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Welcome to the disneygeek.com Geek Speaks section. In this section I will post my comments on trips to the parks or other Disney related events.

02/10/17 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday trip to the Disneyland Resort including AP Days

Hello everyone,

The weather forecast for today did not look promising all week with a high percentage of rain forecast. By lunch time it peaked at around 50% for most of the late afternoon hours. I decided to take my chances and head to the park. The forecast held with just gloomy/cloudy skies and mild temps (in the 60s) until almost 6pm. Then it started to rain. It was a fairly constant heavy drizzle most of the rest of the evening. So it was enough to be annoying but not completely miserable to walk around. Because of this crowds were less than previous weeks but still substantially more than I would have thought for a non holiday Friday in February with it raining. Wait times were on the moderate to light side for many attractions but some still had long waits, I saw Peter Pan at 50 minutes which seemed really long considering a majority of the wait has no cover so you are standing out in the rain.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • First on my to do list was to spend some time checking out the Star Wars Construction. Some big visible changes since my last visit with one show building going vertical with structural steel being assembled and foundation work for a second well underway. At the Rivers of America more rocks are taking shape and footers for the rail that guides the boats are being poured. All of this activity drew a larger number than usual of guests stopping along the rail and walking around to look at the work. Usually people just give it a look but today there were several others watching for several minutes. Seeing the show building go up is a mixed sign for me. It is great to see the progress but it also means a good portion of our view will be disappearing sooner rather than later once the walls go on that building.

  • The Spring 2017 AP Days (Annual Passholder Days) have begun at Disneyland. This year they are only at Disneyland and are centered around the former Starcade in Tomorrowland. They run through March 9th with a different button every week. In the Starcade there was a character meet and greet (Friday featured characters from Robin Hood), lounge area with charging station, arts and crafts, and merchandise area. Out in the park there were some special food items at a handful of locations and the Opera House was hosing screenings each evening of the 1986 Disney Channel Backstage Disney - Main Street Electrical Parade show.
    • The Starcade was too small for the number of things they had set up inside. It always seemed crowded and backed up. Compared to years past where they could spread out in larger venues this was a challenge. Because of the limited space the layout was a bit awkward and challenging with not really a lot of queue space so it felt even more crowded than it was. They were using most of the Starcade for the event but there was a back portion walled off so it was slightly smaller than the full area. The Speedramp to the second floor is gone so that opened up a little extra square footage.
    • It was interesting they had FastPasses available to meet the characters but distribution was inside, not outside. So you had to already wait in the line to get in to pick up the FastPass. Then when you returned you could by pass that line but you had to wait in the character line.. which was the same as just waiting in the character line when you were already in there (unless at some point they restricted that line to FP only.. but when I was there they were letting anyone line up).
    • If you only wanted a button you were able to pick those up outside in a quick moving line and bypass the much slower moving line to go inside.
    • I enjoyed seeing the Backstage Disney show on the big screen with an audience, it is always a different experience than TV. It was a fun step back in time to when the Disney Channel used to run shows for us disneygeeks too. If you want to see the show and cannot make it to the park I saw several versions of it posted on YouTube.
    • I found it a little odd that to open up the show they had an Adventures by Disney sales pitch with a focus on the China trip next year. The tie in is the AP contest for that trip, but it just felt awkward to me. I was surprised they did not do anything else with the screening, no handouts or other information, just the show.
    • One of the cool pluses of the AP Days is a floral/plant Elliot in the hub. This was a pleasant surprise/photo op. First time I can remember anything like this in that planter (it is in the planter between the hub and Pixie Hollow.

  • In Fantasyland a new Beauty and the Beast store has opened in the former Royal Reception space near the Village Haus. It is interesting that there is no sign so you really have no indication of what is inside.

  • There are a number of renovation projects happening around the park and a couple of quick changes that have occurred since my last visit. Big Thunder received a new entrance structure to better separate the FastPass Return from Standby and I am assuming facilitate the new FastPassMax system. Small World also received a new marquee and digital wait time sign. Looks like they are preparing for FastPass there too. Pirates and Matterhorn are both closed for annual renovation work and word on the internet is they are receiving FastPass too. Did we not do this back in the 90s with FastPass on a large number of attractions which only increased stand by times and jammed the walkways of the park? It feels like history may be repeating itself again. It will be interesting to see how they do the mix of FP to Standby guests and the impact these changes have on the overall park experience.

  • In the Sunset Showcase Theatre (former Muppet Theater) a sneak peek at the upcoming live action Beauty and the Beast film has opened. It runs just under 10 minutes and features the full Belle number and then some trailer clips. The lobby has two display cases with some props and costume from the production. For this film they used some of the in theater effects, the way they utilized the side screens was well done and a nice plus to the experience. I always enjoy these previews and thought this was well done. I would have liked to have seen a few more items in the lobby. The two display cases seemed on the light side with only four items.

  • The other big change at Disney California Adventure is the first section of the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! exterior has been revealed. The new color scheme and look is a drastic departures from the old. Taken by itself I think it looks ok.. but it just not work well in the skyline of the park or the area right now. Seeing that behind the Carthay Circle or from Bugs just looks out of place to me. It will be interesting to see how the full final look works or does not work.

  • I ate dinner at the Grand Californian and stopped to take a look at the renovation room samples they have on display. I think it is great they are showcasing the changes to the resort in a public way so you know what is going on. While I was taking pictures and looking at them quite a few other guests were too.

  • This was my first time in the Opera House theater since the renovation. It received new carpet and chairs several weeks ago. The new chairs seemed slightly more comfortable than the old ones.

  • Paid a visit to the Haunted Mansion and we stopped a good handful of times. Not sure if they were having technical problems or if there were just that many guests needing extra time today.

Here are some recent posts to the Geek's Blog:

Geek's Blog Postings Recap – January 23 - February 4, 2017


Disney Related Press Releases


Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

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