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11/19/21 - A second visit during the holiday season
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11/19/21 - A second visit during the holiday season

Hello Everyone!

What a difference a week makes. This Friday the high temperature was about 30 degrees less than last week. The parks were busy but not nearly as crowded as the holiday weekend last week and with no Disney+ Day promotion the crowd arrived more slowly too. It felt more like a typical Friday at the parks from years past. With moderate crowds throughout the day and getting busy as the sun set.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I started my morning off walking over to Downtown Disney. Along the walkway there was a sign this week saying Cast Members Only on the way to the parking lot. I listened to the sign and it meant a substantially longer route to the parks since once again/as normal the security checkpoint was closed and you had to walk all the way around to the one between the hotel and Downtown Disney. This adds quiet a few extra steps to the route. I understand they do not want you in the parking lot. But why not make a more direct pathway or staff the security checkpoint. It really is a sub optimal way to start your visit. My pedometer was already at 1.5 miles when I reached Buena Vista Street to start my day.
  • The former ESPN Building is received new Disney+ banners/artwork on the exterior. The building is hosting a Star Wars VR Experience.
  • Downtown Disney is decorated. There are new plantings and Christmas trees throughout. The main tree for the district is located next to the West side stage this year and includes a snowman. There are also a couple of Nutcrackers and other props with the trees as you walk through. I did not visit at night to see them lit up. On Saturday Disney shared plans for the former AMC building space. They will be closing that area in January to clear it and will be reimagining/rebuilding that portion of Downtown Disney. Here is concept art for the new space -

  • Arrived on Buena Vista Street as the opening spiel was playing, so had perfect timing and no wait. Almost the entire crowd rushed toward Radiator Springs Racers and WEB Slingers. We took our time and wandered through Grizzly Recreation area and out to Pixar Pier. I had not thought ahead enough to check to see if the attractions were operating out there. When we arrived in the area Toy Story had not opened yet and several people were working on the attraction. So we hung around and went for a spin on the Pixar Pal-A-Round. They started to cycle Toy Story so waited a bit then were let into the queue. We were next to board and it stopped again. Two maintenance cast members walked into the building emerging a few minutes later then we were able to board and ride.
  • Saturday Disneyland Announced that World of Color will be returning in 2022. Not exactly a shocking announcement but nice to hear. The renovation work continues in Paradise Bay. Friday morning there were teams painting, teams on the platform and some more cast members below the platform working. The scaffolding/temporary decking for installation of the new projector housings was up but no sign of work atop the new concrete columns yet. The cables feeding the housing looked to have been pulled closer to being in position but that is about it.
  • Luigi and Mater's attractions in Cars Land both feature holiday sound tracks again. We went for a spin with Luigis Cousins since it had a posted 5 minute wait. It turned out to be over 10 but still not horrible. The time between cycles was long as the cast members doing the safety check seemed sluggish.
  • In other Cars Land news Fillmore's renovation work has wrapped up. The structure looks the same as before, only new again.
  • For lunch some decided to eat at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. We learned that mobile order will not give you the option to order the soup separate from the bread which meant the group had to wait in line to order. Overall mobile order seems to be a bit frustrating in some situations like this. On the other hand I went out to Corn Dog Castle and it saved me a bunch of time. I ordered while walking, picked up my food and walked back and the others were still in line at the Wharf Cafe.
  • Before the 1pm Park Hopping time there is not a lot of entertainment at Disney California Adventure. A bulk of the offerings are for the mid to late afternoon. As we left the park at 1pm the line to enter was backed up past the compass. They started to let guests in slightly before 1pm this week. Wonder if the park hopping times will ever be shifted or removed. Seems there really is no need for the restriction anymore most days as the morning crowds are not that heavy compared to later in the day.
  • The Sailing Ship Columbia has returned from renovation and was in use Friday afternoon. The Rivers of America were alive with activity with it, the Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Island Rafts and canoes in operation.
  • The new seating/dining area near the Harbour Galley is now complete. The area is called Pelican's Landing. It consists of two levels. One a small extension of the previous seating on level with the restaurant and the other at a lower level taking up the space where the smoking section was located for years. The landing includes a sign, some pelicans and some signage talking about the boats and nautical topics. Overall is a nice area and offers some scenic views of the Rivers of America when there is no boat in Fowlers Harbour. It seems a bit odd to have a seating area with a name and sign even, but there are some nice details to the space. The lower seating area may be an issue with Fantasmic viewing cutting off some views of the stand by area. Wonder if the new area will be used for an up charge location or will it be open to anyone. We will find out in 2022 when Fantasmic returns to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
  • No real signs of progress at it's a small world. There is still equipment on the unload area and there were several workers onsite moving around but beyond that everything was out of sight. There were a full compliment of cast members stationed near by to tell guests the attraction is closed and there is no ETA when it will return.
  • For dinner we decided to grab a bite to eat at Smoke Jumpers. It was not a very good meal. The restaurant was nearly empty when I arrived except for two other mobile orders ahead of me and one behind me. The guys behind me decided to go place a regular order too since there was no one in line to order. They were able to get that order before their mobile order was ready. The food was all luke warm to cold. We really should have taken it back and complained but we did not feel like waiting any longer or dealing with the hassle. There was a lot of prepared food sitting in the warmers when I picked up my order, seems they were expecting a dinner rush that did not materialize.
  • The Dickens Yuletide Band was hard to find as always. I did find them for three of their sets. One in the small area to the left of the castle and another two on the Train Station. I really wish the app and/or website listed locations for the various Main Street performances. I have similar issues with the Disneyland Band and Dapper Dans too.
  • Also another complaint about the time schedule in the app and on the website not having the Cavalcade times. It would be nice/helpful to have that information.
  • Believe in Holiday Magic was delayed about 5 minutes on Friday. No indication of why. There was no wind to speak of, all the flags were limp. When the delay announcement started to play there was a fairly loud groan from the assembled audience on Main Street.

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

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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