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Dateline Disneyland

Admission goes up, Orange Peel, DCA construction, Grand Californian, +more

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by , 08-02-2009 at 10:37 PM
Welcome to the August 3, 2009 edition of Dateline Disneyland. As always this week we'll give you all the latest news and photos from the Disneyland Resort, but don't worry. It's all delivered here fresh for you without Disneyland's new $72 admission fee. Yep, in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Disney is raising admission prices for theme parks across the board. But hey - that money for that great big new World of Color show and Little Mermaid dark ride at California Adventure has gotta come from somewhere, right?

Of course, we'll fill you in on all of that construction work taking place in Disney's California Adventure. All photos dealing with on-going Resort construction projects will be marked with Project Tracker watermarks, which, when clicked, will redirect you to MiceChat's Project Trackers where you'll find the latest news and discussion on any of the Resort's many on-going projects.

Alright, lets get right to it, shall we?

Inside Dateline Disneyland

The first thing guests are now greeted with upon entering the Disneyland Resort Main Entrance Plaza are the newly raised admission fees at ticket booths

In its newly-released Q3 2009 financial reports, Disney reported a 9% revenue drop for theme parks and resorts, and a 19% drop in operating income for the division. The main culprit was Walt Disney World, where heavy ticket discounts are still bringing in guests, but they aren't spending as much on-property.

The biggest price increase was the extra $40 added to the Premium Annual Passport, which routinely only sees a $20 hike.

David "Darkbeer" Michael posted a full list of the price increases on MiceChat:
MiceChat: The full list of Disneyland Ticket Price Increases as of Sunday, August 2nd

Park Tickets
  • One Day, One Park Ticket - $72/$62 ($3 increase)
  • One Day ParkHopper - $97/$87 ($3 increase)
  • Two Day ParkHopper - $151/$131 ($8 increase)
  • Three Day ParkHopper - $204/$174 ($5 increase)
  • Four Day ParkHopper - $229/$199 ($5 increase)
  • Five Day ParkHopper - $249/$219 ($5 increase)
  • Six Day ParkHopper - $254/$224 ($5 increase)

Annual Passports
  • Southern California Select - $144 ($10 increase)
  • Southern California - $194 ($20 increase)
  • Deluxe - $289 ($20 increase)
  • Premium - $429 ($40 increase)
  • Parking Add-on - $59 (no change)
  • Blockout Pass - $45 ($5 increase)

Inside the parks, little perks that were once free are again beginning to get price tags.

Disney rolled out "custom" embroidery for Ear Hats within the last year or so, charging $7 for the choice between two "custom" fonts, and a different thread color. The basic embroidery, which was previously done by hand, but phased out to computerized machines in recent years, remained free. Not anymore. Disney is now charging $3 for basic embroidery on hats. Not only is the service stripped of the personal human touch that helped make it so special before, but now it costs you $3 to have a cold machine spell your name out on the back of your Mickey ears. Ah, Disney magic.

Speaking of Disney magic, no matter how much it costs, it takes time and lots of work to make it happen. Disney's California Adventure can tell you this first hand, as it continues to go under the knife to try to get its fair share of Mouse's special touch. Will it work? Only time will tell, but until then, we're here to fill you in on all the construction.

World of Color & Paradise Park Viewing Area
The progress on the massive World of Color and new viewing area continues

New wooden posts have gone up along the back of Paradise Bay, near the California Screamin' launch.

The World of Color utility boxes in Paradise Bay continue to get themed

The utility box between the Orange Stinger and Golden Zephyr looks to be nearly complete.

Mickey's Fun Wheel provides great views of the construction

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
The Golden Dreams mural has finally been removed. The Palace of Fine Arts rotunda will remain, however, integrated into the upcoming Little Mermaid facade.

The support bases for the mural are still there

Orange, peeled
The Orange Stinger is finally starting to get peeled as it begins its transformation into the Silly Symphony Swings.

Lucky Fortune Cookery
The new home of the Lucky Fortune Cookery is set to open mid-September.

The wall above the ordering windows has had its Mission Tortilla Factory signage painted over with a Pescadero Brand Sardines logo

Cars Land
Preliminary groundwork on the future home of Cars Land continues as the old parking lot asphalt is removed.

The new structure on the far end of the former Timon Lot is coming along...

The Disney Vacation Club expansion of the Grand Californian Hotel is progressing nicely for a September 23 opening.

A new 40th Anniversary Haunted Mansion Mickey Mouse plush has been released, individually numbered limited edition of 1500.

Disneyana has a window display of all of the great new 40th Anniversary Haunted Mansion merchandise designed by artist Shag.

A complete list (with photos) of the Shag Haunted Mansion merchandise can be found at

Over in Fantasyland, the Mad Tea Party teacup photo-op that was first added for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary celebration, has finally been removed.

You can still see the curbing for the teacup photo-op

And construction walls have reappeared in front of the Fantasia Gardens smoking area for underground work in the area.

And we'll finish up the photo portion of today's column with a look around the park. You can click on these images for full-resolution downloads at the images' Flickr photo pages.


For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Theme Park Calendar
Disneyland Park
Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight

Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday - Sunday 10 am - 9 pm

Disneyland Park
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey: Closed July 20 through August 14.
  • The Enchanted Cottage: Closed July 29 through November 17.
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed August 31 through November 20.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats: Closed August 31 through November 19.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed September 8 - 10.
  • Space Mountain: Closed September 8 - 24 to install "Ghost Galaxy" Halloween overlay.
  • Minnie's House: Closed September 9
  • The Haunted Mansion: Closed September 10 - 24 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay
  • Big Thunder Ranch: Closed September 14 - 24 to install Halloween overlay
  • Gadget's Go Coaster: Closed September 19 through October 26
  • The Disney Gallery: Opens September 26, 2009 in the Bank of Main Street
  • Pirates of the Caribbean & Blue Bayou Restaurant: Closed September 28 through October 2.
  • Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years/Main Street Opera House: Closed. Reopens as The Disneyland Story: Featuring Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln December 17, 2009.

Disney's California Adventure Park
  • Orange Stinger: Closed for retheming. Reopens Spring 2010
  • Cocina Cucomonga: Food service location closed June 18, when new location opened. Original location reopens with new Asian-style menu September 14.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure: Under construction.
  • Souvenir 66 and Corn Dog Castle: Store and dining location closed for remodeling through May 2011.
  • Paradise Bay: Drained for construction of upcoming Disney's World of Color show.
  • Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: New show under construction. Debuts Spring 2010.
  • Golden State Park and Amphitheater: Closed. New, larger amphitheater for Disney's World of Color viewing under construction in same location. The new amphitheater will open December 2009.

A Los Angeles radio station has teamed up with Disney to allow four guests to stay the night in the Haunted Mansion's stretching portrait chambers in a special promotional giveaway in honor of the attraction's upcoming 40th anniversary.
Disneyland allows guests to sleep in Haunted Mansion
Four brave souls are scheduled to spend the night in Disneyland’s chamber with no windows and no doors.

Disneyland is permitting guests to sleep in the Haunted Mansion for what is believed to be the first time as part of the ride’s 40th anniversary. Classic rock radio station, KLOS 95.5, is running a promotion to win an overnight stay inside the ride.

Beds will be set up in an elevator at the entrance of the ride, said Roxane Requio, KLOS’ manager of marketing and promotions. That’s the chamber that visitors first enter in the attraction. The room stretches as guests descend to the bottom where they walk to the “doom” buggies. The narrator announces: “This chamber has no windows, and no doors. Which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!”
The contest offers a rare opportunity for guests to sleep in the theme park. Last year, a Dream Suite over Pirates of the Caribbean hosted contest winners, but the suite now is used for private events.

Disneyland also held a few sleepovers, including one for the Boy Scouts, said Disneyland spokeswoman Michele Himmelberg. But Disney officials couldn’t immediately recall a recent time when guests were permitted to sleep inside a ride.
The Haunted Mansion contest is selective.

During the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mark and Brian show since July 20, contestants have called in when the deejays announce “Kids Break,” Requio said. Children under 12 years old get on the air by performing a talent, like singing or telling jokes.

Everyone who gets on the air wins a four-person pass to Disneyland.

Radio staff members will pick the top five or 10 performers and put them on the station’s Web site, where viewers can vote for their favorites. The overnight-stay winner will be picked Tuesday.

UPDATE: Requio of KLOS confirmed that the contest has ended. Voting for the Kids Break finalists runs until Tuesday. The finalists are on the station’s Web site.
“We’re getting tons of calls,” Requio said. “Some people stay on hold for as long as they can because you never know when they are going to do it.”

The Haunted Mansion will stay open as usual Aug. 9 — the ride’s 40th birthday. After the park closes, winners can snuggle up in their spooky suite, although the night may not be so restful or private. A live feed will be broadcast from inside the mansion that night on from midnight to 6 a.m.

“The Haunted Mansion is 40 years old and, like any building its age, it may be full of creaks and other eerie noises throughout the night,” according to Himmelberg. “The guests may also be visited by the ‘occupants’ of the Haunted Mansion.”

Mark and Brian will broadcast from the park the following morning. The Haunted Mansion’s 40th-anniversary promotion coincides with the radio station’s 40th anniversary.
For the full article, visit Around Disney: Disneyland allows guests to sleep in Haunted Mansion
From the OC Register's Around Disney blog:
Disney workers shed pounds of weight for pounds of food
Disney employees are trading pounds for pounds.

As part of a weight-loss challenge, the Disneyland Resort has pledged to donate a pound of food for every pound that employees lose. The company signed up about 1,000 employees, said David Gill, a resort spokesman.

Just by signing up for the 10-week program, the company agreed to donate one pound of food to the Orange County Food Bank.

Employee Karen Marshall said the Disneyland Resort Weight Loss Challenge comes at a key time.

She had already planned on trying to lose weight before her 40th high school reunion and a niece’s wedding, both in September.

“This is the motivation I needed to get rid of those 10 extra pounds you have and have some accountability,” said Marshall, 58, a Disneyland Resort guest communications assistant.

Disney also is offering nutrition guides, yoga classes and athletic teams to help employees.
For the full article, visit Around Disney: Disney workers shed pounds of weight for pounds of food
MiceChat has posted Walt Disney Parks and Resorts plans for this years D23 Expo. This is just one of the divisions of the company which will be represented at the event. From the sounds of it, there will be a lot for fans to look forward to.
Here’s a sampling of the Disney Parks experiences that D23 EXPO attendees will discover:

  • Never-before-seen models of classic Disney attractions and glimpses of coming projects that will surprise and delight even the most knowledgeable Disney fans.
  • An exclusive sneak peek at the expansion of Disney’s California Adventure that’s so big, it won’t fit inside the Blue Sky Cellar.
  • The chance to meet, up close and personal, Lucky the Dinosaur and Wall-E.
  • A preview of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics figures ever created.
  • Displays showcasing cutting-edge effects technologies that are being developed for Disney attractions, shows and venues.
  • New Disney Cruise Line itineraries for 2011.

Also, in the 500-seat Storytellers Theater, Imagineers and Cast Members who create and operate Disney’s parks, resorts, cruise ships and other vacation experiences will take fans behind-the-magic with a variety of presentations including:

  • World of Color – Imagineer Steven Davison brings to life World of Color, the water-and-fire spectacular that will debut next year at Disney’s California Adventure.
  • The Making of Toy Story Mania! – From its interactive elements and innovative ride system to its cutting-edge Audio-Animatronics figure of Mr. Potato Head, Toy Story Mania! represents a new kind of Disney theme park attraction. Meet the team who helped bring it to life.
  • “So You Want to Become an Imagineer” – A panel of Imagineers will answer one of the most frequently asked questions of Walt Disney Imagineering – “How does one become an Imagineer?” – and will share what it’s like to be one.
  • The Making of the U.S. Presidents – Imagineers will talk about updating both Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland and Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
  • An Afternoon With Imagineering Legends – Disney Legend Marty Sklar will lead a celebration of the careers and accomplishments of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Cast Members who have been named Disney Legends.
For the full article, visit the Disney Parks and Resorts Discussion in the D23 section of MiceChat
Okay - that should wrap up this week's Dateline Disneyland. Many thanks to MiceChat's wonderful Fishbulb for helping out with photos in this week's column. And of course, thanks to you for reading - be sure to discuss the update in the comment section below!

Don't forget that MiceAge and MiceChat has loads of new content weekly! If Dateline Disneyland isn't enough to satisfy your Disneyland itch, then don't miss David "Darkbeer" Michael's In the Parks column which runs here every Friday and is packed full of Southern California theme park news, photos, and gossip. And if you want even more Disney theme park goodness, don't miss MiceChat's Weekend Update, which takes a look at Disney theme parks and other international landmarks, curiosities, and oddities every Saturday!

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Updated 08-04-2009 at 01:43 PM by Dateline Disneyland (Fixed navigation box)

Disneyland Resort , Disney's California Adventure Remodel/Expansion


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  1. SplashMoun10's Avatar
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    Wow, I love the pictures at the end. Great update.
  2. Xedex's Avatar
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    Great update 8D
    I've been looking at this site for about a year now, and I finaly decided to sign up for it. I always enjoy the park updates and beautifull pictures around the park.

    Finaly the orange is getting peeled!!!
    Lol what's up with the wooden poles around screamers lanch??

  3. orbitalpunk's Avatar
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  4. HighLeveller's Avatar
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    I wonder if the larger-than-usual admission increases are partly in anticipation of the 55th and increased demand for DCA next year due to World of Color.

    That's really too bad about embroidery on ears being an upcharge now. On one hand it's sensible to argue that it won't be in demand for everybody and they won't need to pay (even if indirectly) for a service they don't need. But if cost is really the issue, in this case a small price hike for ears overall might be the better way to go about it. This is because embroidery has always been such a fundamental part of the experience of buying ears that upcharging now is simple blatant nickel-and-dimeing and--considering it being machine-done compared to before--is just plain tacky.
  5. RLS Legacy's Avatar
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    I agree with HighLeveller and Andy that the personalization surcharge for mouse ears is pathetic nickel-and-diming. I understood that the switch to machine embriodery was to reduce repetitive motion injuries for staff (although there's doubtless a financial angle as well).

    The HM Mickey plush is awesome. Any way to get one via mail?
  6. RenMan's Avatar
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    I too was wondering about the Shag merchandise, in this case the shirts that are on display at Disneyana. Does one have to go to DL to buy one or are they available online somewhere?
  7. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    72 bucks! Yikes.
  8. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!
  9. airick75's Avatar
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    Why, why, why would they remove the tea cup photo op????? I mean, if anything, I would think they'd charge $3 for a photo there. I know it was popular - I just don't get it. Is it temporary - maybe to get some paint?
  10. JBodine's Avatar
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    But hey - that money for that great big new World of Color show and Little Mermaid dark ride at California Adventure has gotta come from somewhere, right?
    Hmmm, I have a problem with this. When I pay to see Disneyland I am really paying for the attractions in some other park? Or if I really wanted to see some other park I should have to pay for attractions that do not exist yet?

    That's like charging someone full price to NOT see a heavily advertised 40 foot dragon! Oh, wait a minute...

    Suddenly Mini Golf looks like a bargain.

  11. bayouguy's Avatar
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    I sense a bit of old Eiserism in the price increases and price additions: if you raise the prices they will still come heh heh! And the pics are still free!! Thanks.
  12. Maid of Horror's Avatar
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    I want that HM Mickey plush so badly. The Shag stuff looks great too.
  13. rajbonham's Avatar
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    Wow, these updates are always awesome! Keep up the great work! Plus, my desktop wallpaper always changes every Monday with the addition of some nice new photos from the park.
  14. xalesa's Avatar
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    Great update! Yeah, I would love to have that Mickey plush as well....for my 5 yr old son of course!

    Not sure if I could spend the night in the Haunted Mansion, but what an awesome opportunity.

    I'm disappointed that they are now charging for the embroidery on the Mickey hats. I would rather pay a little more for the hat and be able to say the embroidery was free than to have to pay for both things now. Sheesh!! Oh, well they gotta make money somehow.
    Hey, if we have to pay, we should be able to have nicknames put on there now!
  15. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    fab pics!!!! great haunted mansion merchandise! when's the big day? wish I could go 4 disneyland, i was @ wdw july 16th!
  16. TheLoop's Avatar
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    No not the Enchanted Cottage!!! What will I do without my giant bavarian pretzel???
  17. rosyrotten47's Avatar
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    The chance to meet, up close and personal, Lucky the Dinosaur and Wall-E.
    I know who Wall-E is. But who is Lucky the Dinosaur?
  18. hurricanefreak's Avatar
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    I remember that they had a tea cup Photo op for the 40 year of Adventure ??????
  19. ChessurInWonderland's Avatar
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    Love the update! =) Is it just me or are the forums down?
  20. rwsmith's Avatar
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    It's sad that a $40 jump will be used to lower the number of people that are APs. It's not going to lower the number significantly. It's only going to raise money. Raising fees should be done when times are good, not when times are tough. $400+ is still a good value if you use it as much as my family does, but the tipping point is approaching for some. I know Disneyland might not get $72 out of me when I show up, or $11 for parking, but I have a family of 4 that eats at the Plaza Inn every time we're there as well as a couple of other meals, snacks and souvenirs.
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