I thought I would start something here with my thoughts on the morning of May 5th. First, let me tell you how it started for us. We left San Diego on May 4th at 8 pm, arriving at our hotel at 9:15. We checked in and decided to walk over to the park and get a little early shopping out of the way. We then decided to go over to the Main Gates and try and get a nighttime picture of the park. We got that and encountered several people already lined up, fully prepared to spend the night. It was decided that we would come back to the park earlier than the 7 am original plan. We got there at 5 am the next morning (May 5th) to a line of about 150 people, not bad I thought. I have never seen that many people lined up to get into the park 2 hours before they opened ever! When we finally got inside, I could not believe all of the press tents everywhere. I asked where they were expecting us, the guest, to view all of the ceremonies. I was told that it was already filled up and that we were not going to be able to view anything near the hub. Is it me, or should they have put all of the radio tents elsewhere? I mean, wasn't the press already their for 2 days already? Shouldn't this event had been for the paying public? I mean, they hyped the hell out of it! Also, why couldn't they have taken the 2 jumbo screens and placed them on Tom Sawyer Island, where many thousands more people could have viewed the ceremonies in that area? Also, I noticed a serious lack of staffing in many of the shops and eateries. And what where they thinking by taking away one of the major sit-down restaurants on Main Street for the press, when just across the way, there is a perfect venue that could have been used without any inconvience to the guest at all. There was a serious lack of planning for this event.
My general thoughts are that the events on May 5th should have been for those Disney Fans and not for the media. I was expecting some media, but not what we experienced.
On another note, I experieced some really great Castmembers that kept their cool under the most extreme pressure. Unfortunately, someone in my party had to get the Golden Mickey Ears for people that they work with, and it took nearly 2 hours to get them from the Hatmosphere. The castmember that worked that location stayed calm and collective, giving individual guest service to everyone that he incountered just as if they were the only guest in the park that day! Big KUDOS to him (Justin was his name)!
On a sad note, I also witnessed someone push an elderly woman when she came to close to the gentleman that pushed her. He was in his mid to late 20's and she was well over 60. I have to say though, she was pushed into my partner, who in turn bumped into me - all of us catching the other. She did push the guy back and was ready to duke it out. It was totally uncalled for and inappropriate that he pushed her like he did. I thought there was going to be a fight for sure!
Overall, our experience was great, and contrary to all of the things I have been reading about the new parade and fireworks, we thought they are fantastic! You can't please all of the people (especially the people here on MiceChat) all of the time, but you can please most of the people some of the time and I firmly believe that Disney has accomplished this. I just hope that they don't repeat their mistakes with that many press people for the actual Birthday in July.
Just my thoughts, please share your thoughts as well!