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  1. #16

    • Keyblade Wielder
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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    It sounds like they are no longer practicing what they preach...

    “The show is quite a fragile thing. It takes just
    one contradiction, one out-of-place stimulus to
    negate a particular moment’s experience…tack
    up a felt-tip brown-paper-bag sign that says
    ‘Keep Out’…take a uniform away and put an
    employee in blue jeans and a tank top…replace
    that classical music with a rock number…place a
    touch of artificial turf here…add a surly employee
    there…it really doesn’t take much to upset at all.”
    John Hench, Disney Imagineering

  2. #17

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    Add me to the list that used to go every year and then in the mid 90's i started noticing the decline in showmanship, professionalism and overall quality in WDW.

    Now i do not take the family anymore. Its been almost 12 years since went back. Before then it was every year that we looked forward to the trip. Now when we go to Florida we skip WDW and do everything else

  3. #18

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    I have never posted but have read many of your articles, and this one really hit home. I agree with you on many aspects of Disney slipping. One thing that has really hurt my families enjoyment has been DDP and 180 day ADR's. It has increased our stress trying to figure out TS meals in advance instead of "winging it" as we used to. I am also upset with the "dumbing down" of the menus even when we do not get ADR's. Hopefully it will disappear altogether ( I know I am in the minority here). We rarely use EMH but always do whatever party is going on when we go. WDW still has the magic for me and we usually are there 25+ days there yearly and don't commando. I understand Disney trying to reach more people to vacation there, but I feel they have done so at the expense of many "regulars". In the long run, I feel it will backfire, but I have been wrong before.
    Walt envisioned a different type of park, and now it seems Disney is trying to use what works for other amusement parks, and in doing so has lost the vision of being "different" and ultimately better. I don't mind paying more to get more, and if it means some can't enjoy it-maybe it wasn't meant to be. WDW was not meant to be a cheap carnival. I know it sounds snobbish and I don't mean it to be, but watching people throw garbage on the ground, walking into a signature resturant with obscene tee shirts on, etc. will not help the reputation they once had.

  4. #19

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    I certainly have to agree with everything that has been posted so far. Especially with regards to ADR. I remember back when you had to make your dining reservations from the exit line at Spaceship Earth. Those were the days...

    With regard to the declining degrees, I can't help but wonder if DVC is doing to WDW what AP's did to Disneyland. It seems like right around the time AP's took off at DL, we started to see a decline in park maintenance, the increase in a sense of "ownership" from some of the guests, and an overall drop in magic.

    I would put out there that we have seen the same type of decline at WDW timed with the start of DVC. Is it just coincidence? Possibly, but I do believe that it has to be a contributing factor, not just in the way guests treat their vacations, but in what management is willing to do to improve the guest experience. What's the point of painting all the time if they know that guests have already paid for their next 30 years worth of hotel stays? (Or for the next year of admission in the case of AP's)

    I'd love to hear anyone's insight on the matter.

  5. #20

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    >>If it were me in charge, I'd stop flirting with finding the exact moment of diminishing marginal returns. Deliver a premium product, charge something less than fully premium prices, and the hordes will be back year after year after year. It's a simple concept. It was Walt's formula, and it's still 100% applicable.<<

    Sounds sort of like a managed care concept. Volume gives you adequate profits, but at the cost of servicing more customers. I know the analogy doesn't exactly hold, but it's interesting that the first thing to come to mind for me was that this is exactly how many managed care plans try to sell their programs - more patients at less money per patient can mean the same or even better profits...if you're willing to work 33% (or 50%) harder. (They leave out that last part when selling the programs.)

    Personally I'm okay with paying a bit more than I would elsewhere for the Disney experience, but would also like increased quality of the experience for my (extra) money. I agree that the bean counter mentality can really mess things up, though. Looking for that last cutback you can make, trying to balance things out for maximum return - it never works. In my business, if you deliver quality, business will come no matter how you price your services. I suspect it will at WDW and other places as well.

    (I enjoy these articles by Kevin Yee, of the information presented here on MiceAge the best...)

    Scott
    Last edited by Esdeebee; 09-26-2007 at 08:39 AM. Reason: took out a redundancy

  6. #21

    • Earth Intruder
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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    Agreed with everything you said Kevin (except for the Fastpass stuff). I went last October to WDW and while I had a great time due to the company of some wonderful MiceChatters, WDW is a place where I really don't need to return to for quite some time. The extra magic hours thing was a complete joke since those parks were packed to the gills on EMH nights. The bus system was horrific, packed like sardines -- and I remember once needing to get from the Studios park to Pleasure Island -- it took over an hour and a half on two different buses. For anyone going, I highly HIGHLY recommend renting a car.

    In fact, I'm going out to Florida next year for the DCL Panama Canal cruise, and skipping any days at the WDW parks entirely. Magic Kingdom specifically seemed like it was falling apart... I just feel that my Disney money is better spent saving for things like DCL and TDL.
    I am grateful... grapefruit! ~ Bjork (upon winning Best International Female Artist at the BRIT Awards)



    Founding Member of the BA!

  7. #22

    • Rock Star Minion
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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferris View Post
    I certainly have to agree with everything that has been posted so far. Especially with regards to ADR. I remember back when you had to make your dining reservations from the exit line at Spaceship Earth. Those were the days...

    With regard to the declining degrees, I can't help but wonder if DVC is doing to WDW what AP's did to Disneyland. It seems like right around the time AP's took off at DL, we started to see a decline in park maintenance, the increase in a sense of "ownership" from some of the guests, and an overall drop in magic.

    I would put out there that we have seen the same type of decline at WDW timed with the start of DVC. Is it just coincidence? Possibly, but I do believe that it has to be a contributing factor, not just in the way guests treat their vacations, but in what management is willing to do to improve the guest experience. What's the point of painting all the time if they know that guests have already paid for their next 30 years worth of hotel stays? (Or for the next year of admission in the case of AP's)

    I'd love to hear anyone's insight on the matter.
    I agree. The AP/DVC program will create blindly loyal customers and squeeze out the occasional ones.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  8. #23

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    Why it is the way it is...

    Class "A" talent hires other "A" talent, gets frustrated when B" talent is promted and leaves, Class "B" talent hires "C" talent. Ridiculosity ensues on all levels.
    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

    [FONT=Arial Narrow]

  9. #24

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    Sad Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    Why is Iger/Disney letting everything run down and rot? This is a very bad show experience. People say they don't care if they see peeling paint, trash or cobwebs. But then they do care if they want to tear down their favorite ride. They will say, "Every thing else can fall apart, but please don't touch or replace a classic attraction."

    Disney counts on people being apathetic if they want to close down or replace a ride. If they let it run down, never repaint it or fail to rehab it and keep closing it because of breakdowns Disney will think it will be better to tear it down than to repair it because no one cares or will say anything.

    If no one complains because they do not care about peeling paint, trash or cobwebs or rotting attractions then they get the theme park they deserve. Walt Disney hated dirty, trashy, broken down carnivals and that is what Disney theme parks are becoming famous for - "Poor quality carnival shows and run down attractions!"

    Eisner's motto passed on to Iger: "Let the parks run down, close what we can, get by with the bare minumum, keep costs down and build a new attraction only once every 10 years and the rest of the money goes into the yearly "CEO Bonus Fund."

    In other word's - Into Eisner's and now Iger's pocket!

  10. #25

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    I just want to say that I appreciate Kevin recognizing the broad popularity of the character meals. I know they're somewhat controversial around here and I understand why folks lament the decline of non-character options, but as one who brings along 3 kids with me, I love the character meals.

    As Kevin noted, rather than stand in line for however long trying to meet all the kids' favorite characters, the meals amount to "one stop shopping." We sit down and eat and they come to us. For my upcoming November trip, I've booked 9 different meals and 6 of those are character meals.

    So you may think that makes me part of the problem, but I'm here to say I like 'em and I'm glad they have 'em.
    "I'm working on changing Hollywood...at the studio that fired me twice."
    --John Lasseter


  11. #26

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    You have to wonder what it will take to make WDW "wake up and see the light". It took the 50th and management change to get things on the right track at DL. WDW doesn't seem to have anything "motivating" it right now.
    MagicalTrash.com - Documenting the trash cans of Disney theme parks and resorts

  12. #27

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    We recently (last week) spent 7 days at WDW- a trip we planned far out. All of our ADRs were made a full 180 days in advance, we planned our park visits to make use of EMHs, we used a travel agent (which we had never done before) for our hotel and park tickets, we used the DDP, Photopass and Fastpass.

    We did not use DME because they did not guarantee that our luggage would arrive on the same bus (or at the same time) as we did. We instead hired a car, which also gave us the chance to stop at a supermarket on the way and pickup some snacks and breakfast items for the room. This ended up being a good move because our luggage ended up on a different plane to Orlando then us, after a late arrival in Atlanta to transfer to the Orlando plane, and we ended up having to wait around an hour for it to arrive.

    In the last five years of visiting WDW, this was the first time I had stayed at a hotel (Wilderness Lodge) without easy access to the TTC (from the Polynesian you can walk there and Shades of Green has a dedicated bus). There was a bus that went from Wilderness Lodge to the TTC, but that bus was stopped and the sign simply taped over.

    This meant we had to take buses (which were often infrequent and no where near as magical as the monorails) or boats (nice, but they only went to the Contemporary and Magic Kingdom, so not always helpful). We realized another flaw in the system when it took us a full 90 minutes to get from Epcot to Downtown Disney in order to visit the Adventurers Club. After finally getting there and spending $21 a person to enter the one club, we left after about an hour and a half because we were all exhausted; the same amount of time we had spent there. We all agreed that next time we would stay at a monorail hotel, even if it was more money.

    The lines at Counter Service restaurants were often long and resulted in only maginally acceptable food (Sunshine Seasons at Epcot was the exception tot his, and we ate there three out of 7 days). Even with ADRs we still had to wait 20-30 minutes for a table at Table Service restaurants. The food at those table service restaurants wasn't very good either, and we at least felt fortunate that we had pre-paid with the dining plan and weren't directly paying the absorbent prices. The dining plan however, forced us to buy more food than we would otherwise (we wouldn't, for example, have gotten desert at counter service restaurants). We all agreed that next time we would not use the dining plan (even if they weren't changing it), and that we would stick to counter service when in the parks and only dine at table service restaurants when at the hotels, which have better food in our experience.

    I was in charge of the ADRs and also planning what days we would spend at which parks, and I organized the week to take advantage of the EMHs on almost all of the days. This, I realized, was a mistake. While being able to stay longer was nice, the parks were always more crowded with people coming knowing they could stay longer that night, and it's value was diminished. For example, visiting DAK on an EMH day (Monday), the wait for Expedition Everest was well over an hour (which, the August heat and humidity, wasn't working for us). We returned on Friday afternoon (no extra magic hours, with AK closing at 6:30pm) at around 5, and found the wait for EE was a mere 15 minutes. This same concept was true at all of the parks. Next time, I would specifically visit the parks without extra magic hours on days that they were least busy, and perhaps just do the extra magic hours a la carte that night.

    We took advantage of Fastpass, and I guess you could call us "super users", but this often wasn't very useful because we didn't arrive at the parks until a few hours after opening, and the fastpasses were either gone or for late in the afternoon.

    As for photopass, we did it as an experiment. Nice, but we don't usually buy the photos and most likely wont in this instance.

    WDW is always fun, but this trip was much more stressful and difficult than in previous years, even though we had more time. It required a lot of planning, which often still led to unsatisfactory results. I found the newer offerings like SGE in the Magic Kingdom and M:S at Epcot (which I had never ridden before) amusing at best. While Disney is still the best, they have definately slipped, and at sometime what is clearly a broken system of management will need to be addressed.













  13. #28

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    I partially agree with the extra hours. I love the extra morning hour. I don't mind getting up early to get in the parks an hour early and get some big attractions out of the way. But on our last trip, there was no enforcement of this "Disney resort benefit" to guests from off-property. They were letting everybody in at both MK and EPCOT. They did check at the water parks and that one hour jump was great.

    I don't like the extra evening hours. Keeping the parks open later to all guests is one reason, but I did the evening hours one time at the Studios and it was so crowded, the only thing we did was Rock N Roller Coaster with a fastpass and Sounds Dangerous. On our last trip, some friends went to the MK for their evening hours and it was pretty crowded there as well.

    I don't agree on Fastpass at all. I think it's a great system and I also think it's great that Disney doesn't charge for it, as Universal and Six Flags do for their similar programs. Does it cause longer standby lines? Maybe. But then again, the fastpass machine at Peter Pan was down one day on our last visit and I saw no noticeable difference in the wait times on that day versus the day we were able to use Fastpass to ride it. In the meantime, in that time while I would be waiting to ride it, I'm able to ride smaller attractions I wouldn't normally have time to enjoy, eat, shop, take in a show, etc.

    As far as cast members, I've been many, many times, and I can't recall a single bad experience. More than the attractions and restaurants, they are the key to the level of enjoyment I've had.

    I have no problem with the amount of activities they have, and of course they're going to market everything they have. People have the choice to do as much or as little as they want. Personally, I love taking an overnight flight to Orlando and hitting the ground running for the whole trip and doing as much as I can. With the kids, that's not going to happen as much.

    For all the talk about declining by degrees and such, I would have no problems going frequently. Now that my kids are older, I won't go as much because there's other places I want them to see (Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Williamsburg, etc.) But Disney's still doing a great job in my opinion and I still will be looking forward to going back.

    One thing I would change with dining is either shorten the amount of time where you can make dining reservations to 90 days or 30 days, something like that. I'd like them to also limit the percentage of tables they take advance reservations for and allow a percentage for same day reservations or walk up.

  14. #29

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    Neon Cactus, how many times have you been before. WDW sucks compared to other Disney resorts (and it's former self).
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  15. #30

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    Re: 8/23: It's the Tourists...

    I have been longing to go to WDW for years because I miss Epcot so much, but now I'm not so sure. I think I'll hold off until Disney figures itself out over there.
    The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

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