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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.

9/13/19 - Thoughts and observations from Friday

Hello everyone!

I spent the afternoon and evening of Friday the 13th at the Disneyland Resort. The crowds were light in the afternoon but became heavier as the sunset and temperatures cooled. Temps were into the 90s and cooled only to the 80s by the time I left. Halloween Time entered its second week and projects around the parks continue to move toward completion.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I arrived to find the Ball Road overpass closed so I had to go through the light, luckily made it through the first light so not a huge wait. No line at the toll booths to park but once I reached the floor that ground to a halt as they were parking the last row. Only half the floor was filled yet we were being slowly parked in the final row.

  • The walls have been reconfigured and most of the new tram plaza is now accessible. They are working on two sections nearest the Mickey and Friends escalators/elevators now. The new area looks nice and was pleasant to walk through. The drop off side feels really open and vast. the trees and benches on the other side are nice but right now the trees are still a little too small to offer a lot of shade. I walked by near the heat of the day and finding a spot to sit in shade was a challenge, there just were not that many, almost all were in the sun. Once the trees grow this will hopefully change. There are still some finishing details, like the background audio did not all seem to be on, but for the most part the area is finished.

  • The new elevators for the Mickey and Friends parking structure are moving along at a good pace. The interior walls were added to the framing and scaffolding up for the exterior. I have not seen any time frame for the expected completion but based on the queue I saw for the elevators when I left they cannot come soon enough for those that need to use them. Note the elevators on the other side for the Pixar Pals parking structure looked to be shorter waits when I was leaving so you may want to take a look in that direction before committing to the long line if you do not mind the extra steps.

  • The new bridge over Magic Way and walkway to Downtown Disney opened Friday morning. I walked the new route. Having a bridge over Magic Way is a nice time savings and pleasant to avoid the intersection. The new route is not the most efficient as it goes along the east (closest to Disneyland Drive) side of the parking lot then you have to turn and walk back to the security checkpoint. It would have been nice to have had a path between the Monorail station and former Rain Forest to save some steps.. or even better would be a second bridge over Disneyland drive and ramp to the old walkway along the tram route for a more direct path. Having to walk through Downtown Disney in the afternoon is not a problem but on a Friday night at 10pm after fireworks it is a very crowded and long feeling route to get back to your car. The old pathway was much better and saved some time and steps. Also if you destination is the Disneyland Hotel you have a choice of cutting through the parking lot, going through security, or circling by security. None of which are ideal.

  • The Disneyland Hotel is celebrating the Haunted Mansions 50th Anniversary. There are two photo backdrops set up. One right when you enter the Fantasy Tower and one as you walk to the ballrooms. They are both well done. I miss the classic map but having a changing display is a good trade off. Too bad they cannot find a way to do both. I did not see any Halloween decorations at the hotel.

  • The Paradise Pier Hotel lobby features a large display with Ursula from the Little Mermaid. This was a fun addition to the lobby for the season.

  • First stop today Disneyland. I saw no line for the Astro Orbitor so went for a spin to get a bird's eye view of the renovation project at the entrance to Tomorrowland and into the hub. The walls have been reconfigured and the south side planter/rockwork encircled and will be removed soon. On the north side the now curbless sidewalk in the hub has re-opened but work continues on the former rock area.

  • Last week I did not have time to enjoy some of the entertainment for the season so this week I made an effort to. First up on my list were the Dapper Dans of Disneyland. They wear their orange costumes and Halloween songs and jokes are part of all their sets. I stopped by and caught two of them on Friday.

  • I saw no hints/traces of Main Street Transportation this afternoon. Not sure if I just missed them or if it had to do with the heat or part of the cut backs around the park. but I visited Main Street a handful of times throughout the afternoon and did not see any of the cars, omnibuses or trolleys today.

  • Over at Disney California Adventure the waits were minimal this afternoon too so I went for a ride on the Pixar Pal-A-Round. Managed to make it on only pausing because the group in front of me was confused and in the wrong line. I ended up with my own gondola again too. Then saw no wait so went for an afternoon spin on the Emotional Whirlwind. I just missed walking on by 2 cars.. so had to wait one cycle.

  • Disneyland Resort continues to make cut backs. Saturday was the last day for the Pixarmonic Orchestra at DCA and the Laughing Stock Co at the Golden Horseshoe. I stopped by Pixar Pier to enjoy a couple sets on Friday of the Pixarmonic Orchestra. I have always enjoyed their show. The venue is not ideal with limited viewing and no real shade during the afternoons. Also I wish their show would have had a little more flexibility and variety. But I always appreciated and enjoyed the live music on the Pier. Hopefully they can return some day or a new act to fill the void. I opted not to visit the Golden Horseshoe, the timing just did not work. I always preferred the music of the Billys over the comedy of the Laughing Stock Co.

  • I spent a little time in Paradise Gardens on Friday. In the mid afternoon there was no wait to meet Miguel (in puppet form). This is a nice meet and greet opportunity if you are a fan of Coco and with no line even better. Throughout the day is live entertainment on the Band Stand featuring both Mariachi Espectacular and Mariachi Divas.

  • The Redwood Creek Challenge Trails are still closed as they work install the Halloween Party elements. I am not a fan when the after hour parties impact the day guest experience. On the positive side though Chip and Dale were out along the trail and meeting guests. It was quiet so Chip had some time to build a tower out of blocks. It was a fun character moment to capture.

  • Something to note that I noticed on Friday in regards to FastPass. This change went into effect a while ago, want to say several months, but it never really impacted me so I did not pay attention. FastPass now has a couple of tiers or attraction groupings if you receive a replacement FastPass due to down time. I had a FastPass for Soarin and it went down during the window. I went to look at what my replacement could be used for and it was any attraction except Toy Story and Radiator Springs Racers. Seems those two are in their own group and everything else is lumped together. I was surprised not to see Guardians of the Galaxy Monsters After Dark in a separate category.

  • As I walked through Disney California Adventure I spotted several small merchandise carts out around the park selling an assortment of items. Wonder if these are in preparation for the upcoming parties or just the latest attempt to boost sales? I thought they looked really out of place and were not a positive addition. For example one was on the trail between the Grand Californian and the airplane photo op near Soarin. All the carts had random light up and other trinkets.. not sure what you want to call it, but nothing specific for the area they were in.

  • There is an Annual Passholder Corner set up for the rest of September on the second floor of the Star Wars: Launch Bay in Tomorrowland. It features a photo backdrop for Halloween and an AP Magnet. You reach the distribution point from the inside and the queue goes around the stairs and then up them. On the second floor there is a second queue for the Photo and then a table for magnet distribution. Both are located right at the top of the stairs. The rest of the second level is behind a black curtain. They are using a very small portion of the space. I was surprised they were not using a large footprint since the space is available. The line looked long when I arrived but moved very quickly since I opted just for the magnet. The photo op queue was moving more slowly.

  • Spent some time roaming around Radiator Springs after dark checking out Haul-O-Ween decorations. It appears to be the same as last year, which is not a bad thing. It is always fun to see how the residents decorated.

  • New this year for Halloween Time at Disneyland is a Villain's Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace. This runs Fri-Sun night from 7-11pm. The format is the same as previous dance parties. With rotating groups of characters and a DJ hosting the event on stage. Slightly different this time is when the characters arrive they were joining the DJ on stage for an introduction and dance lesson vs on ground level. If you are interested in visiting with some Villains check out the party.

  • I closed out my evening on Main Street USA with a viewing of the Main Street Electrical Parade and Halloween Screams. Note you only have a couple more weeks to catch the parade. It runs through September 30th.

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

D23 Expo 2019 Summary Page - Links to all the announcements so far and will eventually contain links to all of our coverage

Geek's Blog Postings Recap August 21 - September 9, 2019

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.

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