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  1. #1

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    Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Without a doubt, Disney is the master of crowd control. Their most popular parks, the Magic Kingdoms, are ingeniously designed with lands branching outward from a central point, like the spokes of a wagon wheel.



    When Disneyland opened in 1955, each of the lands were connected only to the central hub and not to each other; in theory, a guest would have to leave a themed realm by returning to the center before heading off into the realm of the next. Unfortunately, this idealized concept was trampled under the guests' tired feet, and over the years alternate pathways opened up – some examples include behind the Frontierland and Adventureland entrances, "Matterhorn Way" leading to either Fantasyland or Tomorrowland, Big Thunder Trail connecting Fantasyland with Frontierland, etc.


    (Photo credit: localdisneyfan)


    Today, most of the dead ends and traffic problems have been addressed, and crowds flow through the park quite effectively. The addition of the “shortcuts” to the central hub design means that any one destination is the least amount of steps away possible.

    But there are two BIG problems left, and they are two that every person reading this thread is already aware of. Since you do, I'll make it brief, but it's necessary to walk through these scenarios to get my point across.

    The first and most obvious problem is on Main Street USA. That poor little turn-of-the-century town gets the most foot traffic of any land, if only because it is simply the only way in from the entrance and out to the exit. If you have ever entered the park in the middle of a parade, you know you must dodge the floats, the guests on the sidelines watching the floats, and the ropes that rodeo in the guests watching the floats. A mass exodus immediately after shows on crowded days results in opening up the backstage passageways on both sides of Main Street, and besides destroying the illusion or being an example of "bad show," it lets guests bypass all those tantalizing spending possibilities in Main Street shops!

    Fantasmic! and R...DCT present an even bigger problem. The guests who are trying to leave the park before and during the shows are bottlenecked by the guests that gather at the hub to see the fireworks, and in turn guests that are trying to get somewhere else in the park are forced into a mad circle around the whole hub along with the exiting guests, and then F! ends and...where do they go?

    It's quite simple. Don't make them all exit through Main Street.

    Let them exit through Critter Country.





    Which leads me to the second flow problem: Critter Country is a dead-end land. Frontierland and Adventureland merge into New Orleans Square, and Critter Country branches off of NOS, and that's the end. Splash Mountain and Winnie the Pooh exit near the back of the land, and you must then retrace your steps the way you came. There isn’t any logical path around the Rivers of America for a path to wind, so in terms of park layout I see no way to undo this.

    However, I envision a second entrance that would be located on the very back boundary of Critter Country and have an underground walkway that would connect it with the Mickey & Friends parking structure.

    Check out this rudimentary map I made on GoogleMaps.




    The yellow indicates where an underground pathway would go. At either end it would have to consist of ramps of a shallow incline (no stairs) to allow for strollers and wheelchair access. It would begin at the far end of the M&F tram station area (where a circular planter exists currently), cross underneath Disneyland Drive and the tram route, and reemerge in the square of green.

    This green area is currently a section of the backstage road that encircles the park. I believe it is possible to reroute this road underneath, allowing for a “mini-esplanade” here. Basically it would be a place to allow for lines to the entrance gates, a ticket booth or two, and so forth, surrounded by plenty of trees to blend with the country woods of Critter Country (and hide the backstage buildings and roads).


    The area encircled in red is the back end of Critter Country, consisting mostly of Pooh Corner and the Winnie the Pooh meet-and-greet area, and also a backstage entrance hugging Splash Mountain. I believe Pooh Corner would need to be removed or seriously decreased in size to allow for about six entrance turnstiles.

    What are the problems with this idea? One is that you miss the visual icons of the traditional entrance and Main Street.





    But then again, how is this concept much different than entering DCA from the oh-so-special side gate for the Grand Californian hotel?






    Admittedly, there’s less to miss when bypassing DCA’s entrance, but that should soon change.

    There also is a path specifically for the Paradise Pier hotel that leads to the land of the same name, but since it was underutilized it is no longer used. But I assure you, this second entrance would get used, if guests know how (and when) to use it.

    The second entrance would be a godsend for guests wishing to get out of the park from the west side while Fantasmic or R…DCT (or both) are going on, without the hassle of fighting through the crowds at the central hub and Main Street. It would also be an excellent choice to enter if you are headed for Splash Mountain or the Haunted Mansion as your first stop of the day. Heck, even the under-utilized Winnie the Pooh attraction might get some added traffic from this.

    Of course, this is not an alternative to parkhopping, so Main Street is still quintessential for crossing over to DCA. Mostly, the second entrance is for traffic to and from Mickey and Friends parking structure (& Pinocchio lot), which is what most driving guests use.

    Obviously, it is of benefit only to guests using M&F. If guests ignore the signs while exiting through the second gate and discover they parked in Lion King instead, they would simply take the M&F tram to the entrance plaza, cross the esplanade and take the right tram.

    The second entrance might not always be open. Perhaps it (and the underground pathway) would only be used on particularly busy days, or during the evenings to allow an easy way to return to the structure.

    What do you think? Is this idea too radical for traditionalists, too costly/complicated for analysts, or too unnecessary for skeptics?

    Last edited by 2DieFR; 10-10-2007 at 10:24 PM.
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  2. #2

    • The Tomorrowland One
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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Oooo, I like the idea, but am kinda shunned at the idea of making it under ground. That would make it a total safety and GC NIGHTMARE to make in a narrow tunnel. It does have a lot of good ideas in it, but I think the fact that after Fan and/or R...DCT on summer nights, it would just be as bad a bottle neck at MS currently is. Yes, you could make the tunnel wide, but the end my M&F PS would be narrow unless you want to redo the tram road in the whole process too.

    Oh, and it would need Strollers, WC and ECV rental/returns set up as well.

    So, I see a good idea here. But I never see WDI/DLR implementing it. And it is a shame that it never will. I would LOVE to be able to just hop right into the park instead of having to be teased by backstage sights on the way in on the tram. Well, one can hope...

  3. #3

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    I love it when people think their ideas through. Thank you, 2DieFr, for restoring my faith in the public's ability to think through armchair Imagineering projects in the same way real Imagineers have to.

    As far as my thoughts on the actual idea go...well, bottom line, I think I like it, with one very important exception: I think this should be an exit only. Keep Disneyland's single entrance exactly the way it is, despite the problems with foot traffic on Main Street. But open up this secondary exit on crowded days, allowing guests to escape during the fireworks and the like.

    Yes, it would be far less magical. There really isn't all that much to be done with that area, and the Splash Mountain show building really would be nearly impossible to hide completely. Trees would help; perhaps murals a la the Indy show building would be implemented. Ideally, the theming that extends along that building's north wall would be extended around the west wall, too, but that might be too time-consuming and expensive. Plus it could make it harder to use the stairwell and various doors over there.

    I dunno. This could work. I would really feel sorry for guests who didn't get to exit through Main Street--I mean, my very first Disneyland memory is of me as a three-year-old, tottering down Main Street, heading out to the parking lot, and realizing the fireworks were beginning behind me. Magic. Not gonna be quite the same exiting through one of DL's more secluded locations, but I guess it'd be nice to have as an option.


  4. #4

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Rather than build the exit tunnel underground, I would put the backstage roads in a tunnel or a bridge and keep the guest exit level. It's a pretty tight squeeze back there but with a little rearranging of the furniture so to speak, it might work. I would also build a bridge over Disney way instead of a tunnel.

    Great effort on your thread by the way.

  5. #5

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Interesting idea.

    I have to agree with Datameister though. Keep it an exit only, and utilize it only when necessary.

    Disneyland is not DCA, and from the moment you step through the main gate, everything is laid out purposefully, in a very specific way. I'm sure PragmaticIdealist can go into this in detail in ways that I cannot.

    But Disneyland should have one entrance. DCA's second entrance is only there as a means to book more hotel rooms at the Grand Californian - its a big perk to staying there, and people love to take advantage of it. But Disneyland's main entrance should not be missed as it serves a greater purpose than DCA's main entrance.

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  6. #6

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Disneyland is not DCA, and from the moment you step through the main gate, everything is laid out purposefully, in a very specific way. I'm sure PragmaticIdealist can go into this in detail in ways that I cannot.

    But Disneyland should have one entrance. DCA's second entrance is only there as a means to book more hotel rooms at the Grand Californian - its a big perk to staying there, and people love to take advantage of it. But Disneyland's main entrance should not be missed as it serves a greater purpose than DCA's main entrance.
    My thoughts exactly.


  7. #7

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Disney and his imagineering team was insistant on there only being ONE entrance and exit to Disneyland. After exploring Knott's and other theme parks, having multiple entrances cheapened the park, by not being able to put the best foot forward one hundred percent.
    Also, cutting off that section of the backstage area would be very bad. It's a major thoroughfare for CMs and supplies that go by at all hours.

  8. #8

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Actually, I've suggested in other threads opening the Critter Country gate after "Fantasmic!", but this option is only preferable to leading guests backstage behind Main Street, U.S.A.

    Opening the Critter Country gate to exiting guests is a measure that should only be used as a last resort.

    The gate has been used in the past to allow for guests of Grad Nites to enter without having to use the parking-area trams.
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 10-11-2007 at 12:01 AM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Even for Fantasmic! that's a long way from the River. And the walkway back to Main Street is definitely long, and involves rickety stairs over by the Indy building.
    Not the best plan either way.
    I know Fan! is working on ways to better the Guest Flow.

  10. #10

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Even so, it would be too much work...

    or else we have a tunnel to go from east to west side under main street
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  11. #11

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfantasmic View Post
    Even for Fantasmic! that's a long way from the River. And the walkway back to Main Street is definitely long, and involves rickety stairs over by the Indy building.
    Not the best plan either way.
    I know Fan! is working on ways to better the Guest Flow.
    The gate provides direct access from Critter Country to the Chip & Dale lot by way of the pedestrian crossing at Disneyland Drive.

  12. #12

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    I think this would work well as an exit only idea as well. As far as the 'magic' goes, it's not much different from the times when they open the backstage area alongside Main st. during those super busy times for guest exit.
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  13. #13

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Great idea, but I agree. It should be an exit only. But it could TOTALLY work.

    Speaking of exiting ... why do they hardly EVER utilize the right and left exit gates when leaving the park. They always make you go to the middle of the entrance gate structure and then back to the right. This makes no sense to me.


  14. #14

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Just to throw in my two cents...

    No one seems to be remembering that Disneyland has two entrances already, one through Main Street, and one via the Monorail. I can understand the concern about cheapening the experience with too many entrances, or missing the grand set up my not entering through Main Street. But I don't think that anyone here would claim that entering into TL by the Monorail is a bad experience, or hurts the park in anyway. It also works nicely to service the DL Hotel and is a fun way (in my opinion) to enter into the park's Future world on board a form of transportation from the future.

    So what if they attempted the same thing here? What if they build an entrance that is theme specific to Critter Country/Frontierland? I think this was in the OP's post, but it could be either rafts or small boats of some kind that would run back and forth into and out of the park. In this case, I think that underground may work the best because it would allow for greater control of the surrounding environment. The entire run could be a long show building, dressed up very rustic and woodsy. Don't bother with turnstiles at the park, place them back where you board the raft/boat, similar to the Monorail. As for where that would be, I'm thinking that GC is probably too far away, but if one of the new hotels that are going to be built has a rustic theme to it, perhaps that's where the entrace could be, maybe right in the lobby?

    Anyway, just a quick idea, without much forethought. Either way, I think that the bulk of people will still enter and exit out of Main Street, but having other options, like the Monorail, are neat and keep the experience fresh.

  15. #15

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    Re: Here You Leave the Crowds... with a Second Entrance to DL

    Quote Originally Posted by zach1 View Post
    [...]I think that the bulk of people will still enter and exit out of Main Street, but having other options, like the Monorail, are neat and keep the experience fresh.
    Exactly. I love entering the park by monorail myself, and I know many other people do, Darkbeer included. The second entrance is not something I would use to bring first-time guests into the park, since the experience of entering Disneyland through main entrance is irreplaceable, but as an annual passholder I would use it to quickly enter and exit the park on the west side, without the bother of waiting for a tram, etc.

    Oh yes. At either end of the tunnel, there would have to be security bag check.
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