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Visit Date: 11/08/19
Steps: 19,715
Parks Miles: 9.3
Time in Parks: 10


Trip Log:

Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just after lunch and only encountered a slight delay in the parking structure being directed into a row and spot (no delays at the toll booth or ramp today). After parking on the roof of Mickey and Friends took a quick look at the tram stop and elevator projects then walked through security and boarded a tram to the parks. First park today Disney California Adventure. Upon entering the park tried to pick up a FastPass for World of Color using MaxPass, they were all gone. Then tried to get a small world one and the return time was too early. Strolled up Buena Vista Street checking out some of the Holiday decorations then around Carthay Circle. Continued up the festival corridor taking a quick look at the marketplaces and met up with some friends near Cars Land. Took a look around Radiator Springs then walked out to Paradise Gardens for Disney Viva Navidad. After the show walked through Paradise Gardens and then took a walk through Grizzly Recreation Area. Returned to Paradise Garden Park and watched a performance by the Sound then the Holiday Toy Drummers. After their performance made our way to Hollywood Land to see what was going on there, circled the Collectors Fortress area then the Backlot before heading back up the performance corridor to find a spot for Mickey's Happy Holidays. Followed the procession to Carthay Circle to see a second showing then decided to grab a bite to eat at Smoke Jumpers Grill. After eating made my way across the Esplanade and into Disneyland. Wandered around Main Street USA and the hub on my way to it's a small world holiday to use a FastPass that I picture up earlier. While in line to board the lights came on for the evening (missed the audio due to the Disneyland Railroad passing by). After my cruise returned to Main Street USA and found a spot for A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Made our way into Tomorrowland and rested for a bit before catching the openin moments of the Holiday Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace. Walked back out to it's a small world with the goal of seeing the projection show, it did not run. Headed for Sleeping Beauty Castly and caught the Wintertime Enchantment moment at 7:30pm. Then headed for DCA and the goal of the 8pm Phat Cat Swinger Concert. Arrived in the area just before 8pm and just as the band wrapped up their performance! The showtime had changed to 7pm and I did not catch that. So we missed the show and had an extra hour. Hung out in the wharf area and some grabbed a snack from Ghirardelli. Then we strolled through Cars Land to see the holiday lights before returning to Disneyland for Believe in Holiday Magic. After the fireworks headed back across the Esplanade for World of Color: Season of Light. After the walked through Grizzly Recreation Area back to Buena Vista Street and out to the trams. Took a tram back to the parking structure, found my car and headed home.

Other Interesting Stats:
* Moderate Walking Stats (meaning over 2.5mph): 14,265 steps, 126 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!

Today (Friday the 8th) was the first day of the Holiday Season at the Disneyland Resort. Christmas entertainment, food, merchandise and other festivities were in full swing at both parks. Most of the decorations are up in the parks. Downtown Disney and the Hotels are still a work in progress as the resort transitions quickly from Halloween last week to Christmas. This weekend is also Veterans Day weekend so Monday many are off. The parks both felt crowded throughout the day but wait times seemed to skew more toward moderate. Seems guests were enjoying the festivities which helped with wait times. The weather did not aid the Christmas cheer as it topped out in the low 90s and dropped to the 60s after dark. I had a busy line up of entertainment and things to see on my list for the day.. almost 20 items this week. I managed to accomplish almost all of them too.

A couple quick programming notes. The Disney Parks Holiday Specials will be filming next week, the 13th & 14th. So that means alternate times for some entertainment and some inconvenience. Also chances to see some performances if you are interested in that. Monday there will be a special Flag Retreat for Veterans Day.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • My arrival experience was average. No waits at the parking toll booths, security or the tram and a slightly better time being directed into a spot. Traffic did not back up until I reached floor.

  • Started my afternoon at Disney California Adventure. Walked through the Festival of Holidays Marketplaces taking a quick look around. Overall the setup follows previous festivals with marketplaces along the parade route selling food and drinks. The entertainment takes place on several stages just like years past. The offerings this year are the same as last year with the one change of Elena's show being replaced with a Mickey Mouse/Character procession. The decorations in Disney California Adventure seemed about the same as always. Nothing substantially different or new jumped out at me on a first walkthrough of the park.

  • My focus this visit was to experience/enjoy the holiday entertainment and I managed to see most of the groups. I started my visit with Disney Viva Navidad Street Party. This show is still one of my favorites of the season. The high energy and large cast put on a great production. If you have not seen this show and visit the Disneyland Resort this holiday season be sure to catch one of the half dozen daily performances. The Holiday Toy Drummers, The Sound Blue 13 Dance Co, Mariachi Divas,, and Mostly Kosher all return for the festival. Plus an assortment of bands are scheduled on the Bandstand. I saw a set or part of a set from most of these and all were on par with previous years. One interesting "geek" note is the Palisades Stage was using the built in sound and light system no external truss units like past festivals. Great to see the infrastructure being used again. It has been years since I recall seeing it fully utilized. Also this helps a lot with World of Color sight lines.

  • Mickey's Happy Holidays is a lively march through the park twice daily featuring Mickey Mouse and several classic characters and Pixar Friends. They are accompanied by the Holiday Toy Drummers and some dancers. They make two brief stops to perform. One at the Obelisk and one in Carthay Circle. The stops are for a short song. Before the procession arrived cast members were warning guests that it was a very brief performance in an effort to manage expectations. The show has a similar feel as the Mickey and Friends Cavalcade but it felt slightly less with the pre recorded music vs live band to me. The numbers of characters was great but seeing them at the two stops was a challenge. It would be nice if this ran more frequently to take the crunch off must see aspect.

  • Over at Disneyland the hub and Tomorrowland Entrance project is moving along. Most of the north lawn/planters is out from behind walls and the south walls have been pushed back to the planters to allow them to reopen the walkways. The grass looks great but seems to be begging for some Christmas decorations. Will be interesting to see how this area evolves.

  • One of the longest lines I saw all day was on Main Street USA in the hub for popcorn buckets. The light up tree and Pluto buckets were available from that cart and the queue wrapped around the hub with an extended tape queue set up even. I heard stories of well over an hour wait most of the day from other guests. Other popcorn queues were shorter.

  • I used a FastPass for it's a small world holiday. I did not spot any significant changes this year on my first ride through. The big change is the addition of some additional scents this year. They were ok but I would have liked to have seen something else added or refreshed instead. When I choose to ride the FastPass return was backed up and it took almost 15 minutes to ride. Stand by was at a standstill as they tried to clear the FP backlog. I was in line as the lighting moment happened. Unfortunately the Disneyland railroad was steaming by so I missed the audio, but it was very brief so I am assuming the same as previous years unfortunately. I always though a couple minute production would be great. I did stop by later in the evening in an effort to see the projection show but it did not run at 7:15pm so I missed it this visit.

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade is back. Again no substantial changes jumped out to me. I did spot Forky on the Toy Factory Float and the snow flake costumes may have been updated. Santa's sleigh has been repaired and is moving again. It would be great to see some refreshing of this parade.. it has been a while.

  • Disney Holiday Dance Party is hosted at the Tomorrowland Terrace on weekend and holiday nights. It follows the format of previous versions of the dance party with a DJ and a couple characters at a time visiting the stage and dance floor. The decorations this year seemed a little more elaborate than I remembered.

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Wintertime Enchantment takes place twice nightly. This small snow moment is a favorite to see each year. This year there are no lights in the hub and with no garland up on Main Street yet not much going on down the street either. Hopefully once Main Street is fully decorated the white light transformation returns there to add to the moment.

  • The times guide and website earlier in the week both led me astray. I wanted to see the Phat Cat Swinger Holiday Concert and both listed it at 8pm (which seemed late with a 9pm World of Color). I showed up a little before 8pm and the band was already playing.. playing their finale song! So I was able to only see a few minutes of the end of the show. It had moved to a 7pm start and I did not catch that anywhere. Oops. The website did show the new time now and the small sign nearby did too. The printed guide is wrong.

  • Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks have returned. The show is great as usual. Main Street was busy but not jammed where I watched from this evening. This show is still among my favorite fireworks show. The additional projects were added a couple years ago on Main Street plussed the show but kept it true to its original feel.

  • When I arrived at the park this afternoon I tried to pick up a FastPass for World of Color Season of Light and there were none available for either show. I opted to return to DCA and try the stand by area for the 10:15pm show. When we showed up for the show just before 10pm the area was fairly quiet and cast members were already allowing you into almost all viewing areas without a FastPass. Just the reserved dining section appeared to be off limits. I found myself a spot against the rail in the blue section where I could get a wide view of the entire show. The show is the same as it has been but they have tweaked some of the effects to use the new lasers/equipment from the long renovation so it looked better than ever.

  • On the way back to the tram I noted some new circular lights in the tree closest to the fountain in Downtown Disney. These hula hoop inspired lights appear to be new decorations for the holiday season. Most trees had nothing still so it will be interesting to see the full holiday decoration package once it gets installed in the coming days.

  • My exit experience was very smooth today. They had queues set up for the tram and we just kept walking. I had to pause briefly to wait for a tram to stop but other than that no issues at all.

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

Geek's Blog Postings Recap September 25 - October 21, 2019

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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