Friday, October 26, 2018

100,000 Years

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this post's title referred to the expected wait times next year for the attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Or the amount of time before the Disneyland thesaurus will have a reasonable amount of information. Instead, it refers to another thesaurus milestone.

While it is hard to convey how much information is in the thesaurus, one (incomplete) measure comes from the quantities of certain types of information. There are currently 93,730 terms in the thesaurus and 370,665 relationships among them (hierarchical, equivalent, and associative). Not all terms are created equal, of course. Some will have many relationships and some will have few (possibly because of the sources I have and haven't examined).

One thing that has been very important to me for as long as I've wanted to create the ultimate Disneyland reference work has been recognition of the Disneyland Cast. Back in the late 1990s, there was very little information published for the public from the Cast perspective (with Van France's Window on Main Street autobiography as the best source). When I began the thesaurus project in 2007, I had a feeling that the sheer number of Cast Members would be overwhelming. But I didn't set any sort of a significance threshold for entering names and information about the Cast into the thesaurus as I came across it—and I'm glad I didn't.

As I continued to go through internal sources such as the Disneyland Line and Backstage, I found that some names showed up over and over. It was small reward to occasionally find a reference to someone starting at the Park, another mention years down the road, and finally a "Golden Ears" retirement profile. (I have also sometimes run across their obituaries in the newspaper articles I've saved.) Listings in telephone directories through the years have helped to build profiles of individuals through the years.

As of this writing, I have 24,224 Cast Members in the thesaurus. With this many individuals, and with the small amount of information I often have, it is likely that some people appear under more than one name (such as if a maiden name changed to a married name) or if I had inadvertently lumped two distinct people with the same name into one term. I have tried to take these considerations into account, but sometimes I just have to take a guess. Here is how the Cast is broken down by decades:

1950s Cast Members: 2,436
1960s Cast Members: 3,782
1970s Cast Members: 4,272
1980s Cast Members: 3,471
1990s Cast Members: 4,942
2000s Cast Members: 13,669
2010s Cast Members: 4,315

A different way to quantify the Cast information is to look at the service anniversaries I have documented in the thesaurus, which brings us back to the post's title. This morning I reached 100,000 years of service anniversaries. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS! That accounts for the anniversaries recognized by Disney at five-year intervals. I have gone off published service lists. I have also used retirement mentions if they include the years of service. I have not assumed service anniversaries, even if I see that somebody has worked at the Resort in different decades. Here's how they break down by length of service (I only assign the longest anniversary):

5-year Cast Members: 949 [this category has not been published in the Line in years]
10-year Cast Members: 2,955
15-year Cast Members: 1,483
20-year Cast Members: 706
25-year Cast Members: 413
30-year Cast Members: 301
35-year Cast Members: 126
40-year Cast Members: 88
45-year Cast Members: 44
50-year Cast Members: 5
55-year Cast Members: 1
60-year Cast Members: 1

If you've ever worked at Disneyland, thank you for your service!


dustpan said...

Thank you for loving us, Jason! We appreciate the devotion you are pouring into this project.

Mr. Strauch II said...

If you haven't already, come LIKE us at the Disneyland Alumni Club and Historical Society on Facebook:
I'm sure you'd find all kinds of wonderful Cast Member stories of days at Disneyland!