Reading Al's most recent update was pretty devastating in regards to Disney's plans for the holidays beginning in 2013. The economy is in the tanker, the unemployment rate is high, and in general the majority of the public is having a pretty tough time.
Disneyland's demographic is not the same as Walt Disney World's. Yes, Disneyland gets plenty of tourists, but the strongest demographic is arguably that of locals. People decide to live in Southern California for many reasons, and Disneyland is definitely one of those special things about the location. So while many of us cannot afford a trip far away, many of us have still found ways to afford a little escapism at the Disneyland Resort.
As a result, the local fanbase has grown a very special attachment to the resort. We've seen it grow and change over the years, and even though prices have gone through the roof with things, many of us have still done what we can to keep Disney a part of our traditions. A major aspect of this is, of course, the holiday season. Sure, it really hasn't changed at all in years, but locals and non-locals alike flock out to the resort to discover the holiday spirit. Speaking personally, Disneyland is really the only place where I feel this spirit anymore. I love Disneyland whatever the season, but there is just something so special about the holidays.
And now they want to take it away. Or rather, they want to find new ways to make us pay more for the things we, the public, have enjoyed for years and years as part of a normal day's admission to Disneyland. A Christmas Fantasy debuted in 1994 and Believe debuted in 2000 (only skipping the 2005 season for Remember). Yes, they are tying a Candelight dinner package into the mix, but this is going to be a new separate-ticket event. Two holiday traditions are being taken away in a greedy swipe for money and possibly doubling-up on admission sales, all the while with no intention of actually updating the entertainment offerings. And considering what many guests are talking about after their Halloween party experiences, one can only imagine that these events (which will take up the majority of the holiday season and cut the park's hours drastically for normal guests) will be oversold, overcrowded and lacking in enjoyable guest experience. If those Cast Members that are required to work those events seem sour, I wouldn't really blame them - they were told that Disney could not afford to give them two nights off to enjoy the park to themselves and shut away from the general public, yet Disney decides to take those nights plus several weeks worth to make even more money on a guaranteed profitable holiday season.
Disney is not hurting for money. The Disneyland Resort is more popular than ever and guests are filling up the whole area every day. This plan has and will upset the masses - it not only interferes with the locals' traditions, but it will also ruin a lot of tourists' trips and force them to pay even more money for something that they never would have had to in the first place. There is no such thing as "off-season" anymore. This is simply a Scrooge move, and the timing is especially cruel.
It might feel like we can't do anything about it, that this is inevitable and we have to just swallow and accept it or walk away. But time and history has taught us that we are a strong voice in what happens at the Disney Parks. Disney does actually monitor what we say around here. We are instant, free feedback for them.
But for the holidays, I think we are going to need to do something more than just gripe about it on these boards to get the message across.
This is why I am urging you all (and your friends that may not visit this site but make the trek to Disneyland every year for the holidays) to actually hand write letters to George Kalogridis, possibly even Bob Iger. Tell them why you love to spend the holidays with Mickey and other characters at Disneyland so much. Personal stories detailing the fond memories you have from being at Disneyland when Mickey has decked the halls. Even include pictures if you have them, to truly drive the message home. And of course, ask them not to take away future holiday memories from you when you've been enjoying them together for so long. If you need to mail them to Disneyland from home, then do so, but I think the message will be even stronger if we drop the mail on physical Disneyland property in those mail boxes.
I know that there will be naysayers that will just shoot this idea down and say it will not do anything and that I'm wasting my time. But everything starts with an idea, and the more people that get behind that idea, the stronger that eventual thing becomes. The online community has saved Disney before in many cases, and I think that maybe, just maybe, this could be one of them.
I think it's worth a shot. Are you with me?