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12/04/21 - Candlelight Saturday @ the parks
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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.

12/04/21 - Candlelight Saturday @ the parks

Hello Everyone!

I ventured to the Disneyland Resort on Saturday. My primary goal was to watch the Candlelight Procession & Ceremony. I was up early so decided to leave and arrived at the parks before opening. It was an overcast and cold morning in the 50s with a high in the mid 60s forecast. Both parks felt busy as usual but not insane holiday busy.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I arrived a little after 7am and was surprised to see the Ball Rd. overpass still closed. I thought it opened at 7 with the structure. I lucked out though with no wait at the light. There were about 10 cars in front of me so it took some time to get through the toll booth and up to a level.
  • I walked over to the Disneyland Hotel to check out the Christmas decorations before heading to the parks. The decorations were status quo with the only significant change a new photo backdrop as you entered the lobby. I also walked over to the Frontier Tower, first time since reopening. This gave a glimpse of the new DVC tower construction. All you can see are walls and some equipment that was taller than the fences from ground level. The building has not started to rise yet.
  • I started my day at Disney California Adventure because when I booked it was the only park open. I saw Disneyland pop up a few times but I was too chicken to cancel my reservation and try for one. I really wish they had a modify option where you can lock in your new one before it cancelled your old one. The reservation system and the 1pm park hopping restriction both are growing old quickly.
  • I had not planned to be at the park for rope drop and I had nothing on my agenda for DCA. Almost the entire crowd was heading up the parade route to WEB Slingers and Radiator Springs Racers. So I opted to go to Grizzly Peak Airfield and found a very short queue for Soarin. At park opening they let the crowd in. I missed the first group but was lucky enough to be added to the second flight of the day. They only had one theater operating and only the center section. I am guessing this has to do with staffing, I encountered very few cast members. It made for a longer wait for people though.
  • I quickly rolled through Soarin, Toy Story, Pixar Pal-Around and Racers and then looked at the clock and it was not even 10am yet. I had 3 hours until I could park hop and much of the entertainment did not start for a while too.
  • The Avengers Assemble show was the regular version with Black Widow and Task Master. No sign of the Black Panther. Online I saw there is a Hawkeye/Christmas version but it was not being performed Saturday, it appears to be weekdays only.
  • At 1pm I park hopped over to Disneyland which meant I entered just as the 12:45pm A Christmas Parade reached Town Square. Cast members were directing you into the park through the by pass and seemed confused that I wanted to to go watch the parade with no crowd behind them. With the Candlelight Ceremony this evening the entertainment schedule was a bit different and truncated at Disneyland. Also there were a large number of Cast Members working Town Square and different procedures in place for the show preparations.
  • It was nice to see boats cycling at it's a small world holiday. The equipment was still out for them to lift items to the service area so it seemed the idea of a soft opening was a long shot. The attraction reopened Monday Dec 6th so I missed it by a few days.
  • Stopped by Critter Country for the first time this holiday season. The snow fall effect from Santa's location was nice, I do not recall that before. The distanced Santa meet and greet was a bit awkward but everyone seemed to be making the best of it and some kids seemed relived to see him from a distance.
  • The Mark Twain top deck was available today. No signs of any changes onboard.
  • Walked through the Princess Faire for the first time in a long time. The princesses are in the theatre and have their own spaces. You can line up and walk through to say hi to them. The traditional Christmas decorations are present in the area too.
  • I decided I was going to wait about 2 hours for the Candlelight Ceremony. So I ventured to Town Square and the second parade was passing through. The area in front of the Fire House had some space but I decided I was going to try the other side by the Opera House. You could not reach the area until after the parade had passed. Then there was a bit of a bottle neck with parade traffic, park exit traffic as well as guests trying to reach various areas for the Candlelight. The area I wanted they let additional guests into just before 4pm and I managed to get a spot about the third row standing. This improved slightly just before show time when cast members let some of the groups in the front fill in the empty seats in the back.
  • Thought it was odd that the flag retreat was silent, not even a recording this year.
  • The Tree Lighting moment in Town Square was the same as recent years, which is still a disappointment.
  • The Candlelight Ceremony was great. It was nice to feel a sense of normalcy and the spectacle of the large choir and lighting was impressive as usual.
  • As soon as the show ended and I could leave the area I headed for the exit and my car. The walk back to the car felt longer to me thanks to the several hours of standing and waiting then walking. It will be nice to have the option of a tram soon.

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

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