First off, thanks to David and his always excellent reporting. Secondly thank you to all the current CMs who have to put up with the busses everyday and still walk onstage wearing a smile on their face.Wednesday, April 28, 2010 by David Koenig
(Article from another Disney Fansite)
Guest reaction has been generally positive to Disneyland’s month-old Toy Story parking lot, located kitty-corner across Katella Avenue and Harbor Boulevard from the southeast corner of the resort. Despite having to park a greater distance from the Main Gate, being forced to ride a regular old bus instead of an open-air tram, and having to traverse across less-than-lovely Harbor Boulevard, most visitors give the new set-up high marks for convenience, comfort and, most importantly, travel time between the lot and theme parks. No more circling six stories up the Mickey & Friends parking structure, hiking a half-mile to the escalators, and elbowing for a seat on an overcrowded tram. With the Toy Story lot, guests typically drive directly to a ground-level parking spot and walk right on to a waiting, air-conditioned shuttle bus.
No, against the expectations of Team Disney Anaheim, it hasn’t been the guest who have been upset by the new lot, but rather the thousands of employees who park in the adjacent Katella Cast Member Lot (KCML).
“The guests enter and exit the lots from Harbor Boulevard, but the shuttle buses that take them to the parks drive through and enter and exit through KCML,” explained one cast member. “This has added traffic for us. It has also added some tension.”
Common cast members complaints include:
What’s made matters worse is the feeling among cast members that guests are encroaching on their turf. For one thing, because the guest shuttles drive through the Katella Cast Member Lot, employee parking spots have been eliminated to make room for the buses. In addition, Resort Transportation & Parking needed a management outpost to oversee the Toy Story lot, so it added an office—inside the Katella Cast Member Lot. More employee spots gone. “TDA (Team Disney Anaheim, Disneyland's corporate office) could have had it built in the Toy Story lot,” griped one worker. “Evidently, TDA believes we don’t deserve a lot of our own.”
- The outside contractors Disney has hired to drive the guest shuttles are “not as courteous” as Disney University-trained cast members;
- The drivers don’t slow down in the Katella Cast Member Lot;
- The drivers are unwilling to stop for employees walking to and from their cars—and reportedly have cut off employees driving their cars in the Katella Cast Member Lot;
- The drivers “think they have priority over our shuttles who transport us to Harbor Point.”
And, to further compete for those precious employee parking spots, the construction workers “reimagining” DCA have also been instructed to park in the Katella Cast Member Lot.
Cast members have also lost their prime drop-off spot. The at-park employee shuttle stop was relocated from the convenient “green zone” at Harbor Point to accommodate the guest buses. One employee said Resort Transportation & Parking felt the location “impeded” the guest shuttles. Another worker heard that TDA wanted the guest buses to take over the stop, but discovered the vehicles were too long to make the turn to exit. For whatever reason, the old employee shuttle stop just sits there, unused.
Tensions really flared during the extra-busy weeks surrounding Easter. “The traffic around the resort has been getting really bad,” a cast member shared at the time. “Almost everyday this spring break, cast member shuttles are getting stuck in traffic. Several of them caused cast members to get marked for being late. Managers don’t care and have been freely marking their cast members late and giving them points against their record. To them, it does not matter—even if their workers called from their traffic-stranded shuttle to let them know that they would be late for their shift.”
As one marked-up worker lamented, “We had no control over this, and we are being punished.” Reportedly, several grievances were filed with the unions over parking lot-related tardiness.
In the ensuing weeks, little improved in terms of cast member parking—or morale. “Since then, absolutely nothing has been done,” an employee moaned. “Cast members are still complaining, and those complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears at Resort Transportation & Parking.”
“We,” sighed one cast member/motorist, “are second-class citizens.”
This article hit me close to home being an ex CM having to deal with the lot almost everyday for 4 years. KCML a.k.a. the K-Lot by most CMs has had its share of overcrowding issues. It was expanded many months after DCA opened its gates and even after that debacle, as many former and current CMs know too well, there are only a few "zones" to park in that provide convenient access to the shuttle stops. Otherwise, it is quite the hike over to one of the few shuttle pickup locations.
Needless to say that there is alot of pedestrian activity in K-Lot. There are also lot of CM shuttles that need to stay on schedule and alot of cars rushing in and out of lanes trying to find spots closest to the shuttle stops. Having the guest busses travel anywhere through the K-Lot on a routine basis is another unwelcome frustration on top of many that already exist for them in their quests to get to the clock in machine on time.
With DCAs attendance growing I can only imagine that there is or will be a need for more staffed CMs to fill shifts making the lot even more crowded than it already is. Its hard to imagine how TDA is going to accomodate this when they have spots restricted as they are now bus paths. While guests and APs alike are enjoying the ample parking the CMs convenience seems to be expendable.
I'd especially like to hear what the current CM's thoughts are on this. I know that we have a few here on MC. I would especially like to know if TDA gave them fair warning about the situation or if it just happened without notice.