An Open Letter to Disney Regarding MyMagic Plus

Written by Tim Grassey. Posted in Walt Disney World

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

frontpagepic_KY

Published on March 19, 2013 at 6:01 am with 50 Comments

MiceAge contributor, Tim Grassy, shares an open letter to Disney today regarding concerns with MyMagic+. Read along and see if you agree.

Dear Disney,

The recent announcements of MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ have raised concerns in the fan community over Disney’s priorities. These concerns were shared by United States Representative Edward Markey, and led to a methodically crafted, yet somehow juvenile response from CEO Bob Iger. Now it seems that basic things like first impressions are being ignored in favor of operational efficiency and cost cutting. Most recently this included:

  • Test Track 2.0: Upon opening after a seven month overhaul, significant show elements are not functioning properly. Most notably, the vehicles that guests design before boarding are not consistently syncing with the corresponding on-ride evaluation of these vehicles.
  • Journey of the Little Mermaid: The attraction opened prior to the Flotsam and Jetsam animatronics working properly. They have remained switched off since then.
  • DisneyWorld.com/MyDisneyExperience/MyMagic+: The new website and associated mobile applications went live despite major technical and security problems.

I applaud that some aspects of the parks and park experience are being addressed, but when these enhancements aren’t suited for public consumption, they should be delayed.


In the limited roll out of MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience, the most egregious issue has been problems with the new website. Many guests have reported seeing another family’s personal information. Reports have even stated that upon refreshing the website, a third family’s itinerary will appear. Guests are able to make changes to another family’s itinerary, potentially disrupting multiple vacations. On a smaller scale, dining reservations are not always syncing properly with a guest’s account and tech support has been unable to repair many of these issues.

Historically, the Disney website has always been difficult to navigate. Whether it’s trying to find an official refurbishment schedule, a valid dining menu, or disability information, Disney needs to do a better job of presenting this data online. Is it the company’s intent to mislead their guests? It seems that misdirection and intentional vagaries permeated Bob Iger’s response to Representative Markey, and that has carried over to lengthy opt out policies on the website as well as the aforementioned issues with navigation.

The investment in Next Gen is significant, and mobile applications like My Disney Experience are welcome additions. However, much of what these applications accomplish is already addressed more accurately with third party sites.

Perhaps the biggest concern amongst the fans is the loss of privacy and the transition to Fastpass+. Representative Markey asked pointed questions regarding how the collected data would be used, and if people that opted out of this data collection would see longer lines at attractions. These questions were not sufficiently answered, and the response to date has only been that guests will get a more convenient experience if they participate in MyMagic+.

It seems the recent trend is for Disney to turn every swatch of pavement into a profit center. Location specific merchandise has given way to more generic and cost effective “One Disney” offerings, and now it seems that MyMagic+ looks to turn the guests themselves into profit centers. Disney seeks out every penny they can from us while we’re on vacation. Now, through tracking our spending, it appears that Disney will sell the information on every penny spent to any and all interested companies.

The sale of personal information and spending habits is troubling to many individuals. Many people choose not to shop at establishments that require a membership or loyalty card. These companies can follow trends in spending to not only determine what products they can incentivize, but also use products purchased to establish if a woman is pregnant or a couple is recently married. I anticipate Disney and the companies that purchase this spending data will be able to learn far more about each and every MyMagic+ user than is ever disseminated publicly.

It appears that more often than not Disney is asking, “How do we stop this from happening?” without asking “Why is this happening?” The result has been band aid solutions to real problems while larger investments are allocated to lower priority issues. Reportedly, Next Gen has an ever expanding budget, while existing show quality and guest safety at the parks has deteriorated:

  • Preventative maintenance was ignored at Splash Mountain resulting in a piece of the mountain falling into the load area. The band aid solution was to place a tarp over the load area until the current refurbishment.
  • Preventative maintenance was ignored at The Tree of Life resulting in a branch of the tree falling. The band aid solution was to place netting along the Discovery Island Trails.
  • Improper design has led to a Yeti animatronic that’s been stationary since 2007. The band aid solution was to pose the Yeti above the track.

I applaud the investment in infrastructure, but infrastructure has never been anything more than the cost of doing business. Infrastructure should never be considered a driver of attendance. More importantly, while the advantages of this new infrastructure can improve the guest experience, other infrastructure issues are being ignored. The monorail system has been abused and neglected to the point where necessary maintenance has limited its operation during Evening Extra Magic Hours. Routine attraction maintenance has been ignored, Evening Extra Magic Hours have been cut from three hours to two, and the attraction lineup during Extra Magic Hours was downgraded as well. This points to the inaccurate mentality within Disney that all attractions are created equal. Replacing Splash Mountain with The Enchanted Tiki Room during Evening Extra Magic Hours is not an even exchange. More importantly, it is speculated that Extra Magic Hours are not long for Walt Disney World, making the extent of the cuts more substantial than what has already occurred.

All guests are created equal under the current Fastpass system, but that is not the case with all attractions. Currently, all guests have equal access to the Fastpass system but the current system restricts Fastpass availability on an individual attraction basis contingent on demand for that attraction.

This has been reversed under the new Fastpass+ system. Fastpass+ divides a park’s offerings into one of two groups and limits the number of these selections to a total amount per day. More importantly, Fastpass+ will prioritize guests that opt to use the MagicBand and are willing and able to make Fastpass+ reservations prior to their arrival. These guests will have greater access to the higher demand attractions at the cost of other guests.

The highest demand attractions are typically family friendly attractions that have lower capacities like Peter Pan’s Flight, Soarin’ and Toy Story Midway Mania. These three attractions effectively use the current Fastpass system on a daily basis. Conversely, attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth have been added to the new lineup of Fastpass+ attractions. While all three have a high demand, they all have high capacity and would rarely require Fastpass usage.

By distributing three or four Fastpass+ reservations to guests on a daily basis, the higher demand attractions will be the first to run out of Fastpass+ availability. This will limit same day Fastpass+ availability for those attractions even further. By adding more attraction and entertainment options to Fastpass+, false demand is created for attractions that did not previously need it. Prior attempts to spread crowds using “Surprise Fastpasses” achieved only minimal success, and this new approach of adding Fastpass+ to more attractions is likely to suffer the same fate.

Through unnecessarily expanding the number of available Fastpass+ eligible attractions, Disney is artificially manipulating the system and intentionally deceiving guests. While each guest may have the same initial access to three or four Fastpass+ reservations per day, many uninformed guests will be sold on this perk without realizing that Fastpass it not needed for several of these attractions under the current system. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and The American Idol Experience are treated equally under the new Fastpass+ system. This deception is the equivalent of saying that dinner at Le Cellier is the same as dinner at Nine Dragons.

The problem I foresee with Fastpass+ is booking reservations days, weeks, or months in advance. This would place the Fastpass+ system in a similar model as the Disney Dining Plan. Guests are often persuaded into purchasing a dining plan, despite not knowing that they need to make reservations 180 days in advance at higher demand restaurants. The Disney Dining Plan has made casual reservations less available and arguably resulted in a decline in food quality as well. I foresee a similar fate for attraction availability with the change to Fastpass+ reservations. This could materialize through a decline in show quality as well as less “day of” Fastpass+ availability at higher demand attractions.

Many guests have feared that Fastpass+ will end any level of spontaneity associated with a day at Disney World. Defenders of Disney will argue that very little about a Disney vacation is truly spontaneous, but guests are forced to adapt their schedule multiple times per day for a variety of reasons. How often do guests book a dining reservation 180 days in advance, show up 20 minutes early, and still have to wait 30 minutes after the reservation time before they’re seated? This is often chalked up to “unforeseen circumstances”, i.e. other people not operating on the schedule Disney planned to turn over that table. With that in mind, a child’s bladder cannot be scheduled days in advance, nor can the rumbling of a stomach, or any other potential hindrances to a schedule. People have “unforeseen circumstances” at a much greater rate than Disney, yet we as guests are held to a higher standard than Disney is holding themselves. What happens when my dining reservation is delayed by 30 minutes and I miss my Fastpass+ reservation?

What’s more discouraging is that there are actual components of Fastpass+ and MyMagic+ that really interest me. I love the thought of walking into Epcot at 11 AM and heading straight for Spaceship Earth. While in line, I would use the mobile app to book a dinner reservation at Le Cellier for later that night, a Soarin’ Fastpass for mid afternoon and order food at Sunshine Seasons for lunch. It’s very intriguing to be able to do all of these things day of.

Alternatively, if a guest doesn’t have a smartphone, feel free to have them utilize the touch screens in the Spaceship Earth descent instead. Technically speaking they’re still planning their future…

All kidding aside, I fear with advanced reservations that Disney is eliminating the biggest advantage of this new infrastructure: the availability of same day access. What’s more likely with my 11 AM Epcot arrival, is an artificially inflated wait time at Spaceship Earth and all Soarin’ Fastpasses are distributed for the day. And unless you woke up at 6 AM 180 days ago, you can forget about Le Cellier.

Another issue with new technology is and always will be education. There are people that don’t understand the current Fastpass system, and the new system is more complex. The new system should be simplified to guests on the front end, despite any complexities behind the scenes. Additionally, it is expected that Extra Magic Hours will be eliminated in the future and resort guests will expect a comparable replacement. So with that said, here are my proposals that aim to blend the two systems as well as simplify the front end for the guests.

Front End

  • Disney Vacation Club Members, Resort Guests and Annual Pass Holders can make one Advanced Fastpass+ reservation per day.
  • Non-Resort Guests and Non-Annual Pass Holders will not be eligible for Advanced Fastpass+ reservations
  • Disney Vacation Club Members and Resort Guests would be eligible to make all advanced Fastpass+ reservations for the length of their stay upon check in.
  • Annual Pass holders would be eligible to make Fastpass+ reservations one day prior to entering the park and usage would be limited on a quarterly basis.
  • All guests would have the same access to the day of Fastpass+ distribution.

Back End

  • Advanced Fastpass+ reservations would be limited to 25% of an attraction’s available Fastpass+ distribution. If needed, this will make a minimum of 75% of an attraction’s daily Fastpass+ allocation available day of.
  • An exception to the 25% limit would be preferred viewing locations for Parades and Fireworks, which can be distributed up to 100% in advance.
  • Fastpass distribution for shows should be either eliminated or limited to preferred viewing.
  • All attractions set up for Fastpass+ will be available for advanced reservations.
  • Day of Fastpass+ reservations would only be available when wait times are expected to exceed 30 minutes for more than one hour of the day.
  • Day of Fastpass+ distribution and availability will remain consistent with the current system and guests will not be allocated a set number per day.
  • Return windows will increase based on popularity of the attraction. Higher demand attractions (return time greater than 3 hours in advance) will continue to have a one hour return window. Moderate demand attractions (return time 1-3 hours in advance) will have a 2 hour return window. Lower demand attractions (return time less than 1 hour in advance) will have a 3 hour window.
  • The maximum elapsed time for the next available Fastpass will increase from two hours to three hours. The minimum will remain at 40 minutes.

Perhaps my biggest objection to the entire Next Gen project is the misallocation of funds. Reports have the investment at over $1 billion dollars to “fix” aspects of Walt Disney World that weren’t really broken. It’s an investment intended to repackage the existing offerings as opposed to building new ones. If given the choice I would much rather see the company return their focus to building quality attractions that drive attendance. After all, in the words of John Lasseter, “Quality is the best business plan.”

Sincerely,

A Concerned Fan

About Tim Grassey

Three months before being born, Tim enjoyed his first trip to Disney World. Ever since, frequent trips to Disney World and Disneyland have helped feed the obsession. After a three year run as a podcaster, Tim currently co-owns the Disney information site, WDWThemeParks.com. You can follow the site on twitter @wdwthemeparks or follow Tim directly @tgrassey

Browse Archived Articles by

50 Comments

1 2 3

Comments for An Open Letter to Disney Regarding MyMagic Plus are now closed.

  1. Currently living outside of the States, we’ve several times visited WDW as part of an organized group tour, who provided transportation from off-site lodging and provided guides in the parks for non-English speakers. Generally the guides would go collect Fast Passes for one attraction while everyone rode another. It was actually nice having someone else go deal with Fast Passes for us, and the pricing for the organized group was actually less than if we just went on our own.

    I’m wondering exactly how similar guided groups will work out in the future?

    We generally don’t even know in advance which park we’ll visit on which day, so we’ve learned to head for Guest Services as soon as we arrive to make any dining reservations, and we have to be flexible with the times we are willing to eat (usually in the free hours the group has at each park).

    I foresee either groups strictly following a pre-set schedule with little or no wiggle-room and a lack of free time…or losing out on access to a lot of attractions. Either way seems to lessen the experience.

    Organized groups tours of the parks, especially for foreigners, are a big deal at WDW. Be interesting to see how they work them into this new system…or not.

  2. Tim, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments on MyMagic+. Like you, I have love hate relationship with it. I think the loss of adventure by forcing everyone to plan months in advance is the biggest issue and will really suck a lot of life out of the theme park experience. Creating classes of guests and data security are right up there as well.

    However, being able to make same day reservations on my phone, see accurate wait times, etc, would be awesome. I don’t even mind those RFID bracelets. But I worry Disney will go too far with all of this and use all that data in ways that makes me uncomfortable.

    • Dusty, you can already do all of that stuff on the free Disney Mobile Magic App. I used it when I was in Disney World over the weekend. It worked perfectly. It gives you official, accurate wait times and Fastpass return windows, park maps, event schedules, and access to dining reservations and menus. It even told me that Maelstrom was temporarily unavailable before I lugged myself all the way down to World Showcase! Everything that you said you wanted out of MyMagic+ is already available on that app!

  3. At this point, I suspect that this will benefit planning for large tour groups. Tests have shown that you can make the same reservations for all members of your party, and while these tour groups are larger than families, this can certainly help them.

    Having said that, I’m guessing that tweeks will happen along the way to all aspects of Fastpass+ and NextGen in general. Things will have to change in order to stay relevant.

  4. Great Letter Tim

    I 100% agree with what you are saying. There has been too much investment for a little outcome in my opinion. they need to update and improve their rides instead of worry about Mymagic+ or whatever they want to do. Theme parks are about attractions and themed environments, not expensive alternative that do not benefit all of their guests. it is a bad move Disney, and it needsto be stoped before they through more money at it (and subsequently down the toilet)

    Thanks Again Tim, and i look forward to more letters like this in the future

  5. Dusty,

    I think Fastpass+ could be a very good thing. I just fear that it’s going to affect park touring/planning in the same negative way that the Dining Plan has affected park touring/planning. Here’s hoping they don’t misuse what could be a great benefit to guests.

    Trumpet,

    When we first heard of NextGen and the $1 billion budget, I thought, “When has Disney spent $1 billion on anything and it didn’t result in something positive for the fans?” I hope my initial thought was correct, and would love to look back on this article a year from now and see that my fears are never realized.

  6. Loved this article. I have to agree that the Disney websites tend to be not very user friendly. They’re pretty to look at, but many questions aren’t easily answered. For example, it’s actually more difficult to find the FAQ section for Disneyland AP Holders. You can’t find the page quickly on the AP home page. I had to go to the Help Center to find FAQ’s as I wanted to figure out if it financially makes more sense for me to upgrade to the next level based on the number of times I may have to purchase the block out passes throughout the year. It took a lot of clicking and Googling to find the official response. Yahoo has answers, but they’re outdated with the wrong prices.

    Fastpass+ seems like Apple Maps/ GPS… released too soon with too many bugs.

  7. Great Article, Tim.
    I agree with you on almost every aspect that’s covered in your letter, especially the last full paragraph, quality is really needed back in WDW; quality in food, in shows, in attractions, in merchandise, in everything. Quality that has not seen the light of day in the theme parks; Quality that has disappeared since the appearance of budget-cuts to even the most basic of needs for theme parks.

    Timekeeper

  8. Unfortunately, it appears that Disney management is becoming more and more like other corporations. The number crunchers are always looking for another way to make more money and they are pushing everyone in operations to do more, faster, and roll things out far before they are ready, so that they can milk it for every possible penny.

    I blame Microsoft for mastering the art of releasing a product far before it was ready and having the public pay to work as their quality assurance department, doing their product testing. Disney is doing the same thing. Why hire people to test and wait months to make money when you can have people pay you for the “privileged” of testing your product?

    My initial thought about all of this was, once it was in place, they were going to be able to use it as a foundation for much cooler things, but… if they end up a) killing all spontaneity and relaxation in Disney vacations, and b) selling people’s info to outside sources, I think it will blow up in their face.

    One thing I know for sure. They need to hire better web developers. Nothing I’ve ever done with them, online, has gone entirely smoothly, and their user interfaces are far from being all inclusive, which the really need to be.

    • MK has poor animatronic upkeep as they don’t have a dedicated maintenance team that just maintains the animatronics. I think the whole situation is in flux, but obviously they have had problems for many years when you look at Splash, even the Yeti, and now Mermaid and the malfunctioning wardrobe in Enchanted Tales with Belle.

      • MiceAge contributor Garner Holt now handles the Animatronic maintenance if I recall. However, that doesn’t mean that the appropriate resources are being allocated to Garner Holt and his employees.

  9. Good gosh. When I go to Disney, I just want to ride. I don’t want to memorize a playbook. This ain’t the NFL.

  10. This article reminds me of the “Airing of the Grievances” part of the Festivus holiday (Seinfeld). There are some accusations which are unfounded:

    1. That Disney will track guests and sell data to companies. I doubt that what ride you went on is valuable data worth anything to companies that don’t sell Mickey Mouse t-shirts and schedule princess meet and greets. This is a just a conspiracy theory started online by some disgruntled APers who want new rides for WDW, which the resort does need, but making up stuff about MyMagic+ won’t help.

    2. MyMagic+ privacy issues. The conspiracy theorists believe MyMagic+ will be used by pedophiles with M.I.T. level hacking skills to track down their kids in the park, when in fact the whole system is a security upgrade as traditional card swipe locks are already very “unsecure”. There will be initial bugs, but I’m sure Disney will have everything worked out.

    3. Disney as a corporate villain. It’s been no secret that Disney sell tons of . . . stuff . . . to tourists each day, including fudge on Main Street, t-shirts, and the like, for many decades. While I don’t deny that Disney is a commercial enterprise, not a non-profit, it has been this way for a long time, it’s nothing new.

    4. Fastpass complaints. Guests who hate lines will use FastPass as much as they can, but the system doesn’t increase ride capacity one bit, it just helps placates some guests who hate lines. With whatever system Disney implements, there will be a trial and error period, if it works—great, if it doesn’t then it will be modified. But if people can reserve Fast Passes ahead of time (I would be happy to reserve RSR FastPasses months ahead of time), then I think some will take advantage of this. There will always be Stand-By lines, and probaby in-park FastPass machines for a while, but as everybody has much more experience using computers, I see the new system becoming popular.

    There are good points made with upkeep, I will say, and MK needs more attractions, at some point folks won’t go as they won’t be able to get on as many rides, then Disney will have to build some new attractions.

    Mermaid is a cheap ride, and MK just cloned a cheap ride without thinking about the consequences for MK. Their bad.

    • cheshirecat,

      Your “airing of greviences” comparison is fairly accurate. However many of your conspiracy theory assertions were also articulated by Representative Markey as well. I also think you’re underestimating the value of this spending information.

      In the article I acknowledged how loyalty cards are utilizing this information. I encourage you to read this article about some of the knowledge that Target has been able to gain:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

      What I think is very realistic is that Disney will be able to get more accurate estimates on a family’s annual income as a result of their in park spending. Information like this is often given willingly by some people, but less willingly by others. However, all of this information has value and it appears that many (including Representative Markey) are concerned about this.

      • Tim,

        But these aspects come with the use of any technology-based service. Even here on MiceChat, we could look at the times and IP address that a user logs in to determine their workplace or working hours. We could use their device string to determine their income (if they are using a $2700 Mac Pro or a $200 Chromebook or an iPhone vs. an inexpensive feature phone, etc.), and other information. We don’t use it, but Disney already can when you’re logged into an account on their website.

        Data itself isn’t worth money, but using that data correctly is. Disney’s privacy policy explicitly doesn’t allow them to sell the data. Like Google ads, or any other online advertising service, if they do sell targeted ads, it’s a double-blind system. It’s not just like they hand over a credit card, and say “Oh, here’s the file on Monorail Man!”

        When you use your Key to the World card, they have all the same information and the same data. It’s essentially a really fancy room key system, that I don’t think is worth the billion they spent on it. For them, the billion is combining all these disjointed systems into a single one – which from a logistics and company standpoint is awesome. However, I just think that WDW needs the money spent in other areas. The problem is, they already believe they have the superior Orlando product, so they chose to go with developing this system.

        I’m fully in the camp that a system like this will change the way we interact with theme parks in the next 20 years. We’re growing up with the ‘Social Me’ generation, and this is what MM+ is all about, allowing people to feel like they are in control, Disney is responding, and their vacation is all about them.

  11. As I’m in the process of planning out a WDW vacation for 2014, I can fully appreciate the level of detail that you’ve gone into. The concepts behind the new FastPass + system is a lot like Marxism: It works in theory, not in practice.

    As of the past long while, Disney has begun using loads & statistics to run the parks, whether for good or for bad. I can see why: Balancing out the loads is critical to avoid becoming SixFlags with overpopulated rides next to empty ones. This in itself is a good thing, but there are limits to how and why a park should do this.

    Being paraplegic has challenges where using the FastPass+ will be a useful tool to some degree for me- I can figure out the best methods & scheduling for being able to do the WDW properties without having to travel excessive distances or wait longer times. Knowing that Disney’s overall handicapped policies are dreadful (to be very polite), the new system is going to help me out quite a bit in making the most of every Disney minute I’ve got there. Most people do not want the rigid planning out of how the system works- and I can understand and respect that completely. But I also think this new tool can be quite powerful if used right.

    I do think that Disney is over- planning a park stay though for the ‘average’ guest. This is starting to remind me more & more of the movies “Westworld” and “Futureworld” where everything is done for you in the name of fun. Whereas I like being able to plan everything out, seeing Disney plan everything out for you is a wee bit too strict.

    Hopefully everything will work out nicely in the end- and the system will hold up for what I’m doing there.

    R.D.

    • As a paraplegic, Disney would likely allow you to use a Guest Assistance Card. What I also fear is that the implementation of Fastpass+ will result in even greater abuse of this beneficial program. By making Fastpass usage more difficult, the guests will look to an alternative approach to improve park touring. That’s the Guest Assistance Card. Presumably what would happen after that is a change to the Guest Assistance Card policy, thus hurting those people that genuinely need it.

      This hypothetical scenario is another potential instance of Disney asking “How do we stop this from happening?” without asking “Why is this happening?”

  12. My simple two cents:

    Outside of planning what days I’ll be in the park and where I’ll stay, I do NOT want my action planned for every hour while I’m there. I work with deadlines and when I’m in the park I do NOT want to be stressed about being somewhere at certain time. That takes all the fun out of it.

    And I do NOT want to have to wear a wristband ticket, Fastpass thingy either.

    I tried to read the above letter, but it got way too complicated for me and if this is what going to Disneyland will be like count me out. I want to relax, not be tracked, prodded, told what to wear, which Fastpass line to be in, etc.

    My grandson turned one last week and I have been looking forward to the day he will walk under the (left) bridge and enter Main Street, USA. But if this type of marketing and policies continue he will never know the magic that Walt intended, just the greediness of the current company.

    • My apologies that the letter was too complex (or perhaps simply too long). But as you said, this points to our respective attention spans (myself included). If we can’t figure something out quickly, we’re not interested in it.

      If nothing else, I’d encourage you to read my suggested “Front End” implementation of the Fastpass+ system (bullet points towards the end).

  13. In the first paragraph, that should’ve read: vacation, not action.

    (Could not figure out how to edit my comment)

  14. My family and I have been looking forward to visiting WDW for such a long time, we visit DL at least once a year since our child was born, however each year I read more and more of WDW’s decline, restriction of offerings, shuttering or downgrading of attractions and I am beginning to wonder if we should still plan a trip of if we should just be happy we have DL.

    It’d be nice to see all WDW has to offer, but it seems at this rate we’ll book a trip, flight and hotel to only be able to visit the Tangled restrooms after obtaining a PottiePass+ guaranteeing a wait time of between 3-4 hours with no other rides available as they have all been closed or fallen apart…

    • Disney World is certainly visiting if you’re a Disneyland fan. There are aspects of it where it’s superior. Having said that, as a Disney World fan, I find myself gravitating to Disneyland more as the quality of Disney World has declined.

  15. RE: Tim Grassey
    March 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    “MiceAge contributor Garner Holt now handles the Animatronic maintenance if I recall. However, that doesn’t mean that the appropriate resources are being allocated to Garner Holt and his employees.”

    As Garner Holt is based in California, does he have people in WDW to maintain all the animatronics there? Is he just on call if something goes awry? Or does WDW have their own maintenance CM’s capable of maintaining animatronics?

    • I’m not 100% certain on the relationship, so I don’t want to present any misinformation.

      • At the moment, animatronics at WDW are still repaired by Disney “trained” electricians. They have animatronics classes given by someone from WDI, but after the initial training there is no continuing education.

        Reasons why the animatronics are in bad shape include:
        Under-staffing

        Actuators are continually refurbished well beyond the time they just need to be replaced

        New safety protocols make it a big deal to get to some animatronics in precarious locations

        Shoddy design in the first place with actuators jammed in a small location, to fix one thing everything else that’s working fine has to be removed

        Lack of continuing education and thus a uniform way of carrying out repairs

        Lastly low employee morale in maintenance and a general I-don’t-give-a-darn attitude

1 2 3