors of public soft openings are swirling and conflicting. Several reliable sources are telling us that they could begin as early as this Tuesday (December 20) and that schedules have been assigned for staffing soft openings. Others are saying that they may still not happen until early January. As always, when it comes to soft openings things will remain extremely fluid. If you want to try to and catch a soft opening, keep an eye on the Disneyland Forum on our message board (link) for an alert if the ride does open.
The large signs along the roof of the Disneyland Hotel are now gone completely. As we said last week, the removal of these signs is required by resort-area standardization regulations by the city of Anaheim. While we'd probably all prefer that Disneyland be exempt from these limitations, it is these same regulations that have made Harbor Boulevard a much nice place, visually speaking.
A week ago, the last remaining building-top sign was still in place. Photo by David Michael.
The sign is now gone and work will begin to clean things up so we can't tell they were ever there. Photo by David Michael.
This and that
...Stroller and wheelchair rentals have once again been moved outside of Disneyland to the Esplanade. A tent has been set up just to the right of the entrance gates. Unlike last time when this was done while the stroller and wheelchair counter was undergoing a refurbishment, this seems to have been done simply to improve crowding and navigation. Hopefully this is being explored as a permanent change, though for now it is just temporary through the end of the holiday rush. If you do need to rent a stroller or wheelchair make sure you do so before entering Disneyland, otherwise you will have to wait in line twice to enter the park. DCA still has its own rental station just inside that park.
Temporary housing for wheelchair and stroller rental is set up outside Disneyland. Photo by David Michael.
...We already mentioned it, but it bears repeating that the Disney Electrical Parade has come off of hiatus for two weeks at DCA. The parade will be performed nightly through Monday, January 2, at 8:45 p.m.
The Disney Electrical Parade is only back for two weeks, so you may want to try and fit in a visit if this is a favorite. Photo by David Michael.
...The new Tom Saywer River Rafts (see the last item in our September 12 Park Update) performed tests with simulated park guests last week. Water dummies were used to provide weight. There is still no word on a timeline for getting these new craft approved an in use.
...Though it has been rumored in past years, we are again hearing rumblings of New Year's Eve fireworks over the Paradise Pier lagoon in DCA.
...We are hearing that if crowds continue after the new year, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes may continue with daily operating schedules through winter and spring to help compensate for the Haunted Mansion and then Pirates of the Caribbean closures.
...One of the performances of Fantasmic on December 16 was cancelled about halfway into the show. Whenever a show is cancelled we usually see queries as to why, but seeing a show cancelled halfway in is particularly unusual. What happened is that at some point during the first part of the show, the Sailing Ship Columbia lost all electrical power and was unable to move. Unfortunately for the show, Columbia completely blocks the rafts behind it and continuing with the show is impossible. For the next show, the Columbia was pushed around the the river by a barge and lit from riverside light towers.
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- 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.
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) 7817290.
If you know of any events, official or unofficial, that should be listed here, let us know.
- Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue.: Dedication and grand opening. No word yet on what ceremony may be happening (or even if one will happen. Currently expected to officially open around January 27, 2006.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest premiere: Details unknown but the world premiere is again expected to be held in Disneyland's New Orleans Square. The movie opens July 7 and the premiere will be up to a week prior to that.
DCA: Disney's California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates:
- SL Southern California Select Annual Pass
- SC Southern California Annual Pass
- DX Deluxe Annual Pass
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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.