Welcome back to the Disneyland Resort, which is racing toward a May opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with new attractions, restaurants, and plenty of stardusting. It was a major weekend for Disneyland with the launch of a new attraction, experience, and restaurant. Plus all sorts of news about Galaxy’s Edge, how to get a reservation, a Passholder drink promotion, and proof that Fastpass makes conditions in the park worse.
Galaxy’s Edge Reservations May 2nd!!!
— Disneyland Resort (@Disneyland) April 22, 2019
Set every alarm and reminder in your home that you can get a reservation to enter Galaxy’s Edge beginning May 2nd for visits between May 31st and June 23rd. Information on the reservation process will be released by Disneyland at 8am PST and reservations will go live a couple hours later at 10am PST. If you’re staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels, you should already have a reservation, otherwise, we suggest getting up early on Thursday. You’ll need an active and working Disneyland account to make a reservation, so we recommend that you log in before the 2nd to make sure that your account is active and that your information is correct.
While Disney hasn’t announced details yet, we have a recommendation on what you should prepare now, just in case:
- Have valid admission to Disneyland.
- Record the admission numbers for each person you hope to have join you in Star Wars land.
- Have all information ready to cut and paste into the reservation system.
- Know ALL alternate dates you are available to visit Galaxy’s Edge, just in case the date you are trying to book fills up.
Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Mouse Celebration
The $30 Mickey Mouse exhibit/Instagram extravaganza opened this week and we were there to check out all the Millennial-friendly goodness. It’s a huge collection of well detailed Mickey and Minnie themed art installations and we have all the info you’d need on it HERE.
Black Tap Opens
Black Tap finally opened this weekend in Downtown Disney. It’s a New York-based restaurant that serves craft burgers and shakes. The location was originally supposed to open during the 2018 holiday season.
There were long lines wrapping around the building to try their craft burgers and “Crazy Shakes”.
There looks to be quite a variety of interesting items on their menu, I can’t wait to try them all!
The kitchen is behind glass so you can watch your food and shakes being made. It’s a fun touch. . . and smart since the shakes are so Instagrammable.
The early reviews seem to be glowing and demand is high. I didn’t have time to wait on this trip, but you can be sure this will be my lunch stop on my next visit to the resort. If you were able to visit on opening weekend, please share your thoughts below.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic Opens at California Adventure
Mickey’s Philharmagic, a 4D spectacular show, opened this weekend in the Sunset Showcase Theater in the Hollywood Picture’s Backlot section of DCA. The show is a slightly scaled back version of one at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
While the attraction is operating now, enhancements are coming later this summer. A 1930s style marquee will be added to the front of the building to help it blend with the theme of Hollywoodland. And the nearby Award Weiners location will get some related theme enhancements and a revised seating area (part of the old Muppet’s queue).
The silly parody posters are retained from the Walt Disney World version, as well as most of the show elements. While the wraparound screen isn’t part of this version of the show, the panels on the side of the walls do open up in a similar fashion to the wraparound screen at Magic Kingdom. Near the end of the show, Donald’s butt appears on the back wall of the theater like the Magic Kingdom version, although we believe this one is static. Still, that’s an improvement over the Disneyland Paris version which is a completely stripped down version of the movie.
This is a huge improvement over movie previews, we’re extremely happy to see a fun show return to this theater. And it’s a great fit for Mickey’s 90th Birthday as well.
Annual Passholder Refillable Tumbler
Beginning the 30th, APs can buy an exclusive AP tumbler for $14.99 that is refillable the same day as purchase. Refill choices include fountain beverages, regular coffee, hot tea, or hot chocolate and refills are available at most quick service locations. Note that Pizza Planet, Bengal Barbecue, Rancho Del Zocalo, Edelweiss Snacks, Mint Julep Bar, and Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta will NOT sell the tumbler but WILL allow refills of the tumbler.
To get a refill you’ll need the receipt and annual pass (your physical one). The promotion runs through May 21st. What do you think, folks? Would you buy a $15 refillable cup for the day? Or does it just encourage the over-consumption of sugary beverages?
Mix Magic Gets a Quick Replacement
Mickey’s Mix Magic will be ending it’s short run on June 6th. The show was brought in as the anchor of the Get Your Ears On Celebration, and while it initially was praised as a fun, but short show, it didn’t retain its popularity.
At first, guests showed up on nights where fireworks were included, but even when the park was very busy this week with Spring Break season, not many people showed up to watch the show. While I was shooting it outside of Small World, it almost felt like there were more people in line for that attraction than standing to watch the fireworks show.
To combat the declining popularity of this temporary show, Disneyland Forever will once again allow guests to “step into the magic” starting June 7th, the day after the previous show stops performing. While I’m not necessarily surprised that Mix Magic is leaving with the Get Your Ears on promotion, the interesting part is that Forever was itself meant to be a temporary show and thus was a surprising choice as a replacement. For those who didn’t spend time at the resort during the (seemingly endless) 60th Anniversary celebration, Forever wasn’t that popular of a show near the end of its run. And the buzz on Mix Magic was better than the reaction to Forever.
We’d like to hear your thoughts . . . which fireworks show would you like to see playing at Disneyland?
Below, some photos of Forever that I found on my old camera.
It’ll be interesting to see the reaction of guests this summer as this show returns, it split the fan base with some really enjoying the simple layout and great special effects and projections, while others felt it was a generic show that fell flat. There’s no official reason as to why Forever was chosen over a return of the more popular Remember…Dreams Come True, but the collective theory is that Forever can be less expensively run with fewer or no pyro due to its extensive use of projections (as Mix Magic does).
What do you think, are you excited that Disneyland Forever is returning?
Disney continues Project Stardust construction all over the park. Much of the Hub is still behind walls as curbs are lowered and planters are redone.
We chatted with the Guest Relations cast members who have moved back to their usual location but without the wait time board. It seems the board will return soon as they finalize a permanent location for Guest Relations in this area.
The construction wall next to them was also removed this weekend, completing the garden.
The rest of the Hub and the bridges into Frontierland and Adventureland are all behind walls as Project Stardust continues.
The castle is still under wraps, but more and more of the scrims are starting to peel away as we move closer to the scheduled return date, May 27th.
On the backside, some scrims have come down around the Holiday Shoppe. A new dark blue topped turret now pokes out above it.
I’m a big fan of the rich lapis colored rooftops.
The Holiday Shoppe was in rough shape for a while with broken shingles and fading paint. Now it’s been freshened up and looks fantastic.
The new color scheme for the stonework on the castle is slowly moving further back into Fantasyland.
The roof above the Bibbidy Boppidy Boutique is starting to get its renovation. This was another location with lots of damage that will finally be addressed.
The tunnel heading into Fantasy Faire looks great with its new coat of paint, and the shutters have been returned to the window above it.
I’m very interested to see how far the new brick color scheme will go, maybe as far as Snow White’s Scary Adventures?
The planter that was removed near Peter Pan’s Flight is currently mostly used for storage and stroller parking.
In Frontierland, facade work continues on the shops.
The corners near the (soon defunct) smoking area of Big Thunder Trail has two sets of barriers up, one on each side. I’m assuming they did some small tweaks to the corners and railings to improve guest flow. I’m also interested in how the smoking area will be utilized come Wednesday when the smoking ban begins, it’ll at least be a great spot to stop and rest.
In Critter Country, work is ongoing at the Hungry Bear Restaurant’s extended patio.
Eagle-eyed guests might notice that it’s just the patio, nothing is really happening on the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge.
In Tomorrowland, the future looks beige. The facades of
Red Rockett’s Pizza Port Pizza Planet and the area in front of Path of the Jedi are getting a refresh. I find it slightly amusing that Pizza Planet looks like a giant paper bag, as if Andy is packing you a lunch of (terrible) pizza.
A galaxy far, far away will be here before you know it. It’s gotten to the point that it’s so complete from the outside I’m not finding anything new to take photos of. Regardless, it’s gorgeous.
As I do with every update, I should mention I still have yet to ride on the third floor of the Mark Twain in the last few months. The park was packed with guests and many guests tried to squeeze me out of my spot on the second floor because it was so full and yet I didn’t have the option to ride on the top deck.
There’s a cool building with an interesting radiator-looking spot on top you can see from the Frontierland side of the Rivers of America.
I’m having a hard time placing it, but I believe it’s near the center of the marketplace where Ronto Roasters is.
I will say, though, that it’s a little disappointing that from various points inside the park you can see the steel support structures underneath the petrified trees. Though, we are sure they won’t be visible from inside the land.
Pixar Pals Parking Structure
The Pixar Pals parking structure is looking very close to done. Concrete and brick are being laid and protective wrapping is being removed.
The alternating different colors of bricks is neat.
There’s a massive roof going up, is this the new tram loading area:
There are already some trees in, but it looks like there are a lot more to be planted soon!
As for the Mickey and Friends structure, the parking sensors seem to be in place and powered up. I even saw signs in front of each row that will display how many spots are available in the row.
This and That
I love this time of year where we get these beautiful blooms around the Hub. But hurry, the pink blooms are already starting to fade on many of the trees.
Over at California Adventure, Captain Marvel’s meet and greet swapped out the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo for an Avengers logo, signifying her joining the team for this weekend’s debut of Avengers: Endgame.
Endgame is blasting away records, have you seen it yet?
Ramone’s shop on near the entrance of Radiator Springs Racers quietly opened up a new quick service location, Serv-Ice. Similar to the stand in Bing Bong’s shop on Pixar Pier, it’s a mixed slushy stand.
Rita’s Baja Blenders on Pacific Wharf re-opened after a quick refurbishment with a new coat of paint. It kind of looks like a large traffic cone now.
The refurbishment addressed an issue which caused the machines to overheat on warm days.
Sunday was also TikiLand Day, a fan-created event that celebrates everything tiki. Attendees were encouraged to wear their best tiki fashion and attend tiki-themed fun.
The main event was the treasure hunt which had these cute tiki pins as prizes.
When I visited on Thursday last week, FastPass and MaxPass went down for several hours. That meant that no one could get a reservation, either from a machine or the Disneyland app, and standby was the only choice to experience attractions for most of the day. The park was extremely busy that day, but wait times were miraculously short.
I grabbed a couple screenshots of the condition of Disneyland and attached them below. Note this was about 2-3 hours after the system stopped working and most guests weren’t holding outstanding FastPass reservations.
After I noticed this, I started checking out attraction queues. No surprise, most were fairly long. The difference is that wait times were chopped in half.
Haunted Mansion is one of the most consistent attractions in the park. When I arrived to wait in line, the extended queue was already wrapping around towards the plaza. Normally that’s about an hour or more. I set a timer on my watch, it took me about 18 minutes to get into the foyer, the sign outside had read 30 minutes.
I decided to test my luck against the wait time on another attraction and see how FastPass being down was affecting Star Tours. I waited less than 15 minutes to get on, and I might’ve gotten on faster but I think one of the simulators might’ve been down temporarily. The line was mostly contained inside the building as well, which often takes at least 30 minutes or more when FastPass is working.
Later in the day when FastPass reservations were available again, I was able to snag a few. The first was at Guardians and while the FastPass line was relatively short, the extended queue was in use. I imagine that standby wait time might’ve gotten longer as people were waiting in it.
I got one for Matterhorn soon after but while FastPass wasn’t necessarily quick, it wasn’t bad, even for a busy day. The real kicker was Space Mountain later in the evening, which was a complete madhouse. Space’s FastPass redemption queue stretched down the entrance all the way to the bottom of the ramp.
So what’s our takeaway here? When FastPass is removed from certain attractions that would normally have short (or quick) lines, guests generally spend less time waiting in lines or waiting for a FastPass reservation and more time experiencing attractions. For popular attractions like Space Mountain or Radiator Springs Racers which will always have long lines, it makes sense to have the system in some capacity, but for high capacity attractions like Haunted Mansion, it does more harm than good.
MiceChat Disneyland Resort Halloween Party Meet-Up September 17th
The Halloween party at Disneyland is moving over to Disney California Adventure this year thanks to Oogie Boogie—and we’ll be making opening night (Tuesday, September 17th) extra special with an official MiceChat Meetup. We’ll trick or treat, catch the new World of Color, enjoy the parade, and live it up with the villains throughout the night. Don’t miss out on purchasing tickets to the Oogie Boogie Bash before they’re sold out (there’s a pass holder discount available), it’ll haunt you for sure.
You can find out more information about our upcoming meets and events and meet-up locations by adding your name to our event list here:
For more information on the Oogie Boogie Bash:
Want more Disneyland? I joined Dusty, Doug, and them park designer Andy Garfield on the last MiceChat Podcast which takes you to Galaxy’s Edge and beyond! Add us to your play list:
That’s it from the Disneyland Resort! It’s been very busy here, and we don’t expect it to really slow down this year.