Change is good! In the past, I would walk though Fantasyland hoping that a manager would stop, look and take the time to resolve problems related to small details here and there. Sometimes guests, like myself, don’t agree with the changes, however changes are occurring and that means only one thing: Someone is looking at the details! My favorite land is getting the tender loving care that it truly deserves, so I have compiled this update to celebrate with everyone the possible changes so that all Mice chatter’s can be as happy and informed about them as I am. Below I have a five updates, enjoy!
1) Princess Fantasy Faire no longer?
Once upon a time, a manager came up with a promise. A promise that at any time, your child can meet up with three princess’ throughout the day at the new Princess Fantasy Faire in Fantasyland. At this magical place, any “soon-to-be princess” could go and find a real Disney one to look up to. One of the complaints commonly heard throughout Fantasyland and even at City Hall is “where are the Princess’ at?” The answer should be simple: The Princess Fantasy Faire! But it isn’t.
Although the idea of a “one-stop shop” for Princess’ is a good one, it is rather unrealistic. Why are there complaints when everyone knows where to go? Well, that’s because the guests have already been to the “Princess Fantasy Faire” only to find… no princess. Disney has been hard pressed to keep this promise and has failed miserably to get anywhere near the “Three a day” that was quoted to us in the past. Instead, Guests go to the “Princess Fantasy Faire” and find: Minnie Mouse or Daisy because it is easier to staff a fully costumed character then a face-matched Princess one.
What’s even worse is that the managers are giving up on the Princess idea completely and now thinking of changing the name, dropping the word “Princess” and making the area just a common “meet-and-greet” for all Fantasyland type characters. This completely ignores the positive feedback that was received from guests when they first opened the area and the promises that was made to us by Disney in the past.
Now I don’t have children, but if I did have a daughter, I would imagine that I would want her to meet a Princess at a location that I could visit whenever we had time throughout the day. Since when did Disney change their mentality to: “As long as it is good enough, it should succeed?”
2) Parades, Storybook, Theater on CDS.
Parades, Storybook and the Theater have been added to CDS. With this change, the last remaining Fantasyland attractions will be running CDS to allow fluid scheduling of Cast Members in the computer by leads. This also allows the mangers to test out new ideas like scheduling the Cast to run Storybook land wile the parade is going on. In fact, that is also occurring!
3) Storybook Land to remain open during parade, starting today!
Storybook Land will remain open during the parade operating two boats and possibly clogging the walkway between Small World and the rest of Fantasyland. This test will start today, February 1st, and is now possible because of the change adding Storybook to CDS. Although I’m sure this idea is more about “saving money” then giving guests more options, the managers have pitched the recent change as an effort to better serve the guests and allow more options throughout the day.
Before this change, the managers tried other ideas to save money like the merging of Parades and Storybook by requiring all parades Cast Members to have Storybook knowledge. This short lived test could have saved money for Disneyland, but required the cast, including leads, to put up and take down the parade in addition to their existing Storybook duties… It was just too much.
Until this change is ironed out, I will be avoiding the walkway between the Tea cups and Small World during the parade.
4) Turnover rate: “Way too high”
Since I am friends with several staff in Fantasyland, including Trainers, I get to see how difficult it is for Disney Casting to keep up with the “way too high” turn over rate that was described to me. The training staff, which just got a new Core Trainer, are having to train up near 50 new Cast Members every Three months. That puts the Turnover rate near 110% according to some trainers claiming that the total amount of Cast needed to fully staff Fantasyland is around 180.
Fantasyland has some of the most tenured Cast Members of the entire “Disney Parks” empire, let alone Disneyland. Because of this, Fantasyland has a lower turnover rate then other attractions because these older Cast members care too much for Fantasyland and will never leave, like Rich Johnson, who has been in Fantasyland for over 45 years. I fear that Disneyland will never get cast members to survive 45 years ever again because of the way they treat their current Cast.
Unlike foods or stores, attractions Cast Members tend to get termed instead of quiting on their own. This is due to points issued for things like being late five minutes. These Cast actually want to work for Disneyland, and wouldn't quit if given the option. Instead, they get fired (which is a term that doesn’t exist at Disney.) Of course, I would be five minutes late as well, if I had to wait for three full trams to pass before I could load.
I have been around Fantasyland a lot more recently, and noticed tons of new faces almost every day. I feel sorry for the weekend Leads as they always get stuck with the new Cast who don’t know how to close a line for Pyro or even put up the ropes to close the entire area. The fact that they even get the area cleared is amazing to me and I will always respect the leads in this situation.
5) Casey Jr. getting some TLC
I used to date a girl who wanted to do nothing but ride the Casey Jr. Rail Road. I now give credit to her as I wouldn’t like Fantasyland as much as I do today if it were not for her dragging me into the land in the past. When I heard that Casey was getting some TLC, she was the first person I called to celebrate!
Casey Jr. is currently at half capacity as they retrofit one train with doors! That might seem weird to some of you as you think, “wait, Casey already has doors.” The truth is, only the cages and caboose have doors, when the carriage near the front has curtains that simply snap shut. Just like with the Matterhorn running only one side as desribed by me last month, Casey will continue to operate wile the minor change gets completed. This simple change will cause one train to be used when the other is getting it’s little TLC. Once one train is completed, the other will come off the track and get it’s TLC and doors.
Well, I think that should do it for now. I actually had more to write about, but I think I will save conversation about the unsafe “Duck... Duck... Goose” game that was forced by the managers to be played starting today on the parade route, for another day. I think that I will be writing up a new section in my next update, or even come out with a separate update entirely, about “Cast Member Insight.” I think it is rather intriguing to hear how cast members are so intuitive and come up with their own problem solving ideas and solutions to common everyday occurrences in the park. I respect all of you on the front lines!
To the cast: Some day, rewards will drop your way.
More to follow,
The Fantasyland Guy