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11/22/13 - My thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort as I enjoy the Merriest Place on Earth this holiday season.
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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.

11/22/13 - My thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort as I enjoy the Merriest Place on Earth this holiday season.

Hello all,

I was on the fence about heading down to Anaheim on Friday afternoon, thanks to the cool and rainy weather. Weather.com kept saying 30% or less chance of rain so I decided to give it a try. When I arrived it was fairly dark and a steady drizzle. Over the first few hours there were periods of rain and drizzle which made it a fun challenge to move around and take pictures, plus shows, etc.. were being cancelled due to the weather. But as the sun began to set the rain let up and there were some breaks in the clouds and the evening turned out to be rather pleasant, a little on the windy side, but not too miserable. You would hope with the weather the crowds would not be too bad. Overall they were mild but more than I would have thought. Wait times in the early afternoon were nonexistent but as the weather got better and locals finished up work/school/etc.. they showed up.


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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Thought it was interesting when I arrived around 1pm they had the Ball Road overpass closed and some work trucks out. Looks like they put new asphalt down at the end of the ramp to the freeway recently. The parking signs were directing cars on Disneyland drive to go straight and park elsewhere and there was an Anaheim Police Officer out, but they did not have the garage blocked at the moment, so I lucked out and was able to park inside. The parking practice of directing guests to Toy Story and other lots in the early afternoon to save spots for late arrivals still bothers me. I think those showing up later should have to park further away and deal with it. The underlying problem is Disney needs the second garage that was originally planned for the expansion but never built and a more efficient way to get cars into the Toy Story and other lots.

  • On select nights to celebrate World of Color - Winter Dreams and Frozen Disneyland Annual Passholders have the opportunity to attend a special showing and get a free ornament to mark the occasion. I thought this was a great idea and a nice treat for Annual Passholders. I also appreciated it being the early show. I thought it would have been nice to have a year on the ornament. There were signs up around the park and a nice on the entertainment schedule even letting guests know.

  • For the distribution they had a couple of the Fastpass machines at GRR set up for the AP show and then a couple others for the 10:15pm show and then the remainder were for GRR. I think it would be an interesting experiment if on regular days they left the same set up.. where some machines were for the early show and some the late show and guests could pick which they wanted to go to. I would think some may opt for the later show opening up more tickets for the early one.

  • The Limited Time Magic offering this week is free Jingle Cruise Attraction Posters. They are giving them out near the exit, it was supposed to be in the Oasis but due to the weather they were in the store near by and you had to hunt for them a little. The Cast Members giving them out were very helpful and had bags to put them in to keep them dry even. I thought this was a fun Limited Time Magic event. The only thing is the posters are on the larger side and awkward to carry around the park and keep undamaged.

  • Since I now had a breakable ornament and an attraction poster I did not want destroyed in the rain or theme park environment I decided to make a trip back out to the car to drop them off. I thought it was funny as I was re boarding the tram to head back to the parks the cast member asked me if I had just entered a few minutes ago (well really about 45 minutes). I told them I enjoyed riding the tram so much I decided to go around a few more times, then followed up with the real reason.

  • Caught a performance of the Buena Vista Street Community Bell ringers. Great to see them back again this year. Does anyone know if the carolers are returning to the Grand Californian this year? Here are a couple clips from Friday:

  • Due to the rain the entertainment schedules for the afternoon were a challenge for me, not knowing what was cancelled and what was not.. I did not think to check the app to see if it had up to date info.. guess I could have wrote the twitter accounts but instead just walked in circles a bit Viva Navidad! Street Party was cancelled throughout the afternoon. So I still have not seen it during the daytime.

  • Over at Disneyland I stopped by the Jingle Jangle Jamboree. The area was fairly quiet with the Reindeer Games closed and Santa moved inside the cabin because of the rain. The tables and benches were all full of guests waiting for and watching Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies (plus some coloring and cookie decorating).

  • I grabbed an early dinner at the Village Haus because of the back to back things I wanted to see and do in the evening. As I was finishing up Snow White showed up in the dining room and decided to meet with guests right by my table. Those around me with kids really enjoyed having a character right at their table more or less. I thought it was a little odd and I ended up in the background of several guests photos eating my dinner.

  • Noticed on my receipt they are printing out the 20% off merchandise at select locations in the morning. Still not sure why the system is not smart enough to know I am an Annual Passholder and get that discount all day long. It should know I am an AP because I received the dining discount.

  • Was able to watch the full Buena Vista Street Tree Lighting. It is the same as last year which is great! I wish Disneyland would return to a mini show for their lighting. I have not seen it this year but I assume it is the same recording they have been using the past few years? Here is a video from Friday:

  • Took in a performance of the Viva Navidad! Street Party and found it to be as enjoyable the second time around as the first. I would highly recommend stopping by Paradise Gardens to catch this high energy show. It happens a half dozen times a day on the parade route right in front of Paradise Gardens. Show times this week were: 12:25, 1:30, 2:50, 3:50, 5:30, and 6:20. Here is a video of the Street Party from last week:

  • The Mad T Party is once again wrapping up their sets with a couple holiday songs and snow fall. Friday the snow fall seemed fairly limited, not sure if it was the weather or just the effect this year.

  • I had about an hour from when the Mad T Party band finished until the Wintertime Enchantment event on Main Street so I decided to squeeze in a quick trip through the Hotels to see if anything new jumped out at me this year. The Grand Californian lobby looked the same and is impressive as usual. Too bad they do not start a tradition of different gingerbread houses or something each year. Next up was the Paradise Pier Hotel lobby which looked to be the same too. Made a quick pass through the Frontier Tower at the Disneyland Hotel on the way to the lobby. The big change here this year is a large gingerbread inspired Sleeping Beauty Castle at the entrance. I thought this was a great addition.

  • The Winter Village at Downtown Disney was open for business as I passed by. Olafs ice rink had a fair number of guests out enjoying it. I think the way they set it up this year is a big improvement. Having the Christmas Tree in the center of the ice rink looks great. The village shops surrounding the rink look good but still seem awkward to me and in the few moments I spent there I saw very few guests venturing over to them.

  • I made it back to Main Street with a few minutes to spare before the Wintertime Enchantment Holiday Lighting of Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle. I think the name of these short events is longer than the event! For those that are not familiar with it, this is an unlisted event that happens a few times nightly leading up to Believe in Holiday Magic show. If you want to catch some snowfall and the holiday lights I recommend trying to watch one. There is one in the 5pm hour I think then 7:30 and 8:30. I recommend Main Street where you can see the castle and tree, but there is also snow and projections out by Small World too. Here is a quick video from the 7:30pm show on Friday:

  • A new interactive experience started recently to entertain you while waiting for World of Color. It is called the Fun Wheel Challenge. It is a pattern matching game, think Simon Says. The game starts about half an hour before the show. There is a local wi-fi network that is turned on and you can join it with any smart device. You have access to the Fun Wheel Challenge Website (nothing else). Each round consists of you watching a pattern on the Fun Wheel then as quickly as possible replicating it on your device. Points are earned for speed and accuracy. Each round builds on itself.. for example round 1 is one item to remember, round 2 two, and so on. There were approx 8 rounds. After which the guest with the most points gets the opportunity to control the Fun Wheel lights. Here is a video of a couple rounds:

  • I thought the game was a fun way to pass the time and was set up in a way that just about anyone can play and have fun. Two suggestions though. I think they need to announce the game so guests know. There is a sign as you enter the viewing area but that can easily be missed if you are looking for Fastpasses or herding your group into the area. I think adding an announcement to the 30 minute and maybe even 15 minute announcements would be helpful. Secondly I would like to know where I ranked.. x out of y.. curious how many guests are playing and where I stood. Guessing about the middle of the pack but no real idea.

  • Unfortunately World of Color - Winter Dreams had some problems and was eventually cancelled. The show started normally but as Glow was finishing up and transition to the main show the video froze and audio cut out. They rebooted/restarted the system and the second time it did exactly the same thing. No clue what the real problem was, nothing obvious was visible. Anyone know if the 10:15pm show went ahead as scheduled? here is video of most of the show from the premiere night:

  • One note on Glow.. it is a preshow which means it came on a couple minutes before the posted start time of the show.

  • I decided to head for Disneyland and was happy to see no backup getting into the park. I found a spot on Main Street to watch the snowfall. I was assuming since the flags were blowing steadily the fireworks would be cancelled. Come show time they were cancelled right away and the Wintertime Enchantment went forward followed by the snow fall. Here is a video from 2011 of what happens:

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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