Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Saturday, March 26, 2005

Steve and Donald Duck present the past

Los Angeles Times
March 16, 2005 Wednesday
Orange County Edition
CALIFORNIA; Metro; Metro Desk; Part B; Pg. 3
Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Party Will Start Early and Run 18 Months
Kimi Yoshino, Times Staff Writer

A refurbished old standard, Space Mountain, and a new, high-tech interactive ride, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, will help Disneyland mark its 50th anniversary with a prolonged celebration.

"If there is one year to be at Disneyland, this is it," said Disneyland Resort spokesman Tim O'Day, pitching events that will, in fact, run for 18 months.

Some customers have been given sneak peeks of what's in store, and others won't have to wait much longer.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters -- part ride, part video game -- makes its debut Thursday after a series of quiet test runs.

Cari Schofield, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., rode Buzz with her husband and three sons Monday and approved. "It was awesome," Schofield said of the attraction, in which riders use joysticks to spin their two-person "star cruisers" while shooting laser guns at glowing targets.

In June, park officials will add an Internet component to the ride, allowing online players at home to interact with actual Buzz riders. It is Disneyland's first effort to combine an on-site attraction with real-time Internet participation. Disneyland's 50th birthday is July 17, but the party begins May 5, with the introduction of a new parade at Disneyland, another at California Adventure, a new fireworks show and a re-decorated Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

In addition to Buzz Lightyear, the park also will temporarily replace "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" with "Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years" -- exhibits and a film presentation hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck.

The Main Street attraction also will feature recently uncovered film footage from opening day as well as a model of how the park appeared in 1955.

Space Mountain, closed for two years, will reopen in July with new rocket vehicles, a revised soundtrack and new special effects to update the 28-year-old roller coaster. Chrissie Allen, a senior show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, said that when fans were asked what they liked about the ride, they said: "It's dark, it's fun, it's unpredictable. Don't mess with it."

As a result, Allen said, the ride is "amped up."

"We want it to feel familiar, but we want it to be exciting and new at the same time," she said. And, it's even darker now. "No light leaks, no doors, no exits, nothing. We painted the floor black," Allen said.

The anniversary celebration will extend to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disney's theme parks worldwide.

A companywide marketing campaign includes a commercial depicting Disney's signature characters "coming home," although no one park is specifically mentioned.

The multimedia advertising blitz is raising expectations about the 50th celebration, said James Zoltak, editor of the Amusement Business trade magazine.

And with a rebounding economy and travel spending returning to pre-Sept. 11 levels, 2005 should be a banner year, he said.

"I'd be shocked if they didn't get a pretty major bump out of this whole thing," Zoltak said. "The whole Disneyland experience has become a rite of passage for a lot of families."


another great blog...erik

By Blogger Erik Mann, at 11:47 AM  

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