I know it's an iconic piece of the attraction, but I don't believe that there was not another option considered when they were building WDW's. If it's true that they weren't able to put in a elevator due to the water table (which I'm not sure if I'm buying that story), why wouldn't they have explored other avenues? I'm sure there could have been other ways to work out crowd control and getting people onto the moving part of the attraction.
Does anybody know if there were other ideas floating around? If you had the chance to redesign the first scene, how would you do it? Would you make reference to a hanging person in the cupola at another point in the ride?
I asked myself this question and came up with one option, but it would make more sense for Paris, due to it's back-story.
I actually changed a lot to the scene...check it out in the gallery if you'd like!