Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Disneyland - Main Gate Trash Run

My 1984 summer was spent on Main Street, for the most part.
When assigned trash duty on the Street, one of our responsibilities was emptying the cans outside the Main Gate.
For this job we were given access to a Disney vehicle.
It was a small Chevy S-10 pickup as I recall, with "Disneyland Custodial" imprinted on the sides of the doors.
Two of us sweeper-types were always put on "Main Street Trash," which made me think we were in a bad punk band when I saw it listed on the schedule.  As a team, we would work together to dump all the trash cans along Main Street.  Each metal can had a "secret" door that you popped open to reveal a plastic liner inside.  We would swap out the full liner for an empty one or dump the contents into one of the liners on our large trash cart.
The trash cart itself looked like something from Outdoor Vending.  It was closed on three sides and painted to fit the Main Street theme.  The one open side allowed us to slide in up to eight liners (four rows of two, as my feeble mind recollects).
In any event, most of the liners at the Main Gate and the picnic area were "bagged"---meaning we would tie a plastic Hefty garbage bag into them and replace the bags when the cans got full.
To do this, we would take two large wheeled carts in the back of the pickup truck, bungee-cord them in place, and head from the back area near the Inn-Between (behind Main Street), down "Herbie Hill," under the Disneyland R.R. trestle, past Harbor House and around the Kennel to the Main Entrance.  We would park the truck under the Monorail track and grab our large wheeled carts and boxes of trash bags.
We would split up, each taking a geographic area and a number of trash cans (starting first with the picnic area, as it was always the busiest and its cans the fullest), and begin our rounds.
I got pretty good at it.
Approach the can, slide my left hand through the trash flap and push on the door from inside to release the magnetic latch.  As the door swung outward, with my right hand I'd grab the plastic liner inside and pull it out of the can.  When it hit the ground I would already be undoing the bag from inside the liner and start removing the bag with my left hand.  By the time the bag hit the ground I would quickly tie the bag off in a knot and toss it into the large wheeled cart.  I'd yank a new bag off the roll, pop it open and tie it into the liner, kick the liner forward back into the can, slam the can's "secret" door and move on to the next one.
As you can imagine, there were quite a few trash cans out in front of the Park. 
Our wheeled cars would soon fill with trash bags.  In the end, we would wheel the carts over to our pickup truck and toss all the garbage bags into the bed, followed by the wheeled carts which we threw on top of the pile and secured again with bungee straps.  This helped to hold the load down as we jumped into the truck and raced back past Harbor House to the dumping area located back behind Small World.
I remember many a trip at Mr. Toad-like speeds along the Monorail pylons as we drove to the back area.  We had to be careful or Security would call us in, or worse, pull us over. 
There's nothing like the scene of a Security golf cart pulled alongside the Custodial truck with a Security cast member giving a lecture to a sweeper behind the wheel.
Think Thelma & Louise meet Disneyland.
One last recollection along these lines: Fireworks.
When working a closing shift, we would often plan our Main Gate trash run to coincide with the start of the evening fireworks show.  We would get to the back area in time to dump our trash bags and then pull to a safe spot where we could watch the fireworks mortars shoot off their rounds into the night sky. 
It was two shows in one!
Watching the mortars light off on the ground was its own spectacle of light and noise.
We'd bend back our heads as the rockets shot overhead and exploded into sparkling firework eruptions in the sky high above us.  The fireworks would illuminate the rows of mortars and pyrotechnic personnel responsible for the nightly onslaught.  Then the mortars would launch another round and the process would be repeated.
I've never seen or heard a louder "Grand Finale" than the ends of the shows we watched in the backstage area on those summer nights.
It was one of many "perks" of being a Cast Member.  We were not paid well from a money standpoint, but I earned more in fond memories during my stints at the original Magic Kingdom than I could ever hope to count.

So, I've got THAT going for me.
Which is nice.
(with apologies to Carl, the groundskeeper of "Caddyshack" fame).

Enjoy your day, my friends, wherever you may be!