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Lots of good news [and some bad] this time around folks. So let's get going, shall we? [Don't forget a LOT of updating has also been done all throughout the site too, check the contents page for further info.]
First of all, I was very pleased to find out that Cynthia Harriss has "found a little money in the budget" to start weekend Friday and Saturday night Fireworks shows early next year [beginning February 18th] from what I understand - to help celebrate the upcoming 45th Anniversary of the park. What a nice change from the past few years where it seemed that the start of the summer shows were pushed back closer and closer to the 4th of July.
This along with her push to keep the canoes going year-round [a stance she took just shortly after the last update I made], and efforts to get the Columbia used more often, continue to indicate she is placing a high priority on the showmanship aspect of the park that had been so sorely lacking these past few years under her predecessor.
The following is an amalgamation of several notes a few different people sent me that will fill you in on what is happening so far:
More good news from other sources:
[Al's note: The new Columbia spiel was killed by Imagineer Tony Baxter I heard, he didn't seem to like it and another one is on the way.]
[Al's note: I understand the Twain may be used interactively in a Christmas show to be held riverside - in other words the show would start along the river, and the boat would come out to the middle of it, stop, and then have music played by a band from it. What an interesting idea!]
But on the other hand...
The Main St. Cinema is history it seems...
David [Mouse Tales book] Koenig was kind enough to contribute the following item, it seems to confirm that they are still determined to turn Main St. into one huge mall - period:
If I only knew what they think I did David... ;) By the way, David was also kind enough to contribute the following item, which relates to someone who recently left the park [and hopefully will be back at work there soon] when an e-mail they sent went astray:
Some things never change I guess... David also provided the following info about upkeep and the departments in charge of it at the park:
I can attest that several of these recently laid off people are suing the park now - I have gotten e-mail from lawyers asking if I can assist them in any way.
Tell David Al sent you. :)
Now, on a better note...
Rehabbing for Fast Pass...
As the summer came to an end and CM's don't have to work so hard trying to keep Disneyland running from 6:30 AM till 1:00 AM day after day, lots of info came in about the off-season just starting. As you may know, rehabs have been announced this Fall for Indy and Splash Mt.
Splash Mt. will close from Nov. 8th thru the 28th, right thru Thanksgiving. [Normally Splash closes during February.] Then as soon as Splash reopens, Indy will close for it's first rehab ever from Nov. 29th thru Dec. 9th.
Indy was designed to be a new type of ride that would rarely, if ever, need the type of rehab that would cause it to close for extended periods of time. It has had numerous "rolling rehabs" where the work is done over night for a period of weeks or months, while the ride remains open to visitors during Park operating hours.
But this time, Indy will close for two weeks. Why the sudden change in policy and schedules you ask? Why, Fastpass of course! Splash, and Space will also get it installed, and the hope is to have it up and running for the holidays on the major attractions. They will be reconstructing the queues and installing the infrastructure for permanent Fastpass hardware during these rehabs.
The goal is to have Fastpass up and running at Space, Indy and Splash for the busy two weeks surrounding Christmas. Although park flack Brocatto keeps saying "early 2000" for a Fastpass date, Christmas and all the crowds in a spending mood is the real goal. A few kind souls at the park took the time to fill me in on what they like about Fastpass:
Other Rehab news...
Pirates will be receiving a lot of new animatronics with this upcoming rehab. They have been installing new wiring for the past few months, and it will be interesting to see what appears.
The Design Studio is keeping mum about it, and all people know is what is heard from the Facilities guys who work on the ride and they're mainly concerned with the technical stuff instead of new Show scenes. It appears some of the rickety and original '67 figures may be replaced. Also look for the first paint job ever [since the attraction opened] down on the sets below - amazing huh?
The Jolly Trolley had been closed all summer because they found stress fractures on one Trolley's chassis, inspected the others and found lots of other fractures, and had to close them all to rebuild the chassis'.
Word came back to me that the wonderful Monte Cristo sandwiches will probably be made available at the French Market Place during the Pirates / Bayou rehab for all the fans of it - what a thoughtful thing to do by the restaurant folks!
A forum was held about DCA costuming. They want to rethink some of the original costuming plans, and were asking CM's for their opinions.
One of the main gripes was that there were NO BELTS OR BELTLOOPS for any of the costumes as they were previously planned. (A Pressler cost cutting move?)
Where does one clip a flashlight, pocketknife or Park radio without a belt? Theater shows and indoor rides need CM's with mini-maglites clipped to their belts. Anyone working extended queues or parade control needs to clip a big flashlight and a leatherman or pocketknife to their belt. Leads and Managers have to clip a radio and / or Park pager to a belt.
They promised it appears to redesign all costumes to include belts. They also mentioned that the costumes were having more "overlays" and "pieces" added. They showed previous versions, and the new versions that ALL included hats.
Hats are really important, as they add to the Show and provide CM comfort outdoors. Old fashioned life jackets have also been added to the costume for Grizzly River Rapids, in place of a Innoventions style plain brown vest with boring pockets, and the consensus was that it really spruced up the outfit.
Aviator sunglasses are being considered as an issued costume piece for California Soaring, which could be clever if all CM's were wearing them.
Paradise Pier costumes have been proposed to change from hula shirts to Roaring 20's flapper style outfits. People seemed excited about the changes.
Back to Disneyland costuming, one plan was to use the Tomorrowland area costumes for the new Autopia. The attractions managers didn't like the idea and insisted that Costuming try it out for a few weeks to prove a point.
So, last July, some Autopia CM's wore the area costume for a few weeks. Sure enough, axle grease and motor oil got permanently ground into the new polyester costumes, the managers and CM's all smirked to themselves, and now costuming needs to come up with new easy to clean all-cotton costumes like they have used for decades.
Innoventions is having attendance problems, they have been way under projections for months. Pirates can pull in 35,000 a day. Innoventions is supposed to do 9,000 plus - but is lucky to get 7,000 a day. What a waste of CMs and space.
BTW - the only staffers paid for by Disneyland to run the attraction are the outer ring folks - the greeter / operator, and the two or three folks who do the little shows. The rest of the staffing is paid for by the sponsors.
They still are trying to figure out a way to get the cabin burning again on Tom Sawyer's Island. The gas line seems to be too expensive to repair - so they are investigating using the effects they tried way back when during the last gas crisis based on how Pirates shows fire [using cellophane, lights and blowers]. We'll see what they come up with.
Who said running a park would be easy? ;)
Before I forget, farewell CM-only T-shirts were done for both Autopia ["45 years of NO BUMPING!" it says on it] and Casa Mexicana [Mickey doing a sombero dance]. Neat.
The Walls are UP!
The rebuilding of Disneyland's main gate area has begun - basically the entire west side of the area [to the left of the floral Mickey] is behind walls and will lose that side of the ticket booths, the lockers, group services windows, and the former ATM location, along with the picnic area. No word yet if they also plan to do the brickwork on this adjoining half of Main St.'s Town Square at the same time.
After this area is completed, then the east side will be made over [along with the probable Main St. bank remodel for Union Bank] - no word yet on relocation of the kennel, guest relations, old administration building or anything else. Lockers and bathrooms for the area have been moved over to twin trailers located next to the DCA Preview Center.
At the Disneyland Hotel, look for more walls around the old monorail station / Mickey's Corner / former gym / Neon Cactus - Goofy's Kitchen - Monorail Cafe area - as it gets demolished in the next few weeks. They've already paved over the old Oriental Gardens bungalow area into a parking lot.
A wonderful new DCA site:
Tony, email@example.com was kind enough to alert me to his wonderful new California Adventure preview site - he's done a superb job on it, with lots of photos and such of all the upcoming attractions in a very easy to use format. Why not stop by and visit it at:
BTW, another source has indicated that the Downtown Disney segment of the development IS on time. My guess here is that both sources may have some truth to them, parts of the new mall between the parks may be delayed, as other parts are not.
A few comments about the D-I-G site...
I was reading through my e-mail, and found a few notes of concern about the use of "cookies" on some sites out there [one newer Disney site has over six of them on just their opening page!]
You can rest assured the only cookies you may see on this site here are related to the Link Exchange banners you see on some of the bottoms of pages [as below]. The reason for them in this case is that it helps keep a count for me of page hits. Rest assured that no info is gathered about your visit or sold to anyone else. Likewise with e-mail feedback - it stays with me for the most part. Any changes in future policy about that will be fully disclosed to you too, should the need arise.
Also, I wanted to make a note that as a policy, I never accept freebies from the park, nor do I take advantage of any service situations for myself at Disneyland. I pay normal prices just like you do, [with the Annual Pass discount wherever I can use it] and I wait in those same long lines [I never get VIP back-doored]. How else can I give out advice for visitors? I think this is an important thing to note - especially if you are trying to cover the park in an unbiased a manner as possible.
What are YOU doing Al?
...is a question I hear a lot lately, thanks to all your kind e-mails asking about me.
Besides working on the project I started a few months ago [which hopefully should be reaching completion soon] - sadly I also had to deal with the passing away of my roommate week before last under some very stressful circumstances.
Those of you who found out and were kind enough to drop a line with condolences please know they were very deeply appreciated. I only hope that now he finds the peace he could not in life.
As far as to any continuing "speculation" as to why otherwise I am not posting to the newsgroups, rest assured it is only because all my energies are devoted to this project I am on now.
What with the current state of things in the NG at this time anyway, it hasn't really been worth the time, as many of you also seem to concur lately via your notes to me.
Well, that wraps it up for now, see you at the park!
It's great when you have a peek at things across the country sometimes. Here's a quick sketch of what the new Disneyland Millennium Parade units will look like come early spring:
The units are under construction in Orlando, and the parade is being done by the same guy who did the Mulan one [did I tell everyone how wonderful that parade was?] who worked previously at the Paris Opera. It will again feature the extensive use of gilded and detailed fabrics throughout, along with LOTS of characters. Think elaborate procession here.
Apparently the units [sketched above] will be either pushed or pulled down the route - as the side protrusions could be handles. As more info trickles out, I'll have more to update for you on this. Apparently one of the Light Magic units will be rebuilt as a finale unit, it saves them a few bucks.
Also seen in Orlando, the DCA Superstar Limo cars - purple with gold stars all over them.
A tidbit: Mickey's
...may be coming back this fall. It's survived more than a few budget reviews already and the prognosis is good now for a return after the October budget gets underway. Let's hope we get this terrific little added show back, it's amazing to see him climb up the mountain in full costume. The kids just love it.
Meanwhile, back in the Bayou...
How bad has the skipping of upkeep in Pirates been?
First of all, the good news, it appears that the Pirates rehab has been extended out to Halloween (thank goodness!), and they are trying to figure out how to work it so that two adjacent E Ticket rides [Mansion also] that both need rehab can be closed at the same time.
Pirates really needs the rehab, since if you remember [as a reader of this column] that its rehab last March was cancelled per Paul Yeargin to keep his Spring time counts up. It's been breaking down even more than usual lately, and I have heard of the CMs putting on the fly fishing waders to push boats full of visitors thru the Battle Scene at least THREE times [maybe more now] in the last few weeks.
It appears everything seems to be the culprit nowadays, from aging sensors to slipping station belts to boats that are simply falling apart and sinking!
No kidding on that last one either. A few Sunday mornings ago the hull of one boat that the CM's had been tagging for Facilities to look at for over two weeks finally split open and the boat actually sank just as it was entering the Jail Scene!
By the time the CM's got down there, the boat was jammed and the first three rows were flooded over the seats and the bow of the boat was completely submerged. As I understand it, the sinking boat was full of teenagers from Texas, and they had all clambered back into rows 4, 5 and 6 and were piled on top of each other as the front of their boat sank beneath the water line!
The boat was completely useless and immobile and the CMs were forced to evacuate the rest of the ride. Luckily, the teens found it to be pretty funny after their initial shock wore off and it doesn't look like any lawsuits will be filed.
The Innoventions problems...
You've all heard by now that Compaq wants out [despite the long contract, due to financial problems at the company], and Gateway may move in. They are also looking at replacing a couple of the other sponsors, or "participants" in "Disney-speak." Specifically, SAP.
But here's something interesting, Disneyland was heavily escorting not only Prince Edward [who just visited the park first week of August], but really focusing their energies on Mr. Toyoda of the Toyota Motor Company who was also in the berm.
Toyoda got the red carpet treatment at Innoventions because the park is trying to lure Toyota into being a new sponsor there. How will General Motors will feel about that, after their long association with Disney? [Not that their current exhibit isn't already a "make up" one - given free to GM for the company being so late with Test Track at EPCOT, as I understand.]
Keep in mind it was GM who pulled OUT of the Rocket Rods sponsorship here at Disneyland at the last minute [due to those EPCOT problems] - which threw the entire Tomorrowland redo into a tailspin from which it never recovered, since the money was never replaced.
Someone was kind enough to let me know they stopped by their local corporate cheap ticket office, where they found out the park is offering $30 tickets, that are good between August 22nd through just before Christmas, excluding the Thanksgiving holidays.
If you are planning a visit soon, you may want to hold off a few days, and ask your company HR division [or whoever offers MKC benefits to the employees] about these upcoming offers.
A wonderful site...
I promised Paul a plug for his terrific site, and I've been remiss in following up on that for him, so here goes:
Now you all go back to visit there, you hear? :)
The sermon on the glacier...
Well, it's finally happened, Eisner got called into an executive retreat with Roy Disney - just days before the current round of stories broke about selling the teams and such.
There are two versions floating around the company about what actually happened up on the yacht in Alaskan waters, I'll let you judge which one may be closer to what actually echoed off the glacier up there.
Eisner was either a] working with Roy to put together / explain the next round of cutbacks / management changes - OR - b] He was read the riot act and told to get cracking, hence the sudden divesting of assets [like the teams] and the dive into DVD [on animated fare] for some quickly needed bucks.
He was also told, [in each version of the story I've heard so far] in no uncertain terms that an heir to his job was to be appointed, and pronto. On the month before his 15 year anniversary with the company it could very well be that the moves are finally being made to change leadership.
Here's what to expect from what the rumor mill is saying [along with some confirmations from the recent Wall Street Journal article]: NO more Disney Quests / Club Disney / ESPN Sports Zones, whatever locations now built will be it. There will be cutbacks in Disney Store openings, [if not an outright freeze] and Sears is still expressing interest in purchasing the chain.
There will be re-evaluations of all aspects of DCA to see [yet again] what more can be paired back. Expect holds on major attractions outside of Orlando [although Fire Mt. in WDW's Magic Kingdom seems a go.] The Paris second gate will just be a sliver of what could have been done if it goes ahead. Cruise ships ARE for sale. They just don't think they can get what they want for them.
Joe Roth [the film head guy] is probably leaving, [frustrated is what I keep hearing over and over again] and sadly Paul Pressler [now in charge of parks and WDI] is being put on a front burner by Eisner, [must be that executive hair] although the company board for the most part is still painfully aware of the many problems he has had in the past and is not as likely to accept him at a much higher level than he is now.
Expect layoffs at all divisions, with newer managers finally getting the excuses they need to flush out some of the older deadwood, along with some of the key staff that was still holding the quality line. Over and over again I keep hearing Richard Nanula's name being dropped, and Peter Schneider hankering to move up further. The future may look a whole lot different over in Burbank come Christmas.
One hint that Eisner kind of figured he was in hotter water than usual has been the extreme amount of press he has been participating in / seeking for himself. Usually when a corporate type seeks this type of coverage, [besides trying to shore up the stock] to improve his image, it's usually too late, since they don't stay much longer in their positions.
The press on Eisner the last few weeks is intense, [including a rather odd tribute to him in the current Disney Magazine] and after the 15 years he's had already at the helm, it does seem that any time after he celebrates that, it would bode well for him if he finally moves on.
Fab's micro update...
Normally Fab gets her update on her own page, but since it is so short this time, I've appended it to my page here for your quicker reading.
So sit back, be especially nice to her Monkey Boy, [she has him WELL trained] and take in what she's got to say today, even though she wanders a bit from her normal park news:
I wonder if Monkey Boy got Fab's home theater set up properly. She's a THX-spec gal if I ever met one...
And don't let us forget all those people who when both Fab and myself asked why Disney was so behind the eight-ball with DVD were told by them that it was an "unproven technology" and we were "early adopters." Phuleeze. Warner Bros. early adopted themselves into the black with this new market despite all their bad movies. Disney was just asleep at the switch. Or is that at lunch? Can you believe he said that? Sigh.
Hmmm, shades of past Compaq management here... ;)
That's it for now, more to come soon. See you at the park, if we ALL [you know who you are] don't fall asleep at Coke Corner from all those late nights working, right? ;)
Lots to cover today - so lets go at it.
It's important to note attendance is below projection for Disneyland - and they are the only park in the Los Angeles area not offering a locals discount this summer.
Universal just extended
theirs until the third week of August, Knott's is offering twenty
dollar tickets at Ralph's, and both Magic Mountain and LegoLand
are offering discount coupon tie-ins.
Don't be surprised if some kind of discount gets offered early this
year from Disneyland.
Bobbing along, bobbing
Q. The Canoes, Main Street Vehicles and Mr. Lincoln. What do those three have in common?
A. Lower than normal rider counts due to
slower than expected summer attendance. What they also now have in common
is being on the hit list for possible elimination if rider counts
continue to remain low.
What this means right away of course, is that
everyone this summer should make an extra effort to patronize these
attractions wherever possible.
Unlike in the past, when "the system"
method of running Disneyland was put in place, [where some things in the
park were known to have less than optimized capacity, with the full understanding
that others would
help pick up the slack] current management, in particular Paul Yeargin
seems still hooked on the idea that each attraction must carry full loads all the time.
If you look at it, Disneyland is a rather unique assembly - everything in the park was originally designed to compliment each other. Some things like the Main Street vehicles or the Canoes are meant to decorate the scene as much as they are meant to be ridden / used. The tapestry that is Disneyland is rather unique in this level of detail.
What a shame the Yeargins of the world don't comprehend that. Let's hope Cynthia Harriss sees what is happening with these kinds of discussions going on at the Team Disney building and does the right thing. She's been batting pretty well lately - and I hope she continues to do so.
By the way, at the Lincoln attraction you can get a FREE
and rather cool commemorative
'E-ticket'-like souvenir that one of the CMs worked very hard
on to get done, that should ease the pain of sitting through the show.
And if you brave the lines, and land a ride in the monorail nosecone, you can
also get a FREE "Co-Pilots License" too - a nice touch.
Before the Parade marches
So far the parade schedule looks like this - Mulan
will probably close forever right before the Christmas Parade is
scheduled to start. There will be some changes to the Christmas Parade,
probably minor, since this may be the last year for this edition.
The new parade will then probably start in February, [Remember Christmas seems to run from Halloween to almost Valentine's Day now at the park! ;) ] and be character based with a Millennium theme. Look for the last unit in the parade to be a recycled Light Magic float to save a few bucks.
As I understand it, the same guy who was behind the
Mulan parade [from the Paris Opera and Eisner's current
favorite] will be doing this one - so we may get something a little out of the ordinary yet again. I know
I can't wait.
Speaking of parades, rumor has it most of the
entertainment department at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World got the
ax / will get the ax in the past / next few weeks. It appears that Peter
Schneider is making his moves now in taking over this area.
One can only hope that Animazement will be on
the chopping block soon... ;)
Adventure [DCA] - the evolution continues...
As the lovely and charming Fab notes [in her latest UPDATE]
I also continue to hear that theme park spending is being cut by Disney.
There is talk about the new Hong Kong park getting mothballed
and the second Paris gate getting the chop. Naturally that means
current projects are also probably going to continue to get cuts. Nothing
like starving the golden goose huh?
Of course with all the cuts up to now for the new
park, it's plain to see that most of the WDI designers are very
disappointed in DCA. "I
hope for the best, but I don't like what I see.
It looks like Magic Mountain!" is a common cry. They
really don't think much of it, and the indecision and continued bad planning by
some in park
management only makes matters worse.
Here's an example: There was no plan for a lagoon
show, and so a wave machine was built for the lagoon.
Now Team Disney Anaheim [TDA] management wants a lagoon show, but
there is no place to stage the boats for a show.
So, the boats will have to stay in the lagoon, the wave machine
will be turned off, and the lagoon will be a flat plate of water.
Not a great representation of the Pacific Ocean is it?
Another problem is there was no way to take ride
photos on the big coaster as it was originally planned [to save a few
bucks it appeared], but now management has changed their mind and wants it, so they
have to provide a room to put it in.
The big coaster will be way behind in testing - from October of
this year to maybe January of next. A
Wild Mouse (a Mack made coaster, same as the one in Busch Gardens
Williamsburg) will be built toward the end of the project, since that is
on one of the current roads into the DCA site.
The Superstar Limo ride is being considered a
"C / D" ticket ride, while California Screamin', California
Soarin' (the names are FAR too confusing and have to be changed), Muppets
4-D, Tough to be Bug, and Grizzly Rapids are being
pushed as the "E" tickets.
Did you also know they planned only for shade in
key areas, and no rain protection at all?
Even if it is Southern California, it does rain once in a while,
but you will get wet at DCA. And, it is now understood that Downtown
Disney is way behind schedule. It
will not open with DCA.
As far as future expansion goes - I can confirm that
the Hollywood area will have a foundation laid for a "Future
Building." Right now the Rock'n'RollerCoaster is being
looked at, along with Tower of Terror [both now in the Studios park
in Walt Disney World].
Other DCA tidbits:
No annual passes will be offered through
fiscal year 2003, Disneyland Annual Passholders [...as a courtesy?
be able to purchase limited amounts of discounted tickets.
The Park Hopper pass they're looking at is different
than WDW's, you'll have a limited amount of "entries" to use in
limited number of days. Entering
both parks on the same day would use 2 entries.
The entertainment department, what's left of it,
describes the parade route as "Long and Narrow" since at one
point the parade crosses a bridge that will have to be completely closed
to visitor traffic to facilitate it.
There will be 2 parades daily, one day and one night.
Current plans are to have a new parade every year.
The parade is described as being like "Hercules" in size
and scope. There will also be
a separate Christmas parade.
Meanwhile, the Hyperion theater will do five shows daily,
nine on peak days. No
description of the show is available yet. Also no pyrotechnics will be used / allowed
in the park for anything.
One attraction that I've never heard about has been
added to the Paradise Pier area and caught my eye: "Happy Boat"
...no joke. What could this be, a margarita barge?
Finally - all but 2 of the costumes will
be worn home by Cast Members [CMs]. The Mondavi vineyard will be
the only third party labor supplier in the park. Downtown Disney
will likely have an outsourced Valet company. The mall area will be
open until 2am most nights. They're also considering using Omnibuses
to transport visitors from parking lot to parking lot (for no apparent
reason it seems...).
Most persistent rumor? That contingency plans are being quietly made to re-theme the park over entirely to a movie theme should the "California" theme prove to be a dud. Makes sense - with a few clapboard signs thrown around - all those state landmark reproductions can be turned into movie sets, right? Like I said, a rumor.
Be sure to visit the DCA section of this site for new construction photos.
Satellite Resort District
Police Service Center...
The Anaheim Police have set up a temporary substation in a trailer where crime victims can now report problems they encounter while visiting the Disneyland / Anaheim resort area. Located at 1500 S. Harbor Blvd., next to a McDonald's, [what, no Winchell's? ;) ] it will remain open there until a permanent location is found. Dressed down officers will patrol on bicycle or horseback. Interaction with visitors is meant to be casual and friendly, but goals are clear-cut: to discourage would-be criminals, and to respond quickly to crimes.
The service center has walking-tour maps for
visitors, maps of Southern California and two desk personnel to
take police reports and assist crime victims. Next time you get a Big Mac
attack stop by and say hello!
It was announced at the NFFC meet that ToonTown, New Orleans Square and the Mark Twain are to be decorated for Christmas this year, along with more lights around the hub and also additional trees in the Castle's moat.
Cynthia Harriss did mention that New Year's Eve
won't require special tickets, or be a separate event. However,
Disneyland is supposed to close the gates when they reach
"capacity." Let's hope that capacity is a bit less than the
Electrical Parade farewell numbers.
Harriss also announced there would be a committee
put together with about 25 people, meeting on a regular basis throughout
the year to discuss things going on at Disneyland, including special
events. This is an interesting step she is taking here - I am curious
to see what items she discusses with the group and how their feedback is
utilized. So far no mention has been made as to when this will begin / or
how it will be organized.
They also talked about the Autopia remodel, and how it would begin work after Labor Day, and that an exhibit in the Disney Gallery above Pirates would accompany this. Lots of merchandise events [of course] were also announced. It's finally good to see that they are interested again in this area, and that it has been so successful for them too.
Mouse Tales II - a quick review...
I got a chance this past weekend [thanks to LrdNiekon] to skim through David Koenig's sequel to his book "Mouse Tales" - titled "More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland."
What strikes one first from glancing through this is that Koenig has really honed his writing quite a bit - it's much better written than his first volume, and due to that tends to hold the reader's interest much more this time around.
An area of particular interest to me was Koenig's in-depth reporting of the T. Irby [head of maintenance] problem - much of what was apparent to visitors and reported briefly here on this site. In the book Koenig digs deeper into things and presents more background - helping fill in the rest of the story. He's done a solid job on this issue.
But overall the book, rather than expand what we already read upon in the first volume, is really only an addendum in its modest scope - skipping and hopping in coverage of things right up until essentially the Columbia accident, [although minor mentions are made of the Knott's Cinco de Mayo fiasco among others.]
I personally found the epilogue misnamed, it is instead a rather heavy-handed editorial about what the park needs to do to get back on its feet. Last December I would have agreed with Koenig and this approach and message, but things have made a turn around the past few months and it should have been acknowledged in this book as well. [Especially considering he was able to include events as recent as last May.]
Also he has structured the book a bit differently this time, with little boxed items at the bottom of most pages, usually a funny story about visitors. Of note are ride layout drawings of attractions such as Haunted Mansion and Pirates - all very interesting to look at.
Oddly, no mention [other than an attribution to a posting made by yours truly and one by Jack Danger in the footnotes] is made about the newsgroups or internet, a striking omission since much of the information Koenig features was first reported online, and then later picked up by the media.
For example, to leave out the online reactions to Light Magic is baffling - since the regular media quoted a lot of it. It's also of note that many of the terms he uses in the book for Cosmic Waves and its problems [such as Cosmic Bidet for example] were first coined online. Also I had heard rumors of several other areas he was going to cover but didn't get into from what I could see of it.
As a marketing guy at heart, I have to say that Koenig sort of limited the sales of this book to die-hards, just by titling it with the word "More." A smarter approach would have been to take this slim volume, re-write the first book quite a bit, and integrate the new content in with the older stuff, to create a new expanded edition of Mouse Tales instead.
He could have grown the audience for this franchise, rather than limit it - since sequels rarely do the business the originals do. But if you are interested in the park, you will want to have this tome anyway. There is something of interest for just about any fan in it.
Follow-up to the above:
A few hours after I posted the above review, David Koenig kindly dropped me a line about it, and after getting an OK I present his note below. It helps add some more background to what his thinking was about the book.
Thank you David - your note helped answer a lot of questions! I know you've got a best-seller there with my readers at the very least. :)
Here today, gone a few months later?
Try typing in dig.com into your browser [ain't that a nice name?] - which used to take you to the Disney Internet Guide, a child safe search site. I guess it's gone now, since it just defaults to Disney.com.
But I can assure you the original D-I-G [what you are now reading] remains as strong as ever, thanks to you the reader. :)
That should do it for now, see you at the park!
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