Written by Kevin Baxter
Published: July 30, 2005 at 2:24 PM
Still, that doesn't exactly get Disney out of the frying pan, does it? Unlike the recent hospital visit after a Matterhorn rider got sick - featured here - this one is actually Disney's fault. AGAIN. And, even worse, it is highly reminiscent of that fatal Big Thunder accident (which the LA Times is now calling a derailment, for some odd reason). Also reminiscent? The "reason" being floated for this accident: operator error!
Allegedly, the ride was on manual operation, meaning the brakes weren't being run via computer. If this is true, the company was just BEGGING for an accident. Supposedly the second Big Thunder accident - the one without passengers - was due to an operator doing something incorrectly. Even though TPI has questioned the training and experience you get using so many low-wage employees. Not to mention our questioning everything from Disney's horrendous history regarding mechanical upkeep to the computer systems Disney uses. After all, Disney has had three coaster CRASHES in one year. How many trains have crashed into each other in that time frame at the other major theme park operators - Universal, Busch, Six Flags, Cedar Fair and Paramount? How many crashes have they had COMBINED? There is something wrong at Disney.
Yes, we've mentioned pay, experience, age, computer systems, what have you. But maybe the main problem lies in Disney's refusal to close down rides that need to be closed down. If the computer systems at the other parks were down, they'd probably just shut down those coasters. But because Disney did such a poor job building DCA, maybe the feeling is that they need to keep the few big rides running so guests don't go away any madder than after entering the park and realizing how little they were getting for their money.
Think about it... DCA has only three rides that rate a 9 on TPI, and of the three, California Screamin' is the only coaster. Compare that to Disneyland. There are three coasters over there (not counting the Goofy thing) and Big Thunder isn't the most popular one of the three. Furthermore, there are tons of other things to do, most of which are extremely popular. So closing a ride down over there may cause a lot of complaints, but people are still going to have a good day. How do you spend your day at DCA if one of the biggies is down?
So, the obvious solutions to Disney's problems would be to fix their programs, fix their people, fix their damn coasters! But I think one of the big problems here is that Disney isn't fixing DCA. If the park was a complete park, the coaster may have been shut down instead of relying on an underpaid ride operator to stop the coasters. Naturally, there will be lawsuits, and those lawsuits won't cost the park hundreds of millions, which would be the pricetag of completing the park. But how much would it have cost them had someone been seriously injured? Or died? Being cheap will cost Disneyland MILLIONS when the Big Thunder lawsuits get settled, and being cheap could cost them big if they don't get to serious work on DCA.
My two pennies... gimme yours!