Disneyland (CA)

Disneyland Preview — Week of January 20, 2018

by on January 19, 2018

A week of very low crowds, pleasant weather, and the kickoff to Disneyland’s Lunar New Year celebration!  Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

While much of the week will be business as usual at Disneyland Resort, Friday the 26th kicks off the Lunar New Year celebration, as California Adventure welcomes the Year of the Dog. In addition to special food and drinks, and traditional ornamental lanterns and banners to set the celebratory mood, there will be several special events and opportunities to experience, including:

  • Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession, a parade that will run several times a day in the Paradise Pier area;
  • Hurry Home nighttime water show at Paradise Bay featuring Mulan and Mushu (temporarily taking the place of World of Color);
  • Disney characters in special Lunar New Year attire;
  • Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese foods at Paradise Garden Grill; and,
  • The Lucky Wishing Well.

For more information about the Lunar New Year celebration, check out Rikki’s preview, or Disney’s event page for daily event schedules.

 

Crowds

Crowds will be very manageable this week, making it a fantastic time for a visit.  The highest crowds will be on Saturday when they are at a level 5, but most days this week you will see level 2 crowds.

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Heads Up, Disneyland’s Main Street Is Under Heavy Construction

by on January 12, 2018

If you’re heading to Disneyland in the next few months you should know of several closures that will affect your visit. Multiple rides are closed and under lengthy refurbishments, such as Splash Mountain in Disneyland, and most of Paradise Pier in DCA (check our Disneyland Resort Refurbishments page for the exact closing and opening dates). Main Street, U.S.A. is under heavy construction as its horse-drawn street car tracks are being replaced. Take a look at the pictures below to get an idea of the scale of the construction that is happening.

As soon as you walk in to Disneyland’s town square you’ll notice construction walls. The entire area around the flag pole is blocked off.

Disney announced that new brickwork will be installed along with the new trolley track. From the official Disney Parks Blog: “For the first time, the horse-drawn streetcar track on Main Street, U.S.A., will be replaced in its entirety.”

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Disneyland Preview — Week of January 13, 2018

by on January 12, 2018

This week presents two wildly different experiences — busy holiday weekend, followed by some of the lowest crowds you’ll see all year. Also, the first Disneyland After Dark is this week!  Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

In large part, this is a “regular” week at Disneyland. The holidays are over, no festivals are running, and operations are more or less normal.  With that said, Disney is doing its first “Disneyland After Dark” after-hours event this week on Thursday, January 18.  It is a hard-ticket event (i.e., your regular park tickets or Annual Passes will not get you in), and it costs $95 per person.  The event runs from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., though your ticket will get you admission to the park as early as 6:00 p.m.

This first installment will be “Throwback Nite” (making it very appropriate that it’s being held on a Thursday), and it will have a 1950s/1960s theme. Guests are encouraged to dress the part (think: Dapper Day). There will be jazz and swing music, special photo opportunities (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads), characters, and exclusive food and drinks. Also, you’ll be able to see the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show, which first ran in 1958, that you can typically only see on New Year’s Eve. You can find more details here and here. As this goes to press, there are still tickets available, but we nevertheless recommend getting tickets sooner than later if you’re sure you’d like to attend.

Crowds

Crowds are high for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, but drop off sharply immediately thereafter.  Seven and eight level crowds for the weekend, and nothing higher than a three the rest of the week.

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of January 6, 2018

by on January 5, 2018

The new year is here, and with it comes much lower crowds and chillier weather. Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Disneyland MonorailThe busy holiday season comes to a close at Disneyland Resort this week, and with the end of that season comes the far less busy refurbishment season.  Yes, several popular attractions are going offline starting this week.  Some, like Haunted Mansion, Dumbo, Grizzly River Run, and Splash Mountain are undergoing brief downtime for scheduled maintenance or to remove holiday overlays.  Others, like California Screamin’, are gone for good, at least in their current forms.

Crowds

Crowds are all over the map this week, ranging from quite high this weekend as winter break wraps up, to very low towards the end of the week once most kids are back to school.  Wednesday and Thursday notably have level 2 crowds, which are about as low as you’re likely to see all year.

 

 

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 30

by on December 29, 2017

Another super busy week at Disneyland Resort as we transition to 2018, though it becomes slightly more manageable as the week progresses. Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

We get to usher in 2018 this week, and that means we get to experience the special New Years offerings at Disneyland! The New-Year’s-only (generally) Fantasy in the Sky  fireworks will run twice on New Years Eve, at 9 pm and again at 11:55 to welcome the New Year. If seeing the fireworks from Main Street U.S.A. is important to you, you’ll want to make sure you stake out a spot even earlier than usual. California Adventure will also ring in the New Year at Paradise Pier with its Fountains and Fireworks countdown. Special dining events are available at Napa Rose and PCH Grill; advance reservations are strongly recommended for these experiences. 

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 23

by on December 22, 2017

We’re at that point of the year when EVERYONE is off of school, and that means that Disneyland will be BUSY. What else is in store? Read on to find out in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The same holiday festivities we’ve been talking about continue this week at Disneyland Resort.  This includes the Festival of Holidays at Disney’s California Adventure (featuring food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park). Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and there’s also Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions). During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol).

Still haven’t had a chance to meet Santa? The big guy will be at Ahwahnee Camp Circle at the entrance to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail with other holiday activities. Santa will be taking a breather starting on Christmas, but Goofy will take over and will be available for photos in the same location. 

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Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 3

by on December 18, 2017

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve read the first couple of articles in this Disneyland planning series and have got the broad aspects of your trip mapped out. Just in case, here they are:

Since you’re going to Disneyland, though, it probably makes sense to know where to devote your precious time, right? Read on to learn what attractions are the “must-dos,” which are skippable, and to pick up a few extra tips and tricks to help you make the most of your trip!

Must-Dos

Obviously, Disneyland has several unique attractions unavailable at Walt Disney World that every Walt Disney World vet should try (subject to your own tolerance for thrill rides, etc., of course). Also, even though there is overlap between the attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, they are not always the same, and there are a few instances where the Disneyland version of an attraction is CLEARLY better and also make the “must” list:

  • Radiator Springs Racers — There are several instances at Disneyland where Disney has taken a ride system that exists at Walt Disney World but created a better experience. Radiator Springs Racers, which uses the same ride system as Test Track, is a great example of this. It is a next-gen experience, with a great story, fantastic animatronics, and some moderate thrills. It is a true “can’t miss” for a Disneyland visit.

 

  • Pirates of the Caribbean — In just about any discussion comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World, someone is guaranteed to point out that Disneyland’s version of Pirates is better. Simply stated, this is correct, and unlike some attractions like Big Thunder and Haunted Mansion, where you could viably make a case for either park’s version, there really isn’t a debate to be had here. Of the folks I know that have done both, I literally can’t think of anyone that prefers the far shorter Orlando version. The concept is the same, but if you like the World’s version, there’s more of that to love out west. For those with small kids, it does have two drops that are much larger than the little launch drop in Orlando, one of which is entirely in the dark. You’re not likely to get more than a spritzing of water and no one would confuse Pirates with a a thrill ride, but worth noting just the same.

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Disneyland Weekly Preview — Week of December 16

by on December 15, 2017

Heading to Disneyland this week? Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The Festival of Holidays continues this week at California Adventure, featuring food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park.  Also, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions) will be taking place throughout the Festival. During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol). In addition to potentially saving you some money, you’ll also get a lanyard and a special AP button at each kiosk where you redeem a coupon.  Passholders can stop by the AP Corner at Sonoma Terrace for exclusive photo opportunities and a complimentary commemorative collectible art button.

At Disneyland Park, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic are being shown in lieu of the regular daytime parade and evening fireworks, respectively.  Over at Disney’s California Adventure, World of Color has been replaced by World of Color — Season of Light. All of these special shows are included with your normal park admission, so make sure you check them out.

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Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 2

by on December 11, 2017

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the first part of this article, covering some of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of Disneyland planning. If not, go back and do it now.  I’ll wait.

Done?  OK, great. Now that you’ve got all of that fresh in your mind, let’s talk a little bit about what the Disneyland experience is like. It’s obviously similar in a lot of respects to Walt Disney World, but there are enough differences that knowing where you should direct your focus will really enhance your trip. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

When to Go

Broadly speaking, Disneyland experiences the same sort of seasonal ebbs and flows that you’re used to at Walt Disney World. Spring Break, Summer, and Winter Break tend to be pretty busy, and you can expect lighter crowds when kids are in school. There are some quirky variations attributable to local events, so certainly make sure you check the Disneyland Crowd Calendar, but if you’re familiar with Walt Disney World crowds, the times to target are going to be what you’d expect.

With that said, if I were advising a Walt Disney World veteran as to the best time to visit Disneyland, I’d definitely suggest the latter part of the year if possible. Disneyland has more local visitors that it needs to entice to visit the parks, and is accordingly a lot more cavalier about making seasonal changes to the attractions. For example, Haunted Mansion gets a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay from mid-September to the end of the Christmas season that really transforms the attraction — it’s still vaguely recognizable as Haunted Mansion, but a radically different version. I recall the first time I experienced it, I was expecting a light skinning, where maybe Jack Skellington shows up in a few scenes, but it’s a complete overhaul and is absolutely fantastic.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 9

by on December 8, 2017

Another week of holiday-themed fun at Disneyland Resort. Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Photo: Disney

Lots of holiday cheer at Disneyland resort, and both parks have themed their entertainment to the season. At Disneyland Park, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic are being shown in lieu of the regular daytime parade and evening fireworks, respectively.  Over at Disney’s California Adventure, World of Color has been replaced by World of Color — Season of Light. Even better, all of these special shows are included with your normal park admission, so make sure you check them out.

The Festival of Holidays also continues at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the parkPrincess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions) will be taking place throughout the Festival.  

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