Re: Strange events in Disney Parks this week
Thinking the initiation tradition for a couple of decades (I highlighted) adds a completely different slant to this news story.
MiceChat - Disney News, Disneyland Resort, MiceAge Update - MiceAge Disneyland Update: Mickey's Boomtown
Mice Age Report this morning is very enlightening.
The dry ice explosion in Toontown last Tuesday was an unfortunate event, with the blame placed solely on a young Outdoor Vending (ODV) Cast Member who is still sitting in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. Lost in most of the media coverage on the ensuing evacuation of Toontown is the fact that these dry ice bombs have been a common prank amongst the park’s vendors since the 1990’s, and it’s not unusual to have one go off somewhere during the average day when hundreds of ODV CM’s work a shift in the parks. The dry ice bombs, often using soft drink bottles, are usually placed in or under the carts themselves as a prank to scare the next CM arriving to work at the cart. The dry ice bombs can also be placed in nearby planters, or in the backstage break areas, and it should be noted that most CM’s try to plot their dry ice pranks when the park is closed or when they are in backstage areas away from park guests. It’s long been considered a badge of honor for new ODV CM’s to be “bombed” within their first few days on the job, after they’ve finished their training and arrive at a cart for their first real shift.
But the dry ice bomb that caused the Toontown scare was a particularly potent one, and it was unwisely placed inside a trash can. A Custodial CM had just arrived at the trash can and was in the process of emptying it, when the bomb went off inside the bag liner as it sat on the ground beside the trash can. It created a loud and sharp explosion as it ripped open the bag, and it startled nearby CM’s and park guests enough to cause a small panic. The CM’s who witnessed the explosion immediately called Disneyland’s emergency control center and reported it as a “small bomb” that had detonated, and Disneyland’s security team leapt into their well-rehearsed response to such an incident.
Within moments, the park’s duty manager called for the immediate evacuation of Toontown while the situation was assessed, radio calls went out alerting all park management to report to Toontown to help with crowd control and evacuation procedures, and the individual shops and attractions in Toontown began their own evacuation and lock down procedures that CM’s are trained on. In a very short amount of time, the entire Toontown area had been swept clear of all guests and non-essential CM’s and was cordoned off. And in the Social Media age, it only took a few minutes for word to spread that there had been an explosion in Toontown and the major media jumped on the story quickly. News helicopters were hovering over Disneyland within the hour, and the rest is history.
Disneyland Resort CM’s, particularly Attraction CM’s who have thorough emergency response training for each attraction facility they work at, are all trained on how to respond in emergencies that may require a partial or full park evacuation. Disney has three types of emergency responses that involve the clearing of a section of the park or the entire property itself, and the Toontown explosion triggered the activation of the most immediate response but confined it to only the Toontown area during the initial assessment. These types of evacuations and corralling of park guests into designated “safe havens” and CM’s into assigned “assembly areas” are usually trained as a likely response to a damaging earthquake, although the threat of man-made danger is also a consideration in the training.
In addition to the location-specific training for CM’s, twice a year the Disneyland Resort stages a large-scale emergency drill after park hours where hundreds of CM’s are enlisted to act as victims, complete with gory makeup to resemble mass injuries, while Disneyland’s own facilities and security teams alongside Anaheim fire and police departments practice their responses in setting up perimeters and triage units and communication systems. Much of that practice and training came into play during the Toontown incident, and Disneyland’s management and front line staff deserve commendation for reacting so quickly and so professionally, while keeping the response to a targeted area. The good news is that it was a prudent reaction to a classic vending prank gone wrong, and Toontown was reopened to park guests just a few hours later.
The executive team in TDA, many of whom have absolutely no experience working inside the theme parks in a front-line role, were amazed to learn that the dry ice bomb wasn’t a specific threat by a disgruntled CM, which was an assumption they were working under once it was learned exactly what the “bomb” was made of. Instead, it took a while for the ODV management to admit to the suits that they know all about these dry ice bombs, and some of the young managers probably pulled off a few similar stunts earlier in their ODV careers. But you can bet that the practice of playing around with dry ice, either inside the park or in backstage areas, is now under intense scrutiny in ODV. The innocent era of dry ice bombs as common pranks for ODV Cast Members quickly came to an end last Tuesday with the evacuation of Toontown
Some people are like Slinkies.
They aren't really good for anything,
but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.
Friends are Gods way of apologizing to us for our families.