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Are requirements effective?


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  • Are requirements effective?

    So, in light of the death at WDW this week on Mission: Space and the posting I read on another board of someone using platform shoes to get their daughter on Screamin', I have to wonder about the requirements.

    The kid who died on M:S was tall enough, but he was 4 years old, and the stories don't say if he was skinny or not, as that can have an effect with the high Gs. Should there also be a weight requirement?

    The kid who wears big shoes to get on a ride is being put at risk, too, because she is her actual body isn't long enough to be safe. Should CMs be watching for such things?

    I bring all this up because my 4 year old is tall enough for ToT and Mullholland Madness, but he's done neither. He's just declined to do Mulholland, but I won't let him on ToT yet. Being tall enough isn't enough for that ride. You have to be able to deal with it. On the same note, I had some regrets after taking my 2 year old on Matterhorn last week. Tall enough, but she didn't understand that the Snowman was fake.

    I blame the parent for not being safe with her kid at WDW, but I wonder what can be done by the parks to help with this?
    "I just want to say, this is the best trip ever." - Aidan at age 4

    "No. I have no kiss in my mouth for Daddy." -Alida on Father's Day

  • #2
    Yeah, I've put my -tall enough but not emotionally ready- kids on rides before. My 3 yo went on ToT. :o He was big be safe, but he proclaimed: I don't want to go on that again-with wide eyes and a pounding heart.
    The height restrictions don't take into account weight or readiness. That is up to the parents and obviously, we don't always make the right choice.
    I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.
    That explains the trouble that I'm always in...


    • #3
      If you are asking parents to be more responsible for their children, you might not get what you ask for. Intelligent parents decide for their off-spring and are safe with their decisions. Unfortunately, smart parents are declining in our society. That last statement does not include Mice Chat parents.

      This has been a Filmways presentation dahling.


      • #4
        Most of my fellow greeter CM's who work height requirement rides check for things like that. There was a family with a daughter who just made it to the height line for GRR. However, she was turned away because she had very high platforms on, and the CM told them the rules and held by them.

        Also, parents should take more than a child's height into consideration when they ride an attraction. Does my child become nauseous easily? Is he/she afraid of loud noises? Monsters? Heights? The Dark? A responsible parent should answer these and other important questions before bringing their child along on any thrilling attractions. And don't EVER ask the greeter or any other CM "Is this scary?", because they will most likely have a differing opinion of "scary" than you do.
        Make something Idiot-Proof, and someone will build a better Idiot.


        • #5
          First of all, you can't blame the parent for taking them on that ride. They followed everything posted as required for the ride. Should they have used common sense...probably but if they had never been on the ride they would have given the CM at WDW the judgement to let their son go on the ride or not. Weight requirements seem logical but how can a theme park or traveling amusement park really enforce that. The next logical step is to establish a height requirement but I've seen lately that seems archaic because so many children are taller these days. My 3 year old is 40 inches tall. Do I let him go on these rides..most likely not because I have been on these rides before and know they will either scare him or whip him around too much.

          BTW- the insurance company establishes the height requirement of the ride. For some parks, they may raise it with recommendations from their ride maintenance or safety departments. But that isn't usually done unless their is continuous problems (accidents, complaints, injuries).


          • #6
            Talk about a difficult subject. The requirements to go on a ride need to examined by both adult and Park. As a few of you here mentioned, we know our kids and even if they meet X height they might not be mentally prepared.

            Alien Encounter is a perfect example. Height does not equate to being mentally prepared for the ride. That ride (in Disney standards) was terrifying. When I rode it the first time I had a poor young girl that was tramatized by the ride. She was a mess in the gift shop at the exit. She wanted to leave the Magic Kingdom. I flet so sorry for her.

            Yes, the rides have signs but who really reads them? Do rides need a suggested age requirement? Should Disney create an intensity guide? We can break rides into E-A ticket. Should a similar system be in place for intensity?

            You know what I really hate. Parents who lie to their kids to get them on a ride. "Oh no, Tower isn't scary - it's like Haunted Mansion." And so the kid relunctantly goes on and then cries while the parents either 1) laugh or 2) yell at them for being scared.

            All very tough questions - it will be interesting to see how things shake out in the end. A sad sad tragedy that looks like, at this time, no one is really at fault. (Based on the info I have read at this time.)


            Be sure to visit my site!


            • #7
              I very much can blame the parent in this case. As a parent, I take it upon myself to screen things for my kids. I made a mistake with the Matterhorn, but in the case of M:S, it would have been very easy to ride it first or watch the video or something. I've never been to Epcot, and I've never been near the state of Florida, but I've seen enough M:S footage to know that my 4 year old is not ready physically for it, even if he was tall enough. I had planned on offering ToT to my son when he was tall enough, until I went on it.

              I watch movies first to see if my kids can watch them. Bambi? G rated. Not for my daughter. Why can a concerned parent not take the same care despite posted requirements at a theme park?

              I appreciate CMs like Eyes of Mara who do their jobs with the safety and enjoyment of guests in mind. But I think it is prefectly acceptable to expect that parents do their jobs and make informed, not blind, decisions for their kids.

              I'm not wishing ill on this kid's parent. Again, I don't know what kind of physical condition he was in. And I think RU has a good idea about intensity or grade on the rides (some Six Flags parks have age suggestions on some rides). I feel nothing but horrible for this family. But in a broader sense, I get angry at the lack of involvement and responsibility of too many parents.
              Last edited by Ian; 06-14-2005, 10:48 AM.
              "I just want to say, this is the best trip ever." - Aidan at age 4

              "No. I have no kiss in my mouth for Daddy." -Alida on Father's Day


              • #8
                I definitely blame the parents for the MS death. We won't know exactly what happened until the autopsy is finished today, but I am guessing the ride aggravated a preexisting health problem, and the parents ought to have known not to send their son on the ride due to that condition. Also, given the overabundance of warnings in the queue for Mission: SPACE, I don't think ANY 4-year old belongs on that ride. Regardless of external development (i.e. he is tall enough), internal development, especially if you have a medical condition, will not be at a point in many children where they can handle that ride's sustained g-forces for as long as they are kept up. Very poor parenting, I feel. What else can Disney possible do? It seems to me the only way to stop people would be to hit the parents over the head with a shovel. Otherwise, they've done everything they can.
                -Kyle, Member of the DCA Lovers Alliance
                I'M GOING TO YALE!!!!!!!


                • #9
                  In a case like Mission Space, it woud seem that the child had some unknown condition that was not obvious to the CM or the parent. In this case... it just happened. There is absolutely no way to determine who is or who is not healthy enough for some attractions. There are way too many variables to ever be even 50 percent sure.
                  Member 216


                  • #10
                    I love amusement parks, I'm a parent, I'm a former CM and I also studied ride safety regulations.

                    I DON'T blame the parents in the WDW incident. Why? Because its not their fault and neither is it the fault of WDW. Disney represents to me a fantasy, a way to escape the real world. For some it really does do that to them when they enter the gates but for some like myself, as a former CM, I know its not real. I have seen it to many times parents and people in general let their guard down at any theme park. Its a great thing that Disney did create a place for us to go to and be reminded of fantasy and such but unfortunately it does come with a price. Accidents and incidents like this happen because the place exists in reality. It is a place of business like anywhere else and they are prone to have something bad like accidents, injuries or even death occur.

                    There are parents out there who may lack judgement when they come into the park. Sad yet true. We can argue in here that we would not ever let our child go into that ride and on the other hand many of us have said "oh its Disney, what could happen?" Accept the truth as I've been guilty of that as well. But Disney hires CMs as ride operators for a reason and not just to run the enforce restrictions and make judgement calls so that injuries will not happen. The parents of the 4 year old honestly did not have any clue based on what I read that something would happen to their son. Would going on the ride prevented them from bringing their son the next time around? Who knows. One thing I learned as a CM and in my other jobs after DL is that people do lose judgement from time to time. I was hired to protect them from that and remind them.

                    As far as the WDW heart goes out to the parents. Disney let the ride reopen because they are not regulated and the ride did not have a technical malfunction. Should they have closed it an extra few days to let the story pass...probably from a PR standpoint. As I said before, this is a hot topic. I know many parents and CM or ROs will come and argue that they are doing their job, the wouldn't let this ever happen on their watch...blah blah blah...but everyone has to work together to create a safe environment at theme parks. CMs you notice that parents are doing something wrong...remind them of restrictions and don't let them ride. Parents you notice that a CM (in any park) is not enforcing the restrictions or not safely operating the ride then report it as well..that's what supervisors are for.


                    • #11
                      A nice liability waiver form upon purchasing tickets/AP should do it, assuming all of the warning signs are still in the park for the brains-still-in-head parents to make informed decisions.


                      • #12
                        The tickets you purchase does have a loose waiver on the back. When you purchase your AP, you do sign a waiver as well. That goes for any amusement park in California at least.

                        Have you read the warning signs? Many of them and I'm not just talking only about Disney parks are in the worst imaginable spot. There is so much written on them that people..even level headed people won't read them.

                        I really like what the state of Pennsylvania has done. They have tons of pamphlets that they mail out and I think are provided at the theme parks (I think they are). They also have a website on how to be safe and still enjoy yourself at a theme park.


                        • #13
                          It's interesting how when something horrible (real) happens in a disney "fantasy" park, it seems so devistating. It's always sad when something like this happens, but when it happens at a Disney park, instead of say... Six flags, it seems a step worse.

                          But anyways, I think parents have the responsibility of knowing which ride is for their child and which one is not. Parents should ride the ride first, before letting the child ride.


                          • #14
                            ^ I agree 100%. And if the parents haven't ridden it yet, they at least need to have some knowledge of the ride experience.

                            My daughter has been tall enough for X at SFMM for 2 years. But she's nowhere near ready to ride a ride that intense.

                            My son is just now reaching the 48" mark, but he's been ready for stuff like Screamin' for awhile now.

                            I think that Disney does an awesome job on their height requirements. But remember, the height requirements, alot of times, are set by the manufacturer and are more about the restraints on rides than the actual rides.

                            Basically they ask themselves: "What height does somebody need to be to 'SAFELY' enjoy this attraction"

                            Perfect example. TOT is 40". It's a pretty intense ride but because of the seat belts on the ride, someone who is 40" can safely ride the ride. Does this mean that somebody who is 3 years old and 40" tall should ride it? Absolutely not.

                            The bumper cars at DCA are 42" (higher that TOT). Now, are those boring bumper cars suitable for children under 42". Absolutely, they are less intesnse than the autopia. But, because of the restraints on the ride, it's been decided that children under 42" wouldn't be safe.

                            And yet another example: Indiana Jones at DL vs. Dinosaur at AK. They are both the same style of ride. Both employ the same ride system and the same restraint system. Yet Indiana Jones has a height requirement of 46" and Dinosaur has a height requirement of 40".

                            This has never been explained by Disney, but the consensus is because either:
                            Indiana is more intsense than Dinosaur (which it is)
                            The state of CA stepped in and made the height requirement higher. Which they have done at rides at Knott's and SFMM that used to have 42" requirements and now have 48" requirements even though the same rides in other states still have 42" requirements. Example: Montezooma's revenge at Knott's USED to be 42" and is now 48". Greezed Lightning at Six Flags Astroworld is the EXACT same ride. EXACT!!! And is 42".

                            Now why is the same ride deemed safe in TX at 42" but isn't safe at Knott's at 42"? And what about before they raised it. Was it safe then?

                            This is a touchy subject. Some requirements make sense. Some don't make any sense. X at SFMM should not be 48" by any stretch of the imagination. But on the flip side, there is no reason that Jaguar at Knott's should be 48" either.

                            I think, at least in this case that the height requirement for Mission: Space will be changed, or at least the minimum age will be changed. Then again, how can you prove that.


                            • #15
                              Gregg, I agree with just about everything you said.

                              One thing: The height requirement on the bumper cars at DCA was dropped to 36 inches! The CM there told me last week it happened about a month ago. So a change is possible. I would expect one at M:S
                              "I just want to say, this is the best trip ever." - Aidan at age 4

                              "No. I have no kiss in my mouth for Daddy." -Alida on Father's Day


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