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2/28/20 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort, including 1st impressions of Magic Happens and Food & Wine Festival
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2/28/20 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort, including 1st impressions of Magic Happens and Food & Wine Festival

Hello Everyone!

Friday was a busy day at the Disneyland Resort. The parks both felt crowded with guests showing up for the opening day of the Food & Wine Festival plus premiere of the new Magic Happens Parade. Combine this with a Friday, the heavily promoted Southern California deal and nice weather and all the factors were in place. Wait times were on the high side some of the time, but never really peaked much about but summer busy no where near holiday busy. The walkways on the other hand felt really busy at times, especially at DCA.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I arrived at the parking structure just after lunch and found no real delays. I missed the light at Ball so that was a couple minutes then it was slow going to get onto the floor since I was stuck in the last row. No wait at the toll booths and no wait at security or the tram stop either. So all in all a decent experience. Still wish they divided up cars to keep traffic flowing to fill in the last row vs letting it slow to a crawl. also if the garage isn't full wish they would not fill the last row, it is not fun to back out to leave into the traffic.

  • The parking structure projects all appear to be finished. The Chip and Dale level as well as elevators were both working last visit and this time I spend a couple minutes taking a quick look. The doubling of the elevators will be a big plus for those that need them. I saw no lines when I exited on Friday where as usually there are. Not sure if that was just timing/luck or a sign of how improved things are with the Pixar Structure elevators and now the new set on Mickey and Friends.

  • The 2020 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival kicked off Friday. The festival runs through April 21st. This year's festivities seem on par with last year. There are several marketplaces along the parade route. The backlot hosts the Jr. Chefs and some demonstrations. The Sonoma Terrace hosts some events and then there is a Beer Garden in Paradise Gardens. On the entertainment side the Jammin' Chefs have returned. On weekends concerts are held nightly in Paradise Park. Paradise Gardens has concerts every day. The marketplaces are NOT using mobile order, so guess the test during Festival of Holidays was not ideal? Or maybe they are just waiting to roll it out. You can order from any marketplace though. The number of cooking demonstrations and seminars seems to dwindle each year, even those that they charge for. The marketplaces had healthy waits and the walkways were very busy all day and evening. I really enjoyed the evening concerts by Phat Cat Swinger. Also noteworthy was at night they had the lights on the Incredicoaster and Pixar Pal-A-Round on and twinkling which made for a great backdrop for the concert. My only complaint is by the last set the World of Color set up really made you feel unwelcome and seemed to discourage some guests from heading to the concert.

  • I did a quick walk through the park checking out the various projects. The Avengers Campus has more details being added to the buildings. It was nice to see the walkway open again on Sunset Blvd. The project seemed to run a very long time disrupting traffic. In the end it came out matching the other part as expected with no substantial changes. Wonder if the overhead Red Car wires will be installed again soon or if the plan is not to have them there anymore. The Hyperion renovation/painting is moving along. The sky scene looks to be the same as the old from what you can see. The scaffolding was uncovered on Friday. In Cars Land the Cozy Cone has scaffolding and walls around all cones. They are open for business but being renovated. Assuming it is a general renovation and painting.

  • Over at Disneyland the Tomorrowland Entrance planters look to be complete. There are now plants around the new planters and lights at night, compared to a couple weeks ago when I visited. I think its nice they pay homage to the old look. Interesting they are moving away from all the elements of the 1998 Tomorrowland project. The stairs project showed no real visible progress. The printed scrims for Snow White & Haunted Mansion were both back so you could see the building renovation work. Snow What has a new color schedule that is brighter than before. Not sure if this is the final colors or not so will take a wait and see on it. Haunted Mansion looks to be receiving a lot of TLC to the structure. In Fantasyland the Carousel roof is starting to take shape again.

  • Magic Happens Parade officially premiered on Friday. There was a couple of preview performance on Thursday plus a cast member one after hours. The parade route was packed for both performances and curb seating was long gone an hour before both parades. For the second parade you could get an ok spot a couple rows back 30 minutes prior to parade time. Overall it is a fun parade and will entertain guests. The music and choreography had a modern feel to it, almost like an overseas park maybe.. it did not feel like Disneyland to me. The look of the floats did though. The choices of highlighting Moana, Coco and Frozen with their own groupings fits with current popularity. The opening and conclusion featured the traditional characters and then several films. I really enjoyed the Moana segment. Hei Hei and the Kakamora were great!

    Seeing the parade under the lights was a great experience, too bad there are only a week of performances before the time changes and the 6pm performance will be daylight.. but come next fall/winter it will be great to see again. If you have a chance to visit this week I would say try to catch the evening performance. Not sure where I would rank this in terms of Disney Parades yet. My first impression was not the most favorable, mostly due to the music and the name. But the second viewing under the lights had a much better feel and things seemed to work better.

  • I mobile ordered dinner from the Pacific Wharf Cafe. Of course there was no line when I showed up so it saved me no time, but I was able to pick up one of the free Annual Passholder buttons to add to my collection so that was a plus. Seating in the Wharf was fairly busy so I walked over to Flo's and had a much calmer dining experience.

  • Soarin' Over California has returned and will run for the full festival. It was great to see the original film again, even if it is starting to show its age. The quality of the film is definitely noticeable compared to the new one and not sure if it was a quality or projection issue but a couple times the film seemed out of focus in spots on the screen. I used FastPass and the process was slow as always. The return queue stopped about midway down the ramp so not that long but it still took over 30 minutes to get through.

  • I noticed Rise of the Resistance concluded boarding groups again by 9pm. Wonder when Disney will open up more boarding groups or keep the attraction open longer, the added capacity would be nice to see. I am sure they want the extra overnight time to work on things but shutting down several hours before park closing is not great for guests.

  • I showed up on Main Street about 15 minutes prior to the start of Mickey's Mix Magic and there were large open spaces along Main Street and the hub. By show time the crowd filled in but it was not busy. It makes it enjoyable to watch when you are not jammed in with other guests but it shows the show is not nearly as popular as past shows. Wonder what the summer show will be. As of right now Mix Magic is slated through April (which is as far as the entertainment calendar goes).

  • I exited with the large crowd right after the fireworks. The tram loading was utilizing the queue. Of course I was sent to the first load zone on the left (which always seems to be the busiest) and the tram had an issue and needed to be restarted. I found it poor that instead of holding guests they just kept sending them so by the time that tram finally left our station had probably three tram fulls of guests jammed in waiting and trying to board. I thought one of the ideas of the queue was to spread out guests and not jam the load points.

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 February 3-25, 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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