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5/26/07 - My thoughts and observations from Saturdays trip to the Disneyland Resort and on the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyers Island
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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.

5/26/07 - My thoughts and observations from Saturdays trip to the Disneyland Resort and on the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyers Island

* After you read this report you may want to check out the pictorial updates in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Hello all,

Saturday I paid a rare weekend visit to the Disneyland Resort (and even rarer for a holiday weekend). I arrived just as the park opened and it felt like a normal morning. The crowd continued to build all day as expected and when I left, just after lunch time, both parks felt fairly crowded but still manage-able. As you saw in the pictorial update the lines were about average for a summer day I'd say. The main reason for this trip was to see the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island and to see what was going on with the subs.


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

Disneyland & DCA Thoughts and Observations:

  • All the walls are down at the Sub Lagoon and the people working on the dock appeared to doing touch up work on the subs. Nothing else was going on around the lagoon. Later in the morning they were cycling three subs through the attraction again, but the waterfalls were off this week. It was great to be able to get a good overview of the area from the Monorail platform. The queue area appears to be about the same as before (it almost appeared as if the switchbacks were wider than before but its been years so maybe its just my bad memory). The one thing that seems to be certain is that this could be a long hot summer in line for those of us wanting to get on the subs.

  • The main reason for my visit to the park Saturday was to experience the new Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. First I'd like to say that is way too long of a name, but I guess that is the new trend... My overall impression of the additions/overlay is that it brought some life back to the Island and there were some great new interactive elements added. I thought it was a great touch to bring the maps of the Island back (there used to be maps back in the 50s and 60s, way before my time but that is what I have heard). These new maps have descriptions of all the areas of the Island There are eight areas identified:
    • The Landing - This is where the rafts drop you off/pick you up. There area is about the same as before, there are some new props around but that is all that has noticeably changed.
    • Lafitte's Tavern/Pirate Point - This is the Fantasmic stage area. There are new props installed here and there is a Pirate show here several times per day (I believe the CM said 5 times daily right now).
    • W.Turner Blacksmith - This is the old mill along the Rivers edge. Inside there are some blacksmith items now
    • Dead Man's Grotto - This used to be Injun Joe's Cave and inside there are now several show scenes. Ranging from Davy Jones Heart, to disappearing treasure. I thought the changes here were great and really brought the cave back to life.
    • Smuggler's Cove - This is the area that contains the old bridges (both of which are open, the suspension and pontoon) as well as two interactive sets. One you can hoist a treasure out the ship wreck and the second you can use a bilge pump to reveal a treasure. There is also a photo opportunity in a bone cage as seen in the second film.
    • Castle Rock - This area for the most part is the same as before
    • Pirate's Den - Shipwreck - A new ship wreck has been added just North of the Castle Rock area and South of the Fort. Here there are a couple rooms to walk through, but not much else. I thought it was a nice addition, but with that large of a set piece I was expecting more, not sure what, but something more.
    • The Captain's Treasure. - This is a photo location on the far North side of the guest accessible area of the island. Throughout the day Captain Jack Sparrow can be found here.

  • The map that was handed out (as well as the construction walls around it) seem to confirm the rumors that Fort Wilderness will be gone soon. I think this is sad, I always enjoyed visiting the fort and have missed it (as well as its guns) for years now. On the new maps it lists that area as well as the rest of the Northern tip of the Island as the uncharted lands. So if you want to see the fort one last time you better go ASAP, one site was reporting demo work begins this week.

  • The new Disneyland guide maps feature a young kid dressed as a Pirate with the tag line at the bottom being Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. Inside the map is the same except for the listing of the Island with the new name and a pirate flag has been added to the castle rock formation. The rest of the image looks the same (also to note there is no sign of the subs yet but an ad saying they are coming the 11th in the Tomorrowland text area). Also the smoking area is removed near the Matterhorn. On the entertainment times guide they list the Island now but just give its operating hours for the day, no show schedule for the Pirates show or the Bootstrappers (who perform throughout the day on front of the Island).

  • Speaking of the Pirates show, I was unable to find a name for this new show. I caught the first performance of the day (Saturday the show times were 10:25, 11:25, 12:25, 3:25, 4:25 according to the CM I spoke with, but none were posted anywhere and there were approximate). The show is fairly entertaining and somewhat hard to describe. Its part stunt show and part character show. It runs about 20 minutes (excluding the Bootstrappers set before the show which leads right into the show). I thought the dialog was fairly entertaining and the show itself ok. The lines that Jack Sparrow had were great and right in character. My only complaint about the show is its an awkward area for viewing and rather small. Many people lined the river band in NOS to watch but you can barely hear from there due to the distance and the background music. It would be nice to have the background music off during the show and maybe boost the show volume (I think piping the show along the river would be awkward but may be interesting).

  • Throughout the early morning there was a raft ferrying Cast Members from near the Hungry Bear out to the Island so they can take a look around. Since it just opened Friday and there was no soft opening I thought this was a nice perk, wonder how many were able to take advantage of it.

  • I do not have anything interesting to report from DCA except that since last Friday when I was there the self-service kiosks have been removed from the Taste Pilot Grill. I spoke with a couple CMs and they seemed disappointed that the machines were gone and said the reason they were told was the software was not compatible with the new registers/point of sale software that is being rolled out around the resort. They did not know if the machines would be back or not. One interesting note. I ordered the same thing (a plain hamburger and fries) and this week it cost me less. The reason being on the kiosk I had to order the cheese burger with no cheese but the CM could select a hamburger which was cheaper. So what you loose in efficiency at least it saved me a quarter or so.

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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