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Visit Date: 9/29/23
Steps: 19,380
Parks Miles: 8.87
Time in Parks: 11


Trip Log:

Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just before 10am and was directed into a decent spot on the Goofy level of the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Walked over to the Disneyland Hotel and spent some time touring the new Discovery Tower before walking through Downtown Disney. Entered Disney California Adventure around 11:20am and strolled along Buena Vista Street and up the Performance Corridor to Avengers Campus. Stopped by the recently opened Avengers Vault then ventured into Cars Land. Decided to go for a ride on Radiator Springs Racers. Waited just over 10 minutes using the single rider line. Continued on to to San Fransokyo Square next and decided to grab some lunch. After lunch walked around the area and then headed for Disneyland around 1:30pm. Took Main Street USA to Adventureland. There I encountered Indiana Jones as well as Jack Skellington and Sally. Took a look at the Adventureland Treehouse and Tiana's Bayou Adventure construction before making our way into Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. Saw Chopper and the General out visiting with guests before continuing on to Fantasyland. Stopped by Mickey's Toontown to see the construction work then walked around the Matterhorn to Tomorrowland. Stopped by the Star View Station for a while to visit with some friends then walked around Tomorrowland and Fantasy Faire. Strolled through Frontierland and into Adventureland on my way back to Town Square for the nightly Flag Retreat. After the ceremony returned to Tomorrowland and boarded a Monorail for Downtown Disney. Watched the 5:30 & 6:30 SCAREolers performances. Made my way through the crowd in Downtown Disney and then into Disneyland. Returned to the Rivers of America area to catch the premiere performance of The Heartbeat of New Orleans - A Living Mural at 7:40pm. After the show hung around the area visiting with friends and ended up catching the 7:55pm show too then Queenie and the Jambalaya Jazz performance. The group was tired at this point so we made our way toward the park exit, boarded a tram to the parking structure, found the car and headed for home. (Walking time 3:15 today)

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.

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My Thoughts & Observations:

Hello Everyone!

I spent most of the day at the Disneyland Resort Friday, arriving mid morning and staying until around 8:30pm. The weather was mild touching the low 70s and cooling down to the 60s with cloud cover almost all day. The crowds were the usual for this time of year with a good number of people moving around throughout the day and attraction wait times spotty but growing as the day went on. Once the sun set the parks became much more crowded. As I was leaving around 8:30 the trams arriving from the parking structure were mostly full still.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I started my visit off walking over to the Disneyland Hotel to check out the new Tower. In the Fantasia Shop they have a line of merchandise to celebrate the opening of the new Villas. I was a little disappointed in the grand opening selection. There was nothing dated, just generic grand opening 2023 and the design was a little too abstract for me on the opening merchandise.
  • The new Villas at the Disneyland Hotel Discovery Tower celebrated its grand opening Thursday with a small event on the pool deck and then the first guests staying Thursday night. So Friday was the 2nd day for the new tower and the celebrations were still going on with special events for DVC members planned.
  • I spent some time exploring the lobby and common areas of the new Discovery Tower. There is a good amount of seating space and lounge space in the lobby, as well as a fun mural on one wall featuring a number of Disney characters. There are also a number of displays about animation throughout the area as well as the color maps that span the exterior of the building. The hallways feature artwork celebrating the films, for example I saw Sleeping Beauty and Princess and the Frog art in the couple hallways I was in. Overall the lobby felt welcoming and good size with more open space than the other Disneyland Hotel towers have. The Discovery Tower theme seemed lost to me though. The decor focus was more on Disney Animation to me. I guess you are discovering their stories?? It seemed an odd fit.
  • There were a number of cast members in the lobby areas greeting guests and preparing for DVC member tours and other events later in the day. We were speaking with some as we explored the space and one offered to show us a few rooms if we wanted to, which of course the answer was a very quick yes.
  • Our first stop was a Deluxe Studio on the ground level that featured a Sleeping Beauty theme. The room felt good size for a studio with the space being used efficiently. The second bed folds down where the couch is making for a quick transition from a sitting space to sleeping space. There were USB ports on either side of the bed and some outlets on a large counter under the TV that spanned that wall of the room. There were two small stools to sit on and a bench seat in the far corner. But no regular chairs and no table. No table seems like a challenge for people that want to eat in the room or have a place to work on a laptop. The Sleeping Beauty touches were nice in the space including the rug, artwork on the wall, the headboard, art in the bathroom, and a fun little piece in the back of the closet. Overall the room had a number of Disney references that made it fit with the Disneyland Hotel. I did find it interesting that the demo room showcased one of the worst views you could have. Guess that is good for paying guests that no one draws that space.
  • We next traveled up to the 7th floor and were shown another Deluxe Studio and its adjacent 1-Bedroom Villa, the door connecting the two can be opened to form a 2-bedroom lockoff Villa too. These two rooms were Princess Tiana themed. The studio was the same as the first floor one, except with a much better view overlooking the pool area. The Princess Tiana elements replaced the Sleeping Beauty ones as you would expect.
  • The 1-bedroom Villa felt good sized, on par with others I have stayed in. You enter through a hallway that has a large closet including the washer and dryer. We liked how that unit was close to the door, furthest from the beds and sitting areas. At the end of the hallway looking straight was the kitchen and dining table, beyond that the living room with two pull down/out beds and a balcony. To the immediate right was a full bath and beyond it the bedroom with another full path featuring both a shower and tub. The larger space of the 1-bedroom allowed for larger pieces of art featuring Princess Tiana.
  • Overall the new Discovery Tower was a very nice resort offering. I did not explore the pool area but saw it through the fence. The new pool area is connected to the existing one and open for all guests of the hotel to use. The tower is a great addition to the Disneyland Hotel in terms of additional rooms and space, but to me it looks so different and feels so different from the other towers it is not well integrated. It feels like a different hotel. I guess this is moving back toward the Disneyland Hotel roots where the accommodations could feel very different if you were in one of the wings or the Towers. Also I really do not see the Discovery Tower name reflected in the decor.
  • To celebrate the opening of the Villas at Disneyland Hotel there is a 3D art installation as you walk from the tram stop toward the ticket booths, just past Earl of Sandwich. I am always impressed by how these look when you stand in the sweet spot. The dimensionality the artists achieve is amazing to someone like me that is challenged to draw a stick figure.
  • Started my visit at Disney California Adventure and stopped by the Avengers Vault that opened since my last visit. This new store is in the Avengers Headquarters building. I was expecting a small store and it is small, but it felt larger than I was expecting (if that makes any sense). It has a temporary feel to it but it utilizes the space well and fits into the area. The merchandise selection skewed more toward higher priced items it felt. There was an assortment but a large number of the shelves we noticed had items in the $50-$100 range.
  • Decided to give Radiator Springs Racers a try since I had not ridden since it returned from renovation. The single rider queue turned out to be a 13 minute wait. I was disappointed to see several effects not working, such as the 1st Mater was stationary and a tractor did not tip. The newly resurfaced area outside felt a little on the rough side to me, but looked good.
  • We of course decided to eat lunch around peak time so mobile order return times were on the lengthy side at many places ranging from 20-40 minutes at a few places we checked. To our surprise the register lines were shorter than usual at Flo's and Aunt Cass Cafe. For example at Flo's where I opted to eat the mobile order time was 20 minutes out but there were only a half dozen groups in line and two registers open. So it worked in my favor to just walk up and order this time.
  • Upon entering Disneyland I noticed the Magic Key sign was out at the Disney Gallery so we stopped by and they were distributing the Magic Key trading cards. Originally I saw they were not going to be available on Friday -> Sunday so it was an unexpected surprise and I was happy to be able to pick up a card. This week was Madam Leota.
  • We spent the afternoon roaming around Disneyland with no real agenda. It was pleasant to just walk the park and take in the sights. We did cross paths with a number of characters including Indiana Jones who I had not managed to catch on previous visits. When walking by the Rivers of America everything was closed. The Columbia was in dock and island was not open. Both were listed as temporary closures but I did not see them open the entire visit. A crew was examining the Fantasmic light tower closest to the Haunted Mansion. There were a larger number of cast members in the area and they cleared guests back, opened the doors, looked down with flashlights, then closed them without moving the tower. It was kind of odd/different. Usually there are only one or two CMs when they raise the towers. Later in the afternoon the tower was up, but it was not used for the evening shows.
  • I was able to take in two performances by the SCAREolers in Downtown Disney this evening. It is always fun to see their sets and they drew healthy crowds. If you can find time in your schedule or just want to take a break from your time in the parks I would recommend stopping by to see them. They perform weekend evenings all season, check the Disneyland website for show times.
  • This evening a new projection show premiered on the Rivers of America. The Heartbeat of New Orleans - A Living Mural is an approximately 5 minute presentation utilizing the Fantasmic water screens and fountains to showcase original artwork/animation telling the story of a young frog that visits New Orleans to experience the music. The show happens a handful of times throughout the evening taking place around the Jazz Band sets and Fireworks. If you want to see the show, be sure to show up a few minutes early.. Friday the shows began 3 minutes or so ahead of the posted time. I thought this was a nice addition to the rivers giving guests in the area something to pause and enjoy for a few minutes. It is a well done production and a solid piece of atmosphere entertainment.

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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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