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12/03/16 - Thoughts and observations from a Candlelight Saturday at Disneyland.
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12/03/16 - Thoughts and observations from a Candlelight Saturday at Disneyland.

Hello Everyone,

I spent a rare full day at the Disneyland Resort on Saturday.. 14.5 hours in the parks. It was a very cold morning, 50 degrees when I arrived, a great afternoon in the high 60s maybe low 70s, then cooling back down in the evening. Crowds were heavy. I would say weekend busy not holiday busy. The morning was very mild and as the day went on they built as expected. Wait times crept up with the usual suspects well over an hour. There were numerous down times at one point Splash, Indy and Big Thunder were all down at the same time in the early evening which made for heavier waits too.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Was surprised to find no issues parking. I lucked out and was near the front of a row (only about 5 cars in), so that put me one row over from the preferred parking. There were only a couple of cars in the spots on the level I was in. So looked like the preferred is not catching on yet. Maybe with the holiday season coming?

  • Work has kicked into high gear for the new security checkpoints. Looks like the solution is going to be another set of temporary tents and barriers. Hopefully this is to test/configure the area and eventually a permanent solution will be constructed. But then again the current temporary one is over 15 years old, since it went up right after 9/11. It will be interesting to see how this works. I think it should make for a smoother entry for all and open up Downtown Disney for more.

  • It was Candy Cane day at Trolley Treats. Throughout the holiday season Trolley Treats and the Candy Palace sell fresh hand made candy canes. They are $12.99 each. To get one you need to pick up a wristband near park opening then come back to purchase at your allocated time when your batch will be done. They are extremely popular, especially the weekend days. The line for wristbands was a popular stop at park opening.

  • I spent only about 20 minutes in DCA, just enough time to pick up FastPasses for World of Color then Radiator Springs Racers. Wait times looked mild for everything but the Racers. I was surprised to see the Tough to Be a Bug Film already back. I thought the Moana preview would go beyond its first weekend in theaters.

  • I wanted to see the Christmas attractions at Disneyland before the crowds arrived so I walked over there quickly and right onto the Jingle Cruise. On my way through Fantasyland noticed short lines for Mr. Toad & Alice so hopped on those too. I really enjoy the first hour the park is open and you can usually pick and choose attractions without long waits and the energy in the park is great!

  • I have not paid attention to fountains and other areas where people throw money around the park in a while. I was stopped in the Car Toon Spin queue for a moment and noticed in the Dip room people had started to throw singles now. Is this a new trend?

  • Walked by the Moana Meet and Greet and she was out. Interesting how old Moana looked compared to the film. The line to meet her was substantial so I did not get a good picture. Also disappointed no sighting of Heihei.. after all he is the star of the film :)

  • Used a FastPass for Radiator Spring Racers. The return queue was backed up to the bridge but moved quickly. The stand by line was barely moving because of this though. On board the first Mater you encounter was not moving, but on a positive not the tractors were both tipping today. Interesting both the doors for Luigis and Ramones were wide open and not in operation. I planned to ride again after dark with a second FastPass but the return line was actually using part of the Standby queue. Cast Members were warning guests it was a 30-35 return time. I am guessing this meant they were down for a while to have this bad of a backup.

  • Luigi's cousins dance to a Christmas Song now as part of the rotation. Luigi sings Jingle Bells. It was great to see a holiday song in the mix. Surprised they did not do more than one so every dance could be.

  • Finally saw a full performance of the Holiday Toy Drummers. They put on a fun show, but in a very awkward location. Great to see them back in the park (a couple of years ago there was a group at Disneyland for a season).

  • I took in second showings of some of the Festival of Holidays entertainment today and my initial impression of a strong first offering with a lot of variety still holds. Today I noticed more guests at the Marketplaces, but still no real crowds. Most of the time a group could walk up and order with no wait or only one group in front of them at most kiosks. This was around lunch time.

  • For Lunch I took a break at the Grand Californian and grabbed a bite at White Water Snacks. Quite a few guests had a similar idea and the inside seating was full. I sat outside which was not bad. They had the heaters on too so it was very comfortable.

  • The Grand Californian has a large gingerbread house in the lobby again as well as a smaller one in Storytellers. Great to see both of them.

  • My plan for the afternoon was to watch A Christmas Fantasy Parade and then find a spot for Candlelight. I entered Town Square just before 3:00pm and it was filling up, so I altered my plan and found a spot, about 3-4 people back from the rope. It was not a bad spot and I had a fairly clear line of sight. At show time cast members choose guests from the front to fill in some extra seats. This was great for them but meant everyone shifted spots and because I was not overly aggressive and moves were limited I was pushed into a somewhat worse view thanks to some poles between me and the stage.

  • The Disneyland Candlelight Procession and Ceremony are among my favorite shows of the season. I think the tradition and grandeur of being on Main Street are incredible. Plus the arrangement of the songs at the Disneyland version is more traditional to me than that of Epcot. I noticed no major changes from last year to this year in the show. Ginnifer Goodwin was the guest narrator this evening. She really seemed to enjoy it and brought a mild demeanor to the show. I think the readings work better with a more commanding voice though, my all time favorite was James Earl Jones. Also I wish the narrators (this is common of almost all over the years) would look around more, very few look to the left toward the Firehouse / City Hall so you get a ton of pictures of the side of their head or back.

  • After the show the crowd seemed to move fairly well. Given the large number of guests. Disney had a lot of cast members and a definite plan in place. It is always interesting to watch the large group from the show try to figure out where to go, while there are guests queued up for the next show as well as guests just trying to enter or exit the park. The basic set up was the east (right) side of the street was for guests entering the park, in the street on either side were guests queued up for the next show. The center of Main Street was for guests exiting Candlelight. Then the west (left) sidewalk was for guests exiting the park. I found it very interesting the overflow corridors were not being used.

  • Walked out to New Orleans Square to catch the Rivers of America Holiday Celebration. It featured the Jambalaya Jazz performing on a raft on the river. I was surprised with the Holiday billing that only two songs in their set were Christmas. The conclusion of the show featured White Christmas and snow fall. Overall it was a nice idea but I would have liked to have seen more Holiday music and maybe some different lighting than just bright lights on them as they floated around.

  • Speaking of lighting there were two Fantasmic light towers up for the show. Looks like new equipment has been installed on them. I spotted new lights and projectors placed on top of both. The snow machines also seemed new. They were more like blizzard machines spitting out a lot of snow when they were engaged.

  • For the second Candlelight I caught some of the procession and then opening from the end of Main Street. The audio was great as they filled Main Street with the sound from the show. The view less than ideal because of the distance and Christmas tree in the way. I wish they would add some screens so guests can watch the show from an alternative location. That would ease some congestion and allow more guests to experience the show.

  • The large grizzly bear near the entrance to Grizzly River Run features a large holiday sweater and as an extra plus at night it lights up and blinks. A great little holiday plus to the area.

  • Really surprised that World of Color - Season of Light only runs once per day. You would think with it being Candlelight Weekend they would add another show to try and spread out the crowd more. Also with how popular the new show is it seems a second showing would be needed. Plus having two showings means more guests can get a good view of the show.

  • This was my second viewing of the show and I enjoyed it as much as the first. Always nice to listen to a mix of Christmas music and the World of Color fountains and projections are great. There were no projections on the Fun Wheel again, has anyone seen them since the opening?

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Geek's Blog Postings Recap – November 19-28, 2016

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