Disneyland Park Update

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Go directly to: News & Views | Current Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Schedule/Blockout Dates

News and Views

Crowning Glory on the Princess Diaries 2 Red Carpet

by Shoshana Lewin, staff writer

On August 7, Downtown Disney (Downtown Disney) was full of fans—those who waited hours to see the stars of Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and the hand-held ones carried down the red carpet to ward off summer heat.

Stilt walkers dressed as maids, ball balancers and even the famous Genovian pear juggler entertained the waiting fans along ESPN Zone near the entrance to Downtown Disney's AMC Theaters. Some of them had arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. from Claremont, Riverside, San Pedro and even Chicago, hoping to get autographs from Princess star Anne Hathaway, Disney Channel teen-queen Raven, and American Idol Kelly Clarkson.

Garry Marshall and wife, Barbara, are among the first to arrive to the world premiere of Princess Diaries II at Downtown Disney. Marshall returned to direct the sequel. Photo by Alex Stroup.

At 1 p.m., as trumpeters announced the arrival of the celeb-laden limos (one of which broke down in the parking lot and had to be replaced), screams of “Kelly” and “Julie” (as in Andrews) permeated the air.

But the theme of the day was royalty, and everyone—from Disney princesses to teen queens—had their own views on it.

Thirteen-year-old cutie Emma Roberts, star of the new Nick series, Unfabulous, said her favorite is Sleeping Beauty, but her sister is a fan of Cinderella.

When asked which Disney princess he would date, 13-year-old Erik Per Sullivan, who plays Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle, as well as voices Sheldon the seahorse in Finding Nemo, said, with a smile, “They might be a little bit out of my league. I'm not a prince.”

American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson receives the biggest spectator response at the red-carpet world premiere of Princess Diaires II, held in Downtown Disney. Clarkson sings “Breakaway,” a tune from the Princess Diaries II soundtrack that has been released as a single. Photo by Alex Stroup.

Last Comic Standing's Tammy Pescatelli said she always had a connection with Snow White. “She was the only one with the dark hair and the blue eyes and she hung around with a bunch of little guys. And growing up in an Italian family… we're all really short.”

Halloweentown star, Kimberly J. Brown is partial to Little Mermaid and said she “watched that movie over and over and cried every time.”

Brown also gave MousePlanet the inside scoop on the Disney Channel's Halloweentown 3. The movie continues the Cromwell story by introducing an “exchange” program between the monster world and the mortal realm, and Brown confirmed that silver screen legend Debbie Reynolds will return in the role of Grandma Aggie. She added that Reynolds has become like a grandmother to her in real life, as well.

Real life “princess,” Miss Teen U.S.A., Shelly Hennig, who was crowned in Palm Springs the night before, was all smiles on the red carpet despite only having gotten two hours of sleep. When asked about her newly acquired royal status and if she was always meant to be wearing a crown, the former Miss Teen Louisiana said, “My dad said when I was born, I wasn't born a regular girl, I was born a princess… so he knew before I did.”

Princess Diaries II producer Whitney Houston, husband Bobby Brown, and daughter Bobbi attend the red-carpet world premiere of the movie at Downtown Disney. Photo by Alex Stroup.

Callum Blue, who plays Andrew Jacoby in Princess, said the film's romantic triangle, where he and Chris Pine (who plays Sir Nicholas), vie for Mia's heart, isn't too far off from real life. He then jokingly “spit” on the face of Pine in a photo handed to him of the two of them with Hathaway.

“Women become a lot more attractive when there's another guy after them,” said the sexy Brit. “It's just human nature.”

Princess producer Debra Martin Chase noted that she got involved with the project after reading the book. “I said, 'I could so relate to this.' Being a princess was my fantasy growing up. In some ways it is the ultimate fantasy,” she said. “I wanted my bedroom to be the Taj Mahal.”

Being a princess is one thing, but being a queen is something else. When Queen Clarisse aka Mary Poppins aka Julie Andrews reached the carpet, a buzz went through the crowd and a wave of smiles appeared on everyone's faces.

Julie Andrews walks the red carpet with Minnie and Mickey. Andrews reprised her role as Clarisse Renaldi, the queen of Genovia, in the sequel to the popular Princess Diaries, released in 2001. Photo by Alex Stroup.

When asked what it was like to be Disney royalty, the Oscar and Emmy winner told MousePlanet, “Well, you get very spoiled. They do such a wonderful job of taking care of people. They have such good hearts and I feel very, very special.”

Other Princess faces included: Hector Elizondo (bodyguard Joseph); Larry Miller (hairdresser Paolo); a very blonde Heather Matarazzo (Mia's best friend, Lily), director Garry Marshall and daughter, Kathleen (the queen's right-hand, Charlotte); Caroline Goodall (Mia's mom, Helen); songwriter Diane Warren (writer of Lindsay Lohan's “I Decide,” off the movie's soundtrack); producer Whitney Houston; and many new faces sure to become household names in the near future.

Other notables and their families included, Bobby Brown, Marcia Gay Harden, Holly Robinson Peete, Michelle Trachtenberg, Ed Begley Jr., Jasmine Guy, Lainie Kazan; Survivor Jenna Lewis, Spy Kid Darryl Sabara, Amy Yasbeck, and Disneyland President Matt Ouimet.

Many Disney “couples” also graced the carpet, including Mickey and Minnie, Pocahontas and John Smith, Snow White and the Prince, Aladdin and Jasmine, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella and Prince Charming, who said the best thing about being with Cinderella is, “Waking up everyday married to the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Anne Hathaway, the last to arrive, is greeted by two younger princesses during the red-carpet world premiere of Princess Diaries II. Twenty-one-year-old Hathaway returns as Mia Thermopolis, the princess of Genovia, Photo by Alex Stroup.

After the screening at the AMC theater in Downtown Disney, a royal gala was held at Disney's California Adventure. Many of the stars entered the park via cars and were dropped off at the Hollywood Pictures Backlot where they walked down another red carpet to the Muppet Vision 3D/SuperStar Limo area. Everyone at the party left with a tiara (well, the women anyway) and a bag full of goodies including bath and body products, Lip Smackers necklaces and Sees candy—in addition to Fastpass tickets for Soarin' Over California and the new Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Later this week, MousePlanet will have a review of Princess Diaries 2 and of the post-movie Princess Tea at the El Capitan in Hollywood.

Hector Elizondo (left) and others are escorted via horseless carriage to a private party in Hollywood Pictures Backlot in Disney's California Adventure park after the world premiere of Princess Diaries II, held at Downtown Disney's AMC Theater. Elizondo reprised his role as bodyguard Joseph in the sequel. Photo by Alex Stroup.

Royal Rewards

The synergy continues from August 11 through September 30 with the Disneyland Resort's Royal Deal. The promotion allows guests purchasing one-day admission to either Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure and presenting their ticket stub from Princess Diaries 2 to receive a free mini movie poster (while supplies last), $5 in Disney Dollars, and up to 20 percent off on select merchandise at the resort. The offer is not good on any other admission tickets and is only valid at the main gate.

Fastpass disappears from Pooh attraction

[We were going to run an item here about Critter Country's Winnie the Pooh ride losing its Fastpass dispensers last Friday, but MousePad member superadamohx did such a good job reporting about it that we thought it best to simply share his post verbatim.]

If you've got a few old orange Winnie the Pooh Fastpass tickets lying around, save 'em somewhere special—because they're officially a thing of the past. As of this morning, Fastpass is no longer available for Pooh, and the ride's distribution machines have been taken over by Splash Mountain.

Little evidence that Pooh was ever a Fastpass attraction even remains; the distribution area signs were swapped for permanent Splash ones last night, and a simple sign covering the clock at Pooh's Fastpass return entrance announces that the service is not available.

The demise of Fastpass at Pooh confirms rumors that were spurred by the removal of Fastpass at several other resort attractions last month, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Attendance has never soared at the Critter Country attraction, with lines rarely exceeding 10 minutes.

Pooh's Fastpass machines are back to being used for Splash Mountain, as they were originally used. Photo by Alex Stroup.

When Pooh opened in April 2003, it took over the distribution location that Splash Mountain had used for several years. A new distribution area was built for Splash Mountain by the Haunted Mansion exit, in a place previously utilized on busy days as an extended queue. The long lines to get a Splash Mountain Fastpass, combined with the steady flow of guests exiting the Haunted Mansion, created a narrow, crowded “pinch point” that resulted in frequent confusion and frustration for guests.

Complicating the matter was that, in the midst of the move, Splash's Fastpass return entrace stayed exactly where it was—completely around the mountain from the distribution area. Guests frequently spent an hour or more in the slow-moving standby line only to be told that they waited patiently, valid Fastpasses in hand, in the wrong line.

Also, many visitors simply missed Splash's new distribution location and mistook Pooh's Fastpass machines for the Splash ones. Not much fun for guests who made the mistake, and even less fun for the cast member who had to break the news that they couldn't ride, since even on slow days, Splash's Fastpass distribution books out long before park closing. The closure of Pooh's Fastpass service and Splash's return to the previous distribution location, with much closer proximity to the Fastpass return entrance, should remedy these problems for good.

Splash Mountain's most recent Fastpass location is now closed up, with its signs covered. Photo by Alex Stroup.

The Splash Fastpass machines by the Mansion exit still remain, but they have been covered and closed off to guests. The “distribution” side of the marquis has been covered in an attractive burlap wrap.

Tween Scene

It looks like the Downtown Disney location recently vacated by Petals will reopen as a “club-style” boutique targeted at the lucrative tween market of preteens ages 9 to 12 (“in between” childhood and teen-aged) who have allowance money to spend. The new store will offer clothing and makeup.

Get ready for the tween invasion—Downtown Disney has a new tenant. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Ears to the ground

…Le Mascarade shop in New Orleans Square has reopened as a pin trading location. Cast members say they wish the store still carried the ecclectic mix of gifts and collectibles it was once known for, but “at least the doors are open.”

Got any interesting news or rumors? Contact us here.

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures


Note: Disneyland is progressively closing more and more attractions as the park readies for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2005.

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle closed through November 23.
  • Aladdin's Oasis closed through March 11, 2005.
  • Plaza Pavilion closed through March 11, 2005.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room closed through March 11, 2005.
  • Space Mountain closed through November 2005.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closed indefinitely, pending results of the DOSH inspection. For more information about the latest accident, see our BTMRR Accident page.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely; not listed on park maps or the Disneyland Web site.

Disney's California Adventure

  • Superstar Limo closed indefinitely; not listed on park maps or the Disneyland Web site

Upcoming Closures

  • Snow White's Scary Adventures closes August 16 – September 10.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean closes September 2 for a one-day rehab
  • Star Tours reduces capacity, as each of the four cabins rotate through refurbishment September 7–22.
  • Haunted Mansion closes September 7 – October 1 for installation of Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. Closed January 10–25, 2005 for removal of Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
  • King Triton's Carousel closes September 20–30
  • Mad Tea Party closes September 20 – October 21
  • Maliboomer reduced capacity (2 of 3 towers operating) November 1–25, January 3–22, 31, 2005 – March 12, 2005.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds closes September 7 – November 13.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia closes September 7 – November 30.
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish reduces capacity January 21, 2005 – March 5, 2005.

Disneyland Resort Hotels

  • Disneyland Hotel Convention Center lobby, upper level & lower level closed through September 1.
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.