With Small World reopened and its big hourly capacity
back on line, Disneyland can then focus on other refurbishments over the winter
and spring. At the top of that list is the troublesome new fleet of monorails
that TDA purchased. Regular readers will know that these new monorail trains
have caused some of the biggest headaches since the Rocket Rods, and there is
still plenty of blame and legal wrangling to go around before the dust settles.
But TDA's first priority right now is not figuring out who is to blame, but to
get the trains running for hotel guests again. A fix for the ridiculous window
design that didn't let in any fresh air into the non-air conditioned cabins has
been tentatively agreed upon.
Photos: David "Darkbeer" Michael
This winter the new Mark VII trains will go under the
knife and have their sleek new skin ripped open so that new windows can be
installed that slide down into the body, like the windows did since the ride
opened in 1959. All of the other fixes thrown at this problem simply have failed
to work, and the trains are still unusable any time the temperature goes above
The new window design was a
With the usual fall heat waves that Southern California gets, that
has meant the three new trains sit there in the
roundhouse on warm days, while the lone remaining Mark V train has struggled to keep
up with the demand. It doesn't help that the Mark V was on its last legs months
ago, and it's a minor miracle the old girl can still make it around the beam.
But while Imagineers and TDA safety experts argue over who is to blame, the line
of cranky hotel guests gets longer.
Let's just hope they learn their lesson on
reinventing the wheel, and by next summer the windows have all been replaced on
the new trains.
There are some other small surprises coming to Anaheim
over the winter, most of it thanks to Jay Rasulo's What Will You Celebrate
campaign. TDA planners learned their lesson back in '07 with letting the
corporate heads out in Florida plan décor and additions to Disneyland, with
those hideous swans and pastel decorations having a
mercifully short shelf life here in SoCal. While the Celebrate campaign has
underwhelmed many in TDA, they are trying to come up with some ways to pump some
life into the rather odd campaign whose main focus appears to be free admission
on your birthday. (And that one promises plenty of headaches for the ticketing
folks out at the turnstiles!).
One of the ideas being thrown around by TDA is to
let WDI plus up and add some things to some select attractions that would mesh
well with the "Celebrate" theme. Disneyland's rather unexciting Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
dark ride, for instance, is slated to get some new additions and changes to the
finale birthday scene that could tie in with Pooh themed birthday décor around
Critter Country. The Disneyland entertainment department is also coming up with
ways to plus up the experience of the Celebration street party mini-parade so
that it's more interactive and more enveloping than what is planned for
Florida's Magic Kingdom.
While the local Anaheim folks try to beef up Jay
Rasulo's new campaign and inject some California style into it, Rasulo and his
planners have their eyes on a bigger prize. We've been very open with our
criticism of Rasulo, and most of that stems from his complete disinterest, some
even say dislike, for the actual operation of the theme parks he is responsible
for. This is a man who never goes to a Disney theme park unless it's part of a
scripted media event, and even then the strategic annual visit is measured in
minutes and captured by official photographers at every turn just to prove he
was there. Rasulo simply has no real interest in the product he represents.
But what Rasulo has been good at is the strategic planning and future growth of
the theme parks and resorts. Rasulo may have no desire to go on the rides, but
he does have a knack for putting together a plan to get people to his
properties. His latest rumored project involves exploratory interest in the
Anheuser-Busch parks, specifically the two SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San
Diego. And believe it or not, the San Diego park is the one that is of most
Why isn't Orlando's SeaWorld the main focus? Because the big Disney cruise ships on order and headed to the West Coast in a few years
can dock in San Diego, and all those Disney Cruise Line passengers could burn up
an additional day of their itinerary visiting Disney's SeaWorld. With the situation in some Mexican port cities looking more and more uncertain,
and certainly not very safe for tourists, Disney would now like to make the most
of what Southern California has to offer for cruise line passengers and minimize
the time they are in Mexico. This is all still in its infancy, but it's an
idea being tossed around lately in Burbank.