Have Accidents at Disney affected your travel plans?
August 5, 2005 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Have the recent injuries and deaths at the Disney themeparks affected your decision to visit any of those parks in the near or distant future? (List of industry wide accidents here.)
posted by IndigoSkye to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
No. Outside of a few freakish accidents, you are safest at the big parks like Disney, Universal and Cedar Point. Millions of people ride these rides every year and only a few are injuried (mostly due to their own fault).
posted by mmascolino at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2005

No, I'm still not interested in visiting those parks.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:32 PM on August 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

No. These accidents have not caused me or my husband to decide against visiting themeparks in the future. What I will not do as a result of the accidents this week, is allow my son to go on a ride by himself as soon as he's tall enough to go on the ride. I do think that some of the deaths could have been prevented if the child stayed properly buckled in. As a parent, I see this as part of my responsibility.

Additionally, I do watch a ride for several cycles before deciding to go on it or not. When Busch Gardens in Virginia had a coaster called Draken Fire, I saw people regularly getting off rubbing their necks or getting sick. That was more than enough to convince me that I would not be going on that one. They later removed it from the park.

I wish I could remember the number quoted on the news this morning regarding how many people ride with no issues each year. The number in comparison with the number of accidents was pretty amazing. Anyway, I do believe that themeparks work very hard to create safe yet thrilling experiences.
posted by onhazier at 1:32 PM on August 5, 2005

If the enormous mice and chipmunks don't scare me, a few minor injuries and deaths aren't going to.
posted by Moondoggie at 1:38 PM on August 5, 2005

No, my never-return decision was made several years ago, once the Eisner changes made it apparent that the corporation had abandoned Walt's principles.
posted by Rash at 2:02 PM on August 5, 2005

For the record, the autopsy results currently suggest the most recent death was not "ride related."
posted by 5500 at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2005

No. Airline prices and inconveniences, maybe. But not accidents.
posted by cribcage at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2005

I think the true decision should come down to whether you enjoy rides or not. If you do, I doubt many statistics will keep you off. If statistics would keep you off, then perhaps you don't really enjoy the rides after all and only go on them to please your friends/family/etc. I certainly find them most unenjoyable, but just go on for the benefit of the girlfriend :)
posted by wackybrit at 2:43 PM on August 5, 2005

No, if anything, I feel like the parks are pre-disastered (a la Garp) immediately following an accident. :)

Me, I'll be back at Disneyland/DCA next week for one more Splash Mountain/Mr. Toad fix. (I just love an alleged kiddie attraction where the park guests go to hell...)
posted by Liffey at 2:51 PM on August 5, 2005

once the Eisner changes made it apparent that the corporation had abandoned Walt's principles.

They gave up facism?
posted by yerfatma at 4:21 PM on August 5, 2005

No. Lack of money, yes.
posted by justgary at 4:38 PM on August 5, 2005

As for safety, from a New Yorker article in the Aug. 30, 2004, issue:

How safe are roller coasters? Statistically, the news isn't especially alarming. From 1987 to 2000, an average of 4.5 riders died on amusement-park rides every year, according to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission. Under the standard deaths-per-rider-miles formula, amusement-park rides appear to be slightly safer than cars but more than ten times as dangerous as trains, planes, or buses.

It continues about how this doesn't account for injuries, which are largely unregulated.
posted by Airhen at 6:05 PM on August 5, 2005

Two things have changed my mind....

First.. I hear that they are going to take finger prints of all visitors: http://www.local6.com/news/4724689/detail.html

Second.. Disney (and other large amusement parks) have bought off the local politicians and if a death does occur on a ride.. the state has zero rights to investigate it..

Screw that..
posted by cowmix at 8:22 PM on August 5, 2005

Disney reminds me too much of my days at BYU.

I heard that many of the problems resulted from the forced retirement of more seasoned operators on the suggestion of a consultant. Whoopsie.
posted by mecran01 at 5:25 AM on August 6, 2005

This topic has been on my mind for a while now. My sisters and I are regular visitors to Disneyland as we live in the area. We were on the California Screamin' rollercoaster about ten minutes before it had its little accident last week. While by all accounts the accident was minor, it's yet another in a series of accidents that seems to represent Disney's shift in focus from safety to cost-effectiveness.

While the number of actual deaths and injuries has been small - one killed by a metal cleat ripped off of a ship, another killed after a train derailed on Big Thunder Mountain - these instances can all be attributed to negligence on Disney's part. The former president of Disneyland, Paul Pressler, was once quoted as saying, "We have to ride these rides to failure to save money." This desire to do things on the cheap led to inadequate employee training, the scaling-back of preventative maintenance, and undue stress being placed on certain rides (Disney's California Adventure relies heavily on flagship rides like California Screamin' and Soarin' Over California, to the point where these rides cannot go down for lengthy rehabs because guest satisfaction and attendance would plummet). All of this has led to a series of accidents that are directly Disney's fault - where in the past, most incidents at Disneyland could be attributed to either natural causes or dangerous guest behavior.

On the positive side, Disneyland has a new president who seems less financially cutthroat, and, unlike Walt Disney World, accidents at Disneyland are subject to investigation by the state and rides cannot reopen until the state approves it. But last week's accident adds to my persistent feeling of mistrust surrounding safety at Disneyland. My sisters and I haven't been back on Big Thunder Mountain since the fatality over a year ago (the ride continued to have problems after it reopened), and there are certain rides we won't go on because we are genuinely afraid of mechanical error (Mulholland Madness, a "Wild Mouse" ride, is scary enough just being a Wild Mouse ride - never mind that it's an off-the-shelf ride intended for seasonal use, being run for long hours year-round!).

But this hasn't dissuaded us from visiting the park, nor has it prompted us to avoid thrill rides altogether. It's just made us aware that the reputation for safety Disneyland enjoyed in the past is no longer applicable to the present day. The park is not being run the same way it was 50, 40, 30 years ago.
posted by brookedel at 6:14 AM on August 6, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. Keep them coming. Brookedel can you email me, I have a question for you. I'll put my email in my profile for a few days.

Second, I wanted to clear up a misconception about the 'biometric scanning' that Disney World is doing. They're not scanning your finger prints. They're measuring a few key points between your index and middle fingers. They also claim no to store the information past the date your ticket expires.

The scanning is really a way for them to enforce the Florida Law that prevents sharing of ticket media between people.

There's a long post here and a followup with a correction and some inside information here.
posted by IndigoSkye at 7:09 AM on August 6, 2005

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