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ELABORATE FIREWORKS WILL LIGHT UP CELEBRATION

The 50th anniversary bash will last for 18 months -- long enough to give every Disney fan on the planet a chance to attend the party.

Most of these changes will premiere Thursday (that's 0 5/0 5/0 5 for numerical emphasis):

* A new parade, "Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams," will feature floats that become mini-stage shows, music and more than 50 Disney characters. Performances twice a day, once in the late afternoon and once in the early evening.

* A new fireworks show, called "Remember . . . Dreams Come True," is billed as Disney's most spectacular. Clocked at 17 minutes, it will be almost twice as long as the park's average pyrotechnic display. Nightly, starts between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Disneyland calls it "the most elaborate fireworks display in the history of the park."

* A historical exhibit, "Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years," will tell the story of the theme park's evolution through artwork and rarely seen film footage. Daily, in the Main Street Opera House.

* A makeover for the Sleeping Beauty Castle, which will emerge bejeweled and golden for the anniversary, with crowns atop her turrets.

* Already open at Disneyland is the new Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, an interactive Tomorrowland attraction that lets riders pilot their own Star Cruiser.

* On July 15, a re-engineered Space Mountain ride will reopen with redesigned rockets, new special effects and an on-board soundtrack.

* Golden "mouse ears" are already on sale at the park ($11.50 adult size, $10.50 child size). There will be a full line of merchandise for the 50th, with monthly roll-outs of new products. On Thursday, a 50th Mickey Mouse logo pin, commemorative tickets and Disney dollars, among other products, will be released.

On June 30, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a new four-stamp set at the park featuring Snow White with Dopey, Ariel with Flounder, Mickey Mouse with Pluto, and Alice with the Mad Hatter. In July, sales will start of such items as Sleeping Beauty Castles (brooches by Swarovski, china by Lenox and ornaments by Christopher Radko).

* A "Block Party Bash" along Sunshine Plaza at Disney's California Adventure is designed to be interactive, allowing visitors to dance and sing along with Disney and Pixar characters.

* The first Disney cruises from the West Coast are scheduled this year. Cruises will leave Los Angeles for the Mexican ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta on 12 Saturdays, May 28 to Aug. 19.

For details on events, check www.disneyland.com/50th. For merchandise, www.disneygallery.com. For cruise information, go to http://disney.go.com.

Knight Ridder Newspapers

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