Published: February 28, 2011 at 11:32 AM

In my experience as a ride operator, there is a qid-pro-quo as to what the ride operator is to do. Just about every circumstance is visualized and a response there to is required. Should a ride operator fall off the reservation and deviate slightly, they are written up.

Theme park owners don't want to take chances and most of these actions are VERY conservative. Consider SeasWorld and the "Journey to Atlantis in San Diego". Any event that requires an e-stop requires an evac. Lets say a kid gets off the ride on the transfer track ahead of dispatch(happens often), obviously an e-stop should be made. But even if the kid was easily retreaved, ALL of the passangers anywhere on the ride must be manually removed. The process though is very safe and is very well trained, practiced and tested. BUT it is a royal pain.

Amanda Jenkins

Published: February 28, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I have been stuck on rides before, for long periods of time and yet have never had to evacuate. I would imagine that it would be an interesting experience. The only ride that bothered me while trapped with no end in site was It's A Small World. My husband and I were stuck in the last area for 40 minutes. They never turned the music off. Now normally, I do not mind nor get angry if stuck; but a person can only stand that song for so long without thoughts of doing bodily harm to animatronics. The cast members would at certain times break through the music to let us know that they were doing all that they could to get the ride going again, which helped in keeping our sanity.

The ride that I had the most fun and laughed the hardest at being stuck was Kongfrontation at USF. Our vehicle would not stop for us to disembark. We made the loop throughout the ride eight times before they were able to get it working properly. Our "guide" went ahead and did the ride's script each time. We were all laughing so hard, because eventually he would sound more and more bored. By the seventh time, his dull voice would say, "Oh no. He is going to hit us. Watch out." We all left knowing the lines so well, that we could have easily been hired. After all these years, I still remember some of my favorite parts, "What's this? It looks like a war zone!"

Published: February 28, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Great story. I actually got stuck and had to be evacuated from Pirates this past Friday. We had to be evacuated from right before the drop. It was a great experience though. I enjoyed being able to see a backstage area, even if it wasn't that amazing. XP

Published: February 28, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Speaking of leaving the music and animation on.

About 10 years ago my family and I, where passing in front of the Hulk (before it was dirty), we rode it earlier that day, but wanted a second ride. It was Summer (July to be exact) Islands was PACKED but we decided to go in, so we stood outside in the queue really near the building entrance. Then all of the sudden a voice says that they were having some problems, and that guest could wait or come back later. So we decided to wait it out... We waited people kept leaving and we move forward and a little more forward but the "damn" music and videos were left playing. So we moved a few feet stay there for about 10 minutes of the same, then move again to ten more minutes of the same music/images etc. Until finally we made it to the loading area after waiting about 45 minutes with that annoying song/video of the Hulk transforming and fighting the ARMY and a damn tank!!

I still, to this day (10 years later) remember that damn video!! So I agreed turning the music/animations off is a great idea...

Published: February 28, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Hey I didn't write my name. I wrote the Hulk "terrible" story.


Published: February 28, 2011 at 1:58 PM

A single ride is nothing compared to evacuating a hotel/water park combo for a tornado.

That's TONS of fun :P

Published: February 28, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Yea I had to be evacuated from the logflume at playland again it was the same prcedure one by one they took the passengersthey had like 4 or five staff members though. i remember it like yesturday it happend to me like 3-5 years ago

Published: March 1, 2011 at 11:40 AM

We were evacuated from Big Thunder Mountain 3 years ago. It was fun seeing the behind the scenes stuff!

Published: March 1, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I "am" one of those anxious guests who gets uptight and starts panicing when an attraction e-stops. Even when the Haunted Mansion or SpaceShip Earth stops to allow disabled guests to board or disembark, I start holding my breath. It has gotten so bad with age that now I find I don't even enjoy these attractions any longer as I spend more time anticipating being stuck in them than I do getting pleasure from the ride itself! I swear I have bad luck as I know over the course of my life (35+ years), I have been stuck in almost every WDW attraction out there...including the monorail!
What gets me the most is the inconsistency in the way the ride-op handles each situation. Granted what seems important to me may not be important to them, but there should be mandated rules for an e-stop. I'm certain there are but as this article states, much ultimately falls upon the ride-op and what they chose to do. Most guests can roll with whatever happens...and maybe even enjoy it. But there are people like me out there that instantly lose their sense of control and start feeling panic and anxiety set in. I would feel far more at ease knowing that the same procedure was being followed no matter what attraction I was in or who was pushing the buttons.
Most importantly, talk to me! Tell me what's happening and what to expect. Like the article says, not knowing is the WORSE feeling and can completly shoot the enjoyment out of the entire day! The automated "sorry folks" message is fine for 2 to 3 minutes. But at some point within that first 5 minutes, you have to talk and let me know what's happening. I listened to "Looks like some critters are causin' a little commotion up ahead..." for 20+ minutes without moving. I understand that breaking in with voice can damage the magic...but trust me, 20 minutes in the same spot without having a clue what is going on has already destroyed the magic...even for a five year old. Give me a clue...I don't need to know that sensor 3A failed on lift B but I'd like to know that things are progressing or that someone will be around shortly.
Yes, turn off the music and turn on the lights. Don't wait to do this! I was stuck in Small World for 30 minutes WITH the audio still going! I honestly don't mind the loops. What scares me is that for it to go on this long, I believe someone inexperienced is working the ride and that there are no adults taking care of things. There needs to be a level of confidence felt. I never fear that I am in danger, but that claustrophpobic "trapped" feeling swoops in immediately.
I've always loved Disney and always will. I just wish there was a little "less" free will involving e-stops. If I knew what to expect each time, I would save a LOT of worry time. Not knowing how each ride-op choses to run his or her ride is just as nerve racking as not knowing why we've stopped and what is being done about it. Maybe I just need some stronger medication :-)