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11/08/13 - My thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort as Christmas gets underway
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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.

11/08/13 - My thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort as Christmas gets underway

Hello all,

Had a great afternoon/evening at the Disneyland Resort. The Holiday season is getting underway with much of the festivities starting today. The weather was just shy of 80 degrees when I arrived and cooled down to the 60s by the time I left (hit 49 by the time I got home). The crowds were mild. Disneyland felt busy with guests moving around and several areas blocked off for the parade taping, but the wait times were all on the light side except for Small World Holiday in the evening. Over at DCA the same was true, for example the Racers had a posted wait of 65 minutes only the couple times I walked by (still think they should use 66 instead of 65).


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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Walked through Downtown Disney on the way to the parks. The ice skating rink this year features the Christmas tree in the middle. So I guess this means no tent over it? Should look great at night. The winter village officially opens next week. Wonder if they will expand the shopping portion of it, last year it seemed rather scattered. Also curious if it will spread to anywhere else in Downtown Disney.

  • Thought it was a nice try to feature some flags for Veterans day throughout Downtown Disney. Many were hard to see thanks to the plants and I am guessing most guests missed them or did not know what they were for. Hopefully this tradition grows/expands.

  • My first stop of the day was Disneyland. Main Street was being transformed into a working stage for the Christmas Parade taping. Always interesting how early they film the segments. Disneyland is this week and Walt Disney World is usually the first weekend of December. The 7-8 this year. This causes a lot of disruption with walkways blocked but most guests seem to give it a pass and enjoy the behind the scenes look. If it was a once in a lifetime trip though I might not feel the same. It really destroys the illusion of the park and makes it feel quite different.

  • Walked by the Frozen Meet and Greet in Fantasyland. It took over the Tangled location and had lines to match. A posted 40 minute wait when I walked by so I skipped it. There is an Olaf audioanamatronic figure on the roof to entertain those walking by and in line. I thought it was a great addition and a fun way to bring this character into the park. At night I saw no lights on him and did not make it over to see if he was still performing. The downside to this location though is guests passing by do not get to see the characters, since they close the door/curtains and discourage you from looking inside unless you wait in the line.

  • Caught the first Christmas Fantasy Parade of the season from the Small World Mall. As you saw in the pictures this year they did a little shuffling of the characters. The traditional teddy bear returned to the opening float. Also the wreath is open now vs closed in. This bumped Duffy to the mail room float displacing Pluto. Pluto moved to atop the gingerbread house sending Max to the unemployment line. The Seven Dwarfs who traditionally decorate the tree before Santas arrival are also gone this year. The Winter Wonderland segment has added some cross country skiers. I thought the addition of the skiers was a fun and interesting change. I miss the dwarfs though. Also the father son interaction of Goofy/Max working on the gingerbread house I thought was a good dynamic. Pluto and Goofy just do not seem the same. Duffy on the mail room float just seems odd to me and I still think most people have no clue who Duffy is.

  • Small World Holiday opened today for the season and runs through January. On my first cruise through nothing jumped out at me as being changed drastically from last year. Same goes for my walk through Toontown. Anyone spot anything different?

  • I stopped by the Jingle Jangle Jamboree at the Big Thunder Ranch that kicked off its holiday run today too. The crowds were very light which meant a lot of good character interaction time and photos for those who wanted them. Even Santa had a short wait, only 5-10 minutes in the afternoon and no one in the evening. I talked to him while taking some pictures of the set in the evening. Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies are back for one last season. It was announced earlier in the week that on January 6 they will be joining their Idols, the Country Bears, and retiring from the park. So if you are a fan of the Billies stop by and see them one last time. Their show this year is the same as last year including the Country Bears joining them for the finale. Here is a clip of a Christmas Medley centered around the Orange Blossom Special:

  • I want to say again.. if you are looking for a great way to see the characters try the Jamboree. More times than not the waits are shorter than elsewhere and the quality time you can spend with the characters is great. For example I was taking pictures and Mickey came up and was watching me. He also was playing fetch with Pluto. The Country Bears were roaming around and causing mischief. All and all a great time for those who visit. The area will become more crowded as the season goes on and the line for Santa grows but the rest of the characters are usually fairly accessible on most days.
  • I did not have that much time to roam around New Orleans Square and did not make it out to Critter Country this trip. It was kind of sad to walk by the walled off Court of Angels though. I will miss that quiet spot this season.

  • In Adventureland the Jungle Cruise becomes the Jingle Cruise this upcoming week, looking forward to experiencing that next trip.

  • Over to Disney California Adventure. The offerings here seem on par with last year. Buena Vista Street looks great and features the Community Bell Ringers in the afternoon, I missed them this trip but hope to catch them next time around. I wish they would perform into the evening. The Tree Lighting is also a good size production again, seemed the same as last year. Cars Land is decked out fully again and is a fun place to hang out. The big change is coming next week with the Premiere of World of Color - Winter Dreams on Thursday. This will ensure packed evenings for the park I think. I am looking forward to it.

  • Out on Paradise Pier they will be celebrating Viva Navidad starting next week. The new food offerings were available this week and I posted pictures of the menus and some of them. I did not try any though, so no reviews. If anyone has and wants to share their thoughts drop me a line.

  • I did not see any other new offerings this year as I roamed DCA. Was hoping maybe DJ would have a holiday show or some of the Buena Vista Street groups. Next week things officially kick off so still time.

  • Small World Holiday features a new projection show this year. The new show harkens back to the version a few years ago but looking much crisper. It plays every quarter hour except when the parade and fireworks are going on. I thought it was a well done show and a nice plus for those waiting in line and walking by. Here is a look at it:

  • Believe in Holiday Magic has returned also. From what I was able to see and remember it seemed about the same, nothing too drastic stood out to me. Always odd to watch it without the garland overhead and tree behind you (both are not up yet because of the parade taping).

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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