Saturday, August 4, 2012

Disneyland Sticks a Fiddle Bow Up Its Nose

So there it is, the standout moment of any performance by Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, the moment when Billy gets a fiddle bow stuck up his nose. "I feel bad for the little kids who have to see something like this on their trip to Disneyland" or words to that effect Billy says as he tries to figure out how to get the bow out of his nose.

I've seen Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform probably two dozen times at Frontierland's Golden Horseshoe over the years and the bow up the nose bit never gets old. Most of the shows are just a variation of each other (the exception being the "Christmas spectacular") with a slight change in song selection and each performance greatly dependent on audience reaction and participation. It's a lot of fun. And inside the small but wonderfully ornate Golden Horseshoe, Billy Hill feels at home, both the band playing and the audience watching, clapping hands and stomping feet.

So this summer Disney had grand plans of massive amounts of people hitting their Disneyland parks with the relaunch of Disney California Adventure, Cars Land, and the like. And it's true, the bustling crowd levels have had Disney people wearing big smiles on their faces. There was only one slight miscalculation apparently. Large crowds have been turning up on a daily basis at DCA and surprisingly, the park has been able to withstand high crowd volumes much easier than expected. The crowd levels over at Disneyland on the other hand, with only the re-opening of the Matterhorn to boast about, have been quite manageable for a change. Some have used the word "flat" to describe Disneyland crowd levels this summer. Disney had visions over overflowing guests at both parks so in preparation they made the decision to take the popular Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show and move it outdoors and into the cavernous, mostly unused, Fesival Arena where more people could be seated compared to the cramped quarters of The Golden Horseshoe. The only problem is, the people and fans of Billy didn't follow.

The foot traffic around the Festival Arena area is off the beaten path as they say. The only reason to go back there is if you plan to eat at the Big Thunder Bar-B-Que (where reservations are almost never necessary) or use that back pathway to get from Thunder Mountain Railroad to Fantasyland as a shortcut. (There is also a spot back there that is one of Disneyland's last remaining designated smoking areas). So here is where they stuck Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. Below, MiceChat took a picture of the common result:

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies perform to a sparse crowd at the Festival Arena
A MiceChat In The Parks Photo

Now that's sad. The spirited packed house of a Billy Hill performance inside The Golden Horseshoe is reduced to a shadow of what it normally is playing to small crowds in a large area. It's been such a disaster that Disney, in an effort to attract a crowd, any crowd, put up a hastily constructed pin trading stand. Hopefully when summer draws to a close, this incredibly bad decision, is forever filed away.

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