We spent last Friday at DL and I knew it was going to be crowded. We are locals who try to go once a year and we had guests (one was a first-timer). I'm posting here because it was just a day there, not an overnight, and I would like visitors to be aware of some of the things I was surprised by. You can skip to the bottom for the summary if you like. We arrived late, around 11:30 (BIL is a late sleeper). Ran into CA, saw the fastpass return would be way too late at 4:30, so had lunch at the place right next to it. After the silly computer ordering system, we were surprised to see how good the food was. Gourmet burgers, nice cut fries (that were not chips as they appeared on the screen), great meaty ribs. We dashed over to Soarin' and the wait was about 40 minutes. Guests loved it. Dashed them over to DL without delay and in spite of crowds, got them on Astro Blasters, Star Tours (which was a gentler car than have experienced before - was it because we were in the middle?), POC. Arrived at five before 5:00 for our 5:10 preferred seating and did not wait to sit right by the water, close to center (it is nicer in the center or near the boat). Everyone enjoyed their meals. I noted that even at 5:30 there were tables and I spoke to one of the servers who thought this was pretty normal. My conclusion is that raising the prices (along with the quality of the food) has cut back a bit on the crush there. Not that they were ever hurting for customers, but it wasn't the full waiting room at 5 that I used to see. I have no complaints - it was great to be able to sit by the water and not wait an hour. We caught the parade by walking past the teacups and in the walkway that eventually heads to Small World. People start lining up really early now but there are still latecomers (adults) that come at the last moments and push. We came 1/2 hour early but the parade didn't reach us until almost a hour after the "start time" of 6:30. Everyone, even grumpy SO loved the parade! We literally walked directly into Haunted. I was shocked to see plastic water bottles on the track as you board the cars. Loved the redo of the room with the bride. In the dark wonderful room with the medium in the floating crystal ball, some lamebrain shot off a flash photo. Like that will come out at that distance. I noticed some rides had the announcement but many did not. They have to make this more clear to everyone, no flash photos on the dark rides. Guests got in Matterhorn and we ran in the Innovations but found it unexciting with rooms of computer screens - none of them inspiring. As people were lining up to see the fireworks (it was a zoo in the circle by the castle - they started 2 hours early), we shopped Main Street. I went to get popcorn, forgetting how when you try to buy something at a stand a half hour before the fireworks, it takes forever even though the line is only 3 people. Many of those people are buying for ten! After a 20 min wait for popcorn, I finally got some and we all left the park. We saw fireworks from the tram and then from the parking area. As we drove away, thinking they were over, the big finish happened right next to our car as we drove to the freeway. It was spectacular. Of course we couldn't hear the narration or music but we got out of the park easily. The last time was there was right when the new POC opened. It was a hot, muggy, crowded day and CMs were overworked. I assumed the poor park morale was due to that. However I'm sorry to say that the park suffers from a cutback of CMs. Gone are the ones who monitored the lines to make sure people did not cut in to avoid a wait. On POC, a boy stood up in his boat and no one said a word (it was fast). I saw people sitting on the railings for rides over and over. There just isn't enough presence of CMs anymore and some of the pixie magic is gone. Can't we get their salaries back higher? Considering the expense of the fireworks, they could probably cut 2 minutes of fireworks and hire more CMs to keep the park orderly again. The biggest surprise was hearing Spanish on the rides in the announcements. If you're going to do that, I guess you should also have Chinese, Japanese and French. Or just do what it's always been - English.