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Kenversations™
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by Ken Pellman (archives)
July 29, 2002
Ken talks about theme park regulation, the industry, the business of Disney and much more.

Kenversations - July 2002
Park Safety (Again) - A Sherman Brother - Goodbye, Ward - Business Blues? - Musical Memories

More Regulation
"Row three."

Great, I think, back row of the Indy Troop Transport. I can take the corner seat - the seat Imagineer Tony Baxter says is the best. Now, my life is complete and I can die a happy man.

Actually, on the list of priorities in my life, getting the first or fourth seat in the back row of the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park ranks fairly low. Still, it is nice when it happens, like when you find a couple dollars you had stuck in a copy of Mick Foley's autobiography as bookmarks, or when one of your favorite songs gets played between long commercial sets on a radio as you're driving down the Santa Ana Freeway at the typical 11 miles per hour.

I sit down. My ride is about to start.

But wait…what's that I see? Why, it is the long Large Fraternal arm of the state coming to give me a figurative light smack in the back of the head.

"Please move over," instructs the kindly attractions host.

Huh?

There were only three of us riding in the back row. There are four seats. This used to not be a problem. Now, all empty seats have to be on the left side. This, as I later found out, is due to new software requiring all the seatbelts to be buckled, which is a result of state interference. Maybe I should have buckled my seat belt and the belt of the empty seat next to me immediately upon sitting down? Would that solve the problem? Or would all of the seatbelts have to be released so that I could be moved anyway?

Did it ruin my day? No. But it made me think, especially with most of the guest area on Tom Sawyer Island is closed off, apparently because someone fell off some rocks, which has been happening since the beginning of time. If someone was to trip and hit his head on the corner of an Outdoor Vending cart, I somehow doubt the cart would be removed.

Did you know that X was closed at Six Flags Magic Mountain? This is why folks in the southern California have been seeing ads that tout other attractions at the park. The prototype coaster by Arrow Dynamics that sends seats (and riders) spinning forward and backward was closed to fix problems park personnel were noticing. The park personnel noticed a problem and decided to fix it. No outside agency needed to tell them. Despite this, and despite the fact that the County of Los Angeles (specifically, the Building & Safety Division of the Department of Public Works, which also covers Universal Studios) checks up on these things, the State of California now gets involved in such matters, and if certain people have their way, so will the Federal government. Is that really necessary?

Back in Anaheim, as the refurbishment of It's a Small World drew to a close, Disney officials were hoping that state inspectors would get to it so they could reopen without any further delays. We're talking about an attraction that has been operating since 1964 and is hardly a complicated, wild ride. Well, enough of that.

Speaking of It's a Small World…
On Friday (July 19), just about dinnertime, I was hanging out in the Happiest Place on Earth, walking in front of Pirates of the Caribbean, when who should I see but Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sherman walking through the crowd. They're such nice folks. I just wanted to wave and say "hi", as I've seen presentations by the Sherman brothers (Richard and Robert) before and taken pictures with them, and felt no need to delay them with my sycophant babbling. But the Shermans stopped, smiled, shook my hand, and formally introduced themselves to me. I'd never met the Mrs., and she seemed really nice.

We talked about dinner options, as they were trying to figure out where to eat. I was thinking You wrote some of the most well-known Disney songs of all time…the least Disney could do for you is host you at Club 33!

We parted ways, with me thanking Richard again for all of the great songs I like to listen to. What better place than Disneyland Park to run into someone like that?

 

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