Disneyland (CA)

Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – June 21 to 27, 2015

by on June 30, 2015

Last week, the Disneyland Crowd Calendar predicted larger crowds early then lower crowds by the weekend but in fact we saw flat crowd levels most of the week. Crowds were slightly above the yearly average although we did see one level ‘4’ and one level ‘9’. Otherwise, crowds stayed in the ‘6’ to ‘8’ range, typical for this time of year. Disneyland crowds were fairly stable day-to-day (except for Saturday) while Disney California Adventure fluctuated quite a bit.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

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Update: 10 Things to Know About Disney’s Armed Forces Salute

by on June 29, 2015

If you didn’t hear the good news, Disney has extended the Armed Forces Salute to cover the rest of 2015! Yay, Disney! Again! I have covered the Armed Forces Salute in a previous blog post, and this is an update of that post with the latest changes. Let me once again begin this blog post with a heartfelt thank you from me to Disney on behalf of our military personnel and their families. I’ve been a military spouse for 26 years now (and a military brat before that), and I understand the personal sacrifices that are made each and every day by Service members and their families. It’s awesome that Disney recognizes it in some way as well.

Disney has sold slightly discounted (in the neighborhood of 5% off) tickets for the Armed Forces at military bases for many years. The last several years there has been a substantial additional discount on certain tickets for military, but with more restrictions (and much bigger savings). Once called the Armed Forces Salute, the last couple of years Disney hasn’t really made a point of calling it anything other than a military discount. To distinguish between the ever present slightly discounted tickets and the steeply discounted tickets I’ll refer to it as the Armed Forces Salute.

The Armed Forces Salute can be a bit confusing. To be fair, the military has lots of categories of military personnel (active duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired, separated, Allied military assigned to the US, etc…), so it’s no surprise there are lots of nuances to Disney’s Armed Forces Salute.

Fantasyland Wide 2 009 1. Eligibility – Eligibility has changed over the years and actually seems clearer now.  Any active duty or retired Service member, National Guardsman, Reservist, or Coast Guard is eligible. Foreign military assigned to US military bases (with a US ID card) in the United States are eligible, as are 100% disabled veterans with an ID card that says “DAV/PRIM” and Medal of Honor recipients. If the eligible member is not present, their spouse is eligible. That’s it, though. No matter how deserving some other groups are (and there are many deserving groups), Disney did not choose to include those groups within this specific promotion. But, even within these rules there are complicated situations, so call Disney (or ask in the comments section below) if you still have questions.

2. Promotion Dates – The current Armed Forces Salute was scheduled to end on October 3, 2015 but Disney has now extended this promotion to end in December of 2015. The room discount will end December 23, 2015 and the tickets must be used by December 20, 2015. The Disney World tickets must be purchased by December 17, 2015 and Disneyland tickets by December 18, 2015.

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – June 14 to 20, 2015

by on June 23, 2015

Seeing our “What We Saw” line intertwined with the “What We Predicted” line is a good sign for the Disneyland Crowd Calendar. That means that last week the Disneyland Crowd Calendar did a good job of predicting crowds. We only see a crowd level higher than one level away from what the Disneyland Crowd Calendar predicted four times last week and each of the four times we missed by only two levels. Disneyland crowds have begun to reach peak summer levels and we expect that to continue right through until September.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

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Disneyland’s Paint The Night Parade Review

by on June 17, 2015

How does Paint the Night stack up? Find out in this review from the upcoming Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2016 (Photos by Seth Kubersky).

It’s been nearly a month since Disneyland debuted its new Diamond Celebration nighttime entertainment, and by now several members of the Touring Plans team — including Seth Kubersky and Guy Selga — have had a chance to experience the new productions from multiple angles. Over the coming days, we’ll be sharing a preview of the new 60th Anniversary updates that we’re including in the upcoming Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2016. To start off, here is our newly released Paint The Night parade review:

Paint The Night

Author’s rating: 5 stars

Paint The Night Description and Comments

Disneyland’s newest nightly parade, Paint The Night (Author’s rating 5 stars) is patterned after the processional that debuted at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2014, and was duplicated (with a few new additions) as part Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary entertainment additions. Inspired in part by the original Main Street Electrical Parade, these brand-new floats are covered in 1.5 million LEDs. Each float represents a classic Disney or Pixar film, as scenes from from Monsters Inc., Cars, Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and (wait for it…) Frozen are brought to life by a cast of over 75 performers, who bounce down the route to the upbeat soundtrack of Wreck-It Ralph’s “When Can I See You Again?” by pop artist Owl City (your kids will know who that is). Keep an ear out for musical nods to “Baroque Hoedown,” the old Electrical Parade’s synth-tastic theme song.

 

These super-bright displays go far beyond earlier nighttime pageants, and include character puppets with digitally animated faces, a tractor trailer full of floating 3-D designs, and a kinetic Sorcerer’s Apprentice sculpture whose twisting motion defies description.

In our opinion, Paint the Night is one of Disney’s best nighttime parades ever, and is not to be missed.

Paint The Night Viewing Tips

On nights with two scheduled Paint the Night parades, the first performance will start at ‘it’s a small world,’ travel past the west side of the Matterhorn, go clockwise around the Tomorrowland side of Central Plaza, head down Main Street, and then circle Town Square counter-clockwise. The second performance will begin at Town Square and run the route in the opposite direction. Most guests watch from the Central Plaza or from Main Street. The viewing area in front of ‘it’s a small world’ will fill up last so we recommend checking there if you need a spot. Keep in mind this is a new parade for the 60th Anniversary Celebration and has already proven very popular with guests. On busy days you may need to devote over 1 hour of time to make sure you secure a good spot for the parade.

 

The parade route will fill up will fill up a couple of hours early for the first showing, so we recommend grabbing a spot for the fireworks, and then immediately taking a spot for the second performance of Paint the Night. Any spot along the parade route will offer the same experience so you shouldn’t worry if you can’t see the parade on Main Street. And since all the floats and many of the puppets are exceedingly tall, you shouldn’t have to be seated right up front to have an excellent view.

 

Once the parade has started, count on gridlock all along the route, especially on Main Street. And since all the floats and many of the puppets are exceedingly tall, you shouldn’t have to be seated right up front to have an excellent view. Due to aggressive crowd control restrictions on the sidewalks, you’re best off entering or exiting the park via the backstage breezeways (if open) or Emporium shops.

 

If you can’t make it to see Paint The Night in person, enjoy this video of the complete show shot by Guy Selga:

 

 

What do you think of Paint The Night? Share your own review in the comments below!

 

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – June 7 to 13, 2015

by on June 17, 2015

Last week, with the only exception of Tuesday, the crowds at Disneyland Resort were within one level of what the Disneyland Crowd Calendar predicted each day. The average crowd level was a ‘7’ which means that summer season is nearly upon us. Once it arrives fully, crowd levels will stay near the top end of our scale (7 or higher) every day until Labor Day in September.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

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Video: Farewell to the Original Disneyland Band Castle Show

by on June 16, 2015

original Disneyland Band Castle show

The original Disneyland Band castle show has taken its final bow, but you can relive it with TouringPlans. (Photo and video by Seth Kubersky)

“Now it’s time to say goodbye” to one of the longest-running entertainment offerings in Disneyland history, as the Disneyland Band has disbanded, at least in it’s original form. Weeks ago, an “end of run” notice was filed with the musicians’ union that represents Disneyland Resort employees, notifying members of the historic 16-member marching band that they would have to reaudition for their roles (some of which they’d held for multiple decades) in a newly reorganized Disneyland Band, which will feature “a new sound” and “high-energy choreography.”

The classic Disneyland Band, which has been performing Americana classics since the park premiered in 1955, was originally expected to perform until the new one debuts at Disneyland’s official 60th birthday on July 17th. But (as reported by the “I Support Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band” Facebook fan page) the final performance of the full band under director Kurt Curtis was held on Monday, June 15.

The new Disneyland Band will be slightly larger, and feature 2 members of the original ensemble, while the rest will be redeployed in smaller musical groups (at least through the Diamond Celebration). That’s why I’m so grateful I stumbled into the band’s midday castle show during my recent Disneyland visit. While the microphones weren’t quite cooperating, this complete video of the Disneyland Band castle show should give you an idea why these performances were popular for generations:

In less than a month, we should have our first look at the all-new Disneyland Band, and if you are a fan of modern-day drum corps choreography, you should probably be looking forward to it. If not, keep an eye out for former Disneyland Band members as they pop up in new spots around the parks.

 

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever June 11, 2015: Disneyland Flora & Fauna

by on June 11, 2015

Disneyland flora fauna goats

Get down with the goats and other Disneyland flora and fauna in this Best Week Ever! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Well, faithful Best Week Ever followers, I just flew in from Anaheim, and boy are my arms tired! (Hey, we can’t all be as funny as Derek Burgan.) I truly had one of my best weeks ever, as any week at the Happiest Place on Earth is pretty special.

I was visiting the Disneyland Resort to update the upcoming 2016 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, and especially to review the parks’ new nighttime spectaculars. I had mixed feelings about some of the new after-dark additions, and you’ll shortly be able to read my full reviews of Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever, and World of Color — Celebrate! both online and in print. But something I have absolutely no hesitation endorsing is the wonderful world-famous Disneyland flora and fauna, which I enjoyed observing in abundance during my stay.

I know that most guests’ main interests at the Disney resorts are the rides and shows, and I love a ride on Radiator Springs Racers or the Indiana Jones Adventure as much as anyone. But some of the most magical Disney park memories I’ve ever made have involved the beautiful bounty of plants and animals — both carefully cultivated and amusingly untamed — that reside therein. And not to knock the Walt Disney World horticulture department, which does and impressive job (especially during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival), but there’s just something awesomely intimate about the agricultural encounters I’ve experienced out west.

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – May 31 to June 6, 2015

by on June 9, 2015

Disneyland wait times trended lower than expected last week but mostly driven by lower than usual wait times at Disney California Adventure. Disneyland Park had wait times within one index level of what the Disneyland Crowd Calendar predicted every day last week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report:

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – May 24 to 30, 2015

by on June 2, 2015

Last week, crowd levels predicted by the Disneyland Crowd Calendar hovered very close to what we observed every day. In fact we only saw two days last week where crowd level predictions missed by more than one level at either park (Sunday and Tuesday).

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! May 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on May 31, 2015

MMM positiveMay has come to a close and the start of the Theme Park Summer (AKA Some Attractions Are Worth Melting For) is upon us. In case you weren’t paying attention, May just happened to be one of the biggest of the year. Star Wars Weekends started, and I even wrote a handy dandy guide on how you can survive it in Six Simple Steps. Universal had a busy month, officially announcing the new King Kong attraction, a partnership with Nintendo that will bring new attractions to the Florida parks, and a brand new ultra-themed water park in Volcano Bay that looks to compete with Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Meanwhile out in California Disneyland delivered the goods in a major way with their new Paint the Night electrical parade, debuting 60 new pressed pennies, added a new World of Color show, and even a new nighttime fireworks spectacular! Walt Disney World fans weren’t left out in the cold either, as the Lunching Pad at the Magic Kingdom has a brand new crisped rice treat that looks like a flip flop. Everyone came up a winner this month!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Our first step is checking out the new Tsum Tsums that have arrived, which naturally have become the newest thing I’m addicted to. Here are two of our favorite pals from Toy Story, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

IMG_8467

Toy Story Tsum Tsums.

There were also several puppies from 101 Dalmations along with Cruella Deville.

IMG_8470

How many of the 101 Dalmations have official names and are identifiable by fans? Do people have their favorites like the Seven Dwarfs?

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