Not a good weekend to spend at the parks. Guest Relations must be workin really hard right about now!
I know that California does tend to be very regulatory heavy, so I wonder if WDW's versions would have failed as well.
I think the bigger issue is that DL got pinged, not that the rides are down. Ride break down all the time. While these are popular attractions, they are only a small fraction of attractions at the parks.
As a CM, I see it all the time. Sudden new safety requirements that need to be implemented. It's not that Disney doesn't bother with the changes, it's that it's hard to keep up. However, it's still not a great excuse.
For the other 2 noted issues, it does appear like a regulatory agency trolling for cash. Firstly, I think it's simply absurd to require toeboards or fall protection for a 30-inch differential. Theoretically, someone could die tripping over a 1" high cable or buckle in the pavement/walkway, so the US-OSHA standard of fall protection/engineering controls required for workers at a height of 6 feet is more than reasonable (Europe has updated their standard to 4 feet). However, to require that same level of protection for a 30-inch fall is simply absurd, and the total definition of a "Nanny state". Workers are trained and those training records are maintained and updated to protect employers from lawsuits originating from minor falls, which a 30-inch fall would be categorized as in my opinion. 30-inches is by no means a small distance to fall (far less than most steps), but think about how many times you traverse a 30-inch distance, and how simple 3-point contact would protect you from an injury.
The ladder issue is obviously an inspector looking to get paid. In fact, the inspector probably knew those ladders were there before he came to Disneyland, and either a new regulation or reinterpretation of an existing regulation had recently been established but it was at the top of their list to score some needed funding for a state approaching bankruptcy.
Having known people that have had to deal with CalOSHA, this is nothing new. These trolls establish regulations that are far beyond sensible protection for workers, bury rules in thousands of pages of legal jargon, and then visit known employers with deep pockets just to fund the next round of inspections and pensions for the retired state employees. Disneyland was probably wise to take the high road here considering the minor nature of these citations, but the mafia-esque behavior of this agnecy is not garnering any respect within the safety industry or with safety experts.
So Space, Matterhorn and Big Thunder were closed...that's still 1/5 of the "E Tickets" you still had Splash, Indiana Jones, the original Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Finding Nemo, Star Tours. That's more e Tickets than you'll find at any of the WDW parks.
I'll tell you for a fact that many small companies don't understand the rules, because most do not have the resources to hire safety professionals to translate the reams of regulations. However, the small businesses are not regularly audited because violations are typically small and cost the state more money than they generate.
I'm in no way saying that Disney was in the right, but it's no doubt the State of California was trolling for some cash and went to a reliable source.
It is very disappointing to get to a theme park to find more than one of the popular rides out of service.