Ride contractor sues Disney for breach of contract regarding Mission: Space

Posted Monday, August 4, 2003 5:24 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Developer of flight-training systems and theme-park rides Environmental Tectonics Corp. has sued its largest customer, the Walt Disney Co., and three Disney subsidiaries, over a ride called "Mission: Space." In the lawsuit, ETC seeks damages of more than $15 million for Disney's alleged failure to pay it all it is owed for its work on the ride, which is scheduled to open officially on Aug. 15 at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center. The company also wants rights to build similar rides for Disney and other companies.

Read more from The Philadelphia Business Journal.

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Monday, August 4, 2003 6:23 AM
This seems pretty straight forward to me. The contract either does or does not allow them to build other similar rides, be involved with testing, etc.

I was interested to see that this ETC has a lot of eggs in one basket. 40% of the company revenue came from the Mission: Space project. Now, they want to jeopardize any future relationship with the company by threatening a lawsuit. Disney doesn't lose too many suits so ETC better be sure.

Monday, August 4, 2003 7:27 AM
I was thinking the same thing when I read the article - yes let's sue the company that is pretty much keeping us a float and then have the nerve to ask them to build more projects like the one they just completed. Yep, that's a way to win contracts.

SW:):)SH Shaddy(president of LEMCCDWBLI)

Monday, August 4, 2003 7:47 AM
Sounds like Universal California wants one, don't they have the apollo 13 property?

never met a coaster I didn't ride (except Junior Geminii)

Monday, August 4, 2003 8:00 AM
I agree with the first two posts, was thinking the same thing. I would think attractions that cost however many tens of millions of dollars (i'm guessing hundreds even) have pretty detailed contracts. Somehow I don't think Disney's lawyers would allow for any variables.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

Monday, August 4, 2003 8:26 AM
Even the most elaborately worded contracts allow for some degree of inperpretation. In fact, the more elaborately worded ones often allow for the most interpretation. There can be a lot of questions about what is a similar ride that is covered by the contract, and exactly what bits of technology belong to who.

Plus it sounds like Disney is claiming breech of contract and refusing to pay all of the funds to ET on this basis. This always opens a can of worms. I'm sure that ET is in return claiming that Disney has breeched the contract by not making the payments.

Biting the hand that feeds you is something that you hate to do, but sometimes can't escape. This is especially the case when a customer represents a very high percentage of your business. It could well be that without the payments that Disney is withholding ET will be bankrupt and therefore has nothing to lose.

As to ET's other claims, they may be serious, or they may be items thrown out for use in a negotiated settlement.

Monday, August 4, 2003 8:51 AM
Yeah, sounds like a bit of a cheek doesn't it: talk about biting the hand that feeds you. This goes one step further: it bites the hand that feeds it and then asks for more food!

Old but good joke: You're locked in a room with a Lawyer, a Rattlesnake and a Lion. You have a gun, with two bullets. What do you shoot?

You shoot the Lawyer......twice!

Monday, August 4, 2003 12:30 PM
You forgot to grab the rattle snake by the tail and throw it at the lawyer.
Monday, August 4, 2003 3:11 PM
It doesn't surprise me.

I met a guy in line at BGT that builds huge water pumps for water rides and things. He told me he will never do any more work for Disney. He said they first haggle the price down then take forever to pay for work completed unlike Busch or Universal which pay on time and even give some perks (he had comps for his family when I met him).

They have to figure some way to pay Eisner's salary.


Monday, August 4, 2003 6:25 PM
Do you suppose all that ETC eats is cheese?

Assuming that the mouse is the hand that feeds them, maybe ETC is tired of all that cheese!

Joking aside, I can't help but wonder what caused the original 'rewrite' of the contract. If a contract is being re-written mid-project, you can bet there is some hidden 'problem' that is starting to make itself known.


I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003 4:16 PM
I have a friend that used to live in Orlando and worked on Animal Kingdom and a couple of other projects for Disney. He told me Disney pays very well and on time. The largest construction company in the world(I think he said PACTEL?) lost 20 million dollars because of wanting to do things their own way.

He told me Disney wants constructuion companies to do things the way Disney wants them to do it(makes sense, it's their money). As many of us know, construction workers(and companies) take their sweet time to do things and they think the client is just going to have to take it on the chin. Apparently, Disney doesn't play that game and a company that tries doing things "their way" is in for a rude awakening.

As much as I would like to say it's Disney's fault, a reliable source has made me think differently.


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