I'm not talking about the "And then something goes horribly wrong" narrative that drives so many attractions, from Star Tours to Transformers. I am talking about an actual malfunction — something that disrupts the normal flow of planned operation and forces a park off script for a moment.
Visitors to Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort got a doozy of a malfunction this weekend, when Ursula literally lost her head on the Little Mermaid ride.
DISNEY NIGHTMARE??! How scary (funny) is this?— News4JAX (@wjxt4) January 29, 2018
The Ursula animatronic lost her head on the Little Mermaid ride yesterday... and kept singing and dancing! https://t.co/lj8d5BIETr pic.twitter.com/1H2z8Cw8Xa
Wow. But not to be outdone, though, Disneyland Paris apparently saw DCA's broken Ursula and raised it a Pirates Auctioneer.
Got a clearer picture taken with my DSLR. I know flash pictures are forbidden, but it was way to tempting ???? pic.twitter.com/OsZujdeG36— Julian (@HOPAJUL) January 28, 2018
The worst animatronic fail I ever witnesses in person was at the Country Bear Jamboree in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom when I was working there. It was during the "Vacation Hoedown" version of the show when Henry fell victim to a hydraulic leak. Those aren't necessarily noteworthy, except that this particular leak happened right behind Henry's khaki camp shorts, creating a very convincing illusion that the host of the Country Bear show was peeing his pants in front of the audience.
No one heard my "101" "show's over, please leave the theater" spiel over their laughter. (BTW, if any of you were in that theater and got a photo — and at least 100 people did — I would love to have a copy!)
Last week brought another alleged animatronic "fail" when talk show host Ellen DeGeneres brought out what she said was the former animatronic of her that once appeared in the Ellen's Energy Adventure ride at Epcot.
The Orlando Sentinel got Disney to confirm that the hideous creation wasn't actually a Disney animatronic, but just a dummy that Ellen's staff rigged for a gag.
But, yeah, it's not been a good week for animatronics. What was the worst animation fail you've ever seen in a theme park?Tweet
I mean, it's not NEARLY as bad as the lack of maintenance that killed Marcelo Torres on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when the ride vehicles weren't properly maintained, or the rotting wood on the Columbia that resulted in the death of a newlywed on their honeymoon when a large metal cleat broke loose and flew into the crowd, but...it's still pretty egregious that Disney continues to ignore maintenance needs after what SHOULD have been lessons learned in the past.
Granted, a broken animatronic isn't nearly as dangerous as those previous maintenance lapses, but it DOES show that Disney still doesn't take basic maintenance seriously.
Don't get me wrong -- I still love the parks, and enjoyed my time working for Disney, but...I can't help but be afraid for my safety every time I visit now. Not because of gangs or violence, but because of thinking "how well has Disney actually maintained this attraction since last time I was here?"
It's enough to have made me skip a few trips just because I don't know that I can trust Disney to provide a safe atmosphere anymore.
Overall, I think Disney does a good job of maintaining their rides. It's just a coincidence that two AAs got "decapitated" on the same day.
As Robert mentioned, animatronics have been malfunctioning since the parks opened. Its just now everybody has a camera and can broadcast that news.
For what its worth, I have been going to Disney World for the better part of 30 years and I have never seen a catastrophic animatronic fail
As for other Disney fails, I saw Mickey lose his eye on a cruise once! Granted that's a costume and not an animatronic but it was still really bad. Link to that video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA3p41ErOXg
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