to expound on every topic covered in last week's update. Here
are the most intriguing of the bunch, starting with more details on the
new Space Mountain rockets.
A ride operator reported:
The purple Space Mountain rocket (yes, it is #5) isn't on the
track right now. It's actually back in its home in the Facilities 500
building out next to TDA again. They are undecided and don't know if
they are going to phase it in with guests or just wait until all 14 of
them arrive. It still seems a long ways off, like after summer before
any are put into use.
Reader Issac sent MousePlanet this
photo of the new Space Mt. car Thanks again Issac!
Odds are they would do penetration testing with it without guests
at first (meaning seeing how it would handle in breaking down situations
and how fast it goes thought the mountain compared to the other rockets,
etc.). Since penetration testing takes all day (sometimes two), odds are
they'd want to wait for a rehab before they added all the rockets.
So if a rehab (maybe a week) suddenly shows up on schedules, then
that rehab is most likely to involve the rockets. It still looks far far
off, though. It's still 100% sure after summer.
The purple rockets actually serve a better purpose than just
looking nice. They have a different way to pop up the lap bars. It's a
foot pedal which makes our job a lot easier when taking out guests from
the dispatch point. We have broken down quite a bit or at least went to
a reduced capacity (we go reduced about every two hours for about 20
minutes due to that problem) because we have trouble getting people out
at dispatch due to the current crappy lap bar release.
Some of the stuff they changed during this past rehab:
1. Pretty painted new station and new tiling
2. DL-2000 on the rocket changed to 3000
3. The second lift's chain was replaced.
4. Lead removal (yay)
5. Rows 1, 2, 3 moved 11 inches to the left.
Regarding Tomorrowland's defunct fountain, Cosmic Waves (shown below), the
Apparently they are going to keep the giant marble, but replace
everything else with a ring of orange trees. Odd.
As for other attractions, another employee noted:
Remember how the queue for the Matterhorn was redone so it does
not wrap around the mountain?
Well, after a dismal failure, the queue has been returned to its
original form (where it again wraps around the mountain).
On to merchandise, reader Clinton
I have read your column regularly and your books, as well. They
are all good reads if a little disheartening, but the news about the
Villains shop especially struck me. I liked that shop quite a bit, as I
travel to Disneyland two or three times a year and like the Villains
I had noticed the shop stocking some more Fantasmic-based items,
Sorcerer Mickey and the light spinners and so forth, which seemed a
little out of place
but this just shocks me. There is no change in
the theme for the store at all? Sounds like just merchandise I wouldn't
be interested in in the slightest in a store that used to stock things I
had to buy. It's sad, really. I will be going to the park in two
Am I correct in thinking that City Hall is the correct place to
file complaints about such matters?
Yes, City Hall would be the place to go to
complain. I think the rationale behind the shop changes is to better
target specific identifiable demographics most likely to be in a
particular area. A lot of little girls visit Fantasyland, so let's have a
shop just for little girls. A lot of little boys visit Fantasyland, so
let's have a shop just for little boys. It was probably difficult to
quantify the audience for a villains shop. It was a unique experience, so
hopefully it will return or turn up elsewhere. (Although Disney is
convinced you don't maximize revenue through unique merchandise.)
Another cast member recently told me that the
makeover in Merchandise was influenced by the continuing increase in
annual passholders (Al Lutz's latest
update says the ranks of APers are now up to 450,000!).
Since APers make up an increasingly larger
percentage of a day's total crowd and the average APer spends far less on
souvenirs than the typical tourist, the idea is to fill up the stores with
less expensive merchandise (under $10) that can be "changed out"
more frequently, hopefully creating more opportunities to sell to repeat
A cast member confirmed:
In your latest article where a merchandise cast member commented
about the metal strips on the merchandise like on CDs and videos to
prevent shoplifting, that's exactly what it is. Cast members can be seen
at the entrances of the shops throughout the resort watching guests.
If this new security system goes resort-wide, these cast members
will be the ones to approach the guest if any merchandise trips the
Reader Kathy wrote:
We were at Disneyland about a week and a half ago &
experienced the new anti-theft system at the Gag Factorywe
inadvertently set it off both entering and exiting the store with
previously purchased merchandise that had not been desensitized.
No one responded to the store alarm either time, and it took me a
while to conclude that those two alarms were related to our pin
purchases out on the Small World Esplanade. Since I was unsure if there
were other theft detection devices in the park (it had been a year since
our last visit), I removed the offending strips from the pins, and knew
we'd have no more trouble.
Jason Bostick added:
About that anti-theft system in Toontown
Two words: It Sucks.
I am one of those ubiquitous pin traders who carries his collection
around with him, hermit-crab style. The first thing I learned about
those magnetic tags is that you'd better not keep a pin "mint on
card" in your bag, and you'd best check that card if bought from
World of Disney because it WILL set off the sensors the next time you
visit. There is nothing more embarrassing than to set off the security
sensor walking in the door at World of Disney and then sheepishly
pulling your collection apart to find the one errant tag.
World of Disney store
Well, actually there is. It's buying pins from World of Disney,
watching the cast member rub the tags on the desensitizing doohickey and
then setting off the sensors in Toontown later in the day. So far, since
Five and Dime has installed those sensors their record has been 3 for 3.
Three times in a row, I have bought pins at World of Disney, have gone
to Toontown (one of the best places to look for pins that are running
out of stock), and I have spent another 10 minutes while a helpful cast
member re-de-sensitizes the exact same pins.
I've taken to keeping my receipts in the bag because there is no
question about what will happen. If they expand the use of magnetic
sensors, they will reap a migraine headache of pin trader after pin
trader innocently setting off the alarms across Walt's park.
As the cast member at World of Disney recently explained to me as
to why there aren't more magnetic gates everywhere in Disneyland:
"They distract from the magic." Let's hope someone remembers
A security guard's comments on
shoplifters caught one reader's attention. Ken Martinez
First off, let me say that I thoroughly enjoy your column and am
an avid reader of MousePlanet. I was curious about the paragraph below
from your column today ("They steal right in front of the cast
members, and when they are stopped, they accuse the cast members of
picking on them because of their race.").
When you wrote that shoplifters who accused cast members of
picking on them because of their race, was this including Caucasians who
shoplift? If not, are there any Caucasian shoplifters? What excuse do
they use? The last sentence in this paragraph appears to state that
shoplifters are non-white and that this scenario is always the case.
Just wanted to share that observation with you.
This obviously was an off-the-cuff
generalization by the cast member. I suspect that, no matter what their
race, not every suspect responds in this way. It's just one common excuse,
and I honestly have no idea of the percentage breakdown of how many
Caucasians vs. Hispanics vs. Blacks vs. Asians are detainedbut,
unfortunately, I'm sure they're are plenty of each.
Some people when confronted for stealing do try to manipulate
(using race card included) to get out of a situation. I've seen it
myself. People are capable of being prejudiced regardless of their race
or background even towards their own social or ethnic group.
Also, I'm sure if someone did a study of the shoplifters, it
probably is higher within specific ethnic groups. Again, the sentence in
the paragraph that appeared in today's column appeared too black and
white for a very gray issue.
As for consolidating the two parks'
Lost & Found departments, a cast member provided:
Currently the plan is NOT for attractions to have to
"ferry" the day-of Lost & Found items to the centralized
location at the Main Entry Plaza, but instead there will be a drop-off
bin behind City Hall, not too far away from the old Disneyland Lost
City Hall and Guest Relations Lobby cast members won't have any
extra dutiesanybody asking about their lost item will be sent to
Lost & Found at the Main Entry Plaza (they have to go out there
anyway to leave the park). There will be a designated Guest Relations
"runner" to transport items from each park's day-of drop-off
locations to Lost & Found, only adding a single cast member shift to
the consolidated Lost & Found's staffing budget.
Money is being saved because you're taking a full staff for two
locations, combining them, and operating the new location with about 60%
the combined labor hours. I can see why management is addressing that
area as a cost-saving device.
Plus, if you could see how filthy the back of Disneyland's Lost
& Found is, you'd want out of there too! As it contains many items
of value (lost cameras, jewelry, clothing, merchandise, wallets, etc.),
it is a secured location overnight and therefore does not get any
cleaning at all. Even the perennial Disneyland L&F ladies are
looking forward to the move to the nice, clean facility!
If you ask me, it's a much better system from an operational
viewpoint; however, I will admit that there is an element of guest
inconvenience present. Simply put, it's easier to stop by Main Street or
the Golden Gate Bridge during the day to check on lost things, not
outside the park. But for those calling to report or check on their
items, and especially for those coming from the outside (without an
additional ticket) to pick up their items, moving Lost & Found to
the Main Entry Plaza does make sense.
Alas, every silver cloud must have a
black lining. Critics even took issue with last week's mention
of strong crowds at both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. A cast
All My Children actress Terri Ivens,
chatting with diners. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix
Was told today that the soap star promotion was a big success in
drawing people into DCA. The only problem was all the fans were too busy
staring at the stars to ride the rides, shop the shops, or even rest in
Even though the paid attendance met favorably with expectations,
the total financial intake was merely an average day! Many of the
merchandise crew spent the day twiddling their thumbs waiting for
customers. Screamin' ran with only two trains (standard minimum) due to
lack of riders.
Perhaps DCA could finally become successful by
pulling out all the attractions and permanently installing Meet-and-Greets
with the cast of General Hospital.
For a change, instead of ending the
column with a reader's complaint about cast members, we'll sign
off with a couple of cast members complaining about a reader.
A Disney World cast member wrote:
Reader Mike in your April 8 column
was right in only one respect: you should write a third volume of Mouse
Tales. They make for very fun reading.
As for the rest of this guy's comments, all I can say is give me a
break! This guy is so petty and nit-picking. If he has such BAD
experiences with Disney Guest Service, then he should just stay home.
Good Guest Service is not at all easy to provide to the
"know-it-all" guest like him. In fact, it's impossible. And,
he isn't a guest; he is a customer.
I just had to get that off my chest. Dealing with guests like him
is simply a complete nightmare.
I would be happier if he went to Knott's Berry Farm.
Thanks for letting me vent.
A Disneyland Resort employee joined in:
I couldn't help but respond to a few of one of your reader's posts
of today, April 8. Here were his comments:
1. "We bought a brick outside the gate. Went to find it and
had misplaced the location. Asked Guest Relations for help and they
directed us to a pay phone and told us to call an 800 number. Thanks
for the help, Disney!"
Guest Relations has zero access whatsoever for location of bricks.
We have a map of section locations, and that is it. That is why guests
are provided their exact location when they receive their certificate.
Brick sales are actually handled through DelivEars, our mail-order
Yes, I agree it would be nice if we had access to all that
information, but for now, the only thing we have to combat the question
"Where is my brick?" is the telephone number.
3. "Did you know that DCA sells postcards
they even have a
mailbox to send them
but they do NOT sell postage stamps? I just
found that one out the hard way the other day. Their answer was go
across the street to Disneyland!"
Stamps can also be purchased inside of the Grand Californian
Hotel. Yes, it is unfortunate that [there isn't] a stamp machine inside
DCA, but I personally don't ever mind being given an excuse to go into
4. "Spotted Eisner in the park at the beginning of December on
Main Street with a group of what appeared to be 'ordinary people.'
However, at the same time he was completely unapproachable. The usual
crowd control folks around to maintain his environment. To make
matters worse, he proceeds to take this group of people backstage of
the fire station to what I am going to assume was a personal tour of
Walt's apartment. A week prior I attended a special event at which we
were given an exclusive peek at it. We were told that this unique
opportunity would not be commoditized as they wish to respect the
dignity of Walt's Apartment."
Walt's apartment [above the Main St. Fire Station] is now used for
very special occasions or people. It is remarkably rare for someone
outside of the company to be allowed up there. There are several tours
that are being developed right now in Guest Relations; however, none of
them will be including a trip to the Apartment.
There is a sense of respect about the place, and it is felt that
visitors should be kept to a minimum, so as to keep the place from
falling apart. I will admit it is a bit surreal to sit on Walt's couch,
or handle some of the authentic items still in the apartment. If people
really want in the apartment, casting is on the corner of Ball Road and
Cast Place. Just pick the right department!
I've learned a lot of the dealings of the company working at the
Resort, and there is usually an even amount of good versus the bad. With
that, for every bad action I see by a cast member, I see 30 guests come
in and lie, cheat, and steal their way through the parks. This is
something I could write my own book about, and I think it unfortunate
that not only has the quality of casting gone down, but there has been
an even downgrade in the quality of our guests.
You should hear the story of the annual passholders who came in to
City Hall on September 12 seeking compensation for the parks being
closed on September 11. After all, they are supposed to be able to come
every day of the year. Right.
You're right. As "cast members were so
rude to me" complaints go, these don't sound like things to really
get worked up about. Unfortunately, I think that in the past Disney
spoiled us so much with extraordinary service, that we feel cheated with
ordinary service. Every cast member should welcome us with open arms and
treat us like royalty, no matter what the circumstances. Right.
I agree there's probably much
more good than bad when it comes to working for or especially
visiting Disneyland. But as you must know if you've ever worked the desk
at City Hall, people like to complain a lot more than they like to
You can write to David atthis link..