7/28/08 - Monday in the Parks - News, Photos and Tips
by, 07-28-2008 at 04:21 AM
Good Day, Disney has started to make decisions regarding this fall and beyond, so there is a lot of news to get to, so be prepared for an extra large version of Monday in the Parks. (And thank you to all of those who sent their best regards due to the flu bug I picked up last weekend).
USA Olympic Team Members to appear at Downtown Disney Anaheim this Tuesday Afternoon
First off, a heads up and the chance to meet some of the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team before they head off to Beijing, China. The event is from 2:30 to 5 PM on Tuesday, July 29th at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney.
An update on the Disneyland Monorail system. Currently the system is running on a limited capacity mode. And that is that the old Mark V Monorail Purple is being used as much as possible to provide service throughout the day. The new Mark VII Monorail Red is being allowed to carry guests, but only when the temperature is low (less than 80 degrees) and only 15 people are allowed to be boarded per main car (capacity is 22). This allows 2 train operation during the busy early morning and late evening hours, when demand it is at its highest.
Disney is looking at bringing out Mark VII Monorail Blue this week, but only if the Mark V Purple or Mark VII Red cannot run. Mark VII Blue is not yet approved to carry guests, but needs hours of proven operation to get that approval. Disney also does not want 3 trains on the track at one time, so only if there is an available space on the track will you see it, and once again, it is not available to guests.
Don't forget, Disney can limit the Monorail to just the three Disney owned hotel guests and/or restrict rides to just one-way, requiring everyone to disembark at the Downtown Disney station. Luckily, the lower than normal crowds have helped keep the lines fairly short most of the day. So here is hoping that Mark V Purple keeps up its fairly good service record lately to keep guests moving along the Monorail Tracks.
Say Goodbye to McDonald's in the Parks.
All three locations that serve McDonald's products will be closing right after Labor Day for removal of the McDonald's products and to be changed over to new items. That is both Fry Stands in Disneyland and Burger Invasion at DCA. No word on what will be on the new menus. (Sorry folks, it will not be In-n-Out Burger).
Many Attraction Closures after Labor Day
In proving the statement, "Everything at Disney is always subject to change", Disney has adjusted the Refurbishment Schedule for this fall, even after posting some of it at Disneyland.com.
The major one is that the closure of Aladdin and the Hyperion Theater has been pushed back until after Sunday, September 28th. Last week, Disney did hold casting auditions to replace some of the actors in "Aladdin", so it is clear it is coming back. While nothing official has been announced, it is expected that Aladdin will return in mid-December, 2008 for the busy Christmas Season.
Also in DCA, the Sun Wheel will close on September 11th to start the makeover to "Mickey's Fun Wheel" and the needed enhancements for the new "World of Color" lagoon show. Expect to see many refurb walls in the Paradise Pier/Route 66 area this fall as the "World of Color" makeover kicks into full speed.
Over at Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion will close on Monday, September 8th to start the changeover to Haunted Mansion Holiday. It will reopen on Friday, September 26th, the same day that Mickey's HalloweenTime will start in the parks. HalloweenTime is expected to last until November 2nd, and of course, Haunted Mansion Holiday will close sometime in January 2009. (looks like Monday, January 12th).
Pirates of the Caribbean will close on Monday, October 13th for standard maintenance for a few weeks, should reopen for the Christmas season, which is expected to start on Friday, November 21st.
Fantasmic! to go on Hiatus after Labor Day
To allow for a major Refurbishment of the Sailing Ship Columbia, Fantasmic! will not be offered after Labor Day, and not expected to return until mid-December. The Remember... Dreams Come True Fireworks event will be offered on weekends in the Fall.
Good news, the Matterhorn is expected to get new Sleds, better news, the seating will remain the same.
Not yet posted to the refurb schedule, but expected to be posted soon, the Matterhorn will get new sleds in the fall or in early 2009.
The new sleds will be basically the current version, with one minor safety change. The new sleds will feature "lockable" seat belts, similar to what Indiana Jones Adventure, Star Tours and Soarin' over California has. Still 2 people per section, and each section will have 2 of the new lockable seat belts. Hopefully it will not slow the loading and unloading of the sleds when it comes back from the installation of the sleds and the related equipment in the stations.
The Christmas Tree in Town Square to be artificial
Disneyland has decided to eliminate "real" tree and replace it with an Artificial version. When the Press Release comes out, it will talk about how Disney is trying to be "Green" and not cut down a large, old tree and how they are trying to help the environment. But of course, there are other reasons, including fire and other safety issues, and cost savings that helped with the decision to change over to the new version.
Disney related Sweepstakes Update
In addition to the current Honda Pilot Adventure Sweepstakes that is associated with the opening of Toy Story Mania!, which you can still enter once per day per person through August 15th.
ESPN Zone has another sweepstakes, also giving away a Honda Pilot. The Honda Pilot Playoff also allows an entry once per day until August 15th.
And as mentioned earlier here, the Taylor Morrison Dream Home Giveaway is still going on.
The code that is need to allow you to enter just once and get the maximum 60 entries (one per day) is "WD12501". So just sign up once, enter the code when asked, and you will have no need to enter another time.
Disney Business News
This upcoming Wednesday afternoon will have The Walt Disney Company release its Third Quarter results.
Should be an interesting Conference Call, as Disney will be asked a lot of question in regards to the current trend of lower attendance, especially at the Disneyland Resort.
Also, the Motley Fool has an interesting recent article...
The Disneyland Encyclopedia Book Signing
Now we find Disney set to take down the six lively nightspots that make up its Pleasure Island complex in Downtown Disney in September. The official company line is that Disney will be taking things to "the next level" as it replaces the clubs with "an extraordinary mix of shopping and dining" based on guest feedback.
Really? Guest feedback? I've never heard anyone in Disney World's massive resort mutter the words "This place really needs more stores and places to eat." They may bellyache about wishing that merchandise would be cheaper or that the quick-service alternatives would be tastier, but I don't think making it up in volume will change that. Disney is a company that already makes many of its attractions empty out into gift shops. I don't have a problem with that. It's good business. I just think that most guests would rather see a gift shop empty into an attraction for a change.
Chris Strodder, the author of the new book, The Disneyland Encyclopedia signed quite a few books last Saturday afternoon at the Compass Book Store at DtD. The book can be found at Compass Books, direct from the publisher at www.santamonicapress.com and of course, Amazon.com and many other book sellers.
A blatant plug that Kevin Yee's new book is also available at Compass Books at Downtown Disney.
Anaheim GardenWalk update
More places have opened up in the last few weeks. The Upscale Bowling Center, 300 Anaheim opened Thursday, and is fully operating.
Also places like Auntie Anne's, Cinnabon and Sub-Marina have opened in the Food Court area, allowing folks more choices than ever in the Anaheim Resort District.
A third Sheraton opens in the Disneyland Resort Area.
Sheraton Warmly Welcomes Travelers to Garden Grove, California
Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel is Now Open and Close to Premier Family Entertainment and Leading Sports Venues
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and Kam Sang Company announce that Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel has opened its doors and is warmly welcoming guests. This newly constructed, seven-story hotel boasts a warm, engaging atmosphere, state-of-the-art meeting facilities and unbeatable proximity to premier family entertainment. The opening of the Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel is part of the most aggressive global expansion in the Sheraton’s history -- with 54 hotels scheduled to open and 20,000 new rooms to be added to the brand by 2009.
Just minutes from Disneyland™, the Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel is located on the border of Garden Grove and Anaheim, close to the shops and entertainment at Downtown Disney Walk, Discovery Science Center, and a selection of world-renowned beaches. Sports enthusiasts will delight at the hotel’s close proximity to both the Angels Stadium of Anaheim, home to the MLB’s Anaheim Angels, and the Honda Center, home to the NHL 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks. Also nearby are the historic Stanley House museum, several amusement parks and John Wayne Airport. Guests will enjoy easy access to the area’s attractions via the Anaheim Resorts Shuttle.
“Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel is a delightful new addition to this vibrant community, offering guests a warm, interactive atmosphere and direct access to a variety of entertainment,” said Hoyt Harper, Senior Vice President, Sheraton Hotels. “Sheraton meets the needs of travelers who crave familiarity and comfort by providing spacious accommodations, updated technology and signature amenities – all designed to make guests feel at ease from the moment they walk in the door.”
Guests are invited to relax with fellow travelers in the hotel’s energetic and interactive lobby space. There, they will find the Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft, communications hub, which delivers the technology services guests expect while on the road, allowing them to check their email, research local attractions and print boarding passes. Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel is also fully equipped to handle meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, with more than 9,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a Grand Ballroom and meeting Board Room for up to 600 guests.
Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel will also offer guests a new state-of-the-art fitness center developed in partnership with Core Performance, an organization that trains elite athletes and Olympians and is dedicated to providing breakthrough solutions to help individuals achieve their maximum performance. The hotel will be rolling out several components of the new program, in addition to the fitness centers, that touch guests at multiple points of their Sheraton stay: healthier dining options; training programs offered on-demand in guest rooms; access to Core Performance’s customized on-line training programs; and a unique Conventions and Meetings program that enables enhanced performance.
“We invite guests to come stay with us and experience the welcoming atmosphere of Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel, a peaceful haven for both business travelers and vacationers,” said Ronnie Lam of Kam Sang Company. “Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel will become a destination in itself for our guests and the focal point of the Garden Grove District.”
The new hotel offers 285 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites as well as a Club Level with daily complimentary Hospitality Hour and breakfast for hotel club members. Guest rooms in this 100% non-smoking hotel are outfitted with the signature Sheraton Sweet SleeperSM bed - a nine-layered custom-designed ensemble boasting an exquisitely comfortable, plush mattress, fluffy down hypoallergenic pillows, crisp cotton sheets, cozy blanket and signature blanket and duvet. Guests can enjoy fine dining at Fusion Restaurant while the lobby bar serves cocktails and casual, high-quality fare. Additional facilities include an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, and 24-hour gym.
Sheraton Garden Grove-Anaheim South Hotel is located at 12221 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, California. For more information and to make reservations, please visit www.sheraton.com.
So this now makes three Sheraton's in the area.
The first is the Sheraton Anaheim at Disneyland Drive and Ball, just north of Disneyland.
The second is the Sheraton Park at the Anaheim Resort near the corner of Harbor and Katella, near the Convention Center.
And now the new one near the corner of Harbor and Chapman in the City of Garden Grove.
This is the ninth Hotel in "Northern" Garden Grove, basically at the border of Anaheim.
Many of these hotels have the word "Anaheim", "Resort" and/or "Disneyland" in them.
It does make it confusing, so make sure you get both the name, and the address of the hotel, especially if you are taking a taxi or other sort of public transportation (such as the Airport Bus or Shuttle Vans) to make sure you get to the right location.
And that is not just for the Sheraton's, but other chains. There are plenty of Holiday Inns, Ramada's, Days Inn, Super 8, etc that have multiple locations.
So make sure and double check you are booking the exact hotel you want and where it is located so you won't be surprised, or be dropped off at the wrong place.
Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company coming to the Resort Area
Coming soon to the corner of Harbor and Chapman, where currently there is a Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse and Red Robin, will be Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company.
I am a big fan of Oggi's, which started in San Diego and is the Official Pizza of the San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres and the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL). It is an upscale Microbrewery and Pizza restaurant.
This will be the fifth Orange County location, and has a great menu and some Gold Medal world class beers.
And talking about San Diego, Comic-Con news
A lot of news, including a lot of Disney/Pixar related news has come out of this major event. Our friend, Chuck Oberleitner from O-meon.com covered the event. Check out his articles at the following link.
Also, on behalf of the entire MiceAge family, I would like to congratulate Chuck on his new position.
Six Flags Magic Mountain to get a new Wooden Roller Coaster for the 2009 Season
National Fantasy Fan Club (NFFC) Announces New Board of Directors Appointees
GARDEN GROVE, CALIFORNIA, July 21, 2008—Last week, National Fantasy Fan Club (NFFC) President Kendra Trahan announced important changes to the organization's board of directors, including the selection of a new Special Event Coordinator, appointment of a Charity Seat, and appointment of a new Vice President of Public Relations. The announcements were made following a series of Board meetings coinciding with the annual NFFC National Convention, held July 15 through 20 at the Crowne Plaza Resort near Disneyland in Garden Grove, California.
NFFC board member Anita Schaengold resigned as Vice President of Public Relations to accept the newly created board position of Special Event Coordinator. Anita has been a board member since early 2007 and an active volunteer, especially in planning and organizing events such as the recent NFFC Tokyo Disneyland 25th Anniversary (behind the scenes) Trip and various Ryman Arts fund raising events.
"I couldn't be happier about the chance to continue to help the NFFC grow and develop new events and Disney-related activities," said Schaengold. "I'm also looking forward to working with our Charity Seat to plan events that will raise even more money than ever for our two charitable groups: Ryman Arts and Give Kids a Chance."
Schaengold and her husband Gary, also an NFFC board member, live in Dayton, Ohio. Anita runs a jewelry business, and Gary is a municipal courts judge, attorney, and adjunct professor of law at the University of Dayton School of Law.
The NFFC Board of Directors is also pleased to welcome C. W. "Chuck" Oberleitner as the newly elected Vice President of Public Relations. Oberleitner is the senior writer and podcaster for o-meon (www.o-meon.com) and has been writing about all things Disney from the "grown up geeks" perspective for five years.
"Taking this position seemed like the natural thing to do," said Oberleitner. "I've been telling people for years, through my columns, about all the amazing experiences you can have as part of the NFFC. Experiences that bring a whole new depth and dimension to your Disney experience, be it movies, theme parks, TV, DVD, cruises, just about everything and anything Disney you might have a mind to do."
Returning to the NFFC board as Vice President of Chapters is Nicolasa Nevarez. A founding member, Nevarez was one the NFFC's earliest presidents and has remained a member throughout the organization's 24-year history.
"Our chapters are the backbone of the club," said Nevarez. "They help us bring the fun and magic, those of us who get to go to [Disney] parks and events home and share it with friends who love Disney as much as we do."
Nevarez, an elementary school teacher, lives in Van Nuys, California.
Additionally, Brian Ramsey was appointed Charity Seat. A member of the NFFC for four years, Ramsey owns and operates SurplusKingdom.net, a liquidator of surplus merchandise and materials from the Walt Disney World Resort.
"I'm looking forward, very much, to working with Ryman Arts and Give Kids the World to organize fundraisers with the NFFC," Ramsey said.
About the NFFC
The National Fantasy Fan Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich legacy of Walt Disney. Our common goal is to supply our worldwide membership with news and events that will enhance their experience with, and love of, all things Disney.
We achieve this goal in many ways, such as publishing the Fantasy Line Express newsletter for our members and organizing local NFFC chapters, where members can trade information, learn more about their favorite collectables, organize group activities, and just have FUN!
By far our biggest and most popular means of expanding the magic are our national Disneyana Conventions and the All Disneyana Show and Sales. Members are informed and entertained by Imagineers, animators, entertainers, authors, and artists from every facet of the Walt Disney Company, along with outside Disney experts.
Brady MacDonald at the Los Angeles Times reports on the new Wooden Roller coaster to be themed to the new Terminator movie.
Selected Photos from Darkbeer.Smugmug.com
No Toys yet!
Sorry, I can't hear you....
Well that should do it, don't forget, this is the last week for the Orange County Fair, and this weekend is the start of the Ventura County Fair. Go out and have some fun!