home > Columns > Geekspeaks >
3/08/13 - My thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort including my first impressions of the Fantasy Faire
 The Geek Speaks:

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.

3/08/13 - My thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort including my first impressions of the Fantasy Faire

Hello all,

Friday was an ominous looking day. As I drove south and east toward the Disneyland Resort in front of me were dark clouds but to the West the skies looked much more promising and the weather forecast showed 30% chance of rain only for most of the afternoon. Temps were cool in the upper 50s most of the trip with some wind. The rain held off until after 8pm which was great. Thanks to the combination of weather and timing, being before the spring break season, the parks were not crowded at all. Wait times fluctuated but were well under an hour for all the usually suspects. Even the Racers had a posted 66 minutes wait (nice touch!) which the people I spoke to in Standby said it was only 45 minutes for them.


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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • The main objective of my visit was to take advantage of the Annual Passholder Preview of the Fantasy Faire at Disneyland. My experience with the preview was great! I arrived on Main Street around 1:30pm and made my way to Frontierland where they were distributing wristbands for the event. As I entered Frontierland there was a sign and four cast members answering guests questions and doing the sign in. The process was quick and efficient. You talked to one of two cast members who scanned your annual pass then you moved on to the second group and received your wristband. For the preview they broke it into three two hour blocks of time. I received the last of the day 4-6pm. There were plenty of wristbands available when i checked in. A little before 4:00pm I arrived at the entrance to Fantasy Faire near the Castle and showed my wristband, had my ticket scanned again, and I was let in. I found it pleasantly uncrowded inside, either they really restricted the number of guests allowed in or not that many tried for this preview. Either way it was a win for those of us who went. Once inside you could explore the Fantasy Faire at your own pace and when you were done exit out toward Frontierland.

  • My thoughts on the Fantasy Faire
    • Overview - I was impressed with the Fantasy Faire. The Imagineers took a very small plot of land that was not utilized and turned it into a detailed environment. We can all argue amount the idea of expanding Fantasyland in front of the castle walls and if that was good or bad, but looking at what they created given the constraints they had to work with I think they delivered a product we expect from Disney. The area gives the princesses a place to inhabit vs a thrown together area in the Small World Mall. Also I thought it was good to see a show again in the former Plaza Gardens. I can still remember some of the Christmas and other shows that I have seen there over the years and always thought it gave some life to the area during the day. Looking at the area and the small size I have a feeling this once quiet portion of the park will be alive with activity come Tuesday and the days of having a quiet retreat there during the summer crowds to take in an afternoon concert to chat with friends in the sea of open chairs will be long gone.
    • Royal Hall - The main attraction for many will be the Royal Hall. This is where you get to meet some Disney Princesses. The queue for the hall takes up a good portion of the area. The building itself has two routes inside. Each featuring three princesses in their own space for you to interact with. The spaces are generic so the princesses can be any. There is a sign out front saying who is available and the wait time. Each area has a princess and a photopass photographer to help you capture the moment. There were also plenty of other cast members roaming around to keep the traffic flowing and help out. Once inside things moved rather quickly so I did not really have time to dwell on the sets or rooms. On my first glance around I did not find any hidden gems.
    • Royal Theatre - The Royal Theatre currently houses two shows. The Cast Members said the afternoons will see Beauty and the Beast and the mornings/early shows Rapunzel. I thought the overlay to the old band stand looks ok. The bright canopy is a little distracting from the hub, but the interior looks good given the space/size. The main seating is on benches and there is a floor area for children. You can also stand around the perimeter (outside the rails). I thought the show itself was great. The performers were funny and the pace was good. I would have liked to have seen the opportunity for more ad-libbing but that may come as the show matures. Unlike some of the shows that have found their way into the parks this one does not talk down to the audience. It is a classic show in that way. There is humor that works for the kids as well as adults, including some fun film references. I am looking forward to seeing the Rapunzel show on a future visit.

      Here are some video clips of Beauty and the Beast:
    • Fairy Tale Treasures - This is the small gift shop that features a large selection of princess merchandise. Should be interesting to see how this effects the other shops in Fantasyland. Wonder if princesses will give up some shelf space in those other stores for other merchandise? I would have liked to have seen some Fantasy Faire specific merchandise and not just generic character merchandise. The shop itself has some nice touches in it. If you visit be sure to study the items above the registers and if the store is not busy ask a Cast Member about them, they can tell you some stories.
    • Maurice's Treats - This snack cart is located right across from the theater and has a selection of twists and cold beverages. Kind of surprised no sodas on the menu. I did not try the food so cannot comment on it, but overheard several other guests and they seemed to be enjoying their snacks. Again I would have liked to have seen something Fantasy Faire specific for the beverage cup logos instead of generic.
    • Other entertainment - In between shows in the Theatre the characters are available for pictures. And there are short performances called Jester Training sessions that take place in the courtyard.
      Here is a video of one:
    • Other Details of the Fantasy Faire - As you walk around be sure to soak keep an eye open. There are obvious items such as the Tangled Tower or the Owl Pole. And more subtle like the Carnation Plaza Gardens reference in the crest on one of the buildings. Figaro is also present taking a nap as most cats do. He is awaken by a near by bird.
      Here is a video clip:

      Also in the courtyard is Clopin's Music Box. This detailed box features Clopin from the Hunchback of Notre Dame and as you turn the crank you hear music from the film and the box comes to life. Spend some time looking at the crowd in the background. You will find some familiar faces.

      Here is a video clip:
  • I did spend some time roaming both parks checking in on the ongoing projects. Not a lot of visible progress on Big Thunder. Nice to see some attractions coming back online as we near the Spring Break season and the brief off season comes to a close. Saw DJ was back in Cars Land, I only caught the tail end of the show when they play Life is a Highway and it seemed the same as always, no idea if the show was re-tooled at all before that.

  • As I mentioned at the top the waits were mild at both parks. I took advantage of this and went for a spin on the Radiator Springs Racers.. it was just under 15 minutes from when I entered the queue till I was onboard. Later in the evening walked by the Flying Tires and the wait was posted at 5 minutes so decided to give it a try. Turned out to be only a one cycle wait, almost a walk on. Not sure if I had a good tire, improved flying skills, or what but I was able to get a fair amount of speed going and able to circle the floor. Noticed several of the tires, mine included, had what appeared to be new skirts on them (they were much darker black looking new compared to others).

  • The Limited Time Magic offering at the Wonderground Gallery which featured replicas of some costumes and props from Oz The Great and Powerful was on the weak side in my opinion. It was two tiny displays in the back of the gallery. There was no real signage out front and if you blinked you missed it. Also why only replicas? Seems odd they could not get anything original from the film to display. I was disappointed with the offering and quickly walked through, took a couple pictures, and moved on.

  • I thought it was funny that I caught the end of one song at the Mad T Party and while passing through Tomorrowland Terrace later in the evening caught the same song performed their by Instant Replay. I give the edge to the Mad T Party Band, their version sounded much better to me..

  • I was onboard the train when the rain began to fall. I entered the tunnel for the Grand Canyon and the weather was the same as it had been all afternoon. Upon exiting the tunnel and pulling through Main Street you could see that it had rained fairly hard and the rain was still coming down. I disembarked in New Orleans Square and strolled through the steady rain my way back to Main Street. It had been quite a while since visiting in the rain. If it was not cold and I did not have my camera gear it would have been the perfect opportunity to enjoy the light crowds in the park as most people were heading for the exits (myself included). Of course by the time I was almost back to the garage the rain had stopped.

Interesting Web Finds/Notes:
Below are some interesting links, notes, and rumors I found/stumble across/or have been informed of since the last Geekspeaks column.

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

Stop by the Geek's Forum to discuss this and other Disney topics.. click here

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

Back to previous page


Quick Note

Check out the geek speaks archive for past updates.


Interested in Helping out?

If you are a fellow disneygeek and interested in sharing your insights, pictures, thoughts drop us an email here we are always looking for contributors.