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11/03/17 - 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.

11/03/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.
This week at the Disneyland Resort is one of transition. Halloween wrapped up last Tuesday and Christmas kicks off next Friday. So this is technically the "off season" between the two. Crowds were about average which felt great compared to the last several visits during Halloween Time that were extremely busy. Wait times around the park were on the mild side in the afternoon and went up as the sun set as you would expect.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Started my afternoon off taking a look at the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction as has become a routine. The views of the work are becoming less and less each visit as the buildings are closed in. There is now a cover over the back of the fence on the Big Thunder Trail so that view is now not available. The mountain range continues to grow with more steel visible above the show buildings and tree lines from in the park.

  • The Christmas season officially starts Friday the 10th and both parks have a lot of their Christmas decorations up already. It is always fun to see the parks transition and interesting to see the sequencing of what goes up when. Also to see what changes from year to year. So far this year the decorations look status quo with no major changes jumping out to me. The big question is will the garland that spans Main Street USA return this season. It has not been up the last couple of years because of Paint the Night running and being too tall to fit under, but that is not an issue this year.

  • As I roamed the park I came across Pluto leading a group a guests in a game of musical chairs in Toon Town. I really think this type of free roaming interaction is a huge plus for guests vs the quick photo/signature encounter. The memory of Pluto playing a game with you or even seeing Pluto playing a game will be a much stronger memory than the line and 20 second encounter for a picture.

  • Unfortunately the Mark Twain was not in operation as I passed by. I saw some tweets that they had an issue earlier in the day and guests were taken off via Tom Sawyer Island Rafts. It did open later in the afternoon but I was loosing daylight and wanted to a pass through DCA so I did not get to ride.

  • Grabbed dinner at the Red Rose Taverne. The crowds have thinned and it seemed slightly more crowded than the Village Haus would have been but pretty close to on par. I did notice a fair number of guests still ordering just the grey stuff and a drink so it is still pulling in guests.

  • The Dapper Dans had the day off. They were not on the entertainment schedule nor at the Flag Retreat.

  • Over at Disney California Adventure a sneak peek of the upcoming Pixar film Coco has moved into the Bug's Theater. There are some banners and a couple signs in the area outside the theater. Also some of the props from Paradise Garden have moved over including the displays that were in the gazebo are now in the lobby. Overall it is an average sneak peek set up, but after seeing the Musical Celebration of Coco and other activities during Halloween Time this was a let down.

  • Since my last visit Disneyland announced more details for the Pixar Pier project. In January construction will begin with much of the Pier from Avalon Cove around to Paradise Garden closing for the transition. Ariel's, the Cove Bar, Screamin, the Fun Wheel, King Tritons and Midway Games will all receive a Pixar theme as part of the project. All these will reopen in April for Pixar Fest. A new spinner attraction is slated for the former Maliboomer location in the future. I was under whelmed by the plans. They may be a fun transition but I would have liked to have seen some new games in Toy Story Midway Mania and something new announced too vs just new themes for existing attractions. It will be interesting to see what type of impact the changes will have on crowd patterns in the park after the initial rush.

  • Walked through the Grand Californian. The multi year renovation is in the final stages. Since my last visit the lobby carpet had been replaced. They are working on one of the buildings still and one of the gift shop entrances in the lobby. The Christmas gingerbread house/hotel is under construction. Friday two cast members applying gingerbread and decorations to the frame. The gingerbread creation is a great addition to the lobby, but I would like to see something different. They do change the decorations but the frame is the same each year.

  • Since my last visit Disneyland announced major changes for Downtown Disney. A new luxury hotel will be built on the space currently occupied by security, ESPN Zone, Rainforest Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, AMC Theaters, and Starbucks. So this means from the monorail beam to the Disneyland Hotel will be leveled. The monorail station will be redone to match the hotel. This is scheduled to be completed in 2021. I thought this was an interesting project and it makes more sense in terms of location vs the originally thought location of the Downtown Disney parking lot. This gives guests staying in the new hotel a shorter walk and direct Monorail access. It also gives a chance to redo the security entrances and make the area look a lot better. It seems to mark a shift in the target of Downtown Disney to be more for hotel and park guests and less to draw in a lot of locals. With House of Blues and now AMC gone those were two draws for outside guests. Not sure if Splitsville will have a big pull. I am assuming the lower level of the hotel will feature store fronts and dining locations to make up for the lost options and seats. Here are a couple of concept picture Disney released:

    Disneyland New Hotel Concept Art
    Disneyland New Hotel Concept Art

  • As part of the announcement plans for two new parking structures were shared too. One behind Paradise Pier Hotel for Downtown Disney and then another to built on the Pinocchio Parking lot. Both of these structures cannot come soon enough for those of us who regularly drive to the Disneyland Resort.

  • Spent some time after dark enjoying the entertainment around both parks. Soundsational after dark with the lights on gives the parade a different feel. I was hoping this year with no nighttime parade the after dark Christmas Fantasy Parade would return but looking at the schedule it seems both are in the early afternoon as of now.

  • Closed out the night with Fantasmic! followed by Remember Dreams Come True Fireworks. The crowds for both were moderate and I found a decent Standby spot 10 minutes before show time and for Remember I stepped onto Main Street as the lights went out and had no problem finding a decent view.

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap – October 3-14, 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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