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iPhone, I Travel
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Key to the World Card
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Animal Kingdom Lodge: Perfect for Teens
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10 Reasons to Love Disneyland
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Disneyland Homecoming
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Keys To The Kingdom Backstage Tour
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The Disneyland Future Feature

by Dave Marx, Author of PassPorter Travel Guides

Here are some news and updates regarding the Disneyland Resort in fabulous Southern California.

The first edition of PassPorter Disneyland is ready to go to the printers, and all we can think is, "what new stuff are we missing?" OK, we're lucky, the new Monsters, Inc. dark ride opened in January, so as they say, "It's in there!" And Disney just announced changes to the classic, Pirates of the Caribbean. In there! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's catch you up on the news, and, what the heck, I'll even save some space for the hottest notions in the rumor mill.

Disney's California Adventure now has two Pixar-inspired attractions on the Pixar Pictur... I mean Hollywood Pictures Backlot. The delightful Turtle Talk With Crush moved into a theater in the Disney Animation attraction last year. (Like, whoa, when are ya gonna update the attraction description at the official Disneyland web site to include the turtle, dudes?) The former Superstar Limos dark ride, certainly one of the park's (if not Hollywood's) biggest flops, has returned as "Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue." The limos have been downgraded to taxis, but the ride experience has been substantially upgraded with the addition of a story firmly rooted in a beloved animated feature and sets that are far more than cartoon cut-outs. Disney even brought Billy Crystal and John Goodman in to record new dialogue. It may not qualify as an E-ticket, but all reports are that folks are really enjoying themselves. Next, it'll be, "Mike & Sulley's Scary Daring Adventures with Mr. Toad and Pooh on a Spin Through Wonderland, the movie inspired by the dark rides." Not!

Speaking of theme park rides that inspired Hollywood, on February 2, Disney Parks and Resorts announced that they'll be enhancing Pirates of the Caribbean (both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World) in honor of the premiere of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie starring Johnny Depp. Both attractions will close in March and the Imagineers will move in to add Captain Jack Sparrow, villainous Captain Barbossa, and Davy Jones, a character being introduced in the second Pirates movie, to the famous crew of scurvy knaves. Disneyland's Pirates will reopen on June 24, and Walt Disney World's Pirates is slated to reopen on July 7, the same day the movie opens. The new characters are said to be carefully interwoven with the familiar cast of Audio-Animatronic buccaneers, interacting with them (presumably) as if Walt Disney himself had put them there. Jack and Barbossa will also be pursuing a new subplot of their very own. Disney Imagineers will also be adding new special effects, and are on a mission to do no harm to the spirit of this Disney original. May they be chased around in circles forever by a rolling pin-wielding wench if they mess this up. Yo ho, yo ho....

While we're out to sea, let's sail over to Disneyland's Tomorrowland, where the classic Sub Lagoon is being transformed by, yes, more Pixar characters. While the Living Seas at Walt Disney World's Epcot has been receiving its "Finding Nemo" makeover, Disneyland's Sub Lagoon is being redone as the "Finding Nemo Sub Voyage." (Had Walt Disney World not filled its 20,000 Leagues Sub Lagoon with Pooh, maybe they could have had "Finding Captain Nemo." But I digress.) Disneyland is refurbishing its fleet of eight submarines and is populating the lagoon with a school of star fish (and starfish) from the Pixar animated film. Disney promises that the special effects will be astounding, the details of the story line ever-changing, and, oh, they're tossing in a volcanic eruption just for good measure. The new sub ride will surface sometime in 2007. Meantime, you can groove on the wonderful signs they've nailed to the construction fencing, and peer down into the lagoon from the monorail platform.

While we're in Tomorrowland, let's consider the recently reopened Space Mountain (and a fabulous rehab it is)! Disneyland's video promo for Grad Nites 2006 promises the premiere of Rocket (or Rockit) Mountain, a nighttime version of Space Mountain featuring a rockin' sound track and all-new visual effects (thanks to Screamscape for this tip). These goodies seem to have been built into the Space Mountain rehab from the start, but it seems Disney wanted to keep an extra little surprise for the second year of the Happiest Homecoming on Earth. Those who aren't graduating from high school this spring can look forward to riding this evenings, sometime in June 2006.

The monorail is also set for a major mechanical rehab. Reports are that it will be in limited service while the rehab is taking place (presumably, rather than travel around the full loop, it'll go back and forth between Downtown Disney and Tomorrowland on the same section of "beam" while they work on the other half).

Meantime, over in Toontown, Goofy's Bounce House is being replaced by... something Toddler Alexander is likely to enjoy (we'll keep you posted),

That leaves us with... rumors. My favorite? The perennial hope that Star Tours, the attraction that first wowed me way back in the '80s, will finally get a makeover to help out around Tomorrowland. (Hey, Space Mountain/Rockit Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Finding Nemo in the Lagoon, the monorail... are more than four rehabs required? Why can't they spend some of this money on another ship for Disney Cruise Line?). Anyway, Star Wars creator George Lucas has once again been reported to be interested in seeing this happen, and as always, the pundits note that it's not that hard to work a runaway tourist shuttle into a pod racing duel-to-the-death - change the movie, change a few props, reprogram the flight simulator's software... what could be easier for Disney's Imagineers? Well, I'll believe it when I finally ride it to infinity and beyond (or something like that).

This article appeared in our February 9, 2006 newsletter -- subscribe to our popular newsletter today for free!

Related Articles:

  • Disneyland: Fabulous at 50
  • Grand Californian Hotel
  • White Water Snacks
  • Westin Century Plaza Hotel
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Alcatraz
  • Future of Disneyland
  • Disneyland Homecoming
  • Disneyland Sidetrip
  • Discover the Magic Tour

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    Updated 04/06/07 

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