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12/08/01 Candlelight 2001 @ Disneyland...
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12/08/01 Candlelight 2001 @ Disneyland...

** After you read this report you may want to check out the pictorial updates in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Saturday was a fairly busy day at Disneyland. I have not been there on that many Saturdays, so I really can't compare to much, but there were decent lines all day long and quite a few people milling around. Definitely more than there have been on the past several Friday's, but no where near last year's Christmas crowds. I spent the whole day at Disneyland, so here are some thoughts/observations:

Disneyland Items:

  • FastPass is great... when it works. Saturday we used FastPass quite a bit to avoid standing in line. I ran into a new problem. For some reason every machine I went to said that the ticket I used (my AP) was not the ticket I used to get in the park (which it was the ticket I used). I had the gate check my ticket and it registered as being used to get in (requested they check for my Handstamp, etc...). So there was some weird FastPass bug. Luckily the CMs were always helpful and I managed to get the FastPasses I needed.
  • One other interesting observation about the crowd. We arrived at the main entrance around 10am. Disneyland lines that extended past the first ticketbooth all the way across. DCA even had large entrance lines. Once in Disneyland the park felt crowded until about noon. Then it seemed to thin. Like everyone went to lunch or something. By evening the park felt crowded again.
  • Another factor adding to this was Disney seemed caught off gaurd or something by the crowd. They seemed slow to react to the growing lines outside attractions. There were quite a few attractions we walked by that had plenty of queue space available, but it was not opened correctly (Mansion, Pirates, Matterhorn to name a couple). I think this added to the crowded feeling.
  • Marie Osmond was signing dolls in Fantasyland. She had huge lines waiting to buy and then get the dolls signed. Disney did a great job of setting up her location in a way that those of us not buying or wanting something signed could see what was going on. I really enjoyed spending a few moments observing the scene.
  • I went to check out the new additions to Innoventions, but unfortunately much of the new "stuff" was closed. No reason was given.
  • It appears Disneyland has hired (or transfered) a lot of people. We saw several groups of CMs being trained on various attractions.
  • This was my first time to the park with people who did not know about the Bears departure. They were really confused as to what the point of Critter Country will be with Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, and the Canoes. Add to that the couple shots and the arcade (along with the McD's) and its a confusing place. I had to agree with them.... how we all missed the Bear's Holiday show.... at least they will live on through video tape...

Candlelight Items:

  • This was the main reason for the trip Saturday. I was given the opportunity to attend and could not pass it up. Its become a tradition over the years (since I moved to CA in the mid 80s we have gone almost every year).
  • This year's show was great as usual, but still has the same flaws I have been complaining about the past few years...
  • Let's start off with the positives....
  • The choirs, music, and narration were great as usual. The presentation and stage looked good. I had a great time.
  • I was reminded again how I enjoy Disneyland's version so much more than WDW's. The difference to me is here at Disneyland the choirs take center stage. Where as at Disney World the Voices of Liberty and the narrator take center stage and the choirs are reduced to background vocals almost (again just my impression of the two shows). Both are still great experiences and I would recommend either to anyone. But if I had to choose one Disneyland's would be my choice.
  • Now onto the rants....
  • #1) I really really wish they would move the production back to Main Street where it belongs. I have three reasons for this. One is the setting was more impressive. Second it allowed a lot more people to experience the show. Third it really did not have the "class" distinction it now does.
  • #2) I want to follow up on the "class" distinction comment above. With the old ceremony they had a VIP area in the center, but there was plenty of space for everyone else. Also just about anyone who wanted to queue up a couple hours early could get a nice spot. Those who showed up later could still get a spot. Now with the reduced capacity of the Fantasyland theater venue you are very lucky if you can get a ticket. Then once you have a ticket you can still feel like a second rate citizen based off the "marking" on your ticket. Instead of having it be first come first serve like most Disney shows you are herded to a spot based on your ticket. VIPs get the center section, which may I add is great (got there by mistake a year ago and I ended up by all the club 33 members). For other guests that may be the chairs below, or off on the side. For day guest or school guests(where I was this year) you end up in the very back or on the side. Yes its good you got in, but the situation seems a little too much of a cast system for my tastes.
  • #3) The limited attendance. If you do not have a ticket and are a normal day gues and are not lined up before the park opens to get your candlelight ticket your odds of getting into the show are close to zero. By 9am (park opening) the tickets were gone for the performances Saturday.


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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