My mailbox was burning up with all
the traffic it saw after my article about Disneyland testing
a new height measurement system. Several CMs indicated that they would
not rely solely on the wristbands to allow children to ride various attractions.
They will still double check the measurement. One CM had some interesting
comments and observations:
Hola. I've been a reader of MousePlanet since
its inception and the DIG for a while longer. I write to David Koenig
and Al occasionally, but this is a first for me to respond to one
of your articles which I have found very interesting and informative.
I'm a DL resort CM
over the past ten months, I've had a great
deal of experience with the "height question" in my work
at (two attractions that have) a 40" height requirement and CMs
are signed-off on the policy. In other words, we are trained on the
policy and required to enforce it and if there is some sort of accident,
we can be held accountable if the height was an issue.
My two cents on the sonic measuring device? The idea is brilliant
and I hope that at least that portion of the scheme works. The wristbands
however, are a different matter. I have several reservations regarding
the wristbands which I feel are simply a waste of money.
First, regardless of whether or not the child has a colored wristband,
it is my responsibility as an attractions host to ensure that the
child is of the appropriate height so that he may ride safely - I'm
still unsure of the legalities (I've asked management and the union
about this), but as far as I can tell, the wristband does not remove
my liability nor relieve my conscience. What am I trying to say? I
will continue to check anyone's height that I do not feel meets the
height requirement and deny them access to the attraction if they
do not meet the height. I'm sure that this will enrage guests who
don't care about safety just as it always has.... As long as I am
responsible, I'll be responsible.
Secondly, now that the wristband has been displayed on the Internet
and is in some use at the resort, it will not take enterprising parents
long to figure out how to cheat. We see it already with the platform
shoes and tall or spiked hairdos! It never ceases to amaze me to see
parents so flagrantly disregard safety - I understand that a number
of our guests feel that Disneyland is safe for everyone, but nevertheless,
an attraction is usually a moving piece of industrial machinery and
height requirements are there for a reason.
Third, and this ties somewhat into the second point, the wristband
may have a proprietary stamp on it ("Disneyland" and the
image of Mickey, etc.), but in a rush of people, all a CM is going
to see is the color. By this, I mean to say once again that cheating
will be made easier. Also, on a minor note, last Sunday a series of
schools had groups come to the park and each school had on a variety
of colored wristbands - orange, yellow, red, etc. - there's more confusion
for you, not to mention how quite a few venues around orange county
use wristbands too. I joked with a lead on that day that if I were
following the policy, all those school kids that were probably in
the sixth grade and over 40" would not have been able to ride
Space Mountain since they were wearing yellow wristbands....
Special thanks to a MousePlanet
reader for the above - Art © Disney
Fourth, kids are kids and no matter
how difficult and tamper resistant those bands are, kids are still
going to be taking them off. That being the case, they will have to
be measured again anyway, right? Aside from measuring them again,
there will be the inconvenience and cost of getting a new wristband.
Those are my concerns. As far as the issue with consistency between
current measuring points is concerned, all I can say is that mistakes
happen and that overall, the consistency between them has always been
quite good, at least on the Disneyland side of the compass.
Anyway, I hope my comments are of some interest to you. I share the
same views with a good deal of the CM that I work with. Some are as
committed to safety as I am and some are not. We'll see which heads
prevail. Again, I'm very happy about the sonic measuring devices,
but hesitant to believe the wristbands will solve anything.
I sent a reply to this CM, asking
if Disneyland was listening to feedback about the system.
On MousePad, a discussion included a story about a family whose son was
mis-measured one day but not checked against the traditional measuring
stick. The next day, he was re-measured and this time measured correctly
for 47". Here is the CM's reply:
I know I didn't specifically mention this before,
but this goes back to one of my core arguments regarding measuring
in general. The park is trying to tell us that the new measuring system
and the wristbands will make our jobs easier. In reality, it is only
transferring the same old complaints to another place and in some
cases, adding new complaints (like not being measured again at the
cobra for example).
The sonic measuring device is supposed to be
the same one developed by NASA for determining space shuttle loads.
There seems to be the general perception that the device is infallible.
Unfortunately, it is subject to both human and non-human error.
As far as non-human error is concerned, it
is a measurement machine, and like any machine, it will need *regular*
calibration. Frankly, if the park isn't willing to change a light
bulb over the Space Mountain Fast Pass distribution computer or to
regularly calibrate the various video monitors found throughout the
resort, than why should any of us believe that they will regularly
calibrate the sonic measuring device?
As for the human error, if the sound-reflective
plate is tilted, the measurement will be incorrect. Now aside from
that, the line that quite a few managers and leads are giving the
front line cast members is that once someone has a wristband, the
cast members should not check their height again. That works both
ways for people that are actually shorter than their possible "counterfeit"
wristbands and those that may be taller and were incorrectly measured.
Now, as to whether or not concerns will be
addressed, I'd say you have a better chance of getting a lifetime
pass for your entire family than of having concerns on this issue
addressed by the park.... First of all, I've been told that these
devices are obscenely expensive, so once the money has been invested,
i doubt the likelihood of them being scrapped. Secondly, the word
"test" or "pilot-program" is Disney-speak for
"we've already committed to this and are just putting in the
prototype to see how we have to tweak it to make it work they we want
it to." That was true of Fast Pass, of Fast Track, and of costume
shopping, not to mention many other projects. Thirdly and lastly,
I've been told that the final order for all machines has been placed
and is being worked on.
Let's face it, the device will not change the
fact that some folks will cheat, that some will argue as to the correctness,
that some others will be mis-measured, etc. I do believe that it will
be generally a good thing however. Where I have my concerns are the
calibration of the unit and the usefulness and legalities surrounding
"A concerned cast member"
I would like to alert you that your information
on the height check stick at the Jumpin Jelly Fish is inaccurate.
I have personally checked the height check stick upon installation
and again after this article was written and I can assure you that
this stick is now and has always been 40". It would be nice if
you would publish the correction
Special thanks to a MousePlanet
reader for the above - Art © Disney
I stand by the information as I wrote
it: Mary measured the stick with a tape measure she had in
her purse and it measured 41". I was curious to see how Mary would
respond, so I forwarded this to her and here's what she said:
It might be correct *today* but it was NOT
correct when I was there in July with the kids. When I went to guest
relations in July, I was told that there are some inconsistencies
in the measuring sticks (or whatever it's called) and it's regrettable
but it happens. They said that they have maintenance working on it
all the time, but it still can happen.
Personally, when we've been measured at Jellyfish,
I have found the CMs to be ultra-defensive about the exactness of
the measurement, which makes me think that there has been/may still
be problems with it.
On our last trip, though, Erin was not measured
at any time on Jellyfish, but she was checked at Soarin'. Go figure.
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experience taking kids to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp
counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she
started her favorite job, being Matthew and Spencer's Mom.
Adrienne, Matthew and
Spencer visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy, too.
Besides Matthew & Spencer,
Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain The
Happiest Potties on Earth website.