Ei$ner's trip to Disneyland! Even he thinks it stinks!!!


What Would Walt Do?
Jul 21, 2000
Now I know many of you don't like Mr. Lutz at all. And I'm not even sure how I feel about him, regarding how much editorial philosophy he allows to skew the story. But if just half of this little tale is true, then I think it speaks volumes for what car # 3ers have been saying for quite a while. Good reading!! ;)


And because it is such a good piece of prose, I will also reprint it here (for those who don't care to take a trip to MousePlanet).
Just after New Years' Disneyland was visited by none other than Michael Eisner himself, and it wasn't a very pleasant visit unfortunately.

Eisner was hosting John Lasseter and Lasseter's young son for a visit to the Magic Kingdom. Mr. Lasseter Jr. wanted to go over to Tom Sawyer Island, as any strapping young American boy would understandably want to do. When they got over there however, Eisner was appalled and embarrassed in front of his guests when the condition of the Island and its individual attractions was discovered.

The young Lasseter Jr. was saddened to learn just a few minutes after arriving on the Island that the suspension bridge was 'temporarily closed for repairs.' That suspension bridge has been 'temporarily' closed since the spring of 1999 when one of the supporting cables came loose from its decaying foundation. The cost to repair the entire bridge was estimated at just over 100,000 dollars, and so a 'temporarily closed' sign was placed on each side of the bridge and that part of the Island slipped into Yesterland. It's a shame that it still hangs there, enticing little kids to run up to it only to have their parents explain that they can't cross it.

Denied access to the suspension bridge, the Eisner / Lasseter group headed down the hill after Lasseter Jr. spotted the wobbly barrel bridge that sits nearby. But again, the group was met by a sign that stated that bridge was also 'temporarily' closed for repairs. The barrel bridge has met hard times as well, and the understaffed Disneyland maintenance department tries to do patch- up fixes to that bridge when they can. But for the last year or so the barrel bridge has been closed more often than it is open, and for most of the last month it has been closed.

As the group and the Guest Relations tour guide assigned to the VIP visitors moved to the north end of the noticeably ratty looking Island, a visit to Fort Wilderness revealed a wood rot filled structure that has had the air guns removed and the turrets and climb through catwalks sealed off to visitors. A few minutes later when young Lasseter Jr. found an Island tunnel darkened by burned out light bulbs and a dangerously decayed section of the tunnel sealed off by Disneyland Facilities CM's with tacky plastic yellow 'danger' tape worthy of an urban crime scene, Eisner began to get visibly upset.

When John Lasseter was a young man, he had actually worked at Disneyland for a time as a Jungle Cruise Skipper and has fond memories of the Disneyland of his youth. Lasseter politely mentioned to Eisner that it was obvious that parts of Disneyland were not being allowed to age gracefully, and that things would never have been allowed to deteriorate this poorly when he had worked at Disneyland.

Now that Eisner was suitably embarrassed in front of his important guests, [Parks & Resorts Chairman] Paul Pressler and [Disneyland President] Cynthia Harriss were both called immediately via Eisner's cell phone, and Eisner assured the Lasseters that 'answers' would be found as to why the Island was in such awful condition.

That next Monday morning, in a search for information about the Island and it's lack of upkeep, the Island scandal quickly rolled downhill from Pressler and Harriss' office to their immediate Vice Presidents at the [Team Disney Anaheim] building. The Vice Presidents of course made frantic calls and emails to their Directors, the Directors quickly phoned their senior managers, the senior managers hurriedly got the word out to their lower managers, and the lower managers rushed to find their Leads (hourly foremen in Disney- speak) for answers.

The lower Attraction managers and Leads were able to produce entire binders full of 'work order requests' dutifully faxed into the Disneyland Facilities department over a period of months and years, all requesting that repairs and fixes be made to the Island's many problems.

Now that the Attractions managers in charge of Tom Sawyer Island had proof that they had done their job, the calls and emails began in reverse back up the management food chain in a grand scramble to save face to everyone's boss. By the end of the business day the paper trail uncovered pointed a clear finger to the lack of action at the Disneyland Facilities department. Ultimately it was Disneyland Facilities' Senior Vice President who got nailed with the blame by Harriss and Pressler.

Eisner was reached in Burbank by Pressler and assured that there was an executive 'plan in place' to restore the Island and bring it back up to old Disneyland standards in a hurry. Of course there really is no such plan, after a brief flurry of activity that week that was able to patch up the barrel bridge for at least a few days worth of operation. After a half decade of neglect, it would take an expensive and complete closure several months long to repair all that is broken and restore Tom Sawyer Island to it's former glory. And that type of expense just isn't in anyone's budget.

Ultimately, we can hopefully expect more timely patch jobs to the few attractions on the Island that still work, but don't expect the suspension bridge to reopen or Fort Wilderness to get any real attention any time soon.

But at least they took down the crime scene tape from inside Injun Joe's cave!

OK guys!! What'd think?
Landbaron, I found it a great story... sort of the "old Disney" and the "new Disney" at odds over show quality. I doubt anything will happen (though I chuckled when I read about all the service requests and stuff that had been logged... someone got their butt saved by paperwork).

I didn't realize that the Island was in that bad of shape. Then again, being a folk from the Midwest, I don't get out that way much... Thanks for posting it here.
It does sound like they couldn’t have scripted it any better. Wonder if their guide knew what they were in for and either couldn’t or didn’t try hard to avert them?

Hmmm, Eisner giving personal tours to Lassiter. I would be more excited, if Lassiter hadn't recently said Bug’s Town was his idea (more themed off-the-shelf rides for DCA, yea!).

Since DVC has gone ahead and invited Al into the living room, I might as well point out the stuff that really got my attention
Well the most recent Executive Retreat has produced some real doozies this time around - in particular the executive understanding that the theme parks are no longer considered profitable enough to suit management.
All sorts of ideas got thrown around at this point by the sources of course - that Disney could sell off the park operations to someone else (sort of what like they did with the Disney Stores in Japan with the Oriental Land Co.) and just collect the royalties. Which of course makes for higher profits, since they would bear none of the operating costs. (This is sort of what they were also looking at with the Broadway productions, and the Disney Stores here on the mainland too.)
I really don’t think he makes these things up, so I have to assume it was just one of those brainstorming things that never seriously got on the table. While they're not looking at the parks for growth (domestic), they still claim they are their most important brand builders. Given how critical operations are to the guest experience, and therefore the brand, could this have really gotten serious air time?
Sadly, there's a lot of neglect of maintenance. Don't even get me started on Storybookland Boats or ToonTown...

It's nice to see that they say they'll do something, but I'll check it out when I'm there next weekend & let you all know what (if anything) has changed.


I was there in August but didn't go to TSI. IF this report is true, I'm glad I didn't. My son loves the Disneyland Sing-a-long videotape we have, it shows the caves and suspension bridge being "frolicked" on by country bears and children. Would have been quite a disappointment to find them off-limits.

We did go on the Storyland Boats and found no issues. Toontown was running along fine, except for the Roger Rabbit ride, which went down during the afternoon. This didn't bother me TOO much, given the recent trouble on that ride.
OK Raidermatt, you asked for it :).

Storybook Boats need some serious painting, *all* of the buildings are chipped & faded, the 'stitches' holding the Giant's quilt together are in a bad way & some are missing altogether. Some buildings, like the Old Mill, need some glue since parts are falling off.

As for Toon Town, The boat is totally beat up, paint is chipped everywhere young hands can reach, the treehouse has become an ignored landmark (it used to have a ball crawl), and the whole land is faded from the bright Technicolor that it used to be (and still should be IMO).

I know I'm channelling Landbaron, but some of this stuff has been going on for years despite my feeble attempts to complain about the state of repair to City Hall.

The LandBaron rises from his chair and wildly applaudes!! Bravo!! Well, said gentle Sarangel!! Well said!!

I know I'm channelling Landbaron
Channel away!! I love it!! :bounce:

Sara- Fair enough. Honestly, I did not notice the issues with the Storyteller boats, but we only rode it once. We didn't get up close to the boat in Toontown, but the paint thing sounds like a safety issue...

the treehouse has become an ignored landmark

This I can definitely agree with, as we definitely ignored it. But I've never been a big fan of public ball crawls, so the fact that one was removed doesn't really bother me. I guess another way to look at it would be to ask if a ball crawl being added to AK would be seen as creative Disney magic, or "off the shelf" carny stuff.

As for the colors, since my last trip to DL was before Toontown (yes, I know, and I have already taken my lashings), I didn't notice the colors being faded. What I did notice was how much better this Toontown was than the MK version we had visited in '00.
A sad state of affairs to say the least!!!! I just hope things improve before my dec 02 visit to disneyland!l
The barrel bridge on the WDW version of TSI was closed last June. The play guns have been removed from the fort too. Oh dear!
Adding new attractions that don't live up to quality standards is one thing, closing existing attractions is another, but letting operating attractions drop to the level described in the TSI piece just plain sucks. Maybe Mike E needs to take a tour with some of the Disney fans from this forum that could point out the odd need for maintenance around his kingdoms:rolleyes:
all of Disneyland Paris needs a fresh coat of paint. I was there over the summer, and it looked really, really bad. Bits and pieces of attractions from all over the park were broken. It seems that the Disney Company just doesn't give a @#$% any more. As long they make their profits and keep the stock price up which they aren't doing either.
I though MK was in WDW. Is the writer referring to TSI in DL, not MK?
"...Disneyland was visited by none other than Michael Eisner himself, and it wasn't a very pleasant visit unfortunately. Eisner was hosting John Lasseter and Lasseter's young son for a visit to the Magic Kingdom."
When John Lasseter was a young man, he had actually worked at Disneyland for a time as a Jungle Cruise Skipper and has fond memories of the Disneyland of his youth.
Ah Ha!!! Another Voice is John Lasseter! His identity has been revealed!
Ah Ha!!! Another Voice is John Lasseter! His identity has been revealed!
AV!! Buddy! Pal! Fellow car 3er. Remember, we're on the same page almost all the time. Just thought I'd mention that. Not that it's really important or anything.

BTW, where can I send my resume, John? ;)
John Lasseter is one of the greatest creative minds currently in the motion picture industry. Why not put him in charge of the company? I would work for him anyday.
I have a problem with this story. I was in Disneyland in December of 2000. We went to TSI, I have distinct memories of going on both the bridges. Neither was closed. I also went in the caves and saw no out of place signs.

In short I don't believe one bit of the story. I think its one big lie.

Unless they opened it all up for the New Years eve time period.

The story Claims these things were closed in 1999.


Dreams Unlimited Travel is committed to providing you with the very best vacation planning experience possible. Our Vacation Planners are experts and will share their honest advice to help you have a magical vacation.

Let us help you with your next Disney Vacation!