INDIVIDUAL: Researcher, I. Vamos with D. Mercer
GROUP SIZE: Currently unknown
NATURE OF GROUP: Employees of both Disneyland in Anaheim California,
USA and Disneyworld Magic Kingdom in Orange County Florida, USA.
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: Securing Amusement, Disneyland, 4/25/96:
Conditions: Sunny approximately 70 degrees f.
Drove into employee’s lot. Waved and smiled like an old friend. Guard
passed me through. Parked car
2:55: Coast was clear - scrambled up fifteen feet of chain link,
over vines and barbed wire at the top.
2:56: Dropped to ground inside.
2:56: Heard footsteps and grunting. Looked up. Two men ran at
me. Older one yelled in radio “WE GOT THE RUNNER!” Younger one confiscated
my leatherman tool. Younger one told me not to move. Frisked me.
3:01: Each took me by an elbow and walked me through train tunnel.
I was lead into a concealed door and down a hallway that smelled like
a government building or maybe a public-school cafeteria during non-feeding
3:05: They put me in a plexiglass cell. Five other chairs plus
mine. Surveillance. Waiting.
4:23: Older man struggled with handle. Opened door. Walked me
past security offices with video surveillance monitors. Took my New
York drivers license. Asked me fourteen questions. I replied. I was
a tourist from New York. He left with my ID. Came back. Told me I
was barred from Disneyland for two years. If I try it again, there
will be a $500 fine, he said.
4:53: Escorted to front gate. Released.
Disneyland is well fortified against it’s urban surroundings.
The six lane perimeter road helps keep pedestrians to a minimum.
The fifteen foot fence combines with thick hedge to keep gawkers
from peering into off-limits areas. Vibration sensors on fence
alert security as soon as a breech is attempted. Staff is trained
for immediate action - it is common that people try to hop the
order doesn’t cover Disneyworld in Orange County Florida.
Disneyworld Magic Kingdom, 5/18/96:
Conditions: Mostly sunny, humid 90 degrees f.
5:25: Drove rental car to Magic Kingdom lot. Told attendant
at gate we were going to turn around. Entered and parked. Walked to
monorail. Rode monorail to park entrance.
6:30: Walked west of the park entrance to service entrance
6:45: Crawled through bushes. Jumped over four foot fence.
Ran into staff parking area. Walked toward edge of lot where there
were many Disney staff milling about. Looked for someone from security.
Costumed band members were warming up. Found someone with an ear phone
7:00: Asked him how to get to the Magic Kingdom. He looked
puzzled. Asked again. He asked what show we were with. Told him we
weren’t. He asked if we were guests. We said no. He asked if we were
staff. We said no. Told him we had jumped the fence. He said, “OH...
YOU’RE OUT OF BOUNDS GUESTS.” We said no. It didn’t bother him. He
called a van. He asked where we were parked. Told him out in the lot.
He asked if we paid. One of us said no, the other said yes. This did
not phase him.
7:26: Made up some lies that we hoped would really incriminate
us. The van didn’t come. He had to give a cue to the marching band.
He brought us through a concealed doorway, into the magic Kingdom
tourist area and gave a cue to the band after consulting with a film
crew. He left us standing and talked to them about fifty feet away
7:41: He came back, walked us out the front gate, and said
have a good day.
Disneyworld keeps out unwanted visitors using a combination of
natural and constructed geographical features. The swampy landscape
is impassible except via the parks own roads. The divided highways
are the only conduit to the three amusement parks in the 28,000
acre facility. Each park is surrounded by a moat which serves
the dual purpose of drainage and security. Orlando is over 20
miles away. Unlike Disneyland’s tall and secure border fences,
Disneyworld’s are small and unassuming, with no advanced surveillance
technology around the remote perimeters. Security staff almost
refused to acknowledge that we were even doing something wrong.
Findings and Final Report for the *INSTITUTE OF SOCIOMETRY*: Neither
Disneyland nor Disneyworld proved to be the experience we expected.
The rumours about honeycombs of underground tunnels, secret nerve
centres, and the little people who really run the place still remain
unsolved despite our hands-on research techniques. This leads us to
believe that additional research methods must be explored. Disguises
or mock fights, for example, might prompt security personnel to take
you down a different path through the entrails of Disney. The foregone
conclusion from all our data, (like any empirical science,) is that
there are more questions. While our survey of park security systems
came up short, we did prove the viability of our research methodology
as a general tourist practice. In the era of extreme sports, and that
oxy-moron eco-tourism, it seems only natural that one should develop
parasitic tourist experiences that feed upon the existing infrastructure
of Amusement Parks. These experiences might adequately be summed up
as transgressive. The transgressive tourist goes to popular destinations
just like everyone else, but then peels away the veneer to find out
what lies underneath. In many ways, a transgressive touristic experience
has advantages over the front-door approach. Amusement Parks are meant
to be a site of distilled fun and excitement. They lack, however,
a degree of unpredictability often associated with thrill seeking.
After paying fifty bucks to enter the Magic Kingdom through the front
gate, the guest experiences a pre-dictable simulated world, sometimes
entertaining, curious, or exciting. The transgressive tourist (the
out-of-bounds-guest or runner,) however, spends no money jumping the
fence and finding out what lies in the real heart of the parks: the
off-limits service areas. One can entertain an unpredictable, adrenaline
filled visit, while at the same time learning valuable information
about how these things work.