Mother nature did her very best to stymie the fun at the Disneyland resort this week, but to no avail. Despite the mercury spiking at the high end of the thermometer, crowds continued to appear. Then if the heat and humidity weren’t enough, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck just a few miles from Anaheim Tuesday night 15 minutes before park closing at 12 am.  All attractions were closed for the routine safety check which kept them shuttered well past the closing time.  But, even the smaller aftershocks the next day weren’t enough to stop the fun, and guests were mostly unaffected.  Let’s look at what’s going on at the world famous Disneyland Resort.

As guest arrive at the Disneyland Hotel, they’ll find something new (other than just lots and lots of blue paint). The long awaited projections on the large map in the entry foyer of the hotel are finally working.

The imagery is more muted than we expected (which may be why the project was so long delayed). The animations which appeared on the magic map in Disney California Adventure’s Blue Sky Cellar were quite a bit brighter and more impressive (they were also in a darker spot).

Instead of fully animating the map, they succeed in merely suggesting embellishments to the existing art.

An elevator moves up and down the old hotel art as the pool shimmers below.

An elephant sprays water while the less successful rhino scene is reenacted nearby.

They are only dangerous if they are fuzzy and wiggling their ears.

In Tomorrowland, you’ll find the rockets spinning in their proper place atop the WEDway PeopleMover

Geysers in the Mine Train through Natures Wonderland erupt.

Dumbo flies in Fantasyland.

The Settler’s Cabin burns on the Rivers of America

Tinker Bell sprinkles liberal amounts of pixie dust.

What’s that we see in the construction wall at Earl of Sandwich? An open door! Let’s take a look.

NO, we didn’t go in. Tempting, but we didn’t.  😉

Nothing much new to see at this construction site and Downtown Disney is getting really hot and uncomfortable. Even the spurting fountain near House of Blues offers little relief.

It’s always cooler with more shade at Disneyland. Let’s take a look around our happy place.

A quick look at the wait time board lets us know what we are in for today.

Al Lutz broke the news this week that Big Thunder Mountain railroad is set for a major refurbishment in September. It will last well into 2013 and will include replacing the track, ride operating system, and refurbishing the load platform. Al also noted that “The queue will be prepped for NextGen additions”.

Get your last ride in before September.

The Princess Fantasy Faire will have its last day of operation on Sunday August 12th to allow Disney to begin working on a new entertainment offering. Sadly, the new home for the tiara wearing beauties near the castle won’t be ready until next year. Until then, they will set up shop on the Small World Mall. So, future princesses need not worry.

Future princess meet and greet area

Speaking of the princesses, a crane has appeared in the construction site of the new Fantasy Faire Village.


This duck decided to take a break in the grass.

From one popular park to the equally popular (these days) California Adventure! Let’s start at the wait time board and tour the park.

It’s hot, we’re looking for water.

Over at Luigi’s, things are constantly changing. One of the slowest loading rides in the entire resort has just gotten a little less fun because of safety concerns involving, wait for it, beach balls. It seems that while the original intent of adding the beach balls was to infuse kinetic, interactive energy to an otherwise bland slow moving bumper car ride, the balls were being thrown at other guests far too often. Disney’s solution was to reduce the number of the problematic projectiles and prohibit the guests from picking them up during the load process.

Don’t touch! They are just there to look pretty.

Well, in the end, it seems they have succeeded in limiting the chance of an inflatable-related injury. But, in the process, they have also reduced the chance you’ll actually enjoy this ride.

The wait times continue to hold at 2 and a half hours for the Disneyland Resort’s smash success e-ticket. Here are a few tips from the seasoned pros about getting on the attraction as quickly as possible.

  • Get to the park at opening.
  • Avoid following the large crowd funneling into Cars Land and pick up a fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers first.
  • If you do not have a FastPass, consider the single rider line.

They have stopped posting the wait times for the Single rider line due to the accuracy unpredictable.

  • A rule of thumb, look at the line. If it reaches the marquee of the attraction, it should be around an hour wait for Single Rider.
  • If you must way in line, get Sunblock, your iPhone, iPad, a book, water, and an umbrella.

The line is hot for the first half of the queue.

We simply cannot stress enough the usefulness of getting a FastPass, even though you plan to ride the attraction immediately.  Chances are you will want to go more than once, and the second time you may not feel like waiting two and a half hours.

The wettest ride in the park also becomes one of the most popular on the hottest days.  Don’t be a sucker by waiting in line for an hour for the mere chance of getting splashed . . .

Of course, you could just grab a fast pass if you wanted to.  But Grizzly also offers the single rider option. If you don’t mind riding alone or with strangers, then you can access the attraction in a fraction of the time the standby queue would take.  But, if you are simply looking to get soaked, stop by Flik’s Fun Fair and run through the sprinklers at Princess Dot’s Puddle Park.  You can cool down quick and not wait a minute to do it.

That’s a bargain!

That should cover it for the Disneyland Resort this week.  Don’t forget, this weekend is Destination D at the Disneyland Hotel.  Area restaurants may be a bit busier than usual during lunch and dinner breaks.

It’s hot out there folks, what are your top tips for surviving a sweltering summer in the parks?