As of today, Yosemite's concessions have a new phone number for travelers, a new set of names, a missing historic sign and a hiccup in their souvenir inventory.
Here's what travelers need to know:
- At 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, a new company took over the hotels, restaurants and most other tourist businesses at Yosemite National Park. The new company, Yosemite Hospitality LLC, is a subsidiary of Aramark, a veteran concessionaire in parks nationwide. To update a reservation or make a new one, go to www.travelyosemite.com or call the phone number unveiled today, (888) 413-8869. At 10:40 a.m., Aramark spokesman David Freireich said the new management was "off to a good start" after "a pretty intense night." But consumers should expect heavy call traffic. A test call at 9:45 a.m. led to a hold time of more than 20 minutes.
- As park service officials have been warning for several weeks, the names of several park landmarks officials changed this morning. The Ahwahnee Hotel (named in the 1920s) is now the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Curry Village (whose name dates to the late 19th century) is Half Dome Village. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is Yosemite Valley Lodge. The Wawona Hotel (another name that dates to the 19th century) is Big Trees Lodge. Badger Pass Ski Area is Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. The changes are the result of a trademark dispute between the National Park Service and the park’s outgoing concessionaire, DNC Parks & Resorts, a subsidiary of concessions giant Delaware North.
- Meanwhile, park authorities said one of the historic Ahwahnee hotel signs was stolen sometime between late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, when the hotel was still under control of Delaware North. A park spokesman said the incident, considered a federal offense, is being investigated.
- Park gift shops have stopped selling many items of clothing, pens, mugs and stickers that bear the words Yosemite National Park. Instead, "to avoid trademark infringement," the new concessionaire will soon introduce new items branded as simply Yosemite. Aramark spokesman Freireich said in an email that the move is "due to the former concessioner's claim that it owns the trademark for 'Yosemite National Park.'"