Disneyland's laundry used "gamification" as an "electronic whip," leading to worker stress and injuries

A non-negotiable feature of Disneyland's 2008 contract with Unite Local 11 -- which represents the laundry workers who clean linens from the resort's hotels and restaurants -- was a new "work-tracking" system that used "gamification" to display realtime signals about each worker's productivity on public leaderboards, colorcoded with the slowest workers' names in red, as well as color-coding indicators on individual machines to indicate whether they were underperforming. Read the rest

Evermore: a LARP themepark, elaborately themed and filled with costumed actors

We narrowly escaped the skeletal knights patrolling the darkness. We arrived to the relative safety of the Burrows where an angry hag was seated at the end of a long table, lost in her thoughts. We made this dangerous journey at the request of a Blackheart Hunter named Killian, who asked us to help find a cure for the darkness infesting the land. She gave us a pair of black river stones and told us to have Mother Nature, who had become the cursed hag, inscribe them with runes of protection for use in the cure. We swallowed our fear and stepped forward to ask for her help.

I've been anticipating Evermore since Ken Bretschneider, the CEO and founder, first announced it at Salt Lake Comicon in the fall of 2013. He told a packed panel room about his idea of a theme park for live-action role players and the room went nuts. Finally someone with vision who shared our passion for embodying a character and wanting to give it the environment it deserved. At each successive convention he had a little more to show, from concept sketches, to a park model, culminating this year in standing up an entire building in the middle of the show for his park. It's taken five years and a couple of pauses but he's delivered on that initial promise.

My own LARP experience began when I happened upon a Belegarth and Amtgard group at my city park. I built some flat boffer swords, a foam shield, sewed some tunics and wrap pants. Read the rest

Disney theme parks have a serious problem with cremain-scattering

If you ever hear an announcement on a Disneyland or Walt Disney World PA calling for a "HEPA cleanup" it means that someone has just dumped a dead person's ashes in a ride. Again. Read the rest

The stories behind the names on the Haunted Mansion's tombstones

The tombstones at the Haunted Mansions in Disney's themeparks are a kind of credit reel that pay tribute to the Imagineers who made the Mansion possible; in this short Disney video, you get some potted biographies of the honorees, from Claude Coats to Marc Davis to Harriet Burns to the incredible and weird Rolly Crump. Read the rest

Anaheim's living wage ballot measure pits big corporate donors against union money

Disney is Anaheim's largest employer and the city is something of a company town, with Disney exerting massive influence on the city government and engaging in strong-arm tactics to suppress media reports of the dirtiest of its deals, whereby the city financed much of the company's building projects and expansions while extending massive tax breaks. Read the rest

A Haunted Mansion "Tightrope Girl" dress

Just in time for Halloween, this cosplay-adjacent dress inspired by the Haunted Mansion's Tightrope Girl (AKA "Ballerina and Alligator, AKA Parasol Girl, AKA Ally Gal, Sally Slater, Daisy De La Cruz, Lillian O'Malley), sold with matching cape and ribbon. It's part of the fabulous renaissance in Haunted Mansion merch, including this Haunted Mansion Ballroom dress. (via Welcome Foolish Mortals) Read the rest

Talking about Ron Howard's Haunted Mansion album with the Comedy on Vinyl podcast

It's been two years since I last sat down with Jason Klamm for his Comedy on Vinyl podcast (we were discussing Allan Sherman's My Son, The Nut); we were past due for a rematch. Read the rest

Guy recreates Disneyland's Fantasyland in his basement

John Frost writes, "Travis, a railroad engineer, recreated iconic buildings from Disneyland's Fantasyland in his spare time. The result is an incredibly detailed and faithful recreation of facades to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventures and more." Read the rest

Photos: Hong Kong Disneyland in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Mangkhut

All of Hong Kong was devastated by the violence of Super Typhoon Mangkhut this week, but there's something really striking about the damage to Hong King Disneyland -- a perfect little jewel of a themepark. It's in the contrast of the very carefully maintained surface veneer of the park and the damage from the storm. Read the rest

Paper Haunted Mansion music box

Ray Keim writes, "More than a decade since I first designed my New Orleans Square Haunted Mansion Paper Model Kit, I realized I could add an new spooky dimensions to it with an inexpensive hand-crank music box mechanism that plays 'Grim Grinning Ghosts'!" Read the rest

That time Phyllis Diller roasted the Haunted Mansion

Back in 1972-3, Disney ran a short-lived variety show called The Mouse Factory that intercut classic animation with live action, framed by celebrity hosts that kind of threaded it all together into a mashed-up, loose storyline. Read the rest

Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on "overzealous copyright holders"

Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment." Read the rest

Disneyland will raise park employees' minimum wage to $15

Six weeks after Bernie Sanders rallied Disneyland employees to call for a $15/hour minimum wage, the company has announced that the minimum wage will rise from $11/h to $13.25 today, and again to $15 on Jan 1, and again to $15.45/h in June 2020 -- homelessness is rampant among Disneyland employees, and Disney had engineered a longrunning complete takeover of the local government, raking in hundreds of millions in breaks and subsidies, until, finally, anti-Disney candidates attained a majority in 2018. Read the rest

Adventure House: the sequel to the Haunted Mansion that never was

In 1976, Walt Disney World was riding high: the oil crisis was over, tourists were flocking back to Florida, and the successful bicentennial celebration at the Florida Disney resort had been national news. Read the rest

Disneyland announces a date for removal of sex-slave trafficking scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

The Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride Walt Disney personally supervised; it has undergone many replications and revisions over the years, but last year Disneyland Paris removed the "Buy a Bride" scene, in which we are treated to a lighthearted human trafficking auction in which captured women are auctioned to pirates as "brides." Read the rest

Disney announces $2.5B upgrade to Paris's Walt Disney Studios, the worst Disney park in the world

When Disney built Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris), it was required to partner with a French company that borrowed heavily, couldn't get out from under its debts, and ended up beholden to creditors who forced it to limit spending on the park, trapping it in a cycle of unpopularity and underinvestment. Read the rest

"LOCK HIM UP!" A guy heckles the Trumpbot at Disney World's Hall of Presidents

Jay Malsky knew he'd never get close enough to Donald Trump to heckle him in person, so he did the next best thing, chanting "LOCK HIM UP, LOCK HIM UP" when the Trumpbot took the stage at Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents. Read the rest

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