for Universal's Halloween? Plus reader feedback on Disney's
if you've ever thought about attending Universal Studios
Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights, this is the year.
You might not get another chance. Management has been informed
that this yearyear four in its current incarnationmay
be the event's last, unless it turns a profit.
While guests may miss the annual scare-fest, many workers
will be happy to see it go. "It's never been popular with
the tour employees," one explains, "because it meant a
major gearing up right after a three-month summer peak season
and also having to deal with the major park security problems
each night of HHN."
This year, to save money, Universal cut 90% of HHN's advertising
and promotional budget. Ironically, advance ticket sales are
currently 20% ahead of last year. It will be interesting to
see what happens if the trend continues, since Universal is
so keen on getting out of the Halloween business, at least in
Southern California. HHN at Universal Studios Florida
is in no danger, since it runs many more nights and is a huge
success every year. -
both agreed with and took exception to "Disney's Casting
As Qyouth wrote:
"I was recently hired to work at Disneyland
DCA. I agree, if Disney (had not relaxed its hiring
standards), I probably wouldn't have gotten hired, mainly
because I am overweight. But these people they are hiring,
although they don't fit the "Ken and Barbie" look,
they do have the heart of a cast member.
"A good example is a girl who was in my interview
group. She was too glum to be a cast member. She didn't even
try to put on a good show in the interview, and if she had
used "like" one more time, I would have strangled
her. She was clearly not hired.
"The final verdict is: Disney has lowered its
standards for appearance, but not personality."
But a co-worker, J. M., wrote:
"Loved your article on the cast member recruitment.
Many cast members feel (the hiring drive) was a big bust. The
park is even busing college students from San Bernardino and
other outside areas to apply and be interviewed."
Miles Ketchum offered a possible solution:
I am a former Disneyland cast member (Fantasyland
Merchandise 1987-94), and I find all of these Disneyland
Resort labor stories very interesting. I keep opening my
mailbox, wondering why I'm not receiving some sort of
solicitation to return to the Disney work force? It seems to
me they are missing out on perhaps quite a few capable people
willing to work part-time for the debut of the new park.
I think Miles has a great idea! I'm sure many alumni would
love the chance to relive their polyester-clad college years
-- on a part-time basis. During other labor crunchessuch
as the Big Strike of 1984Disneyland did call on former
cast members to fill in. Remember, though, that was a temporary
situation. DCA, despite the wishes of its very vocal critics,
isn't going away. -
|For my part,
I've spent the last few days enduring the Chinese Email Torture,
as one depressing message after another arrives updating me,
blow by blow, on the demise of Universal's landmark War Lord
Friday October 6:
Most of today was spent hearing the sound of the
demolition workers dismantling the roof and the upper rear
portion of the War Lord Tower. If the rumor is true, tonight
or early Saturday the tower will come down.
Monday October 9:
The destruction of the War Lord Tower has slowly begun.
A small part of the top was removed this morning as well as
the interior supports. The surrounding foundation was removed
over the weekend.
Early Tuesday October 10:
The War Lord Tower is now beginning its trek into park
history, as only a brief reminder of what it once looked like
is just a mere skeleton of wood and large sections of its
facade removed. As of today, the only visible portion of the
tower facade is just below the area that once been the first
set of large (window) like openings as shown on your website
Late Tuesday October 10:
I was at USH this morning around 3 a.m., after Halloween
Horror Nights rehearsals, and the War Lord Tower just came
down. I took two photos of the last section of doorway, arch
and large wooden door as the skip loader knocked it over. By
this afternoon, most of the debris will probably be removed.
They were loading and hauling it away in a couple of dump
Wednesday October 11:
I was at Universal this afternoon and, yes, the Tower is
now all gone except for some of the cement foundation and some
small support rods. In violation of our noise agreement with
our neighbors, the final demolition was started at 2:30 a.m.
Wednesday morning. Senior management told us it was done at
this time because this is when the fewest employees would be
around to witness it, but they forgot that the park was full
of hundreds of HHN performers and staff in rehearsal. Well, at
least we still have the Psycho house.
Hopefully, we can show photos of the Tower's demolition on
MousePlanet in the near future, to bid a final farewell to a
piece of theme park history.
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.
Visit MouseShoppe to purchase copies of David's books. (Clicking on the link opens a new window.)