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1/17/20 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort featuring the Lunar New Celebration
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1/17/20 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort featuring the Lunar New Celebration

Hello Everyone!

I started off my holiday weekend with a visit to the Disneyland Resort. The plan was to check out the Lunar New Year Festivities and see what else was going on in the parks. The weather was on the cool side with highs in the 60s and lows in the low 50s. Crowds were the big question mark going in. It is a holiday weekend, no block outs, a Southern California ticket deal is ongoing and Rise of the Resistance opening day. Turned out to be a moderate to mild day in the afternoon and evening. Wait times were well under an hour for most attractions and plenty of FastPass availability throughout my entire visit. For example I arrived after 1:00pm and was able to pick up a FastPass for World of Color (yellow section), Toy Story, Radiator Springs Racers, it's a small world, Haunted Mansion Holiday & Star Tours with times that worked in my schedule as I roamed the parks. The Opening of Rise of the Resistance had little impact on the afternoon and evening crowds. Boarding groups were gone at 8am. The only noticeable impact was more guests in Galaxy's Edge and a lot more guests in the resistance areas.

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:

  • Parking was extremely easy and a sign of things to come. The overpass was actually open and no wait at the toll booth. Was directed into a spot on the far side of the roof level of Mickey and Friends but there was no delay and being at the end of an aisle meant an easy exit, just a long walk. No wait at security or the tram either.

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened this morning in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Guests lined over overnight in the rain to be among the first in the park. Disney instituted a virtual boarding group system for the launch so lining up gained you little advantage except to know you were in the park and say you did it. The way the system works is very similar to the Walt Disney World one. Here is my post on my experiences with boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I arrived way too late today to even try think about trying the Disneyland one. Boarding groups were gone in under a minute and stand by groups soon after.

    If you are unfamiliar with the boarding group system the way it is currently working is at park opening Disney opens the virtual gate. If you are in the park you can use the app or a kiosk to join a boarding group. All members of your party need to be in the park and to make it easier you can link all of your tickets before hand. When you join a group you will see the number in the app and can check back throughout the day to see how close they are to your group. When your group is called you will receive a push notification and have 2 hours to return to the attraction to ride. Boarding groups are limited to one per day.

  • There were dozens of signs up starting with the parking tollbooth and continuing through the tram plaza, security, ticket booths, esplanade, park entrance, Main Street and the land itself saying that Boarding groups were gone for the day. They also made an announcement on the tram. If you showed up hoping to experience the attraction and somehow missed all these warnings that you were not going to then you really were not paying attention.

  • Almost all signs of Christmas are long gone from the parks now as they transition to an off season mode for a few weeks. Several attractions are closed/will be closed for renovation. Also entertainment throughout the parks has been scaled back, for example there are no parades in either park right now. Fantasmic is weekend only. Mickey's Mix Magic has returned with fireworks only on weekends, projections during the week.

  • Stopped by the Star Trader in Tomorrowland and took a look at the new merchandise. They had several items I had not seen before from a Disneyland collection and the Mandalorian. There was also plenty of Rise of the Resistance and other Star Wars merchandise available too. The Mandalorian merchandise featuring the Child aka Baby Yoda was selling extremely well. They had some of it on stocking/temporary racks and it was disappearing quickly.

  • I was passing through Fantasyland as the Pearly Band, Mary Poppins and Bert were on the Carousel. Always great to see them and hear live music in the land. It is one of those great pluses of the park.

  • Spent some time on Batuu in the afternoon and after sunset made a second walk through. The walkways and marketplace felt more crowded than recent visit. Smuggler's Run had mild waits of 35 minutes or less. The resistance encampment area was much more crowded with a fair number of guests just milling around waiting for their boarding group. There were quite a few cast members working the entry point for Rise of the Resistance. It seemed slightly less than WDW had in December when I was there but still a lot for the small area and a single attraction. There were quite a few more guests shopping than recent visits too. The stores all seemed more crowded in Galaxy's Edge with lines to get into some of them again. It seemed there were a large number of guests with lightsabers this visit too. Not sure if there were meet ups for the opening or just brisk sales or just sticking out to me.

  • Across the Esplanade at Disney California Adventure the Lunar New Year celebration kicked off today and runs through February 9th. The festivities seem on par with last year with the notable return of Hurry Home since World of Color is running this year. I have always been a fan of these seasonal celebrations as I think they add some variety to the park.
    • Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession has returned and takes place in Paradise Gardens Park again. This procession and 10 minute show features several characters and a couple dozen performers. The show is the same as it has been except highlight Mickey and Minnie this year for year of the mouse. The show is entertaining but viewing is fairly limited in the park area which makes it a little challenging to watch and all four shows are in the afternoon so the sun is overhead with no shade. It would be nice to see an evening show or two added to offer more chances for more guests to see the procession.
    • Four marketplaces serve a variety of dishes for the event. New this year is you can mobile order through the official Disneyland app. From what I saw the delay seemed to be more with the food preparation than the registers so mobile order would not help with that. For simplicity seeing it in the app seems like a plus. I did not purchase anything so I cannot comment on how actual implementation.
    • There is a fair amount of merchandise available at a central location near the Little Mermaid. They some Annual Passholder exclusive merchandise too. The selection seems to keep growing each year and several of the items seemed quite popular. I thought it was noteworthy that the balloons that were being sold had the Shanghai Disneyland logo on them.
    • On weekdays Melody of China performs on the Paradise Garden Bandstand and there are no other performing groups. I always enjoy seeing the guest performing groups and wish they would add them in the evening on Fridays and not just a trio of performances on Saturday & Sunday.

  • The Avengers Campus is moving along at Disney California Adventure. More elements are being installed on the facades as the buildings move quickly toward completion. No opening date yet, but it has been announced as a summer opening for the first phase which will be the Spider Man attraction, gift shop, dining, and character meet and greets.

  • it's a small world has returned back already with the classic show. The first cruises after the holiday removal always seem so sparse. I noticed no major changes (which is to be expected with a less than 2 week turn around). There seemed to be less boats and a lot of space between them in the flume on Friday. The boat in front of us we never saw until unload. There was one boat close behind us but behind it no sign of the next one.

  • After sunset your live entertainment choices inside both parks went to zero. The last set times were early in the 6pm hour. Disneyland was open until midnight so that is a long time with nothing scheduled. Your only entertainment choice was a dance party in Tomorrowland. I really miss live bands in the evenings at the parks. Even at Disney California Adventure the Lunar New Year entertainment had a last set of 5:35pm. So there was nothing.

  • The dance party I mentioned above is the TLT Dance Club in Tomorrowland Terrace. I walked by and it had a good crowd watching and on the dance floor. There were five characters (Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale and Clarice) when I arrived. Clarabelle and Horace replaced Goofy and Pluto. Guests really seem to enjoy the dance parties but I prefer live bands still.

  • I was disappointed to see only a single showing of World of Color and Hurry Home tonight. It was at 9:45pm too, so that meant a late night for me. I was able to pick up a Yellow FastPass when I first arrived but opted to go to a Standby location for the show instead. Hurry Home started at 9:45pm then World of Color ran right after it. It was great to see the Hurry Home show again. It is a well done little story for the holiday. As you would expect the one section was updated for Year of the Mouse. The show still concludes with low level fireworks that looked good.

  • I left World of Color as the Wall-E segment was going on because I had a long drive ahead of me home. At the tram stop they had a queue set up but it was flowing well. They directed me to the tram stop nearest Naples. There was no one there as I walked up and I was able to board the first tram that arrived. The delay came that the tram for this stop was just being dispatched as I arrived so it had to circle the entire stop which took a good 5 minutes. So all in all it was an average wait to exit.

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

Walt Disney World Trip Summary (December 10-17)

Disneyland Paris Trip Summary (November 11-20)

Geek's Blog Postings Recap December 9, 2019 - January 6, 2020

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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