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  1. #1

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    Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Now that the Disneyland Railroad has Engine No. 5, doesn't it make sense to improve the attraction's show so that the D.R.R. can draw more guests and utilize its additional capacity?

    I want to see four-train operations all the time.

    The addition of another train could increase the throughput of the attraction by as many as 900 passengers per hour. So, the attraction has the potential to be among the most profitable in the entire park, if only Disney sees that improving the show would lead guests to utilize this excess capacity.

    My estimation is that the Disneyland Railroad is not realizing its full potential at the moment. A small expenditure of capital and a little imagination would make the railroad an even bigger people-eater that, in its more elaborate iteration, has the potential to also attract first-time and returning guests to Disneyland, itself. Guest-satisfaction levels would additionally see a significant increase, especially since the attraction presents the Disneyland experience as a whole, which, as such, greatly influences guests' perceptions of the value of said experience.
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 02-11-2007 at 11:26 AM.

  2. #2

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

    Wouldn't running more trains increase the likelyhood of more stops and waiting for load/unload as trains progress around the park?

    Maybe if Disney added more story elements to the RR (ala Jungle Cruise) it would be more of a draw?

    How about ways of getting people to stay the whole loop rather then hopping from station to station? by keeping them onboard.. you keep them on the streets longer

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

    Four train operation could have happened if the #3 Fred Gurley wasn't sent out to be rebuilt. They need five working engines for a 4 train operation.

    I think more Excursion cars then Holiday cars would be the answer since they can hold a lot of people

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    I think more Excursion cars then Holiday cars would be the answer since they can hold a lot of people
    Yes; the Excursion cars hold a lot more people, load much easier, and frankly, just look nicer.

    The only major drawback to the Excursion cars is that people have to turn their head a little to see most of the sigts.......a daunting task for people visiting a theme park which has such attractions as the Jungle Cruise, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and Tarzans Tree House
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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    Now, that the Disneyland Railroad has Engine No. 5, doesn't it make sense to improve the attraction's show so that the D.R.R. can draw more guests and utilize its additional capacity?

    A small expenditure of capital and a little imagination...
    Small expenditure? The engineers and conductors that come along with the Disneyland railroad are specialized positions that, yes, do get paid more than your average dark ride cast member.
    That, and the maintainence involved with constant four-engine operation is higher than you think.
    I'd like to see four all the time, but doubt it would be a permanent thing aside from summer.

    Steve's in the thread, so I'll let him do the talking...

  6. #6

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

    Don't really have too much to add. I'm not really sure how I feel one way or the other. But, as others have mentioned, there are a number of hindrances.

    First of all, it isn't necessary to have four train operation all the time; sometimes there just isn't enough traffic to warrant it (just FYI, it isn't necessary to have five locomotives to have four-train operation; they've operated four at once prior to getting the Kimball).

    Four train operation does make the ride longer, but the waits would shorter. ("cycle time" is about 20 minutes; the wait per train is about 5 minutes. In three-train operation, cycle time is 17-18 minutes with about a 7 minute wait time).

    Not sure where the idea came that not enough people ride the train; about 75% of folks entering the park ride it; even with three train operation, its capacity is pretty high.

    Maintenance costs certainly would be higher; so would operation costs as noted above, by having an additional crew out there. Don't forget fuel costs--the engines drink about 14 gallons per hour.

    Not really sure I agree with or even understand Pragmatic's assertion that "Guest-satisfaction levels would additionally see a significant increase, especially since the attraction presents the Disneyland experience as a whole, which, as such, greatly influences guests' perceptions of the value of said experience." It seems he's saying that guests would be more satisfied seeing the whole of Disneyland. Not sure I see how four-train operation will have any effect here.

    I suppose I would like to see as many trains as possible; but I don't think adding a fourth train daily is going to have any more of a positive influence on me or other guests than having three-train operation.

  7. #7

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    Four train operation could have happened if the #3 Fred Gurley wasn't sent out to be rebuilt. They need five working engines for a 4 train operation.

    I think more Excursion cars then Holiday cars would be the answer since they can hold a lot of people
    When is Engine No. 3 due back? By the time it arrives, the company might be able to have a nicer show in place.

    The 300 Series with the excursion-style seating is considered necessary for the last trip of the night on busy days, but those cars that have holiday-style arrangements provide a significantly better view of the show. So, while putting more passengers on each train is certainly a possibility, I'm more interested in putting all five locomotives and all four trains to work since the capacity to do so is there, now.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfantasmic View Post
    Small expenditure? The engineers and conductors that come along with the Disneyland railroad are specialized positions that, yes, do get paid more than your average dark ride cast member.
    Not since the RETLAW days of the 50's and 60's.

    The engineers are something separate as they are Facilities CM's.

    But the conductors are normal ride operators. By the luck of the draw they landed into training at the Disneyland Railroad instead of Autopia or Mr. Toad or Haunted Mansion. There is no extra shift differential for CM's who are railroad conductors.

    There is an extra shift differential for CM's who drive the Main Street vehicles like the Omnibus and fire truck. A year or two ago I remember being told it was like an extra 30 or 40 cents per hour.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Not really sure I agree with or even understand Pragmatic's assertion that "Guest-satisfaction levels would additionally see a significant increase, especially since the attraction presents the Disneyland experience as a whole, which, as such, greatly influences guests' perceptions of the value of said experience." It seems he's saying that guests would be more satisfied seeing the whole of Disneyland. Not sure I see how four-train operation will have any effect here.
    I should have been a little clearer.

    I'm suggesting that the overall guest-satisfaction numbers for Disneyland, itself, would increase with an improved Disneyland Railroad, not just because the attraction is another wonderful experience among countless other such moments that comprise a visit to The Magic Kingdom, but, also because the D.R.R. ties all of those moments together in order to persuade guests that Disneyland is, indeed, worth the price of admission.

    The Disneyland Railroad could be instrumental to determining guest-satisfaction numbers for all of Disneyland.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    The Disneyland Railroad could be instrumental to determining guest-satisfaction numbers for all of Disneyland.
    Do you think there is a problem with satisfaction ratings for Disneyland? The place is packed year round, and during traditional holiday periods they literally have to close the gates and turn people away. It's on those days that DCA is finally able to pull a decent crowd of people who didn't get in for free with their AP, because they can't get in to Disneyland.

    And all this with record high ticket prices and the last new E Ticket opened 12 years ago.

    It doesn't seem to me that Disneyland has a customer satisfaction problem. But it sounds like you feel that if Disneyland did more to make sure everyone took a trip around the Park on the train to see all of the cool stuff Disneyland has, that they would feel better about spending all that money on tickets to get in.

    I just don't see a need for that kind of PR maneuver when Disneyland is dealing with the huge crowds that it does year after year.

  11. #11

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

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    The addition of another train could increase the throughput of the attraction by as many as 900 passengers per hour. [...] My estimation is that the Disneyland Railroad is not realizing its full potential at the moment.
    I wouldn't be against the idea of tearing out the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas for something a little more modern and lively. That would probably be the best idea for improving the railroad to increase demand.

    But as others have said - there's no real pressing need to do that. The railroad enjoys healthy numbers now, and increase the work load would only have the effect of increase the cost of the attraction - which has to be one of the highest in all the park.

    And if there was a real problem with capacity in the park, all they need to do is eliminate FastPass and put all those guests back into the queue lines.

  12. #12

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TP2000 View Post
    Do you think there is a problem with satisfaction ratings for Disneyland? The place is packed year round, and during traditional holiday periods they literally have to close the gates and turn people away. It's on those days that DCA is finally able to pull a decent crowd of people who didn't get in for free with their AP, because they can't get in to Disneyland.

    And all this with record high ticket prices and the last new E Ticket opened 12 years ago.

    It doesn't seem to me that Disneyland has a customer satisfaction problem. But it sounds like you feel that if Disneyland did more to make sure everyone took a trip around the Park on the train to see all of the cool stuff Disneyland has, that they would feel better about spending all that money on tickets to get in.

    I just don't see a need for that kind of PR maneuver when Disneyland is dealing with the huge crowds that it does year after year.
    But 12 years ago what percentage of the people entering the park were APs compared to now?

    I would think Disneyland would prefer to have a satisfaction level high enough to support charging full admission to the majority of their guests. What prag is suggesting may be a small step towards that....
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    Re: Improving the Disneyland Railroad in Order to Utilize Excess Capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    I would think Disneyland would prefer to have a satisfaction level high enough to support charging full admission to the majority of their guests. What prag is suggesting may be a small step towards that....
    Oh yeah, I get that. But the post wasn't about adopting Tokyo Disneyland Annual Pass policies of 700 dollar passes and no Cast Member sign-in priveleges. It was about somehow getting more people to ride the Disneyland Railroad to see how great Disneyland is, increase customer satisfaction even more, and thus justify the high ticket price.

    Or at least that's what I've gotten out of the posts here. PragmaticIdealist, am I off track? (Get it?)

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

    I may have presented my thinking in a way that is needlessly confusing. I'm sorry about that.

    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.

    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.

  15. #15

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

    So.... are we talking about adding pirates and Johnny Depp to the Primeval World? That would boost demand for the trains, I'm sure.

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