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In the Parks

6/23/08 - Monday in the Parks - News, Photos and Tips

Rating: 4 votes, 4.50 average.
by , 06-23-2008 at 05:00 AM
Wow, what a hot weekend. The temperatures might be cooling down the next few days, but it is the last week for the Southern California Disneyland Resort Annual Passes to visit the park before they get blocked out for the summer. Lots to get to, so lets get started.

Disneyland Southern California Special - 3 Day ParkHopper for just $99

This week had the roll-out of the new Summer Fun Pass promotion for the Disneyland Resort. Alas, there were some problems, as many locations did not receive their "Gift Cards" (aka tickets) on time, and those who did couldn't activate them in the computer system.

Thankfully those problems have been fixed, and now you can pick up the ticket/'gift Card" at most major Southern California Supermarkets (Stater Bros., VONS, Ralphs, Food4Less, Albertsons and Gelson's). These tickets are also available at the Southern California Disney Stores and Disney Desks (Concierge style locations at selected Shopping Malls). But you MUST buy them in advance, and are not available at the Main Entrance Plaza at the Disneyland Resort.

This ticket is just for Southern California Residents, and are clearly marked that every person who uses the ticket should have proof of living in the correct zip codes (US ZIP codes 90000-93599 and Northern Baja California, Mexico residents within ZIP codes 21000-22999.) In the past, Disney has not checked every person using similar types of tickets, but they do check, at least on occasion, so be prepared to have the proper ID (for a kid, the parent/adult needs to have the proper ID).

This special promotion requires that the first day of use to be on or before August 30th, 2008, and then you have 45 days to use the other 2 days. (Ticket is Blocked out on July 4th, 2008).

The current price of a regular 3 day ParkHopper is $189 for adults at the Disneyland Resort Ticket Booths, or $169 if you buy it in advance at (Kids 3 through 9 are normally $30 less, but the Summer Fun Pass price of $99 is for all ages), so this offer is about half the price, and instead of the normal 2 week period to use all 3 days, the "Summer Fun Pass" allows you more than 6 weeks to use the last 2 days.

Disney is also allowing the full price of $99 to be applied to upgrading to any Annual Pass, including both Southern California versions. So for someone who does not have a current Annual Pass, you can visit 3 times during the summer, which is blocked out for Southern California Annual Passes, and then on the third day, take the ticket to the Bank of Main Street and for just a few dollars more, get a Southern California or Southern California Select Annual Pass.

Disneyland Resort Closures

The French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square closed today until later in the week to allow for a change in their menu. The new menu will no longer feature Fried Chicken or Sandwiches, but instead feature a "Healthier" menu featuring American and Cajun-Creole items. The restaurant is expected to reopen Thursday.

The former French Market main menu items

Also, the Hearthstone Lounge at the Grand Californian Hotel will be closed this week for refurb, including a new floor surface. Napa Rose will be open in the morning and afternoon hours serving the normal Coffee and Cocktails that the Hearthstone Lounge normally serves.

Knott's Sky Cabin gets stuck midway on its tower Sunday Night

The Orange County Register reports that 24 guests had to be evacuated by the Fire Department after the Sky Cabin at Knott's Berry Farm got stuck about 100 feet up. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

The Sky Tower at Knott's was at one time the tallest structure in Orange County. The ride will remain closed while authorities figure out why the Sky Tower broke down. (Of course, the rest of the park will operate normally).

Disneyland Resort Park Hints

Just a few quick comments that might help your next visit to the Disneyland Resort go a bit smoother.

The new Toy Story Mania! attraction opened up at Disney's California Adventure Park last Tuesday, and now Disney has special Crowd Control procedures for DCA's park opening. The normal turnstile opening at 9:30 AM, when just the Sunshine Plaza and the pathway that goes in front of Soarin' over California to the Grand Californian Hotel is open to guests, now features a special queue for the new Toy Story Mania! attraction. The line starts near Grizzzly River Run, but quickly fills up the entire pathway and ends up next to the Sunshine Plaza main fountain. Prior to the official Park Opening, the line is moved forward to the Paradise Pier area and the new attraction. So if you are trying to be one of the first guests of the day to ride, make sure and follow the signs and the Cast Member directions to the end of the queue.


The line for TSM! at 9:40 AM, just 10 minutes after the turnstiles opened on Sunday

Disneyland is still having some serious issues with the new Mark VII Monorails, and only the old Mark V Monorail Purple is available to guests, so be prepared for long lines, one-way trip limitations, and even restrictions to just Disney owned Hotel guests for the forseeable future. Also, you might find the attraction closed, as if Monorail Purple (the one in the current Year of a Million Dreams Cloud wrap) breaks down, Disney has to close the ride until it can be repaired.

There have been a couple of changes to the smoking sections. First off, as mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, the "East side" smoking section at Disneyland has been moved from near the Autopia to the back side of the former Motor Boat Cruise Dock, now known as Fantasia Gardens. This moves the smokers from a popular narrow path to a "dead-end" area which non-smokers can easily avoid.

And as part of the Paradise Pier changes related to Toy Story Mania!, Disney has eliminated a smoking section that was near the Sun Wheel. In the past Disney had two different smoking section in the Paradise Pier/Route 66 area, so the elimination of one of them shouldn't cause much a problem. The smoking area near the Golden Zepher remains open. And for those looking for shade, there is also a nearby smoking section on the pathway behind the Grizzly River Run attraction.

And Honda is running a current contest, in which guests are handed an "Adventure Roadmap" when they enter the Parking Lots. (If you are coming in from a Hotel or using a shuttle, you can pick up a map at the Main Entrance Plaza next to the Honda Pilot).

Most of the questions are fairly easy, but the first question is "The New 2009 Honda Pilot displayed in front of the Park Features a _____________ secured to its roof rack." Well, as you can see, there is a LOT of stuff on top of the Honda Pilot. The official answer is "Tent". But the rules state that the questions are JUST for entertainment purposes and have NO bearing on the outcome of the sweepstakes.

Full details, rules and how to enter without visiting the park can be found at this link.

If you want to maximize your chance to win one of the 2 Honda Pilots (which come with a paid trip to the Disneyland Resort to claim your prize), you can enter once per day from now through August 15th, 2008. (one per person/e-mail address for residents of the United States. Must be at least 18 years of age to enter). The rules claim that they are handing out just 500,000 flyers in the park, many of those folks won't even enter (just throw it away), so there is a decent chance to win one of the 2 Grand Prizes. FYI, there are only the 2 prizes in the entire contest, but since you can enter online, the cost versus the chance of winning are not that bad, so good luck.

So enter early and often (well, once per day).

Howard Johnson Castaway Cove Update

Well, the majority of the new Water Play area has been installed at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel on Harbor Boulevard

Of course, there is still plenty to do, including hooking up the plumbing, and getting all the required inspections approved before it will open. The last I heard, HoJo's is looking at a late July opening, but of course, is trying to get the project done as quickly as possible.

The large bucket will be a water feature that fills up and drops a large amount of water on guests.

HoJo's does have their new Main Pool area open, which was greatly appreciated this weekend, where the temperatures got around 100 degrees. (For Cast Members and Former Cast Members, last Saturday was a "Heat Index 3" day, and for those who don't know what that means, it allows Cast Members to be a lot more relaxed in their uniform requirements).

Anaheim GardenWalk Update

A few more shops have opened last weekend, but there is still plenty to get finished, including the new multi-plex Movie Theater.

The Orange County Register reported last Friday...

The Movie Experience, a planned 14-screen theater with an IMAX screen, was originally scheduled to open in the Anaheim GardenWalk last month. That opening was pushed back to June 18, but according to theater's website,, the theater will open on July 16.

"We don't have a tentative date yet," said Tracy Garcia, the theater's General Manger. "It's just depending on construction right now. We're targeting a soft opening towards the end of June, but that could change."

The Enchanted Tiki Room turns 45

One of the classic Disneyland attractions, The Enchanted Tiki Room turned 45 years old on Sunday, June 22nd. It turned out to be a very popular day for Disney fans.

Disney had some special merchandise made for the event, and the line to purchase them was over 4 hours long when the park opened Sunday.

The line at around Noon was still all the way back to the the Photo Supply Co., and the merchandise was being offered at the Disneyana Store.

And of course, the actual attraction was very popular, with large crowds visiting all day (The Air Conditioning helped). The Cast Members had Happy Birthday Buttons on stating Happy 45th to the Tiki Room and made a special opening announcement.

The new Indiana Jones Stage Show to be toned down

Sonya Smith at the Orange County Register interviewed Glenn Kelman from the Disneyland Resort, who stated they heard the complaints that show designed for kids of all ages was a bit too violent and will be toned down.

“We haven’t had a big negative response,” he said. “But there will be more pushes and shoves than direct hits.”

Kelman said that the crowd enjoys when Indiana Jones is beat up on, but the bad response is when he hits the show’s female character, playing Col. Dr. Irina Spalko, in the face.

“There are things that can happen in a movie that just shouldn’t happen in a theme park,” Kelman said.

Taking on John Lassister

Brady MacDonald over at the Los Angeles Times has a fun article in which he describes going against John Lassiter head to head on the new Toy Story Mania! attraction.

Jack in the Box to offer free Tacos on Thursday, June 26th

Ok, for those who are asking why I am mentioning this promotion, well, the twist is that the Orange County Register "Fast Food Maven", Nancy Luna just happens to be Brady MacDonald's wife...

She has a great interview with Jack Box, the "Chief Executive" that is featured in the Jack in the Box TV and Radio commercials. It is quite funny and well done. (Check out the audio MP3 link).

And for full details of the offer, check out this link.

Theme Park Special Needs access makes the news

OK, this article is basically designed to look at the Southern California Theme Parks, but this news article does mention the switchover that Disneyland did in 2004, going from "Special Assistance Passes", which was just one type of pass, to "Guest Assistance Cards" which takes into consideration just what type of assistance a person needs.

Here is one of the key points...

The new policy has drawn ire from some parents, frustrated at what they see as just one more roadblock thrown in their children's way. But it also accomplishes something that advocates for the disabled have been chasing for years: Treating them like everybody else.

Valleyfair's parent company, Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment, said some people were abusing the previous policy, which allowed the guest and three others to use a "special access entrance" that bypassed the line.

"We want to be as fair as possible for our disabled patrons, and make their day as memorable as it is for everyone else," spokeswoman Stacy Frole said. "But we also wanted to keep a policy that others don't take advantage of."

And Valleyfair's website says the new policy, enacted in time for this season, is an effort "to be fair to all guests."
Many parks have switched to issuing a return time, similar to how Fastpass works, where you show up at the attraction and talk to an employee. They will write down a time to return that is equal to the current wait time in the main queue. Of course, if there is very little wait, the employee usually lets the Special Assistance Party on without returning.

There was a lot of complaints back in 2004 when Disneyland made its change in policy, but the new system has been working fairly well, and seems to be much better than the prior "one size fits all" pass.

Selected Photos from

The Disneyland Resort Ticket Booths now advertise the new Toy Story Mania! attraction

A special little show is offered to guests getting off the Mickey and Friends Tram in the morning hours promoting the new Toy Story Mania! attraction.

This Feral Cat has been hanging around Taste Pilots' Grill in DCA for quite awhile now

Mr. Potato Head showing off his removable ear

The Big Thunder Ranch closed early this weekend, to allow the Goats to head back to the Circle D Ranch barn, and the cooler environment.

Some of the refurb walls have come down in the Toontown area

Donald's Boat, which was scheduled to reopen last Friday is still behind refurb walls, but looks close to reopening.

Work continues of the Grand Californian/Disney Vacation Club expansion

The Los Angeles CW station, KTLA broadcasted their Morning News program from 7 to 10 AM PDT on Tuesday from DCA. Note how Disney covered up the attraction sign for Toy Story Mania! for the Media coverage.

Sorry for running a bit late this morning, but there was a lot to get to. Have a great week. Now go make up answers and try and win a Honda Pilot.

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Updated 06-24-2008 at 05:37 PM by In the Parks



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  1. TifaOnACloud's Avatar
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    Aw man! The fried chicken at French market was a staple, and the sandwiches were go too.

    They've already ruined River Belle Terrence with this supposed health food nonsense (salads can be just as bad when overdone, and my friend said his beef sandwich was loaded with fat and gristle), now French Market appears to be next.

    I'm all for a good salad, but geez...
  2. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update like always!
  3. VMKCardCollector's Avatar
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    Nice morning update Kinda made me feel like I was in disneyland with all my cousins (who go there every single year and are there right now for a week) Lucky.
  4. Kittiekyo's Avatar
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    Nice update! I wish I could get out there and see the show before they tone it down...
  5. KENfromOC's Avatar
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    What's with the "healthier" food coming to the French Market which should be reflecting the food of New Orleans and the south? Dumb! I have cooked Creole, Cajun and southern foods for years, and take it from me (and Paula Dean), there's not much healthy about it, but damn it's good!
    Currently on the Food Network they are showcasing the best "amusment park" foods, and places like Dollywood, Bush Gardens Williamsburg and many southern themeparks with all their wonderful food are always winners. Disneyland's food, while good, is becoming too mundane, specially the places in NOS where the food should be an attraction itself!

    Come on folks -- Live a little!
  6. Capt Hook's Avatar
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    I think Disney's gone over board with this health food stuff. They need to turn it down. I was sad when they stop saling there frozen yogurts. And that's healther then Ice Cream is. I had eatting at that place a few times I had like there food there but now hearing them taking it away. Well? I may not go back to that place to eat.

    Also send there taking the Indiana Jones show away does this mean Aladdin and Jasmine's story time will be back?
  7. whamo's Avatar
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    I'm all for healthy foods, but ethnic foods have their place. I don't see anything wrong with them as long as healthy choices are also available. I'm on a strict low-sodium, low-protein diet, so I appreciate items I can eat. But people without health problems should be allowed to eat what they like too.
  8. boyumz's Avatar
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    You mean people can come over from Mexico and buy the $99 3 day park hopper, but people from places like Fresno and Chowchilla can't?? That doesn't even make sense! I personally feel like the whole SoCal rates are wrong....we are one state....why can't we have California passes like they offer Florida Resident rates at WDW?
  9. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Overboard with Health Food stuff? Really??? If you look at the menu's at the parks, hardly ANY of it is "Healthy", even the healthier eating places.

    You can still get the fried chicken at Plaza Inn. French Market was never really an option for us, we haven't eaten there in YEARS.
  10. MonkeyDishwasher's Avatar
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    The "cover up" looks like something they were going to remove as part of a "Grand Reveal" type moment. not like they were just covering the sign so people wouldn't know where it was. Way to insinuate.

    And according to another Disney Fan site who actually covered the event, it [the cover] was dropped after Jessie used one of the ride cannons, revealing plenty of Pixar characters and Pixar Play Parade performers.
    Updated 06-23-2008 at 09:27 AM by MonkeyDishwasher
  11. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Double Post
  12. Baloo's Avatar
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    Great information this week, its too bad they are getting rid of the chicken and the french market though.

    The last comment about Disney covering the sign for the media is funny.

    Its oibvious that they did not do it to hide it from the media since many of the interviews were actually done in the cove bar with the sign behind it.

    Disney normally covers the signs of any new attraction until it is officially opened during a presentation.

    That is exactly what they did here, they covered it the curtain came down and it was visible to all.

    Its not like they put tarps over it the whole day and not allowed the media to photograph it.

    As a matter of fact a few papers and news cast refered it to its proper name.
  13. Song of the South's Avatar
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    First the fries go from Award Wieners now the fried chicken from French Market. Can't it be left to the customer to eat what they want.
    Feel free to offer additional healthy options but why does it always have to be at the cost of something else. How about a novel, approach offer more items instead of keeping the total number of offerings static.
  14. Kissfan's Avatar
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    I agree that we should have passes for ALL California residents. As to the "health food" issue, I am all for it. We were at Disneyland May 26-29 and I ate in the Park once ( had to have a corn dog) , we brought our own food. My wife is a vegan and we found nothing she could eat in either park.Except Boudin sourdough bread. Everything served in both parks as well as DTD has either cheese or some kind of meat in or on it.Including the salads. Even the "vegetarian chili" at Pacific Wharf cafe is made with chicken broth !?!!!! NEWSFLASH!!! If it contains chicken broth it ain't vegetarian. Millions of people come to Disneyland every year, and I know my wife cannot be the only vegan in that number. Now, I know that vegans may be in the minority, but come on, nothing? why couldn't there be at least one place to get healthy truly vegetarian food in one of the parks? Especially in something called CALIFORNIA Adventure.
  15. aurora1729's Avatar
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    Nice update. Can't wait to marvel at the 8 hour tsm line at 10am!
  16. MonstersGoBoo!'s Avatar
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    Thanks for letting us know about the free tacos!
    Oh, and all of the other stuff was good too..

  17. MrToad's Avatar
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    Wow, can't believe all the posts against healthy eating. Aside from a couple of healthy choices like the fruit salad at Pinocchios there really are not many choices in the parks. Nothing but deep fried crap that is going to slow you down all day.
  18. headkaes's Avatar
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    Over the past few years, there's been a marked downward spiral as far a quality fare in my opinion. I live in fear of the day when Bengal BBQ converts to yet another hot dog stand... =)

    Rode Toy Story Mania on Friday and REALLY enjoyed it! Very fast paced and the 3D effect was pretty convincing! the pull string mechanism is interesting, but you may feel a little sore afterward... Stood in line in hundred degree heat for just under an hour and felt it was worth it. =)
  19. Bruce Bergman's Avatar
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    Great report, but... I hope you didn't buy that 3-Day Hopper Pass shown at the top of the report - because now that you printed it with the barcodes unblurred, there will be a dozen fools with color printers...

    The only winners will sell it to someone else off-site or on eBay at half of face value ("Oh, we can't go...") and let the buyer get busted at the turnstiles. (Please make note of this for future updates.)

    And Re: French Market changes, last restaurant to ruin the menu offerings and drive away the business, please turn off the lights. Only pinheads with an MBA think it's good to simplify a menu down to the lowest common denominator.

    They want the AP's to "get in free" and spend lots of money on food and merchandise in return - and then they don't offer anything at the shops and restaurants worth buying. What's wrong with this picture?
  20. Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    I don't think the negative posts were directed as much at healthy food, but rather at the perception that it's used as an excuse to minimize the menu options and sell bad food. This has been the result of most menu changes at the resort lately, and is likely to continue. I understand how this saves money, but it's at major expense of the guest experience, which I think is a mistake. My party and I often have a very difficult time finding a place to eat that we can all agree on, because there are so few options at many of the restaurants now. As a kid, the food seemed much better and it was part of the experience of the park, now it very much seems to be an afterthought.

    I also saw the Amusement Park Eats show and it made me sad that DLR really doesn't compete with the food offered at many other parks, including WDW. I would love to see a renewed focus on food at DLR, maybe the new bakery will help, but I'm not holding my breath. Really, I think DLR prices are cheaper than SFMM and local sporting events for a comparable product in many cases, so personally, I would rather see a price and quality increase than quality degraded.
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