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Yo-Ho: 'Pirates' Scuttles Disneyland Visits

The Anaheim theme park will close early Saturday for the premiere of the movie named after one of its most popular rides.

June 27, 2003|Kimi Yoshino | Times Staff Writer

For the first time in its 48-year history, Disneyland will play host to a star-studded premiere of a movie named after one of the park's best-known attractions.

Visitors to Disneyland will be ushered out early Saturday -- at 6 p.m. instead of midnight -- as the park is closed and transformed into a scene straight out of Tinseltown for the premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

"This is a huge, Hollywood-style, red-carpet kind of thing," Disneyland spokesman Bob Tucker said. "It is unusual to be closing the park early on a busy summer weekend day, but we feel like it will be well worth it to be hosting something of this magnitude."

Disney officials are expecting 1,500 people at the invitation-only event, including the movie's star, Johnny Depp, and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, as well as dozens of celebrities.

Park workers have installed a 40-by-90-foot movie screen on Tom Sawyer Island and erected seating lining the Rivers of America in New Orleans Square. Celebrities donning "Caribbean casual" will make their way to the premiere on a red carpet stretching 900 feet along Main Street.

"It's just a whole new experience doing it in Disneyland," said a studio spokesperson. "That's where the ride originated, and there's no more appropriate place to do it."

In fact, Disney officials said they will have to do little in the way of decoration because the river, island and New Orleans Square provide a ready-made backdrop for the outdoor theater. Disneyland "cast members" will be dressed as pirates, and live bands will entertain guests with jazz and Cajun music, to match the movie -- a 17th century pirates' tale.

"Spy Kids" premiered two years ago at California Adventure, though officials said that was nothing compared with the shindig they are planning for Saturday.

Visitors have been warned that the park will close early. Disney officials said they spread the word to travel agents and area hotels and will open the park early, at 6:30 a.m., and keep California Adventure open late to minimize the inconvenience.

Before leaving the park, tourists can line up along Main Street to catch a glimpse of arriving movie and television stars, officials said. Celebrities will be ushered into Disneyland through a back entrance but will walk down Main Street to the seating area in New Orleans Square.

Six rides -- Pirates of the Caribbean, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones Adventure -- will be open after the premiere of the $140-million movie for the invited guests.

This is not the first time the park has hosted a Hollywood bash.

In February 1992, Elizabeth Taylor rented out the park for the night in honor of her 60th birthday.

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