Fighting over what's news from theme parks

Edited: July 8, 2019, 5:36 PM

Some of you who follow theme park news from other sources might have noticed that I did not write anything on the front page about a brawl in Disneyland's Toontown last weekend.

A video of the fight vent viral, ultimately prompting a response from Disneyland.

Since Disneyland is commenting now, I figured that I probably should say something about the incident. But I'm doing it here, instead of the front page, because I still hate giving attention to this stuff.

Why? Not because I am reticent to hold theme parks to account for the safety of their guests. Heck, I've been preaching on that topic for nearly 20 years now. (And it's gotten me in trouble with parks before.) But, to me, this wasn't a guest safety issue so much as a human relations one.

I don't want to amplify stories about routine ride shutdowns where no one was hurt. Or random theme park employees getting arrested for crimes committed off the clock. I don't want to amplify rumors totally made up by other websites chasing clicks. Nor do I want to turn this site into "Disney's World Star," embedding videos of guests behaving badly.

Fight videos like this one invite people to wallow in their basest prejudices. They invite people to find some element that distinguishes the combatants from themselves and to use that as an excuse to dismiss all others who share that same element, whether it be race, gender, ethnicity, age, or even fandom.

No thank you. I grew up programming computers, which taught me that what you get out of a system flows directly from what you put into it. I don't want to watch videos of people fighting and I especially don't want to read comments from people talking about videos of people fighting. We all deserve better input into our lives than that.

But I figured I owed you an explanation for why I sometimes do not report on the "Viral Theme Park Story of the Day". So here you go.

Thank you, as always, for reading Theme Park Insider.

Replies (6)

July 10, 2019, 9:15 AM

It's always the 7-year-old girls wearing their pink princess t-shirts. Shifty bunch, the lot of them.

July 10, 2019, 1:17 PM

Thanks, Robert, for exhibiting such a high level of integrity. I'll admit, I engaged all the WDWNT stuff on Twitter a couple weeks ago, and I'm not proud of it. We'd all do well to meet your standard. Thanks for posting this!

July 10, 2019, 1:49 PM

That's why I love this site so much and always reccomend it. When looking for 100% true theme park news, this is where I come to. Thank you for running this great website so well, Robert.

July 11, 2019, 10:12 AM

Maybe Disney's making a play to bring Family Feud back to ABC and this is their opening promo?

Edited: July 11, 2019, 4:32 PM

I agree with the decision not to run it. I've always viewed this place as one that has news for the expert, or those looking for help from an expert; much like a trade journal instead of the popular press. That there was a fight in park (x) Tells us absolutely nothing. Of course, if there was a lot of fights, then I think a story about "Where is Secutity?" is at that point appropriate.

I agree for similar reasons that "Ride (Z) had a perfectly normal safety shutdown, noone was harmed but a few people were inconvenienced" is also not a story. A lot of shutdowns,or reduced operating, like with Hagrid's coaster might be a story if its a high profile ride, or if these shutdowns are so high as to suggest there might be a maintenence problem generally with the park.

July 11, 2019, 5:05 PM

It's not news.. by all accounts, official news agencies asked experts who believe Disney acted accordingly. This is not a Disney or theme park issue. It's an Anaheim police/CPS investigation.

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