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12/17/21 - A relaxing holiday visit
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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.

12/17/21 - A relaxing holiday visit

Hello Everyone!

This afternoon we visited the Disneyland Resort for my 11th and most likely final visit of 2021. The primary goal this afternoon was to visit it's a small world holiday that opened since my last visit. Beyond that I was going to enjoy the holiday festivities with my nephews and family. I arrived at the park later today due to work and traffic, arriving at the parking structure just after 1:30. The parks felt busy with a lot of guests walking around. Wait times seemed to vary greatly with some being longer than usual and others less. Not sure if this was due to the nature of the crowd, the weather, etc.. or the fact that the Disney Genie is now live in the parks.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • My travel to the park today was less than idea, it took almost two hours to make the 75 mile trek. It seemed as if every freeway was determined to travel at 30 miles an hour. To top things off I finally exited for Disneyland and the Ball Road overpass was closed and I missed the light by one car so another delay. At least there was no delay at the parking toll booth nor getting into a space. Security only had a handful of lanes open so lines were long and slow. After being at Walt Disney World for a week I really missed their more efficient screening process.
  • As I entered Disneyland Town Square was preparing for A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Our group snaked through the crowd then hub and Fantasyland to reach it's a small world holiday. As I had hoped the wait time was minimal due to the parade so it was only a couple minute wait and we were on our cruise.
  • It was great to be able to visit it's a small world holiday. From the sounds of it the teams pulled off a massive recovery effort in very short order to salvage some of the holiday season after the flood. It is really hard not to go through the attraction and not come away in a festive mood.
  • As I walked the park today the number of characters out greeting guests really stood out to me. You start to take it for granted after a while that you could see them throughout the parks. But after spending a week at Walt Disney World you really appreciate what the Anaheim team has done. The number of characters and opportunities to see and interact with them far exceeds what is available in the four parks in Florida right now. An example of this happened as we walked from it's a small world to Storybook Land Canal. The Pearly Band was performing and there were a number of characters in the area - Pinocchio, Geppetto, Peter Pan & Wendy, Genie, Jasmine, Moana, Bert, a penguin and Merida.
  • For the holiday season the miniatures in Storybook Land receive decorations and its always fun to see them. It was about a 20 minute wait for my cruise this afternoon. It was nice to see they are still allowing young kids to sit on the front of the boats, but the downside to that is I felt I needed to keep an arm on him so taking pictures was challenging, switching from cell phone to SLR while keeping a hold of one of my nephews.
  • The walls are finally down to reveal the finished walkway and ramp connecting Fantasyland to Toontown. The area looks good, but the pavement is discolored still on the newest section. The new ramp seems a bit tricky to get to as you have to go by the gift shop. There is no way to reach it from ground level due to the change in the grade and steps that are present between the ground and shop level at the start of the ramp.
  • In Toontown there was some visible progress on the El Capitoon Theatre since my last visit. Steel for the front overhang has been installed as the building continues to take shape. Its been fun to watch this transformation. Hopefully most of it is complete before Toontown is closed in March and our views of the project cut off.
  • I also wanted to visit Cartoon Spin but the wait was pushing an hour every time I checked. So that has to wait for another visit. They have made some changes to the queue and attraction as Jessica Rabbit is now a detective.
  • I would like to state again how I would really like to see the location of Main Street Entertainment added to the app and/or website. Its a challenge to find them. The Dickens Yuletide band is like finding Waldo.. they show up in different spots and do not always seem on time. The Dapper Dans are a bit tricky too.
  • Most of my group ate dinner at Smoke Jumpers Grill. Our meal was very inconsistent with some people receiving hot entrees and sides, others luke warm and one cold fried but warm chicken strips. Seems the length of time food sits waiting to be distributed can vary greatly and there is nothing to keep the temperature up. We noticed they changed to having more food prepared in recent trips vs how they used to assemble each plate/basket upon order. The speed seems slightly better, but still not efficient and the warm or cold food is not positive.
  • The evening Holiday Concert times dropped off the app as I checked in the afternoon. At the venue nothing was on the board either. Seems the Phat Cat Swinger concerts were cancelled for some reason. There was no notice of cancellation, just dropped off the schedule. This was disappointing.
  • The Holiday Handbell Carolers have returned to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel lobby for the season. I saw no posted set times on the website or in the hotel but from what I have seen they appear to perform 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm in front of the gingerbread house. I pulled up a seat for the 6:30pm performance. If you are looking for some holiday music their sets are entertaining.
  • We stopped by it's a small world to catch the 8pm projection show and the area was a bit chaotic. They had the area in front of the attraction roped off and the queue was cut. They said the attraction was currently down. But oddly enough they were allowing some guests inside the roped off area, so it was hard to tell what was going on. Best guess is they were trying to clear the queue and area due to the fireworks at 9pm.
  • Due to no concert in Disney California Adventure I hung around Disneyland and caught both Wintertime Enchantment events, the 7:30 and 8:15pm. It was my first time seeing the 8:15pm one this year. As expected it was the same as its always been.
  • Right before Believe in Holiday Magic started I saw the weather balloon launched. It almost immediately started drifting fairly swiftly to the west. This did not bode well for the show, but the normal spiel came on and no wind warnings. The projectors came on and the show started on time. They opted to run without the larger/higher shells. I called it a low show. For example the large Mickey firework effect was not used. Most of the shells the are close to the castle are used. This alternative to the show is better than projection only and great to see the option available and used.

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

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.

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