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1/08/16 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.
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1/08/16 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.

Hello everyone,

Friday was a somewhat sad visit to the Disneyland Resort. So many attractions are soon to close and while most will return they will be in a dramatically different state if current speculation is correct. My goal with this visit was to spend most of the time experiencing these attractions for one last time. I did make a couple quick passes through both parks but really stayed in the Frontierland/New Orleans Square area for most of the visit. The crowds at the parks seemed on the moderate to heavy side. I think the combination it being the best weather day of the week, several attractions closing, and the end of the Christmas season made for this. Traditionally early January is not a very crowded time. Wonder if the expanded block out dates all being over had an impact too. Plus a resident special started this past week.


Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I knew I was going to be in for a fairly busy day when I arrived at the Mickey and Friends garage and saw the tollbooths had several cars at each. Then the ramp had a backup to park. I found a line that moved ok and choose wisely the lane to park and it was not too bad.

  • From the parking structure I took a look at the new support facility in the Pinocchio lot. It is moving along. Curious if they are going to more permanently fence it in or try and camouflage that area. Seems some taller fences and maybe some trees from ground level would go a long way.

  • From the tram as we drove by Disneyland you could see the Christmas tree waiting to head back to the warehouse as well as a couple other projects going on. Guessing they are related to relocating services for Star Wars.

  • I had no delays or issues with security today. I had read some reporting it is taking longer. So far my two trips with the enhanced security have been really smooth. Not sure if this is the exception or the rule. Either way I was pleased.

  • As is typical this time of year it was a little awkward at times to walk around the parks, thematically speaking. Christmas decoration removal is ongoing and some areas are completely done, others partially and others untouched. Christmas music plays in some areas while others are back to their regular track. The park always looks so bare to me right after they remove everything. A few more days or weeks left to experience the attractions. Jingle Cruise and Haunted Mansion Holiday end their run on Sunday. Small World Holiday goes down later this month once Haunted Mansion returns. Jungle Cruise will remain closed for some dock and other renovation until the Spring.

  • Main Street is preparing for a TV taping that will take place in a couple of days and air in February. It will be a two hour show celebrating the 60th anniversary.. There were a couple light poles up near the castle. Saturday I received a picture and more were up along Main Street and in Town Square. If you are going to the park this upcoming week be sure to check the times guides. Entertainment schedules have changed. Especially Tuesday and Wednesday. No Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever is at 6pm to accommodate taping.

  • This is the last weekend to experience the Rivers of America as we currently know it. It is widely reported that the river will be altered to support the Star Wars project. All speculation points to the Rivers being shortened by cutting a new path just past Fort Wilderness. This will significantly shorten the the trip and Tom Sawyer Island will loose most if not all of the back half, the area that is currently not guest accessible. The Disneyland Railroad will also be re-routed to follow the new river course, freeing up more space for Star Wars to the North. It has not been officially announced how the river will change but the wide spread rumors/reporting have not really been disputed either. I understand the bare bones necessity to utilize every square foot of space and maximize profits but at what cost? To me each time they chip away at these quiet places and uniquely Disneyland experiences the park looses a bit of its soul. Most point to Walt Disney quotes and actions. He was willing to make major changes and famously said Disneyland will never be complete. Also I understand that Disneyland is not a museum. But with all that said it seems to me additions should still fit in with the character and detail of the park. Trading the backwoods of Frontierland for sharing a clone of a Star Wars experience does not seem worth it to me. Plus I do not understand thematically how Star Wars fits into this area of the park. I would have much rather seen this new area added to Disney California Adventure or to a third theme park. And what does it mean for Star Tours in Tomorrowland? Will Star Wars leave Tomorrowland to be exclusively in this new area? Or will it be in both? Wonder if it is the first step to a reorganization and if Tomorrowland will get more Marvel? The Iron Man experience in Hong Kong may fit into Tomorrowland here..

  • I have found it interesting to watch the reaction of the Star Wars project on both coasts. The WDW side can not wait and want the bulldozer moving now and when you share what is being lost except for the Osborne Lights there seems to be little disappointment. At Disneyland the first reaction is wow cool Star Wars then you explain what is being lost and most pause/question it.

  • I went for several cruises on the River and spent time in the Big Thunder Ranch area. It was interesting to listen to other guests. Many were there to experience the attractions one last time or share them with family or friends. Parents were explaining to their kids about attractions they had grown up experiencing. Several tourists or others who had not been aware of the project were interested to hear more. The overall feeling was one of loss with many frustrated and saddened.

  • Disney has said all attractions - Columbia, Mark Twain, Canoes, and Tom Sawyer Island will be returning as well as Fantasmic. But no details on changes or reopening dates have been released.

  • The Disneyland Railroad will also be closed during the work so it can receive a new route through this area of the park. I went for a final Grand Circle Tour of the park. During the down time DisneyParks Blog has reported there will be unique experiences available such as a chance to get up close to the trains. I take this to mean they will pull an engine or two into a station and open it up for pictures.

  • This is the last weekend for the Big Thunder Ranch & BBQ area too. This area of the park has always been under utilized and quiet, which is part of its charm to me. Also it frequently hosts special events and one off celebrations which are interesting to those of us who visit the parks frequently. The park will be giving up most of its animals keeping just the draft horses for Main Street it sounds like. The petting zoo animals will be moving on to a new owner and farm. It was great to see a large turn out for the running of the goats and a brief farewell concert by Farley the Fiddler accompanies by Woody and Jessie.

  • Over at Disney California Adventure I was surprised to see so much Christmas still up. Wonder if the focus was Disneyland to prepare for the taping or if the bad weather last week came into play.

  • Aladdin ends its long run this weekend too. It will be replaced with a Frozen show opening in Spring. The shows were extremely busy on Friday with Standby for the last one looking over subscribed 90 minutes before show time.

  • Speaking of busy the Cove Bar had a long queue. The new expansion area was in full use and the queue still stretched to the front door of Ariels. The CM working the entrance estimated it was about an hour wait.

  • I closed out my evening with Fantasmic. I failed in my effort to get a FastPass for the 9pm, they only had 10:45pm available and that was too late for me. So I showed up around 8:30 and managed to get a decent stand by spot. I still find the way they do the crowd control and show loading confusing and poorly marked. It is extremely hard to tell where you should go and what is going on. And there are walkways roped off and you do not know which you can cross and which you cannot. I managed to get a spot near where I traditionally stood but it cost me half an hour where as in the era before Fastpass I could show up near show time.

  • On the way out of the park I stopped for Disneyland Forever. Main Street was very crowded as usual so I hung around Town Square and watched the projections and tried some different angles/places. Not an ideal way to experience the show, but it was ok for me.

  • Do you visit our pictorial updates using a mobile device? Did you know we have a more friendly mobile version of our Disneyland Picture sets at https://disneygeek.com/mobile

Interesting Web Finds/Notes:

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

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