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Thread: Earthquakes

  1. #1

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    Earthquakes

    So the other day as I was daydreaming about Disneyland, the subject of earthquakes came to mind. Not sure why. Anyway, it got me ruminating on a few things:

    1) Has there ever been an earthquake that caused significant damage to Disneyland? (I don't think so, but maybe I just never knew).

    2) How close is Disneyland located to known earthquake faults?

    3) Assuming Disneyland is not located especially close to known earthquake faults, was this part of the criteria when Anaheim was chosen (along with climate, freeway access, etc?)

    4) If a "major" earthquake were to hit Disneyland, what protocols are in place? Also, have any buildings been retrofitted?

    5) How safe would you feel during a "major" earthquake if you were in Disneyland (compared to at home or work or on the road or whatever)? Would there be any particular places you would especially not want to be? (I think being in the Indy queue would be particulary scary)

  2. #2

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    Re: Earthquakes

    To the first part of your question #4, here's a quote from Al Lutz' column "Timelines and Faultlines"...

    ...Anaheim has never conducted a park-wide earthquake drill for its Cast Members, and the few minutes of earthquake training Cast Member’s receive when they hire in is so basic and so vague it comes across as rather meaningless.

    ...the response for a moderate or severe earthquake is for all Cast Members to abandon their work locations and go to a designated “Cast Assembly Area”, while the park visitors are mysteriously directed by seemingly no one to move to separate yet unlabeled “Safe Havens,” which are open areas away from buildings.

    If the earthquake response is carried out accurately, the employees and customers would be segregated into separate assembly areas that are only identified on a handful of dusty maps posted backstage.

    Not a single word is mentioned in any of the Cast Member training about how to respond to panicky or injured visitors, or what to tell them, or where to direct them.

    The salaried park management have also had just a few minutes of vague and useless training in earthquake response techniques, the same as the average ride operator or shop clerk got, so don’t look to the guy wearing the Dockers and the earpiece for useful direction or assistance either.

    ...There are vague plans to evacuate the parks along designated corridors in the strong earthquake scenarios, dumping up to 100,000 people at one time out into the Esplanade and/or surface streets around the parks.


    More earthquake-at-DLR discussion in these threads:
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  3. #3

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    Re: Earthquakes

    Pretty sure there was minor damage after Northridge. Can't remember anything else in the last 30 years. I think there might have been some minor damage from a quake centered near Long Beach in the 70's as well, someone older will probably remember.
    I'm not sure about the distance to known faults, but there are literally known faults everywhere in California so it can't be far. It's close enough to the San Andreas fault, (Probably about 100 miles,) such that if the "Big One" happens, it will be severely damaged for sure.

    I would actually feel fairly safe in most places in DL. I don't know anything about the evac procedures, but generally Disney is pretty good at these types of things. The rides would automatically stop, the buildings are mostly either light framed wood and steel or a combination, no masonry so it's a pretty safe place to be in a quake. I suppose you'd have a chance of being hit with falling objects and building materials, but a complete building failure isn't very likely in any of Disney's structures. Almost all the buildings and attractions could be damaged to the point of having to be replaced, but not actually collapse or injure huge numbers of people.

    Of course, if there's a 8+ quake close to you, a lot of people will get hurt everywhere, that's pretty much unavoidable. But with our building codes in CA ,the numbers of deaths should be relatively low.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Earthquakes

    There are known earthquake faults all over the place near Disneyland -- most of which are known to and have generated earthquakes from at east 6.5 - 7.5 on the Richter scale.

    The biggest one would be the Newport-Inglewood fault: roughly 15 miles away. This fault parallels the coast from Newport Beach in the south to Inglewood in the north. A sizable quake struck this fault in 1933 creating extensive damage.

    There is also the Whittier Narrows fault which is probably same distance to the Northeast. A major quake occurred on this fault back in 1988 or 89.

    These faults also have branches which are also capable of producing quakes of lesser or equal magnitude.

    One thing to keep in mind that would effect Disneyland the most is the water table which sits under the city of Anaheim. It really isn't the size of the quake so much as how much soil would mix in with this ground water, causing the ground underneath Disneyland to liquefy, threatening the stability of its older structures. And this is a real threat considering Disneyland's proximity to several large earthquake faults.

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    Re: Earthquakes

    I second DisneyIPresume's analysis. Newport-Inglewood is probably the most dangerous known local fault. The 1933 Long Beach quake on that fault was one of California's worst ever in terms of damage and fatalities. Here's a map of it.

    The place I would not want to be is riding Goofy's Sky School. That would probably freak me out something fierce.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Earthquakes

    It's kind of funny. When we first moved here, I worried about earthquakes. Our first was the Northridge, and we were probably 15 miles from the epicenter. I couldn't sleep for a while, and actually had to get a little something from my doc to help.

    But now? No worries. I will be where-ever I am when a quake hits, and I'll do the best I can and won't get upset over "what might be." And I'm going to do whatever I do, without staying home because someplace might not be great in an earthquake.

    Disney may have some liquifaction issues, but I figure their building codes are in line with anybody else in the area. So I'll take my chances.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Earthquakes

    I was in DCA during the Chino Hills quake. That was a 5.5 but was especially strong in Anaheim because the epicenter was so close.

    I was in pacific wharf at the time. It was a pretty scary shake. When it stopped it was clear that there were well-defined protocols in place as rides were evacuated and cast members were deployed to answer questions and help anyone who needed assistance. All rides were shut down of course and for the rest of the day you could see inspectors searching for damage. Some rides reopened later that day but many didn't. There was a line at guest relations to get rain checks, but it moved pretty quick.

    It all seemed pretty organized and orderly to me.

  8. #8

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    Re: Earthquakes

    In a major earthquake I wouldn't be as worried about Disneyland structures collapsing as I would be of the aftermath: tens of thousands of people packed in a small area with only one exit... relying for help on DLR employees and managers who haven't been trained to deal with such a situation (see Al's update). And possibly facing the closure of the massive Mickey and Friends parking structure, if not due to damage, then at least until it's been inspected -- leaving tens of thousands of DLR guests unable to access their vehicles.

    After the Tokyo earthquake it became apparent that Tokyo Disneyland and its employees had in place a level of earthquake preparedness and training that was enormously more thorough and in-depth than the pathetic non-training of its Anaheim counterpart.

    To no surprise, in the post-Toyko earthquake discussion, Disney employees tended to minimize the concerns. Exchanges like the following were common:

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus
    Quote Originally Posted by Rivers of America
    Comparing Anaheim with Tokyo as far as earthquake operations is apples and oranges. Yes, Anaheim does have earthquakes, but the geology and topography of Tokyo and Anaheim are completely different.

    First, it's important to know that the rules governing Tokyo business and CA business are dramatically different. DLR Anaheim's earthquake perparedness plans meet or exceed the business standards set by the State of California.

    Second, it's improtant to undnerstand that seismic activity in Anaheim is must less frequent, and much less severe on average, than in Tokyo. The earquake procedures set forth at the Disneyland Resort are consistent with what is expected in Anaheim.

    Third, all onstage CM's are given instruction as part of their specific training what the procedure is in their specific area (each area is different). There's an evac procedure for every ride and building. It has worked well in the past. The DL Resort has had several earthquakes in its 55+ year history, and the procedures in place have been generally effective.

    Fourth, if after an earthquake, a guest complain that they can't go on any rides or that they're not getting food and beverages, most other guests standing around that person will probably agree that the guest in question should be slapped upside the head for not having his priorities straight.

    To make earthquake procedure comparisons between Tokyo and Anaheim simply isn't fair to either location. One might as week ask if Anaheim should impliment Orlando's hurricane procedures. After all, we do get hurricanes in CA, about once every 50 yers or so.
    Wow.. are you interning for the PR department now?

    First.. the fact Toyko and CA are different is against you - not for you. Toyko's building standards are much much higher. To the original question.. if a 7.5 earthquake hit Anahaim.. they'd be in a world of hurt for infrastructure and building damage compared to Toyko.

    Second - to say 'well we meet the standards' doesn't mean you are covered. It means you met what someone expected. If you learned anything from this earthquake's impact on TDL - its that you need to be open to challenges you didn't directly expect. For instance, does your training include what to do if guests are stranded in the park for extended hours.. even over night? Or what to do if there is no running water in the park? What if you have to keep people for extended time in the elements.. then what? Your downplaying someone needing food or beverage doesn't sound so trivial anymore does it?

    I really enjoyed this one the most "The DL Resort has had several earthquakes in its 55+ year history, and the procedures in place have been generally effective."

    Well Japan's preparation for the last 60+ years was generally effective too... until something bigger hit. The question posed is - how well trained and prepared is Disney for something greater then what is expected?

    Anaheim is only ~55m or so from the San Andreas Fault. And lets not forget even in recent memory.. the northridge quake which was 6.7 in close proximity to Anaheim.. on a previously unknown fault... when the LA area already has tons.

    Fault Map - Los Angeles Region

    I'm amazed people believe the party line so tightly they can't see the lessons to learn from Japan's experience.

    Imagine what would happen if the I-5 interchange failed.. or the M&F structure in general... and Disney wasn't able to just tell everyone 'please go home'. Then what?

    You're trained to get people out of the buildings. Then what? What if people get hysterical and a panic ensues because of a fire breaks out as part of the quake?

    I don't expect the front line 8/hr CMs to been trained on all these elements.. but the management teams need to have such disaster planning in their portfolio.
    Since then nothing has changed.

    Except that we've gotten two years closer to the inevitable Big One.
    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 11-11-2013 at 10:34 PM.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Earthquakes

    The Tomorrowland Terrace stage's underground green room was damaged in a late 1970s quake. The dance floor on top had to be replaced.

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    Re: Earthquakes

    Is there any real evidence that the higher-ups don't have adequate plans in place for a large event besides a sourceless article? Not arguing against it, but I would just like to see sources or at least a relatable incident in the past.

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    Re: Earthquakes

    Quote Originally Posted by denyuntilcaught View Post
    Is there any real evidence that the higher-ups don't have adequate plans in place for a large event besides a sourceless article? Not arguing against it, but I would just like to see sources or at least a relatable incident in the past.
    Al and MiceChat update team don't reveal their sources. Ever. If they did, they wouldn't have any sources.
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    Re: Earthquakes

    So there isn't real evidence, got it.

  13. #13

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    Re: Earthquakes

    In all seriousness, an earthquake while at Disneyland or DCA would not be a Hollywood type disaster scene. The Newport-Inglewood fault would rupture and shake vigerously. Disneyland being an open area (not totally) would shake and there would be damage to structures. I would be more concerned with panic, stampeding crowds and fires after the shaking. And the horrendous traffic jams that would follow as people try to get out of the parking structure, if it hasn't been damaged.

  14. #14

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    Re: Earthquakes

    My biggest worry about earthquakes at Disneyland are being in the lower level of Pirates of the Caribbean after the falls but before heading under the railroad tracks and being in the Submarine bunker with all that dirt and trees on top.

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    Re: Earthquakes

    Nearest fault to Disneyland is the El Modeno fault, a mere 2 miles ENE of the park. The hills just east of the park were uplifted by this fault and the Peralta Hills fault. It doesn't have the large seismic history of the Newport Inglewood fault zone (actually a collection of about 18 smaller fault slip spots) though. Also 2 miles due north of Disneyland is the Puente Hills fault. The San Joaquin Hills fault runs under John Wayne airport just before you get to the Newport/Inglewood fault. So by danger, Newport Inglewood is the winner, but there are several that are much closer and are capable of large quakes. They just haven't put one out in recent times.

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