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Swimming Down Main Street, U.S.A.

Swimming Down Main Street, U.S.A.

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Not available for Resort Hotel Guests to swim in

On Tuesday Morning, October 5th, Disneyland hosted the final leg of the "Disney's Swim with the Stars" tour. Well, yes, we will cover that, and tell you some neat facts about three Gold Medalists, but come on, this website isn't a swimming site, it is one that focuses on Disney and the Theme Park business, so we are going to look at the set-up of the actual pool, and some of the reasons why things were setup the way they were.

When the Swim with the Stars tour was first announced in August, the last date for Anaheim was left "open" (The release said October 2nd thru 5th). The Tour started at Orlando, but since they have the Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World, there is no need to build a pool. The Tour then went to the following cities, Atlanta, Long Island, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Sacramentoand San Francisco before coming to an end at Disneyland.

The bus that drove Cross-Country to Anaheim

Well, Of course this is not just publicity for Disney, but also the USA Olympic Swimming team, and the Olympic team was hoping for the weekend to allow more kids to attend, but Disneyland already had a full weekend, first with the Charity fund-raiser for Children's Hospital of Orange County, that drew over 12,000 folks to Disneyland to have a chance to participate in a 5K walk thru the park to help raise funds for CHOC. The event is held before the park opening, but they did delay the opening to 10 AM to help accommodate the event. Also, the weekend of October 2nd and 3rd was the weekend that the folks who run Gay Days picked for their event. So the park was busy the entire weekend, and Disney knew that there was no way they could block off Main Street during the weekend.

So, after the park closed on Sunday evening, they got to work. The first thing that was done was to place sand over Main Street (curb to curb). Streets in general are designed with a slight higher center than the sides, to help allow for runoff of water during rain storms. So the sand was placed to level out the street. Then the pool base, made out of steel plates and lumber was placed down, and then steel supporting arms to hold over the 850,000 pounds of water that was going to beplaced in the pool.

A look at the pool setup on Monday Morning

Basically all day Monday was securing the setup and installing a black liner in the pool.

The Pool at 6:30 PM Monday evening

Now, the park had a problem, what to do with the Parade of the Stars. (Yes, fell free to insert your own joke here). They could have canceled it, but decided to run a shortened version instead on Monday and Tuesday nights. The plan was to start the parade at it's a small world and go up the parade route to the Hub, where the Parade would take a different route than normal, going around the Hub, and then back to it's a small world. Heck, the floats would have had a hard time driving over the pool. To accomplish this, the entire parade had to fit into the hub, so the last float could get off the route, to allow the first float back to-wards the Matterhorn. To do this, they did eliminate the "Guest Performers", and the Balloon Float. Plus they held it at 6 PM, partially due to safety reasons (they were worried about the right hand turn into the Hub, it is tighter than the normal route).

It isn't every day that you see the parade floats in front ofthe Castle.

But it isn't every day you see a pool down the middle of Main Street either.

Well, after the park closed on Monday, the pool folks really went to work, they got the white vinyl lining in the pool, and then took about 6 hours filling up the pool with over 103,000 gallons of water. The pool was heated to 80 degrees, and was ready at about 3 AM Tuesday Morning. Of course, there were a few last minute things to get done, including building the press platforms, etc. But it went like clockwork, a pool on Main Street in just 30 hours.

Opening Tuesday morning.

Well, if you thought the pool was hard to get set-up, think about the folks that had to handle Crowd Control Tuesday morning. Somebody did some advance thinking, and a few days before the event, they made some minor changes to the schedule. First, instead of the actual "Swim Meet" starting at 10 AM, they moved that back to about 10:40, and set up a small cavalcade from it's a small world to the pool. They knew that there would be limited viewing in the pool area, so they pushed the fact that you could line up along the parade route to see the Olympians. This also was going to help the traffic flow in the Main Street area, as the park opening is at 10 AM on off-season weekdays. So you had the families and out-of- town guests who just want to get pass Main Street and start enjoying the attractions, while you had others who were trying to find the best viewing location near the pool.

A look down Main Street shortly after 10 AM

Now, they had Cast Members in place who were actively trying to get folks to walk through the stores. They had roped off about two thirds of the sidewalk for viewing, and left about a one third was a pathway ("please keep moving"). Of course, near the press platform (set up behind the pool), on the right they had a VIP section, and on the left was an area being used by Disney folks recording the event. This only left about two thirds of the length for public viewing. And the other end of the pool had a platform for the swimmers, since it was going to be a four leg race. While it did get congested, Disney did a pretty good job of traffic control.

CM Matt, otherwise known as Matt Ouimet, president of the Disneyland Resort addresses the crowd.

Now due to the way the event was setup, the guests had a great view... of the speakers back sides. To make sure the press got the "right" shot, the speakers faced the 20 or so Media guests and spoke to us, and as you can tell by the photos, well, maybe some of Michael Phelps fans did appreciate the back view.

Lenny Krayzelburg making his entrance.

The actual swim meet was a four lap relay, each of the 3 Olympians had 3 youth swimmers, a 5 year old, a 10 year old, and a 15 year old. The first lap would feature the 5 years old, then we would go up in age groups until the 4th leg, which would be the Olympians.

Lenny with his "teammates".

Michael Phelps makes his entrance, much to the delight of hisfemale fans.

Before the actual swim event, the three Olympians, Lenny Krayzelburg, Ian Crocker and Michael Phelps each gave a short speech talking about youth swimming and the positive points in participating in such programs.

Michael with one of his teammates.

Hey, security, aren't shirts required at Disneyland?

Mickey giving the thumbs up on Ian Crocker's swimsuit

The swimmers for the 2nd and 4th leg moved to the other side ofthe pool.

The first leg swimmers stepped into the water (with the water depth of just 42 inches, there would be no diving. The 5 year olds were off, and heck, 50 meters is a long way for a 5 year old. Well, Ian Crocker's teammate was really nervous, and swam into the wall a couple of times, and was getting worn out... so all three Olympians jumped into the pooland went to help out the kid, much to the approval of the crowd.

At the end of the second leg, the other two swimmers waited until Ian's team caught up. Then the 15 year olds raced down Main Street to the Olympians, which then took the final leg, in which Michael Phelps won by just a hair.

Michael and Lenny after their swim.

All the swimmers taking a bow.

Of course, all the kids were winners, and received a specialMickey Gold Medal

Mickey gets into the act.

Of course, after the event was over, they set up the platform to perform some press interviews, and the fans, especially the young ladies, tried to get Michael's attention.

Michael, PLEASE come over and sign our poster.

Well, why did the guests have to look at the back side of the stars????? Well, the entire event was set up to avoid this....

That's right, everything was designed to focus on the Train Station and the sides of Main Street that have been recently repainted. And toavoid the Blue Box!

Well, the event wrapped up around noon, and traffic down Main Street was fairly light, and they started right away in tearing down the support structures.

No time to waste, 30 hours of setup, and about 20 hours to tear it down, all for a 2 hour photo op.

The pool remains, but the support structures already gone inabout 2 hours

Well, at about 3 PM, they hooked up two pumps, and started to remove the water. They figured it would take about 6 hours to drain the pool. After that, they needed to remove the lining, and tear down the structure, plus remove the sand from Main Street, all before Wednesday morning, when they hoped to have Main Street return to normal.

Not very big hoses to have to pump out over 100,000 gallons

What to do with so much water, well pump it down the gutter.

Well folks, hoped you enjoyed a look at an unique site on Main Street, of course I have many more photos of the event available at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com, and looking forward to another column soon.

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