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What You Need To Know About Disneyland’s Annual Passport Updates

RIP Disneyland Premium Annual Passport

Once again, Disneyland has shaken up their annual passport offerings. We’ll talk about what’s new, what’s out, and how this all affects you.

RIP Premium Annual Passport

The rumors are true –

Disney has officially cancelled the Premium Annual Passport.

The first and oldest AP, Premium will no longer be available for either purchase or renewal, replaced by several other AP options.

If you currently have a Premium AP, you’ll still be able to exercise the privileges of that pass until it expires. At that point, you’ll need to renew at a different passport level. Keep on reading!

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5 Steps of Disney’s (Not So) Secret Strategy To Axe Passholders

The Southern California annual passport is no longer sold at Disneyland, but if you're careful, you can still renew it.

Is the Disney Annual Passport under attack?

The days of deciding to throw up a theme park one day and start construction the next are over at the Walt Disney Company. Like me, they are logical and methodical, with their decisions reasoned out and planned weeks, months, and decades in advance.

So let me share with you their ‘secret’ formula to thin out the Disney AP population, including those Southern California Annual Passholders they no longer need or want. I’ve also included a bonus 6th step from October 2015 that will affect all park guests, but especially those with Premium passes. Keep on reading!

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5 Reasons Disneyland Doesn’t Want More Annual Passholders

Long lines clog the entrance to Disneyland.

Disney has a plan to pare down the number of Annual Passholders (AP’s) at the Disneyland Resort. We know this. One question that remains is why?

The answer has less to do with AP’s themselves and more to do with who the preferred target customer of the Walt Disney Company is. Keep on reading!

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5 Reasons Disneyland Should Serve Poutine

Happy Canada Day From Mouse Monthly

This July 1st, I would like to bring up the most important topic on everyone’s mind as we celebrate Canada Day… when will they start serving poutine at Disneyland?

I have lived in Southern California for almost five years now, but there are still a few things that lure me back up to my native country of Canada. One of which is that magical, mythical meal of melty goodness…poutine! Keep on reading!

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How Much Did Disneyland Cost When It Opened Compared With Today?

Disneyland 'A' Ticket

Ever wonder what it would be like to visit Disneyland back in 1955? To stroll the barely solidified pavement and see the park in its infancy?

Maybe you’d bump into Uncle Walt having lunch at the Chicken Plantation Restaurant before checking out the Indian Village? How about forking over a C-ticket to ride the Jungle Cruise?

Today, we’re used to the modern all-day, all-attraction type of Disneyland. As a die-hard Disney fan, I know all about the famous A-E ticket system that used to rule the park, but it was phased-out before I was even born.
Keep on reading!

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Review of Admiral Joe Fowler: The Lost Interview

Admiral Joe Fowler and Walt Disney aboard the Columbia at Disneyland.

More than any other person, except for Walt and Roy Disney, we have Admiral Joseph William Fowler to thank for creating Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He was an amazing man with a singular view on how both resorts came to be, as well as tons of insight about Walt Disney Company operations from the 50’s on.

Luckily, due to the generosity of some die-hard Disney fans, we’re all able to get a taste of what it was like to actually build The Happiest Place On Earth©, not to mention work with some of the most creative minds this country has seen, in an audio file called Admiral Joe Fowler: The Lost Interview. Keep on reading!

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Disneyland Resort Refurbs and Main Street’s New Back Alley

The front facade of Chester Drawers is under refurbishment at Disneyland.
The Disneyland First Aid Center is completed covered in decorative scrims and walls.
The Disneyland First Aid Center is completely covered in decorative scrims and walls.

The construction work is never done at a Disney theme park. Rides and buildings are always in need of repair, refurbishing, and replacement. This is doubly true for the original Disneyland, which has it’s diamond 60th anniversary celebration just around the corner. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing to get ready.

Main Street, USA Gets A New Side Street?

As I wrote about several months ago, it looks like Disney is going full steam ahead on the construction of some sort of back alley to Main Street, USA. Hopefully, we’ll get something like the Side Street I described in my article, and not just a cheap, barely themed backstage like at the Magic Kingdom.

The Disneyland First Aid Center in its temporary home inside the Main St Lockers.
The Disneyland First Aid Center in its temporary home inside the Main St Lockers.

The First Aid Center and Make a Wish Lounge have both been moved to the area that used to house the Main Street Lockers.

The Main Street lockers are still unavailable at Disneyland.
The Main Street lockers are still unavailable at Disneyland.
A direction sign on Main Street, USA for the relocated First Aid Center in Disneyland.
A direction sign on Main Street, USA for the relocated First Aid Center in Disneyland.

You can see in the picture below that their original location behind the Corn Dog Truck is now covered up entirely. I can only assume that the building is being demolished to make room for foot traffic.

The original building for the Disneyland First Aid Center is probably being removed.
The original building for the Disneyland First Aid Center is probably being removed.

Also, at the front end of Main Street, across from the Mad Hatter in Town Square, we can see construction has begun on this end as well. It looks like the entire area of the former Egg House Restaurant might be removed for the new Side Street.

The Egg House area of Town Square is probably being removed for the new Side Street.
The Egg House area of Town Square is probably being removed for the new Side Street.

One large item on my Side Street wishlist was a connection to Tomorrowland, perhaps by the Space Mountain bathrooms at the back of the Starcade. And what do we find there?

Newly renovated bathroom area near the exit to Space Mountain, Disneyland.
Newly renovated bathroom area near the exit to Space Mountain, Disneyland.

A recently renovated and enlarged waiting area in this location, complete with doors to the backstage area. Will Disney simply pull these doors out and connect this room to the new Side Street? Only time will tell, but I have my fingers crossed.

Whistle While You Work – Minor Refurbishments at the DLR

The front facade of Chester Drawers is under refurbishment at Disneyland.
The front facade of Chester Drawers is under refurbishment at Disneyland.

There’s always a bunch of relatively minor maintenance going on at the Disneyland Resort. Above you can see the front facade of Chester Drawers covered by a decorative scrim.

Side view of Chester Drawers refurbishment in Disneyland.
Side view of Chester Drawers refurbishment in Disneyland.

Also, in true Disney style, the windows inside the shop are filled with themed pictures. In the images below, you can see Carnation Cafe on the other side of the street, just as it would look on a regular day.

A decorative window treatment inside Chester Drawers hiding construction on Main Street, USA.
A decorative window treatment inside Chester Drawers hiding construction on Main Street, USA.
A picture of the Carnation Cafe hides the construction on Main Street, USA.
A picture of the Carnation Cafe hides the construction on Main Street, USA.

Some maintenance that wasn’t so minor was being performed on the front entrance to Disneyland. About half of the turnstiles were hidden behind walls. I asked several Cast Members if they were being converted to the Magic Band type of turnstiles, but they all said the gates were just being painted.

Half of the front entry turnstiles at Disneyland are closed for painting.
Half of the front entry turnstiles at Disneyland are closed for painting.

To me, it’s poor planning to shut down half of the entrance to your park during it’s busiest season. The effect of this was long entry lines all day and an overall crowding of the Esplanade, which is one reason contributing to Disney not wanting any more AP’s right now. In other news, the new exterior to Alice in Wonderland look amazing. Gone are the cheap green tarps, replaced with decorative leaves, flowers, and other foliage.

Alice in Wonderland looks a lot bigger without the cheap green tarps out front.
Alice in Wonderland looks a lot bigger without the cheap green tarps out front.

The recent refurbishment makes the whole front of the building seem less crowded and closed-in.

New exterior on Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland.
New exterior on Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland.

While a lot of work is always going on, I found a few places that still needed touching up, like this bathroom sign in DCA or this rock-looking speaker in front of the Jolly Holiday Bakery.

Paradise Pier Men's Room sign needs repainted at DCA.
Paradise Pier Men’s Room sign needs repainted at DCA.
A broken rock-themed speaker in front of the Jolly Holiday Cafe.
A broken rock-themed speaker in front of the Jolly Holiday Cafe.
A rock-themed speaker at Disneyland needs repair.
A rock-themed speaker at Disneyland needs repair.

Over in DCA, a seating area in front of King Trident’s Carousel is all boarded up, and the decorative water fountains surrounding the ride weren’t working.

Paradise Pier seating area under refurbishment in DCA.
Paradise Pier seating area under refurbishment in DCA.
King Triton's Carousel water fountain isn't working.
King Triton’s Carousel water fountain isn’t working.

In the good news department, the new paint job on the outer buildings of Pacific Wharf looks great. The multi-colored sections and fake company logos make it look like an an actual block from downtown Monterey and deepen the overall theme of the area. You don’t really notice them right away, but subliminally they draw you further into the story of the area, like the shop names and apartments of Main or Buena Vista Streets.

Recently painted buildings from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Recently painted buildings from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Pacific Wharf Canning Company sign from Pacific Wharf in DCA.
Pacific Wharf Canning Company sign from Pacific Wharf in DCA.
Pacific Seafoods sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Pacific Seafoods sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Kruger's Net Repair sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Kruger’s Net Repair sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Charlie's Sardines sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure
Charlie’s Sardines sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Bait and Tackle sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.
Bait and Tackle sign from Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure.

Conclusion

That’s it for this Disneyland construction update. A lot of great things happening over at the DLR. Check out my other recent post on the new look of New Orleans Square. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Disney Town at Shanghai Disney Resort 4/14 | Monday MapDay

Disney Town area overview near Shanghai Disneyland.
Disney Town area overview near Shanghai Disneyland.

Disney resorts are built like a magical labyrinth, designed to keep guests on property and spending money their on Disney events, meals, and merchandise. The perfect example is Walt Disney World, where every conceivable Disney desire has been anticipated and provided for like a well-oiled machine.

By creating a proprietary shopping area and a variety of convenient transportation options, Disney planners have stuck to their tried-and-true methods and created a few more twists in the magical maze of the Shanghai Disney Resort (SDR).

Disney Town: Shanghai Disneyland’s Shopping Mall

Sitting next to the entrance for Shanghai Disneyland, Disney Town will have several restaurants and a movie theater.
Sitting next to the entrance for Shanghai Disneyland, Disney Town will have several restaurants and a movie theater.

Other than Hong Kong, every Disney resort has some kind of a ‘Downtown Disney’ type of shopping area, usually at the entrance to one or more theme parks. True to form, the SDR is getting its own shopping mall called Disney Town, which sits at the front entrance to Shanghai Disneyland and straddles the resort mass transit facilities.

Like other resorts across the world, Disney Town will have its own World of Disney store.
Like other resorts across the world, Disney Town will have its own World of Disney store.

When complete, Disney Town will host a number of themed restaurants, a World of Disney store, a multi-screen movie theater, and a Broadway-style theater.

Lots Of Mass Transit Options At The SDR

The Shanghai Disneyland Resort mass transit areas are still under construction.
The Shanghai Disneyland Resort mass transit areas are still under construction.

A large parking lot for buses, taxis and other mass transit vehicles sits directly to the West of Disney Town. To the East is the Shanghai Disney Resort Metro Station. Highly themed and built specifically for the resort, it will be the terminus for Metro Lines 2 and 11 and connect the SDR with urban Shanghai and surrounding areas.

Sitting on the lake in the center of the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, Disney Town will be an important thoroughfare between the park entrance, hotels, bus parking, and metro station.
Sitting on the lake in the center of the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, Disney Town will be an important thoroughfare between the park entrance, hotels, bus parking, and metro station.

Disney Town is seated in a prime location. All guests visiting SDL from the bus parking lot or the Toy Story and Shanghai Disneyland Hotels will have to walk right past its shops on their way to the park.

The Shanghai Disneyland Resort has it's own metro station, just a short walk along the lake from the park entrance.
The Shanghai Disneyland Resort has its own metro station, just a short walk along the lake from the park entrance.

Also, a beautiful walkway will embrace the lakefront between Disney Town and the Metro Station, bringing foot traffic to Disney shops from there as well.

Conclusion

The shops and restaurants of Disney Town are a welcome addition to the SDR and round out the resort offerings. Similar to Walt Disney World, if you show up a day early or leave a day late, you’ll still be able to go someplace within the resort and get an extra dose of Disney.

Disney Town will also attract more local guests, who can take the train to the resort for a fun dinner without paying for a park ticket or fighting busy freeway traffic.

That’s it for this edition of Monday MapDay. Next week we’ll take a look inside Shanghai Disneyland itself and see what passes for Main Street USA in the new park. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Everything About Shanghai Disney Resort: Disneyland Hotel 4/14

The wings of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) hug the lakefront at the SDLR. No doubt guests will have a great view of Shanghai Disneyland across the water.
The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green).
The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green).

What makes a Disney resort a Disney resort?

There has to be more to it than the mere presence of a theme park. Is it the fancy fences? The clockwork precision of the parking lot trams? A Mickey Mouse picture on a sign somewhere?

While there are probably a thousand components that come together to create a singularly Disney resort (many of which we’ll discuss in other posts), one of these has to be the existence of a Disneyland Hotel.

The Disneyland Hotel

1960's Disneyland Hotel and Monorail
1960’s Disneyland Hotel and Monorail

Every Disney resort to date has some version of a Disneyland Hotel (DLH).

The original hotel is in Anaheim, California and opened in 1956, a year after the original Disneyland debuted. Walt did want to include a hotel when he opened the park, but funds were tight and he didn’t have any extra the money to do so. Initially built more like a vintage Holiday Inn motor lodge, with all outdoor rooms, the original DLH now features three recently renovated glass towers with a modern design.

Walt Disney World doesn’t specifically have a ‘Disneyland Hotel’ because it doesn’t specifically have a ‘Disneyland,’ but a Magic Kingdom. Several hotels opened along with that park in October 1981, but the real DLH-type property didn’t come along until the Grand Floridian in 1988.

The Disneyland Hotel in France, opened in 1992, was built right into Disneyland Paris and in fact sits over the entry gates. Next came the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel in 2005 and the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel in 2008.

All of these hotels, other than the original DLH, were built in the Victorian style and rumor has it we can expect the same from the next hotel in the series- the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (SDLH).

Shanghai Gets It’s Own Disneyland Hotel

The Southwest corner of the Shanghai Disneyland Resort from April 2014. All of the major construction elements are outlined, including the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) near the bottom right corner.
The Southwest corner of the Shanghai Disneyland Resort from April 2014. All of the major construction elements are outlined, including the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) near the bottom right corner.

The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel sits along the major North-South road that runs through the resort. The hotel is designed with two ‘u’ shaped wings. One wing embraces the lake shore in front of it, no doubt with spectacular views of Storybook Castle in Shanghai Disneyland across the water. The other wing embraces the parking lot.

Try to imagine which rooms will be more expensive.

Disney Grand Floridian Panoramic
Disney Grand Floridian Panoramic – Courtesy Moody Groove

How Big Is The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel?

Based on measurements of the building outline, each floor of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is about 122,000 sq ft.  If it were to have three floors, that’s over 360,000 sq ft!

That’s 8 acres or roughly the size of the Grand Floridian Hotel in Disney World. Following that train of thought, that would give the SDLH about 800 quests rooms, with an average size of 400 sq ft per room. The larger size of the hotel parking lot seems to verify this size estimate.

 

The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) sits along a main road in the Southern section of the SDLR.
The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) sits along a main road in the Southern section of the SDLR.

As I mentioned above, the hotel will be built in a Victorian style, similar to the image above. If the SDLH is anything like its worldwide counterparts, we can expect it to be a luxurious establishment. All of the other Disneyland Hotel’s are rated 4 1/2 stars or better and have fine dining and shopping locations.

This will not be a bargain place to stay. For that, I recommend the Toy Story Hotel closer the park.

The wings of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) hug the lakefront at the SDLR. No doubt guests will have a great view of Shanghai Disneyland across the water.
The wings of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel (green) hug the lakefront at the SDLR. No doubt guests will have a great view of Shanghai Disneyland across the water.

When it’s finished, the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel will really be something to see. And we’ll keep you updated with new construction imagery as it comes to us. Thanks for reading and see ya’ real soon!

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New Starbucks Open at Downtown Disney – DLR Construction 6/14

The new Downtown Disney Starbucks, Disneyland, California.
The new Downtown Disney Starbucks, Disneyland, California.

Just a quick post today. We were walking through Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort (DLR) the other day and noticed that Starbucks was open. Newly constructed, this shop debuted in March 2014 and is the third Starbucks location in the DLR, including the ones on Main Street, USA and Buena Vista Street.

It’s a particularly inviting Starbucks location with a very SoCal outdoor patio, complete with shade trees and a groovy decorative garden wall. The little courtyard seems like a nice place to sit and relax, which I would probably do if Disneyland wasn’t beckoning to me 100 yards away. Maybe next time.

Winter Starbucks construction at Downtown Disney DLR.
Winter Starbucks construction at Downtown Disney DLR.

I’ve thrown in a couple of construction pictures from this past winter for added flavor. In the image above, from December 2013, you can see that the large patio tree is already in place as well as most of the exterior stucco work. The glass walls and the interior of the store itself are still very under construction.

That’s all for this mini construction (or rather completion) post on the Downtown Disney Starbucks at the DLR. Have any construction reports or pictures of your own? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future construction update posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!

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