Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Handling a Crisis
It's been a big week over here. Lots of things happening. First of all the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan caused some turmoil. We have a lot of college program students from Japan and a few of their relatives are among the missing, which is really sad. We also have our new Disney Vacation Club property over in Hawaii, and luckily they suffered no damage, but were still on tsunami alert. Also, one of our cruise ships, the Dream, was in that area, and fortunately was able to dock at a different port to avoid the tsunami, as the port they were originally destined for had to be closed. Second of all, an Animal Kingdom cast member was killed this week during routine maintenance in the park. They've had one of the rides shut down for a while, and they've just started doing test runs. He was up working on the ride and got in the way of a test car, he suffered severe head trauma and fell off the ride. He eventually ended up passing away in the hospital yesterday. It's been very interesting to see how the company responds to tragedies like these. Firstly, everyone is very well informed. Anyone with a Disney email address (including myself) received an email from Bob Iger (the president of the Walt Disney Company) regarding the tsunami and what the company is doing to help out. FYI, any donations made by cast members to tsunami relief will be matched by the company, up to a million dollars. The Tokyo Disneyland park is also currently shut down, all the people that were inside when the earthquake hit are being taken care of within the park until it is safe for them to leave. What was really neat was that all the leaders were sent information immediately after the disaster, with details about which areas had cast members that were going to be affected by the tragedy and what steps the leaders should take to help the cast members in their particular areas. With the Animal Kingdom worker, Meg Crofton (the president of Walt Disney World park), she sent out an email to all of us expressing her sadness and telling us that the company is working with the relatives of the worker as well as the authorities who will be conducting investigations. The whole process is rather fascinating. I'll tell you more as I find out more. Oh, interestingly, that was the second death involving that particular ride, in 2007 another worker was killed in a similar situation. After the investigation, the Walt Disney Company was fined $21,000 and installed several new safety measures in that part of the ride to assure that it never happened again.