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1/30/15 - 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.

1/30/15 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort

Hello everyone,

Friday was a calm day at the Disneyland Resort for me. I had a very small list of things I wanted to see and I spent some time just wandering around the resort, which is always fun. The weather was iffy with between a 20-40% chance of scattered showers. My luck held out and I felt a few sprinkles but no rain and actually some periods of brief sun even. Thanks to the cloud cover it stayed a bit warmer into the evening even. The crowds were higher than I would have thought for the time of year and the weather. The waits I saw and walkways seemed more crowded than last week.

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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Cinderella Sneak Peek at the Bugs Life Theater - This exclusive film preview kicked off Friday and I did not see an ending date but I would assume it will run for several weeks after the opening of the film on March 12th. The preview runs just under 10 minutes and features the transformation scene and a couple of montages of clips from the film. It is presented in 2D and it utilized a couple of the effects in the theater (I will keep this spoiler free but do not get your hopes up for anything unique or over the top). Nothing had been changed to the exterior or queue area of the theater from what I could tell. There is a sign up that looks similar to the Maleficent one and there are some banners leading the way to the entrance and an updated warning sign. The picture quality for this film does not look nearly as impressive as Maleficent did to me. It may be the film style or it could just be how it is set up. Also there appeared to be a smudge or something on the glass/lens just up from the center of the screen that was a bit distracting. I believe it is a digital system now so I do not think it was on the film itself.

    I found the preview to be more entertaining than I had originally thought. There was a fair amount of humor. It should be interesting to see how the film does in theaters. Also the sound score in parts sounded a bit like Soarin to me.. not sure if that means I want to ride Soarin or if it just reminded me of it..

  • The other new opening this week is the Boudin Bakery Tour in the Wharf area at Disney California Adventure. I thought they did a great job with this update. The tour feels more open and fresh. The information conveyed is the same as the old one just on displays throughout vs video. I found it interesting that the intro video from the original stuck around. I thought we may get to see something new. Wonder if that is still in the works? The addition of some indoor seating is a nice touch and will be appreciated by diners. The Cafe has not reopened so not sure what has changed there yet, if anything.

  • As you saw in the pictures the number of projects going on around the parks just keeps on going. Here are a couple notes:
    • Sleeping Beauty Castle - The scaffolding is nearly all up as they prepare for the Diamond Make-Over. Should be interesting to see if the tarps get photos like Small World (or the Hong Kong Castle got) or something more simple like they did for the 50th.
    • Condor Flats - I was surprised to see the large trenches and holes in the area. Guessing they are re-routing some conduit and piping as part of the project to support whatever is going in. I am really curious to see what the project will come out looking like. They have given no real hints beyond the Grizzly Peak Airfield sign on the wall in Carthay Circle. Nothing was shared at the 60th event earlier last week. I have gotten some questions about this project. My understanding is Soarin is being converted to a new digital projection system and some general renovation work to the ride system since it is 14 years old. This is scheduled to be done by the 60th kick off in May. Outside the Condor Flats area is being redone to change the place and time of the airfield. The desert location will be no more and it will be a smoother transition from the 1930s Buena Vista Street to the national park setting of Grizzly Peak. I have seen it listed that Taste Pilots and the Fly n Buy are slated to reopen in March, guessing for the Spring Break crowds to re-open the walkway for help with traffic flow once World of Color returns.

  • I am disappointed to see nothing going on this off season so far in the Big Thunder Ranch area. In recent years they have had meet and greets and other entertainment out there. I guess since the attendance was light at those the demand just was not enough? I heard a couple guests comment as they walked by but more of a wonder why vs it would be great if type of comment.

  • I took in the 6:30pm showing of Soundsational from Town Square. The crowd was thin and I always enjoy seeing this parade after dark. If you have a chance check it out. The lighting adds something to it.

  • Stopped by Freeze the Night as I made the rounds at DCA. The crowd was fairly thin here. I am curious others opinions.. but to me it seems fairly repetitive. Down to even the ice sculptures being the same each week. I think even the play list by the DJ is the same sequence.. There were plenty of guests at the bars and the ones who were there appeared to be having a good time so from that perspective it is a success. I enjoy live entertainment and really thought the Band and even the different acts on the House of Cards stage added to the Mad T Party.

  • I finally made it out to the Rivers of America to experience Fantasmic with the new FastPass system in place. I did not have a FastPass since they were already distributing for the late show when I passed by the machines so I had to use the Standby area. Overall my first impression was not positive. I hope to get there early enough some day to try FastPass to see if that improves the experience. I do not see myself shelling out the money for the reserved spaces though so guess my chances of seeing the show from a prime location have gone down substantially for the time being.
    • The area had no signage or indicators of what was going on. Guests seemed confused. Some were trying to go under the ropes as they used to and cast members were spending their time moving them out. From what I saw there were no signs to help guide you to a spot. For example the Stand by area I used had nothing at all. There was a barrier set up and a cast member standing there checking Fast Passes. If you had a FastPass you went down the walkway on the right. No FastPass and you could go on the left to Standby but this was not being communicated.
    • I was disappointed to see so much open space in the FastPass and Reserved areas. Many areas looked to be less than 3/4 full. I am really curious how attendance has been at Fantasmic with the new system. It appears less people are seeing the show now to me, but this is based on a couple walk throughs and seeing a lot of open spaces. Nothing to back it up.
    • The Standby area I used was on the far side and stretched from the exit to the smoking area toward the Harbour Galley. This is just down from where I used to watch the show from frequently (near the Tom Sawyer Island dock). The view from here is extremely poor as to be expected. You are way off to the side. The FastPass area next to me had quite a few openings which was frustrating to have a poor view and see a lot of open space with a better view.
    • About half way through the show I decided to go for a walk and see what else I could see. I was surprised to see a large of guests being allowed to stand in the walkway in front of the Haunted Mansion, I guess that is another Stand by location? Or since Critter Country is closed they do not worry about the walkway? The view from there was better than the Standby area I was originally in. I also walked around to New Orleans Square and there was a small Standby space there too. As I walked I took a look into the reserved and FastPass areas and many had quite a few spaces available.
    • With all the open space for Fantasmic curious how this will translate once the crowds arrive for the 60th. Will they be able to draw enough guests and keep them there to help mitigate the large crowds expected along the parade route for Paint the Night and for the new fireworks show. If what I saw Friday continues it means they will be operating at less than optimal capacity. I did see several cast members counting so Disney is gathering data and I am sure people are going over the numbers asking similar questions. Wonder how the dining packages are selling?

  • Do you visit our pictorial updates using a mobile device? If so we would like your feedback. I have created a beta of a more mobile version of our Disneyland Picture sets at https://disneygeek.com/mobile Please give it a try and share your thoughts.

  • Video featuring my pictures:

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

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

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