Saturday, January 15, 2011

Out in the Open, but Behind the Scenes

Continuing the collection of photos from my phone comes this series taken very late at night. VERY late.

At the Park, each of the rides are tested, adjusted, and maintained during the wee morning hours when the park is closed. Many a night I had dragged my weary behind to the cast member bus stop and watched as the bus unloaded the maintenance engineers as they were starting their days.

God love them!

All of the following photos are perfectly legal as they were taken in the public areas of the ride, so any Joe Shmoe with a camera could have taken these.

This one is the wallpaper on my phone right now.
I thought it looked so cool and it reflects the season I was in at the park. This was taken with all the house lights ON, by the way, but it still comes out pretty dark. It's the console at Load 1, taken from a pretty interesting angle!

Same angle, peering beneath the console at a rocket train, waiting at load. What on earth are we doing here? Where are the guests?
After the park closes and all the guests have left, every once in a while we must assist the maintenance crew with what's called, "Test and Adjust." This is where they make tweaks and adjustments to the ride, then they must send the rocket trains through repeatedly to make sure everything is in proper working order.

So, if the park closes at midnight, T&A happens well into the wee hours of the morning. The thing is, maintenance is qualified to adjust the speed and track of a screamin' roller coaster, but they are NOT qualified to push the button that makes it go.

That's where the cast members come in.

We sit at our stations for as long as they need us to, sending one rocket train after another. In these photos, I am at Load 1. My friend Erica is at Restraint 1 (or I'd have to walk back and forth to send the rockets. Thanks, Erica!). Other cast members (can't remember which ones) were in the Tower and at Unload 1.

Rocket Train in motion, Side A!

In this photo, I drew an arrow to and a circle around the Red Button of Happiness. This is the E-Stop button and would instantly stop the entire ride, requiring an evacuation.
Happiness for the cast, who all get to do something different for an hour. Not so happy for the guests who were waiting in line and now must leave the ride!

The other buttons send the rocket trains, but the button in the middle is the Station Stop button. This stops the rockets only in our station (not the entire ride). We do this because no matter what we say to the guests, some of you insist on giving "high fives" to the people waiting to load onto the rockets as you pass by. Disney safety says this is simply unsafe and not allowed, so we must STOP the train and ask you to keep your cotton-pickin' hands inside the rocket at all times.

We also hit this button if a guest is suddenly in a position of danger, past the yellow line of safety. Or if they dropped something. Or if a little kid freaks out and tries to stand up in the rocket.

Safe-D begins with me!

The following photos are ones that you will NOT see on a regular park day, so keep it to yourselves, you guys.

You hear?

Mum's the word!

What you will not see, and I defy you to try and find, is this:
A cast member sitting down.

Remember that by this time, it's 2:00 in the morning and we've put in 8 hours. T&A is something we volunteer for after work and we're so tired!
I'm also on the phone, chatting to everyone on Side A who is working with Test and Adjust. Our lovely manager, Kim, asked us what we'd like to drink and she went and bought us sodas (or powerade, in my choice). We're talking probably about guests or cast members or singing our favorite Disney songs - things can get pretty loopy at 2 am! I'm sitting on the ground with my back against the console, reaching up to press the button, and chatting on the phone.

Unheard of!

Oh; and my shirt is untucked. That's right - untucked.

This is a shot of what I'm looking at as I sit there.
I'm looking all the way down past Restraint 2 to Restraint 1, where Erica is sitting on the floor with her back against the space wall, phone to her ear.

I know it's hard to see her, so in the next photo, I drew a circle around her.

I distinctly remember her side of the conversation at this point:

"J, what the heck are you doing? Taking pictures of yourself?"

Well, and pictures of YOU.

Rocket Train in motion, Side A!


Raquel said...

So did you take pictures of yourself in anticipation of a blog post, or did you just do it because you were bored? ;)

Mrs said...

Raquel, because I was bored. At the time I didn't think I'd ever get photos off my phone! I was trying to see if I could get myself and the console, plus, wanted to show Glenna. =)


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