Every day bright ideas are being
hatchedand scrappedbackstage at Disneyland.
I asked a few Disneyland sources
to keep their eyes peeled for clues to coming changes at the park.
the upcoming holiday parade
An Entertainment Division insider reports:
Apparently, the Christmas Fantasy Parade will not
have the Homecoming unit this year. Go figure? This parade
appears to be getting shorter with every passing season! Oh
well, another cutback!
|The return of Fantasmic!
Although rumors have been swirling that Fantasmic! may never
return from its extended hiatus, engineers currently are working
on several redesigns of problem equipment. A maintenance man
I also know that a major piece of equipment is in the
shop being rebuilt. Event Services has been approached to add
the Fantasmic! equipment to a planned New Year's special show.
Event Services has declined due to the costs involved, but
this indicates that no equipment is being removed permanently.
Considering the current fiscal conditions at Disney in
general, if Fantasmic! were going to go away for good, no
money would be spent on any of this.
Another cast member reports that "to save money and
time, the barges used in Fantasmic! are now being cannibalized
for the ones to be used in the DCA lagoon show (LuminAria)."
the Rocket Rods?
Similarly, some stubbornly hold out hope that Rocket Rods may
one day return in a different formand possibly at a
different park. As one cast member confirmed:
There is a Rocket Rod on a trailer behind the Pony Farm,
all bagged and weather-proofed. All major sub-assemblies
appear to be in place, and it looks ready to roll. No one on
the Facilities crew worked on this vehicle since the ride
closed, and at last count, no vehicles were in running
No one knows where it is going, or why, but might this
be the start of the rumored move of Rocket Rods to Florida?
|King Arthur loses a few
Talk is that during the carousel's next rehab, several horses
will be removed to accommodate wheelchair passengers. Several
long-time park employees are furious that Disneyland would
"desecrate" the ride and, worse, jeopardize its
longevity. As one wrote:
Disneyland Park has one of four remaining Grand
Carrousels in (I believe) the WORLD! It was built about 140
years ago, and cared for since installation at the park by
some of the finest craftsmen I've had the privilege of
knowing. King Arthur's Carousel being where it is cements the
concept of fun for the entire family Walt always wanted.
Several horses are being removed to accommodate some
area for wheelchair equipped guests. While their riding is
welcomed, the carousel was not designed to take the weight of
chairs. Information suggests it is suspended from the top, not
supported from the bottom. Balance is crucial, otherwise the
carousel spins like an unbalanced top. Since the structure is
made of wood, extra support will be required to provide the
necessary strength. Will the rotating bearings tolerate the
extra weight and stress? Not likely.
To make matters worse, an attempt is afoot to place
controls to make the carousel stop at exactly the same place
to allow wheelchair guests to board. Again, the mechanical
stresses will be tremendous.
One needs to ask why all this is happening. ADA is a
poor excuse (sorry) since ADA applies to new construction, not
existing ones. To make the carousel available to all is
another attempt at political correctness, and we can see what
this has done to Pirates.
Disneyland's maintenance department is worried that the
Haunted Mansion's temporary makeover may have permanent
consequences. A workman claims:
Feedback around the park about Nightmare Before
Christmas is generally favorable, but the Mansion will never
be the same again! Too many things were changed with no
documentation to go back now!
Watch for the condition of the Nightmare animated
figures to deteriorate quickly. Facilities cast members are
under orders NOT to make any repairs, and that any such
repairs will be done by the vendor. This is in spite of
numerous problems that the Facilities crew knows about and can
fix. Response by the vendor is slack at best.
Word is that several of the phony anthrax scares at the park
recently recent are suspected to be cast member hoaxes. In fact,
three cast members were arrested by federal authorities over two
different pranks. In one of the incidents, an insider reports,
Someone dumped a packet of coffee creamer on a table,
then left a note with "anthrax" written on it. The
FBI was called, and two (Facilities cast members) were tabbed
as 'the culprits' because they were there at the time, and
walked out. It's not clear that these two were involved, but
they are the ones suffering the consequences. A memo from Paul
Pressler has been distributed announcing a no-tolerance policy
for this kind of thing.
Imagineering has been out at the park in force lately,
evaluating classic attractions for possible refurbishment and
upgrades. As one cast member noted:
Lately, Imagineers have been roaming around the park and
taking note of the park's poor condition. What they are doing
is making a wish list of things that need to be addressed for
the park's 50th anniversary.
While it's nice that Imagineering is taking note, they
realize it will all come down to budget. And T Irby is not
making any points with them on how the park's maintenance is
Finally, from the "Some Managers Just Don't Get It"
Department, the following exchange took place recently at a shop
on Main Street: A clerk was walking around the store, striking
up conversations with shoppers when a lead tapped him on the
shoulder. "What are you doing?" the lead asked.
"I'm talking to the guests," the clerk answered.
"Well," the lead chastised, "it's bad show to
just stand around and do nothing. We're not paying you to stand
around, you know."
The clerk seemed incredulous but, to avoid making a scene
onstage, began dutifully folding sweaters.
Someone needs to crack open their old "Disney Way"
handbook and reread the chapter on "Your Job Is To Create
You can write to David atthis link..
David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.
After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (1997, revised 2001) and More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland (1999); all titles published by Bonaventure Press.
He lives in Aliso Viejo, California, with his lovely wife, Laura, their wonderful son, Zachary, and their adorable daughter, Rebecca.
You can contact David here.
Click here to go to David's main page for a list of archived articles.
Visit MouseShoppe to purchase copies of David's books. (Clicking on the link opens a new window.)