Tuesday, February 6, 2024

New and Exciting in 2024 at Disneyland Resort. February 2-3, 2024

Well, it has been a while since I posted but now I have just returned from two days in the Disneyland Resort.  We chose to go during my son's semester break which meant we had to get him back to school by Monday, so our usual Saturday and Sunday trip turned out to be a trip on Friday and Saturday.  We had not gone this weekend before, in fact, over the last ten years we either did the first weekend in January, MLK weekend, or during when the resort was decorated for Christmas.  Crowd wise, things were pretty good. We did not feel the need to purchase Genie + (loved saving that $150) the first day at all, in light of the fact that none of the lines offered by Genie Plus were more than 35 minutes or so.  Even those marked as taking that long, were not.  The second day we did purchase the add on, but even with the purchase we were too late on Space Mountain to get a lightning lane and wound up standing in line 40 minutes at 10:45 pm.  It would have been nice to have it then, but otherwise in Disneyland that day we only used it for three rides.  In DCA, we used it on everything.  There was a lot down for refurbishment, some of the faves--but this is the price you pay, or don't pay, for going in the off season.

Now this post is kind of an experiment because it is the first in which MailChimp should notify subscribers that I have posted.  It is also my first post with a subscribe button (laptop version only, not mobile), so if you want to subscribe (and you are on your laptop!), please do! When you subscribe you should get a welcome email.  If you don't, please contact me and I will go back to the drawing board and try to figure out what's wrong.

Anyway, our last trip to Disneyland Resort was in December 2022.  These are the changes that have taken place since we've been there...


The outdoor marquis of the
"El Capitoon"

The long awaited renovation of Toon Town debuted on March 19, 2023 and its biggest star is Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.  The attraction opened two months earlier as a Lightning Lane attraction with initially a virtual queue but, on October 11, 2023, it was demoted to being simply a ride with Genie + service.  For more explanation of Genie + and Lightning Lanes, please refer to my Jan 2022 blogpost entitled Is the Magic Back? 

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway is the first ride in Disneyland to feature Mickey and Minnie Mouse as its focal characters.  The ride's venue is the "El Capitoon" theater.  The venue accommodates a LONG queue, though we never waited more than 20 minutes (both times stand by).  A longer wait time would allow you to enjoy the not exactly fake but somewhat contrived Disney memorabilia, including a giant "Mouse-ke-doer" from by gone days of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the "costumes" from the cartoon, "The Prince and the Pauper," displayed in the queue show rooms.  Past the snack bar, complete with ketchup puddles and condiment cups, you are on your way to the theater for the preshow.

The walls have all these parody movie posters

Passing the snack bar in the queue area..

The detail is so realistic!!

The ride premise in my opinion is a little odd.  Mickey and Minnie are going on a picnic which begins with a slightly annoying ditty about "nothing can stop us now/nothing can go wrong today" sung by the two mice as they head out to the countryside.  Totally unconnected to this event, we the riders board Goofy's train.  We don't make our way past the first bend before Mickey hits the train switch with his car, causing the train to come apart and to go off in several different directions.  Now one would think that Mickey and Minnie's day would pretty much be over before it began after crashing into the train switch and all, but it seems that this is actually where the adventures begin, including being swept over a waterfall, riding through the wild west and enjoying the lights of the big city.  Then suddenly Daisy Duck is conducting a waltz.  Hmm... Well, soon Mickey and Minnie are picnicking with Pluto and we are back safe and sound at the train station where we started.  

Well, I didn't get it, but its a great ride.  Disney once again makes use of trackless technology, a la Rise of the Resistance, to zip your car in all directions.  The screens are huge and colorful.  This is by no means a thrill ride and there are no scary elements.  No height restrictions.


Bye bye, Tarzan!  Not sure why--but Tarzan has been evicted from his treehouse to make way for a mysterious family of five that does not seem to be connected to any Disney production.  The sign says that the new edifice is "inspired by the Swiss Family Robinson," and the organ still plays the old Swiss Family Robinson music, but Fritz, Ernst, Francis and their mom and dad are no where to be found.  Anyway, it's cute and all and of course new and worth a look, but it's kind of hard to get excited about without any connection to a Disney plot. The views up top are also worth the stair climbing!


In terms of additional facelifts around the park, AstroOrbiter, Splash Mountain (now being completely scrapped and reimagined into the much anticipated Tiana's Bayou Adventure), Haunted Mansion, and Grizzly River Run are all closed (Feb 2024).

Both Indiana Jones and Space Mountain got small additions since last year, mostly in the form of projections.  Tiana's Palace quick service restaurant opened in September 2023 in New Orleans Square replacing the French Quarter restaurant.  The French Creole theme is the same but we did not eat there so I can't vouch for the quality of the food.

The newly opened Tiana's Palace Restaurant


Mickey gets things going!

Saturday February 3rd marked the return of Magic Happens, the parade marking the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Walt Disney Company.  You know, parades are a funny thing at Disneyland, perceived by many to be a waste of time that could be spent riding rides or avoiding crowds.  I beg to differ.  I would not say that parades are much of an opportunity for rest, but what they are is a chance to marvel at the creativity and artistry that Disney injects into everything it touches, not to mention the talent and energy of the performers, who dance for like forty straight minutes, all the way from Small World to Town Square. Sit (if you can), admire, and appreciate.

Magic Happens is your usual cavalcade of large floats with moving parts, catchy music and characters waving interspersed with colorfully costumed dancers executing playful choreography while interacting with the public.  It was great and we all loved it.

The costumes are out of this world!

Here come all the Disney pals!

Moana sails in

and my fave, Miguel sings "Remember Me" 
mixed with "My Proud Corazon"

I was soundly criticized for not having seen
this movie, but dang, that Naveen has some good hair!

My favorite place to watch a parade at Disneyland is in front of the 'King and Queen' rest rooms, across from the Matterhorn and next to Alice in Wonderland.  On all but the busiest days you can run up to this area minutes before the parade starts and find yourself a good spot.  A bit of advice, as I can appreciate the time spent away from the rides--if viewing the earlier 3 pm parade, plunk yourself near Small World (like where I suggested).  If viewing the later parade, either aim for Town Square or wait until about 10 min after the parade starts to aim for the aforementioned viewing spot.


For as long as I can remember Disneyland has decorations up for the Winter holidays from mid November to early January.  From what I can gather, since 2020 (which was the year of the mouse) Disney has had its Lunar New Year Celebration at DCA.   This year the event will run from January 23 to February 18th.  There is a lot to enjoy, mostly in the form of decor, food and specialty drinks.  Disney has created a festive red and gold jersey to honor the occasion. There is a great parade, Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession, complete with Mu Shu and Mulan accompanied by lots of color, music and dance.  Many of your favorite characters are greeting guests in traditional costumes.

Mu Shu greets the New Year!

This was a kid's jersey for sale.  So cute,
but too expensive for how often you'll wear it!

And of course you can buy Mickey in a traditional costume!

Fashion of course is a thing when one comes to Disneyland and we saw many beautifully dressed guests of all ages joining in the New Year celebration.

Well, I guess that's all!  I'll be travelling a bit now so hoping to do a little more blogging.  If you are on your phone, access GoFamilyGo on your laptop and hit the subscribe button, so you are sure to never miss a blogpost!

Here are a few more pictures!  You decide if we had fun!

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