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Update for May 15-22, 2006

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

News and Views

Cash register learning curve

The Disneyland Resort is in the middle of a project to replace the cash registers at merchandise and foods locations throughout the parks. The new registers have plenty of bells and whistles that should eventually make it easier for cashiers to process transactions. For now, however, cast members are trying to learn the new procedures, and are generally getting through transactions more slowly. They are also finding bugs in the system that will only be worked out in time.


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Though there have been some amusing stories about the system refusing to grant employee discounts to entire departments of cast members, including most of Imagineering, most of these problems are minor annoyances. For the regular guest they at worst create a longer wait at the cash register as the cashier tries to figure out how to use the new computers.

For annual passholders, however, it pays to pay attention to your receipt. Cast members have reported that some registers are not always correctly applying the annual passholder discount to purchases. The problem is intermittent, and the most common complaint is that the discount is not applied towards purchases of DVDs -- even when the CM correctly enters the discount code. The new receipts present discounts in a different manner and location, so it may take some quick math to make sure you've received your full correct discount.

Annual passholders will notice that cashiers still do not scan the pass when a discount is applied. We've heard that will finally be changing and that the new registers are now capable of tracking cast member purchases, something Walt Disney World has been doing for years. Eventually, this functionality will be expanded to track AP purchases as well.

If you use the Package Express system you'll find the new system slowing down that process as well. Currently, the system requires that each item be individually scanned into the system, which requires removing them from bags and even protective wrapping. Eventually, the system will be updated so that the barcode on your receipt need only be scanned. But until then, the manual process is quite a bit slower.

Downtown Disney storefront shuffle

More details are coming out about what is going on at the location in Downtown Disney formerly housing the Hoipoloi glass and art store. Not too long after Hoipoloi closed its doors permanently, neighboring Illuminations (candles and such) also closed for a lengthy redesign.

Turns out that the redesign is going to be more extensive than we originally thought. What was two stores (Hoipoloi and Illuminations) is being divided and will eventually be three stores. Illuminations is returning as expected, but will be in a smaller store. In most of the Hoipoloi space will be the high-end Disney-couture clothing store we've reported on in the past. In between them will be a new storefront giving home to a Fossil Watch store.

As far as the couture store goes, we had previously reported that the name of the store would be Vault 28. We're now hearing from a different source that the name will actually be just The Vault. It probably doesn't matter much either way but there it is. All of these stores are targeting August for their opening dates.

Food & Wine performance

After the first weekend of the Food & Wine Weekends at Disney's California Adventure, the price on some of the merchandise (particularly the wines) was adjusted downward, and there were rumors that more price cutting was in the works should the crowds not appear.

So far there have been no additional price drops and there is no reason to expect any next week for the final weekend. If you had heard these rumors and thought you'd wait until the last minute just in case, you can probably go ahead and make your purchases when convenient.

Disney Gift Card issue

This is a general warning that should apply to all gift cards purchased anywhere, but it's worth mentioning in the wake of Disney's recent introduction of a single gift card good at all (American) Disney locations. A Disneyland cast member told us of incidents in the past week of two different guests presenting Disney gift cards that had been purchased at The Disney Store and having problems. In both cases the card had not been properly initiated at the time of purchase and registered a zero balance. Both customers had the receipts for the purchase of the card showing the balance that should have been on the cards.

If you are planning to purchase a Disney gift card for yourself or as a gift, be sure to have the cast member check the balance of the new card at the time of purchase. This can easily be done right at the same cash register and the cashier should be able to print out a receipt showing both the serial number of the card and the new balance. It is worth repeating that this scenario is not unique to Disney's gift cards; it is wise to check the value of any gift card you purchase before leaving the store. This can is particularly inconvenient to deal with on vacation, however, since the problem can only be resolved by taking the card and the original receipt to the location it was purchased.

New Universal Studios shuttle

Universal Studios has announced a new partnership with Gray Line Tours to offer a twice-daily free shuttle between Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. Though the press release (link) doesn't offer any information about how pick-ups and drop-offs will be handled, it does say that the service will begin on July 1, 2006, and that there will be two morning departures and two evening returns.

Once on the bus, passengers will get a narrated tour of the sites around them and information about Universal Studios. To qualify for the service you will apparently need to pre-purchase full-price park admission from Gray Line or online at Universal Studios (link). Currently no information on this offer is available at either company's Web sites (or, at least, it wasn't easily found). So if you are planning a vacation now and want more information about this you call 800-864-8377 (800-UNIVERSAL) and hopefully they can help you.

Disney performance art

It seems that this is the time of year for a bumper crop of third-party entertainment shows about Disneyland. Last week we told you about a comedy club in Fullerton, California, that is doing a night where all performers are current and former Jungle Cruise skippers. Well, this week we want to give you some short notice of a show at the Roy and Edna Disney Theater at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Here is the information sheet.

What: Charles Phoenix's Retro Disneyland Slide Show

A live comedy performance created with amazing vintage Kodachrome slides taken in the original Magic Kingdom by tourists in the 1950s and '60s - IN COLOR!

Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times as we celebrate the granddaddy of all theme parks when it was new. This is the ultimate "E Ticket!" Experience long lost attractions like the Phantom Boats, the Flying Saucers, Indian Village, the Carousel of Progress and others. See the original attractions on Main Street USA and in Adventureland, Fantasyland and Frontierland. Explore the original Tomorrowland when it was promoted as "The World of 1987." Then, be there for the all-new Tomorrowland in 1967. Get the flaming back-story of the Monorail; go inside the ultra space-age, all plastic House of the Future; take the TWA Rocket to the Moon; and much, much more!

Extra added attraction: see Freedomland USA—the ill-fated wannabe-Disneyland theme park that opened in the Bronx in 1960.

When: Friday, May 19th at 8:30pm & Sunday, May 21st at 2:00pm

(Friday night performance scheduled to feature Disney legend, Richard M. Sherman!)

Where: REDCAT—Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tickets: $29.00 at the REDCAT box office; by phone at (213) 237-2800 ext. 1, or online at http://www.charlesphoenix.com/redcat

EVENT INFO: (866) 754-3374 or http://www.charlesphoenix.com/redcat

From the kitsch to the classic, Charles Phoenix loves to celebrate mid-century design and culture. His massive collection of other people's old slides from the 1940s, '50s and '60s inspires his hysterical and historical Retro Slide Shows, Slide of the Week E-Mails and coffee table books. His "Disneyland Tour of Downtown Los Angeles" compares the heart and soul of the city with the Magic Kingdom. His latest book, Americana the Beautiful: Mid Century in Kodachrome (Angel City Press, 2006), is due in stores in June. Pre-order your copy today at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1883318548

Sex offenders moved

A mini-scandal at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has apparently cost Jim L'Etoile, head of the parole division, his job. The trouble began last week when two members of California's State Assembly complained that his division has placed several high-risk sex offender parolees in temporary housing close to Disneyland. According to reports, up to 23 such offenders were housed within 11 miles of Disneyland (it should be noted, however, that an 11-mile radius around houses way more than one million people). Five of these parolees have since been moved and according to Terry Thornton, a corrections department spokeswoman, some were as close as three miles from Disneyland.

Mr. L'Etoile says that the protest surrounding this news was not the cause of his firing and that the placements were within guidelines and the law.

While lawmakers protested these placements it should be emphasized that there are no current claims that any of these placements resulted in crimes against visitors to or around Disneyland.

Haunted Mansion hatchet

We want to make a quick correction to last week's information about the changes at Haunted Mansion. It was incorrectly said that the new Bride carries a bouquet of flowers that turns into the axe with which she dispatched her husbands. Actually, the axe just disappears and reappears with no bouquet involved.

This and that...

...After its short appearance in Toontown as a photo opportunity, the Jolley Trolly has again disappeared. We can't vouch for the information but one informant emailed in that the appearance was a test to gauge guest reaction to using the trolley as a photo opportunity and that it was a reasonably successful test. If approved, the next step will see the trolley permanently put on display, but welded to the tracks with no hope of actually running the attraction. This is unconfirmed, but if anybody has additional information we'd love to hear it.

...The newly remodeled "King" and "Queen" restrooms next to the Alice in Wonderland attraction finally received the final touches this last week. New rockwork with drinking fountains was completed and the White Rabbit statue is now in its kiosk between the restroom entrances. Certain cast members are certain that this new statue will quickly become a target for vandalism and graffiti, but time will tell.


The new White Rabbit statue is easily accessible. Will it become a target?

...The June annual pass offer is going to be a $10 discount for two of the Disneyland tours. The qualifying tours are the "From Imagination to Celebration" Tour that highlights 50 years of Disneyland history and the "Discover the Magic" Tour which is geared towards children and has participants sleuthing to solve a mystery. In each case the annual passholder can purchase up to five discounted tickets per tour date. Tours can be reserved up to 30 days in advance at 714-781-4400.

...New construction walls have gone up around the Star Tours Fastpass machines. Presumably they are finally being removed after a long period of disuse.


New construction walls could be the end of another set of unused Fastpass machines.

...A three-ornament release has been announced for Christopher Radko on July 8. The most prominent of the three will probably be the Pirates of the Caribbean (edition size: 1967) as that will be the opening weekend of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Also released that day will be Santa Jack (edition size 1992) and Mickey Mouse Club (edition size 1955). Each ornament is 4" in diameter and cost $46, $44, and $46 respectively. Christopher Radko will be in New Orleans Square's Courtyard of Angels from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for signings. You can see the three ornaments here.

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

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • Pirates of the Caribbean closed March 6 – June 26, 2006, for major refurbishment and show updates. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest will premiere at Disneyland on June 24. Ride may be available to public on June 25.
  • Blue Bayou Restaurant closed March 6 – June 26, 2006, for the duration of the Pirates of the Caribbean closure.
  • Cafe Orleans Restaurant closed March 13 – June 9, 2006, for redesign into full service restaurant.
  • Fantasmic! dark June 17 - June 28, 2006, for activities surrounding premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • Disneyland Park opens and closes early June 24, 2006, for premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m. DCA will be open two hours later than usual until 11:00 p.m.
  • Parade of Dreams dark June 24, 2006, for red carpet arrivals to premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • Golden Horseshoe closed May 15 - June 15 for refurbishment and kitchen changes.
  • River Belle Terrace rumored to close in September or October 2006 for complete redesign into larger two-story restaurant.
  • Bengal BBQ rumored to close permanently in September or October 2006 to provide room for expansion of River Belle Terrace.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently under construction and will open sometime in 2007.
  • Snow White, An Enchanted Musical closed. On hiatus during off season; expected to return for final season in summer 2006.
  • Disneyland Monorail goes into shuttle mode (one way trips only) January 2006. Complete closure for station redesign will not happen until later in 2006.

Disney's California Adventure

  • It's Tough to Be a Bug closed April 24 - May 25 for 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.

May

  • Food and Wine Weekends #2, #3, and #4. May 5-7, May 12-14, May 19-21 (details).
  • Music in the Parks. May 19. Annual middle school and high music festival at Disneyland.
  • Charles Phoenix's Retro Disneyland Slide Show. May 19 (8:30 p.m.) and May 21 (2:00 p.m.). A kitschy slide-show of historic tourist photos from Disneyland in the 1950s and 1960s. Informatoin on the show and ticket purchses here
  • Pin Trading Night. May 21, 5:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. in Marina Ballroom at Disneyland Hotel. Three hour pin trading event featuring 3-pin release designed by Disney historian and artist Stacia Martin (link).
  • Patina Restaurant Group AP event. May 22 from 4 p.m. ot 9:00 p.m. Rotate the three patina group restaurants sampling dishes from each restaurant. $10 per person and each annual pass holder can bring three guests. RSVP to 866-972-8462 or email kenriquez@patinagroup.com.

June

  • Pin Trading Night. June 9, 7:00 p.m. ot 10:00 p.m in Pacific Ballroom at Paradise Pier Hotel. Featured pins not yet announced.
  • Olzewski Haunted Mansion release. June 10. Release of new sculpture of Haunted Mansion by Robert Olzewski. Full details not yet released.
  • Cars at El Capitan Theater. June 9 - July 4. The accompany show is a demonstration of a real pit stop.
  • Jungle Skippers Comedy Night. June 11 at Mavirick Theater in Fullerton, CA. A night of comedy featuring former Jungle Cruise skippers (link).
  • Prirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. June 24. Presumptive date of world premiere of this new movie, to be held in New Orleans Square. Park will close early (5 p.m.) with celebrity red carpet arrivals earlier in the day. Has not yet been officially announced.

July

  • Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise event. July 6 (link, all package levels now sold out.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at El Capitan Theater. July 7 - September 4. Accompany the run of the movie will be props and costumes from the movie.
  • 3 Christopher Radko ornaments released July 8, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (link).

September

  • Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. September 15-17. For more information and registration see the official Web site (link, warning: horribly annoying embedded music)

October

  • Gay Days. October 6 - 8. Unofficial event (link).
  • Mickey's Halloween Treat. October 13, 20, 22, 26, 27, 29, 30, and 31 at DCA. (See Disneyland AP page for details)

November

  • Lion King returns to Pantages Theater. Beginning November 16 for eight week run. Call 323-463-4367 for details and tickets.


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
5/8 5/9 5/10 5/11 5/12 5/13

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

5/14 5/15 5/16 5/17 5/18 5/19 5/20

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 9a–9p
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
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

5/21 5/22 5/23 5/24 5/25 5/26 5/27

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–9p
DCA: 10a–7p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2006 page to see more dates. You can see future calendar schedules at Disneyland. As always, specifics are subject to change without notice (or occasionally, without us noticing) so when information conflicts between what is presented here and that presented by Disney, it is best to assume Disney's information is correct.

Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for this week at Disneyland.com here.




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