Massive Crowds Hit The Disneyland Resort

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

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Published on June 22, 2012 at 12:40 am with 34 Comments

It was a VERY busy week at the Disneyland Resort. And for the first time in history, Disney California Adventure pulled in the bulk of those visits. Today, we’ll show you how both parks looked over the record breaking weekend through Tuesday.

Disneyland is an old pro at taking in the crowds.

The Dog Days of Summer. This guide dog was taking it all in stride. Pretty Girl!

Despite the warm weather elsewhere in the country, the weather has been wonderful at Disneyland.  That sunny time between Memorial Day and the 4th of July is typically full of magic.  The flowers are in bloom, the action is fast and the skies are clear (at least they are in the afternoons, mornings can still be a bit foggy).

The Dapper Dans are awesome. Stop and listen next time you see them.

And while Disneyland was busy, it wasn’t packed. Though, some attractions had a harder time keeping up than others.

MATTERHORN:
The Matterhorn has unfortunately become a painful endeavor.  We aren’t just talking about the hard seats of the tiny bobsleds.  The wait times are huge right now with the Summer crowds and heightened demand on the attraction.


YAY the climbers are back!

Yikes!  Would you wait an hour for the Matterhorn?


The ride now sports a Single Rider line, but you can’t just walk right up to it, you have to find a way to get to it since the queue now switchbacks in front of the chalet.

Looking at the loading station, you need to go to the right side.

Find the exit for the Fantasyland side of the Matterhorn and approach a friendly Cast member.  They will give you a slip of paper and you can then proceed to the station.

From here you can choose whatever side you would like to ride.  There is usually no wait for single rider and it’s all easy to do.

On a sour note, the new seats are a pain in the butt. Literally. They REALLY need to pad the seats as they did on Space Mountain in Florida. The Matterhorn may look better than ever, but it doesn’t feel better than ever.

VOICES OF LIBERTY:
In case you have not seen them yet, the Voices of Liberty perform from 12 noon to 5pm at the Opera house before and during each performance of the animatronic president.

FANTASY FAIRE VILLAGE:
Here is the latest from the only apparent construction project inside Disneyland at the moment.  The Fantasy Faire Village seems well on track for 2013 opening.

And before you panic, the stage is NOT going away. Though it will be rethemed. Swing dancing should return eventually


In case you were trapped on a deserted island, Disney California Adventure has finally been relaunched. These banners out in the esplanade are designed to make sure the message is not lost on visitors.

STARBUCKS:
Starbucks in the park is a huge hit.  The line for anything from that particular counter will, at times, stretch the entire length of the dining room to the front doors.  With an average wait of 20 mins, Be aware that more than a few drink orders getting mixed up, they certainly have a few kinks left to work out.

WAIT TIMES:
Looking at the wait times board in Buena Vista Circle, we see the indication of a park that is enjoying a substantial attendance boost.  Al Lutz reported that, over the weekend, Disney California Adventure eclipsed the number of visitors in Disneyland with a total of +45,000 on Saturday and on Sunday and then broke their record again with 53,000 visitors to DCA on Tuesday with Disneyland pulling in an additional 47,000.  Yep, that’s 100,000 visitors in the parks in one day.  No doubt, the suits at Disney are VERY pleased with themselves right now, and for good reason. Their master plan is working. And if attendance keeps up this summer, a phase 2 for DCA may not be far behind.

The brand new E-ticket, Radiator Springs Racers, has been steady with an average wait time of 3 hours for standby.


Fast FastPasses are gone for Radiator Springs Racers by noon (or earlier). Get to the machines as soon as the park opens. You’ll be glad you did!

And if you think Single Rider will speed things up for you . . .

You’ll still end up waiting nearly an hour.

We don’t recommend waiting more than 20 minutes for Luigi’s Flying Tires. It has a painfully slow line for a ride with little payoff. However, if you get there early, while everyone else is lining up for RSR, you can get a quick and fun ride in. MUCH better if you don’t have to wait.

Meanwhile, The Little Mermaid stayed around 15-20 minutes. This ride has a higher capacity than all three Cars Land attractions combined.

DCA’s many carnival style rides just can’t keep up with demand. 45 minutes for the Non-Swinging Gondola on the Fun Wheel.

You have to wait a little longer for a little more fun with Swinging Gondolas with a 60 minute wait.

That’s usual

No love for Triton?

60 minutes for the Chew Chew Train. WOW! Lots of upset tourists leaving this attraction after 60 minutes.

Even Monster’s INC was pulling in a hefty queue.

The lesson is that much of old school DCA just wasn’t built with guest comfort in mind. Now that fancy new DCA is finally here, there are a whole bunch of old flat rides and carnival attractions which just don’t load and unload fast enough to keep 53,000 people moving quickly through the park. DCA needs more attractions with the efficency of Small World, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Little Mermaid or even Space Mountain. Most of the attractions in Paradise Pier and Bugs Land only add to the stress that a tourist feels. DCA is CLEARLY on the right path and well worth a visit, but there is still a long way for this park to go. The good news is that Disney now knows that opening high quality new attractions WILL bring in lots of visitors. So, there is plenty of reason for them to fast track the enhancements and new attractions for Hollywood Land, Condor Flats and the Golden State sections of the park. And wouldn’t it be great if they fixed Bugs Land too?!

Let us know what you’d like to see Disney do to increase the guest capacity at DCA.

Today we also have news from…

Check back tomorrow for our coverage of 
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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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34 Comments

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  1. Wow some of the wait times are extraordinary, 60 minutes for the Chew Chew …eek mein liebchens!

    I couldn’t agree more, I am sure the crowds are going to keep up through New Years and so I can’t imagine much new happening before January 7th but after that the suits need to make a fast move on the enhancements for the Hollywood Land, Condor Flats and the Golden State sections of the park as you stated. I personally think DCA needs another couple of E ticket rides to help spread the crowds. I’d even like to see the Country Bears come to Golden State in a new show.

    I think Cars Land needs another big ride too, RSR is Test Track reimagineered, I think the Rock n’ Roller Coaster with Aerosmith could be reimaged and slotted into Cars Land easily and quickly at a reasonable cost and would ease some of the pressure on the other rides in the area.

    I do like the way DCA is starting to focus on old Disney product as well as Pixar now, I felt for a long time it was a Pixar’s California Adventure now it’s starting to feel a little more Disneyfied. New Orleans Square is just this small area with TONS of charm and presence a small area devoted to a similar charm factor would be nice to see, perhaps Paris then tie it into the Aristocats jazz age. With the success of Epic Mickey for WII and the sequel now in production for XBOX 360, Playstation 3 and PC I think there is an opportunity to feature Oswald, Clara, Horace and other characters of that period in something, I haven’t thought of what would be cool yet but the games do offer suggestions.

    I would also like to see the video arcade given a decent facade and made to look like it does in Tron, just because the Mad Tea Party is across the way now doesn’t mean losing sight of other franchises, the area looks cheap and nasty and could be given a desirable appeal with a few half bricks and some lights, that would also tie in nicely with Hollywoodland and it wouldn’t be such an eyesore.

    • I agree with having attractions that feature Oswald, Clarabelle, Horace, and other characters brought back to life from Epic Mickey. Perhaps Buena Vista Street could house this, tying in Walt’s early arrival in California.

      Also, A Bug’s Land could surely use an update/upgrade … something more thrilling.

      I’d also like to see more elaborate queues that the switch-backs currently in some Paradise Pier attractions.

  2. Great Update!!!

  3. WOW!! Long wait times. I just hope they lessen in November. But it all looks great and I can’t wait to experience it all.

  4. Wow crazy wait time.

  5. Thank you Fishy! DCA and Disneyland look great. I’m so happy for Disney that they finally found a way to get people into DCA! Though I completely agree that they are far from done with that park.

    Cars Land and Buena Vista Stree LOOK great, but only highlight the fact that the rest of the park is still lacking. Somehow, they have to start replacing all those flat rides and carnival slow loaders with real Disney-style high capacity dark rides and immersive story telling attractions.

  6. I think that in total, all of the Carsland rides have more total ride capacity than the Adventures of the Little Mermaid, by about 700, a number I’ve seen batted around. I heard Mermaid was in the range of 10 minutes during the week, similar to the 15 to 20 minute wait. Given that LM is supposed to be a marquee ride for DCA, folks aren’t willing to spend even the 20 minutes you recommend for LFT. When you get down to a 5 minute wait time, you get some of the clamshells going empty, at least this is what I observed. As you see below, Pirates has a much higher ride capacity, but gets longer lines. I think LM isn’t the hit TDA wanted.

    Radiator Springs Racers: Officially 1,500 riders per hour.
    Luigi’s Flying Tires: 550 rides per hour
    Mater’s Junk Yard Jamboree: 700 rides per hour

    Haunted Mansion: Max Guest capacity of 2,618, typically 2,000 to 2,400 per hour.

    Pirates : Max Guest capacity 3,400 per hour.

    Autopia: 2,800 guests per hour.

    Small World: 2,500 guests per hour

    Little Mermaid: Around 2,000 per hour

    Indiana Jones: 1,800 guests per hour

    • I’d agree with you that The Little Mermaid isn’t the hit that they had hoped for. Of course, the fans were quite disappointed with the ride as it was billed by the Disney Parks blog as the next major E-Ticket when in fact it was just a slightly improved upon Fantasyland Style Dark Ride. It certainly doesn’t have the star power that it could have had. They should have gone with the Tony Baxter plan instead of the cheaper version they built.

      Still, one thing is for sure, DCA NEEDS MORE RIDE CAPACITY.

      • I would check with the Ops folks before making the broad and sweeping comment that the Little Mermaid isn’t the hit that they expected. The fact is that TLM has been very successful for the park and continually exceeds its design capacity. Throughout the last year (prior to Carsland opening) it has routinely put through the daily attendance count of park guests- not unpopular at all. And the attraction was never presented or sold as as an E ticket attraction- that speculation and assignation was purely online amongst the fans. As for the “Tony Baxter version”- any experienced attraction designer knows that the CGI version of that ride presented on DVD was not practical for many reasons. Unsuspended and undersized overhead tracks, unsupported animated characters, ignored sightline issues, constant violation of reach and safety envelopes. It is an idealized version that never got beyond the first phases of design -it could never have built in the form in which it is shown.

      • When it fails to perform in Florida as well perhaps they will see the light and redesign the ride, I know that’s a dream but who knows since they are looking to boost DCA as much as possible, might take a few years though.

      • I seem to remember a Disney blog entry saying TLM was NOT E ticket they were aiming it at C ticket, on that front it performs

      • I don’t think its possible for RSR to have more ride capacity–it is very similar to Indiana Jones in that respect. And if you push for more, you have more breakdowns, like Indy. Also, IMHO, I have always thought that Twilight Zone TOT, Soarin over California, and the Grizzly River run were all “E” ticket rides! Whenever I come to Disneyland I always go over to DCA for these rides…..

    • Wait… Where does everyone get this idea that Autopia has a capacity of 2,800 per hour? No way that’s acurate at all! I’ve seen it have an hour wait with less than 500 people in line! No way it’s even close to 2,800!

  7. Thank you for the update!

    On Paradise Pier, I’d like Disney’s E-ticket, beautiful ride-through version of a fun house with cutting edge (and updatable) special effects starring Minnie Mouse. Maybe she has to find & rescue Mickey, and perhaps it could end in a funny tunnel of love. Or maybe a hundred different Disney characters could play a game of tag. Guests could be “it.”

  8. Anyone think the lines in Radiator Springs will die down once school gets underway again? Me & my folks are thinking about making a trip down there in September, and I’d like to know what the lines might look like…..

    • Everything I’ve read over the last few months indicates large crowds until after new years, I travel to Disneyland for New Years and actually love the huge crowds, it all adds to the atmosphere, you can still have a blast just by using the Fast Pass system, early entry and Park Hopper tickets, it’s all in the planning :)

  9. I absolutely hate the railings on the Matterhorn and Alice in Wonderland rides. Maybe this was done to satisfy OCEA, but it seems to me that there must be a better way. Or perhaps they just want Disneyland to look more like Coney Island so that more people would go to DCA.

    • A solution is being worked on. Those railings and tarps are just temporary.

      • I sure hope so. As it is now, I don’t think I’ll be back until the railings are gone. It’s like a big wave of destruction is sweeping through the place. It started with the New Tomorrowland–the Peoplemover, Skyway coming down–the Submarines becoming a kiddy ride, and now it’s spreading to Fantasyland. I can’t handle those carnival railings. I don’t want to go there, pay good money, just to be upset by what I see.

  10. I’m confused. In the headline for this column, it states “Painless Matterhorn.” Then the column goes on to say how painFUL the Matterhorn is.

    • I have stayed away from the Matterhorn, one of my favorite rides, for a couple of years since I injured my tailbone on that ride! I was truly hoping for a padded bobsled in their new and “improved” bobsled and was sadly disappointed to hear that is not the case:( So if you have a bony derriere like me, I say stay away unless you have your own natural padding or you are very young…lol.

  11. I don’t think I’ll return to Carsland until September, but Disneyland is definitely in the near future.

  12. Thanks for the update! Wow…crowds. It’s to be expected though. Even though I’m sure this summer season will be filled with crowds I’m still very anxious to go. :D

  13. Don’t worry. Rode Matterhorn yesterday and it was great. A bit smoother, and the room was fine for someone that is 6 FT and 210. And yes, my fanny was just fine. People sit on the curb for an hour for the parades, but the Matterhorn seats are too hard? Nah. FYI, the ride is well worth the wait up to about 45 minutes.