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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.

05/12/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.

Hello everyone,

It was nice to be back at the Disneyland Resort after a few weeks away (I was at Walt Disney World for a week). Friday the Disneyland Resort felt crowded, especially for mid-May. Wait times were up over an hour for quite a few attractions most of the afternoon and evening. The walkways felt crowded throughout most of the visit. The weather was pleasant theme park weather. Highs in the mid 70s and lows dipping toward 60 with a breeze.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I arrived at the resort and found a small wait of only a car or two at each toll booth in the parking structure. So it was smooth sailing to the ramp then things came to an abrupt stop. There were two lanes heading up to the third level and both were crawling along. It took a long time to reach the level then circle around to a row and into a spot. Not sure what the hold up was but things were moving incredibly slow.

  • In the three weeks since my last visit a second attraction building has gone vertical in the Star Wars project and the first continues to get bigger with more steel being assembled daily. Work continues on the berms with landscaping and more concrete retaining walls in place. All the other visible progress is on the park side. The Rivers of America have been refilled and the cofferdams are being removed. The rock work and landscaping on the back half of the Rivers of America are racing toward completion. The Big Thunder Trail looks just about ready to open. The Disneyland Railroad is preparing to return. The New Orleans Square station has been closed and the exhibits are being cleaned up so it can return to normal operation this summer.

  • Today was the first visit I experienced long security lines at the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Typically by early afternoon the lines have been short. Today though there were less lines open and more guests which led to a backup. I skipped them and walked to the hotel so not sure how long of a delay it really was.

  • This weekend is the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon at the Disneyland Resort. I took a quick walk through the Disneyland Hotel convention center to see the race Expo. As I walked around the Expo seemed about the same as all the others. The one change was a large Pandora area since they are the race sponsor. Other than that nothing jumped out at me. I did not visit the merchandise area since the line was using an overflow area and was longer than I wanted to wait.

  • Walked through Downtown Disney on my way to the parks. I noticed two monorails running both Blue and Orange. First time in quite a few visits two were in operation. The wait at the Downtown Disney station was posted at 20 minutes but it stretched onto the steps which indicates it may have been longer. It was nice to see they finally updated the Downtown Disney directories and are a little ahead this time indicating Splitsville on them. Most of the large planters throughout Downtown Disney have been replanted for the spring and they really stand out and look great.

  • While at Walt Disney World a couple weeks ago I renewed my annual pass (well really purchased a new pass since you cannot renew the Premier passes for some reason). This was my first visit to Anaheim with the new pass. To my surprise it worked perfectly. My picture was there and no problems with parking or park entrance. I want to say this is the first time I was able to go straight to the parks with a new pass without having to stop at guest relations.

  • The Disneyland Resort is testing guest Wi-Fi. As I waited to enter Disneyland I took a look and found the network. Connected with no problem and was able to use it in the Esplanade. By the time I reached the tunnels to enter Main Street it was gone. As I roamed around the parks on Friday I took a look to see if my phone found the network again. I never saw it in either park. Only spot I was able to find it was in the Esplanade. Has anyone else found any active spots in the parks?

  • It was nice to see the Snow White Grotto area open again. The grotto and statues looked new again. I did not get back to visit them after dark to see if the lighting has changed.

  • The Matterhorn has reopened from its annual renovation work. It now features FastPass. This means stand by waits have more or less doubled. During the renovation they did not build a distribution area for FastPass so they are using carts right now. An area is now walled off so maybe permanent machines are on their way. When I walked by Standby was 75 minutes and FastPass return windows started about 85 minutes. The area in front of the Matterhorn seemed more congested than normal with guests trying to find the proper queue.

  • The new red and blue churros in Tomorrowland seem to be a hit. The line to get them was over 20 people long when I walked by. It brought back memories of the Tokyo vending lines. It was fun to watch people buy them and almost every group immediately pulled out their phones for photos. The one thing I noticed is they are rather messy with the sugar looking like glitter and flying everywhere as people had duels with them.

  • The Pixar Play Parade returned to Disney California Adventure on Friday. I was able to find a front row spot about 10 minutes before parade time in Carthay Circle. I had the wrong direction in mind and was set up for it to come from Hollywood but it came from Paradise Pier so my pictures were not that good. The parade looked the same as the version that ran before it went on hiatus last year. I was hoping maybe something would be tweaked after being gone for six months. Nothing jumped out to me.

  • The Pool Renovation at the Grand Californian Hotel is moving along. The Fountain Pool (closest to the restaurants) has reopened. The Redwood Pool (water slide) and the Mariposa Pool are both still behind walls. From ground level I could not see the status of the work in those two areas so no idea how close to reopening they are. The water slide is under a tent as they work on it.

  • Disney California Adventure started hosting a preview of the upcoming Disney/Pixar Cars 3 in the Bugs Theater on Friday. As with previous ones there were banners along the walkway and a sign out front. This seemed a little more rushed than past previews. The sign was just a plain banner (I saw pictures from Saturday and it was replaced with a higher quality sign) and as of Friday they had not even covered the Tough to Be a Bug sign. The preview itself ran approx 10 minutes and featured some clips from trailers we have all seen, namely McQueen racing and some of the accident. Then it showed an extended segment of off road racing. They used the theater effects of air, water, and seat pokes very frequently, a little too frequent for my taste and it actually distracted from the preview. The image quality was crystal clear and shown in 3D. The projection system in that theater really shines with some of these previews. This one and Maleficent come to mind as being extremely crisp.

  • I took a look at Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! both during the day and then after dark to see the lighting package. The tower does make a fair number of guests stop for a picture or look at it. It was interesting listening to the conversation of others as they walked by. A vast majority were really excited and interested in the new attraction. I did not hear any really complaining about the Twilight Zone demise.

  • Speaking of the Tower of Terror, in the Fiddler, Fifer And Practical Cafe (Starbucks) in Disney California Adventure the framed pictures/posters that were on the far wall near the pick up area that featured the Tower have been removed. The odd part is nothing has replaced them and they just left the hooks on the wall. Almost like it was a last minute decision. Seems they could have left them up until the new prints were ready. This is fairly poor show as it is and draws attention to it.

  • As I was leaving the resort I noticed the south bound (inbound) traffic on Disneyland Drive was at a near stand still. Magic Way was blocked off by Anaheim Police. It appeared to be because the parking lots were full so they were directing Downtown Disney guests elsewhere. This is not uncommon on a Friday. But due to the race taking up one of the lots the situation was even worse than usual. The resort is in desperate need of more parking spaces both the Eastern Gateway project and an expanded Downtown Disney parking options can not come soon enough.


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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap – April 12-24, 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.

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