Q: With a day ticket up to $71, it seems Disney is all about making money these days. Always the case?
A: Disney has always enjoyed making money, but (in earlier days) its approach was long-term. (It aimed to) provide exceptional products at reasonable prices, creating customers for life. Visitors genuinely liked the company and told all their friends. Today the approach is short-term — separate as much money from customers as possible. Q: You note in the book that Disney World today is far from what Walt envisioned. How?
A: Walt's entire motivation for founding Disney World was to create a utopian city, an "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow," covered by a climate-controlled dome, where people lived in idyllic homes, traveled by monorail and worked in high-tech labs. He built the Magic Kingdom as bait to get the public's attention. Q: But Walt died before Disney World even opened. Why was his dream abandoned?
A: Walt's successors were well intentioned but could never figure out how to create a city of the future without bankrupting the company. Q: Time to dish a bit. Is Disney World a good neighbor?
A: Not really. Since (it) operates its own on-property government, it reflexively looks first for what's best for the company. That means fighting against requests to help fund roads, schools and other impacts just outside its boundaries. (It contributes) to community programs and charities only when it can leverage maximum PR.