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  1. #16

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    See, it's difficult, especially considering the very tiny distance from Main Street to New Orleans Square. The train leaves Main Street and triggers the "your attention please" at NOS. From a show perspective, there's not much to do save for adding animatronic animals to the jungle section and some mist, maybe and...
    Oh. I see what you're getting at.

  2. #17

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    <Snip> With the "Ward Kimball", the Disneyland Railroad can now operate four trains on a daily basis, but the company is still going to only rarely schedule four-train operations because the current attendance doesn't justify them. So, since, at any given time, one extra locomotive and one extra train will just be sitting idle, the company should start thinking of ways to increase attendance (preferably by improving the Grand Circle Tour's show) so that the extra capacity can be utilized.
    Pardon me, but I believe they only have four sets of passenger coaches - 2 Holiday and 2 Excursion. There isn't any place to park a fifth set of coaches - Heck, I'm not sure they have a place to park a fifth engine inside. Steve?

    And they would only need to run 4 trains on the busier days. They could even start the day with two trains, bring out the third at noon and the fourth at 2 PM if they can identify a passenger load pattern.
    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    While the Disneyland Railroad is great in many ways, the show it presents is actually quite shabby. So, from a guest's perspective, common four-train operations would, by justifying capital improvements, give him or her a better Grand Circle Tour, while he or she also experiences reduced overutilization of Disney's other facilities.

    To further justify capital improvements to the Disneyland Railroad, I offered the logic that a more elaborate attraction has the potential to attract both new and returning visitors to the park, itself, and that, once they do visit this enhanced D.R.R., their satisfaction with Disneyland as a whole would increase leading, in turn, to more frequent repeat visitation and more positive word-of-mouth, as well as lower price elasticity of demand.

    The Disneyland Railroad is just such an important attraction to the overall guest experience that the Grand Circle Tour needs to be as elaborate and interesting as possible. And, the addition of the "Ward Kimball" now offers a perfect opportunity for the company to improve the D.R.R. show, itself.
    It would be nice if they could "Plus" the Railroad, there are several places where they can add more things to see. Between Main Street and NOS, back on the Rivers Of America portion, even ToonTown to Tomorrowland.

    The trouble with the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas is if you do anything trying to improve them (besides redoing the taxidermy and the dinosaur skins) you are soon tempted to tear it all out and start over fresh. While they certainly could use it, that would be a LOT of money for dubious benefit.

    But if you're talking a large investment, there are a lot of things that would provide a bigger payoff sooner. They desperately need to get a new E-ticket and a Strong D or two in Disneyland to bump attendance and provide more park capacity. Nemo Subs will help, but they need more.

    If they tried putting 81,000+ Guests in Disneyland again with the attraction roster of today, you couldn't move. They've removed a dozen major attractions and have not replaced the lost capacity. (Motorboat Cruise, Keelboats, PM/Rocket Rods, Skyway, SBC Walkthrough, Festival Arena...)

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  3. #18

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfantasmic View Post
    See, it's difficult, especially considering the very tiny distance from Main Street to New Orleans Square. The train leaves Main Street and triggers the "your attention please" at NOS. From a show perspective, there's not much to do save for adding animatronic animals to the jungle section and some mist, maybe and...
    Oh. I see what you're getting at.
    Simple things like this would really make the "Grand Circle Tour" much more grand.

    I agree with Prag in that the attraction should reflect what Disneyland is...hence when the train is traveling, it should reflect the "land" it is passing through. The biggest issue would be TL...everything else could easily be punched up, though. Simple things to make you feel that you're still in Fantasyland, or New Orleans Square, or whatever...instead of feeling like you're backstage.

    Grand Canyon and Primeval World need some TLC. I'm sad every time I see that one dinosaur that has it's mouth in the water...and you can see the water stain that has deteriorated the coloring on it's face.

  4. #19

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by TP2000 View Post
    So.... are we talking about adding pirates and Johnny Depp to the Primeval World? That would boost demand for the trains, I'm sure.

    Don't give them THAT idea!











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  5. #20

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    One plan a pen stroke away from the green light is the addition of a loop back by the Festival of Fools area. Attendance will skyrocket.
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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    I must be missing something. I don't understand why the railroad would need 5 trains in order to have 4 trains in operation at one time.

    I mean...Disneyland often ran 4 trains during peak periods...when they only owned 4 trains.

  7. #22

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by Opus1guy View Post
    I must be missing something. I don't understand why the railroad would need 5 trains in order to have 4 trains in operation at one time.

    I mean...Disneyland often ran 4 trains during peak periods...when they only owned 4 trains.
    I think the idea is that four train operation become standard procedure. That way the fifth would be serviced while the other four operate.

  8. #23

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfantasmic View Post
    See, it's difficult, especially considering the very tiny distance from Main Street to New Orleans Square. The train leaves Main Street and triggers the "your attention please" at NOS. From a show perspective, there's not much to do save for adding animatronic animals to the jungle section and some mist, maybe and...
    Oh. I see what you're getting at.
    Yeah! They had that panther there snarling at the train as it went by, but he hasn't been there for a while, And they could do more. Like a Mini Jungle Cruise vigniette because they're going right by "the Backside of Jungle".
    Quote Originally Posted by Opus1guy View Post
    I must be missing something. I don't understand why the railroad would need 5 trains in order to have 4 trains in operation at one time.

    I mean...Disneyland often ran 4 trains during peak periods...when they only owned 4 trains.
    Right - but I'll bet it's because they'd really prefer to have one engine on 'Hot Standby' so if one has a problem they can swap it out without having to pull the whole train. They can get by with three engines running in the summer, but if they get down to two they have a big problem.

    The Federal Railway Administration recently rewrote the rulebook for Mainline steam engines that requires a minor boiler inspection, boiler wash, or major overhaul (strip off all the lagging and Ultrasound/X-ray the steel looking for broken staybolts, thin spots and cracks) that is supposed to be done every 90 - 180 - 360 "firing days" (when the engine has steam up from a fire in the boiler) depending on the procedure.

    Disneyland is NOT connected to the mainline railroad system, so those rules are only advisory as far as Disney is concerned - but if they ever have a bad accident the first thing the Plaintiff's Lawyers will do is point to those safety rules and ask "Why didn't you follow them?" So now they have had the maintenance bar raised.

    Considering that the two "New" engines built by Disney are 52 years old, and the other three are Baldwins that are well over 100, they really do need to be carefully maintained. They can do the small stuff at the DLRR Roundhouse, but they have to be trucked to vendors (like Boschan Boiler) for big stuff like boiler repairs.

    For excursion and museum railroads that only operate their steam engines on summer weekends, this isn't a problem - they can do the heavy maintenance all winter. But Disneyland is running their engines 365 days a year. If they were to follow that rulebook to the letter, they really need 5 engines, so 4 can be running and one can be down.

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  9. #24

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    While the Disneyland Railroad is great in many ways, the show it presents is actually quite shabby.
    See, I guess I just don't agree with this point.

    Pragmatic, you and I have discussed this before. Sure, there are a few things that could be done better, but shabby? I guess I'm of the opinion that the Disneyland Railroad doesn't have to be the end-all be-all of excitement and stimulation. It doesn't need fog effects or fireworks or lasers or can-can dancers (well, maybe the dancers).

    Its charm rests far away from those "thrills." Its "excitement" lies in hearing the plaintive wail of the whistle scream for a grade crossing; in hearing the tolling bell or the muffled chuffing from the engine. In the gentle swaying and rocking of the cars as they click over the rail joints.

    The beauty of the line is that much of it is the exact same experience as one would have experienced riding a train 100 years ago. And it's very obviously the experience Walt wanted his guests to enjoy.

    I'm all for subtle "plussing." Fix up the dioramas. Put AA's in the Grand Canyon. Get the line-side signals back, with their red and green lamps glowing through the hazy mist as the locomotives pass by.

    But why, oh why, do we need to try and make the line what it isn't, and was never meant to be? Why does it have to be an extravaganza of special effects? Why can't folks appreciate what it IS, and take something of value from that?

    Two trains, three trains, four trains, it doesn't really matter. The line is heavily ridden, I suppose by people who do appreciate what it is. The roundhouse will add trains as needed, and when the need arises for four trains to run, they will.

    Let's stop trying to fix something that really isn't broken. The Disneyland Railroad is apparently high enough on the budgetary ladder to have received capital improvements that have included replacing the entire main line, completely rebuilding the Lilly Belle into the palace she was meant to be, and giving us a 5th locomotive. Those improvements continue to this day, with the Fred Gurley getting the most comprehensive overhaul in her history, and the C.K. Holiday being repainted into her opening-day colors as she gets ready to represent the park at the Fullerton Railroad Days.

    (And speaking of the attention the railroad gets, how often does any other piece of Disneyland make its way outside the park? The costs associated with the movement of the engines to the Fullerton Station is enormous, but management realizes that the PR benefits--the chance for the crews to talk to people about what they do, letting visitors ring the bell and blow the whistle--are priceless).

    Seeing all four trains operate is great, and I'm certainly not against it. But let the roundhouse decide when they need four trains. In the meantime, we can think about improving the trip by replacing/rehabbing those show elements that already exist, but have not been maintained. But please let's not change the very character of the railroad by introducing elements that aren't necessary, and may, in fact, take away from the "show."

    The DRR is a wonderful attraction. But as we've seen with the death of Tom Sawyer Island, the very essence of something great can be destroyed all in the name of generating "more numbers." Let's not let the same travesty happen to the Disneyland Railroad.

  10. #25

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Steve, I totally agree. I love the steam trains for all the reasons you mentioned. The high pitche whistle, feeling the track joints, and hearing the engine are all wonderful reasons to ride this attraction. I do miss hearing Thurl's spiel. His voice did add to the attraction.

    I once had the opportunity to ride on the E.P. Ripley tender with my son, and it's an experience that I'll never forget.

  11. #26

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Disney Fa View Post
    I once had the opportunity to ride on the E.P. Ripley tender with my son, and it's an experience that I'll never forget.
    As you discovered, steam trains have a "magic" all their own. It's inherent with them. Walt understood this, and wanted to share that feeling with others--a primary reason we have Disneyland today.

  12. #27

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Sorry, slightly off topic, but I have a quick question...

    What's the difference between "Holiday" and "Excursion" coaches?

  13. #28

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    The "Holiday" style cars have the benches that run the length of the car. On these cars, you enter through a central doorway. There are three trainsets like that, one made from the very first set of cars at the park known as the Holiday Red), and two that were built in the mid-1960s to take advantage of the new Primeval World diorama (Holiday Blue and Holiday Green. The colors on the striped awnings determines the name)

    The Excursion cars have the bench seating where you face forward. This trainset was designed by Bob Gurr and reflects a typical turn-of-the-century type of coach known as a "narragansett" car with open seating, that was typically used to take passengers on summer "excursions" into the country for picnic lunches. These cars are open, and don't have doorways. Passengers enter at each bench.

  14. #29

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Wow! A thank you for the quick reply and more detailed answer then I expected. Having the additional information is great.

    You are the Train Answerman, Steve. Thanks

    We have a few Train Experts on the boards. It's always fun hearing from and learning from you guys. Thanks again.

  15. #30

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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    See, I guess I just don't agree with this point.

    Pragmatic, you and I have discussed this before. Sure, there are a few things that could be done better, but shabby? I guess I'm of the opinion that the Disneyland Railroad doesn't have to be the end-all be-all of excitement and stimulation. It doesn't need fog effects or fireworks or lasers or can-can dancers (well, maybe the dancers).

    Its charm rests far away from those "thrills." Its "excitement" lies in hearing the plaintive wail of the whistle scream for a grade crossing; in hearing the tolling bell or the muffled chuffing from the engine. In the gentle swaying and rocking of the cars as they click over the rail joints.

    The beauty of the line is that much of it is the exact same experience as one would have experienced riding a train 100 years ago. And it's very obviously the experience Walt wanted his guests to enjoy.

    I'm all for subtle "plussing." Fix up the dioramas. Put AA's in the Grand Canyon. Get the line-side signals back, with their red and green lamps glowing through the hazy mist as the locomotives pass by.

    But why, oh why, do we need to try and make the line what it isn't, and was never meant to be? Why does it have to be an extravaganza of special effects? Why can't folks appreciate what it IS, and take something of value from that?

    Let's stop trying to fix something that really isn't broken.

    But please let's not change the very character of the railroad by introducing elements that aren't necessary, and may, in fact, take away from the "show."

    The DRR is a wonderful attraction. But as we've seen with the death of Tom Sawyer Island, the very essence of something great can be destroyed all in the name of generating "more numbers." Let's not let the same travesty happen to the Disneyland Railroad.
    While I understand your reticence to trust the people currently in charge of Imagineering and Operations to deliver show elements that truly enhance the Disneyland Railroad, I'm referring mostly to the ways the area surrounding the right-of-way is designed.

    One has to think about the original design intent for the D.R.R. It was never meant to just be a simple train ride. Rather, the attraction was and is a grand circle tour of The Magic Kingdom that takes guests from everyone's hometown and into the four cardinal realms of the imagination. After a twenty-minute trip, a first-time visitor to Disneyland should be able to understand certain key pieces of information about the concept for The Magic Kingdom and about the lay of the land.

    Adventureland should look more foreign and exotic. Frontierland should appear more rustic and rugged. Fantasyland should seem both charming and enchanted. And, Tomorrowland should feel more visionary and futuristic.

    Imagine, for example, that as guests are plunged into Adventureland, they find themselves in a tropical setting filled with pools and waterfalls, as well as some fauna to join the existing flora. The railroad has a few brief moments to clearly convey to guests the theme of Adventureland, so the scenery lining the right-of-way here should be chosen especially carefully. I also wouldn't mind if the trains overlook the Jungle Cruise launches at certain places along the route. And, the backside of the Pirates of the Caribbean show buildings are just begging to be covered with elaborate stage sets that further establish Adventureland and that conceal the backstage areas better.

    The rest of the main line offers a host of similar opportunities for making Disneyland appear more beautiful and more evocative from the trains.
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 02-12-2007 at 09:15 AM.

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