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Visit Date: 11/10/23
Steps: 24,764
Parks Miles: 11.33
Time in Parks: 12


Trip Log:

I exited the freeway just before 9:30am and found the toll plaza line backed up out of the parking structure. It took about 20 minutes to get through the line and into a spot this morning. Once parked found no wait at security or to board a tram. Started my morning on Main Street USA enjoying the Christmas atmosphere. The Disneyland Band was wrapping up a set with a Christmas number as I entered so stopped to listen to them then saw the characters in their new holiday attire before venturing further into the park. Strolled along Main Street USA and around the hub. Passed through Frontierland briefly before cutting through to Adventureland. Took a look at the crowds and decided to hop in line for the Adventureland Treehouse. Cast Members said it would be under 30 minutes, turned out to be 20 minutes. Took my time walking through the attraction, today was opening day. Once back on the ground walked along the Rivers of America and out to see the Mark Twain and Tiana's Bayou Adventure Work. Stopped by Critter Country, Santa was not out when I passed by. Walked back through New Orleans Square. Passed through the hub to Tomorrowland with the goal of taking the Monorail to look at Downtown Disney but it had a posted 30-minute wait, only one train in operation. So instead headed for Mickey's Toontown to see the ongoing projects there and if any new decorations were up. While there I secured a virtual queue spot for World of Color. Then circled the area before walking the parade route back to Town Square. Crossed the Esplanade to Disney California Adventure and took my first look around Disney Festival of Holidays which opened today. Stopped to listen to the Mistletoes on the terrace stage and then found a spot for Mickey's Happy Holidays. After the procession passed by wandered through San Fransokyo Square and into Cars Land. Grabbed a bite to eat at Flo's V-8 Cafe then returned to the Bay Area to see more of the Festival of Holidays. Russel was out and then caught a performance of the Holiday Toy Drummers. Stopped by Viva Navidad for the Street Party then walked through Grizzly Recreation area where I spotted Santa. Passed through the Grand Californian Hotel to see the gingerbread progress on my way to Downtown Disney. The new lawn and stage area opened today. Took a look around then boarded a Monorail back to Disneyland. it's a small world holiday had just reopened so I was able to squeeze in a cruise before A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Ended up walking through Fantasyland and to Town Square to catch the parade. The area around it's a small world was too congested to find a decent spot so close to parade time. After the parade hung around Main Street USA for the 4:30pm Flag Retreat then crossed back to DCA. Arrived on Route 66 just as the Winter Wonderland song was ending so took a look at the Christmas lights then took Cross Street to Avengers Campus and Sunset Blvd to Hollywood Land. Festival of Holidays has expanded with a new stage and using the backlot stage again this year. Passed through Carthay Circle and took the performance corridor back out to Paradise Gardens to see Viva Navidad, I had not walked through the festival area earlier. Enjoyed the 5:30pm Phat Cat Swinger performance then hiked back to Disneyland. Found a spot for the 6:30pm parade in the hub. Waded through the post parade traffic to reach Tomorrowland. Took a look at the Space Mountain projections/lighting then stopped by the Tomorrowland Terrace to see the Holiday Dance Party. At 7:30pm was on Main Street USA for the Wintertime Enchantment moment then stopped by it's a small world holiday to see the lights and a projection sequence. Took a quick walk-through Adventureland to see the treehouse at night, but no time to wait and walk through today. Crossed back to DCA and strolled through Grizzly Recreation Area on my way to Paradise Gardens Park to find a spot for World of Color Season of Light. After the show walked quickly down the performance corridor and saw no wait to enter Disneyland so though I would give Believe in Holiday Magic a try. I arrived at the cinema just as the lights were going out so I crossed under the rope and had a very obstructed view this evening of the fireworks. After White Christmas joined the masses exiting the park and boarded a tram back to the parking structure, found my car, and headed for home. (Walking time 3:53 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.

Pictures & Video From this Trip:

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My Thoughts & Observations:

Hello Everyone!

Friday was a busy day at the Disneyland Resort. With Veterans Day weekend the parks were crowded, I was hoping for moderate crowds with Magic Keys almost all blocked, but no such luck. Wait times were on the long side and walkways were crowded as you would expect for the holiday season. Weather was great starting in the 60s, climbing to 70s then back to the low 60s by the time I left.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • My drive to Anaheim Friday was much better than usual. Seems a lot of people were off work or took off since their kids were out of school for the day. I encountered no major delays on my drive down. My good luck ended as I exited the freeway and crossed Ball Road. As soon as you approached the turn to the parking structure the backup started. It took approximately 20 minutes from Ball Road to a parking spot. The toll booth lines were backed up out of the structure and inched along. Then the ramp up to the level was backed up. Adding to the backup is they were parking us in the first row (furthest from the escalators). Filling this aisle is always slow and backs things up. Why were they doing this during a morning rush period makes no sense from a guest experience point of view. So I drew a poor spot in 1F, which is nearing the back corner of the garage.
  • The Holidays kicked off today and run through the first week of January. It is always great to step onto Main Street and see the Christmas tree. When I arrived today the Disneyland Band was in Town Square playing a Christmas song even, so great timing.
  • The characters have new Holiday attire and are wearing it on Main Street for pictures. The new outfits look good and its fun to see the changes each year. I wish they would have some extra opportunities to see everyone, maybe more photo stops at the Train Station or a cavalcade or two in addition to just being out. I was able to see just about all of them on my couple passes through the area.
  • The Adventureland Treehouse opened today. The attraction poster is hung in the tunnel as you enter the park and crowds were solid all day long out at the attraction. I did not spot anything special going on for the opening, a button or something would have been nice to see. The queue was full and an extended queue was in use most of the day wrapping around on the Pirates bridge. It looked worse than it was, taking about 20 minutes to make it through when I stopped by. I did appreciate the way cast members were controlling the flow in, this made for a more pleasant experience with less backups and a steady flow throughout most of it. I really enjoyed the new treehouse and think it is great it went back to its roots. The Tarzan overlay was never a favorite of mine.. it seemed to be a nice way to save the tree from being removed but that was about it. Restoring it to the Swiss Family Robinson as well as plussing the scenes with more movement and music is great, plus Jane the Ostrich is a fun addition.
  • The Mark Twain Riverboat renovation continues to move along. Much of the upper level work is complete and it looks as good as new again. It will be great to see the finished boat soon.
  • As I roamed the park the trend of Genie+ Lightning Lane Returns backed up continued. A small sampling of what I saw - Haunted Mansion was out to the exit. Goofy's Sky School was out across the walkway. Buzz Lightyear later in the evening looked like a mob and had more guests than the standby line I think. Radiator Springs Racers filled the queue and was turning onto Route 66 when I walked by. I overheard a number of guests complaining that they spent $35 and the times for the attractions they wanted were not available. Then when they showed up the waits were much longer than they had thought they should be for the price.
  • it's a small world holiday started its 2023 season today. Unfortunately there were a number of issues and it was down for several hours throughout the day. This really added to the backup there causing the stand by waits to balloon quickly when it was open. I was extremely lucky and saw it was open and managed to walk on, but that was more right place/right time than anything.
  • The popcorn lines were steady throughout the day with a variety of new bucket offerings. The Mickey Toy Soldier seemed quite popular. The longest waits I saw were in the hub and Tomorrowland. New Orleans Square was right behind them.
  • Most of the projects in Mickey's Toontown have wrapped up. The scaffolding is still up behind the El Capitoon and Donald's is behind walls. The CenTOONial Park and Goofy's Yard projects have finished and those walls are gone for the time being. They continue to add elements to Goofy's and fix broken ones. The spinning and other interactive elements have been restored and new props for Max's fort and a fishing area have been added. I was disappointed that there are no Christmas decorations up on the new buildings or areas and the background music has not changed.
  • My plan was to take the Monorail to Downtown Disney to check out the projects there but it had a posted 30 min wait due to only one train in service. It seemed to be that way all day. Every time I checked the wait was long and I only saw Monorail Blue.
  • Disney California Adventure Disney Festival of Holidays kicked off today. The offerings are on par with previous years. A number of marketplaces and entertainment offerings throughout the park. This year they have moved the stage from the Wharf to Hollywood Land and are also using the Backlot stage. The good news is all your favorite groups from recent years are back. The bad news is there is nothing new. I would like to see them refresh a bit. Maybe something small like change the Toy Drummers set? Also it was kind of awkward the main stage in Paradise Gardens Park was not used except for Phat Cat Swinger. The marketplace food lines were not long at all today. Not sure if this was due to the mix of guests in the park? Pricing? Offerings? Or were they being more efficient than usual? I also still find it odd the Clara Cluck, Russell and Dug are the characters added for the holidays. None of that trio really say Christmas to me. Mickey's Happy Holidays returns and is great to see as usual. Viva Navidad features some new costumes and the same great show.
  • The Little Mermaid was using its extended queue on Friday... based on what has happened to other attractions this may become a more common sight next week when its added to Genie+
  • San Fransokyo Square continues to have new elements added. A new Port of San Fransokyo sign is added along the dining area water front. It was not finished Friday. I thought it looked rather poor and as an after thought vs an integrated part of the land. There is also a new sign over the seating area and another new sign out by the walkway near the bakery. Those two new signs looked better to me. There are Christmas decorations up but they are all hold overs from the Pacific Wharf. They work I guess but I was hoping for something new/unique for the new area. The background track did not change for the holidays either from what I heard.
  • Grabbed a bite to eat at Flo's V-8 Cafe a little after 1pm and found it to be very busy. All the patio tables were full and inside too. I managed to find a spot when someone left in the dining room with the glass windows looking out to Ornament Valley. So a nice view but it was a challenge.
  • Passed through the Grand Californian Hotel to check on the status of the gingerbread house. The main structure is done and covered and the details are being added. I saw no sign or concept or anyone working when I stopped by. The rest of the lobby is undecorated (which is normal for this early in the season).
  • In Downtown Disney the new stage and lawn area opened today. It looks nice, even with walls on three sides as the other projects are ongoing. The lawn has some hills and such which will be interesting to see how that goes. When I stopped by nothing was going on so it was really quiet too. Unfortunately with the timing of things I was not able to stop by and see the entertainment there, but the venue looks promising and I look forward to it. It would be nice to see some day time entertainment added.
  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade returns to Disneyland again. Only two changes jumped out to me. The skiers were not there and Buzz lost his float and rides on the Toy Factory float. Jessie is walking once again as is Mrs. Claus. Belle and the Beast were walking and bringing up the rear of the Ball Room group. Everything was status quo.
  • With this being Veterans Day weekend I thought maybe there would be something special for the Flag Retreat or other entertainment. No such luck. On Saturday they did do a special retreat with a military band and a fly over even. On Friday there was a good crowd in Town Square for the retreat. I do not understand why they have to block off the train station seats 2 hours early for the 6:30pm parade. Why can't people use that space for the Flag Retreat and to just enjoy Town Square? Seems an hour before parade time is more than enough time. Maybe post a sign saying the area will be closed starting at XX.. instead they had cast members there chasing people away over 2 hours before the parade.
  • Phat Cat Swinger headlines the Holiday Concert series. I stopped by their opening set of the season and it was entertaining as usual.
  • Space Mountain features new lighting/projections at night. I walked by after dark to check it out and it looks nice. Wonder if the plan is to do more with the new tech? Maybe seasonal and other changes/effects? They used to do some projections for Ghost Galaxy for example.
  • The Disney Holiday Dance Party takes place in Tomorrowland from 7-11pm. The formula is the same as the recent parties with a couple characters on stage and dance instructions taking place. Guess this is the plan and they are not going to be changing it. The crowd was healthy and were having a good time. I still wish they would bring back live entertainment but looks like that is not going to happen.
  • Wintertime Enchantment and it's a small world project shows are back and the same as always. Both are nice to see but seem to me they could use a little plussing after all these years. Also noteworthy the it's a small world clock has not been rolled back for the time change yet.
  • I picked up a virtual queue spot for World of Color - Season of Light and opted to stand in the blue area. There were not fire effects in the show which was a disappointment but everything else seemed to be working. For example the bubbles hearts for the finale flew and looked great. World of Color is closing for renovation in January and into February.
  • I decided to skip the World of Color post show and instead see about making it over to Disneyland for Believe in Holiday Magic. The crowds were in my favor leaving DCA and entering Disneyland. Main Street was packed though. I arrived about a minute before the lights went out and only made it to the curb, which meant a very obstructed view of the show. I really enjoy Believe in Holiday Magic but I would like to see the projections plussed.

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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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