Many voices in the theme park industry and across Disneyana are beginning to struggle with what should happen next at Walt Disney World. What should happen now that a life has been tragically and unnecessarily lost?
I’m not yet ready to make any suggestions as own ideas are still developing, however, I think this opinion piece from Theme Park Insider editor Robert Niles is worth reading.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, and it appears that the federal agency will have much to criticize in its report. Not only does there appear to have been operational failures by monorail personnel, leading to the accident, but also Disney’s monorail system design was fatally flawed.
The accident appears to have happened because Monorail Pink, which was to have transferred to another monorail beam, did not make the track switch, and instead proceeded backward down the Epcot line, back into the station where it collided with Monorail Purple, killing driver Austin Wuennenberg. Apparently, the monorails’ automatic collision avoidance system was switched off during the track switch.
And that is the design flaw.
Robert goes on to suggest that as a consequence the Walt Disney Company should lose control of the Reedy Creek District. I’m not sure I’d go that far right now, but I can foresee a circumstance or two where I might get behind the idea.
I’m hoping the OSHA and NTSB reports will be very insightful as to what went wrong and what might be done to prevent this from occuring again (Disney has already implemented steps that will prevent it, at least in the short term).
There are lots of questions that are unanswered as to what went wrong. And that says something in itself. But for now we wait.