Written by Kevin Baxter
Published: July 11, 2004 at 1:27 AM
I mentioned previously that California Adventure has gotten very little help from their new Tower of Terror. Well, things are getting worse and worse. DCA managed only 16,500 guests on July 4. Considering that was not only a Sunday but a huge holiday also, those numbers are pathetic.
And it just isn't DCA that's suffering. Disneyland, which has consistently managed to attract large crowds, got its first sub-40,000-guests Saturday in more than 20 years a few weeks ago. Then came the disastrous Independence Day weekend. Instead of the 70K average the park usually pulls in on the Fourth, DL barely dragged in 50K.
It's obvious that Southern Californians now expect Disney to offer discounts, and if they don't then people just stay away. In fact, it seems the only locals bothering with the parks are AP owners who cannot be discouraged from renewing their APs. Disney has recently raised AP prices and increased the number of blackout days so the number of APs would lower before the 50th Anniversary. Numbers have actually increased to more than 600K, which is a record for DLR.
One thing that may decrease numbers to DL is yet ANOTHER accident on Big Thunder Mountain. Disney mouthpieces are seriously downplaying the accident, but three people were injured, which makes this more serious than the previous two-train accident, which happened without riders.
Still, this makes three accidents in less than a year, with the first causing one death. People have not forgotten that one, and this accident will make it much harder for people to forget it. Many visitors already steer clear of the ride, and this accident will undoubtedly add more to the better-safe-than-sorry set. Even if most visitors haven't heard of either of the death-free accidents, they are still going to be suspicious of the ride being down yet again. Not to mention how suspicious people will be of Disney, which seems completely uncapable of running this ride without mishaps. Even though early reports have this as yet another operator error, people are starting to wonder why Disney puts so much responsibility in the hands of minimum-wage workers.
The entire Disneyland Resort is suffering, even as the new TDI regime is starting to fix it up. While the discounts and the excessive APs aren't helping, neither is Disney's slow attraction-building schedule. Disney should take this chance to immediately demolish BTMR and build a major new E-Ticket in the area. Buzz Lightyear and a not-so-new Space Mountain aren't going to keep the crowds coming back after the 50th, if they even show up for that.