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Update for June 26 - July 2, 2006

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

News and Views

This week's park update is going to be relatively light while we put together a complete recap of the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and a walkthrough of the new ride experience at Pirates of the Caribbean for tomorrow.


Visitors to Disneyland Park on July 24th eached received a button commemmorating the day. Photo by David Michael.

Just a quick recap for now


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Just to quickly recap how things went on Saturday, here are a few details. Disneyland did close as announced at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday though this just meant that nobody was allowed to enter for the first time after then; reentries were allowed to continue. The red carpet portion of the evening ran longer than expected and some regular guests in the park reported not being cleared out until almost 9:30, more than 90 minutes later than expected.

The projected attendance for Disneyland on Saturday was around 35,000 (pretty low for a summer weekend) and proved to be pretty accurate. The projection for Disney's California Adventure was a similarly low 14,000 but the extended hours for the park seemed to work in drawing guests over as the actual number ended up being around 26,000 with approximately 16,000 of that being parkhoppers. Management must be pleased that few guests seem to have left the resort after 5:00 p.m. when Disneyland kind-of closed. On Sunday the numbers were a little more "normal" with Disneyland getting to around 50,000 and DCA topping 20,000.


The giant movie screen for the premiere is actually quite a sight to behold on Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by David Michael.

The ride itself

The photos and details will have to wait for tomorrow but as expected the ride did open to the general public on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. (allowing media to ride throughout the morning without having to wait in long lines).

Cast members did not allow a queue to form until about 10:50 and by shortly after 11:00 the queue extended through Frontierland and beyond the loading dock for Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia. Despite the length of the line, guests were reporting that it moved quickly and they were getting through in less than an hour. The same was not true of the accessible entrance through the exit of the ride.

This has always been the worst special access entrance of at Disneyland and nothing was done to change that during the refurbishment. The problem is that it a narrow walkway in half-lit conditions and has a steady flow of people trying to go the other direction. So Pirates of the Caribbean remains one of the few rides where special access passes will likely take longer than the normal queue.


Though it was unusually bad on Sunday, the special access entrance for Pirates of the Caribbean is still a difficult one to navidate. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

At 11:00 prompt, the first regular park guests (that is, they weren't media, celebrities, friends of celebrities, people who work with celebrities, cast members doing testing, Club 33 members, etc.) finally rode the new Pirates of the Caribbean. The Larson family (LaDon, Carla, Carleen, Katie, and Hannah) of Colorado and their friend Matt Jackson were the first on, and afterwards had nothing but good things to say about the ride. Their favorite new effect is the Davy Jones water projection but they were also impressed with how lifelike the new Jack Sparrow animatronics are. Hannah said that the changes "didn't ruin it. Walt would be proud."


Only ten minutes after the line had been allowed to form, the Larson family leads the line of "regular park guests" to experience the new Pirates of the Caribbean. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Unfortunately for a lot of locals making a trip specifically to try the ride (and a fair number of regular tourist visitors on their final day) the "soft open" only lasted about three hours before a mechanical problem forced the ride to close. As of this writing it was not expected to open again before this morning.

We'll share the reactions of MousePlanet staff who have experienced ride in our coverage tomorrow, but the reaction from everybody we've seen has been mostly positive.

New Orleans Square restaurant update

Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix provided a rundown of the new menus as Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans last Friday that you may want to check out if you missed it (link).


Cast members throw beads into the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Cafe Orleans. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Today marks the official reopening of Blue Bayou. Yesterday, they held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cafe Orleans, even though the area around there was so crowded because of Pirates of the Caribbean and the traffic flow problems caused by the risers that it was kind of hard to tell that there were cast members in front of the restaurant tossing beads into the crowd. Both restaurants were taking limited standby reservations but they will quickly begin to fill with guests who made advance reservations with the Disney Dine Line (call 714-781-DINE to make your own priority seating reservations).


The gumbo crepe at Cafe Orleans. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


The Cafe Orleans version of the Monte Cristo isn't quite as big a meal as at Blue Bayou. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

French Market also debuted its summer Pirate makeover with special menu items and decorations from the ride.


Among the original decorations for the summer at French Market is a chocolate Captain Jack Sparrow aboard the Black Pearl. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


Items from the treasure room at Pirates of the Caribbean have found their way into the decorations at French Market. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


The decorations will probably only last the summer while the restaurant is celebrating Pirates of the Caribbean. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Pirates, pirates everywhere

Pirate merchandise has been appearing throughout Disneyland for the past several weeks, but the campaign moved into high gear this weekend. We've been told that the Disneyland Resort merchandising team has been challenged by senior management to sell as much pirate-theme merchandise over the next 18 months as they sold 50th Anniversary merchandise.

The 50th Anniversary display windows at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney have been replaced with pirate-theme windows, and nearly every store in the resort has a conspicuous display of pirate merchandise. There are four main collections of pirate product to choose from—one based on the park attraction; one based on the film; a character-filled collection aimed at children, and a group of generic, non-Disney "pirate" merchandise like you might find at Hot Topic and other pop culture stores. Click here to see just a small sample of the pirate merchandise offered at Disneyland.


Three major display windows have been changed from celebrating Disneyland's 50th Anniversary to promoting Pirates of the Caribbean. Photos by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

And then there are the pins. Over 30 new trading pins were released this weekend during the launch of the "Legend of the Golden Pins" promotion, and another dozen pins, three framed pin sets and assorted accessories are scheduled to be released through August (for more information see here or here to see (almost) all of the pins. Disneyland has re-dressed the pin board carts and is offering collectors the opportunity to trade for pins hidden inside replicas of the Dead Man's Chest. The carts are deployed around the resort at different times and locations during the day.


During the "Legend of the Golden Pins" promotion a mysterious pin trading cart will be making the rounds of the resort. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

If you'd like to buy some Pirate-related stuff without having to leave the comfort of your computer chair, you might want to check out Disney Auctions (link) where several experiences will be put up for auction, many of which will go to a donation to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

First up are two tickets to the June 6th "Moonlit Voyage" Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise event (link). This package has a retail value of $685 (it comes with one room at the Disneyland hotel making it essentially equivalent to one purchase of the Wicked Wench package and one of the basic Black Pearl package). As of writing, the auction is up to $1,370 and there are three days left to bid.

Upcoming are opportunities to win a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean with Disney Imagineers, an opportunity to make your mark on the ride (probably something like the auction for Haunted Mansion that got your name on a tombstone), or even be a pirate in a performance of Fantasmic.

How will people get their music now?

Cast members tell us that the "Wonderland Music Experience," formerly known as the "CD on Demand" system, will be discontinued at Disneyland sometime in September, probably when the 50th Anniversary celebration comes to an official end. The system allows customers at 20th Century Music Company to choose from a catalogue of nearly 60 out-of-print Walt Disney Records titles, and have them burned to a CD while they wait. New titles were last added to the system in December, 2005, and an unofficial Disney music discussion board, MagicMusic.net, has a multi-page list of titles that members would like to see made available in the future.

Unfortunately, it looks like that music collectors may have to wait for another incarnation of music-on-demand to hear more from Disney's record archives. Cast members were told to suspend sales of the CDs last week, in part because they were running low of the raw materials (blank CDs and empty jewel cases) needed to produce them, while the fate of the system was discussed. Then CMs learned that the system would remain in place through September, and a new shipment of materials arrived over the weekend.

The "Wonderland Music Experience" is also offered at Walt Disney World, and we have not yet heard if the Florida version will also be removed. Disneyland CMs tell us that it is possible that the most popular titles from the program will be offered in the future as regular packaged CDs, and that the entire catalogue might wind up offered for download through the Disney Music store at iTunes.

This and that...

...As part of the renovation, the kitchen for Cafe Orleans was significantly expanded. In fact, it expanded into the space formerly occupied by La Petite Patisserie. La Petite Patisserie has been closed for many years (and the signage was removed almost two years ago) but this is the final knock-out for any immensely slim hope of it ever returning. This is also a good time to mention to readers why it is still listed as a Disneyland dining location in our Disneyland Resort Park Guide. Even though it hasn't been open for years and everybody knew it would never reopen, it is still listed by Disney on their Web site (link). So, until they officially remove it we'll leave it in our listing with appropriate notes about its real status so that readers won't get confused as to why we missed a place that Disney says still exists. This is also the case with several dining locations in Disney's California Adventure that are essentially permanently closed but still appear at the Disneyland.com Web site.


This is the photo that the Disneyland.com Web site shows for its page on La Petite Patisserie. Photo ©Disney.


This is the actual current view of that location. You'd never even know it was there. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

...When it happens twice it is a tradition. Shortly after being sold, the Anaheim Angels officially changed their team name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. And now, shortly after being sold, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are officially severing their ties to a classic Emilio Estevez movie and are becoming simply the Anaheim Ducks.

...If you have a summer trip booked this year and have already been planning out your days you might want to take another look at them, particularly if you're an open-to-close-commando type when visiting the parks. Beginning July 9 Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure have lopped an hour off the end of the posted operating schedules for the parks on Mondays through Thursdays. Disneyland will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and DCA will be 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Previously posted schedules had Disneyland open until midnight seven days a week and DCA open every day until 10:00 p.m. We do not know why this change was implemented (and has some reminiscing about the era when summer at Disneyland meant closing at 1:00 a.m. and shopping until 2:00 a.m.) and some are speculating about continuing staffing problems. It is, however, at Disney's discretion to change hours even once they've been announced and it may still be the case that many of these dates will see the park open that extra hour and just not be announced until that day.

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

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

  • Main Street Mad Hatter closed until June 30 for refurbishment and expansion.
  • Fantasmic! dark June 17 - June 28, 2006, for activities surrounding premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia closed June 17 - June 28, 2006, for decoration and then removal of decoration related to premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds closed August 28 - November 22 for complete refurbishment.
  • Haunted Mansion closed September 5 - September 28 for installation of Haunted Mansion Overlay.
  • Disneyland Railroad closed September 18 - September 22 for unknown reasons, probably general maintenance.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently under construction and will open sometime in 2007.

Disney's California Adventure

  • Francis' Lady Bug Boogie closed June 17 - July 13 for general maintenance.
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.

June

  • Cars at El Capitan Theater. June 9 - July 4. The accompanying show is a demonstration of a real pit stop.
  • Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure DVD rerelease. June 20 - July 15. DVD available for $5 off at Disneyland Resort stores.
  • Leroy & Stitch DVD release. June 27 - June 29. DVD available for $5 off at Disneyland Resort stores.
  • Pirates 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. Accompanying 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).
  • Disneyland's 51st Birthday and MousePlanet's 6th. July 17. Details of any special events unknown.

August

  • Fantasia at Hollywood Bowl. August 18 and 19. Live orchestral performances of songs from Fantasia with video clips from movie. Conducted by John Mauceri. August 18 (link); August 19 (link)
  • 64th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon). August 23-27 at the Anaheim Convention Center (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. Presale tickets are available to Annual Passholders and Disney Visa members through June 10.


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
6/26 6/27 6/28 6/29 6/30 7/1

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

7/2 7/3 7/4 7/5 7/6 7/7 7/8

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

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC/DX

7/9 7/10 7/11 7/12 7/13 7/14 7/15

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a-11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a-11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a-11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
SL/SC

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–10p
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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