Friday, January 12, 2007

When Tiggers Attack

A New Hampshire resident recently lodged a formal complaint with the management of Walt Disney World, claiming that the cast member costumed as Tigger threw a punch at his son while posing for a photograph.

"This is supposed to be the safest place on Earth!" I saw him declare on the morning news on New Hampshire's Channel 9.

The summer I worked there, in 1977, one costumed character was stabbed by a guest. The guest claimed he "just wanted to see how thick the costume was." On an evening shift, Alice in Wonderland was sexually assaulted behind Cinderella's Castle. That was broken up quickly by the arrival of other people.

Rounding out the intrusions of the real world on the Magic Kingdom that season, a toddler drowned in the Swan Boat Lagoon when he wandered off from his parents during the Main Street Electrical Parade, and an older man suffered a fatal heart attack on Space Mountain.

On my shift, someone dangled his son off the Swiss Family Treehouse, declaring, "You will NOT be afraid of heights." To tell the truth, I only heard garbled yelling. The details were reported to me by an agitated guest who wanted me to call security. By that time, the Father of the Year had blended in with the other happy people enjoying their summer vacation. And the kid knew better than to open his mouth.

The guests outnumber the employees at the park, and we were trained to be accommodating. The guests were encouraged to be self indulgent. Neither side was a model of perfection, but add the missteps of the many and they far outweigh the missteps of the few. I was threatened with a punch in the face more than once by drunk boyfriends when I had to mention to their girlfriends the Disney rule against carrying food and drinks through an attraction. For crying out loud, people. It's a big-ass concrete tree. It will still be here in ten minutes when you've finished enjoying your drinks.

The video offered by our latest victim of Magic Failure didn't impress me with the unprovoked savagery of Tigger's attack. It looked like he was falling over backwards and flung an arm out. In the end, only Tigger himself knows for sure.

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