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9/17/21 - Halloween Time & Entertainment
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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.

9/17/21 - Halloween Time & Entertainment

Hello Everyone!

I spent a full day at the Disneyland Resort on Friday arriving before park opening and staying through the fireworks. The parks and Downtown Disney felt slightly more crowded than last visit but still at a moderate level. Wait times throughout the day fluctuated with most staying well below an hour all the time. Temperatures started off in the low 60s and overcast, climbed to the mid to upper 70s and sunny then cooled back down to the 60s for the evening.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • My first park today was Disneyland. While eating breakfast I decided to try for a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding group. I clicked the refresh and join button within a few seconds of the top of the hour and they were all gone. Luckily it was not a priority but I could see this instant disappearance of a chance to ride annoying if I was not a frequent visitor. Last week Walt Disney World announced that their version is switching to a traditional Standby queue this week. Wonder how long before the Anaheim version follows and even more curious where the wait times will level out for the attraction. I also lost track of time and missed the noon boarding group, I was trying to decide if I wanted to try for Rise of the Resistance or WEB Slingers around 11am then next time I looked at my watch and remembered it was 12:30 and all groups were gone for the day.
  • Parking was not a problem again. Arrived just after 7:00am and found no wait at all. They quickly scanned my pass and I was on my way up to the 3rd floor and into a spot on the 2nd row of the Pixar Pals garage about 2/3 the way down. I do find it interesting how they block off the front 1/4 to 1/3 of the level closest to the escalators for preferred parking. I am surprised that many guests are willing to pay an extra $15 a car (a 60% surcharge) to park at most a couple hundred feet closer. To me when you have to walk a mile to get to the park not sure that small savings in steps is work the large increase in price.
  • Since I had plenty of time until the park opened I opted to walk over to Downtown Disney vs the tram route today. The bridge and walkway made for a nice walk. It looked like the north side security was closed so I cut through the parking lot vs following the sidewalk around. There were a number of guests making the long walk around the U because there were no signs up on the walkway saying it was closed. In the former valet driveway was a sign saying Cast Members Only. So I walked down the street to the west entrance, nearest the Disneyland Hotel, which had no wait.
  • Pluto's Pumpkin Quest has started in Downtown Disney. There are a number of character inspired pumpkins throughout the district you can hunt for. Maps/clue sheets are available for $9.99 at World of Disney. Once you find all the pumpkins you can redeem for a prize. World of Disney was not open yet so I upped the challenge and walked through looking for pumpkins without the clues. I did manage to find them all (I checked later in the day against the clues to make sure I did not miss any). Overall I thought this was a fun quest. I think my nephews would have really enjoyed the hunt. Most of the pumpkins are familiar characters and are very visible. A couple are slightly more challenging but in locations that have been used in the past for egg hunts.
  • When I arrived at the entrance to Disneyland I did something I usually do not do which is hopped in the closest set of lines. There were only a couple parties and I was not in a hurry and figured I would save the steps. Well seems 3 out of 4 lines I tried people had issues. I could not hear exactly what but the lines stopped as they were sorted out. So I kept shifting lines until I found one that was flowing.
  • Made my way to the hub for the rope drop. There were healthy crowds waiting to go in all directions. The largest group was on the west side, assuming heading for Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion Holiday (Big Thunder is closed for renovation and it was a bit chilly for Splash Mountain). I took some video of the opening moment and then waited a minute or so for the crowds to disperse. Adventureland was still congested as I strolled with no delay toward Fantasyland.
  • Once reaching Fantasyland I ran right into the Peter Pan queue which had filled the queue and was out in the walkway. As usual a large percentage of guests went right to Peter Pan at park opening. I was heading for Snow White's Enchanted Wish.. which of course had not opened yet due to some issue. So next thought about Mr. Toad, same story not open. Third idea was Casey Jr.. which was not open either.. so I was 0 for 3. Ended up on Alice in Wonderland but still found my luck today to be off to a great start with attractions, virtual boarding group and queue choices.
  • I had not really spent any time in Galaxy's Edge since reopening. Walked through twice for Rise of the Resistance on previous visits. So ventured to Black Spire Outpost. It was really peaceful this morning to walk around. There was a posted 10 minute wait for Smuggler's Run so decided to give it a go. They had everyone use the FastPass return queue to cut down on the walk and I did not even have to slow down to be directed into the pre-show room. Of course I was friendly and let the family next to us go ahead of me.. and they were assigned the pilot position. No boarding cards and we walked straight from the pres show, given our assignment and color and then right into a cockpit. No time to stop or look around this morning. The family were not good pilots so it was a rough ride and bad score.
  • Next up ended up onboard the Sailing Ship Columbia. We saw it pulling into port so headed that way only to find its next scheduled departure was not for 15 minutes or so. So pulled up a seat and waited to board. When we did board only a handful of groups boarded. It was a nice empty cruise. I did observe something funny. The front canon on the right that is used to shoot off the blank was not onboard. During that part of the spiel a cast member went up there and acted like she was loading and firing the canon.. including making a POW sound for when it fired. Wish I had thought to record it. I spoke to the CM afterward and she said they had run out of ammo the day before and were waiting for it to be replenished.
  • Made a visit to Toontown to check in on several projects. The first half of the newly renovated walkway from Fantasyland to Toontown has reopened and the brick pattern looks great. The walls have been turned around and the half closest to small world is being redone. Looking around would be nice to see the project continue with the final portions of slurry that lead up to the train station and theater next while there is no show. Support steel continues to be added to the Runaway Railway show building in preparation for the installation of the facade. Also steel has been erected for the extension of the former gift shop building that will be the new entrance/exit for the attraction. Cartoon spin is being updated. The sign is currently gone and inside one of the Jessica Rabbit figures has been removed and more changes are on the way.
  • One of my goals today was to enjoy some of the entertainment around the parks. I took in several sets of the Disneyland Band. Their show times are listed but not the location/type of performance. They have three different locations on Main Street. For the 10:45am and 1:50pm sets the band marched out of the parade gate and to the Train Station to perform. For the 11:45am and 3:25pm the band marches out of the parade gate to Main Street (by passing Town Square) and up to the hub, circling the hub and returning to Town Square, this time circling it before heading to the parade gate. During the early performance Mickey and Minnie led the way. For the later Mickey and Minnie led and several other characters followed along. The band stops and slows several times throughout the march to perform. All their sets included at least a Halloween song. The 4:30 performance is the nightly Flag Retreat.
  • I also wanted to catch the Character Cavalcade on Main Street USA today. I asked several cast members and a couple looked in their handouts as well asked others and no one seemed to have a definite time. Everyone said sometime during the noon hour. I had in my mind it was 12:15 and 2:15 from something I read but wanted to confirm. I failed to do this. Turns out I was correct for the 12:15pm as the group stepped off from the Main Street USA parade gate. It is a Halloween Cavalcade featuring Halloween music and the characters in their costumes with trick or treat buckets. The procession is short, but featured 19 characters, three main street vehicles and the Mickey drum float. Note there is a Frozen Cavalcade later in the day at 3:00 & 4:00pm and it features the Frozen ice float with Elsa onboard. Overall I like the concept of the cavalcades but think they should be more frequent and show times available.
  • Daily from noon until six the Magic Key Holders Lounge is open in the former Starcade in Tomorrowland. The lounge features four static photo backdrops and one character photo stop. Plus a preview of some of the Magic Key merchandise and a chance to buy a snack. There are also several places to sit with charging stations. Attendance is limited and there is a virtual queue set up to enter. To join the queue you scan a QR code and then set up your text info. You are then sent a text when it is your turn and you have an hour to check in. This process seemed fairly smooth but it seems like it is a missed opportunity to do it through the Disneyland App and have an integrated sign in function so you don't have to enter information and a push can come through the app. I signed up just after noon (12:02pm) and there were 60+ parties in front of me in the queue. I was received the text to return at 12:11pm but did not return until 12:25 and they had us queue up in the theater exit area. 12:29pm they let us in. Overall the process was fairly smooth. The lounge itself was a nice little space and with the controlled entry it did not feel crowded. I would have liked to have seen some water available at least. Also it was interesting each photo spot had a table and cell phone holder if you wanted to take a picture. Cast Members were there but were not allowed to handle your device, they did give tips on how to set your timer as many people had never done that. So the process was a bit slow to get pictures taken. There was a PhotoPass photographer at the character one. I saw both Mickey and Minnie mouse during my brief visit to the lounge.
  • After 1:00pm I made my way over to Disney California Adventure. During my circle of the park the wait times were longer than my patience for most attractions, mild overall but longer than I was willing to wait. I noticed the WEB Slingers return queue had spilled out of the queue and stretched along the building. While walking through Avengers Campus I spotted Chang Shi who now makes regular appearances.
  • While walking through the Wharf area noticed a long line at the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill. Only one cash register remains and the line to order stretched from it out to the bridge. Seems a couple more registers or a kiosk would be useful as a number of people are not opting for Mobile Order.
  • Walked through Paradise Gardens and once again the area had a healthy crowd, especially considering Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta has not reopened. The Musical Celebration of Coco drew a good size crowd as usual. I watched the 3:00pm show. Show times are available in the app now.
  • Returned to Disneyland and took a grand circle tour of the park. Found it interesting there were three cast members in the cab. I could not tell what the third was doing. Our crew changed out by small world and another three CMs took over. There were only two trains in operation so wait times were on the high side.
  • As the sun began to set I paid a visit to Downtown Disney. I wanted to walk through World of Disney which I had not visited since reopening. Also stopped by the Star Wars Trading Post which opened during the closure. The trading post is in the former Rain Forest building staking up the former gift shop, bar and lobby area. It did not feel like it went that deep into the building. There are some props and plenty of Star Wars merchandise.
  • Pulled up seat on a bench for a while and noticed the background music track was mostly Halloween, it sounded very much like the Main Street track that played as the party was ramping up in years past. We happened to be seated near where they set up a balloon sales area. Found it interesting they had two cast members holding balloons and talking to guests to pick out what they wanted. Then they handed it off to a third who tied it and directed them to a fourth to pay. The 4th had a little kiosk to accept cash or credit cards. As we sat there was a steady stream of guests purchasing balloons and the four CMs were working quickly to keep up with the requests.
  • Tupua was performing this evening on the main stage. It was nice to take a musical voyage to the South Pacific again. They put on an entertaining show and drew a good size crowd.
  • I was in Town Square and received a request to go pick something up for my nephew's birthday from WEB Suppliers. I had about an hour until fireworks so decided to go for it. Turns out even with a handful of guests in front of me in line at the store I managed to walk over, make the purchase and return in about 20 minutes only. There were no delays park hopping this evening for me.
  • I took in a showing of Halloween Screams with Fireworks from Main Street USA this evening. I choose my spot about 20 minutes before showtime. I opted not to go into the heavy crowd closer to the hub and stayed back near the Main Street Cinema. Unfortunately I choose unwisely again with a family about about 10 feet in front of me putting kids up on their shoulders blocking my view. The kids unfortunately did not like the loud show and covered their ears and about halfway through the show were taken off the shoulders.
  • The parking exit procedure from the parking structures still leaves a lot to be desired. They were again trying to direct all exit traffic from the Pixar Pals structure out to Magic Way then onto Disneyland drive. As we were walking it looked backed up a bit already. Luckily on our level we were able to go through to the Mickey and Friends garage which saved a good chunk of time to reach the freeway. The ramps exiting the structure were different than in the past too with more cones and a different merge point for some of the lanes. I was happy to be able to use the overpass and save the time avoiding the really long light at Ball and congestion on Disneyland Drive.

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

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