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February 11, 2004

101 Damnations - Part III

Yet another telling sign that arrogance, ignorance, poor funding for management and employee training programs can not only destroy a company, but can destroy human beings as well.

Today 38 year old Javier Cruz, dressed in a costume and preparing to walk through his normal parade route in the Magic Kingdom, was accidentally struck by a float and killed.

This death, as do the deaths and injuries that have happened over the last 10 years at all Disney theme parks, falls squarely on a lack of funding and adequate employee training. And, this falls squarely on Michael Eisner, the Disney Board of Directors and all top executives involved in theme park operations.

Here is why;
1) Executives - The chiefs of the Disneyland and Disney World parks have been saving their own hides when knowing full well that they were under-budgeted. With out the budget, they had to cut staff, cut back on training, and cut back on safety re-training programs. Any executive with a soul should depart the company. A life or lives are at stake. Get a "job" somewhere else. Need an example? His name is Roy Disney.

2)Board of Directors - Part of the cost-cutting process. Oh, but they didn't cut cost's when handing over a quarter of a billion dollars in compensation to Michael Eisner. According to my personal budget estimations (this IS my day job), $9 million would have adequately covered an increase in maintenance staff of 25% for all U.S. parks, adjusted to include benefits and all taxes. It would also have covered additional changeables (replacement parts for small items).

3) Michael Eisner - By distributing just .0002% of his $250,000,000 in compensation over the past 8 years, he would have paid for that one worker that was needed to alert Javier Cruz that he was in the path of a parade float. But, Mr. Eisner had other things on his mind.

Rest in peace Javier.

Posted at 10:31 PM

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Comments

This is an example of one of the problems associated with what economists have been called "increased productivity." The positive spin on increased productivity is that the company makes more profit per employee. At first glance, this seems like a good thing. What is rarely mentioned is that this profit is not without costs; in this case, the cost was the life of one of their employees.

Posted by: Joseph at Feb 13, 2004 5:56:10 AM

This article shows what lack of information you have about the accident and the issues surrounding it.

You have no idea what it is like to be in a Parade atmosphere or representing a Disney Character. The extensive training we go through and information we learn helps us everyday to do our job and to keep us safe.

Before you comment on what should have been done in the first place, I think you should first know how it is all done.

Posted by: Ducks at Feb 15, 2004 9:30:21 PM

Ducks, I know how it's done.

Had you not taken personal offense to my writing and emailed me to see who I was and what I've done, you'd realize my background allows me to say that. I don't throw an opinion on Disney down with out careful consideration.

As a brief history, I've been doing this work for over 15 years now. I've helped to design the safety systems, ride operation systems, crowd flow design, and consulted on attractions at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris (before it was built), and Disney World.

I've even had to go back in and fix my own screw-ups (a humbling experience) when it came to ride operations and crowd flow.

I know exactly what it's like to actually be in a parade (1986 - 1988, Disneyland), to tech a parade (1992 - 1993, Disneyland), and even the operations side of a parade (present).

What should have been done in the first place WAS done in the 60's, the 70's, lagged in the 80's, came back up in the early 90's and fell drastically from '98 on.

But, if you remove yourself a bit, you'd see that those safety committee's and the management reviews have been lessoned due to budget cuts. The number one rule for decades was, "people are fallable, let's do everything we can to protect each other". This was not done in this instance. I'll be in Florida and will be reviewing this first hand. If I'm wrong, I'll write it up here first (and I'll email you an apology). But, this is not and Act of God, it could have been prevented.

Most importantly, all of this is at ZERO fault to any Cast Member themselves. It's an executive issue. Lack of funding and morale continues to trend down.

That's why Roy left (among many other reasons, but he highlights this specific point of creative morale in his letter to the Board of Directors [remember, there was a day when CM's where considered part of the creative process as they were in character at all times in front of the guests]).

And, that's why there's SaveDisney.com now.

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Posted by: NAEEM at Apr 28, 2005 7:55:02 AM

parks are dangerous.they are dangerous and unsafe.
unregulated. stay away from them

hansen@stanfordalumni.org

hhansen@stanfordalumni.org

dontbugmehere@yahoo.com

Posted by: steve hansen at Dec 22, 2007 6:59:25 PM