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06/23/17 - 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.

06/23/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.

Hello everyone,

The plan Friday was a relaxing visit to the parks and to try out a new cell phone. It turned out to be a very busy day due to some testing Disney was conducting and some unplanned choices by me. The park crowds felt mild to moderate. I would say average for this time of year. The weather was mild topping out at just over 80 and dropping to the low 70s when I left.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • As I exited the I-5 south I learned the Ball Road Overpass was closed so I had to sit through the light. Luckily it was only one cycle. They seem to be closing that fly over very early now a days. It used to be open until early afternoon. The structure was open and no waits at the toll booths. I was directed onto the 4th floor near the back of the garage. Looking around as I rode the escalator the structure looked to have cars on all floors.

  • Nothing too interesting to report from the Star Wars construction site. Steel continues to be raised into place and building seem to just keep growing larger. It is getting hard to see details as the buildings are blocking most of the view. In the next few months once they get the exterior walls up the photo updates are going to shrink I think since we will only be able to see a small portion of the work. It has been great over the past 18 months to be able to have a front row seat to watch the transformation of the area.

  • In Hollywood Land I crossed paths with Black Widow on patrol. I found it interesting how few guests seemed to be paying attention to her as she rolled by. There were a handful but not many. There was a line waiting to greet her but the patrol itself did not garner more than a glance from most.

  • Stopped by to see the Summer of Heroes Showcase and I was disappointed. It was a short, around 6-7 minute, clip package featuring most of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is shown in 2D. They do utilize the side screens at several points to add a little to it. The waiting area features 4 costumes/props from the Avengers. I was expecting something more. Not sure what but more than this.

  • I struck out again this trip in seeing Cruz Ramirez in Cars Land. I walked through four times over the course of the evening and waited around two of them to see a transition of cars at the Cozy Cone and no sign of her. So I must have really bad timing. I did find it interesting that there were no cars at the Cozy Cone during my two evening passes.

  • With Marvel taking over Hollywood Land the Incredibles have moved out to Paradise Pier and meet between Paradise Park and the Little Mermaid. This seems like an odd spot for them. They do not really fit into the theme of the area at all.

  • The transition to MaxPass continues. The scanners at attraction entrances came online this week and have brought a change in process. The scanners actually scan your park admission ticket and not the FastPass. the FastPass is a time reminder only. Also new the system currently has no time minimums set on return windows. So it is 100% off demand. On slower days like Friday this means you can find attractions with return windows faster than the Standby wait. For example I was able to pick up a FastPass for Buzz, good for 3 minutes after I got it. The standby wait was 20 min. I was then able to pick up a Star Tours one after that 3 minutes that was good right away too and there was a 35 min wait posted there. So with no wait at all I could experience both attractions. I read online this quirk is going to be changed and there will be a minimum wait time before a window starts. There were plenty of signs and cast members letting guests know they needed to use their park tickets. Return lines varied with some guests having issues and slowing the line, while others moved very quickly. The scanners seemed to be working smoothly for the most part the handful of times I looked.

  • The All-American College Band enters week two. They have tweaked their sets slightly. A couple more songs added to the Castle set and the location for the DCA set moved to the side of the parade route and a song swapped out. Friday they had a guest with them, Ron Carter. Seeing the band evolve as the members get more comfortable with the music, routines and each other is always fun. There are huge differences in the openings weeks.

  • Only one raft in service again for Tom Sawyer Island today. When I visited they were full both ways with some guests being left behind eat trip.

  • The Rivers of America northern shore continues to race toward opening. There were a lot of plants out and waiting to be put into the ground on Friday. I found it interesting they were planting with so much scaffolding still up. I guess there is enough distance/clearance in the area. Or the time lines are just so tight that they need to do it now. More wild life continues to arrive around the river with deer and beavers in sight this week, plus the dog on the log was uncovered. The new path along the water near the Hungry Bear has been extended another segment and the walls on the upper level of the Hungry Bear are being removed. It will be great to have full views of the river again. The far patio area is going to be a popular spot to watch the trains on their route potentially.

  • I decided to grab dinner at the Hungry Bear since I was there and there was no line. The fries were fresh and extremely hot. The burger had been waiting for them for a while and saying it was luke warm was generous. Plus it just did not taste good either. They were gathering your email as you left for a survey and I took mine on Saturday. It was about selection, quality, value, and experience. Most of which was poor this visit for me.

  • Near the entrances for the Rivers of America boats and the Disneyland Railroad are new signs talking about their return with some teasers as well as the date. Great to see this and they help to build excitement for the return of the classic attractions.

  • Speaking of returning to service two monorails (blue and orange) were in service on Friday. The beam way was reopened this past week. I went for a round trip and noticed nothing new. Seems the renovation work mainly consisted of the refurbishment of the Grand Californian that was blocking the beam. Maybe the trains had some work done but nothing jumped out.

  • The big news of the day was the Disneyland Railroad began day time testing. The C.K. Holliday and Ward Kimball were both seen making the rounds as the sun was setting. They started after the construction crews wrapped up for the day. It was great to see the train pull into Main Street and New Orleans Square stations again. I spend some time on the Big Thunder Trail watching the trains pass by. The energy they bring to the area is great. The views are obstructed both by the temporary construction fences as well as the layout. The view from the train of Big Thunder promises to be great. There was a sense of excitement about the return. The cast members on board were waving and have a great time while guests below were yelling and waving back. Other cast members on the trail were out to see them pass by too.

  • In Hollywood Land from 8pm to park closing each evening is a Backlot Dance Party now. It features a DJ on the Backlot stage. I walked by around and took a quick look at the area. There were more guests enjoying themselves than some of the previous dance parties but it did not have the energy that the Mad T Party or even Glow Fest had. It was fairly disappointing and seems like a missed opportunity.

  • Scot Bruce, Elvis, was at the Tomorrowland Terrace and I managed to catch a set. He puts on an entertaining show and the dance floor was alive with activity.

  • I watched Remember Dreams Come True from the Rivers of America again. I wanted to get some still pictures this week since I took video last week. The show as just as entertaining the second time around. It brings a new dimension to the now 12 year old show. I had a question from someone about the projections. They overlap with some common elements to what you will see on Sleeping Beauty Castle as well as Small World but they are arranged differently and a couple sequences seemed unique, I have not compared sequence by sequence though.

  • My luck exiting was not as good this week, or I made the wrong choice. I got stuck in a crowd and had to wait for a two trams to load and depart before making it onto the third one. so there was a substantial delay in exiting. It would be nice for exiting if they would open the shorter walkway back to the parking structure or come up with a more pedestrian friendly route than having to go through a busy Downtown Disney then through the parking lots and circle back to get to the escalators. I know a number of parents that do not like to deal with their strollers and the trams, especially when they are busy but the longer walk makes it a tougher decision for them where as before it was a no brainer to just walk back.

  • On an operational note, I retired my Galaxy S4 Cell phone this past week. I have had that phone since July 2013. That phone had been to 11 Disney theme parks around the world and taken tens of thousands of photos while spending hundreds of hours in the parks. So please bear with me as I learn to use the new one. I moved to a current Galaxy S8 now.

Disneyland released the return dates for the Rivers of America, Railroad and Fantasmic:

  • Big Thunder Trail - Opened Thursday 6/8
  • Tom Sawyer Island - Opened Friday 6/16
  • Fantasmic Monday 7/17
  • Disneyland Railroad - Saturday 7/29
  • Rivers of America - Mark Twain, Sailing Ship Columbia and Canoes - Saturday 7/29

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap – June 7-19, 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.

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