Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers

Well, technically, if you've got certain questions regarding Disneyland operations in 1972, I have the official answers, but with a month between my posts, you're not going to quibble, right?

On the evening of Tuesday, April 25, 1972, Disneyland held a giant employee meeting at the Anaheim Convention Center, called "Where Do We Go From Here? A Disneyland Report." The meeting's purpose was to bring everyone "up to date on what's going on at Disneyland, throughout Walt Disney Productions in general, and what is in store for both in the years to come." Donn Tatum, Chairman of the Board, Card Walker, President, and Dick Nunis, Vice President of Disneyland/Walt Disney World, gave talks, followed by a question-and-answer session, including questions taken from the audience. They gave out lots of prizes, presumably to encourage people to attend. The Disneyland Line also emphasized how honest the meeting would be, remarking in one issue, "Answers to our questions WILL NOT be 'watered down,' and by no means is this entire meeting designed to be a sham." It was noted that the meeting was to be the "first complete employee gathering of all Park personnel" in Disneyland history.

5,879 Disneyland employees (I almost always prefer the term Cast Members, but as employees was the terminology of the day...) and their guests attended the event. In the months following, the Disneyland Line ran some of the questions posed and answered at the meeting, as well as other questions posed by Park employees. I particularly liked how Dick Nunis addressed the possibility of toning down any questions:
"Who was the deciding body as to what questions were to be asked of the panel and what questions were to be white-washed?"

This question was the lead-in remark by one Disneyland employee who attended the Park's employee meeting (The Disneyland Report - Where Do We Go From Here) at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 25.

The answer to this question was given by Dick Nunis: "These questions were reviewed by the President of the Company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, all Disneyland Directors, members of the University of Disneyland, and the editor of the DISNEYLAND LINE.

"With the exception of personal questions, such as the one which asked, 'Is Dick Nunis the SOB that everybody says he is' ... we have not white-washed any questions."

And with that remark, the Vice President of Disneyland and Walt Disney World began answering the hundreds of questions submitted by Disneyland employees.
Over the next week or so, I'll be sharing the questions and answers as they appeared in the Disneyland Line. They deal with the generic daily concerns of employees in any workplace, but they also reflect present-day Disneyland concerns over theming and cleanliness.

The first thing I'll share isn't a list of questions, but ten action items that were "direct results from questions submitted by Disneyland employees" at the meeting, as appeared in the May 5, 1972 Disneyland Line:

  1. Backstage banking facilities are now in operation
  2. Part time employees will now receive annual passes after working at Disneyland for one year.
  3. Magic Kingdom Club ticket books can now be obtained at a 20% discount.
  4. Construction of a new clockhouse is currently underway.
  5. A new Communications Center will be constructed behind the Ad building. It will contain en employee lounge, headquarters for the Disneyland Recreation Club, and will have offices for the DISNEYLAND LINE, "Backstage Disneyland," and "Dial 100," a fast news service for employees.
  6. The Mr. Lincoln ticket in the junior and children's ticket books is the same color as the "E" coupon in these books. The ticket color will be changed when the ticket books are printed this winter.
  7. Stock purchase plan through payroll deductions - - - this is being looked into and will be presented to employees once a plan has been decided upon.
  8. An employee questionnaire is being prepared to find out "Where Do We Go From Here?"
  9. More "Forums" will be held at all levels in the organization on a consistent basis.
  10. All questions submitted for "A Disneyland Report" will be answered in the LINE or by a personal letter. The LINE will also carry a series of articles about Disneyland's and Walt Disney Production's chain of command and organization.
I was particularly disappointed that that "series of articles" never appeared!

1 comment:

Katella Gate said...

I was particularly disappointed that that "series of articles" never appeared!

It seems that they never do...

Very interesting material otherwise.