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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.

7/12/19 - Thoughts and observations from Friday

Hello everyone!

Friday was a relaxing visit to the Disneyland Resort for me. The crowds in the parks were moderate with varying wait times throughout the day. DCA felt more crowded to walk around than Disneyland at times. Most waits were under an hour with some attractions spiking higher. The weather was moderate too topping out in the mid 80s with a nice breeze and cooling off to the low 70s.

  • Disneyland News Item: Disneyland turns 64 on Wednesday the 17th. To celebrate there are two celebration moments planned at 2:50pm and 5:20pm featuring the Disneyland Resort Ambassadors, Dapper Dans and Disney Friends.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Arrival and parking were fairly easy. The overpass was closed as usual, really wish they would allow at least one way to enter in the afternoon. I lucked out and only had to wait a minute at the Ball Road crossing. With the Pixar Pals parking structure now open the chances of being sent to a remote lot are gone. Today the Anaheim police car/truck that you usually find at the entrance was no where to be seen. Toll booths had only a couple cars each and I was quickly directed into a spot on the Donald level near the main walkway (by the B column of my aisle).

  • The new tram plaza is quickly taking shape. Large trenches have been dug into the cleared land and trees are being placed in them. It looks like there will be a fair amount of shade in the area and it should be a nice arrival/departure experience.

  • The new elevator shaft for the Mickey and Friends parking structure is moving along too. They have cut access on the floors and the foundation is taking shape. This will be a great relief to anyone that has had to wait in that line to return to their cars at the end of the day.

  • The Pixar Pals Parking Structure has opened since my last visit so I spent some time walking through the new structure. I found it interesting they built the walls higher on the tram plaza side so you really cannot see out to the plaza. I am guessing this is a safety enhancement with the number of guests that will be in the queue below for the trams and they do not want anything falling on them from the structure. The escalator plaza with more space between escalators to floors 4 & 6 should be better for crowd flow too. The dual elevator banks with one bank going to ground level and the other the second floor bridge is interesting. This will really help guests walk back who are using hte bridge and need to return to the upper floors. I am surprised they did not add another set of rest rooms for the new structure, the only set are the original ones in the Miceky and Friends structure..

  • The Magic Way bridge and walkway path to Downtown Disney is moving along. Disney has said it will be open in September, so only a couple months away. They have poured concrete for a good portion of the path already. I would have liked to have seen a bridge over Disneyland Drive making a shorter walk to the parks bypassing the Downtown Disney crowds, but this will make it a more pleasant walk. Wonder if they will be reconfiguring an entry point at some point so you can go straight in between the Monorail and Rainforest vs having to walk around the building. It will be interesting to watch the Downtown Disney are evolve in the coming years.

  • Note the Downtown Disney parking lots off of Magic Way are now closed. They were being used for construction parking and Disneyland Hotel Cast Members on Friday. All guest parking for Downtown Disney is in the Simba lot on the other side of the Paradise Pier Hotel or you could opt to pay full Disneyland Parking rates and park in the structures.

  • More figures have been added to the Downtown Disney planters. In addition to Mickey and Minnie that I saw last visit you can now find Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip & Dale. Most are the same format as Mickey and Minnie where you have to be lined up from a particular point to really see them otherwise it can look like random pieces in space.

  • Made my way out to Pixar Pier to start my visit at Disney California Adventure. The Pixar Pal-A-Round had a reported wait of 10 minutes in the app when I checked and it took about 15 minutes thanks to me being grouped with a party several gondolas ahead in the queue or else it would have been closer to 20 since I would have missed the cycle. While waiting I looked back and behind me the queue was out to the Pier. I then noticed the top part of the swinging queue was empty. Something happened in the swinging queue, I did not see it but they cleared it and sent all those guests were sent to the non-swinging queue to enter that way using an exit gate to re-enter the swinging queue at the lower level. By the time I exited the normal queue was operational again.

  • I had hoped to visit the Emotional Whirlwind but with a posted 45 minute wait and it looking even slower as I watched the load/unload process I opted to skip it again.

  • I was able to pick up a Soarin FastPass for less than an hour from when I entered the park. So I went for a flight, still great to see the California Version back and a portion of the audience still applauded at the end. I again overhead guests commenting on how they really preferred this version as they were walking out, this has happened the handful of times I have visited now. It will be interesting to see if its run will be extended again or if it will make periodic returns. I think it would be interesting if they ran both films. Either based on time of day or theater.

  • Grabbed an early dinner at Smokejumpers Grill. The plan was to wait in the regular queue because I wanted to use a gift card (wish the app accepted them as a payment choice) but the queue was backed up to the door. So I did a quick mobile order and had my food in a couple of minutes.

  • Disney announced that the Red Car Trolley News Boys will have their last performance on July 23rd. No word if this is a permanent hiatus or if they will return when the Red Car returns. Hopefully they return or a similar show. Their performances add energy to Buena Vista Street. The show is lacking without the trolley though.

  • While on the topic of closures, the Disneyland Monorail is scheduled to be closed from 11am to 6pm daily starting in a couple of weeks. This appears to be a budgeting issue as well as acknowledgement that they are closed many days during July/August because of heat so why not plan for it ahead of time. So if you are staying at a Disney hotel and were planning to use the Monorail to go back to the room mid day you will need to make other plans.

  • Mickey's Soundsational Parade has its last performance this upcoming Wednesday. The parade will be retired in preparation for a new parade debuting next year. Disney will be running a character cavalcade starting Thursday until the Main Street Electrical Parade returns in August. I decided to find a spot for the 3:30pm parade and ended up with a decent view a few minutes before the parade arrived in the hub since I was willing to stand in the sun. I have enjoyed Soundsational over the years and am looking forward to seeing what will follow it.

  • I used the Play Disney App to pick up a fortune from Fortune Red in New Orleans Square. He seemed to want to keep the fortune and there were three jammed in the machine. Luckily another guest with smaller hands was able to get mine and theirs loose. Esmeralda had an out of order sticker. They seem to be having some issues with the machines on recent visits.. on the positive side the app fired up and worked first try for Red, which has been an ongoing issue.

  • This past week Disney announced that the Rise of the Resistance will be opening at Walt Disney World on December 5th (which happens to be Walt Disney's Birthday) and at Disneyland on January 17th (which happens to be mine). I thought this was a fun coincidence. Interesting how the WDW version is now slated to open over a month earlier, best guess is that a problem was discovered in Anaheim and they were able to resolve it and implement it before something was built at WDW where as here they had to remove and rebuild.

  • I spent some time walking through Black Spire Outpost and taking in some of the details including the sounds of the area. I overheard a radio broadcast as well as spent some time near the speeder garage listening. The land does have a lot of immersive elements that are fun to take your time and explore. I also tried to use the app a bit and that was more frustrating than fun for me. It just was not working properly for me. Sometime when I have more time I will play with it more.

  • The posted wait for Smugglers Run was 50 minutes and they had guests in a good portion of the extended queue, but it seemed to be moving. I took a look at the single rider queue and it was down the steps on both sides so I skipped it. Wish they posted the wait time out front. Ronto Roasters was really quite when I walked by after 6pm. There were a handful of CMs and no guests. The Droid Depot had guests but there were a couple of empty stations and no queue today.

  • In Frontierland and Adventureland Adventures By Disney posters/ads have been added recently. They were at least themed to the area but I do not think I am a fan of either as they were a little too direct in advertising for my taste in the areas. Subtle references are one thing but outright ads with phone numbers in Frontierland seems a bit extreme.

  • At the Grand Californian Hotel the new pool bar opened recently. It is called the GCH Craftsman Bar. White Water Snacks has been renamed to the GCH Craftsman Grill. Both are accessible through a new gate just past the walkway to DCA. The bar area features stools around the bar and counters looking toward the pool plus several lounge areas and tables. There is also live entertainment in the area. The bar had a good crowd when I walked by with most spaces full and guests waiting. I thought it was an interesting use of the space and drew many more people than I had seen in that area in the past. I thought it was a little awkward having the bar for all looking at the pool, wonder what hotel guests trying to swim think about having an audience. I walked through the Grill area and they are still changing the White water signage. It was quiet as usual but felt even more empty after just walked through the lively bar area.

  • There was a large queue set up for the parking structure trams this evening again. I was near the front of the guests exiting after Disneyland Forever so I walked right through the queue and onto a tram with no wait at all, so it had a minimal impact compared to my usual exit time, maybe a minute longer. Has anyone used the queue during the bulk of the exit? Does it make a big difference?

  • With the addition of the Pixar Pals Parking Structure the exit traffic flow has increased. Guests leaving the new structure now join in with those leaving the Mickey and Friends and they proceed to the one set of exit ramps in the original structure. As I walked to my car, the line of traffic exiting was moving very slowly. Looking down at the ramps cars were flowing much quicker than what I was seeing on the floor. The issue seems to be having cars merge out of the aisles into the now busier exit lane at the same time guests are crossing traffic and on the last aisle guest are trying to back out all seemed to lead to the slow down. It took about 5 minutes longer than usual for me to exit to the garage and I was ahead of the bulk of guests leaving. It seems to me Disney could really use two lanes of traffic exiting to reduce the need to merge the aisle and exit traffic so quickly and on non peak days not park cars in the 1st row so no one has to back up into the stream. Not sure how to solve the issue of guests needing to cross traffic to reach their cars. Will be interesting to see if Disney does anything to change this exit flow or the decreased speed and increased traffic will be the new normal..

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

Walt Disney World (May Trip Summary & Links to All Posts)

Geek's Blog Postings Recap June 12 - July 2, 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.

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

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