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Ben Goldberg - Michael Kennedy Interview

Hello everyone my name is Ben Goldberg and this is my first article on disneygeek. Now, like many of you out there, I have a passion for learning about Disneyland and the way things work. I love to know why things happen the way they do. Upon investigating I have discovered that they are many, many different departments that make up the Disneyland resort. Today I bring you an interview with Michael Kennedy the operations manager for technical services at the resort. I hope that you all enjoy this information and find it interesting and insightful!

Name: Michael A. Kennedy
Position in the park: Operations Manager  for Technical Services
How long have you worked at Disneyland?  22 years

What are the duties for your job? 
I oversee my Department's Procurement Team, Repair Shop and Warehousing Operation. 

What is your favorite type of show at the park? 
All, but I get the biggest thrill from those shows which interact with our Guests, (i.e. Jedi, Aladdin Show in Disneyland, etc.)

What is it like from a technical standpoint on the fireworks and parades?
You have several "Technical Groups" working with each discipline.  Fireworks has the Pyro Dept. and Tech Services.  Tech Services oversees the audio, lighting and Tinkerbell Rig.  Tech Services primarily supports the audio portion of the Parade.  Audio comes from a location called Audio Central.  The Tech is able to monitor the floats going down the parade route ensuring audio and lighting is following the parade during it's performance.

What is your take on Celebrate? 
Celebrate is a Wonderful Marketing Tool which I believe has been successful. 

What is the most interesting thing you have done with your job?
Able to not only work at Disneyland, but having the privilege to work on the Entertainment Project Team for Disney's California Adventure, Disney's Hong Kong and now the Disney Hawaii Resort currently under construction.

What is a normal night for you? 
Making sure my Cast Members have arrived for their shifts, viewing each show or event.  Making contact with my Cast to ensure they are not having any issues that evening.  Being a voice for the Department if needed and catching up on paper work.

Has Fantasmic changed over the years? 
Technically yes...from film to digital projection, improved show lighting and audio, ditto for the Pyrotechnics.  New designed barges, Croc and addition of the Eels from Mermaid.

When, in your opinion, will we get to see the new dragon? 
Soon, very soon!

Do you have a favorite ride? 
Soarin' Over California at DCA, Pirates at Disneyland, Hall of Presidents in Florida!

Why Disneyland?
For me, growing up with Uncle Walt and the Mickey Mouse Club embedded the culture as it did many a kid my age.  Now, I think the culture is being handed down to the next generation.  The dream of Walt Disney is just as strong now as it was 54 years ago. 

What other theme park in the world is as recognized? 
None.  You will have those parks known locally, but they don't go pull from the world of travelers as Disneyland does. That in itself is a testament to Walt's dream!

How does Disneyland split up the department for tech service? 
We're a shared resource.  Within the department you will have Cast Members who "specialized" in different disciplines of the craft, but if an audio tech is needed to sweep a stage floor to prepare for a show...he or she will do so. 

What is Audio Central? 
Audio Central once was the primary Audio source for the Parade Route.  In new Park designs, this location house's exterior audio for BGM (Back Ground Music) in different lands through out the park.  It can be used as a Park Wide Audio feed for emergencies as well as for feed of mood changes for special events in a particular land as well.

What goes into making a show for the resort? 
BIG question: First you have creative, the idea..The producer and director will then bring in an Art Director to give the show shape and form.  Costuming will get involved to give text to the performer.  Tech will be called upon to help create the magic, bringing creative almost to life.  Adding performers is the heartbeat and breath of the show.

What do you think of the upcoming World of Color show? 
It will be AWESOME!!!!!

How much has the park changed over the years?
Walt said as long as there is imagination, the park will never stop evolving.  From the humble beginning of just Main Street U.S.A and four lands to the present of three additional lands I think that is very true.  Yet one thing stays the same.  Guest interaction, making our Guest feel that they are special...and you know...they are!

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?
Enjoy the ride!!!  It's WONDERFUL!!!!

I hope that you all found this interview interesting I would like to think Mike for his time. I have a group on facebook called Disneyland Rumors and News it's a group for Disneyland fans from around the world. I post rumors and information on a daily basis. We also will have regular meet and greets at the park. Our first meet and greet will be saturday July 25. If you want to come all the information can be found on the group page underneath the events. Here is the link to the group please feel free to join and invite any Disneyland fans you want http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=95583291636 

Thanks again for reading!


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