View Full Version : C. Harris Interview

10-14-2002, 01:34 PM
Interesting interview with C. Harris. link (http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID506480.asp) Suspect there is a fair bit of cheerleading here, but she does sound pretty bullish about DL's 50th (plus a few other excerpts I found interesting).
It’ll be the biggest thing in our lifetime is all I can say (laughs). You’re going to have to get ready to live here, Doobie, because there’ll be so much going on. I think probably the best way I can characterize it is ‘03 and ‘04 will be leading up to the 50th. We’re clearly going to be having so many additions to the Disneyland Resort between ‘03 and ‘04. But the 50th will be the biggest event in our company’s history. It truly will be…there’re more ideas than you can ever do. In fact, I’ll tell you, at the last creative session we had there were so many ideas that we actually have a couple of huge ideas that we’ve now put in for ‘06, ‘07 and ‘08. What we’re going to do is over the coming months is really get this nailed as to what we will actually have so that we can cut down on some level of the speculation. But all I can tell you is it will be spectacular
A couple of DCA references. immediately go out and poll our guests about what additional things they want. And overwhelmingly people said they wanted more Disney and more things for their little ones to doAny chance her phrasing “people wanted more Disney” is her way of saying they know people want them to get back to building more Disney quality attractions? Staying close to the guests is such an important aspect of it. I would say that in the five years I’ve been here at Disneyland, the number one attraction people have asked about is when are we going to bring Tower of Terror here. And to me personally, but beyond that, when we’ve done focus groups, anecdotal or whatever, and say "what do you like best about a Disney experience?" Tower of Terror comes up as one of the top ones. I would say since Indiana Jones, in our company, Tower of Terror probably has had the most enthusiasm by our guests at large and consequently that’s why we wanted to bring it hereAt least good to hear them acknowledge that ToT and Indy experiences are what people want.
how do you personally rate the overall success? CH: We’ve hosted more guests than ever before. Disney’s California Adventure is the number two tourist attraction behind Disneyland in terms of guests visited. The Resort in total, I can tell you - as we do focus groups and interview our guests as they leave the satisfaction scores are astronomical. The overall guest ratings are in the high 90 percentilesWe keep hearing about these high scores. Here she talks about the “Resort” and not DCA specifically???

And lastly on an oft mentioned topic An area that has come under scrutiny and criticism the past few years is just the general maintenance and upkeep of the park. Do you think that is a justified criticism? CH: I think everybody’s got their point of view so that’s the thing that I respect. Everybody’s got their point of viewThis type of response should tell you all you need to know.

Look forward to the next installment. Comments anyone?

Bob O
10-14-2002, 01:56 PM
Talk is cheap and actions speak ouder than words!!! Once construction begins on new projects/upgrades I'll be happy but until then its the same old same old!!

10-14-2002, 03:50 PM
I find myself in complete agreement with Bob on this one.

Its the company spin, and this is not unique to Disney. There aren't too many companies that talk with candor about problems on the scale of DCA, and overall attendance. So we have to look at actions to determine what their true direction is.

Maintenance has been on the upswing at DL, but the question is if that is a permanent philosophy shift.

Flik's fun fair looks to be an improvement for DCA, but there are also some issues with it (off the shelf rides, no cohesive story, etc.).

Yes, ToT is going up, but will it be watered down from the WDW version? (Tower of Mild Unease....)

What will the next moves for DCA be?

Will the grand plans for DL's 50th come to pass, or is it just another marketing ploy to try to give a temporary boost for all of the Disney parks?

I just can't see spending too much time trying to read into what Ms. Harris is saying, because we have no idea if our interpretation will jive with what Disney is planning to do, never mind what they actually end-up doing.

10-14-2002, 04:12 PM
Preaching to the choir here about actions being louder than words. I guess I was just struck by her exuberance.

I expect her to give a very positive spin to all things. However, I also assume she is media savvy and very conscious of the message she is sending. Phrases like “biggest in our lifetime”, and “spectacular” (insert arcane reference here: they’re real and they’re spectacular) are likely to raise expectations just a bit. Since she lived through Lightmagic, Tomorrowland, and DCA les one would think she might be a little leery of overselling at this point. Than again maybe not??

This comment also struck me and you want to go see the Haunted Mansion. Two brand new things to come and see. Haunted Mansion is for the whole family, but it probably has a little more appeal for those of us that are over 40 (laughs)Wouldn’t the Nightmare overlay resonate most with a younger crowd. Sounds like the joke is based on their internal perception about the appeal of dark rides, even the HM. Reading too much into this one?

10-14-2002, 04:38 PM
I hear you. I just suspect that she has very little choice about how positive she sounds in public, regardless of any personal reservations she may or may not have.

Sounds like the joke is based on their internal perception about the appeal of dark rides, even the HM. Reading too much into this one?
Maybe, maybe not...

It does seem the Nightmare overlay would have a younger target audience, but maybe that's exactly what they think they have to do.

The stuff from Scoop and AV over the last few months certainly seem to point in the direction of your interpretation. So even if she didn't mean it that way, it still maybe the reality.

Another Voice
10-14-2002, 09:56 PM
Very quickly here...

Of course Ms. Harris is very enthusiatic and raising expetations about the future. It's not like she's going to be around to deal with all the disappointment. So why not play nice with the Disney-dweeb website and make everyone feel happy. Better to be seen leaving on a high note rather be driven out (much like her former and future boss).

Yes, there are a lot of plans for the 50th. But they are on the scale of painting the exterior of 'Small World' and maybe replacing the aging monorails before they catch fire again on television. Basically the way The Company is thinking right now - the 50th anniversary celebration will simply be a chance to bring the park up to the maintenance standard it had in 1994. The most "new" with the likest chance of getting approved is a multi-screen show to plug in the CircleVision theaters in Anaheim, Orlando and Tokyo. Hey - if they can build a park about California in California they can certainly put in a slide show about WDW in WDW.

Anyway, it was nice spin.

Catch you next week.