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The BLOG FLUME -- The Good, the Bad and the Interesting

A recap of what's coming up, and breaking down, at theme parks around the world.

Written by John Franklin
Published: October 3, 2004 at 9:00 PM

The GOOD: Paramount is listening, or so they say.

www.dmnews.com
Theme Park Takes Online Suggestions to Heart (or is that to the bank?)

"Our guests offer an extremely important perspective that mangers can use to inform their own thinking," stated Mark Kupferman, Charlotte, NC-based vice president of research and interactive marketing at Paramount Parks.

It seems that Paramount has been using surveys for a while and used such feedback to turn Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay Water Park Resort in Kings Island, OH into the 2nd most popular seasonal theme park worldwide with more than 3 million guests annually.

If you live near a Paramount Theme Park, let them know what you think at: www.parkfeedback.com.

Now, let's hope that Disney and Six Flags will follow the lead of Paramount. G'day

More Good: They are building all over.

1) Hersheypark, Hershey, PA
www.hersheypa.com

Herseypark is planning on opening a new roller coaster this year called StormRunner.
This is an Intamin AG, Switzerland design. It is the World's FIRST Rocket Coaster with Inversions with one Top Hat (150 feet), one Cobra Loop (135 feet), Barrel Rolls, and a Flying Snake Dive. This roller coaster also interacts with three other existing rides.

Next year, Herseypark is planning on opening the World's FIRST Tower Coaster. The Turbulence is being designed by Interactive Ride, Logan, UT, to include a fifteen story tower that four-passenger vehicles will ascend and then descend, while rocking perilously, through five freefall drops. The color scheme will be red, white, and blue. Maybe, Herseypark should call this ride the American Turbuence. Or will that sound too much like our political system?

2) Six Flags Great America, Jackson, NJ
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6127547/

As you know, Six Flags Great America is planning on building the world's tallest (at 456 feet) and fastest roller coaster (accelerates to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds) called Kingda Ka to open during Spring 2005. What you don't know is that this is expected to be the cornerstone of renewed development for the park.

"This is the first step in a process of really transforming Six Flags Great America from the largest regional theme park in the world to a true regional destination," stated Kieran Burke, chief executive officer of Oklahoma-based Six Flags.

Hey, Mr. Burke, don't you think you have more important problems to take care of at a little place called Magic Mountain? Many people have complained about the food, how dirty the place is, how long the lines are, etc. Hey, Mr. Burke, BRING BACK THE MAGIC. (Ooops, or does this belong to Disney only?)

And isn't Walt Disney World the largest theme park resort anyway?

3) Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
www.americacoasters.com/

Looks like the final track piece of the Silver Bullet was put in place last Thursday, September 30, 2004. Expect to see the start of testing any time with a soft opening sometime in Nov. I wonder if Knott's will name two of their trains Tonto and Lone Ranger?

The Screamin' Swing is now open with a price tag of $15 per ride. What are they giving away, free silver bullets for this price?

No word yet as to when Lucy's Tugboat will open.

But, it looks like Knott's is fast shaping up to be a real contender to CA Adventures.

4) Many new rides have opened this year, for a complete list, go to: www.americacoasters.com/NewFor2001/
This site also contain reviews of rides like PKD's Volcano: The Blast Coaster, photos of Kennywood Park, photos of Geauga Lake, and a review of Phantom's revenge.

More Good:

Paris Disneyland is still open!
www.business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8209-1284666,00.html

Paris Disneyland (aka Euro Disney) was able to come to terms with its creditors on September 28 to avert bankruptcy. The deal will allow the parks to stay open and capital to build new and exciting rides and attractions. One such ride being consider is a version of the Tower of Terror. But, who knows? Or is this a terror-able idea?
After all it did NOT increase attendance at CA Adventures.

The Best:

Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.
www.wdwmagic.com

1) The Magic Kingdom.
October 2, 2004

Stitch is ready to escape!

Stitch's Great Escape!

The walls came down and were replaced with planters. Based on other projects, expect to see it open soon for soft openings/ AP previews. Now why would Stitch want to escape Walt Disney World for? Maybe, because of the food prices?

Demolition is still continuing on the old 20K Leagues Under the Sea show building and lagoon. No word yet what is being planned for this site.

The old Fantasyland Skyway building is still under wraps. Some of this area is suppose to be used for strollers parking for It's a Small World next door. Small World is still undergoing a major rehab until sometime during spring 2005.

2) EPCOT
October 3, 2004

The reason for you to start Soarin'.

As part of "The Happiest Celebration on Earth," Walt Disney World Resort will launch "Soarin'" in May 2005, beckoning Epcot guests to experience a magical journey that sweeps them up, over and across the landscape of the Golden State.

This is how the official Disney Press Release began. Now, why would WDW's guests want to see sunny California for? Maybe, it's because there will be nothing at Disneyland for them to see in the first place. Some Happiest Celebration for Disneyland.

3) Disney-MGM Studios

Get ready for the Stunts to begin.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

All major sets are complete with all-new signs up in front. The training of the stuntmen is well underway, so expect to see this show opening soon to soft openings/ AP reviews. A real stunt would be to see Disney bring down their prices.

4) Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest

The mountain framework seems to be complete with some of the fake rock surfaces being placed on the lowest portions of the mountain. This project is still on track for a 2006 opening. Go to this site of all photos on the construction of this new mountain. Disney hopes that more people will want to see this than the rest of Animal Kingdom. Right now, AK is just a half-day park. But will Everest make this a FULL-day park? Right. It will take more than Everest to do that. Like say another 5 E/D-ticket rides.

What used to be the Best:

1) Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
www.screamscape.com and www.disneyland.com

Rides/attractions undergoing rehab:

The Matterhorn closed until Mid November for rebuilding of some of the lower slopes and other work.
Enchanted Tiki Room closed until Mid March for extensive repair work to the building (due to termite damage) and to gut the show room to bring the show up to modern standards.
The Columbia closed until Dec. 1 due to a major rehab of the ship. A lot of the hull has to be replaced due to water damage of the hull.

I guess that Pressler/Harris never heard of the old saying: Penny wise, Pound foolish. The reason why that DL presidents like Ron Dominguez (during the '70's and early '80's) had every location in the Park to undergo annual rehabs, was not only to repaint, repair anything broken, but to prevent as well.

A simple coat of paint every year could have prevented most of the Columbia's Hull from suffering water damage.
Likewise, having the Matterhorn undergo annual rehabs might have prevented a lot of the structure damage that the wood framework suffered during the Pressler/Harris years.
And annual rehabs would have prevented a lot of the termite damage of the Tiki building. The Tiki building also contain the Pavilion and Aladdin's Oasis as well.

The Haunted Mansion has reopened with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.

The Sleepy Beauty Castle is still under wraps until Mid-November.

Buzz Lightyear is still on target for a May 2005 soft opening.

Space Mountain 2.0 is still on target for a November 2005 reopening. But, don't count on this. I remember back in 1978 that Space Mountain was subject to break downs every hour. So, be warned.

They are still trying the submarines out with a new Nemo overlay. But, this is just a test; this is only a test. If it were a real attraction, it will not even open until 2007. And that is even assuming that Esiner will approve the project. If the submarines were to return, then the Monorail platform over the Submarine old queue area will have to be rebuilt to conform with ADA standards. It seems that when the elevator was built to give wheelchairs access to the Monorails, it cut into the submarine queue area and would prevent three submarines from loading and unloading at the same time. So, the whole Monorail platform would have to be rebuilt with wheelchair ramps in order for three submarines to load/unload at the same time.

2) Disney's California Adventures

Nothing new here except:
1) Superstar Limo is not listed on any park maps.
2) Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is not listed on any park map.
3) Hollywood Vine and Dine has been closed for about nine months and not listed on any park map.
4) There is a rumor going around that the Alladdin in the Hyperion Theater is about ready to close as well.

If it wasn't for the Tower of Terror, Disney could just board up Hollywood Backlot and forget about it. Or is Disney trying to compete with Knott's and make the Hollywood Backlot into a ghost town which it looks like most of the time anyway with all the closed-up buildings and lack of guests in this area of the park.

The BAD:

1) All managers/presidents of Amusement/Theme parks or Carnivals take heed.
www.wbir.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=20130

Amusement park manager indicted on second degree murder and reckless homicide charges.

A woman, June Carol Alexander, was riding "The Hawk" at Rocking Raceway (near Knoxville, Tennessee) last March 14, 2004, when her safety strap failed when the ride was upside down and she felled 60 feet to her death.

If this manager is found guilty of these charges, a precedent will be established that the ones who run theme parks can be legally and criminally held accountable for bad maintenance at their parks.

2) More fatalities and injuries at carnivals/fairs
www.rideaccidents.com

On Sunday, September 26, 2004, a Sizzler carnival ride broke apart in Kentucky, killing a man and injuring others. The fault was blamed on the use of improper bolts being used which kept the seat together.

On Friday, Oct. 1, 2004, at the Kentucky Apple Festival in Johnson County, several people were injured when a Himalaya ride derailed. The accident is still being investigated.

I wonder if Kentucky has heard what is going on next door in TN? If so, don't be surprise if Kentucky follows suit and bring charges against the owners/operators of these rides.

And now the Interesting: The Henry Ford Travels with Disney.

The Henry Ford to Create Traveling Exhibit Celebrating 50 Years of Disneyland
www.biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040927/dem033_1.html

Disney will loan the Henry Ford up to 500 pieces of original artwork, models, construction drawings, old ride vehicles, and media materials relating to the architecture and design of Disneyland. The exhibit will open at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., in September 2005 and will start to tour the US in early 2006.

"During the celebration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary, this exhibit will offer a unique way to pay tribute to Walt's original park, a concept so popular, that it launched an entirely different genre of family entertainment that now spans the globe," said Marty Sklar, Vice-Chairman and Principal Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering (aka WED Enterprises).

The highlight of the show will be original ride cars for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The rarest sight will be an up-close look at the original Abraham Lincoln figure used in the Illinois pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair in New York.

Want to comment on the job that John Franklin did today? We're keeping a running log of reader comments on all the Blog Flume candidates here.

Readers' Opinions

From Jason Lester on October 4, 2004 at 10:10 AM
Screamin' Swing (according to Americas Coasters) is only $5 a ride.
From J. Dana on October 4, 2004 at 11:10 AM
Some comments. Go ahead and yell at me for being picky, but some of this needs addressing:

1) Most theme parks do use guest feedback in their day-to-day operations. For example, Disney and Universal post Guest cards in backstage areas so that employees can see how those problems are being addressed. The larger issues (such as "build another thrill ride") are definitely considered at length. It may not seem that way, but the new MGM (soon to be Disney Studios) stunt show DID NOT come about because guests were oh-so-happy with the backlot tour. Guest unhappiness with the apparent "ghost town" appearance of the NY Street in MGM prompted the decision--the fact that the Disney company already had the show in Paris was another factor.

2) Yes, John, Disney is the largest theme park resort in the World. However, the Six Flag's Great America statement claimed that Great America was the largest REGIONAL PARK. There's a big difference. All the Six Flags are regional parks, which means they are tourist draws mainly for their immediate regions. Disney and Universal, however, are international resorts because they draw from all across the world. Big difference.

3) Um, okay, maybe Space Mountain did break down a bit in 1978....ain't it grand what over 25 years can do? Expect Space Mountain to maintain the same effectiveness as in recent years.

4) The trademark geek in me cringed at the "Sleepy Beauty" castle remark. It's "Sleeping Beauty" (like the movie of the same name). And in Florida, it's Cinderella Castle, NOT Cinderella's Castle....this never made sense to me, but trademarks rarely do. It's the same rule that makes all Disney printed collateral say "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror." It's a marketing death sentence to say anthing different. And it's "Disney's Animal Kingdom," not "Animal Kingdom." And "Magic Kingdom" must always be followed by the word "park" (lowercase of course)....blah blah blah...is anyone bored yet? Sorry. Like I said, it's that geek part of me.

5) I don't really understand the remarks about Epcot's soaring. You said: "Now, why would WDW's guests want to see sunny California for? Maybe, it's because there will be nothing at Disneyland for them to see in the first place. Some Happiest Celebration for Disneyland." So, if I read this correctly, your critique of Epcot's soarin has something to do with Disneyland's having "nothing to see"? I'm still missing this one....someone please explain. I know I can be pretty dense sometimes, so I'll need some help on this one. The critique of Epcot's Soarin should be that it's a retread. Epcot should have done something new, something better. Tying a tour of California into the Land pavilion does kinda fit. But the Mouse folks need to realize that the more they just copy existing attractions, the less chance they have of getting tourists to visit more than one park.

6) However, some attractions are staples of Disney parks and thus, find incarnations in different parts of the world. This has been done successfully with Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. I think putting a TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR (R) in each "resort" area is a good idea. Especially if small things are changed to set each one apart.

7) My guess on the work being done at WDW's 20K attraction is that it'll be receiving the same Nemo overlay as California's. Makes sense.

From Kenny Hitt on October 4, 2004 at 11:49 AM
Sorry J...it'll bee kinda hard to do that since WDW's sub lagoon has been filled in with dirt. Apparently, they're putting in some sort of Hundred-Acre Wood / Winnie the Pooh-themed character greet.
From J. Dana on October 4, 2004 at 1:02 PM
dirt, huh? Shows how much I know. I haven't been to Magic Kingdom in Orlando for about 6 months, but a pooh-land here and in Animal Kingdom seems a little excessive to me. But again, what do I know?
From John Franklin on October 4, 2004 at 1:50 PM
These are the current updates to the information in my article:
1) Jim Hill Media is listing 2005 as the reopening of the Submarines while Mice Age is saying 2007. My guess would be sometime in 2006 and that is IF Eisner even approves the attraction. But, Tomorrowland sure needs the rides.
2)The Swing upcharge ride at Knott's is now listed as $5 on Screamscape as well. This shows how fast information can change from the time you research and post an article.
3) As far as guest feedbacks are concern, Disneyland has used them for 50 years. But, it seems that current management (ie Eisner et al)seems to ignore them because of concerns for expense. Eisner should take a lesson from the Oriental Land Company in how to run Theme Parks. They own and operate two of the most successful theme parks in the world (Tokyo Disneyland and Disney's Seas).
So what do you think is the most successful theme park of the last 10 years that bear the Disney name?
Is it:
a) Animal Kingdom?
b) CA Adventures?
c) Paris Studios? or
e) Disney's Seas?
4) To J. Dana, all rides when they first open have break downs all the time. It takes time for all the bugs to be worked out in computer programs, cast members becoming used to the new attraction, hardwear problems and the like. Even Winnie the Pooh ride had break downs a lot last year when it first open. And it took about 4 months to work out all the bugs on attractions like It's a Small World, the Hunted Mansion, and Pirates. So, expect Space Mountain 2.0 to have breakdowns a lot when it first opens. My guess is that it will take about 6-8 weeks before Space Mountain will be running on a regular basis without many breakdowns.
5) J. Dana, since when has ThemePark Insider or other sites been concerned with trademarks?
How often is Animal Kingdom refered to as AK or Walt Disney World as WDW or Disney World? (Note: WDW was originally to be named Disney World anyway. It was Roy O. Disney, first president of Walt Disney Productions and brother to Walt, that renamed the place Walt Disney World to honor his brother.)
6) As far as guests comments at Disneyland is concerned:
No guest comments were ever posted at either the Inn Between or the Pit Cast Member Restaurants or any other break area (ie. Fan 2, Space Place, break areas behind Town Square, etc.). The only place I saw guest comments was in the Disneyland Line weekly newsletter for Cast Members during the 5 years that I worked there.
From Matt Fugate on October 4, 2004 at 4:09 PM
Idiots! The Aladdin show was one of their few good attractions!
From Robert OGrosky on October 4, 2004 at 5:19 PM
Just to nitpick a little, isnt the park in NJ called Six Flags Great Adventure and not Great America???
From Ruth Honor on October 4, 2004 at 5:38 PM
Hershey Park opened StormRunner the beginning of 2004 season. Also their website is posting pics of the new coaster for 2005 which are worth checking out.
From Kevin Baxter on October 4, 2004 at 7:55 PM
I thought the WDW 20K was being paved over. Unless it is really wet concrete, I don't see subs moving through the area.
From David Klawe on October 4, 2004 at 8:56 PM
Let's see...

"As you know, Six Flags Great America is planning on building the world's tallest (at 456 feet) and fastest roller coaster (accelerates to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds) called Kingda Ka to open during Spring 2005. What you don't know is that this is expected to be the cornerstone of renewed development for the park." - Is also an Intermin AG Rocket coaster, if you mention it in one park, you should let folks know that it is the same basic ride in the next paragraph!

"Looks like the final track piece of the Silver Bullet was put in place last Thursday, September 30, 2004. Expect to see the start of testing any time with a soft opening sometime in Nov. I wonder if Knott's will name two of their trains Tonto and Lone Ranger?" - Official opening as per Knott's Press Release is December 7th, and based on past experience, there will be NO soft openings, Knott's tends to do a big Grand Opening, in fact, maybe a charity fund raiser for the first public rides on Dec. 7th.

"The Screamin' Swing is now open with a price tag of $15 per ride. What are they giving away, free silver bullets for this price?" - SS opened at 3 PM on Thursday, and had a $5 price tag, at NO time was it $15.....

"No word yet as to when Lucy's Tugboat will open." - Lucy's Tugboat opened just after Labor Day, and Knott's did send out a Press Release.... Maybe you should use news.google.com....

"Nothing new here except:
1) Superstar Limo is not listed on any park maps.
2) Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is not listed on any park map.
3) Hollywood Vine and Dine has been closed for about nine months and not listed on any park map.
4) There is a rumor going around that the Alladdin in the Hyperion Theater is about ready to close as well."

SSL is long gone, and hasn't operated since early 2002.

WWTBAM-PI! contract was not renewed and is also in Yesterland...

Hollywood and Vine has been closed to the Public since 2002, and is now used as a Group marketing area.

I haven't heard about the Aladdin closing down for good, but it is now only offered only 5 days a week (Dark Tuesday and Wednesday)

From John Franklin on October 5, 2004 at 12:39 AM
David,
As far as Ca Adventures is concerned,
1) Superstar Limo was slated to return as an attraction this year. When it seemed that the Tower of Terror was going to bring in huge crowds, Matt Ouimet and crew ordered this dark ride out of moth balls. So, the old uniforms were taken out, cast members were started to be trained, the attraction was reativated until: Matt Ouimet went on it (I believe) and saw how bad it was. It was slated to be put back into operation last May for the summer season.
2) Millionaire was just closed one month ago and the removal of the name from maps indicates it is gone for good.
3) Hollywood and Dine was in used from time to time until last Janurary, when the Foods Department decided to start to remove the equipment from the place.
4)The Aladdin Show in the Hyperion Theater was slated to be here for just two years as it stands. It started in late 2002, so it has run its course. It is no longer drawing people to the theater anymore which is why it is dark on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rumor has it, it is on its last legs.
5) Also, after Snow White and her dwarfs got major hangovers after parting all night after their 100th show and called in sick the next day which caused this show to be canceled (Sunday about 1 week or so back), Matt Ouimet is not too pleased with his Entertainment Department rumor has it. Harris adored this department whereas Ouimet is making a lot of changes. So don't be surprised if both Aladdin and Snow White are canceled by early next year.
From Jason Herrera on October 5, 2004 at 12:42 AM
Mr. Franklin:

I think you did a great job!

Keep up the good work!!!

From John Franklin on October 5, 2004 at 3:01 AM
I will try, Jason. But that is really up to Robert Niles and readers like you to convice him.

Considering the number of mistakes that I let get by me. I think I did a good job for a last-minute replacement as well. I did not even know that I would be doing this one last Sunday until last Friday when I received an email from Robert Niles that another writer dropped out.
I much prefer to write an article in one or two days, take a day off, and then edit the final copy.
I mean really: Great America instead of Great Adventure. How did I let that one get by? Or Sleepy instead of Sleeping Beauty? What was I thinking of? Snow White. I must have. Since I must have been Sleepy at the time that I wrote that.
I think I tried to cover way too much this time around. There was enough material in this article for two columns really. I have one more chance to prove that I can do this well and I will keep the total number of topics down to 5 or 6. Oh well, live and learn. Oh yes, I did put in about 6 hours to do this article and had a blast doing it.

From Ben Mills on October 5, 2004 at 9:28 AM
The art of the Flume is to be able to pull it together at the last minute, John, as I'm sure you've all discovered. Stuff happens sometimes minutes before you're ready to hit the 'Submit' button, and you've got to be on the ball, ready to get it out to the readers.

Of course, it took me a while to figure that out, and a lot of confusion as to why I kept missing so much. Not that mine were particularly readable anyway... :-)

From John Franklin on October 6, 2004 at 12:39 AM
I'm surprise that no one has commented on the indictment of the amusement park manager over a death at his park.

So, people, should Amusement/Theme park, canival/fair operators be held crimally responsible for deaths at their parks or on their rides?

I say YES, YES, YES.

That is my two cents, what are yours?

From Dan Babbitt on October 6, 2004 at 6:48 AM
I dont agree with you at all! Because if they did that then nobody would want to work there because of fear of an accident that may cause death. Also would you have to blame the enginers, ride opporators and everybody else involved?! There are mant things also involved with it it would be to hard to blame just one person for what ever happened
From John Franklin on October 6, 2004 at 10:46 AM
When I used the term operator, I meant the owners/managers of the park.

Also, the owners do have a responsiblity to the public to keep their rides maintained and operating in a safe manner. And when such managers failed to do this, should they be held criminally responsible?

I say YES, YES, YES.

Or has it occured to anyone, failure to maintain rides that cause the death of someone (like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland September 2003) can be argued to be manslaughter or criminal negligence.

Therefore, should C. Harris have been charged with manslaughter or criminal negligence for failure to maintain Big Thunder Mountain Railroad last year?

From J. Dana on October 6, 2004 at 12:11 PM
What a completely preposterous notion that C. Harris should be held criminally responsible. The Walt Disney company should certainly be fined and forced to put safety measures in place, but to be held criminally responsible means that she PERSONALLY caused the death. Did she? NO, and you know it. Get off your "stick it to Disney" bandwagon and start thinking about this logically. If management deliberately did something to cause the death, then perhaps some sort of criminal action can be taken, but as it now stands, Disney should pay big money to the families involved and be forced to either fix the problem or close the attraction. I mean, really, if my computer blows up because it doesn't like the latest Windows software, does that mean that Bill Gates should be held criminally responsible and thus face jail time? Perhaps that's not the best comparison. In the same way, should the president of Universal Orlando be sent to jail because an ailing individual fell while trying to board a ride, later dieing? Nope. This is the same type of mentality that says its right to sue the city because a city bus has to slam on its brakes to avoid an accident, but while slamming on the brakes it causes me to smash my face against the seat in front of me. Accidents happen. Thus, companies should pay up (to the families) and be forced to fix it. If the accident is not an accident, but rather the result of deliberate and malicious intent, THEN hold them criminally liable. Which brings me back to my argument from a previous posting: all life-altering accidents should be investigated. Nuff said.
From John Franklin on October 6, 2004 at 1:19 PM
J. Dana,
The problem with your response is that the only time intent to take a life needs to be proven is when the charge is murder. Murder is the willful act of taking a life.
(Which is why I was surprise when I read the manager of the amusement park in TN was indicted for murder. He didn't have an intent to kill anyone).
Whereas, in order to prove manslaughter, you only need to prove that some action on a person's part led to the death of another person.
And criminal negligence only require that someone failed to do something that led to a person's death.
I will argue that failing to maintain rides anywhere which leads to a rider's death is criminal negligence.
In the case of the Kentucky posting above, it was found improper bolts were used which held the seat together on the Swizzer that led to the death of a man. This sounds like criminal negligence to me.
It was also found that lack of maintance on the Big Thunder Train also led to the death of a man. So, is this criminal negligence? I will say yes.
ALL operators of rides have a duty to the public to maintain their rides in a safe operating manner. And if they don't, then they should be charged with criminal negligence.
Or need I remind everyone, Pressler once said that in order to save money on maintainance on Disneyland's rides, they would have to run them untill they failed (break down).
From J. Dana on October 6, 2004 at 7:20 PM
But to hold C. Harris personally responsible is still going over the line. I agree that theme parks/amusement parks SHOULD be held responsible for the rides they produce...that's why we pay our money. And if I get hurt (or someone in my family gets killed), then I will sue for damages. But jail time? I still think that's dumb. Maybe I'm disagreeing with the written law...so be it. I think crimes are willful. Willful negligence, perhaps, might be a crime. Shut the place down if that's the case.

And for those of you risking your lives on those ramshakle traveling amusement parks--well, you know that they say: at least it cleans out the gene pool.

From Kevin Baxter on October 7, 2004 at 1:17 AM
Well, there have been many cases where automakers have knowingly ignored problems with their cars but don't release the information because they know a recall will cost more than the occasional lawsuit. Should the people behind those decisions be jailed? HELL YES!

Why? If friggin Martha Stewart can get jailtime for something which pales in comparison to causing death, why can't others? Of course, there is a difference between negligence and a crime. Knowing that someone (T Irby?) has publicly said that these rides have to be run until they break down to be profitable, I'd say there is definitely enough stuff there to get beyond a Grand Jury hearing. Whether Harriss is the person at fault is another story.

From Kenny Hitt on October 7, 2004 at 5:49 AM
Well, consider that Eisner made the mandate that costs needed to be cut at the parks. His order filtered through Pressler, Harriss, and ultimately Irby. It was Irby who made the actual decision to cut maintenence pools...all Harriss was really looking at were the numbers. Irby could have gotten rid of some superfluous entertainment talent, or could have had Food & Merch close down some vendors, but they picked maintenence instead. I would say that T. Irby is the most durectly responsible, but ultimately it was Eisner's decision that parks needed to cut some budgets.

It was actually Pressler who said that "we have to ride these rides to failure"...Irby said that, in the world of theme parks, "casualties should be expected".

From Kevin Baxter on October 8, 2004 at 1:43 AM
Fact is, businesses are getting away with stuff like this because there haven't been enough arrests made. Throw these people in the pokey once in a while and even if the cases get thrown out, it would certainly make them think twice about policies they know damn well can hurt people.

Accidents happen, but many accidents are also preventable. The Big Thunder accident certainly was. It should be up to juries or judges to decide if running "these rides to failure" constitutes a criminal act.

From John Franklin on October 8, 2004 at 2:35 AM
Kevin,
Besides criminal negligence, managers/operators can be charged with reckless endangerment or reckless homicide as I indicated above that the manager from TN is being charged with.
My understanding is that C Harris was warned by her people about Big Thunder possibly failing.
Another issue coming to light is that management was intimitaing their attractions cast members as well. I don't have all the facts yet. But, 3 or 4 lawsuits have been filed over the September 2003 Big Thunder accident. So everything will come out in court. These cases need to be followed closely by sites like this.
I hope that both you, Kevin, and Robert Niles will agree with me.
And I hope to be able to keep on writing more articles for this site. But, of course, that is for Robert Niles to decide.
From Derek Potter on October 8, 2004 at 5:51 PM
Heres an example of Paramount's "guest based" services. They are taking out the Flying Eagles, one of the most beloved rides at Kings Island and moving it. There are a lot of people that are pretty unhappy with PKI right now because of this recent announcement.

What's it like to work at Disney World?

Working at Disney World

Insider's Pick: Ever wondered what it would be like to work at the Walt Disney World Resort? Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers more than 100 pages of fun, insightful, and even sometimes touching stories from people who've worked at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a great way to get in the mood for your next trip to Orlando, or just to keep the memories of a Disney World visit alive.

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