Disneyland Park Updateby Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Update for November 21-28, 2005
Go directly to: News & Views| Current Refurbishment/Attraction Closures| Park Events| Discounts/Promotions| Park Schedule/Blockout Dates
This piece has been added since the update first published overnight on November 20th. The next item, "More labor details" mentions cutbacks in Merchandise locations and this morning has brought news of just how widespread it is. There are significant store closures and hour reductions this week (Monday, November 21 through Thursday, November 24). At this point it looks like things may go back to normal over the weekend, and we are trying to find out if any of these closures will continue next week and beyond.
Update #2 The list below is a list that was distributed to Disney cast member over the weekend. Apparently a new revised list is now slowly getting into circulation that is not identical to this one but identifies 32 retail locations at Disneyland and DCA that will be on reduced operating hours or simply closed. Apparently it is more of a worst case scenario and some stores may actually open or hours could return to normal if sufficient staffing is available. So use the following list as guidance but actual closures may very from day-to-day and even hour-to-hour with the smaller stores and carts generally being the first to close.
- Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost - Closed
- Briar Patch - Closed
- Frantasyland Camera Kiosk - Closed
- Fantasy Fair Gift Cart - Closed
- Stromboli's Wagon - Closed
- Villain Lair - Closed
- Frontierland Pin Cart - Closed
- Guide 1 and Guide 2 (the souvenir carts near the train tunnels) - Closed
- Main Street Pin Cart - Closed
- New Century Timepieces - Opening at 10:00 a.m.
- Newstand - Opening at 1:00 p.m.
- Silhouette Studios - reduced hours
- 20th Century Music - reduced hours
- Masquerade d'Orleans - Closed
- Royal Street Sweets - Closed
- Winner's Circle - Closed
- Hatmosphere - Closed
- Fly 'n' Buy (DCA) - Closed
- Gone Hollywood (DCA) - Closed
- Dinosaur Jack's Sunglass Shack (DCA) - Closed
- Point Magu Tattoo and Sideshow Shirts (DCA) - Closed
- Treasures in Paradise (DCA) - Closed
We've also been told that Disneyana and the Magic Shop are closed this week but want to confirm those.
More labor details
Last week (link), we detailed some of the changes at Disneyland that have resulted in increasing tension between the line employees and management. The first division at Disney to feel the pinch was Foods, as we reported through the summer (see, for example, here).
As we enter into the meat of the holiday season, it is becoming increasingly obvious how staffing issues are affecting the Merchandise division. Even in a period of exceptional park attendance, many of the minor merchandise locations (such as the Main Street Magic and Music shops) have been on limited hours. We haven't confirmed this to our liking, but we are hearing that as early as this week Disneyana may go to limited hours as well, opening at 10:00 a.m. regardless of when the park opens. Similarly, the souvenir stands at either tunnel entrance to Main Street are expected to go to reduced hours (with the Main Street Bank side being open reduced hours everyday and the City Hall side simply staying closed on certain days). We also have heard rumors that the Come Out and Play daily pin trading event at the Plaza Pavilion pin carts and Disney Pin Trading Store in Downtown Disney is to be axed.
The stores are having so much trouble staying fully staffed for every shift that everybody is being scheduled into floor positions, including stockers. This, of course, means that stocking gets neglected and as a result, salaried cast members who work behind the scenessuch as planners, managers, and display designersare being required to pitch in at the stores to help keep them stocked for the holidays (it has been whispered to us that this also provides some experience to salaried workers should Disneyland face a strike next year).
So, what happens when a store is understaffed during the holidays? Nobody gets any time offwhich can only further stress and exhaust the current employees. Last week, park cast members were given their schedule request forms for the three-week period of December 18 to January 3. There were some interesting differences from the standard this time, however.
First of all, the weekend dates on the form were completely blacked out. In other words, the cast members are not able to make any indication of preference for those days. They'll be scheduled to work when Disneyland wants them to, regardless of their availability. They don't even get to state whether they'd prefer an early or late shift. For the other days of the week, the form had FA pre-entered, where FA means fully available. So between 12/18 and 1/3 there is not a single day that hourly cast members are allowed to request off. During the weekdays, however, they are at least allowed to express a shift preference, though there is no guarantee it will be granted.
Part of the "Schedule Preference Form" given to cast members last week, on which several preferences were dictated.
Finally, there are check boxes to indicate whether one is willing to work overtime on scheduled days, as well as whether there is a willingness to work sixth and/or seventh days in a week. There is a disclaimer on the form that says that even if you say you don't want overtime, you may still be scheduled for mandatory overtime as long as every qualified person with less seniority has been scheduled before you. It is also necessary to keep in mind that even once scheduled, by union contract, any person can be required to extend their shift to 10 hours as long as they are notified more than two hours before the scheduled end of the shift.
All hourly cast members received the same form. Anecdotes of very upset high-seniority cast members are already circulating, with stories of people who measure their tenure in decades being denied time off they've been able to take for years. So far, this all seems to be affecting Foods and Merchandise more than Attractions, where high-seniority cast members do seem to be getting some leeway in scheduling.
Meanwhile, Disney is doing what they can to bring in more people and keep the ones they have. One former cast member posted to our message board that she had received an emailed flyer encouraging her to come in for a job. $100 bonuses are being offered if you are hired by Christmas and are still working three weeks later. Similarly, you can now find cards for the Disney Jobline at many of the resort area cash registers.
Some have asked why we're spending so much time on these labor issues; after all, aren't they just behind-the-scenes gamesmanship? To a degree, this is truebut it is also impacting the customer when operating hours are affected by staffing, or if service levels have to drop from cast members being overworked or underexperienced. Also, with the whispering about a strike next year, it could really come to impact everybody who visits Disneyland.
...the park is just cruising along through the holidays with not much in the way of news to report. The Christmas Fantasy parade is now open and performing twice a day through the end of the holiday season. Presented here are a selection of photos by frequent contributor David Michael. (There are a few small items after the photos.
The ballerina in her music box. Photo by David Michael.
Donald Duck and Mrs. Claus. Photo by David Michael.
Aladdin and the Genie are in a smaller more mobile vehicle. Photo by David Michael.
Dancing snowflakes. Photo by David Michael.
Minnie Mouse and Mickey (not shown) ice skate on their float. Photo by David Michael.
Goofy on his gingerbread house float. Photo by David Michael.
Cinderella and Prince Charming waving to the crowd. Photo by David Michael.
Gepetto is busy making toys on his float. Photo by David Michael.
Santa Claus and his sleigh get a new float in the parade this year. Photo by David Michael.
Ears to the ground
...Of interest to some will be that you can now get a Spanish language track, using headsets, for the 50 Magical Years film in the Main Street Opera House.
...Our apologies to anybody who may have been mislead by a mistake in our Annual Pass blockout date page. It erroneously shows New Year's Eve as not being blacked out for Deluxe annual passes when it is in fact blacked out.
...It is the season of Santa Ana winds in Southern California and if you're visiting between now and the end of the year, you should keep it in the back of your mind that wind-affected shows and attractions (most notably the Remember...Dreams Come True fireworks show) may not be available at any given day or time.
...Several people have written to ask how the distribution for standby seats at Candlelight Processional will work. We're pretty sure we know the details, but until it is certain we're just going to keep quiet for now until we're sure we won't walk into quicksand. We'll be sure to provide the details as we know them in next week's update.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email us here.
- Snow White, An Enchanted Musical closed. On hiatus during off season; expected to return for final season in summer 2006.
- it's a small world closed October 24 November 10 to install holiday overlay; closed January 9-25, 2006, to remove overlay
- Pirates of the Caribbean closed March 6 June 16, 2006 for major refurbishment and possible show updates.
- Disneyland Monorail closure beginning sometime in January 2006. Not yet announced, though expected to involve almost a complete rebuilding of Tomorrowland Station to accommodate Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, a complete refurbishment (though not reconstruction) of the track, and hopefully new monorails to replace the existing vehicles.
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently under construction and will open sometime in 2007.
Disney's California Adventure
- Department of Untapped Hilarity (D.U.H.) on hiatus. Might return for the 2006 summer season.
- Disney's Electrical Parade on hiatus for the off season, except for a two week run starting December 16.
- Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue is under construction and will open in early 2006, current target is around January 27.
- Rizzo's Props and Pawn Shop closed and is being rethemed into a mixed Monsters, Inc./Muppets store.
Note: Refurbishment schedules are estimates only. All information is subject to change without notice. To get the most recent updates, call Disneyland at (714) 7817290.
- Candlelight Processional. December 3 and 4. Dick Van Dyke will be host and narrator. Four Disneyland Resort hotels offered dining packages that included guaranteed seating for performances, but all slots have been sold.
Several current promotions offer discounted admission to the Disneyland Resort. For convenience sake, we have grouped the discount offers based on the number of days the tickets are valid. Check out the category that best matches the amount of time you plan to spend at the resort, and pick the offer which works best for you. And keep those tips coming let us know if you find a better / different offer, so we can share it with other readers!
We allowed this section to get horribly out of date, so we are removing it for this week. We'll confirm and update all the information and it will return with next week's park update.
DCA: Disney's California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates:
- SL Southern California Select Annual Pass
- SC Southern California Annual Pass
- DX Deluxe Annual Pass
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Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2005 page to see more dates. You can see future calendar schedules at Disneyland.
Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for this week at Disneyland.com here.