Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pin Trading at Disneyland


Pin collecting has become the latest craze at Disneyland! As a child I remember my Mother purchasing an occasional pin here or there but we never traded them. Then as I started taking my children to Disneyland every year to continue the tradition my Mother started, we each purchased a year pin and a favorite ride pin. But it wasn't until 2013 when my daughters started trading pins that pin trading hit my radar. At that point, I saw it more as something that should be done in the middle of the day when the lines to the attractions were long. The following year I got more into it and now I'm hooked. In this post I'll attempt to help the aspiring Disney pin trader get started.

Getting Started

The first thing to do is to acquire some pins to trade. An easy way to do this is to purchase a "starter set" at one of the many pin trading shops inside Disneyland, Downtown Disney, or from the Disney Store. Here's an example of what a starter set might look like:
As you can see, this starter set also includes a lanyard, which is helpful to have to keep all your pins in one spot. Starter sets are generally cheaper per pin than most other options, thus a good way to get started. This starter set contains many of the prominent Disney Characters. Other starter sets might include a cats collection (Cheshire Cat, Marie from Aristocats, Figaro from Pinocchio, etc), princess collection, a hat collection (hats that the different characters wear), etc.  

I actually decided to upgrade my lanyard to a wider model to be able to fit more pins on it. It also has a pouch at the bottom for my park tickets.
Another good way to acquire pins is by purchasing the collectible pin packs. Collectible pin packs are packs of 5 pins that are randomly packed into the package. The collection generally includes about 16 pins so if you buy a couple of packs and get doubles, you have to try to find the ones you don't have by trading for them. Here's some examples of the collectible pin packs:
Pictured here are the Nesting Doll collection, Disney Mascots Collection, and the Couples Collection.

The back side of the package shows all the pins that are in the collection. At $27.99 for a pack of 5, the pins are roughly $6 a piece which is cheaper than trading individually purchased pins, for the most part. There are many collections to choose from besides the 3 pictured in the pictures above. There is a donut collection where the frosting of the donuts is colored with a certain character's colors, a best friends collection, and many different Tsum Tsum collections, to name a few. 
There are also boxed mystery collections. The boxed mystery collections contain 2 randomly packed pins in each box and typically the total number of pins in the collection is much smaller.
Here's a look at the 2017 year boxed mystery collection. As you can see from the back of the box, there are only 8 pins in this collection as opposed to usually twice that in the collectible pin packs. The cost of these 2-pin boxes is around $15 per box.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, you can also purchase pins to commemorate special occasions, such as a year pin, favorite ride, etc. These pins are generally not part of any collection but are still fun to have. Here are some examples of some individual pins that have made there way into my family's collection:
Here's a look at the year pin I bought in 2011. The characters actually spin around the 2011. We buy a year pin every year when we go to Disneyland. These generally cost about $13 each. 
Here's a look at one of my Daughter's ride pins. The year she got it, Splash Mountain was her favorite ride. These cost anywhere from $10 to $14 each.
I was given this pin as a gift from my daughter, Alley. I'm not sure if I should take it as a complement or an insult... haha!
You can also get pins online from sites such as Ebay. I don't recommend this as there is no way to verify the authenticity of the pins and all pins sold in "lots" of 25, 50, 100, etc are fake pins, made in China. Unfortunately they have also been able to fake the Disney stamp on the back of the pins so many have made their way into the Disney Parks. They are tradable as the sites that sell them claim, but they are fake/counterfeit nonetheless.

Rules and Etiquette

Before you start trading pins, it's a good idea to understand pin trading rules and etiquette. These rules apply for trading pins with Disneyland Cast Members. For starters, you may only trade 2 pins at a time with the same person. This is helpful when there is a long line of people waiting to trade pins. Another rule is that if the cast member already has a pin that you have, you cannot trade them that pin (to give them 2 of the same pin). Otherwise, the cast members are happy to trade what ever pin you want, as long as it has the official stamp on the back of the pin, as all pins you buy at Disneyland will have.
 

Trading

Once you've got pins to trade, it's time to trade them! First you have to find someone with pins to trade. Many vendors have a display of pins on the counter by the cash register to trade. Our favorite stores to trade at are those located in Frontierland. We also like The World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney, where the cast members that are located by the doors typically will have pins to trade. Every now and then you will also see a cast member roaming Disneyland and California Adventure with a lanyard on. You can also trade with other guests, but remember, they are not obligated to trade with you as the cast members are!

Disneyland will also occasionally run fun scavenger hunts involving pins. They did this in 2000 for the 45th Anniversary and again in 2016 in a fun hunt called PinQuest.

Whether you try to collect all the pins in a certain collection, try to collect as many pins as you can of a favorite Disney character, or just collect pins you like, pin collecting is a fun way to spend time in Disneyland, especially when lines are long or the temperature is hot. Trading pins has become one of my family's favorite things to do at Disneyland.
jgh

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Turning Back the Clock: The 1987 State Fair at Disneyland

It's not often that something obstructs the view of the Disneyland Railroad from the entrance!
In 1987, Disneyland hosted a celebration they called, The State Fair. Main Street was filled with Ferris Wheels and other carnival attractions (ironically, the exact opposite of what Walt Disney himself wanted to create when he built Disneyland).  I was only 12 years old at the time and only vaguely remember it. But thankfully my mom took the following pictures - enjoy!


It's an odd look to see production cameras out in the open preparing to film something on Main Street.
Here's a look looking back toward Town Square from farther north down Main Street.
...and another...
This was one of three Ferris Wheels - the first in front of the Disneyland Railroad, as seen in my first picture, this one, and one that was in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. 
This was one of the floats for the parade.
Here's a look at the parade as it makes it's way from Town Square, further down Main Street USA.
And here's one final look at some signage, bunting, and filming surrounding the event.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Green Family's 2017 Disneyland Ride Stats

Each year I make a ride chart and have each member of my family keep track of the rides they go on. This year we spent a total of 6 days at Disneyland and managed to go on 927 rides as a family. That's over 19 rides per person, per day! I total everybody's ride charts to find out what rides we went on the most. I also find the percentage of time we spend in Disneyland vs California Adventure as well as the percentage of time we spend in each "land" within each park. Finally I have each family member rank their top 10 favorite rides and I assign 10 points to their favorite, 9 points to their second favorite, and so forth. This year 8 of us went including Liz and I and our 6 kids, ages 17, 14, 11, 9, 8, and 3. Here's a summary of our time at Disneyland in 2017:

Attraction Breakdown:

And the winner is...Splash Mountain!!



Rank Attraction                           Riders
1 Splash Mountain  77
2 Thunder Mountain Railroad 75
3 Autopia 51
4 Winnie the Pooh 47
5 It's a Small World 39
6 Tea Cups 32
7 Main Street Electrical Parade 30
8 California Screamin' 28
T-8 Jungle Cruise 28
10 Alice in Wonderland 27
T-10 Heimlich's Chew Chew Train 27
12 Star Tours 22
T-12 The Little Mermaid 22
14 King Triton's Carousel 20
15 Casey Jr Circus Train 19
T-15 Dumbo 19
17 Peter Pan's Flight 17
18 King Arthur's Carousel 16
T-18 Space Mountain (Hyperspace Mtn) 16
T-18 The Enchanted Tiki Room 16
21 Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout 15
T-21 Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters 15
T-21 Monorail  15
24 Star Wars Launch Bay 14
25 Goofy's Sky School 13
T-25 Hero Action Center 13
T-25 Soarin'  13
T-25 Story Book Land Canal Boats 13
29 Grizzly River Run 12
30 Monsters Inc 11
T-30 Pirates of the Caribbean 11
T-30 Radiator Springs Racers 11
33 Mr Toad's Wild Ride  10
34 Buzz Light Year Astroblasters 9
T-34 Goofy's Playhouse 9
T-34 Silly Symphony Swings 9
37 Golden Horseshoe Stage 8
T-37 Hyperion Theater ( Frozen) 8
T-37 Matterhorn Bobsleds 8
T-37 Snow White's Grotto 8
41 Tuck and Roll's Drive Em' Buggies 7
42 Disneyland Railroad (Display) 6
T-42 Jedi Training Academy 6
T-42 Jumpin' Jellyfish 6
T-42 Main Street Vehicles 6
T-42 Mickey's Fun Wheel 6
T-42 Tarzan's Treehouse 6
48 Frances' Lady Bug Boogie 4
T-48 Golden Zephyr 4
50 Donald's Boat 3
T-50 Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin 3
52 Astro Orbitor 2
T-52 Games of the Boardwalk 2
T-52 Indiana Jones  2
T-52 Mater's Junkyard Jamboree 2
T-52 Princess Dot Puddle Park 2
T-52 Red Car Trolley 2
T-52 Snow White's Scary Adventures 2
T-52 Toy Story Midway Mania 2
60 Pinocchio's Daring Journey 1


Park Breakdown:

And the winner is...Disneyland - by a wide margin!

Rank Park Total riders   % of      Total
1 Disneyland 673 72.6%
2 CA Adventure 254 27.4%



Land Breakdown:


A runaway victory for Fantasyland!


Rank Land   Total    Riders % of Total
1 Fantasyland 211 22.8%
2 Tomorrowland 134 14.5%
3 Critter Country 124 13.4%
4 Paradise Pier 112 12.1%
5 Frontierland 83 9.0%
6 Adventureland 52 5.6%
7 Hollywood Land 46 5.0%
8 A Bugs Land 40 4.3%
9 Main Street 36 3.9%
10 Cars Land 28 3.0%
11 Grizzly Peak Airfield 25 2.7%
12 Mickey's Toontown 21 2.3%
13 New Orleans Square 17 1.8%
14 Buena Vista Street 2 0.2%


Favorite Attractions:


Our family's favorite ride: Splash Mountain!



Rank Favorite Rides Points
1 Splash Mountain 51
2 California Screamin' 44
3 Guardians of the Galaxy 39
4 Thunder Mountain 25
5 Casey Junior  24
6 Jungle Cruise 20
T-6 Radiator Springs Racers 20
8 Goofy's Sky School 18
9 Grizzly River Run 17
T-9 Storybook Land Canal Boats 17
11 Main Street Electrical Parade 16
T-11 Star Tours 16
13 It's a Small World 15
14 Autopia 14
15 Gadget's Go Coaster 10
T-15 Tea Cups 10
17 Monsters Inc 9
18 Soarin' Around the World 8
19 Alice in Wonderland 7
T-19 King Arthur's Carousel 7
T-19 Matterhorn 7
22 Space Mountain 6
23 Peter Pan 5
24 Dumbo 4
T-24 Pirates of the Caribbean 4
26 Ariel's Undersea Adventure 3
T-26 The Enchanted Tiki Room 3
28 Jumpin' Jellyfish 2
T-28 Monorail 2
30 Main Street Vehicles 1
T-30 Mickey's Fun Wheel 1


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Disneyland News and Rumors, including breaking news from the D23 Expo, July 2017


With two of the three days of the D23 Expo in the books, we learned some interesting news about what is coming to the Disneyland Resort in the next couple of years. Surprisingly, most of the announcements at the Expo were contained to the Florida Parks. But before the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts panel rapped wrap up at 4:30 pm west coast time, a couple of big announcements for the Disneyland Resort were made.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

The first major announcement was the name for the new Star Wars Land being built as we speak. The name of the new land will be Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. No further information was given on the exact opening date, though it will open before Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in Florida in 2019. We were told that we will be experiencing BB-8, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and many other characters that we both know and have yet to meet in the Star Wars universe. Galaxy's Edge will be made up of two attractions - one where guests will be able to pilot the Millennium Falcon, and a Battle Escape attraction where it appears that we will be loaded into a First Order vehicle on board a Star Destroyer inside a hangar bay and try to escape while being shot a by troopers and AT-ATs, among other things.
Imagineer Scott Trowbridge giving details of the new Millenium Falcon attraction.

Here's an artist's rendering of the Battle Escape attraction.

Although the details were not exactly clear to me, it was also stated that how we do in the Battle Escape attraction will stay with us through our visit; Here is the exact quote: "But how you perform on the mission holds even bigger stakes: perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harko's list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local Cantina!"  And yes, the Cantina will serve Blue Milk! The Orange County Register has a great article that outlines where everything will be in Galaxy's Edge.

Paint the Night/Pixar Play Parades

What drew perhaps the largest reaction from those in attendance at the Parks and Resorts Panel was the announcement that in 2018 the Paint the Night Parade will be returning. Instead of returning back to Disneyland, the Paint the Night Parade will move over to California Adventure and the Pixar Play Parade will move over to Disneyland. No mention was made as to what will happen to Disneyland's current Soundsational Parade. Also of note was the announcement that there will be a new float added to the Paint the Night Parade and that the parade route will be slightly longer than it was at Disneyland.


Pixar Pier

Here's a look at the concept art for Pixar Pier from Disney Parks Blog.

One announcement that came out of the blue for me was the renaming and retheming of the Paradise Pier area of California Adventure to Pixar Pier. New characters that haven't been used before will be infused into the area, such as the superheros from "The Incredibles" and the emotions from "Inside Out." Nowhere online had I seen any mention of this as even a slight possibility so when it was announced it caught me completely off guard and left me scratching my head a little. It seems an odd time to move the Pixar Parade to Disneyland (as mentioned above) if you are going to retheme and rename an entire land after Pixar. Also, what does that mean for all the current attractions there? Most distressing for me is Mickey's Fun Wheel. It has become the icon of California Adventure. It will now become Pixar's Fun Wheel, but who or what will be featured on it? What will become of Ariel's Undersea Adventure? Will it be replaced with the Monsters Inc Ride so that area can be used for the rumored Marvel Land? What about Goofy's Sky School? It was recently rethemed with Goofy. Same with the Silly Symphony Swings. I would hate to lose the classic Disney Cartoons from California Adventure but leaving them wouldn't fit with the new theme. King Triton's Carousel would also have to go...and be replaced possibly with one of the Bug's Land attractions since Bug's Land is rumored to be scheduled for demolition to make room for Marvel Land. Will California Screamin' be rethemed to a Pixar Movie? What about the Paradise Pier Hotel? So many questions left to be answered. The biggest question to me though is why does Disney continue to rework attractions and areas of California Adventure that are already successful (such as the Tower of Terror and Paradise Pier) instead of using the underutilized sections such as the sound stages in Hollywood Land. There are 2 empty buildings and another just showing movie previews that could be completely removed or reworked to make Marvel or Pixar attractions. Why mess around with already successful attractions?
The official Disney Parks Blog has an article on the changes here:


Pixar Fest

Bob Chapek, Chairman of the Disney Parks Division announced that "...in 2018 the resort will come alive with Pixar Fest. This celebration features a new fireworks spectacular as well as special characters and entertainment moments through out both parks."


Halloween at California Adventure

It is rumored that in a couple of years, Mickey's Halloween Party will be held once again in California Adventure rather than in Disneyland. Today it was announced that this year Cars Land will have a Halloween overlay which can be seen as the first step in this transformation.


Marvel Land?

Although no official announcement was made to confirm the long held rumors of a Marvel Land to be build around the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Break Out attraction, it was announced that Spider-Man and the Avengers are coming to California Adventure in a completely immersive super hero universe. While that is a pretty vague announcement, I think it can be assumed that after spending $4 billion to acquire the Marvel franchise, Disney is going to put more than just one Marvel attraction into it's parks. The question is where will the new land be located. There are three rumored possibilities. First, Bug's Land will be demolished and Marvel will expand into that area. The draw back to this is that if you take out Bug's Land, the options for younger children in California Adventure become very slim in a park already targeting teenagers. Second, Hollywood Land. This would seem to me to be the best location since there is so much wasted space in the back-lot section of this land. The only attraction back there is Monsters Inc which could be relocated to Ariel's Undersea Adventures as part of the Pixar Pier transformation. The third option is actually an area not currently inside California Adventure right now. In 2016, Disney acquired the Carousel Inn, just across the street from Disneyland so that they could build what was called the "Eastern Gateway" - a new parking structure and security hub for guests on the East side of Disneyland. The Anaheim City Council has recently started playing hard ball with Disneyland over the project because Disney's plans call for limited access to the businesses on Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland. Guests staying in one of the Hotels on Harbor Boulevard across the street would have to back track to a newly built parking garage to pass through security only then to proceed back over Harbor Boulevard on a raised pedestrian walk way. There would be no way for guests coming from or going to Disneyland to cross the street on a crosswalk because entrance into the esplanade would be blocked by the new raised walkway, thus cutting off foot traffic to restaurants and other local businesses. The City Counsel rightfully sees Disney's plans as a hardship on the local businesses and is waiting for Disney to go back to the drawing board to solve the problem. If the project is eventually approved, there would be room for California Adventure to expand to the north where the bus loading and unloading areas are. This would be another area where a Marvel Land could be located.  


Fantasmic!

With the soft opening of the New Fantasmic! just concluding at Disneyland, the first reviews are positive. Many of the die hard Disney fans were dismayed to learn that a Jack Sparrow version of Pirates of the Caribbean was replacing the Peter Pan portion of Fantasmic! Only time will tell if this new addition will be as popular as the first. Although Fantasmic! officially reopens on July 17th, those people attending the Parks and Resorts Panel tonight received Fast Passes to a showing of Fantasmic! for either tonight or tomorrow night.


Pirates of the Caribbean

The most controversial announcement at the D23 Expo happened on Friday the 14th. During a panel of Imagineers celebrating Pirates of the Caribbean's 50th anniversary, it was officially announced that changes will be made to the "Wench Auction" scene. The announcement was immediately met with boos from the audience, prompting moderator Michael Singer to quickly interject Walt Disney's famous "Disneyland will never be completed..." quote, the typical response when Disney decides to make unpopular changes. The new scene will still feature the "Redhead" but instead of being auctioned herself, she will now be the head pirate who will be auctioning off plundered loot, all in the name of political correctness.

I'm sure this will be the first of many politically correct changes we'll see to many of the attractions at Disneyland to fit in with today's current trends. I just hope I'm around years from now when Disneyland realizes how silly these changes are and restores the attractions back to their original state.
  
That concludes this update! Check back again soon for the next batch of Disneyland news! Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Disneyland Trip Report June 29th-July 1st, 2017


Since we arrived to our hotel, the Tropicana, the day before we were to go to Disneyland, we decided to take a stroll through Down Town Disney over to the Disneyland Hotel.
Here's a look at what will become Splitsville in late 2017. It is located where the House of Blues used to be.
This is one of my family's favorite places to buy and trade pins. Located right by the Down Town Disney Monorail station, Pin Traders has a great selection of pins and usually has some pretty good pins to trade as well. 
I absolutely love the lobby of the Fantasy Tower at the Disneyland Hotel. The decor is great!
Of course the Thunder Mountain replica in the Frontier Tower is pretty amazing too...
I love getting to Disneyland before it opens so I can get pictures like this one!
I'm sure this is an every-morning meeting, but it was the first time I had ever noticed it.


Since this was a "magic morning" (we got in an hour earlier than the park opened but only Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were open) we headed to Fantasyland first.
Traditionally the first ride we go on has been Peter Pan. However, the last two years we made an exception to our tradition due to how long the queue was. Here you can see the queue of Peter Pan right after opening which stretches all the way back to the Castle.
Speaking of Sleeping Beauty Castle, it looks like the spire could use a little realignment...

Despite the long waits, Peter Pan remains one of my favorite attractions.
On to Casey Jr, another one of my favorites! Fortunately, my kids weren't acting like a bunch of monkeys...
My wife and I were talking about how we love this area of the Park - Casey Jr/Storybook Land Canal Boats - because of the many intricate details.
Alice in Wonderland's village
Storybook Land Canal Boats
We're headed right toward Monstro!
The town of Arendelle from Frozen, one of the newest additions to Storybook Land Canal Boats.
Toad Hall
From one Toad Hall to another...

The Tea Cups are one of my kids' favorites, though in my old age I've found that if I spin too much, I get motion sickness!
My mom loved taking pictures at Snow White's Grotto, so we decided to take a family picture there. It recently went through a major refurbishment but I was glad to see that it looks almost exactly the same as it did previously.


Big Thunder Trail
For quite some time the walk way connecting Fantasyland to Frontierland was closed as Disney worked on Star Wars Land. The closure led to major gridlock for guests trying to get out of Fantasyland, particularly during the parades/fireworks. It was reopened in June and has been wonderfully re-themed to fit Frontierland.

Here's the Big Thunder Trail as it starts from Fantasyland.
A newly added sitting area just past Fantasyland.
Here's a look over the construction wall into what will be the entrance into Star Wars Land from Fantasyland.
This was a really pretty area of the refurbished trail. If it was slightly wider, I would have expected to see a seating area under the outcropping. But the trail is too narrow to take up room by adding benches there.


Here is a look over the construction wall at the future entrance to Star Wars Land from the Frontierland side of the Big Thunder Trail.
This artists rendition of what Star Wars Land will look like was hung on the construction wall just outside Frontierland. 
Here's where the Trail leads out into Frontierland by Thunder Mountain.
I was so relieved to see that this old pond from the Mine Train Through Natures Wonderland time period survived the Star Wars Land project. 
I had read that Adventureland was going though some renovations to help with the congestion problems in the walk ways. I'm off to see what has been done...
On Thursday, June 29th, construction walls were still up around the Bengal Barbecue and the adjacent shops... 
...but by Friday the walls were down.
The South Seas Traders shop next to the Bengal Barbecue has been gutted and turned into a seating area for the Bengal Barbecue.
Next to the newly created indoor seating area is the merchandise (juice, fruit, etc) that used to be across the way in the Tropical Imports store.
Meanwhile, the Tropical Imports store has been re-purposed into stroller parking. This was literally done overnight. In fact, as is visible in the picture above, the Tropical Imports sign is still up... 

Off to my favorite attraction, The Jungle Cruise.


I'm partial to the Zambezi Miss as I recently acquired an original boat sign from the 1970's. 
That elephant has been in the shower so long that he's got wrinkles. Let that be a lesson to you...if you stay in the shower for a long time, you might turn into an elephant.
Any of you that are wearing yellow - try not to look or sound like a banana. The gorillas find it very appealing.
And here we have some long necked cheetahs. On the right there are some furry horses and on the left are some classic horses. You can tell they're classic because they're still in black and white.



I wonder if this little guy will migrate across the way to join the merchandise of the Tropical Imports store or if he'll stay on top of the stroller parking.
Over in New Orleans Square, the Disneyland Railroad still isn't open, but it's coming back soon...
July 29th is the day it will officially re-open. I'm about as excited to have the Disneyland Railroad re-open as I have been for just about any other attraction in recent memory. 
Here's a look at the track in Critter Country from Splash Mountain. The scrims below have finally been removed which makes for an exponentially better ambiance. 
Speaking of Splash Mountain...

Here's a clip of the final plunge into the briar patch:


Now on to Winnie the Pooh.



Nearby in Pooh Corner, the characters are getting ready for their meet-and-greets.
As I was leaving Critter Country, just past the Hungry Bear Restaurant I noticed that the waterfall that runs behind the Disneyland Railroad tracks and under into the Rivers of America was running! You can just barely see the waterfall in the picture above if you look in the right-center of the picture, just above and slightly to the right of the middle lantern that's hanging on the construction wall.
The entrance to Tomorrowland is in desperate need of a remodel. The rock work and Astro Orbitor in the entrance way create a log jam, particularly during busy days and parade times.  
This was the first time in years that I have seen the blue Monorail. In fact, I can't remember the last time there were 2 monorails in operation at the same time. During this trip both the Orange and Blue Monorails were operating.
Autopia is a favorite of my kids. There have been a few changes recently to the ride as I'll show you here shortly... 

Tomorrow And....? Unfortunately Disney let the "L" in Tomorrowland burn out for everyone to see.
Back in March 2017 Autopia was updated with ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) which had previously been used next door on the Innovations attraction. Imagineering decided to add ASIMO along with a new character simply named "Bird" to certain scenes along the half-mile Autopia track.



We don't typically venture into Toon Town, but we made an exception this year.
My 3 year old loved playing the organ in Goofy's playhouse. The organ makes, well, goofy sounds when you press the keys.

Gadget's Go Coaster with one of the cranes that is being used in the construction of Star Wars Land in the background.
Over in California Adventure, Disney is trying hard to infuse the park with the Marvel brand. Rumor has it that a "Marvel Land" is in the works and will be announced shortly. 
Here's a peak at the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Despite all the negativity online about the appearance of the new attraction, I didn't have a problem with it. My wife even commented when she saw it at night that she loved how it looked all lit up. I think I had already been biased by online comments that it looked too "Christmas" with the red and green lights. 
Here's a look at Guardians peaking out behind the Carthay Circle Restaurant.
And here's one last look at the outside with the Red Car Trolley in front of it...Now let's check out the inside...
Here's what you see when you first enter the building.

Below is a clip from The Collector's Office when Rocket explains how he (and we) are going to help break out the other Guardians of the Galaxy.


The Collector even has aquired "Herold," the old Abominable Snowman prop from The Matterhorn.

Can anyone guess what attraction this is found in?
This should give it away...Monsters Inc!
Add Just outside of Monsters Inc, Black Widow was making her appearance in her Avengers vehicle. Just behind them is the Hero Action Center which my family really enjoyed. You take a short quiz to find out which superhero you are most like. Then you get a sticker of that superhero's attribute and a comic book.

Many of our family were most like Captain America.

The sign outside of Cars Land has been updated with Cruz Ramirez from Cars 3.
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters is a decent attraction, but it's probably more fun to watch than to actually ride.
I love the look of Grizzly Peak.

My family loves this shop...
...mostly because they have pins to trade there...
We also all agree that Soarin' Over California was much better than Soarin' Around the World
The kids love getting soaked on Grizzly River Run!
My kids loved Paradise Pier this year.

We didn't eat at Ariel's Grotto this year, but we have done the character dining there in the past when my kids were 6-9 years old. Although expensive, the kids loved it.

My 11 and 10 year old's tried California Screamin' for the first time this year and loved it! They talked about it so much that my 8 year old decided to try it on the last day.


While the older kids went on Screamin' my 3 year old was content to ride the flying fish on King Triton's Carousel. 
Fast Pass was recently added to Toy Story Midway Mania which has almost doubled the normal wait time for non-fast pass users.
In the Midway Mania queue, Mr. Potato Head was up and running.
The Silly Symphony Swings seems to always be a "must do" for the kids.

The seats on Goofy's Sky School are much more comfortable than the old ones. 
We learned to fly the GOOFY way!
Back over at Disneyland, no update would be complete without the Main Street Electrical Parade. It will be running at Disneyland until August 20th when it will be retired.








We spent 3 days at Disneyland and California Adventure which is one day less than we normally spend. Although we had a great time and did just about everything we wanted, in the future I think we'll go back to 4 days.