Not your typical Disney trip
Disneyland’s definately gone downhill since our last trip; even so far as to being dangerous.
Our trip (8/9/2003; Summer; Saturday) sucked for multiple reasons.
- Worst possible time to visit from a crowds perspective
- Water difficult to find / poor vendor stocking
- Sewage smell problem near Tarzan’s Treehouse and Pirates of the Caribean (lasted the entire day while we were there, it wasn’t just some bad whiff from the restrooms)
- Rude staffing (Disneyland is usually very stringent about this..)
- Safety concerns
The last item, “Safety Concerns”, are the most serious of the issues. We were returning from Critter Country, to try and move over to Fantasy Land or Tomorrow Land. We made the misfortune of trying to do this during the Fantasmic 9p showing. This is an outdoor show that is done on Tom Sawyer’s Island, and in the surrounding water. During this event, hordes of people gather; there is no “seating” per se, but lots of grass, sidewalk, standing room, etc.
On a typical night in Disneyland’s past, there would be 10-20 people in yellow jackets, with yellow lights, along the main walkways. These people would keep the walkways reasonably clear; traffic in and out of this area was possible, if not slow. On our trip, we saw only two of such people - by the French Market / Train Station area. They were nowhere to be found in front of Pirates of the Caribean, nor in front of the Haunted Mansion, or anywhere along the path to Critter Country.
We tried passing, not realizing the lack of control Disneyland had over the crowd. We quickly found out what a mistake that was. There were *so* many people that it was impossible to take a step in any direction. It was pretty much a mob scene. We were fairly afraid of the kids getting crushed; it really was that bad. Yelling for security yielded no help. Our family was having a very tough time staying together; we were getting both squeezed and yanked apart at the same time.
This fun trip earned a trip to the doctor when we got home; he ended up hurting his elbow. He’s now able to over-extend his elbow in a nasty sort of way. The doctor wants to give him a few days and watch for the swelling, discoloration, or any increase in pain; it is likely however only a sprain. How a sprain can cause one to overextend their elbow I’m not entirely sure.
We did complain at “City Hall”. We talked to the head of security; we left a written complaint. The only excuse we got was that they were understaffed, since Fantasmic had just reopened “only 2 weeks ago”. Somehow Disneyland managed to forget how to handle large crowds and large events. I’m still confused on that one. It seems to us that on minimum that the task needed (crowd control) could have been easily tought to any employees seeking more hours. They did comp us free tickets to come back again, but I don’t know how soon I’m going to be willing to go back, given the safety issues.
If you are considering visiting Anaheim this year, I’d recommend:
- Wait for off-season
- Go Monday-Thursday - not Friday-Sun
- Wait for Disneyland to remember how to keep the place secure
- Consider alternatives like Universal Studios (lots of fun!) or Knott’s Berry Farm (great for _small_ kids… only.)