Back Alley Bypassby David Koenig, contributing writer
Back Alley Bypass
Desperate to avoid another Christmas season packed with unmanageable guest congestion, Team Disney Anaheim managers are anxious to start construction on a backstage escape route that on busy days would funnel crowds off Main Street and out of the park.
Management would like to start construction in April, so the path can be open to guests before the end of November. The new route, first reported by Al Lutz 16 months ago, will start just past the Baby Care Center off the Central Plaza hub, travel behind the buildings on the east side of Main Street, and let out at the old coffee shop patio in Town Square.
The path would be themed like a turn-of-the-century alleyway and feature a solid roof over it, both to protect guests from inclement weather and to prevent them from stopping to watch the fireworks. "One of the biggest headaches is when the fireworks go off," shared one cast member. "People don't move. A lot of pathways in the park, especially Main Street, get clogged when guests stop to watch. That goes for Candlelight [Procession], too."
The alley will not significantly disrupt the current stores on Main Street (several of the shops would lose storage space, but gain back entrances, and the Cone Shop at the back of Center Street will need to be relocated).
The pathway would, however, butt right up against the Inn Between cast member cafeteria. Consequently, when construction begins on the alley, the Inn Between will shut down for a major remodel. Two old trees that grow through the eatery's upper outdoor patio will be cut down, and the patio will be enclosed. The reconfiguration will increase indoor space for eating and free up space to add couches and plushy chairs.
Longer Wait for Small World
The traditional weeks-long rehab to remove the Christmas trappings from "it's a small world" has been extended this year until mid-April. Just like most of the other attractions around the park over the last two years, now it's that attraction's turn to be fitted with railings and other fall-protection equipment.
24 Straight in 2014
Last Memorial Day weekend, Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Florida's Magic Kingdom remained open for 24 hours straight to celebrate the start of the summer season. Sources in TDA indicate the parks will be repeating the stunt this year and—if the managers in Florida get their way—every year.
The 24-hour parties were popular with guests and generated loads of press. But, based on comments—from ride operators, merchandise, and maintenance and custodial personnel—cast members, across the board, absolutely detest the events.
In recent years, have you noticed Space Mountain looking a little grimy? After seven years with a depressing brown-and-copper paint job, the majestic structure returned to its original, glorious white in 2003. But a few rehabs later, the roof was covered with a white rubber/vinyl sheeting as a cheap way to save paint and to keep the roof watertight and clean. Unfortunately, it seems that the magic covering actually attracts and shows dirt on the roof more than paint.