As we reported late last month, the Disneyland Resort recent shuttered some major E-Ticket attractions following inspections from California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA). Most of the rides, including Soarin’ Over California and California Screamin’, swiftly returned to service, but the iconic Space Mountain remained off-limits to guests for the past 3 weeks.
Happily, Space Mountian returned to service on Friday night (May 3) and resumed normal operating hours as of Saturday, May 4. To clarify earlier coverage, Disney was fined $234,850 after a contract employee was injured in a fall last November while cleaning the exterior of Space Mountain, but the current closure was a voluntary action (not mandated by Cal/OSHA) intended to ameliorate related safety issues that had previously been “grandfathered” approval. Disneyland has not yet announced whether it will appeal the fines, or if further safety modifications to Disneyland attractions (or similar rides at Walt Disney World) will be made.
In a related note, similar employee fall protection issues have led Disneyland to change watering procedures for the Disneyland Railroad. The steam-powered locomotives are currently receiving water on every trip using a firehose, instead of the overhead watering systems used for the past six decades. Guest rides in the tender car have also been suspended for the time being. The impact on most visitors who aren’t steam-engine authenticity experts should be minimal.