In The Parks: Easter Fun and Warnings at the Disneyland Resort

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disney, Disney News, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, In the Parks

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Published on March 29, 2013 at 3:59 am with 25 Comments

Limited time magic continues to impress at the Disneyland Resort this week with special Easter offerings.  You’ll find furry fun in both Disneyland’s Bunny Hop and Disney California Adventure’s Easter egg hunt.  But the news isn’t all about Cadbury eggs and jelly beans. No, we have more pics from Big Thunder Mountain’s Rainbow Ridge, the opening of the Silly Symphony Swings, and a few suggestions for navigating the maddening Spring Break crowds. Consider it a Disneyland survival guide.

BUNNY HOP

Surprising us this week is the adorable Bunny Hop event held in Town Square twice daily through March 31st as part of the Limited Time Magic campaign. What is the Bunny hop?  It is a small interactive performance that features Mickey, The Dapper Dans, and a host of rare Disney rabbit characters.

When does it happen?  The Bunny hop celebration happens one half hour before every scheduled performance of the Soundsational parade in Town Square.

Mickey and the Dan’s arrive via a rethemed and recycled parade float.

 

The Dapper Dans accompany Mickey Mouse and the Easter Bunny atop a float while Brer Rabbit, Roger Rabbit, Rabbit (from Whinnie the Pooh), and The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland follow behind.  The procession steps off from the Main Street parade gate, circles in front of the train station, then parks at the tip of Town Square, facing the distant Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

Lining up on Main Street, the characters and their arm candy invite everyone out into the street to take part in the fun bunny hop dance.

So cool to see Roger out there.

The cast members really engage the crowds.

Try to see this little gem of an offering before it goes away on March 31st, Easter Sunday.

IRON MAN inside INNOVENTIONS

The Disneyland Resort Twitter announced that, beginning April 13th, “Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries” will be a new exhibit inside Innoventions.  The display will pretty much be what appeared at San Diego Comic Con and will run for an indefinite period of time.  Iron Man suits I-VII will be on display and visitors will, apparently, be able to virtually suit up and test out technologies themselves.

While this will certainly bring bigger numbers into the neglected Innoventions building, the real question is, will the reaction be enough to justify a full-on Iron Man E-ticket attraction?  Time will tell. But the jury is still out on what will happen in this spot in the long run. This is a band-aid for an old attraction which has long since outlived its welcome (if it was ever welcome to begin with).

MARKET HOUSE and DISNEYANA TO CLOSE IN APRIL

A closing date has finally been announced for the Market House and Disneyana on Main Street.  The location will close on April 14th to be converted into a Starbucks location.  No word yet on when the location will officially reopen or how much of Disneyana will be lost in the transition.

BIG THUNDER

Work continues, obscured behind 10 foot construction walls, at the Big Thunder refurbishment site.  Rainboaw Ridge has enjoyed some progress too.  However, during the busy spring break times Big Thunder Trail will remain open to relieve crowd flow around the park.

We see here, more buildings are appearing on Rainbow Ridge. And as you can tell from all the fresh plywood, this is a complete rebuild. The old town has bit the dust.

Gumball Rally info – click HERE

The Gumball Rally is a race to see how many attractions you can experience at the Disneyland Resort in a single day.  The event is a little over a month away, so you still have time to grab a ticket.  The date for the Rally is May 4th.

How is it played?
Simple.  Form a team of people numbering 2, 3, or 4 players.  Sign up on the Gumball Rally info page.

It is best to come up with a really clever team name too.  This intimidates your competitors. ;-)

Event ticket include breakfast, a game packet, and an award party where we entertain you, give away prizes and then crown the winning teams. (Theme park tickets are NOT included – you’ll need to park hop this year).

We will give each team a booklet that contains one question for each attraction included in the race.  This year, many of the attractions in both parks will be included in the game.  The questions are not trivia. The intention of the questions is only to verify that you rode the attraction.  The questions are simple enough to answer, but very hard to guess, unless you are riding to find the specific thing we are asking for in the question. A few of the questions really keep you on your toes (we’ve got to make it fun).  At the end of the day, you will turn your packets in at the designated finish line and then trot off to go grab dinner and head to the awards party at the Howard Johnson Anaheim Resort.

Nearly every participant come back with huge smiles on their faces – worn out from a wild day at the parks, but with a sense of accomplishment. This is a strenuous activity. 12 hours in the parks and 16 hours of total event time. But WOW is it worth it. The perfect day with friends and family at the happiest place on earth.

 

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 SILLY SYMPHONY SWINGS

The swings are finally back up in the air and as silly as ever.  The return of this glorified carnival attraction was marked by 30-60 minute waits due to the huge crowds associated with Spring Break.

EGG HUNTER MERIT BADGE

Another simple little offering for Easter is the Egg Hunter Merit Badge game inside the Redwood Creek Challenge trail.  Similar to the Vinylmation egg hunt from last week, this is geared towards the little ones and contained to this specific area.

Outside, a new badge has been installed. It’s the one sandwiched between the puzzle piece and the boy being pelted with rocks.

This free game allows guests to have a little fun inside the play area.

Spot the egg.

Find anything here?

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same . . .

 

 Even Carl and Russel are on hand to take part in the Egg-citement.

 

SPRING BREAK SURVIVAL GUIDE

We are headed in to what will be the busiest weekend of the Spring Break crowds.  If you’ll be visiting the parks, we have a few tips for you that will make your trip a little more pleasant.

Happiest place? Perhaps, but much more so during the off season (do they have those any more?).

Disneyland is all about families spending time together and having fun.  But it is extra difficult when you have spent well over $100 per person to get into the parks, $15 to park, and hundreds more on food and souvenirs . . . only to find the parks packed to the gills. It has lead more than one family down the bumpy path toward what Dusty likes to call a “Magical Meltdown.” 

But there are ways to avoid the stress and still have a great time, crowds and all.

Parking

The best way to start your day off right is to find a good parking space.  If at all possible, avoid the Mickey and friends parking structure.  This is the goto spot for all visitors and quickly gets backed up.  Instead, use the two alternative parking lots, Pumba and Toy Story.  Pumba is a small lot, just across the street from Gardenwalk on Disney Way.  Toy Story is further down Harbor Boulevard and directly across from the Anaheim Convention Center.  Both offer shuttle service to the parks and are easier to get in and out of compared to the awful Mickey and Friends structure (Michael Eisner claimed to have designed the structure himself – we’d like to give it back to him).

Tickets

Getting into the park is another chore.  But, again, there are ways around this.  Instead of buying your tickets at the gate, try purchasing your tickets online ahead of time.  This will save you the extra step of waiting at the ticket booths.

Have a game plan

Make a mental list of the rides you most definitely want to experience or the things you’d like to do.  Go straight into the park that has the ride you most want to see and get a Fastpass for it.  Now, although Disney is enforcing return times, you can still get Fastpasses for one ride at a time in each park.  So, basically, you could easily go get your Fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers early in the morning, then run over to Disneyland for that Space Mountain Fastpass.

If you don’t mind riding an attraction separate from your group , another way to possibly avoid waiting in a longer line is to utilize the Single Rider options on select attractions.

The rides that offer a Single Rider option are…

Radiator Springs Racers
Soarin’ Over California
California Screamin’
Goofy’s Sky School
Grizzly River Run
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Splash Mountain
Matterhorn

Experience the smaller attractions

After getting your Fastpasses, why not experience the attractions that have higher capacities or aren’t as popular.  Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion can always be counted on to churn through even the longest lines very quickly.  Their capacity is some of the highest in the entire resort.  A wait in either of those lines is not as painful as it might look as the lines move relatively fast. But also consider attractions such as the Enchanted Tiki Room, Captain EO, Tom Sawyer’s Island, the Sailing Ship Columbia, it’s a small world, the Castle Walk-through, Innoventions (or skip it), Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,  the Explorer Canoes, or Tarzan’s Treehouse. That’s a lot more to keep you busy than you may realize.

Eating and shopping

Try eating just before or just after the peak times.  (Noon-2:00pm and 6pm-8pm for dinner are the busiest at all restaurants)  If you are hungry during these times, grab a snack at a quick serve location.  The same rings true for shopping.  Try to avoid shopping during the last two hours of park operation.  Use the time during the day, when everyone is at lunch, to stroll through the air conditioned shops and take your time. Or, call ahead and try to obtain a dining reservation: 714-781-7290

Bring a good attitude

This is the best piece of advice we can give.  If you know the park will be busier than normal, just expect it and relax.  Everyone else is there to have a good time just like you are and there is no sense at all in making it a competition.  Bring snacks, bottled water, your phone charger, a change of socks (for after those water rides) sunscreen, and a smile. And don’t even try to out-walk the crowd. Just move along at the pace of everyone else and try to keep a reasonable space between yourself and the nearest stroller or wheelchair. They aren’t trying to hit you, but may not be able to help themselves when the crowds get really thick. We just look for anything metal and step aside. Makes the trek from point A to point B safer and easier for everyone.

 Other random bits of advice

  • Avoid getting on the Disneyland Railroad at Toontown or New Orleans Square.  These are usually the two busiest train stations and will sometimes take you twice as long to board. Tomorrowland is generally the least crowded (but all bets are off on the busiest days).
  • Despite crowds, the Hungry Bear restaurant and the Paradise Garden Grill are usually less crowded than other eateries in the parks and you can most always find seating there too.
  • Stay away from Fantasyland between 12pm-6pm  It just gets crazy in there.

Avoid that magical meltdown at all costs. If you need to step away, do so. There are some relaxing spots just outside the park. Try strolling the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel. Sit for a spell at the Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian. Whitewater Snacks at the Grand Call, has some lovely outdoor tables where you can watch the crowds inside DCA from a safe distance. There are ways to get away, you just may need to leave the parks from time to time to really escape (if you feel the need to do so).

Do you have any advice for those visiting the parks for the day?  Care to share it?

We hope that you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. We’ll see you again soon, In The Parks.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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25 Comments

Comments for In The Parks: Easter Fun and Warnings at the Disneyland Resort are now closed.

  1. According to the Disney Parks Blog “The Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries exhibit will be featured through September.” though I suppose that could mean that it will run beyond that date without being “featured”.

    • Yes, that’s just what I was thinking. I mean, years later you can still go see the “temporary” safety measures on Alice and Wonderland’s outdoor portion of track or the Captain EO tribute that was also to be short lived. But, the flip side is that there is quite a bit that they are doing right with the Big Thunder Refurb, the Indy refurb, Splash, the new Fantasy Faire village and things like that. So, we shall see what happens.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write out all the crowd tips for day guests. It’s been pretty miserable as of late – I can’t wait for the teens to get back to school.

  3. We are really looking forward to the Iron Man thing and so excited it will be there while we have our once-a-year visit this summer. (We live in the midwest.) Thanks for all the tips about crowds–those apply in summer, too, and I’m glad for the advice.

  4. YES!!!!! Finally they’re using modern Disney charictors that people actually like…. Putting Iron Man in my least favorite attraction gets a standing ovation from me. With the studios just a short uhaul drive down the freeway, I’m shocked they aren’t leveraging the use of more props (especially in the Hollywood Backlot). Hoping to see more popular Disney charictors like Tron and Bobba Fett around Tomorrowland soon.

    The rabbits are too cool an idea not to be a regular tradition now.

    Did Easter break once as a kid in the 80′s. The crowds were a total nightmare back then. Can’t escape the crowds today on “underpreforming” attractions like America sings, the peoplemoover,Starcade , or circle vision.

  5. I’m a little sad to see the rebuilding of Rainbow Ridge and I’ll tell you why. I can’t remember which building but when looking at the town its the second or third store on right, on the inside of the store where there isnt much of anything, spare light bulbs, speakers and other misc items, is where nearly every CM that has been trained on the ride has penned their name and the year they were trained. So I hope that piece of history wasn’t looked over and thrown away, that would be rather depressing.

    • It’s sad to see those types of things go, it really is. But, at the same time, it’s impossible to justify preserving something that the guests don’t see and that could be in real need of repair or replacement. Still, we don’t know anything for sure. Let me see what I can find out.

  6. Great Update Norman

    Why wont they kill Innovations sooner rather than later. if there was some construction in the area, I would be happy, but they are putting in a promotion for the next Iron Man film, which is being released over the summer. It is a shame that Disney have done this, but if this exibit is popular, the maybe an Iron Man E ticket attraction. I know people are going to hate me for saying that Disney should put Marvel in the theme parks, but what is the point of purchasing an American brand which is known all over the world, and not use it in an American theme park (by the way, I don’t think WDW can use them because of IoA and their Marvel Super Hero Island)

    On the plus side, the Easter Bunnies event looks really cute, and a poular event for the crumbling Limited Time Magic

    Thanks Again Norman

    Trumpet

  7. Good work… though you didn’t cover DCA this week…. shame…

    • Well we did though. The Easter Egg hunt, the Silly Symphony Swings, those are in DCA.

  8. Great update and advice Norman. We always find that attitude is the best way to enjoy our time in the parks. Even if it is packed, busy and crazy; your’e still at Disneyland or DCA=relax and enjoy. My kids really enjoyed the egg hunt in DCA last weekend and are looking forward to another one this weekend. It would also be nice if they get to participate in the Bunny Hop, looks like fun!

  9. Happy Easter. I like the Silly Symphony Swings. I liked the ride when it was the Orange Stinger, but it’s better now with the re-theming, openness and musical score.

  10. Great update!

    I love that Carl is around again and wearing bunny ears! And the bunny hop looks like a fun new tradition. They should add Thumper, though. I like that the last picture with Roger Rabbit has a lady who is looking dapper in it :) .

    Thank you for the pictures showing crowd levels. It reassures us that we made the right decision to not head over there this week, even though our kids had a 10 day break from school. There are no tips that could make such a trip worth it. Especially driving from Arizona and having to pay hotel etc. Please post pictures of crowd levels again – once they’ve gone way down!

    I love the Silly Symphony swings and am glad they are running again.

    Is the need for the crane at BTMRR almost over? I know the construction lasts until the end of October, but has Disney given any indication of when the crane will gone?

  11. Too bad they couldn’t have Oswald in the mix for the Bunny Hop parade.

  12. Great update. You wouldn’t catch me at the parks this weekend for anything.

    Hope to get to see the Iron Man stuff before our passes expire in May.

  13. I work at Disneyland, and we just heard the news that the inventions construction is an Iron Man exhibit.

  14. I thought I read on Disney’s Blog site that Disneyana was leaving completely and being folded into the Disney Gallery down the street. As a matter of fact, I heard it won’t be called the Disney Gallery anymore. It’ll be re-named Disneyana.

  15. Yep – here it is.

    “Disney art and collectible fans will soon be able to find all their favorite treasures in one location, as Disneyana will move to a new home inside the Bank of Main Street building, the current location of the Disney Gallery. The new, combined location will continue to present a rotating Gallery Exhibit, featuring Walt Disney Imagineering concept art and pieces from local artists. (In fact, we will have information soon about the newest exhibit, featuring art inspired by Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer.)”