It’s been an interesting week here at the Disneyland Resort as the boarding group process for Rise of the Resistance continues to cause HUGE crowds in the morning and droughts as the day goes on. Meanwhile, Lunar New Year brings good luck to DCA and construction projects take off all around the Resort. Let’s take a trip around Disneyland and see what’s been going on. There’s a lot to see and comment on. . .
Boarding Quickly: Rise of the Resistance
If you enter the Resort anytime after one minute of park opening, you’ll probably be met with these signs.
They’re literally everywhere; if you didn’t know that Rise didn’t have any more boarding passes for the day, you weren’t paying attention.
One more sign that might disappoint you if you showed up late is this Rise of the Resistance is the wrapped Honda next to La Brea Bakery. They aren’t giving this away. It’s just parked here for some reason.
Walking through the ancient ruins in Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll find a line to get into Rise of the Resistance and everyone waiting for their boarding group.
We find it strange that so many people spend their day at Disneyland just hanging out around the entrance to the attraction waiting for their boarding group to be called. The point of the boarding groups is that guests can enjoy their day at the park and not wait forever to get on one ride. You have 2 hours to return to the attraction once your boarding group is called. Enjoy your day folks, don’t just stand around clogging the walkways!
This is pretty indicative of how important Rise of the Resistance is to many visitors, this is the only thing some folks care about with their visit and they’ll wait all day for it. And if they don’t get assigned a boarding group, they’ll leave the Resort in droves in the morning. Despite that, many guests are still very confused about the process as Disney has only a few advisories about it. If you need help, we’ve got an article dedicated to prepare you for getting a boarding pass below:
The kicker is that despite this, the park is blissfully light on attendance most days. Weekends (like this past one) are often busy, but if you happen to visit on Wednesday or Thursday you’ll find some rather short wait times all around the park. Disney was expecting Rise of the Resistance to pack in the crowds; and it does for an hour in the morning before many guests leave. We’re curious how long this crowd pattern will last. At some point regular guests will figure out that the resort isn’t packed and that now is a great time to visit. What do you think? Are you waiting to ride Rise of the Resistance or are you planning an early morning attempt at getting a golden ticket?
Rise and Fall
Aside from the instant it takes for Rise to fill its boarding passes for the day, there are other issues with Disney’s newest attraction. The ride has been suffering some epic down-time. Sometimes the ride stops for short periods, but guests are regularly kept for an hour or longer in a non-moving line. Unfortunately, if one section of the ride isn’t operating up to full speed, it can cause guests to pool up inside the attraction in spots that ruin some of the best parts of the ride.
The photo below from @DavidMDaut on Twitter shows guests lined up where you would normally be surprised by dozens of menacing Stormtroopers. All those extra bodies completely block the view and essentially ruin one of the most important moments in the entire attraction.
Hopefully, Disney can figure out a way to have guests hold in less important spots so the magic moments of this attraction aren’t ruined after all that waiting.
Crowds! . . . Or Lack There Of . . .
Crowds and wait times have been more than manageable this week after shockingly low attendance on a holiday Monday. And by Thursday, the crowd levels were low enough to see the Main Street vehicles out and about for the better part of the day.
Here are some wait times around 4pm on Thursday:
Carrousel and Snow White
Large portions of Fantasyland are under refurbishment right now with the King Arthur Carrousel and Snow White’s Scary Adventures getting some TLC. The Carrousel has some nice photos and info about the history of the attraction.
The whole central area of Fantasyland is a sea of construction scrims. Here’s what it looked like Thursday . . .
But as of the weekend, Snow White’s refurbishment has expanded outside of the attraction and covered with a new printed scrim. It’s reminiscent of the scrim used for the Sleeping Beauty Castle renovation last year with its watercolor-painterly style. I’ve enhanced a couple of night shots for you below so you can
The scrims can even be seen from Main Street.
There’s a cute display on the front of the walls which includes the two previously released concept images.
The construction has even enveloped the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, making it a little difficult to find. Luckily, the scrim has the shop’s design printed on it (in the new version) as well as a bright sign of the name above the entrances.
Haunted Mansion Holiday-less
The Haunted Mansion is now officially closed for holiday removal and a lengthy refurbishment. In the meantime, we absolutely love the history that was put up outside the Mansion, especially bringing back this old 1963 sign from Disney Legend Marty Sklar.
On the gate, a bunch of concept artwork from different points in the Mansion’s development. The top right one is interesting, we don’t quite remember seeing that sketch by Marvin Davis. Here’s a gallery of them all (click on any image to open a gallery of full sized photos):
Great use of space while the Mansion is down for a lengthy refurb. It reminded us of an idea Ken Anderson originally envisioned, putting newspapers up around the front gate to establish backstory. That included an interesting tidbit about a ghost disintegration pistol that your guide was to carry! We have an article about some of those early concepts from a D23 panel you can read here.
While we visited recently, we saw some work happening on the exterior of the Mansion.
The Mark Twain is currently docked for refurbishment. This means that during the finale of Fantasmic, the characters are appearing on the island instead of the ship.
It looks like they’re doing some floor replacement.
And some touch-up painting.
In the meantime, the Sailing Ship Columbia will still take you on a trip around the Rivers of America.
Tomorrowland has a few ongoing construction projects. No progress has been made on the entrance, but it’ll likely pick up around Spring.
The Star Tours entrance mural was finished a few weeks ago, but the one on the Buzz side is still under wraps.
Work continues on the emergency exit stairs for Space Mountain.
Looks like the basic parts are getting close to finished.
Before we head to California Adventure we’re going to have a snack stop, starting with Galaxy’s Edge. The new Black Spire Hot Chocolate is…hot chocolate with purple whipped cream. They even put a lid on it so you can’t see the whipped cream, so we’re not even sure what the point of the colored whipped cream is. You can find it at Ronto Roasters.
The Toydaria Swirl at the Milk Stand is likely going to be very divisive. It’s green milk with mango jelly, a fruit sauce, and a topping of lime and chili. It’s definitely inspired by the Latin treat of a chili-covered mango, but we’re afraid there are just too many flavors in this treat for most folks. You’ll have to let us know what you think.
We stopped by Maurice’s Treats to try their new snacks again. We tried both the Churro Gears and Cogsworth Cakes and think they’re probably some of the best treats Disney has put out in a while.
At $5.49 for two, these are pretty affordable treats in terms of Disney pricing. If you haven’t tried them yet, definitely give them a go.
California Adventure Gets Lucky
California Adventure is in full festival mode with the ongoing Lunar New Year celebration. When you get to the end of Buena Vista Street, though, you’ll find that Carthay Circle (and the neighboring Club 1901) are currently under refurbishment.
The world of Marvel may be here sooner than you think, construction is really picking up with decorative elements starting to go up in the future home of W.E.B.
Construction around Guardians is starting to finish up as well.
There is now just one box of construction walls in the middle of the street, the area and sidewalks in front of Guardians are open to guests. We expect this one to go away soon.
FastPass distribution is back up in the usual spot.
It still looks a lot like old Hollywood.
And just over the construction fence, you’ll see the new shop and restaurant rising. We should see a lot more progress here in the days to come. This side of the new land was started long after the Spiderman side.
From the parade route, you can now spot decorative paneling being installed on the outside of the future W.E.B. campus.
The shiniest elements are the bright Iron-Man/Spider-Man red colors that adorn the building closest to the crane that will send Spider-Man flying into the air. We assume the hexagonal hole is where the W.E.B. logo will go. In some ways, it kinda reminds us of a Circuit City.
From the air, you can really tell how far along some parts of the land are and how far others have yet to go.
Notice the brickwork on the walls of the W.E.B. building. They’re really going for an industrial meets modern San Francisco kind of vibe.
Further down, the PYM restaurant is starting to get some siding.
The big Avengers building is getting some as well. Still a lot of exposed steel for a summer opening.
Behind Luigi’s, a backstage building is coming in.
The colder weather always brings Grizzly refurbishment. Who wants to get soaked in the 50 and 60° weather we’ve been having lately.
Lunar New Year
Weekdays are definitely the best time to visit Lunar New Year, the booths are blissfully uncrowded. There are still people, but not too many.
We had to stop at the Lucky 8 Lantern and Longevity Noodle Co for some snacks.
What’s been your favorite food item so far?
Toy Story Parking Lot Update
This and That
Small World is back up and looking great, but for some reason, the clockface wasn’t turning when we visited.
Disneyland Hotel Expansion
We shared an image of the proposed new DVC tower for the Disneyland Hotel. You can read all about it below:
And, in an unprecedented move, both Disney parks in China have been closed due to a deadly flu epidemic. You can read more about that below:
MiceChat Anniversary & Gumball Rally
MiceChat/MiceAge is turning 17 years young and we will be celebrating with a weekend of celebrities and events at the Disneyland Resort February 7th through 9th, 2020. The main event is the Gumball Rally, which is a race through Disneyland to see who can ride the most attractions in a single day. It’s absolutely the most fun you’ll ever have in the parks.
Join over 500 of your fellow Disney fans to see who’s got the best strategy for riding the attractions. Compete in teams of 2 to 4 individuals and have the time of your lives.
AND Join Us For a Night of Disney History and Character
The night before the Gumball Rally, February 7th, we’ll be hosting a fabulous event at the beautiful Bowers Museum (not far from Disneyland). The Bowers will soon host a new exhibit honoring the 50th anniversary of the Disney Archives. We’ll be among the first to hear about the planning for this extraordinary show. Then we’ll be dazzled by the talents of some of Disney’s brightest character voices, including one goofy one indeed. The voices panel will be hosted by David Derks, Vice President of ASIFA Hollywood the producers of the annual Annie Awards (which were just held over the weekend). We’ll wrap up the evening with Disney Animation royalty, Mike and Patty Peraza. They’ve produced an audiovisual presentation that is inspiring and heartfelt. But be prepared for hilarity, you never know what might happen with these two.
This is among our most affordable events ever and if you purchase 3 or more tickets, you’ll get an additional 25% off (Students and Educators get $5 tickets with code: STUDENT). DON’T MISS OUT! TICKETS AND INFORMATION HERE
Disneyland’s Southern California Resident Ticket Deal is Back!
3-Day Disneyland Resort tickets for travel now through May 21, 2020 are available at a $106 savings on each adult ticket and $86 savings on any child (ages 3-9) ticket! It is only valid for residents who live in ZIP codes 90000-93599. Residency will be verified at time of booking and government photo ID is required to use the tickets at the parks.
Here’s the best part . . . we have them cheaper and can be combined with hotel discounts and an additional $10 off using the “micechat” discount code (on 3 night stays) – Shop the SoCal Resident Special HERE
Not a SoCal resident? Our partners at Get Away Today help you save money on Disney theme park tickets and travel packages. For Discounted theme park tickets and travel packages to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal, Knott’s Berry Farm and other family vacation destinations, always start HERE: Get Away Today (When calling, mention MiceChat so you get your special rates and deals!).
Let’s Hear From You
And that’s it from the Happiest Place on Earth this week. How are you folks feeling about the first full week of Rise of the Resistance boarding groups? What do you think of the new Snow White construction scrims? Are you planning on visiting DCA’s Lunar New Year Celebration? Let us know in the comments. And don’t get left out of the MiceChat Gumball Rally and Bowers Museum events, they are not-to-be-missed!