Below is a repost of my thoughts and observations from Friday 6/6/14 at the Disneyland Resort. The original post is part of my the Geek Speaks section of the main site. For pictures from the visit visit the park update section at http://disneygeek.com/disneyland/pictures
Thoughts and Observations:
- I thought I may be in for a long day because as I exited the freeway the traffic on Disneyland Drive was backed up to the exit almost and the overpass for Ball Road was closed already. Seems it was just backed up because of the light. Once through there the Mickey and Friends garage was open, only one car in front of me at the toll plaza and was directed right into a spot that did not involve a quarter mile hike this time even!
- As I roamed around Disneyland the park had a good number of guests but it did not feel overly crowded. For example in the early afternoon you were actually able to see pavement in New Orleans Square and walk around without having to shuffle. Pirates had under half an hour wait and its queue did not crisscross the area. Adventureland was fairly open too.
- Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and was disappointed to find only two characters available (Thumper and Brer Rabbit) and the crowd was extremely thin. If you take out those there for the performing arts group the number of cast members may have equaled guests.
- In Fantasyland the Alice in Wonderland attraction is on the home stretch with less than a month till its scheduled re-opening for the 4th of July holiday weekend. I saw a large number, probably a dozen, cast members head into the site, looked like there were going inside the building, probably to see some of the updates. The exterior track walkway extension is moving along. The concrete work looks to be wrapping up with the top and bottom portion complete. Should be interesting to see what they do to it to blend it in.
- Paid a visit to Captain EO since it is scheduled to be closed for some work soon and with that closure always comes the possibility that it will not come back. I always find it humorous when the cast member introduces the show and says you are going to be transported BACK to 1986 to relive Captain EO. Why is 1986 so important? First its when the original film opened in Tomorrowland, but more interesting to me is that is the year the original Tomorrowland in 1955 was supposed to portray. So here we are going back in time in Tomorrowland to the date it was originally created to project forward to. Kind of fun! Only note about the show is the motion base was not operating so no bouncing during the showing I attended. Wonder if that is what they are scheduled to work on during the down time?
- Over at Disney California Adventure there was a healthy crowd too with quite a few packs of Grad Nite kids roaming the park. How come each year they seem to look younger and younger?? It made me feel old when I realized the last couple of graduating classes were not even born when I graduated high school and I have had a website longer than they have been alive. Think about it, they have never known a time without the internet.
- On Buena Vista Street the new Buena Vista Bugle is out. It was a little bit of challenge to find it on Friday. The news stands normally near the Red Car stops were not out. There were some issues in the FFP Cafe in the afternoon but those were cleared up by the time World of Color was ending. I did find some on the stand inside the Chamber of Commerce. Wonder why they were not easy to get to.. maybe Grad Nite precautions?
- Grabbed dinner at Taste Pilots and this evening they were extremely slow. It appeared the hold up was no burgers. Not sure how a location that one of its main entrees is a hamburger seems to run into this problem, especially during dinner time (it was around 5pm) on a semi-regular basis. There was not much of a line to order but 2-3 parties deep all the way down the line waiting for food. The good news was by the time I got my food there were plenty of seats to choose from.
- While eating glanced at the time schedules for the day and noticed they reorganized them a bit. The Disney Characters are now more front and center in the top position on the inside. And the ads of now at items are in a highlighted box on the back. Glow with the show ears make a blurb on both but they still seem to have very little traction out in the parks. I saw very few around the parks. Did see one family at the Disneyland Hotel with them. Also one person near me during World of Color. But looking out on the World of Color viewing area I saw less than a handful from my vantage point.
- As I circled Paradise Pier around 5:00pm it sure seemed early for them to have the World of Color projector housings opened. The show was not until 9:45pm and it would not get dark till 8:00ish. So it seemed like they could have kept things closed up a bit longer. There was no signs of activity either, seems like they opened the projectors then went on break. The 2/3 of the fountains were till down and no signs of the crew.
- Walked through the World of Disney. They have recently re-modeled the collectors room. This used to be a Villain inspired room with glass display counters by two sets of registers then free standing cases in the middle. They really brightened up the area and made it more generic in my opinion. I am guessing this helps with traffic flow and allows for more merchandise to be out. In addition to giving it a fresh new feel. But I thought the old room had more character. In the end does not matter how it looks it matters what the merchandise is. This trip through nothing too interesting caught my eye.
- Downtown Disney is once again hosting a summer celebration this year. It kicked off June 1st and runs through the first week of September. I was expecting more this time around. It seems they really missed an opportunity to me. It was the first weekend so maybe things will change, but all in all I thought it was really lacking and they could have done more. For example there is no signage at all for the event saying what is coming on future weekends or even what is going on this week/today. There were signs at a couple of the restaurants featuring new menu items for the event and that was it. I would think most guests had no clue there was an event going on. There was a DisneyParks blog posting about the festivities outlining what was coming up in terms of Volleyball, Hawaiian nights, etc.. but no real details. Even their twitter account seemed rather dark on the subject. Seems they should have been announcing performance times and menu items via it to promote the event and a hash tag. I thought with Aulani participating there would be more of a Disney presence but instead it was just mentioned as a sponsor for the live entertainment. The performing group was entertaining to watch but they were in an awkward location in front of the Gallery and it was hard for most people to see given the small area. Seems they could have done something down by the main stage and large open area around it. I think the concept of themed evenings for the summer is great and hope to see them capitalize on it more in the future.
- It had been quite a while since I walked around the Disneyland Hotel so went for a stroll this evening. It appears that the Tangora Terrace must not be doing as well as they planned. There were several signs up directing you to it on both sides. I always found it odd they did not have a well marked entrance on the main walkway near the Adventure Tower given that is a high traffic walkway. It seemed like a back/exit door more than an entrance. The front entrance on the other side is sort of out of the way with no easy access and it seems a fairly low traffic walkway. Should be interesting to see if more permanent signage goes in. When I walked by it was fairly empty. Only a couple of tables with people at them, compared to Trader Sams next door where most of the outdoor tables were occupied.
- I caught the 8:35pm set of the Suburban Legends at Disneyland and it contained an interesting and fun mix of songs. Such as Colors of the Wind, Beauty and the Beast, Kiss the Girl, Duck Tales, Sweet Caroline, and they closed with Gummy Bears. Was surprised by how empty the dance floor was. Guess everyone was looking for spots for the evening shows (Fantasmic!, Magical, World of Color)?
- About 15 minutes before Magical was to begin there was an announcement on Main Street that the weather was unfavorable and the show may be cancelled. This really cleared out Main Street. I hung around to see if the show would go off but just after the scheduled show time the crowd control cast members started rolling up the ropes lines along the street. If you see this it usually means it is cancelled so I started for the exit and when I made it to Town Square they officially cancelled the show.
- I made my way through the Grad Nite crowds and out to Paradise Bay for World of Color. Since there was only one showing this evening it was very crowded. I did not even try to squeeze into a regular stand by area because of the crowd and the fact that the wind was blowing toward the north so that meant the odds of getting wet were greater in the regular viewing areas. I just kept walking around to the Silly Symphony Swings and found a spot there with a minute or so to spare. The background music in the area did not go off during the show. So the audio was hard to hear and you had the regular background music mixed in which made for a very poor experience. Is this new that they leave it on? Or just a bad break for me? As you saw with the couple pictures I posted the view of the fountains is good from there but the projections and laser effects are not visible or understandable for the most part. On our YouTube channel I have video clips from previous showings in the World of Color playlist.
- The park officially closed at 10pm for day guests and Grad Nite started. With World of Color running past 10pm that meant there were a large number of Grad Nite kids mixed in with the day guests trying to enjoy the show then leave the now closed park. This makes for an odd environment to me. I do not understand why World of Color is not run earlier to try and ease this transition. If I had small kids and had to push through the large groups of teenagers with them that is not an ideal memory to close out your day at Disney. Most of the graduates are good kids but when you have thousands of them it is not the most family friendly environment plus its very crowded and loud. Wonder if Disney is getting complaints from guests?