Crowd Issues for Avengers Campus Opening Day
The long-awaited Avengers Campus opened at Disney California Adventure yesterday, a milestone that was delayed over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic restrictions still apply at Disneyland but that didn’t stop huge crowds from showing up to be the first guests through the gates of the new Marvel-themed land.
Lines for park entry formed in the middle of the night as limited capacities made diehard fans worry they wouldn’t get into the Campus.
As the Los Angeles Daily News reported,
By 7:15 a.m., the half-mile long line switched back on itself 17 times and filled a service road and the bus depot area on the Harbor Boulevard side of the parks.”
The report states that any thoughts of social distancing were basically forgotten as lines and crowds continued to grow.
The fanfare was too much to be ignored. Protestors arrived on the scene with COVID-19 billboards, posters, and false information about Disney’s pandemic guidelines.
Playing into the day’s theme, anti-vaccination protestors dressed in superhero costumes lined the neighboring Harbor Boulevard. They donned signs with a “Marvel at the Facts” theme as they preached about a lack of information about the COVID vaccine leading to a false sense of public safety.
The massive lines forced Disneyland to open the east side temperature screening area and security checkpoints early, at 7:30 am, although the California Adventure gates were not scheduled to open until 9:00 am.
While cast member on the east side of the Esplanade were forced to manage the chaos, those on the west side still felt the effects.
Parking structures on the west side of Disneyland Resort were not scheduled to open until 7:45am – AFTER temp screenings and security were forced to open on the opposite side. Guests arriving to the park’s west side were now forced in line BEHIND the thousands that had already streamed into the Esplanade from the east, making for some unhappy visiting superheroes.
The delays didn’t stop the crowd of phones lighting up at 6:59am as guests acquired virtual boarding groups for the new E-ticket ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. Guests may enter Avengers Campus after their turn on Web Slingers so those who snagged a boarding group also snagged their Campus admission for the day, regardless of their place in line. But those who missed out and were stuck in the back of the entry crowds were forced to the Standby queue to wait out capacity limits. The queue reportedly wrapped around throughout California Adventure.
If those crowd control issues don’t spell “nightmare” for cast members just trying to do their jobs, according to some Twitter users, placing a mobile order for food at one of the Avengers Campus eateries was also allowing guests access to Avengers Campus yesterday. The Disneyland app (and Twitter users) say that process was squelched today.
At the time of publishing, Twitter users stated standby wait time for entrance to the land was approximately 6 hours.
Even frequent park-goers were overwhelmed by the crowded chaos of the day. A Los Angeles Daily News reporter spoke with Jimmy Hernandez, the first person in line at 2:30 am. The Annual Passholder is a frequent Disneyland visitor never misses a virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance, but he did not get a pass for Web Slingers. He was expecting a crowd but was still shocked by the volume of guests.
Pandemic Guidelines Remain
While Orange County is finally in the yellow tier of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening framework, Disney maintains all COVID-19 guidelines for the safety of their guests and cast members. Masks, social distancing and capacity limitations are still in effect, huge crowds or not, though enforcement is proving difficult.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure these cast members deserve a raise!
FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: THRILL GEEK via TWITTER