The evening at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey didn't start out well. Arriving 90 minutes early enabled audience members to tour the animal cages backstage and chat with the performers during the preshow...that was the theory, anyway. In reality, what you got was a huge mass of bodies, no movement, long lines and the feeling of being herded through with no time to really experience the wonder of the circus before curtain time.
Even worse, there was no going straight to your seat if you tired of the throng. The only path was through the narrow openings set up for the animal open house, and even when you did make it to the main area, you arrived at floor level. You know, where the sections aren't numbered. People just milled about lost until they were finally able to reach their seats. It was like a combination of Astroworld and shopping at Ikea.
How much of that was poor planning on Ringling Bros.' part and how much of it was just poor execution by Reliant, I couldn't say. Herding a toddler through it wasn't fun, but when the lights went down, the actual show itself proved to be a magnificent and well-oiled machine.