Monday, November 28, 2011
Remembering Roller Coaster Tycoon
Do you remember the computer game Roller Coaster Tycoon that was quite popular a few years back? It was a game that gave everyone a chance to be a Walt Disney Imgineer and build their own theme parks. Of course if you were a Disneyland fan, you always wanted to build your park with Disneyland as your template and try to outdo what Walt did even though the game was built more with the generic "Six Flags" theming rather than the copyrighted and patented (i.e. expensive) Disney theming. Anyway, the first two versions of Roller Coaster Tycoon where quite fun and charming. By the time they got to the the more complex and graphics intensive third version of the game, it seemed to have lost much of its charm. Funny how that happens.
Anyway, I bring the game up because there was a thread on the MousePlanet discussion board about just how terror inducing was Mickey's Fun Wheel, in particular the swing cars. It got me to think about my first trip on MFW a few years ago. I avoided the ride for years because I do have a fear of heights and carnival type ferris wheels. My sister finally talked me into going on it - just stay away from the swing cars and get on the fixed car side of the ride. I did and surprisingly, really enjoyed my 3 spins around. But while standing in line for the ride on a subsequent trip I glanced over at the car loading area and saw a custodial cast member apparently doing some clean up on the bottom of one of the non-swinging cars (pictured above). Word was quickly passed through the line of guests waiting to get on that someone had deposited a rather large "mess" (i.e barfed) on the bottom of the car. Even more surprising was the CM was in the car cleaning the residual so fast, the ride barely skipped a beat. One can only assume that this happens quite often and someone from the custodial staff is always near the ride.
So what does this have to do with the Roller Coaster Tycoon computer game? Anyone who ever played the games knew that you needed a small army of custodial workers built up as soon as you could afford to pay them. Without them, the walkways became littered with little puddles of vomit near terror inducing rides. As the number of puddles grew, the guests would begin complaining and your park rating would go down.
Now neither Disneyland or DCA have a plethora of vomit inducing coasters or thrill rides fortunately. Mickey's Fun Wheel, though neither a coaster or a true "thrill" ride, may come the closest though some people have issues with the Tower of Terror, Californial Sceamin', Space Mountain, and the Tea Cups of all things. But fortunately, Disneyland does have an army of custodial workers scouring the premises for any "deposits" one may accidently heave up.