Friday, September 2, 2011

A Western View - Disneyland End of Summer Update

Greetings all! What an exciting week it has been with all of the great ride announcements being made! I was unfortunately out of town and not able to cover the west coast park's new rides but that was because I was having a blast at the Happiest Place on Earth! It had been nearly six months since my last visit and so many things had changed and new stuff opened. Sadly, I didn't get photo's of everything (I was too busy enjoying myself) but read on to get a peak at some of the new things going on around the resort!

First off my friend and I headed over to Disney California Adventure (it still sounds odd to me with out the possessive "s" at the end of Disney) to check out the new temporary entrance and get my first ride on The Little Mermaid. The new gate is just glorious. I can't believe what a difference it does to the overall feel of the area. It definitely sets the tone for what Disney has done and plans to do to this park.

Inside the gates you are met with a wall blocking your way and forcing you to your right onto a new path behind Soarin' Over California. There is definitely no shortage of Disney Cast Members lining the walk way answering questions and keeping everyone to their left so that the flow of people entering and exiting don't clash and create a traffic nightmare.

Along the path are all kinds of upbeat signs promising big things in 2012. The attitude is very positive and create a sense of excitement for everyone as they enter. Fun phrases like "The walls are about to come down" makes it clear how appreciative Disney and more specifically TDA (Team Disney Anaheim) is of the cooperation and enthusiasm everyone is showing to the DCA overhaul.
They have a temporary building in place to act as Guest Relations.

There is also no shortage on quality landscaping and directions to help everyone find their way.

Inside the park we headed straight for Mermaid (with just a short stop at Grizzly River Run to get World of Color Fastpasses. We got Yellow which isn't bad if you know where to stand). I had expected there to be at least a 30+ minute wait but was happy to see the sign out front listing 10 minutes. We ended up waiting about 3 minutes before climbing aboard our shell and whisked away under the sea. That short line time doesn't say anything against people's feelings towards the ride and more toward the amazingly quick operation and efficiency of the crew and ride itself. Unlike the Haunted Mansion so often does, Mermaid only slowed down once of the 4 times I rode and never stopped completely.
The ride itself was awesome (which i'm sure you could figure out by the fact that I rode it 4 times). It's a great D ticket size ride, being larger and grander than Fantasy Land dark rides but not quite up to the size and scale of E-Tickets like Haunted Mansion or Indiana Jones Adventure. The rides animatronics were very much E-ticket however, and really were what made the ride so great.

I apologize for the inside photo quality. My camera settings weren't set properly and I quickly pulled out my iPhone to get couple shots.

Back outside we strolled around the pier and took a ride on Goofy's Sky School which I think they did a great job fixing up until it is ultimately removed sometime in the next 10 years. I also checked out the beautiful new dining area. I'm sorry to say I didn't take any photos of either attractions.
Ultimately we ended up at California Screamin' which is going to close down for a fairly extensive rehab next week that will see the entire loop get replace (not repaired, replaced). Employees confirmed that the loop had a large crack discovered and was given a temp fix until new track could be manufactured and installed. The new loop was visible from the ride just behind the fence off to the right as you travel through the block breaks before the final helix.

Sadly, the ride felt like it needed a rehab from the slow parking in the station that ultimately caused major stacking to no trains with working audio. This ride is a serious work horse and needs a little extra love.

A quick peak from Blue Sky Cellar towards Cars Land where construction is chugging along.

I know California's Tower of Terror gets a lot of grief but I definitely think it wins over Florida's when it comes to exterior appearance.

Heading off towards Hollywood Pictures Backlot I checked out the construction of Carthay Circle Theater. This thing is pretty massive and will be a great icon for the park when it's complete.

The park opened up some paths to walk through from HPB to Condor Flats. Cast members were stationed all around to help with flow and answer questions.

The Condor Flats sign was recently spruced up and now spins again. A lot of people dislike the look of Condor Flats but I've always felt it was one of the superiorly themed areas of the park along with Pacific Wharf and the Grizzly Peak area.

Plus it's home to one of the parks absolute best rides!

Headed over to Disneyland where we checked out the new Soundsational Parade. It features classic Disney characters on parade to the music of their films. The parade gets going with a drum line and features a "talking" Mickey (one that has a moving mouth and eye lids) playing the drums. His float makes it pretty hard to get a good shot at his face though when your sitting on the curb.

The parade goes on in a rather culturally pleasing way grouping stories with similar cultural backgrounds together.
Overall, it's a great parade that is infinitely better than the Celebrate Street Party that I never bothered watching more and 2 minutes of. In the scheme of things it's still not at the level of the Parade of Dreams that played from 2005 to 2009 but it's definitely fun and worth checking out.

Lastly I'll leave you with Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ( or is it Star Tours II? Or Star Tours 3D... I'm as lost on this as I am with Toy Story Mania vs. Toy Story Midway Mania).

The ride's queue looks great with most everything the same and just some general sprucing up. The droids are comical and fun as always.

The ride itself is, well, Star Tours! I'm not a huge simulator fan but this pretty much felt like it always did. I thought maybe I just needed a better second ride (we had just left the Cove Bar in DCA before my first ride and the motion mixed with a fair amount of alcohol isn't the best mix) but unfortunately I got basically the same ride! I'm sure I will ride again if the line is short just to see the other locations though. And, please don't let me spoil your anticipation if you haven't ridden it, it's a great ride and those who do like simulators will absolutely love it.

Well, that wraps up our look at the Disneyland Resort for today. Hope everyone enjoyed! See you out West!