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View Full Version : Why Should Disney's Attraction Maintenacne Be Trusted?


Peter Pirate
10-03-2003, 08:17 AM
Some of this has been discussed but I feel the need to hear more.

I first caught the addictive Disney bug after my children were born (14 years ago) as WDW ALWAYS gave me a safe, secure environment, much like Walt had intended. I would not, have not and will not let my kids particpate in the local traveling carnivals and such as I see the quality of the staff entrusted to putting these rides together day after day and they do not instill a sense of safety.

Disney on the other hand always did. There were seldom accidents (at least we didn't hear about them) and when there were they always seemed the fault of the rider...Until now.

The two accidents, in a rather close timeframe, at DL has me very concerned about who's watching the shop?

Certainly the percentages are still way in Disney's favor and I'm not disputing this but do we now have the right to question that sense of security that Disney is offering? Should we be questioning?

I realize that, in my case anyway, the sense of security and safety we felt was often a false sense created by the atmospherre, for no one, even Disney, can truly protect us in this day and age, but I am in charge of protecting my kids and I MUST take all conceivable outlooks into account ...

With regard to safety in all areas are we just being lemmings putting our blind faith in Disney? Knowing they have strict guidelines and policies on ride maintenance despite the recent events at DL?

I'm not so sure this is the proper course anymore...

KNWVIKING
10-03-2003, 08:53 AM
We've kinda been thru this on some other recent threads so what I'll post will mostly be a repeat. I operate a truck shop. I understand better then most that things break despite the maintenance that is performed. I also understand that a fleet can opt to cut back on its maintenance dollars without affecting safety related items. While certainly every accident is a tragedy - or at least a potential one- I tend to be more forgiving of the situation until all the facts are in. I still trust Disney to properly maintain their rides- possibly even more so now that they are in the spotlight after the BTM accident.

Bstanley
10-03-2003, 09:20 AM
possibly even more so now that they are in the spotlight

I think this is a very important point.

There have been a number of serious incidents at DL over the last few years that have really provided ammunition to the people that want more direct government regulation and control over theme park operations - the fact that we are even having this discussion at all is illuminating.

Disney, Inc had better step up and proactively demonstrate that they are taking this issue to heart or they are going to find themselves with new 'partners' in their parks to 'help' them do their maintenance.

It's one thing to have so few painters that the interval between paint jobs gets longer and longer, it's quite another to have so few 'mechanics' that ...

------

I know how you feel Mr. Pirate - the same thoughts have been running through my mind. In my mind I know that my odds of being injured driving down I-75 to Orlando are literally thousands of times higher than being injured at WDW - but until now I had never even thought about it...and that is sad.

lodgelady
10-03-2003, 09:42 AM
Hey Peter Pirate- I'm with you on having my sense of security shaken.
I know accidents happen in the real world, but one of the main keys to enjoying myself at Disney parks is to suspend reality.

When I jump into the carefree shoes of youth along with my kids I can have fun without such grown-up concerns as "what are the odds that this ride will break and injure me and my loved ones?"


After reading KNWVIKINGs' post (I missed the other discussions on this topic) It seems that I am, and have been naive about the nature of mechanics. I thought if you were scrupulous in maintaining a machine it would never fail!

raidermatt
10-03-2003, 05:44 PM
Yes, we have, for the most part, been through this before.

When a failure flat-out causes people to die, the system has failed. Unlike problems that may arise with an automobile, no amount of defensive driving could save the victim in the BTM incident. Neither he nor anyone else on that train neglected to inflate their tires, were not exceeding the posted speed limit, did not try a maneuver their vehicle had no business doing... NOTHING they could have done would have prevented the accident.

As far as your specific question Pete, I'd answer it like this:

With regard to DL, their really is no reason to "trust" the maintenance, per say. In order to earn back that trust, Disney needs to either prove the incidents were truly not their fault, or make significant improvements going forward.

Now, when I say there is no reason to trust the maintenance, that doesn't mean their is no maintenance, and the odds of anything happening to anyone is anything but remote. I'm defining trust as a belief that Disney is truly doing everything they can to prevent such accidents as we have seen lately, and that the chances of another such accident in the relatively near future is virtually zero.

Now, one can make a case that the problem is isolated to DL and does not exist at WDW. The fact that most (if not all) of the serious accidents have occured at DL is at least some significant circumstantial evidence in favor of that position.

So in my book, I'm highly skeptical of DL's maintenance, and cautiously trusting of WDW's, if that makes sense.

OnWithTheShow
10-04-2003, 12:43 PM
Why should we trust that our auto mechanics do what we pay them to. Why should we trust that the servers at our favorite restaurant dont spit in our food.

Peter Pirate
10-04-2003, 05:55 PM
Not fair Show!

Further, I am concerned about poor food handling at restaraunts, which is why my favorites are the ones with open kitchens...

As for auto mechanics, well I suppose. But I go to guys that I like, I know and DO trust to do me right. If they don't I could be in trouble, I guess.

But I can't believe you'd begrudge me the worry about a trend. I'm not saying the accidents are a trend (only time will tell), but it doesn't seem ludicrous to have it wavering around in the noggin a bit, does it?

EsmeraldaX
10-06-2003, 11:57 AM
Actually, I know many people who are lifelong carnival workers and I think the maintainence done for traveling carnivals is better than that of big amusement parks.

Please understand that carnival workers often define themselves by their work. It's a lifestyle that is looked down upon by most, but I know a lot of these folks, and they take a lot of pride and care in what they do. I'm sure that there are exceptions to this rule, as there are in everything, but please don't not go to carnivals because you are afraid of the safety issues.

KNWVIKING
10-06-2003, 12:10 PM
***"Please understand that carnival workers often define themselves by their work. It's a lifestyle that is looked down upon by most, but I know a lot of these folks, and they take a lot of pride and care in what they do. "***

I know exactly what you're talking about. I've dealt with them in the past and a husband/wife team will basically earn an individual ride. They take care of it almost as if it's their child. They know every inch of they ride and take maticuless(sp) care of it.

crusader
10-06-2003, 12:35 PM
With regard to safety in all areas are we just being lemmings putting our blind faith in Disney?

Good question.

I'll admit the recent events have heightened my awareness of the safety issue at Disney.

I've always considered things to have an inherent risk factor - no matter what they happen to be. We take them everyday in life whether it be the food we eat, the environment we live in or the thrills we seek.

Some risks are invisible, while others are very noticeable particularly when it comes to a ride. We as a society accept this. We rely on the safety of the mechanism itself and the standards within the framework of the park's operating policies and procedures.

Disney has the leading reputation for safety for several reasons: there is an extremely limited amount of incident for a themepark which handles such an overwhelming volume of guests and there is a belief we all share in the quality of these parks as being above and beyond any other. We trust what we've experienced and we rely on what we have become accustomed to.

The problem now is that a guest has died. This gravely concerns me. I am left with two questions: Why? and How? which will probably never be answered to my satisfaction because no matter what the reason it doesn't change the outcome - a ride at Disney is responsible for a person's death - and I for one, will not be so inclined to easily forget that.

Another Voice
10-06-2003, 12:40 PM
"Heck, the first serious, serious accident at Disneyland occurred well before Eisner/Pressler/et al ever joined Disney during a time when Disney's safety efforts were arguably at its highest."

Which accident are you refering to?

Another Voice
10-06-2003, 01:56 PM
From snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/disney/parks/deaths.htm):

May 1964: Mark Maples, a 15-year-old Long Beach, CA, resident, was killed when he tried to stand up on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Maples (or his companion) foolishly unbuckled his seatbeat and attempted to stand up as their bobsled neared the peak of the mountain. Maples lost his balance and was thrown from the sled to the track below, fracturing his skull and ribs and causing internal injuries. He died three days later.


And at http://www.snopes.com/disney/parks/amersing.htm :

On the evening of 8 July 1974, a 18-year-old woman from Santa Ana named Deborah Gail Stone was working the attraction as a hostess. Her job was to greet each new audience as they settled into the seating area. Standing to the left of the stage, she welcomed the guests over a microphone before the outer ring rotated and carried the audience to the first scene of the carousel. About 11:00 PM that evening, Stone approached too closely to the area between the rotating theater wall and the non-moving stage wall and was crushed to death between them. Ride operators were notified by a guest who heard Stone's screams from an adjacent theater.

Comment: (In fact, she was "theater hoping", a practice where cast members would scoot inbetween rooms rather than sit and watch the show one more time. It was against the rules, but people did it anyway. Those who work around heavy equipment (which is what an attraction is) often grow caviler to the dangers involved).


I would never classify these two incidents as "accidents" since they were the clear result of individuals doing stupid things clearly beyond Disneyland's ability to immediately control. They are light years from the Columbia, 'Space Mountain' and ;Big Thunder' accidents - and the implication "persecptive" means Disneyland has always hurt people is falt out wrong. Up until the recent era, Disneyland was extremely proud that no guest had ever been killed or received a serious injury due to a mechanical failure. Current efforts to dismiss the recent tragedy as "just one of those things" seems more an attempt to bury one's head in the sand rather than to take a good look at what has occurred. Worse - it truly seems like an attempt to dismiss the company's responsibility for the matter where it's their "fault" or not.

The issues with Disneyland are not a unique to the park as many want to believe. Yes, Disneyland is older and requires more maintenance, and yes the maintenance cuts happened here first.

All that means is it's a matter of time.

DisneyKidds
10-06-2003, 02:08 PM
All that means is it's a matter of time.
Maybe yes, maybe no. I guess it all depends on what level of autonomy the two parks (DL and WDW) maintain when it comes to maintenance programs and protocol. It does seem that the two locations do handle various things differently so it is hard to say that any corporate mandates or policies would result in the same maintenance issues in both parks.

For instance, I recently read Yee's articles on MiceAge regarding his take on the Special Assistance Pass at DL. Apparently the in park policy on such passes is completely different at WDW. Just an example of how the two parks deal with the same issue in different ways. Hopefully those at WDW are dealing with maintenance issues in a better way than DL. That, and hopefully WDW is smart enough to learn from it's older siblings unfortunate history.......................for as they say, those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it.

Another Voice
10-06-2003, 02:58 PM
It is not the dedication or the pride among the staffs on either coast that is the cause of the change. It is the mindset within the management - within the entire company - that has shifted.

From Feature Animation to churn-it-out-by-the-mile-drivel to The Happiest Place on Earth to catch-us-if-you-can park hours, maintenance is just one more example of how Disney strives to be more like everyone else rather than better.

Only with maintenance the consquences are must more extreme than simply shuting all the shops at 6:00pm.

Great folks can only do so much if there are too few of them, given the wrong priorities and working with lowered standards. Resources are allocated from the top, and I think everyone has pretty good idea what the priorities are these days.

EsmeraldaX
10-07-2003, 07:52 AM
I would never classify these two incidents as "accidents" since they were the clear result of individuals doing stupid things clearly beyond Disneyland's ability to immediately control.

I agree. I recently did some research on this and with few exceptions, death at Disneyworld is always the result of park guests doing idiotic things. Many of the deaths happened on grad nights, when drunken teens did things like stand on the monorail tracks, or sneak onto TSI late at night and attempt to swim across the river. Or people standing up on rides they should not have. Or otherwise not following the clear directions that Disney (and common sense) dictate.

There have been a handful of freak accidents such as the Thunder Mountain death recently, however, freak accidents are rare.

I know exactly what you're talking about. I've dealt with them in the past and a husband/wife team will basically earn an individual ride. They take care of it almost as if it's their child. They know every inch of they ride and take maticuless(sp) care of it.

Yes, they do. To them, the rides are like artwork, and they take extreme care with them. Some of them even refer to the rides as their children and give them names. I think that people think because they take them down and put them back up with such ease that it *looks* to someone who does not know carnival life like they are just throwing the rides together without paying attention.

DEE DEE
10-07-2003, 11:22 AM
From what I have read, it is pretty hard to trust Disney when their new answer to problems is to use the shredder.Well with all the cost cuts,I guess this would be a cheap way to fill all those snow globes you all always mention! If Disney is not able to maintain a little carrousel,how in the world will they be able to do anything more complex.In my opinion,the Disney Company use to make dreams come true but right now they are more into nightmares!!!

Corryn
10-12-2003, 10:35 PM
We were down there a week ago and I saw something I've never seen before......The lights ON in Space Mountain with a car stuck at the top of the initial hill........Man, if my kids were on that at that moment!!!

Planogirl
10-13-2003, 01:40 AM
Originally posted by Corryn
We were down there a week ago and I saw something I've never seen before......The lights ON in Space Mountain with a car stuck at the top of the initial hill........Man, if my kids were on that at that moment!!!
Wow! Do you know how they got the car moving or if they got the people out first?

Corryn
10-13-2003, 07:16 AM
We were just about to get on line for Space Mountain and it looked like a very large crowd gathered around the entrance, so we figured, let's get a fast pass, because we kept hearing, the ride broke down, they've got to fix the ride, don't know how long it will be....

But then CM's came out of the arcade with large vinyl bags and were placing them OVER the Fast Pass Machines!!!! We knew then that they had an inkling they wouldn't be able to fix the coaster in time (it was around 4:30 and the park was closing at 6:00 for the Not So Scary Halloween Party, which was great, by the way)

So the kids wanted to ride the ride that goes around Tomorrowland, they've never in all the trips we've done, rode that ride! (People Mover)
So about a half hour had passed since we saw people exiting Space Mountain when the People Mover entered into Space Mountain. All the lights were on. We thought, this is odd, but then we see a train at the very top of the first hill, just sitting there! They were there, like I said, at least a half hour. So I took out my camera and started Snapping Away! Heck, who gets the chance to see Space Mountain in the day time! I can tell you that I thought, personally, I wouldn't ride that ride if it did have the lights on all the time. They crammed all that track into a small space! When you look at a wild mouse or a runaway train and the space that's left between overlying tracks and then you see the space that's left between overlying tracks on Space mountain, you'd probably want to keep your head very very low andNever raise up your arms and hands, they might get chopped off! (ever happen?)

But No, I don't know how long it was until they got the people off the ride or when they fixed it. Like I said, they were closing the a short time after this occurred for the Halloween Party and we weren't staying late on that particular night... And Yes, the people were still on the ride, but they were so high up I couldn't tell if it were adults or children!

Is there a place I can post my pics?