INDIVIDUAL: IS agent, 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
This report was originally published in The Report #2 in 1996 by The Institute of Sociometry. I. Vamos was acting as a double agent for both IS and The Center for Land Use Interpretation.
Conditions: Sunny approximately 70 degrees f.
2:47: 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 hours.
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 fence.
Restraining 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 area.
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 and radio.
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.