Saturday, July 21, 2012

No more paintbrushes on TSI - for real

Several months ago, the Cast Members suspended the "paintbrush hunt" on Tom Sawyer's Island. For those not familiar with the tradition, each morning several (ten?) paintbrushes were hidden in rocks, trees, and bushes around TSI. The first people on the island were told about them, and if any paintbrushes were returned to a CM, the CM would hand the Guest a FastPass (actually one for everyone in their party) to Big Thunder. It was a fun hunt with no real downside.

When the practice was discontinued, CMs told the public that the reason was because Big Thunder was on rehab (it's back from rehab now, by the way), and the tradition was NOT over. It was just on hold until Thunder re-opened.

It's been many weeks now, and the tradition has not returned. This gives ammo to those who claimed it was always about cost-cutting to begin with. They didn't want to replace the unthemed, regular Home-Depot style paint brushes that would go missing each day, as some would inevitably do, with people wanting a souvenir.

I don't get it. Maybe a $10/day cost, but they've irritated hundreds (maybe thousands) of visitors who knew of this little tradition? Is it worth $4,000 per year to erode the "WDW Brand" so that people think you cut corners rather than make magic?

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.