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1/03/20 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort
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1/03/20 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort

Happy New Year Everyone!

Hope everyone had a great holidays and that you are ready for the new year. I managed to get over most of my Christmas cold and ventured to the Disneyland Resort on Friday for one last Christmas time visit. Weather was average for this time of year topping out in the 70s and dropping to the low 50s with a slight breeze. I also wanted to take a look around before the off season and renovation season get underway. This coming week several things close down for varying lengths including it's a small world, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Carthay Circle Restaurant, Mark Twain Riverboat and Space Mountain.

This past week I wrapped up my picture posts from Walt Disney World in December so this upcoming week I hope to get back to posting pictures from Disneyland Paris in November, someday I will get caught up!

Thoughts and Observations:

  • The parks felt on the crowded side with waits on the long side throughout the afternoon. All FastPasses at both parks except for Grizzly River Run were gone before 5:00pm. But thanks to the crowds being more tourists than locals as the evening cooled and went on the crowds went down vs building. After Believe in Holiday Magic the crowds really thinned. I left but a friend who stayed for the last hour (park closing was 11pm) was able to use single rider for Smuggler's Run, experience Casey Jr and Snow White's Scary Adventure and then it's a small world holiday.

  • Not sure how I always manage to pick the line with a problem. My latest example is when I arrived most of the parking lanes had 2-3 cars in it so I just got in one. Of course the car in the front had a problem. The talked to the cast member then the cast member went and handled a couple cars from the next lane. Came back and talked some more then they did a couple more from the next lane. Then finally they came back and let the car from my lane go. Then the next car had a discussion with the cast member too. So two cars in my lane took the same amount of time as 5-6 in the other lanes.

  • The Tomorrowland Entrance Renovation is slowly progressing. The south side panels are all up and uncovered. It looks more or less the same as it did before, only new. Guessing in the coming days walls will return as the second phase of the project gets underway with the final rocks being removed and the front planter work finished.

  • Stopped by the Star Wars Launch Bay because I was curious if they did anything for the Rise of Skywalker. From what I could tell they did not. I only watched a few minutes of the video, but it looked the same. The models and other displays looked the same and many still had the Last Jedi labels on them. The gift shop did have some Rise of Skywalker merchandise. I am kind of surprised they did not do anything for the film or for the Mandalorian there. The character waits were substantially longer than the past few times I walked through. They were posted at 30 minutes and there were quite a few guests in line. Wonder what the plans are for the space? Just to let it continue to limp along?

  • Walked through Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to see what was going on there. There were a large number of people moving about and in line for Smuggler's Run. More than I had seen on previous visits. Black Spire Outpost did not feel as crowded as the WDW version did when I visited there though. I also looked around to see if I could see the last droid soda cart, the Diet Coke resupply one. I have managed to miss it on my previous visits and it still is elusive for me. The Resistance forest area seemed to have a good number of guests milling around today today. It is going to be interesting how this area changes when the Rise of the Resistance crowds arrive. Disney has said a virtual boarding group system will be used but they have not released details of how it will work. While at Walt Disney World I used the system there three times. Here is a post I did sharing my Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding group experiences and how the system worked at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

  • Dia de Reyes, Three Kings, was being celebrated at Viva Navidad at Disney California Adventure as part of Disney Festival of Holidays this weekend. This year the celebration seemed really low key, just like last year. I did not see any special entertainment and the activities were limited to a photo op and arts/crafts. Overall it was disappointing compared to celebrations of the past.

  • My plan today was to enjoy a last round of Christmas entertainment and try and catch some of the performances I had missed on previous trips. One such whole was the Disneyland Band. I was able to catch one set and they performed Little Drummer Boy during it. Another was I visited Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and caught a performance by the Holiday Handbell Carolers in the lobby. I wish their schedule was available in the app. It would make it much easier to catch performances.

  • I decided to watch the 4:00pm Mickey's Happy Holidays. I arrived at the Obelisk and the area was extremely crowded. There were a large number of cast members trying to direct traffic in the area and keep it moving. They were not in the best locations and it was a bit of a mess to get around. I thought I had a decent spot for the show then the three rows in front of me all stood up and my view disappeared. So I left soon after the cavalcade arrived and repositioned to Carthay Circle to watch it there. Getting to Carthay Circle was an adventure as cast members were working to clear the performance corridor for the procession. I succeeded and had a great spot for the show.

  • For dinner I used mobile order at Smokejumpers Grill. While waiting for my order noticed a mobile order AP button on the counter and asked if they had them back in stock and they did. So I was able to pick up a free button with my order. I decided to go with a burger this evening and it was a tad under cooked. Seems like they rushed them out as there was a delay waiting for the food. I ended up eating it since it was close to cooked and I really did not want to deal with getting it replaced.

  • The security line to get back to Downtown Disney from the Grand Californian was really backed up this evening. I think I just timed it poorly and showed up during a rush. Several security cast members joined in the screening process to get the line moving so it was not nearly as bad as it looked thanks to them.

  • Walked through Downtown Disney to see what was going on and take a last look at the Let it Glow trees. All was fairly quiet throughout. Seemed a little more calm than a typical Friday even during my walk. Maybe I just had good timing. I did see the Asian Street Eats trailer is now open and serving. In the time I was in the area I only saw one guest go over to it though. The location is rather awkward and out of the way.

  • Stopped by Paradise Gardens Park to enjoy a holiday concert by Phat Cat Swinger. They put on a great show as always. The play list featured more of their regular set and less holiday music. The World of Color set up and cast members really make it an unwelcoming experience for the concert. They make it really difficult to reach to area for the performance then after want to rush you out.

  • I used a FastPass for Star Tours and the new scenes make a little more sense after having seen the Rise of Skywalker. My first flight back in December was before I saw the film so I had no context. Knowing a little about the planet and the battle do make the scenes slightly better. I still enjoy the final landing sequence the best though. It is a fun way to end your tour.

  • Closed out my evening with Believe in Holiday Magic. Unfortunately they ran the low/scaled down show again. Have they been doing this more often this season or am I just lucky/unlucky and keep catching it vs the full fireworks version? The wind did not seem too bad. The smoke did slowly drift to the west during the show but it was not moving that quickly. The show really misses a lot with the big shells.

  • The crowds leaving after the fireworks were not bad. I was able to walk right over to the tram stop and was directed up to a stop and lucked out being able to squeeze onto the tram that was getting ready to depart. So it was a much better experience than last visit.

  • Back at the Mickey and Friends parking structure there was a lot of smoke drifting through the area from the fireworks still. So it was not an enjoyable walk back to my car. It looked like they never filled in the rows with a second set of cars on the far side of the garage where I parked. So there was plenty of space to cut diagonally through the garage and no delays exiting.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap November 11 - December 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.

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

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