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  1. #1

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    Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    I'm new to the site, but did a search before posting this topic. I couldn't find anything very relevant, so I'm making a new topic. If it's a common discussion, I apologize in advance.

    Anyways, I'm a pretty frequent visitor to Walt Disney World. Ever since I was born, my family went at least once per year (from Ohio). As I got old enough to travel on my own, I went more frequently. I even worked for the Company for an internship and was able to visit the parks VERY often.

    One thing I've noticed recently really bothers me a great deal and I was wondering if it bothered any of you either. A couple years ago, I was in the Magic Kingdom with my family on a busy day - around the Christmas holiday I think. Anyways, we were exiting the park around either SpectroMagic or the fireworks show and coming from Tomorrowland. I have to say, I was amazed and truly stunned when we were all directed BACKSTAGE behind Main Street to exit the park. I literally stopped in my tracks and was like, "No, I'm NOT going back there." Granted, I'd been back there before as a cast member, but my family hadn't been. And, I didn't want to take them back there. Sure enough, my family was tired, didn't really care, and didn't want to mess around with Main Street.

    I have to say, it saddened me a great deal. We saw cast members on their break, I want to say some were smoking, they were eating, there was garbage all over, it smelled awful, etc... I'm sure you all know what I mean.

    Anyways, I let it go because it only happened to me once, so I thought it was a fluke. Then, maybe a year later, we were at Fantasmic at night. Lo and behold, after the show, they directed almost the entire theatre BACKSTAGE to exit to the front of the park. I was like, "what the heck is going on here?" It wasn't an overly crowded day and that show happens daily. It's not like they were surprised at how many guests showed up to the show. The theatre holds "X" number of guests, so they know this in advance. I say, plan accordingly. Is this what they do on a regular basis? (I actually have been boycotting the show since that happened!)

    Then, during my most recent visit to WDW, we went to the Magic Kingdom on New Years Eve. I knew the park would be packed. But, it wasn't PACKED PACKED until maybe 11:00pm. Up until that point, it was just busy. Anyways, around 10:30/11:00 I noticed some pretty intense crowd control by Adventureland. It gets later, and we tried to make our way to Main Street. Bridge closed, bridge closed, etc..... We were directed clockwise around the entire park until we got to Tomorrowland. Then I almost lost it. They directed everyone BACKSTAGE yet again by the Tomorrowland Theatre this time. So, we basically walked the entire backstage Main Street area to get out. Again, I was saddened by this event a great deal.

    Anyways, my question is, why do they do this? Shouldn't they come up with better crowd control techniques and/or limit admission to the parks on overly crowded days to prevent this? I highly doubt Walt would have EVER agreed to this practice. Why spend so much time and energy trying to create the magic just to destroy it on your own?

    Has this bothered anyone else or has it even happened to you?
    -Tim

  2. #2

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    They have been doing it for a long time. That has only happened to me once or twice, I recall it on a New Years Even at the MK about 15 years ago. I don't like Fantasmic at MGM, so I don't have to deal with that there.

    I actually thought that the crowd control that Disney used this year was oddly done. There were SO many CM's with lights, but I had no idea what most CM's were there for. I felt often like I was being blocked instead of directed. Do you really need 50 CM's in the Rose Garden, when you can stand one on either side to point the way? It isn't like people are going to get lost and wander off.

    There may be times that Disney does need the backstage area open, I don't know if this was one of those cases or not.

    I WAS bothered by the way the Osborne Light crowds were directed one evening I was there. They had police blockades up where the normal entrance is. I have no idea why, but it was a very unattractive blockade, and everyone was shuffled through a narrow area to get to the Lights.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    I know they do that at DL when it's REALLY busy and they need to clear the crowd after fireworks, etc. I think it's be cool to ge that glimpse backstage. I wasn't aware that WDW did it too.
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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by NeverNeverland View Post
    I know they do that at DL when it's REALLY busy and they need to clear the crowd after fireworks, etc. I think it's be cool to ge that glimpse backstage. I wasn't aware that WDW did it too.
    They do. I am not sure I found it cool when I did it, only because it was so crowded (think sardines) and hard to see anything.
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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    I'd pay to see backstage. Even for a couple of minutes.

    I'm one of *those* people that could spend a 7 day vacation exploring 'untouched' parts of the property including backstage areas, etc.

    Sure I like the parks but I like the infrastructure and engineering aspects of the parks/attractions even more.



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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW Monorail View Post
    I'd pay to see backstage. Even for a couple of minutes.

    I'm one of *those* people that could spend a 7 day vacation exploring 'untouched' parts of the property including backstage areas, etc.

    Sure I like the parks but I like the infrastructure and engineering aspects of the parks/attractions even more.
    IMHO, the area behind Main Street (towards Tomorrowland) isn't that exciting. When we did our castle stay last month, we were behind that area - and it's fairly boring.

    I have always enjoyed the tunnels, though. And we were backstage around Splash Mountain and I really thought that was very cool. I don't think being backstage ruined anything for my family.
    Denise

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  7. #7

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    You guys are soft.

    I'm all for going backstage on a tour or something "special". But, there's something very wrong about herding the masses back there during "normal business". At least that's how I feel. Backstage is there for a reason, and it's not crowd control.

    Maybe they should just start letting people in the utilidors on a regular basis? Ya know, to use the bathroom or bank machine or something.
    -Tim

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    It's happened only once or twice to me, in 30 years of visiting Disney. So it isn't really an issue in my case. The one time I do remember, it was VERY packed in the park, and it probably was needed.

    I wish WDW had the arcades that Disneyland Paris does, that would be a great place for guests to be shuttled through, as well as provide relief from the sun and rain at other times.
    Denise

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  9. #9

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by halltd View Post
    You guys are soft.

    I'm all for going backstage on a tour or something "special". But, there's something very wrong about herding the masses back there during "normal business". At least that's how I feel. Backstage is there for a reason, and it's not crowd control.

    Maybe they should just start letting people in the utilidors on a regular basis? Ya know, to use the bathroom or bank machine or something.
    I think there may be times when they feel that they have no choice. I know it may not have seemed crowded, but somebody is watching the traffic on Mainstreet, and if the Fire Marshall says they need to do something about gridlock, be it during parade time or after the fireworks, or whatever...then they need to open that extra access point as it becomes a public safety issue. Outside of tearing down shops or parts of Adventureland or Tomorrowland, I really don't think they have a choice.

    And I think you might find that you are very much in the minority on this. Most of us would KILL for a chance to check things out back stage.

  10. #10

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by localdisnyfan View Post
    Outside of tearing down shops or parts of Adventureland or Tomorrowland, I really don't think they have a choice.
    Limit admission to the park so crowds don't become unmanageable?

    Quote Originally Posted by localdisnyfan View Post
    Most of us would KILL for a chance to check things out back stage.
    That's sorta my point. Backstage is not a guest area. So, us "fans" want to go back there because it's cool or "forbidden". That's why backstage tours and cool things like the winning of the castle suite are acceptable backstage moments. I dunno. Call me a purist, but to me there's just something very "dirty" about using backstage areas for normal traffic movement.

    I am a tad surprised there aren't more people that think it's a bad idea though. Then again, that's why I posted; to see what others thought about it.
    -Tim

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Hello and welcome to MiceChat.

    No, I do understand your concern but it's just a fault in the park design. When such a large number of visitors are in the park, space is a premium. And when a large number are exiting or going up and down main street shopping, etc. it's best sometimes just to get out of the way. I don't think they are doing it to try to ruin the magic but instead keep it there. If you're bumping into guests for 30 minutes trying to make that stretch up/down Main Street that usually only takes 3, the magic is easily misplaced. (Anyone who's experienced this first-hand or tried to catch Disneyland's 50th fireworks on a busy night knows this all too well.)

  12. #12

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by halltd View Post
    Limit admission to the park so crowds don't become unmanageable?
    It all comes down to money. Limiting admission means less turnstile clicks and less money entering Disney's pocket. It's sad, but it's the truth. If I ever got to go backstage, I think I'd find it really neat, but I do agree with you on the point that it should only be experience for "special" opportunities. Herding mass amounts of guests through the backstage area seems like a design flaw, but where it only happens once in a while, I don't think Disney is going to spend the money to make nice exit areas in some of the lands that would only be used sparingly (though that wouldn't be a bad idea).

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by disneyreporter View Post
    I don't think Disney is going to spend the money to make nice exit areas in some of the lands that would only be used sparingly (though that wouldn't be a bad idea).
    Considering that there are no "nice exit areas" anymore, they certainly aren't going to start building any.

    The park can hold x amount of people. There are usually at least 3 exits during an evening. A parade exit, a fireworks exit, and an end-of-the-evening exit. However, on nights like New Years Eve, you essentially have one HUGE exit. Even if the park stayed open later, most people are going to want to go home after the midnight fireworks. So instead of having 1/3 or 1/4 of the park emptying out, you are having nearly the whole park leaving at the same time. It isn't as much about how many people are in the park, as that 50k people are trying to get out at once.

    I do not have a problem with Disney occasionally needing the back area for a big exit. I really do not think there is anything logically that they can do to change that on holidays. Even if you only allowed 30k in the park, you are still looking at 30k wanting to leave at once.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    We were chaperones for Grad Nite a couple times. Once we were let in backstage near Tommorrowland. And twice we were let in backstage of Frontierland.
    Personally I loved getting a glimpse of the parade float building (near frontierland).
    The year we were let in by Tommorrowland, they had the turtle from the Main Street Electical Parade lit up and standing near by.

  15. #15

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    Re: Taking guests backstage on purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by halltd View Post
    Limit admission to the park so crowds don't become unmanageable?
    Hard to turn thousands of angry wanna-be Guests away, simply for show's sake. Now...if you can blame it on safety or maintinance...that's a situation that Guests accept more readily.



    Quote Originally Posted by halltd View Post
    I am a tad surprised there aren't more people that think it's a bad idea though. Then again, that's why I posted; to see what others thought about it.
    Well...as you suspect...I think that's a natural dynamic of this internet bulletin board. Most of us hardcore Disney Geeks like seeing this backstage stuff. The average Guest to the Parks (which I personally have never thought this bulletin board has the highest percentage of) probably doesn't like the "ruining of the magic" these types of backstage by-passes gives them. And while they do tend to be "herded" and "go-with-the-flow" via these special exits...they are not forced to do so, and may exit (albeit with some difficulty) via normal onstage ways. But other Guests are probably thrilled to have this short-cut available when they are tired and just want to get back to their hotel rooms as soon as possible. The prospect of the slow shuffle through great distances, often makes them forgive the brief short-cut through a backstage area, IMHO and observations.

    That said, I assure you...Disney management thinks it's a bad idea also! And they don't like it when they have to and would rather not have to. But they really don't have much choice if they want to accommodate all the Guests that wish to visit the Park, the way the Park is designed. They have to balance the big picture with the brief "bad show" of the backstage floodgates they must utilize on occasion.

    All the way back to the 1960's when Walt was still alive, they were doing this in Anaheim. Not only the rare Tomorrowland-Town Square route, but even more often they open up the backstage on the west end running behind the Main Street shops from the hub to Town Square. Trash bins, exposed plumbing, stockroom doors, and the Jungle Cruise boat berths are all viewed. It's still a somewhat regular occurrence to this day. And I recall Florida utilizing backstage exits all the way back to its early years.

    But you may be pleased to know that at Disneyland Paris...they finally applied the lessons they learned from Disneyland and Florida's Magic Kingdom (and could then afford to address), when they built the Paris park. They built two wonderful and beautifully decorated covered "Arcades" (named Liberty and Discovery) that run parallel directly behind the Main Street shops on both sides of the street, that allow for additional onstage by-pass Guest flow during periods when Main Street is packed, and also provides more covered walkway alternatives in the case of inclement weather. All the Main Street shops have additional signage, window displays, and entrances via the "back doors" these Arcades provide. You many view a photo of one here:

    http://family.webshots.com/photo/214...25609971MGwaCe



    Quote Originally Posted by BigPigletFan View Post
    ...but it's just a fault in the park design.
    Yup. Coupled with its extreme popularity.
    Last edited by Opus1guy; 01-22-2008 at 11:20 AM.

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