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  1. #616

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by backin33 View Post
    Most disappointing is that D23 members can also go to the $500.00 a plate dinner and the $50 and $75 early Carsland event. I guess this is the new norm, Club 33 has first shot at events and any leftover goes to D23 members. I might get a D23 membership for my transition out of the club.

    If anyone is interested in these details, I believe the Club 33 Dinner is on June 9th and the D23 Dinner is on June 10th. So being a C33 Member gets you the chance to have dinner one night earlier.

  2. #617

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    Techskip,
    Yes, you're very much correct. Disney's approach to this entire affair was in poor taste and clearly profit motivated, but they placed profits a bit too far on their priority list, far above guest relations.
    I just wish they would have left Club 33 alone and not gotten into this entire 1901 Lounge nonsense. What was once a really special place has lost it's charm and mystery, at least to me. My wife and I were talking in our car tonight on the way back from the club and we both agreed that at least we were able to enjoy the club during better times.
    The chateau by the way is now over $50.00. Yes, they recently raised the prices in the club, like Skip said, 'just because they can'.
    Sorry Skip if my previous entry was a bit rough, these club issues have proven to be a bit more emotional than I had previously realized. This is one of the first times in my life where I've really been angry at the park on a business and personal level.
    I completely understand the emotions, as well as the substantial investments in time and money. I'm sorry if my own posts hit a nerve. The situation "sucks" to put it mildly. I've watched Disney dismantle Walt's work over the past 2 decades. I was hoping the 1901 would be its own unique membership experience instead of what Disney has decided to do. It's unfortunate that 33 wasn't left alone as many of us wish it had been.

    As far as this thread, I completely encourage keeping it alive. I like to do my homework, especially with large investments. This is a good resource for anyone wishing to go past the sales pitch.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


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  3. #618

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    You know, it may be a bit odd, but I really don't have a problem with the Carsland event being open to D23 along with Club members, probably because it's a charity event and there aren't enough of us in the club to justify the expense of such a large venue based upon operating expenses.
    Although, I would truthfully like the club to set up an exclusive Carsland event for Club 33 members. Because of the crowds, I doubt we'll be heading into DCA for quite some time.

    ---------- Post added 05-21-2012 at 09:53 AM ----------

    Hi Skip,
    Thanks for understanding. We're definitely on the same page regarding these issues. I think our passion for all that Walt created is very strong and that passion supercedes management decisions within the Walt Disney Company.

  4. #619

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    As far as this thread, I completely encourage keeping it alive. I like to do my homework, especially with large investments. This is a good resource for anyone wishing to go past the sales pitch.
    Just wanted to pipe in here to say, yes, please keep this thread alive. I am active participant on other Disney forums, though new to Micechat. I found this thread through a google search and have been trying to keep up, as I am on the Club 33 waitlist and I do value the opinions of current members. I haven't yet received a Club 33 invitation, though I've had confirmation that I'm on the waitlist since 2006 . Not that I'm complaining -- I'm actually glad I have some extra time to review and consider and to see how this first round of invitation goes.

    This thread has been very useful and influential, if not disillusioning. Please keep sharing opinions and experiences, both good and bad.

    Thanks.

  5. #620

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    As a member, I would never want you to be disillusioned, but i would encourage you to please consider your pending/possible investment very carefully.
    We have enjoyed many years of membership and there are a large number of issues to carefully evaluate.
    As for us, the slashing of benefits is very much a bone of contention as we live next to the park and due to my business and many friends, we dearly enjoy sharing the club.
    Members who perhaps live far away may not place this benefit high on their priority list. We do, as you can tell by me previous posts.
    What you must consider most sincerely is that the Disney Company has now established the modus operandi of establishing a benefit and forthwith quashing said benefit failing to take into considering the financial implications of it's most loyal and devout patrons. Sorry, that was a mouthful! They do so with zero concern for the existing members, again, adopting the attitude of being the 600 pound gorilla in the room.
    Before you join, please consider carefully what benefits you're truly joining for and looking forward to enjoying and then reconsider that said benefits may be gone next year or the following, after you've already spent a great deal of money with no possible refund.
    Keeping that in mind, the decision is certainly yours.
    I'm so grateful to have been a member during the truly golden years of the club. Now, we're seriously discussing not renewing for 2013. I never thought I'd be typing that statement, but there it is. I don't want to pay someone I can't trust.

  6. #621

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    I never thought I'd be typing that statement, but there it is. I don't want to pay someone I can't trust.
    Well said, David. 21 words that state precisely why so many of us who grew up with Disneyland and the Disney Company as a large and valued part of our lives have chosen to say "no more."

    Club 33 is merely the latest in two decades of similar policies from the Eisner/Iger regime, all of which act out the same theme: the violation of trust.

    If the Disney Corporation chooses to treat its longtime and loyal customers as do modern airlines, banks and other Wall Street corporations, that's their prerogative. My prerogative is to treat them in exactly in the same manner: including withholding my patronage of their business, and actively advising other current and prospective customers to do the same.

    The cold truth is that one loves the products of the Disney Corporation at one's own risk: it is only a matter of time, opportunity and method before the Corporation violates your loyalty, too.

    Caveat pixieduster.
    "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


  7. #622

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    I think it is important for all members (past, current or future) to have honest and accurate information regarding these changes so they can make an informed decision about their future with Club 33.

    OR

    You may drink the special Mickey fruit concoction from the Club 33 golden chalice and all will be magical

  8. #623

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    So I am really curious...I have been following all the threads very closely and was excited when they reopened the wait list and announced the new memberships. The new benefits package is actually now more appealing to me than the old membership levels. My question is for existing members that didn't upgrade (who I am grateful for coming outta the woodwork on a public forum and voicing your thoughts and insights)...other than the 50 comp cap, what other benefits were lost? Now if that is it, and it is truly Disney's attempt to curb "abuse" by a few members as it has been labeled and as a result allowed room for more memberships, shouldn't some of the discontent be directed at those members for taking advantage of and screwing up the system as you knew it?...or is it purely an emotional response as to how it was all handled that is breeding the distrust?

  9. #624

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by ParkHopper1 View Post
    So I am really curious...I have been following all the threads very closely and was excited when they reopened the wait list and announced the new memberships. The new benefits package is actually now more appealing to me than the old membership levels. My question is for existing members that didn't upgrade (who I am grateful for coming outta the woodwork on a public forum and voicing your thoughts and insights)...other than the 50 comp cap, what other benefits were lost? Now if that is it, and it is truly Disney's attempt to curb "abuse" by a few members as it has been labeled and as a result allowed room for more memberships, shouldn't some of the discontent be directed at those members for taking advantage of and screwing up the system as you knew it?...or is it purely an emotional response as to how it was all handled that is breeding the distrust?
    The restriction to 50 comp passes is viewed differently for each member based on their usage. What I feel is universal is that the comp pass benefit was instrumental in the decision making process when considering if one should join Club 33. The fact this was stripped without any advance notice (done just as renewals were going out) was handled poorly.

    I want to end this nonsense that the change was due to member abuse. You can't abuse a rule or policy that did not exist. Disney is the abusive party. Even if their claims of over usage were to be true (they are not) then they failed to do their job to accurately predict how members would use the comp pass benefit. This benefit has existed for quite some time and it was never a problem. The club needed it to be packed in order to justify its continued existence.

    Club 33 has been seeking a way to access the untapped revenue from that giant wait list that had to be closed due to no real movement as current members always renew. How do you accomplish this movement? You anger your current members and hope they resign (no refund given to anyone who decides to leave) and you restrict their guest access freeing up additional room for people who will pay more (this is what their magical surveys have told them, that those on the waiting list will pay a great deal more than current members).

    Anyone who can't see this for what it is must be blind. They waited no time between finally having an empty dining room (this was sold as a member perk of the changes) and introducing new memberships. Even Stevie Wonder could have seen this one coming from a mile away.

    As it has been said before, and no doubt will be said again, if they don't have a problem treating their loyal and faithful in such a poor manner, new members should expect zero loyalty when the great Disney bean counters once again hatch a scheme to extract cash from their members. Trust me when I say that the new concierge service will quickly turn into a high pressure upsell room where cast members will be trained to offer a number of PAID perks that will assist the member to have a better time in the parks and at other Disney assets (DVC, cruise line, WDW and more).

  10. #625

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneynut View Post
    As it has been said before, and no doubt will be said again, if they don't have a problem treating their loyal and faithful in such a poor manner, new members should expect zero loyalty when the great Disney bean counters once again hatch a scheme to extract cash from their members. Trust me when I say that the new concierge service will quickly turn into a high pressure upsell room where cast members will be trained to offer a number of PAID perks that will assist the member to have a better time in the parks and at other Disney assets (DVC, cruise line, WDW and more).
    Another excellent point! Like DL itself, 33 now no longer exists for its own sake. It is just one more piece of the Disney Corporation, a former creative company which has repositioned itself into an IP marketing conglomerate.

    If you look closely, you'll see a distinct pattern in the way Disney markets to adults. Each adult market segment has its own specifically targeted "club," including DVC, D23, and now Club 33. As of now, Club 33 members are no longer customers guests customers, but mere demographics. As Tech Skip said, it was bound to happen sooner or later. This is how they've been treating the rank and file for years.
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  11. #626

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by ParkHopper1 View Post
    Now if that is it, and it is truly Disney's attempt to curb "abuse" by a few members as it has been labeled and as a result allowed room for more memberships, shouldn't some of the discontent be directed at those members for taking advantage of and screwing up the system as you knew it?
    To provide you with a different point of view, I answer your question above with a definite "yes." I absolutely believe that there were members (or people inside companies with corporate memberships that could make reservations) who abused the ability to make reservations. While Dave is technically correct that there was no express rule that put a limit on the number of reservations a member could make and provide comp'd admission, I know there were people who would make reservations for anyone who wanted to go to Club 33. If you sent them an email, they considered you a friend and would invite you to the club, even though they had never met you before. The impact on actual members (like me) was not good. It became difficult to make reservations for myself and my immediate family. I even found someone making posts on line offering to get reservations for anyone who wanted to go to the club. When I posted an objection to this practice and pointed out that this was harming paying members, the individual responded by basically telling me to pound sand and he/she viewed it as their mission in life to fulfill the dreams of Disney fans who want to go to Club 33. So I, as a fairly long-standing member, do welcome this change and will point out that it is now very easy for me to get reservations for myself and my immediate family. I also respectfully disagree with Dave that it is "universally" true that the "comp pass" benefit was instrumental in essentially all members' decisions to join the club. It was not that big a deal to me as I normally go to the Club with my family who had AP's before we joined the club. Frankly, the new Platinum benefits work better for me because each of my four family members now have their own Premier passport along with the special benefits that are provided to club members so when we go as a family, it does not use any of our allocation of 50 comp'd admissions. I also have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I availed myself of the VIP tour benefits of platinum membership. I had paid for VIP tour guides in the past, but never got the level of service that I received after I became a platinum member. I also like the free upgrade to concierge when staying at a resort hotel. Most importantly, I am really looking forward to the 1901 Lounge as it will be the first time that Club 33 really functions like most private clubs. Platinum members will be able to drop in there for a drink in what I expect will be a less hectic environment that the public lounge/restaurant next door--without needing advance reservations. This will be a benefit that can only be used when the member is present and that is how most private clubs work. This actually might provide a better opportunity to get to know fellow members (another typical benefit of a private club membership) as time in the 1901 Lounge won't be ursurped by club activities as can be the case when the club holds members only events. If you are considering becoming a platinum member, be assured that there are a number (not a huge number but more than just a few) of continuing members of the club that have upgraded to platinum and have welcomed the changes.

  12. #627

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Macindan, I appreciate your getting involved and expressing a different point of view. Despite what everyone may think, I do feel it is important to have some form of balance to this discussion. Clearly, my opinion is not shared by everyone and I am perfectly ok with this.

    I think we can agree that most people who have purchased a Club 33 membership have done so with the intention of sharing the experience with others outside of their immediate family. This is what I meant when I said "universally". Although my choice of words may have been poor, I do think many have considered this when deciding if the membership had value. In the new Platinum era, the focus has now been shifted away from guest dining as they attempt to create value with other offerings.

    As I promised before, I will never challenge anyone who finds value in the platinum membership offer. I am glad that the current offerings are of benefit to your family and I sincerely hope that it will remain that way for quite some time.

    I must also agree with you on another point. I know of several members who were giving guest reservations to anyone who asked. I also know of several who made Club 33 merchandise sales on Ebay their day job in order to pay their membership dues. For the record, although this may have been permitted, I do think it was in bad taste. My point was that if they wanted to curb this behavior, Club 33 certainly had the information of who the "offenders" were. Even if they decided the best course of action was to restrict guest access for everyone, you can do it without blaming your members.

    I stand by my statement that the changes were made to create room for the new membership category. It is well within their rights to do so, but it could have been handled in a more dignified manner.

  13. #628

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Mr. Wiggins & Disneynut are 100% on point.
    How could a member of Club 33 abuse a privilege which was clearly listed as a benefit.
    For those that do not understand, you must look at this from a business perspective and the point of view of the Club 33 staff, NOT the current management of Disney.
    This will help you understand why it was important that members actually utilize their benefit and keep the ol' place busy.

    1. In the past there were approx. 487 of us world wide. Not only in Anaheim or Orange County, we're talking world wide.
    Statistically, not enough actual members would/could dine at the club to justify the operating expense. If this was the case, the club would have only opened on weekends or for special events. You could not staff a restaurant based solely on 487 potential diners.

    2. The club has a fixed overhead. Everyday, there is a specific operating expense designated to keep the club staffed, stocked with food, and ready to operate.
    No diners mean simply NO MONEY!
    Waiters stay home, managers work somewhere else, cooks are placed elsewhere.
    The club needs to meet a minimum gross sales to meet those expenses. This required amount was met by members allowing guests to have access.
    Here's the key phrase, MORE DINERS EQUAL MORE MONEY and Disney was happy and has been happy since 1967.

    3. Look at the timing. Why did Disneyland change the rules now? Hmm?
    Why has this policy been in place for so many years with great success?
    After California Adventure blatantly failed, why was a 'new' Club 33 knock off placed there?
    Walt would call it a 'weenie!' Something to draw people in, but not the public. Higher paying members of an existing club which has proven extremely popular based on the waiting list. Of course, if Walt was still with us, we wouldn't be arguing over mismanagement at the park.
    You could call it a poor quality sequel with a higher ticket price, just because 'Disney says so.'

    4. If Club 33 didn't make money, why expand it?
    Why, you ask, to make more money! Which is fine, I'm OK with the 1901 Lounge. I still feel it's a cheap knock-off and a poor attempt to cash in from Club 33's popularity, but hey, no body asked me.

    5. Why cut benefits and lower the number of comp's passes?
    Simple, to increase the ticket sales total.

    6. Why Platinum? Again, it's simple. To wring money out of those few who feel that the new, platinum benefits are better than the now, smaller 'Gold' benefits, which they are. Emphasis on new 'Gold' benefits. Few, if any, would have joined platinum if the benefits had stayed the same. They had to make it more enticing, baiting the Mouse trap.

    I'm trying to keep this simple and I honestly cannot believe that anyone would buy into what Disney is saying about abusive members. That is 100% pure poppycock and I don't mean the tasty popcorn treat.

    IF ANY CAST MEMBER TELLS YOU THAT THE CHANGE ISN'T FOR FINANCIAL GAIN BUT TO ENHANCE THE CLUB, THEY'RE LYING.

    IF ANY CAST MEMBER TELLS YOU THAT MEMBERS WERE ABUSING THE COMP'D PASS SYSTEM, THEY'RE LYING.

    These same cast members certainly had their hands out with open palms to collect all those large tips and loaded hand shakes, but tips aside, they're spewing rhetoric per the orders of current Disney management. If a cast member told you the truth, they'd be stapled to the floor of Small World and made to sing all day.
    Also, do you seriously, for one second, think that Eisner would have allowed the club to exist if didn't make a profit or serve a specific purpose. He'd have axed the place in a second.

    Why someone cannot see this is simply beyond my recognition.

    I've been in business most of my adult life and I've designed and built a restaurant as well as being involved commercial manufacturing, so I'm not a stranger to this operating model. I just don't like being handed chicken manure and told it's chicken salad. Even if it's presented on a cobalt blue charger plate!

    I apologize in advance if I offended anyone, but the writing is on the wall. Wash the Pixie Dust from your eyes and you'll see it.

    I just re-read my post, yeah, it was pretty caustic, but I'll let it stand on principle, perhaps lacking polish and eloquence, but it's the truth.
    Last edited by David A; 05-21-2012 at 07:46 PM.

  14. #629

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Don't completely disagree with ya and gonna play Devil's Advocate from an outsider's perspective:

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    1. In the past there were approx. 487 of us world wide. Not only in Anaheim or Orange County, we're talking world wide.
    Statistically, not enough actual members would/could dine at the club to justify the operating expense. If this was the case, the club would have only opened on weekends or for special events. You could not staff a restaurant based solely on 487 potential diners.
    No question that guests are needed to fill the seats, but would you rather have those seats filled with direct acquaintances of of say 600 members, or random folks from 487 members that were giving reservation to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that asked as referenced above. Those that just let anyone in seems to cheapen the Club which seems to be an ongoing theme and concern.



    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    3. Look at the timing. Why did Disneyland change the rules now? Hmm?
    Why has this policy been in place for so many years with great success?
    After California Adventure blatantly failed, why was a 'new' Club 33 knock off placed there?
    Walt would call it a 'weenie!' Something to draw people in, but not the public. Higher paying members of an existing club which has proven extremely popular based on the waiting list. Of course, if Walt was still with us, we wouldn't be arguing over mismanagement at the park.
    You could call it a poor quality sequel with a higher ticket price, just because 'Disney says so.'
    There is no question that there were hopes of creating a "new" Club 33 in DCA from the wait list...and that Disney wanted to somehow tap into that wait list, but it would seem that the current integration of Club 1901 would provide members something that has been lacking from the club...an actual club where actual members can meet and socialize outside of the prescribed club events. One complaint I have head from a member is that when dining, there is no way to tell who is a guest and who is a member and there was a feeling of seclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    4. If Club 33 didn't make money, why expand it?
    Why, you ask, to make more money! Which is fine, I'm OK with the 1901 Lounge. I still feel it's a cheap knock-off and a poor attempt to cash in from Club 33's popularity, but hey, no body asked me.
    If it was another stand alone exclusive club, I would totally agree. Again, no question that the "added benefits" package is a way to tap the wait list.



    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    6. Why Platinum? Again, it's simple. To wring money out of those few who feel that the new, platinum benefits are better than the now, smaller 'Gold' benefits, which they are. Emphasis on new 'Gold' benefits. Few, if any, would have joined platinum if the benefits had stayed the same. They had to make it more enticing, baiting the Mouse trap.
    Of course they had to make it more enticing and add benefits to justify the price. It is now more of a VIP experience with membership. Not sure why so many current members are up in arms about platinum if you are able to stay where you are if you want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    I'm trying to keep this simple and I honestly cannot believe that anyone would buy into what Disney is saying about abusive members. That is 100% pure poppycock and I don't mean the tasty popcorn treat.

    IF ANY CAST MEMBER TELLS YOU THAT THE CHANGE ISN'T FOR FINANCIAL GAIN BUT TO ENHANCE THE CLUB, THEY'RE LYING.

    IF ANY CAST MEMBER TELLS YOU THAT MEMBERS WERE ABUSING THE COMP'D PASS SYSTEM, THEY'RE LYING.
    I do take anything said by a Cast Member with a grain of salt and would never trust any sales pitch without extensive research, but with first hand experience of macindan above, there did seem to be some issues with access.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    These same cast members certainly had their hands out with open palms to collect all those large tips and loaded hand shakes, but tips aside, they're spewing rhetoric per the orders of current Disney management. If a cast member told you the truth, they'd be stapled to the floor of Small World and made to sing all day.
    Also, do you seriously, for one second, think that Eisner would have allowed the club to exist if didn't make a profit or serve a specific purpose. He'd have axed the place in a second.
    Yup, they are in the business of making money...for the corporation and shareholders. It is all supply and demand. They can raise the ticket prices, and if people stop coming they will know it is bad decision. They can raise the Club prices and change the deal, but if they have more people not renew than join, they will know it is a bad decision.

    ...or how about this perspective...if you are at capacity with Club 33 memberships, AP's, Day Tickets...by raising prices 25% (random figure) and worse case it results in a 25% drop off of attendance or renewals, why not make the same amount of money with less people and 25% less work and 25% less crowds and 25% less pressure on the infrastructure, making it a better experience for the guests...and members...that do choose to continue and attend?

    As the company, if you are wrong and attendance drops, your revenues stay the same. If you are right, attendance stays the same and revenues skyrocket. Either way, that would need to translate to a better guest experience with either less pressure on the system or more investment to handle the pressure of capacity to continue to justify the prices.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A View Post
    Why someone cannot see this is simply beyond my recognition.
    I see that everyone's opinion is valid and the truth lies somewhere between the cheese the Mouse has laid out and the spring on the Mousetrap depending on how hungry each of us are based on each individual's perspective!
    Last edited by ParkHopper1; 05-21-2012 at 08:46 PM.

  15. #630

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Parkhopper1,
    You're a wise chap with good ideas and a solid grasp of operating concepts.
    I was speaking with a friend today who received his invite to join and he turned it down. In fact, I've spoken with five people who refused to join platinum as they had wanted to join Club 33 at gold level. They were quite upset at the higher prices and smaller benefits. I'm pretty sure a very large majority of guests declined to join. Wow, talk about less for more!
    One of them told me that for 10K per year they could buy AP's and enjoy the Blue Bayou or Napa Rose every time they visited the parks and still have enough to make their Mercedes payment. He was right But this isn't so much about the money, it's about trust and the wanted disregard of Disney to play fair.
    It would be so interesting to know the exact number of platinum turn-downs.
    Thanks for responding in a positive note, I was worried that perhaps I was going to shake the bee hive with my last post
    Almost forgot! We were at the park Sunday night and it must have been 'Bat Day'. It was fun seeing all the kids dressed in their goth attire waiting to ride the Haunted Mansion. Four of their massive group was counting aloud the number of them entering the mansion, my guess is that the 999th guest received a surprise gift. White makeup or a Hot Topic gift certificate. They seemed to be having a really terrific time, makes me wish I young again! For all the make up and black leather, they were all really polite and happy.
    Last edited by David A; 05-21-2012 at 09:12 PM.

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