ANAHEIM, Calif. -- During a two-day event that put the spotlight on
its original park here, the Walt Disney Co. brought in the
company's top brass and celebrities Julie Andrews and Art
Linkletter to announce details of the 50th anniversary celebration
of Disneyland in 2005.
"All our theme parks for the first time will join in for one
celebration that will be the biggest in our history," said Jay
Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
The 18-month event, which kicks off May 5, 2005, is dubbed "The
Happiest Celebration on Earth."
A fall advertising campaign promoting the anniversary at the
Disney parks is in the planning stages. In January, the company
plans to unveil separate campaigns for the individual parks,
highlighting new attractions and features.
At Disneyland, where the campaign is called "The Happiest
Homecoming on Earth," the aim is "to motivate the people who've
been here during the last 50 years to visit us again," said Linda
Warren, executive vice president of marketing. Some 500 million
people have visited Disneyland since its opening.
Each night of the festivities, the Sleeping Beauty Castle will
be the centerpiece of a fireworks show that will feature Disney
New features planned for Disneyland in 2005 include:
• Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, a 30-minute display with one
of the largest casts of Disney characters ever assembled. The
parade will feature floats with dancing fountains, confetti blasts,
puppetry, acrobats, dancers and singers. There will be two
performances each day.
• In Tomorrowland, the reopening of Space Mountain with
redesigned "rockets." In addition, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters,
an interactive "space mission" will be unveiled.
• An exhibition of the 50 years of Disneyland history, including
a new film with recently discovered footage of the planning of the
park. The film will be shown in the Main Street Opera House.
• At California Adventure, the Block Party Bash, which is being
described as "a huge tailgate party" with Disney and other
characters, including the Muppets and characters from the animated
movies "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life" and "Monsters, Inc."
• As previously announced, the repositioning of Disney Cruise
Line's Disney Magic to Southern California for the first time. The
vessel will sail from Los Angeles on 12 seven-night sailings to the
Mexican Riviera. Pre- and post-stay packages are available at
Disneyland Resort hotels.
Some attractions will be shared between Disney parks as a part
of the anniversary celebration. Walt Disney World Resort in Lake
Buena Vista, Fla., for example, will feature the opening of
"Soarin" at Epcot, based on the Anaheim park's popular attraction
at California Adventure.
"Cinderellabration," a musical from Tokyo Disneyland that
re-enacts Cinderella's royal coronation, will take place starting
in 2005 at Cinderella Castle.
"Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show" will feature cars,
motorcycles and Jet Skis and is modeled on a show at Walt Disney
Studios in Paris.
It will open at Disney-MGM Studios next year.
Other features debuting at the Florida parks in 2005
• At Epcot, an exhibit and scale model of Hong Kong Disneyland,
which is expected to open in late 2005 or early 2006.
• Expedition Everest, an attraction based on a runaway train on
a new 200-foot snow-capped Himalayan mountain.
• At Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, the debut of Lucky the
Dinosaur, which will make its debut walking the streets of
Dinoland, USA. The character is the first-ever Audio-Animatronics
creation from Disney and was introduced at California Adventure
This year, the highlight at Disneyland is the new Twilight Zone
Tower of Terror at California Adventure. The attraction, almost
identical to the one that opened in 1994 at the Disney-MGM Studios
in Florida, is based on a "lost episode" of the "Twilight Zone" TV
series and involves riding an "elevator" down a shaft as the
building is struck by bolts of lightning.
To contact reporter Laura Del Rosso, send e-mail to [email protected].
Universal, too, has an anniversary
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Universal Studios Hollywood is
celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with new
The first, "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula," opened May 8. "Van
Helsing," a walk-through attraction in which participants encounter
Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man, among other monsters,
recreates Transylvania's supernatural world.
It is based on the movie "Van Helsing," directed by Stephen
Sommers, the director of the "Mummy" movies.
Meanwhile, on June 25, the theme park is scheduled to unveil
"Revenge of the Mummy -- The Ride," a thrill ride based on the
Park promoters call it "the world's first psychological thrill
ride" and say it is more than just a roller coaster, that it taps
into people's deepest fears, including fear of the dark, of insects
and of heights.
Participants are brought into a terrifying Egyptian underworld;
propulsion systems thrust riders forward, backward and forward
again while computer-generated imagery is used to startle them.
The ride also is slated to open at Universal Orlando May 21.
Universal Studios Hollywood is open daily. Admission is $49 for
for children under 48 inches tall; children under age 3 are
More information is available at www.universalstudioshollywood.com.