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07/21/17 - 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.

07/21/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.

Hello everyone,

I had a thin agenda this trip to Disneyland. The plan was to visit with friends, enjoy the summer entertainment, and take some construction pictures. Crowds at Disneyland were on the mild side. Wait times were light and walkways were flowing most of the time. I ended up spending the entire afternoon and evening at Disneyland and never ventured over to Disney California Adventure.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • The new normal seems to be to have the Ball Road overpass closed for incoming traffic. I guess this is so they can moderate the garage, but I really do not like wasting the time waiting at the light. I always find it interesting how cars line up at the toll booths. Many times there is one longer line with a few shorter ones and sometimes one or two with no one. Today that was the case and I choose wisely to be in position to use one of the empty ones, so no delay in parking. Crews are working on the parking structure area nearest the escalators and stairwell in that corner. It appears the tile floor is being replaced. This is happening on all levels plus some other renovation work. So you are greeted by construction noise, fences, and crews.

  • This construction made it a little harder to get Star Wars construction pictures since that corner was off limits. I thought it was interesting I caught a glimpse of a passing train early in the afternoon. Once in the park I did not see one again until 5ish. All the progress this week seems incremental from last week. Nothing to eye catching jumped out as I surveyed the site. It appears they have started to enclose the Battle Escape building on the opposite corner from where our view is.

  • MaxPass rolled out this past week. This is a premium service that features digital PhotoPass downloads as well as digital FastPass access. It is included with Premier and Signature Plus passes. For all other passes you can purchase a single day for $10 or $75 add on to your annual pass. I have a Premier Pass so I took a look at it. Since my pass was already registered with the Disneyland App on my phone I did not have to do anything to activate the service. As soon as I scanned my pass at the front gate I was able get to the FastPass section in the official Disneyland App. It showed current stand by waits and FastPass availability for all FastPass attractions in each park. With just a few clicks you reserve a FastPass without the need to hike out to the machine. Then when it comes time to ride you use your ticket or the app at the scanner. The system seemed responsive and thanks to the light crowds there was a lot of availability with quite a few instant walk ons most of the day. I did not really have time in my schedule to play with it but spoke to some friends who we into double digits for the day with FastPasses. They thought it was worth the $10 they paid to save the steps and time. Also it allowed them to stack them more quickly to get more in since they did not have to factor in walking time.

  • The Rivers of America watercraft and the Disneyland Railroad return to service in a week, next Saturday is their first planned/official day of operation. During my trip the Columbia was making the rounds as were the canoes throughout the afternoon. More walls are down in Critter Country offering great views of the new river bank. All the scaffolding appears to be down and vegetation in place for the opening. The Disneyland Railroad had trains on the track as the sun set. It was great to see them steaming along the Rivers of America as well as overhead on the Big Thunder Trail. I am looking forward to being able to ride both again and see the new vistas. Also curious what else has changed along the route.

  • For dinner stopped by the Red Rose Taverne. There was no line and plenty of seating. Noticed the Red Rose sippers were back in stock in Fantasy Faire, do not remember seeing a sign in the Red Rose Taverne though.

  • Around 8:20pm I headed for New Orleans Square to find a spot for the 9pm Fantasmic. I was able to find a stand by spot near show center without a lot of people in my line of sight. As I walked around it seemed as if there was more standby and less FastPass areas now. Also noticed the FastPass tickets have an entrance location vs a color on them which makes it much easier for those guests to know where to go. It looked like the center section on the lower terrace was reserved for dining packages and then on either side of those two sections (one for Hungry Bear and one for Riverbelle/Blue Bayou) were FastPass sections spanning the river. Everything behind that appeared to be standby.

  • On a second viewing Fantasmic!, it still looked great. My original thoughts/observations from last Saturday seem about right. It is a solid offering and looks good. But the original was still better in my view. So if I were to rank the Fantasmic shows.. I would say the original Disneyland is at the top. Right below it is the new Disneyland. Right below that is the Tokyo DisneySea version. Coming in a distant (so far it cannot even see the first three) fourth is the Walt Disney World version.

  • As soon as the lights came on I headed for Main Street. Going through Adventureland was very smooth. It was easier than it had been in years to walk through there after the show. I made it to Main Street with time to spare. In the past I would be arriving as the fireworks were starting.

  • I think the new lane configuration on the overpass for exiting the Mickey and Friends Parking structure is a little awkward. This started a couple visits ago. They now merge the overpass into one lane, the left lane. So there are two lanes coming from Ball and then one from the overpass. The hard part is to enter the freeway you have to be in the right two lanes. To me it seems they should put both the cars come from Ball as well as those from the overpass in a single lane so two lanes only need to jockey for position with cars continuing on West and then everyone else trying to head north or south on the I-5.

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 20-27, 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.

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

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