Disneyland and California Adventure Sizzling in the Summer Sun

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

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Published on August 09, 2012 at 10:46 pm with 15 Comments

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.

EARL OF SANDWHICH
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.

BIG THUNDER
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.

PRINCESS FANTASY FAIRE
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

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

AROUND THE PARK


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.

LUIGI’S
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.

RADIATOR SPRINGS RACERS
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.

GRIZZLY RIVER RAPIDS
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?

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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15 Comments

Comments for Disneyland and California Adventure Sizzling in the Summer Sun are now closed.

  1. I would like to add a little something to the RSR SR thing. Just something that happened to me before, not sure if it would work for anyone else, but it’s worth a shot.

    It was night and the ride broke down (Of course), so as usual, they held back the crowd around the corner to the town hall. I was a single rider by myself, so I asked a cast member if I could wait in the plaza. He said sure, so I went into the plaza where other people were waiting as well. I recommend doing this at night so you don’t have the heat of the sun blasting down on you, If you manage to get to that point, please check this checklist I will be putting below.

    - You used the restroom. Using the restroom’s important before you enter the plaza. You want to stay in there no matter what. Hold your ground.
    - Make sure you buy a snack or something from a cart or walking vendor before going in. I waited 30 minutes but sometimes it can reach up to 2 hours. Have something to eat and drink, preferably a dry snack and water. Although you could do whatever you want.
    - Entertainment is key. Like the post said above, an iPod, iPhone, iPad, a book, anything. Try to find something to entertain you that could last up to an hours plus. Luckily, I bring my iPod with me which has iBooks, TV episodes, music, etc. on it. You may not be so lucky. Might I recommend either singing quietly to one’s self or daydreaming?

    Either way, position yourself as close to the single rider’s entrance as possible. As soon as the ride opens, you can zoom up into the ride without a care in the world! Like I said, it worked once for me and it is still an experiment in the works. I am going back again a few times to test and refine my way of riding RSR. Hope you have the same luck! Cheers!

    PS: I really hope Big Thunder isn’t closed on Dapper Day. I want to be holding onto my straw hat in the very back of the train for dear life. It’s gonna be fun.

  2. Thank you Fishbulb & co for enduring the heat to provide great coverage of my favorite place, allowing me to get my Disney fix w/out having to leave the comfort of my air conditioned home! :) Love the pics!

  3. The Single rider line is a HUGE time saver for RSR. Ive never waited more than 45 mins the 15 times I’ve been on the ride.

    I wish they would bring Single Rider to Space Mountain, I would never use Fastpass again for anything at the resort.

  4. Where are the Fastpass machines for GRR? I was under the impression that they were still being used for WOC.

    • Only half of the GRR Fastpass machines are being used for WoC. When you go to the machines go to the far right closest to the ride entrance and you can get your GRR fastpasses there.

    • Or better yet, skip the Fastpass and go single rider. As long as you don’t mind riding separate from your party, it’s the fastest way to ride.

    • They are shared. This morning, for example, one machine was dedicated for GRR, the others were for World of Color. There are usually cast members there to point you in the right direction.

  5. Great report!

  6. Great Update! I’m still thinking that Luigi’s could be benefited with an interactive queue, sad about the beach balls. I am so glad that the Fantasyland Theater is being used again as a Theater.

    Timekeeper

  7. Thanks Norm. Very useful and informative. When I saw the animated map at the DLH, I thought they went “old school” on purpose. Maybe to give it a nastalgic quality. I cannot say I really like what Disney has done to the Hotels. I think they were going Disneyland circa 1965. In my opinion, they missed. Also thank you for the kindness. I am Out !!!

  8. ghirardelli & splash montain update
    ghirardelli has brought back the milk chocolate, caramel sample HOWEVER the castmemebers are not allowed to pass out samples to guest under 18 unless unless with a parent

    as of FRIDAY 10, several things has been changed on splash mountain.
    * wolf dropping brer bear into the water has been fixed
    * brer rabbit pushing the hand car has also been fixed

  9. It’s also worth noting that on August 20th the summer’s long blockouts for the lower Annual Passes will end. So there’s one more week of relatively blissful crowd sizes. Then all hell will break loose as the tsunami is unleashed on the parks.

  10. Thanks as always for the excellent update. But I could not disagree with you more about the Luigi’s beach ball situation. I’ve always thought they were a silly extra. The more time you spend with a beach ball, the less time you spend actually, you know, making your vehicle move. I’ve been on the Tires one time, and didn’t spend a second with the beach balls, choosing to spend my time learning how to maneuver my tire. I got pretty good and had a lot of fun, and couldn’t have cared less how many beach balls there were!

  11. Nice report, and terrific photos. They really show off the little things that make Disneyland (and now DCA) so special. I wish I could keep zinnias and marigolds that green and in bloom. Hopefully the heat will give way before my better half and I go nrxt week for her birthday. Just looking at the people standing in line for RSR with no shade makes me start to swelter.

  12. Another great report! I woke up this morning to discover the indiana jones ride is going under refurbishment september 4th through december 7th? I can’t believe it! I haven’t seen it on the in the parks column refurb sched. so in case you all didn’t know there ya go. It’s our favorite ride so our September trip to Disneyland has been postponed until the middle of December. Without the updates every monday and friday I don’t think I’d make it.. Thank You for giving me my Disney dose!