Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
Hey folks! No time to waste today. It's my birthday, and I got places to go, and stuff to do, so we're going to hurtle through today's update. Pardon any misstatements!
"Star Wars" Land
The First Order attraction building is starting to round into a more uniform shape--at least the currently constructed two story part. Meanwhile, more steel has gone up at the Millennium Falcon construction site, which should also start picking up in the upcoming weeks and months.
Rivers of America
Another crane has magically appeared over by Big Thunder Mountain to help with steel installation in the area. Meanwhile, construction along the now full-filled river continues in advance of the planned mid-summer reopening.
The Summer of Heroes Is Coming
Disney California Adventure will be featuring a summer campaigned aimed at showcasing Marvel superheroes, and signage has started going up for the promotion, which starts this Memorial Day weekend!
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!
The finishing touches for the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride are coming together, with the exterior basically done. Set-up has also commenced for the private premiere party that Disney was selling tickets to earlier this year. And though we don't have photographs of it today, this past weekend, the park was testing new projection mapping effects beyond what we saw in last week's update. They look flashier than the more traditional theater lighting on display previously.
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! opens to the public this Saturday, May 27.
Return of the Pixar Play Parade
The Pixar Play Parade is back for the summer. If you like seeing Pixar characters and getting splashed with random squirts of water, this is the entertainment piece for you!
Cars 3 Sneak Peak
Remember when I said that there's a sneak peek going on at the It's Tough to Be a Bug theater for the upcoming Cars 3 movie? Here's photographic proof this time.
Over in Downtown Disney
And Downtown Disney has finally seen something update-worthy, over at the Splitsville construction site.
There's one item I need to address before we end today's Disneyland update: recent traffic and crowds at and around the Disneyland Resort. This past weekend saw a three day surge in snarling traffic all around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, with extended hours of cars backed up on local streets and even onto the I-5 freeway. In addition, lines at security and the entry gates were often excessively long to the tune of what is seen during peak days around Christmas time, not a non-holiday weekend in May.
Part of this was mostly likely due to this past weekend being the final weekend that Southern California residents could use their 3-day SoCal passes, which was this year's replacement for the bygone "Two-fer" deal that Disney used to run for locals. Though the Southern California 3-day pass is valid for visits until tomorrow, most people work during the weekday. Combined with grad nights and the typical Annual Passholder crowds, and this was a combination of mind-numbing delays all around the Disneyland Resort. Disneyland even reached capacity on Saturday afternoon and had to turn away guests at the gate.
There's got to be a better way to handle this, though. Park capacity issues aside, many of these issues could be alleviated with better staffing and infrastructure design. Far too often this weekend, security lines and parking lanes were not fully open, or if they were, it had been only after an extended build-up that created excessive waits that seemed avoidable if proper staffing and scheduling had been implemented. Add to the fact that the traffic signals around the Resort appear programmed to be more conducive to backing up cars rather than keep vehicular flow moving (the lights at proximate intersections are anti-synchronized), and you have a recipe for a lot of frustration. When it literally takes an hour from getting off the freeway to parking, there is most certainly a problem.
This past weekend was an extreme case, but the pattern of delays and extended traffic jams lasting multiple hours has persisted greater than usual over the past few months. Somehow, despite the ticket price increases and greater inconveniences (but necessary inconveniences) in security screening protocol, the Resort has been busier than ever. And it's not like people haven't been detered from visiting anymore. Many have. And yet, crowd issues persist and seem to be worsening. It's that trend and pattern that is concerning.
One can only hope that these issues are rectified in the design of the new parking structure located on Harbor Boulevard, and that the signalling issues at the Mickey and Friends side can be improved. All security bag check points should have a metal detector per aisle, rather than have two aisle bottleneck into one metal detector. There shouldn't be half the screening tents open when long, 15+ minute lines have built up. Traffic control around the Resort needs to be altered to be more efficient. Otherwise, there will be a lot of angry and frustrated people sitting and trapped in traffic or waiting in the hot sun outside checkpoints once "Star Wars" Land opens. It's all just annoyance now, but there is a definite PR crisis in the making if this is allowed to go unchecked. And it's not the fault of the cast members working these areas. It seems more like an issue with staffing enough of them to handle the crowds, period. The CM's certainly try extra hard and put up with a lot of stress in these situations.
That does it for today's update. I did get a little foam-y at the end there, but these frustrations and concerns are starting to come out from a lot of guests, and not just the usual "sky is falling" Disney Twitter crew. If left unchecked, the issues with the crowds and traffic will impact the guest experience at Disney, and that will hurt the company.
On the positive side, we've got a nice holiday weekend coming up. Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day, kids! And remember: don't be ass holes.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.