03 February 2009

For your safety

This past weekend a guest at Walt Disney World decided it would be proper to climb over the stone stela, the carved artwork that graces to entrance to the Mexico Pavilion, and run up and down the stairs on the exterior of the pavilion. To add to the concern, reports claim that he was yelling about jumping as he neared the top, before making his way back down. You can read about the incident here.

Walt Disney World goes to great length to protect its guests. From restraints and warnings in attractions to the fences and hidden architectural features like Mexico's stela, every attempt is made to see that guests can enjoy themselves in a safe environment. In fact, they are so cautious that there are even warnings about the possibility of dizziness as a result of the CircleVision films, such as O, Cananda. Whenever possible, after an incident Walt Disney World pursues further measures to protect its guests, such as removing a low wall and replacing it with an iron fence.

In the case of this weekend's scaling, the guest had to climb over the stela which, according to Richard R. Beard in Walt Disney's EPCOT, was placed in front of Mexico because it, “effectively discourages children from climbing the stairs to test the will of the gods.” Apparently children and grown men see testing the will of the gods in two entirely different lights.

For my own part, I debated whether or not to report what happened at Epcot this weekend with the sole fear that some teenager may see the photographs and take it upon his or herself to try to recreate the stunt. My fear is that they do not have as easy a time removing themselves from the pyramid and injure themselves. But, as a voice in the community, I felt that something besides the cold hard facts of this story was needed.

All of this is to say that Walt Disney World can only do so much to protect us from ourselves. At some point we must be accountable for our own actions. We must be able to find our own line between what sounds and looks good, and what is actually good for us, those around us, and those watching us. When we find this line, we must decide not to cross it. After all, in Walt Disney World there is plenty of fun to be had without trying to make up our own.


M.Sedlar said...

From my time working as a ride op at Knott's Berry Farm to patrolling the parks as a security guard at the Disneyland Resort, I can tell you that most accidents I witnessed were because the guests didn't heed the warning signs. We had this joke at Knott's that the minute you step through the front gates, your IQ drops significantly.

People do really weird things at theme parks.

Unknown said...

The scaling of the Mexico Pavilion screams of a, "Hold my beer and watch this" moment.

People will do stupid things and that is what keeps our paramedics and ER Doctors and Nurses busy.

Having seen the Mexico Pavilion many times I feel they've done enough to discourage such attempts but not prevent because measures to prevent would extremely detract from the visual architecture.

But, I must admit, that on more than one occasion I wondered what it would be like to attempt to scale those steps. I just had the better sense to know that if Disney wanted me to do that, they would provide me easier access to the steps

Lisa Lu said...

That is crazy!!
Just found your blog.
Love it.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

I myself have often speculated as to what a wonderful view is available from the top of the temple, but like you Ray, my common sense took over and left any ideas as wishful thinking.

Princess Fee said...

I would love to see the view from the top of that Pavilion - but in agreement with Ray, Disney would have provided us an easier way to get up there, if that's what they wanted us to do!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm going to demonstrate what a poor librarian I am, but I did a quick Google search with some pretty good keywords and couldn't find anything about this happening! Could I ask where you heard about it? I'm really just curious. I agree with Ray... it sounds very much like a "watch this" moment... many of which end up as Darwin Award Winners.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Elizabeth, the link was provided in the article, but here it is again: http://screamscape.com/html/wdw_-_epcot.htm

Unknown said...


I'm not sure what Ryan's source was but I originally heard about it as it was happening via Twitter.

Lou Moulton from the Beyond Main Street podcast tweeted about it as it was happening and snapped pictures as well.

Since the perpetrator slipped anonymously into the night and no "arrest" could be made, I highly doubt it would've made mainstream news outlets

Anonymous said...

Like others here, I wondered what it would be like to climb those steps, but common sense (usually) prevails.