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Visit Date: 5/27/16
Steps: 16,154
Parks Miles: 6.1
Time in Parks: 8.5


Trip Log:

Arrived at the Mickey and Friends parking structure slightly later than usual today thanks to a lot of traffic. The Ball road overpass was closed so had to go through the light, but luckily the garage was open. No lines at the tollbooths but a slight delay/line to be directed to a spot on the Donald level. Spent some time taking a look at the Star Wars Construction from there then headed for the parks via the tram. No line at security or to enter DCA either. Strolled up Buena Vista Street and then took a left on Hollywood Blvd. There were a lot more guests than usual in this area of the park. There was a large crowd in front of the Hyperion and in the surrounding area. Today was the public premiere of Frozen - live at the Hyperion and the first show was scheduled to end soon after I arrived in the area. I took some pictures and then found the standby line for the second show. I ened up in the first 50-60 guests in line somehow. While in line crossed paths with several friends and as luck would have it one had an extra FastPass for the show so I moved from the Standby line and joined the FastPass return group. Ended up in the Balcony because of my late entrance, but the good news is found a seat near the center in the third row. After Frozen I spent some time roaming Hollywood Land and visiting with friends then I made my way over to Disneyland. Stopped by the Main Street train station for a couple pictures then watched the nightly flag retreat. After the ceremony made my way to the hub and into Frontierland. Took some more Star Wars pictures from the end of the Big Thunder Trail then walked around the Rivers of America and out to Critter Country for some more pictures. Decided to eat dinner at the Hungry Bear and then wandered back through New Orleans, pausing for a performance by the Bootstrappers. Continued on to Adventureland and then across the hub to Tomorrowland. Circled the area and paid a visit to the new restrooms. Walked around the Matterhorn and into Fantasyland. Stopped by the Skyway Chalet for possibly my last look at it and then walked by Sleeping Beauty Castle and through Fantasy Faire to return to Main Street. Decided to return to DCA. Passed through Buena Vista Street and verred into Grizzly Peak. Walked through the Airfield then around Grizzly River Run to Paradise Pier. Circled the Pier to see if anything new was happening as the sun finished setting. Then stopped by Ghirardlli for some chocolate on my way to Cars Land. Wandered around a while and found a quiet spot to do a blog post then returned to the Pier for World of Color. Found a spot in Standby as the 5 minute announcement was playing. Watched the show then headed for the tram and parking structure. Caught most of Disneyland Forever from the garage then found my car and headed for home.

Other Interesting Stats:
* Moderate Walking Stats (meaning over 2.5mph): 11,261 steps, 95 minutes.

For Comparisons to other trips or more park miles click here to visit our park Miles Section.

Note: These totals may be skewed because the pedometer is zero'd when we start and then left alone and read when we leave. So attractions, and other things may cause extra "steps" to be counted. The pedometer that we use basically measures up/down motion as a step, so if your standing in line and moving up and down it may be counting steps, etc.. so the total distances traveled and steps may be off.. so use these as rough distance comparisons between trips and they may not be accurate in terms of actual distance traveled.

Pictures & Video From this Trip:

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My Thoughts & Observations:

Hello everyone,

To kick off the Memorial Day weekend I thought I would head to the Disneyland Resort. This weekend in recent years has marked the beginning of the summer season at the parks with new attractions and entertainment premiering. This year the new offering is a Frozen stage show at DCA. Nothing else new has started yet. A new dance party in the Backlot starts later this weekend. Nothing else has been announced or rumored so it appears to be a status quo summer. There was no 24 hour day or big promotion event this week. I was pleasantly surprised by the moderate crowd I found at the parks. There were a fair number of guests moving about the two parks but it did not feel like a holiday crowd to me. Maybe I am just used to the crowds so they do not seem that bad. Wait times were not much longer than usual, some seemed less the couple times I checked. Weather was normal Southern California with highs in the 70s dropping down to the 60s as the sun set.

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

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Started off my visit spending some extra time in the Mickey and Friends parking structure looking at the Star Wars construction. This seems to be an attraction in itself with a fair number of guests pausing to look and quite a few stopping for several minutes to talk about the project and watch. Same goes for Cast Members watching the daily changes going on. With the viewing angles that are available it is limited in what you can see and I think hard to get the full scope of the project. This is a very large area and the landscape has dramatically changed. Almost all of the clearing and demo work is now done and they are starting to reconfigure the land and we are starting to see what looks like the first signs of the new paths and layout taking shape.

  • Frozen - Live at the Hyperion replaces the long running Aladdin show at Disney California Adventure. It premiered to media and invited guests on Thursday evening. Friday marked the public premiere with three shows. The show is a Broadway style show that follows the movie story line of Frozen fairly closely and features all of the songs. It clocks in at just over an hour running time from when the show started until the curtain call. It features live singing and speaking with a pre-recorded sound track, just like Aladdin. The show utilizes projections to create a backdrop as well as more immersive experience in the theater as it wraps the audience. For more on the technical aspects of the show here is a Disney Release. Also for more facts and figures here is another release with those.
    • The show features FastPass right now. I saw reports on Twitter that FastPasses for the three shows were all gone within the first hour of the park opening. Due to my work schedule I did not arrive until after 1pm so I knew my only option was to try the Standby line. Currently there are no dining packages available but the word on the street is they are coming as well as a VIP experience option.
    • I found it disappointing that for the grand opening weekend there were only three shows a day scheduled. That means only approx 6,000 guests would be able to see the show. This is a small fraction of the attendance at the Resort on a busy Friday. I am told they will be adding more shows in the coming weeks. I looked at Disneyland.com and they show three shows a day through June 9th. Which is the last day they have it on the schedule from the 10th forward times are not posted yet.
    • As I approached the Hyperion on Friday there was a large mob/group of guests trying to get into the queues. Cast Members were at the doors collecting FastPasses and trying to filter guests to the appropriate queue but it was not very well organized. I was surprised they were not more prepared for this given they have done FastPass for Aladdin and had large crowds the final weeks. The good news is if you paid attention and listened to the cast members it was not that bad but it looked bad and if you are not used to that type of crowd it could be an unpleasant experience.
    • I was really surprised the Standby line was as short as it was. I entered about an hour before the show and there were only 50 or so guests in front of me. I would have made it into the show with no problem according to the cast members I spoke to. Luckily for me I did not have to wait and see because a friend saw me in line and gave me an extra FastPass so I left the Standby line and walked back to the end of the FastPass line. Interesting to note when I finally made it into the queue the guests who were around me in the Standby line had been moved.. so I assume they were allowed into one of the queues for the show already. I had a choice to be one of the last guests in the Mezzanine level or to be toward the front of the Balcony queue. I opted for the Balcony and managed to get a seat near show center in the third row.
    • The seating inside has remained the same. They cut out the couple seats on the far wings (which may have actually been removed during Aladdin's run now that I think about it). The seats down in the orchestra area have had cup holders added. Up in the balcony no such change. It has also been shown online that they are selling food and drinks from cast members walking around the theater. Again this appears to just be the orchestra level. Up in the balcony I did not see any evidence of this at all.
    • The view from the balcony is a bit awkward since you are looking down on the stage/cast and are quite a distance away but you do get a wide angle view of the projections and scene. Unfortunately you do not really feel the immersion since you are not surrounded by them. The background projections and staging work from the angle but they are not optimized (you can compare some of my pictures to Disney released images and videos from the lower angles).
    • I thought the show was a solid offering. It was a well done production that held true to the original. If you are a fan of Frozen or musicals you will not be disappointed. The staging, costumes, effects, and cast are all great. Disney invested a fair amount of time and money in the production and the quality shows. I saw the second performance of the day (which was only the third in front of a full audience for the cast) and the show had quite a few minor glitches with mics not working, queues missed, things held up as scenes are set up, but those will work themselves out with time and the show will tighten up and the cast will loosen up. I thought they would have benefited to have had a few weeks of soft opening shows to work through these issues and kinks before the grand premieres but it seems now a days Disney is pushing the envelop with opening windows. I would have liked to have seen a little bit looser of a script allowing for some freedom somehow. I thought one of the key aspects that kept Aladdin fresh over the years was the role of the Genie. There is no such character or opening in this show. So it will be interesting how it ages. Also keep in mind this show is longer, it runs about an hour. So the time investment is considerable. It took about 2.5 hours of my visit from when I entered the queue until I was clear of the exit crowd.
    • I have been asked by several people how it compares to Aladdin. It is similar in terms of scale and production quality. The show utilizes more modern technology with the set pieces and projections. The cast seemed larger too. I enjoyed the Genie role and monologue in Aladdin but I like the music and production of Frozen better. In terms of favorite show at the Hyperion I still enjoyed the Power of Blast more than both of them. The live concert aspect I really like.

  • I took a look at the Time Guide for the day and I find it interesting the Zootopia characters still are not listed. It just says Disney Friends in Hollywood Land which means Zootopia and Disney Junior. The Marvel characters are listed.

  • The Alice Through the Looking Glass sneak peek is still running. They have added a couple banners/signs on Hollywood Blvd to try and guide guests toward the theater. The crowd looked thin on Friday when I walked by. With the film now open that is to be expected I guess.

  • The Disneyland Railroad has added a new experience in recent weeks. You can now climb into the cab of the engine at the Main Street Station. The cast members will take your picture and explain the various components inside the cab and how the train works. It is a great experience and a fairly unique photo. If you are in the park and have time I would recommend stopping by Main Street and New Orleans Square Station to visit with the cast members and see the trains up close.

  • I stayed in Town Square for the nightly Flag Retreat Ceremony. There was a good size crowd gathered to start the Memorial Day weekend. The production that is put on is very well done and a fitting tribute. If you have not experienced it I would recommend it sometime. The ceremony usually features the Disneyland Band, Dapper Dans, and Disneyland Security Honor Guard. They pay tribute to each branch of the service then the flags are lowered and folded.

  • I decided to grab dinner at the Hungry Bear this evening since I was there taking pictures of Star Wars construction and it was quiet. I went for a burger and fries. The burger was the same as always the bun was toasted and not as awful as some of the other recent ones I have had. Unfortunately eating outside meant the fries cooled down way too fast. While I was eating, a Disneyland cat made the rounds of the couple of tables that had guests where I was sitting. This cat obviously had no issues with guests and seemed to enjoy visiting them and trying to get some food. Usually the cats seem skittish around people but not this one. Eventually a cast member noticed and coaxed the cat out of the area.

  • The number of promotions and add on options throughout the park seems to be on the rise. There were a handful of signs up at the Hungry Bear. This seems a little out of control, not to mention looked horrible. Most are your standard food item or beverage holder. There are two new ones for Annual Passholders worth noting. You can purchase an AP popcorn bucket or made with magic sipper and for a $1 it can be refilled from now through the end of summer.

  • Paid a quiet evening visit to the Skyway area in Fantasyland for some final pictures. It was interesting watching other guests doing the same. And then watching the reaction of random tourists wondering what we were all looking at and photographing. Seems this has become a mini attraction all to itself and the cast members working the food and merchandise cart in the area are accommodating.

  • The Disneyparks Blog ran a story about new recycling trash bins in the park now. In addition to a slot for bottles/cans they added one for liquids. I was curious so I paid attention and tried to see if they were in use. I only spotted two and they were both near the corn dog wagon. In the couple minutes I was in the area I did not see anyone use the liquid side, just the bottle/can side and regular trash. Will be interesting to see if the program expands and if guests will catch on and utilize it.

  • Noticed in the Disneyland time guide they listed the groups performing/marching on Main Street for the week. They were all scheduled for 1:30pm (well before the parade). But nice to see they were listed with the name and city/state they came from. That is a fun keepsake for those parents and participants.

  • I capped off my time in the park catching World of Color - Celebrate from a standby location. There was no screen on the Fun Wheel nor projections on it this evening. I had heard this has been the case for several weeks now. Hopefully the issue gets resolved soon. The projections there are utilized throughout the show. Many of the dialog parts were projected on the Screamin' loop instead on Friday.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap – May 9-21, 2016

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

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

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