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  1. #1

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    2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Kevin wonders if the NEXTGEN billion should be better spent... Discuss it here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: Billion Dollar Band-Aid? - MiceAge.com
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  2. #2

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Nice analysis, but I could not help wondering if these scenarios are different in off seasons. California and Florida have different markets. California seems to be crowded most of the year, but Florida seems to have distinct off and on seasons.

    Many years ago, I was surprise when I visited WDW in September. The parks were largely uncrowded even though the weather is still summer-like. The crowds dispersed unlike Disneyland, which is still crowded well into the month.

    The way the restaurant reservations are handled in WDW is ridiculous; however, I can see the reasoning behind it. They cannot afford any open seats. Most visitors are from out of town. They want a once in a lifetime chance to eat there. It's not like the locals or casual visitor can't reserve a time. Everyone is forced to plan.

  3. #3

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Thanks for the insights, Kevin. I enjoyed reading them.

    My wife and I plan the hotel room and the transportation from Portland to Disneyland, and maybe a dinner at the Napa Rose, but everything else is done on the spur of the moment. We seldom use Fastpass (we used it only twice during our last five day visit).

    If the new system effectively requires you to reserve all attractions and character interactions, a trip to Disneyland will become a thing of the past.

  4. #4

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    I totally agree with the point that the best way to reduce wait times is to increase capacity (something that is long overdue in most of the Florida parks).

    That just seems like an obviously better choice for a billion-dollar expenditure. New attractions drive business, and improve the overall experience. Changing the way Fastpass works, on the other hand, isn't likely to affect my decision to visit WDW one way or the other.

    And if you want an example of how adding a spectacular new attraction increases guest satisfaction, attendance, and profits, you can find one just down the road, at Universal.
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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Kevin, you really hit the ball out of the park on this one, and your analysis should be read by all levels of corporate Disney management. Well done!

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Call me cynical...but I suspect this is the unspoken element: this system will privilege out-of-town guests staying on-property who contribute more per-visit to Disney's bottom-line than casual visitors and non-property visitors. Also, it will incentivize casual guests to staying on-property. It might also incentivize guests to upgrade room reservations to higher end resorts for added perks. I see this as another step in Disney catering to the upper-middle-class customer base. Without those targets, I see no reason why Disney would waste $1b on this project. I think the correct way to puzzle through this issue is not: how will the system likely work? Rather: how will Disney recoup that $1b investment plus profit? Exploring the potential profit stream will probably lead you to the answer that will describe how the system will work and what it will do.

  7. #7

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Dear Mr Tom Staggs: What you are doing is wasting more money, when most of that capita could be used for more attractions (Please think over your new NextGen Plan, please); All four of the parks need some new, glorified, not-copied, not-off the shelf, original attractions. Each park could have at least 5 attractions in each park (since each you would have a $1 Billion split between 20 previous attractions already there.)


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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Loved the analysis Kevin!

    It's definitely a band-aid. I think it's going in the wrong direction. The system will only be able to handle X amount of reservations... then what... charge for a Premium Fast Pass? So who's gonna be able to watch World of Color? Only those who pay for the new system? Then they'll move this payment to Fantasmic! and then what? I hope it doesn't get to that point, but I can see the number crunchers not seeing the big picture and pushing to go that direction.

    Disneyland wasn't supposed to be available to only the rich. And I feel that people rely too much on technology these days. There are people who can't get from point A to point B without a GPS in their own town! And I'd like to see people put the phone down and enjoy the atmosphere and your friends and family. It's a cultural thing for sure... people can't shut off their e-mail/ text/ phones while on vacation.

    Computers fail... sure, Disney has multiple fail-safes and redundancy for their computers, but Murphy's Law is real. I'll stick with the paper Fast Passes.

  9. #9

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Kevin, a great analysis here. Especially addressing the concept of efficiency, which has gradually taken over most aspects of the park experience, at the cost of safety (sometimes), show (frequently) and courtesy (often).

    The parks have become too "managed" so that nothing seems organic, or natural, but part of a vastly calculated approach to what the guest will enjoy/expect/tolerate. The don't run the five trains on Big Thunder because they have precisely calculated (or so they think) that guests are fine with 40 minute waits. The same goes for registers open in quick serve locations, how much entertainment to offer, etc. Its not really about "exceeding guests expectations" (corporate BS), its about a very calculated approach to delivering exactly what the customer seems to expect. In the eyes of the accountants and efficiency "experts" anything more is a waste of money. Of course, this logic is severely flawed.

    Do what you can to manage lines, of course, but work to provide better experiences! Build more attractions, improve the ones you have, and provide world class entertainment like you once did. Guests will be infinitely happier. I think this billion dollars could be much better spent on doing just that. As mentioned, nextgen is only addressing the symptoms, not the underlying issues.

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Universal has Harry Potter, Disney has Advanced Fastpass. OK.....

    Those customer satisfaction surveys, I wonder if they even ask the question, "Would a new attraction make you want to come back?"

    Or maybe ask the question this way:
    "What is most likely to improve your (guest) satisfaction?"
    A. Shorter or no wait in lines
    B. The ability to plan out your vacation
    C. New attractions to keep me coming back
    Last edited by Disneykin Kid; 02-23-2011 at 10:04 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    I loved the insights, Kevin.

    One mistake that I think Disney management is going to make is to treat both Disneyland and WDW the same in regards to this new Advanced Fastpass.

    The two resorts are starkly different in this regard. WDW has a dominance of out-of-town guest who visit once every couple years, or even once a life time. They feel cheated if they miss something so what to take in the whole park.

    Disneyland is dominated by locals who want to experience the BEST attractions over and over again. They know what attractions are worth a fastpass wait before they enter the park. They even enjoy riding Space Mountain multiple times in a day, if they can. So for them a fastpass for Mickey is not as important as a once in a lifetime visitor.

    I feel that an improvement to fastpass is possible, but should be tweaked to improve the park experience for BOTH locals and infrequent guests. But it would have to be different for each resort. The "One Disney" stupidity will only short-change either Anaheim or Orlando guests.
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  12. #12

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Staggs has it wrong. Guests don't "love creating memories." They love it when they are created or them, on their vacation, where they're not working and just enjoying themselves.

    My lame billion-dollar idea (I'll happily accept Staggs' salary for a year):
    "Wii WDW," where, for $100/day or so, you can enjoy WDW from your home. Experience attractions, watch a parade, meet a character, etc. All with the Wii. In 3D.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  13. #13

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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneykin Kid View Post
    Or maybe ask the question this way:
    "What is most likely to improve your (guest) satisfaction?"
    A. Shorter or no wait in lines
    B. The ability to plan out your vacation
    C. New attractions to keep me coming back
    D. Ability to see a show and attraction if one does not use Fastpass.

  14. #14

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    Lightbulb Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    I loved the insights, Kevin.

    One mistake that I think Disney management is going to make is to treat both Disneyland and WDW the same in regards to this new Advanced Fastpass.
    I agree, great post Kevin!

    I think Disney will be smart enough to understand the major difference between FL and CA guests, although who knows what office sitting exces who aren't in the parks think. Go to Disneyland on Friday after work hours or Sunday (non-blockout day) and see the HUGE amount of AP'ers [Annual Passholders] rush into the parks. At times it looks like park opening even at 5pm.

    Disney can't be surprised by that though, with the locals-only monthly payment program and advertisements pushing AP's they are asking for that type of guest in SoCal. IMO they will have big issues if they try to "FP everything" at Disneyland.
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    Re: 2/23: Billion Dollar Band-Aid?

    It's funny how they will do something that will most likely piss off all of there hardcore fans to make more money.....If this goes into effect at Disneyland..Walts park is truly dead, it should not be about money but about going to the park and making magic not making the poorer people wait in line longer cause they can't cough up the dough.

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