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09/01/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.
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09/01/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.
I decided to deal with the heat and head to the Disneyland Resort to kick off my Labor Day weekend. My car claimed it was 100 degrees in the Mickey and Friends Parking structure when I stopped in my parking spot. Temperatures remained high all day with it still reading around 90 when I left for the evening. Due to the current heat wave and the end of summer the crowds in the parks were on the mild side, it felt like an off season day almost, definitely not a holiday & race weekend to close out summer. Wait times were well under an hour for almost everything the couple of times I looked. There were a couple of exceptions, Guardians seemed to bounce around also Splash Mountain was long as usual.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • After my bad parking experience last trip I was curious how this trip would go. It turned out to be a breeze. The overpass was open, no lines at the toll booth and I was directed into a spot quickly on the 4th level. The parking structure had at least two open floors (5 & 6) that I saw. It would be great if that was always the parking experience.

  • It has been three weeks since my last visit. Due to a trip to Washington D.C. I was gone for a week. So first stop for me was to check out the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction. There was incremental progress visible but no drastic changes. It is going to be this way I think because of our limited sight lines from the parking structure and the large show buildings being closed up in the near future. There was some more steel for the rock facades visible and the show building exterior walls are starting to go up.

  • Downtown Disney changed its parking policy since my last visit. There were plenty of signs and warnings as you approached the entrance. They have done away with the free parking. Now to get free parking you have to get your ticket validated. These new rules made it more challenging for those wanting to stop by the Expo to pick up a registration packet and not pay. Due to the new policy the parking lot was not full when I walked through, unlike past Race Weekends when you see cars circling.

  • This weekend the Disneyland Resort hosted the annual 1/2 Marathon. The theme was Pixar this year with races and graphics geared to various Pixar films. I decided to walk through the Expo to see if there was anything noteworthy. Overall it was the same as usual. The crowd seemed a little lighter than the last couple of Expos. Not sure if it was the heat, the new parking rules, or just good timing for me. For example there was no line to enter the store, where as last Expo when I stopped by it was at least a 15-20 min wait.

  • I strolled through Downtown Disney to reach the parks since the Monorail was closed (assuming due to heat). No indications of the upcoming closures yet. In the next several weeks 5 stores will be closing. Three to become a new restaurant and two to become a Star Wars VR experience.

  • I spent some time walking through World of Disney as well as Gone Hollywood this trip taking a look at some of the new merchandise for Halloween, the park in general and Force Friday II, plus it gave me an excuse to hang out in the air conditioning for a while :)

  • As I made my way into Disney California Adventure I called up the app on my phone to make a FastPass reservation and it kept telling me I was not in the park. I made a U-turn on Buena Vista Street and headed to guest relations. The cast member there looked at her computer and then said there was a bug in the Android app and that was the reason for the problem. She gave me two multiple experience, multiple theme park FastPasses and I was on my way in a few minutes. As I walked the park I tried a paper FastPass and that registered I was not in the park too, so I think the issue was maybe something with the Premier Pass not the app. Interesting when I hopped over to Disneyland everything started to work again. This was the first time I experienced a MaxPass issue.. and the solution from guest relations was quick and beyond what I was expecting. I was expecting they would just give me a FastPass for the attraction I asked for. Instead the multi experience/multiple park ones they gave me were good on any attraction in either park, no matter if it had FastPass or not.

  • Speaking of FastPass, due to the light crowds I saw some return times I had never seen before. For example Radiator Springs Racers had return times only about 2 hours out and this continued into the mid afternoon. Usually the entire day is gone well before I get there or every now and then you could pick up a late night one. Same was true for Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • The transition to Halloween has begun in the park already. The Summer of Heroes entrance sign is gone and the start of the Halloween one is going up. In Cars Land Lizzie has decorated for Haul-O-Ween already and the other residents will follow over the next two weeks. Halloween officially kicks off September 15th this year. Cars Land and Buena Vista Street will both be decked out this year. Looking forward to seeing the finished products.

  • Out on Paradise Pier the renovation work near Toy Story has wrapped up. They enclosed the indoor portion of the standby queue and added air conditioning. The fans never quite worked and on many days those switchbacks became miserable or were not used. Now it is nice and cool for that final portion of the standby wait. Noteworthy is Friday they had a posted 40 min wait and the line was just inside the door. So not sure if that means with FastPass returns it is that slow or if the 40 min was just off..

  • Grabbed dinner in Smokejumpers Grill. I had not eaten there in a while and was walking by. Unfortunately the A/C was not really keeping up with the heat. It was cooler than outside by not cool. I was happy to grab a table inside though, they were at a premium.

  • Over at Disneyland I saw a minimal wait for the Disneyland Railroad so started my day by waiting and hopping on the first train that pulled in. It had the forward facing seats so I opted to sit on the left for a different view of the new areas. You can an up close look at the rock work and can get a better view of the left hand turn from this side. Also you get a couple glimpses of the Star Wars work and construction fences.

  • I booked some FastPasses now that I could and used one for Car Toon Spin since the timing worked out. I also had one for Buzz and realized I was not going to make it in time so I went to re book and noticed the attraction had gone down and they converted my FastPass to a multiple experience one within Disneyland. This was good for any Disneyland FastPass attraction.

  • I ended up using my two multi park/multi experience ones for Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. It was great to visit experience both within 20 minutes. Peter Pan was about a 10 minute wait with the pass and Alice was only a couple min. You use the accessibility line. Standbys were 30-40 each.

  • I used my Disneyland FastPass for Buzz since I was walking by and it was open again and a little A/C sounded good. My game started off poorly with the gun not quite working right.. I was right in front of a target and it was not registering.. the attraction overall seems in need of a renovation with many of the targets/guns not quite working properly and the spacecraft looking rather beat up. Also saw at least a handful go by that were covered/offline. The attraction stopped for a minute or so in a perfect spot for me and I racked up quite a few hits on a 100K target.. this led to a new personal best for me.. over a million points and #7 for the day on the score list. Not sure it should really count since I was not moving the entire time.. but still fun to see all 9's on the scoreboard. Note: If you get all 9's it keeps track and on the picture display at the end you can see your final score.

  • With no nighttime parade that meant there was a second showing of Soundsational at 7pm as the lights were coming on. Also it meant moving around the park after dark was much easier. Thanks to this and the lite crowd I was able to watch a 7:30pm set at Tomorrowland Terrace all the way through, stop by Buzz Lightyear, then ride Pirates, and make it to 9pm Fantasmic with a couple minutes to spare and a decent spot even.

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap – Aug 4-14, 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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