OSHA-Mandated “Fall Protection” Coming to WDW, Skyline Around the Resort Will Change Forever

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Over the last year or so, the Disneyland Resort has been ordered to install safety railings in areas where cast members might be working, particularly rooftops around the resort. These additions are referred to by OSHA as “fall protection”. When the edict first came down, Disneyland installed a lot of temporary railings on rooftops to meet standards before finally designing themed structures that guests would not notice in those areas. The result was a lot of buildings getting much taller and a lot of walls where there had never been any before.

Well, a few weeks ago, temporary railings started appearing on rooftops around Walt Disney World…

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Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom

These stanchions with small warning flags that read “danger” are appearing in every park, and in some cases areas outside of the parks, and are growing in number every day.

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Restrooms in Tomorrowland

In order to meet OSHA regulations, Disney will either have to leave these ropes up or design roof pieces of roughly the same height to add to each and every one of these buildings.

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Your complete view of Space Mountain over the entrance is about to be obscured…

While we are certainly overjoyed that Disney is improving some safety conditions for cast members who work in these areas, there hasn’t been an accident with anyone falling from any of these places, so one has to wonder how unsafe it really is.

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The rooftops of Innoventions at Epcot also have the temporary ropes

It will be interesting to see how different many façades around the resort will be once this is completed, but it may be a while until the permanent solutions are in place. Stay tuned…

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

8 Comments

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  • “…there hasn’t been an accident with anyone falling from any of these places, so one has to wonder how unsafe it really is.”

    Exactly. Just more over-regulation from an over-intrusive government.

  • BUT… as soon as there is an accident, you bet it would be followed by a huge lawsuit. Disney is very strict about safety, some cases even more so than the code requires, and it’s for good reason. Many of their buildings we’re built back in the 70’s and 80’s. Codes have changed drastically since then, and if those same buildings were built today, some sky-line elements would probably look very different.

    I know for a fact, that in certain locations that do not meet the minimum code, cast members aren’t allowed within 6 feet of the building edge without being properly tied off.

    However, I wouldn’t rule out “themed” fall-protection to try and preserve the more sacred Disney “Sky-lines”

  • Nah. First, the instinct for self-preservation compels people to be careful & avoid dangerous situations. It also compels companies to have — and enforce — rules to protect their workers. Second, Disney’s safety protocols are designed with the specific risks of each of their buildings in mind. Both of those things are more effective than a blind, one-size-fits-all policy enacted by people who are nowhere near as familiar with a building as are the workers and company. Plus, what happens if someone doesn’t see the “safety” rope, backs into it and falls over the side? Will that be Disney’s fault?

    If the goal truly is to avoid accidents and injuries, then the people in the best position to make those pertinent decisions are the people doing the jobs and the company who owns the buildings.

    • Doesn’t make Disney exempt from building codes, and just because a person has the instinct of self preservation and are compelled to be more careful and avoid dangerous situations, doesn’t mean accidents will not happen. Cast members that work on the roof of Disney buildings should be worried about doing their job, not about self-preservation.

      Also, as a member of the design profession, I can tell you that the height of these ropes, or themed rails aren’t chosen randomly. They would meet code. Code dictates a height that is safe enough so that a cast member won’t be able to fall over it.

      The point of fall protection is to eliminate the chance of any accident, and allow cast members to efficiently and effectively complete their jobs. And like I said in my post, I wouldn’t rule out “themed” fall protection – meaning that once the changes are made, you may not even realize its fall protection and that the fall-protection shown in the photos above are simply temporary until proper protection can be built. Disney’s #1 priority is safety, not self-preservation.

  • If you want to see how truly hideous these new “safety” railings can be, check out Pioneer Hall in Fort Wilderness where the Hoop Dee Doo Revue has been performing for almost 40 years. The top balcony railing is about 6 inches taller and the slats are closer together. The result: small children cannot see over the rail and must look between the slats. It looks like they are all in prison.

    And exactly how many people have fallen from the balcony in 40+ years? ZERO.

  • If anyone is a Florida state resident write letters to state legislatures, call etch to ask for Disney to be exempt, and write to Disney to ask them to lobby for the same

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