Sunday, November 30, 2008

Food Giants in a Small World in a Too Small of Boat

I found this article rather interesting....

In the original Anaheim Disneyland it may be a Small World after all, but that world’s inhabitants are getting bigger and heavier almost by the day, so much so that some of the rides may have to be re-engineered. This has already been scheduled for the Small World ride, which will be closed for almost a year beginning in January for retooling.

The problem, quite simply, is that the flume that the boats ride in, and the boats themselves, were designed and built in 1963 on the assumption that the male adult riders would average 175 pounds and the women about 135, which they pretty much did at the time. Alas, those figures are as outdated today as the Rocket to the Moon ride.

The Small World ride now must accommodate adults who frequently weigh north of 200 pounds, which it often cannot do. Increasingly, overweighted boats get to certain points in the ride and bottom out, becoming stuck in the flume.

The ride monitors attempt to leave empty seats on many boats to compensate for the hefty, but this routinely antagonizes the hundreds of paying customers waiting in line. When a boat does bottom out, a long line of other boats backs up behind it, their passengers slowly going mad from listening to the ride’s theme song.

The ride monitors must then track down the stuck boat and attempt tactfully to help a rider or two to exit at one of the emergency platforms, which the riders in question do not always deal with graciously.

When the ride finally reopens, the flume will be an inch or so deeper and the boats more buoyant, thus allowing for several hundred more pounds of capacity. Other rides may also have to be shut down and reconfigured before all is made right; the Pinocchio, Alice In Wonderland and Pirates of The Caribbean rides in particular are prone to being stalled or annoyingly slowed down by overloaded cars.

But it seems somehow fitting that the first Disneyland attraction to actually succumb to “weight problems” would be the Small World ride. If for no other reason, just because of the irony.

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