Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Lead Exposure, Explosions, & Expanding Waistlines, at Disneyland!

Today's post can be filed under the heading of, "Tragic Kingdom."

On October 18, 2011, the Los Angeles Times published an article stating that, "Dozens of leaded-glass windows and brass rail chains, door knobs and drinking water fountains at some of Disneyland’s most popular attractions, expose children to high levels of lead.....according to an environmental group."

One of the items listed in the article, was the handle of the "Sword in the Stone," on display in Fantasyland.  There used to be a special "Sword In The Stone Ceremony," performed throughout the day.  During the ceremony, a young guest was picked from the audience to pull the sword from the stone and become "King or Queen of the Realm."  I believe that these ceremonies are no longer performed in the park, but guests can still approach the sword and attempt to pull it out on their own.  These pics of the official ceremony, are from December of 2006.

Another potentially hazardous object mentioned in the article, was the stained glass window in the door of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

The brass doorknobs in Minnie's house in Toontown were also on the list.

The photo from the article, shows a stained-glass window in the former Village Haus restaurant.

The stained glass image was of Pinocchio.

In 2017, this restaurant was converted into the Red Rose Taverne, and is now themed to the film, "Beauty and the Beast."  The Pinocchio-themed stain glass window was removed at this time, and replaced with a red rose design.  The question now would be, does this new window also contain lead?

This Los Angeles Times article from ten years ago (May of 2013), is about an incident that involved a water bottle containing dry ice, exploding and causing the temporary closure of Toontown.

After that article had been written, it was later disclosed that there had actually been two bottles involved, and two explosions, just minutes apart.  A 23 year-old Disneyland employee was arrested the same day, and pleaded guilty 6 months later, to a misdemeanor count of possession of a destructive device.  He was sentenced to 36 days in jail, 3 years probation, and 100 hours of community service.

The subject of this last Los Angeles Times article isn't necessarily as tragic, as it is comical.  It's from 2007, and mentions how the park's It's A Small World attraction would be closing after the Christmas season, to fix a problem that had been plaguing the ride for quite some time.  The boats had been repeatedly "bottoming out" within their water-filled flume/track, and were getting stuck.

I had heard multiple stories of this happening.  In fact, just one year earlier, during a December 2006 visit to the park, I almost experienced it myself.  We were riding in a boat that contained mostly "full-grown" adults, and there were multiple times when we slowed waaaaaay down, and almost came to a complete standstill, because our boat was dragging along the bottom of the flume.

Awww, Al Lutz was quoted in the article!  How much do we all miss reading Al Lutz' articles on his website?  I know, I do!  At least Disney was gracious enough not to blame the "fattening of America" as the reason for the boats getting stuck.  Although they did mention the steady increase in the size of their employees, over the years.

By the way, that 2008 It's A Small World refurbishment also happened to include the addition of 29 Disney characters, shoehorned into scenes throughout the attraction.  Now it's sort of like a ride-through version of "Where's Waldo?", but with Disney characters.  I won't even comment on the addition of the "American room."  (T.R.E!!!)  I'm kind of surprised that by now, they haven't added a bunch of projections, made riders wear 3D glasses, and given everyone a laser gun, or a web-shooting device.  Soon, I suppose.