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Update for December 27, 2005 - January 2, 2006

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

News and Views

Happy Holidays and thank you

We here at MousePlanet would like to wish all of our readers a Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus, or whatever holiday you might be celebrating at this season. We'd also like to thank you for making us part of your Disney Internet experience. During the events at MouseFest, held at Walt Disney World earlier this month, we were again gratified and astonished by the number of people who told us that they were devoted readers and looked forward to starting their week with these weekly round-ups of news, changes and rumors.


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As the Disneyland Park Update enters its fourth year, we'd like to thank you for making these possible. By sending us news items, alerting us to rumors, sharing your photos, or even correcting errors, you're helping us to make the updates even better for all of our readers.

Thank you for your continued support and readership as we look forward to what 2006 at Disneyland will bring.

An Unexpected Show

Part of the crowds waiting for Monday afternoon's performance of the Parade of Dreams at Disneyland got an unexpected pre-show when a large choir marched up Main Street, singing songs and chants that urged people to stop buying Disney products.

It turns out that the group was that of Willam Talen (under the name Reverend Billy), a long-time anti-consumerism performance artist who first made a name for himself by targeting New York City's Times Square Disney Store back in 1997. Over the years, his "act" has grown into the Church of Stop Shopping (link) and he has toured the world (sometimes performing guerrilla acts of protest, other times actually performing on stage).

According to various online accounts of his group, he is frequently accompanied by a 32-person choir and four-person band. Based on yesterday's events it seems the choir got in while the band had to stay home. Rick Martinez, spokesperson for the Anaheim Police Department (APD), confirms that his choir consisted of approximately 30 people and that many were in choir robes while Talen himself was wearing clerical garb. According to Mr. Talen's comments on the incident at his Web site's blog, the entire group wore track suits to hide their outfits.

Naturally, Disneyland management wasn't keen on their singing topics and park security spoke to Talen in an attempt to bring the performance to a close. When they were rebuffed, on-site officers from the Anaheim Police Department were called in to deal with the situation. Talen ignored them as well, and he was removed to a backstage security station and arrested, according to Martinez, for trespassing and resisting an officer. Though one description we've received said that Reverend Billy was actually handcuffed and dragged "off stage" in front of everybody watching on Main Street, Martinez at APD could not confirm this. Following Mr. Talen's removal, the accompanying choir agreed to peacefully leave Disney property. Mr. Talen was released later Sunday evening and a trial date has been set for February 2.

The New Hollywood Pictures

Last week saw the unveiling of the new Hollywood Studios portion of DCA's Hollywood Pictures Backlot. The area is now much more shaded, though in the end not a whole lot different from what was there before. The major changes include a new entrance to MuppetVision 3D; the renaming of Rizzo's Prop and Pawn Shop to simply Studio Store and removimg of the Muppet theming; a new fountain between Studio Store and Monsters Inc.; the Between Takes snack truck has been moved to the other side of the street and renamed Studio Catering Co. All the other changes are more cosmetic and the stage area seems to have been left mostly untouched.


A new Mickey Mouse fountain has been installed in the area between Studio Store and Monsters, Inc. Photo by David Michael.

The new Studio Store is the most disappointing element of the redesigned area. With the removal of the "odds and ends" from the outside of the building it just looks like a small box store with a boring sign. No doubt that is about what a real studio store on a backlot would look like, but it is visually boring. On the other hand the update to MuppetVision's entrance makes it much more inviting. By moving the Studio Catering Co. truck to the other side of the street it help to deemphasize the still unused space in that back corner, as the old Hollywood & Dine space will continue to be used for private functions.


New gates have been installed at each end of the Hollywood Studios portion of Hollywood Picture Backlot, better delineating the area's two subthemes (backlot verus downtown Hollywood). Photo by David Michael.

Of course, the big part of the new Hollywood Pictures Backlot is Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue. Last week we mentioned that soft openings on Tuesday were possible, and indeed we were proved right when the first public guests experienced the ride on Tuesday afternoon (of course, a month earlier we said that soft openings before January were unlikely; such is the risk of working the rumor mill). The early responses from MousePlanet readers who have been on the ride is mostly positive (you can review some on our message board). Frequent photo contributor David Michael and MousePlanet writer Lisa Perkis are both among those to have been on the ride. We've put together a selection of shots from the queue and ride; since there are so many, we've put them on a separate page, which you can find here. The soft openings continued through the week and it is probably safe to assume that the ride will continue soft opening up to it official opening date (now officially January 23) but as always, it could close at any moment for any reason.


Rizzo's Prawn and Prop Shop is now simply Studio Store. The change makes it thematically easier to sell both Muppet and Monsters, Inc., merchandise. Photo by David Michael.

You don't say...

In news that comes as no suprise to anybody who has visited the park on almost any day since May 5th, the annual Amusement Business survey of theme parks reports that Disneyland attendance is up by 8.5 percent this year to about 14.5 million total visitors (or, on average, an extra 3,013 people in the park every day). Disney's California Adventure, saw a smaller increase of 3.6 percent, the smallest increase of Disney's six United States parks, up to around 5.8 million visitors. While there are several economic indicators credited with the good numbers (every Walt Disney World park saw increases of at least 5 percent) the improvements were not seen industry-wide.


The Between Takes truck is now Studio Catering Co. Some may want to know that the location no longer sells beer. Photo by David Michael.

It was a bad year for Universal particularly, with Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure seeing an 8.5 percent drop while the Hollywood park lost 6 percent. Sea World's Florida park saw a minimal 0.2 percent increase while the San Diego park did somewhat better with a 2.5 percent improvement.


The Studio Catering Co. menu. Note that while the shooting schedule has been updated to reflect Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's absence, it still lists Drawn to Animation which has been replaced by Animation Academy at the Animation Building. Photo by David Michael.

Since Disney does not release official attendance information, the numbers Amusement Business, a trade publication, provides for Disney parks are estimates.

Going for the New Year's Eve party

If you're planning to ring in the New Year at Disneyland, you shouldn't expect it to be a light crowd like it was last year (with light being a relative term). In normally busy years it is a good idea to get to the park by mid-afternoon and even later than that is generally safe. However, since we've already seen capacity several times month, it is probably best to assume that the park will hit capacity very early in the day. If you do go, here are some tips.

  • Don't expect to do much, especially in the evening. More than a normal crowded day, traffic flows will be disrupted by people trying to stake out space for themselves. Attraction lines will be long as will food lines. If you're in a larger party, it would probably be best to find a central spot and then go off in smaller groups, leaving the main party behind to hold the space.
  • Consider DCA. We don't know exactly what will be going on in DCA, but they will have the celebratory accoutrements and live music. There are rumors of local fireworks at midnight, but we have not confirmed this. On the plus side, it will be less crowded and the park is better suited to staking out space.
  • Don't try to leave immediately after midnight. Many thousands of people are going to try to leave all at once as soon as the fireworks are done. All you're likely to get from trying to leave at that time is frustration and gridlock. And the gridlock will extend beyond the exit gate; Downtown Disney will be jammed (to prevent a huge traffic jam, they'll likely stop running the trams for a period around midnight and will be necessary to walk to the parking garage), the exits from the parking garage will be jammed. Instead, either just stay where you are, or head towards the back of the park. The time between midnight and 2 a.m. will likely be the best opportunity all day for getting onto rides.
  • If it is important to you to leave right after midnight, consider leaving the park early and watching the fireworks from the roof of the parking garage. The view is good, though there is no music. You'll then be able to lead the pack for driving out of the garage (though why you'd put in all the time with crowds at Disneyland just to leave early, we're not sure).
  • Pack some of your own food. It's going to be a long day and getting food may become a very time-consuming task. Pack at least some snacks to get you through the peak times. Definitely try to eat outside the normal meal periods (though even these will likely be very busy).
  • Despite the late night, if you're staying through Monday, try to get up and back to the park early. Crowds will be light and you should be able to get on a lot of rides before all the other revelers drag themselves out of bed. Then when they do show up, you can head back home or to the hotel for a nap.
  • Don't bother with shopping. It'll just be more stuff to keep an eye on and to drag around. If you do need to shop, then consider showing up early in the day, getting it out of the way and returning it to your room or car before settling in.

  • 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.

    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

    If you know of any events, official or unofficial, that should be listed here, let us know.

    January

    • 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.

    July

    • 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.

     



    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
    12/19 12/20 12/21 12/2212/23 12/24

     

    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–9p
    DCA: 10a–7p
    SL/SC/DX

    12/25 12/26 12/27 12/28 12/2912/30 12/31

    DL: 8a–Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC/DX

    DL: 8a-Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC/DX

    DL: 8a-Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC/DX

    DL: 8a-Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC/DX

    DL: 8a-Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC/DX

    DL: 8a-Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC/DX

    DL: 8a–2a
    DCA: 10a–1p
    SL/SC/DX

    1/1 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/51/6 1/7

    DL: 8a–Mid
    DCA: 10a–10p
    SL/SC

    DL: 8a-Mid
    DCA: 10a–9p
    SL/SC

    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: 9a–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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