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6/17/16 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday including first impressions of Soarin Around the World.
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6/17/16 - Thoughts and observations from a Friday including first impressions of Soarin Around the World.

Hello everyone,

Crowds at the park were moderate for summer. Wait times were long for only a couple of attractions. At Disney California Adventure wait times seemed extended due to the Racers being down for over 90 minutes in the early afternoon then one of the Soarin' theaters going down for over an hour too. The affected my day since my first objective was to experience Soarin' so it means an over two hour experience for me, which really pushed my patience but I wanted to see the film and later in the day my plan was to watch the College Band so I spent the heat of the day in line.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Star Wars Construction demolition work appears to be wrapping up and they have started to build. It would be nice for Disney to release some updated artwork or a preview center to help put the pieces together a bit. Also the trend continues of loosing the views of the work. This week the primary hole in the fence at the Big Thunder Trail was obstructed. Seems odd they put a secondary fence up vs just filling the hole or something on the fence itself to cover the holes, so maybe something just got moved in the way. The other big news this week is the Skyway building is now gone, only a couple small piles of ruble remained.

  • Soarin Around the World premiered at Disneyland & Epcot on Friday (and a day earlier in Shanghai).

    • The new film takes you to 13 sights around the globe this time vs inside California. You visit the Matterhorn (in Switzerland), Greenland, Sydney, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Kilimanjaro in Africa, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids in Egypt, Taj Mahal in India, Monument Valley in Utah, Fiji, Iguazu Falls in South America, Eiffel Tower in Paris then end up at Disneyland (for Epcot & Shanghai you end up at that respective park/city).

    • I noticed no changes to the queue and exterior except for a swapping out of the hanging sing that said Over California to Around the World. Everything else looks the same and the background music is unchanged. In the final boarding area the video that plays before the safety spiel has been modified to be a map of the world and shows where you will be flying. The safety video was the same as WDW has, meaning no Over California mentioned, but everything else the same as it always has been.

    • The length of the attraction is about the same.

    • The music is similar to the original but the styles change for the new destinations. I did not find it as strong as the original or having the "grand" moments.

    • There are new smells in this version, in Africa you can smell the grass, in India the flowers and in Fiji the ocean.

    • My first impressions - The clarity of the new film is impressive and the scenic locations are amazing. I felt they went to the computer graphics well too many times and they were not needed. You do not need to add graphics to every scene and in many cases they seemed to dominate and distract from the amazing sights. The locations themselves are visually stunning and in almost all cases did not need the "enhancements". I found the transitions to be annoying.. the CG elements flying in your facce, abrupt motion and sound verses a peaceful transition bothered me. I would have liked to have seen them show a little more restraint and pick/choose where to use the effects more.

    • I thought it was an entertaining version of the attraction but I would really like to see them switch back to California at some point at Disney California Adventure. Ideally having two different destinations would be great but I think California fits better into the park here. Around the World works for Epcot. I am not sure on the Shanghai version since I have not been there... some day... it will be interesting to see what happens with Tokyo in the coming years.

    • One of the two Soarin' theaters went down while I was in line which doubled the wait time and caused a very large backup at the FastPass return. The ratio of FastPass Guests to standby Guests was about 8 to 1 which translated into less than 10 per cycle from the standby line getting in to each show so the line moved only a few feet every 7-10 minutes. This made for a very slow and long wait. Add to it the fact that as soon as I entered the building my cell reception went away. So I just starred at the pictures in the queue and talked to those around me.

    • Also note right now the single rider line has been discontinued. The cast members I talked to said they thought it would come back at some point but others are saying it is not slated to, so time will tell.

  • Summer at Disneyland really starts for me with the return of the All-American College Band. Friday was the second day in the park for the band, great as always to see them perform. It is always interesting to watch as the group finds their comfort zone and really enjoys their time. Friday being the second day they were still working on figuring it out. I caught all their Disneyland sets, I missed the DCA one due to the Soarin delays. They added two new medleys this year, Jungle Book and Star Wars. Watching their sets are a challenge, especially the last one on the parade route with the final stop right in front of the dining package reserved area.

  • A schedule note - Frozen - Live at the Hyperion is now up to 4 shows a day. I hear the goal is 5 eventually. FastPasses were still gone really early in the day.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap – May 31 - June 4, 2016

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.

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