Q: Where can I get discounted and/or free tickets to Disneyland?
A: Free? Nowhere, unless you win them from some contest or promotion. Discounted? Try your local AAA office, or use your Magic Kingdom Club card, available from many corporate and government employers. It's a very slight discount, amounting to about 10%. Otherwise, pay the full freight admission. You won't find any other discounts on tickets (except perhaps in a total travel package, but the savings there are usually on rooms, airfare, rental cars, etc., not on the Disneyland Tickets.
Q: When I was at Disneyland last, my favorite ride wasn't operating. The castmember said it would be operating later in the day (or the next day) but it wasn't. Why do they have certain rides closed when the park is very busy?
A: Generally, rides are not scheduled for major renovation (called rehab) during peak periods, such as summer and winter holiday periods. However, everything mechanical is subject to flaw and gremlins, which can cause service interruptions at any time. Depending on the severity of the problem, a ride would be down from a few hours to many weeks. The rehab time for the Matterhorn is frequently four weeks, sometimes more, usually in October or January. Of course, other construction may interfere with the use of a particular attraction. Take, for example, that the monorail was not in operation for a considerable period of time last year while DCA was under construction and the new monorail terminal at the Disneyland Hotel was being put in place (plus the rail itself had to be relocated).
Q: Can you recommend a place to stay in the Disneyland area?
A: Not any particular one, because the lodging you want depends on your budget, whether you need to be in walking distance, how many in your group, and my taste as to what is good/excellent/acceptable may not be yours. Your best bet is to contact a travel agency (again, AAA is a great resource here) or use the internet. Many locations in and around Disneyland have their own web sites and can provide pictures of the rooms, maps, rates and availabilities. The only thing I can say is that unless you just have to have the wall-to-wall Disneyland experience and stay at the Disneyland Hotel, or the new hotel at DCA, you'll find lodging of equal value for less money elsewhere. Sorry Walt Disney Company, but I can think of loads of fun things to do without spending $290 per night at the Grand Californian Hotel at DCA for a standard room. Want some suggestions anyway? Take a look at the Lodgings page.
Q: Are you paid by Disneyland for your web page?
Q: Where do you get all the information on your site? Does Disneyland provide that information to you?
A: Disneyland provides me with no more information that you or any other park guest. I do keep my eyes open for Disneyland information in the papers, internet, TV, etc, and have a good library of info on the park. I also rely on good people like you, past and present Disneylanders, and friends with inside information. Got info? E-mail me and if verified, I'll include it. Check the Doug's Disneyland Library page for more info on where you too can get good information about the Happiest Place on Earth.
Q: I'd like to go to work at Disneyland. How do I do that?
A: First of all, it would be extremely helpful if you lived in southern California. There is a bit of a preference for hiring locals (Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego counties). And a great many college students have started part-time jobs at Disneyland that became full-time careers. Disneyland has its own personnel department, and for more information you should follow this link.
Q: I have a Disney fill in the blank toy/book/figurine that I found/bought/inherited. Do you know its current value?
A: No. I don't operate any business that deals with collectibles. I know what I like and collect those, and have never sold any such items. Values are also dependent entirely upon condition, demand, and rarity. I always suggest that you check out e-Bay to see what values might be attached to an item similar to yours.
Q: How many times have you been to Disneyland?
A: I quit counting when it reached over 100 quite a few years back.
Q: I've visited many Disney sites and yours is one of the best. Why do you do it?
A: Because I love the concept of Disneyland, grew up with the park, and regardless of the successes and failures of the parent company, including decisions made about the park, always will love the happiest place on earth. Some of us still believe in the idealization of Walt's vision of the park. That's why, and thank you.
Q: When was Disneyland first opened?
A: July 17, 1955 (invitation only and press; regarded as the first operating day. Public wasn't allowed in until July 18, 1955.
Q: How large is/was Disneyland?
A: The original purchase of land was about 160 acres. The area inside the berm was approximately 60 acres, the parking lot was 100 acres.
Q: Were real rifles used in the first shooting gallery on Main Street?
A: Yes. .22 rifles at that. Removed rather quickly after opening day.
Q: Is Walt Disney buried under the Partner's Statue in the Hub of Disneyland?
A: No. His remains are at Forest Lawn in Glendale.
Q: Is alcohol available for purchase anywhere in Disneyland?
A: Yes, but only at Club 33 in New Orleans Square, which is open to members and their guests only.
Q: Are cigarettes available for purchase at Disneyland?
A: Good question. Until recently, they were available (under the counter by request only) at the Star Trader (Star Tours exit area). Uncertain if they are still available there, or anywhere else in Disneyland, given the policy of discouraging smoking in all but a very limited number of areas in the park. If Disneyland really had its way, the entire park would be non-smoking.
Q: How many people work at Disneyland?
A: Castmember numbers vary by season, from a low of approximately 3500 during off peak times (non-holiday, mid-fall and mid winter) to a high of nearly 10,000 during the summer and holiday periods.
Q: Is Disneyland truly self-contained?
A: Not really. Power is purchased independently, so it may avoid a rolling blackout, as is gas and water. But should the providers fail to supply any of these, Disneyland is at the mercy of the elements. There are no power generating facilities on site (other than those required for minor maintenance and construction projects).
Q: Has Disneyland ever closed due to weather?
A: Yes. Extremely high winds have caused the park to close twice that I'm aware of.
Q: Any other sudden or emergency closures of the park?
A: The park has stopped admitting people several times due to high attendance. Even Disneyland has a maximum capacity, and it has been reached on a couple of occasions. Curiously, when this happens, it's usually New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. It's never happened during the summer. Because of the events in New York and Washington D.C., the park did close, and turn away guests for the remainder of the day on September 11, 2001. But it was open for business as usual the following day. On May 5, 2005, at the commencement of the 50th Anniversary celebration, I had reports that the park stopped admitting new guest in the early afternoon for a brief time due to capacity crowds. This is unconfirmed. However the park did NOT stop admission at any time during the July 17, 2005 birthday celebration. While kept a "closely guarded secret" those in the know say that Disneyland's actual capacity is about 85,000 guests.
Q: Why was the Country Bear Jamboree closed?
A: Poor attendance, and the idea that the land and perhaps theatre building could be used for a different attraction. Disney has long lamented that there was no Pooh-oriented attraction at the park. That was solved by gutting the Country Bear Theatre building, adding in the sets and animations for Pooh, laying a track on the floor and doing some cosmetic changes outside. And thus you go from Country Bears, which produced very little revenue, to a homage to Pooh, which is a cash cow or, er,.... bear. However, if you ride and find yourself longing for the Country Bears, just before you enter the final birthday scene in Pooh, look up. Right there on the wall over your honeycomb car ride vehicle you'll see Max, Buff, and Melvin, still attached to the wall.
Q: Do you know where I can get discount tickets to Disneyland?
A: Didn't I already answer this one?
Q: What were the original lands of Disneyland?
A: Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Main Street USA. New Orleans Square was added in 1967, followed by Bear Country (later Critter Country) in about 1972. Toon Town is the newest "land" added in 1992. The original park contained only 17 "attractions." That number has since doubled. Some might consider "Holidayland" as an original land, but it wasn't. It was just a large tent erected in a space now occupied by the Pirates of the Carribean show building (outside the park border) used for private parties and campers.
Q: We're visiting Disneyland in the near future but only for a few days. Is it worth our time to pay the extra admission to Disney's California Adventure?
A: If you have only one day, spend it at Disneyland. If more than that, yes. Visit DCA. Put Tower ofTerror, Soarin' Over California, California Screamin' and Golden Dreams at the top of your "must-see" list.
Q: Any idea why the submarines are no longer operating?
A: Maintenance costs were relative high while rider capacity was relatively low. Plus, it just wasn't as popular as in years gone by. As of July 17, 2005, the lagoon is drained for refurbishment and maintenance, and we all expect the ride to re-open in 2007 as a new adventure themed to "Finding Nemo."
Q: Does it really snow at Disneyland during the winter?
A: Yes. During the "Believe in Holiday Magic" fireworks spectacular, at the conclusion, it snows on Main Street, around the hub, New Orleans Square and along the Small World Promenade. It's done with custom made snow-making machines, that instantly freeze water vapor, producing real "snow." The machines are located on the light standards around the hub, the promenadte and NOS, and on the rooftops along Main Street. Couple the snow with the ethereal rendition of "White Christmas" that plays, it's quite an experience.
Q: Why did they change Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln?
A: You got me. The old show was good, time-honored, and always touching. Plus, no one but Royal Dano will ever be Lincoln's voice for me. But I'm old. And the new 3-D sound system, that requires headphones, is interesting at first, then rapidly annoying. I'd prefer to hear Lincoln with my ears, not headphones. Right now, "Fifty Years of Magic" is in place, which is a film about the development, creation and building of Disneyland showing in the Opera House. The film is hosted by Steve Martin, and it's actually quite entertaining. You should see it when you go to the 50th celebration.
Q: When I was at Disneyland recently, a castmember really went out of (his/her) was to help me. How can I thank (him/her)?
A: Stop by the City Hall on Main Street. They have a card you can fill out complimenting that particular cast member. Be sure to mention him/her by name, if you remember, or at least where he/she worked, what day it was, and what time. They can frequently figure out who it was by that info if you don't recall the name. Each time I have done this, I have received a personal thank-you from that castmember. It really is appreciated.
Q: Why was Captain Eo removed from Tomorrowland?
A: Mostly because it was getting dated, and perhaps because of some concern about MJ's increasingly bizarre reputation. Plus they wanted to bring in Honey, I Shrunk the Audience from the Florida park, as they thought it would go well in the "New Tomorrowland." However, most of the "New" in "New Tomorrowland" has already been removed or replaced. Rocket Rods are gone, Cosmic Waves are gone, Space Mountain was completely overhauled, even its bronze, rust and patina paint job has again been replaced with classic white and Buzz Lightyear Blue, more like the old "new" Tomorrowland in 1971. The Orbitron above the Astro Orbiter hasn't worked right in years, and the Observatron hasn't operated for a while either. Buzz Lightyear has been installed in the old Circle-vision space, and is now open. It is similar to the same attraction at Disneyland Tokyo. Hey, paint the whole thing white, put back the People Mover, Art Corner, Monstanto House of Tomorrow and Hall of Chemistry and everybody might be happy. Oh, am I editorializing here? Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeee me!
Q: Why was the Country Bear Jamboree closed? Part 2
A: Because Disney believes that each generation has its own icons, and to stay current they needed to bring in Pooh, who is adored by toddlers and mothers all over the western hemisphere and parts of Asia (or so I'm told). That's why we had to fight to keep Toad from being dumped in Fantasyland (there was talk that Pooh would go there originally). You see, Mr. Toad means almost nothing to most people, particularly the young ones who have grown up on Teletubbies and Sesame Street and the Bear in the Big Blue House, etc. In fact, most of the young ones know about Tinkerbell, but don't know who Peter Pan is. Am I going on about nothing again? Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuussssssssssssssseeeeeee me!
Q: Why was Disney California Adventure built right next door to Disneyland?
A: Why was it built at all? Could it be that Disney wanted to expand the idea of Disneyland as a destination resort, where a family could spend three or four days or more with more to do that just visit Disneyland? Could it be that they wanted to add another gate and get another $57 per person for admission? Could it be that people will go and people will pay and the money will flow? Oh, am I editorializing here? Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeee me!
Q: Where do you eat when you go to Disneyland?
A: First choice is Blue Bayou (assuming I'm not going to Club 33). You can too, but make your reservations first thing in the morning when you get there, or call the dining reservation number. You'll find it on the official website (look for the link on the home page). Second to that, I like the Plaza Inn. Breakfast at the River Belle Terrace is a must for me also. Sorry, Redd Rockets, but I don't care for the pizza or salads. Avoid the Tomorrowland Terrace fast food windows at all costs. And for the real guilty pleasure, get a corn dog (hand-dipped and freshly deep fried) at the corn dog wagon next to the Plaza Inn. (The wagon is sometimes moved, so it may not always be open; you can get the same dogs and same quality at Korn Dog Kastle in DCA).
Q: You've got some complaints going on here? So if you complain about so many things, why do YOU still go to Disneyland?
A: I go because despite my complaints, I love it. I admire the idea, the concept, the execution and the wonderful castmembers who make it a place to enjoy, remember and return to time and again. Here's a great example. On Sunday, July 10, 2005 at about noon I walked from the tram area to the entry gates. I was last there about two months earlier. And if you've read any of my other Disneyland ramblings here, you'll know that my earliest memory of any kind is/was of being at Disneyland (1955, age two). When I whipped out my annual pass and give it to the cast member taking tickets, she ran it through the little bar code reader and handed it back. No big deal. I don't know if this next part was scripted or not, but I suspect it was. Nevertheless, it really hit me. She looked right at me, eye to eye and said "Welcome home, Doug." And even as I'm writing this, I'm tearing up just like I did at that moment. THAT's why I keep going back.
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