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Summers End Update and Fall Preview: Max Pass Review, Fantasmic! and #SaveGroot this Halloween

8/29/2017 2:57:49 AM


It was a busy but fun weekend at the Resort!  Staying onsite at the Grand, we got to explore and do a lot of things we don't always get to do as local Annual Passholders.  We got our first shot at using Max Pass for the duration of a day in the parks, and we were impressed!  The convenience is outstanding and it saved us lots of time in line. It's essentially "Magic Band Lite" for those Disney World fans, and allows you to do everything from the Disneyland App (a la My Disney Experience WDW)  on your phone rather than visit Kiosks for Fast Passes. The biggest perk was that you can almost always get a Fast Pass instantly unless it's for one of the major E Ticket Attractions (such as Guardians for example) - we entered the park at 11, and had an 1105 FP for Star Tours when it was a 25 minute stand by wait and the return time at the kiosks was 1125.  Hence, paying additional is giving some value to Guests at this point - it's also awesome to be able to use your Annual Pass/admission ticket instead of having to carry or worry about losing additional paper. The Max Pass stations themselves look much like the Magic Band stations at all the WDW Attractions, turning green when your pass activates and clears.  We think this is worth the value for AP Holders to buy an Annual version ($75), especially since it includes Photo Pass for those who don't already have it - we do think it would be nice if they offered it as a complimentary service for Hotel Guests, who are already paying a premium and have suffered a cutback in some of the perks as of late.  

We also finally got to see Fantasmic! back from its hiatus throughout 2016 and early 2017.  The updated show is still amazing and worth the wait - it definitely got some much needed TLC, with some updates in the story line and new characters, including the Lion King, Captain Jack Sparrow, a fantastic new dragon (Game of Thrones fans will cheer) in the ending Maleficent scene, and some modernization of the score and themes.  At the same time, we felt some of the technology was just that - a show on new cool technology - with less attachment to the storyline or sentimental value that was at the show's core.  We are not fans of the Walt Disney World version of the show because of it's stadium and stark feel, and while this is still far superior to that, there were definitely some elements added that gave it more of that flare and were disappointing. It was also odd that the Pirate boat, which looks incredible with the new lighting and theming for Jack Sparrow and the crew, featured no stunts and very little movement.  Other stunts and famous aspects were also lacking, and we wondered if legalities and employee protection played a role here.  On a sentimental note, we missed the original intro spiel and exit music. ;-)  We're still definitely Fantasmic! fans and recommend it as a Disney classic, and appreciate the updates - it was just a bit of an adjustment on some levels as well. 

Finally, the Resort is already starting to gear up for Halloweentime and Fall Festivities that kick off on September 15th and run through October 31.  Space Mountain is down for its annual Ghost Galaxy makeover, and the Mansion will be going down soon as well. Over at DCA this year, a new makeover is coming to the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! tower ride - When the sun goes down at DCA, guests can help #SaveGroot in Monsters After Dark.  As noted on the Disney Parks Blog, the Halloween adventure picks up after the attraction's main storyline, where characters have escaped the fortress - but accidentally left Groot behind. The original Mission Breakout attraction will continue to be featured during the day, with Monsters After Dark coming out at night during Halloween time from September 15-October 31 at the Disneyland Resort. 

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