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January used to be the start of the slow season at the
stateside Disney Parks. How so? So slow that - immediately after New Year's Day -- Disneyland Park wouldn't even open on Mondays & Tuesdays.
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Which -- as far as the maintenance crew who worked at this
Anaheim theme park was concerned - was a good thing. Given that - with no
Guests in the Park underfoot for two days out of the week during the early Fall
& late Winter ... Well, that then made it that much easier for them to
complete large-scale construction projects inside of the berm without having a significantly
negative impact on Disneyland's overall Guest experience.
Mind you, that was before Michael Eisner came on board at
Disney's new CEO in October of 1984. By 1985, Michael had Disneyland mirroring
Walt Disney World's operating schedule. In that the Happiest Place on Earth suddenly
became one of the busiest places on the planet, operating seven days a week, 365
days a year.
And as far as Walt Disney World was concerned ... Given that
people save for years and then travel in from all corners of the globe in order
to experience a WDW vacation, closing one of the Company's Central Florida
theme park entirely hasn't ever really been an option.
Oh, sure. Sometimes you'll see one "land" closed off for a few hours for a
private corporate event and/or something like that speech that President Obama
gave on Main Street, U.S.A. last Thursday. Or - worse case scenario -
construction walls will bar Guests from entering a particular part of the Park
for literally months at a time while that "land" is reimagined (EX: The current
Fantasyland expansion and/or the New Tomorrowland project from the mid-1990s).
But then there are those projects that fall in between these
two extremes. Take - for example - all of the concrete which is being poured inside
of the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland section over the next two weeks. Given that
a lot of this construction is being done right smack dab in the middle of this
theme park's parade route ... Well, that's then obviously going to make it quite difficult
to present the Magic Kingdom's "Celebrate A Dream Come True" & "Main Street
Which is why the folks in Operations decided to borrow a
page from this theme park's not-so-distant past. Do you remember back during the
Summer of 2008 when the bridge that connects Liberty Square to the Hub had to
be repaired? In order to make sure that Magic Kingdom visitors got some sort of
parade while all of this construction was going on right in the heart of that
theme park, Ops put their heads together with Entertainment and came up with a
kind-of-ingenious solution to this problem.
Which was to temporarily drop the Castle float from this
theme park's "Celebrate A Dream Come True" parade. So that the three remaining
units could enter the Magic Kingdom via the Firehouse gate, circle 'round the
Plaza, drive up Main Street, circle the Hub, drive back down Main Street,
circle 'round the Plaza again and then exit via the Firehouse gate.
Okay. So this was obviously an abbreviated version of the "Celebrate
A Dream Come True" parade. But an abbreviated version of a parade is better
than no parade at all. (Speaking of which: Because "SpectroMagic" was nearly 3
times the length of "Celebrate A Dream Come True," creating a trimmed-down
version of the Magic Kingdom's nighttime parade was never really an option. So "SpectroMagic"
stayed in that theme park's backstage parade barn for the entire time that the
Liberty Square bridge was being worked on.)
Anyway ... Given that this abbreviated version of "Celebrate A
Dream Come" kept Guest complaints to a bare minimum back in 2008 ... Well, that's
what the Magic Kingdom is going to do over the next two weeks while all of that
concrete is being poured in Frontierland. They're going to present the Cliff
Note's version of that theme park's daytime parade while temporarily cancelling
all nighttime performances of the "Main Street Electrical Parade" for much the
same reason that "SpectroMagic" sat in the parade barn while the Liberty Square
bridge was being repaired (i.e. that this nighttime parade is just too long and
features far too many units to be able to do the up-and-down-Main-Street bit
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And speaking of popular pieces of nighttime entertainment
temporarily stopping all performances ... Over at Universal Orlando's CityWalk, after
last night's presentation of Blue Man Group, this show is going dark for over two
weeks for a major retooling. The way I hear it, when the Blue Man Group once again
begins presenting performances for the public on Thursday, February 9th,
it'll virtually be a brand-new show. We're talking 75% all-new material for the
men in blue to perform.
Maybe Universal Orlando will talk more about this Blue Man
Group revamp at Wednesday's big web announcement. Which is when PR reps from
this Resort are expected to share additional information about Universal
Studios Florida's soon-to-open "Despicable Me" attraction. Not to mention discussing
the digital upgrades & effects enhancements that are currently made to
Islands of Adventure's "The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man."
"Will the folks at Universal Orlando then talk about what's actually
going to built in place of USF's recently-closed 'Jaws' ride?," you ask. Well,
the way I hear it, the folks at Universal may be holding that announcement back
'til June 18th of this year.
As streamers rain down
from above, the Universal Orlando Resort celebrates the one year anniversary of
the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on June 18, 2011. Copyright
Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved
"Why June 18th?," you query. Well, what better
time would there be to reveal that there's a second Harry Potter "land" in the
works for the Universal Orlando Resort than on the second anniversary of the
grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of
But you didn't hear that from me. Your thoughts?
Great article, J. When people talk about maintenance at the Disney parks, few people tend to think about how tasks as seemingly mundane as patching and re-paving walking paths can effect the entire way the park operates.
I've seen the new Blue Man Group material on their last tour stop - from what I hear the Vegas show will be getting it later this year when they move to Monte Carlo, and many of the other shows already have it.
While there were one or two completely new bits, most of it wasn't so much new as it was a re-theming/retooling of the current material to keep the show fresh and topical. The biggest change will be the new finale, which was just about the coolest thing I've ever seen put on a stage.
This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I hope when BMG returns at Uni, they'll have an intermission. 75 minutes can be a pretty long time to go without a potty break...