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Are the parks getting dirtier?

LAKid53

Official Member of the Girly Girl Fan Club
Premium Member
I noticed last year that, for some reason, it seems really hard for many people to actually walk 5 steps to a trash can. Not just WDW, but alot of places. I don't get what is so hard about cleaning up after yourself. Someone actually changed her child's diaper in the line at the Haunted Mansion and just left the dirty diaper next to the wall. If you ask someone to please put their trash in the can, they look at you like you have 3 eyes...

That's when I would have shamed her. I was sitting on one of the benches surrounding Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios enjoying my Mickey ice cream treat when a woman plopped her son on the other end of the bench and proceed to change his diaper. As I sat there eating my ice cream. I gave her the evil eye, made a noise and stood up. She finished and threw the diaper on the ground next to the bench and walked away. I called after her and told her she forgot something. She ignored me. So I yelled "hey lady in the red t shirt and black leggings with the kid in the purple stroller. You left your son's dirty diaper on the ground next to the bench I'm sitting on [pointing to the diaper] and you need to come get it and throw it away in the trash can! And in case you didn't know, they have changing tables in the bathrooms. Use it next time." Since you can hear me in Canada when I yell, everyone around the area heard me. And they all looked at her. She sent her husband over to retrieve the diaper to throw it away. And I gave him a look and a few words.

When guests throw their empty cups on the ground near a trash can because they are just too lazy to walk the extra 5 steps, I tell them they missed. And they then usually sheepishly pick up the cup and throw it in the trash can. I'm not above shaming litter bugs. I wouldn't ask people to navigate around my trash and I expect the same from them. My mother would have yelled at me if I ever threw anything on the ground with a trash can in sight. Actually, she would have yelled at me if I ever threw trash on the ground, whether there was a trash can nearby or not. She wasn't a neat freak, but felt it was disrespectful to discard waste so carelessly.
 

DHoy

Active Member
I was at all 4 parks last week. I did notice a lot more trash on the ground than normal. I normally go during Spring Break, as well as the busiest week of the year after Christmas and before NYE, and sometimes in October. So I am going during busier times of the year. Busier than late July. When I was at Epcot, the day I was there on a Saturday it was pretty quiet. I saw no large foreign tour groups there that day. EP was very clean that day. Later in the week when I was at MK, several foreign tour groups were there and the park had trash in several places. Like the OP, I noticed trash at Peter Pan upon exiting the ride. Plastic water bottles and other trash were on the ground within clear view of the CM of the ride. I did notice some trash on other attraction queues and exits, but Peter Pan was in worse shape than others. So maybe it has to do with the CM's of each attraction, along with the fact that some of the teenagers in the foreign tour groups have no regard for cleanliness. I found myself picking up trash in some spots as well as I hate seeing the place look that way. While I was at AK and HS, there were several tour groups at the parks those days, but the trash on the ground was not as bad as what I saw at MK.

I saw more trash on the ground last week at MK than when I go during the week after Christmas, and the foreign tour groups are not there during that week. The solution? Perhaps to have Disney assign the attraction CM's at MK more time to go through the queues to clean up during the month of July when the tour groups are there.
My question to you. We're the cast members In question standing at the entrance of the attraction? Regardless of standby or fastpass both greeters are required to remain in position ... Both because the attraction is ADA governed and access is ambulatory. The second is for fastpass, that cm may be in reach of trash but their duties belong to the touch point.
 

IMFearless

Well-Known Member
I think another issue is that once an area has a small amount of trash discarded in it, people's resistance to dropping their own trash decreases, the more trash that is dropped the more trash will be dropped. People wrongly use the "drop in the ocean" mentality. If there is a restaurant full of dirty trays and rubbish everywhere, people are much more likely to abandon their trays than if the whole place is gleaming and others are emptying their trays themselves. By keeping the parks spotless I believe Disney would actually save money as I think less trash would be dropped in the first place. Once litter takes hold it's a free for all.
 

GoofyCathy

Member
I hate to start a negative thread, but I've noticed lately that the parks have been dirtier lately, especially MK. We moved down to Central Florida in 2008, and we've been going to the parks at least a couple times every month since then. (We started going when I was about 5 years old in 1984). Anyway, up until this last few months, the parks were always impeccably clean.

We were at the parks several times last week because family was in town, and all of us noticed that the parks were more dirty as a whole than we'd every seen them before. I'm not just talking about the normal issues of trash on the ground after the parades or fireworks (which used to be quickly cleaned up by an army of CM's after each event). I'm talking about trash just lying around the parks in several places and not being cleaned up very well at all. We were in the new Peter Pan Queue, and it was disgusting how much trash was on the ground. I know that area is usually crowded, making trash pickup difficult, but while we were waiting, a CM did come through with a broom and dust pan. However, she only swept up about half of the trash on the ground before she gave up and left. It was bizarre.

We also noticed several times in Tomorrowland where there was a lot of trash lying around by the TTA and Astro Orbiter Queue Areas. I actually wanted to stop at Guest Services and let them know that we've noticed that this has been getting worse lately. However, the line was long, and we were all pretty tired by the time we left. Next time I go by myself though, I'll have to stop in and make a comment. This used to be an area where Disney excelled far above other parks. They need to get back to this. I hope they haven't cut their custodial budget with these record crowds at the parks.

I agree with you...it used to be neat as a pin. I often think-Walt would not approve of this.
 

worldfanatic

Well-Known Member
People have questioned 'are the parks getting dirtier?' since just after they originally opened.
And they'll continue to ask that as long as they remain open.

One year you'll hear about how dirty the parks are, and then the next year you hear how dirty they are compared to last year.

It's human nature,
No matter what, they were always cleaner 'before'.

Disney does a remarkable job keeping their entire property as clean as possible.
 

nelsonj3

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
That's when I would have shamed her. I was sitting on one of the benches surrounding Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios enjoying my Mickey ice cream treat when a woman plopped her son on the other end of the bench and proceed to change his diaper. As I sat there eating my ice cream. I gave her the evil eye, made a noise and stood up. She finished and threw the diaper on the ground next to the bench and walked away. I called after her and told her she forgot something. She ignored me. So I yelled "hey lady in the red t shirt and black leggings with the kid in the purple stroller. You left your son's dirty diaper on the ground next to the bench I'm sitting on [pointing to the diaper] and you need to come get it and throw it away in the trash can! And in case you didn't know, they have changing tables in the bathrooms. Use it next time." Since you can hear me in Canada when I yell, everyone around the area heard me. And they all looked at her. She sent her husband over to retrieve the diaper to throw it away. And I gave him a look and a few words.

When guests throw their empty cups on the ground near a trash can because they are just too lazy to walk the extra 5 steps, I tell them they missed. And they then usually sheepishly pick up the cup and throw it in the trash can. I'm not above shaming litter bugs. I wouldn't ask people to navigate around my trash and I expect the same from them. My mother would have yelled at me if I ever threw anything on the ground with a trash can in sight. Actually, she would have yelled at me if I ever threw trash on the ground, whether there was a trash can nearby or not. She wasn't a neat freak, but felt it was disrespectful to discard waste so carelessly.

Amen!! I haven't done that before, but maybe I should start. Of course, I don't want to get into any fights at the parks and then end up in another thread... ;)
 

nelsonj3

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
People have questioned 'are the parks getting dirtier?' since just after they originally opened.
And they'll continue to ask that as long as they remain open.

One year you'll hear about how dirty the parks are, and then the next year you hear how dirty they are compared to last year.

It's human nature,
No matter what, they were always cleaner 'before'.

Disney does a remarkable job keeping their entire property as clean as possible.
I really don't
People have questioned 'are the parks getting dirtier?' since just after they originally opened.
And they'll continue to ask that as long as they remain open.

One year you'll hear about how dirty the parks are, and then the next year you hear how dirty they are compared to last year.

It's human nature,
No matter what, they were always cleaner 'before'.

Disney does a remarkable job keeping their entire property as clean as possible.
I think you're over-simplifying a bit. While what you said sounds good in theory, since I've lived down here for the past seven years, I've been able to go to the parks much more often, and I can definitely say that I've seen a difference in the past year or so. I am the kind of person who truly notices small details, and I sometimes I have to "turn it off" to enjoy the parks more. Obviously, there's no scientific way to know whether the parks truly are less clean than before, but I've been going to the parks for 30 years, and this is the first time that it's bothered me.
 

worldfanatic

Well-Known Member
I really don't

I think you're over-simplifying a bit. While what you said sounds good in theory, since I've lived down here for the past seven years, I've been able to go to the parks much more often, and I can definitely say that I've seen a difference in the past year or so. I am the kind of person who truly notices small details, and I sometimes I have to "turn it off" to enjoy the parks more. Obviously, there's no scientific way to know whether the parks truly are less clean than before, but I've been going to the parks for 30 years, and this is the first time that it's bothered me.

I can respect that.
As a Californian, I've been going to Disneyland for over 40 years, and there was a time period some years back that it did appear to me that park upkeep wasn't as "detailed" as it had been in the past.
But one thing that has ALWAYS occurred, is that people have ALWAYS been complaining that Disneyland isn't as clean as it used to be. Which simply can't constantly be true.
Again, it's human nature for people to think things were "cleaner" or "better" before.
And in this case, perhaps it's true. But I've just become defensive after constantly hearing it year after year about Disney Parks.
 

nelsonj3

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I can respect that.
As a Californian, I've been going to Disneyland for over 40 years, and there was a time period some years back that it did appear to me that park upkeep wasn't as "detailed" as it had been in the past.
But one thing that has ALWAYS occurred, is that people have ALWAYS been complaining that Disneyland isn't as clean as it used to be. Which simply can't constantly be true.
Again, it's human nature for people to think things were "cleaner" or "better" before.
And in this case, perhaps it's true. But I've just become defensive after constantly hearing it year after year about Disney Parks.
Point taken, and I can definitely see how that could be the case. Just like most things, it's all about perception! :)
 

LdyApxr

Well-Known Member
If you see trash on the ground in Disney, pick it up (provided it's not too grody). Be the change you wish to see in the (Walt Disney) World.

And I was that person right up until the explosion in ToonTown at DLR in May 2013 because we were there and it turned out to be dry ice bombs in water bottles(by an employee no less) and just earlier that same day, I had my teenage son take a bottle that we found at the Walt/Mickey statue that had been left there by someone and had him throw it in the garbage. Had that been one of that idiot's little explosive devices, it could have injured my son(or anyone who picked it up). So now we are very careful about picking up things that other people have left lying around. You really honestly never have any idea what some idiot has done for some idiotic reason. Even in Disneyland or WDW.... But that might just be me. In all my trips in the last 20yrs of going to DLR, I never once gave a thought to throwing away garbage left on benches, railings, whatever. That will make you think twice when something like that happens unfortunately.
 

MerlinTheGoat

Well-Known Member
We have it on very good authority from our experts on this site that maintenance crews have continually been cut for the past 15-20 years now (generally agreed to have started around the mid 90's). Which has indeed led to dirtier parks and more broken elements. Not just visual observation of the phenomenon, but actual information on internal company policies regarding custodial services. It's relatively well known that a lot of declining standards (including upkeep and general cleanliness) were initiated during the latter half of Eisner's rule. Disneyland in particular was closely and actively scrutinized negatively during those years by both fans and even mainstream media (that scrutiny in part had something to do with its positive turnaround).

Whether people are more inclined to litter nowadays or not, Disney still shoulders the majority of the blame. When you can visit multiple days and still see the exact same plastic bottles floating in the water in Splash Mountain or Small World throughout your visit (or the same stickers plastered over everything). When walls/carpets/surfaces in general have a thick layer of dirt accumulated over weeks, months or even years. And don't even mention the bathrooms... It becomes clear that there's a deeper and more serious problem with custodial duties that transcends guests simply getting nastier.

Whether custodial isn't doing their job, aren't allowed to do it or Disney needs to hire a larger workforce (probably the latter two, we've been made aware that Disney has cut a lot of the maintenance crews starting in the mid 90's).

If you see trash on the ground in Disney, pick it up (provided it's not too grody). Be the change you wish to see in the (Walt Disney) World.
I don't think anyone should be expected to do Disney's job for them. Or to expect "positive change" from such an action. In actuality, that would probably only make executives believe they can get away with taking advantage of customers at an even greater level. Gives them a reason to further mutilate their ever diminishing cleanup crews.

Part of running a world class theme park properly (integral to Walt and his "old guard's" own ideals in fact) is having immaculate custodial duties. Busch Gardens and Tokyo Disneyland for example have excellent reputations for cleanliness, even in the modern era. You can also look at the "broken window" theory (one with a good foot in reality and sensible logic), which states that keeping things clean and in good shape acts as a psychological deterrent against littering and vandalism at least to some extent.

The only thing that will prompt change (besides a miraculous shift in management who actually care about the parks and understand the ideals its founders had on upkeep) is if a large enough number of people continually file complaints and demand that they perform their job properly as they should (that they're being paid to do). Perhaps even public shaming from the press, similar to what happened with Disneyland in the early 2000's.
 
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