View Full Version : Guess what they are planning on replacing the fireworks and parade with?

09-06-2002, 09:33 PM
CHARACTERS! NO KIDDING! WDWMAGIC.COM reports that they are planning on creating a new entertainment schedule that will alow for a switch off of Fireworks, Parades, and a new Character Meet & Greet on Main Street "with 100 characters that will interact with guests and music." Kinda an anti-parade.

Are you surprised? NOPE. It seems like Disney will soon start closing rides and placing characters in rides and closing them for a day for a meet & greet.

09-06-2002, 09:43 PM
These rumors are sinister.
Say it ain't so.
Say it.

09-06-2002, 09:44 PM
This is a good thing! They never have a parade in the off season monday through thursday. Sometimes they don't even have fireworks. The parks closed at 7 pm in the off season last year. Sometimes it was 6 pm. Guests left with nothing. Disney is just trying to give the guests something. This is not going to replace Spectromagic or the fireworks for nights where the park is open later. This is just something for the off season...

09-06-2002, 09:47 PM
If this is an indication of the future cut backs, the reasons will be apparent on why not to return to WDW.

09-06-2002, 09:53 PM
anim8or98, what's that old saying? "Never say never!"

Bob O
09-06-2002, 09:58 PM
I would much perfer the fireworks and parades than more meet and greets!!! That may be fine if you have kids who want the autographs but i enjoy the parades/fireworks and cant stand the idea of waiting in more long lines to get a photo autograph. And if you dont have kids in tow there is little there to have you stay at the park longer when you might stay to see a parade or fireworks show.

09-06-2002, 10:09 PM
The ultimate cost cut.

Eliminate all the lands in MK except one, Fantasyland. Take out all the rides and put in benches. pay $100.00 admission and go sit on one of the benches. Close your eyes and create your own fantasy in your mind. Of course this will present Eisner with a Problem. What will the next cut back be?


09-06-2002, 10:11 PM
Before we get TOO worked up, here's the entire rumor:

"The Magic Kingdom is to test out a few things over the next month in regards to entertainment scheduling. They understand that guests want night time entertainment, and also they know how difficult night entertainment is when the parks have such low attendance and short operating hours, specifically closing at 6pm. Keeping the park open until 8pm to be dark enough for fireworks is tricky, but they are going to try one week of low attendance where fireworks will run every night, one week with SpectroMagic running every night, and one week alternating each day. On the back of this there will be lots of guest surveys during this time to see if the new entertainment increases guests ratings and intent to return to the parks. Finally, they are working on an idea where instead of either fireworks or a parade, a huge character meet on Mainstreet USA will take place, with close to 100 different characters interacting with guests with music etc."

So they are at least (apparently) going to try MORE fireworks/parades to see what the impact is.

Its not that I really have confidence that they will do what is best for LONG TERM guest satisfaction, but at least there is SOMEBODY who recognizes that adding parades/fireworks might be a good decision.

Hours were extended to 8:00 from 6:00 for the last week in September, so that would jive with the rumor of trying out adding parades/fireworks.

(Incidentally, even with the new 8:00 closings, hours are still shorter for '02 than in '01)

Peter Pirate
09-06-2002, 10:11 PM
Listen to anim8tor, would you rather have No parade & No fireworks during off periods (as now happens) or have the meet & greet extravaganza? Come on guys, it's a no-brainer!
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

Bob O
09-06-2002, 10:29 PM
Once they start this is the off-season its only a matter of time till they start to do it in pre-time. Maybe once a week at first until its expanded and you only have late parades/fireworks on weekends. Its disney's way of incrementalism, kind of how liberalism has worked its way into society, a little at a time!!
They have enough meets and greets and not enough parades and firework shows which set them apart from other parks by the scope in which they are done.

09-06-2002, 10:33 PM
Let's hope they don't rig the survey questions so they get the answers they want.

09-06-2002, 11:04 PM
If in fact this comes to be - another Meet 'n Greet rather than parades and fireworks during the "slow" season - I truly believe that Disney will have slit their own throats and will NEVER be able to regain the loyal following they once had..

Between shorter hours, less shows, no EE, closing of rides and restaurants, and the now proposed Meet 'n Greet in place of parades and fireworks, how much do they think the public is going to stand for? Prices are due to rise this Sunday - what people will get for their money is being reduced yet again.. This is NOT a good business move and no one can convince me otherwise..

Think of the poor souls who don't have access to these boards.. They plan their vacations months ahead of time - book their rooms - book their flights - rent their rental cars - and then arrive in WDW only to find that there are NO fireworks or parades during their stay but rather a mob-scene Meet 'n Greet on Main Street instead.. No way they can even verify what will or will not be available prior to making their plans because hours aren't posted until the actual month they are leaving on their trip and the scheduling of many events aren't being revealed until you ARRIVE at the park and receive a hand out.. I would be SOOO furious if I were caught off guard like this! Disney needs to get it's act together and rather than continue to grouse about low attendance they need to offer an INCENTIVE for people to return - NOT do everything in their power to push them away..

And please - don't even bother to mention the reduced rates at the resorts.. What good are they if the reason you're getting a reduced rate is so that you can sit in your wonderful Disney Resort room and STARE AT THE FOUR WALLS..

Disney is committing suicide - slowly but surely..

09-06-2002, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by manning
Let's hope they don't rig the survey questions so they get the answers they want.

You mean like how the customers much preferred the Character Caravan to EE ???

Doesn't take a genius to figure out the surveys will "magically" reveal exactly what Disney WANTS them to reveal..

09-06-2002, 11:14 PM
I just bought into DVC and am now wondering if I did the right thing. You kind of have to wonder what this will do to future sales.

What has happened to good old common sense. The suits must be getting desparate.

09-07-2002, 12:06 AM
I'm not one to jump into car #1 very often,but here I go. I think it is an interesting idea,even if it isn't altogether original. It sounds like a super-sized character greet whcih,for my young children, might be a real hoot for them! I hope it comes out better in practice than it does on paper.

09-07-2002, 12:30 AM
This might be great for families with small kids but not so great for those of us with no kids or older kids. All I can say is that I'm so glad that we discovered Disneyland this year! I'm not sure how much they cut back during the offtimes but when we went they had later hours than MK and 2 showings of Fantasmic each night while we were there. I felt spoiled but we were probably just lucky. :rolleyes:

As Han Solo would say, I have a bad feeling about this. :(

09-07-2002, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by treesinger
I'm not one to jump into car #1 very often,but here I go. I think it is an interesting idea,even if it isn't altogether original. It sounds like a super-sized character greet whcih,for my young children, might be a real hoot for them! I hope it comes out better in practice than it does on paper.

Ever been lined up on Main street during one of the parades? Now imagine 100 characters in the middle of that same street and EVERYONE in the park congested in that ONE area for a Meet 'n Greet..

Sounds like a nightmare in the making to me.. :(

09-07-2002, 12:54 AM
It's cheaper....it saves money...
Not really much sense in debating if it's a good idea or not, it's just a way to save money.
And the NERVE to RAISE prices when all they have done is cutback...what's their reasoning? Inflation? The theme parks are having to pay for ABC, Go.Com, ESPN, Fox Family, etc. and all of Eisner's other "winners". Why can't the theme parks pay for the...let me see...Oh, I KNOW! Why can't the theme parks pay for the theme parks!
As I've said before, this theme park thing was Disney's to lose...they were so good they didn't even have competition. Now, they've lowered themselves into the frey with Universal and Six Flags and they're not even doing that great a job of competing with them lately.

100 characters will come and "greet" the mob....SHEESH! It will probably be CM's from surrounding stores that are in the costumes! You know, run back and zip into a Goofy suit and then come out and wave and then back to the film store.

This isn't funny anymore...this is starting to concern me.


P.S. Hey, did you read that Pressler actually suggested having the "face" characters (Snow White, Belle, Alice, etc) wear pin lanyards and doing pin trading!? I'm surprised he doesn't have them making change and selling balloon animals!

09-07-2002, 01:12 AM
Originally posted by roymccoy
P. S. Hey, did you read that Pressler actually suggested having the "face" characters (Snow White, Belle, Alice, etc) wear pin lanyards and doing pin trading!? I'm surprised he doesn't have them making change and selling balloon animals!

------------------------Puhleeeeez - tell me you're not serious!!

09-07-2002, 01:33 AM
Originally posted by C.Ann
------------------------Puhleeeeez - tell me you're not serious!!


I refrain from touching this one until I see some more news on it ...but all I can say is OMG what a bad idea. Fireworks, longer hours, and more parades are a good thing...but this other idea "the character mob " is not. Guess where we won't be if it happens?

09-07-2002, 02:09 AM
Scary concept - isn't it?

I have been trying desperately to hang on to my desire to return to WDW, but they consistently chip away at all of the things that would draw me there (and I'm sure many, many others) and then they have the nerve to blame it on low attendance..

Draw the people IN - don't PUSH them away!!!!

Disney wouldn't be the first company to become a dismal failure because they thought they could do whatever they wanted to and still keep their customers coming back time and time again.. They really need a major wake-up call..

Another Voice
09-07-2002, 02:22 AM
Okay – a few other rumors to fill out this bombshell….

First, the goal is to find a day-ending spectacular to keep people in the park until the last moment. It’s identical to the purpose Illuminations serves at Epcot. The real question will be does the day end at night or at sundown.

The easy to produce shows for the Magic Kingdom are the existing fireworks show and the parade (notice you will not get both). The problem is that both are nighttime events and the word has come down to close MK as earlier as possible to save money. Most people in Florida despise the entire idea and they are seeing the damage the policy is causing to attendance. The experiment mentioned is WDW’s attempt to prove that longer hours can generate enough profits to keep Drew Carey well fed*. Another whisper mentioned you shouldn't expect everything in the park running during these "extra" hours either. The goal is increased profits, not increased guest satisfaction.

The Character show mentioned is rumored not be a meet-n-greet. The key phrase is “interaction with music”. The rumors/whispers/rumblings/whimpering I heard was basically a stage show with a sing-a-long and/or dance-a-along segment(s). Similar versions of these mini-shows have been tried out at California Adventure; this is supposed to “take the concept to the next level”.

I should also mention that there have been long standing rumors that Disneyland’s failed ‘Light Magic’ street show (it ain’t a parade) would be shipped east. The original version of that show featured lots of characters, lots of “interaction” (characters dancing with guests) and only had four moving stages. It also featured a storyline with all the characters going to bed for the night which would be a perfect tie-in for the park’s closing for the evening. I can honestly see a case where WDW could get ‘Twilight Magic’ performed in front of the castle at 5:45pm.

P.S. – Rumors are that pin trading characters have made test runs at Disneyland.

* - NOTHING at Walt Disney World these days is done for the benefits of the parks. The goal is to support overall corporate performance, and that really means offsetting the mounting losses from ABC and the studio. If WDW and Disneyland were run as their own businesses, you’d see a lot better behavior.

09-07-2002, 05:50 AM
Thanks for the extra detail on this one AV...

I guess we should all know by now that things will not truly get better under current management.

The way the Sept and Oct schedules were set up prior to this experiment, the only night with Spectro/FITS was going to be Saturdays. EVERY other day of the week (after Labor Day weekend) had the park closing at 6:00, with no nightime entertainment.

Its sounds as if they realize the constant 6:00 closings are doing more harm than good. (I know, not really for the right reasons...).

It also sounds like they don't really expect the beddy-bye show to replace the one night of Spectro/FITS.

If anything, when this is all sorted out, it looks like there will be more nightime entertainment than there is now.

So, given the lower baseline they have forced on us (6pm Sun-Fri, 9pm Sun), it looks like we will actually see some improvement.

Now, before I get bashed for saying that, let me point out that it is a factual statement. But that doesn't mean I think adding a few characters a couple of nights a week is going to solve the problem. Nor is keeping only parts of the park open later. Clearly its a case of somebody begrudgingly giving something back because they are practically being forced into it by low attendance. That's not a sign of any kind of long-term improvement, it only means that the writing on the wall has gotten large enough that anyone can see it.

So its true that this is not technically a "cut", because they are probably going to actually add something to the current schedule. But that doens't mean its a real solution, or that anyone all of a sudden "gets it".

I guess the only thing that should give us any kind of hope is that Pressler and pals now at least seem to understand that they have cut too far, and know they have to give something back. Not exactly a dream scenario, but I guess its better than nothing...

(Of course, another cut, like closing a park on certain days, or splitting a park into two gates would more than wipe out any positive effect the above little bones would have...)

09-07-2002, 07:54 AM
My cynical guess......the bit about the parade and fireworks is smoke up the backside. This MEGA Character Caravan sounds like a done deal to me. Anyone care to guess just how many of the other attractions will be open during this time? Precious few, I dare say.

Don't get me wrong...I really like seeing the characters. I like the chance meetings with them as we make our way through the parks. There is a real charm and magic to that. I am not of fan of these huge, contrived extravaganzas....bigger ain't better folks.

In short....this, combined with the all the other manuverings of late, reeks. I don't want my vacation dollars used to prop up ABC and other failed ventures.

ah well....I've never been to Universal. Can someone email me directions?:rolleyes:

barrel of laughs

09-07-2002, 07:57 AM
I have a question.

Can Disney control when the sun comes up in the morning or goes down in the evening?

I'd be curious to see the long term plan. If this is for the time when it's not dark at 6 maybe and I say maybe it's a good idea. If they use it at other times I'd be dead against it. On of the whines on the Theme Parks board is that when the parks close and it's light out there is nothing. It would seem to me that this is gving that segment of the visiting population something.

09-07-2002, 08:25 AM
Well, after our trip next January, it will be the first time in two years we will not have another WDW trip planned. There are too many other places to go and things to do.
I am going to take a wait and see attititude on WDW. Doesn't sound like now is the time to go to WDW.
We will still enjoy ourselves. Esp not knowing when we will return next after January.

Peter Pirate
09-07-2002, 08:43 AM
Again I ask, would you rather have soemthing or nothing?

This policy is not the problem, AV clearly points out the real problem and that is the direction that WDW is being 'forced' to proceed in order to save dollars. If it is going to become common practice to close the MK at 5:00 daily then the show, fireworks, spectro is all moot...

I am probably in a minority here but I would rather see see them close a whole park one day a week and restore customer satisfaction (i.e. hours, shows, etc) to the open parks (like in Vegas where the shows have "dark' days). The problem with this is the admission of a problem & the administraton of the program (knowing when to reopen them for busy periods). Lately there are few instances that the administration of anything can be handled correctly at Disney.

In this vein I know a very knowldgeable former Epcot CM & AK advisor (and animal expert) who says WDW NEEDS to close AK one day a week in order to do proper landscaping & upkeep to the animal areas. He says the savannahs and such are already deterioating at a great rate and the only solution is basic maintenace on a weekly basis, in his opinion.

Lastly, kudos to those of you recognizing the value of your dollar. Our California vacation this summer was great and although it included DL, that was only a portion. The wallet is the place from which to speak. For myself we've just recently renewed our AP's so we'll be going for another year but the trend of things has me nervous...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-07-2002, 08:49 AM
Sir Pirate:

We haven't debated that one in a long time. I would love to see a poll on whether one 'dark day' at each park would be okay to the average disney fan.

I for one agree with you. Close one day and get those painters out of there during the regular week.

09-07-2002, 09:13 AM
I usually come to the rumours and news board and just read but I had to post to say the more I read the more depressed I get. Has Disney stopped listening to it's customers?? We rang and emailed when EE stopped to express our displeasure at this. We try to do Disney every year it's our favourite holiday and not cheap coming from the UK. Last year we holidayed in Dubai and worryingly DH has decided that it comes a very close second to disney. This is from someone who said WDW was the only place he was ever going on holiday to. I hope Disney aren't going to be putting any more nails in their coffin:(

09-07-2002, 09:57 AM
IMHO, as a WDW guest, dark days would not be acceptable, unless of course something unforeseen happened. But that's just me.
Too much competition for Disney to do stupid stuff like they are doing and contemplating.
I think that is the root of the problem -- if Disney WAS cheap, we would all tend to go with the flow and shrug it off.
But it's far from being cheap, so we expect more. But appears we are getting less.
And I think things will get worse before they get better.
If Disney thinks the park attendence is down now -- just wait until everyone figures out what perks are gone. Most of us here plan MONTHS, if not years in advance for WDW trips. What happens when guests like me go through all their planned trips and decide to not return due to increase costs and decreased perks? That SURELY will help the parks. :rolleyes:

09-07-2002, 10:07 AM
Someone mentioned in an earlier post about talk of shipping "Light Magic" east from Disneyland. That won't be happening since the "Light Magic" stages/floats were destroyed after its original run. I have a good friend who was a DL Parade Stage Manager at the time and he watched the whole thing being dismantled. "Light Magic" is truly dead.

09-07-2002, 10:34 AM
....Ok let me see if I get what they want to do?

1. They want to keep the Park open later one week and run Fireworks.

2. They want to keep the Park open later one week and run a nighttime parade.

3 They want to keep the park open later one week and alternate between fireworks and a parade.

4. They want to keep the park open later one week and have "the character mob". (bad..bad..bad)

Then they are going to take survey’s during these times and see if the guest would like the park opened later with some sort of night ending event. What is going to be the driving decision weather to keep any of these events? Will the attendance be the
Factor? Lets hope that month attendance is not already down from previous cuts or they may not be enough people for them to keep this going. Lets hope they give some sort of announcement so that people can plan for this. If the parks were scheduled to close at 6:00 and they announce at the last minute to keep them open till 8:00 I'm not sure how many people will drop what they had planned. (PI,DD, Dinner, Offsite)

The survey? Do they really need a survey?

09-07-2002, 10:56 AM
<p>Bob O, I'm with you on the fireworks. I'd much rather see the fireworks from a convenient location with my family. Everyone can share in that, rather than having to drag small children back to MK after a busy day to fight the crowds over a parade.</p>
<P>On the other hand, obviously there's enough people who will show up to the parade, so it's probably a tough call. To be honest, I was borderline on my decision to go to Disney this year as my schedule would not permit me to be there a night when they had fireworks. We're going anyway because we had the Resident passes and weren't intending on renewing them.</p>
<P>Hey, at least they're trying something, and extending the park hours and giving a parade at the very least <b>is a wonderful start</b>.</p>
<P>Kudos to Disney for giving a nice slap to the "kutback Kreeps" in the management crowd.</p>
<P>Then again, I would also have to thank all of you on this board for vocalizing your opinions enough so that Disney responded. <b>GOOD WORK!</b></p>

09-07-2002, 11:22 AM
Have these idiots in Burbank been in the parks lately? They are flooded with character greeting areas that, with the exception of the Judge's Tent and Ariel's Grotto at the MK, hardly ever have substantial lines. They are just nothing special any more.

They are changing hours and entertainment around like mad, fire workers to rehire them a couple of months later, hike ticket prices during times of low demand - completely random and aimless decisions that seem to be borne out of panic or inidfference. Look at Epcot - less than two years ago they basically banished the characters from the World Showcase and replaced them with the character bus. The Character Connection greeting area closed as well. Now, instead of reopening the Character Connection, they are building NEW greeting areas such as the one in the UK.

At least there are some positive things on the horizon, but most of those are overseas and fairly insubstantial in the big picture (increased royalties from Euro Disney and the Oriental Land Company), and Hong Kong won't come online until 2006. If Mission: Space is good and promoted well, it has the potential to add a million or so visitors to Epcot for a couple of years. The Tower or Terror at DCA will probably have a bigger impact - it's nice they are actually trying to fix that park.
At Walt Disney World, at least they are investing in refurbishments and maintenance once again. Most of the faded paint and broken rockwork have been fixed, and the parks look very nice again.

09-07-2002, 12:35 PM
C'mon people! If there are no fireworks or parades in the evenings during the week anyway, why are you complaining because they want to give you SOMETHING instead?

I swear there is just no pleasing some people!

09-07-2002, 12:49 PM
A friend of mine who goes to DL about three times a week said that he and his wife SAW Cinderella with a pin trading lanyard around her neck. He said that he thought it was right before the summer, April or May, and they were over by the Toy Store in Fantasyland. He hasn't seen it since then but he said that he hasn't really been looking for that.



Bob O
09-07-2002, 02:11 PM
There is no reason at all to close any park down for one day a week, other than to ruin the guest experience and make attendance go down evn furthur!!
I dont want what they are offering us in regards to the meet and greet or the reduced hours, neither is exceptable, they need to increase the hours with 2 parades and fireworks!!! That may increase attendance or at least stop it from falling furthur. AK can be kept up without clsoing the park at all if they are willing to spend the money to enhan ce the park during the hours when it is closed which is often as it closes too early already.
And for those who are willing to except this you would have to be naive if you think it will stop here. The reductions just keep coming without any improvements in site. They are doing there best to compete with SF with all the cutback in hour/parades/fireworks. Maybe they should compete with some smaller parks which have increased attendance by wowing the guests which is sometrhing disney has apparently forrgotten to do.
Im looking forward to my visit to DL and im glad im not going to wdw with all the cutbacks, what will be next they will only turn on the Osborne lights on even days to save money?? Or only have tree lighting on odd days??

Peter Pirate
09-07-2002, 02:46 PM
Hey Bob, how do you really feel?;)

First point. The new meet and greet costs you/us nothing. It is an add on. To say you "don't want it" is foolish because then you would have nothing.

Second point. Dark days. Sure it'd be tough, but with a minimum of three parks open presumably longer hours how difficult is that to deal with. As to being niave, well yes I am...But all I'm trying to suggest is an option that may allow everyone to be relatively happy while Disney hopefully improves their situation. If Disney continues the trend we're seeing it won't matter anyway as we'll all be fans of someone else soon, but the point is to try and believe that it will get better. If I couldn't believe that I wouldn't waste my time talking about it.

Third point. Animal Kingdom needng down time. Hey, I just reported what a specialist in that field told me. He no longer works for Disney but was employed at Epcot & as a consultant on AK. If you feel your insight is greater than his, thats fine with me...

Last Point. DL. I'm happy you're going you'll have fun, I'm sure. But check those hours. DL always closes pretty early during the off season weekdays. Oh yeah and wasn't it under Walt's direction that DL was actually only opened weekends during the off season. Geez, didn't Walt get it?
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-07-2002, 03:18 PM
Trying to get out of MK, while thousands of kids, each with their Disney pens and autograph books, block Main Street USA. This sounds like my own personal Disney NIGHTMARE.:eek:

09-07-2002, 03:28 PM
Oh yeah and wasn't it under Walt's direction that DL was actually only opened weekends during the off season. Geez, didn't Walt get it?Ah! My good friend Peter!! It is precisely because he did “GET IT” that he chose to do what he did. When presented with a choice of not making payroll and perhaps closing the place forever, he was faced with a ‘lesser of two evils”. So think for a minute Peter? Did he give you less “SHOW” each day, as the current administration is doing? Did he cut hours off a day, thus taking away 'value'? Did he close certain portions of the park or individual shops, rides, attractions, restaurants, etc. also reducing 'value? (this is the current thinking, you know.)

Or did he pack as much show as possible in the days that they were opened? Did he close the whole show for a day, but WOW them when he did open?

Now, Peter! Do you “get it”?!! Cause it's quite apparent that Walt did!!!


Trying to get out of MK, while thousands of kids, each with their Disney pens and autograph books, block Main Street USA. This sounds like my own personal Disney NIGHTMARE.It is! Trust me. It is!! :(

Peter Pirate
09-07-2002, 03:38 PM
Come on LB, you know I know that...I was just kiddin' with Bob.

However, my point was IF (that's a big if) they were to quit curtailing things and actually give back (hours, etc.) wouldn't it make sense to implement a dark day (say MGM on Monday, Epcot on Tuesday & AK on Wedneday) until crowds were warranting more? I realize it'd be a huge stretch for this management to see the light but they could actually have the best of both worlds. They'd save bigtime on a whole Park being closed 3 days a week and ths would way more than offset the added hours to the open parks...But, again, it would take someone who actually does want to fix things to understand and implement this. Sadly, it would more likely be close the parks and further reduce the hours...Until there is no one left to visit anyway..:(

By the way, I am not necesarly endorsing this plan, I just think it's an interesting scenerio and one possibility...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

Another Voice
09-07-2002, 04:05 PM
A few more whispers –

Whatever nighttime show is selected, it’s rumored that it will only happen on Friday and Saturday nights. It will be in place of the nighttime parade & fireworks that had been the standard at the Magic Kingdom. If enough people stay (and spend money on merchandise) in the park, the number of days could be expanded – but it’s rumored to be very unlikely. The rumor why the Character Crowd is being pushed in certain quarters is that it can be held in daylight and support a six (or earlier) closing.

On “dark days” for the park. First off, this is not a tactic to adapt to lowered attendance. Even with the current downturn, attendance is still higher than it was when a couple years ago when WDW was able to keep four parks open without even breathing heavy. Closing parks is only to increase profits – the assumption is that the same number of people would be spending the same amount of money in three parks, but that Disney would save tremendous costs by closing the fourth park.

The reason that Animal Kingdom “needs” a shut-down day is the same reason that California Adventure “needs” a dark day. The parks were designed to operate seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. The problems are caused by budget cuts and poor decisions (to save money). In DCA’s case, the rumor is that traveling versions of its off-the-shelf rides were purchased to save money, but are being run far more hours than the structures could possibly handle. At the time the rides were purchased, the argument was that superior Disney maintenance would make up the difference. Of course, guess which department gets hit with the steepest budget cuts. So basically closing a park for a day or two is simple a way to make the guests pay for Disney’s mistakes.

And the dark days themselves are not financial the best option. In strictly business terms they are hugely expensive assets that are going to sit idle. Isn't it better to figure out a way to make them productive? Customers for the parks are on site all the time.

Lastly, it’s true that Disneyland was closed on Monday and Tuesdays during the off season in the 1960’s & 1970’s. It was a very different market than WDW (mostly local visitors versus mostly vacationers) and at a time when travel pattern were very different (vacations and trips were much more confined to summer than they are now). There is no comparison between that situation and what WDW is rumored to doing.

Mr. Pirate – Walt got it without question. But it seems that Eisner has defiantly lost it.

Peter Pirate
09-07-2002, 05:01 PM
Mr. Voice...I tend to agree.:o

But as to the necessary AK down time. My friend tells me the issues of savannah habitat maintenace were downplayed during AK's planning & inception & the people in charge of the environment alwas new a down day was, in his opinion, a necessity. The situation is now worsening...

:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-07-2002, 05:13 PM
Maybe the early critics of DAK were right -- Disney should have kept their fingers out of the live animal business.

09-07-2002, 05:14 PM
And the dark days themselves are not financial the best option. In strictly business terms they are hugely expensive assets that are going to sit idle. It also doesn’t do a hell of a lot for marketing and image. From their point of view it’s better to ‘pretend’ all is well and make their cuts (strictly for profit to prop up other aspects of the company) by diminishing the SHOW. Their hope is that most people won’t notice or even if they do it won’t make a big difference. By going with a “dark day” concept, they are admitting defeat!

Isn't it better to figure out a way to make them productive? Customers for the parks are on site all the time.AV!!! I’m a little surprised at you!! You’re using logic! And business insight!! Something the “Head Mouse” doesn’t know much about, it seems!!!

09-07-2002, 05:23 PM
Peter, is this friend someone that you talk to regularly?

I'm trying to imagine why AK needs a down day, but the 1,800 acre San Diego Wild Animal Park is able to operate 365 days.

09-07-2002, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by hopemax
Peter, is this friend someone that you talk to regularly?

I'm trying to imagine why AK needs a down day, but the 1,800 acre San Diego Wild Animal Park is able to operate 365 days.

...*cough* Bush Gardens, *cough * Sea World *cough*

09-07-2002, 06:38 PM
Thank God for the Oriental Land Company!
We will always have Tokyo.


Peter Pirate
09-07-2002, 07:16 PM
Got a frog in your through Euorpa?:rolleyes:

San Diego, Sea World & Busch Gardens didn't try to totally & accurately emulate a foreign landscape for their attractions. The problem lies with the plant material, the Florida climate and the inability of the imported material to adapt & reproduce as rapidly as it would in its native environment. Add to this the fact that the animals in this environment are captive to their region and can't wander away as they could in the wild. The responseto this dilemma by the landscapineers (I coined a new term) can't be done in the dark...

:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-07-2002, 07:36 PM
The point is that these are all problems that other places are able to over come and that Disney has for years now. Remember the aniamals at AK don't even live in the enviorment. They are only out there at most 12 hours of day(8 most of the time). They don't eat the stuff that grows on the land. Closing the park for a day would not be a repsonse or answer to those problems. Which they have been able to slove for years and are now a "problem", yet it would be due to Disney's mistakes in other areas of the company.

09-07-2002, 07:44 PM
If you removed the Asian animals and non-native fauna from San Diego Zoo, there would be little remaining...
They seem to do a pretty darn good job, with a Skyfari to boot! :):bounce:
Peter Pirate -- I think you and your friend are losing this cause. ;)

Peter Pirate
09-07-2002, 09:15 PM
The pont is I'm talking about the plants not the animals (what other place has tried to recreate such an enviroment). The animals wern't intended to eat what grows naturallly, but guess what? They are and Disney was warned ahead of time about this & chose to forge ahead anyway. BTW, the SD Zoo is little league compared to the faux savannahs.

My friend worked for Disney, was involved in the AK (animal side) planning & implementation at AK & today see's real problems associated with what they've tried to do.

I've only tried to share a little information from inside the realm, take it for what it's worth...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

Bob O
09-08-2002, 12:50 AM
Peter-The thing is is that if they did close a park one day a week is that initially they might have longer hours and the parks that are opened. But in time they would reduce those hours and still have parks closed and the waits for attractions would be increased. If your friend is right is a maintence problem caused by AK and not the fact the park is open 7 days a week.
To me the bottom line is that disney believes they have a very dedicated fan base and that they can make these cuts and the disney fanatics will just take it all in and not complain and tow the company line and just keep coming and keep spending money. Kind of how the cigarette smokers keeping gettin hit with taxes and do little complaining but keep buying cigs no matter what the cost. As long as the public keeps justifying their actions it wont stop.

09-08-2002, 12:51 AM
Very good points, Bob O.


Another Voice
09-08-2002, 02:22 AM
In other words Mr. Pirate, I’m supposed to lose a quarter of my vacation options because Disney ignored advice from experts on how to plant a garden?

At the very least, why does the entire park have to be shut down simply to accommodate the maintenance needs of a single attraction? Wouldn’t it be better to simply shut down the safari for one day a week and leave the rest of this “full day” park open? Or how about running the safari half-days two days a week? Certainly loosing just one ride (like happens all the time due to rehabs) would be better than losing a whole park for the guests. There must be dozens of other solutions for plant maintenance.

But maybe there is a plant that’s at the center of this whole issue: fig tree. Disney needs the leaves to cover over some embarrassing management decisions.

09-08-2002, 07:26 AM
Originally posted by Another Voice
Certainly loosing just one ride (like happens all the time due to rehabs) would be better than losing a whole park for the guests.

AV is the greatest...I really do wish I knew the true identity..but this really gave me a smile...Imagine seeing a board with a few attractions listed as closed for the day at AK like they have at the true "full-day" parks...:p that is a funny image the proves what a lame-a** excuse for a theme park AK is as a full-price entertainment option...
of course this can happen even with a great park like the original--- when my secretary was in Anaheim earlier this year she decided to see Disneyland for the first time ever, but at the gate they had one of those signs telling everyone that IASW, SM, POC, HM....etc were all closed for repairs..I was not there and may have some of the details slightly off-the point is that a huge number of the star attractions were closed for maintenance-so she and her family skipped going altogether. It just wasn't worth the time and money at that point...and I don't blame them...that is how our family feels about the fully operational AK...so closing AK one day a week would not alter our options -though the crowd disbursement between 9 and 3 would be affected--closing AK one day a week (or more) to save the other parks seems like a good idea to me.

Peter Pirate
09-08-2002, 09:30 AM
OK. My last post on the subject & you guys win. :(

Bob, Roy, I am not arguing that Disney should close their parks on a rotating basis (repeat: I am not arguing in favor of this) I only introduced it for (pertinent) discussion but I guess you guys don't want to discuss things, just beat a dead horse. :(

The only defending I'm doing is in regard to what my friend said. Yes AV they could close the Safari & Pangani Trail but as was pointed out by Paul that leaves quite a hole in the park (the main reason people go to AK in the first place). That is why my friend suggestd the whole park be closed (I didn't think the obvious needed to be pointed out). Further, he in no way has defended Disney, in fact his comments are quite critical. He hs said (for the last time) that the way the animal habitat was put together would require virtually a whole days landscaping work per week. His group had big problems with this during design & was overuled. Disagree all you want...

Voice how does closing AK for one day a week = 1/4 of your vacation options? Do you typically take one day vacations? :rolleyes: That comment deserves a Jeez Louise, I think!:crazy:

Lastly, it's sad the way this board has turned away from practical dscussion, especially from my perspective (a guy who has in the past defended Eisner but now wishes he'd go). It'd be nice to discuss possibilities, both remote & realistic, but as long as Eisner's in charge most of you will just keep beating that drum...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-08-2002, 11:56 AM
is four pages long....how can you say that we aren't "practically discussing" it?

Seems like we're practically discussing it to me!


Another Voice
09-08-2002, 01:56 PM
Before you set sail again Mr. Pirate, let me respond.

I too am not advocating closing any of the parks. But I do believe it will happen soon. If it does I wish that The Company would simply be honest with its guests. No lying, no spin, no phony marketing “the guests prefer character interaction and we’re putting in a new kitchen” press releases – just tell us the truth. We can handle it.

The gardening argument for closing down the Animal Kingdom just comes off as one of those intelligence-insulting excuses we’re likely to hear when AK goes dark on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Does anyone really believe that a company renowned throughout the world for imagination and innovation can’t come up with a better why of running the weed whacker than closing down an entire theme park for an entire day? Whether they use this excuse or the “animals need a break” line, it’s still just an excuse to cover-up the real motivation behind what they’re doing.

As for the “quarter of my vacation options”; the way I look at it a trip to WDW is very much like a cruise. I’m there to enjoy the ship, its amenities and its destinations. Closing a park for a couple of days is removing some of my options. I really feel it’s akin to a cruise ship staying docked in port for an extra day to save fuel costs. Yes, I can enjoy all that the ship has to offer, but I’m paying a lot of money to have a choice of activities. The fewer choices I have and the more restrictive those choices become, the less money I am willing to pay.

Faced with an attendance problem, my reaction would be to try to make WDW more appealing to guests and bring more people in (even if it lowers margins a bit). The current management’s response is to reduce costs faster than it’s losing guests. It’s a short term strategy that will maximize short term profits. But it’s also a strategy that will seriously hurt The Company in the long term and that’s been my concern about the current management all along.

The worse part of this whole issue is that I really think that closing a park for a few days can be done in a way that would be accepted by the guests. Be upfront about it, provide compensation, and treat the guests like intelligent adults. We all know about the economy, we all know about the problems with tourism and we’d be willing to accept Disney’s honest attempts to deal with their problems.

09-08-2002, 02:13 PM
Well, I am glad I haven't bought my airline tckets for January yet.
I can see going for the marathon as planned, but I can see where our length of stay may be revised. :rolleyes:
Just doesn't seem now is a good time to go. Better to let them battle and tweak and let the dust settle, and then make a judgment on whether it's worth returning or not and for how long.

09-08-2002, 03:21 PM
I agree with your premise that it might be best to wait to plan a trip until the "dust settles" but the problem is that the dust doesn't look like it's going to settle anytime soon. We canceled a Jan. 2001 trip because I thought the same thing that you are saying now, that it would be better after the dust settled. Well, it's actually worse now! Even shorter hours and even more cutbacks.

The adage to use here may not be "wait until the dust settles" but "get while the gettin' is good"
If the cuts at the parks and resorts don't stop, this January may look GOOD looking back from 2004 or 2005. Funny thing, that slippery slope.


Bob O
09-08-2002, 05:01 PM
I agree with AV!!!
I might not be happy about a park closing one day a week to save money but if the company would be honest and upfront and not always feel the need to lie to its guests to coverup the mistakes they have made. We would like some honesty from the company and not the BS they try to feed us like they did about EE for example.
And disney should try to increase hours to get guests to stay longer in the day and spend money. Other parks have shown that if you increase the quality of your product and give the guests what they consider to be a great deal for their money they will come. Why not trying to reduce admission fees on slow days as a way to entice more guests or have extra fireworks and parades on slow days to keep guests longer or offer free soda on slow days. They dont ever try to give the guests anything extra to induce them to stay longer or come in the first place but feel the need to always reduce what is offered.

Safari Steve
09-08-2002, 06:33 PM
pretty broad generalizations... Never and Always are almost always never correct.

The initial rumor involved a much larger expenditure of budget as an alternative to *NOTHING*... Are we reacting to the actual events, or to perceptions generated vicariously through the opinions of others? What's with all the pitchforks and torches?

Btw, Roy... do you remember anything out of the ordinary happening between Jan 2001 and Summer 2002? Just a slippery slope entirely resulting from selfish execs? hmmm...

Oh, and as far as competitors go, does anyone have a problem with three of 9 major attractions in one park being closed at the same time during both the Christmas/New Year's AND Spring Break seasons? Does anyone recall the fact that 6pm closes for most days between Labor Day and Memorial day have been standard for years at that very same park?

Now THAT 's funny!

09-08-2002, 06:56 PM
Speaking of slippery slopes....
discounting is a slippery slope that I think Disney should avoid...start discounting and then folks expect discounts....make your product special...this is the part of the market in the past where Disney has thrived...if they want to get into discounting they have to cut their expenses...if they cut their expenses they have to put out a less distinct product...if they make a less distinct product they have to compete with a lot of others (carnivals, amusement parks, etc...) they cannot be the Disney we all know and love...They need to be the Neiman-marcus of theme parks, not the Wal-mart.


09-08-2002, 08:11 PM
discounting is a slippery slope that I think Disney should avoid...start discounting and then folks expect discounts....make your product special...this is the part of the market in the past where Disney has thrived...Before Ei$ner took control NOTHING was discounted!! EVER!!!

Disney even refused to pay travel agents!! And they NEVER paid to advertise!!!

You paid Disney prices which were a 'bit' more than average for a 'much-much-much' more than average experience!! And it NEVER went on sale!!!!

Pretty neat concept, ain't it?

09-08-2002, 08:17 PM
OK. I was avoiding typing anything in here because I think y'all are wiggin - they have upped the hours in Sept. at the magic kingdom because they are trying to find ways to extend the hours during off season - whether it is alternating fireworks and parades during the week, or having a big character thing (and yeah, I'd be somewhere else if they did that), during the week, they are adding to the off season hours and I think that's a good thing. But anyway, I replied because I read Land Baron's post that there were never discounts before Eisner. Does Magic Kingdom Club not count? I have several old copies of Disney News that shows discounts on park tickets and lodging with magic kingdom club (and there were free memberships back then, so I'm not sure how its not a discount). Maybe you are only talking about publicized discount codes or something. Anyway, just a small point -

Willing to see what will happen,

09-08-2002, 08:30 PM
This is my impression of the the regulars of this board.


My friend Mr Pirate accurately stated.

Lastly, it's sad the way this board has turned away from practical dscussion, especially from my perspective (a guy who has in the past defended Eisner but now wishes he'd go). It'd be nice to discuss possibilities, both remote & realistic, but as long as Eisner's in charge most of you will just keep beating that drum...

This board should be renamed " The Vultures Waiting for Eisner's Carcass"

09-08-2002, 08:34 PM
Does Magic Kingdom Club not count? Well, I think it depends on your point of view. But you are right. There was that. And I think there was a "discount' for AP renewals, but I'm honestly not sure.

The Magic Kingdom Club I discounted, only because EVERYONE I knew used it. It was a given. I knew NO ONE at all that didn't have access to one. But technically, you are right, it should count.

But I was referring to the room rates and any other incentive to "temporarily" boost sales. They never did it that I know of. And as a consumer that told me two things. First they had TREMENDOUS confidence in their product!! (Their product being "an experience" and NOT a plush toy and a hot dog!) and it also told me that their prices were pretty damned good in the first place if they didn't feel the need to play "used car salesman" with me, depending on how the market would swing.

But I did forget about the Magic Kingdom Club! And that was before Ei$ner destroyed that one too!!!

Tik Tok
09-08-2002, 08:42 PM
Originally posted by d-r
they have upped the hours in Sept. at the magic kingdom because they are trying to find ways to extend the hours during off season - whether it is alternating fireworks and parades during the week, or having a big character thing (and yeah, I'd be somewhere else if they did that), during the week, they are adding to the off season hours and I think that's a good thing.

I was under the impression that if they decide to go with the character thing that they will still be closing the MK at 6pm, or earlier. Is that the case, or will they be extending hours either way??

09-08-2002, 11:54 PM
So many pages read and I have very little to say, other than.............

I agree with the good Captain, er, I mean Pirate. Yeah, this thread is 5+ pages, but how much of that discussion is related to discussing the new entertainment idea, it's implementation, its effects, etc.? Not too many. This thread contains much of the same old rhetoric. The last few weeks have seen this board get progressively more negative. I, personally, will wait until I get to WDW to assess the entertainment that is offered and form my own opinions, rather than falling prey to all the Chicken Littles. Now, CL's, don't get your panties in a ruffle. I agree that there have been many bad Disney decisions - many things to sound the alarm over. However, when it gets so bad that the sirens sound over the rumored possibility of something different being tried when nobody knows what, when, or where......well, I think it gets a little carried away. JMO. I'll jump off my box now and practically discuss the original topic.

As to a new character whatever show......... I think it could have potential if it is anything like the thing from DL that AV described. Four stages that sit on Main St with characters that interact with the crowd in an oganized show/event. That could be great. One of the best parts of the Share a Dream parade is when the floats stop and the characters dance around with kids from the crowd. Our DD did this several times and it was an incredibly magical experience. If this new thing were an extended version of that type of character interaction I think people would be thrilled. However, if it was an unorganized meet and greet autograph melee with people jamming the streets with no organization and no element of SHOW - that would be a very bad thing. However, I think we all need to wait for a bit before we decree that the sky is falling with respect to this rumored event. Even once more info is available, most people probably need to wait and see for themselves before thay can really say yea or nea. Fact of the matter is that a Disney experience today is about a million times more magical than someone would think if all they did was read these boards. Yeah, the magic has tarnished. Yeah, there are some disappointments. Yeah, we need to keep a level head and some perspective. No Disney apoplogy. You can acknowledge the bad and the good, you can act on it, you can speak out about it, but you have to keep a sense of perspective.

One question I had, but think was answered, had to do with whether this new thing would truely be an addition. If the answer were yes I say the CL's were all completely nuts, that there was a rampant epidemic of Mad Chicken disease turning brains to mush. Of course added hours and entertainment would be a positive. Alas, it seem that is might not be the case. Scenario one - the good thing - would be for Disney to keep the existing entertainment they already have - the parades and fireworks on Friday and Saturday, and add this new thing on other days. Scenario two - the bad thing - is for Disney to replace the Friday and Saturday parades with this new thing and do nothing on the nights that they are already doing nothing on. That is no addition. That is swapping out tried and true, pure Disney, gotta have entertainment for something cheaper. I'll still wait to see it to evaluate it, but the MK simply wouldn't be the same without the nighttime parade and fireworks - even if we could only see them one or two nights a week (which completely sucks as it is).

I guess I had more to say than I thought ;).

ps. Baron, I have to ask you to make up your mind ;). You have stated so emphatically in the past in our discussions on Disney hotels that hey never ever offered any discount back in the day. Well, now it seems that they never ever offered any discoun, other than MKC. Well, which is it? No discounts? or discounts? It is totally irrelevant whether it was MKC that everyone knew about. A discount is a discount. Furthermore, it is completely wrong of you to assume that everyone knew about MKC discounts. I bet back in the day there weren't many more people who knew about MKC than there are people that know about other Disney discounts today. Heck, the USA today last week had an ad with a code that would get you AKL for $119. You see, you don't have to be an internet saavy, Mousesavers reading computer geek to get a discount today. So, what is the position on discounts back in the day, or will you only make a statement on that question that fits your argument on a particular thread ;)?

Bob O
09-09-2002, 12:33 AM
The slippery slope started at wdw along time ago first with building parks that were full days parks from day one- MGM,then contiuned too reduced hours off operation, loss off EE among major cutbacks, not having the whole park open when the park opened and closing attractions prior to park closing as just a few examples. They have contiuned to make the experience at wdw less magical than it once was and have reduced the show aspect.If they wanted to make their product special they would have completed AK as a whole day park from day one w/BK and Asia open!! And wouldnt have put in PW and thre carny land they did do. Their concern isnt about making the product special but only how can they cutback and save money while keeping the diehards happy and seeing how much they will swallow before they stop coming.Thats the line they are worried about and not making sure they "wow" the guests like it was in the past.
The park has more than enough meet and greets be it in the staged areas's or when the charachters are roaming about.
But imho the parades have always been special and set disney apart from any other park, as well as the firework displays. If they would do anything they should increase the fireworks to what i saw at mvmcp where they set them off they totally surronded you and were the best display ive seen them put on. To me with disney's track record of late they deserve no benefit of doubt on anything, that trust needs to be regained and cant be accomplished by some pr gimmick!!

Another Voice
09-09-2002, 01:49 AM
The big difference comes from the following sentence: “I, personally, will wait until I get to WDW to assess the entertainment that is offered and form my own opinions”. Now there are many Disney fans that have this attitude and it’s a perfectly acceptable position to take.

The issue is that there are many more regular guests that don’t have the luxury of spending money for a trip just to assess the entertainment. They want to know NOW if their trip is going to worth the money. The average guest will notice fewer hours than before, higher prices, fewer benefits for staying on property – not the mention the non-Disney travel hassles of flying these days. Something like a new show will only have a possible impact through word of mouth and tremendous marketing, and even then I feel it only a slim chance.

My question isn’t whether a Character Show is going to be good or not – it’s whether this kind of event is going to make a couple million people say “sure the park closes before dusk, but let’s go anyway”. At one point I think that many would have given Disney the benefit of the doubt. But the evidence is VERY clear that is no longer the case. Attendance at WDW from summer 2001 through California Adventure shows a substantial reluctance on the public’s part.

Again the goal is not to make the guests already on property feel better – IT’S TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO GO TO WDW. A Character Show isn’t going to do that. Tinkering about with minor changes or cheaper, less effective replacements for previous cuts are not an inducement for a family to drop five grand. And certainly closing parks for dark days and further cuts aren’t going to help. As the saying goes, “the first rule of holes is to stop digging”.

Yes, it’s nice they might try something new. Yes it’s nice that there’s a slim chance it could be an addition. Yes it’s nice more characters will be seen. But what would really by nice is to FIX THE PROBLEM.

P.S. - “The Vultures Waiting for Eisner's Carcass”. BBQ at my place.

09-09-2002, 01:57 AM
P.S. - “The Vultures Waiting for Eisner's Carcass”. BBQ at my place.Count me in!!! :bounce: I'll bring the beer!!!

09-09-2002, 09:20 AM
I'm sorry but because of the past events on ee, e-nights, higher prices, etc. I don't believe this will work in our favor. The other non-Disney parks do alot less on parades and fireworks; so, Disney feels this is a cost they can eliminate. Of course, they can't cut us off completely it would look too bad; so, they do it with more charater meets.

I'm going at Christmas and next spring for the flower and garden show. I never saw either event after going there over a dozen times. Anyway, I'm very happy I'm doing it now. I do believe a year or so from now I won't recognize Disney World as I remember it. I can't wait until they get rid of Mr. Eisner and I hope it's soon.

09-09-2002, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by DisneyKidds
So many pages read and I have very little to say, other than.............

I agree with the good Captain, er, I mean Pirate. Yeah, this thread is 5+ pages, but how much of that discussion is related to discussing the new entertainment idea, it's implementation, its effects, etc.? Not too many. This thread contains much of the same old rhetoric.

Many people have said they think the "Character Mob" is a bad idea. They don't want it. They want fireworks, or a Nighttime parade.

Again...nighttime ending Fireworks = Good
Nighttime ending parade = Good
Longer Hours = Good
More Hours = Good

Running the Character Gauntlet at a early closing = BAD!BAD!BAD!

Another Voice
09-09-2002, 12:25 PM
“…this would result in extended offseason hours, especially in Sept/Oct. and May”

Absolutely these would not be “extended” off season hours. At best it would be a simple restoration to previous levels. And the entire point of the developing the character show is to create an end-of-day event that does not require darkness so that the early closing can be kept.

Yes, some of the local management do understand their guests. But most of the people who control (and demand) the money do not.

09-09-2002, 01:33 PM
A few things...

Yes, this experiment has resulted in increased hours for September, as compared to how they were originally set. HOWEVER, they are still 7.5% lower than last September (296 vs. 320).

Last I checked, October's hours hadn't been officially extended yet, but remember that they were a full 11% lower than 2001, which had already been reduced due to the legitimate effects of 9/11. It will take quite an extension just to get back to the already reduced levels of 2001.

I think AV has presented this very fairly, especially in his last couple of posts. Yes, the character bash would be an add, and yes, if hours are extended beyond their current schedules that's an add as well. But its only an add when you compare it to recent hours and schedules, which had already been hacked to the bone. And isn't it true that WDW relies heavily on guests who only visit every 2-3 years or more? Those guests won't be comparing to what was originally scheduled. They will be comparing to 1998-2000.

Of course, its very possible that since the cuts began in earnest around 1999, some of those guests won't be returning this year or next anyway, because their last visit provided reduced value....

With regard to park dark days, again, its one of those things where it depends what the baseline is. If I were told that three parks would close one day a week (say, AK on Tue, Epcot on Wed, and MGM on Thu), but hours would be extended at the other three parks on those days, I would probably consider that a plus. BUT ONLY WHEN COMPARED TO THE CURRENT SITUATION.

And while I don't agree with everything Bob and Roy say, I would have to admit that I would be suspicious of how long the extended hours at the other three parks would continue.

Closing a park IS a takeway, even if I can schedule around it. As AV and Baron point out frequently, its a reduction in options, and it increases crowd levels at the other remaining options. If that were not true, we could take it further and close three parks on the same day, since we could just visit the open park that day. Surely we can all agree that would be a takeaway. Well, the same concept applies to closing one park, its just to not as great a degree.

Another Voice
09-09-2002, 02:47 PM
The average guest does not care about budget battles with Burbank.

The average guest does not care about minor replacements prentending to be major additions.

The average guest does not care about “some is better than nothing”.

The average guest does not care about what’s realistic due to corporate politics.

All the average guest cares about is the serious decline in the value for their vacation dollar.

All the excuses, rationalizations and apologists in the world will not convince a single one of those individuals to drop the cash to visits WDW until that issue is corrected.

09-09-2002, 03:20 PM
Yes, these "adds" would not restore hours to pre-199whatever levels. In a best case scenario they would.

True, but they (so far) don't even restore them to POST 9/11 levels.

However, they do restore some hours and that is better than none being restored.
True, it is, and I agree.

We've used baseball analogies before, so here's another one. In my view, Disney has made a consious decision to let the quality of the team they put on the field diminish. They have let talented free agents leave in favor of cheaper players without upward potential. Yes, its still a strong team, but it has slipped. (And more importantly, WDW attendance is proving that many guests think the team is not that strong anymore).

Now, with this move, its looks like they will make a small upgrade. They've let things slip at several key positions, and now they are bringing in a new player who is a little better left fielder than the guy they had stuck out there. That's nice, but their still much weaker than they were in the past at this position, and there is still the slippage in other areas. They had an MVP caliber shortstop, and then replaced him with a solid, but unspectaculer player. Now, they are bringing in a slightly better player, but this guy will never even sniff the MVP award, let alone actually win one.

So, I'll give a little golf clap for the slight upgrade. But I'm still forced to point out that this doesn't put the team where it was, or where it should be. They are still weaker at several other positions.

Further, given the other areas that have been allowed to slip, I just can't let this one minor upgrade make me think that all other areas of slippage have stopped, let alone will be improved.

Remember, Matt, after 9-11 cuts, many posters cried out that NONE of those cuts would be restored. Slowly but surely many such as the Riverside boats, restaurants closed, etc. have been returned.
But Scoop, it doesn't matter to me what many posters thought. I'm honestly just trying to look at the facts. Yes, many cuts were returned. But some have not, and clearly a HUGE one is hours. And what's worse, not only are they not returning, they are slipping FURTHER. Meanwhile, attendance disappoints even lowered expectations.

Disney maybe throwing their guests a bone with this one, but the Dog is HUNGRY, and its going to take more than a bone to keep him from heading to somebody else's yard.

09-09-2002, 04:24 PM
Scoop, I don't think the Average Man is trying to say that every Disney manager or executive is clueless when it comes to acheiving long-term guest satisfaction. I know I'm not saying that. I'm sure there are quite a few well-intending individuals who understand what truly has made Disney so successful.

But to AV's point (or AM, whatever...), most people don't know what the ratio of "good" to "bad" is in the executive ranks. All they care about is what happens on their vacation. What are the hours? What is the entertainment schedule? What does it cost?

Its great that there are some in management who realize that guests need to be getting more value than they are getting now, and by not providing more they are only hurting themselves. I applaud them for having a good understanding of their business and what makes it (and their guests) tick.

But again, there is very little evidence to suggest that this is any kind of real trend. I hope I am wrong, and that a trend to increase value does materialize. Even if its a slow upward trend, up is good.

Right now, however, there is still far more evidence that suggests this is nothing more than an anomaly.

Another Voice
09-09-2002, 04:56 PM
I’m hardly the appointed speaker for the Average Tourist – what I wrote is nothing but standard issue common business sense. The mere fact that something so obvious as “people like value for their money” seems so strange that it requires ridicule is one more indication about how isolated Disney has become from its own customers.

When I buy a taco I do not care about internal budget struggles inside the Taco Bell Tower. When I buy a car I do not care about the family inheritance struggles inside Ford. When I buy a shirt I do not care about the lost transportation rebates given to Macy’s.

All I care about is the value I receive for my money. I’m not going to drop an extra five bucks in the department store because a contract manager really, really tired to lower costs but couldn’t. I’m not going to drop an extra grand at the dealership just because some rich suit thinks he deserves an extra million and who am I to say otherwise.

Why is so strange that people planning a trip to Walt Disney World act the same way? They want value for their money, not whines about how some accountants work isn’t appreciated. NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE WORKINGS OF DISNEY WHEN THE CREDIT CARD GETS SWIPED. All they see that ticket prices went up and hours went down. Burbank, Orlando, Mars – it doesn’t matter.

Intentions don’t mean anything. Yes, it’s harsh, it’s cruel and it’s unfair. But that’s business.

Explain away all you want. Call us negative, call us chickens, threaten not to post anymore – it ain’t going to change the fact that fewer and fewer people are going to WDW. If you think twenty extra people in rubber suits and demands that we accept less than before will reverse the trend, they please buy more DVC points.

But right now my stock certificates are worth more as collectables on eBay than as instruments of equity and pretty soon I’ll be forced to trade them in for shares of General Electric.

Bob O
09-09-2002, 05:37 PM
Where is their any proof that incremental changes are going to be good for the customer?? They can easily make some positive change with one hand and take it away with the next.
They need to promote agressively that they are going to increase the hours of the parks for the guests enjoyment, make it part of a pr campaign to induce more visitors and bring back EE and agai make it part of a pr campaing for people staying onsite, prmote that you get real perks for staying onsite which will bring in more revenue, increase fastpass perks also for onsite guests to increase hotel occupancy. use a pr campign building on the nostaglia of the good old days of disney when the park hours were long and all rides were operating. By dosing this you can increase revenue and have guests leave with a "wow" factor as compared to the parks in thie communties which dont offer this.

09-09-2002, 05:42 PM
It's all in the angle from which you view it.
But this is the problem. Its not in how one views this. You're looking at the situation from a micro point of view, i.e., what do your neighboors experience?

I understand your point, that if a vacationing family's expectations are what's been posted at Disney.com, then yes, they see an extra Spectro as a plus.

But do you honestly believe that the majority of visitors to WDW have 9-6 Sunday-Friday as their true expectation? Even those that know about these new earlier closings have not necessarily accepted it as their expectation. Knowing what your experience will be is not the same as changing what you believe good value to be.

I'm a half-full type. You are a half-empty type.
Scoop, how wrong you are about me. If you had to label me, I wouldn't be either. I'm more the "call it half empty, call it half full, I don't care, but please explain to me why its not full and let's figure out how we can make it full" type...

No big deal either way since the glass contains the same amount for both of us.
You're right, it does contain the same amount. And no matter how you label it, the glass is still short some liquid that it used to have. A returning guest sees this. A new guest forms their judgement about Disney based on the 1/2 glass, instead of the full glass that used to exist. Both are less likely to go to Disney for their glass next time.

That last sentence is the key point, Scoop. You and I will still go back. But its pretty clear that others, who are closer to the fence than you and I, are making other choices.

Bob O
09-09-2002, 05:49 PM
To me 9-6pm isnt acceptable at a SF or other type of park, yet alone a disney park which i have far higher expectations from.
I think the average person is speaking with their money by not going to the park as often and didnt fall for the pr of Walts birthday campaign. They are speaking as evidenced by reduced park attendance and hotel stays.

Bob O
09-09-2002, 06:26 PM
I gave the answers to the question that was asked!!

09-09-2002, 07:13 PM
So scoop wants a suggestion...

Something I suggested on another board: One non-Saturday, late closing for both the Magic Kingdom and MGM (on separate days of course). Run Spectro and the fireworks at the MK, 2 Fantasmic shows at the MK, a full operating day. Guests get 1 day out of 7 when they feel things are the way they used to be, and Disney gets 6 days to do what they feel they need to do.

The people who do bother to check for hours (like us) could plan a vacation that would allow us to delude ourselves into thinking it's worth the trip because they have a willingness to schedule around those late days. It's the flip side of having a "dark day" without the negative side affect of pissing some people off in the process.

I wish I had access to WDW's numbers but I have a hunch that the number of people who use the internet to do even a basic level of research isn't insignificant. Not a majority, but not something that should be ignored. These people are checking the hours and are saying, "Hmm, maybe this isn't the best time to go, I'll wait for things to get better." And that's not helping anyone.

Running parades or fireworks every night, like this trial, I'm not sure is the best strategy. It's likely to increase the crowds each day, but only by a small amount, and not enough to make it financially worth while. I expect after this, the managers will report, "Yes, we saw minor increases, but not enough to justify this schedule." But if you can get that small amount who would have came on Tuesday and Thursday to adjust their schedule to come on Wednesday, running the parade/fireworks has a better shot of being a success since you only have to pay for one show not three.

Do one day, and if that day fills up, THEN add another day. What should happen is a cascading effect. Some people can be enticed back with one full, operating day at each park; they don't mind "working around" the schedule. They go, have a good time because everything is operating, they get their late night at the magical Magic Kingdom, go home tell their friends and some of them decide to come. That one day fills up, so a 2nd day is added. 2 days at full, gets another bunch of people to realize the value, they come down and the process repeats. Hotels start filling up, and then a 3rd day is needed to handle the people. And then they're back in business.

It would be a balancing act, because if you wait to long to add the 2nd day (or even a second show), it gets to crowded which has a negative effect on guest satisfaction. And I no longer have faith that WDW's managment can identify the right time. They'll want to push it, "just a little bit more."

09-09-2002, 07:35 PM
Adopt the Japanese model-

Do not open lame a** parks. This means you have to DO something about the lame park you did open--that will take time and money...not a quick turn around but something that must be done-NOW

Do not sit on your laurels with parks-"as long as their is Imagination then the place will never be completed" what is the last new thing to come to the World Showcase? Oh yeah, that would be the closing of Millenium Village...Again this is going to take some time and money but this investment must begin soon...

DO THESE NEW ADDITIONS RIGHT! No carny rides, or cheap off the shelf.

Next- get the people in the parks, they will pay to get in and then will become walking advertisements for the improvements you make...how do you get them in? Three tiered admission levels as in Japan- Unlimited -as it is now full use of the parks. (Special cool looking bracelet)
Limited use- using tickets or a punch card or punch bracelet (not so cool looking) and admission to the shops and restaurants only (not a very cool looking bracelet at all) More hassle- yes...more guests? I dunno why don't we ask the MOST VISITED themeparks in the world that draw from a smaller potential audience? (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea)

IF the above brings in more people but cannibalizes full price admissions you can always eliminate it easily as a failed experiment....I would guess that those who come in on the lower ticket end up spending more on the food and souvenirs to make up but let's find out?

PROMOTE THE PARKS AGGRESSIVELY ON YOUR NETWORK! Not lame sitcoms running around the parks- but shows that are dedicated to the parks as a special thing that people just have to know about and see---two to five minute segments between shows and occasional full hour long affairs for something really special like your cool new Space ride or whatever else you can add...

Definitely give people more for staying onsite-look at the buses they use in Tokyo!-not just a bus with Disney written on it but a sleek silver job with MICKEY shaped windows! EE at MK at least on Saturdays, or Mondays.

09-09-2002, 07:36 PM
On the surface, testing guest reaction to parades/fireworks/characters is fine. After all, there are very few of us who can predict the true impact of such things. But darn it, why don't they already know what guest reaction will be? They've cut hours and entertainment, and only NOW do they want to know what guests think about these things? The fact that they don't ask these questions when making cuts, but want them answered before adding anything just proves that those running this show don't understand the business they are in.

Scoop, if testing incremental changes is now the norm, fine. Its better than the willy-nilly cuts we've been seeing. But if that is truly the new philosophy, we should expect to see it applied to any other cuts that are being contemplated, and we should also see other tests for possible adds, correct?

You want MY business plan? Well, I'd do several things immediately. One is to re-assess how the parks/resorts evaluate the long-term impact of decisions on guest satisfaction. Because its clear from looking at what's going on that either this area is being ignored, or its being mis-managed. Just doing tests and surveys doesn't cut it, given the failure of these processes in the past. If a cut is made, I don't just want to know what the cost/revenue impact is over the next week, month or even year. I want to know what it does 3 years from now. When the Smiths are contemplating coming back in 2005, will this decision make them more or less likely to choose WDW? And I want the TRUTH, not what somebody thinks I want to hear.

Since whats in the past is over and done with, I would just have to accept the fact that we do not understand how our guests feel about such basic things as hours and entertainment.

Given that, yes, I probably would be instituting some tests very similar to the ones being planned. In fact, once I was comfortable with our ability to accurately assess our guests wants and needs, I'd be testing up the wazoo, because how can we ever expect to make our guests happy if we don't know what they want (and are willing to pay for)?

But to imply that these upcoming tests signify that all of the above changes are actually happening is just a bit too much for me to accept right now. And frankly, if the above changes are not all happening, the tests are pretty much a waste of time, since its likely the results will be mis-interpreted once again...

So, Scoopster, that's how I'd start...

(I'd also be leaning towards making some sort of public admission that some mistakes have been made, and that we (Disney) were re-focusing on our guests. But I wouldn't do that until I had come up with a couple of tangible and significant things we were prepared to do to prove this...)

09-09-2002, 07:44 PM
...before I give my suggestions can we agree to the fact that cuts that Disney has made is due to other areas of the company under perforing, losing money or wasteful spending? Can we also agree that those cuts have in turn hurt Disney attendance?

Until we agree to that it’s all a moot point.

09-09-2002, 08:01 PM
Somebody Email me if something interesting happens here before Eisner gets canned, cause this thread stinks and it isn't worth taking time out of my day right now to read all this.

You know what? WDW is screwed. It sounds like local WDW managment has found a way to sneak a little value out of your dollar while giving Burbank what it wants. Take advantage of it. I don't see the character thing as being all that good, but I could work out. Ya Never know. This is a Plus as Scoop and the Pirate have illustrated. so what if the negative from last year was much bigger. its some crumbs we're being thrown. If Disney gets a positive response, then maybe WDW managment will be able to get some more concessions out of Burbank.
This is a War it seems between the local manamgent and Burbank and this is a specific Battle. I for one want local managment to win. crying about how foolish Disney is is so 2000. Been there done that. Nothing has changed, its just the more people have hit their breaking point.

That's all I got to say see you when Eisner is out a here.

Tik Tok
09-09-2002, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by thedscoop
So, what are some solutions. Some real world cold reality business solutions. Not pie in the sky "Gee Disney should colonize Mars" ideas.

Real world cold harsh executable solutions to the cold harsh business realites AV pointed out.

I think the only way we would ever be able to really come up with some real solutions would be if we actually knew some of the specifics about where the money goes at WDW. I mean, they have all these parks, hotels, restaurants, etc, etc that make money -- where's it all going if it's not enough to support a fully operational WDW??

I'm pretty sure that most of it is going elsewhere in the company, and WDW is being made to suffer because of it. But until we actually know some numbers, there's really no way to make any useful "real world" suggestions. And I suppose that's really the heart of the problems at WDW -- dealing with the rest of the vast and mostly troubled Walt Disney Company.

09-09-2002, 08:36 PM
Originally posted by Eeyore2U
This is my impression of the the regulars of this board.


"We surrender! We surrender!"

09-09-2002, 10:01 PM
d-r -- LOL! ;)
Which curmudgeon can I be?!? :)

09-09-2002, 10:44 PM
I couldn’t stay out of it any longer. Now there's a good chance that Scoop ain’t gonna bother, as he often avoids... ah... well... conversations with me. But Scoop! If you’re listening, please give it some thought. I am very serious. Yes, these "adds" would not restore hours to pre-199whatever levels. In a best case scenario they would.

However, they do restore some hours and that is better than none being restored.Scoop, are you always willing to settle, with everything in your life, or just when it comes to Disney? Either that or you’re on their payrool. To be quite honest, I haven’t figured out which one yet! However, I'm realistic enough to appreciate the small steps toward a larger goal.Perhaps our goals are different? It could be, you know. Maybe the step is quick or far enough, but I applaud WDW management for figuring out a way to even take a step in the current Disney budget turmoil.See!!!! I was right!! We do have different goals. You’re satisfied (not only satisfied, mind you, but “applaud”, no less!!) with some crumbs that WDW management are able to salvage. I, on the other hand, would like to get to the root of the problem and ask why we are in this “current Disney budget turmoil”. Do you see the difference? it seems odd that those of us who continue to stick with the company (apologists?) are the only ones who appreciate incremental changes toward improvement.Now, you’ve got to be kidding!!!?!?! Do you really think that any of us, even those... ahhhh... well... whatever Steve called us, don’t like those baby steps forward? Do you really think that we don’t want to see some positive, no matter how small? Just because we want, no, INSIST(!!) on seeing some more “reinstatements” does not make us evil, non-thinking, bashers!! We appreciate it too!! It just ain't near enough!! I don't care if you put Katz, Green, or even yourself at the helm tommorrow at 6am PST, the truth is that reduced hours, no EE, whatever, won't be reestablished overnight.But while this regime is ensconced, there is no hope at all!!! Surely you can see that?! And those measly little crumbs that WDW is tossing our way is still - - - simply not enough! To me, the only thing sadder than a cut itself is when certain segments work hard to begin to restore that cut only to be met with complaints. Why do you have a hard time differentiating between WDW management and Burbank? You don’t have any trouble when you tell us who does what! So tell me why you find it sad that we aren’t “beholding” to DISNEY for the lousy bone they throw us. NOT WDW MANAGEMENT, but DISNEY!!! Can’t you see the difference? I hold DISNEY responsible.

When the buses are overcrowd, belching smoke and are, well, UN-MAGICAL, I complain!!!! Do you assume that I am complaining to the individual Bus Drivers? Do you think for one minute that I mean the supervisor in charge of the terminal? Do you really think, that I think, that the VP in charge of transportation really has a say in offering different and magical transportation options to the guests? Or even that the head of WDW has much of a say? NO!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s the head!!! Like a famous general once said: If you cut off it’s head, it dies!! I’m talking about management! TOP management! And the little leeway they give local management doesn’t matter one little hill of beans in the grand scheme of things! Now, surely you can see that!!!! Thus, for me at least, incremental improvements show me a behind the scenes effort at improving the guest experience.You say one thing and yet, in the very next paragraph, by example, absolutely refute your own argument!!! YOU’RE DRIVING ME NUTS MR. SCOOP!!!! :crazy:

You say that these little things shows you that incrementally, over time, they are striving to make our experience better!! Fair enough!! You fill me with hope!! It’s that one tiny step forward you’re talking about!! GREAT!!!!

BUT.... Here's another example:

Burbank recently mandated a ticket increase at WDW to achieve a certain revenue level. Well, certain WDW types were able to achieve that revenue level without raising all ticket prices. IF “BURBANK” HAD A CLUE AS TO HOW TO RUN DISNEY THEY WOULDN’T HAVE MANDATED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

And that’s who I’m complaining to and about! You see, THERE (in Burbank) is the problem!!! Not the CM that stands guard outside the treehouse or wakes up the bird in the Tiki House. And, surprise, surprise!! I’m NOT talking about WDW middle or even upper management! I’m talking about BURBANK!!! Is there any other cause for this nonsense!?!?!

And now a break from Mr. Scoop (for a minute or two). We need to turn our attention to My Liege - Lord Voice!! They want value for their money, not whines about how some accountants work isn’t appreciated. NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE WORKINGS OF DISNEY WHEN THE CREDIT CARD GETS SWIPED. All they see that ticket prices went up and hours went down. Burbank, Orlando, Mars – it doesn’t matter. Now, I’m not about to argue regarding the substance! My goodness!! NO!! His substance is PERFECT (as usual)!! It’s his style I question!! It’s the first time I recall him ever SHOUTING!!! (look at all those upper case letter!!)

So, a couple of suggestions, if I may. As long as you’re getting emotional (or at least strong) anyway, I think it would read better as: They want VALUE (!!) for their money, not whines about how some accountants work isn’t appreciated!!! NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE WORKINGS OF DISNEY WHEN THE CREDIT CARD GETS SWIPED. :mad: All they see that ticket prices went up and hours went down!!! Burbank, Orlando, Mars – it doesn’t matter!!!!!!!!!! :( There! Isn’t that nicer!?! :jester:

OK, back to Scoop! On the other hand, if guests apathetically say "Who cares anyway" then that simply supports the bean counters argument.Now, who was it that said that if they ever lost their audience they’d have to work ten times harder at getting them back? Now let me see... who was that again?

And guess what Scoop. They’ve lost (YES PAST TENSE) LOST a good majority of their audience. So it’s time to work TEN TIMES HARDER!!! It ain’t gonna happen - “incrementally”! And only some very naive about the Disney experience would think so! But they are rather naive out in Burbank, aren’t they? Or maybe they’re just plain stupid!! We can all toss around lines about people "speaking with their wallets" but merely recognizing that fact hardly goes anywhere toward resolving it.I can ‘resolve’ it rather quickly. KICK THE BUMS OUT!! It’s really that simple! And we’d be no worse off. Perhaps no better oof, that’s true. But certainly no worse off!! Screw Pixie Dust on this issue because that doesn't pay the light bills. The cold hard business reality is that Disney attendance is down and the cold hard reality is that merely recognizing and endlessly repeating that fact isn't going to change it.You go on to ask for specifics!

Scoop! This time I’m really worried. You don’t really propose that we collectively brainstorm ideas that can salvage the company and Disney is going to listen to us, are you? Sorry, my man! I usually like to play with you. You make me think. But this!?!?! This is just a tad too silly for me!! But it did give me a good laugh! :crazy:

09-09-2002, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by Another Voice
The average guest does not care about budget battles with Burbank.

The average guest does not care about minor replacements prentending to be major additions.

The average guest does not care about “some is better than nothing”.

The average guest does not care about what’s realistic due to corporate politics.

All the average guest cares about is the serious decline in the value for their vacation dollar.

All the excuses, rationalizations and apologists in the world will not convince a single one of those individuals to drop the cash to visits WDW until that issue is corrected.

The average guest doesn't spend as much time fretting over much of what we discuss around here. The average guest goes and has a magical time. The average person who falls prey to the chickens and doesn't bother to go never knows what a magical time they missed. Sure, as I mentioned before, the magic has tarnished from what it was 3/5/10/20/30 years ago, but it is still a magical time. That was my point in my earlier post - that was the perspective some need to maintain. Yeah, more people may be drawn back to Disney if they take strides to restore the better days, but even today most people had a great time and I doubt many regretted the trip.

09-10-2002, 01:09 PM
The average guest doesn't spend as much time fretting over much of what we discuss around here. The average guest goes and has a magical time.

You're right about the "fretting". But while most don't fret about it, a large enough percentage of them are not coming back as often. The fact that they don't fret over the specifics doesn't mean those specifics are not what changed their mind.

For instance, they may not realize that October hours were set 11% lower than last October. But what they do realize is that MK closed "earlier this time".

They remember how beautiful Cinderella's Castle and Main Street were at night. But this time, instead of being able to see that 2, 3 or maybe even 4 days during their week's stay, they only saw it once. Or maybe they visited during the week when MK had a "private event" on Saturday and closed at 6:00, and they NEVER got to see MK at night.

So, no, they don't fret over the decisions. They just react to them, by going somewhere else next time.

Now, its possible that the testing that is being done will result in some positive changes for guests. But its very difficult to be optimistic about how significant those changes will be, given current management's track record.

We know they gave very little consideration to guest opinion when they made all of the entertainment/hours cuts. All we can hope now is that the lowered attendance (and therefore profits) will force them to do it.

But regardless, it still seems clear that they aren't grasping the concept that things can generate a profit without having a direct revenue stream tied to them. Nobody goes and drops a 20 spot in a can when they see Cinderella's Castle lit up. But to say that sight is not profitable for Disney is as short-sighted as it gets...

09-10-2002, 01:16 PM
"Or maybe they visited during the week when MK had a "private event" on Saturday and closed at 6:00, and they NEVER got to see MK at night."

FWIW, night of joy isn't a private event, it is a hard ticketed event though. Also, fwiw, when we were there last year during night of joy there were a ton of people checking into the resort we were at that were there for night of joy.


09-10-2002, 03:09 PM
FWIW, night of joy isn't a private event, it is a hard ticketed event though.
Fair enough, the family is forced to pay for the option of being in the park at night on their only chance to do so.

Also, fwiw, when we were there last year during night of joy there were a ton of people checking into the resort we were at that were there for night of joy.
And I'm sure there are plenty of events that could be planned that would attract "tons of people". But WDW's bread and butter is still those who aren't there for a specific event or convention, and its the bread and butter that have their experience diminished by having to pay for extra tickets, on top of already reduced hours.

09-11-2002, 01:20 AM


09-11-2002, 01:31 PM
I dunno, Scoop, but I thought LB made some good points about settling.

If your child, an A+ student, came home with Cs on the report card, you'd be upset too, right?

And then on the next card, they raised them up to C+. Would you give a little praise? Maybe. Would you still be disappointed?

I would.

Because I know that your child could do better than that. Raising a C to a C+ is an improvement, in the literal sense of the word. But against the standard of the A+, it means nothing.

For many of us, WDW gets an A+ on our vacation report card, and has been for many, many years. Lately, though, it seems like WDW has not been concentrating (read: Burbank is siphoning off needed funds for expansion and amenities to prop up other aspects of the company) as hard as it used to and is getting C grades, particularly in their recent 'value' hotel offerings, its cutting of budget for entertainment, hours, etc, and in its meager plans for addition and expansion.

What you and our friend the Pirate call 'improvements' in other people's eyes are baby steps back to The Disney Standard. Baby steps are fine for babies, but I can't get overly worked up about a grown adult taking them.

I'm like Yoho! here. Wake me up when Ei$ner is out, or I see conclusive proof that this company is going to support its hard-working Cast Members in Florida and California with quality additions, expansions, and entertainment. I'm frustrated because, as a shareholder and a guy who likes to go there every so often, I am upset that the company would sacrifice both its long-term profits, the long-term goodwill of its business, and the long-term loyalty of its dedicated cast members in an effort to either boost the stock price or prop up Ei$ner's regime.

I am no half-empty glass person. Clever epithets sometimes disguise the truth. I am a guy who expects WDW to be an A+ resort, and Cs won't cut it, mister man. ;) ;)

Walt's Frozen Head
09-11-2002, 02:06 PM
I am no half-empty glass person. Clever epithets sometimes disguise the truth. Indeed.

Whether one sees the glass as half-full or half-empty makes no difference when one is deciding whether or not to purchase what is unquestionably half a glass.

Particularly when so many people were originally hooked by the old-style Disney meniscus protruding up over the top of the glass...


09-11-2002, 03:48 PM
Just to back up here a moment.....one question...

Is the average guest having a magical time?

I know a few families who visited WDW in the past couple of years who don't have any interest in returning based on their experiences. Not that they had terrible trips...they enjoyed themselves. But they didn't have any more fun at WDW than they have had on other vacations.....much less expensive vacations, I might add. One even referred to the atmosphere at the MK (as compared to past experiences at the MK) as "chintzy".....and this is the word of someone who could be considered the queen of tacky. Hardly a scientific study....but I've seen it too much to brush it off. There must be others who feel the same way.

So, I guess the next question is...how do you entice these folks back?

09-11-2002, 04:16 PM
bring back guests once they have decided something is "chintzy" ...and that is to not be "chintzy" anymore. As a matter of fact, now Disney not only has to get new people into the parks (as they have always had to do) but NOW they have to overcome the "chintzy" reputation that they have earned over the last few years. A lot of us on this and other boards have been warning of this backlash for a couple of years, that they were saving a little money right then, but it was going to cost them in the long run and now, unfortunately, we were right. I say unfortunately because I was actually hoping to be wrong because I love Disney but it looks like the deep cuts in all the theme park budgets over the years are causing a perception change out there. I'll admit, Walt's standard is a hard one to live up to and I'll also admit that people will always compare their latest trip experience to their "best trip" and not the norm experience but the cuts that have taken place over the past few years were just plain bad business. When I know, you know, we know that a lot of the cuts were way overboard then THEY should have known, too. They're supposedly the experts on this.

IMHO it was caused by greed and ignorance. They are in danger of ruining a good thing. Remember, Coney Island used to be a New York showplace and a symbol of the greatness of New York. Now it's a broken down seaside carnival. There is no guarantee that Disney will automatically remain an American icon forever...that will take work, good ideas, top notch people, imagination, leadership and MONEY...lot's of money.


09-11-2002, 04:20 PM
As a bit of a rose colored glasses type when it comes to Disney, I really have watched and listened here to the talk about the slow but sure gutting of the budgets and the attractions....my only real question is how much of this is related to the sour economy and the 9/11 dramatic impact on travel.....Travel is down everywhere and when money is not coming in budgets are cut and services suffer and then attendance is down and money is not coming in and so on and so on in a bad circle.....If Eisner goes or they decide to put the parks back as a major emphasis, what will bring the public back.....or will attendance stay down until the economy turns around and we get farther from 9/11 and memories get short no matter what they do with Enights and hours.....In other words, how much is really bad Disney planning and priorities and how much is bad luck and people just not traveling as far any more....your opinions please....Ted

09-11-2002, 04:28 PM
Well, the families I was speaking of previously visited in the late 90's....so we're not talking about post 9/11 or economic downturn. I think that says a whole lot. The repercussions are just being seen now.

I won't deny that many may be staying away because of fear or economic difficulties.....but I don't think its the whole story.

Peter Pirate
09-11-2002, 04:30 PM
Lesley, perhaps those folks can't be brought into the fold. Remember Disney was NEVER for everybody. My parents loved 'The Wonderful World of Disney' TV show but to this day they just don't "get" the parks, nor does my 52 year old brother & his family. They know we love them but honestly they just don't care.

Even in its heyday DL still only appealed to a relative few. It was located in California, it was one park. Disney was hardly anything above or beyond in the eyes of most. Yes Walt produced quality and the quality was appeciated by an ever growing array of movie going, tv watching & DL visiting fans but it was still relatively small potatoes compared to the breadth & scope of the Company that Eisner has led Disney to.

So the kunundrum seems to be does Disney scale back and present quality, I mean perfect quality as Walt would have done and impress the relatively few or does it work on repairing the bumps in the road that Eisner has steered the car onto?

I think in regard to this type of offering (the character extravaganza) it's quite obvious which road they're taking - which in turn leads right back to the 'is it tme for Eisner to go' argument?

Personally, I think we need to remember that Disney is MUCH bigger than the good ole days and the quality level of each and every undertakng just is not possble (or at least practical) but on the other hand does every single decision HAVE to be based on the 'masses mentality?' I don't think so but it apears Disney currently disagrees.
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-11-2002, 04:47 PM
But, Mr. Pirate, my original question was...

Is the average guest really having a magical time?

You also mentioned the possibility of these folks just not being the kind who "get it". Well, at least one of them got it at one time.....took her kids to WDW when they were young and has sent them all to WDW for their honeymoons.

Personally I feel there is more going on here than a few folks who just don't get it. I suspect that perhaps for the last several years some folks have not been having very magical vacations. I just wonder what others have been seeing....trying to see what others' observations have been.

Or are there suddenly a whole lot more people who "don't get it?"

Peter Pirate
09-11-2002, 04:54 PM
I'm not arguing with you Lesley, I just think that the causes are probably very multi-faceted. Certainly you are correct that Disney is turning people off (more than a few) with their current modus. I think the problem is evaluating the who, what where, why & when of the problem and having a good long term plan...which they don't seem to have anymore...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

09-11-2002, 06:05 PM
Either way, as your lord seige has pointed out in his thread dedicated to this type of brainstorm, this type process will likely be both interesting and noticed. He intimated that it may be interesting, but I gotta tell you Scoop, I’ve read his post(s) very carefully and I’ve found that the only reference to them ‘noticing’ was yours!! You were the one that said: Maybe I am the pie in the sky guy here, but I truly believe (and know) that Disney types observe the comments around boards like these.I do think you are pie in the sky. And I couldn’t find any reference from AV that they think anything about these internet discussions (except maybe laugh at them)!! I’m afraid my cynical eye doesn’t see any pie up there at all!

p.s. as for not "getting" the difference between WDW management and Burbank, hey, I thought I was the one who pointed that out...oh well...anyway.Yes you were! When nobody really cared, you insisted that we hurl accolades at the crumbs WDW management gave us instead of deriding the morons in Burbank! In my mind that distinction should never had entered these discussions. It makes no difference whatsoever what ‘group’ doesn’t get it and what ‘group’ does. The bottom line is that top management clearly does not “get it”, and until they do, we’re screwed!!

09-11-2002, 06:51 PM
In other words, how much is really bad Disney planning and priorities and how much is bad luck and people just not traveling as far any more....

Ahhhhh, the $64 Billion question....

I suspect its both.

Clearly, if the overall economy were still booming, WDW would be drawing more people than it actually is.

However, there are indications, especially in California, that overall toursim is recovering faster than Disney is recovering. A recent report from the State tourism board showed that tourism into California is actually UP this year over last. Yet DLR is experiencing decreased demand.

Orlando is a little harder to get a read on, since WDW is a much bigger piece of the tourism pie in the area than DLR is in SoCal. Disney has said bookings are down 10%, and that's off of 2001, which wasn't a banner year even before 9/11.

It certainly seems as though Disney is suffering more than other destinations, so its doubtful that the economy is the complete answer.

Its funny how everybody looks good when the economy is strong. But when things take a downturn, weaknesses are exposed...

the Legend
09-13-2002, 09:04 PM
Anyone thought of using this survey opportunity to drive things home to Disney -

- Reinstate EE at MK at least or give me more reasons to stay on-site (although I always have bar one time)
- Devise an all-day or all-stay FP system like FOTL at Universal Hotels if only for Deluxe hotels. It is the only reason we stay at Universal.
- Ensure the upkeep of the parks are to the standards Walt had set
- Fix the transport issues (classic example WL/FW/MK) and provide a better solution long time (the long rumoured Monorail extension)
- Spread the character meals eg Princess breakfast was good example in the right direction and reinstate the villians meal!
- Learn the lessons from DisneySea and give the people the same or better. Disneyland/WDW is no longer the bewnchmark for Disney (10 million during a recession, somebody did something right)
- Listen to your guests ... we may not always be right but we know what we want. And if enough of us say so then there must be something to it.
- Fill the gap for the teen and young adult set (so far done by Universal). Keep the Kids at WDW and you keep the family at WDW.
- Utilise your stable (ABC, Movies, Music etc) for maximum returns (Do they remember what the crowds were like for whos line at DLR?)
- In these times, a return to a visible security presence beside the entrance would be great.
- Recognise frequent visitors with better programs beside DC and DVP.
- We want to recognise great work by your employees. Make sure we can identify them all.
- You are not Six Flags. You are a destination Park so work with other of that locale to make it an even more attractive place to visit (example the red bus line at Anahiem)

Paul Pressler, call me, OK?

09-14-2002, 10:29 AM
Am I the only parent out there who finds these character meets a huge pain? I don't mind the occasional character autograph line for my kids, but to stand there for an hour, going from line to line, sounds like a nightmare experience. It certainly doesn't compare to the magical feeling of the nighttime parades. Plus, the parades give the kids (and dh) a chance to sit down, have a snack or two and just relax after the mayhem of a day at the park. I'm sure that everyone's mood is going to be lovely, dragging their crabby kids from line to line, after running in the parks all day.
I guess it requires less headcount to have 100 characters out there than to run a parade. The beancounters have taken over disney.

Safari Steve
09-14-2002, 02:38 PM
100 Characters + 100 greeters + coordinators... that's more than 200 people... Hatter or Tiggerman, if you're out there, maybe you could compare that number to the amount required for a parade. Am I correct in assuming from my observations that it's comparable?

And again, please everyone re-read the full quote from WDWMagic.com. This is not a "replace the fireworks/nighttime parade" issue, this is a "Which works best during the slowest time of the year and in either case we're spending more on nighttime entertainment than we would have been" issue.