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09/29/06 - My thoughts and observations from the kickoff to the HalloweenTime events at the Disneyland Resort
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09/29/06 - My thoughts and observations from the kickoff to the HalloweenTime events at 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 everyone,

Friday was the start of a new annual tradition at the Disneyland Resort, Disney's HalloweenTime. It runs from September 29th through October 31st. There are new entertainment offerings and decorations at both parks as you saw in the pictorial update. The parks seemed quite crowded, not sure if it was because many local schools are off Monday so its a holiday weekend or because of this new event. There have been quite a few TV commercials running the past week or so and several billboards around LA too. I thought overall wait times were not bad for most of the day with most attractions well under 30 minutes until after sunset when the crowds really showed up.


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

DCA & Disneyland Notes:

  • I was greeted again by a long line of cars entering the parking structure, this week shorter than last weeks, it stretched only about 2/3 the way to the entrance. The line also moved much much faster, only about 5 minutes to get through the toll booths. There were also new signs up warning of extra security and there were Anaheim Police and Disney security near the toll booths. We are guessing this was due to the couple robberies at the Downtown Disney toll booths over the past week or so.

  • Overall I thought the decorations at Disneyland looked great during the day. For the first year of this new celebration they have quite a bit up on Main Street and the entrance area. Over at DCA the candy corn treatment on the letters was good but once in the park the decorations were extremely light. There was an interesting arch and some things on the lamp posts by Tower of Terror but overall I thought the park was lacking. I am assuming more will get rolled out for the special night events that start soon. Once night rolled around I thought Main Street looked great with all the lit up pumpkins. The large character pumpkins at the parks entrance were not nearly as impressive, I thought the lighting on them was a little weak/dark. Over at DCA Tower of Terror seemed to have some extra effects such as strobe lights and a bat spot light effect that were pretty good. (Hard to photograph but a nice touch when standing there).

  • Now onto the Entertainment:
    • The Main Street Pumpkin Festival takes place 7 times a day and consists of two cast members who come out onto Main Street and set up near the Firehouse. They interact with the crowd, mostly children, and do a couple of songs in this approx 15-20 minute show. I did not find this show engaging. I tried it twice and both times wanted to leave early. I think the one thing it could use is a Disney character or two, which the official description hints at but I saw no traces of the two shows I saw. I thought the two CMs performing did a solid job but the script/songs just were not that interesting to me. I am guessing I was not the target audience for the show but still good Disney entertainment should work for all. - Disney describes this as: "Enjoy the fun of fall as we celebrate HalloweenTime with the Disney Characters, music, songs and activities on good ol' Main Street, USA".
    • The second new offering at Disneyland is Woody's Halloween Round-Up. This reminded me quite a bit of the Christmas time Santa's Round-up. The format is similar with a kids arts and crafts area plus a small stage show in the Big Thunder Ranch area and then the cabin open for photos. I missed the stage show the couple times I stopped by but I would say 60-70% of the tables were full each time I walked by so the kids really seemed to be having fun. I also thought the Cabin decorations were very well done. The one thing I would have liked to have seen is a posting of the show times either in the guide map or somewhere at the round-up. Disney describes this as: "Big Thunder Ranch is the place to catch Woody and friends as they celebrate Halloween with tricks, treats, live stage adventures, sing-alongs, crafts, cookie decorating, and more!"
    • The third and final new offering, the Jedi Training Academy over at the Tomorrowland Terrace started on Sunday so I did not get to see it, I will have to next trip... if anyone made it to the park and wants to share a review please email it to us. Disney describes this as: "A Jedi Master will train randomly-selected children in the ways of the Force, show them how to use lightsabers and prepare them to duel against a Star Wars villain!"
    • Over at DCA the first new offering is Golden Screams. This show takes place at the Golden Dreams theater a handful of times through the day. The show consists of several Disney Animated villains on screen with a CM who MCs the show from the theater and a special appearance by the Queen of Hearts. I really enjoyed the old film clips on the big screen. The content of the show was fairly good but not sure the repeatability of it. Due to the fact that this show will only run for a month each year I think its a perfect fit. The theater was full during the showing I went to and there were quite a few Disney CMs who got in line and watched the show too. Disney describes this show as: "The Disney Villains face off in a fun-filled competition to find out who has the greatest scream. Don't miss the fun - or your favorite Villains - when they come together to celebrate the "Golden Screams" award!"
    • Halloween Storytelling takes place four times a night in front of the Tower of Terror Sign. I was a little disappointed in this show. The CMs telling the stories were dressed up for the period and did a good job but again the script just was not engaging to me. This was targeted at a slightly older audience than the Main Street Pumpkin Festival. One problem I did have with this show is the limited visibility. The small stage the CMs used was only a couple inches above the ground so it was very hard to see unless you were right on top of them. Disney describes this show as: "Things get crazily creepy over at the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror when several mysterious hotel guests take turns stepping out of the Fifth Dimension to tell spooky stories of the ghostly goings-on they've experienced!"

  • It was nice to see the Tomorrowland Terrace returned to its old self and not looking like it came out of a cartoon anymore (I thought the Club Buzz props made it look plastic/cheap, even though the plastic feel was intended since it had to be in Buzz's world I still did not like it). I am looking forward to seeing the new show on a future trip. I did not make it over to see the band that was performing Friday night so not sure if any of the lighting or sound equipment had changed, but it appeared to be the same.

  • The Haunted Mansion Holiday re-opened Friday (actually I overheard a CM say they did a soft opening Thursday night I think). The crowds were quite heavy but the Mansion really kept up with them and the wait times were 30-45 minutes most of the evening. I saw it down only once during the early evening. I did not think the CMs out front were up to task of handling the crowds and I hope that gets better. When we went to use our Fastpass around 8:30pm the Fastpass Return line was sticking out toward the pop corn cart and the standby line plus the through traffic from Critter Country were all running into each other at that junction point near the HM entrance. The CMs should have been moving the Return line against the mansion gate on the right as you look at it and the standby line off to the left to allow for a free flow of traffic, as they have in years past. I also thought they had the ride speed cranked up rather high.. it seemed like we flew through the attraction. I did not time it but I was convinced we went through much faster than normal pace.

  • I did not notice that many changes from years past. I did not hear any scarols being sung, but I was looking around and trying to figure out the crowd so maybe they were playing and I just missed them. Once inside I thought the portraits in the stretching room looking brighter and were a tad different, but I am not 100% sure of that. I did notice a couple of characters in the window to the left when you get off the stretching room, opposite the first changing portrait. My picture did not come out and I believe they are new this year. Once onboard the doom buggies I think the attraction is pretty much the same as last year with the exception of a new gingerbread house in the dining hall scene. I am still a little surprised they put madam Leota back on the table and do not use the floating effect that the regular mansion does.

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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