Tuesday 2 August 2011

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Disneyland is always broken...

I really do find Disneyland relaxing.  I know a lot of people who only visit once in a while get really stressed out trying to see and do everything in the park each time they visit, but when you're there as often as we are, it's really quite peaceful.  We do only what we really want to do, and if we don't get something done it's not a big deal as we know there's probably another trip around the corner.  There is something, however, that really frustrates me and leaves me ready to swear off Disney forever each time it happens..."Why are all the rides in Disneyland constantly breaking down?"

Stuck on Space Mountain
I understand that Disneyland is old, but it's never the rides that are as old as the park like Casey Jr. Circus Train which break down.  It's always the high demand rides.  Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, California Screamin' and even the brand new Little Mermaid ride have all been broken down for a period of time over the last three days.  The Matterhorn Bobsleds are shut down entirely for the summer, and while the website says it's for refurbishment, I suspect that they just got tired of making the "Out of Service" announcement every half hour or so.  I used to think that it was just me that was having terrible luck with the ride operations, but I was tweeting with some people the other day (I'm @vangrizz if you want to follow and talk about travel) and it seems that everybody has a story about being stuck on a ride at Disneyland.  While I'm glad that I'm not cursed, it does leave me wondering why it happens so much?  I feel relatively confident that Disney is doing it's maintenance, and I don't feel unsafe on their rides (Well that one section in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad where the derailment occurred and the person died always spooks me a little as we go past) but there's got to be some reason shut downs happen so often. 

I wonder if it has anything to do with Disney's target audience.  This morning I saw a six year old boy trying to lightsaber his way out of his seat on Pirates of the Caribbean.  Other than the obvious faux-pas of using a futuristic weapon on a ride based in the 1700's, if all the rides are taking the same kind of punishment this little kid was dishing out on that poor boat then it's a miracle Disneyland has any rides open at all.  Maybe Disney should invoke a "You break it, You buy it" clause in it's next terms and conditions for park entrance.
Stuck on Indiana Jones

Of course breaking down on a ride isn't without any redeeming features.  If you actually have to be evacuated from a ride, they will usually give you a pass for up to six people good for any ride in the park.  That's nice, but the best part is the story.  Very little makes a more memorable impression on a child than having to be rescued from a ride.  My kids have each had their turns being escorted off a broken down ride, but the story that keeps getting repeated is when our boat died on the Jungle Cruise.  We were only a minute in to the ride when the power just died on the boat, including the radio.  Other boats had to steer around us while our "captain" fired a volley of shots in the air to alert the loading dock of our predicament.  Eventually another boat came out and hooked up to us, but instead of towing us straight back to the dock it towed us all the way through the ride with the guide keeping up the full narrative of the journey.  

I guess that rides breaking down are just a fact of life when it comes to Disneyland.  It's probably going to get worse too, as the new Little Mermaid ride has sensors built into it which automatically shut the ride down if anything heavier than a piece of paper hits the ground near the clamshells.  That seems a little unrealistic to me, but I'll be sure to test the system first chance I get.  I just need to find something to drop on the track...Hmmmm...no paper on me...no spare change...Oh look!  A six year old with a lightsaber.  Perfect!

Really stuck on California Screamin'