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  1. #1

    • The Monkey's Uncle
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    Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    ((Sorry for any typos... I was in a rush at lunch and will correct later.. ))

    I was recently approached to participate in a paid focus group initially pertaining to "Disney Resorts" and subsequetnly participated in athe group discussion.

    I was not asked to complete a non-disclosure agreement so I thought I'd share what was discussed and what I gleaned from the experience.

    The screening process for the group appeared to focus on the following demographics.
    -Families with 1 or more children under 10.
    -Be an annual passholder (any type) for the Disneyland Resort.
    -Planned a vacation or getaway through Disney Vacation Club within the last 2 years.

    Group of 6 people for the discussion with a moderator, video and audio recorded with a one way glass wall with unseen ?mystery? people watching us the whole time. (I think I picked my nose only once. J/K)

    The moderator asked the group to be completely honest and not hold back.

    ((Some memory excerpts of the discussion))
    Discussion stared with:
    When you think of Disneyland? What words come to mind?
    Answers - Ranged from magic, memories, happiness, childhood, innocence, creativity.

    Then moved onto:
    When you think of DCA? What words come to mind?
    Answers - Off the shelf, cheap, boring, waste of space, sparse.

    Moderator then asked what were the problems with DCA?
    Answers - Tried too hard to push "California" theme, rushed, no innovation, no creativity (sans Soarin'), sparse of attractions, not enough "Disney".

    Moderator (pretending to be dumb) asked... "What do you mean by "not enough Disney"?"
    Answers - More characters, Give the guest the tools to use their immagination (theming / innovation), solidify the "show" concept again that Disneyland has done so well.

    Moderator then showed the group 3 "mock-up" video spots for the DCA of 2012-2013.

    First one was primarly pitching the concept that DCA was a park to see Walt Disney in 1930 and the adventures that you could experience with him. Focusing on the new theming that would take place after the turnstiles. (RedCar, Carthay.. etc)

    Moderator asked if we liked it.... most didn't because of all the other areas that are present and how could they be threaded with a 1930's Walt? Carsland? Grizzy River area?

    Second Video focused on the the imagineers and what they were building for 2012 - 2013. A lot of video and clips of models and concept art with some mock up videos of World of Color, Little Mermaid and Carsland.

    Moderator asked if it the "backstage" view of things appealed to the group. Most said no because the point of going to Disneyland is to leave reality... not to see construction, backstage. The magic of Disneyland was to NOT show how things were done.... but to keep children / guests suspension of disbelief intact.

    Third Video more polished... showed Disneyland footage (only one of three vids) and made comparisons of Autopia (being classic) and how Carsland would be the more contemporary conterpart. Other comparisons as well. Showed more children clips with (oooo ahhh looks) to convey their excitement and imagination running wild.

    The group liked this one more because it spoke to fix a majority of the criticisms discussed at the onset of the discussion.

    In the end... I gathered that Disney Marketing is researching hard how to pull guests over to DCA and repair what was done wrong in the past. It looks like they are considering going with the fact that people are going to always compare Disneyland and DCA so they may go the route of saying "yes Disneyland is great...but here is a little more..." rather than "This isn't Disneyland....its California Adventure, see vineyards, a pier, tractors, a giant sun, a forced perspective Goldengate bridge"

    They appear to be still struggling with finding the common THEMING THREAD of the entire park.

    There was nothing more that was disclosed that is NOT already public knowledge and the DCA name was not allowed to be a discussion point. Yes, allowed to be criticized...but not something they wanted to talk about.

  2. #2

    • I'm not really here
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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Seem also to be struggling with how best to go about rebranding. Rebranding is a royal pain in the butt... and I don't envy these guys their job.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

  3. #3

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Sounds like you guys provided some good answers! Yeah, it's really a pity that the park is moving from poorly-executed unity to well-executed disjointedness. It's going to be a somewhat tough sell, though I'm sure the park will be more enjoyable than it currently is as a result. Anyway, thanks for posting!


  4. #4

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Thanks for sharing.

    I would have loved to have participated in that.

    I would have liked to give them a mouth full - such as:

    Why does Disney need to do this?

    Walt wasn't running around cities in the early 50s .. asking what people wanted in a theme park. (They would have said, build a wooden coaster, and bumper cars!) He, and his team were so ahead of what people think they wanted .. They just DID IT, and didn't need this needless "surveying" and "polling". There is a reason why strong creative talents are revered in our society as great as they are (1955 or 2009!) - Because what they do is so good, people "follow their visions" .. rather than a company following the public.

    They let their best creative talents go, and then you ask people what they want?



    Second ..
    After any person says - "More Disney Characters" ...
    I would have politely interrupted .. and said - in moderation, please?
    In my eye .. the Disney theme park experience is slipping into a day in "Kindergarten" with too many "kiddie" characters running around. Loosing any "adult" appeal.

    That's just for starters.
    Last edited by Tomorrowland_1967; 05-01-2009 at 12:45 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    WOW. thats pretty cool that you got to participate in it. DCA needs to worked on so bad. I never thought that it was a geat park. A few great rides but I think that the imagineers need long and hard about what to do to the park to make it more appealing.
    Jennifer
    http://www.facebook.com/cadensmama
    Disneyland Cast Member - Class of 2006 - January 2006 - July 2006 Fanstasyland Stores Lead




  6. #6

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    I'm scared of this answer: "more characters". It's very vague. I wouldn't mind more characters to take a photo with, but what I don't want is a character attached to every ride. It's innovation and a good story that's most important. The character isn't required but can help when needed.


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  7. #7

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing Skunkwerx.

  8. #8

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    I'm scared of this answer: "more characters". It's very vague. I wouldn't mind more characters to take a photo with, but what I don't want is a character attached to every ride. It's innovation and a good story that's most important. The character isn't required but can help when needed.
    I wish they wouldn't have said this.

    This is going to go to the suits and now they're going to think they can scrap everything what I mean is cut corners and just throw a bunch of characters in there and everyone is going to like it.

  9. #9

    • The Monkey's Uncle
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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    I'm scared of this answer: "more characters". It's very vague. I wouldn't mind more characters to take a photo with, but what I don't want is a character attached to every ride. It's innovation and a good story that's most important. The character isn't required but can help when needed.
    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    I wish they wouldn't have said this.

    This is going to go to the suits and now they're going to think they can scrap everything what I mean is cut corners and just throw a bunch of characters in there and everyone is going to like it.

    Never fear.... most of us expanded on this comment. This comment was in reference to when DCA originally opened it hardly had any face characters or reference to Disney classics within the park. Was not a heavy discussion. We moved onto attraction quality.... The points made were that Haunted Mansion and Pirates were GREAT attractions standing on their own without any necessity to tie into a movie...not a movie made into an attraction.

  10. #10

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    This one is tough...Good luck to this guys...
    Music is my LIFE!!!

  11. #11

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    This is the most hopeful post I've seen about DCA since the whole sorry adventure was announced. Let's hope that WDC not only listens to the group's answers, but truly "gets" the sensibility of where their feelings were coming from.

    Feelings, not buzzwords. Showmanship, not marketing. They're what made the world love Disney from its first sound cartoons. They're what has been been missing from DCA in particular, and WDC in general, for years.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  12. #12

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    I would agree with some of the things said, but seems like only polling six people is going to have some bias.
    Jeff Wayne







  13. #13

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    I actually like this idea and it seems that Disney is making an effort to try to understand their audience. Considering the previous mindset of "They will come no matter what we build," I'd say this is an improvement.

    I also see a similarity in this approach to a Pixar theatrical release. Many months prior to the completion of the film, they have a screening of the incomplete film and gain feedback from the audience about what needs to change. Considering their incredible track record, I'd say that a focus group can help ensure success.

    I really like this...
    "If you build it right, they will come." - Bob Iger

    "I'm not a literary person. As far as realism is concerned, you can find dirt anyplace you look for it. I'm one of those optimists. There's always a rainbow." - Walt Disney



    "I don't care about critics. Critics take themselves too seriously. They think the only way to be noticed and to be the smart guy is to pick and find fault with things. It's the public I'm making pictures for." - Walt Disney

  14. #14

    • The Monkey's Uncle
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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHostJeff View Post
    I would agree with some of the things said, but seems like only polling six people is going to have some bias.
    There are undoubtedly others groups of folks that were/are being interviewed. ....not just the six of us solely. A person from our group also said..."you should be asking kids too" for which the moderator said...we may be just doing that also.

    (For me) The most difficult part of our discussion was (paraphrasing..) "why is Disneyland special to me and how would I describe that feeling in ONE word"

    When I think about Disneyland, there is soooo much that races (memories / emotion) through my head, I felt like I was smothering myself trying to say just ONE word.

    Someone...consider creating a thread with that question...."Describe what Disneyland means/represents to you in just ONE word." Lets remind TeamDisney (who hopefully lurks these boards) of the foundation of where they work and the direction they should be going.
    Last edited by Skunkwerx; 05-01-2009 at 09:34 PM.

  15. #15

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    Re: Participated in DCA Focus Group Discussion

    Interesting, thanks for sharing. I would guess they use a group of six because it's small enough that most of the time all of the people will feel comfortable expressing their opinions. It sounds like they're getting some good info and I'm glad to hear they really followed up on the "more Disney" and "character" questions, because I fear those types of answers are often misinterpreted.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
    -Walt Disney

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