AP News Report. Guns back on Disney Rides.


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Redlg155
October 18, 2004, 05:52 PM
http://www.newsday.com/technology/la-me-disneyland18oct18,0,6636564.story



Minor Disneyland Changes Make It More of a Jungle Out There

Times Staff Writer

October 18, 2004


Hippos beware: The Jungle Cruise skippers are packing heat again.

And a caution to humans: Disneyland engineers are devising a safe way to return the stomach-churning spins to the teacups in the Mad Tea Party ride.

Many fans are cheering what appears to be a turnaround on political correctness, after watching the park in recent years not just disarm the skippers and de-spin the teacups, but also strip mock frontier rifles from Tom Sawyer Island and stop marauding pirates from threatening maidens in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Disneyland officials describe the changes as a move to recapture some of Walt Disney's original vision by "restoring the magic" to the park as it gears up for its 50th birthday next year.

"I've just been happy as a pig in mud," said Disney watchdog Al Lutz, founder of miceage.com. "I think they went too far in one direction and now they're course-correcting. They've gone back to the way they used to do things."

Not quite. Tom Sawyer Island is still gun-free, and the pirates continue to chase the wenches for their food, not their bodies.

But Disney watchers say the park is making improvements, apparently responding to complaints about altered rides and declining ambience.

Indeed, longtime fans had grown increasingly frustrated with the Walt Disney Co. for cost-cutting measures that became evident in faded paint and burned-out lightbulbs on Main Street.

Disneyland didn't publicly acknowledge the rundown, but is resurrecting details that had helped set the park apart, such as personalized nametags for the horses pulling a carriage down Main Street.

Costuming is also being restored. In New Orleans Square, for example, where employees have been wearing Victorian styles in subdued grays and browns, outfits that will debut in a few months will reflect the jazz era in vibrant greens, purples and golds, Tucker said.

And on Main Street, generic food carts are being redesigned to match the architectural style and paint colors of nearby buildings.

"That's what we're known for — the quality, the detail," said Disneyland spokesman Bob Tucker. Park guests keep Disneyland honest, deluging the park with hundreds of letters and calls a week on topics ranging "from the minutiae all the way to the big stuff," he said.

Changes on rides like the Jungle Cruise and the Mad Tea Party sent fans marching to Disneyland's City Hall in protest. Some boycotted the attractions.

Disneyland, Tucker said, was listening. Engineers will return the spin to the teacups early next year. And the guns came back to the Jungle Cruise this month.

As recently as one day before the Oct. 1 return of guns, Jungle Cruise skippers said guests were complaining about the notable absence of the Smith & Wessons — even though they'd been taken away in 2001.

"At least once a week somebody would get off the boat and say, 'Hey, what happened to the guns?' " said Sherri Ribble, a second-generation Jungle Cruise skipper.

Since their return, Ribble said, some passengers on the cruise have spontaneously burst out in applause after she fired blanks at the hippopotamuses.

One youngster even thanked Ribble for saving her life by fending off the hippos.

The whole experience was so true-to-life for 4-year-old Andrew Hansen, a visitor from Washington state, that he hid behind his mother as he got off the ride.

"It really feels like for the 50th anniversary, we're bringing the adventure back," said Ribble, who recalls riding the African-themed cruise when she was 8 and "thinking I was a goner for sure."

Her father, Rip, who was a skipper in the 1960s, said he was happy to see the change.

"When I was working there, the kids would start holding their ears when you started into hippo territory," he said. "It's a shame that in this day and age because of gang activity and political correctness and animal rights, people took offense to shooting at the hippo. But really, it was all make-believe."

And even though it was make-believe, that scene was an iconic moment on one of the park's most popular attractions, said skipper Gerry York.

Many fans can quote jokes from the spiel — or at least find it on one of many websites or message boards devoted to the corny gags on the Jungle Cruise.

Janet Wasko, a professor of communication studies at the University of Oregon and author of two books on Disney, said the park faces a constant conundrum: Disney officials feel the need to stay competitive and cutting-edge, while fans lament that "it's not the same anymore."

"Disney has changed to try to keep up with things, but in the meantime, one of the things that people want is the same thing," she said.
Copyright © 2004, The Los Angeles Times | Article licensing and reprint options
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Well..almost all the attractions. Now if they could just get the pirates to chase the wenches like they are supposed to....:D
Good Shooting
Red

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Standing Wolf
October 18, 2004, 08:36 PM
Is that the same Walt Disney company that provided financial backing for Michael Moore's latest so-called "movie," or some other Walt Disney company?

Shootcraps
October 18, 2004, 09:14 PM
Is that the same Walt Disney company that provided financial backing for Michael Moore's latest so-called "movie," or some other Walt Disney company?

No it isn't. This Walt Disney company refused to distribute Michael Moore's political piece of crap and got rid of it. Lions Gate Films owns it.

SoCalGeek
October 18, 2004, 09:24 PM
Hehe, this is so cool. I've got a [formerly hard-core anti, now less so] friend who is a skipper on Jungle Cruise and he said that the guns were the coolest damn things he'd ever seen. Now if i can just get him out to the range some time...

ZeroX
October 18, 2004, 09:28 PM
Isn't Lions Gate owned by Disney?

Shootcraps
October 18, 2004, 09:50 PM
Isn't Lions Gate owned by Disney?

I couldn't find anything on their website that mentions this.

And besides that, what does it matter? The press clipping doesn't talk about Moore. It's just about their park.

JL2152
October 18, 2004, 10:54 PM
Its not relavent to the article but it was Mirimax that refused to distribute Moore's movie.

Henry Bowman
October 19, 2004, 10:29 AM
Just returned from Disneyland this weekend. The teacups spin and the Jungle Cruise fired 2 blanks each time to scare aware the angry hippos. Saw them reloading while waiting in line. Warmed my heart, at least until I saw the person flip the cylinder closed. Nice S&W stainless revolver. The chambers looked bigger than a .22 (more like a .32) but the sound was no more than a starter pistol.

mattk
October 19, 2004, 10:30 AM
I can't believe there is anyone who is a second generation Jungle Cruise guide.

Cosmoline
October 19, 2004, 12:52 PM
One of my earliest childhood memories is of the skipper on the safari ride capping off a few at some lurking creature in the water. I'm sure it was my childhood imagination, but I swear I remember seeing impacts on the water's surface.

buy guns
October 19, 2004, 01:06 PM
i'm still trying to figure out if the jungle cruise boats are on guided tracks or if they skippers actually steer them.

Justin
October 19, 2004, 02:12 PM
One wonders if this has anything to do with the rumors that Michael Eisner won't be head cheese for much longer.

nomadboi
October 19, 2004, 02:55 PM
A lot of blank-firing revolvers use crimp blanks, which can come in full or half loads (or custom, of course). My guess is for safety and liability they're using plugged barrel replicas, probably the Kimar blank fire Colt Python replica, which fires .357 crimp blanks.

Average Guy
October 19, 2004, 03:12 PM
I'm very happy to hear this. It's something.

SoCalGeek, sounds like an opportunity for a SoCal meet and greet and shoot. :)

Cosmoline, there are "impacts" in the Pirates of the Caribbean (ship vs. fort section)...

SoCalGeek
October 19, 2004, 05:30 PM
Henry Bowman, Nomad Boi- According to my skipper friend (his name is Scottie, if anybody goes on the ride enough to recognize him) they're custom made S&W .38 Specials converted to fire blanks only. He didn't know the model number of the guns they currently use, but I know they used to use Model 10s. The ones they use now are stainless... I'll have to ask next time I go.

Average Guy- You just name the time and place!

Firethorn
October 19, 2004, 09:21 PM
I wonder what the reaction would be if I borrowed my dad's .357 mountain gun and offered to "help"?

Heck, I wonder if I could convince dad to make some blanks?








Just kidding!
I'm not that crazy!

Besides, handgun on a hippo? If I had to I'd be using the .500.
Now that would be a scene out of crocadile dundee. "You call that a gun? Now this is a gun!"

Henry Bowman
October 20, 2004, 10:08 AM
FWIW, the guide did not fire AT a hippo, just in the air. "In the air" at any location in the park is not a safe direction. However, these are prop guns, literally chained to the boat, and personally loaded with blanks by the shooter. It is, and was presented as, a sound effect only. Still, it was good to see that revolver and not a prerecorded "bang."

MP5
October 20, 2004, 12:06 PM
but also strip mock frontier rifles from Tom Sawyer Island

Boo, hiss! I had a blast--pardon the pun--shooting those little fake air rifles from the fort when I went there as a kid. Of course, when I was a kid, we played around the neighborhood with cap guns and other toy guns that looked reasonably like the real things. Now kids get stuck with dayglo water guns :(

Destructo6
October 20, 2004, 04:15 PM
Boo, hiss! I had a blast--pardon the pun--shooting those little fake air rifles from the fort when I went there as a kid. Of course, when I was a kid, we played around the neighborhood with cap guns and other toy guns that looked reasonably like the real things. Now kids get stuck with dayglo water guns
Me too. I used to blast away at the canoe riders as they paddled around the island. I believe those canoes were/are the only ride not on some sort of track. Kinda funny too, because one sank about 10 years ago and the riders just stayed put like it was part of the ride.

Do you remember the BBguns they used to have in the Frontierland shooting gallery? They've been replace by light guns, but long after Knotts switched, they were still shooting projectiles.

atek3
October 20, 2004, 07:26 PM
i read the title and thought that disneyworld was allowing florida CCW holders to pack...my bad. fake guns...sheesh

atek3

myrockfight
October 21, 2004, 02:02 PM
When I went to Busch Gardens I carried. On the way in (before going through the gate) I asked an officer - just to confirm. He didn't even bat an eye, "Oh yeah, not a problem." I was impressed by his demeanor. He didn't give the, "Why would you need a gun?" speech.


That reminds me. One time I was in Atlanta. I had read something about cities prohibiting carrying even if the state allowed it. So I pulled over to the side of the road into a parking space when I saw two cops sitting on a ledge off to the side of the street. When I went over to them and asked, they looked at me like I was crazy. Then they said they didn't know! It was really odd.

Henry Bowman
October 21, 2004, 02:36 PM
I realize that Califonia CCW is as rar as hen's teeth and, therefore, not expected, but there were no metal detectors or "No Gun" signs at Disneyland and the "search" of bags (not persons) was profunctory only. On-person CCW would not be detected. Was the same at WDW in Florida 3 years ago, but I have heard that metal detectors were being "tested" there.

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