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Disneyland Article
Which Attractions Have The Most And Least Downtime You Will Be Surprised

Mad Tea Party
Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
November 22, 2019
November 25, 2019
The only thing more disappointing than finding your favorite Disneyland out of service is having the ride break down while you’re waiting in line to board.

Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often.

Disneyland experienced an average downtime of 4% across all of the Anaheim theme park’s attractions according to data collected from January through October by Touring Plans.

Historically, Disneyland attractions and experiences have been available to guests more than 99% of the time, Disney officials said.

“Disneyland Resort is a theme park industry leader in many ways, including the innovation, technology, safety and efficiency of our attractions,” Disney officials said in a statement. “Creating the best guest experience possible is always at the forefront for Disney and our operating guidelines — Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency. All work together to keep Disneyland Resort running smoothly with the magic our guests love.”

Disney parks always try to keep attraction availability as close to 100% as possible, said Steve Alcorn, CEO of Alcorn McBride, a Florida-based company that makes theme park control systems designed to reduce attraction downtime.

“In the long term, they’re aiming for operational ready times that are certainly in excess of 99%,” said Alcorn, one of Disney’s first system engineers.

Any difference between the Disneyland and Touring Plans numbers is likely due to intentional operational decisions made by the park to close an attraction rather than ride reliability, Alcorn said.

“If Disneyland’s overall number is not above 99% operational readiness, I think heads would be rolling and I would hear about it,” Alcorn said in a phone interview. “So I’m pretty sure they’re still in the normal nominal operating range.”

Touring Plans, an online subscription service that lets users create custom theme park itineraries, tracks attraction downtimes at major theme parks using big data and statistical analysis.

The theme park tracking company does not record downtime when attractions go out of service for routine maintenance or annual refurbishments.

The Disneyland attraction with the most downtime may surprise you: Tarzan’s Treehouse. The walk-through attraction that takes climbers across a series of rope bridges was closed 20% of the time.

The overall average downtime of Tarzan’s Treehouse was driven up by high closure rates in March (25%), April (46%), May (35%) and July (24%), according to Touring Plans.

The Disneyland Monorail had the second-worst average downtime: 17%. The Monorail was impacted by a Disneyland policy of closing the transportation system of the future during hot periods in the summer. The Monorail was down 51% of the time in August and 40% in September, Touring Plans data shows.

Attractions can experience downtime for a number of reasons. Like all complex and technologically advanced equipment, theme park ride systems can stop working from time to time due to mechanical issues. Typically, the interruptions are brief and the ride can be brought back online after a short period of time.

Some outdoor attractions close during inclement weather or fireworks shows. Rides can briefly stop to allow for slower-loading visitors to get on and off of attractions. Medical emergencies can also force a ride to shut down.

It often takes time to get new ride systems to operate reliably and for ride operators to become familiar with an attraction.

A handful of popular attractions had average downtimes higher than the park average: Indiana Jones Adventure (8%), Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin (6%), Mad Tea Party (6%) and Pirates of the Caribbean (5%), according to Touring Plans. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln clocked in with a 6% overall downtime in part because of high rates in January (21%) and February (11%), Touring Plans data indicates.

Disneyland’s mountain range of attractions were at or slightly above the park’s downtime average: Matterhorn Bobsleds (6%), Splash Mountain (6%), Big Thunder Mountain (5%) and Space Mountain (4%), according to Touring Plans.

The waterborne transportation on the Rivers of America performed better than the park downtime average: Mark Twain Riverboat (3%), Sailing Ship Columbia (3%) and Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (1%), Touring Plans data shows.

Disneyland’s high-capacity people-eater rides were reliably rock solid: Haunted Mansion (3%), It’s a Small World (3%) and Jungle Cruise (2%), according to Touring Plans. The Mad Tea Party would have joined this elite list if not for high downtime rates in January (16%) and February (27%), Touring Plans data indicates.

A stalwart group of one-percenters that rarely if ever break down can be counted on to never fail: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Astro Orbitor and Star Tours, according to Touring Plans.

The top prize for the most reliable ride at Disneyland goes to the newest attraction at the park: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The new flight simulator in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has had an average downtime of zero percent since opening in late May, Touring Plans data shows.

Smugglers Run benefits from having four slowly-rotating attraction turntables. Like bullets in the chambers of a revolver handgun, each turntable has multiple Millennium Falcon cockpits. That means Touring Plans only registers downtime for Smugglers Run if all four turntables of the flight simulator go down simultaneously.

Smugglers Run beat out the Enchanted Tiki Room for the top spot by the smallest of fractions. The Tiki Room had a downtime of 1% during three of the last five months, according to Touring Plans. Smugglers Run only had a 1% downtime rate in the month of July.
Attractions Referenced

Astro Orbitor

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes

Disneyland Monorail

Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Enchanted Tiki Room

Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage

Haunted Mansion

Indiana Jones Adventure, Temple Of The Forbidden Eye

It's A Small World

Jingle Jangle Jamboree

Jungle Cruise

Mad Tea Party

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

Sailing Ship Columbia

Space Mountain

Splash Mountain

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Tarzan's Treehouse

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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