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A behindtheears look at Disneyland
Recent visitors may wonder if the Original Magic Kingdom secretly added a new guest area: Rehabland, themed with festive tarps and construction fences. It features an impressive line-up of attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, the Mark Twain, the Carrousel and a few Fantasyland dark rides, all down for maintenance.
One "ride," though, has sat inoperable for nearly a year and few guests noticeuntil the Matterhorn goes "101" and must be evacuated. It's the mountain's freight elevator, which had its cab replaced during "The Rock's" last rehab last spring. It seems that the elevator has not been cleared by OSHA for transporting people.
As a crewman explained:
The inoperable elevator means maintenance crews must lug their equipment up long flights of steps to get to the top of the mountain. He confirmed:
More commonly, the elevator had been used for evacuations when the Matterhorn goes 101. But now riders also must walk down the flights of steps to get to ground level. A cast member noted:
The Matterhorn also remains without two long-planned upgrades: FastPass and safety gates at the load area. As a Facilities cast member postulated:
First Paul Pressler and now T Irby. The D-I-G stages a "Promote Paul Pressler" campaign to get the controversial Disneyland president away from Disneyland, and Pressler ends up in charge of the entire Disneyland Resort, Disney World and Imagineering.
Now word arrives that Irby, the retired Army general recruited five years ago to turn Disneyland's Facilities department upside down, has been promoted. Irby now oversees not only Facilities, but also Attractions, Security, Entertainment, Guest Relations and other Guest Services.
Irby's added responsibilities were implied in a February 1 announcement by Disneyland president Cynthia Harriss thanking outgoing senior vice president of operations, George Kalogridis. Thirty-year Disney World veteran Kalogridis came to Anaheim to help open the expanded Disneyland Resort, and is returning to Orlando to lead their Downtown Disney team.
As a result, read the memo, "Food Operations, led by Mary Niven, Store Operations, led by Mike Griggs, and Merchandise, led by Carmen Bauza, will report to Randy Baumberger, Senior Vice President Resort Hotels and Downtown Disney. This action consolidates and aligns all of our revenue-generating operations under Randy's leadership and allows us to maintain a more integrated and consistent revenue-generating strategy.
"In addition, effective immediately Disneyland Resort Attractions and Guest Services, led by Vice President Jim MacPhee, will report to Susan Cowan, Vice President, Operations Services. Susan will assume these new responsibilities in addition to her present responsibilities. She will continue to report to T Irby, Senior Vice President, Resort Support."
As one cast member explained, "All the affected areas used to be the fiefdom of George Kalogridis. What they did was divide his former empire between Randy Baumberger (foods and merchandise, much of which was already in the hotels, his main area) and T Irby (who gained Resort Attractions and Guest Services through his downlink to Susan Cowan)."
A co-worker added, "Each department has their own vice president or director, but they eventually answer to T, who answers to Cynthia Harriss."
Well aware of Irby's reputation among veteran hourlies in Facilities, cast members throughout Operations are nervous about what changes may be in store. My hope is that Irby must have been doing something right to merit such a promotion.
Attendance ran high at both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure during Presidents Day Weekend, making for large crowds, long lines and rising tempers. Noted one security guard:
He mentioned one incident in particular from last Saturday night. According to the officer,
Brandy is best known as UPN TV's "Moesha" and The Wonderful World of Disney's "Cinderella" (whose fairy godmother was played by Whitney Houston).
It could be worse, Mike Tyson may yearn for a spin on the teacups.
You can write to David atthis link..
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.
You can contact David here.
Click here to go to David's main page for a list of archived articles.
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