Yesterday the news was flying fast and heavy from the Disneyland Resort. Fires, attraction closures, and long lines were the order of the day. Today, two major attractions remain unexpectedly closed while Disneyland completes safety inspections and upgrades.
I’ve been piecing together the timeline and it’s becoming more clear as to what happened.
In November 2012, a worker with a company contracted to clean the outside of Space Mountain was injured in an accident. Subsequent to that injury The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA) visited the theme park to review the incident and hold an inspection.
The report from that November 2012 incident was received by Disneyland on Friday April 12, 2013. As reported there were 7 violations with some listed as Willful Serious related to potential unsafe conditions for employees of Disneyland and its contractors. The total fee for note abating those violations could have passed $234,000.
On Saturday April 13, 2013, out of an interest for keeping their employees, contractors, and, by association, guests, as safe as possible, Disneyland launched its own internal safety review and decided to voluntarily close three attractions. Those attractions were Space Mountain and The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland and Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure.
Today, Sunday April 14, 2013, the Matterhorn was cleared to re-open but Space Mountain and Soarin’ remain closed indefinitely until inspections can be completed and any safety abatements needed put in place. The park is continuing its own safety inspections, so while no additional downtime is planned, it is possible that some additional attractions could be closed.
There was some confusion about the Matterhorn and if it closed to safety inspection issues or just part of a regularly scheduled rehab. It was closed yesterday related to the safety inspections Disneyland itself launched after receiving the CAL/OSHA report. The world famous Matterhorn roller coaster was scheduled to go down a short rehab starting tomorrow, but Disneyland will delay that until Space Mountain can return to service.
The above timeline is compiled from information received from Disneyland and from papers filed by CAL/OSHA.
Suzi Brown, Director of Media Relations and External Communications for the Disneyland Resort said, “we have received notification of the citations and are working with OSHA to fully review them.” Relating to the temporary ride closes Brown added, “we constantly strive to maintain a safe work environment for our cast members and contractors — and we are reviewing certain protocols.”
I hope the above timeline clears up some confusion from yesterday. The attraction closures were completely voluntary by Disneyland and CAL/OSHA is not on site telling Disneyland it has to close down anything. CAL/OSHA inspections are usually in response to a specific incident and there has been nothing recently that would prompt an inspection.
It’s always tough on guests when one major attraction is down during a busy weekend. However, on Saturday there were at times six different major attractions closed at the same time for various reasons. Today three remain closed (one was in rehab and two for safety inspections). Disneyland is doing right by its guests to delay the Matterhorn refurb scheduled for tomorrow.
It’s clear that for Disneyland safety remains job one. Any organization the size of Disneyland there will undoubtedly be lapses. I’m sure they will find out exactly what went wrong that allowed these “willful serious” violations to occur and take corrective action. As a guest, I hope they can do it without bad show like we have at Alice, but I agree that safety comes first, even if it means bad show or inconvenience to guests and cast members.