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Another Voice
10-01-2002, 01:29 AM
“You know what makes this bird go up? Funding. FUNDING makes this makes bird go up. No bucks, no Buck Rogers!” – The Right Stuff


I think it’s way to early to say that Jay “gets it” more than Pressler does. But one thing is already very clear - both come from a mindset the sees the parks as only assets to be exploited.

It’s an attitude that really comes from the top down, probably why these two gentlemen were promoted by Eisner in the first place. Simply, Eisner doesn’t know the first thing about creating an attraction so exciting that people will pay to see it; but he does know all about hotel margins, sales per square foot, average food cost per plate – all the “business” stuff you can build around what someone else has created (it’s also the same model as a broadcast network when you think about it). That’s why all the emphasis has been on hotels, vacation time shares, mini-golf course, leasing pads to restaurants, etc. Even the new parks are designed around ancillary revenue generators first, attractions second. Eisner gets the business angle but he doesn’t have an interest in show.

But no one will go to a tourist destination unless there’s something unique to see. No one goes to Mount Rushmore for the t-shirt shops and fast food joints on the roads nearby. There has to be a core product that’s the draw. And even more, unless they add a new president, people aren't likely to go back all that often.

Plain fact: too many people have seen WDW too many times to keep the current attendance levels at the same pace. The “new” stuff like piling in retail and restaurants doesn’t make a tourist destination, it makes a shopping mall. It’s not something anyone is going to spend a week at. Especially not if it’s crammed with the same Rainforest Café/Virgin Megastore/Disney Store that’s already exists less than an hour’s drive away. And the new “attractions” are too scattered, too uninteresting and just plain too common for a repeat visit. Yes, YOU may want to travel all the way to Florida to see ‘Dino-Rama’, but the business needs the 13,999,999 people who do not.

What Disney’s parks desperately need now is the “WOW!” factor returned. They need someone who understands how to put on a show.

You will never get anyone excited about cost effectiveness, but they will throw money at you if you entertain them well. The economics of the situation require that you provide them with the best entertainment made for the resources at hand: there are plenty of movies made for $5 million that out gross movies made for $100 millions dollars. No one cares about how much money the movie cost to make or what the return is going to be. They just want a good movie. But fail to deliver it and all the finally calculated margins mean absolutely nothing.

Someone who understands entertainment knows it’s a balancing act between what you want to make and the resources at hand. Sometimes you have to be cleaver about how you spend your money; sometimes you have to scale back. Sometime you gamble a lot because you have confidence; sometimes is better not even to start at all because the resources are so thin. The goal is not to waste money on bad products – it doesn’t matter if it’s a lot of money or a little.

That is the real legacy of Paul Pressler: it wasn’t the cost cutting and closures. Paul didn’t deliver good show.

It’s time to find someone who can.

tfc3rid
10-01-2002, 08:15 AM
Amen AV.

The show is lacking. The creativity must still be there. But someone who needs to think more on the lines of providing something creative, unique and yes, even inspiring. It has been way too long since Disney has provided something like that. I totally agree AV when you say there needs to be a return to the "Wow" factor. A shop is a shop is a shop. A restaurant is a restaurant. They are anywhere. It is all about the show. Themeing... Themeing attractions, parks and resorts. Bringing magic to everything. The magic factor in a "quick fix" like Dino-Rama is non existant.

The good folks who plunk down their hard earned money year after year and go to a U.S. Disney Resort Complex see the magic dropping off. The show must continue, better than ever. The problem is...we won't see it until the bottom line stops being the main priority. Lord knows when that will be...

Buzz2001
10-01-2002, 08:21 AM
The problem is...we won't see it until the bottom line stops being the main priority. Lord knows when that will be...
tfc3rid - I see you have been there the last 3 years. When that trend stops for many of us, that is when it will be. But as long as we continue to go year after year, with many making multi trips each year, why would they change. For me, it's not likely that I will be stopping anytime soon.

Douglas Dubh
10-01-2002, 09:13 AM
Simply, Eisner doesn’t know the first thing about creating an attraction so exciting that people will pay to see it; but he does know all about hotel margins, sales per square foot, average food cost per plate – all the “business” stuff . . . Eisner gets the business angle but he doesn’t have an interest in show.
Eisner got his start making shows, not in business. He did very well at doing it too, greatly improving the lot of ABC, then Paramount, then Disney. He knows show. He may have forgotten it, but he knows it and could get it back, if he had someone else to make the right decisions about the business stuff.

Everything else you said seems pretty spot on.

Sarangel
10-01-2002, 10:31 AM
That is the real legacy of Paul Pressler: it wasn’t the cost cutting and closures. Paul didn’t deliver good show. The saddest part is that even the retail division suffered under his direction...

The Disney Store was going to get a new 'makeover' that the public (rightfully in my opinion) hated, they also oversaturated the market causing a drop in sales, in the parks the policy has become every store carrying the same merchandise. This last point really annoys me, since I like shopping & part of the fun of looking in all the shops was to see something new and/or unique. I don't know if the decision was Eisner's or Pressler's, but it follows the relentless pursuit of the bottom line at the expense of quality that we've been worried about for the last couple of years.

Sarangel

doubletrouble_vb
10-01-2002, 12:29 PM
Ms Double Shareholder: Yes the bottom line does matter.
Ms Trouble DVC Owner: but I want a good show.

I think you can do the two together if you focus on presenting a story. Will they be E-tickets? Probably not.

As for the Disney Stores...they used to be a refuge I could go to and feel like I was in Disney World...then they re-did them to look like Toys R Us. I guess that works for the little people but little people don't have money...their parents do. If I were a parent I'd just as soon go to Toys R Us where there are some toys for me as well as the kids.

And finally...the retail shops..they used to be fascinating...there were more of them like the shop in Japan or the hotel store in AKL or Wilderness Lodge. Those stores are the exception rather than the rule. In Downtown Disney they might do better to pair up with someone like LLBean to get variety rather than adding yet another store of unbuyable Disneywear.

Bob O
10-01-2002, 01:19 PM
I couldnt agree with Av more!!!!
Disney needs something to add a "wow" factor/e ticket attraction to get people to return more often. The last charade of changing parades to induce sales of snow globes obviuosly didnt cut it!! Their is great competition for people's leisure dollar and if disney doesnt add things disney may become as "been there, done that" type of vaction where people will spend their money elsewhere, escpecially if they percieve they are getting better value for their money!!

Maci A.
10-01-2002, 01:25 PM
I agree AV! PLEASE, write disney and tell them this. You say it well, very precise! Not that the right people would every see it, but still, someone at disney needs to know how we feel!

mjstaceyuofm
10-01-2002, 02:53 PM
Always good to hear insight from AV. I find his closing extremely telling:That is the real legacy of Paul Pressler: it wasn’t the cost cutting and closures. Paul didn’t deliver good show.Ahhh the pondering of what could have been... Budgets aside, DCA and AK could have been much more than what they are if I'm reading his post right.It’s time to find someone who can.Obviously they've already found someone. I've read AV's comments on the new guy (Rasulo), and it seems we may be in for more of the same. Is this an endorsement or indictment of the new guy or of Eisner?

DVC-Landbaron
10-01-2002, 04:44 PM
Mr. AV!

My lord Voice!!

Wise sage from the west!!

Bravo!!


Thank you for saying it sooooo well!!!

Figmentrocks
10-01-2002, 09:52 PM
You all make so many good point. I wanted to tell of my wife and I visiting Animal Kingdom about a week ago. We live in Orlando and probably visited AK about six months ago. One of the (few) good things about the park was the amazing amount of merchandise that the park had made for it. From toys to stickers to shirts, etc., the stores had all been packed with AK merchandise.

The main store (I believe Merchantile, pardon me if I am incorrect :)) is now about 50% Disney clothes including bathrobes, nightshirts, then another portion of the store has Disney art including Mickey golfing statues, finally, one back wall with a few AK shirts.

Store after store, the same, well, junk. Poor silk screen quality on the t-shirts, even the pens and keychains are made cheaper now. I know that this would be completely, 100%, unacceptable at my company, but Disney feels that they can continue to make things on the cheap and the stupid public will continue to devour their junk.

We visited Orlando in August 1998 as we were scouting a location to relocate our business. Our visit to WDW was outstanding and the parks looked prestine. Now we find rather stinky bathrooms, peeling paint, rust, shuttered attractions, EPCOT is a mess. Truly sad in the grand scheme of Disneyism. :)

Hopefully Mr. Disney and Gold work on a coup to take down Eisner, much in the fashion that they brought him in. Eisner is much like the other corporate crooks, lies. Their cost-cutting and decline of service way before last September, then the excuse of it to cover their mess, but it's still a mess. Enough of the rant! :)