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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 
SeaWorld San Diego and Universal Studios Hollywood

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(If you’ve got breaking news or photos you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!  Contact Dusty today

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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  • NettyVal09

    Wow I remember when Monsters Inc was only 5-10 minutes now it’s 30 minutes crazy!

  • Algernon

    If California Adventure can finally stand on it’s own, what are the chances down the road of a “Disneyland Only” Annual Pass, for half the price?

  • Jeffrey Clinard

    I am so happy I went May 22, 23, and 24. These crowds are insane. On the plus side DCA is getting much better. On the dark side, I still don’t know why they put in two low throughput attractions in Cars Land. Haven’t they figured it out after over 50 years of Disneyland?

    I will be back to the park but not until these crowds go down. I’m looking at Christmas, or the first two weeks in December assuming something major isn’t down then.

  • LymanHunt

    Who’s with me in wanting to see an updated version of The Great Movie Ride added to Hollywoodland?

  • Bongo

    Just went to both Disneyland and California today, a day AFTER this blog entry, and it was the polar OPPOSITE of what I just read. The crowds were lighter than what I imagined, actually, even into the late afternoon. Did someone poke a hole in the space time continuum again?

    Also, agreed on the Matterhorn. Chattering teeth all the way through.

    • Internitty

      Maybe they are being frightened off by all the reports of huge crowds

    • Susan Hughes

      I’ve noticed that the crowds haven’t gone away, but they’ve died down considerably. It’s like a typical summer crowd for Disneyland, only it’s at DCA now.
      As for changes, it’s safe to say there will always be a Mad T Party-ish club going on. There’s just too much “drink money” being made to do away with the concept.
      But I wish there was another venue for it to take place. It doesn’t fit with Hollywoodland. But where? There’s no more room at DCA.

  • Timekeeper

    Glad that DCA is driving attendance, now onto Phase 2…
    Haven’t they thought of using an Ink’n'Paint Club theme (from “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?”) for the night time parties in Hollywoodland? That way, the party sort of fits in the time period of Hollywoodland.