Editor's Note: A photo essay about mis-matched
drain covers? Has MousePlanet gone utterly mad?
At first look it may sure seem so. But
take a gander at Ian's story and photos below and ask yourself the
following question - Why if it mattered so much during
construction (and at such great expense) to get this kind of
detailing right, why does it not matter now (when all it would
take is a mere moment to fix it)?
Although drain covers may not be high
on your list when it comes to thinking of how Disney used to get the
details right, it is symptomatic of some of the larger problems the
parks are currently facing under a management that simply no longer
wishes to maintain the standard of quality that earned them their
There's a reason Disney theme parks
have traditionally been industry leaders, both in attendance and revenue
generation - and it was due in large part to an incredible level of
detail and care that kept them a step above the local amusement parks
and traveling carnivals that Walt Disney was determined to better with
Disneyland and later Walt Disney World.
Whether it's mis-matched manhole
covers, deteriorating attractions such as Tiki Room or Haunted Mansion
at Disneyland, or the very obvious customer unfriendly budget
restrictions at the new California Adventure park or Animal Kingdom in
Walt Disney World, current thinking at Disney seems to be that these
past levels of quality no longer need to be adhered to. Yet the company
still demands higher and higher admission, merchandise and concession
prices as it sets it standards even lower.
Savvy customers are beginning to
question why if prices keep going up, the upkeep, attention to detail
and quality of the experience keeps going down.
It's simply reducing the value of your
purchase isn't it?
The magic of Disney is in the details
folks, even those underfoot.
- Al Lutz
Parky’s Pet Peeve
There are many things about the maintenance
and upkeep of the Disney parks that are disappointing and sometimes
annoying. It is often reported on MousePlanet how our favorite
attractions are in decay or unclean requiring more care and attention
than they obviously receive. You only need to look at the Tiki Room in
Disneyland as I did on my recent trip, to see how bad things have
Bearing this in mind I had a look around the
Disneyland Paris to see what areas are badly in need of maintenance, and
unsurprisingly I found quite a few. There are areas where paint is
peeling, wood is rotting and the general quality of the park is below
par, but these are not the topic of this story.
My pet peeve regarding maintenance and ‘bad
show’ around the park is all about Manhole covers as we call them in
the UK, or Drain covers as I think you call them in the US.
In many outside areas of the park the
flooring is specially designed and finished to make the theme for the
‘land’ more realistic. This will often involve putting the floor
treatment surrounding the drain cover onto the surface of the cover to
make it less visible. In it’s simplest form the drain cover is
finished in the same color as the surrounding area, in more complex
areas patterns and multiple colors are applied. Here are a few good
examples just to show they can get it right.
As you can see some drain covers have
patterns that are made to blend into the surrounding area only when the
cover is in a specific position. The problem is these covers are never
replaced correctly, making them look out of place and even more obvious
than if they had no pattern at all.
It can be a pattern of cobbles with the
cover turned out of alignment by many degrees, some times completely the
wrong way round.
It could be a cover with a line across it
that is not inline with the surrounding area.
Or it can simply be not quite right.
All these covers can be put back correctly,
it’s just that the people who do the work have no artistic skills, or
simply may not care, and therefore do not see the glaring mistake.
It seems very silly and a waste of money to
me, to go to the trouble to design and finish all these covers so that
they are invisible, only to find that they are not replaced correctly by
the maintenance teams.
I thought that this would be a problem
related only to Disneyland Paris, and that the other Disney parks would
make sure that the attention to detail in their parks was beyond
reproach, but I was wrong. I recently visited Disney’s California
Adventure, which has only been officially open for six weeks, and what
did I find? Drain covers made to blend in with the flooring, but not
installed correctly, even in the newest park they can’t get it right.
It really does frustrate me to see this, I
would rather they did not bother to finish the covers in any special way
instead of making them even more obvious by replacing them incorrectly.
So that’s my pet peeve which is now off my
chest. Why not see if you can find these kinds of problems in your
Disney park, take a photograph and send it to me and I will show the
best in a later story.