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7/08/05 - Some thoughts and observations from Fridays visit to 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.

7/08/05 - Some thoughts and observations from Fridays visit to the Disneyland Resort.

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

Hello all,

Wow, hard to believe over a month has past since our last Disneyland trip. The park is full of live and looking better than ever. The summer crowds have arrived and even DCA felt like it had a healthy crowd. The final countdown to the 50th has begun with just a week left. The final two attractions for this year's slate are in the soft opening stage (Turtle Talk and Space Mountain). Overall the parks felt mildly crowded for the afternoon with the crowd peaking at Disneyland for the fireworks... it felt more jammed than the holidays on Main Street when everyone crowds in for the Snow effect. The CMs seem to have the crowd control managed as well as can be expected. Moving around the hub and Main Street areas within 45 minutes of the start of the show is slow, but you can do it.


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

Disneyland (and a DCA note too):

  • The first pleasant surprise of the day was that the entertainment schedule now has a much more complete list of the live music and street shows, including the College Band even. It was great to see after "complaining" for years that they do not advertise these shows enough.

  • The 2005 All American College Band sounded great, just as year's past. This year they have added a set at Club Buzz, which was a good venue for a change of pace. The show times and locations were: 2:30 Plaza Gardens, 4:00 in front of the castle, 5:00 at Club Buzz, 6:00 Flag Retreat, 6:40 Pre-parade on Main Street. - Also noted was the College Band Reunion which takes place today(Sunday) at 4pm.

  • The Virtual Magic Kingdom(VMK) in park quests have arrived and are quite entertaining. I was a bit surprised. I do not know what I was expected but the three quests currently available were interesting and we really enjoyed them. The way this program works is you visit the VMK Kiosk in Tomorrowland, right out front of Innoventions and you pick up the quests you want to do. They are all free. The three current ones are Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland/Critter Country. Each quest consists of 6 questions, two for each level 1-3. They range in difficulty and all have something to do with the park. For example... When explorers leave their tent to roam, which Jungle Cruise animals make themselves at home? (Hyenas or Gorillas)... to something a bit more tricky like Most folks say this was the year the Firewoks Company came to the Frontier (1812 or 1845). All the answers are in the park, if you want around and spent some time looking. Once you complete your quest booklet (you scratch off what you believe are the answers) you take your booklet back to the VMK kiosk and they check your answers for you and you gain virtual, and real prizes based on the number correct. If you complete all three quests you get a FREE VMK tour, which we did and will try to get on next trip to tell you more about. From what I have read it is a couple hours long and you visit a handful of attractions and the CM guide talks about how the park influenced the VMK game.

  • The other two big new things going on at the parks Friday were the soft openings of Space Mountain and Turtle Talk with Crush. I managed to catch a showing of Turtle Talk and thought the show was entertaining. For those who have seen the show at the Living Seas @ EPCOT its virtually identical. For those who have not seen the show or know about it. You are invited into a theater and have the opportunity to interact with Crush from Finding Nemo. He appears and asks you questions and you are able to ask him some too.

    The main difference between the EPCOT and DCA versions of the show seems to be scale. At DCA the screen and theater seemed larger to me. Which means it can accommodate more guests with each show. It is housed in the old screening room theater within the animation building. As you saw in the couple pictures I snapped before being asked to stop, they removed several rows of seats in the front so children can sit on the floor, then there was a center aisle created so the CM host can roam the theater to take the microphone to guests to talk with Crush.

  • The other soft opening going on Friday was Space Mountain. The line seemed to hover around 1 hour most of the day, except for the one time we saw it was closed down. There were no fastpasses available, only standby from what we could tell. We did not make it on (the time we allocated to visit happened to be when it was down unfortunately). We did peak in through the exit and really could not see much.. we did see the new ride vehicles on the picture preview screens and they look impressive. Next trip we will hopefully get through the queue and get some pictures.

  • Went for a spin on Buzz Lightyear. This was my first time on now that the online players are active. It was great to see targets lighting up throughout the ride. I think they need to explain more about the targets to guests. I am sure many people do not know what the lighted targets mean or even the different shapes.

  • I broke down and purchased the commemorative ticket for the 50th to add to my collection (I have several others including the 40th, the MSEP, EuroDisney opening, etc..) This ticket is by far the largest one so far. The art portion of it is probably close to 12x12. The ticket retails for $105 for annual passholders and is available as a presale until next week for us. I am not sure the price after that for all. This did not seem like too much of a mark-up. If you think about it a 1-day park hopper is now $76 (which this ticket is a 1-day parkhopper). Add in the "envelope" , the artwork, and the added bonus that it plays the dedication speech read by Walt Disney from opening day and it seemed reasonable. plus they brought out number 2020 for me and that seemed cool.. One interesting tidbit, they make you sign a form saying your ticket is in working order and ok. Guess they have been having problems. Mine was fine, but once I got it home I noticed that the button to start the speech wasn't working right (instead of pressing where it says I found if you use a paper clip to connect the terminals it works better and easier, plus saves the wear on the ticket).

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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