So now that USH held their first major NYE event in years, thoughts? What went well, what didn't? Would you go back?
I think overall it was decent. Not nearly as crowded as I was dreading. Parking was easy, security line was easy (I fear was Disneyland's looked it), and getting through the turnstyle was easy. Sure, FJ had about a 2 hour line, but all the days the week before it had a 4 hours line, so it definitely could've been worse.
It was interesting to have 3 identical fireworks shows in various locations. I ended up by Minions to see the ones on the Old Globe theater go up very close. While they were low level fireworks, it was fun and impressive to see them up close. Would be interested to hear reports from other locations. As we walked over towards Simpsons after seeing the fireworks, we noticed a lot of confetti there, which we didn't get... so we felt a bit gypped, haha.
Was also happy to see so many food locations open late. It was only my second time eating at Gru's Cafe, it actually stayed open till 11pm!
Having a Platinum AP meant we were able to take our time and still get on every ride in the park, and while we were fearing lines even in Express, it was actually very easy.
Liked having the variety in music, and it was especially great to hear current music on the Stairway.
It was nice they tried to have Express pass viewing areas for fireworks, though at least by the Plaza, towards the end, the gates were not supervised and a lot of non-Express people were passing through. The area was still relatively dead, so it wasn't really much of an issue, and about 15 minutes before midnight, they just took down the Express firework viewing area sign altogether. In retrospect, if they want to do that again, they should've made it the area near Minons where we ended up. As they had blocked of London Street, it made it a dead end, and would have been much simpler to regulate as an Express viewing area. And it turned out to be a great view.
On the downside, my biggest complaint is that they said only select rides would be open all night, but never said which rides and when they'd close. So imagine my disappointment when FJ closed at 11pm with no way of the GP knowing. Fortunately we had ridden it earlier in the night, but I had actually been looking forward to making it my first ride of 2018, so that was pretty disappointing. It wouldn't have been difficult to notify guests by stating on their Eve handout made that FJ (and both Minon attractions) would be closing at 11pm, then we could've planned better. Not only that, but by closing a major ride, it did bump all those guests into the walkways, and the park began to feel noticeably more crowded after 11.
It also think it'd be fun if they took a page from Disney, and supplied guests with at least party hats (noisemakers optional). It'd really add to a more festive atmosphere.
Small crowd control note... while it was very nice they provided heat lamps on many walkways, guest starting dragging chairs to sit under them, creating walkway issues.
But all that said, I feel they have a good start. And we did have a better time than I think we would have at the miserable crowd levels that Disneyland would've had. Let's hope they continue to build on it.