Disneyland Traveler Blog Sites

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Remember When Pixar Was Great?

Disney - Pixar's Monster University - Disney Promotional Photo
My Disney crazed co-worker couldn't wait till Pixar's Monsters University opened last week. She took off a little early from work and met up with her husband, daughter, and two grandsons over at the theaters ($$$). And when I spoke with her about it a few days later, her comment was "the movie just wasn't that good." She went on to say that the story just wasn't up to to the charm and entertainment of the original Monsters Inc. and while the younger grandson (3 years old) was kind of bored with the movie, the grandson who was five and should be in Monsters University wheelhouse for kids entertainment was actually a little afraid of a couple of the characters. She saw the movie in 2D since here grandkids have problem with 3D movies (understandable). She had planned to go back to the movies this past week and see it in 3D but after her first viewing, she decided to skip it. Just wasn't worth her time?

A Pixar movie that is not worth someone's time? Something like that just wasn't said a few years ago. Pixar meant beautifully written stories artfully produced using state of the art technology. The name Pixar oozed quality. But since Pixar hit its highwater mark of Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3, the trend has been downward and its beginning to ripple through the studios staunch supporters. What happened?

Well many of Pixar's top directors have gone on to pursue projects with live action movies but still, the man at the top is still there he needs to shoulder much of the blame for the deteriorating quality. John Lasseter is Pixar's man in charge. John is responsible for all 3 Toy Story movies. He directed the dreadful Cars 2. John is also head of Walt Disney Animation Studios and also wears the hat of Chief Creative Officer for the theme parks. The man has a lot on his plate. Too much perhaps? It's a fair question to ask.

But we can't let Disney as a company off the hook in this matter. Here is also a fair question. Does Disney care as much (or more) about the sale of products and merchandise than they do  about source movies that launches their huge consumer products enterprise. Is selling "Cars" merchandise for years on end more important that making a really great Cars movie? How do you think Walt Disney would feel about this constant to need to sell, sell, sell.... rather than having a company that defines excellence in creative imagination. These are questions worth pondering especially as competitors are nudging their way up.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Disneyland In The Digital Age

Standing In Line For A Dole Pineapple Whip In Disneyland
Remember the days when a family would take a trip to Disneyland and they would come back and couldn't wait to tell you what a great trip they had? And then you would wait another week or two for them to get their film developed and you would maybe plan a night when you could go over the trip and the pictures and all the fun, or at least what they could remember of the fun now that their trip was a couple of weeks ago after getting everything together. Remember? Probably not. But I do. Then again, I'm older than dirt.

My sister is in Disneyland right now....been their since Wednesday. She has been texting me pictures, asking me questions, filling the down time of standing in lines or waiting for someone to get off a ride by keeping me posted of  her Disneyland events of the day. Last night during World of Color, she sent back video clips while the show was going.

In the days of Facebook, Twitter, and the broadband transmissions through the internet, it is almost possible to feel like you are part of a Disneyland trip even though you may be hundreds or thousands of miles away. You can see what family members are eating at the time they are sticking a fork in their plates of food or see smiling a faces while a ride is in motion. Ah yes, Disneyland in the Digital Age.

Does all this immediacy of technology somehow diminish the Disneyland experience? Is some of the magic gone? On some days, maybe a person can feel that way but its also kind of nice for me to be a great distance away but still be a part of the happiness. Yes, I wish I was with my sister right now but she's done her best to give me the next best thing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Disney Envy Strikes Again

So my nephew posts a picture on his Facebook page from Downtown Disney Orlando this morning. He, his wife and daughter are in Orlando this week for a volleyball tournament and taking in the sights and entertainment.
This morning my sister texts me a message that she and her husband and two nephews are on Highway 5 on their way to Disneyland today. Plan to be there through Sunday. Two of my other nieces will join them tomorrow.
Me.... I'm at work.
What happened here?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Memories From Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

In my last visit to Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room in April, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I did our usual. We got tired and hot and needed a place to relax and cool off. So through the turnstile we went into the courtyard of the Tiki gods. Mrs. DLT found a slab of cement to sit down on while I got in line for our Dole pineapple refreshments. Be patient, the line moves SLOWLY. Always has. Always will. After getting our refreshments and witnessing the creative movements of the various Tiki gods we were summoned to enter the Enchanted Tiki Room. Going from bright sunlight outside into the cool darkened showroom, my eyes somehow failed me and while making our way to the padded bench (we always sit in the back row for better back support) I whacked my shin on the side of the bench. @#$%! @#$%&! So as the birds sang and the flowers bloomed in the Tiki Room, my leg was throbbing in pain.

That was my last memory of the Tiki Room. But for me, down deep, I know the Tiki Room isn't about my last memory, it's about my first memories of Disneyland.

Walt and Jose Opening the Tiki Room in 1963.
A Disney Photo

I grew up in San Francisco, California. I don't live there anymore so it's been many years since I have seen the house I grew up in, or my old school, or the old neighborhood. There's not a lot left that ties me with my boyhood. My parents passed away many years ago and now with my own family and all the responsibilities of adulthood, life has moved on or I should say, life has moved on until I get to Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.

Fifty years ago tomorrow, Walt Disney opened his Tiki Room and in that little building gave us a world of music, charm, and enchantment and gave me years of wonderful memories.The same way I walked into the Tiki Room in April with Mrs. DLT and my younger sister and her husband, many years ago, I walked into the Tiki Room holding the hand of my my mom and dad. Oh yes, my sister was there too. It wasn't 1963, the year that Tiki Room opened but probably more like 1967 or 68 (it would have to be been because Pirates of the Caribbean was opened) when I entered the Tiki Room for the first time and even has a young boy, thoroughly enjoyed the little show.

So how many times have I been in the Tiki Room through the years? That's probably not as important as the people I've been blessed to walk in there with and a sit along side - people that I love dearly and yes, some that have sadly passed on. But in the show of singing birds we were able to share a very special memory and I am fortunate to have a chance to relive those memories every time I go back.

Visiting the Tiki Room now isn't so much about eating ice cream, seeing the show, or beating the heat outside. Going into the Tiki Room now is walking into a time portal where decades of memories are connected together with people that were a very large and important part of my life. 

I think Walt Disney understood this. His Disneyland wasn't just an amusement park, it was a place where memories could be collected and forever treasured throughout a lifetime. And for me, no place in Disneyland does this better than Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. Thanks again, Walt.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pixar Goes Back To School With Monsters University

First up - I have not seen Monsters University which Disney - Pixar released today nor do I have any intention of seeing Monsters U. in the next week or so. These are the days when showings are packed with 6 year olds who may or may not be entertained by a 90 minute movie in a darkened theater. Sometimes it works. Sometimes - not so much and you walk out of the movie saying "never again". Anyway, I'll see it eventually
As for the movie's reception, Monsters University is getting the thumbs up from about 3 out of every four movie critics and about a 90% approval rating from us poor schleps who pay money to see it and that's pretty good. For some reason, many critics skip past the Academy Award winning Pixar effort Brave and go right back to Cars 2 for comparison to Monsters University and in that regard, Pixar returns to a winning formula after the incredibly lazy effort put into Cars 2, easily Pixar's worst film. Monsters University delivers an entertaining enough story and eye-popping visuals that is sure to please a wide audience.
Of course, critics have been quick to point out that while Monsters University is a fun movie, it is in no way comparable to the best of Pixar when the bar was set very high with Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. Still this movie is going to do gang busters business at the box office and audiences are going to enjoy the ride all the way. Don't forget to buy the assorted toys and merchandise. Disney is counting on it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oooops! Star Wars Land? Think Small... Like Really Small

Disney has said nothing about the Star Wars Land Rumor. Clammed up for now. But others with reported inside information are now reporting that Star Wars Land will not be anything of grand or epic proportions. Think much smaller. Star Tours remains the signature attraction (which is OK because its a good one). Add a kids Star Wars ride for those who don't meet the Star Tours height requirement. And the lasts piece - an indoor Jedi Training Academy which has been training young padawons in Disneyland for years. So much for the excitement.

Source: ComicBookMovie.com

Sounds like Harry Potter wins again.

Disney Strikes Back - Star Wars Land Coming to WDW

According to Theme Park Insider (link) and now being propogated in various print, web, and TV outlets, Disney plans on adding a "Star Wars Land" to Walt Disney World's Disney Hollywood Studios with opening set for 2018, maybe sooner if they want to throw more money at the project. In addition to Star Wars Land, the plan is for Disney to replicate a version of the massively successful Cars Land in DHS as well. I'll leave the Cars Land rumor alone for now because I'm still in my one month moratorium on writing anything about Cars Land and this news isn't going to make me alter my commitment to that. Star Wars Land? Now that's a different story altogether.

Much like Disney California Adventure a few years ago, Disney Hollywood Studios has been an underachieving theme park for quite some time. Confused themes, a bit of neglect, and constant questioning of what do we do with the place has been on the minds of WDW fans for quite some time. But once a year, DHS hosts the massively successful Star Wars Weekends to prop up the sagging park. I have always thought that if Disney was going to do anything major with park related theming with their recent George Lucas acquisitions, WDW would be the place. Certainly they have the property and space to do things right as opposed to the Disneyland Resorts approach of let's see what we can squeeze in. So a Star Wars Land in DHS just makes too much sense to pass up.

Of course that doesn't make a Disneylander like myself feel any better. Who wouldn't love a Star Wars Land in your own backyard rather than across the country? And what about D23 coming up in August in Anaheim. Walt Disney World has stolen the thunder with the opening of the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (coaster), now Star Wars Land, and a Cars Land. And whatever happened to Avatarland in Disney Animal Kingdom? Somebody at Disney better get off the schneid and announce something new (and big) for Disneyland. A Monsters Inc roller coaster? Please. You can do better than that. No wonder that, as of today, D23 has a new level of membership, one that costs the applicant nothing at all because they're giving it away just to prop up sagging membership numbers. A convention in Anaheim that features big changes to a park that is 3000 miles away probably isn't the best way to bring in the crowds that Disney wants.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tonto Vs. The Minions: A Showdown

Johnny Depp as Tonto in Disney's The Lone Ranger

Minions return in Despicable Me 2
So the other day I was contemplating just how much money would Disney's The Lone Ranger, starring company cash cow Johnny Depp, make at the box office when it opens on July 3rd. And then the Minions began to show up, everywhere, for the apparently no fear Universal Studios is opening Despicable Me 2 also on July 3rd. It's a showdown between mega-star Depp and a bunch of characters Disney and Pixar only wishes they had created (sorry, Minions come from France).

If I had to bet (and why would you bet on something like this) I would have the Minions taking down The Lone Ranger in their box office showdown. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler, her Father, the Boy and me spent yesterday afternoon watching the first Despicable Me here at home, a movie I have probably seen about 8 times. It's fun, entertaining, and heartwarming. The Lone Ranger looks weird with CGI special effects overkill. Any movie that has lovable characters sitting on a copy machine photocopying their butt and slipping on banana peels is alright by me. 

Of course, neither of these 2 movies will come close to Pixar's Monsters University, sure to be the summer's biggest winner which opens next week. Disney still wins.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sailing Ship Columbia Turns 55 - Sail On!

June seems to be an anniversary month for Disneyland. Next week is the Tiki Room's 50th anniversary but before we get to that, today, June 14, 55 years ago in 1958, the Sailing Ship Columbia made its maiden voyage around the Rivers of America and has been delighting passengers ever since (when it's running).
Now my confession is that I haven't been on the Columbia since 2004. When it comes to taking passengers around the ROA, it's the steamship Mark Twain that does most of the heavy lifting. The Columbia is reserved for weekends or days when peak crowds are expected. And since the 'ol Disneyland Traveler tries to make his trips to Disneyland away from peak periods, I get to see a lot of the Columbia parked in its berth over by the Hungry Bear restaurant or maybe in its triumphant appearance in Fantasmic.
And my second confession is that I prefer making my river excursions on the Mark Twain, and that's for one big reason. The Mark Twain has shade from the midday sun. The Columbia doesn't. Yes, the Columbia does have a below deck area to give the vessel some true authenticity but down there you miss out on the river scenery. Still, the Columbia is a gentle ride that should be experienced by every Disneyland fan. Another gift from Walt. 

The Mark Twain and Columbia in 1958
A Disney Photo

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

J.J. Abrams: From Star Trek To Star Wars

So I finally got around to seeing Star Trek Into Darkness over the weekend. Yeah, I know.... it's been out close to a month but I just have this thing about crowded movie theaters. I don't like them as the anxiety races and claustrophobia gets the best of me. Anyway, there is absolutely nothing connected to Disney with Star Trek movies as far as I know. But Star Trek Into Darkness is an import movie for Disney.
Star Trek Into Darkness is skillfully put together by director (and writer) J.J. Abrams. The movie is visually stunning, has loads of action, is respectful to the original Star Trek series by Gene Roddenberry, and has some nicely placed moments of humor. Star Trek Into Darkness is a very good movie though I wouldn't compare it what director Joss Whedon did with The Avengers. Still you have to commend Abrams efforts and that is what is important to the Disney people.
Disney and its newly acquired Lusasfilm now hold the Star Wars universe and the decision was to turn the extremely valuable Star Wars franchise over to Abrams and its under his vision Star Wars Episode VII will be made. J.J. Abrams jumps from Star Trek to Star Wars and if he is able to produce anything close to the entertainining Star Trek Into Darkness with the new Star Wars movie, then fans of that franchise should finally have something to cheer about after George Lucas almost single handedly ruined it.
BTW. Abrams does have his Disney connections. He was the creative mastermind behind the hit series Lost for Disney owned ABC Television.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Latest Disneyland "Snack" Food - The Pork Shank

Disneyland's Pork Shank "snack"
A Disney Parks Blog photo

They've been available in Disney World for the better part of 6 months now and came with Magic Kingdom's new Fantasyland expansion. From most of the accounts I have read, these things are pretty darn good. So now coming to Disneyland - The Pork Shank - the pig counterpart to the infamous turkey leg, which is available at Edelweiss Snacks (on the fringe of Fantasyland near the Matterhorn boarding area).  The Pork Shanks are also available for the summer in Frontierland at the Festival Arena Jamboree area according to the announcement in Disney Parks Blog.
Coming in at 22 oz. and $9.99, these juicy, salt-laden, artery cloggers should be a real hit but probably should be split with as many people as you can round up to keep your doctor happy. Your stomach may appreciate it to. Chowing down one of these and going for a ride on Space Mountain or Indiana Jones probably wouldn't be advised.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Potential Mega Year For The Walt Disney Studios

So here we are nearing the half way point of the movie year. While sitting here doing nothing but looking at the internet, I cruised over to the Box Office Mojo website. The top two movies so far this year fall under the Disney umbrella with Iron Man 3 and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Disney Studios has had their share of ups and downs in recent years. There have been major huge successes (The Avengers), disappointments (TRON: Legacy), and an outright clunker (John Carter). The movie side of Disney has been so wildly inconstant that I have forgotten how many studio chiefs and high ranking execs have had their badges removed and shown the exit door by security in the last ten years or so. For a company that was founded on making movies, that's not good.

But reading the tea leaves, that should all change this year under the latest Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Besides the two movies that sit on top right now, we have this month's release of Monsters University (a slam dunk guaranteed major hit). In July there is the release of the latest Depp/Disney collaboration with The Lone Ranger. And coming later this year will be the next installment of Thor. It is entirely possible that by the time the 2013 movie year closes out, Disney will have 5 of the top 10 highest grossing movies. Stunning.

Alan Horn moved from Warner Brothers to Disney. Over at WB, Horn had his hand guiding the success of this snot nosed Harry Potter kid. Horn also gave rise to The Dark Knight and made a few bucks for Warner Bros while dabbling in the Matrix. Seems like the man knows what he's doing when it comes to running a motion picture studio.

Two Weeks Until The Enchanted Tiki Room's 50th Anniversary

Two weeks from today, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland will celebrate it's 50th anniversary. The attraction was opened by Walt himself - June 23, 1963. I'll have more to write about this great attraction as the anniversary date gets closer, but just begin to think about what a special place this really is.

Disney is busy ramping up with all the collectible anniversary merchandise they can sell. I'm thinking about the countless wonderful memories the attraction has given me.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Matterhorn Bobsleds Up For Bid At D23 Expo Auction

The classic tandem Matterhorn Bobsleds
A Disney Parks Blog

In the next two months, I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about D23 and the D23 Expo that comes up for 3 days at the Anaheim Convention Center in August. This past week Disney through Disney Parks Blog announced some items that will be pit up for bid at the Expo's silent auction. Now you can have for your very own, one of the classic tandem Matterhorn bobsleds that were removed from service when the mountain went under refurbishment at the beginning of last year. They can be yours of course if you put up the winning bid which will run into the thousands of dollars.

But here's the irony. Given the extremely poor guest reception of the new but uncomfortable, bone jarring, teeth rattling bobsled ride vehicles, how many people will look at the old sleds on Disney Parks Blog (link) or see them up close at the D23 Expo and think to themselves or say out loud "they should have left those sleds where they belong - on the Matterhorn"?

Yeah....the ride was still bumpy but the one thing those old sleds had, with Mrs. DisneylandTraveler in the front slot and me in the back, was room - room to spare. Pardon me while I go get a Kleenix to wipe my eyes.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mickey's Soundsational Parade Is Well.....Sensational

Every once in awhile I get surprised by something. Even though Disneyland's Mickey's Soundsational Parade is over a year old now, I hadn't seen it until about 6 weeks ago. Now, truth be told, I am not a parade guy. Don't really care for them much except Disneyland's Christmas Fantasy Parade because...well...that parade has Santa Claus in it and anything with Santa is a good thing. But on a cool Sunday afternoon, we grabbed a bench facing the Matterhorn and sat down to watch Mickey's Soundsational Parade...and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now it could have been that after dragging my sorry behind around the park for most of the day,  any Disneyland activity you can do while sitting on a bench works for me but I also thought the parade was fun, upbeat, colorful, and very nicely staged. The kids just love it. Disneyland's last parade (which I forget the name right now) was pretty weak. Mickey's Soundsational Parade proved to be a surprisingly entertaining show. So good in fact that we saw it a second time later on in the week. About the only thing I didn't care for was the parade ended with Mary Poppins and as much as I am not a parade guy, I am definitely not a Mary Poppins guy. That woman has haunted me for years, from the time I was 9 years old and actually saw it in a movie theater. Something about her flying around sky with an umbrella that just gave me the creeps (and nightmares). The rest of Mickey's Soundsational Parade gets a big thumbs up.

Here are some pictures - I think Mrs. DisneylandTraveler took all of them hence, blurriness is kept to a minimum.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Being Amused By Little Green Men

Without a doubt, Wall-E is my favorite Pixar character, a piece of metal that drips with the humanity, compassion, heart, and love we should all be praying for. But going through the shops at Disneyland and now going through my pictures for this blog I'm struck by how many pictures I have of Toy Story's Little Green Men. I'm somehow drawn to these little characters for my own peculiar reasons.

The Little Green Men amuse me. They make me smile. Why? Maybe it's because that in the tough enough world we live in, all Little Green Men know is how to smile. There's that and the fact that without any coaxing or prompting, they always seem to show up at the right time and do the right thing without asking for a thing in return. And then there's their ability to look at the world through their (3) eyes of endless fascination. The Little Green Men haven't been jaded yet. In their world, everything is still goooooooood.

Around Disneyland - News (and Rumors)

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler's hand wrapped around an Annual Pass
BEFORE today's price increase!
Ticket Price Increases
So as of today, it just got more expensive to march through the gates of Disneyland (and Walt Disney World). The fallout continues to trickle into the various Disneyland forums and discussion boards and as usual, people fall into one of four categories. 1) Raising prices annually is to be expected as part of normal business operations - Disney is not run as a non-profit. 2) The continual price increase is pricing many working families and individuals out of the park - you sadly hear this more and more. 3) A visit to a Disney Park is a luxury - either you can afford it or you can't. 4) Disney needs to raise prices more as a means of controlling the huge crowds that still enter the parks.

Here's the deal - The price increase announced yesterday that went into effect today is more in line with a typical Disney park increase regular park guests are accustomed to as opposed to last years staggering price increase. Disney has a right to raise ticket prices as a means of maintaining the operating costs of their high quality parks and turn a profit for stockholders. But on the other hand, the Disney fans who are affected by the continual price increases and are slowly being priced out have every right to be frustrated and disillusioned and free to express their displeasure against a company that seems to, more and more, aim their targeting at the high end consumer rather than the masses. It works both ways.

The End of World of Color Picnic Meals
When World of Color was new and a deluge of people just had to see it, Disney set up a nice little revenue stream by selling pre-packaged meals (4 meal choices I believe) for $15 that included a WOC show pass. This was set up for people who didn't want to spend money on the high priced WOC dining packages offered at the various DCA table service restaurants nor wished to stand in long lines trying to get a show pass from the machines (which often, ran out of passes before you got to the machine). Well, that was then. While still quite popular, World Of Color isn't the draw it once was. For some (Mrs. DLT for one) the constant standing in this line and that line for show you have to stand up and watch got to be a little too much. And as impressive as it is, WOC just isn't a show you have to see over and over again. It's actually gotten to be more fun watching the expression on faces of the people who haven't seen it.

So with the demand dwindling, Disney, as of today if I'm reading things correctly, has ended the WOC pre-packaged meal option. Some people liked the meals (which were on the small side). But I also saw a person take one bite and dump the remainder of the meal in a garbage can. On my last visit, I was able to pick up a WOC show pass from the dispensing machine late in the afternoon and I arrived to the viewing area far too early than I needed to.

Christmas at Disneyland Just May Get More Expensive
And if you believe the Disneyland insider rumors that come out of MiceAge/MiceChat there are several stories that center around Christmas at the Disneyland Resort this year.

First up... From the days of Walt Disney, Disneyland's Candlelight Processional took place over one weekend in December. Last year, Disney expanded it to 20 nights and primarily pointed it at Annual Passholders. Well this year it looks like its going back to the traditional one weekend in December. Reason? The throng of people gathered at the foot of Main St. to watch the Processional set up on the steps of the Railroad Station absolutely killed shopping in the adjacent stores (Emporium, Disney Clothiers, etc.) during some of their prime shopping hours. 

Second... You know all those wonderful Disneyland traditions that have gone on for decades - the Christmas Fantasy Parade, holiday fireworks, the snow falling on Main St. Well, this may be the year that seeing those things are going to cost you if they go the route of separate admission night time event similar to what is now being done for Halloween trick or treating nights and over at Walt Disney World with the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. On nights when there isn't a separate admission event you will get the regular parade and fireworks display without the snow. Remember what I said about Disney having the right to slap a price tag on everything. Same applies here - people will have the right to complain (loudly).

Third... A new World of Color Christmas Show. Everyone always knew WOC is capable of giving different shows, well this Christmas, it may be finally allowed to really change things up. This won't be a separate admission event like over at Disneyland. But with a new show, expect the return of long lines to get passes and being herded up like cattle prior to being let into the viewing area - unless you go the high priced dining packages. Disney always wins.

The Christmas stuff is all rumor and speculation at this point. More to come.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Death, Taxes, and Disneyland Ticket Price Increases

This man is not amused at the price it cost to get in

The phrase has come through many sources but the most common utterance comes from Ben Franklin in The Works of Benjamin Franklin (1817):

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Well, starting tomorrow, June 2, we can now update the phrase with...

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and the annual Disneyland ticket price increase.

Here you go...

Disneyland Resort Ticket Options

TicketAges 10+Ages 3-9
5-Day Park Hopper$300$279
5-Day 1-Park Per Day$265$244
4-Day Park Hopper$285$265
4-Day 1-Park Per Day$250$230
3-Day Park Hopper$260$244
3-Day 1-Park Per Day$225$209
2-Day Park Hopper$210$197
2-Day 1-Park Per Day$175$162
1-Day Park Hopper$137$131
1-Day 1-Park$92$86
All multi-day tickets expire 13 days after first use.

Disneyland Resort Annual Passports

Southern California*$359
Southern California Select*$279
Annual Passport Block-Out Day Ticket$84

Depp, Depp, and More Depp: A Disney Revenue Stream

Johnny Depp as Tonto and Jack Sparrow
Disney's big budget The Lone Ranger opens in a little over month with their one man money making machine - Johnny Depp - in the role of Tonto. The movie, which comes from the producer and director of the original Pirates of the Caribbean, is believed to have cost more than $200 million dollars to make and was briefly shut down when Disney execs needed to send a message about budget excess to the filmmakers. 

Anyway, am I looking forward to seeing The Lone Ranger? The jury is still out on that one as the trailers and sneak peeks have been anything but enticing (for me anyway). The movie actually looks kind of weird with Depp taking his character makeup to new extremes. One of these days, Johnny Depp is going to make a movie for Disney that doesn't make money hand over fist.

But that won't be the next project for Depp and Disney because after the Lone Ranger we can prepare for the return of Captain Jack Sparrow with Pirates of the Caribbean 5. Depp is already committed to the film and Disney, within the last week, has selected the director(s) for the project.

So now comes word that Disney is looking at making Alice in Wonderland 2. No word that Depp will be attached to this project but can you imagine an Alice sequel that doesn't have Depp reprising his role as the Mad Hatter? Neither can I. The last Alice made over a billion dollars at the box office and I hated just about every loathsome minute of it.

The return of my nightmare?  :-(
Who would have thought 2 actors with somewhat checkered pasts as Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. would become such Disney stalwarts (though, by many sources, Depp is one of the kindest Hollywood stars you will ever want to meet when it comes to contact with fans)? Then again, it seems every female star that turns up on the Disney Channel seems to have a room waiting at a substance abuse facility somewhere.

And as Johnny Depp continues to ride his wave of Disney success, I think about some Ray Davies song lyrics from years ago (Celluloid Heroes):

And to those who are successful,
Be always on your guard,
Success walks hand in hand with failure,
Along Hollywood Boulevard.

PS: I guess The Lone Ranger will have its world premiere at the Hyperion Theater (home of Aladdin) inside Disney California Adventure - a theater that has neither a bathroom or lobby as @fakedisneyparks pointed out on Twitter.

The Disneyland Traveler And His Cars Land June Pledge

Here what is?
That's it! I've had enough. My co-worker just returned from a trip to Disneyland with her daughter and grandsons. You would have thought Disneyland was renamed to Cars Land as that one small stretch of land with the big mountains at one end dominates the Disneyland discussion. Of course her grandsons are 2 and 4 and live in a world of Cars, their favorite movie so they now have Cars suitcases, Cars t-shirts, Cars mouse ears, and probably a gazillion other Cars related souvenirs. But I have had enough. I want my Disneyland back.

To their credit, Disney created something amazing with Cars Land. They recreated a town from an animated movie and gave us one of the great ride attractions in recent years with Radiator Springs Racers. While Cars Land itself is relatively small (and crowded and hot in the midday sun), Radiator Springs Racers is huge, dripping with detail, and most of all a lot of fun for guests of all ages. Cars Land probably would have been "cute" without the Racers attraction but with it, Cars Land is an over the top destination for anyone visiting the Disneyland Resort.

So after hearing about Cars Land for a year, making my first trip to Cars Land to see what all the fuss is about myself, and now hearing others talk about their first trip to Cars Land, I'm just about Cars Land out. There's a saturation point. If I hear Larry the Cable Guy do his Mater schpiel one more time, I'm going to beat my head against a wall. Who says there isn't money to be made in being a dufus?

So here is the Disneyland Traveler pledge for the month of June. I'm not going to write one word or post one picture about Cars Land for the next 30 days. I'm not going sing Cars Lands praises for how amazing it is or bother you with how sick and tired I am hearing about the place. There is still a Disneyland out there worthy of blog posting and discussion without reference to Cars Land. The Enchanted Tiki Room turns 50 years in a few weeks and in my book, talking birds trump an idiot talking tow truck any day of the week. Now that's something to write about.

Of course, if Cars Land disappears into a sink whole, all bets are off.