The Art of Show Business

by Todd Pickering, contributing writer
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In the world of the performance one must keep in mind that they call it "Show Business" not "Show Art". The Pandemic has forced working artists of all disciplines to keep that in mind. Let us explore the elements of Show Business to see the art of reopening the Happiest Place on Earth!


We cannot wait to see what new things the Imagineers have done with Snow White's Enchanted Wish. MousePlanet archives.

BACKSTAGE CREW

During the Pandemic we know that there has been work going on at Disneyland Resort. No Movie or Broadway show can be made without a lot of building; of costumes or sets and scoring music and writing scripts. We know that work has progressed and maybe even finished at Avengers Campus over in Disney California Adventure Park and Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway continues to progress. It appears that Snow White's Enchanted Wish (formerly Snow White's Scary Adventures) over in Fantasyland may be all ready to go when the resort opens. Especially those of us in Southern California still on lockdown have been scouring the internet and apps and of course MousePlanet for any info we can get as to what is going on. It shouldn't be too much of a problem to get the rest of the backstage crew up and running.


Just like at Walt Disney World, the rehiring of Cast Members will be the first big priority. MousePlanet archives.

CAST MEMBERS

Hiring and re-hiring the Cast Members shouldn't be too hard but with a giant set such as the Disneyland Resort it is no easy feat. There will be new protocol and new employees and this will of course take days and even weeks of training. This is akin to hiring the vast crew needed to shoot a film or stage a show. Disney does call their employees cast members and there will be quite a reacquaintance process. This is something the Disney Company probably has pretty dialed in by this point.


The Cadaver Dans were perfectly social distanced on the rafts on the Rivers of America at Halloweentime. MousePlanet archives.

ENTERTAINMENT

Now things start getting a little trickier. The thing that sets Disney Parks apart from other theme parks around the world is a very professional level of entertainment. With Hollywood being so close to Disneyland there is a large pool of actors, singers, dancers, musicians and stunt people to choose from. With the size of WDW and Actors' Equity as their union there is also not a shortage of talent. We can look to WDW to see that characters drive by in cars and carriages and are definitely at a social distance. As people become vaccinated these restrictions might ease a bit but it is safe to say that this may be the "new normal" for a while. In some ways catching a wave from a character driving by seems just as magical if not more than waiting in a long line. Perhaps this is an improvement. Entertainment is slow to come back to Florida but The Dapper Dans are back on Main Street USA and their west coast counterparts are indeed a crowd favorite. Disneyland has put performers on the rafts they use for Fantasmic! like the Cadaver Dans at Halloweentime or when Tiana, Naveen and Louis were on the Mark Twain Riverboat when The Princess and the Frog was the latest Disney film. These could be some of the options we could see going forward. We do know that when Disneyland Resort planned its summer 2020 opening, that would never happen, there were postings for a stunt performer to play Black Widow. There are plenty of rooftop spaces for stunt shows in Avengers Campus as there are over in Batuu at Star Wars; Galaxy's Edge. This might be the safest way to start entertainment when the parks open up. Keeping performers and audience members safe is priority number one.


A collage of the author's Annual Passports through the years. Farewell AP…for now…to be continued. Photo by Todd Pickering.

AUDIENCE

The last element which is the most key element to a successful show business is of course; the audience. One could think of Disneyland Resort's Annual Pass as a Season Subscription to say the Ballet or Symphony. The opening will most be likely at limited capacity and the Annual Passport would fill up the park for weeks and weeks. As painful as this announcement is it was the only way to successfully reopen the parks. The analogy is that there simply aren't enough seats in the auditorium. Since all passports will have expired by the time the gates open it truly is a fantastic way to start with a clean slate. Remember what the President of the Disneyland Resort said; "If there is a silver lining in this pandemic, it&39;s the ability to take a step back and look at the new normal, whatever that will be, and begin to create a new program that takes into account all the things that are important to our guests."'

I know we here at MousePlanet wanted to be back in the parks on opening day but we will all have to take a deep breath and see what exciting things await us as the curtain goes up on a new history of exciting and fun entertainment. On with the show!