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Old October 22nd, 2009, 08:54 AM
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Default How does Disney keep the guests docile???

Ok.. .taking a snippet from DFW333's post about SFOT on Sunday...and "Fight" Fest.
" Sunday was a bit better population-wise, but the quality of the people dropped along with the quantity. Had 7 assaults on employees in one hour alone, a robbery in the parking lot and multiple cars broken into thru out the day. There was also an employee that showed up to work drunk. Also a drunk guest vaulted over the turn styles & sprinted thru the metal detectors but he was quickly caught cause he ran smack into one of the support columns nearly knocked himself out."

Does anyone know the difference between this activity, the 7 assaults against employees in particular, and a day at a Disney park? Is it just me and in all my visits to Disney I've never seen so much as a fight or does Disney do such a good job at keeping these things hidden? I usually don't hear so much as a raised voice in anger at a Disney park. Is it a principle difference in the demographics attracted by an Amusement park vs. a Theme park? That post was very troubling to me and makes me wonder if the park's path down the amusement park road is one of increased trouble over that of the more traditional park they used to be.

Maybe Disney puts something in the food.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 10:06 AM
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I think it has to do with economics. Disney is much more expensive than Six Flags and most who go there are families who have scrimped and saved for their vacation. These people only have a short time to enjoy Disney so causing a fuss just doesn't happen as much. Likewise Disney is a master at the "art" of queue lines. Just about every ride and/or attraction at Disney has plenty of entertainment to distract hot and tired guests. Now I hear they have interactive games in some of their queue lines which, according to some, guests don't want to advance the line because they are having so much fun. Let's not forget too that Disney employees are trained heavily in customer relations.

Six Flags is a regional park and compared to Disney is much more affordable. There are a lot of season pass holders that come through the gates. And I think many of us Six Flags veterans would agree that many parents treat SFOT as a babysitter for their teenagers. When I worked there it seemed that the roving rowdy group of teenagers were the ones that would cause destruction or fight or line jump. Adults were only really a problem when their stupidity got in the way of them having fun.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 10:13 AM
C Heenan C Heenan is offline
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I never thought about this, but you're right. I don't recall ever seeing any out of hand guests at Disneyland. I'm sure they happen, but somehow they must keep a pretty good lid on things. Do you suppose the various crews there have an established procedure for meeting potential problems quickly? Its always seemed to me that ride operators, store clerks, etc. at Disney have a pretty high awareness of what's going on around them.

Did anybody at SFOT ever get any specific training for handling out-of-control guests? I don't recall any.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 10:43 AM
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Disneyland in California has had it's share of chaos (gang incidents mostly nowadays), but they were quickly defused by security and the Anaheim PD. Add to that the fact that Disney is quite discreet and almost never allows any police or emergency personnel to enter using the main gate or use their sirens. It's much easier to be lowkey when they have their established longtime policies upheld. Plus it makes the job of the PR department easier as well after the fact.

Read "Mouse Tales: A Behind the Ears Look At Disneyland" by David Koenig. You'll be amazed by the stories of what goes on there, whether good, bad or just darn funny! Anyone who's worked in a theme park will enjoy this book (as well as it's sequel).
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Last edited by Twisted; October 22nd, 2009 at 10:55 AM.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:05 PM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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Originally Posted by sfotadmin View Post
Is it just me and in all my visits to Disney I've never seen so much as a fight or does Disney do such a good job at keeping these things hidden? I usually don't hear so much as a raised voice in anger at a Disney park.

Maybe Disney puts something in the food.
Disney does a very good job at keep these things hidden, you usually only hear about them if they turn into some type of court case (The Mad Tea Party line cutting case comes to mind) or one of the local media outlets is having a slow day and needs a story and it gets picked up on the AP wire

And yes, Disney does put something in the food, that's why everything tastes better there (popcorn on Main Street, Mickey Bars)

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Originally Posted by AviRaider View Post
I think it has to do with economics. Disney is much more expensive than Six Flags and most who go there are families who have scrimped and saved for their vacation. These people only have a short time to enjoy Disney so causing a fuss just doesn't happen as much.

Adults were only really a problem when their stupidity got in the way of them having fun.
While it is true that there are a large number of families that scrimped and saved to get to Disney and are happy to be there, there are just as many people who have money and think they are entitled to whatever they want. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) what some people say to cast members, complaining that they paid X amount of $ on this vacation so they can do whatever they want...I know people used to say the same thing to me sometimes at the park, but I've seen it taken to the extremes at Disney. It also trips me out when I see them yelling the same thing at their 5 year old because he's been dragged around all day in the heat and is tired. Hey Douche Parent, your kid doesn't understand what $5,000 dollars means...he just know that he's tired and wants to take a nap so lay off.

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Originally Posted by Twistedmister View Post
Read "Mouse Tales: A Behind the Ears Look At Disneyland" by David Koenig. You'll be amazed by the stories of what goes on there, whether good, bad or just darn funny! Anyone who's worked in a theme park will enjoy this book (as well as it's sequel).
Great book, I read them years ago not to long after I started at Six Flags and got a look at the backstage areas there. It got me interested in how other parks operate and I stumbled across them. They were some of the first things I had read about Disney and got me really interested in the Disney parks. Now look at me.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by C Heenan View Post
Did anybody at SFOT ever get any specific training for handling out-of-control guests? I don't recall any.
sure we did...it was the "Call security, wait 5 mins, call them again, wait 5 mins, call them again and when grandpa/grandma finally showed up 30 minutes later the guest was long gone" procedure*...it was especially frustrating to use when there were line jumpers or a guest cussing/insulting an employee and we couldn't do anything until security showed up, which was usually too late to be much help

*to all the former/current security employees, do not take offense if this does not apply to you because we did have some very good "officers" that would be there in a heartbeat if the area they were covering had a problem, but we all know that Six Flags wasn't the most selective when it came to hiring security personnel and much like a guard at a bank it's suppose to be a deterrent not actual protection
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanceCope View Post
Disney does a very good job at keep these things hidden, you usually only hear about them if they turn into some type of court case (The Mad Tea Party line cutting case comes to mind) or one of the local media outlets is having a slow day and needs a story and it gets picked up on the AP wire

And yes, Disney does put something in the food, that's why everything tastes better there (popcorn on Main Street, Mickey Bars)



While it is true that there are a large number of families that scrimped and saved to get to Disney and are happy to be there, there are just as many people who have money and think they are entitled to whatever they want. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) what some people say to cast members, complaining that they paid X amount of $ on this vacation so they can do whatever they want...I know people used to say the same thing to me sometimes at the park, but I've seen it taken to the extremes at Disney. It also trips me out when I see them yelling the same thing at their 5 year old because he's been dragged around all day in the heat and is tired. Hey Douche Parent, your kid doesn't understand what $5,000 dollars means...he just know that he's tired and wants to take a nap so lay off.



Great book, I read them years ago not to long after I started at Six Flags and got a look at the backstage areas there. It got me interested in how other parks operate and I stumbled across them. They were some of the first things I had read about Disney and got me really interested in the Disney parks. Now look at me.

It's funny you mentioned this because one of the most brazen guests or should I say family was at Disney World, I almost forgot about it. I once saw a family of four from the middle-east, I will assume because of their dress, who were obviously wealthy, all on motorized scooters. There was a sea of people outside the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, or whatever it's called. This family didn't care who was in front of them, people had to dodge out of their way just from being hit. They clearly felt elitist or at the least totally misunderstood polite behavior.

Also, about guests feeling entitled to do whatever they want, it always urked me when someone would abuse the disabled guest's privelages Like when the disabled guest who has full mobility brings 10 of their friends on with them. And further aggravating is when all of the friends and/or family piles on leaving the guest with the disability to help themselves or they expect you to do it. Of course we weren't obliged to help because that's what the supposed friends are for.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
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it always urked me when someone would abuse the disabled guest's privelages
I'm in a wheelchair and most of my right side is paralyzed now, but it doesn't make me special. I've heard that many of Disneyland's lines are wider now to accomodate wheelchairs, which I think is great for two reasons:

1. I'm not a fan of using the separate disabled entrance and being allowed to skip to the front of the line, especially allowing my party to join me. I'm a very fair person and want to wait my turn like anyone else, plus I want my kids to respect the rules as well. If I'm only able to use the disabled entrance, I prefer to wait while the rest of my party waits their turn, then join them on the ride. After all, isn't fairness something that we all should learn to live by?

2. Being a true theme park fan, waiting in Disney's lines is just as much of the "show" as the actual ride. Having a nice time and visiting with your family, friends and even other guests that you might strike up a conversation with in line is a memorable part of your day at the park.

I'm sure that most people agree with me, but I also know that so many will always demand to be put first in life. Am I screwed in the head or is my reasoning on these matters sound?
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 09:42 PM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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This is why so many places are now cracking down on how people use guest assistance cards and handicap entrances. Since Guest Relations can't legally ask for a reason why a person needs special assistance they have had to modify it such as making the card it's own que so when they show up a employee writes on the card at what time they can return based on how long the line is assumed to be (which works great at a place like Disney because combined with Fastpass you can be in two lines at once), limiting it to 4-6 people, and making sure the person who's card it is actually rides (which used to drive me crazy at SF when they would come up the exit with someone who clearly couldn't ride a coaster and expect us to let the rest of them ride while that person sat on the dock).

I hate when I find myself judging someone who I don't think requires special assistance, then I catch myself and realize just because they look physically fine it doesn't mean they are...alot of times it's a mental handicap that prevents people from waiting in lines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Twistedmister View Post
Am I screwed in the head or is my reasoning on these matters sound?
Head exploding from bad punch lines AHHHH!


and back to the original topic: another reason why Disney guests in general appear more well behaved is something Michael hit on with his DCA comment...WDW is a destination while Six Flags parks are mainly just locals so your criminal element doesn't have as far to go...if Gang A finds out Gang B is going to Six Flags for the day and wants to start trouble then it's a lot easier than booking flights to FL and paying hundreds of dollars for tickets.

So why Orlando gangs go to Disney?
1. It's not convenient to them. For those that haven't been, WDW isn't in Orlando and getting there on I-4 can be a pain in the a-- sometimes. Universal parks on the other hand...
2. Since most "gang" members are young men, I don't think "it's a small world" holds much interest for them like a park filled with coasters (ie Six Flags)
3. They know Disney parks, while not perfect, is on top of their game when it comes to security. Magic Kingdom is (or used to be) one of the top 10 places a terrorist attack is likely to take place, that's why they shut the place down tight and emptied the parks within an hour of finding out that we were under attack on 9-11...the only time they've ever closed except for when Hurricane Andrew (I think) was sitting on top of them. I've even heard that the US came to Disney with questions on how to make their sites (monuments, etc) more secure after 9-11 and from what I know of the parks, you'd have to be driving something pretty big and powerful to get any type of truck bomb into the park thru the front and some of the back area entrances look like secret military base entrances. I imagine if a large group of a certain type of person enters a park, security is going to keep a little bit more of an eye on them (yes, stereo-typing...it is needed sometimes). Downtown Disney was having problems not too long ago with rowdy teens/undesirables because it is so open and unregulated that anyone could get in. Disneyland/DCA is such a "locals" park I can see where there could be problems with the wrong crowd of people, especially DCA since it would appeal more to a teen/young adult demographic
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 09:46 PM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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oh, and the drunk employee...not surprising...there were several people that worked there when I was there that I'm not sure they were ever sober...they were in a constant state between being drunk and/or hung over
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