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03/10/17 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday trip to the Disneyland Resort including first impressions of the 2017 Food & Wine Festival
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03/10/17 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday trip to the Disneyland Resort including first impressions of the 2017 Food & Wine Festival

Hello everyone,

Friday was a nice afternoon at the parks. The weather was great and the crowds a little bit less than the past two weeks. Wait times seemed moderate the few times I glanced at them but there was plenty to see without visiting any this trip.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • The Star Wars and Rivers of America construction continues to chug along. The big change this past week has been the addition of trees along the new berm. On the river side of the berm rocks and the riverbed continue to take shape as the project races toward a summer opening. On the Star Wars side of the berm dirt is moving around again in the center of the project and the steel structure for a couple buildings continues to grow.

  • The 2017 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival kicked off Friday. This year the festival runs until April 16th. For full details here is the Disney Press Release. Overall it was a solid offering with plenty of offerings. I find these types of events do bring life to the park and give guests something new to experience. I am not a huge fan of the impact the current configuration has basically taking over the parade route and adding a lot of congestion. Here are some first impressions:

    • More food - A dozen market places were set up along the parade route, in Paradise Pier and one in Hollywood Land -- The lines at the marketplaces varied greatly throughout the day and by booth. With several featuring no guests and others long lines. The most consistently long line seemed to be the Bacon booth.
    • Expanded Entertainment - A concert series in Paradise Park, performances at Paradise Garden Bandstand, Jammin Chefs and Jr. Chef shows featuring characters --
      • I thought the overall selection of entertainment was good. I was disappointed not to see any of the new groups on Friday, hopefully on future visits I will see new/different performers vs ones I have seen several times before. The concert venue set up in Paradise Park worked well and provided some energy throughout the day. Out at the Bandstand seating has been changed and there are now picnic table style tables vs the smaller ones that were there.
      • The Jammin' Chefs were a high energy group. I thought it was staged in an awkward area and a little hard to see for many, but I liked how Chip and Dale were involved (Note if you are looking for the Green Army Men they are still performing but out on the Boardwalk during the festival).
      • The Jr. Chef show that takes place in Paradise Park was well done with the kids participating and their parents really seeming to enjoy it. I was surprised to see it is offered only three times a day though.
    • Extra cost events including seminars, dinners, culinary demonstrations, celebrity chefs and more - I saw part of one seminar while looking around Stage 17 and it looked lightly attended. I noticed the events vary in price by day and type of event with many being available to book online through Disney the official park site for more info and pricing for the day(s) you plan to visit.
    • AP Corner & Merchandise - For Disneyland Annual Passholders there is a small area set up in Paradise Gardens. They were distributing booklets, buttons and left over recipe cards there. There was also a photo op with a PhotoPass photographer on hand. The stream of guests seemed fairly steady when I walked by. There are several AP only items available throughout the festival this year.
    • Merchandise - Several merchandise locations this year including carts, a booth and Stage 17.

  • While walking through Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta noticed the pizza has changed again. The cast member working the counter said it happened within the past few weeks. The new pizza has a much nicer looking crust. Cost has stayed the same.

  • Toy Story Midway Mania looks to be close starting to offer FastPass. The walls are down, new distribution machines, wait times sign, and poles for MaxPass are all installed. It will be interesting to see what happens to wait times once it starts. Right now most of the time it seems between 30-50 minutes.

  • Over at Disneyland Buzz Lightyear has had a couple changes to FastPass. For the past year or so it has not been linked to other attractions so you could hold a Buzz FastPass and another at the same time. That has changed. It now is treated like every other attraction. Also they changed the way they are distributed. The machines for Buzz have been turned around and a separate queue set up to separate them from the Star Tours ones (they are still using the same shared area). Due to these two queues for FastPass distribution stroller parking has been moved from the area.

  • In the mid afternoon at Disneyland Adventureland was changed to one way traffic heading toward the hub. So if you wanted to reach the Jungle Cruise or Indy you had to go through Frontierland and circle around. This was done in response to near gridlock in the area. Usually this does not happen until after dark but today cast members implemented the plan much earlier in the day. The rest room construction walls also are adding to the congestion as the walkway is a little more narrow than usual.

  • As the sun set and time for the Main Street Electrical Parade drew near Disneyland became very crowded as usual on a Friday night. As they have the past few weeks announcements started about 30 minutes before parade time saying all viewing areas were full. Saw something new this week. On Main Street Mickey, Minnie and Pluto were walking up/down the street high fouring (fiving) guests and waving. I thought this was a great plus. I had seen them in Town Square leaving a set and walking back do something similar but have not seen it on the long part of the street like this. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the experience and almost all guests were listening to the cast members and staying in their spots and letting the characters come by/to them.

  • Closed out my evening with Remember Dreams Come True. I had a really clear view about 3 minutes to show time then it quickly disappeared due to several kids on shoulders, one adult (well 20 something), a seven footer, and a couple of balloons. Every time I see this it makes me appreciate how Tokyo crowds behave. There the rule is nothing above your head.. no matter if you are standing or seated. This is very fair to all and makes for a much more pleasurable viewing experience.

  • Once back at the parking structure there was a healthy line as usual for the elevators stretching nearly back to security. It really seems as if they could use a third elevator for park closing. The escalators to the 5th & 6th floors was also backed up. I could not see a reason for it beyond just a lot of guests heading up there.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap – February 18-28, 2017

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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