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Recongizing the danger

I don’t usually comment on unfortunate deaths at Walt Disney World but I wanted to take some time this week to look at the recent passing at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and not only recognize the Cast Member that passed away but also point out the risk many Cast Members take every day to put on a show for the guests that pass through the park.

Anislav Varbanov was injured during rehearsal of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular on August 17th and died from his injuries.  The 30 year old stunt performer had been in the show for a number of years prior to the accident and had a rich career in performing stunts.  His unfortunate passing coincided with two other Cast Member deaths at the park this year.  What gets lost in all this is that the Walt Disney World services a population of guests each day roughly the same population as San Francisco and while tragic, the three deaths this year are really quite good statistics.

Like Anislav, many Cast Members put their own lives on the line to help make some magic for their guests.  The Indiana Jones show has been running since 1989 and had a great record for safety in those years.  These performers are professionals who took the risk associated with their line of work and managed to avoid catastrophe nearly all the time.  
Like Indy, the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show has a great deal of risk in its show, perhaps more risk.  Again, these Cast Members put their lives on the line when they perform amazing stunts using an assortment of vehicles or “old fashioned” falling stunts.  There have been accidents in the past, but luckily nothing tragic yet.

The point to be had here is as guests, we often take for granted the risk these talented performers take.  I know that when I stop to see one of these stunt shows at Hollywood Studios, I sense the danger that is there but never really think the performers are in real danger because these are professionals who know exactly what they are doing.  Frankly, I don’t even want to think about it because as a guest at these shows, I’m there to enjoy the presentation before me but it’s these events like Anislav’s passing that remind us all how much these Cast Members give to not only their craft but to the company they work for.

If there’s one thing Walt Disney World Cast Members pride themselves on, it’s their attention to detail when it comes to their guests.  I mean, they call them guests instead of customers and I know everyone reading this can think of one or a few instances where a Cast Member went out of their way and above the call of duty to do something special for their family.  While these gracious acts are the things we all like to write letters to Disney about or post about on forums, we also should realize that there are many Cast Members who like Anisalv Varbanov, do something truly special each day for our amusement.

I hate to only write about these sorts of things when such a tragic event like the accident at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular occur, but it certainly is important to take a step back and not only honor Anislav’s memory but celebrate what he and other Cast Members have done every day to help make our vacations all the more enjoyable while in some cases, placing their own lives in varying degrees of danger.  To all the Cast Members who take risks for our entertainment, thank you and I hope the unfortunate incident at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular earlier this month is the last time we have to be reminded of the peril that comes with the position.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by