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  1. #16

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    The best book on Michael Eisner-era Disney is Keys to the Kingdom, by Kim Masters. If you're interested in learning what was going on within the company at that time, you're not going to find a better source of information.

  2. #17

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by PSUMark View Post
    This. 100% this.
    The Disney quotes represent a business model that everyone wants to hear. In all honesty your are most likely the product of Walt AND a good PR guy. Also compare the company's performance under Walt and then under Eisner (who started booming profits with the single-ticket admission, another positive he brought to the company), and also look at growth under each leader. Tell me who did better for the company. Walt was an innovator, yes, but he may not have been the best businessman.

  3. #18

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    The Disney quotes represent a business model that everyone wants to hear. In all honesty your are most likely the product of Walt AND a good PR guy.
    Do some research on Walt's life, look at the decisions he made throughout his career, and then tell me that he was in it for the money. Walt never went for the quick buck and was usually just barely on the right side of bankruptcy, but his incredible risks always paid off. That's because his "quality will out" philosophy always proved to be right.

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    Also compare the company's performance under Walt and then under Eisner (who started booming profits with the single-ticket admission, another positive he brought to the company), and also look at growth under each leader. Tell me who did better for the company. Walt was an innovator, yes, but he may not have been the best businessman.
    Well, considering that Walt started with literally nothing, and Eisner started with a hugely successful multi-national entertainment company, it's not hard to see who grew more. Eisner also did not bring single-ticket admission; that occurred when EPCOT Center opened, which was several years before Eisner came onboard (another one of Ron Miller's successes that is often incorrectly attributed to Eisner).

    From a pure profit perspective, you can make a case that Eisner was a better leader than Walt. You pretty much have to ignore everything Eisner did after 1994, but fair enough - for a good decade, Eisner was very successful from a business standpoint; probably the most successful executive Disney ever had. But last I checked, this is a Disney fan site and not an investing web site. From the standpoint of upholding the standards of the company and delivering fan satisfaction, it's laughable to even think about comparing Eisner to Walt.
    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.
    -Walt Disney



  4. #19

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by PSUMark View Post
    But last I checked, this is a Disney fan site and not an investing web site. From the standpoint of upholding the standards of the company and delivering fan satisfaction, it's laughable to even think about comparing Eisner to Walt.
    And that's the problem with these sites...sometimes they ignore the fact that Disney is a business, and like every other business sets out to make money, and needs to make money. I'm sorry if that ruins your perception that Disney is a magical place where all everyone cares about is having a happy day, but it's the truth. You wanna go to Disney, well they gotta make a profit.

    I think it's laughable to say that Walt Disney never set out to make money...everyone in life sets out to make money it's the foundation of market economies. He WAS a businessman, but Eisner was a better one, and therefore he was a great CEO.

  5. #20

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    The Disney quotes represent a business model that everyone wants to hear. In all honesty your are most likely the product of Walt AND a good PR guy. Also compare the company's performance under Walt and then under Eisner (who started booming profits with the single-ticket admission, another positive he brought to the company), and also look at growth under each leader. Tell me who did better for the company. Walt was an innovator, yes, but he may not have been the best businessman.
    You are operating under the fallacy that quantity is always best. That is not a sustainable model and only creates unrealistic expectations.

  6. #21

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?





    "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.
    ...I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place. A place where adults and children
    can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it."
    - Walt Disney


    "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
    - Michael Eisner


    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  7. #22

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    You are operating under the fallacy that quantity is always best. That is not a sustainable model and only creates unrealistic expectations.
    Profit is what drives not only business but the American economy. It's literally the first thing they teach you in any economics class. I'm not saying Walt was bad...he is my top role model no doubt. But Eisner was not the monster people make him out to be. If more people ran businesses like some posters apparently believe they should, we would be in a very slow economy with no competition and therefore no improvement of products, no changes in price, and no expansion.

    ---------- Post added 04-12-2012 at 07:29 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post




    "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.
    ...I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place. A place where adults and children
    can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it."
    - Walt Disney


    "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
    - Michael Eisner


    Again, I agree Walt was a better creative leader for Disney...I'm not even suggesting he's better than Eisner overall. But there's no doubt that while Eisner may have lacked the same creative vision, he was very good to the company in the long run.

  8. #23

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    And that's the problem with these sites...sometimes they ignore the fact that Disney is a business, and like every other business sets out to make money, and needs to make money. I'm sorry if that ruins your perception that Disney is a magical place where all everyone cares about is having a happy day, but it's the truth. You wanna go to Disney, well they gotta make a profit.

    I think it's laughable to say that Walt Disney never set out to make money...everyone in life sets out to make money it's the foundation of market economies. He WAS a businessman, but Eisner was a better one, and therefore he was a great CEO.
    This is a strawman argument and you're misconstruing my point. I agreed with you that Disney is a for-profit company and needs to make money. No one is arguing this. No one with a brain would dispute this.

    Walt made money. Eisner made money. I would argue that for Walt money was a goal, but was not the primary ends and more of a means. For Eisner, money was the only goal.

    By what metric was Eisner a better businessman? Yes, he had huge successes. He also had catastrophic failures. Euro Disney, ABC/Capital Cities (which was a money pit for roughly the first decade after Eisner bought it), FOX/ABC Family, DCA. Just about every venture that Eisner undertook in the latter half of his career failed.

    Both Walt and Eisner had successes and failures. Who is now revered as a legend? Who engendered trust with the public? Who is now reviled by the company's most devoted customers? Those things have business implications. Eisner was chased out of his own company by the shareholders, and it wasn't because he was making too much money. When you can't deliver what your customers want/expect, eventually that results in lower profits. You can't cut costs forever. Eventually, there's nothing left to cut. And before that happens, your customers stop being willing to pay the same exorbitant prices you're charging for less quality.

    The Walt business model may not produce the same numbers as quickly, but it's more sustainable. It would've been a lot cheaper to build DCA right the first time. Walt was right in that over time, "quality will out."

    ---------- Post added 04-12-2012 at 11:42 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    Profit is what drives not only business but the American economy. It's literally the first thing they teach you in any economics class. I'm not saying Walt was bad...he is my top role model no doubt. But Eisner was not the monster people make him out to be. If more people ran businesses like some posters apparently believe they should, we would be in a very slow economy with no competition and therefore no improvement of products, no changes in price, and no expansion.
    You're arguing against a position that no one here holds. No one is saying profits aren't important/necessary/the main driving force behind business. What we're saying is, you have to consider the long term health and integrity of your organization in pursuing profits. If you sacrifice brand integrity and public trust in the pursuit of profits, what happens 10 years down the road when people won't gobble up all the direct-to-video sequels you're pumping out because they know that they're all garbage? For a service/entertainment oriented corporation like Disney, you have to care about customer satisfaction and the public image of your company.

    Walt got this. Walt almost bankrupted himself before he went anywhere, because he refused to put out a substandard cartoon because he knew that having a name that people associated with quality was necessary to where he wanted to take his business. Another company that understands this is Apple. Steve Jobs advised Iger to simplify Disney's brand identity and focus on doing less things better - Iger took this advice and in doing so, rolled back a lot of the expansion that Eisner was responsible for (scaling back Touchstone, selling off Miramax, closing Pleasure Island to name a few). Are you saying that Eisner's business model is better than Jobs'?

    The question is not "making money" vs. "not making money." It's how. Walt's vision was a heck of a lot more sustainable and healthy for the company, and Walt's longevity at the helm, as well as the company's more steady success under Walt's leadership, bears that out.
    Last edited by PSUMark; 04-12-2012 at 07:45 PM.
    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.
    -Walt Disney



  9. #24

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by PSUMark View Post
    This is a strawman argument and you're misconstruing my point. I agreed with you that Disney is a for-profit company and needs to make money. No one is arguing this. No one with a brain would dispute this.

    Walt made money. Eisner made money. I would argue that for Walt money was a goal, but was not the primary ends and more of a means. For Eisner, money was the only goal.

    By what metric was Eisner a better businessman? Yes, he had huge successes. He also had catastrophic failures. Euro Disney, ABC/Capital Cities (which was a money pit for roughly the first decade after Eisner bought it), FOX/ABC Family, DCA. Just about every venture that Eisner undertook in the latter half of his career failed.

    Both Walt and Eisner had successes and failures. Who is now revered as a legend? Who engendered trust with the public? Who is now reviled by the company's most devoted customers? Those things have business implications. Eisner wasn't chased out of his own company by the shareholders because he was making too much money. When you can't deliver what your customers want/expect, eventually that results in lower profits. You can't cut costs forever. Eventually, there's nothing left to cut. And before that happens, your customers stop being willing to pay the same exorbitant prices you're charging for less quality.

    The Walt business model may not produce the same numbers as quickly, but it's more sustainable. It would've been a lot cheaper to build DCA right the first time. Walt was right in that over time, "quality will out."
    Michael Eisner did a huge things, and a lot of them. I explained in an earlier post, when you have so many achievements obviously there will be some failures that is part of taking risks. It's just easier to focus on the failures, because, well, they're failures. People focus on that. If you look at all the things Eisner brought to the Disney company, and then imagine Disney without it, you'd be disappointed I think--I sure would be (particularly about the cruise ships). And yes Walt Disney is considered a legend, he also founded the company. Plus it can be argued that Eisner will also go down in history he's obviously famous considering we're talking about him right now.
    Now, I'm not discrediting the importance of guest satisfaction; but that responsibility relies on the creative department. I'm talking about making the company grow and in that respect Eisner was arguably not a failure. At all.

  10. #25

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    Michael Eisner did a huge things, and a lot of them. I explained in an earlier post, when you have so many achievements obviously there will be some failures that is part of taking risks. It's just easier to focus on the failures, because, well, they're failures. People focus on that. If you look at all the things Eisner brought to the Disney company, and then imagine Disney without it, you'd be disappointed I think--I sure would be (particularly about the cruise ships). And yes Walt Disney is considered a legend, he also founded the company. Plus it can be argued that Eisner will also go down in history he's obviously famous considering we're talking about him right now.
    Now, I'm not discrediting the importance of guest satisfaction; but that responsibility relies on the creative department. I'm talking about making the company grow and in that respect Eisner was arguably not a failure. At all.
    That rapid growth is what killed Eisner. It was not built on solid foundations. In order to deliver quality was cut to make the books look better. Constant massive growth is simply not sustainable.

  11. #26

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    That rapid growth is what killed Eisner. It was not built on solid foundations. In order to deliver quality was cut to make the books look better. Constant massive growth is simply not sustainable.
    That is true. But in the long run I think his reign was beneficial to the company. The thread asks for my opinion on the Eisner-era, I thought it focused too much on the negatives.

  12. #27

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by PSUMark View Post
    DHS
    Eisner's original vision for DHS was actually pretty awesome, IMHO. (How the plans for it were kind of stolen from Universal is probably pretty unethical, but that's another story.) Walt Disney Productions had always been, as a studio, outside of the Hollywood mainstream. Eisner came from Paramount, and was very much within the Hollywood mainstream. Eisner wanted to build a park that would not only head off competition from Universal, but also leave his mark on WDW - something that only he could bring to the table in the "Hollywoodness" of it. Thus we got DHS, which as it was originally conceived - a real, working studio that also had a theme park "front end" was pretty awesome. The tram tour was relevant because you could see real things being filmed. The animation tour had a point because you could watch real Disney animators at work. And most of all, the theming of the place - as it was originally constructed/planned - was actually coherent. DHS was a good park when it opened, albeit a "half day" park that was knowingly and intentionally constructed as a half day park.

    Two things then happened - (1) guests were understandably unhappy about paying a full day's price for a park that offered half the experience and twice the wait as the MK or Epcot, and (2) the "real working studio concept" started to fizzle out and eventually died. As a result of these two things, multiple expansion efforts were put in place to give the park more to offer and distract from the fact that it was no longer a real working studio. Over the last 23 years, that's led to what we have today, which is a mishmash of concepts - some of which are awesome and some of which suck - thrown together in a single park without a coherent identity or purpose for being. It's not too unlike DCA pre-refurb, except that DCA was built that way, whereas DHS has slowly, painfully devolved into that.

    So how much is Eisner to blame for it? Well, DHS is his park - it reflects his personality and approach to Disney theme parks, but it's important to remember that DHS as it exists today was not what he intended it to be, and some of what it is today is due to forces beyond his control. That doesn't excuse him from all the blame though, because he did oversee a good portion of its slide into mediocrity.
    Part of it also had to do with his determination - nay, obsession - with beating Universal to the punch, which he succeeded at doing. While DHS opened in May 1989, Universal did not open until a year later. You can read up on that in David Koenig's "Realityland".
    My top favorite Disneyland attractions:

    1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Mad Tea Party
    5. Peter Pan's Flight
    6. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

  13. #28

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Not only Eisneh, but you should really take a look at Paul Pressler. Not only did he nearly run Disneyland into the ground, he pretty much did the same thing to the GAP.

  14. #29

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post




    "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.
    ...I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place. A place where adults and children
    can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it."
    - Walt Disney


    "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
    - Michael Eisner


    "D#%& it Ward, a man's got to have a few vices."
    - Walt Disney

    "I feel like there's something we're forgetting. ... Adventureland!"
    - Walt Disney

    Sorry, couldn't resist. I actually agree with most of what your saying. The Eisner, Katzenberg, Wells team was hired for one reason, to prevent a takeover and have the company broken up and sold off. That crisis was averted. A lot of good came out of that period and I want to give Eisner some credit for it but the way I see it, most of those successes should be attributed to Katzenberg and Wells. The evidence is that when Wells died and Eisner's ego drove Katzenberg out, the whole operation went off the rails. Eisner's ego was his biggest problem. It drove away Pixar. It made the Weinsteins leave Miramax, the company that they created. It's hard to say that Eisner deserves any credit for anything because he drove away so much talent because he wanted all the credit for the things they did.

    The loss of Beastly Kingdom is easy to pin on Eisner. Budgets got cut thanks to the Strategic Planning division he created and one of the lands had to be eliminated. It came down to Beastly Kingdom (the #1 reason people said they wanted to visit this park according to guest polls) or Dinoland USA, which had an attraction that had a movie tie in for an immensely expensive film (Dinosaur) that was about to come out. As we all know, Eisner picked the movie tie-in.

    I think the most damaging thing he did was the way he changed the culture of the company. He took a company that was built around a collegiate atmosphere designed to lift everyone up to levels beyond their individual abilities, and turned it into a shark tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    Yes, but how one seeks to calculate that profit has been made is a big part of the game. Before Pressler, the Resorts were measured more in the big picture. The goal was for the entire complex to make money. This allowed for smaller attractions and shops and other specialties, as their breaking even and maybe even losses were made up for elsewhere. This was a bit of a problem when it came to Disneyland Paris as it was all brought down by the hotels. Under Pressler's leadership Disneyland and then Walt Disney Parks and Resorts switched to a retail business model in which the individual components are all measured for their profitability. This killed any room for the little things that made the experience and played a role in creating the so-called "Disney magic." Terms like Disneyland or Walt Disney World are now more labels for a variety of businesses within a geographic proximity. The top selling items became the only items and the situation devolved into a glorified mall filled with only variations on the same store.
    Oh and this. And the ridiculous, "Everything must have a story" decree.
    Last edited by Dapper Dan; 04-12-2012 at 11:12 PM.
    It bothers me when people selectively edit quotes to support whatever point they are trying to prove.

  15. #30

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    Re: What is your opinion of Michael Eisner and his legacy for WDW?

    Sadly, it seems as though Eisner's highs are overshadowed by his lows.
    My top favorite Disneyland attractions:

    1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Mad Tea Party
    5. Peter Pan's Flight
    6. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

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