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  1. #1

    • jonyyeh
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    WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Disney golf: Disney World to turn its golf courses over to Arnold Palmer - OrlandoSentinel.com

    After four decades, Walt Disney World is getting out of the golf business.

    The giant resort said Wednesday it has struck a 20-year-deal to turn over its five golf courses to a group headlined by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. The move pairs Disney World's courses with one of golf's best-recognized brand names while also allowing the resort step back from a business that has become less attractive amid competition from a glut of new courses built during the housing bubble.

    Under the deal, Arnold Palmer Golf Management will take over day-to-day operations of each of Disney World's golf courses: Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Osprey Ridge and Oak Trail. Financial terms weren't disclosed, though the Palmer group will make annual lease payments to Disney and split revenue earned from the courses with the resort.

    Roughly 330 Disney employees will be impacted by the move. Disney said each will be offered other jobs, at comparable pay, elsewhere at the resort.

    For Disney, a key attraction is the involvement of Palmer, considered one of the greatest players in the history of professional golf. The resort is banking on the association with Palmer to help set its courses apart in a crowded marketplace and lure more golfers who may have ignored Disney World in the past.

    "This deal would not have gotten done if it had not been for Mr. Palmer's engagement and his desire to associate his brand with the Disney brand," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises.

    As part of the deal, Palmer will personally oversee a redesign of Disney's Palm course. The renovation isn't likely to be complete until at least 2013.


    ---------- Post added 08-24-2011 at 10:34 AM ----------

    Not really sure what to make of this, since I never played golf at any of the WDW golf courses. I do recall that golf course green fees were free for Premium APs during certain times, so Disney probably did have trouble attracting people to the golf courses.

  2. #2

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    I find it sad that yet another part of WDW has been outsourced. This won't have a huge effect on me as I'm not much of a golfer, and for all I know, Arnold Palmer Golf may do a better job running things than Disney did, but IMHO it's indicative of the fact that Disney wants to de-leverage themselves from resort entertainment as much as possible. And that's sad.

    If the golf courses were having trouble attracting business, IMO, the way Disney markets Parks and Resorts (and particularly WDW) deserves a large share of the blame. If you look back at WDW's history as recently as the mid-'90s (but particularly in the early years of the resort) WDW was known as "The Vacation Kingdom of the World." There was an emphasis on the diversity of activities one could enjoy at WDW, and many of these activities were targeted specifically at adults. Look back at WDW brochures and advertisements from its first decade and you'll see a plethora of photos showing adults boating, dining, golfing, shopping, etc. with nary a child in sight. Of course everyone knew that WDW was a place to bring the family, but WDW's advertising served to emphasise that it was also so much more than that.

    Compare that to the way the resort is advertised now. Every single piece of promotional material in existence features small children. If there are adults, their only function is to be the parents of said small children. The children will invariably be interacting with one of the Fab 5 or a princess, or possibly riding a Fantasyland ride or holding a balloon. No mention will be made of any activities one can enjoy outside of the theme parks (unless it's an advertisement for La Nouba or shopping at DTD - even then, the advertisement will be geared towards shopping for kitschy Disney merchandise with/for your children). It's no wonder why people wouldn't see WDW as a place to go golfing. I'd be amazed if most people - outside of locals and diehard fans - are even aware that that's offered at WDW.
    Last edited by PSUMark; 08-24-2011 at 10:42 AM.
    I knew if this business was ever to get anywhere, if this business was ever to grow, it could never do it by having to answer to someone unsympathetic to its possibilities, by having to answer to someone with only one thought or interest, namely profits. For my idea of how to make profits has differed greatly from those who generally control businesses such as ours. I have blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship, will win against all odds.
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  3. #3

    • 1,200 Miles from da Mouse
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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    I golf at WDW about once or twice a year, I enjoy the challenge of the courses offered, I hope that they keep the Premium AP benefit of the free golfing seeing as that's one of the reasons I finally broke down and got myself an AP...but golfing at WDW has lost some of it's luster with the more resorts that they cram around the courses, I mean If I'm playing at LBV and there's one bus every 15/20 min on the nearby road no biggie, if there's one every 10 min or more, that's too distracting and loud which is why most courses are built AWAY from cities or more towards the outskirts of a city, I play golf to get away from the outside world, and listening to it takes away some of the enjoyment for me at least...

    If Arnold Palmer Group is managing the courses though that means good things for the golf courses as I have played on their courses and they are meticulous in their keeping of the greens...
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  4. #4

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    I find this to be sad.
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  5. #5

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Actually this doesn't sound like a big deal. I work on a golf course and at least out here, this type of thing is common. Even city-owned courses turn their management over to a different company for them to run. What it sounds like is Disney still owns the golf courses, they just don't necessarily run them. And the Arnold Palmer group might make these great golf courses even better. But again, this is common in the golf world.

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  6. #6

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Quote Originally Posted by Pizzapants View Post
    Actually this doesn't sound like a big deal. I work on a golf course and at least out here, this type of thing is common. Even city-owned courses turn their management over to a different company for them to run. What it sounds like is Disney still owns the golf courses, they just don't necessarily run them. And the Arnold Palmer group might make these great golf courses even better. But again, this is common in the golf world.
    But the Golf world isn't the same as WDW or properties setup by TWDC.

    I'm saddened by this outsourcing.

    Though it fits right in with some of the earlier efforts of letting others handle the development and operation of things in the parks... and not too far off of the idea of even selling the parks. Seems like more and more TWDC is more interested in collecting the check rather then being the innovator
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  7. #7

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    But the Golf world isn't the same as WDW or properties setup by TWDC.

    I'm saddened by this outsourcing.

    Though it fits right in with some of the earlier efforts of letting others handle the development and operation of things in the parks... and not too far off of the idea of even selling the parks. Seems like more and more TWDC is more interested in collecting the check rather then being the innovator
    I agree with you, but Disney never really has been an innovator in the golf world. Anything beyond the golf courses being outsourced would be a sad, sad shame, and I really hope they don't get comfortable with outsourcing. But for right now, letting someone else run the golf courses isn't that bad. As long as that's where they stop.

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  8. #8

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    but that's just it.. there is no sign of stopping, only increasing.

    From valets, transportation, restaurants, now entire entertainment offerings, etc.
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  9. #9

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Don't know what to think about this. One the one hand, it's great that Disney is bringing in an appealing and innovative brand name to the resort, which might draw more golfers to WDW. And it sounds like maintenance and operations will be improved.

    But on the other hand, why does Disney have to bring in someone else to run, maintain, and brand the golf courses? What happened to having the best maintenance, operations, and branding of any product? It makes me sad that Disney's 44-sq mile Floridian oasis is now being increasingly handed over to outside companies than can supposedly do the job better than Disney can.


  10. #10

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Good and bad I suppose...probably more laziness on part of the management than anything. Just passing the buck but hey there might be some benefits to having Arnold Palmer running them. Here's hoping they don't outsource more.

  11. #11

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    As an example of what the company's attitude towards outsourcing used to be, if you read Realityland by David Koenig, you'll find that Disney originally contracted outside luxury hotel companies to run the Contemporary and the Polynesian for a fixed period of time. This was because Disney had no experience running hotels (remember, at this time the Disneyland Hotel was owned/run by Jack Wrather as opposed to Disney) and was afraid of entering an entirely new line of business without watching the "pros" do it first.

    It took only a few months for Dick Nunis to become so frustrated with how the resorts were run by the outsiders that he terminated the contract (paying a hefty fee to do so). Disney then assumed operation of the hotels themselves. The reason? Despite the outsiders being some of the best in the business, they didn't do things the Disney way. Nunis felt they were too snooty towards guests. Points of contention included the guests being told by hotel employees that they had to wear tennis whites at the tennis courts, and one incident where Nunis witnessed a hotel employee directing guests to walk around an area that was being cleaned. Nunis was quoted was as angrily telling the employee, "We don't tell our guests where they can and can't walk."

    Can anyone imagine today's TWDC (which is outsourcing the development of its five star luxury hotel to Four Seasons) doing anything like this?? Sad how much things have changed...
    I knew if this business was ever to get anywhere, if this business was ever to grow, it could never do it by having to answer to someone unsympathetic to its possibilities, by having to answer to someone with only one thought or interest, namely profits. For my idea of how to make profits has differed greatly from those who generally control businesses such as ours. I have blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship, will win against all odds.
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  12. #12

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Will I be able to order an Arnold Palmer in the restaurants now?

  13. #13

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Hmmmmm
    Valet Parking at the resorts is outsourced
    Most of the general landscaping on property is outsourced
    Many restaurants, and an increasing number are outsourced
    Transportation to/from the resort is Outsourced (Disney magical Express and Cruise Line
    Now the Golf Course management is outsourced
    Even the balloon sellers in the parks are outsourced.
    Yet, Backstage areas are being converted into manager offices.

    Disney is turning into a place with too many chiefs and not enough indians.

  14. #14

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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    As a golfer and a WDW fan, I am sort of torn on this issue. While I don't like the fact that WDW is outsourcing operations at every turn, I think this will be a good thing for the courses. As part of this deal, Arnie's firm will be plussing the Palm course and generally, I forsee many course improvements. Overall I feel that if another company can do it better, then maybe it's in Disney's best interest to allow them to do their job. Disney was and still is an innovator in many fields, but they are not the best in every field. A trainer in an orientation session I was in put it a really good way... Could Disney build and run a movie theater? Absolutely, no question; the Imagineers could easily design it, operations could easily run it. However, AMC has been in the game longer and provides an exceptional movie experience (as a movie goer, I agree with this assessment, I consider AMC to be one of, if not the best theater chain). Disney could do it, but in this case, AMC could have it up, operational, and already to a great quality right off the bat.

    Now, this concept does not work in every case. But even I have to grudgingly admit it works in many. The Disney golf courses are fun, and they are run well (although, I've never been to a golf course before or after a certain round at the Magnolia where the course ranger informed my playing partner and I that we were playing too fast!) but I didn't think they were exceptional. I've played a few Arnie-designed courses up here in the Midwest, and they were definitely exceptional. As a golfer, I am cautiously, but mostly, optimistic.

    Overall, I would say that as long as these managerial and operational arrangements stay unnoticed to the guests, I don't see a problem with their use. Once they start to become a problem (which, honestly, they may never), then I will among those here with torches and pitchforks!
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    Re: WDW Golf Courses Will Now Be Managed by Arnold Palmer Group

    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr View Post
    Hmmmmm
    Valet Parking at the resorts is outsourced
    Most of the general landscaping on property is outsourced
    Many restaurants, and an increasing number are outsourced
    Transportation to/from the resort is Outsourced (Disney magical Express and Cruise Line
    Now the Golf Course management is outsourced
    Even the balloon sellers in the parks are outsourced.
    Yet, Backstage areas are being converted into manager offices.

    Disney is turning into a place with too many chiefs and not enough indians.
    Soon (Maybe another 10 years), The Walt Disney Co. will be the world's greatest entertainment Management company but hardly any employees.

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