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Visit Date: 12/14/18
Steps: 24,729
Parks Miles: 11.7
Time in Parks: 9


Trip Log:

Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just after lunch. I found the Ball Road overpass closed but lucked out and made it through the first light. No delays at parking, only one car ahead of me and then was quickly directed into a spot on the Goofy level. Started off taking a look at the parking structure construction then Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge before heading for security and a tram to the parks. First stop today Disney California Adventure. Strolled up Buena Vista Street, around Carthay Circle and then along the performance corridor through Festival of Holidays to Pixar Pier. The plan was to go for a spin on the Pixar Pal-A-Round since the app showed a 15 minute wait, but by the time I got there it was closed due to an issue. They looked close to reopening so I listened to a set by the Pixarmonic Orchestra and then hung around for about 5 minutes and they reopened. Took some pictures from a non-swinging gondola then once back on the ground moved over to Paradise Gardens and found a spot for Viva Navidad! Street Party. After the performance finished my loop of the Pier and walked back through the performance corridor and over to Hollywood Land. Circled the backlot and then walked by Guardians then headed back to Buena Vista Street and over to Disneyland. Roamed around Main Street USA and made my way toward Frontierland. The Mark Twain was in port and boarding so walked on and went for a cruise around the Rivers of America. Once back ashore took the Big Thunder Trail to Fantasyland and went for another cruise, this time on small world holiday. Walked through Toon Town stopping at Donald's and Chip & Dale's for some pictures before returning to Fantasyland. Walked around the Matterhorn and into Tomorrowland then through the hub and into Adventureland. Stopped by the Penny Arcade on Main Street to pick up a card from Esmeralda then headed back to DCA to grab dinner at Smokejumpers Grill. After dinner walked by Cars Land to see if the lights were on, they were, so continued on to Pixar Pier. Missed a very red sunset by a couple minutes, caught the tail end of it. Watched a performance by the Sound who were at Paradise Gardens Park for the Festival of Holidays. Then turned and walked through Grizzly Recreation Area, pausing for snowfall, on my way to the Grand Californian. Took some pictures in the lobby and watched a performance by the Holiday Handbell Carolers. After their set I ventured across Disneyland Drive to check out the Christmas decorations at the Paradise Pier Hotel then Disneyland Hotel before heading to Downtown Disney. Spent some time looking around at the recent changes and enjoying some of the entertainment. Returned to Disneyland around 7pm. Had a few minutes to spare so stopped by the Tomorrowland Terrace to check out Goofy's Holiday Dance Party and then returned to Sleeping Beauty Castle for the 7:30pm Wintertime Enchantment moment. After the snow moment walked through Frontierland and into New Orleans Square. Visited Fortune Red and picked up the first card there then passed back through Adventureland to Main Street. Did a second walk by the dance party before returning to Disney California Adventure. Made my way out to Paradise Gardens Park for a performance by Phat Cat Swinger. After their set walked through Cars Land to see what was going on then headed back to Disneyland. Stopped by the Disney Gallery and then found a spot for Believe in Holiday Magic. After the fireworks joined the crowd heading for the trams. Returned to the parking structure, found my car and headed for home.

Other Interesting Stats:
* Moderate Walking Stats (meaning over 2.5mph): 18,448 steps, 163 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:
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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