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01/06/17 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday trip to the Disneyland Resort
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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.

01/06/17 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday trip to the Disneyland Resort

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone is having a good new year so far. I made my first visit to Disneyland Friday. I went into the day anticipating massive crowds because most Annual Passholder were now valid, some schools are still off, Thursday was bad weather, and this is the last weekend for Christmas festivities. The parks were very busy, but as far as I know never hit capacity. Attraction wait times were long but seemed to normalize around an hour for most with only a couple going into triple digits the times I checked. The walkways and queues on the other hand were extremely busy throughout the day and many completely jammed up at night.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I was unsure what I would encounter as I exited the I-5 South at Disneyland Drive. Turned onto Disneyland Drive and saw the overpass was open, always a positive sign. Rolled into the garage and the toll booth lines were short.. by the time I pulled up to one I did not have to wait at all, just handed the waiting cast member my pass. Then was directed up to the roof and only had to pause briefly while someone a couple cars ahead of me talked with a cast member instead of pulling into a spot. Security was also a breeze with only one family ahead of me. I did have to wait for a tram to show up. Seems they were out of sync and none were at the structure.. then four showed up back to back.

  • In the full picture set I included a large number of pictures looking at the Star Wars construction. Not a lot of visible progress but better lighting than last visit. The big visible change is the new perimeter roadway was open so the old one could be removed and create a continuous construction site. Unfortunately even with the large crowds they did not open the Big Thunder Trail so I did not get a good look at the progress there. The rock work is really filling in around the Rivers of America.

  • Disneyland was ready for the large crowds. They had moved Believe in Holiday Magic to 7pm and Paint the Night to 9pm and 11pm in an effort to disperse the crowd earlier. Leading up to 7pm the walkways were all very busy but for the most part were inching along. After Believe the walkways around the hub slowed to almost a stand still, especially heading into Frontierland which was one way. I saw a good number of cast members in and around the crowds trying to keep things flowing. Most guests seemed to have patience. There were just a lot of people all needing to move around. A very large number of guests were heading to the exit after Believe. The park was still very crowded but that seemed to help open things up a bit.

  • The Christmas season runs through Sunday, January 8th. Come Monday decorations will disappear rapidly from around the parks. The Jingle Cruise and Haunted Mansion Holiday both go down for removal of the overlay. Small World Holiday runs through the 22nd this year, as usual after Haunted Mansion returns. Interesting to note the Jungle Cruise does not return until the first weekend of February, the same day Small World reopens according to the disneyland.com website.

  • I did a lap around Disneyland as well as Disney California Adventure taking some pictures and visiting with a friend, nothing too interesting to report from either park. At DCA Tower of Terror has closed and walls are up. Scaffolding is going up on the small portion that had not been covered already as work shifts to full speed ahead for a reopening in a few short months as Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • The Disney Festival of Holidays moves toward its close on Sunday. I took in a final performance by my favorite act this year, the Holiday Toy Drummers and walked around a bit. Even with the very large crowds and favorable weather the Marketplaces were really really quiet. Most with no lines at all each time I walked by. The Viva Navidad area was very crowded with guests in line for the Meet and Greets and walking around. This weekend the area also features the Three Kings Celebration. This entails a craft area and photo ops just like years past. New this year are two musical storytellers who share holiday traditions and songs a handful of times throughout the day. I thought the show was very well done and I enjoyed it. The show reminded me a lot of the Epcot Holidays Around the World and was a great addition. I would like to see it run throughout the season though since it covers the entire season, not just Three Kings. Also the staging on the Bandstand is not ideal. It is great for those eating but for those not eating, like me, it is a bit hard to see and we take up tables that guests eating could be using. The seating with a good view of the stage is very limited too.

  • I walked through the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area and saw Santa Goofy through the trees.. the line was probably a dozen families long for him. Much shorter than Santa had been but longer than my patience still. Chip and Dale were out for pictures too. The decorations were up but no more activity/maps were being passed out.

  • Decided to eat dinner at White Water Snacks to relax a bit. On the way took a look at the pool area that is closed for the next few months for a renovation. They were removing the surface of the pools and some of the decking. A lot of jack hammering was heard. It seems similar to the project at the Disneyland Hotel a couple years ago. All traces of Christmas seemed to be gone from the hotel. The decorations, trees, gingerbread houses, etc.. were all gone already. Guessing the other two hotels are the same, I did not venture out to them.

  • I spent some time in Downtown Disney this evening enjoying some of the live entertainment. The crowds seemed lighter to me as I walked around there. Wonder if the large park crowds made an impact.. or if it was just my sense of the crowd.

  • I closed out my evening with World of Color - Season of Light. Again no projections on the Fun Wheel, so I never did get to see them. I opted for Standby again vs using my yellow fastpass for the better view and because a friend did not have one. Leading up to the show they again held all guests out of the seating area until almost 30 minutes until show time. While waiting for the queues to clear out and Standby to open cast members kept saying the areas I was in were going to be clear so I would move somewhere and they would come over there and say the same thing. I watched and guests just filled in the areas I had previously been in. The show itself was great as always. I really do enjoy this version and look forward to seeing how they tweak it for next year.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap – December 19-31, 2016

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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