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  1. #1

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

    Walt Disney World's management has lost its way; here's what they need to start focusing on. Discuss Kevin's suggestions here (angry mob, torches and pitchforks optional).
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  2. #2

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

    Kevin, you are preaching to the choir here. Your article is precisely why my future travel plans do not include WDW in the next 5 years. DLP - yes, DL - definately, TDL absolutely (with a side trip to HKDL on the side), but there is no compelling reason fo me to return to WDW.

    Last December we stayed in a deluxe Savannah View Room and AKL, using DME, Photopass and the Disney Dining Plan with ultimate park hoppers. We had a good time, but not a great one. The stress of getting our ADRs, the day my MIL and kids did not feel like eating at O'Hana because they were tired, meant we missed the experience all together, and of the restaurants we wanted to dine in, we could only get last minute breakfast ADRs at Boma.

    The buses were a joke, on a couple of occassions, we waited about 45 -50 min for a bus to the MK from AKL. In the end we started using taxis.

    We used to love the dining choices, and while we had good meals, the quality had diminished much since our previous visit in 2000.

    With shopping, I had set a budget of $3000 for souvenirs etc., but there was very little we wanted to buy. Most of what they had, we could get on-line or in the Disney Store - I think we only spent about $700 despite wanting to do our Christmas shopping.

    The parks were overcrowded, the MK had lost huge amounts of magic. Dining was a chore. And we had 1 night of the 12 where we could watch Wishes without buying a MVMCP pass (or lose the reservations we had made 6 months out).

    Although we had fun, it was no where near as much fun as previous trips or trips to the other Disney resorts. We had some magical experiences, some good meals, and we still love Epcot and DAK. But I found myself actually not valuing my vacation at WDW. And since returning home, for the first time in 32 years, with probably over 1000 days logged in Disney resorts, and at least $100,000 spent on Disney vacations in the last 10 years, I felt ripped off.

    So, I won't be going back for a while. Yes, as always I loved Illuminations and Wishes, enjoyed good meals at Le Cellier, got a thrill out of seeing the animals from my bedroom window, and enjoyed Soarin'. But when comparing the good, the bad and the ugly, WDW has gone too far.

    It's ok for those who have never discovered Disney magic before, or the rubes that keep going back, having never experienced the other wonders Disney create around the globe. But for this global Disneyfan, I am voting with my feet (but sadly it won't make a difference). I'm just glad I bought in to the Marriott Vacation Club rather than the once considered DVC.

    I have always preferred the climate of California or Paris, I prefer the way the original and foreign parks are run. So next year we will see Paris's new ToT, and check out Toy Story Mania at DCA. We will enjoy live performances and e-tickets in Tokyo in the coming years. But to me, although I liked Everest and other new additions, the erosion of magic, the declination of degrees, and the degredation of the reasons why I hold Disney dear have disappeared from that Swamp in Orlando.
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  3. #3

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

    I just got back from WDW on mon (15th-20th). Me and the misses had a great time, but we were disapointed about a few things that your article mentions.

    1)extra magic hours. to me? not worth the hassle. everyone flocks to the park with the EMH wristbands, and the selected park is just as crowded as before. we had went two or three years earlier and they had a similar program...a limited amount of bands( that you paid for) at MK and the park was like a ghost town. We asked a cast member handing them out at epcot if they were limited and she laughed at us!
    we ended up skiping the parks that offered EMH and it was a huge difference.

    2)pirate and princess party. most tourists had no idea what it was, and if it was extra they didnt bite. we were heading into MK that night and didnt realize they closed the park, and it was only open for P&P. Since I was curious, we did it, and it was worth it, no lines..new fireworks, jack sparrow. awsome. My only complaint was, you dont get any discount/offer if you stay in the park. Like you said, I hope they dont get rid of it, it was a slice of the "magic" so to speak

    3) tourists. im not sure if it was the year, or end of summer...but they are slobs.
    cups EVERYWHERE. stores, in queue areas, it was bad. I saw a woman leave a powerade bottle on the floor of soarin. It made me laugh, since were supposed to "live with the land". A grown man opening ice cream and tossing the wrapper.
    I noticed some vandalism on the monorail and in some wait areas. Its just a disgrace to me.
    Alot of people were fighting. A grown man was screaming and cursing on the new nemo ride. We saw a woman take her entire family (4 kids and three adults) off of Peter Pan because "it was too gay" and they paid too much money for "gay rides".

    just odd.

    Side note; We went on the new nemo ride, and I spotted a section of pulled wallpaper (or paint) and It made me annoyied, but the next day we rode it again and it was fixed.

    oh, and I love dino-rama.

    thanks for reading, i figured it give my 2 cents

  4. #4

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

    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass24 View Post
    2)pirate and princess party. most tourists had no idea what it was, and if it was extra they didnt bite. we were heading into MK that night and didnt realize they closed the park, and it was only open for P&P. Since I was curious, we did it, and it was worth it, no lines..new fireworks, jack sparrow. awsome. My only complaint was, you dont get any discount/offer if you stay in the park. Like you said, I hope they dont get rid of it, it was a slice of the "magic" so to speak
    But once upon a time, the parks woul stay open until 1am for everyone on a Saturday in summer, and there would be extra special fireworks and parades. To me, they would probably make more money charging $5 extra on everyone's passes and offering the PP event to all MK guests, then annoying me and others who do not plan on returning to WDW because of these measures.
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  5. #5

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

    Nice article, Kevin. A couple of things, though...


    Is it a benefit? It seems to me that having 40,000 hotel visitors descend on the Magic Kingdom for three hours in the morning isn't that great a bargain.
    -I thought EMH was an hour in the morning, or three hours at night. In your article, you wrote three hours in the morning (Rise and shine, kids, we have to get over to Epcot by 5am!)

    -Also, I thought the interactive Kim Possible experience was at Epcot, since you had to travel to several different countries (I know the character meet was at MGM).

    Anyway, great article. I think it's key that Disney management realize squeezing every last penny means nothing if people, as a result, come less often.
    "When entering the theater, please move as far to the end of the row as possible. Stopping in the middle is distinctly unpatriotic." -Sam Eagle

    "I may have invented these bifocals I'm wearing, but I can assure you they're not rose-colored" -Ben Franklin, The American Adventure





  6. #6

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

    Kevin, you hit the nail on the head with this one. This article reads like a "how to run a theme park / resort" handbook. Perhaps everyone at Team Disney Orlando should get a printed copy. There are many things that Disney does right, but in their quest to squeeze every nickel from visitors they really fail miserably at some of the basics you mentioned. You're right that things like a few extra benches, shady umbrellas, or air conditioned spaces can go a long way.

    I think one of the big problems is that they don't look at the whole picture. If this is supposed to be a totally immersive vacation destination, then don't look at how closing most Magic Kingdom fast food locations early can save x amount of dollars, or how running fewer busses will save on labor and fuel costs. It seems like each location is run individually to maximize profit at the expense of guests, without really considering how all of these individual cutbacks at various locations can significantly impact the total experience a visitor has during their vacation.

    A long wait for a bus here and there is no big deal, nor is standing in a hot sunny spot while watching a parade. But after you sweated it out in the MK all day, couldn't get in to a table service restaurant and then found out that some counter service locations were closed, were shooed out early becuase you didn't want to pay for the Pirate and Princess party, and returned to your room to find that housekeeping didn't do a good job cleaning it, that you really start to change your opinion of the whole place (no matter how much you liked Soarin, or Everest, or Illuminations).

    CoP

  7. #7

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

    Quote Originally Posted by coprogressfan View Post
    A long wait for a bus here and there is no big deal, nor is standing in a hot sunny spot while watching a parade. But after you sweated it out in the MK all day, couldn't get in to a table service restaurant and then found out that some counter service locations were closed, were shooed out early becuase you didn't want to pay for the Pirate and Princess party, and returned to your room to find that housekeeping didn't do a good job cleaning it, that you really start to change your opinion of the whole place (no matter how much you liked Soarin, or Everest, or Illuminations).

    CoP
    Exactly, that is why we will not return to WDW until Disney change their ways. Just like we opted for WDW when DL was going through their dark days, I will go to the rejuvenated DL while I await WDW to mend their ways.
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  8. #8

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

    Don't have anything to add, I've never been to WDW... but I really enjoyed your take on the park. I can see some of the same things occur at DLR, and I really wish they'd (management) think in the long-term, instead of the short-term they're obsessed with.

  9. #9

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

    Quote Originally Posted by davewasbaloo View Post
    Exactly, that is why we will not return to WDW until Disney change their ways. Just like we opted for WDW when DL was going through their dark days, I will go to the rejuvenated DL while I await WDW to mend their ways.
    Wow man that is a pretty harsh statement.
    For the past four years, I've always had to wait it out in the sun, in summer, could rarely get a table service eatery, rude CMs and stupid guest tricks, but because my children loved it, and even my wife, we still plan on taking trips here, ever if trips to DL and EDL (won't call it DLP still...) are planned as well..

  10. #10

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

    We go to WDW only occasionally. The last time was for a company award trip in January. My husband is the national sales manager for a software company, and whichever salesmen make their quotas get a trip. Last year's trip was WDW, and this year's trip, by popular demand, will probably also be WDW.

    As the resident Disney expert in the group, I get the task of planning and booking the entire trip. The all-inclusive feel is really important for a trip like this. So I am thoroughly disgusted that they've taken away the gratuity from the DDP.

    Last year we were on the premium plan. It includes recreation, kids' clubs, and whatever restaurant (including character meals, dinner shows, and "signature dining experiences") for each meal, without charging 2 meal credits for anything. We wanted the salesmen and their families to be able to eat whatever whenever they wanted.

    Now we have to tell them, eat where you want and when you want, but you'll have to pay your own gratuity.

    Stupid.

    I'm seriously considering changing the trip to a cruise (and not a Disney one, probably) because at least there we can have the company pre-pay the gratuities.

    Do you think Disney realizes that cutting the gratuity benefit probably just lost them 6 families staying at a deluxe resort for 5 nights on the premium plan?

    Do they care?
    Don't make me come in there!

  11. #11

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManator View Post
    Wow man that is a pretty harsh statement.
    For the past four years, I've always had to wait it out in the sun, in summer, could rarely get a table service eatery, rude CMs and stupid guest tricks, but because my children loved it, and even my wife, we still plan on taking trips here, ever if trips to DL and EDL (won't call it DLP still...) are planned as well..
    Sad but true. The Studios and Epcot have been dumbing down. DAK is cool, but we can go to DCA and San Diego Zoo in California. And so, I really had such a crummy time at WDW compared to DL and DLP, we shall be taking a long break. Having seen how much more fun my kids had at DLP in June clinched the deal.
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  12. #12

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

    Quote Originally Posted by davewasbaloo View Post
    Sad but true. The Studios and Epcot have been dumbing down. DAK is cool, but we can go to DCA and San Diego Zoo in California. And so, I really had such a crummy time at WDW compared to DL and DLP, we shall be taking a long break. Having seen how much more fun my kids had at DLP in June clinched the deal.
    And I have always felt the MK is inferior to DL and DLP.
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  13. #13

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

    I could not agree more with your article Kevin. As someone who used to visit every year, then every other year, we are now going 3, 4 & 5 years between visits. Don't get me wrong, there is still so much that I like and enjoy at WDW, but the cost and the perceived lose of value in so many areas has caused my family to scale back our once "fanatical" view of WDW. Keep the articles coming.

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  14. #14

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

    Very good article as always. It does mostly focus on the WDW Resort guest and not on the "day" guest that stays and partly dines off-site. Disney also has to somewhat cater to these people. I wonder if these "day" guests care about all of this?


  15. #15

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

    I have to sadly agree with all you said in your article Kevin, as well as what some of my fellow posters have added here. Our last few trips to WDW have indeed been less than magical and as a result I began taking my complaints to guest services on what seemed to become a fairly regular basis. I imagine by now they have me pegged as some sort of chronic complainer but rest assured that all my concerns have been legit and not the ramblings of a dissatisfied tourist.
    I have been visiting WDW regularly since 1978 and then with my family ever since I got married and had children. We bought into the DVC, own Stock in the company, have Annual passes and both my wife and I have worked as Disney Store Cast members. To my mind we are well vested in Disney and as such have earned the right to voice our concerns about what we also feel has been (if I may) "a declining by degrees".
    I only hope that Disney has the good sense to somehow monitor these boards to see the real issues that folks like us have with something we obviously care a great deal about.
    Even more so, I hope that they pay particular attention to the insightful and knowlegdegeable articles you produce as they so accurately serve to encapsulate and legitimize so many of our common concerns.
    Last edited by tjcjr; 08-27-2007 at 05:06 AM.

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