A series of maneuvers then allowed the line of canoes to pass
the broken down raft that was still tethered to the island.
The Blackbeard, the lone operating raft capable of rescuing
park customers, was sent over and lashed to the side of the Anne
Bonney, with the broken down raft serving as a bridge to the
Blackbeard for the growing line of people who wanted off the
With the first load of passengers finally allowed to leave
the island, the Anne Bonney was towed back to the mainland dock
while managers stayed on the island and offered apologies to the
increasingly testy line of people waiting to be rescued.
Finally, the Columbia was allowed to pass, after sitting in
the water for 20 minutes in the direct afternoon sun with a full
load of passengers who had a front row seat for the drama.
It bears mentioning that the Blackbeard has also had its
share of engine problems recently, but on Sunday afternoon it
thankfully kept running when it was needed most.
In the grand scheme of things at Disneyland this raft
breakdown could be seen as an unusual but rather minor incident
that ended without injury. But the sad thing is that this was a
stressful incident for the Cast Members that was also a bit
scary for some of the visitors and that needn't have happened at
all if TDA had stuck with the previous practice of having more
than two operating rafts for visitor use.
If there had been four operating rafts available, when the
Anne Bonney began having engine problems weeks ago that raft
could have been pulled offline or even out of the water while a
seamless attraction operation continued for the paying visitors.
But the hard working Disneyland Facilities department can
only do so much with what they are given, and the temporary work
on the Anne Bonney needed to keep the attraction open every day
finally caught up with them on Sunday afternoon. There had been
a series of meetings this past fall, with Greg Emmer in
attendance, regarding purchasing a third raft for visitor use.
But again the decision came down that the funding required just
wasn't available for Operations to spend.
What is the most frustrating is that money often flows from
these endless bi-coastal meetings, but is often spent on
wasteful pet projects that no visitor will ever see, and most
Cast Members will never care about. Where for decades a simple
chalkboard at the Cast Member entry gates once announced the
basic park operating info for the day, now the growing "Cast
Communications" department has installed dozens of hanging
plasma screen televisions that flash commercials for the latest
tip on staying hydrated during hot weather or a reminder about
the upcoming blood drive. And the commercials on these dozens of
TV screens drag on for so long, that in the 10 seconds a Cast
Member uses to swipe their ID card and pass through the entry
area they still haven't been reminded of the park closing time
for the day like the old-fashioned chalk board used to do for a
fraction of the cost of a plasma screen television.
There are dozens of examples like that where Greg's fellow
executives in TDA are wasting money left and right under the
guise of the new "global structure," while projects and
operational improvements in the parks are deferred and cancelled
due to lack of funding. But when some people in TDA report to a
Vice President in Orlando, and vice versa, (with lots of red-eye
flights linking them together), the chain of accountability has
become so muddled that all the wasteful spending goes on
Meanwhile, the dingy and dirty Cast Member break rooms still
haven't been remodeled, and the Cast Member cafeterias still
can't serve up a decent five dollar pork chop. The Cast Member
shuttles that run thousands of employees per day to the huge
Katella Cast Member Parking Lot are still so run down, so
understaffed, and so overcrowded, that most of the big managers
working in the park have weaseled their way out of riding them
altogether. Even though their workplace is inside the berm
alongside the hourly folks and they should be parking alongside
them in the Katella lot, many top managers have been given their
own personal Segway that they use to zip backstage up to their
car conveniently parked at TDA.
And that's certainly a ringing endorsement for how completely
broken the Cast Member parking situation is, as the big boss
flies past on a Segway while the worker bees file out the gate
beneath an ignored plasma screen TV to wait in a long line for
an overcrowded shuttle to their cars. And yet the entire
corporate structure Rasulo has rammed into place is stacked
against any real positive change, or anyone being able to stop
the wasteful spending, while so many legitimate operational
needs go unchecked and underfunded all over the Resort.
Greg Emmer may not have been able to fix all of the problems
under Jay Rasulo's corporate structure, but he at least knew
they existed and did what he could.
The real concern from folks is what happens now that Emmer
won't be there to fight the good fight, even though increasingly
he couldn't win. Ed Grier, who needs a teleprompter to speak in
person, is considered to be completely out of touch with the
daily operation of the parks and hotels. The turnover rate of
hourly employees hasn't budged under him, and it still nears a
yearly rate of 100% in many key operational departments. The
average tenure of Cast Members working in the parks is measured
in single digit months for almost every park department.
the horrific turnover rates drag on, none of the useless ploys
by the Human Resources department to market the "Disney
Difference" package of employee discounts and activities as a
reason why hourly Cast Members should stick around is working.
Now that the news of his resignation is sinking in at TDA,
the real story here is 'who is going to replace Greg Emmer.' And
what that new person will do with the long list of legitimate
issues facing Anaheim as an unprecedented amount of money gets
poured into the property to fix DCA's creative problems.
are a couple of obvious candidates for Greg's job in Anaheim
with the Vice Presidents that serve directly beneath him. For
the most part, those two or three Vice Presidents have promising
backgrounds and personalities that could continue in Greg's
Alas, the wild card here is if Ed Grier brings in an outsider
(or is pushed to do so), someone to be his yes man just so he
can busy himself with being Jay Rasulo's yes man. This change
could have more implications for Disneyland's paying customers
than you might realize, so we are going to continue to look into
this story and fill you in once Greg Emmer's replacement is