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Question: Will you ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again? :: Total Votes:82
Mouseke-Poll choices Votes Statistics
Yes, I will ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again. 70  [85.37%]
No, I now don't want to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad after Disneyland's accident. 0  [0.00%]
No, I didn't want to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before and I still don't want to ride it. 7  [8.54%]
I'm not sure. I haven't decided yet. 5  [6.10%]
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Topic: Will you ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?, DL's BTMR closed to investigate fatality< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

GoofyDad_STL Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 4:40 am/pm Quote

Okay, I need to vent so this gets to be the forum.  It is pretty obvious that this is definitely a WDW centric group and not a Disneyland group.  I say this because I grew up in California.  My parent's second date was at Disneyland.  I went there for the first time before I was 1.  It was always a magical place for me.  I have decorated my basement with old Disneyland Attraction posters.  And I have to tell you right now I am very angry.  I am angry at the state of Disneyland.  It is just a shell of what it used to be.  My favorite land there when growing up was Tomorrowland.  I believe that there are only two functioning rides there now.  The entire park has lost its magic and if you read sites devoted to Disneyland you would see that they have cut and cut and cut more from the operating budgets of the two parks.  And articles in the Los Angeles Times refer to current and former Disneyland employees worrying about the cuts taking their toll on maintenance and wondering if this contributed to the accident at Big Thunder.  It definitely did have a factor in the last fatality on the Columbia Ship at Disneyland.

My wife has never seen the magic of Disneyland like I have.  She is missing the vision of the past because she has only gone with me over the last five years.  She doesn't get to see what use to be and she really does not like it.

I am mad that my wife will never feel comfortable again with my taking our daughters on Disney rollercoasters (she is terrified of them and will never forgive me for talking her into riding the Matterhorn).  She shudders to think that I took our 5 year old on Big Thunder at WDW this past August.

WDW is not Disneyland.  I have been to WDW three times in the last 15 months and Disneyland once during that time (yes I am a Disney nut).  WDW is Disneyland improved, everything bigger and better.  And now adays WDW is the place that gets the Disney budget.  You never hear about budget cutback after budget cutback at WDW.  Just sometimes part time staff not being hired and some hours changed.

Do I feel safe riding Big Thunder Mountain?  At WDW, yes I would.  At Disneyland, no I do not feell safe riding anything there anymore.  As a matter of fact I don't know if I will ever return to Disneyland.   And that is the sad part.  Not only have I lost Disneyland, but I have lost my Disney enthusiasm.  I had in my mind another week long trip to WDW next summer, followed by maybe a cruise the next year.  Plus a purchase of DVC.  But now, I don't want to go back to Disney right now.  I don't want to have anything to do with them.  I definitely don't want to purchase DVC, what if they decide to maximize profits by cutting back at DVC?  They already have the money from it, so they could.  What if they decide to start making cuts at WDW like they have at Disneyland?  

Sorry, I needed to get this off of my chest and this seemed like a good forum.  Let the flame mail begin.


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 4:55 am/pm Quote

I don't think you'll get flame responses here -- Disney EchoEars have always acted in the past respecting others' feelings and opinions, and I doubt things will change with replies to your well-thought-out post (which in and of itself isn't flame-worthy anyway, no matter where it would be posted, but maybe that's just me).

I'm sorry this accident happened that resulted in the poor man's death as well as the injuries to many others. Nothing is going to bring that man back to his family and friends but I hope the injuries the others received will not scar them physically in any way -- I'm sure not only those directly involved in the accident will have emotional scars, as well as people like you and I, though. I'll never be able to get on a Disney thrill ride without thinking of BTMRR at Disneyland, even though Disney thrill rides are milder than some other parks coasters which I would never go on because I'm not a coaster-type person.

Disneyland right now is in a sorry state of affairs. Check out Kevin Yee's "Thunderous Consequences" article on MiceAge.com where he shows which rides are currently not in service at Disneyland and compares that to how things were when Walt was still alive.

Now, this particular tragedy at DL's BTMRR might not have been due to Guest careless nor Disney's lack of maintenance -- it might have been because of a faulty part recently replaced which was not even made by Disney which might have looked normal but been flawed in some way. We'll have to wait for the outcome of the investigation that is going on right now to see what caused this accident to occur.

But I hope something good can come from this tragedy, whatever the cause of it: I'm praying that a renewed sense of getting all Disney theme parks back to the same level of attention to detail that was there in the decades when they never knew when Walt himself would be walking around in the parks, noticing the littlest of details. That spirit needs to return to the parks again -- with that spirit being more important than the bottom line from the bean-counters. Here's hoping that those days will return soon and there won't be any more tragedies like this one. Until the results of the investigation are in, all we can do is wait, hope, and pray.


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Goofyteer Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 6:05 am/pm Quote

Quote (GoofyDad_STL @ Sep. 08, 2003 4:40 am/pm)
Sorry, I needed to get this off of my chest and this seemed like a good forum.  Let the flame mail begin.

It's alright Goofydad. We're not going to flame you. I'm positive I speak for everybody here when I say you will not get flamed just for sharing your feelings about the situation. We're all too friendly and get along too well for that. I believe we at the Echo are above such things.
:mickey:

On my end I understand how you feel. I started to cry here on my end reading your message because I understand how you feel so much. I know it hurts and all. I know it's frustrating and angering.

I wish I had more to offer right now to help ease your feelings but if nothing else please let me say that if I was there I'd give you a big hug and let you cry on my shoulder if you needed it.


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Peggo Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 6:18 am/pm Quote

I feel your pain, GoofyDad. You put it very well.
I'm sad that Disney Land is being ignored. As a kid I always dreamed of one day going there, but I still haven't. I hope it's still there and still magical when I finally can go.


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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 7:44 am/pm Quote

Goofy_Day STL, there's nothing to flame, really.  

Look, we're adults here, at least we try to be mature people who happen to like cartoon characters and whimsical fiberglass buildings with rides inside and sometimes rides outside, hidden discreetly behind a berm.  And real life is a tough nut to crack.  Like the song in the TV show "Cheers" voices the longing to get away from it all, and our common place of choice is a Disney theme park.  And we buy the sizzle that goes with the steak.  We're willing to shovel out a few or a lot of discretionary dollars towards being behind the berm, buying the sizzle that goes with the steak, buying into the notion there's "magic" behind the berm, because we need the respite so much.  Now how much would you pay?  You get the idea.

We as mature people know that magic comes from artists, writers, architects, costume designers, landscapers, performers, attraction ride designers and builders and engineers, and so forth.  We know what's grown to be an international entertainment and retailing corporation is behind it all, and maybe it's stock is in our portfolios in some way or shape or form.  And we know the law holds out that if you want to do business, by implication as well as statute that business should be reasonably safe and conducted honestly. We also know in the free enterprise system if you want to keep customers happy and coming back you reasonably study and implement how to do that and keep up with changing audience tastes as well as changing technologies and the changing definitions and parameters of what "safety to the consumer" means.

None of this is rocket science.  And any grocery store chain knows about slip-and-fall lawsuits in their stores, any business knows the meaning of "lawsuit" "safety" and "liability" as well as "customer satisfaction".

You're voicing what a lot of people have voiced, so just realize there is a growing awareness that gosh, Disney just doesn't "deliver" the way they used to.  I don't know what MBAs are learning nowadays, but they sure aren't learning how to maintain and respect corporate culture.  If they did, Disney would be an updated version of what Walt Disney himself had in mind for his animated films and theme parks.  Walt would never let talented people leave his stable and he wouldn't let Pixar take over what Disney Studios used to "own" in the feature animation marketplace.  Walt's parks would be safe, clean, updated, well-maintained, painted and not left peeling, maintaining limited exclusivity and not plopping theme parks all over the world.  There would be E-ticket attractions that wouldn't exclude anybody from riding.  There would be high quality shows.  There'd be responsive management.  The list goes on.  You get the idea.

Business as conducted in Walt's era is, let's face it, dead and gone. It's pervasive everywhere, not just at Disney. Other theme park operators, heck even Enron and Worldcom, look how business is done today! There was a theme park death in New Orleans, too, at Six Flags. This sort of thing is going on more and more. And Disney just got so big, finally, it's lost track of it's own roots and culture, and is so diluted it's like drinking a weak Kool-Aid drink.  

Obviously, the Disney company has problems and the CEO needs to investigate and clean things up.  They need to rediscover roots, what truly works for them and what truly doesn't,  and the CEO needs to stop delegating and start looking in on his department heads and know personally what is going on.

So, Goofy_Dad STL, you actually are awake, aware, and on the ball.  None of what you wrote was flame bait.  It's how you feel and it's your opinion and in your household it's true.  A lot of Disney fans are disgruntled by the company's actions in recent years.  If Frank Wells had remained alive I wonder if he'd've guided Michael Eisner any better than how it turned out after Wells was killed.  

I just really hope that Disney can turn itself around.  I'm not totally down on the company, or Eisner, however I do think they've lost corporate focus and that's biting them on the fanny in addition to life since 9/11 affecting tourism.   Focus can always be regained with the right people and policies implemented and proper corporate funding.  So there is hope.  And in that hope is a story that's still playing out.

Walt is definitely spinning right now (in his grave).

The above is my opinion only and not that of my husband Rich, the site's owner, other moderators or any other people writing or contributing here.


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GoofyDad_STL Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 8:20 am/pm Quote

I keep forgetting that this is the best Disney forum out there and I can express my ideas.  Thanks everyone.

I think some of my feelings about Disney are coming from the fact I have been working some incredible hours at work recently.  It seems that companies have forgotten that they are suppose have three stakeholders, shareholders, their community and their employees (they taught us this at Business School, it just seems my fellow MBAs have not been listening).  It seems that all business cares about is the bottom line and not even a long term bottom line, but one for next month or quarter.  I hate the "productivity" figures the government keeps trotting out. All they mean is that the people left with jobs are having to work incredibly hard right now.

I think Disney right now is just a symbol to me of this corporate greed and lost of direction.  I am frustrated with working long hours just to keep up and not being able to spend enough time with my family.

With that I am ending my 12 hour work and headin upstairs to give the kids a bath (thank goodness I can work from home most of the time).  :crazy:


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Goofyteer Offline

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Posted: Sep. 08, 2003 9:22 am/pm Quote

Carol you are so right on. Couldn't have put it better myself. You go girl :minnie:

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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 09, 2003 9:23 am/pm Quote

Quote (GoofyDad_STL @ Sep. 08, 2003 8:20 am/pm)
I think some of my feelings about Disney are coming from the fact I have been working some incredible hours at work recently.  It seems that companies have forgotten that they are suppose have three stakeholders, shareholders, their community and their employees (they taught us this at Business School, it just seems my fellow MBAs have not been listening).  It seems that all business cares about is the bottom line and not even a long term bottom line, but one for next month or quarter.  I hate the "productivity" figures the government keeps trotting out. All they mean is that the people left with jobs are having to work incredibly hard right now.

I think Disney right now is just a symbol to me of this corporate greed and lost of direction.  I am frustrated with working long hours just to keep up and not being able to spend enough time with my family.

For me, GoofyDad STL, Disney isn't the symbol of what's gone on with corporations today.  Enron and Worldcom are the poster children for the corporate trend.  But what disappoints me about Disney is simply the "me, too" about it, that Disney nowadays is no better/no worse, maybe several notches better than Enron and Worldcom but not the company  that Walt and Roy Disney headed and not the company first headed by Eisner-Wells-Katzenberg in the mid-'80s through mid-'90s.  It isn't greedy to be profit driven.  That's the essence of a free market economy.  It isn't greedy to want to hold down operational and personnel costs.  We all have to live within our means.  However, it does mean that when you take on something new you can afford all aspects of that:  Maintaining it, keeping it painted, keeping it safe, taking reasonable care of the people who operate it and who come to use it, when you promote it your promotions reasonably match what people expect of it.  And when and if the economy should tank, would you still be able to take care of it, maintain it, keep it safe, keep it updated, offer reasonable expectations about it to the public, take care of the people reasonably, etc.?  

Disney made the same mistake a lot of companies did.  They thought the booming economy would go on forever, that prevailing conditions would at least maintain at X-level and rise from that but never drop below it.  They built, expanded, hired, held out to higher-end users, flooded the marketplace with merchandise and collectibles.  Then the economy tanked, 9/11 happened, and a slow recovery, and international tensions.  Tastes changed.  Pixar does Disney animated movies better than Disney does Disney animated movies.  Dreamworks and Fox provide credible competition for Disney and Disney-Pixar animated movies.  Disney's got a brain drain going on, talented artists and division heads moving to other projects and jobs and studios.  They bought Cap Cities and got some winners (ESPN) and losers (ABC) out of the deal, then incredibly bought the Family Channel from Saban and added increased ad inventory to that which wasn't already selling.  They built a second gate at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris with negative results.  Disneyland Paris needs bailing out again and Disney wants to build, what, two more (?) parks just like it in the Orient.  In recent years Disney takes two steps forward and between a half-a-step to one step back every month.  

And other unrelated companies are doing the same sort of thing.

Difficult to be a Disney fan right now, it takes tough love to get through reading what they do every day.

In a way, a boycott of sorts is going on among the public about Disney.  Track the domestic box office numbers of these films on

http://www.boxofficemojo.com

for the last two years:

Monsters, Inc., Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

Lilo and Stitch and Treasure Planet are works of Disney Feature Animation alone.  Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo are Disney-Pixar collaborations but really in a way are Pixar films, and Pirates of the Caribbean is based on a Disney theme park attraction but people were hired to produce and make it who knew what they were doing.  

If you want to, to make the comparison fair, throw in Country Bears after Lilo and Stitch on that list.  

Disney actually in this year so far has command of total box office for all films they've made, they are in the lead.  But when you compare the Disneyana fans' fave films you'll see money flowing clearly to Pixar and to the live action Pirates when Disney took the time and resources to do that concept right.

Brother Bear this November 1 looks, to me, like "The Lion King" meets "Tarzan" in the northwestern US/Canada.  Seen most of the trailer before in TLK and T, what Brother Bear does is just substitute elk (?) for wildebeast, bears for gorillas, aurora borealis for plains of Africa.  I want to see this movie, but I don't expect much.  However, the trailers for "Finding Nemo" didn't hook me either and look what a blockbuster it turned out to be, so anything can happen.

In retail a consumer flow is also happening.  You don't need to go to a Disney Store to buy something Disney-logoed or a Disney entertainment product (such as a DVD or CD), these things are available everywhere and possibly at a cheaper price.  Once the Disney Stores were magical, that touch of Disney right in your own home town, and it was possible to buy unique and fun stuff for all ages there.  Not so much any more.  Disney is everywhere in the market place, including Wal-Mart, Kohl's and other retailers.  Disney Stores face sale now because the management of them and the "synergy" got lost, diluted and obscured.  If you want cool adult Disney items, buy them at World of Disney at Orlando or Anaheim, you can't find them in your own home town at a Disney Store, the way it used to be.

What to do?  Boycott or not?  It's up to you.  Disney theme parks aren't going away and a change in management and policies will always be welcomed and rewarded by those who want to visit those places.  The Disneyland discussion boards caution newcomers to Disneyland that they wouldn't notice most of the complaints that veteran park goers notice and that newcomers there would have a great time nonetheless.  Sometimes those who complain the most do the least, and when you open up to "glass is half full" optimism then you do have a good time.  What's your discretionary dollar worth to you?  

As for heavy work hours, I don't know what to tell you GoofyDad STL.  Take a look at Clark Howard's WWW site to see if there's anything there that's useful for you (save money, spend less, avoid ripoffs):

http://www.clarkhoward.com

My husband Rich used to work Bata'an Death March sort of long hours, too.  Then the economy changed and new owners and managers came in and life changed radically.  Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.  Like in "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, you need to be very carefully thought out, thorough and specific about your requests when engaging in "parlez".  The Pirates Code is mostly just guidelines, y'know.
This too shall pass, sometime.   :)

You might also enjoy reading this book when you get some time if things at work are that bad for you:  "What Color is Your Parachute?"  

Take good care.  :)


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kirby428 Offline

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Posted: Sep. 13, 2003 7:21 am/pm Quote

One must live with an acceptance that there are hidden dangers in all aspects of life, some more probable than others.  I haven't had the opportunity yet, but I will fly in a commercial jet in spite of 9-11 and I will continue to ride all the costers I can get in line for at any amusement park I can manage to enter.  If coaster rides especially at Disney are likely to be much more safe than getting in my car and driving to the local grocery store, especially the way folks drive around here. :flag:

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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 13, 2003 7:29 am/pm Quote

You add some good points, Kirby!
:clap:


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