I've called it WalMarting. Kevin Yee calls it Declining By Degrees. The consultants who whisper in JR's ears call it branding, standardizing (i.e.homogenizing) the product.
I've got a new phrase for it: Marginalizing the Magic.
It came to me in Las Vegas when I pulled into a Disney outlet and saw my first batch of Disney Parks 'Where Dreams Come True' tees and sweatshirts on sale ... it was later drilled home when I checked into the Mirage for the NATPE Convention only to see the place has lost its soul in the two years since I've last been there. The whole theme has been thrown out the window, much like Treasure Island (I won't call it by the ridiculous TI moniker it now sports, guess they didn't see pirates being kewl again?) and the MGM-Grand. They all have one theme: generic, uber-hip, expense-account priced, no personality mega-resort/casinos. So sure they now have disparate elements that don't fit, like a hip clubby restaurant with ultra-modern decor in the middle of a tropical rainforest.
That's exactly in a nutshell what Disney is attempting to do. Forget local audiences and tastes. Forget about theming and a sense of place. It's GENERIC DISNEY MAGIC that sells. That's why Main Street looks like an outlet mall gone bad. That's why there's a Pirates merchandise cart set up in the Innoventions West breezeway. It's all about getting away from the details and focusing on a more general and, naturally, easier-to-hit mark. Parks and their offerings are interchangeable. One size fits all. Makes for a better bottom line, right? Or does it?
Obviously, I don't think so.
But if the consultants think so, they must be right, right?
You don't earn seven or eight figure checks for ruining peoples' businesses do you? For replacing Coke with New Coke? For building parks on the cheap? For telling companies who run hotels and resorts, 'Of course you don't have to vacuum that $400 a night room. Who looks down? And if they find a six-month old piece of cereal, who cares?'
What I find amazing is that some of the "top" consultants who previously damaged companies like McDonald's and Disney now are doing likewise for MGM-Mirage. It shouldn't surprise me, I guess.
But do you really want the USA to be a country where everything comes down to the lowest common denominator? Where it's all about cutting quality in the name of efficiency? Where everyone is either filthy rich, dirt poor, or a paycheck away from losing their house or car? Because that's what the consultants agenda is ... and corporate America is hooked on like it's crack.