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1/29/16 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at 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.

1/29/16 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.

Hello everyone,

As you will see or saw in the picture set there is a lot of work going on around the Disneyland Resort. The winter season always brings a lot of renovation projects and this year with the Star Wars project getting underway there are even more attractions and areas closed than in years past. Here is a quick listing of what was closed on Friday during my visit:

  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes
  • Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Autopia
  • "it's a small world"
  • Fantasmic!
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • 20th Century Music Company
  • World of Color – Celebrate!
  • Hyperion Theater


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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • While this is a large number of attractions a vast majority of both parks remain open and the crowds Friday were moderate for a typically Friday and felt busy for a late January Friday. I spent most of my trip focused on the ongoing projects and a couple of new offerings.

  • The Star Wars project has very little visible progress from guest accessible areas. From the Mickey and Friends garage you can see some more fences and equipment backstage. From within the park some ribbons are visible on trees along the far banks of the Rivers of America and there are quite a few walls in Critter Country and Frontierland.

  • Speaking of walls. The construction walls in Critter Country have had attraction posters added to them as well as posters on the Rivers of America. I thought these were a great touch and really appreciated that they were all unique vs only having a couple designs and repeating. A great plus! I would still rather have windows or no wall so you can watch the progress though.

  • Stopped by the Jungle Cruise on my way into the park and missed the Skipper Skool by a few minutes. The skippers said a Land Cruise was to depart the top of the hour so I headed off for some pictures and doubled back. This turned out to be a great decision. The Land Cruise was three Jungle Cruise Skippers taking us on a trip through the Jungle as they put it with 100% less water and boats. One was our captain and did the spiel and the other two acted out the scenes you encounter on the cruise. They drew a good size crowd and it was great to experience. I am curious what first time visitors thought of all these people gathered around watching three people talk about what probably seemed like a random sequence of scenes. But for those who know the attraction it was a fun alternative. If you have some time be sure to visit the Skippers..

  • The next alternate experience I visited was the Disneyland Railroad at the New Orleans Square station. They have expanded the offering here since my last visit. You can now cross the tracks to the original Frontierland station and get a very different look at the New Orleans Square station, one that has been reserved for Cast Members. Also the hand cart has been brought to this station for an up close look. I spoke with several of the cast members, of which there are plenty in the area, and they were talking about more to come.. ranging from more history information to their training boiler and a demo piston to explain how steam trains work. I think these will all be great pluses and looking forward to how this experience continues to evolve in the coming months.

  • The Mark Twain has swapped spots with the Columbia since my last visit. It is open to walk around and enjoy. They have brought tables and chairs to the dock as well as on board so you can sit and relax. Also characters from the Princess and the Frog are rotating through for pictures. Cast members were escorting guests up to the wheel house too which was great to see.

  • I did not venture out to Fantasyland after dark but I would image when they shut down the South portion for the fireworks it is a traffic nightmare back there with the Big Thunder Trail closed and the parade route congested and/or blocked off for Paint the Night.

  • Stopped by the Star Wars Launch Bay and Super Hero HQ. As I walked around the area seemed to lack energy. There were more guests moving about than Innoventions had but it still seems flat/quiet to me. Not sure why or if it is just my interest level. Also interesting the wait times of 20 minutes for Kylo Ren, 30 for Chewbacca and 25 for Spiderman were interesting. I am not a huge fan of these set character meet and greets. I like the natural/improv meetings with characters much more. I always favored the style that the Big Thunder Ranch area had most of the time over these fixed installations with queues. I understand the rationale but the other is my preference.

  • A new edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is out. I did not see any news stands but there were stacks in the Cafe. I think it is great this continues. This issue features a story on the Lunar New Year celebration, Luigis new attraction and more to kick off the new year. Be sure to pick up a copy.

  • A sneak peek at the next Disney Animation film, Zootopia, has moved into the Bugs Theater. The film opens March 4th. The preview is about 10 minutes long and features an introduction from the directors then a series of sequences from the film including some Police Academy training, Try Everything train ride into Zootopia, and the Sloth DMV scene. I am a fan of having these types of previews in the parks so I was pleased with it. The image quality was just ok to me. There seems to be a spot or damage on the screen that jumps out to me, it has been there for the past several films. Also none seem as crisp as the Maleficent preview was. Not sure why that one stuck out as really sharp to me. The theater was about 1/2 full which seemed good to me. Listening to comments most were positive that I overheard on the way out.

  • In Cars Land there was no real sign of visible progress with the new attraction replacing the Flying Tires. No opening date has been released. I did not hear any testing this week. It was scheduled to have opened by now, which you can tell because it is in the park maps and had an article in the Buena Vista Bugle.

  • By dumb luck I was just starting to walk up Route 66 as the song began to play and the neon lights came to live in Cars Land. This is one of my favorite times to be there and as always it was great experience.

  • I did not have a chance to visit the two re-opened attractions this week. The Haunted Mansion and Soarin have both returned. My understanding is not changes to either. Note Soarin is only open on weekends right now. They are re-programming during the week.

  • Thought it was interesting to spot a handful of tech cast members working on the center Fantasmic fountain rig after dark on Friday. I would have thought they would wait for the water to be drained or just defer until the show nears. It seems odd to work on it and have it sit for the next 12-18 months or more. Unless the plan is to use the fountains for Disneyland Forever or some alternative entertainment. I think it would be fun to see them used for something during the closure.

  • As the evening went on the park became more crowded as usual but not unbearably. I think the off season effect was felt in the evening.

  • 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:

Disney Related Press Releases

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap – Jan 11 – 17, 2016

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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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