Office Cleaning Advice

When Cleaning goes wrong….at Disney

One of the key questions when finding the cleaning company you want to work with is to ask what the communication is like.  Are you only going to talk if there is problems and how often do you walkarounds and audits to make sure everyone is on the same page?

Below is an excerpt from Disney U by Doug Lipp, it’s a great example of why communication is so important between cleaning companies and clients and cleaning is not always cleaning.

At Tokyo Disney Land’s invitation-only preview event, the media will be treated to tours of attractions, restaurants, and stores As resort guests, they will get a long-awaited chance to sample the food, wander in and out of on-stage areas, and most importantly, enjoy the attractions.

A press event is a massive, stress-inducing public dress rehearsal for thousands of cast members. Whether they are working on-stage or backstage, the countless details associated with an event of this magnitude challenge even the most seasoned teams of operations veterans. Yet for the most part, the Tokyo Disney Land’s operations team consists of theme park rookies.

Indeed, a core group of Japanese managers and supervisors have received months of training from an elite group of Disneyland operations professionals. Many Japanese managers were transferred to the United States, spending months learning the details of running a theme park, Disney style; some even participated in the grand openings of attractions and theme parks in California and Florida. But as with any grand opening, there are endless details and many fingers in the pie, and some things simply fall through the cracks.

In preparation for the press event, the custodial and groundskeeping crews have been hard at work cleaning, polishing, and scrubbing every attraction, every restaurant, and every store. Flower beds are repeatedly checked for wilted or dying plants. Tokyo Disneyland is spotless and ready for the big day.

And this has created a huge problem.

Enthusiastically embracing the mission to “make the park shine,” the custodial crew cleaned the Haunted Mansion. It isn’t just prepped and readied for the big day. It is spotless! All the dust is gone. The spooky cobwebs have been removed. The Haunted Mansion is immaculate-it no longer looks HAUNTED.

Ron Pogue, vice president of Disneyland International and Walt Disney Attractions, Japan, recalls, “The Japanese custodial crew wanted everything to look perfect for the press event, so they tidied up the old mansion. Unfortunately, in their enthusiasm, the custodians managed to eliminate meticulously created and specifically placed artwork. They removed all the rubber cement cobwebs, wallpaper stains, and dust on the velvet curtains that had been purposely and carefully applied by a team of artists to make the place look haunted. The art of ageing and graining, a process commonly used in the worlds of theatre and film, involves the precise application of paint and other materials to on-stage props and buildings, creating a sense of realism. In the Haunted Mansion, artists spent weeks transforming the newly built mansion into an old, decrepit haunted mansion. In one night, the graveyard custodial crew transformed the aged and grained Haunted Mansion into a building so clean, shiny, and spotless, it could have passed the white-glove inspection of the strictest inspectors.

Steve Lewelling, the director of operations at Tokyo Disneyland, has a lasting memory of the incident. Living in Japan as part of the start-up team, Steve got a wake-up call-literally. “The call came at 2 a.m. My manager of custodial, another American expatriate, called me at home, woke me up, and said, ‘Steve, they’ve cleaned the Haunted Mansion!’ I couldn’t believe this guy was calling me in the middle of the night simply to tell me the Japanese custodians had done their job.” As the details started to emerge, Steve realized the gravity of the situation. What had taken the artists three weeks to create had gone down the drain. “We had just put the artists on a plane and sent them back to California,” recalls Steve. “I was on the telephone scrambling to get them back, and their plane hadn’t even landed in Los Angeles!”

Although it was not “spooky” enough to open during the press event, the artists returned to Japan and miraculously readied the Haunted Mansion… again.

If you are returning to work and want to discuss your office cleaning needs contact your local Sparkle Cleaning team to discuss costs. We are also able to support you with a one off deep clean including carpet cleaning and fogging

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