What a strange week it has been at the Disneyland Resort. Since our Monday Disneyland Update a lot has happened. Crowds have been insane, in part due to the Columbus Day holiday. Terrible nearby fires turned the sky to orange and filled the air over the Disneyland Resort with smoke and ash. And even more change has come to Downtown Disney, including a mad rush for tickets to the new Star Wars VR experience. Fear not, we’ll fill you in on all the spooky details.
I could tell as soon as I got to the Orange Crush on Monday (where the 5 and 91 freeways intersect in Orange County) that something was wrong ahead. Ash began to collect on my windshield and the car started to smell like a campfire. Then I noticed a stark line of blue and orange sky. By the time I made it to Disneyland, around 11am, the sky looked like the hour before dusk. Everything was cast in a sinister umber glow. Sadly, over two dozen structures were damaged or destroyed by the Anaheim Hills fire and it isn’t expected to be fully contained until this coming weekend. Of course, our friends in Northern California are dealing with a massive fire with thousands of homes lost and the tragic deaths of nearly two dozen people. Incredibly sad.
But the show must go on, so Disneyland remains open and so do we . . .
How Do You Spell Crowds? MaxPass!
You’d think that something designed to enhance your park experience would be 1) Simple to understand. 2) Magical. 3) Improve the park experience. Unfortunately, MaxPass is proving to make Disneyland a miserable mess. Many guests struggle to figure out how it works, which just makes lines longer for everyone. In fact, queues for MaxPass attractions have gotten so out of control that both Fastpass return and standby have longer lines than ever and require so much extra space that they are now constricting the park walkways, creating pinch points which can completely block walkways at times.
It’s not unusual for rides to have long lines on busy days. Nor is it traditionally uncommon for walkways to get very crowded on those days. But it is unacceptable for ride queues to require so much extra room on high traffic days that they need to take up highly valuable walking space. Disneyland is too small and compact to handle these absurd conditions.
In short, Disneyland was unbearable on Monday, at least in part because of MaxPass inefficiency. I hate to say it, but Disney either needs to implement magicbands, or possibly do away with the scanners that guests have been struggling with (especially on high traffic days) and have castmembers scan guest tickets with hand scanners. That would speed the lines up dramatically on busy days. There are other issues regarding park capacity and strollers which also severely impact the park, but we’ll save that discussion for another day . . . a day when I can be properly medicated in advance to deal with the vicious comments which always accompany such conversations. =;-)>
A Romp Through DCA
Let’s take a quick look around Disney California Adventure, which is more popular than EVER due to all the new Halloween decorations.
Buena Vista Street
OK folks, What are these?:
Buena Vista Street sure does look pretty in purple at night.
The big news here is that the Sunset Showcase Theater is empty no longer. It currently hosts a preview for the upcoming Thor film. We watched it on Sunday and it looked really interesting. What do you think about Thor with short hair?
Like the last few previews, you’ll find costumes in a case in the waiting room.
Cars Land Rocks
Everything about Cars Land Halloween is pretty amazing. Even more so at night when the saturated lighting washes the Cadillac Mountain Range in beautiful tones of orange, purple and green.
The rumor is that Cars Land will be getting even MORE decorations next year!
Some Cars Land Halloween merchandise.
Ernesto will play an important role in the upcoming Disney/Pixar film, COCO.
Guests are invited to write down memories of their departed family members.
This and That
If they can’t bother to open this Churro cart on a busy day at noon, then perhaps they should just remove it from the path. This trail is one of the most beautiful and natural parts of the park. A few benches would probably be more appreciated here than yet another ugly churro cart.
Got to watch them make those neat little skull cake pops.
New Little Mermaid merchandise.
Star Wars Land Construction
Mountains are rising above the Millennium Falcon show building (center).
The Battle Escape attraction is about halfway enclosed at this point.
Need a little Star Wars inspiration? The trailer for the upcoming film was just released and it’s REALLY good. SOOOO excited for this film!!!
Downtown Disney: Retail’s Edge
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of fans all tried to access the same reservation page at the same moment and were suddenly silenced. Or something like that. 😉
We’ve previously covered the closure of Fossil and Disney Vault to make way for a future Star Wars VR experience. That experience became real yesterday when Disney launched ticket sales for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. Not to be confused with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge the upcoming land at Disneyland or Star Wars: The Last Jedi the upcoming franchise film.
Tickets are now on sale at the price of $29.95. The experience is a partnership with a company called The VOID, which is well known for creating VR themed experiences such as their Ghostbusters VR game in New York and Toronto. Knott’s Berry Farm also has an immersive VR experience which they charge about $5 for.
Star Wars VR Discussion on MiceChat Facebook Group HERE
Meanwhile, there’s been a last-minute lineup change just across from the new Star Wars thingy. Although Disney hopes to put a hipster brewpub in the space currently occupied by Build A Bear and Ride Makerz, those plans are on hold until after the holidays. Chappel (a small hat shop which was located between the two larger stores) closed on schedule. Now that nothing is going to happen to this building for a while, Disney is rushing a dress shop into the space which will help fill the void left by the closure of the popular Disney Vault across the way.
While Anna and Elsa’s Boutique closed just a few weeks ago, the space has already reopened with few changes other than a new sign and some new merchandise. The store is now called the Dream Boutique. For a kids store, it’s so boring!
Just For Fun
You’re Invited To Something REALLY Special
Do you love Dick Van Dyke? Have you ever wondered how theme park props and animatronics are created? For one very special night you’ll have the opportunity to see Dick Van Dyke, live and in person, at the Garner Holt Productions animatronics factory!
The stars will shine brightly as they come out to honor Mr. Van Dyke through one of a kind performances and tributes. You’ll also be treated to an adventure tour through the Garner Holt Productions facility. Along the way you’ll encounter special exhibits, demonstrations, culinary and beverage stations, and meet the GHP artisans. Then you’ll make your way to a cocktail party and performance space surrounded by some of the most amazing animatronics ever created.
This magical event is a fundraiser for the Dick Van Dyke Foundation for the Performing Arts and will empower budding young stars to explore the performer within.
We have even more for you folks. But it’s after 4am, so that will have to wait until the next update. Always something to look forward to! But you don’t always need to wait if you follow us online. Many of the items in today’s update were already featured on our social networks. Follow along!
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My thanks to Dsny Debbie and Brian Pinsky for additional photos and support with today’s update!
Let us know what you think about fires, MaxPass and Star Wars. And how on earth is Disney going to handle the crowds of Star Wars land when they can’t seem to handle the crowds of a minor holiday like Columbus Day?! We look forward to hearing from you below.