I received the following email from a good friend last week who is a former longtime DLCM. I edited a few of the comments since I know there are some very sensitive people in here when it comes to criticism.
Some of my thoughts on Disneyland last night: I got there a few hours before the others got out of their conference and wandered around taking in all that was new and old. I didn't see anyone working there that I knew though I guess that shouldn't be surprising since I left in ‘96.
Overall the appearance of the place was very good. Being a painter, I notice maintenance problems and they’ve really spruced up the old girl.
The caliber of the employees has entirely changed. Obesity is rampant, but where isn‘t it anywhere else? While all departments used to have attractive employees, it seems now that the only ones who care about their appearance are in rides. D-land used to have a vast pool of dynamic, talented employees who made the place something special. There was something to being a cast member back then but that just doesn't appear to be the case anymore. It's just a job now.
The park’s atmosphere has also changed. There's so much stuff cluttering the place that there's no longer a free flow of crowds. People have to make their way around new planters, rock sculptures, Out Door Vending carts selling who knows what. You're just hemmed in everywhere. Prices were always high but now they're exorbitant with ODV carts selling hot dogs and chips for $8, and prices on the Blue Bayou menu on par with Mr Stox. The portions are huge but we couldn’t take the leftovers with us so there was really a waste of good food in our party of four. It would be a better experience to see reduced prices with smaller servings.
The park has lost some of its pizzazz. Of course the world has changed and there's so much more entertainment competition now, Disneyland no longer stands-alone. I truly worked there during the Golden Age.
And yet, I cannot deny that when looking at families with young children I still see that sense of wonder and delight on the faces of all, so who am I to lament the past?"