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crazy4wdw
04-25-2007, 06:36 AM
Rating your favorites at Disney
Zagat Survey publishes its first guidebook all about Disney World

Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted April 25, 2007

Mickey Mouse is the favorite costumed character, Soarin' the most popular attraction and Victoria & Albert's the home of the best food at Walt Disney World, say frequent visitors.

In a first of its kind, Zagat Survey has polled customers to rate everything at Disney World -- characters, rides, shows, restaurants, taverns, stores, hotels and special experiences -- for a new guidebook.

Zagat Walt Disney World Insider's Guide, published today, is the latest among dozens of guidebooks about Walt Disney World, but may be the first to base ratings on the opinions of thousands of frequent customers.

Zagat surveyed 4,841 people by computer between Nov. 16 and Dec. 3. The average participant had been to Disney World 36 times. And 58 percent possessed annual or season passes.

"We wanted people who are really interested in going to Disney World," said Zagat Survey spokesman Michael Mahle. "They're savvy."

Zagat asked them to rate each Disney World location using a one-to-30 points scale, similar to what the research company has used on restaurants for decades. Zagat also asked each person how often they had been to each location, to determine what was most "popular." In some categories, Zagat also asked them to name their "favorites."

Started as a restaurant review outfit in New York City in 1979, Zagat has become an internationally influential consumer ratings company now rating everything from hotels to entertainment. The Disney effort is the first time Zagat ever produced an entire survey and guidebook on just one business, Mahle said.

Disney World did not participate, but officials apparently are not displeased.

"It's a recognition of how much interest there is in Walt Disney World," spokesman Dave Herbst said. "We're always delighted when people are interested in us, particularly when they say nice things."

Among the findings:

Favorite park: Magic Kingdom was picked by 48 percent of participants, followed by Epcot (36 percent) and Disney-MGM Studios (9 percent.)

Favorite costumed character: Mickey Mouse (37 percent) followed by Goofy (11 percent) and Donald Duck (6 percent.)

Most popular attraction: Soarin' at Epcot, followed by Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, both at Disney-MGM Studios.

Though not as popular as Soarin', Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom got the highest average rating (29 points) from adults, and the Wishes Spectacular fireworks show at Magic Kingdom got the highest from children (29 points).

Most popular dinner show: Hoop-Dee-Doo, at Fort Wilderness Resort.

Most popular shopping: World of Disney at Downtown Disney.

Most popular nightlife: Adventurers Club at Downtown Disney.

Most popular restaurant: California Grill at the Contemporary Resort.

Yet Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort got the highest ratings for food, decor and service (27 points for each.)

The only restaurants not in hotel districts that made Disney's top 10 for food ratings were the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (ranked ninth) at Downtown Disney, and the Boulangerie Patisserie pastry shop (10th) in Epcot.

Scott Powers can be reachedat spowers@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5441.

BCV2003
04-25-2007, 03:46 PM
I don't know how many people Zagat surveyed but I was chosen as one of them. I have to say that the survey was pretty extensive and took quite a bit of time.

Those that participated will receive a free copy and I got an e-mail recently that said that it should be arriving soon. I am very curious to read the results.

raidermatt
04-25-2007, 05:16 PM
I was one as well, and I also received that email a week or two ago.

CanadianGuy
04-25-2007, 06:22 PM
Did they poll on resorts?

Knox

BCV2003
04-25-2007, 06:33 PM
Did they poll on resorts?

Knox


Yes, they did.

DisneyBaby!
04-25-2007, 09:55 PM
Did I read that correctly, the average was 36 visits? Were most of the people locals or are there that many people that multiple times a year. I find that amazing. I thought I was getting up there approaching 10 or so, but I met some locals at the Biergarden that go there all the time just for dinner, go on a ride or two, so I guess so. Wow, 36 visits.

Uncleromulus
04-26-2007, 05:13 AM
Heck--our 37th week-long trip is coming in May!! And we've done WDW dining each and every time.
And of course I was NOT surveyed:thumbsup2

jimmytammy
04-26-2007, 07:10 AM
Did I read that correctly, the average was 36 visits? Were most of the people locals or are there that many people that multiple times a year. I find that amazing. I thought I was getting up there approaching 10 or so, but I met some locals at the Biergarden that go there all the time just for dinner, go on a ride or two, so I guess so. Wow, 36 visits.

We have friends here in town who have visited more than 50 times since the 70s.

Sehsun
04-26-2007, 02:33 PM
Survey taps Soarin' as best at Disney
New guidebook gives tips on best rides, places to eat

BY DONNA BALANCIA
FLORIDA TODAY

Visitors to Walt Disney World Resort selected the Soarin' virtual hang-glider tour at Epcot as the best overall attraction, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

The Wishes Spectacular nightly fireworks celebration at Magic Kingdom was named as the most appealing attraction for children; while the Expedition Everest thrill ride at Animal Kingdom rated No. 1 for appeal to adults.

With the Zagat's first-ever "Walt Disney World Insider's Guide," Zagat Survey -- which is known for its restaurant and hospitality guides -- made its foray into rating theme parks, asking 4,841 frequent visitors to Disney World to pick the things they like best about the Disney complex near Orlando.

Among the other survey leaders were:

- Most popular restaurant: California Grill at the Contemporary Resort in Magic Kingdom area.

- Top food rating: Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian in the Magic Kingdom area.

- Most popular shopping: World of Disney at Downtown Disney.

- Most popular hotel: Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Animal Kingdom area.

- Top hotel: Grand Floridian Resort/Spa in the Magic Kingdom area.

- Most popular nightlife: Adventurers Club in Downtown Disney.

- Top appeal nightlife: Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.

Other findings:

- Favorite park: While 48 percent of surveyors say the Magic Kingdom is their favorite park, Epcot ran a strong second, with 36 percent of the vote.

- Visiting without kids: Eighty-six percent of surveyors said they've visited Disney World at least once as an adult without children.

- Favorite character: Thirty-seven percent said Mickey Mouse; 11 percent said Goofy.

"Back about two years ago, we had our U.S. family travel guide, and it listed some of the more popular and more well-received destinations across United States, and the No. 1 destination was Walt Disney World," said Michael Mahle, manager of corporate communications for Zagat Survey. "Millions of people go there and go there more than once, and that's what our surveyors -- our voters -- are all about. The people who participate are those who enjoy something quite a bit, and they have the interest in sharing their thoughts."

A Disney spokesman said Disney is pleased by Zagat's focus on its Orlando theme parks.

"Obviously, when somebody such as Zagat chooses to do a guide that is specifically about our 'world,' as opposed to a larger geographic area, that really is a testament to the amount of interest people have in Walt Disney World, and that's a good thing," Walt Disney World Dave Herbst spokesman said.

Typically, to put together a guide, either on various destinations or restaurant reviews, Zagat Survey will recruit enthusiastic participants based on a number of demographic attributes and resources such as mailing lists.

"With Walt Disney World, we put out an announcement, and looked at a mailing list, and reached out to certain blogs, for example, to get some attention," Mahle said. "We pitched the media to get the people to give their opinions on their overall Disney stay, and how they liked the rides and attractions."

The survey asked adults -- because of legality issues in polling children online -- what they thought of certain rides, restaurants and hotels for children, resulting in the "all age" categories of the survey.

"We asked adults to tell us what was best and worst for the children," Mahle said. "So we leave it to the household decision-maker to tell us where they're going to go, where they will eat and what rides they'll go on."

Mahle said the guide gives special tips on how to save extra money and time, as well as tips on how to avoid lines at the parks.

"It's a nice compilation and does the homework," Mahle said.

(Article courtesy of http://floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070426/BUSINESS/704260322/1003)

raidermatt
04-26-2007, 05:32 PM
We're definitely on the underside of that 36 number. We go about twice every three years, for 2 or more weeks at a time. I honestly don't remember if they asked about length of stay or just total number of visits.

MJMcBride
04-26-2007, 07:00 PM
here are some articles by dbm20th on this book

http://www.mouseextra.com/

I can't believe how hosed the dark rides get in popularity

Another Voice
04-26-2007, 07:33 PM
I can't believe how hosed the dark rides get in popular.
It all goes to the problem with the survery.

Disney attractions are shows, they are designed like movies. There are lots of movies that are great to watch one, two, maybe five times. But how many movies can you sit through an average 36 times?

The survery was taken among the "been there, done that" crowd. 'Soaring' ranked Number 1 not because it's the best ride at WDW, but because the crowd hasn't been burned out by the same 75 veiwings that they've had of 'Pirates' or 'Mansion' or 'Cranium Command'. We're not getting a real ranking of the attractions from an average guest's point of view - we're getting a judgmement of "fresh" versus "stale".

For normal people going to WDW, attractions like 'Energy' or 'Jungle Cruise' are going to be fresh and interesting - they're "new movies". By any measure, 'Pirates' is a far more interesting and amazing experience than 'Soaring' when the boat ride is still fresh to the viewer. It's a shame that first time visitors will use this as an "expert guide".

Hotels and restaurants are differnt - there consistancy of the experience is the key. It goes back to the old cliche that "every dinner is different" (unlike a movie which is the same people doing the same thing no matter how many times you watch it). I still get the feeling, however, that 'Animal Kingdom Lodge' got lots of bonus points just becasue it's new.

MJMcBride
04-26-2007, 11:00 PM
The survery was taken among the "been there, done that" crowd. 'Soaring' ranked Number 1 not because it's the best ride at WDW, but because the crowd hasn't been burned out by the same 75 veiwings that they've had of 'Pirates' or 'Mansion' or 'Cranium Command'.

The problem with your logic is that invariably the hardcore disneyphiles love the Haunted Mansion and POTC more than anything else - or so I thought.

Those are the hardcore Disney fans who go over and over again. Perhaps that reasoning would explain Soarin' a great ride as well as new but to have the Rock n' Roller coaster beat out POTC or HM is a poll of Dinsey fanatics is very suprising to me. Those people, I thought, kept going to Disney for POTC not RRNRC. And Cirque de Soleil, ahead of them boggles the mind. I guess those old classics are just not that popular even among Disney regulars.

I suppose CoP is gone for sure now

Another Voice
04-27-2007, 10:47 AM
There's a huge difference between real "Disneyphiles" - people who read up and understand the history and art behind what Disney is doing - and people that just go to WDW a lot.

I listen to music, I have all my favorites - but I know nothing about the craft and music theory. I just like what I like. Am I a good person to judge if U2 is better or worse music than the Beatles and have my opinion published in a book?

For a lot of people Walt Disney World is nothing but a long weekend destination - it's Vegas or the Hamptons for overly indebted middle class families. They don't care about the show behind the scenes, they just like what they like and don't give it a moments notice. In the same way that the casual gambler isn't calculating the odds at a Vegas tables or wondering about the hiring policies for the women who bring around there "free" beer. The place is there to be enjoyed, not studied.

All we're getting from Zaggat is the whim of the moment. Don't try to read anything more into it than that.

raidermatt
04-27-2007, 12:32 PM
A few random points:

-We can all see from how many people go on HM, PotC, Peter Pan, etc. that they are very popular.

-I'm not sure how Zagat does its calculations, but one of the plusses for dark rides is they can be enjoyed by the whole family. They are going to be in the uppper half of attractions for more people than something like RnRC. RnRC may or may not actually have more people that call it their favorite, but it also certainly has more people who can't/won't ride it than HM.

-I think we all have to acknowledge there is some validity to AV's point about what frequent guests like best right now might not synch up with what the average guest likes, or what will stand the test of time. The biggest thing to support this that I see is that apparently Cirque de Soleil ranked as the 3rd most popular attraction among adults. Nothing against Cirque, because I think it's a great show, but what percentage of WDW visitors actually see that show? Simple math tells us that it can't be that high of a percentage, and therefore we know that the survey is skewed, regardless of how you interpret that skew.

Also, for resorts, Saratoga Springs got the top nod as best rooms. Now, I'm not knocking the rooms there, but the vast majority of people staying here are DVC members, so again, Zagat clearly did not take any kind of scientific sample for this survey. OKW was third, and the WL Villas were 5th, two more DVC resorts.

The bottom line is that the survey it is very skewed to a specific demographic. We can say that it might accurately represent the views of that group, but the problems come when we try to draw conclusions about what this means with regard to WDW visitors as a whole.

In fairness to Zagat, they did not claim to take a scientific sample. They said they wanted the opinions of the frequent visitors because they believe they are in the best position to rate things. Fair enough, but the survey has to be taken for what it is, a guidebook for those looking for experienced opinions, and not as some kind of referendum on what is good for WDW overall.

MJMcBride
04-27-2007, 05:19 PM
All we're getting from Zaggat is the whim of the moment. Don't try to read anything more into it than that.

i disagree. I think what we are getting is the opinion of people who go to Disney a lot. I agree thats not the same people who read the history of the park or know where Walt was born. But under that sampling you'll get more of those people then with a random sampling of anyone at the park at any given time. Plus, by polling people who go a lot, you're getting opinions of people who have decided their favorites after many many trips and sampling much of the park many times.

raidermatt
04-27-2007, 07:22 PM
I think what we are getting is the opinion of people who go to Disney a lot.

Yes.

I agree thats not the same people who read the history of the park or know where Walt was born. But under that sampling you'll get more of those people then with a random sampling of anyone at the park at any given time. Plus, by polling people who go a lot, you're getting opinions of people who have decided their favorites after many many trips and sampling much of the park many times.

What you're getting are the people who most love what Disney has done over the last 5-10 years. Who is more likely to make 5 trips this year? Somebody who thinks Pirates and HM are the pinnacle, or somebody who thinks Mission:Space and Everest are the class?

I agree you probably have more Disney history buffs in the survey group than you would in a random sample, but I also think you have an even greater number of people who come for the new stuff whether they know who Walt was or not. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. Let's say Disney really kicked up the thrill ride building over the next 5 years, adding several thrill rides per park and nothing else. If you took a survey of who was there in 7 years, wouldn't you expect to find more thrill ride lovers than today?

That doesn't mean it's the right (or wrong) course. This survey just can't be used for making that kind of determination.

DC7800
04-27-2007, 07:41 PM
I think what we are getting is the opinion of people who go to Disney a lot.

You're getting the opinion of only one group of people who go to WDW frequently. No one is claiming this was a scientific or completely random sample. From the results of this survey, we have no basis to believe their opinions would be similar to those of other WDW visitors (although it seems a safe assumption they would share many favorites - we don't know what).

Some 58% of the participants were annual passholders, but are 58% of the visitors in any theme park on a typical day also passholders? Most hotels in the "Top Rooms' category were DVC properties - but most WDW guests have never stayed there. Cirque du Soleil occupies a top 5 attraction slot, yet again most park guests have never seen it, and it isn't even actually a theme 'park' attraction.

Even if you conducted a 'scientific' survey, from a sample which accurately reflected the entirepopulation which visits (or frequents) WDW (this is very difficult to do), we're still only talking about average opinions; People of all ages, tastes, and backgrounds visit Disney, and all have a slightly or wholly different idea of what they like. Newer "E' ticket attractions (and the big thrill-rides) get the most attention - with perhaps fewer negative "votes" - and therefore seem more likely to show up in those top 5 lists.

MJMcBride
04-27-2007, 08:46 PM
What you're getting are the people who most love what Disney has done over the last 5-10 years. Who is more likely to make 5 trips this year? Somebody who thinks Pirates and HM are the pinnacle, or somebody who thinks Mission:Space and Everest are the class?



I would think you're getting more people who think POTC and HM are the pinnacle. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the hardcore, frequent Disney fan comes for those rides not "the new coaster." I guess I'm wrong. Or maybe the hardcore Disney fan really does like Everest more than Haunted Mansion. I know I don't

And, by the way, DC7800, congrats on the 1000th post

Another Voice
04-28-2007, 01:01 PM
You're getting the opinion of only one group of people who go to WDW frequently.
And that's the problem - Zagat is selling the book as "expert advice" and it will be bought by many first or infrequent visitors to WDW. This group has a whole different set of needs than DVC owners do. These people are going to be mislead and misinformed, rather than actually guided into how to get the most out of a WDW trip.

It's nice to know that 'Cirque' is a great show when you're making your 20th trip to WDW, but is it one of the best things to do at Disney World if you're on trip number three?

MJMcBride
04-28-2007, 10:07 PM
And that's the problem - Zagat is selling the book as "expert advice" and it will be bought by many first or infrequent visitors to WDW. This group has a whole different set of needs than DVC owners do. These people are going to be mislead and misinformed, rather than actually guided into how to get the most out of a WDW trip.

It's nice to know that 'Cirque' is a great show when you're making your 20th trip to WDW, but is it one of the best things to do at Disney World if you're on trip number three?

I agree with you. I have not seen any advertisement from Zagat's or the book itself yet, so I'll assume they are selling it as you say

EUROPACL
04-29-2007, 01:15 PM
I agree with you. I have not seen any advertisement from Zagat's or the book itself yet, so I'll assume they are selling it as you say


Is this the book??

http://www.zagat.com/shop/product_detail.asp?preload=60009&prodid=579

Another Voice
04-29-2007, 11:14 PM
Or here:
http://www.amazon.com/Zagat-Disney-World-Insiders-Survey/dp/1570068844/ref=sr_1_1/002-0058869-5963264?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177904458&sr=1-1

Being published for the first time, Zagat reveals the insider's guide to over 500 of the best restaurants, nightspots, hotels, shops, sites & attractions at Walt Disney World, including: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Enjoy 32 full-color pages with maps & photos.