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  1. #1

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    Are the crowded conditions ruining Disneyland?

    Just a quick thought about last weeks insane crowds at Disneyland. Both days that I was there, it was impossible to eat at certain times of the day because the crowds just overwhelmed all of the places to eat. Even the ODVs were getting long lines.

    The wait time for Splash Mountain was over two hours for most of the day. The Haunted Mansion and Pirates were 30 minutes. The walkways were completely jammed.

    Is Disneyland suffering from too much of a good thing? I think the answer is yes. With these 60k crowds, the park doesn't really function anymore. It's too late to fix anything for the Summer of 2005, but after that, some serious ought to be given to planning for these higher capacity crowds.

    A quick fix might be to turn Big Thunder Ranch into a temporary eatery. They could use the existing food facilities and create a BBQ menu.

    The second fix for the crowds could be reducing the price of the Park Hopper Pass for DCA. Even better, devise a transportation system that could get people from DCA to Disneyland without having to go through the gates. By getting people to and from DCA quickly, you can use the wasted excess capacity at DCA to soak up the big crowds. DCA is just sitting there under-utilized on these 60k days, because it's too difficult to get from Disneyland to DCA. People obviously aren't choosing to go to DCA unless it's nearly free. Time to start using the dead space.

  2. #2

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    The only real fix I can see for dealing with the crowds is reducing them. I'm sure Disney doesn't have any desire to do that (ka-ching!) But while the Park is seeing this level of attendance, I can't see how the average guest can be having anywhere near the optimum level of enjoyment.

    And so, I regret to say that I think the recent $3 per ticket price increase was but a fraction of what is really called for. The Park should be made prohibitively expensive. I'd rather less people spending $100 per day get something like what they've paid for than folks paying $50 a day getting shafted by impassible walkways, impossible wait times and famine food service conditions.

  3. #3

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    I was there a couple weeks ago and the new system they have for directing traffic after the fireworks is horrible. I tried to get from Thunder Mountain to Indianna Jones, normally a short walk, but they kept directing us away from it. We ended up going through Fantasyland, Tommorowland, and by the time we had got to the entrance to Adventureland, they had blocked it off with benches. We just gave up and left for the night. Pretty sad actually.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by innerSpaceman
    The Park should be made prohibitively expensive. I'd rather less people spending $100 per day get something like what they've paid for than folks paying $50 a day getting shafted by impassible walkways, impossible wait times and famine food service conditions.
    Disneyland is supposed to be a place where families can spend quality time together and experience world-class entertainment. By upping the price to $100 or more, you'll turn the park into an elite experience. Some would argue it already is one. I don't think that was Walt's original intention.

    If anything should be prohibitively expensive, it should be the price of APs. I hold an annual pass, visit about 12 times a year, but only visit during mid- and off-season, or during less crowded days of the week. I haven't been in DL on a Saturday since 2000. I find value in my AP, but would pay more knowing that it would equate to a slightly less crowded park. I'd rather see the AP's priced out than the casual visitor who only comes once a year or less.

    That said, my solution to the crowd problem is to create more people eating mechanisms. The Peoplemover ate people, and another Hungry Bear Restaurant sized food establishment could help with that problem. It's a good thing DCA doesn't have the crowd problems DL has, most of it's rides are too short and the shows don't have the same repeat value. That's why APers typically hop into the park, fastpass ToT, Soarin', Screamin' and possibly GRR, then hop back into DL for the rest of their visit.

    If DLR really wants to impress the trueblue fans, they should build a high capacity PoTC style family dark ride that appeals to most everyone. It will draw new crowds, but it will also absorb them. There's space in Frontierland, the Innoventions building, and the Motor Boat Cruise area.

  5. #5

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    Nice solution for 7 years from now, but what about tomorrow and the rest of the summer. I'm not saying necessarily saying that prices should be any skyhigher than they are right now, but unless the gate is shut at 60,000 .... pricing tickets and, yes, annual passes, at luxury levels is the only way I can see to keep the crowds at a manageable level.

    The Park plain sucks once more than 60K humans cross the threshhold.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by innerSpaceman
    Nice solution for 7 years from now, but what about tomorrow and the rest of the summer. I'm not saying necessarily saying that prices should be any skyhigher than they are right now, but unless the gate is shut at 60,000 .... pricing tickets and, yes, annual passes, at luxury levels is the only way I can see to keep the crowds at a manageable level.

    The Park plain sucks once more than 60K humans cross the threshhold.
    I'll agree with you that the focus should be on short term fixes even though long-term solutions are most prudent (but don't address the present). I'm sure TDA is racking their brains on these issues. These record breaking attendence figures will likely translate into a reworked AP system in coming years with a price structure and an enitirely different blackout day configuration. Fastpass needs to be radically tweaked, too, but it seems less likely as some of the less necessary machines are taken offline.

    What about adding Fastpass type kiosks for food availabilty, or upcharging for priorty food service? There are myriad ways the park can make money through selling 'perks' (e.g. guided tours and the Fantasmic! desert seating), I just don't think the main gate is where the park should focus. I do, however, think that capacity should be capped at a lower figure, say 52-56K, although that's never going to happen.

    Walkways are a major problem to enjoyment in the park. Critter Country could have used a walkway to Frontierland, but it would have completely ruined the Rivers of America aesthetic. The fireworks show, two parades, and two Fantasmic! showing are making it quite difficult, too. Too bad they couldn't eliminate a F! showing and make the fireworks a half-hour later. Little fixes might ad up.

  7. #7

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    It is true that park becomes just too miserable once it reaches the point where you can't even walk. It's just going to get worse by the time August rings around. Why was it that Spring Break never felt like it was PACKED even though there were long lines for everything?? Now, you can hardly walk. They really need to evaluate this and do something because it is really bad! If they care so much for the guest satisfaction, they need to look beyond the fact that they are blowing away attendance figures and evaluate this terrible crowding issue and do something fast.

  8. #8

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  9. #9

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    I was there in December 2002 and it was SO crowded that you could not stand, walk or sit anywhere. You had to wade through a sea of people to find an empty corner and decide which ride you'll wait 2 hours to ride from there. I was so frustrated that I left in disgust and went to DCA where I had a great time. Haven't been back to Disneyland since then though because it was such a bad experience.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDisneyDad
    The wait time for Splash Mountain was over two hours for most of the day. The Haunted Mansion and Pirates were 30 minutes. The walkways were completely jammed.
    Personally, I don't think a 30 min wait for Haunted Mansion or Pirates is that bad. It's actually quite good (imagine if it still had FastPass). As for Splash Mountain, a 1+ hour wait on a hot, crowded day is understandable, but 2+ hours is probably something we can blame on FastPass.

    From visiting the park in the late 80's and early 90's, I remember large crowds and long lines for popular attractions. Of course there were more of the "less popular" rides/shows that you could get on quicker, but even they could have a wait. On busy days you would be waiting in line on the escalators for the Peoplemover.

    But the Foods issue is something they definitely need to work on. They had another job fair, so hopefully the restaurant lines will start moving faster. I've seen a lot of the new hires "tour groups" lately, which should be a good sign. Now to reopen all those old restaurants...

    And those fireworks crowds... It's such a giant mass exodus of people leaving the park after fireworks. I blame the fireworks for the earlier parade times of 3:15pm + 7:00pm... Now you can't really see any of the neat lighting effects on the Parade of Dreams floats, as it's too bright outside during the 2nd parade.

  11. #11

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    Whatever solution to this problem they choose....they better do it soon. These crowded conditions don't make for good memories........... Every child who has a miserable time at Disneyland today is a child who will grow up and not be a Disney Fanatic tomorrow
    Waiting for Godot Micechat.com

  12. #12

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    I spent 3 days there this weekend. I find patience is a lost virtue amoung park goers. Per example after the fireworks, pulling off to the side and letting those people who are trying to get out go first you free up bottle necks. We spent maybe 10 minutes waiting after the fireworks and easily navigated our way to a number of attractions.

    That said I spent a large portion of my weekend studying what I consider to be a solution for traffic, something that could be ready very quickly. That is to open up a river front walkway extending along the backside of the River's of America from the Hungry Bear all the way past the indian village to the old Rainbow caves...WHERE I would build a bridge that met behind Big Thunder Mtn RR.

    Now in order for this to work, sacrafices would ne necessary. The walkway would carve dangerously close to animatronics used in the show for the Mark Twain and Columbia and Canoes---However it would have an upside. I believe that the land around the mock Indian Village could be restorted to a working indian village again and provide a retreat during similar to TSI. Then work on the fort could resume and pretty soon this barren land could be a working connector from the backside of Frontierland to Critter Country.

    The other thing I would try to work out is removing the Owl's tree from Toontown, and replanting it in Critter Country in the Thousand Acres area...this keeps like with like and theme with theme. Once removed the area in Toontown where the tree had once been could in theory become a new exit/entrance that connects to the back of Big Thunder BBQ Ranch.I do like the idea of working out a temporary solution for Big Thunder BBQ area



    This subject has been preposed before but I think it warrents consideration from the WDI and TDA very quickly as a way to releave pressure on the West end of the parks which accounts for more than 2/3 of the human traffic congestion. This is a little like a bypass surgery- sure its not ideal and you hope you never have to do it but if it prolongs the life of the park and eases congestion- I am all for it.







  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDisneyDad
    A quick fix might be to turn Big Thunder Ranch into a temporary eatery. They could use the existing food facilities and create a BBQ menu.
    Some good idea's SuperDisneyDad. As for the BTR eatery.... they are having troubles with getting enough staff for the regular food locations. Openning up another one would not solve the problem.

    I think that if they could get full staffing at all locations that would help lighten the crowed.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff
    These crowded conditions don't make for good memories........... Every child who has a miserable time at Disneyland today is a child who will grow up and not be a Disney Fanatic tomorrow
    Well, that's a long-term solution to the crowding problem.

    According to simple microeconomic theory, increasing the price should lower the quantity demanded. I don't think increasing the price on the highest method of admission (or already expensive food) is the way to go, though. There must be another way...
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  15. #15

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    The word on this problem is getting out. Check out this letter to the editor of the Denver Post:

    http://www.denverpost.com/letters/ci_2820632

    "The lines at Disneyland
    Re: "Disneyland turns 50," June 19 travel story.

    Your Sunday edition last week ran great articles about Disneyland, but I think the general public needs to be aware of the other side of the story. I moved here from southern California about a year ago. I lived just a few miles from Disneyland and went frequently during the off-season. The advice given to beat the crowds was just as applicable to the off-season, because I haven't been there yet when it wasn't extremely crowded. My last visit was at a time when we thought it would be a good day - but it was so crowded, you could barely walk without getting hit by a stroller.

    The lines were horrendous and even those with the "fast pass" were experiencing long delays. It was anything but fast, and certainly not the happiest place on earth. Not only were the guests at the park short and irritable, but the staff was as well. I wrote to Disney with my frustrations and concerns, and what I got in return was a letter totally dismissing the issues. The bottom line is they turn no one away at the gate, no matter how crowded the park gets, and they will not tell you how crowded it is.

    So, for those families venturing to the happiest place on earth for a fun family vacation, beware! Bring your anti-anxiety medication and lots of patience.

    Jan Litchfield, Denver"

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