2:08 AM - Disneyland, two years later.
Before this week, my last visit to Disneyland was December 2005. After a partial day yesterday, and a full 8am to midnight day today, I have some early comments on changes I have noticed in the park.
1) The subs are back! The new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was fantastic. Not only was it great to see subs in the lagoon again, but the show itself is just beautiful. It makes the Epcot Living Seas with Nemo look like a direct to DVD sequel. Great job! (Lines stay long all day long, and even being one of the first cars in the parking lot this morning and heading straight there didn't prevent a 30 minute wait. More on that later...)
2) Fantasmic! has seen some enhancements. Did Pinnochio's "strings" always change color? I think they used to just be green (and so did a longtime F! fan who worked for the park when it debuted). More color lasers (other than just green) -- new? The barges have color changing lights too. Many minor things like that.
3) Did Star Tours get new consoles behind C3P0 and Rex? Or have they been that way, and the Disney/MGM versions are just blander?
4) The lights on the castle is neat, but I'm not quite sure it is worth how it looks during the day. They also do snow multiple times each night, so I guess it's no longer as magical or special. (My local mall even has a snow generator in center court.)
5) DCA - I wish Monsters Inc wasn't down for rehab. I haven't seen it yet.
6) Also at DCA, the new exhibit (animation) is great, and the Snow White display in the Animation Building is incredible -- some original art line drawings used for the film in 1938! Wow.
7) Prices are so much nicer overall than at Walt Disney World! Breakfast for $7.99 included eggs, meat, skillet fries, some fruit, a muffin, AND a drink of choice (coffee, juice, soda, whatever!). Discounts on Annual Passes are honored at most counter walk-up places, so that knocked 10% off (anything over $10). So much nicer and more affordable.
8) Care Orleans as a new sit down place in New Orleans Square works well. Monte Cristo outside of the Blue Bayou! Nice. A good addition. Wasn't this originally a table service place?
9) Fireworks didn't happen last night or tonight due to wind. Bummer.
10) River Belle Terrace restaurant closed for rehab. Pity. It's a great breakfast pancake place.
11) When Indy got new warning signs, gone were the original wooden ones with "real" old nails holding them to the wall. For years, the new "modern" looking ones were there, screws and all. They've covered the screws with bolt things now, which looks much nicer (but some had already popped off; at least it's a good start). Minor details like that make alot of difference. Light bulbs are still a mice of modern ones with writing on them (60w, etc.) and "generic" ones that look more time correct. Pole was missing, though.
12) The robot hat lettering machines (FOUR on the shop at Main Street) are SLLLLLOOOOOOW. One human could do hats faster than all four could, I believe. Wow. I wonder what the advantage is? "Anyone" can run them? Less training?
13) Cast members were superb! After reading horrible things about the turnover at MiceAge, I was expecting the worst. Tons of pleasant people. Had a birthday girl with me who got "Happy Birthday'd" more times yesterday in a partial day than she did in a full day this time last year at Walt Disney World. Also, got free dessert for it! Nice.
14) DCA's Hollywood backlot is MUCH IMPROVED with greenery everywhere, though I miss the old mess paint on Muppets. Overall much much much nicer. The updates over at the Pier look promising -- the new show building for Midway Mania looks amazing and will require tons of updates to all the surrounding buildings to make them fit in.
15) New pirates is very nice. You get to pass Jack real close at the end, though that always makes the face look faker.
...more to come...