Theme park cast member stories: The one with the security camera
Written by Robert Niles
In answer to popular questions about working at the Walt Disney World Resort:Tweet
"Are there really security cameras everywhere at Walt Disney World?"
Well, I wouldn't say that they are everywhere, but Disney uses security cameras in many of its attractions.
"Have you ever seen, well, you know...?"
"But I didn't say what I meant."
Doesn't matter. Whatever you meant, we've seen it happening on a security camera at Disney World.
Here's the warning: Bail out of this story now if you're easily offended.
Still here? Oh-kay. Let's proceed.
It's parade time in the afternoon during one of the slower months of the year in the Magic Kingdom. I'm sitting in the control tower at Pirates of the Caribbean and our line has evaporated, as almost everyone in this side of the park has made their way over to Frontierland for the parade. The only people still in our queue are a young couple, a man and a woman in their late teens or early 20s. They get into a boat, alone. Nothing but empty boats around them.
I know that they're aware of this, too, because both of them are looking around at the empty boats as they're dispatched from the loading platform.
"Why is she looking around so much?" another Pirate cast member, walking through the tower, asks.
I arch an eyebrow.
"Oh," he replies, as two other cast members walk in from the adjacent break room.
All eyes are on the bank of video monitors in front of us. Sure enough, as the boat approaches the flume drop in Hurricane Cove, where the camera looks at the passing boats from behind, we see not two bodies in the boat, but one.
"Where'd she go?" one cast member asks. Several of us arch eyebrows this time, in response. Another CM rushes into the break room, to make a phone call.
I'm not proud of what I did next. With my left hand, I flip a switch on the console, activating the boat stop at the top of the drop. A pair of metal plates swing into the ride flume at that point, catching the front wheels underneath the boat, stopping it from going over the drop.
With a bump, the boat stops, suddenly. The young lady's head pops up, now visible in the screen.
"Oooo," a couple of the male CMs say, wincing. Like I said, I'm not proud.
"Oh, there she is," replies the CM who'd asked, now turning as red as our pirate vests.
I release the boat stop as the couple plunges into the abyss.
There are no security cameras in the battle scene, so we can't see what the couple is, uh, up to for the next couple of minutes. But just before they re-emerge in the chase scene's camera, the door to the control tower bursts open.
In rush two supervisors and what seems like an entire crew of Jungle Cruise skippers. All gather around the monitors. No one says a word.
No one needs to. We all know why they're here.
We watch empty boat after empty boat enter the chase scene. And then, our friends return. From the angle of the camera in the chase scene, we get a full frontal view of the action in our grainy black-and-white monitor.
Silence, all around. Then, from the back of the now-crowded small control room, a giggle.
Then, laughter erupts all around. Several of the Pirate CMs rush out of the room, down the staircase toward the unload platform. A couple of the Jungle skippers step to follow, before the supervisors grabs one by the collar. Oh yeah, they're out of theme here and can't be seen on stage.
The couple's out of camera view in the burning city, but within a minute they'll be at the unload station. In the camera monitor, I see the CMs who bailed out of tower arrive at unload. Back in the tower, the CM standing next to me pulls the microphone toward him.
"You're not," I say to him.
"Of course I am," he replies, with a wide grin, as he pushes the button to activate the unload station speaker.
The couple arrives, sitting quietly and composed in their boat, as if nothing unusual's happened. But as they step up to leave, my colleague on the mic speaks.
"For your safety, this has been a camera-monitored attraction."
I'm told a minute later by the CMs who were there that the young lady put her hands over her face and ran from the unload platform. Her boyfriend? He made eye contact with the CMs... and smiled as he strutted out of the room.
The supervisors shooed the Jungle CMs back to their attraction and I looked up at the clock. My shift ended five minutes ago. With the post-parade rush of guests now flooding into Adventureland, I walked out quickly, to avoid getting caught in the crowd.
About 10 minutes later, I'm changed into my regular clothes and waiting for the shuttle bus outside the tunnel entrance behind It's a Small World. Several CMs whom I know work on the east-side, at Space Mountain and the Speedway, are talking excitedly as we board the bus. I overhear them.
"Did you hear about what happened at Pirates today?"
For more stories about life working in the Magic Kingdom, visit themeparkinsider.com/stories.
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