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10/05/13 - My thoughts and observations from Saturday 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.

10/05/13 - My thoughts and observations from Saturday at the Disneyland Resort

Hello all,

Spent a full day at the Disneyland Resort on Saturday. Left my house before 6am and pulled back in the driveway after midnight. Did just over 14 hours in the parks. The reason for the marathon was some nice weather and experiencing the parks with relatives who have not visited the Disneyland Resort since the mid 90s. The crowds were on the heavier side in the afternoon/evening. Waits for the usual suspects were over an hour throughout. In the morning though DCA was pleasant and we were able to roll through several attractions (Soarin, Toy Story, Fun Wheel, Mermaid, and a walk through Cars Land all before 10:15am).


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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • It is always interesting to experience the parks with first timers, or in this case guests who have not visited in a long time. They had never experienced DCA 1.0. They had no frame of reference. So listening to their impressions and thoughts was fun. We guided them around with the goal of a highlight tour of the new plus some of their favorites. For a frame of reference the last time they visited Fantasmic was only a couple years old and the Country Bears were still playing out in Critter Country. Their first impressions of DCA were all positive. They really enjoyed Soarin and Toy Story, especially since we walked onto Soarin and Toy Story was under 15 minutes. They found Cars Land impressive even though they were not familiar with the film. World of Color they really enjoyed but found it tough to stand that long at the end of a long day, but thought it was worth it.

  • Parking seems to always be an adventure at the Disneyland Resort. Wonder if the 2nd garage will ever move forward. We parked one car in the Mickey & Friends area since we came from the North and would be leaving that way and its easier usually. They were filling the Pinocchio lot first and then later in the morning looked like they were filling the Simba lot, assuming they left most of the garage empty at the time. I understand why Disney does this from a logistics standpoint but for those arriving early it seems a pain.. and the poor guests stuck parking in the Simba lot and having to hike to the parks (there is no tram or bus service to that lot) it is tough. You do not get a break on the cost to park there either, it is the same. The second car in our group parked in the Toy Story lot and found it to be very easy. Interesting note if you did not catch it in my trip report.. from the far side of Pinocchio (we were three cars from the end of the row) to the guest pickup/drop off on Harbor it was just over a mile walk.

  • An interesting tour started several weeks ago, the Story of the Carthay Circle Restaurant. This was my first opportunity to give it a try. It runs daily at 10:30am and is free. It lasts approximately 15 minutes. You do not need to sign up to attend, just show up and stand around the sign/entrance before 10:30 to join the group. A cast member walks you through the main lounge and the dining rooms along the way sharing some of the history of the original and tributes (both hidden and not so hidden) of the Disney version. Our group consisted of about 10 guests, which I hear is about average right now, sometimes they spike higher, they have had in the 40s on some days, so it sounds like they currently do not turn anyone away if you are there on time.

  • I really enjoyed the tour. I thought the history and factoids were fun and the opportunity to take pictures with no guests in the way was great! And for those of us that are not planning on dining there any time soon an opportunity to see the dining rooms was well worth it. My only complaint it is short. The CM giving the tour had a lot of material he wanted to cover and had to keep rolling through it. Very little time for Q&A or for him to really pause, he had to keep it moving since they were in full preparation mode to open for lunch as we walked through. We were able to visit a couple of the spaces but there were several we could not due to the time. I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn a little more about this icon of Buena Vista Street. I found the balance of the history of the original and information on the DCA version to be a good mix. Plus did I mention this is FREE (with paid admission, no up charge or contest you have to enter/win!).

  • Over at Disneyland the big recent news is the re-opening of the Market House which now houses the Starbucks. I am not a coffee drinker or pastry/bakery person so the original nor the new Market House really do not hold my interest that much. So I am not going to comment on the drinks/food since I do not recall ever purchasing anything at the original and probably will not at the new. I was more disappointed to loose the Disneyana space (where I had purchased items over the years) as well as some the small town feel of the original Market House. I would take some guests in to listen on the party line phones or to just walk through from time to time. The new Market House feels like a giant queue to me. The woodwork, props, signage, etc.. are ok. They work for the most park. The small seating area, called the Book Rest, which is the former Disneyana store, has some fun props around it. I was also happy to see the checkers board remained and the old stove. But too bad they could not have figured out a better way to run the queue so it did not dominate the room.

  • I have been asked by several folks my opinion of Starbucks in Disney Parks. Disneyland has a long history of corporate sponsors and product placement so this is nothing new. As long as it works in the area and is implemented in a Disney way I have no real issue or negative opinion. I do find it interesting that there will be three Starbucks located several hundred yards apart by the end of the year once Downtown Disney opens. Curious how this will effect La Brea Bakery and some of the other places that have similar offerings.

  • Found it interesting that the Pirates League was closed when we visited in the early afternoon. No indications of why.. I did not really investigate either.

  • Caught a performance of Mickey and the Magical Map in the early afternoon. Still no 100% certain why they insist on having the audio volume so high for the show. This time it was slightly better but they have it so loud the vocals sound messed up most of the time.

  • On Friday the Haunted Mansion Holiday kicked off a new Limited Time Magic offering featuring new surprises. In each scene there are now 13 surprise objects. For example bones, candles, or snow flakes. It was a fun trip through the mansion to see the new additions and reminded me of the scavenger hunt they did several years ago. I do not recall seeing any signs or indications of this outside. The Disney LTM site does not list an end date so guess that means they will run throughout the rest of the season?

  • Speaking of Limited Time Magic, Downtown Disney was hosting a chalk art festival this weekend. I had intended to walk Downtown Disney to see the artwork but due to timing and getting side tracked I never made it out there and only saw a handful of the creations. Did anyone spend time out there? What did you think?

  • This was my first Saturday at the park since the return of Swing Dancing. On Saturday nights the Royal Swing Big Band Ball takes over the Fantasy Faire with the Theatre becoming the dance floor once again, as it has since the 50s. The area had quite a few guests enjoying the band and even between sets a large number of couples were still out dancing on the floor. It was great to see this tradition back in the park. Another side benefit of the Royal Theatre is the benches used for the daytime shows seemed to add more seating or at least more comfortable seating nearby (I know the area is smaller because before there were all the tables/chairs on the far side) but near the floor there seemed to be more.

  • Entertainment note on the time schedule I saw a group I do not remember seeing listed before.. a Hard Days Night - A Tribute to the Beetles. I hope they become part of the Friday rotation, I would like to give them a try. I always enjoyed the Fab 4 group that used to perform at the park.

  • We stuck around for World of Color, I was surprised to see only one show running a night this week and a bit disappointed that it was at 9:45pm on Saturday which meant a late night for me! Even Friday night only had one show at 9pm and given that the park was open till midnight Friday because of the Halloween Party over at Disneyland this seemed odd. Is this some sort of cut back for the new fiscal year? Or the crowds that light they only need one? Seems if they went with no Fastpass for the second they could save on some of the labor and still run two shows.

Interesting Web Finds/Notes:
Below are some interesting links, notes, and rumors I found/stumble across/or have been informed of since the last Geekspeaks column.

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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