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5/13/16 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday the 13th @ 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.

5/13/16 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday the 13th @ Disneyland Resort

Hello everyone,

After spending a week on vacation at Walt Disney World it was nice to be back "home" at the Disneyland Resort this weekend. I found it amusing that my 13th visit of the year to Disneyland fell on Friday the 13th. The parks had moderate crowds following a fairly normal pattern of it being busy throughout the afternoon and evening with the heaviest crowds as the sun set. Wait times were a little skewed as they tend to be this time of year with Grad Nite and the influx of teenagers gravitating to some of the thrill rides. For example Tower of Terror was over an hour throughout the afternoon.

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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Friday also marked the first time I used my new pass. I downgraded to a Disneyland signature pass this year due to not knowing how many WDW trips I would do and the cost increases. In the end the process turned out to be smooth and quick. But the communication on through the ordering process was not good. A quick recap if you had not seen my blog post on it - I renewed online since my pass expired before I could get to the park. When I did this they said it would be almost 2 weeks before it shipped and there was no will call option. I emailed right away, that was Sunday. Wednesday I still had not heard so I called. The cast member said they no longer mail passes and to just go to the box office and they will issue my new pass to me. Great, that is what I wanted. Then Thursday in the mail my new pass showed up. Thursday evening I got a reply to my email from Sunday saying they no longer mail passes and to go to the ticket window. I found it funny how the communication team was not on the proper page. Seems they still are a little confused with Premier passes and the processes involved.

  • I was pleasantly surprised to pull into the Mickey and Friends structure Friday and only see a car or two in each lane. So no delays going through the toll plaza. But then things ground to a halt on the ramp up to the garage. They were parking the last row and it took forever to merge everyone into one lane and get us parked. Seems they could do a better job of distributing cars to minimize this wait.

  • As I mentioned Grad Nite season is underway which means the Pinocchio parking lot is closed off for buses. Also large groups of teenagers roaming the park and enjoying themselves. Most are just having a good time but some can be rude/annoying. Friday the groups were much calmer than last year so maybe this year will be better or I just had good luck Friday. It also means more crowds than usual. The grads are mixed in with the regular guests all day and their party starts at 9pm at DCA when the park closes. So note DCA closes early which means a big migration of guests to Disneyland right about the time Paint the Night is coming down Main Street.

  • Star Wars construction is in full swing. It appears the last of the backstage buildings have been removed and the fence line has stretch out to show the full perimeter of the project. It stretches from the Winnie the Pooh show building around to Toontown and into the park to Fantasyland, Big Thunder and the Hungry Bear. Earth movers have relocated much of the original berm and river terrain to a large pile of dirt on the former Circle D site. The new river path appears to be taking shape. Backstage removal of the concrete that was under the support buildings and other preparation work continues. The old Skyway building is now clearly visible and according to a permit filed last week will be demolished in the near future unfortunately. So another piece of Disneyland history will be gone. Interesting to note the permit lists the building as being 5,132 sq.ft..

  • Noticed all the security at bag check is now done by Security Cast Members. This includes the bag check and the secondary screening. The process was moving efficiently on Friday the couple times I passed through. Interesting to note at the Grand Californian they were sending just about everyone through the secondary screening, there was no delay at all. It would be nice to see them move toward more permanent facilities that looked better and were more streamlined for crowd control and possibly even more lines for peak times.

  • The Jungle Cruise returned to operation during my Florida trip so this was my first chance to experience the attraction. The posted wait was 20 minutes but luckily it took only about 10 for me. The big change is the docks have been modified and the boats to provide for more stability while loading/unloading. This resulted in the elimination of the need to tie off the boats as well as the removal of the nets around the boat. The process did seem quicker and the boats were being sent off without problems. During the closure they did general renovation work. The only real noticeable change is the audio has been updated throughout. There are new speakers on the boats and the ones throughout the jungle have been repaired/replaced. You can now hear effects again that you have not in quite a while. No other substantial changes jumped out on my first cruise through the jungle.

  • The Autopia also returned while I was gone. It has received a new paint scheme in the queue area and some cars have been repainted and sport Honda logos. Overall the new color schedule looks cleaner and fresh. Nothing has changed on the track, except for some updated signage. I thought they missed an opportunity here to update the fleet to electric or hybrid cars to get rid of the noise and fumes. Also I found it odd how only about half the cars were repainted. The queue has a new large video screen and several smaller ones and they play Disneyland TV show clips. No drivers licenses were being passed out when I visited. I stopped by again after dark and the new lighting looks great.

  • The Autopia FastPass area is going to permanently be used for the Jedi Training. The signs for FastPass are gone and internet reporting is the machines will be removed soon. Also reports are Matterhorn and Pirates will be gaining FastPass in the near future. This will be a first for Matterhorn so it will be interesting what effect it has. Pirates had FastPass originally and I though it made for a longer standby wait and more congestion in the area with longer queues. Wonder how they will shift the mix this time around.

  • Dinner this evening was at White Water Snacks. They have switched to the same buns as the park locations had and they are slightly better since they were toasted but still not as good as the old ones nor those at Walt Disney World.

  • While in Disney California Adventure I noticed they changed out some merchandise at a couple of locations. The Studio Store is now Alice, Dory and some random merchandise. Gone Hollywood is Star Wars and Marvel. The center section of Elias & Company, guess it is the kids clothes store is now mostly Finding Dory with Frozen in one section then an assortment of other characters in the last section. I walked through several stores and I did not see any Zootopia merchandise out. It seems with the success of the film they underestimated the merchandise potentially.

  • The Muppet Theater that was then used for Frozen is now called the Sunset Showcase Theater and it features a sneak peek of Alice Through the Glass. There are some props from the Mad T Party out front, a new sign, and photo booths in the preshow area. Everything else still looks like it did for Frozen. The preview itself runs just over 10 minutes and features an introduction to the movie. It uses some of the theater effects (wind and water) so be warned.

  • In the Animation Building Turtle Talk with Crush! now includes appearances by some of the cast from Finding Dory. There are a couple of interactions per show and they do change. The show I went to included Hank and Destiny. The parts with the Finding Dory characters are pre-scripted and not open for guest interaction like the rest of the show. They were a nice touch to bring the characters in. I would have liked to have seen a large presence and maybe some interaction.

  • Soarin will be changing to a new Soarin Around the World film on June 17th. It had been a while since my last flight so I decided to grab a FastPass and go for one. I tend not to fly that frequently because of the time commitment. Friday I had FastPass, only a group or two in front of me in the line and it still took about 25 minutes to get through which is actually fairly quick. I have seen some of the internet footage of the new film and while the destinations look interesting I am not a fan of the film coming to DCA. I do not see how Soarin to other parts of the globe fits into the California Airfield theme. I think the new film is a natural fit for Epcot. I am hoping at some point DCA reverts back to California or at least offers guests a chance to choose their destination.

  • The Space Mountain exit restrooms are closed for renovation and expansion. According to the permit Disney filed it will be a 1,660 sq.ft expansion.

  • I closed out my evening on Main Street USA watching Paint the Night, where I ended up with a great unobstructed view. My luck was not so good for Disneyland Forever. I thought I was in a good spot then as soon as the lights went down a handful of kids went up on shoulders in my line of sight. I really wish guests here followed the same etiquette as Tokyo and nothing goes above your head. That would make for a much more pleasurable viewing experience for all. I have noticed a decline in iPads recently.. not sure if it is a trend or just luck on my part. But kids and balloons are still plentiful and hard to see around. Especially if you are shorter.. many guests around me were quite upset they could not see anything looking forward. Luckily I am tall enough my view was only partially obstructed and I could shift around and see most of the show.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap – April 24-May 8, 2016

Disney Related Press Releases

  • Note: I post movie, home video & Disney Interactive releases to the Geek's Blog

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

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