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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.

1/04/19 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort
Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday marked my first trip of 2019. The goal was to enjoy one last round of holiday entertainment and sights before the season wraps up this weekend at the Disneyland Resort. Before getting into my thoughts & observations from this visit just wanted to point out that last week I posted some stats from my Disney Park trips in 2018 including total miles walked, days spent at the parks, pictures taken, etc.. thought some of you may find it interesting. My 2018 Year In Review Stats Post.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I was expecting the parks to be busy but not nearly as busy as last week. There are still a lot of people on vacation but a fair number are back to work or heading home. Combine that with cool weather, it topped out in the mid 60s but cooled to the low 50s and the fact that the Disneyland Resort is still blocked out for almost all Annual Passes. Only Premier & Signature Plus can enter the parks. All others will start to have block outs lifted starting Sunday and over the following days depending on the level of pass. There were some healthy waits but most were under an hour and the park did not feel overly crowded. Also noteworthy were the park hours. DCA closed at 9pm and Disneyland at 11pm. For a Friday during a holiday period these both seemed early to me.

  • During the holiday period this year I did not see any mention of parking lots full or theme parks full at the Disneyland Resort. There were some days with extremely long attraction waits but no closures that I can recall seeing. So I was not expecting any problems as I arrived at the resort on Friday. I exited the freeway and the overpass was closed as it seems to be more visits than not for me. No real delays at the tollbooths, only a couple cars per lane. Traffic to the floor was a little slow but moving until the very end so all in all not a bad experience. As I left Friday they were forcing level 3 & 4 onto Ball road. No option to use the overpass to exit. I was not a fan of this, but luckily made it through the first light.

  • The new parking structure continues to move quickly toward an expected summer completion. They were pouring more concrete and supports and forms were rising for the roof level in several sections. The escalators are still being assembled, I was expecting those to be further along based on what I saw last visit. The two structures that I assume will be the elevators are still being enclosed. No sign of the new bridge as I walked along Magic Way. On the first floor you can see framing for walls going up and other preparations for the tram and security areas. It is going to be interesting what this all looks like once completed. The concept art does not give many hints of the area.

  • The Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge visible progress is inching along. Almost all of the work is taking place out of sight. Scaffolding is starting to come down on some of the remaining spires and formations that you can see. Once that happens we most likely won't be able to see any more progress at all. Over the past few weeks some more details have started to be released including a video showing some of the attraction and a couple of interviews. In one Bob Iger seems to confirm a June opening for the Disneyland version, which fits in with current assumptions by many. It will be interesting to see how they handle previews and the opening. Conventional wisdom is there will be quite a few paid preview options before the public opening.

  • I opted to walk through Downtown Disney to reach the parks today. As I approached the security line for the entrance by the former ESPN had several dozen guests backed up and it looked like only one set of tables open. I continued on to the entrance facing the hotel and there were a half dozen lanes open and no guests at all. So the few extra steps may save you some time. The new dining locations on the north side continue to move toward completion. There are more exterior details being installed. The first signs have been added since my last visit. No indication of opening dates yet but should be relatively soon based on what we saw for other locations.

  • Disney California Adventure is celebrating Dia De Reyes this weekend, Three Kings Day. This year it seems the celebration is only the photo op and colors/arts & crafts. I did not see any storytelling listed nor signs in the area. It is too bad the event appears to have been scaled back. The coloring area was empty the first time I walked by in the mid afternoon and had a couple families sitting at the table the second time.

  • The wait for the Pal-A-Round was longer than the Incredicoaster this afternoon. With the posted wait for the wheel at 45 min but it looked like it may be more than that and only 35 min for the coaster stand by when I walked by.

  • Pixar Pier continues to be worked on. Scaffolding has returned to Jessie's Critter Carousel and it looks like work is going to resume there. Some more details have been added to the Poultry Palace but no sign yet. A sign has been added to Jack Jacks recently too.

  • As I entered Disneyland I noticed a new poster under the railroad tracks. The Tropical Hideaway now has the first spot on the west/left side as you enter.

  • I stopped by bother Esmeralda and Fortune Red to get the next story cards. The Play Disney App interaction is still a bit wonky. Both said they were busy then after a couple retries let me. I picked up the 2nd card from Main Street and 3rd from New Orleans Square. Seems my Esmeralda visit last time did not get logged properly. Also odd was when I walked by Red the first time the doors were closed. It seemed they were using it as an exit or part of the Nightmare Before Christmas meet and greet. Makes it hard to get a fortune if the area is off limits.

  • Speaking of off limits the top deck of the Mark Twain was roped off again the couple times I wanted to go for a cruise. It appeared they reopened it later in the evening, maybe after the Columbia was finished for the day?

  • The Haunted Mansion Holiday wraps up its seasonal run on Sunday the 6th. Monday the 7th it closes for a quick turn around to the regular show, it is scheduled to return on Friday the 18th for the holiday weekend. Jack and Sally were talking to guests in the queue as I walked by. First time this season I remember seeing them there.

  • Disneyland confirmed that Sleeping Beauty Castle will be undergoing some renovation in the coming weeks. On January 16th the walk through attraction will close and scaffolding will start to go up as they work on re-roofing and other renovation tasks. So I decided to take a walk through since it had been a while.

  • it's a small world holiday has a few weeks left in its run. It will close Tuesday the 22nd to have the overlay removed.

  • I enjoyed a full Dapper Dans set in Town Square, I think this was the first start to finish performance I have caught all season. I seemed to only catch a couple of songs on previous visits.

  • Decided to watch the 6pm A Christmas Fantasy Parade from the hub as it came up Main Street USA. I think the lights add to the parade. The Santa float returned since my last visit (he was back by Christmas) and the sleigh is now supported by additional pipes and no longer moves. Will be interesting to see if the movement is restored for next season or other changes made to the float.

  • I walked by the Backlot Dance Party at Disney California Adventure. When I did I think cast members in the area may have out numbered guests. For sure on the dance floor they did since there were only a couple guests dancing. The dance party consists of a DJ on the stage and lighting effects as the music plays. I also noted the bar nearby was a ghost town too with several cast members working but no guests this cool evening. There were guests in the area. The catering truck had several groups eating and the Monsters Inc attraction had a visible line.

  • My favorite addition this year for the holiday season is the snow fall along the trail in the Grizzly Recreation Area. It is a nice plus and surprise for guests. The snow is a little heavy at times but it is a nice peaceful experience most of the time. I was in the area on Friday and at one point only a couple other guests.

  • As I was leaving the park, about closing time of 9pm, Mickey and Minnie were onboard a Red Car and waving to guests as it set off on its final run of the night back to the round house (guess that is what it is called). I thought this was a nice farewell. It would have been great if there was some audio to go with it as they drove off.

  • The trams seemed to be out of sync as it was time to leave. They were boarding extremely slow and there were several empty ones backed up and waiting to pull in. Not sure why the boarding was taking so long. The crowds were not that bad compared to other times.

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap December 1-17, 2018

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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