Working off the ground plans we had been provided, my team and I needed to dig a series of trenches throughout the area so that we could bury all the power cabling we were going to need to provide the power necessary for the production of the show. I ordered and received very quickly two gas-powered trench diggers. I and one of my team took on the task of digging the trenches as outlined on the proposed ground plan while the others on the team ran the 10/3 cabling in the trenches. It took several days to accomplish all of this. The average day was quite long; in some instances, we would at minimum work an eighteen hour day, and some days we would work all night long. The reason for this was that we couldn’t do our sound checks and light focus until after the sun had gone down. It simply wouldn’t be accurate during any other time of the day.
It should also be noted that some of the sound systems had to be on the stage and battery operated. We had a unique system manufactured by Shure called the Vocal Master whose speakers weighed a ton. Despite its weight, it only had a one-hundred amp capacity mixing council with a ninety-minute capacity. I still feel sorry to this day for some of the ladies on the team who had to lift those speakers into position, as I’m sure it took every bit of strength they could muster until they got used to it. Before they joined us at Disney I bet they never thought working in entertainment and corporate themes for events planning would be so strenuous.
In those days the Polynesian Hotel featured some rooms with waterbeds that faced Lake Buena Vista. Each night when the crew finished, we would crash in the waterbed shells and try to get as much sleep as possible before getting back to the job when the sun rose once more. Back then almost everything had to be hand carried into the work area. It would have been nice to have had a larger crew, but we had two other major events to install in the park at the same time as well as the inside luau in the main dining room of the Polynesian Hotel that began 9:00 PM every evening. The outside luau I remember as starting at 6:00 PM. We had a crew of four technicians to operate the technical side of both shows. As far as production support services go, we were stretched pretty thin. But we had to make do with who and what we had. We made up for it by doubling our efforts.
As fate would have it, we were able to complete the installation on time for the rehearsals. The performers were able to use several rooms at the Polynesian Hotel as dressing rooms. It was all done through the sweat of our labor, and all of the departments pulled their weight to get everything done on schedule.
But I know that we had a touch of good luck during the process, too. With everything that could have gone wrong, the only issue we encountered involved the motors that pulled the stages onto the beach, but that was easily solved. We were also blessed with halfway decent weather throughout the install. Had it rained, we likely would have kept working through all the wet and cold. Had that been the case, I imagine I think this story wouldn’t have quite the positive tone!