Indeed, Stephen Kent Goodman brings up some important and passionate
points in his response to "Knott's Berry Farm Update." However I think
I can safely say that an amusement park's primary objective is to
Many years ago I was employed by Disney. In those days the Fantasyland
organ was still operating, and I would occasionally wander over and
listen for a few minutes. It was always in need of tuning, but at
least it was playing. Eventually the roll mechanism was bypassed with
MIDI, and then ultimately silenced altogether with canned music. Today
it still sits there mocked by a paper cone speaker.
My inquiries about it were pretty much as expected. Most of the public
doesn't know better, and it was a maintenance expense that they could
do away with by using the organ merely as a prop. I remember working
late one evening in Bear Country (since renamed Critter Country), when
I noticed that a Seeburg L had been moved into a small gift shop there.
The interesting thing about it was that the woodshop artisans had cre-
ated a new front for it featuring carved bears! The machine still
played -- sort of -- but it was largely a joke. Probably the only
reason they used it at all was because they found a way to work it into
the bear theme.
The park's annual maintenance fees amount to millions of dollars. Each
dollar needs to reflect several times that amount in return of capital.
If the accountants discover that something is not generating a justi-
fiable return, or at the very least preserving a preconceived level of
entertainment value, it is fair game to be cut. Unfortunately music
machines do not appear to be on the priority list. Since the day the
organ was turned off, main gate ticket revenue has been unaffected and
Disney's stock has continued to rise. There's not much incentive for
them to bring back the music machines, particularly when it involves
increasing the maintenance budget.
I do hope that one day the organ will sing again and I'm glad it is
still there. But I have to sadly admit I understand their logic.
Rob Goodale, RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada