Skip

A Special Saliva-cleaning Solution
September 22, 2010 9:16 PM   Subscribe


 
"If someone tried to hide, they would not stay hidden for long," said Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown.

Now there's a challenge. Sounds to me like Disneyland has thrown down the puffy, white gauntlet to urban adventurers throughout Southern California.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:25 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Whoops! Gosh! Looks like I dropped m'glove. Heheh."
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:33 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Disneyland After Dark?
posted by jtron at 9:39 PM on September 22, 2010


Now there's a challenge.

Already tried this in high school when I lived literally across the street from the park/hotel, and my friends and I all had annual passes. They have cameras EVERYWHERE. That patch of trees that look impossible to get to? There's cameras connected to them. Tom Sawyer's Island and everything around it? Yup. That little area near the Matterhorn ride and the castle? Definitely cameras there. Every square inch of the park is under supervision.
posted by spiderskull at 9:40 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


From the article: Though park officials wouldn't divulge how much money is spent on Disneyland's overall upkeep, they said most is spent on the night shift.

Isn't this obvious, though? All those engineers that check the rides (supposedly they check every single bolt) can't work during the day, and the custodial staff would certainly get in the way.
posted by spiderskull at 9:42 PM on September 22, 2010


Sounds hawt.

But it's a small world after all.
posted by LordSludge at 9:55 PM on September 22, 2010


Already tried this in high school when I lived literally across the street from the park/hotel

I demand to know more!
posted by smoke at 9:56 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sounds like it's time to dust off From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and look for hiding-out-in-massive-attractions tips.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 10:05 PM on September 22, 2010


If the problem is surveillance, then wouldn't a loop like on Speed work?
posted by djduckie at 10:16 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it ironic that the company whose biggest mascot is a mouse has their park excised of rodents by feral cats. :3
posted by ralenys at 10:18 PM on September 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you are wondering what the feeding stations for Disneyland's cats look like, you can see one in this video of the abandoned Fantasyland Skyway station. (No cats present, though.)

You can sometimes see the cats themselves during the day, I've heard -- I never have. Others have, though -- aw, cute! (Via MiceChat.) And more! Hello! (Via.)

They like to hang around the restaurants, apparently.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 10:19 PM on September 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


John Safran broke in to Disneyland for a tv show so it can't be impossible.
posted by Wantok at 10:20 PM on September 22, 2010


You know, our cities in general would be much cleaner if business proprietors got up early in the morning before opening and put this kind of care into their frontages, and if the local government had cleaning crews making the rounds early in the morning.

disclaimer: grew up in Chicago where once upon a time in many of the neighborhood business districts this is exactly what happened
posted by davejay at 10:24 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The attention to detail the Walt Disney Company invests in maintaining its parks is astounding. I'd love to catch a glimpse of the overnight shift in action. Because for all the hyperbole, the end result really is something near magical when the gates open every morning. To keep it up for so many years is the most impressive part... even in a recession, even when the film production side of the company is faltering and spewing crap direct-to-video sequels and spinoffs, the parks are still perfectly, impeccably kept.

I've always been intrigued by the too-perfectness of it. Urban legends of a more sinister side of Disney hold my interest a lot longer than horror stories about the local mall. I've been to Walt Disney World hundreds of times and every single time my experience was too good to be true. So it must not be truly good. The world I inhabit just doesn't operate that way.

I want to pull back the curtain and see the partially uncostumed cast members bitching at each other in the utilidors underground. I want to see the feral cats lurking in unnoticed corners. I want to see somebody, anybody who works there, scowl or frown on the job just once. It never happens. It's the Truman Show. Everybody from Mickey to the food vendors to the custodial staff is an actor playing a role. There are hidden cameras in every tree. Mobilized security guards, disguised as tourists, patrolling in every crowd. Nothing happens that is not directed by The Man In The Secret Control Room.

I'm not sure if I love the parks so much despite that, or because of it. I want to meet the man. I want to be the man.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:36 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sounds to me like Disneyland has thrown down the puffy, white gauntlet to urban adventurers throughout Southern California.

Urban adventurers such as the intrepid Thomas Guy Cleveland or Bogden Delaurot, who achieved lasting, er, fame?
posted by dhartung at 10:44 PM on September 22, 2010


I've seen the feral cats over by the Hungry Bear restaurant in Critter Country. This was a couple of years ago, before I knew they lived there unmolested, and I was a little worried about them. I found out a couple of months ago that they work with Fix Nation, who are helping me to TNR my backyard ferals.
posted by jvilter at 11:00 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even if you are not into Disneyland - the sheer force of will and hard work to keep that place going is fascinating. It's flawless. I have never ever seen anyone break out of character - imagine how hard that is when you are surrounding by braying demanding tourists.

But - I did see a undercover security guy speak briefly into a walkie talkie and then walk briskly behind the scenes. He was dressed from head to toe in Roots athleticwear. That's right - he was disguised as a Canadian! They are hidden among us. Right in plain view.
posted by helmutdog at 11:22 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been in a few Disney warehouses. Impressive. The infrastructure behind the operation is astounding.

I also read a few bulletin boards, and chatted with a few behind-the-scenes employees. Can't say as I was impressed with Disney's HR. I wouldn't want to work for them.
posted by davidpriest.ca at 11:29 PM on September 22, 2010


I demand to know more!

Frankly, it's not that interesting. We snuck in backpacks full of camping gear, found us a nice hidden spot, and tried to camp. It was near Thunder Mountain, I think -- but they had cameras trained on us, so security guards came and told us to leave.

Second attempt was for the spot by the Matterhorn. Same deal -- security escorted us out by midnight. At one point I remember the ground opening up and a platform carrying security guards emerging. It was weird. The entire park is one story above the ground, and there's apparently an intricate network of tunnels and whatnot, so they have ways of making oddly grand entrances.
posted by spiderskull at 11:43 PM on September 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


I once rode the Matterhorn in the same bobsled as Jason Schwartzman. He's pretty short.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:48 PM on September 22, 2010


Nice try Spiderskull, but that is, in fact, interesting! So, you guys were just sitting there real quiet from when the park closed to midnight? (what time does the park close?)
posted by smoke at 11:56 PM on September 22, 2010


It's worth pointing out that Disney hasn't always maintained its commitment to keeping things in perfect working condition. During the '90s and early '00s, cost-cutting measures were put into place that eventually led to two preventable patron deaths due to improperly maintained ride equipment. A perfectly clean, perfectly operating park is damned expensive, and the "Disney ideal" isn't immune to the caprices of company executives.
posted by brookedel at 12:02 AM on September 23, 2010


I work for Disney pretty often, on the TV side. It's no picnic. They're constantly cutting costs, and then wind up spending twice as much money to fix things that were done poorly and cheaply the first time.

But it never fails, when I have to deposit a check at the bank, the teller always brightens up and says "Oh! You work for Disney!" to which I always love replying "Yup. I get screwed by a mouse for a living."
posted by nevercalm at 12:23 AM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine had the absolute joy, as a little kid, in knowing his father was Winnie the Pooh, at Disneyland. At least back then (~30 years ago), people in such costumed roles were required to be married with children. This actually makes some sense, as normal people are able to see through the cute to realize what complete shits the brats are. Parents, OTOH, are blind to such noble truths.
posted by Goofyy at 12:50 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


But - I did see a undercover security guy speak briefly into a walkie talkie and then walk briskly behind the scenes. He was dressed from head to toe in Roots athleticwear. That's right - he was disguised as a Canadian! They are hidden among us. Right in plain view.

Nope. (I moved up here to Ottawa on deep-cover infiltration from Los Angeles.)

That's a vanilla-type Canadian; they all carry walkie talkies, wear Roots athleticwear, and secretly run everything, including Big Mou#`%${%&`+'${`%&NO CARRIER
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:03 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I went to Disneyland when I was 12, got separated from my family, and the security guard took me behind the scenes until they located my parents. It was way cool, an inverted view of the molded fiberglass facades that made up the public areas. That was in the mid-'60s, when they still had the ticket books, and you only got two E tickets, and a huge handful of the crappy A tickets.

It's been more than twenty years since I've been back. When I was there in '87, it was looking distinctly grubby, and all the older rides were being run at reduced speed, I assume because they were wearing out and there were worries about their safety. I saw only half of the Captain Eo show because it broke down in the middle, and I didn't feel like waiting in line again, no matter how cool the 3D effect was.

Has it been spruced up recently?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:41 AM on September 23, 2010


This is from the mid-90's - when I was 12 I went to Disney World in Florida with my parents. Waking up that first morning my parents were fast asleep due to the jet lag from Europe. Me being an independant type and quite ridiculously excited by it all got dressed and walked outside the reception of the hotel and found myself on a free shuttle bus. I get dropped off at Typhoon Lagoon and soon realise I am pretty much the only person there. I had arrived way before opening time and sat there in the sun wondering if this was the best idea ever. Anyway eventually the doors open and I am the first person in by this time with quite a crowd behind me. I hand over the ticket and manage to make it approximately 10 metres inside Typhoon Lagoon before I faint on a (prop) bright yellow new york taxi cab. Not having any understanding of the combination of no food/drink and hot temperature I suppose it was an inevitable outcome.

Anyway I have vague memories of what follows next but I ended up getting transferred across to a medical unit that Disney have within the magic kingdom. I remember being sat in the front of a big 4x4 (very awesome to a 12 year old english kid as such things were very rare here) and being driven behind the railroad ride in magic kingdom and being amazed at seeing the workings underneath it all and that those sand mountains were just moulds. When someone was finally found who could understand my accent it all clicked and I was loaded up with a free hot dog and soda. Finally after some detective work on the part of Disney (I couldnt recall which hotel I was staying at so they had to reverse look up the buyer of the 5 day pass I had on me) my parents were given a surprise wake up call and duly came and picked me up. Quite a way to start a holiday.
posted by numberstation at 4:33 AM on September 23, 2010 [14 favorites]


This actually makes some sense, as normal people are able to see through the cute to realize what complete shits the brats are. Parents, OTOH, are blind to such noble truths.

No we aren't. We've simply learned to accept it and work with it.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:38 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This actually makes some sense, as normal people are able to see through the cute to realize what complete shits the brats are. Parents, OTOH, are blind to such noble truths.
posted by Goofyy at 3:50 AM on September 23


WTF, Goofyy? Your lunch break is over -- get back to meeting and greeting. And smile, damn it!
posted by theredpen at 5:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


... the Indiana Jones Adventure ride relies on nearly 1,000 black lights that shine on painted mesh screens to create floating ghost images.
But the effect is marred when guests sometimes spit at the ghosts, and the saliva ends up on the screens where it glows under black lights.

go to hell, spitters. it's disneyland, for christ's sake.
posted by msconduct at 6:05 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


>Urban adventurers such as the intrepid Thomas Guy Cleveland or Bogden Delaurot, who achieved lasting, er, fame?

I just want the record to show that I didn't say I thought this was a good idea.
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:22 AM on September 23, 2010


Has it been spruced up recently?

Oh yeah. It was pretty grubby when I used to go in the 80s on my annual Dad Feels Bad About Leaving Mom trip, but we took the kids in November of last year and it was pristine.
posted by padraigin at 6:41 AM on September 23, 2010


I went this past July and was not overly impressed. Sleeping Beauty's castle was tiny and I didn't get this overly "OMG how it sparkles" feeling from it.

oh and their food sucked.
posted by stormpooper at 7:13 AM on September 23, 2010


I see no mention of the nightly ritual wherein the frozen head of Walt Disney emerges from its icy chamber and levitates twenty meters above the earth as the capering, costumed Disney employees dance and the daily harvest of children's souls streams forth from white-gloved hands raised high on the air, or even a glimmer of the procession of expressionless IP lawyers who emerge from limos and empty the blood of copyright infringers into the special gore gutters draining into the moat surrounding the resting place of that same hoary, frost-wreathed skull.

It's a dead world after all, it's a DEAD world after all, it's a dead world afffffter all, it's a dead-dead-dead-dead worllllld ...
posted by adipocere at 7:34 AM on September 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


We need more Bort license plates in the gift shop. With apologies for the poor quality.
posted by Fizz at 7:55 AM on September 23, 2010


I love this kind of behind the scenes stuff. One year, my dad got obsessed with diving in the tank at Epcot Center (who knows why). It was honestly the most surreal diving experience of my life. You're on display to all the tourists milling around the tank and eating in the restaurant, and you're treated more like an employee than a tourist yourself. Everyone had to wear the wetsuits and equipment they provided, for uniformity, I guess, and to spare other guests the horror of seeing worn equipment. There were very strict guidelines on what you can and cannot do while in the zone nearest the glass, your body langugage, etc. There was a special hidden area you were supposed to swim over to if there were any problems or you had to pee. They told us any violation would cut the dive short for anyone.

Everything except for the fish and animals in that tank is fake - the coral is reasonably convincing from outside, but up close it's obvious that it's just hilariously crude blobs of plastic. There was a broken-off piece lying on the (also fake plastic grain) sand of the floor, and I put it in my vest. When we surfaced in the access pool behind the scenes, someone in a polo shirt called the Disney diver over to the side. They whispered for a minute, and then the diver swam over to me, opened the exact pocket I had put the plastic in, took it out, and said "You can't take Disney property." They must have seen it on a camera, I guess.

So yeah, Disney is creepy and weird, but I'll definitely agree that they run a tight fucking ship over there.
posted by peachfuzz at 7:56 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


From one of Karlos the Jackal's links:
"There are cat houses hidden amongst the foliage where they have food, water, a place to rest and do their business."
Good to see that they actually care for the cats.
posted by ericb at 8:13 AM on September 23, 2010


Best Disney advice ever: Go to the left.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:41 AM on September 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


When I worked at Disneyland, one of my favorite things was standing in the "employees only" area and watching the two burly guys whose job it was to catch Tinkerbell as she came flying down the wire from the top of the Matterhorn and landed in the backstage area. It was kind of awesome.

And yeah, they were strict about appearances and the illusion of perfection. Hence the rule that "cast members" do not ever, ever, eat or drink in view of the public, or use anything other than the secret hidden employee restrooms that are behind anonymous doors all over the park.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2010


From time to time I play with the Candlelight Orchestra over at Epcot. The only time we can rehearse our show is after the park closes. The dress rehearsal is especially brutal, as it can go as late as 2am on an outdoor stage on what is typically (for Orlando) one of the coldest days of the year. Snow flurries are not uncommon.

It is a surreal and rather serene experience to be in the park at night, with no crowds. All the noise is gone and there is enough lighting where you can almost pretend it's just late evening in the utopian neighborhood community Walt Disney imagined.
posted by Wossname at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 2005 or so, me and my boyfriend drove to Disneyland from Phoenix on a whim one weekend. It was the first time I had been there as a real adult and I think I enjoyed it more that way.

The park was clean, and all the rides worked.

I remember being in line with him for the Matterhorn when they needed a couple to fill a two seat spot on the ride; the operator looked at us:

"Are you two together?"
"We sure are!"
"Awesome, take a seat!"

I hope some middle american housewife was clutching her pearls as she watched two gay boys cozy up in that tiny seat.
posted by kzin602 at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Back in 2000, my (ex) wife and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon (go ahead, laugh). Late one afternoon, she headed back to the hotel, and I went to Tomorrowland to buy a toy, or something. I got stuck at the gate to Tomorrowland because it was PARADE TIME! and I had to wait for the entire parade to finish before I could get back to the gate and take the shuttle bus back to the hotel. So I was over an hour late.

I got back, and my wife asked me if everything was okay. She was far more worried than I thought she ought to be. Turns out, this was the day that that guy hijacked the Disney shuttle bus, and it was just showing up on the news.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:05 AM on September 23, 2010


Wossname: "Snow flurries are not uncommon."

I call bullshit. Snow flurries are exceptionally uncommon in Orlando. The last recorded snowfall here was in the 70s. One, it doesn't usually get that cold, and two, winter is the dry season.
posted by I am the Walrus at 10:11 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


go to hell, spitters. it's disneyland, for christ's sake.

Man, you should have seen the old Monsanto ride-- everybody spit on the microscope lens, and by the end of the night it was disgusting.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:27 AM on September 23, 2010


go to hell, spitters. it's disneyland, for christ's sake.
posted by msconduct at 6:05 AM on September 23 [1 favorite +] [!]


Ha! You should meet my friends from Vancouver who loooooove Disney. On our first trip together there, I joked that the first thing I was going to do was have a smoke and masturbate in one of the bathroom stalls. They got royally PISSED at me. It's fucking Disneyland!! Um... sorry.
posted by helmutdog at 10:38 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]




So, you guys were just sitting there real quiet from when the park closed to midnight? (what time does the park close?)

The park closing time varied depending on the season. I think we tried this over summer in the middle of the week, since we had the cheapest annual passes and therefore the most "blackout" days. Even so, they kept the park open pretty late -- past 11PM, if I remember correctly.

For the first attempt, my friend found a way to climb up a faux mountain section (if you took a running start), and once you were up there, you were pretty well hidden from the pathway next to it. Although, really, that didn't matter much -- the park was damn near deserted around this time of night. We just hid there for a while until the guards came. I doubt we were there more than 20 or 30 minutes, since they knew what we were up to.

Fun fact: being the closest high school to Disneyland, our senior grad night took place there. In case you're unfamiliar, several thousand high schoolers take over the park from 11pm-5am, and they open all the rides and have live music and everything. Unfortunately, they also force you to stay inside the park the entire time, which was silly to us (I could probably see my house from the monorail if I looked hard enough). Anyway, a lot of kids who were visiting from out of town that night tried doing what we did to the same effect.
posted by spiderskull at 12:14 PM on September 23, 2010


I joked that the first thing I was going to do was have a smoke and masturbate in one of the bathroom stalls

I've got a friend--really, I would admit to this if it were me--who, after an afternoon of drinking around the world at Epcot (so, maybe 8 or 9 drinks deep), likes to ride the (usually-empty, quite dark) boat ride in Mexico and expose himself (usually to the rest of us drunk idiots). He's a small guy, but kind of an unstoppable force when it comes to that sort of thing.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


A former coworker of mine used to work at Disneyland. He recounted tales of what the staff used to do after hours. Namely - round up the largest people they could find and go on Space Mountain to see how fast they could get the ride to go. They would break out into teams and time the run to see who would win.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 1:21 PM on September 23, 2010


oh and their food sucked.

Went to EuroDisney about ten years ago...that was the only place in France where I encountered less-than-delicious food, and it was inedible. Either they had hired Dutch cooks, or they were trying to provide an authentic American experience.

I really liked the steampunk theme of the place, Jules Verne rather than Disney World's George Jetson. The staff was definitely French, one little teenager dressed as Snow White harangued the crowd like they were unruly four-year-olds when she had to readjust the queue for the Peter Pan ride...I have no idea why we were in line for that.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:47 PM on September 23, 2010


My boyfriend and I just went to Disneyland a few months ago, and every morning we followed the go left rule until we started bouncing back and forth between the Haunted Mansion and Pirates. One morning there was a massive stream of water in front of Pirates and all these people with brooms and squeegees pushing it around. My boyfriend wondered what had happened and I was really dismissive and said, "They're obviously cleaning the streets. Gotta do it some time, and 9 a.m. on a Tuesday's probably a pretty empty time." Until we thought about it and realized we never saw anyone cleaning anything. And then one time we came out of Pirates and they'd erected some walls -- not fences, not flimsy sheets of plastic, but frigging walls -- around one of the restaurants nearby. Turns out a pipe broke or something. But the realization that they never really let you see them clean anything freaked me out a little.

But it does answer my question about what you'd see going on if you were allowed to stay in the suite above Pirates after the park closed, though not whether they'll lock you in the room so you can't wander around. (Though some googling suggests you could indeed wander around if you wanted, which is really really cool.)
posted by lilac girl at 6:20 PM on September 23, 2010


I used to love taking the late stock shifts at DL and then go dancing through the park on the way to my car. There is nothing more magical than being the only person in all of Toontown, though it would be better without the floodlights. Hence, the "get off work at 7am after GradNite" experience remains my absolute favorite Disney memory (they turned off the lights about the time we locked up.) And I have some awesome memories to compete with that. Sure, you kind of sell your soul to a Mouse... but you get great, wacky, "better not say it in public" times in exchange.
posted by SMPA at 6:58 PM on September 23, 2010


As a Southern California native who probably hit Anaheim a dozen times before I was ten, my salient memory of visiting EuroDisney a decade back was how grubby, run down and potentially dangerous the place was. There were eye-gouging twigs poking out of hedges, numbers hanging askew o decorative clocks, and an unlit, steep stair leading down to the dragon's lair in the castle gift shop. The excuse for the messiness was that there had recently been a freak storm, but... really, no, it was not Disney material.
posted by Scram at 10:40 PM on September 23, 2010


EuroDisney is indeed an inferior imitation of the real fantasy. However, the Aerosmith coaster is quite nice.

In South Africa, there's a theme park by Johannesburg that has a hotel inside the park. The park itself is small. When we stayed, I was looking forward to getting out after things were closed and taking photos. I expected night shots of a deserted theme park would be rather awesome. But the security guards didn't like this, even though there was no written policy against it.
posted by Goofyy at 12:01 AM on September 24, 2010


I went this past July and was not overly impressed. Sleeping Beauty's castle was tiny and I didn't get this overly "OMG how it sparkles" feeling from it.

You have to go to Disney World in Florida for the big castle.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:54 AM on September 24, 2010


You have to go to Neuschwanstein in Bavaria for the real castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty's castle...
posted by Jezebella at 9:48 PM on September 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's just wrong. So very wrong.
posted by Ahab at 5:59 AM on October 5, 2010


Buggrit, millenium hand and shrimp. The link would help, now, wouldn't it.
posted by Ahab at 6:02 AM on October 5, 2010


« Older "Believers, Jews, Christians and Sabaeans -...   |   "I've been back every year and... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post