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Red Car wires, California details, Matterhorn progress, LEGO dragons +MORE

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by , 04-09-2012 at 01:45 AM
Spring break crowds will begin to wind down this week as Disney enters the final stretch before its big 2012 summer season that will mark the grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure park. California Adventure's big 2012 re-launch will include the debut of the new Buena Vista Street entrance plaza as well as the grand opening of the massive new 12-acre Cars Land area. This summer will also launch new, expanded and refreshed offerings throughout Disneyland and Downtown Disney, making this summer one of the busiest summers in Disneyland history. There's still plenty of work to be done, however, and Imagineers are hard at work testing new attractions in Cars Land and installing new Red Car Trolley wires throughout Buena Vista Street. Meanwhile, in Disneyland, the Matterhorn's fantastic new paint job is nearing completion as work inside the mountain continues.

Get a closer look at today's update! You can now click on any photo in today's column for a large, high-resolution version of the image.

Thanks to our friends Fishbulb, Ron W and David Yenoki for their help with photos this week.

Let's get started!

Inside Dateline Disneyland
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Spring break crowds will start to ease up mid-week. Our friends at Touring Plans their crowd forecast to help you plan you visit.

After Tuesday, crowds should begin to subside to their normal off-season moderate numbers. can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. With spring break crowds here, it's a good time to subscribe to to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

— Fred Hazelton Statistician,

Crowd Calendar Prediction
Crowd Tips
Tues., Apr. 10
Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
  • Full block outs this Saturday.
  • Thursday will be the lightest day for crowds this week in both parks.
  • Disneyland's is a 4.9 on the Crowd Calendar on Sunday.
Wed., Apr. 11
Thu., Apr. 12
Fri., Apr. 13
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
See Disneyland crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disneyland wait times on your iPhone, Android, or Smartphone.

Do more. Wait less.

The Carnation Cafe expansion project continues...

Work at the Matterhorn also continues as its June 15 reopening date inches closer...

MiceChat's annual Gumball Rally is quickly approaching. The event is an intense day-long ride-a-thon that takes participants on the quest to complete every attraction in Disneyland in one day. It's a great event for just about any Disney fan. The event sells out every year, though, so you'll definitely want to get your tickets soon! Grab a couple teammates and head to the parks to start training today!

MiceChat Gumball Rally — May 19, 2012 — Sign Up Today!
What's a Gumball Rally? Well, it's the biggest, best and most fun Disney fan event in the known universe. The Rally is a race to find out who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day. Sounds fun, right? Well, it is even more fun than you can imagine. Yes, it is harder than it sounds. Yes, it will challenge you physically. But, it's one event that folks of any age can compete in and have a great time in the process. Whether you win or lose, you are always a winner when the race takes place on your favorite rides at your favorite place on earth.

But that's just a little piece of the puzzle. If you've never heard of the Gumball Rally before, please visit the Rally Information Page for more information and FAQ.

  • When: May 19, 2012
  • Where: Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California
  • Cost: $29.99 per person.
  • How do I sign up?: MiceChat Events Store Gumball Rally Sign Up
  • How does the Rally work?: Rally Information Page
  • Note: About a week or two before the event, you'll receive both an email and a phone call from our Rally staff to answer any questions you may have and make sure you know when/where/how the event works.

This year, we are making event t-shirts available, including a lite breakfast at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney and have all sorts of prizes and giveaways at our Award Party (sponsored by the Howard Johnson Anaheim Resort). There's even a special game show to help keep you entertained while we wait for the results! [ FULL EVENT INFORMATION ]

A look at the on-going $1 billion remodel and expansion efforts at Disney California Adventure

More detail work and tile rooftops can be seen along the new Buena Vista Street area...

Last week, Disney gave a sneak peek at some of the characters and live entertainment coming to Buena Vista Street this summer:

An Entertaining Cast of Characters for Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park
When you enter Disney California Adventure park this summer, you’ll step back in time to Los Angeles of the 1920s and ‘30s on Buena Vista Street. One of the keys to creating a truly immersive environment like this is populating it with interesting and believable characters, so Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment has been hard at work developing the unique personalities and show experiences that will bring the new entrance avenue to life.

Buena Vista Street is alive with optimism and opportunity. It’s a boulevard of dreams and dreamers… like the Citizens of Buena Vista Street. This cast of characters will interact with guests in this area of the park, creating impromptu laughs, smiles and memories wherever they go.

The Red Car News Boys roll into town on one of the shiny Red Car Trolleys, belting out “California, Here I Come!” Inspired by the spirit and style of Disney’s “Newsies,” the Red Car News Boys bring the latest headlines and engage their audience with fun songs of the ‘20s and ‘30s.

Over “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” the musical group Five & Dime arrives in Carthay Circle to jazz things up. This ensemble of friends and relations, headed up by a vivacious singer named Dime, has travelled down Route 66 all the way from Chicago in the hopes of making it big. Like everyone who comes to Buena Vista Street, great things await them just around the corner! [ LINK ]

Lots of Red Car wires are now up throughout the Buena Vista Street area...

A new striped awning over the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe.

The Carthay Circle Theater's marquee is coming together nicely...

More great new lighting fixtures are appearing all over the Theater building.

The former Candy Shoppe

A look at Buena Vista Street construction from the Monorail. North Buena Vista Street:

Oswald's Filling Station and Los Feliz Five and Dime:

South Buena Vista Street / Carthay Circle:

The Monsters Inc. facade refurbishment continues...

Red Car wires in Hollywood Land.

The awnings have been removed at the California Screamin' queue while the frame structures are repainted blue.

Meanwhile, the Cove Bar on the upper level of Ariel's Grotto continues its refurbishment.

A look at Cars Land progress...

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree stroller parking area...

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree:

Pacific Wharf-area entrance to Cars Land:

Over in Downtown Disney, construction at the La Brea Bakery continues...

New Maleficent and Prince Philip LEGO sculptures at the LEGO Store are covered under black tarps while the retail space continues its refurbishment...

The Compass Books location is now closed, ready to begin its conversion into the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant.

Dateline Disneyland is sponsored by our good friends at the
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort.
A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit and Annual Passholder Discounts Available Every Day!
The HoJo Anaheim is now offering deeper discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! On select nights, Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders can get rooms for as low as $59 per night, plus tax. For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn't listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.

See Disneyland from the comfort of home with the HoJo Mattercam!
See Disneyland from home via a live rotating video feed of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park from the rooftop of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort! The HoJo Anaheim's newly upgraded Disneyland webcam now features new views including video feeds of Disneyland's nightly fireworks! Check it out now!

Weekly Theme Park Hours
April 9 — 15, 2012

Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
Daily: 8 am - 12 midnight
Daily: 10 am - 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Theme Park Calendar

Expected Crowd Levels presented by
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure
MEDIUM—HIGH 4.9—9.7 out of 10
MEDIUM—HIGH 5.3—9.7 out of 10
Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.

For daily crowd predictions for the next 365 days, visit
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule
Disneyland Park

  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles through June 14.
  • Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Palace, and Penny Arcade: Food service locations and shops are closed for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.

Disney California Adventure
  • ElecTRONica: Tron-themed nighttime dance parties will end April 16. The new Mad T Party evening dance party will begin June 15.
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Soda Fountain: New Ghirardelli chocolate shop and soda fountain will open in the space formerly occupied by the Mission Tortilla Factory. New dining location opens late-spring 2012.
  • Buena Vista Street: Re-themed main entrance including new Red Car Trolley attraction are under construction through summer 2012.
  • Cars Land: New 12-acre land opens summer 2012.
  • Disney California Adventure: Entire park will be closed to the public to apply finishing touches and for a media event on June 14, 2012.

Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

  • La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifications.
  • Island Charters and LEGO Imagination Center: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
  • Compass Books and Cafe: Book store and cafe to close permanently March 31. Earl of Sandwich dining location to open in space late-spring 2012.

D23's Destination D returns to Disneyland Hotel
D23's popular Destination D event returns to the Disneyland Hotel this fall for an amazing celebration of 75 years of Disney animation.

D23′s Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animated Features
From Walt Disney’s groundbreaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph, guests will go on a two-day journey filled with unforgettable moments of heart-tugging emotion, laughter, and classic music and song that have captivated generations the world over.
Highlights of the event include exclusive previews of upcoming films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, salutes to the great Disney animators and artists of the past, hands-on activities, an extraordinary reunion of Disney animated voice talent, a glimpse at how the Disney animated features have influenced the Disney parks, rare and never-before-seen artwork and film footage, plus a special salute to Snow White (the film that started it all), and numerous surprises. Saturday ends on a “Jolly Holiday” note with a concert by Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix performing timeless Disney songs and pop standards. We cap Sunday with a rare concert appearance by eight-time Oscar®-winning composer/songwriter Alan Menken, who will perform some of his most memorable songs from many modern-day Disney film classics, and more.

D23′s Destination D series has become one of the fan club’s most popular member events. Past “destinations” have celebrated 55 years of Disneyland and 40 years of Walt Disney World Resort. Now it’s time to celebrate the diamond anniversary of one of the most universally beloved and unique film genres—the world of Disney animated features.

If you love the Disney animated features, this event will be a dream come true—an unprecedented celebration of the art, storytelling, music, voices, imagination, and innovation of Disney’s benchmark films. Presented at the newly re-Imagineered Disneyland Hotel, this is one D23 event that will leave you truly animated!

DATES: August 11 and 12, 2012
LOCATION: Grand Ballroom, Disneyland Hotel
TIME: Panels, presentations, and events to run from approximately 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
TICKETS: On sale April 18, 2012, at 10 a.m. PST. Check back here for link to order tickets.
COST: $225 per person and $1,000 per person for Diamond-level
More Information: D23: Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animated Features

New bus route takes Disneyland guests to Knott's, other attractionsNews from the OC Register's Around Disney blog:
New buses take tourists from Disneyland to Knott’s
Visitors and employees starting today (Wednesday) can take new special buses between the Disneyland area and other tourist destinations, including Knott’s Berry Farm and the Discovery Science Center.

The Anaheim Resort Transit, or ART, is adding two routes — one to Buena Park and another to Santa Ana — that are meant to help tourists easily get between popular Orange County venues. Employees also are urged to use the new routes, easing traffic congestion and parking around theme parks.

ART has 62 buses that are centered in Anaheim around Disneyland. ART is using existing buses for the two routes.

The fare for the large shuttle buses is $4 a day.

The Buena Park route includes Knott’s Soak City, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament and Pirates Dinner Adventure. In Santa Ana, buses will drop off and pick up passengers at the Discovery Science Center and the next-door MainPlace mall.

Each route needs at least 160 passengers a day to break even financially, said Diana Kotler, executive director of Anaheim Transportation Network, which runs ART. If the routes fall short, those businesses are required to fund the rest.

“Individuals come to Orange County, and they don’t see geographic boundaries. They just see Orange County,” Kotler said. “It just enhances the guest experience and ability to connect our major destinations.”

About 1,000 Disney employees live in areas served by the new routes, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. Disney plans to pay for employee passes and market the option to them.

ART will offer the services to employees for free for the first 30 days. After that, they can buy passes that are comparable in price to regular Orange County Transportation Authority buses. A 15-day employee pass, for example, costs $27.

“It’s kind of built with that in mind,” Kotler said. “In the long term, we need to look at better transportation options for the employees.”
Full Story: Around Disney: New buses take tourists from Disneyland to Knott’s

Man dies after falling from Disneyland parking structureFinally, some sad news from the OC Register:
Man ID'd in deadly Disneyland fall
A 23-year-old man fell to his death from one of the floors at the main parking structure at Disneyland, an Anaheim police spokesman said Tuesday.

The man, identified as Christopher Tran of Santa Ana, was found by an Anaheim police traffic controller at around 9:30 a.m. Monday near the northwest corner of the Mickey & Friends parking structure at 1313 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

"The traffic controller radioed that there was a person down on the north side of the parking structure," Dunn said.

Police and paramedics responded and found a man, later identified as Tran, lying near a gate on Walnut Street.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"We are investigating it as an apparent suicide," Dunn said, adding that it appears no one saw him jump from the six-story parking structure.

An autopsy is tentatively scheduled to be performed Tuesday, Orange County Deputy Coroner Mitchell Sigal said.
Full Story: OC Register: Man ID'd in deadly Disneyland fall

Alright, that wraps up this week's update. Thank you for reading and be sure to join the discussion in the comments section below!

Thanks again to our guest contributors: Fishbulb and Ron W and David Yenoki.

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See you at Disneyland!
- Andy

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  1. Hildy's Avatar
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    I do hope when they get done with Oswald's filling station they are planning on parking a very cool 1920's or 30's car in it.
  2. mratigan's Avatar
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    Thanks andy that was great
    that is sad about that suicide.
  3. DragoHarley's Avatar
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    I have to say, I don't like the Trolley Car wires overhead. It makes the scene look junky and ruins the ability to take nice pictures. I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to complain about the wires and in a year or two Disney will have to take them all down.

    I also have to say that Carsland has officially won me over. I do not like the Cars movies, and I thought the idea of a Carsland was stupid...but it's come out really charming and unique and I think it's going to be a massive hit. I probably won't ride any of the rides there but I am sure I will take pictures of it to show my friends.
  4. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  5. MrTour's Avatar
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    I love the lights going up on the Carthay. Reproductions of them might be a hit (a new Disney line of lighting fixtures at Lowes?). They would look awesome on my 1935 Spanish-style home.

    It makes the scene look junky and ruins the ability to take nice pictures.
    Well, there is always Photoshop to easily remove unwanted wires!
  6. chesirecat's Avatar
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    Carsland keeps looking better and better, and with three rides it looks like it will capture the dynamic feeling that Fantasyland and Tomorrowland has (had) when you have a lot of rides operating in the same space. Tomorrowland used to have the buckets, submarine, monorail, peoplemover, and autopia all within its border with Fantasyland and it certainly added to the festive atmosphere, I thin that Carsland will become a similar hub of activity for DCA and provide a much needed "heart" for the park, and it looks like it'll look great at night, I'm sure DCA's operating hours will be pushed back later than what TDA is planning.

    The light fixtures on the Carthay look great.

    Though I initially really didn't like BVS, its starting to look a lot more inviting, sort of like a more relaxed version of Hollywood Boulevard at Disney Studios in Orlando. Too bad there isn't some sort of a train around the park at DCA as the train in Disneyland is Main Street's E-Ticket. I can see more now how the trolley wires will fit into the overall feel of BVS . . . though I don't think they match at all with the Hollywood Land area of DCA and produce more clutter in this already cluttered area of DCA.

    Too bad they didn't put in a Brown Derby restaurant, with Carthay being sit-down, they could have made it counter service and add a Cobb's salad to the menu.
    Updated 04-09-2012 at 08:27 AM by chesirecat
  7. cablubber's Avatar
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    I still think that it would have been great to have some sort of an attraction at the Carthay like they do in DL with the Opera House. As great as DCA is going to be when everything opens this summer I personally feel that it still won't quite live up to what Disneyland is. Still love DCA though Thanks for the great update!
  8. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Happy 100th Anniversary SS Columbia, at Tokyo Disney Seas.
  9. bigwavedave's Avatar
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    well done love the photos
  10. Quentin's Avatar
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    I have to say, I don't like the Trolley Car wires overhead. It makes the scene look junky and ruins the ability to take nice pictures. I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to complain about the wires and in a year or two Disney will have to take them all down.
    It would look stupid to have 1920's era trolly's running without electrical wires. It would be super out of place. Like some have said you might as well drive buses up and down the street.
  11. cellarhound's Avatar
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    BV Street is looking good. Cars Land is over the top, everything I hoped it would be - trouble is with all the attention going on there, other places of the park desperately need some of the same type of love. Hollywoodland still needs a lot of work and still suffers from some missed opportunities and a few plusses are desperately needed there. But this is a great start and I think people will respond.
  12. Peoplemover Priit's Avatar
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    I think the realism the trolley wires adds is great. If you go to any city with some sort of metro trolley or tram service, you are bound to have wires; omitting the wires would just feel wrong. Keep up the details Disney!
  13. BassBone's Avatar
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    The trolley wires are beautiful. I hope they stay.
  14. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    As I'm getting used to seeing photos of BVS with them, the wires are starting to warm on me.
  15. chesirecat's Avatar
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    Wire debate aside . . . I wish they had extended BVS down the Hollywood land street by taking out all of the fake Hollywood glitz and putting in an e-ticket for BVS, maybe even a Mickey Mouse/Steamboat Willy dark ride, something Disney themed to the 1920s. There is so much clutter in Hollywood land, it looks like Universal. Having the trolley go down Hollywood land is like having the Main Street Trolly have a stop in Fantasyland . . . it doesn't quite match.
  16. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update as always!
  17. Quacky4Donald's Avatar
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    Amazing photos and a great update! Thanks, guys!

    In regards to the overhead wires for the RCT in Buena Vista Street, I think once the park opens and there's more motion going on, that the wires will "disappear" and it will become a fairly non-issue to park goers. We just have to be patient and see how everything comes together once all is said and done.
  18. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Great update Andy and Fishy. LOVED it. I'm really happy with just about everything we can see in Cars Land and Buena Vista Street (aside from the ugly cable car wires).

    Quote Originally Posted by chesirecat
    Wire debate aside . . . I wish they had extended BVS down the Hollywood land street by taking out all of the fake Hollywood glitz and putting in an e-ticket for BVS, maybe even a Mickey Mouse/Steamboat Willy dark ride, something Disney themed to the 1920s. There is so much clutter in Hollywood land, it looks like Universal. Having the trolley go down Hollywood land is like having the Main Street Trolly have a stop in Fantasyland . . . it doesn't quite match.
    Good points. I would hope that a more extensive Hollywood Land refurbishment is in the cards for a phase 2. The fake Hollywood stuff needs to go in favor of a representation at least as good as Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd at the Disney Studios in Florida. The poor Hyperion Theatre needs to get rid of that ugly metal fire escape looking entry and build a real lobby. That would make all the difference in the world.

    I'm OK with the Red Cars making stops in both Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land. The whole area is supposed to maintain that 1920's feel. So it should all work just fine.

    Overall it's hard for me to find much to complain about. They've done an exceptional job with almost all of the new stuff. Now I'm looking forward to hearing about what they'll do after this summer.
  19. yoyoflamingo's Avatar
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    Loving the lighting around the Carthay Circle Area! I have to wait and see about the wires.
  20. Crazee4mm's Avatar
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    For years people, myself included, have been complaining that the electrical wires behind DCA have been an eyesore and should have been installed underground. Now we get the Red Car wires and, to me, they look awful. There are places in San Francisco that have those overhead lines and it really hurts the appeal of the places where they're located. I really wish that Disney had opted for a "less authentic" version of this, sans overhead wires. Aside from that, I am thrilled with the upcoming reboot.

    Another thing that concerns me about the Red Cars is the fact that the park is going to be VERY busy for some time to come. The Jolly Trolly, as well as the Main Street Horse Drawn Cars needed/need to routinely have a cast member walk in front of the moving vehicles to shoosh away those among us who are oblivious to our surroundings. The entrance to DCA will be filled with eager guests, many of which will be oblivious to the Red Car. This will probably negate the need for said Cast Member to walk in front of the vehicles as they operate throughout Buena Vista Street. Why are these conveyances repeatedly added to the park(s) when the parks are so rapidly increasing their attendance levels? The Red Car, the late Jolly Trolly, and even the Main Street Horse Drawn Cars are getting more and more dangerous by swimming through denser and denser crowds of people. I feel the time has come that these vehicles should no longer be wading through crowds of thousands and thousands of people. Maybe there should be something that moves people by some overhead means. People Mover anyone???
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