ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Disneyland has mastered the art of freshening up
its product to keep visitors returning. Two years ago, the opening
of the adjacent California Adventure park created a resort with
attractions for all ages.
Now, Disney has set its sights on rejuvenating both parks.
Disneyland will feature a new attraction called the Twilight
Zone Tower of Terror. Slated for completion in 2005, it will
incorporate a museum, a haunted house and a 13-story elevator drop.
Also undergoing a face-lift is the perennial favorite, Space
Mountain, scheduled to reopen in 2005.
After 30 years of frequenting Disneyland -- as a child and now
as a parent -- I discovered on a visit this summer to both parks
that the most recent improvements hit just the right note with the
about the younger set by adding The Many Adventures of Winnie the
Pooh to Critter Country. The ride debuted in April in place of the
Country Bear Jamboree. Here, kids who board "hunny beehives" won't
feel left out if they didn't make the height requirement for Splash
Mountain next door.
Another updated Disneyland attraction, Great Moments with Mr.
Lincoln, has revamped Abraham Lincoln himself. He's rumpled and
more authentic-looking than ever as he delivers the Gettysburg
There's also new surround-sounds emitted from headphones,
coupled with tactile effects -- like the feeling of hair falling on
your neck when a Civil War soldier gets his hair cut.
New attractions for kids have come to the California Adventure
park, as well.
One example is The Magic of Brother Bear, an interactive show
and experience found at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, a new
Its debut coincided with the national opening of the Disney
animated film "Brother Bear."
One resort, two parks
Those who had been to Disneyland in past years but have not
experienced the California Adventure park should know the
differences between the two.
Disneyland revolves around a fantasy world of stories and
characters; California Adventure strives for reality.
For example, one area of the latter resembles Cannery Row in
Monterey, Calif. Another mimics a Hollywood backlot, and yet
another, Paradise Pier, recalls old California beach communities
with roller-coaster rides, carnival games and a Ferris wheel.
California Adventure also features a river-rafting attraction,
but its signature ride is Soarin' Over California, which takes
participants on a virtual trip around the Golden State.
Strapped into a movie seat in front of a surround-screen, they
are lifted off the ground and swept into scenes depicting such
sports as hang-gliding, skiing, whitewater rafting, horseback
riding and surfing.
Young children will find more to do in California Adventure than
at Disneyland, such as Heimlich's Chew Chew Train in the section
called A Bug's Land, an entire area with oversize decor to make you
feel, well, the size of a bug.
Partying in the parks
And who said the parks are just for the kids?
About 300 custom-designed weddings and receptions take place at
the two Disneyland parks each year, according to Disney.
Guests also can enjoy a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty's Castle or
a barbecue at Big Thunder Ranch.
Parties are popular and come in a wide range of prices. On the
high end is an intimate dinner in the Haunted Mansion, costing
upwards of several hundred dollars per person, a spokesman
Other ideas include a gathering in the Hollywood Pictures
Backlot or dinner followed by the "Aladdin" musical at the Hyperion
Meetings planners and other group leaders can arrange for an
entire "land" all to themselves after hours.
The number of rides kept open as well as the size of the group
dictate the price, according to the spokesman. Meanwhile, Disney
launched a Web site for meetings planners at www.disneylandmeetings.com.
Ain't it Grand
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, adjacent to Downtown Disney
and offering private access to California Adventure, opened in
We found it a definite improvement over the charming but tired
Disneyland Hotel and the budget Paradise Pier property. The Grand
Californian offers fine dining in the Napa Rose restaurant and
Paradise Pier is set to undergo a renovation beginning in
November and finishing in April, though the spokesman said the work
will be undetectable to guests.
Restaurants and shops in Downtown Disney supplement the
traditional offerings with nightlife and more dining choices, such
as ESPN Zone and House of Blues. So many options for easy meals
help ease congestion even during the busiest seasons.
Passes and packages
Two-day Park Hopper tickets allow unlimited access to both
Disneyland and California Adventure. The price is $99 for age 10
and up; $79 for ages 3 to 9.
The Walt Disney Travel Co. still has commissionable packages
available for 2003. Each includes a Park Hopper ticket. One
package, Disney's Resort Magic, starts at $289 per person for two
nights at Paradise Pier.
For those who want to go beyond the park walls, Disney's Land
& Sand Getaway is a six-night vacation featuring three nights
at Disneyland and three in San Diego.
This package includes passes to SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, the
San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Old Town Trolley Tour. Prices
start at $549 per person. Honeymoon/romance plans also are
For more information, call Disney's travel agent number at (800)
To contact reporter Katherine Nichols, send e-mail to [email protected].