A very busy week in the news, Three major Theme Park chains have major changes, and of course some prices going up. Plus some news, and lots of photos from Knott's Halloween Haunt, Gay Days and of course, DCA construction. So let's get started.

Will Shamu learn to use Lego's?

For those who follow the Business side of Theme Parks, this isn't a big surprise, as InBev and Blackstone have been in talks for awhile. But the sale was made official yesterday. Blackstone already owns Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Madame Tussuads Wax Museum, and a number of family entertainment parks nation wide and around the world. Here is the Press Release from InBev.

Anheuser-Busch InBev Reaches Agreement to Sell Busch Entertainment Corporation to Blackstone

Joseph Baratta, Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group, said:

Michael Chae, Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group, said:

Jim Atchison, President of Busch Entertainment Corporation, said:

Closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory clearance. BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Blackstone Advisory & Restructuring Partners, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Goldman Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisors to Blackstone.
Debt financing in support of the acquisition will be comprised of senior secured credit facilities and mezzanine debt. The senior credit facilities will be provided by BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Goldman Sachs Loan Partners and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. The mezzanine financing is being provided by Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners and funds managed by GSO Capital Partners LP.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel to Blackstone.

J.P. Morgan and Lazard acted as financial advisors to Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP acted as legal counsel to Anheuser-Busch InBev.
There will not much impact on the day to day operations of the parks. The Clysedales will be removed from the parks in the near future, but the division will remain called "Busch Entertainment".

More can be found at the Los Angeles Times


Universal Studios has new bosses


A year ago, Marc Shmuger and David Linde were riding high as the heads of Universal Pictures, in the middle of what was to become the most profitable year in the studio's history, presiding over a two-year string of hits that included "Mamma Mia!," "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Wanted" and "Knocked Up." Today they're licking their wounds, having been ousted after months of bad buzz about studio infighting and weak, inconsistent leadership.

Even though they had a lot of early success, the duo never built a loyal following, either inside or outside the company. So they're out, replaced by Adam Fogelson, who is now studio chairman, and Donna Langley, who will be the studio co-chairman, while still retaining her old job as head of production.
Once again, no immediate impact on the parks, but could possible have long term effects.

Ed Grier's last day is today


The Disneyland Resort job concludes a 28-career with the company, where he started as a senior auditor at Walt Disney World and ended up working in nearly every Disney theme park.

Grier, 54, stated that he has been considering the move for about a year in the memo. Haines said Grier has been discussing the possibility over the last few months with his superiors.
No replacement has been named yet.

And as Al Lutz mentioned in his Editor's note, seems like you get to be President of the Disneyland Resort for three years, then retire. (You are reading those notes at the top of the main MiceAge day, aren't you?).

Changes in Disneyland Prices, guess which way they went?

Last week, I mentioned the new Stroller prices in this column. On Sunday, Disneyland also raised parking, cars are now $14 per day, and an Parking Annual Pass add-on is now $79. The Premium AP still gets free parking, but it is interesting that now the difference between a Deluxe with Parking and a Premium is once again $61. Did Disney already figure out the Parking price increase when they announced the new AP prices in early August?

More on the price increases, and some great maps of the different parking lots at the OC Register link below.


By the way, the Orange County Register always does great graphics.

Disneyland to give away Free Child Admission Tickets to "The Princess and the Frog"

When an Adult goes to select Merchandise Locations at the Disneyland Resort and present their paid Admission Ticket or Annual Pass, they will get a certificate for a free Child Ticket (up to $8) when an Adult purchase an Adult Ticket to see the movie from December 11th through the 31st.

Some of the main locations are The Emporium, Greeting from California and the World of Disney Store.

Of course, rules and regulations apply.

New Downtown Disney Stores to open today

Ridemakerz, a place where folks can build and design their own car opens today next to Wetzel's Pretzels. This store is planned to only be open until the end of the year, and is affiliated with the Build-A-Bear Workshop.


The other store opening today is actually a Re-Opening. Little Miss Matched was closed the last few days as they moved over one space closer to Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Main Street Magic Shop closed, but will reopen

The Disneyland Main Street Magic Shop closed last Sunday, to allow a remodeling of the store, which will reopen as an Outside Operator location.

Houdini's Magic Shop will run the store. And yes, the same folks that have the cart in front of the World of Disney Store.


Pink's Hot Dogs now open at Knott's Berry Farm

The newest location for Pink's is now serving Hot Dogs near the Main Entrance. The Stand is located outside the park, so you can take advantage of the free short term parking and grab a Hot Dog.

The location is temporary for the season. Plans call for it to close early next year to allow a larger and nicer stand to be built and be ready for next sunner.

CHOC Walk looking for volunteers to work its Check-in Location in Irvine.

While the Children's Hospital of Orange County has enough volunteers for the actual walk on October 18th, they need volunteers on Wednesday, October 14th, Thursday, October 15th and Friday, October 16th.

You will be asked to help check in folks at the CHOC Walk offices at the KIA Motors at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Jamboree in Irvine. Two shifts are available each day, 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM. If you would like to help out, just go to the link below and click on "Volunteer Registration" on the left side of the screen.


Note, you can ignore the comment about an October 1st deadline to volunteer.

Also, if you would like to participate in the event, you can still sign up for the actual walk. (You must raise at least $50 in donations to register).

Selected Photos from Darkbeer.Smugmug.com

Insert World of Color Digital Video Projector here (1 of 5)

And attach the Projector to this side panel.

No, they are not digging all the way to the sea, but the hole is getting deeper for The Little Mermaid Attraction

And also time to dig in the new Cars Land area.

Since they had to close the DVC booth next to Jumpin' Jellyfish due to the WOC construction, the booth has been moved next to the GRR Lockers

The Castle Moat is looking like the Paradise Pier Lagoon

Work continues on the Storybookland Canal

Gadget's Go Coaster is scheduled to reopen by the end of the month.

The Enchanted Cottage Food loction at Princess Fantasy Faire is getting a brand new building

The vast majority of the Tomorrowland re-pavement project has been completed, just a couple of small areas are being worked on currently.

A look behind the Main Entrance Plaza refurb walls - West side

And the East Side (And Yes, the Kennel Club remains open)

Work continues on the new Tortilla Jo's Margarita Bar

Work has started on the new parking lot on the former Strawberry Field

Better to keep the Monorail in service until Maintenance shows up than have to take it back stage.

And just a few minutes later, the trim piece had been reattached.

The Gay Day at Disneyland Photo had to be taken in two sections last Saturday

And of course, not everyone opted to show up for the photo

I got to become a "Guest Monster" for Haunt last Sunday

And here are some REAL Monsters from Haunt

And a few shots from the Hanging, which for some reason had these three guys from the Future show up....

Hey, Murphy decided to show up

If you are headed to Disneyland this weekend, be prepared for large crowds, as many students from Utah are in town, since they get a few days off of school. Plus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are hosting the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs this weekend. (And yes, some of the Red Sox players and their families went to Disneyland on Wednesday, since they had the day off).

Whatever you do, hope you have a great weekend. We'll see you in the parks.