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  1. #1

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    4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    How much is too much? Managing by the numbers instead of for the customer. Discuss Kevin's column here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: http://miceage.micechat.com/kevinyee/ky042408a.htm
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  2. #2

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    Gotta tell you I have not seen a drop in strollers since the price increase.
    Now those types of strollers, $45 is as high markup on those. Those a sale makes a bit of profit, for less overhead. We used to give those away as promotions at Toys R Us. They are usually a $20-25 price in a store...but I don't know what you were looking at online.
    Now this cuts on labor costs, also cuts down on maintaining these strollers. Plus, the light umbrella strollers are easier to handle operations wise.
    -They are not tanks,
    -They make the walkways less crowded (smaller)
    -Easier to move around
    -Take up less space next to each other in stroller parking lots.
    Its really win win. And Disney's stroller rental prices havn't gone up in years unlike food and merch and tickets. So if more people are using the umbrella strollers its better for the park. Back in the day people brought more strollers than they rented, if this is returning to that, then that is better. Plus it might convince some people that the giant tank strollers they bring are not needed.

    Now I'm not a parent who rents strollers, and as an old CM I know the problems strollers have been causing, so maybe my opinion on this isn't the same as others. But even when we used strollers we brought one of those fold up umbrella strollers, its easier on us and the people around us (especially on the resort busses). I prefer those umbrella strollers (plus less storage room, might convince people to leave some stuff home).
    But when everything is increasing in price, a stroller price increase expected. It might be high however. And if it helps the operation, its better. Thats what the parks are about. Rides and attractions, and anything to make visiting those easier is better (next up, drop Fast Pass).
    But again, I myself have not seen any decrease in those stroller rentals. Just like ECVs...people want them and pay ridiculous prices for them.

  3. #3

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    I highly disagree with strollers not being an issue at WDW - I was at the MK on a pretty quiet mid-week January day, and strollers were EVERYWHERE. They overtook a huge chunk of Fantasyland. I can only imagine what would happen on the crowded peak days. This area was already congested as it was. I have a picture somewhere of all these strollers, if I find it I will post it later.

    While Fantasyland was the worst, they also took up large chunks of Tomorrowland and Frontierland. Oddly enough, I also witnessed many people with strollers packed to the gills with anything but children. Raising the prices would discourage more folks without a true need for them from getting them!

  4. #4

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    This is the exact model: Part #: 36504RH / kcrft005

    It looks like Disney is charging essentially the same price as online.

    True enough about narrowness of umbrella strollers, and the ease of moving them around. But I really have seen a drop off in Disney rentals (not a drop off in strollers in general), and I've also seen an increase in those red Kolcraft strollers.

    And I should have made mention of Fantasyland. That is one place that is overcrowded, to be sure. Disneyland is even worse!
    Kevin Yee
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    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  5. #5

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    I think Kevin's gone off the deep end this time. Disney should implement the same policy at Disneyland. Maybe this will stop parents from renting cheap strollers so their 10 year old kids don't have to walk and can play their Nintendo DS in their spare time. My wife and I used a stroller similar to the one WDW is now selling. It folds up easy, takes up less room, and is tons easier to get on and off the bus and tram. We would carry all the kids' supplies in a backpack.

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    Better, more foresighted solution:

    Disney-branded Birth Control

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    I'm not sure I agree with Kevin's premise that having more strollers available is decreasing the guest experience overall. I would imagine that I see more Disney patrons *without* young stroller-age children and those families would be much happier navigating the walkways without as many strollers. Perhaps the Disney Accountanteers (cute name) really do care about guest relations and it turned out to be a "win-win".

    Not to hijack this thread, but I do believe that one of Disney's problems over the last two decades has been excessively marketing the parks to children who are of stroller age. I believe the Disney park experience is not optimized for them, and in fact it is only really after they get past age 4 or so that they "get" it. The Unofficial Guide chapter on "The Agony" pretty much sums this up, but I do believe most of the stroller age children are not really the targets - their parents are.

    In other words, if you're too young to walk, you're not ready for the park. If you *can* walk, you don't need a stroller. Yeah, I know I'm going to get flamed for that, and there definitely exceptions, but I see way too many children in strollers who really just need to get up and exercise more. If they're tired, it's pretty much end of day for them anyway, and it's probably better if they just take a nap. Maybe that's what Disney needs more of - nap benches in the park!

    Of course, I do believe strollers are necessary for parents who happen to be bringing children of mixed ages, and it's a necessary part of life just to keep sanity within a large family. That also said, I do think we baby our kids too much and they really should be getting a lot more exercise. If you've ever traveled to poorer countries you'll know what I mean - they don't have strollers, and the kids develop physical muscles just fine without any significant difference in later injuries.

  8. #8

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    Quote Originally Posted by pjhorton21 View Post
    Maybe this will stop parents from renting cheap strollers so their 10 year old kids don't have to walk and can play their Nintendo DS in their spare time
    I see this SO often, and it absolutely makes me sick. No wonder were raising a nation of obese kids.

    As I'm out of the "Stroller Demographic" this has zero impact on me. But anything that can reduce the stroller parking lots in front of Philharmagic and all over Disneyland is a good thing.


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    Cool Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    Some interesting theories, but not sure I can buy it all. For instance, at DL, the idea that getting rid of ticket books has meant no A or B ticket rides being built certainly doesn't stand up to examination. They stopped building them long before that. I have in front of me a DL ticket book from 1980 and all of the A and B ticket attractions were built before 1960, without exception. I am glad they haven't gotten rid of them for the most part, of course. Even if you never ride, the Main St. vehicles and such are important parts of the show.

    And fastpass continues to be one of the greatest theme park innovations of all time.

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  10. #10

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    Quote Originally Posted by ralfrick View Post
    Some interesting theories, but not sure I can buy it all. For instance, at DL, the idea that getting rid of ticket books has meant no A or B ticket rides being built certainly doesn't stand up to examination. They stopped building them long before that. I have in front of me a DL ticket book from 1980 and all of the A and B ticket attractions were built before 1960, without exception. I am glad they haven't gotten rid of them for the most part, of course. Even if you never ride, the Main St. vehicles and such are important parts of the show.

    And fastpass continues to be one of the greatest theme park innovations of all time.

    A bientot.
    Thanks for the info on A and B tickets. That is quite interesting. So it was at least 22 years of no A/B tickets before the books were completely gone. I think it's safe to say one thing has nothing to do with the other.

    As for FP, I agree. I know that isn't the popular opinion, but it's mine. I don't think it's good for EVERY ride (I'd personally like to see Buzz and Roger Rabbit lose theirs) but for most rides it makes sense.


  11. #11

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    It's not just the restaurants, either. Have you ever been at a park on a day when the crowds are thin, but the lines move slowly at the big rides anyway? You're a victim of the spreadsheets. They are running only three of the trains on that roller-coaster that day, as a way to save labor costs. They could run five trains, but that costs more money in labor. So to save a piddling $24 or $50, the company has decided your wait time has to increase from 12 minutes to 30 minutes

    Yes, lets have the sandwich shop have 7 people working when its 3 in the afternoon, lets have Vons have 8 registers open at 10:30 PM, and most definitely I want the complete police force out protecting me at 4:00 AM. Yep, while I'm at it, guess I'll keep my second shift here at work even though orders are down 35%.

    Oh, by the way, when crowds are thin lines are less than 10 minute throughout the park. DLR or WDW, doesn't matter. I do 30 minutes on most busy days.

    Maybe I should stick with Knotts, they design rides with just one or two trains. This way I'll always know they are using their max capacity.

  12. #12

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    My wife and I had twins in December and we were planning to take a trip to WDW when they are about a year old. We wanted to rent the double stroller that Disney has as it is nice for them to take naps in and then we don't have to try to bring a double stoller or 2 single stollers on the plane. We are not going to rent a double stroller from Disney now as the price is outrageous. 2 single strollers is cheaper than 1 double stroller. This could increase stroller traffic.

    Even the single stroller rentals are overpriced though. It is much cheaper to buy 2 cheap srollers for $20 each and bring them, but that can be a huge hassle on the airplane. I will not buy one from Disney as they are way overpriced and then we have to take it home anyhow. We wont have a car to get one off property.

    The stollers are a nice convienience for the guests. Years ago we brought our own stroller for our older daughter when we went to DL and the stroller was stolen. Ever since then we have rented. It was always nice to be able to rent the stroller and not worry about it getting stolen or bringing it on the plane. There already is too much to bring with the kids. Twins are a LOT of work and this stroller issue makes things more hectic. A single double stoller would be easier than dealing with 2 single stollers. I just wish Disney would rethink this policy.

    If the parking of the stollers is a problem at the parks then fix that problem. Make better areas for parking them. I don't mind parking in one area in Fantasyland and carrying the kids around until we leave Fantasyland.

    If Disney wants to get out of the stroller business maybe they should let an outside company come in and rent the space. I am sure the stroller rentals more than pay for the labor, upkeep, etc for the strollers.

  13. #13

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    Great article Kevin. I think you got to the core of this issue with your argument about qualitative versus quantitative. Also, I have thought this for years and you have stated it well:

    “As radical as this sounds, I really think the one-day passport (and the Annual Passes which were spawned by them) did some harm to the parks.”


    Things changed drastically after the decision to go “passport”. And the AP issue on furthered that change. Yes I do have an AP, it just makes sense quantitatively for me!
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  14. #14

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    from kevin's article
    "The Disney park experience is more than the sum of spreadsheets"

    ahh - this is a great theory but has not been in practice for some time. Yes, they shuttled that at DLR for the 50th - but it took men with vision and passion (Ouimet and Emmer) to stand up to the spreadsheet hounds. However, that was not meant to last because they could never keep the pace of growth (remember, kids, public companies LOVE double digit growth).

    WDW it seems took on many of the DLR cost and management practices from the Pressler era sometime in early 2000s and has not looked back. While you have not seen the shame of a DCA model (more shops and eateries than attractions) you have seen the same cost management model that McKinsey provided to the Pressler management team when they took over (spend less on ops and make more money).

    Kevin moved to Orlando and the problems followed him - but it's harder to point out to management (and the media) and make them accountable because of the size of the property and the impact they have on that part of Florida. Sorry dude...
    Last edited by olegc; 04-24-2008 at 08:07 AM. Reason: added last line

  15. #15

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    Re: 4/24: Strollers & Spreadsheets

    I find this to be a very interesting column. Having been to Disneyland last week on what could be described as a moderately attendance day, I was overwhelmed by the strollers everywhere.

    I always have a great time and Disneyland but as of late I have really become annoyed by the strollers or more to the point, their owners. Just try walking down Main Street following the parade, or fireworks. There is a very good chance that you are going to be hit by a stroller.

    I have noticed that the age of kids in the strollers has gotten much older, I guess so that spoiled 10 years olds dont have to walk. I have even seen people without kids using strollers to carry their stuff around with all day.

    Only a few months ago I was getting on the tram from the parking structure where a woman literally started screaming at one of the workers because they wouldnt allow her to bring, not one, but two full size red wagons into the park. She was furious and cried foul.

    And once the park is closed, just try getting on the tram. Last week, despite the fact that we were in line for the tram long before some others, we had to wait for 3 trams because people were loading up their kids and strollers, claiming that they deserved priority seating.

    Not that long ago we spotted a couple who had their chihuahua in a stroller.

    I took my nephew to Disneyland last year. He was 3 years old at the time, and I made the realization that (now get ready to boo and hiss me) he was too young to really enjoy Disneyland. While he may have had a moment or two of wonder and excitements, most of the day he was bored or disinterested. I realized that I took him for my enjoyment more than his, and that was wrong.

    I cannot understand why anyone would take a child that is too small to go on any rides and comprehend what they are experiencing. There was a mother bragging once that she was celebrating her baby's 1 week birthday at Disneyland.

    I am not saying to ban strollers, but I am saying that parents should have some common sense when using them. They are for the purpose of shuttling little ones around, not for able bodied kids who should walk, and they are definitely not for toting around your stuff and your pet that shouldnt be in the park to begin with. If you have a stroller keep in mind that you ARE NOT entitled to priority seating on the tram, or that we should get out of your way.

    A little consideration from stroller users for then enjoyment of others would go a long way in making Disneyland even happier than it already is

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