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12/14/18 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort
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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.

12/14/18 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort
Friday was a cloudy and cool day at the Disneyland Resort. The temps were in the 60s most of the trip, but surprisingly it never really felt too cold. The crowds were on the moderate side for a Friday, with wait times under an hour for most attractions most of the day.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Earlier this week I returned from a week at Walt Disney World. It is always nice to go on vacation but also nice to be back home. The two parks at the Disneyland Resort have a much more traditional/homelike Christmas feel to me. Maybe its just my home park bias, but I think the season feels more alive in Anaheim. In Orlando if you do not pay extra for the Christmas party, which I do not, you get very little Christmas at the Magic Kingdom. Epcot has the Festival of the Holidays (not to be confused with Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure), which is nice and features storytellers, some entertainment and food but the number of entertainment choices in Anaheim is almost as strong. Since I am not a foodie that aspect is a wash for me. The Animal Kingdom has next to nothing anymore for Christmas. The Hollywood Studios park has some nice decorations around Echo lake and in the evening Sunset Seasons Greets and Jingle Bam are a solid line up but they do not have the same feel as Believe in Holiday Magic or Wintertime Enchantment Moments.

  • The new parking structure adjacent to the Mickey and Friends structure is moving quickly toward its completion in 2019. The first escalators were being installed on Friday and one section has reached the top level. The new structure cannot come quickly enough for those who drive to the parks. Hopefully this makes the arrival experience more pleasant more often.

  • From the Pixar Pal-A-Round (the name still bugs me and it tough to type), you can get a great view of the clearing for the Marvel projects. Most of the former Bugs Land is now gone with the exception of a couple trees. Also noteworthy the canopy structure that was over Tuck and Rolls is still up. Disney shared some of the back story for the area last week on the parks blog. They stated: "Tony Stark is retrofitting two of his father's Stark Industries sites into new hubs for training and innovation. Through partnerships with S.H.I.E.L.D., Pym Technologies, Masters of the Mystic Arts and the new Worldwide Engineering Brigade, The Avengers and their allies will forge new global campuses to champion the next generation of heroes." The post went on to say: "guests will encounter the heroes in new and exciting ways, from the mystic arts of Doctor Strange to the gravity-defying feats of Spider-Man. Guests will also experience the latest in Pym Technology with Ant-Man and Wasp and be wowed as Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Captain America and more leap into action on a moment's notice". I took a look at the project from near Guardians of the Galaxy and you can now see clearly all the way through the Pixar Pier. On the Cars Land side the road signs have been updated to indicate construction ahead, but nothing about Marvel.

  • Over at Disneyland two new Fortune-Telling experiences have been added to the Play Disney Parks App. Esmeralda the Fortune Teller & Fortune Red have been added to the app. When you visit them in the park and call up the app you can get a free card that has part of a story on it. There will be 10 parts to each story and you can get one per day. Both machines have been in the park for years and you can still put money into them and get regular fortunes but this is a fun new way to interact with them. I gave them both a try on Friday and thought it was a nice addition to the app. Wonder if Shrunken Ned will be added at some point?

  • The Disneyland wait time board in the hub was closed and not in use again. Guest relations cast members were there but they did not use the board. At Disney California Adventure the board was in use still. I guess they are testing out the closure in an effort to push more guests to the app. I prefer the physical board. At a glance you can get a feel for the crowd across the park. Hopefully the board returns.

  • The parks continue to adjust to the crowd levels and smaller projects are going on to ease crowding. For example Friday I noticed in Smokejumpers most of the metal pipes and chains that formed the queues have been removed. There is tape of the queue and the tables have been re-arranged so dining is mostly on one side of the front doors now in that section. It is a much more open feel now and seems it will help to move guests around. But the trade off is guests will not be in organized rows/queues anymore so it will be interesting to see how it works out. At Disneyland similar changes occurred at the Tomorrowland Terrace. Also at the Tomorrowland Terrace they have re-surfaced the main dining area, it was still closed off on Friday.

  • I spent some time walking through all three Disney Hotels on Friday since I had not done so yet this season. While at the Grand Californian I caught a performance by a handbell choir. The decorations at all three are on par with previous years. The Grand Californian and Paradise Pier Hotels both seem to be the same as previous years. At the Disneyland Hotel the large gingerbread castle photo op is not installed this year, instead a more simplified Christmas Card photo op has covered the map at the entrance to the Fantasy Tower.

  • Watched the Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle from in front of the castle this evening. It is a nice moment but without the lights in the hub and Main Street turning white it is not as impressive as years past.

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

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap November 15-30, 2018

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.

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

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