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June 3, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Dining - Fantasmic! and World of Color Dining Packages

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Disclaimer: This blog really doesn't deal with dining that is specific to the Diamond Anniversary - just dining that I did when I was there for the opening weekend of the Diamond Anniversary. Though we did two dining packages that gave us preferred viewing for two of the new shows: World of Color - Celebrate!, and Disneyland Forever (from the Rivers of America).

We began with a quick-service dinner the night of the World of Color premiere. We wanted something fast. The line for Earl of Sandwich was out the door (as usual), so we went to Jazz Kitchen Express. I ordered the BBQ Pork Po-Boy with Southern Coleslaw. I was wearing a white shirt, but fortunately I managed to eat it without incident. It was ok - the BBQ sauce was a little too sweet for me. The coleslaw had red peppers in it (WHO puts peppers in coleslaw?), which made it inedible for me.

Jazz Kitchen Express Pork Po-Boy

Lee tried the Classic Red Beans & Rice. I tried some of it - it had a bit of a kick to it. I don't remember that when I've had it before. He liked it, though.

Jazz Kitchen Express Red Beans and Rice

On the 24-hour day, we didn't get our first real meal until that evening. About a month before I'd booked a Fantasmic! dinner package at River Belle Terrace for that evening. I had a couple of reasons: first, I wanted to see what the Disneyland Forever fireworks looked like from the Rivers of America, second, I wanted to try the River Belle Terrace in its table service incarnation, and third, I wanted to be sure that we actually had a meal and an opportunity to sit down and relax for a while that day.

On days when Fantasmic! runs, River Belle Terrace doesn't serve the usual lunch/dinner menu. Instead, breakfast is served until 2:00, and then the dinner service starts at 4:00. The restaurant becomes a table service restaurant, using the tables inside and those outside on the patio above the walkway that connects Adventureland and New Orleans Square. The outdoor tables on the Frontierland side are still available to anyone as seating for Stage Door Cafe or any of the nearby food carts.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Dinner

Our reservation time was 5:20. We arrive a few minutes early and had a very short wait before we were seated. We opted for an outside table rather than inside. The restaurant was an oasis of calm on a very busy day. It was really nice to sit down and relax and enjoy a good meal!

The Fantasmic! menu is a three course table service meal. It includes rolls and beverage. The price is $41.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids. We had a very nice server who quickly brought us our bread and beverages and took our order.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Dinner

For my first course I ordered the Fresh Mixed Greens - served with tomatoes, crostini and shaved Parmesan cheese. It was a really beautiful salad, and very nicely presented. I enjoyed it.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Salad

Lee had the other appetizer choice: Creamy Corn Chowder with bacon and chives. He really liked this - it wasn't totally pureed, and had a lot of corn kernels in it. That made it too "corny" for me, but that was one of the reason he enjoyed it so much.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Corn  Chowder

For my entree, I ordered Rosemary-marinated Chicken Breast with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. It came with a lemon thyme sauce which I asked for on the side. This was perhaps one of the best pieces of chicken I have ever been served: it was moist and flavorful. Just excellent.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Chicken

Lee had the Slow-roasted New York Strip and a Cajun Shrimp Skewer, also served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. The meat is not cooked to order - it's all cooked medium. Lee said it was good but not great - he really enjoyed the shrimp, though.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Steak

The other entree choice was Hand-tossed Cavatappi Pasta Primavera served with seasonal vegetables.

For dessert I ordered Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Sauce. It was just ok - the chocolate on top tasted like Hershey syrup, and there were little bits of gelatin in it.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Mousse Cake


Lee tried the other dessert option, Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel. That was served warm and it was very good, and a generous portion. Both of the desserts were good-sized.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Apple Pie

We were able to get an Annual Passholder discount on dinner. Our server asked us which show we wanted to see. That surprised me - I thought that we'd have no choice but to go to the first show based on our reservation time. I'm sure it's based on availability, and we wanted the first show, but it was nice to have the option.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Fastpasses

The Disneyland receipts all have the Diamond Anniversary logo at the top now - I thought that was neat.

River Belle Terrace Diamond Receipt

Our server told us to show up at Harbor Galley at 8:45 for the 9:00 show, and the ticket said to show up at 8:30. We arrived closer to 8:30, and there were already lots of people in our section - there were maybe a dozen who arrived after us. The viewing area was just to the left of center stage - it was really a great location. We all had to sit on the ground but there was plenty of room. We were in the third row of people. I wished that we had remembered to bring the Fantasmic! seat cushions we'd gotten in January when we did the dining package at Blue Bayou - it's the only restaurant that offers those.

Fantasmic! was terrific, as always, but the real reason we had come was to see the new fireworks show, and to see how the projections would look on the mist screens. We were in the perfect spot - the fireworks were almost centered over the mist screen in front of us. And in addition to the fireworks over the park, there were also some fireworks that were local to Rivers of America.

Disneyland Forever Rivers of America

We weren't as immersed in the projections as we were on Main Street, but on the other hand, everything was right in front of us, and we didn't miss projections because we were looking at fireworks or vice versa. And while the projections on the mist screen weren't as clear as they are on a solid surface, though we could still see them pretty well.

Disneyland Forever Rivers of America

These are the only two locations I've seen the fireworks from so far, and I thought they were both really good experiences, though they are different.

Disneyland Forever Rivers of America

In Disney California Adventure, the former Condor Flats area has been re-themed to Grizzly Peak Airfield - extending the national park look of the rest of the Grizzly Peak area. The Taste Pilot's Grill restaurant is now the Smokehouse Grill, though the menu is similar - still essential a burger restaurant. We hadn't eaten there in its new incarnation, so tried it for lunch one day.

I ordered the veggie burger. All burgers come with choice of fries or zesty slaw, or for 50 cents more you can substitute onion rings. I chose the onion rings. They were really good! The burger was just ok - I believe this is the "Garden Burger" patty, and I don't like it very much because there are peppers in it. The restaurant still has the toppings bar with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, etc., so I can make it the way I want. Sometimes the patty is superfluous, and I make more of a "salad burger". :-)

Smokehouse Grill Veggie Burger

Lee ordered the bacon cheeseburger. It was a fine cheeseburger, but nothing special. He had fries with his, and they were also very good.

Smokehouse Grill Bacon Cheeseburger

Later in the afternoon we visited Ghirardellis. I tried something new called a Nob Hill Chill. Oh my. I have a new favorite! It's like hot fudge sundae meets milkshake! A dark chocolate sundae that you can drink. It was thick and chocolatey, with hot fudge along the sides and the bottom (as well as mixed into it), and little bits of chocolate.

Ghirardelli Nob Hill Chill

That evening we went to Ariel's Grotto to try the World of Color Dining Package there. It had been several years since I'd been here, and the menu has changed slightly - not quite as much seafood as in the past (and really, Ariel shouldn't be serving up her friends!!!).

I celebrated surviving the 24-hour event by ordering the Magical Star cocktail which had a glow cube in it. Very tasty.

Ariel's Grotto Magical Star

Our meal started with a sourdough bread service - the bread loaf was quite pretty!

Ariel's Grotto sourdough bread

This is also a three course meal, with choice of appetizer and entree, and then dessert is a sampler platter. I started with the green salad. Nice mixed greens, though it came with blue cheese on top, which I didn't realize, as it wasn't listed on the menu. When our server came back I mentioned that to her and she quickly brought me another one with no blue cheese.

Ariel's Grotto green salad


The other appetizer choice was Butternut Squash Soup. Lee ordered that. It was very thick and really tasty.

Ariel's Grotto butternut squash soup

My entree choice was the cider-brined pork chop, which I believe has been recently added to the menu. It was served with mashed potatoes and seasonal greens. The pork chop was excellent - perfectly cooked. The mashed potatoes were also good, but I didn't care for the greens - wilted beet greens or something like that.

Ariel's Grotto pork chop

Lee ordered the Sustainable Fish, which was macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi. He enjoyed that, though he also didn't like the greens that accompanied it - baby bok choy in his case.

Ariel's Grotto Macadamia crusted mahi

While the first two courses had been quite good, the best part of the meal was dessert. We each received a sampler dessert platter with creme brulee, a S'mores cake and a chocolate covered strawberry. Best dessert platter I've ever had! The S'mores cake was especially good - I would be happy to get that for dessert in ANY restaurant. Really a wonderful way to end the meal.

Ariel's Grotto dessert platter

At the end of the meal we received our World of Color Fastpasses for the Preferred Viewing section. We arrive about 30 minutes before the 9:00 show, and there were already lots of people there. We had a great spot right in the center, and even though there were two rows of people in front of us they were fairly short and didn't block our view or put kids on their shoulders, etc. We still really enjoyed the show - second viewing for Lee and third for me - and I continued to catch details that I had missed before. Like during the theme park section, we see Neil Patrick Harris in familiar scenes or situations. Fun.

Neil Patrick Harris Tiki Birds

On our final morning we had breakfast at Tomorrowland Terrace. I ordered the breakfast burrito without the chorizo. But it still had eggs, cheese, black beans, and salsa in it. Very filling. And it came with a side of fruit.

Tomorrowland  Terrace  Breakfast Burrito

Lee ordered the Breakfast Platter with eggs, bacon, biscuit, and potatoes. Interesting that the potatoes looked like Yukon gold potatoes, rather than the standard russets. This was pretty much your normal American breakfast, but it was good.

Tomorrowland  Terrace  Breakfast Platter

There are a number of special food items for the 60th anniversary, but we have not had a chance to try any of them yet. I'm sure we'll have a few more visits to Disneyland coming up, though. :-)


February 12, 2015

Disneyland - Fantasmic! Dining Package

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Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Back in December, the viewing procedure for Fantasmic! changed - instead of first come-first serve, where people could stake out spots hours in advance (and many did just that), it changed to a Fastpass system, similar to the way World of Color is done at Disney California Adventure. There are different viewing areas set up around the Rivers of America, and a Fastpass allows access to one of them.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Fastpasses are distributed along Big Thunder Trail, near the exit of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. You can only get one per day, but they do not count against any existing or future Fastpasses, so you can get another attraction Fastpass immediately, or if you hold an attraction Fastpass already you don't have to wait until it's valid to get a Fantasmic! Fastpass.

There are also Fantasmic! Dining Packages available, which offer premium viewing options. Participating locations are Blue Bayou and River Belle Terrace (dinner), Aladdin's Oasis (Grab and Go meal), and Hungry Bear Restaurant (dessert).

We had wanted to do the dessert package but it was not available because the Hungry Bear Restaurant is closed for refurbishment, so we chose to dine at Blue Bayou. There were five of us, and we made a reservation (credit card guarantee required) several weeks in advance. Our restaurant seating time was 8:00, which meant we'd be seeing the 10:45 show. Most of us had run the Star Wars half marathon that morning, so we were a little tired and a little concerned about staying awake. :-)

Blue Bayou offers a three-course menu for the dinner package for $61, plus tax and gratuity. Choice of appetizer (soup, salad, or shrimp cocktail), entree and dessert, plus beverage. A bread basket with sourdough dinner rolls and cheese biscuits is also included. The entree choices are the same as those on the regular dinner menu.

Our meal began with the bread basket. The "cheese biscuits" were quite popular at our table. I wouldn't call them "biscuits", though - they were still more like bread.

As an appetizer I ordered the Blue Bayou Salad with tomatoes, caramelized pecans, and cranberries. It also comes with blue cheese, but I requested that it be left off. While nothing special, it was still a very nice salad.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Lee and most of our tablemates tried the New Orleans Gumbo with chicken, Andouille sausage, Tasso ham and served with Cajun-style dirty rice. Everyone enjoyed that.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

As an entree Julie and I ordered the Herb Panko-crusted Rack of Lamb. I thought the serving of lamb was small, and mine was a little tough, even though it was not at all overcooked. I probably would not get it again.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

I was surprised that the Surf and Turf was available as part of the dinner package menu. Lee and Mike both ordered that and said it was very good - the lobster was tasty and the steak was well-prepared.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Joelle had the vegetarian option: Portobello Mushroom and Couscous Macque Choux , which she really enjoyed. She likes mushrooms, and there were a lot more of them than she was expecting, which made her happy.

My dessert was excellent- I had the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. One of the best chocolate desserts I have ever had in a theme park. Creamy, chocolatey, but not too rich - it was very good.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Lee loves Creme Brulee, so ordered that for dessert. It must have been pretty good, because I was never even offered a bite. :-)

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Mike tried the Apple-Cranberry Galette, and also gave it a thumbs up.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Lee and I hadn't dined at the Blue Bayou in a number of years, but this was a much more pleasant experience than we'd had the in the past. We had good service, and the food was significantly better than on previous visits. It's still very expensive, but at least this time I felt that I received value for my money. Considering the normal menu prices, the $61 wasn't really that bad a deal for the Fantasmic! package, especially if you ordered the Surf and Turf.

After we paid, our server gave us our Fantasmic! Fastpasses.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

We also received a Fantasmic! seat cushion - the Blue Bayou dining package is the only one that includes these. Since the viewing area for Blue Bayou requires sitting on the ground (and I believe the viewing area for all of the dining packages is that way), this was a very nice added benefit.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

Our Fastpass ticket advised us to arrive between 10:15 and 10:45 for the 10:45 show. By then the crowds from the first show had cleared out. Plus, it didn't appear there were really that many people waiting to see the second show anyway. It was a little unclear where we were supposed to go to enter the viewing area. Though once we got there, we were really pleased to find that we were right at the center, looking straight at the stage area on the island. There were just a couple of rows of people seated in front of us, and as the viewing area is on a slight incline, we had no problems seeing anything. As it turned out, the area we were in never filled up - there were maybe another dozen people who came in after we did, and our section was less than 1/2 full. I don't really think that's right - I would've had no problem with allowing standby people in once it got close to showtime.

Because of the previous hassles in getting a spot for Fantasmic! we hadn't seen the show in a couple of years, and we'd never seen it from such a prime location! It was really great to be able to see everything so well. Usually my view of the smaller floats (the monkeys and princesses) has been obstructed, but I could see all of that this time. This was much better than the viewing that they had for the old dessert package, which was more off to the side. Though with the dessert package we had real chairs to sit on.

Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package

My understanding is that the viewing areas for River Belle and Hungry Bear (though that one is not currently offered, as the restaurant is undergoing refurbishment) are to either side of the Blue Bayou, so viewing from those areas should be excellent as well. Guests are required to remain seated for the show in those areas, though some of the other Fastpass viewing areas are standing only.

Mike, who is not local, and therefore not a frequent visitor to Disneyland, had these thoughts about the Dining Package:

I think it was worth it, especially if you don't make it to Disneyland very often. First of all, eating at the Blue Bayou, the food was good and it was a very iconic experience. Along with that you get to see Fantasmic! in its original park, without the hassle of worrying about a Fastpass. And, you get the cushion as well as great seats. Sure people have to balance out budgets when going to a place like Disneyland, but in my mind, the value is there.

And Julie commented:

I found the meal to be a little pricy for what I got, but I'm a quick service kind of gal.

Overall I found this to be a positive experience, and I would do it again, though I'd really like to try the dessert option once it becomes available (hopefully in April). But I will bring my Blue Bayou seat cushion. :-) Because we saw the second show I'm not sure that our experience was typical, as I believe there's much more of a demand for the first show. And many guests who do not have Fastpasses are in the area trying to determine where they can go to watch the show from a Standby area. Jason tried that recently, and describes it here:


Jason:

I finally made it out to the Rivers of America to experience Fantasmic with the new Fastpass system in place. I did not have a Fastpass since they were already distributing for the late show when I passed by the machines so I had to use the Standby area for the first show.

The Rivers of America area had no signage or indicators of what was going on. Guests seemed confused. Some were trying to go under the ropes as they used to and cast members were spending their time moving them out. From what I saw there were no signs to help guide you to a spot. For example the Standby area I used had nothing at all. There was a barrier set up and a cast member standing there checking Fastpasses. If you had a Fastpass you went down the walkway on the right. No Fastpass and you could go on the left to Standby but this was not well-communicated.

I was disappointed to see so much open space in the Fastpass and Reserved areas. Many areas looked to be less than 3/4 full. I am really curious how attendance has been at Fantasmic! with the new system. It appears to me that fewer people are seeing the show now, but this is based on a couple walkthroughs and seeing a lot of open spaces.

The Standby area I used was on the far side and stretched from the exit to the smoking area toward the Harbour Galley. This is just down from where I frequently used to watch the show from - near the Tom Sawyer Island dock. The view from here is extremely poor. You are way off to the side. The Fastpass area next to me had quite a few openings so it was frustrating to have a poor view and see a lot of open space with a better view.

About half way through the show I decided to go for a walk and see what else I could see. I was surprised to see a large of guests being allowed to stand in the walkway in front of the Haunted Mansion. The view from there was better than the Standby area I was originally in. I also walked around to New Orleans Square and there was a small Standby space there too. As I walked I took a look into the reserved and Fastpass areas and many had quite a few spaces available.

Overall my first impression was not positive. I hope to get there early enough some day to try Fastpass to see if that improves the experience. I do not see myself shelling out the money for the reserved spaces though, so guess my chances of seeing the show from a prime location have gone down substantially for the time being.

Since neither Jason nor I have experienced Fantasmic! using a regular guest Fastpass, we can't comment on whether or not there is still excellent viewing available to guests who do not purchase an additional package. I hope that it is. I like the fact that there are packages available now, since it gives more options to people who are not frequent visitors, and doesn't require them to spend several hours of what might be their only day at Disneyland staking out a spot for Fantasmic!. I don't think that the packages should be the only way to get a decent viewing spot, though.

If any of you have experienced Fantasmic! at Disneyland under the new system, please let us know what you think of it by leaving a comment using the comment form below.


April 6, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 28, 2014.

Friday was a busy day at the Disneyland Resort. Spring Break season is upon us and the parks were very busy thanks to that and pleasant weather. Then to cap off the evening a magnitude 5.1 earthquake with an epicenter less than 10 miles from the park occurred just after 9:00pm. No damage or injuries reported as far as I have seen.

Long lines at the security tents this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The Downtown Disney fountain is out from behind walls. It was leaking: water was outside the fountain area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Once inside the parks the crowd seemed to thin out a bit in Town Square and with a little timing you could get a shot like this making it look rather empty. Notice all the Main Street vehicles out today. Two horseless carriages, the bus, and fire truck in this picture. Also a horse drawn street car was making the rounds.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The Disneyland Band was performing in Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Disneyland has new guide maps this week. They feature Big Thunder and Mickey's Fun Wheel on the covers.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

New picture spot signs were being installed this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

They now feature a sample picture again. Here is the one for the Matterhorn.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

A check of the Alice in Wonderland progress. Not much visible from this angle. Looks more or less the same.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree for the Springtime Roundup.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

I will skip most of the decorations around the Jamboree this week since I posted pictures last week, so go back to the 3/21 update if you want to see more.

Egg Painters are present this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Some of the eggs on display.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

More traditional painting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14
More of the recent egg creations in a display near where they were painting.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Mickey and Minnie in their springtime outfits

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The springtime dancers came out for a performance.

They stopped for a group picture.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

A video clip of the Springtime dancers in action.

The Easter Bunny was on hand for pictures and autographs and had no wait while I was there.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The bunnies making their entrance for the Bunny Hop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Pluto somehow got into the Bunny act.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

A video clip of the Bunny Hop performances.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The food carts for the Springtime Roundup

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Some of the items.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Big Thunder had a lot of guests around and was using an extended queue. Standby wait was posted as 60 minutes and Fastpass return was 10:30pm and this was before 4pm.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Not much visible progress in the sub lagoon. Here is a look from the Monorail.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

A check of the Alice in Wonderland work from the Monorail.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Next I made my way over to Disney California Adventure. Goofy passing by on Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Work on the Wharf continues. This week the tarps were down, guessing due to the winds.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The Picture Spot sign in Ornament Valley has been moved and now has a sample photo on it too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The Ghirardelli sample today was a milk chocolate with a white chocolate imprint.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The structure nearest the turkey leg stand on the pier was behind walls. Guessing they are going to be repainting and fixing some of the wood damage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The coaster front from the Toy Story Meet and Greet has been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The Ellis Island Boys performing at the Paradise Garden Bandstand.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Interesting they did not put walls on the back side.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The Tweedles were roaming the crowd at the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Stopped by the Disneyana store on Main Street. Here is an interesting item. A check signed by Walt Disney. It was from 1965 and for $10,000 made out to the IRS for estimated taxes. The framed set was priced at $5,500.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Main Street was busy as to be expected on a Friday night during Spring Break season, this was around 8:30pm

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The plan was to watch the 9:00pm Fantasmic show. So I found a spot near the Tom Sawyer Island raft exit. Here is an action shot of King Louie as he passed by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

As the Columbia started its pass an earthquake struck. The epicenter was approx 8 miles from Disneyland. The show was stopped as soon as the shaking stopped. Here is a picture of the Columbia slowly finishing its pass after the quake. I posted my thoughts and more info on the earthquake in a separate blog posting on my site.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The show was cancelled and so were the fireworks. Which led to some very crowded walkways as everyone had the same idea...time to leave.

A look at Main Street around 9:45pm. It seems a majority of guests decided it was time to call it a night.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

It was around 10pm when I reached the garage. The escalators and elevators were all offline still. You had to hike the steps or escalator to reach your level.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

The third floor.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

I stopped for a quick photo and video from the bridge before continuing on to my car. Cars on the exit ramps were moving slowly but were moving.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14

Looking the other direction they still had the exit set up like a normal night with cars merging to use the overpass. By the time I got down there (half an hour or so later) you were locked into your lane more or less no merging.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/28/14


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



February 16, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, February 14, 2014.

A check of the Downtown Disney Starbucks. The facade is moving along. Glass and wood have been added to parts of it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


First stop today, Disneyland.

Four planters around Town Square had valentine decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The scaffolding is gone from this corner and the facades look great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

My idea of ideal snow.. just look at it and not have to live in it. Today was a picture perfect Southern California day with temps in the mid 80s when I arrived and not a hint of a cloud in the sky.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The Dole Whip stand has reopened and its lines were long as usual. They have increased capacity of the small stand and even with 5 cast members, two machines and two registers the lines on both sides were substantial still stretching all the way to the Tiki Room exit steps.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Walked through New Orleans Square.

No visible progress thanks to all the scrims on the scaffolding.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


The walkway to the restrooms has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Splash Mountain shows no visible signs of progress or change.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Wow, a 15 min wait for Winnie the Pooh.. I was expecting it to be a ghost town out in Critter Country with Splash closed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

No real visible progress over at Big Thunder.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

They are still in a testing phase and trains have been running intermittently for several weeks - one was stopped on the lift hill. No official word on when it will re-open.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Another train waiting to come on the track.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

New Orleans Square was busy with the Pirates queue stretching out toward Cafe Orleans and then back over the bridge and wrapping around to the entrance finally.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The Columbia looks ready to return to action tonight in Fantasmic!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and the lines for the characters were very short as has been the case each time I have stopped by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Since there was no one in line the characters and cast members were dancing along to the music and just enjoying themselves.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Small World is closed for renovations still, nothing appears to be going on with the exterior.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Looks like some railing painting going on here.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A new sign in front of the subs, saying they will return this Fall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The water has been drained from the lagoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A couple of quick pics of the drained lagoon as the Monorail passed overhead.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A couple more Space Mountain pics.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


The Disney Gallery will be recieving a new exhibit featuring steampunk artwork opening 2/22.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

In honor of President Lincoln's Birthday caught a showing of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Nikon signage is up at most of the Picture Spots now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Arrived on Main Street as the Band was making its way to the Flag Retreat, so I followed along.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Headed across the Esplanade to DCA and Buena Vista Street. Trolley Treats had an assortment of Valentine's day items as you walked in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A new edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is on news stands now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The Pacific Wharf Cafe had bread shaped as bears and hearts for Valentines day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Arrived on Route 66 as the neon was coming on for the evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


Red pulled into the Cozy Cone for pictures. I do not recall ever seeing him here.. usually he is down near Cross Street or out by the Flying Tires.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Thursday, 2/13, marked 10 years since they first lit up the sign on the Tower of Terror.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


The Mad T Party Band was performing as I walked by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

There was a full moon Friday, here it is over the Cozy Cone, someday I will learn how to get better pictures that do not make it look like a bright light. It looked much more impressive in person.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Spent some time walking around Big Thunder (they were cycling trains this evening).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Big Thunder with the moon lingering behind it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

That blur is a train going by..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Watched Remember from along the Rivers of America. The show was at 8:40, before Fantasmic.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

They still do some minor lighting effects.. some strobes, fog, and lights for the Haunted Mansion segment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A great view of one of the pinwheels from where I was.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Fantasmic! re-opened tonight (2/14) after its winter refurbishment. Some new fountains in the World of Color style were added. The plan was to take some video of the opening then stills later on. The show was stopped because the water screens did not come on. It was then cancelled. Here is some video of the opening featuring the new fountains and you can see the projectors come on but no screens at the end.


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



May 12, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, May 10, 2013.

First stop today, Disneyland. Nice to see the Magical posters up right away this season, it returned last Friday for its summer run.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13


A new hot dog option at Refreshment Corner: Chicago Style. An all beef hot dog with sweet pickle relish, pepperoncini, tomatoes, red onions, chives, and a dill pickle spear. Served with a bag of chips. $7.19.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The skyline in Frontierland has returned to normal. The large crane is gone meaning the track installation is complete so now they should be moving on to the painting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Rainbow Ridge continues to take shape.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The stage area at the front of Tom Sawyer Island is closed to guests during the day right now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13


Still no signage for the Magical Map show at the Fantasyland Theater. There was a cast member positioned by the wall to answer questions since you could hear snippets of the show as they rehearse/tweak the sound system.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13


The painting project of the light towers in the Small World Mall appears to be complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Thought this was funny.. I was trying to take a picture of the control booth with the snow man in the window and somehow managed to time it perfectly to get a bobsled in the way!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Look who is controlling the Matterhorn. (Laura says: I think this is the Bumble from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The subs were sailing again today. (And Space Mountain has reopened too)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The Kodak signage has been removed from the Photo Supply Co. on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13


The Opera House has reopened. No real changes to the lobby area. Thought maybe this display would be updated.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Thought this was poor. The Disneyland ticket collection that was on loan from Tony Baxter has been removed and nothing has taken its place. Seems they could have figured something out or taken the display case out or something.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Over to DCA.

The Kodak signage at Kingswell Camera Shop has been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Plenty of signs telling you attractions will be closed prior to park closing. But no indication of what that means. I am assuming this is for the Grad Nite kickoff.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The Big Top Toys window has been tweaked. The cut outs have been replaced with real stuffed animals. Slightly better but still nowhere near as nice as the original window the Imagineers had.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The last couple of times I stopped by the Performing Arts showcase on the backlot they featured handbell groups. Are they becoming that widespread now?

A very brief clip of the Kyrene Middle School Scorpion Handbells from Tempe Arizona playing a song we all know..

Someone asked what they did with the truck since they put the Monsters University merchandise kiosk where it used to be...well they moved it up on the sidewalk and down a little.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

In Radiator Springs the pavement project is complete. I read online the issue was the pavement was sinking a bit on the sides so here you can see the right side was built up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Another shot, you can see the line on the left for what was changed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

A closer look.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The cactus were not in bloom, but several looked like they would be soon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Some new bark in the planters between the Wharf and Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Out on the Pier Instant Concert had just ended. This time Goofy stuck around for pictures. Thought this was a nice plus and always thought it was odd he would run off so quickly after the show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The Condor Flats restrooms have reopened. No real interesting changes jumped out to me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The Storytellers statue area had been behind some walls, guessing some spring cleaning/annual refurbishment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The Cozy Cone fountain was drained.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

GRR was closed this time by (earlier it was running).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Walked on to the Little Mermaid. Here at Disneyland they do not rotate toward Ursula at the end whereas WDW has a slight rotation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

A Glow with the Show Ears cart out on the Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13


Went for a ride on Mater's. The new coating seems to be holding up so far in most spots. Thought it was funny that they needed a red out of service band on it.. with no trailer seems obvious it is not in use.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

It's Tough to be a Bug is closed today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

In Hollywoodland one of the Backlot directional signs has been removed from the planters.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13


The Mad T Party was going on as I walked by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

A wide picture of the future Monsters University Dorm, which will be a Meet and Greet area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

A current Limited Time Magic offering allows Annual Passholders to view Magical and Fantasmic! from a reserved viewing area if they have Glow with the Show Ears. AP holders obtain a wristband at a check-in booth outside the Opera House.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Walls up for some pavement work near the New Orleans Square station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Caught a little of Fantasmic. No Pinocchio puppets this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

No fire out of the dragon either.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Made it to Main Street with a couple minutes to spare to catch Magical. Unfortunately I bypassed the AP area so not sure how many people were there and was too far back to see their ears perform.

A clip from the show, with a couple of Glow Ears visible.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

The new wheelchair accessible van stop was in use this evening as I was leaving.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/10/13

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



May 19, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, May 18, 2012. Highlights include the new Cars Land-inspired monorails with their new narrations, Matterhorn bobsled testing and the new Brave Meet and Greet as well as updated construction photos from Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, opening June 15!


The scaffolding is down around the La Brea Bakery.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

This year they are doing grad nite differently than they traditionally have. This year grads get a park hopper ticket and wristband. They can visit both parks all day long then after Disneyland closes they have their party until the early morning hours. So as the day went on more and more graduates showed up in the park which made for a different experience and crowd pattern.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

There was no line and the bus was boarding so I hopped on for an elevated view of Main Street. Minnie waving as we passed by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


A check in on Carnation Cafe.. it opens June 13th and work was going on all day and into the evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The Matterhorn has water flowing again and bobsleds were being cycled.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Hard to see what is going on at Plaza Gardens. Looks like much of the concrete and retaining wall on the North side are gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

First destination of the day was the Small World Mall to check out the Brave Meet and Greet. As you approach there are banners up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

And some signs.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

There are activities and some games too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

There is an archery range as part of the area too, so after your picture is taken you can go shoot a bow and arrow.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The cast members assist you with a quick lesson as the paparazzi snaps pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A closer look at the bow and arrow.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


A couple tables for coloring.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A game to test your skill.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

These were interesting. Some stones that you can create rubbings with (thank you David for letting us know the process name).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Moving on, the seagulls are still gone from the sub lagoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The menu boards at Tomorrowland Terrace are now LCD screens, reminds me of WDW.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Wandered down the trail to the Jamboree next. The cows that were lurking are now gone... wonder where they have wandered off to now, probably backstage hanging out again.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow were out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Next up the Monorail. They are promoting Cars Land so each has a name and personality now. Here is Mona Monorail in the Tomorrowland Station. I thought the wrap was pretty well done. It is not as over the top as the previous ones.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Here is a video of the ride to Downtown Disney, the narrations have been replaced and customized per train.

A look in on Buena Vista Street.A check of the Red Car stop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The signage on Buena Vista Street looks great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Notice all the sidewalks are in now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The return trip from Downtown Disney to Tomorrowland aboard Mona Monorail.

Very close to getting a great shot of a new bobsleds splashing down.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


A fun hidden mickey on the dock...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A new sled going by the redone bridge.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Manny Monorail going over the Sub Lagoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Alice Davis received a window on Main Street since my last visit. It is right next to the one for her husband, Marc Davis.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Time to head to DCA.. only four weeks, 28 days, till the grand openings.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Noticed the awnings are gone from the entrance now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Minnie arriving at her Charter Airlines. Today she had the full-featured head, with blinking eyes and moving mouth.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Taste Pilots has a tarp up as they work on the building where the plane was attached.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The cafe signage is now done.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A great hand-painted sign.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The sign out front is installed now too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Another great sign being painted.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Time to check out the Studios portion of Hollywood Land which has been taken over by the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The Drink Me bar.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Props have been installed on the stage. The stage will feature a live band.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The House of Cards bar area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The sound stage number has been updated to fit the party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The food truck has received a new wrap.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The Bugs Life references have been removed from the mural and it is being repainted. Wonder if they are down for the painting or gone forever.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A look down Route 66, which now has striping on it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Wires now strung on the poles.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The traffic light has been installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Most of the construction is done so there are now groups roaming around with no hard hats (the crews on either side were laying sod).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A sod crew working near the Cozy Cones, notice the fence too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Spotted this new Cars inspired outdoor vending (ODV) cart.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The menu

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The scaffolding is down from around Ghirardelli

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12



A new billboard along the boardwalk between Ariel's and California Screamin' (the second one from the left).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

While looking at ODV carts.. here is one out on the Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Time for a spin on the Fun Wheel. There were two Racers stopped on the track.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

I think this helps with the scale.. remember those are 6 passenger cars, just like Test Track.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The signage is great..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Looks like they are working on the clovers in Flik's Fun Fair...notice all the white tops...the green has been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

I did not get a good picture.. but as I was wrapping up my first trip on the wheel they started to cycle the Racers. By this second go around (15 minutes or so later) they were running. Had to take a couple pictures of what I called the USC race!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

More props and equipment for the T-Party backstage awaiting installation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A second look from the Blue Sky Cellar patio, now that the workers have cleared out for the day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Noticed they have replaced the individual packets of condiments in Taste Pilots with these pumps now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Monorail Manny in Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A video from onboard Manny from Tomorrowland to Downtown Disney.

A look at the Mad T Party, noticed plenty of lights on the tower even.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A large sign for the event on the back of the stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

More signage for Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Video of the return trip.

Rumble King at the Tomorrowland Terrace

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The Brave Meet and Greet wrapped up at 3:00pm today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Some of the lights were on at the Carthay this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Also some lights on at the House of Cards.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The Tower of Terror area was very crowded this evening. A two hour wait! It appeared to be mostly Grad Nite kids.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

No neon on when I first arrived to check out Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Looks like they were set up for something, notice the microphone stands. In the background you could see groups of cast members heading for the Racers where they were doing testing/previews this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Then all of a sudden the lights all came on... crummy picture but you get the drift..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The lights in the cafe were on this evening and you could see the stained glass window.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Some water art being created on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Time for Fantasmic which turned 20 last Sunday!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Afterwards we roamed around the Rivers of America and down the Big Thunder trail as Magical was going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Made it into Fantasyland as Tinkerbell was taking her final flight.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


To close with the Matterhorn waterfalls - they have some great new lighting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



March 5, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 2, 2012.

They are still working on one of the stairwells at the garage. The wind had ripped the mesh.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

More scaffolding is down and Buena Vista Street is looking great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Another look at some of the Buena Vista Street facades.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Walls up around where the Red Car stop will be.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Still no roof tiles on the Carthay.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

All the scaffolding and mesh is now down and you can see the iron work for the marquee.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


Is that a hidden Mickey in the iron work (look right in the middle at the top).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Some details of the Elias and Company facade are now visible.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


A look through the gap in the wall, the monorail bridge looks to be framed. No bricks yet around the Red Car rails.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


Fillmore's shell has been installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Work continues on the Wharf bridge and tidal basin.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Touching up the rock work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The walls are down from the parade route work in front of the Little Mermaid.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The work on the Paradise Pier shops looks to be done. What a difference a little wood siding and removal of the giant clown makes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

They have altered the Fun Wheel exit area a bit. There is a new gate up between the non swinging and swinging gondolas and when you exit the non swinging one now you are directed up the ramp and to use the same gate as the swinging one to exit. This speeds up the boarding of the next group to the non swinging.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

An overview of Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Most of the scaffolding is down, just one more story to go.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The roof is going on Sarge's.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

As well as around the walkway from Fliks. You can barely see it from this angle/distance now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Looks like all the scaffolding is gone from around the radiator cap (wouldn't it be fun to walk the track like those two right now!)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


I kind of like it (Pacific Wharf bridge) with no sign up, the Cadillac Range looks great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

A wood frame has been installed over the steel at the entrance to Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The Minnie's Fly Girls show was going on in Condor Flats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

A wide shot of the area. As you can see it does not really impact traffic that much.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Moving on.. work continues around GRR.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Repainting going on, do not worry the shop remained open.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


Some work going on in the Studios Backlot.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Plenty of painting projects are underway.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Finally made it over to Disneyland. Some work going on with the seating/planters on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Due to the winds the tarps were up so we could see the progress of the work here.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Coke Corner has re-opened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

A look inside.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The Matthorn work is progressing quickly. The scaffolding is already being taken down as the painting proceeds. The new color scheme looks much darker to me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Wait times around 1:50pm

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Still working on the Tomorrowland Train Station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

An area in front of the Opera House was roped off for some Modern Family filming.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


Spring has arrived, or at least the plants and trees believe so.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

After sunset headed back to DCA. This week noticed all the street lights on the left were on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

A look at the Midway shops after dark.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

A bright light on Tower of Terror made for an interesting picture.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Turns out they were setting up for some filming in front.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

At ElecTRONica hey added some kinects units around the DJ area. I read they were using them to capture images and project on Monsters. I did not see this in the brief time I was there.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The street in front of Award Wieners was cleared and set up for some disc games.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

A video of the event...

There was a brief performance before the games.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


More walls in Downtown Disney near Vault 28, appears to be work on the lights against the buildings like all the others.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Work continues where the topiaries were.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Inside the Disneyland Hotel I was happy to see the old photos have returned. They are now on the wall that faces the elevators in the Fantasy Tower.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


The other side of the wall is out from behind the curtains too and features a great map of Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


Wait times around 7:50pm

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

The Rumble Kings on the Tomorrowland Terrace Stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12


Fantasmic! has returned, so I caught the 9pm show. Did you realize Fantasmic! turns 20 this year?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/02/12

Since the Mark Twain is being worked on the characters were on the Island for the Finale. Here is a brief video clip of the finale to conclude this update.



Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com



October 25, 2009

An October Weekend at Disneyland

Lee and I spent October 10-12 at the Disneyland Resort. Some of this I have written about in previous blog entries (like the AllEars Meet), but here's a few more highlights.

I also wrote about our stay at the new Villas at the Grand Californian, which was very nice. Love that one-bedroom villa!!! Lee has decreed that we shall always stay in one-bedroom villas. :-) (Which we usually do anyways.)

Back to the rest of the weekend, though. Saturday was very crowded in the parks, even DCA had a lot more people than it usually does. They were even making AP holders get handstamps all weekend for park re-entry - and I've never seen that before! We were so glad we were staying on-site and not having to deal with parking and the parking tram and all of that.

Saturday evening we wanted to see the new fireworks show, Halloween Screams, again. We met fellow AllEars® teammate Lisa Berton at The Plaza Inn for dinner. Holy cow...it was soooooo crowded!!! Line out the door and no tables to be had (though we finally found one). It was my fault...I wanted their fried chicken for dinner. And it was good!

Anyway...after dinner we found a friendly CM outside who was starting to direct traffic into Tomorrowland, and we asked her about a good viewing spot for Halloween Screams, so she told us where she likes to watch it from. And Lee videotaped the whole show - it's a little better than the one he originally shot since he had a wide angle lens this time and he modified the exposure settings so the castle is a lot brighter. The show is over 10 minutes long, so there are two parts to the video.

As you can see, even though it was a great spot for seeing the fireworks and the projections on the castle, it was not such a good shot for seeing the "crystal ball", which was partially blocked by one of the castle's spires. Oh well.

Sunday morning Lee and I went into Disneyland for Magic Morning - which we were eligible for because we were staying at a Disneyland resort (and it's the ONLY way for AP holders to get it!) There seemed to be fewer people in the park than on previous occasions when we've done it on a Saturday morning. We did 5 attractions in an hour - Ghost Galaxy, Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. And after the park opened we went to Haunted Mansion Holiday and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Ride (more commonly known as "Indy"). Seven attractions in an hour and a half! That's more than we often do in an entire day. :-)

Fast forward to later in the day after breakfast, the AllEars meet, and lunch at Rancho del Zocalo. As we were walking out of the park with Deb and Cathy at about 2:00 we saw the Hook and Ladder Company performing in front of the fire station. This is one of the things I love best about Disneyland...all of the little things like this that you find happening around the park. They were joined by several characters - Cruella DeVil tried to steal the stuffed Dalmatian puppy toy they had sitting on the piano, and she was run off by Chip and Dale, who did a cute shadow dance.

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And then Goofy came out and danced to "Come on, Get Happy" - who knew that someone with feet that big could dance so well? It was a lot of fun to watch.

That evening we came back to the park with Deb and Cathy and did the Fantasmic! dessert package. Cathy hadn't seen the Disneyland version of Fantasmic! before, and I don't think Deb had, either, and they both loved it. Cathy is a woman after my own heart and loved the pirate ship.

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This time the dragon mostly behaved - she moved around a bit more than the first time we saw her, though she didn't breathe fire. I love the way she leans down to look at Mickey like he's some insignificant little thing that's bothering her.

From there we had an excellent view of the Halloween Screams fireworks, but we couldn't see the crystal ball at all, and could only get a glimpse of Zero. Since the fireworks are really designed to be viewed from Main Street, it's not so obvious how many different places they are shot off from - they just appear to be at different depths. But when viewed from the side they appear side-by-side rather than front-to-back.

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The next morning we were able to participate in the morning Power Walk around DCA. This is something they offer several mornings a week to guests at the Grand Californian, but we'd never been able to do it before because we were doing Magic Morning instead. But since this was Monday, there wasn't a Magic Morning. We had signed up a couple of days earlier - there's no charge, you just have to be a hotel guest. At the time they said we would do 2 miles in 30 minutes - which I don't consider a power walk pace. :-)

There were only Lee and I and one other female guest, plus the instructor. Because we were going into the park before it was open we all had to sign waivers. Once the security person let us in the DCA gate we did a little stretching, and then started walking. And since we were a small group who could all walk fast, we really did do a power walk, so I was happy. There was maintenance going on in the park so we had to avoid a few obstacles. We walked all the way around Paradise Pier, around "a bug's land", then all the way around the Hollywood Studios area, went past Soarin', and ended up at the rapids again. Normally they stop there, but we still had time because we'd been walking so fast, so we went once more around past Grizzly Rapids, the Golden Vine Winery, and Soarin'. We still only did 1.8 miles, though - I had my GPS watch on. After we stretched for a while longer we walked out of the park. It was really a nice way to start the morning! In addition to the Power Walks, they also offer Pilates classes several days a week. Our instructor said they hope to expand the program and offer some additional stretching and aerobic programs next year.

It was Columbus Day and Disneyland was busy, though not quite as horrible as I'd expected. Deb, Lisa and I took Cathy to Toontown and showed her some of the fun stuff there is to do there.

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We met Lee and we all had a really nice lunch, and then Lee and I said goodbye and headed back home.

It was a really fun weekend. It's always really nice to be staying there and be able to head back to the room in the afternoon, and even better to go back to the room late at night instead of driving home!

June 21, 2009

Fantasmic! Dessert Package

As I'm sure most of you know, seeing Fantasmic! at Disneyland can involve a whole lot of waiting if you want to get a good viewing location. People start staking out spots along the Rivers of America as much as 4-5 hours in advance - and even then they are sitting on the ground and not in chairs! Disney offers one of their Premium Viewing Experiences for Fantasmic! for those willing to pay for it. For $59 (plus tax) you get a reserved seat (yes, in an actual chair!) for the show, and a box of desserts and other goodies, plus beverage of your choice.

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To book the Fantasmic! Dessert Package, you should call 30 days in advance of the date that you want to see the show. (For June 12, call on May 12, for July 31, call on July 1, etc.) The number is 714-781-4400. Phone lines open at 8:00 Pacific time. Your credit card will be charged at time of booking, and there are no refunds or exchanges. If there are two Fantasmic! shows there will be two Dessert seatings, so you will also need to specify which show you want to see. The package doesn't necessarily book up exactly 30 days in advance, but if you know for sure the date you want to see it, I would recommend calling 30 days in advance. They will give you a confirmation number - write this down and bring it with you. You will also need to bring with you the same credit card that you used to reserve the package.

Lee and I did this on June 12, for the first night of Summer Nightastic! - when we were pretty sure that Fantasmic! would be packed (and it was). I booked on May 12, calling right at 8:00 in the morning, and had no problem getting seats. (In fact, one of the people in line with us while we were waiting for the show had called only about 3 weeks before, and he was able to get in, too!)

Once we arrived at Disneyland we had to go to Guest Services to pick up our tickets. Usually we can go to the Guest Services line that's outside the park (to the left of the turnstiles), but we arrived late in the day and it was closed, so we had to go to City Hall instead. I gave the Cast Member our confirmation number and my credit card - he also wanted to see my photo id and verify my address. And then he gave me our two Fantasmic! tickets for the 10:30 show.

As the next step we actually had to check in for the show at 8:00 even though our show time was 10:30 - they check in all the shows at the same time. This is where they actually let you choose the seats that you want, so people start lining up 30-60 minutes in advance so they can get first choice. The check-in podium is on the first terrace level above the Pirate's Lair raft boarding area - next to a churro cart and a coffee cart. We didn't arrive until about 7:45 and there were already probably 40 people in front of us.

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Once they started checking us in at 8:00 things went fairly quickly. They divided us into two lines - one for the 9:00 showing and one for the 10:30 showing. We showed our tickets to the CMs and they checked our names off a list, and then showed us the seating chart where we picked the seats we wanted out of those that were left. There are about 50 seats in three rows. The first row, which is right up against the railing on the first terrace (it's not down at river level) is of course the first to go. We asked if we could stand if we were seated in the back and were told that we could, so we chose seats in the back row. We were on the end closest to the main light tower (next to the control booth). My opinion is that the middle row of seats are the worst, since you have someone in front of you AND you have to remain seated because there is also someone in back of you. (One good thing - people who are down in the lower terrace are NOT allowed to stand during the show, so they don't block the view of those in the reserved area.) Once the CMs wrote our seat numbers down on their chart and our our tickets we left.

At that point it was about 8:15, and it did not appear that they had started seating those who were seeing the 9:00 showing. I assume they start seating 30 minutes before the show starts, but I was not able to verify that since I forgot to ask (as you will read, we were pretty frazzled by the time we arrived for our seating time).

I had intentionally selected the second Fantasmic! because I wanted to be able to watch the new Magical fireworks show from Main Street, and there's no way you can see the first Fantasmic! and then get to Main Street for the fireworks show because they overlap slightly. Not to mention the fact that on opening night I knew Main Street would be packed for the fireworks. Disney encourages those who watch the early Fantasmic! show to remain in place for the fireworks show - you CAN see the fireworks from the Rivers of America, but you can't see anything on the castle, or any of the special effects like Tinker Bell's or Dumbo's flights.

After we had watched the fireworks show we waited for a few more minutes before trying to head back to Frontierland - usually that allows the Rivers of America area to clear out a little bit. But not that night - it seemed like *everyone* was trying to see the second show of Fantasmic! And many people who saw the first show were staying for the second show, so the area was not clearing out like it usually does! It was shoulder-to-shoulder shuffling all the way from the bridge into Frontierland back into New Orleans Square. And at one point we stopped completely for a while - it was about at that point (10:00) that they made the park-wide announcement that the Fantasmic! viewing area was full. But it wasn't full - we still had two seats waiting for us!!!! We were just about at the entrance to Pirates by then - and we were honestly wondering if we were going to make it in time!

Fortunately things started moving again and we finally made it to the entrance to the reserved seating area. It was just beyond the main light tower, and blocked off with a rope. We had to get someone's attention before they let us in. The CM looked at our tickets and took us to our seats, and then, after we sat down, gave us our dessert boxes and took our drink orders. (Coffee, hot chocolate, soft drinks and water were available).

Here's the dessert box with the Fantasmic! logo:

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Inside there were five kinds of cheese, packages of crackers, and grapes. For the sweet tooth we had a macaroon, a mini chocolate cupcake with chocolate filling (it would have been a lava cake if it had been warm!), a mini cheesecake, a lemon tart, and a shortbread cookie with strawberry filling, with a white chocolate design on it. There were also two truffles - a chocolate truffle and a white chocolate truffle with some kind of citrus flavor (yuck!).

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Here's the drink station:

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After fighting the crowds we were a bit frazzled, as I mentioned, so it was nice to sit down. We arrived about 10:15 (and we weren't the last to arrive!), but still had time to enjoy some of our desserts and our beverages before the show started. I think they have done a good job of not placing the chairs too close together - we had more room than we did when they offered this on the balcony of the old Disney Gallery (which is now the Dream Suite). We were sitting on folding chairs, but they had a little bit of a cushion, and were comfortable enough.

The desserts were pretty good, but not great. My favorite was the chocolate cake - neither of us liked the lemon tart. It was nice to see the crackers and cheese in addition to the sweets, but I would've liked to have had more fruit than just the grapes (they were very good grapes, though). In the past they have had chocolate-covered strawberries, but not this time, and I had been looking forward to that. It was a LOT of dessert, though - neither of us came close to finishing everything (we could easily have shared one box) and we took our boxes home.

The show started fairly promptly at 10:30. As you can see in the picture below, we were a little off to the side of the middle water screen, which meant that we had a good view of what was happening on the stage - it wasn't blocked by the water. If we had had seats on the far left side of the seating area I don't know if it would have been as good - we would have been more between two water screens.

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But in this picture you can see we had the great view of the stage area.

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The Sailing Ship Columbia in its pirate ship guise is always my favorite part of the show. Our view of it was partially obscured by a light post, so we couldn't see it well until it was right in front of us. I love watching all of the stunt men swinging on ropes and sliding between the masts - there's always a lot of action going on! But it goes by way too fast.

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One nice thing about being over on the left side of Rivers of America is that you get a good view of the final confrontation between Peter Pan and Captain Hook, and get to see Hook swing from side-to-side on the back of the ship as he tries to escape the crocodile.

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The crocodile is new - and as you can see in this video clip he has more movement capabilities, and appears to lunge and snap his jaws as he chases down the tasty morsel that is Captain Hook.

The two completely new characters are Flotsam and Jetsam - Ursula's pet eels. Their eyes glow as they slither and glide across the water. Their mouths even open and close. They didn't move quite as much as I thought they would, though. (And what's the difference between Flotsam and Jetsam? They looked identical to me!)

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The Maleficent character looked good - I'm not sure how much of it was lighting on the character or lighting on the costume itself.

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The other big change to Fantasmic! was supposed to be the new fully animated 3-D dragon...but she's not quite ready yet. So instead we got the Maleficent character rising 30-some feet in the air on whatever lift they use - and swaying in the air as she dramatically waves her arms. Yikes. Looks like a precarious perch to me! And then the dragon was projected on the water screens. It still looked pretty impressive, and I think if you didn't know about the "real" dragon it would still seem like a great effect. (Cast Members informed all those people who showed up hours before the show that they wouldn't see the new dragon - but they chose to wait anyway.)

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The show ended as it normally does with the all of the characters on the Mark Twain, and a final on-stage appearance by Sorcerer Mickey.

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After the show ended there was no rush to leave - we stayed for a little while waiting for the crowds to clear out. The seating area was a nice little oasis!

It was a great show - and the dessert package certainly makes it a much more civilized way of enjoying it. I really wouldn't have wanted to fight the crowds on Friday - as it was we ended up being in them more than I had thought. I'd definitely pay the money to do it again...though I wish they would bring back the chocolate covered strawberries! :-)

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About Fantasmic!

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Fantasmic! category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Critter Country is the previous category.

Fantasyland is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.