“Can you tell them to stop the rain?’ ‘Tell who mam?’ ‘The people who control the dome’ ‘….”
Right, cause you passed through an invisible barrier when you came in to park
So many memories with this one. I just put one on a reblog of this on my Disney blog, but here’s a bonus reblog story for those of you following this one.
During my Universal Studios days, our operation was even more reliant on weather than Disneyland’s was. The second the rain started, we were supposed to have hot chocolate and coffee ready to give away to guests. That meant securing a location to serve it from (we had a couple different possibilities, depending on what facilities were being used), having the product ready, getting supplies out to the location, and finding someone to serve it.
The other problem we had would be that as soon as the rain was imminent, the higher-ups would be on us to cut labor hours wherever we could. We were to shut down all but a few carts, leaving open the coffee cart in the front of the park (even when you are giving it away for free in the middle of the park, people will still pay for it), the churro stand across from it, a covered cart near Shrek 4-D, and the Dodger Dog cart by the studio tour would stay open.
If the rain stopped later in the day, the higher-ups would want all the locations that we closed to reopen. The problem, of course, is that we sent those people home to save the labor hours. And, as non-union members, managers weren’t allowed to work the locations.
So it was a constant battle to predict when it would rain and how long it would last so that we could tell the higher-ups either that (a) we’re not going to send people home because the rain is only going to last for 20 minutes before it goes away and they are going to want those locations open, or (b) we’re not going to reopen those locations because the rain is coming back soon, and it’s the big part of the storm that is going to be here for the rest of the day.
The trouble is, it’s hard to get an accurate forecast. We would go to a bunch of different weather sites…weather.com, weatherunderground.com, and several others. Every one of them would tell a different story. One day, they all said that it was raining when we could look up and not see a cloud in the sky.
So we became experts on reading the Doppler radar. Throughout the day we would watch it…not just local radar, but the entire west coast. We’d see the patterns forming and make our own judgement calls based on what we saw, not what the weatherman (or the higher-ups) said.
The bonus was that we looked really good every time. Either we agreed with the bigwigs and shut locations down, saving labor and placating our bosses, or we disobeyed them but, by the end of the day, had the sales and low labor percentages to justify it.
I still MUCH preferred my days working at Disneyland to my Universal days, but Universal did teach me how to look at every situation from many different angles, and that it was OK to argue with your boss…as long as you had the results to back you up at the end of the day.