home > Columns > Geekspeaks >
11/10/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.
 The Geek Speaks:

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.

11/10/17 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort.
Hope you are all having a great Veterans Day Weekend. Thank you to all our Vets! I started my weekend off at the Disneyland Resort on Friday afternoon. I was expecting the parks to be busy with many local schools out to observe the holiday, a RunDisney Race this weekend, and the kick off of the Holiday Festivities at the Resort. The crowds were heavy which made arriving and moving around a little more challenging. Wait times were on the long side with quite a few over an hour. I did not see any triple digit waits the couple times I checked though, unlike during the Halloween Season. With so much starting this week I felt like I was on the go a lot moving from event to event or trying to see something in between or on the way.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I was pleasantly surprised when I exited the I-5 and saw no backup in sight and the Ball Road overpass open. This happiness quickly went away as I rounded the corner to enter the structure and came to a halt. It was a slow crawl from that point all way through the toll-booth, up the ramp, and into a parking spot. It took me approximately 20 minutes from exiting the freeway until I was walking through the structure to check out the Star Wars construction. It took approximately another 20 minutes when I was done with the pictures to get through security, catch a tram and go through the front entrance of Disney California Adventure. So about 40 minutes from the freeway to the park. That seems like a really long time to me. As I was taking pictures the backup grew and was out past the Disneyland Drive overpass to enter the structure.

  • The ticket booths all had long lines too. I was surprised to still see this in the mid afternoon. I would have thought more guests would be purchasing online or through the App. But there were a lot at the booths and they even had the temporary carts out to add more capacity. If you are planning to visit I would highly recommend buying your ticket in advance to save time. With regular tickets you purchase online you can go directly to the park entrance and they will exchange the voucher there so you can bypass the ticket booths.

  • After that first act I was expecting the parks to be mobbed. As I walked toward DCA I looked at Disneyland and the entrance lines were out past the Monorail beam. Across the Esplanade at DCA maybe a handful of guests in each line only. I am guessing the parade that was wrapping up at Disneyland when I arrived was a contributing factor in the wait over there. Once in the parks they felt crowded but most of the time not gridlock with a couple of exceptions only.

  • Stopped by to pick up a World of Color FastPass and was surprised the cast member said they were only about half way through the first show. With the number of guests I was expecting it to be well into the second one by the time I arrived. Of course I wanted the second show so I was out of luck and had to try back later. But with so many left I was not worried about standby options either. It would be nice if MaxPass was extended to include the shows. Or at least show what they are distributing.

  • I did a quick first look through the Festival of Holidays to get some pictures of the Market Places and catch a little of the entertainment. Nothing too new or drastic jumped out at me. The menus and pricing have changed at the kiosks. Country Bears moved locations for pictures and Pluto/Clarabelle are out for pictures. Other than that the Festival felt about the same as last year. One change was the AP Corner relocated and the merchandise location for AP items was within the corner which led to longer lines to get in than last year. Also changed this year is one button per pass for the entire festival, last year it was one per week.

  • I found a spot for the second A Christmas Fantasy Parade of the season at Disneyland about 15 minutes prior to the parade was able to be only a few people back standing. Found it interesting the two parades are 1:00pm and 3:30pm this year. Nothing under the lights. Guess this helps crowd flow in and out of the park in the evening. No drastic or noteworthy changes in the parade jumped out on the first viewing. Clarabelle Cow has a new look but other than that all seemed about the same. I would really have liked to have seen an update to the parade and sound track. The never ending loop of the parade is a little too much for me. I enjoy the first couple times through, I am find the first dozen or so times through, then I wish for a mute button or some way to change it up.

  • Made time to stop by Town Square for the Flag Retreat Ceremony. There were a lot of guests on hand which was great to see. Saturday they had a more elaborate ceremony for Veterans Day. Today was the regular one, which if you have never seen it and can make time in your day I highly recommend it.

  • FastPass has returned to it's a small world holiday and just like the last time it was there the crowds in the area and stand by wait times were large/long on Friday. I booked a return time using MaxPass as soon as I entered a park which was around 1:30pm with a return window starting at 4:50pm. The process was quick and simple and it saved me a lot of time being able to book as I walked into DCA vs hiking out to pick one up at Disneyland. Adding to the waits was the fact that the attraction did not open until several hours after the park. I found it interesting the FastPass distribution is from the new Matterhorn ones. They used a couple machines for Small World and the rest for Matterhorn. Wonder how that was in the late morning as guests crowded to get one? When I returned at 5:00pm to use my FastPass there was a mob of guests in the area waiting for the lights to come on at 5:15pm. I decided to wait and see that moment and hope the queue for FastPass return would get better organized. I was wrong. The FastPass return, accessibility queue, and stand by queues all sort of converged into a mess of guests. Add in those trying to exit and it was not very well organized and took a while to move through. Once you finally reached the queues it was better but they really need to look at the queue entrance process, it was really out of control when I was there. The cast member when I finally reached the queue entrance was telling guests it was a 25 min return wait. Turned out to be about 15 from when I entered the mob, under 10 from when I entered the queue. They seemed to almost completely halt the stand by guests to try and clear the FastPass returns. Standby was posted at 90 minutes when I walked by the sign. Hopefully things smooth out, but based on Haunted Mansion Holiday this past season I would say expect long return waits and be happy when there is not.

  • Returned to Disney California Adventure for some evening entertainment at Festival of Holidays. First up Viva Navidad! under the lights. This production is the same as previous years, which means well done and enjoyable. Then stopped by Paradise Park for the Holiday Sunset Concert (even though it happens well after dark). It featured the Phat Cat Swinger on Friday night and they put on an entertaining set that ran over 45 minutes. It was a mix of Christmas, Disney and some of their regular play list too.

  • Walked around Cars Land a little. It seemed as if they were not done decorating yet. The quick transition from Halloween to Christmas seems to have them a little behind. Some areas were missing decorations that were up last year, so I am assuming they are coming back, such as Lizzie's. Both Luigi's and Mater's have new Christmas songs and attraction names for the season. These are nice little touches to the land and add to the festivities.

  • Returned to Disneyland just before 9pm with the plan to roam around Main Street then find a spot for Believe in Holiday Magic. The crowd was heavy and ropes were up turning the center of the street into a viewing area. So ended up waiting 30 minutes for the show. I always enjoy this show and Friday it did not disappoint. I did have a partially obstructed view with kids on shoulders popping up at the last moment though and some balloons too.. I really wish they would do more to ask guests not to do this. One of the many pluses of Tokyo Disneyland where nothing is allowed above your head.

  • Closed out my evening with a late showing of World of Color - Season of Light at 10:15pm. The crowd was thin and my FastPass was not needed. I ended up on the third tier with plenty of space around me. The screen on the Fun Wheel was used and looked great, hopefully it works for the entire season, it really adds to the show. If you see Season of Light be sure to stick around for the encores/exit show, so many people leave as soon as the finale finishes. The extras after are a show to themselves. I wish they ran shows earlier in the evening. Seems like a 7:45pm and 9:00pm would both be full where as 9:00pm is jammed and 10:15pm is no where near capacity most evenings.

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap October 15 – November 6, 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.

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

Back to previous page


Quick Note

Check out the geek speaks archive for past updates.


Interested in Helping out?

If you are a fellow disneygeek and interested in sharing your insights, pictures, thoughts drop us an email here we are always looking for contributors.