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  1. #1

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    Disneyland Deaths

    Now I know that most, if not all, of us on this site love Disneyland. However, there are some things that are very difficult to reconcile with the image of happiness and magic that we associate with Disneyland. The greatest among these flaws in the happiest place on earth is moneylust. It seems that moneylust drives everything we hate about Disneyland. Overcrowding, ever-rising ticket prices, ridiculous food prices, less-than-satisfactory parades that appeal to the unimaginative masses (you know which one I'm talking about)- all can be linked to the moneylust that has developed (or that perhaps has always existed) within the Disney company.
    On that note, I recently found myself wondering how many deaths have occured at Disneyland. (It doesn't sound related, but this really is the subject I was trying to get to. However, I sort of lost myself in thought while writing the first part of this. The deaths are related to the moneylust, though, especially in how they try to keep them on the downlow) So I googled "disneyland deaths" (well, I actually Binged, but tomato tomato, lol). The first article I came across was this one
    Death/disney deaths
    While reading it, I really couldn't tell if the author was being sarcastic or extremely biased. Admittedly, Disney was at fault for several of these deaths, and I know there are more that aren't in this article, but the author defends victims saying that they " innocently attempted to change cars" on the people mover or that they "'borrowed' an inflatable rubber maintenance boat for an impromptu nighttime cruise on the river". Of course, when talking about accidents that end with tragic deaths, it is not politically correct nor fair to say, "They deserved it, it was their fault," but you can also not blame Disney for guest negligence.
    So how do we keep our love for Disneyland, despite these horrific incidents? How do we continue to contribute to the moneylusting suits? How do we reconcile our idealistic view of this perfect place with reality?
    Or maybe I should just speak for myself. Disneyland, for me, is a place to escape reality. But when reality seeps in, what is one to do?

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    For me, I won't go on Sailing Ship Columbia, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (in fact I have never been on the latter). Once you know what happened on the attraction, you can't help but think about it when you're there, and that clouds your enjoyment of it. So why bother. There are better attractions anyway. Overall, though I think Disneyland has a pretty good safety record, considering that more than 515 million guests have visited the place. Disney estimates that 258 million guests have ridden the Matterhorn, and with 2 deaths (one clearly caused by the guest, the other unknown) that's a pretty good safety record overall. Of course any injury or death is too many, and if they aren't already, they need to take a very close look at their attraction design, construction, maintenance and training policies to make sure no more incidents happen, ever.

  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    I confess that what I'm about to say has been re-hashed by people in previous threads (who have stated it much better), but I'll jump in anyway.

    On the money-greedy suits: Disneyland has, and always will be, a tourism destination. Despite the warm and fuzzy tales of Walt being inspired by the idea while sitting on a park bench in Griffith Park, he was a businessman. He was passionate and creative, no doubt, but a businessman. It was no accident that DL happened to be built along the I-5, with easy access, right between LA and San Diego. No accident that he had corporate sponsors, no accident that he promoted the hell out of the park on tv, and no accident that he continued to expand and form partnerships with even more companies.

    Now, we could say things have gotten out of hand - of course prices are way up, food is pricey and so forth, but you're entering an area designed and built, from the get-go, to expel money from your pockets, in some way. If this has gotten out of hand, that's another discussion. But I don't let that ruin my enjoyment of the parks, no more than I let the "greed" of Kellog's ruin my breakfast or the "greed" of Starbucks ruin my coffee and conversation. They are choices I make. No one is forcing me to enjoy a corporate franchise that charges a premium; nor, exactly, is it my right or entitlement in any way.

    On the deaths: I know this effects some people more than others. And this in no way excuses inept behavior from the guests or the park, but it is a place where literally thousands of people have visited every day for nearly 55 years, surrounding themselves with crowds, large bodies of water, heavy automated machinery (rides), explosions (fireworks) and live animals. Of course, things are going to happen. It's unfortunate. And while I will forever associate the Carrousel Theatre, BTMRR and Columbia with fatalities, I still enjoy them. I still partake in them. But I also drive streets where I've seen fatal car wrecks, still eat fast food, still smoke. If we were to let your enjoyment of every thing in the world be affected by a related death, you wouldn't do much.

    In essence, it's all a mindset. Do you think about money-greedy suits in a board meeting and 911 calls? Or do you enjoy the park? When you listen to Janis Joplin, do you dwell on the numerous heroin-related deaths, or enjoy the music? The similarities are endless.

    I guess it comes down to what you need to personally do to "suspend belief and step in a fantasy world". Disneyland has ALWAYS and WILL ALWAYS be a place where we'll see corporate logos (from Coca-Cola and Kodak to Starbucks). And on what level do you engage in suspended belief? It be kind of silly to think you're truly stepping into a fantasy world - and dangerous. It's impossible in our human existance to have a completely sanitized fantasy with no consequences or real-world interference.

    Dwell if you must, focus if you must. But hopefully you can get past that and enjoy Disneyland, the beach, the mountains, Knott's, or anywhere else that people have died horrid deaths.

  4. #4

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    I refuse to sit in the front seat of Big Thunder, but other than that I won't let unfortunate incidents mar my otherwise enjoyable day. Consider me an "ignorant tourist".

  5. #5

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by lobeobann View Post
    So how do we keep our love for Disneyland, despite these horrific incidents?
    By remembering that the things we love did not cause those accidents. Guest stupidity, negligent maintenance/operation, and/or sheer dumb luck caused those accidents. They are extremely tragic, and my heart goes out to anyone directly affected by the few deaths that have occurred in the park. But it's not practical or healthy to avoid every place associated with even just a single accidental death, IMO. I doubt I could drive more than a mile or two if I did that. Unfortunately, living is a bit of a gamble, and in the end, the house always wins. I don't think most of the players who run out of luck before us would want us to stop enjoying the game on their account. I certainly wouldn't.

    How do we continue to contribute to the moneylusting suits?
    That's a tougher question, IMO. I guess my answer is threefold:

    1. Choosing not to spend $100-$200 per year on Disney theme park tickets really is not going to put much of a dent in Disney's profits overall. I've accepted that as just one person, whether or not I give Disney my money really isn't going to have any sort of measurable effect on their financial situation.

    2. Even if I somehow did have a sizable impact on Disney's finances, reducing their profits would not necessarily produce desirable results. One would hope that if Disney noticed a drop in their numbers, they'd wisen up, but it's entirely possible that it'd just mean the same sorts of projects but with smaller budgets. That's not what any of us want, I don't think.

    3. Not everyone at Disney is a "moneylusting suit." I have no qualms about supporting the others.

    How do we reconcile our idealistic view of this perfect place with reality? Or maybe I should just speak for myself. Disneyland, for me, is a place to escape reality. But when reality seeps in, what is one to do?
    While we're in the park, just blissfully ignore it, really - then log onto MiceChat and debate the heck out of it. That's how I survive!


  6. #6

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    Thumbs up Re: Disneyland Deaths

    Well said WJNM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    I've been on the Matterhorn when I suddenly thought about all the deaths on that attraction it's self. I think, "this thing is dangerous"... But, I still ride it and have a good time.

    Sometimes while in the car I think of how extremely dangerous it is, and that if I look away for 1 second, I could die. But, I still love driving, and I just try and remember to wear my seatbelt.

    Same thing with airplanes. If I haven't flown in a while, I start thinking of all those episodes of Air Emergency I watched on Nat GEO, where everybody dies.. In turn, I start freaking out every time the sound of the engine changes. Then, I remember a statistic I heard once that said it's far safer to ride an airplane than a in a car.

    You can't go living life thinking about how you could die. Sure, you can be careful, and be aware of danger, but don't become phobic.

  8. #8

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by stitchon View Post
    I refuse to sit in the front seat of Big Thunder, but other than that I won't let unfortunate incidents mar my otherwise enjoyable day. Consider me an "ignorant tourist".
    We won't sit in the front either. We feel it's faster in the back, and there's no way on God's green earth I'm letting my kids sit in the front after what happened before. I'm SURE it would never happen again...but since that time, we've always sat in the back.

    I think the other accidents were more one time things. Thunder...it's going to take a loooong time before I trust the front of the train.

  9. #9

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    ^ That probably stems from the fact that the Big Thunder Mountain incident was more or less a freak accident then anything else.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    WJNM basically said everything I could possibly think of adding to the discussion. But for anyone curious as to where all the deaths happened, here:

    snopes.com: Disneyland Deaths

  11. #11

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by 19MWT55 View Post
    ^ That probably stems from the fact that the Big Thunder Mountain incident was more or less a freak accident then anything else.
    Actually it was more through reduced maintenance than "freak accident". The Pressler days are over and maintenance has improved greatly.

    From the DOSH Report - "The accident was caused by a mechanical failure, which occurred as a result of omission during a maintenance procedure of two required actions".

    Not very freak.







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  12. #12

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    Seriously, I don't know if it's possible that the author wasn't being sarcastic. He refers to the treacherous depths of Four Feet and things like that. He also put out there that Disney has better security than most small nations. Which is true. I really think he was being facetious. There was only one death there that was actually Disney's fault. These sorts of incidents are what inspired the Darwin awards. You can't blame Disney for people who violate safety procedures that are repeated over and over again in different languages.

    The Columbia death, the skyway death, BTMRR I know about but what happened on Roger Rabbit? Other than that I can't think of any other deaths that Disney was actually responsible for.

    As for reconciling my horror of the few deaths that actually are Disney's fault and the idyllic feeling I get in the park..... well, Disney is obsessive about safety because those suits don't want to get sued. Their desire not to have the money that they covet taken away by victims in lawsuits as well as decreasing the bottom line by effecting the image of the parks as a safe place helps insure that they keep rigid maintenance and safety procedures. I can't ride BTMRR anymore because of what happened but you can bet that it's probably the safest ride in the park now. The same way that after the E-coli outbreak happened at Jack In the Box that they had the strictest health standards of any food chain. They know that any other incidents would result in ruin for the company.

    As for the money grubbing suits...... I agree with others on this thread. Corporate greed is everywhere. If you're going to let it ruin the way you experience things you're going to need to move to a cave in the mountains because that's the only way you'll get away from it.

    Although, WJNM I disagree with your assessment of Walt Disney. He was not a businessman. Roy was the businessman. Walt was a dreamer an artist. His special gift was thinking of things that would appeal to everyone. His brother managed the finances and turned that talent of Walt's into the financial empire that we know today. Walt took risks that no sane business man would take. He almost bankrupted himself, his brother and his studios several times and it payed off more than he had ever dreamed it could. He didn't set out to create the juggernaut that Disney has become, he only cared about money as a way to finance his projects. I'll quote the man himself:

    " Money is something I understand only vaguely, and think about it only when I don't have enough to finance my current enthusiasm, whatever it may be. All I know about money is that I have to have it to do things. I don't want to bank my dividends, I'd rather keep my money working. I regard it as a moral obligation to pay back borrowed money. When I make a profit, I don't squander it or hide it away; I immediately plow it back into a fresh project. I have little respect for money as such; I regard it merely as a medium for financing new ideas. I neither wish nor intend to amass a personal fortune. Money -- or rather the lack of it to carry out my ideas-- may worry me, but it does not excite me. Ideas excite me"

    Walt Disney
    Last edited by Queentitania19; 11-23-2009 at 10:55 AM.

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  13. #13

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    To me, it's basically a "enter at your own risk" type of thing. Accidents do happen and sometimes theres no way around them

  14. #14

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    I just trust that the staff takes as good as care as humanly possible of the equipment. I know that they inspect and take more action to ensure safety of the guests more so then I do when I get into my car and drive around. There is a certain amount of risk in almost anything you do, I don't think it's worth missing out on things to avoid the small off chance something bad could happen.

  15. #15

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    Re: Disneyland Deaths

    I honestly don't think about things like this at all when I'm there. The things that caused those accidents have been taken care of and I certainly don't do anything to endanger my own life so I feel totally safe and secure on every single ride.

    I certainly don't think about all the people who have died in cars, or on my very street, or in hospitals, or from disease. I don't let it affect me in any way.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

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