Disneyland Park Updateby Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Update for February 27-March 6, 2006
Go directly to: News & Views | Current Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Schedule/Blockout Dates
MouseAdventure: Hold the Date
There are some logistical issues to take into consideration before everything is finalized but it can be announced that the next MouseAdventure will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2006. Registration and full details should open by the end of the week but you can go ahead and mark this down on your calendar. For more general information about MouseAdventure, see our MouseAdventure page (link).
It looks like the last week of June could be a very busy period for Pirates of the Caribbean. With only one more week until the attraction closes for a long refurbishment and the ride's first major narrative changes in 40 years, the various last-chance-to-ride gatherings are coming together. Meanwhile, people are still talking about just what they think of it all. We'll run plenty more of the letters we've received in a future MousePlanet mailbag, but here are some representative examples.
Sharon wrote in with a tone of mixed emotion that has been very common in the responses:
I read with mixed emotions about the changes for Pirates. I like things to stay the same as they are rememberances of good memories/great times, but would welcome new additions to the park as we desperately need them. I just have a hard time with changes made to one of the classics!
The number of letters we received with a positive view of the changes was surprisingly large, with Andrea's letter a good example of the sentiments:
I roll my eyes at all of the negetivity thrown at the updates that are to come. Johnny Depp was nominated as Best Actor for the movie at the Oscars, for heaven's sake! His character will blend in perfectly with the rest of the pirates installed in the ride already and the character encompasses the whole goofy feel of the ride. Jack Sparrow's presence will only exemplify this, finally provide a more clear storyline, and make the ride far more fresh for the newer generation so the ride will be even more special to youngsters for years to come. We can't let Disneyland become a museum Walt never wanted it that way. And, marketing-wise, this is a very smart move. Most people go on the ride and they don't understand why Jack Sparrow isn't in it, and Disney gets complaints. Locals don't own the park, people from all over the world experience it. The movie was able to stand on its own with a beautiful inspiration from the ride. It only makes sense that the movie and ride should continue to compliment each other.
Of course, there are plenty of naysayers as well, and Andrew (at 14, one of the younger generation so many of the letters tried to predict) will stand in for that position:
When I found out that Pirates is going under rehab and incorporating Jack Sparrow and the movie characters into the ride, I was furious. Pirates is a classic attraction that Walt Disney himself designed and created. It was the last ride that he personally oversaw before his death, which makes it even more special. People come from all over the world to see the magic that Walt has created, not life-size movie characters they can see at home. It seems like the Disney company is going completely commercial. The Swiss Family Treehouse gave way to Tarzan. The Country Bear Playhouse was removed to add a Pooh attraction. Even the Haunted Mansion has the dumb Nightmare Before Christmas overlay in the winter. That movie wasn't even that good in my opinion. Now we have a Finding Nemo ride coming in and the Pirates of the Caribbean movie characters barging in on the attraction. All of this is a way to sell more and more stuff at gift shops. Has the company lost the Disney spirit? Walt Disney would not approve of this commercialism in his park. We can't let these people ruin the spirit of Disney and Disneyland. When will Disneyland stop going commercial? I hope the Disney company will realize what they're really doing before it's too late. Thank you for your time.
While Andrea's general view (minus the idea that Disneyland is just now becoming commercial) was the biggest camp of the three, it wasn't as lopsided as expected. If you'd like to write in with your thoughts or comment on any of these three letters, we'd still love to hear from you (link).
Meanwhile, the scope of things when the ride does reopen on June 24* became a little clearer when the Disney Gallery/Walt Disney Event Services Web site put up a placeholder page for a Pirates of the Caribbean merchandising event (link). While no specific information information is yet provided, not even a date, it seems most likely that this merchandise event will be tied to the reopening of the ride.
One can only imagine the mad scramble for tickets if it should be the case (and it is pure speculation on our part to even suggest it) that one of the event packages includes admission to the actual world premiere screening at Disneyland (it need be noted as well that there even being such a premiere at Disneyland this summer is still technically a rumor). If all of this is happening simultaneously (a merchandise event, the reopening of the ride, a major Hollywood premiere) then it will be a strain on the improved expectations from the recent string of mostly successful merchandise events.
Pirates of the Caribbean last hosted its own merchandise event on May 20, 2000, and it was a legendary fiasco for most participants (see here for MousePlanet's write-up back in 2000). There is no reason, of course, to expect anything like that again, but the bar has not been set very high for a Pirates merchandise event so here's hoping they don't try to just clear that bar.
In addition to the merchandise event, Disneyland will also have a Pirates of the Caribbean themed pin-collecting event from June 23 through August 13 (assuming it doesn't meet the same fate as last year's pin quest which was cancelled at the last minute). The event is called "Pirates of the Caribbean: Legend of the Golden Pins" and while not much is yet known, you can bookmark the page at Disney Pin Trading (link).
The news that has really rumbled through the online Disney communities is that early last week all members of the Dapper Dans received notifications that their contracts would not be renewed and that March 25 would be their last day. Since then it has been reported that there will be a "reaudition" for a new group, though it is unknown whether this will be another version of the Dapper Dans or some entirely new act is unknown. There has also been some speculation that this is some type of negotiating tactic or an attempt by management to push out older members nearing retirement. Both of these theories are simple speculation and so far as we know have no supporting evidence.
The Dapper Dans during a recent performance on Main Street. Photo by David Michael.
Just in case, though, if you're a fan of the Dapper Dans, you'll want to try and find time to catch one of their performances throughout the day on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Perhaps you can combine it with your goodbye visit to Pirates of the Caribbean this weekend. You can probably also expect to find other fans trailing them around their performances on March 25, unless new news comes out before then.
At this point, little is known as fact an there is plenty of speculation circulating. It seems, though, that the best case scenario is that after an auditioning process new members will be selected to keep the Dapper Dans going. The worst case scenario would be the disbanding of the group with no replacement at all; almost as bad for some people is the thought of Disneyland offering a completely new group in an attempt to be more hip for the younger kids.
If you do stop by to catch their last performances, kind words are always appreciated but keep in mind that they're performing on stage and won't be able to stand around commisserating much.
For readers unfamiliar with the Dapper Dans, they are a barbershop quartet that has been singing and goofing around on Main Street since nearly the beginning of Disneyland, being brought together in 1957. Obviously, the Dapper Dans has not been the same four people for those 49 years, and the group has had more than 100 members over the decades. In 1971, Walt Disney World also got a group of its own. That group is also still performing and there is no reason to believe they would be affected by any decisions at Disneyland.
More lagoon progress
Photo by David Michael.
Photo by David Michael.
Photo by David Michael.
Photo by David Michael.
This and that
The lockers in the Disneyland picnic area were removed last week and are to be replaced with new lockers, some of which will be bigger and more accommodating of the paraphernalia that goes along with a family picnic. Since the new security gates were formalized a couple years ago, the picnic area lockers are no longer accessible from inside the secure area and haven't been useful for storing stuff and being easily available from inside the park.
The picnic area lockers are no longer there, but will shortly be replaced. Photo by Alex Stroup.
We had put Parade of Dreams on the closure calendar for March 1 and 2. At the time we did so, it was because the online Disneyland calendar didn't list the parade for those days while listing it in the surrounding days. We hadn't heard a reason for going dark, but with various paving projects going on along the route guessed that might be it. We failed to pay further attention and the parade has since appeared on the calendar for those days. We apologize for any confusion.
And to replace Parade of Dreams on the closure list add the Golden Horseshoe for a month from May 15 to June 15. The building will get some general upkeep and the dining options will be updated to a new menu not so focused on the fryer's bountiful harvest. It is still not completely known whether Billy Hill and the Hillbillies will get some time off or be moved to other venues as they have in the past.
Also on the closure list and causing some controversy is the status of the area around Goofy's Bounce House. It is shown as closed on the online Disneyland calendar until this Thursday (March 2) and then is no longer on it. It seems hard to believe that unless the new playground is truly basic that the area will really be opening on Friday, but it is a possibility and nobody we've spoken to has the inside scoop. If you have any information, we'd love to hear it (link).
A pumpkin and watermelon are back in Goofy's garden. Photo by David Michael.
This pumpkin has vision problems. Photo by David Michael.
The third of Marie Osmond's princess dolls, Snow White, will be released on Monday, April 3. The edition size is 300 and the doll is priced at $179.
Image © Disney.
It appears there has been a bit of a policy change with DCA's Block Party Bash parade. On days when the parade only uses two of the route's three "party zones," it will use the first zone (Sunshine Plaza) and the third zone (the Golden Dreams end of Paradise Pier), moving straight through the second zone (A Bug's Land) without stopping.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email us here.
- Snow White, An Enchanted Musical closed. On hiatus during off season; expected to return for final season in summer 2006.
- Goofy's Bounce House. Closed permanently as of January 8, 2005. Will be replaced with outdoor toddler playground.
- Haunted Mansion closes January 18 March 9 for removal of the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay and more extensive refurbishments.
- Pirates of the Caribbean closed March 6 June 24, 2006, for major refurbishment and show updates. Must reopen in time for Pirates of the Caribben: Dead Man's Chest in late June (movies opens nationally July 7).
- Blue Bayou Restaurant closed March 6 June 16, 2006 for the duration of the Pirates of the Caribbean closure.
- Cafe Orleans Restaurant rumored to close March 6 June 16, 2006, for redesign into full service restaurant.
- Disneyland Monorail goes into shuttle mode (one way trips only) January 2006. Complete closure for station redesign will not happen until later in 2006.
- Golden Horseshoe closed May 15 - June 15 for refurbishment and kitchen changes.
- River Belle Terrace unofficially 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.
Disney's California Adventure
- Department of Untapped Hilarity (D.U.H.) on hiatus. Might return for the 2006 summer season.
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail closed January 3 February 28, 2006, for major refurbishment.
- Mullholland Madness closed April 24 - May 27.
Note: Refurbishment schedules are estimates only. All information is subject to change without notice. To get the most recent updates, call Disneyland at (714) 7817290.
If you know of any events, official or unofficial, that should be listed here, let us know.
- Free Crispitos at Rancho del Zocalo with annual pass. Entire month of February. Free Crispitos dessert (tortilla chips flavored with cinnamon sugar) with the purchase of an adult entree and beverage.
- Eight Below at El Capitan Theater. February 17-March 2.
- Discounted Lady and the Tramp DVD. February 28 - March 16. Purchase DVD at Emporium, 20th Century Music, Off the Page, Greetings from California, or World of Disney for $5 off regular price of $24.99.
- Flashback. March 5, 8:30 p.m. A cast member talent show and charity fundraiser. This year, for the first time, annual passholders can purchase tickets to the performance. For information and purchase call 714-781-4400.
- Walt Disney Company annual shareholders' meeting. March 10. Begins at 10:00 a.m. (doors open at 9:00 a.m.) at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. Attendance is limited to shareholder (as of January 9, 2006) and one guest. Attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited by seating capacity of Arrowhead Pond. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m and registrants must show photo ID. If you own stock through a brokerage account you must provide a statement showing such. Cameras and other recording equipment are not allowed (link, PDF).
- The Shaggy Dog at El Capitan Theater. March 10 - April 13. Reportedly the sideshow for this run will be a show by stunt dogs that worked in the movie (or are similar to the movie; details are unclear).
- Walt Disney Classics Collection Spring Premiere Event. March 24-26. Unknown what else will be available but the leading item will be a limited edition (4,000) Stitch sculpture at World of Disney (link).
- The Wild at El Capitan Theater. April 14 - May 11. Side show unknown.
- MouseAdventure. April 30, no official details released yet.
- Cars at El Capitan Theater. June 9 - July 4. Side show unknown.
- 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 two weeks prior to that.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at El Capitan Theater. July 7 - September 4. Side show unknown.
- Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. September 15-17. For more information and registration see the official Web site (link, warning: horribly annoying embedded music)
- Gay Days. October 6 - 8. Unofficial event (link).
DCA: Disney's California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates:
- SL Southern California Select Annual Pass
- SC Southern California Annual Pass
- DX Deluxe Annual Pass
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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.