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4/24/15 - 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.

4/24/15 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort

Hello everyone,

It had been nearly a month since my last visit to the Disneyland Resort. I had a good "excuse" though.. I was in Asia for two weeks visiting Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort, both of which were great! Here is my Asia Trip Summary if you are interested. While I was going the Disneyland Resort continued its aggressive renovation schedule ahead of the kickoff for the 60th Anniversary and summer season on May 22nd. Around both parks, the hotels, and Downtown Disney projects are wrapping up and underway. On Friday the parks felt on the busy side with a fair number of guests venturing out given the dreary weather. It was the first unblocked Friday for many Annual Passes and I am assuming they made up a majority of the crowd. Wait times were not too bad but were higher than you would expect for a Friday in late April, especially early in the day. The weather seemed on the verge of rain most of the afternoon. When I arrived the ground was wet so I carried an umbrella and rain jacket around all day. Guess it was better to carry it and not need it than not have it.

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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Parking was a bit odd today. I arrived at the structure and Ball Road by pass was open and there were maybe a handful of cars at each toll booth. The problem was they were backed up and not able to go through the booths. The line of cars merging into a single lane then flowing up the ramp to the garage was inching along. My best guess is they were parking on the last row of the 4th floor and that had it backed up. They opened up the 3rd floor a couple dozen cars ahead of me which made things flow better. Noticed behind me they were directing more cars up to fill in spots.

  • I choose to stop by the Ticket Booths and renew my Annual Pass since the expiration date is coming up soon, the lines were short, and I cannot do mine online. The Premiere Passes still require a cast member to renew them and the process takes some time. The cast member was commenting how it was his 4th or 5th Premiere pass in two days which was heavier than normal.

  • First park today, Disneyland. Always nice to be back "home". Not sure what it is but Disneyland has that extra something when you step through the gates. I have now been to 9 Disney Parks and there is something to be said about Walt's park. Other parks capture elements of it and they each have their strengths and weaknesses but for me the original Magic Kingdom is a unique experience.

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle continues to receive its overlay for the 60th Anniversary. There are diamonds and blue strewn about. I think most of the props are now in place, with the exception of the finishing touches. I am not a huge fan of the castle make overs and I think they tend to be overdone and exaggerated, I am more a traditionalist/minimalist. I am curious though to see this one lit up at night.

  • A sneak peek of the upcoming Tomorrowland film has moved into the Tomorrowland theater and an exhibit into the back of the Starcade. I enjoy seeing these type of previews and exhibits at the park. I think it makes for something new/different to see. I do miss Captain EO but I find myself making a point to visit these where as Captain EO I stopped by less frequently over the years. Here is the press release about the sneak peek and exhibit

  • As you wait to enter the theater there are several walls of concept art and stills from the film. It shows some of the design studies and how the Worlds Fair was interpreted for movie. It is interesting because the Worlds Fair told from the point of view of someones memory. So it is a combination of the way things were plus some tweaks because of a persons memory. In the exhibit they show several examples of original reference photos from the fair and how they represented in the final film.

  • The sneak peek itself is about 12 minutes long. Most of it takes place at the Worlds Fair. Then there are some clips/trailer sequences to close out the preview. I thought it was really interesting especially given the fact that most of the Small World scene was shot at Disneyland thought it was an appropriate clip to show in the park :)

  • The exhibit at the Starcade was a little bit of a challenge to get to. You can only enter through the back door, nearest Space Mountain. Same door as the Big Hero 6 Meet and Greet. I am not sure why they made it such a challenge to get from the theater exit to the exhibit. From Space Mountain it is easy. The exhibit itself features props, concept art and pictures from the film. It is a fairly standard set of displays. I always enjoy these types of exhibits so I liked this one. This type of exhibit dates back to the parks opening with Walt having various films on display in the park.. for example 20,000 Leagues under the Sea had a home in Tomorrowland from the parks opening in 1955 through 1966.

  • From the Monorail you can get a good glimpse of the Grizzly Peak Airfield which opens in a little over two weeks. The transformation from Condor Flats is nearing completion and looks great with all the trees and not just a vasts expanse of pavement. I will miss some of the original airfield, like the rocket engine, but I think the story of the new one and added shade/place making will be pluses. Curious to see how the queue changes and I am assuming there will be new queue music (I really enjoyed the old queue music though!).

  • The Springtime Roundup continues at the Big Thunder Ranch. It has been downsized slightly with less dancers and it at least on Friday less characters. Also the egg artists are now gone. By less characters I mean Mickey and Minnie were alternating vs appearing together. There was only one or two rabbits out at a time. The Bunny Hop is still being performed but initially only one rabbit in it. Then Pluto came out and Minnie joined in too. Good to see the area still in use and there were a fair number of guests. Still a great location if you want to take pictures with the characters with minimal waits.

  • As you saw in the pictorial update Critter Country has reopened and for the most part it looks the same as it did before. The Hungry Bear and Briar Patch have a lot of new wood/paint and look great, but I did not see any other real changes to the area. I did not visit either attraction but from what I read it was a straight refurbishment in Splash Mountain and everything looked good again. I do not think they made any changes to Pooh either, and with a 20 minute wait I did not stick around to find out.

  • Nothing to report really from Disney California Adventure. I spent minimal time in the park because of this.. I did a quick walk through and nothing really jumped out at me. The walls around the Mad T Party work make for a tight squeeze to get to Monsters, the Snow Fest, and the sing along and if you are unlucky like me and the sing along lets out as you are in the area it becomes very crowded very quickly.

  • Downtown Disney was fairly crowded as usual on a Friday night. Walking through I thought it was interesting the carts returned to the bridge but are out in the middle now. This makes sense except for the cables you have to cross over in the main walkway. I am assuming if the location test goes well power will be routed some other way?

  • The 80z All Stars were performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace and had one of the larger crowds I have seen for them. The dance floor was nearly full with a fair number of guests all around too. Wonder if having not night time band/entertainment at DCA contributed to this larger than normal crowd?

  • I walked through the Rivers of America area about 45 minutes before Fantasmic as they were starting to escort guests in who had FastPasses for the evening. The process seemed orderly but to me seems like a cattle call and you do not have a lot of flexibility in your viewing location. I always thought it was great with Fantasmic that you could try different viewing areas. I know for a one time tourist this does not matter and being directed to a space is ideal. But they were still there an hour before the show in many cases so not sure it saved them a lot of time. The dining entry line stretched all the way to the Hungry Bear and they did not move most of those guests in until 15 minutes before the show. Because of the poor standby options I skipped the show this evening.

  • 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.

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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