The Disneyland Resort Security force, once 600 officers strong, is gradually cutting back to pre-9/11 staffing levelsbasically a 50 percent reduction.
Layoffs were supposed to begin several months ago, but were delayed by the Big Thunder accident. Then, in late November, more than a dozen supervisors were let go and half the security leads were demoted.
Now that the busy holiday season has passed, attrition is beginning among the general workforce.
If you're a CT (Casual Temporary), CR (Casual Regular), or B, don't count on getting a lot of hours, said one officer. Management is hoping that these cast members will eventually leave when they realize that there will be no hours to give.
Another guard confirmed: The big cut in hours has begun. Fewer people are being scheduled. People who have worked there a year or more are being scheduled two days, some are lucky to get three. Many areas are no longer covered by security, large gaps in coverage, no breaker shifts. The people in the towers are trying to cover breaks. So they are left unmanned, as are many areas. This is the resort complex, not just the park. Some hotel areas have no security personnel at all.
The number of employees affected is large since there is a disproportionate percentage of casual positions. An officer related, Generally after a season or two cast members get turned to regular part time. This did not happen after last spring break or summer.
Certainly the force had gotten bloated over the last two years, but let's hope the reductions don't compromise the safety of the resort.
Months after the Big Thunder tragedy, the reorganization of Disneyland's Facilities department is in full swing. According to reports, V.P. of Facilities Guy Davis resigned at the end of January. Former military associate General T Irby recruited Davis as his second-in-command in 1997 to assist his streamlining of the maintenance department.
Insiders also expect Irby to no longer be on the Disneyland payroll by the end of this month. One scenario has Irby transferring to the Disney Cruise Lines, to oversee its expansion to the West Coast. Disney, says one source, is considering having a ship set sail to Mexico from the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach. Irby is supposed to be put in charge to get this in place and in operation. His former position would be filled by an old-timer.
Disneyland has made it a little trickier to fool the Fastpass system. Fastpass is now connected with the Main Entrance.
A cast member explained: When you have your Annual Pass or entrance ticket scanned in at the entrance of the park, this registers you as a paying guest to the Fastpass machines. So when you get a Fastpass, they know exactly who you are. However, if you just got a new AP, and it was not scanned when it was processed, the Fastpass machine will reject it with a ticket stating 'ticket not scanned.' There are still bugs, and City Hall is trying for a way to solve it.
The hordes of guests who have been storming City Hall to argue over the changes in the Special Assistance Passes may be getting some reliefin the form of more room to complain.
Disney is considering remodeling City Hall. Cast members report that the quiet room to the left of the lobby will be disappearing. The lobby will be expanded into this room to accommodate additional guests and their complaints.
The Resort is again giving thought to relocating the Annual Pass processing center from Disneyland to Disney's California Adventure. The most likely spot would be one of the buildings directly across from Golden Dreams.
Talk is that the current AP processing center (the former Plaza Pavilion) would be converted back into a restaurant.
Triton's Gardens is undergoing a much-needed rehab. The corroded railings around the water jets have been disassembled and the rocks are being repainted.
The single-operator Rafts reported a few weeks ago evidently were just a test.
According to one insider, Management has to look over new procedures and modifications that have to be done to the rafts to make it 'safe.' The scheduled start date for this operation is said to be some time in February. Ride operators are fighting this, with attractions management not listening.
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David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.
After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (1997, revised 2001) and More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland (1999) (All titles published by Bonaventure Press).
He lives in Aliso Viejo, California, with his lovely wife, Laura, their wonderful son, Zachary, and their adorable daughter, Rebecca.