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...
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 Venueswww.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.
National Fantasy Fan Club (NFFC) Announces New Board of Directors Appointeeswww.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!