Disneyland Park Update

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
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News and Views

Room for 1,001?

"Cyrus the Cryptkeeper" calls on the spirits at the midnight "burial" of Cary "Jay" Sharp on Thursday night. Photo by Scott Brinegar, © Disney.

On Thursday, October 21, Cary "Jay" Sharp won the right to become the honorary 1,000th ghost at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion in a charity auction on eBay. One week later, the doctor and health care attorney was the "ghost of honor" at a tongue-in-cheek wake to celebrate the installation of his tombstone.

Spooks arrive for a midnight spree. Sharp comes out for his swinging wake in a horse-drawn buggy. Photo by Scott Brinegar, © Disney.

Cary "Jay" Sharp will be memorialized as a bit too much of a workaholic. Photo by Scott Brinegar, © Disney.

Last Thursday, at the stroke of midnight, Sharp was delivered to the gates of the Haunted Mansion in a black horse-drawn carriage, and was greeted by Phineas, Ezra and Gus, the Mansion's trio of hitchhiking ghosts. He also received a one-of-a-kind miniature replica of the tombstone and a "Death" certificate of authenticity officially recognizing the addition to the attraction. His gravestone is located in front of a quintet of ghostly musicians who eternally perform in the attraction's graveyard scene.

"Cyrus the Cryptkeeper" assists Sharp in reading his paperwork as hitchhiking ghosts Phineas, Ezra and Gus (behind Cyrus) look on eagerly. Photo by Scott Brinegar, © Disney.

Hitchhiking ghosts Phineas, Ezra and Gus (l. to r.) assist "Cyrus the Cryptkeeper" in unveiling a copy of Sharp's tombstone. Photo by Scott Brinegar, © Disney.

Several Disney watchers have expressed concern over the sale of in-park tributes, formerly reserved for honoring those who have made substantial contributions to the development of the park.

Cyrus holds Sharp's Death Certificate of Authenticity as Sharp holds a replica of his very own tombstone. Photo by Scott Brinegar, © Disney.

Marching Orders

David Koenig reports:

Concerns have surfaced over the upcoming 50th Anniversary parade at Disneyland. The elaborate show will include a half-dozen Light Magic-sized floats that will periodically stop along the parade route for the actors to perform. Noted one observer: "Some cast members in parades and guest control are worried over the huge size of the floats, the length of the parade, and safety issues. Guest Control crews are drawing up plans for the parade and the fireworks, and they feel it is going to be trouble. One lead said she had nightmares just thinking about it." Others wondered if the gigantic floats would be difficult to navigate or too heavy for the pavement, said the "show stops" conjured up memories of poorly received Light Magic, and feared impatient guests would not wait for the crossovers.

At the same time next year, Disney's California Adventure will feature a "Pixar parade." The procession will include floats and characters from the Toy Story films, Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. The parade will coordinate with the unveiling of the new Buzz Lightyear attraction in Tomorrowland and — some speculate — possible announcements of a planned Finding Nemo sub ride at Disneyland and a Monsters Inc. dark ride at DCA.

Character dining shakeup

Changes are occurring this week at some of the resort's character dining spots. Winnie the Pooh and friends are being replaced at the Plaza Inn. Starting tomorrow, the character breakfasts will star Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, Jasmine and Aladdin, and Belle and the Beast, Mulan and Mary Poppins. The new characters will be bringing a new price, as well. Breakfast will now run you $21.95.

Another change across the way in DCA, as November 24 will see Captain Mickey and his seaside friends take over Ariel's Grotto. Conflicting reports have Ariel either staying on with Mickey or taking a swim.

These changes come on the heels of the announcement that Lilo and Stitch are taking over from Minnie at the PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel.

No Candlelight dining packages this year

This year, the Candlelight Processional (on December 4 and 5, featuring Marie Osmond) will again be held in front of the Main Street train station in Town Square. When Candlelight is done on Main Street, viewing capacity is increased but seating capacity is extremely limited. This year, the seats will be occupied by Club 33 members who are dining in Club 33 that evening.


The tarps blocking the lower portion of Sleeping Beauty Castle were removed last week, and the whole castle is now visible down Main Street. It will remain this way until after the holiday season, when it will once again get wrapped up to get its final overlay for the big 50th Anniversary celebration kickoff next May.

All tarps have been removed from Sleeping Beauty Castle, and a construction wall preventing visitors from walking through the castle is the only piece remaining. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

The rear entrance to the castle is in the same condition. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

If you move off to the side, such as near the Carnation Plaza Gardens, you can get an unobstructed view of the castle. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

What Time Is It? Holiday Time

Holiday Time Tour

Even though we just had Halloween, it is never to soon to go from spooky to season's greetings. MousePlanet contacted the Disneyland tour line and got the scoop on this year's Holiday Time tour. The tour, which runs from Nov. 19 through early January, will include:

  • Stories about Disneyland holiday traditions and traditions around the world
  • VIP seating at the Christmas Fantasy Parade
  • A sweet treat and a hot chocolate
  • A visit to Haunted Mansion Holiday and Its a Small World Holiday
  • A tour-tag ornament
  • A special tour-only trading pin (this is new this year)

You can make a reservation up to 30 days in advance. The cost of the tour is $49, but there is a special price for Annual Passholders of $39 for certain tour times — check when you call.

New Orleans Square is decorated for the season. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

The tour times vary. From now through Nov. 28, the tour is held at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Nov. 28-Dec. 2 at 3:30 p.m.; Dec. 3 at 1 and 5; Dec 4-7 at 9 a.m. and noon. After that it goes back to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., but that might change.

There will be three tours leaving at each time. Each tour guide can take 15 guests (so a total of 45 people can sign up for any given time slot).

To make a reservation call (714) 781-4400 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. PST. You can pick up your tickets at the windows to the left of the Disneyland Park main entrance. The tour is fun for all ages regardless of religion. To read about last year's tour, go here (link).

Other holiday happenings

"Believe … In Holiday Magic" returns to Disneyland on Friday as the resort kicks off its holiday season, which runs through January 2. The special holiday version of the Disneyland fireworks choreographed to a medley of Christmas tunes concludes with a snowfall along Main Street, Small World Mall and New Orleans Square. "it's a small world holiday" returns the same day.

Giant jingle bells hang in New Orleans Square. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

The "A Christmas Fantasy" parade will run from November 19 through January 2. The "Christmas Candlelight Procession" takes place on December 4 and 5 in Town Square. All of Disneyland Park will be decorated for the season, and will feature a 60-foot Christmas tree in Town Square.

Over in Disney's California Adventure, the park will also be decorated for the season, featuring a 30-foot Christmas tree in Hollywood Pictures Backlot. "Santa's Beach Blast" will take place in Sunshine Plaza, featuring Disney characters, surfer Santa Claus, interactive games for kids and a limbo contest with Lilo and Stitch.

Missing Mezuzah

On a separate note, the mezuzah that Disneyland put up on the west side of Main Street next to the door of Dr. Benjamin Silverstein was apparently taken. According to Disneyland Press and Publicity , the mezuzah, which is a case containing a parchment inscribed with the words of the Torah, was removed from the park sometime over the last few weeks. It was not there during MouseAdventure weekend, Oct. 9-10. Quality control is aware of what happened and they are working on replacing the mezuzah, which Disneyland Press and Publicity says will happen prior to Chanukah (Dec. 7). Dr. Silverstein is a work of Disney fiction and was given a door while Paul Pressler was president of Disneyland so there would be a place to put up Chanukah decorations.

The rear courtyard at New Orleans Square is also dressed up for the season. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

Ears to the ground

…Disneyland has released the third in its series of attraction-based "Big Fig" (big figure) sculptures. Put on sale just before Halloween, the Haunted Mansion figure sells for $195. The first two figures in the series, the Enchanted Tiki Room and Splash Mountain, both sold for $150. It is available in the Disneyana shop in Disneyland, Off the Page at Disney's California Adventure, and World of Disney in Downtown Disney. Availability is limited at this point.

This "Big Fig" sculpture of the Haunted Mansion features flashing lights in the upper windows and gravestones that turn sounds on and off. Photo by Jeff Moxley.

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.
  • “it's a small world” closed through November 4.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds closed through November 23.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle exterior closed through November 23.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia closed through November 30.
  • Fantasmic on hiatus through November during the Sailing Ship Columbia refurbishment.
  • 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.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through closed indefinitely; not listed on park maps or the Disneyland Web site.

Upcoming Disneyland closures

  • Haunted Mansion closes January 10–25, 2005 to remove Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.

Disney's California Adventure

Upcoming DCA closures

  • Maliboomer reduced capacity (2 of 3 towers operating) November 1–25, 2004, and January 3–22, 31 – March 12, 2005.
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish reduced capacity January 21 – March 5, 2005.
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.