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Sunday, January 16, 2005; Page P01


Year of the Mouse

Disney is adding new rides and special events at its theme parks and resorts as part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1955 opening of Disneyland in California. Among the changes to look for when the 18-month-long celebration is kicked off May 6:

New attractions and rides. Popular shows and rides from Tokyo Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Paris will be added to Disney properties in Orlando. In Disneyland, various rides and Sleeping Beauty's Castle will be gilded in gold leaf. For details on new rides and shows, go to www.disneydestinations.com and click on individual properties.

A new Disney theme park will open in Hong Kong on Sept. 12.

• Disney is spending " hundreds of millions" of dollars in its marketing campaign, which CoGo figures will create even longer lines at crowded parks. FastPass, which gives you a time to show up at select popular attractions, will thus be more critical than ever.

• Disney resorts in Orlando will begin a free shuttle service from the airport in May. (You can already book a free shuttle to numerous non-Disney hotels in Orlando by calling 866-219-3733.)

• A " virtual theme park" will debut with a free online game in which you adopt a persona and acquire points. Sounds like the popular "Sims" computer games, except you can win real Disney discounts.

• Hundreds of thousands of photos of families vacationing with Disney over the years will be displayed in giant montages. To be included, send photos with a form you download at www.disneyland.com/photos.


Big Dutch Brother?

Authorities in the Netherlands have begun enforcing a law that requires everyone over age 14 -- residents and travelers -- to carry identification at all times. Americans and visitors from other non-E.U. countries must keep on their person a valid passport; copies won't do.

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