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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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Disneyland Resort Construction Update – March 2013

Cast member at Fantasy Faire
Disneyland's Main Street Train Station being refurbished.
Disneyland’s Main Street Train Station being refurbished.

The first thing we noticed upon arriving on our most recent visit to Disneyland was the Main Street Train Station under renovation. I think it’s great that Disney covered the construction scaffolding with an intricately printed mesh, so that it didn’t detract from the wonderful view from the entrance or from the castle hub. This also has the added benefit that workers can continue to labor relatively unnoticed in such a public place and we can have our attractions back quicker. We’ve seen them do this before, to several storefronts along Main Street, USA at the Magic Kingdom, on our trip there last January.

Fantasy Faire

The new Fantasy Faire was essentially complete and in fact it opened to the public shortly after our trip. They were hosting media events and an annual passport holders ‘limited ticket’ event, which we were a little miffed at not hearing about.

You can plainly see the queue line for the Royal Hall Princess Meet and Greet, as well as the Royal Theater, Rapunzel’s Castle, and Clopin’s Music Box. The theming and skyline for the area delicately blend into the side of Sleeping Beauty Castle, making the Faire a natural outgrowth of Fantasyland. We can’t wait to actually go inside on our next visit. I’m also excited to taste the new Boysen Apple Freeze at Maurice’s Treats.

Big Thunder Mountain

The wildest ride in the wilderness is still under refurbishment, hidden behind the same temporary walls that blocked Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye last year. Jamie and I rode the Columbia around the Rivers of America to get a look over the blockade and saw them move a large slab of metal with the very un-Frontierland-looking yellow crane.

Other Disneyland Construction

The Mark Twain in dry dock - Disneyland
The Mark Twain in dry dock – Disneyland

 

Also taken from the deck of the Columbia, we can see the Mark Twain dry docked for a good scrub-down.

A vacant Fantasyland Theater - Disneyland
A vacant Fantasyland Theater – Disneyland

 

The Fantasyland Theater across from It’s A Small World is still boarded up. The whole area, with its lack of theme and gutted stage, looks like it was placed on the Imagineering back burner. But fear not, because Disney is underway with a new show, Mickey and the Magical Map, which should inject some much need energy into this dismal corner of the park.

That’s all for now. See ya’ real soon!

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Disneyland Trip Report – January 2013

Jamie Blasingame & Matterhorn DL

This visit marks days 37 and 38 we’ve spent at the Disneyland Resort since first purchasing annual passports. This is also our first visit in 2013. It was a brisk, clear day but the crowds were pretty light which was nice for Jamie’s swollen feet. We didn’t even make it over to California Adventure this trip.

What’s new at the Disneyland Resort?

Disneyland Bayou Bash Logo

New Orléans Square is slowly being transformed from its Christmas theme to a Mardi Gras atmosphere. Even the Royal Street Bachelors, one of our favorite groups in the park, were plussed for the Mardi Gras celebration with the addition of two new musicians.

Since our last trip, the entire Big Thunder Mountain and Ranch have been walled off. It reminds me of Disney California Adventure during its most recent renovation (it was known as ‘wall-land’). A gigantic yellow crane swings high over BTM, moving who knows what. I hope Disney fixes the “cave-in” scene during the refurbishment to actually look like authentic.

Construction on Fantasy Faire seems to moving along nicely next to the castle, as new Fantasyland-style roofs jut higher into the air. I have mixed feelings about this new addition. On one hand, I welcome everything new the Imagineers create, like the recent Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.

On the other hand, I think this area would be better used as space for a C or D ticket Frontierland-themed attraction. I think a low building, hidden behind the trees mask the area enough so that it wouldn’t detract from the view of the castle. There is still room to expand in the backstage areas between BTM and the current Fantasyland dark rides and another attraction would help to add value to each ticket.

I’ll get off my box in another sentence or two, but I still have one more important point to make. There seems to have been an obvious design shift in recent years to remove costly, mechanized attractions and replace them with character meet and greets. I can understand a certain amount of this, because young children like to see their favorite princes and princesses every time (and very soon I’ll be standing in line with all the other parents). I guess I’d just like to feel as if they weren’t going for the cheaper option. Now if they take another look at Discovery Bay… I’m just saying.

Disney Baby

Blasingame Baby Bump Jan 2013

Compared to our last visit, this time Jamie’s baby bump is mostly covering up the honey pot. As of this picture, she’s 27 weeks pregnant.

Disney Food Update

At the French Market, we tried one of the new seasonal Bayou Bash meals, Shrimp Corn Fritters with Cole Slaw. We love all the food at this NOS cafe and the fritters were a great addition to their usual fare.

That’s the end of this trip report for January 2013. I’ll be out-of-town most of February, so we’ll have another report when we head back to Disneyland in March. See ya’ real soon.

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Disneyland Trip Report – December 2012

Alex Blasingame with Uncle Walt at DCA

This trip is brings us to days 35 and 36 at the Disneyland Resort since first purchasing annual passports in 2010. It also marks our third total trip to the DLR with my parents and our last visit in 2012.

We spent two nights at the Paradise Pier Hotel, which was nice but would’ve been more convenient if they still had that private gate into Disney California Adventure (more about this on a future Monday MapDay post). Also, we just got a new digital video camcorder, so we’ll have a few videos to go along with this trip.

What’s New at the Disneyland Resort?

Jamie and Debbie Blasingame with Minnie Mouse

Disneyland was decorated to the max for Christmas as usual. The castle looked beautiful in it’s glittering white snow theme and the nightly lighting is always a magical time. Jamie tears up when they make it snow on Main Street.

Just like our last trip near Halloween, we made the journey back into Big Thunder Ranch, this time to check out the Jingle Jangle Jamboree. The hot apple cider and gingerbread cookies really helped to set the holiday theme. Billy Hill and the Hillbillies put on a great Christmas-themed show and the Country Bears from the old show (now only at Walt Disney World), came out to dance and mingle.

In another first for us, and while still out in BTR, we saw the ‘4 o’clock running-of-the-goats.’ This was really cute and something we’re looking forward to seeing again.

Debbie and Kevin Blasingame Omnibus DL

We took my parents on their first wheelhouse ride on the Mark Twain and also their first Omnibus ride. They got to sit up front with the driver and since we were the only ones on the bus for the trip around the hub to the main entrance, we got to have our own private tour of Main Street, USA.

In big family news, we finally got my Mom to ride It’s A Small World for the first time in thirty years. Before I was born, she got stuck on it for several hours (with the music playing ) and has always avoided the place. The entire ride was decked out in its holiday theme and she actually seemed to enjoy it. Maybe she’ll try the regular IASW next time she visits (but I wouldn’t count on it).

Alex Blasingame Beast's Library DCA

Over in DCA, we all got to see the new Carsland decorated for the holdiays for the first time and it looked great. They seasonal decorating team really did a great job of incorporating the Christmas into the mega-theming of the area.

We took my parents into the Animation Academy for the first time and into Turtle Talk with Crush, where my Dad promptly fell asleep (he’s getting ready to be a grandfather).

Disney Baby

Blasingame Baby Bump Dec 2012

This is the third bump picture and that honey pot is really starting to disappear! Jamie is 22 weeks pregnant and we’ve settled on the name John Alexander Blasingame, but we’re going to call him Jack for ‘short.’

Jamie Blasingame and the Honey Pots Dec 2012

The whole family is excited about our upcoming arrival and getting ready to spoil their first grandchild.

Disney Food Update

Jamie and Alex Blasingame at Storytellers Cafe

The first morning of our trip, we all ate breakfast at the Storytellers Cafe. After being attacked by a bear, I had my usual eggs benedict, Jamie and Mom had the banana-stuffed french toast, and Dad had steak and eggs.

Later in the day, we ate lunch at the Carthay Circle Restaurant. They had changed the menu somewhat, but we started off with the same Jalapeño Cheese Balls all of us liked last time. My Mother and I both dined on had lamb, her the Lamb Rolls and I Cavatelli Pasta with Lamb, both of which were excellent. Jamie had Chicken Meatball Pasta and Dad had Short Rib Ravioli’s. It’s nice they keep introducing new dishes, but it makes the selection process a lot longer.

Jamie Blasingame's Disneyland Pickle Dec 2012

Jamie didn’t consume quite as many pickles this trip, but she did chow-down on one while watching the Dapper Dan’s. Also, since there were more of us this trip, I finally managed to get a plate of Plaza Inn fried chicken all to myself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat everything, so the first time will probably the last time.

That’s all for now. I’ll be adding videos and other content later. Be on the lookout for our next trip report. We’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Disneyland Trip Report – October 2012

Jamie Blasingame and the Honey Pots Oct 2012

This trip to the Disneyland Resort marks days 33 and 34 since we first bought annual passports. As you can see, compared to our last visit, Jamie’s baby bump is quite more pronounced.

Blasingame Baby Bump Oct 2012

This next picture is taken from the normal spot near Pooh’s Corner. I put the other picture first because the lighting isn’t very good in this one. However, you can still see how the honey pot is starting to disappear.

Mark Twain on the Rivers of America

The Mark Twain steaming the Rivers of America, as seen from the Hungry Bear Restaurant.

We discovered the Hungry Bear Restaurant on this trip and Jamie has fallen in love with their chili-cheesburger. Nestled among the quiet pines in a corner of Critter Country, we had walked past the Hungry Bear on many occasions, but now find it a shady place to sit and eat. The patio downstairs is a great place to relax in the shade and watch the ships float by on the Rivers of America.

Our next trip won’t be until after Thanksgiving, but we’ll still have a thing or two to share in the meantime. See ya’ real soon!

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Disneyland Trip Report – September 2012

Blasingame Astro Blasters 2012

This visit marks days 31 and 32 at the Disneyland Resort since we’ve had annual passports. It’s also our first visit since we found out Jamie was pregnant! We decided to take a picture of her standing in the same spot on each consecutive visit, so we can look back on them and see her belly grow.

Jamie chose to stand in front of a honey pot, near the entrance to Pooh’s Corner Bakery, just as you exit The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride. And here’s the first official Disneyland baby bump picture.

Blasingame Baby Bump Sep 2012

Jamie’s first baby bump picture.

You can see plenty of that honey pot now, but she’s only about two months along, so expect to see the pot disappear in trips to come. Picking a Pooh-centric photo spot was intentional because we’ve decided to decorate the nursery in a Winnie the Pooh theme. It works for boys or girls. More on that later as we get more baby stuff.

Also, at the very top we have a lovely picture of Jamie enjoying Astro Blasters. We’ll keep working on that score. Our next trip is planned for October, so we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Welcome to Mouse Monthly!

Jamie & Alex Blasingame at DCA

Jamie & Alex Blasingame at DCA

Welcome to the Mouse Monthly blog. Someone recently asked us if we knew all of Disneyland’s secrets. Well no, not yet- but we’re working on it.

Hello, we’re Jamie and Alex Blasingame and we love all things Disney. We live and work in Southern California and since first becoming annual passport holders for the Disneyland Resort a year ago, we’ve been over fifteen times. Initially, we felt the need to pack in as much as possible on each visit, but now we take a much more leisurely pace and notice more and more interesting details each time we go. We’ve picked up numerous books on Disneyland and read them to each other between trips. Then the next time we go back we have fun pointing out new details we’ve learned, such as the history and significance of the shop windows on Main Street, USA.

On our drive home from the park, we always talk about new experiences we’ve had and ideas to ‘plus’ the parks, as Walt would put it. So we’re having a blog to talk about all of that and all things Disney. Stay tuned for more and we’ll see ya’ real soon!’

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