Welcome back to chilly Southern California, where rain fell and temperatures dropped into sub-50 degrees this past week. With recent changes in Downtown Disney and theme park security, we’d like to take a closer look at the first act of the Disneyland Resort . . .

“Security!”

Last week Disney pushed the security tents to the outer perimeter of the resort. Security now includes Downtown Disney and the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure. This is helping with crowd-flow as now it creates a possibility of 17 security entrances to the area (7 at Downtown Disney west-side, 8 at Mickey and Friends, and 2 from the Grand Californian) replacing the 5 previous entrances (4 at Esplanade and 1 at the Monorail Station). The security on the Harbor Blvd. side of the Esplanade remains unchanged.

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Mickey and Friends Parking Structure

The new security procedures started Thursday. Let’s start off by looking at how things looked on Wednesday. Then we’ll circle back to see how things are operating now. New tents were set-up in the old handicap section of the Pinocchio Parking lot. Two temporary offices were set-up on at Tram Maintenance and the other inside the parking structure.

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Wide open space…but not for long

 

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Nothing says Welcome like a giant fence in-front of the sign.

 

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Still some more small construction happening around the new security area.

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As of Thursday, temporary fences line the transportation plaza, forcing all guests coming off the escalators to divert to their right toward the new security tents.

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Temporary Gardens would be helpful. The area looks so bare.

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Inside Chip and Dale Parking Lot an Anaheim Police car is now parked. Guests wishing to enter the tram courtyard from ground floor must now enter along a narrow walkway to access the tram route.

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It also appears that cast-members may have to go through security to board their shuttle buses. Feels more like TSA check points vs. going to the Happiest Place on Earth, but these are the times we live in.

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The walkway from the parking structure to Downtown Disney is now gated off and may become an exit-only route in the future. Splitsville is currently under construction at the end of the path as the original House of Blues building is rebuilt for the trendy bowling alley/restaurant complex.

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Outter Gateway along Disneyland Drive
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Inter Gateway

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The sidewalk along Disneyland Drive and Magic Way now have signage indicating that there is no longer accesses to Theme Parks across Disneyland Drive anymore.

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This sign is being borrowed from the Tram station

 

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These directional signs all along Downtown Drive need to be adjusted

 

Downtown Disney

Along Downtown Drive, across from the Adventure Tower of the Disneyland Hotel, is half of the new Downtown Disney west-side security. This is the side near Earl of Sandwich. The curb along Downtown Drive has been removed to make it easier for folks in wheelchairs to use this entrance.

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New tall construction fences block off the remainder of the area to fully enclose the security zone.

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The new security setup does create a confusing flow for guests walking form the Paradise Pier Hotel. Guests would need to walk on sidewalks for part of their trek and then move into the street to walk the remainder of the route of the tents. However, not all guests may realize that the portion of street directly in front of the Adventureland Tower of the Disneyland Hotel has been blocked off to motorists. It feels awkward to move from a sidewalk to a street to access security and then get back to a walkway. The look of this area really needs to be addressed.

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They were borrowing a Monorail Exit sign on Thursday as the necessary signage had not arrived yet.

 

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Overflow exit gates which can be used if too many people are entering from the gates near Earl of Sandwich.
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The emergency exit along the Building in-front of the Walt Disney Travel Office are alarmed.

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Lighting styles may not match between Earl’s dark patio and the bright florissant lights of the security check.

Another Downtown Disney security entrance has been set up in the old Downtown Disney Parking lot Valet area (between Rain Forest Cafe and ESPN Zone.

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All Trash cans and promotional signage has been removed from the walkway area.
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The old Valet stand is now being used as a break room for Cast Members
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The old guest pick up/drop off entrance on this side of the resort now has cement barriers blocking it.
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The new Guest Pick Up/Drop Off Area in the old Valet Lot

Of course all of this means that the bag check at the Monorail station in Downtown Disney is no longer in use. That’s another positive change.

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And now the last two Entrances into Downtown Disney from the Grand California Hotel.

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This is the main Grand Californian entry between Sephora and the Frozen Boutique.

 

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An additional gate has been added between Starbucks and World of Disney.

 

Esplanade

With security tents pushed out to the far corners of Downtown Disney, the Esplanade once again feels open and accessible. A view that has not been seen without tents since 2002.

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Scars remaining from the old bag-check tables.

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Over in the Picnic Area, the gate installed between the area and the entrance plaza is still in place.

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The good news is that Security is now MUCH more efficient than the cramped tents which have been in use for nearly 15 years. The bad news is that the aesthetics don’t match the rest of the resort. Disney has had well over a decade to come up with an elegant approach to securing their guests. Surely they could have come up with something better looking than this. And while many will say that this is all just temporary, we all know that Disney has been operating in temporary mode since 2001. We can handle temporary . . . . Food and Wine is temporary . . . RunDisney events are temporary . . .both of those events use temporary facilities which look nicer than these new security gates. How much trouble would it be for Disney to put in some potted trees, flower pots, colorful character signs, and other creative details which would make kids and their families feel more like the are entering a place to have fun and less like going through TSA at an airport?

We all love Disneyland, and we all want to be safe. At the end of the day, this is an improvement over the previous implementation, but it is still clunky, ugly and not at all what a guest should see as their introduction to Disneyland. Hopefully Disney will see the need to earnestly start working on permanent facilities which seamlessly match the look and feel of Downtown Disney.

We are curious to hear how you would enhance the look or operations of Disneyland Security if you had the magic power to do so.

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Downtown Disney

Since we have already covered each end of Downtown Disney on our Security round up, let’s look at things inside the shopping area.

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Thanks Starbucks

 

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Rouge One Signage up at AMC

This week actual work on the new Splitsville Bowling Alley began as the back wall of the building was demolished.

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Pandora is now open near the Jamba Juice and Starbucks, the one lone shop left to open in this area is the Curl Surf shop next door.

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A new D23 poster adorns the hallway into the Grand California.

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New Transportation Center & Harbor Bridgeway   .         ..   

An easy to miss project is happening across Harbor Blvd. behind the old Carousel Hotel. This is the area where Disney is building a new parking structure and an eventual bridge from the structure to the Disneyland Resort. While some slight dirt movement has occurred on the new Transportation Center, the area has been mostly unchanged for many weeks. An article from the OC Register highlights issues that the new bridge over Harbor Blvd. will produce for the business owners along the street.

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The above mentioned article says Disney will work with Businesses along Harbor to install a sidewalk to span the backs of the properties to the Eastern Gateway Security Check. Property Owners are worried about being held liable by future lawsuits due to incidents along their properties.

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This could get confusing.

 

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Thank you !
All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot and assembled by Brian Pinsky.

 

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That’s it for today’s Update. We will be back tomorrow for look into the parks themselves – massive crowds, Tower of Terror construction, Christmas activities and more.

Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]

That’s all for today, please come back tomorrow as we look at Disneyland and California Adventure!