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  1. #1

    • Darkbeer
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    Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    I found these interesting comments over at the Orlando Sentinel Web Site.


    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/com...isney_wel.html


    Growing up in southern California, I knew that Disney catered to locals. It used to be true here in Orlando, from what I've heard and hoped would be true. But since moving to Windemere with backdoor access to WDW, I've noticed a disturbing trend, which Sentinel reporter Scott Joseph articulated so well in his review of Citricos. Well said, Scott.

    As frequent Disney guests, we notice the second-class treatment just because we're not staying on-site. It's been especially apparent since the promotion of the pervasive "dining plan." It's even worse if you're adults without children, which was not always true. I loved how Scott highlighted these points. No wonder we've discovered since moving here we'd rather come in from out-of-town and stay on-site--so maybe that's their plan. But with that Disney mindset, aren't they missing out on a ready-made, lucrative business segment from locals? Maybe they don't need our money.

    It's often difficult to gain access to the resorts if you're not a guest. If you're dining at one of the resort restaurants, it's a bit easier, although sometimes we just want to have a drink at the bar and soak up the atmosphere. The good news, though, is that the Disney Dining Experience card now includes bars, lounges, and all sit-down restaurants in their plan and, therefore, you can use the valet parking. This greatly enhances the local experience.

    In the end, being a local at Disney is a mixed-bag. And while in our early days of visiting Disney on day trips we seemed to solicit a knowing grin when we said we were "locals," today it just seems awkward. So, instead of using the "l" word, maybe we should just say we're from "fill-in-the-blank." It might go over better with those used to reciting a Disney script.
    Yes, I know that WDW sells discounted AP's and some other from of ParkHoppers to folks who live in Florida, but with all the "extras" given just to the Hotel guests, has WDW created a two-tier system?
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

  2. #2

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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Why don't they give AP discounts to us So Cal residents?

  3. #3

    • World Traveler
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    Yes, I know that WDW sells discounted AP's and some other from of ParkHoppers to folks who live in Florida, but with all the "extras" given just to the Hotel guests, has WDW created a two-tier system?
    Other than early (or extra hours) entry into the theme parks, I don't really think there are many benefits to staying onsite. Anyone can still use the WDW transportation system and being able to charge things to your room account is no big deal.

    You can still make dining "reservations" if you don't stay at a Disney resort.


  4. #4

    • враг народа
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by barfownz View Post
    Why don't they give AP discounts to us So Cal residents?
    Disneyland does offer discounted admission for residents of southern California and northern Baja California. As such, Walt Disney World offer discounts for Florida residents.

    I'm not really sure what the author is getting at. Has the dining plan reduced the number of tables available for reservation? Or are hotel guests getting meals they otherwise would not pay for?

  5. #5

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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    Yes, I know that WDW sells discounted AP's and some other from of ParkHoppers to folks who live in Florida, but with all the "extras" given just to the Hotel guests, has WDW created a two-tier system?
    I'd hope so. People who don't live conveniently close have earned priority because they're paying through the nose just to be there.

    IMO, DL needs to stop chintzy'fying up it's park with garbage like Rockin' The Coasters and become a real national treasure again that people are willing to go to at a big expense.

    Do you know in Las Vegas most locals avoid the Strip for the prices, etc? They go these little casinos with names like Palace Station or Suncoast that offer more marginally-priced gambling with no celebrity restaurants, exotic animals, or world-class entertainment driving the price through the roof.

    Well, WDW has become the strip and DL has become Suncoast. It's a shame IMO.

  6. #6

    • MiceAge Columnist
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    I'm not really sure what the author is getting at. Has the dining plan reduced the number of tables available for reservation? Or are hotel guests getting meals they otherwise would not pay for?
    Yes, and yes. This, by amazing coincidence, is the article I've been working on for some time and will go up this week.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    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

  7. #7

    • Circle of Ancients
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by barfownz View Post
    Why don't they give AP discounts to us So Cal residents?
    Because there are already ... what 700,000 Annual Passholders for Disneyland and DCA. They don't need to discount here.


  8. #8

    • Waiting for my E-Ticket
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    Yes, I know that WDW sells discounted AP's and some other from of ParkHoppers to folks who live in Florida
    They give us a 10% discount on regular Magic Your Way tickets.

  9. #9

    • Tom Chaney R.I. P.
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    What a waste of time to even read this, its just ones person review of a story of one restaurant. The blog poster Kathy Holmes then try’s and fails to builds a case with “Does Disney Welcome Locals? No facts no support for anything she says except a restaurant review. Sorry her quote is helpful as a squire gun in a forest fire!
    THIS SPACE FOR SALE OR LEASE





    PRESIDENT OF THE DISNEYLAND LOOP LOVERS ASSOCIATION

  10. #10

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    Has the dining plan reduced the number of tables available for reservation? Or are hotel guests getting meals they otherwise would not pay for?
    well more people would be on the dining plan then they normally would.. so more people are in the resturants then if they had to pay out of pocket. And more people are staying in disney hotels then if they didn't get the free dining plan.

    But its exactly what Disney wanted.. to drive onsite bookings, so I don't see the fuss.

  11. #11

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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    dining plan is for the out of towners... locals know if they don't get a spot, they just drive off property to international or 192 and get something... its not too hard.

    it is a two tiered system, but it favored for the non locals because it might be their only time... versus the AP program which is being hevily promoted now who are locals and can come whenever.

  12. #12

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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    Yes, I know that WDW sells discounted AP's and some other from of ParkHoppers to folks who live in Florida, but with all the "extras" given just to the Hotel guests, has WDW created a two-tier system?
    I think it's true. Many industries are doing more and more segmenting and creating little class systems based on the type of customer you are today (not how great you may have been in the past) and what their little marketing models tell them. They are likely looking at it as "this kind of customer brings in more money and more profit on average per trip...than the off-property or local Guest...so let's give them priority in this area and that."

    The challenge when doing this is to not make your local or off-property Guests feel like second-class citizens. This is touchy terrain and stuff like that can really backfire on you if perceptions of a class system develop among your local repeat customers. Companies that embark on these types of target marketing often find they alienate some of their best customers because those customers start to feel alienated and taken for granted. And you can see how a company might do just that, and develop a sort of, "Well...we got their AP money from them already...they're hooked. Let's focus more attention and perks elsewhere."

    Just for historical purposes and as sort of a related reminder...the Annual Passholder program at Walt Disney World was created specifically to address the complaints of local Guests when Disney did away with the "General Admission" tickets. Local Guests who just wanted to visit WDW to dine and shop, no longer had an inexpensive way to enter the Park. So Disney created the Annual Passport program initially mainly for those locals to be able to continue to spend valuable local dollars on food and shopping.

    It should also be pointed out that while the blogger notes...

    The good news, though, is that the Disney Dining Experience card now includes bars, lounges, and all sit-down restaurants in their plan and, therefore, you can use the valet parking. This greatly enhances the local experience.
    ...this does not really address his issue concerning treatment specific to locals though, as the Disney Dining Plan is available to anyone...even out-of-towners...as well. But the end results for him certainly would seem to improve.

    A friend of mine and I just discussed this subject about 3 weeks ago while at Walt Disney World. We found it somewhat difficult (being off-property) and often uncomfortable to be allowed into a Disney Resort Hotel to walk around or hit the bar or eat or what-have-you. Security always wanted to know if you had a dining reservation or other question. Like they thought you were trying to pull a fast one of some sort on them. Similar with dining reservations. We weren't positive that we weren't getting dining reservations because we weren't staying on-property...but it sure felt like it. Especially when the first question they asked was "Are you a Disney Resort Hotel Guest?"

    But generally, I think most of Disney's "extras" for Guests that are staying overnight on-property are fairly benign. Perhaps if Disney added Early Morning/Evenings and some of the other Resort Only benefits to the Florida Resident Annual Passes...it might help alleviate some of the perceptions of locals being less than desirable.

    Sure you could say, "But they're (locals) getting their Annual Pass for less money. They should be happy with that." But that doesn't really matter with this subject. Because nobody wants to feel second class. It's not a money issue for the local Guest. And make too many class differentiations...and you could start to lose some serious and important business.

    Delicate subject.

  13. #13

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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    i have never had a problem coming over for the day. what the dining plan does is limit eating for a " spontaneous let's jump into the car and go to disneyworld" day. but frankly there are enough counterservice restaurants that you sould be able to find something to your liking. the only park that lacks in food to me is animal kingdom. WDW takes reservations 180 days out for their reserved seating. so if you have something planned, you can call ahead and make a reservation without staying on property. It just takes planning. also the dining plan isnt free except a couple months a year, the rest of the time it is added on to the bill. as far as security goes, I have wandered around many of the hotel properties without any bother. as long as you don't look like you are trying to use the pool or soemthing, I have never had problems.

  14. #14

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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cmash95 View Post
    as far as security goes, I have wandered around many of the hotel properties without any bother. as long as you don't look like you are trying to use the pool or soemthing, I have never had problems.
    We're talking mainly about parking though. Not just walking about a hotel. If we were to arrive at the hotel by Disney Transport or something...there would be no problem. But if you drive up to say the Beach Club in your car...security first asks if you are staying there or are a resort guest elsewhere, and then if you answer no...they ask if you have a dining reservation at a restaurant there. If you say no to that too...then they really start to raise the eyebrow. Ask you what your business is and how long you intend to be there. Ask to see your drivers license. What I think Disney is concerned about is the local guest that might be trying to circumvent paying for theme park parking...by just parking for free at the hotel and then walking or using Disney transport from there.

    I'm sure that happens. But at the same time for those locals that legitimately just want to drop in and check out the hotel or walk-up dine if it looks good to them, or just have a drink at the bar...I can see how that would sort of make them feel like second class citizens. They probably aren't even aware a few people try to pull the parking scam. They just see it as being penalized in some way, for not being a Resort Hotel Guest.

    Then there are other perceptions like the above Orlando Sentinel story mentions about dining reservations, etc.

  15. #15

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: Does WDW Welcome Locals?

    Parking Interogations - Just another example where the few who think just because they CAN do something.. they should.. ruining it for everyone else.

    Just because the cookie is on the plate not under lock and key.. doesn't mean its ok to steal it!

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