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2/19/20 - Thoughts and observations from Wednesdy at the Disneyland Resort including first impressions of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
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2/19/20 - Thoughts and observations from Wednesdy at the Disneyland Resort including first impressions of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Hello Everyone!

I made a rare midweek visit to the Disneyland Resort on Wednesday to visit with my family and friends. Our group this visit included two young kids (a 3.5 year old and 10 month old) up to grandparents. The parks felt busy right from rope drop. Wait times seemed to moderate as the day went on but were on the high side for a Wednesday in February. I think some schools were out this week for various reasons plus the President's Day holiday crowds may have still been around.

This past week I wrapped up my picture posts from Disneyland Paris in November. Also all of my Walt Disney World in December pictures are available too.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just as the sun was rising this morning. We always have a tough choice on when to leave in the morning due to having to drive through Los Angeles and the morning commute. We opted for an early departure, leaving around 4:45am. We arrived in Anaheim just after 6:00am and decided to grab some breakfast on Harbor Blvd before parking the cars. Arrived at the parking structure just before 7:00am and found no real delays at the tollbooths or parking. Security was backed up and moving slow but only a handful of lines were open. Had to wait for one tram only so not a big delay there.

  • As the tram pulled into the Downtown Disney tram stop you could see the lines of guests filling the Esplanade. Most of our group walked over to get in line while we took the cars to park them. The lines had started to move as we disembarked. We were lucky and able to catch the group before they entered so it saved us some time. The lines were moving at an average pace and if you were in line by 7:30 it looked like you would make it in by 8:00.

  • This was my first time at rope drop since Rise of the Resistance opened and the feeling in the park was very different than other visits. Instead of a majority of guests crowding around walkways for attractions they were milling around watching their cell phones. There were a large number of guests in the park and seating quickly filled up on Main Street. Most stores were still closed, which surprised me. As you waited there were several announcements about boarding groups becoming available at park opening (8am). They played the park opening announcement about 5 minutes to 8. The crowd became a little more quiet as 8am neared and the clicking began to refresh and check for boarding groups. At 8am some cheers started and then grew with more as people were successful with boarding groups. Unfortunately I was not able to take video of the scene as I was working to get a boarding group. I was successful and got group 31 for most of our group. A couple tried on their own and we lucked out with them getting group 30. By 8:01 regular groups were gone and they were distributing backup groups. Those lasted until around 8:15am. The process is a little stressful if you are determined to ride and the morning crowds are substantially higher because of people wanting boarding groups. Boarding groups seem to allow for the best flexibility for Disney with an attraction that is not operating at peak capacity or reliability and for guests who do not want to invest their entire day in line. Every system has pros and cons but this seems like a reasonable compromise. The distribution of boarding groups is basically a lottery with variables of the application, network, servers, etc all factoring in though. So if you are first in the park it does not mean you will be anywhere near first to ride or even guaranteed to ride. I have a post that looks at my boarding group experience for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World back in December here.

  • We decided to head for Disney California Adventure to pick up Fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers (since most of the group did not have MaxPass). I was surprised to see the entrance lines still out to DCA for Disneyland. Some guests we passed were grumbling once they saw boarding groups were in backups already and they were no where near the entrance. Others were just grumbling about the big line already.

  • Spent a couple hours at Disney California Adventure, wait times rose quickly this morning but we still managed to visit a few attractions with the kids before they became too bad, plus walked the park. Nothing too interesting to report since I was just here on Friday.

  • In Town Square today the horses that usually pull the street cars were near the backstage gate by the fire house meeting guests. They had one horse out at a time the few times I passed and guests could pet them and/or get their picture taken. This is the first time I remember seeing this. In the morning I assumed this was because of the filming that was going on, but they had a horse out in the early afternoon too and the filming looked to be completed.

  • As I walked through Black Spire Outpost I finally saw R2-D2 out and about. I was not able to stop and watch him since the rest of the group was moving toward Rise of the Resistance and by the time I exited the attraction he was gone. But he did have a good crowd and was entertaining guests.

  • Our boarding groups were called at 10am and we had two hours to return to Rise of the Resistance. We headed that way arriving just before 10:30am. As we walked up the cast member informed us that the attraction was currently down and we could go wait in line or come back. So we debated and then decided to gamble and get in line. We took advantage of the child swap and sent half the group to Fantasyland with the kids and four of us would try our luck in line. The process for the child swap was easy. We all walked up to a CM near the Fastpass entrance and they scanned the three adults boarding passes that would return later. The rest of us were directed to the stand by queue. We entered the queue around 10:38am and made it to just shy of the waterfall before encountering the stopped line. The view was nice but we missed seats by about 10 feet and it was a bit loud with the waterfall. Around 11:06 there was a cheer from inside and everyone in front of us stood up. We started moving shortly after. At 11:17 we reached the merge point outside the briefing rooms. The queue moved quickly with no delays. The rest of the attraction flowed normally and we were back in Batuu at 11:39am. So only about an hour total time spent. The rest of the group returned and were scanned. They hit a minor hiccup where their boarding passes disappeared from the app so they had to scan their tickets and that worked perfectly. They were directed through the FastPass return queue. They road and were back with us in the Marketplace in under 30 minutes. The child swap process worked out well and saved us some time in line.

  • This was my first time experiencing the attraction in Anaheim. I was lucky enough to get three visits in back in December at Walt Disney World and I had not been able to get to Disneyland early enough for a boarding group until today. The Boarding Group process worked ok. I do wish the app would indicate if the attraction was down on the status screen. That would have been helpful. The experience itself was the same as Orlando. I noticed no major differences in the queue or various components of the attractions. The key effects & figures were all working on our ride through. Here are my initial thoughts & observations from my first Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Experiences at Walt Disney World.

  • As we walked through the Marketplace stopped by the Creature Stall and picked up an activity book for my nephew. Bina's Guide to the Creatures of Batuu is a paper booklet with information and a small quest for kids. They explore Black Spire Outpost answering questions and collecting stamps then can redeem it for a sticker. This is a free activity. It is limited to kids though. The quest was a little more involved for a 3.5 year old (especially right before lunch and having been up since 4am) so we did not make it far. Maybe next trip.

  • We made the mistake of trying to each lunch in the noon hour. So dining options were all crowded. We ended up finding a table at Rancho Zocalo and people picking up food from throughout Frontierland and New Orleans Square. I had my worst mobile order experience so far. I order chicken strips from Stage Door Cafe. Walked over and said I was there. The line was out the door to pick up orders. Instead of calling names as the order was ready they were handling guests in a line for the most part and occasionally calling out orders. It was slow going. I got to the front and gave my number. They put it in the computer and two orders showed up. This confused the CM. I gave my name and they went to get my order but were still confused as to why there were two with the same number. The other name was different too, not someone from my group. Another in our group had a problem ordering too. Her order disappeared from the app and it took the cast member a while to find it in the computer. Also it is still annoying you have to order a sauce, even if you do not want it.

  • The Tomorrowland entrance project continues to inch along. New planters that look similar to the water fountains from the 1967 renovation are installed and some plants are in the ground/planters. Still surprised they have not removed the rest of the rocks or worked on the front portion with no daily parade right now.

  • I mobile ordered dinner too and it still bugs me that you cannot order a completely plain hamburger at places. I do not understand why that common option is not there. Also it still bothers me that you have to pay for cheese even if you do not want it or cannot eat it.

  • We opted to walk back to the car vs dealing with the stroller and parking lot trams. The walk confirmed my theory about how much fun it is to push through a crowded Downtown Disney in the evening with tired kids and a stroller, on top of the extra steps. The bridge is great but getting to it via Downtown Disney and the L-shaped path is not good efficient and at the end of a long day not the optimal final experience. It would be great if there was a bridge from the old walkway along the tram route. If not to enter as an exit path at least.

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 January 20 - February 3, 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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