I don't know if this has been ever posted before .. but I'm sure someone didn't know about it.....
Now it can be told. Terry O'Brien sank the ship at Disneyland.
If you read accounts about the opening of the park 50 years ago, you might read about how the Mark Twain paddle-wheel boat sank on one of its maiden voyages, but no details or the reason are ever given, because O'Brien didn't talk — until now.
"Now, I figure, what can they do to me? They can't fire me."
One of O'Brien's first assignments was to tend the "holding pen" for the Mark Twain, the area where people waited to board the boat.
"They gave me a clicker and told me to let people in until the pen was full. The boat would come in and let one group off and we'd put the other group on. No one was sure just how many people would fit, so they said to try and keep it between 200 to 300."
After a few times, it got kind of boring, so O'Brien started talking to the people and the other workers as he clicked people into the pen, not paying much attention to how many there were. The boat came in, and the next group got on.
"Pretty soon, we heard the toot-toot signal that meant disaster. And everyone wondered what had happened." What had happened was that the boat, which actually made its way around the lagoon on a rail, had sunk off the track and into the mud. There were too many people on board.
"It took about 20 to 30 minutes to get it fixed and back on the rail and it came chugging in. As soon as it pulled up to the landing, all the people rushed to the side to get off, and the boat tipped into the water again, so they all had to wade off through the water, and some of them were pretty mad."
His boss came to ask O'Brien how many people he'd put on the boat. "And I said about 250. And he said, 'Well, better keep it at about 200.' Then I remembered I had the clicker in my pocket. I looked and was shocked to see I'd put 508 people on the boat. I never told anyone until now." But he did make sure it never happened again.