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DVC-Landbaron
05-08-2001, 09:52 AM
"Robbing Peter to pay Paul..."


You gotta love that line. And who is the 'Peter" they are robbing? Why Disneyland, of course.

I know a lot of you don't care for the style of Mouseplanet, but I'm going to post the link (http://www.mouseplanet.com/al/docs/update.htm) anyway. You may not like his style, but even if half of what he says is true you've got to admit he's got some substance. I really wonder if management is actually that far removed from us common folk that they've completely lost sight of what Disney is supposed to be all about. How did they think this would work in the first place? And can they really think that these "fixes" will cure the problem? I find it amazing!

Does anyone else feel like I do, or is it Lutz we are going to bash?

YoHo
05-08-2001, 11:12 AM
I don't know, AL is less trustworthy then even Jim Hill. Maybe Another Voice has heard some rumours. I myself think that they aren't THAT gunshy yet about spending money. Also, aside from maintainence concerns and Rocket Rods, Disneyland would survive without Buzz and Pooh for the forseeable future....


What concerns me most is the comments about attendance make up. I think Hill is dead on there and I hope disney corrects itself soon. I'm sure there are limits much like on radio prize winnings as to how many times you can win, or be on the show. IF the grand prize of being flying to newyork for the real show is included, then they'll almost have to do that.

HBK
05-08-2001, 11:41 AM
Let me start by saying I agree with you Baron...

BUT...

I think I'm becoming oblivious to this. It's more and more of the same. Cut here to spend (and then cut) there.

Whether people agree with Lutz or not, he hit the nail right on the head with his article. If Eisner & Co. spent more time asking people what kind of vacation experince they would want they wouldn't have this mess. The current Disney regime is Hellbent on force feeding us (customers) something which we NEVER asked for.

You would think that after skimping and cutting the budget to make the park, they would realize that cutting corners isn't going to work.

But Alas, it's your current Disney Company. I hope Duck & friends are happy.

HBK
05-08-2001, 11:48 AM
Let me start by saying I agree with you Baron...

BUT...

I think I'm becoming oblivious to this. It's more and more of the same. Cut here to spend (and then cut) there.

Whether people agree with Lutz or not, he hit the nail right on the head with his article. If Eisner & Co. spent more time asking people what kind of vacation experince they would want they wouldn't have this mess. The current Disney regime is Hellbent on force feeding us (customers) something which we NEVER asked for.

You would think that after skimping and cutting the budget to make the park, they would realize that cutting corners isn't going to work.

But Alas, it's your current Disney Company. I hope Duck & friends are happy.

Peter Pirate
05-08-2001, 11:49 AM
Man, I had to check for my wallet before I read further that you weren't speaking of me!;)

I don't mind reading lutz's articles and I don't doubt that much of what he writes has basis in truth...But his interjections of, I assume, humorus zingers knocks his credibility level to near zero IMO.

Certainly DCA has problems and his taking credit for predicting what Disney would do in that eventuality is absurd (we all could have predicted it). Certainly Disney already had the contingency for where the money would come from if it were necessary and it is relatively logical that it be DL's budget.

One other point to take exception with is would be Lutz's take on DCA's opening of "Millionaire." The show is popular, Regis is popular and the new attraction at The Studios is great...Why wouldn't they plop this already succesful & inexpensive gem into the mix? :confused:

RamVA
05-08-2001, 12:05 PM
I'm not here a whole lot, but have read a few of your posts, and I think I am pretty much usually on the same page with you in regards to the whole downslide of Disney. My experience of working in retail/service industry when it's a large, corporate company, has been that, yes, the "powers that be" are totally out of touch with what the customer wants or needs, and they really don't seem to be interested in finding out either directly, or from those managers that are on the "front lines" and have valuable input to give them. People here seem to get pretty defensive with anything critical of Disney--I know even my own son yells at me--but, one can objectively criticize and still love Disney!:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

YoHo
05-08-2001, 12:58 PM
Interesting thing about customer surveys, I don't think Walt ever did them. So, from an arrogance perspective, why would current managment?

DVC-Landbaron
05-08-2001, 01:33 PM
I don't mind reading lutz's articles and I don't doubt that much of what he writes has basis in truth...But his interjections of, I assume, humorous zingers knocks his credibility level to near zero IMO.
Ya know Peter my friend, I don't understand that at all. You start out saying that you don't doubt the authenticity of what he writes, but because he editorializes on the subject (and YES he does take liberties) you discount it all down to ZERO!! Can't you read through the opinion? Can't you separate the basic facts from the (sometimes) wild speculation and editorializing? Why is it that you discount the whole thing?
Certainly DCA has problems and his taking credit for predicting what Disney would do in that eventuality is absurd (we all could have predicted it).
I think this bothers me more than anything else. YOU, a rose colored Ei$ner fan if ever there was one (but hey, that's why we love you!), could have predicted this mess from it's inception. Why couldn't "'Team Disney"? It doesn't matter who predicted what first. I'm not here to boost Lutz's ego, he does a fine job all by himself. What bothers me is how EVERYONE could see the ruinous path they were on. Everyone that is, except Ei$ner and Pre$$lar? (I actually blame only Ei$ner, but used Pre$$lar's name too because I wanted to write his name using the double $$.)
Certainly Disney already had the contingency for where the money would come from if it were necessary and it is relatively logical that it be DL's budget.
Where is the logic in this? It's like the same tired argument used to prop up that disaster of a GO.COM a half a year ago. "Of course the parks should help an underachieving (carefully avoiding the word FAILING) division, until that division's profits start to soar! And they will." Oh yeah?
Why wouldn't they plop this already successful & inexpensive gem into the mix?
Other than the fact that the show is losing popularity and is falling from grace in public's eye, it smacks of a CHEAP quick fix for a failing park. Same as MSEP. And I think you agree with the way you used the word "plop". That certainly sums it up perfectly for me. PLOP!

YoHo:
Interesting thing about customer surveys, I don't think Walt ever did them. So, from an arrogance perspective, why would current management?
Well, Walt was right, current management is wrong. Pretty simple, eh?

YoHo
05-08-2001, 01:51 PM
DIdn't mean to suggest managment was right for doing so, merely that they were arogant.:bounce:

Peter Pirate
05-08-2001, 02:16 PM
First Landbaron, I do not doubt the fact there lies a bit of truth in most of the things Lutz writes, but because of his lack of objectivilty there is no way to discern what amount may be true ...Which leads to low credibility as a source, IMO. I CAN pick & choose bits that seem logical, but it sure would be nice to hear something said without that knife twisting in Eisner's back.

With regard to DCA, I readily admit it has problems, it has been reported since before the Park opened. My point wasn't that I could predict the problem but anyone with an ounce of sense could predict what Disney's response would be IF a problem were to arise...Lutz is acting like a wise ole sage because Disney is going for a quick, inexpensive fix (gee, why would that revelation shock anyone?).

Next you ask, where is the logic in taking from the DL budget to fix DCA? Because DCA is a part of DL much like all WDW parks are linked in the same budgeting process...:D

Now to "Millionaire", I realize you like to report on the decline in ratings of Millionaire, but it is still a successful show and the attraction is a great deal of fun! Notice that Surviors ratings were miniscule in comparison to the original & the other so called reality shows are tanking big time. Millionaire is a legitimate game show and based on that alone, should be able to have a long tenure , not cult fanaticism granted, but still successful. Trust me, my Daughter & I did "Millionaire" four times in our recent trip & I'm looking forward to taking my older daughter to it next week more than any other thing at WDW(except maybe dinner at Flying Fish!).

So adding Millionaire seems like the right move to me, but I still endorse TOT & Armageddon (which is where they're putting Millionaire, if Lutz is correct, for the real fix!

larworth
05-08-2001, 02:20 PM
I agree the signs don’t look good. Of course, at this point if you have to plug the dike you do whatever you can. I don't see any signs of a contingency plan (if they had one it was obviously worse than these options), so I’d probably give MSEP and Millionaire a shot as well.

I’m not surprised they are deferring investment in DL for DCA. What is surprising is that they even planned to do Buzz and Pooh before adding more things to DCA in the first place. Gee, from the first article I read about DCA there was a comment that it seemed noticeably short of attractions. They really didn’t perceive this as a potential problem? Again, it is puzzling why they pulled the plug on Armageddon. You mean you want to head into next year with only the new Ursala spinner?

The scary thought is not that they tried to pull off the partial park at full price strategy again (ala MGM & AK), but that they were so confident it would work. It does make you wonder what their market research people are doing, or if they are reading their own reports.

Millionaire seems a no-brainer. Must be easy to duplicate, it seems to be very popular, and I would be worried about it’s shelf life. Might as well milk it while you can. In the article Al seemed concerned that it didn't have any fit with a California theme. Well the rumor is the new version will be slightly altered to “Who wants to be a Millionaire – The Gold Rush Version”. Contestants don miners hats, the hot seat is designed to look like a giant gold pan. You compete for gold Disney pins, and the ultimate winner gets tickets to a 49’ers game. And they said that the concept behind this park was too limiting (lol).

Eyesnur
05-08-2001, 03:04 PM
Oy, you guy's have got to get a grip. If Al Lutz reported about Paulie's poor bathroom hygeine, you would believe it!

You good people have got to remember that this is a GREAT Company, started by a GREAT Man and for the past 17 years management has tried its damndest to remain true to the idiums of our great founder until his return. While we cannot please all of the people all of the time we do have to please the stockholders first, which means doing things in a vastly different way from Walt...Sorry.

Further, you can't possibly imagine the pressures and the changes...Why the internet alone, oy, how would like the whole world discussing your salary? And subordinate loyalty, don't get me started...You hire a friend, give him a big office, big salary, company mousemobile and he turns on you like those hyenias in Lion King...Hehehe, kind of funny, hehehe, midget hyenia, hehehehe!

Well, I have to go but you folks would do well to remember the oft forgotton words once uttered by Walt "If a guy makes that much money, he must be worth it!"


:bounce:
Oh...I almost forgot, go see Pearl Harbor...It's reallly great!
:bounce:

HBK
05-08-2001, 03:09 PM
Originally posted by Eyesnur
Oh...I almost forgot, go see Pearl Harbor...It's reallly great!


Sincerly,
Mike Eisner

DVC-Landbaron
05-08-2001, 03:16 PM
Oy, you guy's have got to get a grip. If Al Lutz reported about Paulie's poor bathroom hygiene, you would believe it!
I thought this was common knowledge!!
While we cannot please all of the people all of the time we do have to please the stockholders first, which means doing things in a vastly different way from Walt... Sorry.
We know, we know. There are many that tell us that all the time. Yes!! Stockholders first!! The parks may be empty, but on paper at least, we're a heck of a company!!

YoHo
05-08-2001, 03:25 PM
Micheal Eisner Giggling like a little School Girl. That is an image.

But seriously folks, Have you seen a picture of Paul Presslar, I would never believe Lutz's reports of his bad Hygiene, I mean look, that smile so imaculate, the hair so perfectly in place, those finely manicured nails slipping effortlessly in to our pockets....

Why, Paul Presslar is a living example of everything Walt ever said about good Hygiene.
:crazy: :crazy: :crazy:


Man mass layoffs must make you lightheaded. :)

DVC-Landbaron
05-08-2001, 03:34 PM
Lutz is acting like a wise ole sage because Disney is going for a quick, inexpensive fix (gee, why would that revelation shock anyone?).
OH MY GOD!!! My dear Pirate!! That's it!! It just kind of hit me when I read your post. Go on. Read that quote again. ANYONE OF US could have written that. Pro-Ei$ner and Ei$ner-bashers alike. No surprise here!! This "quick", "inexpensive (read: cheap) fix", wouldn't, couldn't "shock" anyone!! But if Walt did the same EVERYONE would be terribly shocked!! If he happened to get cheap on us, or failed in some way and had to "fix" something, we would all be very surprised if he would go "for a quick, inexpensive fix'. And that, my dear Pirate, is the difference!!
Next you ask, where is the logic in taking from the DL budget to fix DCA? Because DCA is a part of DL much like all WDW parks are linked in the same budgeting process...
Hmmm. Seems to me I remember a certain Pirate "justifying" the cutbacks in maintenance and deferred attractions within WDW, as a direct result of failures in other aspects of the company. So, what makes this different?
but I still endorse TOT & Armageddon (which is where they're putting Millionaire, if Lutz is correct, for the real fix!
Yeah! So do I! But we won't see that for many, many years!!!!
I'm looking forward to taking my older daughter to it next week more than any other thing at WDW(except maybe dinner at Flying Fish!).
You really like the Flying Fish!! OK, you convinced me. I'll check it out in August!! Thanks.

Peter Pirate
05-08-2001, 04:11 PM
This "quick", "inexpensive (read cheap) fix", wouldn't, couldn't "shock" anyone!" But if Walt did the same everyone would be terribly shocked.

Landbaron...If Walt did it everyone would be examining their personal religious beliefs...(As he's been dead for awhile!), did you miss the news? ;)

Hmmm. Seems to me I remember a certain Pirate "justifying" the cutbacks...as a direct result of failures in other aspects of the Company.

Are you sure that wasn't the Captain?;)

Finally, on an upbeat and yummy note...Are grown men allowed to say yummy, by the way? Anyway, yes the Flying Fish is awesome. We've been there 6-7 times and everything is just mouthwateringly good!:p

DVC-Landbaron
05-08-2001, 04:18 PM
:crazy: :tongue: :jester: :jester: :jester: :tongue: :crazy:

OH MY GOD, PETER!!! I was absolutely on the floor!!!

Every sentence was a gem!!!

That post was GREAT!!! What a sense of humor!!!

:crazy: :tongue: :jester: :jester: :jester: :tongue: :crazy:

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

After a post like that you can say yummy if you want to.

Another Voice
05-08-2001, 04:18 PM
I don’t want to turn this into another ‘Al’ debate, but I’ll just say I’ve always found his articles to be as credible as possible given the circumstances they’re working under. Trying to work through any corporate grapevine is not pleasant, and Disney’s is particularly difficult. His information is certainly more accurate than the “official” line that Disney pumps out, and if I have any comment is that he’s a little too anxious to break the good news these days (‘Pooh’ and ‘Lightyear’ being prime examples). And I’ll certainly take Al’s writing over some self-aggrandizing puff-piece written by the martini crowd any day.

Now back to the rumors –

There is basically a struggle going on between different groups in the company. Anaheim knows that it’s in real bad trouble and nervousness is turning into panic. Attendance in wonderful, sunny May is lower than it was in miserable, stormy March. Burbank still doesn’t believe there is anything wrong at all. Nothing, its all just absolutely perfect - except for the weather and those evil, evil people on the internet - so let’s spend the money elsewhere. Now over in Orlando, there are a whole lot of people that want to “help” Anaheim by offering the new park all kinds of wonderful shows. Of course, Anaheim will need to pay Florida for these shows and to take over a chunk of the shows’ development costs. It’s nothing but accounting, but if my bonus is based on how just my parks do in the ledger books, I wouldn’t mind shifting several million dollars of amortization onto someone else’s budget. Anaheim and Orlando have been at this for decades and it always reminded me of two kids in the back seat of a car fighting over who’s taking up more of the seat. Lastly, add the WDI crowd over in Glendale. They know they’re a pen stroke away from nonexistence because The Shopping Mall King has never “gotten any of this artsy stuff” and wouldn’t mind for the whole lot to go to work for Landmark. Glendale will jump on the slightest whiff of a project that has the potential for work (and that could postpone their unemployment a few more months).

So you’ve got these four groups of people all screaming at the guys up top. And they’re concerned with other issues right now – like how to purge the company’s email system of that cartoon showing the Disney Studios as the U.S.S. Arizona just moments before the big special effects sequence starts. Worse still, all of this is being done on the fly: there was no contingency plan or budget to “rescue” California Adventure. The contingency plan was how to rescue Disneyland from DCA overpowering success (the plans included the electrical parade, Buzz and Pooh among others). No one in Corporate ever had the slightest conception that DCA wouldn’t be an immediate hit and they simply don’t know how to respond.

There are all kinds of attraction proposals right now, and you’ll hear about scores more in the next several months. Almost all of them – even the “we’re renting the bulldozers now” projects like “Buzz Lightyear” can be cancelled and resurrected several times in the current state of corporate paralysis. Hell, if they can’t even get one of the dozen ‘Soaring’ clones for WDW approved, does anyone think they’re going to stand up for the $200 million ‘Tower’ clone?

And finally a bit of heresy. I might not necessarily mind the clone of ‘Millionaire’ showing up out here. I would MUCH prefer a real show and an original concept, but it would offer something that DCA lacks – a real “Hollywood” experience in the “Hollywood” section of California Adventure. Sure, the show itself is pretty lame and the ratings are falling, but it’s something that most guest will understand. Done right, it could give a great “I walked into my TV set” feel that people go to Universal Hollywood to get. I missed the soft opening of the WDW version by a week, but the show seems to work based on what I’ve been reading.

DVC-Landbaron
05-08-2001, 04:49 PM
Voice - you are beautiful!!

Someone once said that I reminded him of an Errol Flynn type, fighting for Walt's ideals. Of course I agreed, thus forever preventing me from ever posting a picture of myself!!

You seem to have an inside track. And many of the Ei$ner defenders seem to give you a lot of leeway because of that implied authority. Now, of course we can't be certain. You may be a geeky seventeen year old that has a mature writing style and a line of BS a mile long. Or you could be a great grandmother gaming us all. But somehow I doubt it. There is knowledge in your posts. Authority in your style. I picture a darkened public garage. Nearly empty. At a little past dusk. And a shadowy voice is telling us to, "Follow the money". All the President's Men comes to my mind, every time I read you. You should have signed up not as Another Voice (though it is very appropriate). It should have been "Deep Throat"!!

Thanks for another GREAT post!!

If for nothing else, you gotta love the guy, just for this kind of stuff!! :cool:
They know they're a pen stroke away from nonexistence because The Shopping Mall King has never "gotten any of this artsy stuff" and wouldn't mind for the whole lot to go to work for Landmark.

DisneyFanGuy
05-09-2001, 12:31 AM
Al's editorial sarcasm drives me crazy, yet he does usually seem to have the inside track. And everything in that update seemed to strike home with me.

I'm a late player at the whole "Watching Disney" party. I have always been a big fan of the parks, but never gave any thought as to their business logic until the past few years. I have to hang out with Landbaron though.......because nearly everything that they have done in the past few years seems to be turning me off as a consumer.

As a business person managing multiple retail locations for a big company, I have always been very sensitive to the fact that NEW customers are drawn in by the Brand. Disney seems to me to be really screwing up their brand. We still LOVE the parks, but anything that they have done in the past 3 years has dissappointed us. AK, JIYI, many of the film attractions, etc. We love the rides, yet end up defaulting to the older attractions. I mean, how long can they go between offering up classic attractions? I just don't get it.

I mean, what the HELL are they thinking?

Now there is the whole DCA deal. I haven't been there, but here's the thing. Nobody in my family wants to go. Nothing about the place intrigues my kids, my wife, or myself. It's not the marketing.....it's the product.

Years ago in the fast food industry, new leadership took over Burger King. The new CEO gave a very famous speach. When wondering how to turn around sales, he said that "It's the Whopper, Stupid". Meaning that if you want to win the war, your signature product had better be the absolute best. They improved the quality of the Wopper, and sales increased that year 20%.

Disney's NEW product is not leading the industry anymore. And that is a BIG problem. And until they have a major change in their sales trends, they are not about to change that strategy.

I always enjoy listening to the debates on why it's happening, yet in the end only one thing really matters to my family. If the product no longer interests us then we won't spend our money there. I still LOVE the magic of the parks (We drop by once a year at least), but there seems to be very little of the new stuff that we enjoy.

I mean some of this stuff is just plain bad......

JIYI.....It is terrible. Never should have been built.
The new area that they are building at the AK.....Come on. AK is great if you are park hopping, but it needs more capital than a spinner, some games, and a couple of very small coasters.

If you look at DCA......... OH my GOD! It is one giant compromise.

The closing of attractions:

20,000, the Skyway, Keel boats (we rode them), Time Keeper, Etc. And we get the magic carpets? I have no objection to spinners for the kids, but ..... Can we please have a big new butt-kickin reason to come back please?


Beyond the parks.....My 12 year old daughter and my 14 year old son were debating the other day as to why Disney is putting out sequels to it's animated classics. As my son says.....They are crap. He says it cheapens the brand. (This is my 14 year old!) Even my 7 year old says that they are stupid and dull.

I used to love shopping in the Disney Stores. Now all I find is baby clothes and toys. Yuck. I used to buy corporate gifts for people in my company. They have lost a ton of my business.

Landbaron, I am totally with you on the hours of the parks. I can't take a break anymore and come back. I can't hop from park to park as easily because I don't have the time at the end of the day. I now stick to one park a day unless I want to hit a specific restaurant.

The bottom line is that Disney has lost the drive to be the best. They seem to be happy to be competitive.

I sold all of my stock. I have lost faith in the "vision" of the company. I will still probably go to the parks every year until I die (hopefully a LONG time?) But I am not quite as happy as I used to be when I go.

And where is the person who drives the company?

I was always taught that true leaders create vision, communicate it well, and can allign their team behind it. Whenever a company loses the vision they flounder. I always used to think of Disney as the "Best" in many areas. I no longer think of them that way. I will STILL BE THEIR CUSTOMER. I won't be there as frequently though. And it makes me sad.

:bounce:

DVC-Landbaron
05-09-2001, 11:05 AM
DisneyFanGuy,

I'm a late player at the whole "Watching Disney" party. Well, it's quite a party, too. Pull up a chair, mix a drink (it's self serve I'm afraid) and start pounding on the keyboard. I'm hoping that when we switched over you lost all your previous posts. Cause it says you signed up in June of 2000 but you only have 9 posts. And from someone who is clearly in the genius category that is a shame!! It doesn't matter at all that you happen to agree with me. We need your input!! Right Captain Peter, et al?
I have to hang out with Landbaron though.......because nearly everything that they have done in the past few years seems to be turning me off as a consumer. I'm sorry. I just thought this was a wonderful quote and it needed repeating!! (lol)
Disney seems to me to be really screwing up their brand. With every move they make!!!
I was always taught that true leaders create vision, communicate it well, and can align their team behind it. Whenever a company loses the vision they flounder. I always used to think of Disney as the "Best" in many areas. I no longer think of them that way.You hit the nail on the head. I've been asking my debating friends since I got here, "Who has the vision?" I certainly isn't Ei$ner. We've clearly lost our focus. Bicker is right. The focus of THIS company, like any other company, is to make MONEY. Which isn't entirely a bad thing. And for any other company it would be the smart thing. The only thing.

But Disney is different. At least to us it is. And we are their biggest fans!! We are certifiable Disney "NUTS". We have history, loyalty and we frankly ooze with devotion. For all of us, at one time or another, "Disney could do no wrong". (Yes, even your friendly neighborhood LandBaron.) And because we are such fans we are the first to see the changes that occur. We are the first to feel the impact of both a good and bad SHOW.
I will STILL BE THEIR CUSTOMER. I won't be there as frequently though. And it makes me sad. It makes me sad as well. And I think that this is something that the strict business justifiers don't fully understand. Contrary to popular belief I can comprehend most of the business tenets that spew forth from the "justifiers". I can see the logic. I can understand the principles. And yet, I still feel sad. Why? Because Disney, while being a business and turning a handsome profit, NEVER held to ALL the doctrines of PROFIT. It seemed they marched to their own drummer. And a strange drummer it was. They were never satisfied with being competitive, mundane or ordinary. They made gobs of money sometimes (lets face it, it was never cheap!) but at other times gave it back to it's customers through attractions, pricing, attention to detail, and most important guest satisfaction. Exceeding expectations. Every time!!!

So today I'm frustrated, and more than a little saddened that this benevolent (albeit capricious) company has turned into a competitive, mundane and ordinary corporation. And I think that everyone loses because of it. Especially Disney.

You say finally that you will still be their customer. And I agree. That is why you don't see the declining numbers that you'd expect to see with so much negative commentary going on. Even I'm nearly jumping out of my skin with the thought of my August trip!! But one day, if they continue on this road, the thrill won't be there any more. The party will be over. And it'll be time to go home. And by the time we Disney-holics get that feeling, it will be far, far too late!!!

DisDuck
05-09-2001, 12:06 PM
A question for Land or any other party to this subject.

Does Disney rely on or go after the repeat business or is their concentration on the first/one timer?

I think it makes a world of difference when deciding what to do. We are repeaters and fanatics here but are only what 20,000+ strong. That is a small pitence in the overall attendence numbers. I don't even think we spend more than our numbers indicate. Those who own DVC (while can say spend more) are a captive audience. Your investment shows Disney that you plan to return and return and return. So to be cynical, they don't need to please you. They need to make sure that first timers continue to come and hopefully in increasing numbers.

As I am want to repeat, it is all subjective. Bottom line for me is that I miss WDW (saw a commercial last night and got all teary eyed) but am going to DL this November and will have to wait until next April for my next visit.

ww52
05-09-2001, 12:18 PM
I'm kind of new to this angle of Disney as well, but find it fascinating. I agree with the sentiments that over time even strong Disney fans will find themselves finally saying "I guess I've done Disney enough - time to see more of the world". Yet it could all change for the better almost overnight - they have a chance to do it right with whatever the 3rd gate at DL ends up being. I know it will wind up being a waterpark or something on a smaller scale than DCA was supposed to be. But at least they might find their vision again by letting the public know (without outright admitting DCA was a mistake) that every new project will be grand in concept (the "Disney" image that most people hopefully still associate with).

It would do them good to remember not just Walt but also the words of Daniel Burnham ("make no small plans"). DCA seems more like P.T. Barnum than Daniel Burnham.

YoHo
05-09-2001, 12:35 PM
DisDuck, it has to be far more subtle.

The goals for each resort MUST be different.

Disneyland in Anahiem is 90% repeat buisness. Disneyland and DCA MUST cater to repeat buisness.
WDW on the otherhand has entirely different demographics. The average length between visits is on the order of Years, not months or Days as it is in California. Whereas, in Thialand, apparently, you could stick mouse ears on a pile of Yak Dung and charge $50. :)

I think the big concern about DCA was that DIsney tried to force a change in Demographics, and failed. OR more preciesly, misjudged the repeat customer's tolerance for the new out of state visitor centric ideas.

Sarangel
05-09-2001, 12:57 PM
So... Has anyone but me noticed that all of you complaining about DCA aren't out here where you can go and check out the park for yourselves? I, naturally, except Another Voice. No, it's not Disneyland, but it's not supposed to be! I realize that the park numbers aren't where they were targeted, but some of that has to be attributed to the softening of the economy - California isn't the best place in the country to live right now.

I happen to have been to DCA 4 or 5 times now, and I love it. Yes, it's a new park & has some very rough edges, but these will eventually be softened up as rides are added & replaced (Superstar Limo has to be the lamest ride in existance) and bugs are worked out. The main problem is that Disney didn't have any expectation of having to adjust the public's expectation of the park. The phrase 'instant hit' shows up again and again in the discussions of what the execs thought DCA would be. Mind you, the commercials that they're running now (cartoon characters running over from DL) don't help promote the image of a park for grown-ups, which is what DCA really is.

I will now step aside & let the naysayers continue their rant.

Sarangel

DVC-Landbaron
05-09-2001, 01:03 PM
I think the big concern about DCA was that DIsney tried to force a change in Demographics, and failed. OR more preciesly, misjudged the repeat customer's tolerance for the new out of state visitor centric ideas.
YoHo. Lately we have been agreeing more than disagreeing. However, on this I think you're wrong. Or at least partially wrong. The reason DCA is failing certainly has to with Disney's poor judgement regarding demographics. But the main reason is because they did it on the cheap! It's an overpriced Universal or Six Flags with more lights. And there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But it just ain't Disney!!!

I guess you really CAN'T fool all the people all of the time!!!!!!!

larry_poppins
05-09-2001, 01:07 PM
It does not seem to me that Disney is even interested in being in the theme park business anymore.
Look at some of there recent decisions:
They built an elaborate themed zoo: Animal Kingdom
They built a community college: Disney Institute
They built a sports complex: Wide WOrld of Sports (does anyone here fly to WDW for sports?)
They built thousands of hotel rooms: In fact the Grand Californian Hotel is the best part of the Disney
expansion.
Let's not even discuss DCA.


I can foresee a day when I, a DVC member, will check into a DVC resort and spend most of my time visiting
Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens Tampa (check out Rhino Rally! It looks great!), and Universal.
These companies are proud to be in the theme park business. Of course the Oriental Land Company
considers theme parks to be the holy grail! But that is another story.

Disney used to be in the business of exceeding our expectations. They have dummed down their product.
They are now in the business of meeting our expectations. Universal and Busch Gardens have improved their
product. Disney, particularly in Florida, has real competition for the first time. I will no longer be spending all of my days in a Disney park.

Just my personal thoughts,

Larry Poppins

DVC-Landbaron
05-09-2001, 01:12 PM
Yes, it's a new park & has some very rough edges, but these will eventually be softened up as rides are added & replaced (Superstar Limo has to be the lamest ride in existence) and bugs are worked out.
You know, I see this from ardent Disney fans all the time and I'm always baffled by it. I would expect Universal, Six Flags or other minor, struggling companies to open a park the way you describe. But not the KING of amusement parks. Not the leader in the field. Not the company that invented the very concept! Not Disney!! Certainly not MY Disney!! Not the Disney I fell in love with. Why is this OK with you? Why do you cut them so much slack? I really don't understand it at all.

YoHo
05-09-2001, 01:21 PM
See Landbaron, now we're getting into the kind of discussion where we'll break. A fake wooden Rollercoaster and a ferris wheel do not make it undisney. I'll say it again, if the asspoused idea behind Paradise pier, a throughback to the boradwalks of yesteryear is in fact what really brought the idea about, then it is 100% disney. After all, Mainstreet USA in DIsneyland is a near exact miniature replica of Walt's boyhood home in Missouri. What's so wrong with rose colored memories of Santa Cruz (regardless of that boardwalk's superiority)

The reason Mainstreet USA works, is because of the memories it evokes, even in people born 5 years ago. The flaw in the execution is, that Anahiem is a little to close to Santa Cruz for it to be effective with the local population.

If you took Paradise peir and stuck it in downtown DIsney Orlando next to Pleasure Island. I would be far more popular, because the closest example would be Jersey. TO me, DInsey isn't about negatives and nots, as in they will not have a midway. Its about presentation. IE, they will not have a crooked midway run by Illiterate mute Carnies.
Thus a Faux wooden coaster blends brilliantly if done right and it only works when your "theme" isn't sitting a couple hundred miles away.

larworth
05-09-2001, 01:26 PM
I think most of the rant is not directed at the park itself, but of management's perspective on what would or would not be successful. I they build a better mouse trap (pardon the pun) and nobody comes they have still failed.

From everything I read the shortfall goes way beyond a soft economy. They appear to have totally misread their target customer base. Disney is supposedly a company that gets high marks for being in touch with their customers. There is a problem here somewhere. I do know that not understanding your customers is a pretty big "no no" are far as the stock analysts are concerned.

OK, so they took a calculated risk and as risks go it doesn't look so good in hindsight. Ah, but knowing it had some risk they surely were ready with Plan B. Oops, no contingency plan. You mean they were so sure they knew what customers wanted (in our company we call this arrogance) that they didn't even think they might be wrong. Not a good sign.

I think the debate is whether it is fair to use DCA projected results (or lack thereof) as one barometer of how well the company is being managed.

Peter Pirate
05-09-2001, 01:35 PM
It doesn't matter at all that you happen to agree with me. We need your input!! Right Captain Peter, et al?

It doesn't matter? Oh, well since you said such nice things about my post yesterday I'll have to let that one go...Are you a used car salesman?

But, yes Disney Fan Guy & WW52 are certainly going to be welcome additions IMO. Captain Crook may not agree but who am I to speak for him?

Contrary to popular belief I can comprehend most of the business tenets that spew forth from the "justifiers.

Who am I Linda Blair?...What with all of this spewing, you still don't understand that Eisners job forces him to answer to stockholders not passholders...Or do you think he can do both? (boy what a 'fat pitch' that was;) ).

I've been asking my debating frineds since I got here, who has the vision?

Now Landbaron, we've discussed the vision Eisner has and even you must admit that he has done many wonderful things for Disney (and I know you'll follow up by saying "not enough wonderful things"). But putting that oft used quite un-definable topic 'Magic" on the side for a moment, he has brought us additional gates, water parks and wonderful Resorts & restaurants and has maintained the ability for adults to escape and become 'little' again, just as Walt wanted...Certainly, there has to be credit given here, doesn't there?

Even I'm nearly jumping out of my skin thinking of that August trip.

Sounds like you need to consult a dermatologist for that skin problem...But how can you be sooo excited about going to a Park owned by a Company Eisner has directed for 17 years! 17 years! And not feel that he has been responsible for more good things (as in simple preservation) than bad?

WW52 had a great comment:
Yet it could all change for the better overnight.

It's true! To us Disney fanatics Disney always looks like it has just done something stupid when Wahmmo, it turns around (or is turned around). Optimism is wonderful, doubly so with rose colored glasses!

Thank you Sarangel! I try to put great creedence in the comments of those who have done, versus my highly biased opinions. I think AV has been very insightful, but I knew there had to be another side of that particular coin and you brought it to the table.

Just because DCA is a dud so far means little. It just makes step two or three (whichever step it is) that much more important. I disagree with AV & Yoho who think the Eisner led Management team has no contingency plans and are flying willy nilly. I don't believe the Company could have survived this long with that much lack of foreskin...sight...:o

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

Peter Pirate
05-09-2001, 02:02 PM
Or does eveyone notice that we seem to jam up about 2pm each day? Try & try we're always two or three posts behind (I can't type any faster!). But, thats better than the alternative, I guess!:D

JeffJewell
05-09-2001, 02:25 PM
I happen to have been to DCA 4 or 5 times now, and I love it. Yes, it's a new park & has some very rough edges, but these will eventually be softened up as rides are added & replaced (Superstar Limo has to be the lamest ride in existance) and bugs are worked out.

And I love Animal Kingdom. Which makes absolutely zero difference in the big picture... even Disney has publicly referenced guest surveys that indicate the overwhelming opinion is that AK is too small and there's not enough to do.

My point is this. If DCA was a one time anomaly, I'd agree with you completely. But given AK's history, given the history of Journey Into Your Imagination, given the recent history of the Imagineering budgets... I have absolutely _no_ faith that the current management has either the inclination or the talent to work out these bugs.

Your position seems similar to my friend Peter Pirate's, at least as far as the topic of DCA goes: "don't worry so much, they're going to fix it." My response to that is to ask, in desperation (because I love Disney, I truly would like to believe it), what have you seen in the past five or ten years that suggests they'll fix this? From what I've seen (and from the changes already announced for DCA for this summer), it looks like they'll continue to do the cheapest and easiest things possible, which is precisely what caused this train wreck to begin with.

Jeff

DVC-Landbaron
05-09-2001, 02:44 PM
From YoHo
A fake wooden Rollercoaster and a ferris wheel do not make it undisney.
Would it surprise you if I said I agree!? Well, prepare yourself. I agree!! I didn't mean to infer that a Coney Island (Read: Riverview for you Chicago fans) would be a bad idea. I was thrilled 10 or 12 years ago when I heard that the Boardwalk would be a separate gate themed in just this way. I thought it was a great idea. And I still had my blinders on, so that made it doubly cool. When I said cheap I meant those edges that Sarangel talked about. The "nothing to do" and "only half a park" complaint. The lameness of some of the rides. The cardboard cutouts and no attention to engulfing the guest in the experience. And that's not to even mention your complaint regarding choice of theme in the first place.

Look at EPCOT, opening day. Sure it's been added to since (not enough) but look at what was there on opening day. WOW! Even if you didn't like half of it, the half you did like - blew you away. It was truly overwhelming. I guess what I would expect from Disney is something like Westcot. What we got is DCA. You tell me if it wasn't done "on the cheap".

From Larworth
I they build a better mouse trap (pardon the pun) and nobody comes they have still failed.

And

I think the debate is whether it is fair to use DCA projected results (or lack thereof) as one barometer of how well the company is being managed
EXACTLY!!!!

And now from my good friend Peter Pirate:
Who am I Linda Blair?...What with all of this spewing, you still don't understand that Eisners job forces him to answer to stockholders not passholders...Or do you think he can do both? (boy what a 'fat pitch' that was ).
Captain Linda Pirate!! I like the sound of that!!

WOW! You're not kidding it's a fat pitch!!! He should most definitely do both. But if he is that inept, and can only do one, then go with the passholder. And not for purely selfish reasons. If he takes care of the passholder, the stocks take care of themselves. The parks aspect of the business can be put on auto-pilot and he can concentrate on fixing ABC (an impossible task if ever there was one!)

But, not everything I write is marked for you specifically, my favorite Pirate. Even you are a liberal business minded person compared to say… some of the more vocal (hard core business) on RADP. I've been following some of their posts on RADP and I tell you, they fascinate me and infuriate me all at the same time. At times you do remind me of them though. I swear they won't be happy until they prove that Disney is a profit motivated (in other words, non-creative, mundane, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, survey taking, out-of-touch, Universal carbon copy, equal with Six Flags) company. Well, they've convinced me. Disney is PROFIT motivated like never before. But they don't stop there. They want you to agree that it should be. NEVER!!!! RISE UP ME HARDIES!!! TO ARMS!!!! (sorry - got carried away.)
Now Landbaron, we've discussed the vision Eisner has and even you must admit that he has done many wonderful things for Disney (and I know you'll follow up by saying "not enough wonderful things").
No I won't. I'll ask instead "WHAT ARE TALKING ABOUT!!??" Name one. Any one. He preserves. But only if there is profit involved. He has NEVER created like Walt did. For the joy of it. (Of course it didn't hurt that he (Walt) made a pretty penny at it to boot!)

You mentioned other gates. HAH!! Dismal half parks at first. MGM is still a hodge podge, poorly designed and hemmed in from future expansion (good planning Ei$ner)! AK, well, to each his own, I guess. I just can't help thinking what it could have been with a couple extra bucks. Kind of the way Walt would have done it. (Hmmm. I may have to cave as to the water parks. Well, we'll ignore it for a moment and hope he forgets about them.) And "wonderful Resorts & restaurants". Well, I have only three words: money - Money - MONEY!!!
I disagree with AV & Yoho who think the Eisner led Management team has no contingency plans and are flying willy nilly
Peter!! What in the world leads you to this absurd conclusion? MSEP? Millionaire? Please give me one shred of evidence to hang my hat on and I'll switch side right now!!!!
It's true! To us Disney fanatics Disney always looks like it has just done something stupid when Wahmmo, it turns around (or is turned around). Optimism is wonderful, doubly so with rose colored glasses!
Again, my dear Pirate! An example please!!! I can't think of any!!!

Peter Pirate
05-09-2001, 03:27 PM
Jeff writes:

My point is this. If DCA was a one time anomoly, I'd agree with you completely.

But Jeff, can't this be an anomoly of the times? The business climate we are in allows for very little risk taking. ..None of the networks will do anything other than carbon copies of each others semi-decent programming, all of the theme Parks are buildiing up to a full Park instead of just building it (leave DL Tokyo out, not very relevent without opening so many other sub-topics). Now, perhaps Disney shouldn't fall into that mold, I agree that I wish they's set the trends - all of the trends and never (or hardly ever follow), but I think 'multi billion dollar conglomeration Disney' finds itself in (again, in order to remain independent) a situation where it has fears from so many different fronts than 'just' the theme Parks.

Still, my personal hope is that the economy will not fall further and that Disney will respond by really attacking areas that have been somewhat negleted (our Parks).

Now LandBaron, you stun me by asking for examples of the good things Eisner has done. Come on now! The new Parks...I love MGM and I love AK. I'd like one more E ride at MGM and certainly BK needs to be built, but I love those Parks. Thanks for giving me the Water Parks, but as for the Resorts, I know they make money, money, money but you can't tell me that this makes them any less fun, can you? Staying on-site is truely one of the things we look forward to and I think others do as well.

I guess I am like Sarangel in this regard, because I don't mind waiting for the Park to take shape as long as it stays fluid. I like the DCA theme, but hey I'm a Floridian (we can't even vote). I just think it's ok to take the good stuff and fun to watch the lame stuff disappear, disappear back ovet the falls...Whoops, off to Norway for a second! Can you guys agree that if you were ASSURED that the 'good fix' was coming that this would be a pretty sound way to build a Park?

Lastly you asked (in regard to ww52's comment) where is the proof that things could turn around in a heartbeat? Well, we were talking about the film division and certainly if Pearl Harbor and Atlantis turn out to be blockbusters, the movie divisions will be sitting very pretty ideed. It may be a stretch for these two things to happen, but certainly stranger things have taken place in the movies!

Theres more, but who needs to be verbose???
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

YoHo
05-09-2001, 03:52 PM
can't this be an anomoly of the times? The business climate we are in allows for very little risk taking. .

Okay, 10 years ago, we were in a recession and economic climate far worse then this one. lets see what Disney did.

Opened Studios
Opened Euro Disney (eventually a success)
Greenlighted, planned and executed the beginning of animal Kingdom
Greenlighted planned and executed the beginnings of ANahiem second gate.



Lets see what they did during the economic expansion

Buy ABC (good theoretically)
Institute slashes in operating budgets that for a while risked maintainence.
Slashed beastly kingdom from AK
Turned any number of good Idea's into DCA which might be an okay Idea, except they.......
tore DCA to shreds.
Planned cheap spinner for MK and cheap spinner, coaster and Midway for AK.


Remember, the economic slump is only about 6 month's old, very few of the CApital expenditures for the parks take less then six months, so most of them were put in place before there was significant trouble.



So lets see, During the recession of the early 90s, Disney built built built, expanded expanded expanded and dripped magic as best as Eisner could (he after all is no Walt)
Then, during the good times, they cut cut cut and cheap cheap cheaped.


Hmmm, am I wrong, or is this 100% opposit of what your suggesting they are doing now?

Granted, they may have seen some of this coming and were trying to prepare for it (more likely, they were trying to eck every last penny out of the parks to pay for go.com, ABC and the Disney Stores.)


In other words, why after 17 years of growth at least half of which occured during a recession, do they have to "Hunker down" now?


What's different? THis economic downturn isn't even a recession yet.

SOmebody, please explain why it was easy then and hard now?

Peter Pirate
05-09-2001, 04:07 PM
Yoho, seems to me I was proposing another possiblity to my friend Jeff in opposition to his thinking. I don't believe my attempt to further discussion warrants such sarcasam.

But if it will help the lovefest, I guess I can just jump in that carpool, again...

:( :confused: :(

YoHo
05-09-2001, 04:13 PM
I apologize for the level of sarcasm, as I actually want an answer. Obviously it is harder, or Disney managment precieves it as harder, so why is that? is it, because DIsney managment has lost some focus?
Is it due to failures elsewhere?
Is it some unseen outside force?

I'm really curious as to why.


I think I need some time off from work, Having the Axe held above my head has made me far less fun to be with. :)

ww52
05-09-2001, 04:37 PM
My comment about how things could change overnight really was referring to learning from their mistakes before they announce what the 3rd gate at DL will be. The 2nd gate went from the wonderful vision of Westcot to the reality of DCA - hence my reference to Daniel Burnham vs. P.T. Barnum. I'm just saying that they ought to vow to "make no small plans". DCA sounds like it was a small plan - the third gate doesn't have to be - even if it is just a waterpark.

And no - I've not been to DCA, and I doubt that I ever will, nor probably will any of my kids (teenagers now and adults in just a few quick years). I think that's the point - nobody really has a burning desire to go there.

Peter Pirate
05-09-2001, 05:20 PM
Yoho, I accept your apology. I think of us all as friends on this board and I certainly am not trying to antagonize anyone. I'm sorry for your job situation and that admission makes your recent demeanor a little more understandable. Good luck...

ww52, sorry for misquoting you, but your quote actually worked fine for my needs, as well. Just imagine if Pearl Harbor & Atlantis are blockbusters...Will not Disney's movie division once again reign supreme?...AK, any comment (be nice, remember we're playing 'what if' here). Oh, and ww52, I agree with your scenerio as well. I disagree about the DCA premise, though. Both of mykids are dying to go (they're 7 & 11, but also confirmed Disney nuts, as well)

Yoho, my opinion on your question is yes they have become less focused and I see that as being caused by issues far removed from Theme Parks...Namely technology. Disney was not able to tame the internet...Their failures were well reported (netscape, go.com). At the same time they were being sued by everyone and uncharacteristically losing. But the proliferation of the 'Internet' companies, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo & the huge upheavel of the market and these crazy overvalued stocks all of a sudden had Disney in jeopardy of not only being an also ran in the entertainment industry but being a division of some Internet company. Now things have stablized and only AOL/TWX emerged as a threat from that level but other Companies hitting them from other directions that were perhaps unexpected emerged...Vivendi bought Universal...Universal pictures got hot...Dreamworks got hot (excluding animation)...They are changing the rules.

Further, all of the buyout/merger/acquisition remors with everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Ted Turner have just muddied the big picture which IMO makes it very tough for Eisner to worry about the quality of Superstar Limo very much.

Lastly, I would like to say that I think Disney will buy Yahoo should the price become right. I personall, would love to see this (I can hear LandBaron crying), but I believe this would solidify Disney's status as a complete player and allow them to concentrate on 'Disney quality' as we all would like.

There you have it! It's only my opinion and it'ssubject to change. I hope it was at least a little interesting to read!:p

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

larworth
05-10-2001, 08:19 AM
It would be a great shot in the arm for both of these movies to do well. However, it seems that they would reign supreme for only a little bit, since they have stated they will de-emphasize both of these formats (feature animation and big blockbusters) in the future.

Acquiring a larger internet presence seems logical. However, acqusition integrations are a tricky thing and demand a lot of attention. I think the uncertainty and volatility of operating in the e marketplace will only demand more management time and will lead to even more lose of focus on the parks.

Creative oversight for the parks should be a full time job. Even if Eisner was good at it, he doesn't have the time to do it justice. He needs to let the ego go and put someone creative in place that has at least the same power as Pressler (business side guy) to manage the parks.

I've had the same thought as YoHo. It seems that Disney started getting this new conservatism around 1995. Yet, we were in the middle of this unprecedented period of economic growth. You would have thought, if anything, they would have committed the sin of overbuilding in the good times. Instead we got half parks and short-cuts?

To be fair their capital spending budget was at record levels through the end of the decade. Maybe the problem wasn't that they were willing to invest, but rather they forgot DVC's motto of do it right or don't do it.

DisneyFanGuy
05-10-2001, 12:55 PM
Back in school when I studied economics, one of my professors said that companies who have succeeded over the long term have followed a very simple pattern.

They have ridden the positive trends by spending as little money as possible, and then when things were tight they have had the discipline to invest in more training, research, etc to prepare for the next upturn.

Looking at the posts, isn't that what Disney did during the last recession? That's when they were building and revamping and were at their peak in creativity. That really sparked their ability to dominate in the mid to late 90's.

It seems to me that what we are feeling now is two things:

First, why aren't they building or changing more in their parks? The answer is that they don't have to. They are still looking at their situation as an economic expansion. As my professor said, put as much money as you can in the "bank" when things are good so you can dip into it when things go "south". In other words, guest trends haven't changed significantly enough for them to react. Looking at their history, they have always done this.

Second. (This one affects me much more.) They seem to be less concerned with building industry leading attractions.

What I have always loved about Disney is that they have chosen to either build, or not to build. When they did "pour the concrete" I was always impressed with the results. If they chose not to build, then I still loved their past efforts.

This is the first time that I have ever seen them build "just ok" attractions. Maybe they did it when I was younger and I missed it. But not in the past 30 years that I have been paying attention.

Stuff doesn't have to cost a fortune to impress me. I can just as much enjoy a boat ride as a "cutting edge" very costly, state of the art, break the bank attraction.
Vision, and then execution.

But their stuff lately...... I go there and feel like I am experiencing great ideas that have been half-way executed. I NEVER remember seeing that before. And that makes me nuts.

Not everything new is bad. I like many parts of the AK. It just bores my kids after about 6 hours. So it works ok as part of a "multi park" day. If the other parks keep closing earlier though.......I may never see the AK again unless they add more things to do.

But Kali River Rapids makes me really crazy. You are in the water for two minutes after you leave the dock, and a big chunk of that time is going up that first ramp. As a guest, I think it's a total waste of time and I LOVE RAFT RIDES.

RRC. I LOVE that ride, but why is it 1:30 seconds?

JIYI, spinners, etc. I have never seen them build everyday stuff before. That's what depresses me. The Aladin Carpets are fine, but do we have to lose other attractions to get them?

And my apologies to Sarangle, my impression of DCA is that I would go and sort of enjoy myself, and then say "That was a nice experience" It doesn't look terrible, but it looks like the result of a very long argument that found some middle ground. But the restaurants and shops look awesome. I just don't go to parks for only restaurants and shops. I DO enjoy them, but I want sit my butt in little cars that move in a variety of ways past fun and entertaining scenery. I also enjoy shows. It just doesn't look like it would offer me (everyone likes different things) much other than a roller coaster (always fun), and a new simulator experience, and a nifty mountain raft ride. I would eat cheap (It's not like EPCOT where the restaurants are part of the experience) and so 43 dollars is a lot for me. Now if I had a park hopper, I would go there in a heartbeat. I don't stay 4 days out in CA tho, and that's a big difference.

But I will still go to my favorites. For example, after we were aghast at the JIYI, we can go next door and ride "The Land". After 1/2 in AK, we can finish our day at MK (If they choose to stay open....LOL!) We all make choices. I just keep choosing the older stuff.

And I STILL love most of what Disney does. Don't ever mistake me for a DB (Disney Basher). I am squarely in the DL (Disney Lover) category.

Later.

DFG

ww52
05-10-2001, 01:03 PM
I shouldn't have generalized in saying no one has a desire to go to DCA. I was thinking mainly of my own kids - who in a few years will one by one become working, taxpaying, vacation dollar spending adults. I would think Disney would be thinking of this market (kids of baby boomers). Actually, they do a good job of that with the Zoog-Disney programs - at least for girls.

Maybe my kids aren't typical - but if they are then Disney should be worried. As I said, even with the promotion that Zoog-Disney has for DCA in the breaks for their shows, none of my kids have any desire to go there.

Our last trip to WDW was in 1998. They couldn't wait to see AK, so we did it on our first day. They were disapointed (I was too). My kids said if we go back, they'd rather skip AK in favor of IOA. Now maybe they'd be disappointed in IOA, but at least Universal has created something they want to see.

If BK got built, then they'd probably want to skip IOA and give AK another try.

So when they start planning vacations themselves - will Disney's new reputation of building disappointing new parks hurt them? Maybe - maybe not. I know they are dying to get back to WDW for MK, Epcot and even the Studios. But we've been seeing other parts of the country the last few years, and we've even said we could scale back out next trip to WDW to five days. Somewhere I sense that Disneymay be losing losing a bit of their reputation - maybe not with us but with the next genertion.

DisDuck
05-10-2001, 01:34 PM
ww52.. I have a 16 yo daughter who absolutely loves AK and can spend pretty much the whole day there. Considering its ours of operation, it is not truly an all-day park. How many of us want to get up at 6or 7am to get there by 8am.

I have been to AK 3 times and it is always a must see on my trips. On schedule AK at 8 or 9 to 4 or 5 then onto another park or back to my resort, relax and then onto Pleasure Island. It is the perfect park to fit into a more relaxing WDW day rather than a commando day (how much can we see in 1 day kind of thing).

This year has given us the opportunity to go West so in November its off to DL and DCA. My daughter has seen the ads and brouches and wants to go. (My wife is not as fanatical about Disney).

Then next year back to WDW for trip 20 (or is it 21).

ww52
05-10-2001, 01:51 PM
DisDuck - we have at least one thing in common: my wife is not fanatical about Disney either (though she loves GF, where we've stayed 3 out of our 5 trips).

I'll be interested to hear what your daughter thinks of DCA. We were out at DL during a California trip a couple years ago and may get back there (my oldest loved LA) - so maybe we will end up giving it a try in a couple of years.

larry_poppins
05-11-2001, 12:23 AM
I've been to DCA. In fact I have an annual for DCA. I agree that there are more things
to do at DCA then at MGM. Like many people who ENJOY the current DCA, we still wish
there were more signature attractions there that could not be found anywhere else.
Like Tower or Terror for example. The amount of off the shelf rides at Paradise Pier
bothers me if for no other reason that the space they occupy could have been
used for an E ticket.

Just my opinion,

Larry

Another Voice
05-11-2001, 12:33 AM
One of the pains of living in Southern California is that family members from the frostier parts of the country tend to pick your house as the destination for biannual vacations. For the last two days (and only three to go), I’ve be visiting Disneyland – er – The Disneyland Resort – and I’ve fallen behind reading these posts. I thought I’d add some on-the-scene observations on “Robbing Peter”.

The attendance gap between Disneyland and California Adventure is staggering. Disneyland is running along at a strong spring clip, DCA seems like its operating in the slowest of the slow part of January. Any DCA attraction that can run at reduced capacity is being run that way – three trains at most on the main coaster, one or two towers of the three available on the space shot ride, even ‘Soarin’ was running using only 2/3 of the available seats. There were some posted 45 minute waits, but these were not due to the overwhelming crowds. Many, many of the eating spots have been closed throughout the day and most of the rest seem to be closing early. 'Mulhulland Madness' is closed once again, but a single riderless car is put through the paces from time to time for no visible reason (maybe testing to see if the Animal Kingdom version can be built correctly).

Visiting with people from out-of-town has given me one major insight. Park Hopping between Disneyland and California Adventure is a vastly different experience than hopping between parks at WDW, and it's going to lead to some very interesting guest dynamics. At WDW, hopping to a different park is not very quick and involves a fair amount of travel. It’s generally not done on a whim, and there’s a definite sense of different experiences – the Magic Kingdom “feels” different than Epcot does – and the travel between the two parks gets one adjusted to that feel. You recognize that all four of the different parks are very different places from one another.

Here in California, changing parks is a matter of walking out of one gate, about fifty paces, and walking through another turnstile. You can change parks just as easily and you can walk from WDW’s Tomorrowland to Fantasyland. The two parks start to blur into each other with just a ticket & hand stamp formality in between. If park hopping were to become wide spread, I think this would simply decimate DCA. Its numerous weaker offerings won’t be competing against each other, now they’re competing against the full load of attractions across the plaza (and the same can be said for older, less popular Disneyland attractions loosing audience to DCA’s thrill rides). The average guest’s experience would change from the planned full day in each park into a two-day visit to Disneyland with a quick skip to see the highlights at the other park. Trying to sell DCA as a separate park, worthy of extending your vacation a day, may have just become infinitely more difficult. Sarangel, I’d be interested in hearing your comments on this and if you’d had a chance to bounce between the parks yet.

This hole keeps getting deeper at every turn.


P.S. Landbaron, thank you for your post. Perhaps if there’s ever a carpool get together (the opening of ‘Mission:Space’ anyone?) I can explain some of the backstory. I’m neither the seventeen year-old nor the grandmother, just someone who spent too many years of my life trapped behind the mouse-topped wrought iron gates. In gratitude and to catch up with everyone else who’s been posting, let me pass on to you this rumor – the first park to get a version of the ‘Soaring’ ride system isn’t even open yet, but its owners understand the importance of building a full-size theme park, filled with the imagination and detail that Disney is recognized for. We’ll just have to sea – er – see if the deal for this one comes together.

Mooobooks
05-11-2001, 09:08 AM
It does seem that Disney made an odd choice in building a park about California IN California WHEN the majority of visitors are Californians. It would have made sense if, as is the case in Florida, most of the visitors are not locals from the state in which the park exists.
Californians who are used to visiting Disneyland Park, and who have never been to WDW in Florida, do not yet understand that a park does not have to be Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom in order to be a successful "Disney" Park. That seems to be a great part of the psychological dynamic at work regarding DCA. It's not Disneyland Park, and it's confusing people.
Also, the majority of rides at DCA take place outdoors, subjecting the rider to cold, wind, and rain (all of which have taken place in abundance this spring). The successful opening of a park requires psychological momentum, and the poor weather has taken a toll. Even though the weather is now nice, the damage is done. At Disneyland Park, by contrast, MANY of the rides take place indoors so weather is less important to the experience you have on any given day.
So, when you take those issues together (1) California in California; 2) Californians form the majority of the visitors; 3) Californians don't understand that a park can be a "Disney" park without being Disneyland; and 4) bad weather during the opening season) you can see some of the problems facing DCA that are going to be hard to overcome no matter what they do to the park itself.
One of the solutions is to convince more people to come from outside California, turning the ratio of park visitors into something approaching that of WDW, where the majority are from out of town. THEY will approach DCA without the predjudices of Californians who can see no farther than Cinderella's Castle. I think that's why they're moving ahead with the third park so rapidly. With more hotels and THREE parks, people are much more likely to THINK about going to California from out of state for a multiple day visit.

DVC-Landbaron
05-11-2001, 10:50 AM
The average guest's experience would change from the planned full day in each park into a two-day visit to Disneyland with a quick skip to see the highlights at the other park.
WOW!! I hadn't thought of that before. So in essence DCA becomes another land. Advetureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and DCAland!! Hmmm. They should probably change that to Californialand!!

You've really got to wonder what they are thinking (if anyone is actually thinking) out at TEAM DISNEY. Now, I'll admit that the thought hadn't occurred to me before Voice brought it up. But I'm not getting paid double digit (sometimes triple digit) MILLIONS to think of these things. In fact, my thinking about Disney takes away from my real job!! How utterly inept can they be?
We'll just have to sea - er - see if the deal for this one comes together.
Ahhhh, You just gotta love this guy. What writing style!!

Mooobooks.
The successful opening of a park requires psychological momentum, and the poor weather has taken a toll. Even though the weather is now nice, the damage is done.
Let me get this straight. If I understand what you are saying, you believe that it was rotten weather and rotten attitude (of the locals regarding theme) which has caused this failure. And it has nothing to do with Disney opening a park of poor (or at least sub-standard) quality? It has nothing to do with a price/value ratio? Do I have that right?

So it wouldn't have mattered if they had opened a full park in an old fashioned Disney style, say like they way they opened EPCOT or even WDW itself. It wouldn't matter that by opening a full park there wouldn't have been so many complaints of having little to do. Or that of the few rides that are there, nearly half were lame. And it wouldn't matter that they would have built a park that kids as well as adults (WOW! What a concept!) could enjoy.

It was the weather. Plain and simple. And those stubborn California attitudes. Disney didn't do anything wrong at all. (well maybe the theme, but really, it's good!) If the Spring had been more sunny, DCA would have been a hit!! Did I misunderstand?

I've got to say that reading many of the posts in this thread is really mindboggling: a lot of bigmouths yaking about how terrible DCA is
You imply that we have no right to talk about something we haven't seen. That we are nothing more than big mouths. Well, I've never been to the south pole, but I know it's cold. I've never been to London, but I know they drive on the wrong side of the road and talk with an accent. We all gather information as best we can. We consider it, digest it and ponder the big picture. We think about these things from our own perspective, colored as it is with personal preferences, sense of history and even with a certain amount of prejudice. We consider the source of the information, taking it all in with a grain of salt. And funny as it sounds, personal opinions start to form. Are these as good as personal experience? No, of course not! But does it also mean we cannot carry out some sort of logical discussions based on what we have learned? Again - No, of course not!

To me DCA is just another example (although a big one) of everything that is 'wrong' with Ei$ner. He just doesn't get it. The Institute was another example. I wasn't on the Internet at the time, but I did tell everyone who cared to listen (hmmm, not many come to think of it) that the Institute was a rotten idea. If I had posted that here many would have crawled out of the wood work to name me an Ei$ner-basher!! Disney-hater!! And I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. It was just Ei$ner not getting it!!

I think if you got to know me (as well as all the other you lumped together), you would quickly find out how schizophrenic I really am about MY (yes I claim ownership) Disney!! And how sad I feel about the road they are on. Check out some earlier threads. Go back to the old boards and see some of the stuff we discussed. Bigmouths? Maybe. But please don't be too dismissive because of it. We like it this way!!

Another Voice
Perhaps if there's ever a carpool get together (the opening of 'Mission: Space' anyone?)
That sounds good to me!!!!:bounce:

DisDuck
05-11-2001, 01:42 PM
Hey, Land... did you try to count to 10 first. Seems like there was smoke coming out of my PC while reading your post.

Yes, some sound thinking on your part. But while I may have some reservations about DCA from what has been posted. I am leaving my final decision to my visit in November.

I tend towards the I will see first then judge rather than judge first and not see.

Maybe a quick dip in the lake could cool you off.;)

DVC-Landbaron
05-11-2001, 02:04 PM
Hey, Land... did you try to count to 10 first.
You know, it's funny. I not only counted to ten I waited until the next morning. The one thing I didn't want to do was sound "ticked-off". I wanted to explain, strongly, but in as friendly a manner as possible, that while first hand experience is by far the best, it does not preclude all other forms of information and/or discussion. And I had a smile on my face THE ENTIRE TIME!!!! Really!! I wasn't mad at all!!! I've even re-read it and can't see how you smelled smoke (just goes to show how different things come out without voice inflection and body language). I really didn't know how else to make my point!! And I really do apologize if I offended ANYONE, especially Mooobooks.

I tend towards the I will see first then judge rather than judge first and not see.
I agree! That is surely the best way. And I look forward to your review. I value your input very much. Unfortunately, a west coast trip is NOT in my foreseeable future. I leave it to you to be my eyes and ears! (Hmmm. I just pictured you walking around DCA with rose sun glasses and Mickey ears!!) lol

Maybe a quick dip in the lake could cool you off.
HEY!!! WAIT A MINUTE!!! Is that just a nice way to tell me to "Go jump in a lake!!"?;)

DisneyFanGuy
05-11-2001, 04:05 PM
I really don't think that DCA bashing is the point. It's true that I haven't been there. The point is that many people like myself find the concept and execution not very interesting. It's the first time I have looked at a Disney park and said that I am really not very interested.

Why?

Because I have been underwelmed by recent Disney creations. That has never happened before. I was really eager to see the AK and was very disappointed in it. Many other examples. So I was primed and ready to pass on a trip to DCA when I was in CA this past month.

So I still think the issue is that Disney is changing the way people think of their brand. We are becoming suspicious of quality. They have created this response through a series of clearly less than exceptional products being introduced into the market.

Imagine this: If DCA had opened 6-7 years ago, people would have been much less suspicious of the finished quality. I betcha the initial attentance would have been much better.

One other decision that they made really strikes me as a turn-off. I have visited DL 10 times over the past three years and have watched DCA rise in the lot. The lack of a berm allowed me to see everything in the park as it was being built. I love the feeling of exploring a new theme park, being surprised and delighted at the sights and sounds found within. The WDW parks are (or were) isolated as they were built, making a berm unnecessary. Even though I was disappointed in AK, I was still drawn there by the "mystery" of a new park. I have seen all of DCA's mysteries and I have felt no desire to expore it. Why didn't they use a berm?

So the bottom line is that I think that Disney almost needs to "over deliver" on anything that they present to the public for awhile. They have lost our confidence that quality is a major concern. Even if DCA is good, it needs to be AMAZING to draw the crowds. Mission Space needs to blow us away.

YoHo
05-11-2001, 04:46 PM
Just some spin on DCA based on Another Voice's post. I think your downplaying how DCA being actually another land could help the park. I bought a 5-day pass for Disneyland last Christmas and struggled to see everything I wanted to. The park hopping Dynamic could be the only thing that saves DCA until another e-ticket is built. Remember, every time you go through the turnstyles, you are a guest in the park, so attendence will skyrocket.

Lets say there's half a day's worth of rides and a couple of resturants worth picking up in DCA. That's at least a full day's worth of trip. remember, Fastpass will still force you twiddle your thumbs for hours waiting for your slot and during peak times like christmas, there didn't seem to be such a thing as an unpopular ride.

Then as the corrective steps are hopefully taken, time spent in the park will increase yadda yadda.


I'm not suggesting that this is a boone for DCA and all their problems are solved, merely that it could have a positive effect on the park as well.

swinginevilmike
05-11-2001, 06:48 PM
Another big mouth checking in....I've been to DCA several times I have Cast member friends who work at DCA. I was offered a job at DCA but couldn't take it because of the commute. While DCA may have more attractions than the Disney Studios or Animal Kingdom the quality of the attractions is severly lacking. You could find any of the attractions at any of the state fairs local fair and even your local community churchs festival. The only 2 attractions with any real thought put into it was Soarin over California and Grizzley River Run and 2 attractions does not make a theme park.

Neville
05-12-2001, 12:33 PM
O.K. I know this is probably beating a dead horse, but...


Consider for a moment which parks are the "cash cows" of the theme park division in the U.S. -- MK in DW and Disneyland. Both of which were designed, built, and financed through Walt himself. They are the draw, the revenue generators and Walt's legay. Consider for a moment if DW did not have the MK, how many people would go? If Walt had started his theme park division with DCA/Studios/AK, we would all be going to AOL World.

For present management, I wish they would consider using the Magic Kingdom as a guide for capital spending. Yes, Walt probably did overspend, and his brother had to reel in the reigns. However, the end product was great and has continued to be the anchors of the division. I realize that Waltesque spending is not in vogue today. However, I feel that the spending on theme parks for the last 10 years (beginning with Studios) was geared more towards short term revenue generation (get the $40 vs. build a park which will keep people coming back). This short term thinking has also resulted in a glut of mediocre-themed hotels -- let's just worry about getting the people in the door. I suspect that if Disney had taken the cash spent on DCA, Go, and part of Eisner's bonus, they could have built a magnificent park that would be the talk of the industry and a revenue generator for years to come (similar to MK/DL).

The problem that I see is that they have ended up tainting the brand. Just ask the domestic car companies how difficult it is to restore that. I don't think they will feel the full effect of this short-term mindset until we have a serious recession. Once the revenue drops, more shows will be canceled, resulting in even less to do -- it is a slippery slope which I fear has begun.

I for one would probably spend more money in three complete parks, than the admission for the fourth half-day park -- not to mention the hour it takes to get between the two (need for monorail boys). I feel cheated when I leave AK/Studios/ and I suspect I would feel that way at DCA. The result, I plan to spend less time and money at Disney in the near term. They are making it so that the savvy travel (which I am not) can pack all the parks in three days.

I give Eisner credit for saving the company in the 80s with creative thinking and good revenue management. However, I believe the game has passed him by and his recent track record proves it. The problem is, who is the replacement? No one sitting on the bench. I believe they will have to go out and get a relatively unkown entity to take the reigns (similar to how Eisner/Wells got the job).

Sorry for the rant/whine, but I couldn't take it anymore.

DVC-Landbaron
05-12-2001, 01:12 PM
… never stopped me. I’m good at it!!

Consider for a moment if DW did not have the MK, how many people would go? If Walt had started his theme park division with DCA/Studios/AK, we would all be going to AOL World.
WOW! What a concept. And what a way to put it!! I wish I had thought of it. Of course, that’s really what we all have been saying; it was just never put so succinctly before.
For present management, I wish they would consider using the Magic Kingdom as a guide for capital spending. Yes, Walt probably did overspend, and his brother had to reel in the reigns. However, the end product was great and has continued to be the anchors of the division.
Man, this guy keeps getting better and better!!!!

Sorry for the rant/whine, but I couldn't take it anymore.
Well, after the second paragraph I stopped quoting. NOT because there was nothing else to quote. Quite the opposite. I found that every sentence was very true and very, very quotable. So instead I ask everyone to reread it. It is perfect. And I also ask Neville to join the car pool and rant away as much as you like. It leaves every day and usually hits heavy traffic around two in the afternoon. It’s fun!!!!!

Captain, DisDuck and all the others. Does this, put in these terms, make more sense?

lrodk
05-12-2001, 02:33 PM
I usually contact guests directly via email in cases like these. Unfortunately however, Moobooks has chosen not to receive email messages in his profile. As such I'm afraid I'll have to reach out to him on this thread.

Moobooks, based on the number of posts you've made here on the DIS it seems that you're new to our neighborhood. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, please realize that this is a discussion forum, and as such everyone is entitled to their opinion regardless of whether you agree with them or not, and first and foremost so long as it doesn't attack another guest personally. By making assumptions that certain guests here had not visited the park you unfairly made a defensive accusation based on your personal experience. Suffice it to say, you're perfectly welcomed to share your own opinions on DCA or any other Disney Rumors topic here, just please do adhere to the rules of the boards and respect your fellow Disney enthusiasts. These boards are all about having fun. As you can see, there are many folks here who have been to DCA, and so their opinions are perfectly justified.

In case you or anyone else has missed the link, I've pasted the posting guidelines url for the DIS below. I want to be perfectly clear when I say that this is not an uncensored no-holds-barred-Yahoo-type forum. It's all about sharing ideas and hopefully learning something about our favorite subject in the process. There's no need to get defensive just because you don't agree with someone elses slant on things.

http://www.wdwinfo.com/guidelines.htm

larry_poppins
05-12-2001, 03:26 PM
It is true that the Magic Kingdom is the anchor for WDW, but I love EPCOT.
I would travel to WDW just to see EPCOT. It is not a 1/2 day park like the Studios
or Animal Kingdom.
:bounce: :bounce:

Captain Crook
05-12-2001, 06:04 PM
Just goes to show how perspective is so personal. Larry responds defending Epcot (as a full day Park) and I agree, but then he disses AK & MGM as 1/2 day Parks. IMO, AK is 3/4 day Park and MGM can certainly be all day (if you need to see all of the shows), ending with Fantasmic (wonderful!)...
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

Another Voice
05-13-2001, 12:14 AM
There may be the hint of a silver lining in the whole California Adventure trauma after all. The argument that DCA is failing because of its quality may beginning to gain some traction. More research has gone on for this park in the last two months than went into the Manhattan Project and a few – very few – people are starting to listen.

I think this thread’s gone on long enough to scare away most people and leaving just us naysayers – so I feel safe in sharing the latest ‘Soaring’ rumors. This show is the really hot ticket at WDI at the moment and everyone wants a piece of the action. The Oriental Land Company is very, very interested in the show. They want a duplicate of ‘Soarin Over California’ for the American Waterfront section of DisneySeas (I think the area doesn’t have a major attraction right now). Not only does the attraction theme-in well, but California is a MAJOR destination for Japanese travelers and the sweeping shots of wide open Californian spaces will be wildly popular. The fit of this show with Tokyo is so strong I’m surprised no one thought of it sooner. If ‘Pooh’ can bring in an extra million, ‘Soarin’ will bring in five.

WDI is hoping that a combination of the sale to TDL and some money from corporate will allow them to create a fully programmable version of the ‘Soaring’ ride system. This Holy Grail for WDI would allow a single theater to show several different shows in the same day and allow for copies of the same system to be built inexpensively in different parks. There are many shows already in the storyboard stage. The one with the strongest buzz is ‘Soaring Over Down Under’ for Epcot’s World Showcase (the plunge into the ocean and “flying” through the Great Barrier Reef segments are supposed to be amazing if they can be filmed as written). If enough sponsors can be found, the show would serve as the centerpiece of an Australia or Australia/New Zealand mini-pavilion. More likely, it may be the first show in a ‘Millennium Pavilion’-type theater; other films of other areas would be added over time (i.e. as foreign companies pay for them). There’s also been some talk about creating ‘Soaring Over Canada’ as the replacement for the CircleVision film – but that will happen only if the Canadian government and/or sponsors pay for the reconstruction of the pavilion.

There are many, many proposals for the ride system in Animal Kingdom, but the chances of the it being used to create a new land are very remote right now. Lead candidates are for Africa, a show about birds, and a generic ‘Save the Rainforest’ concept for Conversation Station. And over at the Studios, ‘Wings’ - based on action and aviation films - will have to wait to see how well ‘Pearl Harbor’ performs. If the movie does incredibly well, this attraction could be put on the fast track.

Again these are just rumors. We’ll just have to wait and see. And remember, this conversation did not happen and I was never here…..

DVC-Landbaron
05-13-2001, 04:02 AM
What conversation? ;) ;) :cool: :cool:

Another Voice
05-14-2001, 01:05 AM
Exactly. By the time a thread reaches its fifth page, I figure even Idrok and Sarangel aren't paying attention any more and I can drop in some of the really juicy rumors. It keeps the good stuff away from the "Fire Moutain is going to be AWESOME" crowd.

larworth
05-14-2001, 08:06 AM
Good stuff AV.

Wow, I hadn't thought about it being cost-effective to have a rotating show. This seems like a great way to build in repeatability and extend the life of the attraction. How many people would be able to see all (3,4, ?) shows on a single trip and would leave saying can't wait to go back and see the one's I missed.

With concepts being dedveloped for all parks, I assume they would only pick one for WDW? If they put one in EPCOT than would they consider one in AK as well?

The only downside I see is that Pressler was a big supporter of this ride for DCA. If his name gets associated with this ride people may get the impression that he does have some magic in him after all (ugh!).

DisneyFanGuy
05-14-2001, 08:52 AM
AV, are they working on digital projection for the attractions? That's the one down side that I always hear about Soarin, that the film gets very dirty very quickly from all of the use.

YoHo
05-14-2001, 11:53 AM
Couple of things
1: THe Idea that MK/Disneyland are the best parks seems obvious enough.
The other side of the equation is size. There are viable and valuable ideas in all the themeparks across the globe. Epcot is a no brainer, they took tomorrowland, added a bit of World Fair and had a brilliant park, not what Walt wanted, but more resonable then the potential spruce goose that E.P.C.O.T. could have been.
Similarly, Disney/MGM is mainstreetUSA, expanded and relocated to Hollywood. THe studios are a rosecolored look at early hollywood. I think Walt would approve. Even with the current loss of direction and Synergy (Walt was the king of synergy). Finally Animal Kingdom is a giant true life adventure film. It takes the ideas of early adventureland and frontierland and makes them real. BRILLIANT BRILIANT BRILLIANT. The failures were obvious. there simply wasn't enough in some of these parks, but their validity as Disney parks is unquestionable. Now we turn to DCA. DCA is maybe 2 distinct lands that should be rolled into DL. there simply isn't a strong enough concept there to make an entire park. And there is certainly no Classical DIsney connection.

2: AV's rumour. I really think that this could be a boon for the SOarin concept and I'm warming to the World Showcase usage, even if it is a rotating show. I will regretfully miss my SOarin over Sauron concept, but any quality e-ticket addition is Welcome. What I really wish is that they had seen the value in this concept for their Star Tour's/Body Wars) ride. Certainly having two films for those simulators would extend the life even beyond what the new show will. And extending the life of a capital investment is a very very good thing.

larworth
05-14-2001, 12:11 PM
Good idea about a second option on the simulators. My guess is that when these were built the computer control systems just didn't have the capacity to carry another set of sequences to get the movements to jive with a second film.

Last trip it seemed that Star Tours still drew a crowd. However, on that same trip we went to Body Wars one afternoon and I not sure we say more than a couple of other people either coming or going. It was a real echo chamber in there and this was Easter week. This ride never did have the cache that ST did, but it really seems to have become forgotten. Anyone know what the relative attendance is and do you ever think it will be updated?

The way attractions get cancelled/changed it seems that their capital budget must be fairly fluid (could be shifted on a whim). If Soarin is such a hot property then surely there must be other capital projects on the books that they would delay to give this the fast track. Why wait until TDL coughs up some bucks for their version before there is money to slot this into WDW or elsewhere?

ww52
05-14-2001, 12:31 PM
Landbaron - I also thought Neville's post (and one by DisneyFanGuy a few posts earlier) hit on a very important point - being how the "brand" may be getting tainted a bit. That was a more business-like way of what I was tryong to portray by my kid's reaction. Not to get into another topic, but the made for video sequels might be doing the same thing. As I said, my kids will be making choices on how to spend their vacation dollars themselves starting in a few years. I'm underwhlemed by the last two offerings (AK and DCA) and I can see that they are too. Without asking them (though I probably will to get their impressions first hand) I suspect they see a big difference in MK, Epcot, and DL compared to the newer parks. I know they see a big difference in the older movies and the made for videos. If the Disney brand means less to them than it does/did to me, they might be less likely to chose to pay the big bucks a Disney vacation costs when they make that decision with their own money. You would think Eisner would be looking at this group - kids of baby boomers. And maybe he was when they decided to make DCA "less Disney like" and more for older teens.

And by way of disclosure since this seems to be a point for some people: I have not been to DCA and based on the opinions I've read (and in looking myself on what it has to offer) I don't plan on going. In fact, that's the point. I was anxious to see AK and was disapointed. I might be surprised by DCA, but don't plan on investing my vacation money to see for myself. There are other places I haven't seen that I'd rather spend the money on. I doubt I'm alone, and I think Eisner might want to contemplate why.

Captain Crook
05-14-2001, 12:50 PM
ww52, the way your looking at things (using both your & your kids perspective) gives you much credibility IMO, but the problem is there is so much difference even when taking that view. I know DidDuck has stated how his daughter loves Disney the way it is and I'm here to say that my kids (7 & 11) do as well.

They both are begging me to go to DCA this summer (we had originally planned a DL trip, but I cancelled it with the unfavorable reviews of DCA & the excessive DL attractions down for rehab), but the point is it looks neat to them.

As for the direct to video movies. I think they're lame but they are money makers and once again my kids like them a lot. They admit thay aren't as well done & the songs aren't as catchy, but they still like to watch them.
So from my perspective Disney has no problems, at this point, with their awesome brand recognition.

Lastly, I dispute that DCA is an "un-Disney" type Park. I'm like you (haven't been there) but I have faith that the place looks very Disney indeed, as do the Boardwalk & DD at WDW...They weren't typical Disney presentations, but have become Disney nonetheless. I think it incumbant upon Eisner & Disney to stretch the limit of what they do so they don't get caught in a little pigeon holed mold. Now, when they stretch the limits and don't offer a good product, for whatever reason, then I see problems.

:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

DVC-Landbaron
05-14-2001, 02:16 PM
Hey AV!! I think we need to find a new parking garage. This one's not quite dead enough yet!!

ww52
Landbaron - I also thought Neville's post (and one by DisneyFanGuy a few posts earlier) hit on a very important point - being how the "brand" may be getting tainted a bit.
You know, when I first came to DIS, as a lurker for the first few months, I really couldn't understand what everyone was talking about. They were posting things about Fire Mountain, roller coasters, thrill rides of all sorts, new rumors in the pipe line, Venetian Hotel, Mediterranean Hotel, and basically all those things that I was hearing for the last twenty years or so, in one form or another. Strangely missing from these posts were any mention of the decline that I knew was taking place. Once in a while some brave soul would ask if the magic was slipping, but he was quickly put down and speculation continued on what would replace 20K. I finally couldn't take it any more. So I signed up and started to post. But I found it VERY hard to articulate my feelings. Turning some gut feeling, hunches and overall sense I had about Disney into logical, tangent and compressive sentences was a lot harder than I thought it would be. (I still can't quite adequately articulate my feeling for the Ei$ner's caste system.) So the learning process began…

… And it continues. And this is a perfect example of how I felt it, knew it existed, but never could really verbalized it. It was an underlying current in my thought process, but never really rose to the forefront. It is now out in the open and I, for one, would like to discuss it. CHEAPENING OF THE DISNEY BRAND!! Ei$ner's good at it. Almost (note I said almost) everything he has done (more so recently) CHEAPENS the brand. Any thoughts from others?
Without asking them (though I probably will to get their impressions first hand) I suspect they see a big difference in MK, Epcot, and DL compared to the newer parks.
I agree. There is a big difference. Many will say that we must give them time for it to grow. BUT that fact alone precludes them from mention as a Disney park!!! And I further contend that you can take away the "Disney" name from MGM (how's that for confusing) and transplant the park in a different location and it could very easily have been built by Universal or some other amusement park company. IMO (only an opinion) it does not have a Disney feel to it like MK, EPCOT or even the Poly or Contemporary has. You walk into those places and that Disney "touch" jumps out at you. It doesn't jump out at me at MGM. It's just very nice. And very fun. Like Universal. Or Sea World. Or IOA. Not like MK or EPCOT. (Still feeling my way on articulating this thought. Be patient. Three or four threads and I'll have it down) Anyway, I get the same feel (although this could be merely due to size) from AK. And all reports, even favorable ones, indicate that the same is true at DCA.

And I think that is the gist I get from those posts you mentioned. If you take away EPCOT and MK and all you had to judge Disney by was MGM, AK and DCA, would any of us be here? That's not to say that we wouldn't go there. Heck, I go to Six Flags. And have a good time. But I certainly don't have any of their web sites (if there are any) book marked.
There are other places I haven't seen that I'd rather spend the money on. I doubt I'm alone, and I think Eisner might want to contemplate why.
He doesn't care why. When the ultimate effects of his regimen are finally and disastrously felt, he will be long gone and it will be some other shmuck's headache to try to get us back. If he spends even more than Walt would have (and that's a lot!) it'll still take many, many years, if at all!!

Captain (or is it Peter today!!)
I was going to go through you're post and have a little fun with it. But I've gone on too long already. So instead I'll say in two words what many paragraphs and quotes would have said. YOU'RE WRONG!! (lol);)

DisDuck
05-14-2001, 02:44 PM
Ok.. first of all.. from the first time my youngest daughter and even the older one put there foot into AK they fell in love with it. That was back in Nov 1998. They were 13 and 17 at the time.

Scroll ahead to 2000 and my now 15 yo still loves it (older does not travel with us as much - college). I to and my wife love AK. For the quietness, ambience and foliage. The feeling of less hustle and bustle. AK is a take your time park. We arrive between 8 & 9 and leave between 4 and closing. That is all day to me. 'You' have to remember that AK closes earlier than any of the other parks. So what is considered an all day park is colored by the hours of the other parks.

Now onto DCA. Maybe I will find it a bust or maybe like AK I will find it a nice change of pace.

Variety is the spice of life.

YoHo
05-14-2001, 03:45 PM
Landbaron, I may have gravitated to your way of thinking, but I will never be so Down on the Eisner WDW parks as you are. The studios and AK are both full of Disney magic and more then mere six flaggs. I've been to Great America just like you have and I just can't agree with you. Now I think the Studios have seen a little too much Synergy lately, but in general, these parks are perfectly Disney to me. No, they're not MK, neither was Disneyland in the early days. I'm not suggesting they opened these parks correctly, merely that the themes of these parks is 100% disney and If you can't see that, then maybe you should take off your blueblockers and look in normal light. then Disduck and the Pirate can take off the rosecolered ones and you'd all be on the same page.


Irrational exuberence for the current state of the parks is unwarrented, so is irrational depression. Mosey in to the middle and we'll all talk.

Captain Crook
05-14-2001, 04:02 PM
Landbaron says:You're wrong!

Now I was trying find the hidden meaning here or read between the lines, but it's only two words...There are no lines!

Landbaron, I can't be wrong...You could disagree with everything I said, but I can't be wrong for it was personal fact that I was stating. My kids love todays Disney. The Parks, The Disney Channel, the movies (even the straight for video releases). This is indisputable and can't be wrong!

I would like to interject here some substantive facts from the Crook household that underscores Eisnerism's or recent Disney decisions that have made WDW a better place to vacation and resemble a Six Flaggs very little...
(1) Water Parks (summit Plummit, dude!)
(2) Cirque du Sloeil (expensive, but WOW!)
(3) Hair wrapping stations (my girls are so cute!)
(4) Fast Pass (saves so much time)
(5) Florida Seasonal Passes (saves so much money)
(6) Spectacular archetecture & Landscaping (it's just me)
(7) Live Stage Shows (we all love them)
(8) Fresh fruit stands at all Parks (we're health nuts?)
(9) Fantasmic, Illuminations & TON
(10) TT, TOT, RnR, wwtbam & AK

Most of these items were planned, bought & paid for under current management and make WDW far superior to any point in its history!

The Cheapening of the Disney Brand
This is going to be another Landbaron myth! The Disney brand is far more recognizable to more people in all parts of the world in every income level than Walt would have dared dream.

Perhaps you disagree with the marketing tactics and consider that cheapening of the quality and certainly I would agree if you mention that golf fellow's name, but the fact is I don't think to the average guest the name Disney has lost any luster whatsoever. To the fanatics (us) we can argue the merits of good decision v bad decision but the fact is more people are consistently choosing WDW as a vacation destination over any place else. That tells me the brand name is solid and so is the product.

The place was magic, the place is still magic...Will the place be magic in the future is an interesting question, but based on the current status I'd say a yes is in order, but perhaps not resounding. Yoho just put it succiently by saying irrational exuberance & irrational depression are unwarranted (paraphrase).

But if we always agreed that wouldn't be any fun either, would it?
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

DVC-Landbaron
05-14-2001, 05:00 PM
... And it isn't easy!!!!

YoHo:
The studios and AK are both full of Disney magic and more then mere six flaggs.
You will note, if you reread my post, that I specifically left Six Flags out of the comparison. But, in all fairness, I then inadvertently drew the comparison a couple sentences later. Sorry. I did not mean to imply a Six Flags status on MGM or AK. I did, however, mean to compare them with Universal, IOA or even Sea World. (still formulating ideas on this subject, bear with me)

I guess I'm trying to convey the FEELING I have when I'm in MGM (and at the risk of starting a side issue the moderate and economy resorts). I'm not talking about rides (although to a certain extent they must be considered). I'm talking about the feel of the place. The layout, the architecture, the ambience, etc. I wish I could be more specific, but the words are hard to come by. I will grant you that there are certainly moments of greatness. There are many Disney-like things within these places. BUT, there are many Disney-like things in IOA, Universal and Sea World as well, yet we constantly say that these places are NOT up to Disney's standards. And I agree. But in a comparison of parks I find that MK and EPCOT share a certain Disney-like feel. And sadly I find (IMO) that MGM has more of a Universal feel than a Disney feel.

When EPCOT opened the whole place oozed Disney. And as stale as it is, to me, it still oozes Disney (although Ei$ner did destroy a good amount of that feel with that graveyard as you walk in!!). I don't get that feeling with MGM. I still get lost every time I see the Muppet Movie!! IMO it's not well thought out sometimes. No way to get back from TOT or R&RC except to double back!! A giant guitar and a few old tape recorders does not great themeing make! It's certainly fun. Nice to look at. But something I would expect from Universal, not Disney. And little things like this bug me!! And I find these little things very UN-Disney-like!! Especially when they had the PERFECT park model to build from!!

Now as far as AK. Well, that's different. And it's very hard for me to define. It certain has a Disney feel to it, for the most part (other than the narrow walkways and sometime confusing traffic flows). So it may yet grow into a wonderful Disney-like experience (or "feel"). But it ain't there yet!!!!

I'm not suggesting they opened these parks correctly, merely that the themes of these parks is 100% disney and If you can't see that, then maybe you should take off your blueblockers and look in normal light.
I think I've stated everything that I FEEL about this subject in the above dissertation. But I thought that the 'BLUEBLOCKERS" line was priceless so I just had to quote it!! lol That's what I get for the "rose-colored" cracks all the time!!!

Captain, My Captain!!!
I find that this time I have run out of room and time (quittin' time at the salt mines!!) So once again you are on hold. However, tonight, if the kids do their homework and the wife is happy, I SHALL RETURN!!! You need an answer!!!!

YoHo
05-14-2001, 05:22 PM
Landbaron, I can only base my expireance on Universal Hollywood, since I've never been to Universal florida, I have however been to SeaWorld Orlando and Sand Diego, and I have to still not agree with your feeling. Disney/MGM studios is not anything like those parks. I'll agree that a certain amount of trffic flow problems exist. Which I blame on trying to hard to mimic a working backlot. But the themeing and the little shows are far better at the studios then at other parks I've been to. Again, I realize I'm eating a single slice when your talking a whole pie, but I just don't have the same feeling on certain of your underlying feelings. For whatever reason. And I've been to Epcot and MK and Disneyland, so I know what its "Supposed" to be like.
'


Please continue in your musings, I know what its like to not be able to articulate a feeling.

Neville
05-14-2001, 08:30 PM
O.K. I sense that I have stumbled into an ongoing "freindly discussion," but that never stopped me from barging in before. I have to agree with Landbaron (doesn't seem like many do, so I may be on new ground).

The Studios certainly lack the Disney Magic to me. It really doesn't have a focal point (Castle, Ball etc), there is only one "true Disney ride" in Tower of Terror (RnR is off the shelf and could be at any park in U.S.), and there are too many "warehouse walls" that have been cleverly disguised with ABC advertisements. This park seemed to be "thrown together" in an attempt to (1) get additional gate revenue, and (2) trump Universal. I don't believe Walt would be impressed with that offering.

AK is more unique. Management appeared to want to do the right thing, but for some reason they stopped short of making an incredible park. My first trip was disappointing, but I was hopeful (and still am) that they would finish this great project. However, what they have done IMO is still falling short -- if you blink on Kali Rapids you miss the ride; and carnival games in Dinoland -- blasphemy. At least they laid it out so it could be finished one day, unlike MGM/Disney Studios.

Captain, to your point about the brand, I agree that Disney is one of the leading brands throughout the world. I think this is a blessing and a curse. The brand was built up on quality, unforgettable experiences, and movies that kept people coming back for more. This really propelled them to the top of the market. However, they now seem to be resting too much on brand loyalty and not putting out the product that got them to where they are today. This is a sure fired recipe for disaster (just ask Xerox, Kodak, or GM). BTW Captain I do agree with you on the landscaping, always magnificent. (I'm not sure that by agreeing with you if I lost my Landbaron-membership card...)

What I am witnessing (and I believe all of us are) is a slow erosion of the brand -- which I believe started about the time of opening of the Studios. It was a shift in management midset, from long to short-term thinking. I believe this was also around this time that Eisner starting getting bonuses the size of small countries' GDPs.

Captain Crook
05-14-2001, 08:55 PM
Landbaron will be glad to pick up another supporter...And he'll accept your agreeing with me as long as it doesn't have to do with he who shall not be named! (the "E" guy).

I don't disagree with a lot of your assumptions but where we run aground is that same ole stumbling block we always hit (and will never get past)...Magic!

Landbaron did a great job of describing Magic a long time ago, but the feeling of that particular perception is just too personal to label right or wrong.

I know it's heresy to some but I feel more "magical" at the Studios than at MK (my least favorite Park). Landbaron doesn't see a giant guitar & the Aerosmith spiel as great themeing...I do! TOT speaks for itself and as for the looks of the Park, as Yoho I think mentioned, it is supposed to be (resemble) an actual working Studio...

Your opinions on AK and mine are very close. I love AK, but I too hope it gets finished right (meaning BK, of course). We differ in that I am not going to downplay DinoLand until I see it. I think the rollercoasters will appeal to most children & many adults & the carny atmosphere may just be able to surprise us (after all it is Disney).

Well, enough's enough and I have to start packing for my long weekend at WDW!
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

DVC-Landbaron
05-15-2001, 03:02 AM
I have to agree with Landbaron (doesn't seem like many do, so I may be on new ground).
Oh Neville, my new found friend. I have many allies here. And I’m converting more all the time. YoHo and I almost came to blows a couple times early on, and now he sees Ei$ner for the evil, short sighted, money grubbing…. Isn’t that right YoHo? Have I misunderstood once again? (lol) Well you should have been here the first conversation or two DisDuck and I had. WOW!! Fireworks. And now… well… now… at least we get along (lol)!! Anyway, it’s not as one sided as you might imagine. Although many seem to loose interest in very long threads. Hey, some like Hemingway, some like Melville. And I like Steven King!! Long and frightening!!!

Now, you said a lot of things in your post that were absolutely stellar!! Magnificent!! Wonderful!! Brilliant!! Insightful!! Astute!! Intuitive!! Discerning!! Perceptive!! Intelligent!! Superb!! Poignant!! And very well written!! No sense quoting it all, just go back and reread it!! It’s worth it.

BTW Captain I do agree with you on the landscaping, always magnificent. (I'm not sure that by agreeing with you if I lost my Landbaron-membership card...)
Never!!! It’s a life-time card and unlike the Disney Club Card I’ll never charge you $30.00 A COPY!!! I don’t believe in a short term profit over long term good will (Hmmm, I wonder who else had that idea?) I think you may find a picture of him at the end of my post!!

And the good Captain is quite right. I agree with him all the time, but he seems to forget it. I agree the landscaping is beautiful. And as I said in my State of the Parks Address, there is much magic to be had by one and all. No, my problem with Disney is not with the park experience. It is with management. Pure and simple. And the Studios is a perfect example. MGM (IMO) is not on an equal footing with MK or EPCOT in grand scale or MAGIC. And I think the attendance numbers back me up. I believe it is in third place. There’s a reason for that. It’s just not quite as good. Almost, but not quite. And I don’t mean to degrade any personal preference. You may find it the best Captain. To each his own. Many do not.

And it could have been. Built on a grander scale it could have blown the doors off Universal and even rivaled MK!! But it fell woefully short of the mark. They could have (should have) hit a home run. Instead they chose little tap over the shortstop’s head. The batter is safe at first, but has yet to cross the plate.
It was a shift in management mindset, from long to short-term thinking. I believe this was also around this time that Eisner starting getting bonuses the size of small countries' GDPs.
What style this guy’s got!! But seriously, many have been preaching the same thing around here. Short term vs. long term. And I think many are finally starting to understand. Now if we can only wake up the Board of Directors we might get them thinking for the next ten years instead of the next quarterly report!!

And If you really want membership – The proper spelling is E-I-$-N-E-R. Go on. Try it. It’s fun!!!!
Landbaron did a great job of describing Magic a long time ago,
Thanks.
Well, enough's enough and I have to start packing for my long weekend at WDW!
Well! That must be one heck of a long weekend!! You have to start packing already and it’s only Monday!!!

Captain Crook
05-15-2001, 09:40 AM
We are actually leaving Wed. night to go to my parents (Vero Beach) and over to WDW on Thur. am. But I get so excited about going that I start packing days before it's time. I'm thinking about just keeping a permanent bag 'at the ready' at all times, just in case!

And that brings me to another point. I visit WDW so often, yet I'm not getting sick of it. Without going into the minute deatils this time, doesn't this perspective of mine (shared by other Florida DIS regulars like gcurling & JeffH) indicate an intrinsic health surrounding the World and the Magic within? Or are we simply rose colored glasses wearing kind of guys who happen to get a great deal of pleasure using their Annual Passes? (each time we use it our average cost decreases, hehehe).

Note to Landbaron: This was obviously another 'fat one' for your musings...You can either take the easy way or perhaps take the high road and examine the 'all is OK' perspective a little closer. LOL!

Oh and Landbaron, I know you won't charge Neville the $30.00 annual fee, but only because you know he won't pay it!;) Unlike WDW our discussions here on the DIS are priceless (in the opposite sense of the usual interpretation!).
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

YoHo
05-15-2001, 10:54 AM
YoHo and I almost came to blows a couple times early on, and now he sees Ei$ner for the evil, short sighted, money grubbing…. Isn’t that right YoHo?

I don't think he's evil, and I firmly believe that the shortsightedness and Money grubbing are relativly new traits for E$sner. Nonetheless, I have moved over at least to the middle.

But, the good Captain makes a good observation, the value of the annual pass not withstanding, why is it the more frequent visitors are seeing fewer holes? surely logic dictates that the more chances you have to see the crumbling Fascade, the more likely you are to really see it.

On the other hand, guests like Landbaron and myself who go at best once a year are more likely to be shocked by "negative" changes.

For instance, E-nights are completely irrelevant to someone who goes 10 times a year and thus can be more picky. when you hae to cram it all in to a week or 2. AND pay extra for that which you expected before..... Of course, when they were leaving the parks open late, I was passed out by 9:00 so it had little affect on me. Now when I'm old enough to be up that late, I'm charged for E-nights, or I'm charged for Pleasure Island, but pleasure Island comes with the LOS pass and having never expireanced the parks open til one anyway, E-night seems reasonable.



So, now we have a question. Is it truely less magical? or is it merely a different magic? Pleasure Island is magical to me. And relativly speaking, its free.


I don't know, I'm just rambling now, but it seems to me that a lot of this, as Captain points out is subjective and as such is hard to quantify. Also, even though there are many who agree to larger opinions, Eisner is good, Eisner is bad, the minutia are quite different. What bothers Landbaron is different from what bothers me, from what bpthers JeffJewel, from what bothers Another Voice.

Thus we get into these little scabbles until someone (landbaron more then likely) says SEE, SEE, Look at all this complaining, it must be all bad. When really he doesn't feel the same way about half of the comments.

Subjective and hard to quantify.


But darn fun.

HorizonsFan
05-15-2001, 11:23 AM
He doesn't care why. When the ultimate effects of his regimen are finally and disastrously felt, he will be long gone and it will be some other shmuck's headache to try to get us back. If he spends even more than Walt would have (and that's a lot!) it'll still take many, many years, if at all!!

Now Landbaron, don't you think this is a little unfair? Not only are you presuming to know what the man is thinking, you are predicting the future of WDW based on that presumption. I agree with YoHo that neither excessive enthusiasm nor excessive gloom is called for.

As for Peter, his assesment of the way his family feels about AK or MGM is his assesment. (I'm reminded at this point of Jeff H.) It's neither right nor wrong, it just is. This is the point I have always tried to make, most of the magic is not in the park; it's in you! Haven't you known anybody who went to WDW and hated it or worse, was ambivilent? I have and it always mystified me until I realized that they weren't missing the magic, it simply doesn't exist for them. WDW is a place that allows one to forget that the outside world exists and offers an escape. It doesn't produce magic, it allows one to relax and let their own magic come to the surface.

:D

Popping in to keep you honest,

ww52
05-15-2001, 12:04 PM
Nothing more to add on this one - I sense it is winding down and I just wanted to say I enjoyed my first participation in one of these discussions. I appreciate the chance to see things from other points of view. Obviously, despite some differing views, we are all committed Disney fans - else we wouldn't spend this kind of time on the boards.

Also - I envy those of you who go even once a year. I've only been to WDW five times, the last being '98. Yet I feel almost "homesick" as we think about going back for Walt's 100th. Yes, some people go and never get the magic - I'm glad I'm not one of them.

larworth
05-15-2001, 12:13 PM
Keep up the good work guys. Still love reading these posts, just no time to contribute much anymore.

Are MGM and AK Disney Parks?

We know AK has flaws, but the park design sure seems Disney pedigree to me. Tree of Life, center and spoke layout, attention to detail, unifying themes, feeling of being in another world, etc. All these seem right out of Walt’s handbook. Too bad they decided a short story was enough.

While my family’s second favorite park, MGM definitely feels different. They started with some of the standard components (a Main street, an icon), but then went off in some kind of a random walk. Many of the attractions are well themed (ToT, RnR, Stours), but they become a bunch of disparate islands instead of large cohesive lands. If you race around the park it is almost like playing with the remote. Zap from one scene, theme, feel, to the next. Maybe, this is what a back-lot is supposed to be like, or maybe there was less long-term vision in play here.

Is the brand in trouble?

I’m on the side of worrying about brand decline. Determining the health of a brand is a tricky thing. A strong brand provides its own momentum. It can carry you forward even if you are standing still. It can sometimes stand many years of abuse, before it shows signs of age.

Eisner has been very adept at leveraging the brand. Moves with merchandizing, and direct to video are two examples. The question is are they doing enough good things to preserve or improve the brand. Are they borrowing or lending?

A positive example might be the success of the Disney channel. This should be extending the brand. On the negative side I think moves with merchandizing and video are currently a drain on the brand.

On the park side Fastpass enhanced the brand. However, things like carnival rides, half parks, idle attractions all detract from the brand.

The brand is strong and not is immediate danger, but I do think they have been borrowing more than lending. This still puts me in with all those other YoHo’s who say that neither excessive enthusiasm nor excessive gloom is called for.

I think this is what worries me most about the current management is that they are perfectly happy with us feeling this way. I'm not sure they are losing any sleep that some us are not excessively enthusiatic (insert sad face here).

DVC-Landbaron
05-15-2001, 12:30 PM
But, the good Captain makes a good observation, the value of the annual pass not withstanding, why is it the more frequent visitors are seeing fewer holes? Surely logic dictates that the more chances you have to see the crumbling Fascade, the more likely you are to really see it.
I've thought about this long and hard. Hours pondering this very question. And once again I'm on new ground so it may take a couple posts, rebuttals and re-posts before I'm quite clear on it. I think it all boils down to money. Florida residents especially receive benefits that we don't. Their cost/magic ratio is much different from ours. Also, they have the added benefit of more frequent trips, off-season visits and generally NOT having to cram all of WDW into a week (or two if you're lucky) every other year. AND I think most importantly they get a healthy dose of PIXIE DUST spread over the year to keep the cynicism at bay. My God! I was there for a day, JUST ONE SINGLE DAY, in April and I gained a whole new perspective!! I was so enthralled by the experience that I wrote to this board saying that the MAGIC was alive and well and living in central Florida!! Fortunately, the PIXIE DUST fades over time and that rosy colored outlook is replaced by reality. And we can once again judge Ei$ner, for what he is. And our thoughts are not clouded and distorted by Small World or Pirates playing in our brains. Ei$ner is very good at keeping the MAGIC just above the threshold level. I've got to give him that!! Just look at your own posts YoHo, after you returned from Disneyland. It took a while for you to get the pixie dust out of your eyes and see Ei$ner in the cold light of day.

As for the cost/magic ratio, I have some rather unclear feelings I will try to put down in writing. First I think that many people refuse to equate money with magic. And to a certain extent it's true. There must be a modicum of magic available, provided by Disney, in order to have any worthwhile experience at all. In other words there is a minimum they must maintain. You could get into Six Flags for free, every day of the year, and the experience will still fall short of the Disney experience. But once that threshold is met, then the cost/Magic ratio goes into effect. Perhaps this is a singular experience to folks within my economic group. I cannot be certain for I belong exclusively to my group and haven't tried the Bill Gates group (yet) or the poverty level group. But I contend that if I had to pay an outrageous amount of money for admission into the Magic Kingdom my magical experience goes down proportionally. Conversely, if it cost next to nothing, magic will be on the rise beyond belief!! And I really don't think it's even a conscious thing. It all works on a deeper level.

Out of YoHo's ramblings came some very insightful things. Three or four of which revolved around money!! Value. Cost/magic ratio. E-ticket nights, Pleasure Island, etc. It's out there. I don't think we're even cognizant of it at times. But the nickel and diming chips away at the magic, subliminally. Until it hurts!!! And so, when we are back in our offices, lurking on the DIS and NOT in WDW, we sometimes stop to think, "How the hell am I going to finance the next trip to Disney without taking out a second mortgage!" And that's when I start to look for threads that praise Ei$ner. And I just gotta jump in!!!
Thus we get into these little squabbles until someone (landbaron more than likely) says SEE, SEE, Look at all this complaining, it must be all bad. When really he doesn't feel the same way about half of the comments.
Now I don't mean to quibble my good YoHo, but I don't think that's accurate. And even if it is accurate (WHICH IT ISN'T) it sure isn't fair!! I sat here, after reading this, and really tried to think of an instance where I disagreed with the esteemed JeffJewel, or our resident sage from the west Another Voice. And I couldn't think of an example. If anything they don't agree enough with me!! I think I have far more complaints than they do.

And it is true that I say "SEE, SEE, Look at all of the complaining", but you misinterpreted the rest of the sentence. It is NOT, "it must be all bad." No indeed. Certainly not all bad. The parks are still wonderfully magical. The rest of the sentence should read, "You see where this management philosophy will lead us in the future!!"

I hope I was somewhat clear. These feeling have been rumbling for a while now, but I haven't really verbalized them before. Ask questions. Maybe we can fine tune it a bit!!!

HorizonsFan:
Now Landbaron, don't you think this is a little unfair? Not only are you presuming to know what the man is thinking, you are predicting the future of WDW based on that presumption.
No. I don't think it is unfair at all. I am making predictions based on his track record and philosophy. His track record is abysmal (even Peter, The Captain and DisDuck are questioning) and his philosophy is diametrically opposed to Walt's. The company will survive. But not the one I (we) fell in love with!!
This is the point I have always tried to make, most of the magic is not in the park; it's in you!
NOT TRUE!!!! If that were the case I could spin just as much magic in Universal or Six Flags. And I can't!! NO! It is ONLY in Disney that I feel the MAGIC. They must be doing something that the others aren't. And I don't want that 'something' to be traded in for short term profits!

ww52
Nothing more to add on this one - I sense it is winding down
LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! I can tell you're new. Stick with me. We can make this sucker turn into a 12 pager in no time!!!
Obviously, despite some differing views, we are all committed Disney fans - else we wouldn't spend this kind of time on the boards.
You will be surprised how many people DON'T see this. Your commitment to Disney will be questions constantly.
I've only been to WDW five times, the last being '98.
AHHHHHHHH!!!!! You poor soul!!!

ww52
05-15-2001, 01:08 PM
Ok - I withdraw my comment about this thread winding down. (However, I will continue to accept pity for only having been to WDW five times!)

DisDuck
05-15-2001, 01:22 PM
My turn..

Let's the first time I went to Studios was not overlay impressed (must have been a year or 2 after opening) but now it ranks above EpCot and second only to MK. Universal Florida just does not have the innate appeal as Studios does. I go to Uni just about every trip but it is the first one I cut when on a more stringent budget. I feel like I am at Disney when at Studios, my subjective Magic feel kicks in.

Then there is AK.. well call me a 'tree hugger' but the feel (subjective) and look is just Magical. My daughter would rather start our tour here then at MK even.

Eisner is good; Eisner is bad. Actually, I don't care. What I care is that the Magic remains and where in the present or future do you see it disappearing. DCA may not be complete. Someone wants Beastly at AK but even if nothing happens. Even if no new rides or lands added, if the Magic is there now why should it not be there in the future (given that maintenance takes place).

Think about this Landbaron, you bought into DVC which is a right to use timeshare. What do you think is going to happen at the end of your use period? Are they going to tear it down? What are your thoughts of the future of DVC? After your use period is up are they going to tear down MK.

The parks are here for the long, long, long term. Even if nothing is added, the Magic will be there for the next generation of DisDucks, Landbarons, Captains, YoHo's, etc.

Of course, I would like to see more built (all kinds, kiddie rides, thriller rides, shows, etc). but that does not take away from the current Magic.

So I have now come to the middle on Eisner but no one is perfect and sometimes decisions are made that look good on paper but may not translate into reality well. That does not mean that he will always make the same mistakes. The future will get here soon enought. I am willing to wait (have no choice as I do not run Disney, yet) and see what happens.

YoHo
05-15-2001, 01:24 PM
Landbaron, I won't go searching for instances where you've disagreed, because I have to at least pretend like I'm working, but suffice it to say that their are subtle differences in all of our viewpoints that we tend to ignore in the midst of trying to prove a point.

It isn't so blatant, quite subtle.
An example that comes immediatly to mind (please lets not debate the ride I'm about to bring up.)
The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
As I recall, the thrust of your problem with the ride was the exit right into the store. The thrust of JeffJ was that the ride was crappy. Each of you complained about the ride as an example, yet neither was talking about the same thing. Oh sure, you agreed with each other, but it came off as very superficial. It seemed obvious to me that the ride itself didn't bother you so much. Whereas Jeff really didn't mind the exit, if the ride hadn't sucked.

So which is it? Is it both? obviously it can't be both, because you weren't bothered by the ride.


Of course, that's just a side issue, I just wanted to point out the sense that I get from these discussions is like a political party, desperate groups uniting under a common cause and the minute one or more of these groups becomes satisfied, the group will fall apart.


On to another topic


My God! I was there for a day, in April and I gained a whole new perspective!!


What does that tell you?
It tells me that the magic is alive and well and that more then anything, your time away was eating at you. I don't think you were wearing Rosecolored glasses when you were there Landbaron, I think you took your blueblockers off (Yes, I will use that to death). Its so easy when your not there to worry and fret and be upset and look at all these things and wonder what will happen with it all, but in the end, when your there, if the magic hasn't changed, then there you are, all your fretting was superfluous. Of course we know that in the past, this has not been the way. Its interesting that you pulled the nickel and dime mentality out of my Ramblings, since my point was not that we are being nickled and dimed, but that given my lack of expireance with the past late night activities, I had only positive opnions about E-nights and Pleasure Island. AND, given that on multiday hoppers and LOS passes, Pleasure ISland is included... AND, those passes are cheaper
7 single day single gate passes for 1 adult =$336
Pleasure Island = $20
Water parks = $30
so your looking $383

A seven day hopper plus = $307

So not only are the parks cheaper, but you get pleasure Island and the water parks for free. How is this nickle and diming?

SO in essence, (assuming you buy the multiday ticket, which is what DIsney wants to sell you yadda yadda) you don't pay more and get less. You just don't get the same things. And given our previous conclusions about park pricing, we are getting a better value in certain ways.


What all this requires is that you find these new values magical. I find them so, you do not, because you expect and want something else.


I don't know, I'm rambling again, but I stand by my original assertion that having pixie dust in your eyes is the only valid way to look at Disney. WDW is a mgical place designed to wisk you away from the real world, it seems to me that looking at things without that pixie dust distorts things.

DVC-Landbaron
05-15-2001, 02:59 PM
Eisner is good; Eisner is bad.
You see. I think this is really our basic disagreement. You are passionate about WDW. So am I. I am concerned about the future. I think you are too. I think that you believe that Ei$ner makes very little difference in the big picture (may not be exact, but the gist is you don't worry much about him, good or bad) as long as the magic doesn't diminish too much. (do I have that right?) I believe that if Ei$ner continues on his present course we can kiss WDW goodbye as we know it today.
The parks are here for the long, long, long term. Even if nothing is added, the Magic will be there for the next generation of DisDucks, Landbarons, Captains, YoHo's, etc.
Yes I agree. They will not sell off the property for condos. HOWEVER, will it be the same place that we all fell in LOVE with? Or will it be a shadow of it's former self? A mirror image of Universal or worse yet Six Flags!!??
I am willing to wait (have no choice as I do not run Disney, yet) and see what happens.
I hope to see you up there very soon!!! You will do much better that Ei$ner!! As for the future (until you get there) I don't agree. I think that with enough grumbling from the hard core fans, and a reduction in the attendance figures (if they keep things the way they're going, attendance WILL drop), and a few more disasters like DCA and we may yet see a change. Whether that change will be for the better or not, only time will tell. But at least the course will have been altered!!! That will make me very happy indeed!!!!!!!!!!

YoHo:
The example you used (even though you didn't want to get bogged down in it) was 100% wrong. It was JeffJewel that had a BIG problem with the plush toys and myself that was disappointed with the ride. HOWEVER, if you have read my other posts, you will have noted that I also have a HUGE problem with gift shops in general. And I think I said so on that thread. So I was in lockstep with JeffJewel, only more so. As I think I indicated in my previous post.
if the magic hasn't changed, then there you are, all your fretting was superfluous.
ABSOLUTLY NOT!!!! It means that you have temporarily forgotten about:
ABC, The Disney Store, The Institute, The Sports Whatever, The Caste System, GO.COM, DCA, The half park AK, Sequels spurring sequels, Paint Companies, Magazine Companies, Mismanaged synergy, etc, etc, etc!!!!!

In fact, all that Ei$ner related anti-magic that really effect you when you're there are the ridiculously high prices (MUCH, MUCH HIGHER THAN IN THE SEVENTIES!!!! We can certainly reopen debate on this, but please start another thread.) and the ridiculously shorter hours. So, you're right. At that particular moment everything else is superfluous. Unfortunately it doesn't go away!!!
but I stand by my original assertion that having pixie dust in your eyes is the only valid way to look at Disney.
Man YoHo!!! You're all over the map lately!! Who's car pool are you in anyway? (lol) I couldn't disagree with this any more strongly. I find the very concept, mind boggling!! If you examine Dinsey, especially Ei$ner, with pixie dust in your eye, you'll never find anything wrong!! Is that what you want??

YoHo
05-15-2001, 05:46 PM
I want Disneyworld to be Disneyworld and Real life to be real life. Perhaps you misunderstand, Having Pixie dust in your eyes doesn't blind you to mistakes, it makes see the correct answers. I don't go ride Star tours and think "Wow, I'm really glad Mike saw fit to build this ride. I also don't go on Dumbo and Say Gee, isn't it great that Walt built this ride, So whywould I look to nitpick? Nitpicking and complaining are for the real world. If somethings so bad that I feel like I must complain, then the pixiedust goes away. I know you've expireanced that. I haven't. If I can go my whole trip with pixie dust in my eyes, then any complaining I do out here either is meaningless, or misguided, or at least not truely relevent.

What I do is revel in the moment.. And for me, that reveling hasn't diminished. You can say that its because I wasn't there, but even that's subjective, assuming I would see what you see yadda yadda.


Anyway, I'm not in the Carpool, I don't do Car Pools I drive a Ford F150 Lightening, I speed and when in Cities with Carpool lanes I use them when I'm the only passenger. I'm just unpredictable:crazy:


Also, I must apologize, based on the post I was thinking of, you never made a comment positive or negative about the pooh ride, only emptying into a gift shop in general.
Still, I believe I make a valid point that the solidarity is based on differing root feelings and goals and is expressed quite subtly. Obviously I don't have a good example, so I won't attempt to find one again. Its something subtle I see in all our posts.
n fact, all that Ei$ner related anti-magic that really effect you when you're there are the ridiculously high prices (MUCH, MUCH HIGHER THAN IN THE SEVENTIES!!!! We can certainly reopen debate on this, but please start
another thread.) and the ridiculously shorter hours. So, you're right. At that particular moment everything else is superfluous. Unfortunately it doesn't go away!!!


I will not reopen the cost debate, because I am 100% satisfied with the previous conclusions. If you are not, that's your thread to open.


Let me explain a little about my all over the placeness lately.

I am very worried that the Disney Company is making a number of mistakes in their general buisness plan, further, I firmly believe that this is because Eisner is not as compitent a financial guy as Wells or Roy Disney was (leave me alone here Cap'n :))
However, I also feel that E$sner has made positive moves in the Themepark area in the past. I also believe that inadequacies not withstanding there are certain things E$sner won't do to ruin the parks that you believe he could. Its a belief, yes, but its mine and I've yet to have it dislodged.

Further and most importantly, I have fundimentally different opinions about specific aspects of WDW as it exists today. Combined with my conclusion about the finances, suggests that on a Parks level, you and I will disagree much. I simply see something different. So, I'm not really all over the place, I'm calmly driving down the middle of the 2-lane highway with my left turn signal on.


And that my friend, is an analogy for my No irrational exhuberance, no irrational dismay comment.

Neville
05-15-2001, 06:33 PM
OK, let's get to page 7....

YoHo you raise some great points in your post. I too believe that it is your own personal perspective that matters when at Disney. I too get caught up in the moment many times, and tend to forget about who is responsible for which rides, etc. However, when I am in Studios/AK and I am leaving after 4-5 hours because I have done everything, I feel cheated and can't help but compare that experience to the full day I spent in MK/Epcot. One naturally starts to ask, what is different about these 4 parks? The last two were built on Eisner's watch.

The only thing I would take exception with is your following quote:

I firmly believe that this is because Eisner is not as compitent a financial guy as Wells or Roy Disney was (leave me alone here Cap'n

I believe he is just as good if not better. He appears to see everything in terms of dollars and cents. I get the sense most of the decisions are driven by what makes the most financial sense (open half a park to save cost and increase revenues as opposed to doing it right). Walt and Roy had a natural tension between getting it right and making it finanically viable (as an aside Pirates empties into a gift shop, which I have no problem with). Unfortunately, I feel the Company is lacking in the getting it right category.

Also, since I live in Detroit, I'm glad to hear that you drive an F150....

HorizonsFan
05-15-2001, 09:29 PM
NOT TRUE!!!! If that were the case I could spin just as much magic in Universal or Six Flags. And I can't!! NO! It is ONLY in Disney that I feel the MAGIC. They must be doing something that the others aren't.
Of course they are. I didn't mean to imply that they weren't. Disney is the best at providing a place to make magic. I'm being esoteric again but I stand by my opinion that we supply the greatest part of a magical experience. For example, I know very well how they do the "Kiss Goodnight". It's a very simple use of light and sound. I could program it into my lightboard in about 20 minutes. So why does it make me tear up every time I see it? It's not anything Disney did special. It's the combination of the simple tech effect, the castle, and most of all my memories of special times spent with family and friends while sheilded from the real world.
And who's to say that families aren't building those kind of magical memories at IOA/USF and Portifino Bay? They're sheilded from the real world and are surrounded by some pretty beloved cartoon characters too. Give them 20 years and they may have a fanatical following like Disney. I won't be part of it but it could happen...
Is WDW a magical place? Yes. Does it make my vacation magical? No, only I can do that.

And I don't want that 'something' to be traded in for short term profits!

I don't think that's the case. "Traded in" implies that any cutbacks we see today will never be reversed in the future. I don't think we can confidently say that. The money from any of the current cutbacks only becomes profit when it is not re-invested in the company.

At any rate, I can't wait! 11 more days until me and Mickey make some magic!

DVC-Landbaron
05-15-2001, 09:53 PM
I don't go ride Star tours and think "Wow, I'm really glad Mike saw fit to build this ride. I also don't go on Dumbo and Say Gee, isn't it great that Walt built this ride, So why would I look to nitpick?
YoHo. I really can’t even try to guess where you picked up this kind of idea from me. I like to think I’m a little more cogent than that. I don’t even come close o doing anything of the sort. Even at home (or work) I rarely think about whom did what and when. I really have to think hard (and sometime hit a reference book) to know under what regime a certain something was built. And as I said before, I really don’t care as long as it is in keeping with Walt’s philosophy (only for want of a better term). And other than the shorter hours and major transportation problems at times (which really stick a guy in the gut) I hardly ever have a complaint. If I do as CM, which are all GREAT, takes care of my minor inconvenience within a wink of an eye. That is not what I’m on about!!!! How could I have missed my mark by sooooo much??!!

What I find easy to separate, and what you evidently find hard to separate, is the Disney experience from the current Disney philosophy. Philosophically I KNOW that Disney is out for my very last dime. Experience wise it doesn’t matter (yet). I’m still havin’ fun!!! Philosophically Ei$ner doesn’t really care about me, or my take of the SHOW or any of the thrilling thoughts I have about our (Ei$ner’s and mine) company. Experience wise the CMs make me feel as though I’m the most important person on the planet!! And when I get home and have time to ponder the greater issues of Disney I can see where their philosophy in subverting, damaging and tarnishing the good Disney name. And it HAS crept into the parks somewhat, as evidenced by the myriad of complaints received on these boards. And it has the real potential to actually interfere with my experience in the future. It has started already with the shorter hours, e-ticket nights, fastpass (to a point), no casual character meetings anymore, soaring prices and rotten transportation. It was really bad when the maintenance issue were so prevalent. And sometime the rides make me think of it (imagination anyone?). Hmmm. Seems by the previous sentence that there is much wrong. And there is. But, you know, it’s funny. When I’m there it never (or almost never) bothers me.
What I do is revel in the moment.. And for me, that reveling hasn't diminished.
Me too. As evidence I offer exhibit #1: My state of the parks address. Your honor, the defense rests!!
Still, I believe I make a valid point that the solidarity is based on differing root feelings and goals and is expressed quite subtly.
I agree. But that’s life in general. All our goals are little different and we all see different shades of gray (although I often wonder what color the sky is in Peter Pirate’s world). And it’s only by discussing these differences, and expressing our goals can we reach any form of consensus. Or at the very least understand where each other is coming from.

I will not reopen the cost debate, because I am 100% satisfied with the previous conclusions.
As am I. While there is a certain question as to actually doubling inflation, I feel confident in saying it has NEARLY doubled the rate of inflation since the late seventies, early eighties. YoHo, for the resort we used your calculations alone, from the Poly, remember? Doubled!! And for the ticket media we used your calculations, along with others, to show a DRASTIC rise in the mid-eighties. Hmmm. Kind of like about the time Ei$ner took over!!!!
So, I'm not really all over the place, I'm calmly driving down the middle of the 2-lane highway with my left turn signal on.
Great Line!!!!! LOL
However, when I am in Studios/AK and I am leaving after 4-5 hours because I have done everything, I feel cheated and can't help but compare that experience to the full day I spent in MK/Epcot.
Ditto!!
(as an aside Pirates empties into a gift shop, which I have no problem with)
Hmmmm. I see I need to have a word with you. This is one example that I try to sweep under the rug whenever I can. And if I do mention it (as I am forced to once in a while) I always add that this is the ONLY gift shop that a pre-Ei$ner ride empties into. And it is so airy and has so many ways out, it almost doesn’t count!! In other words they don’t FORCE you to walk through aisles of merchandise just to gain the exit!! Anyway that’s the OFFICIAL political party (the What Would Walt Want party) stance on the subject of gift shops. ;)

DVC-Landbaron
05-15-2001, 11:58 PM
Horizonsfan:
I don't think that's the case. "Traded in" implies that any cutbacks we see today will never be reversed in the future.
Same question for you, Dave. What evidence do you offer to back this up? So far they've been bleeding the parks dry. NO profits are being returned at all. In fact, quite the opposite is occurring. Profits from the parks are being used to prop up failing divisions within the rest of the corporation!! So give me something to hang my hat on and I'll join the dark side with you (You know,I'll lead the cheer: Eisner, Eisner he's our man!!). Name it!! What makes you think this will EVER happen?

At any rate, I can't wait! 11 more days until me and Mickey make some magic!
GOD!!! I wish I was you!!!!;) :cool: :cool: ;)

HorizonsFan
05-16-2001, 09:07 AM
The money from any of the current cutbacks only becomes profit when it is not re-invested in the company.

I made this statement and I'm sticking to it. I think where you and I disagree, Landbaron is that you would like for the company to consist of only theme parks. The money made by WDC may not be re-invested into the theme parks, but it only becomes profit if it doesn't go back into WDC.

DVC-Landbaron
05-16-2001, 09:39 AM
The money made by WDC may not be re-invested into the theme parks, but it only becomes profit if it doesn't go back into WDC.
I think that is way too fine a hair to split. So, for clarification's sake, and maybe even to agree on a rather "fine" point, let me modify my original statement a bit. The one that this particular piece of minutia, mired in semantics, centers on.

Original Statement:
And I don't want that 'something' to be traded in for short term profits!
Modified Statement:
And I don't want that 'something' to be traded in for short term profits, or utilized as financing for under performing and/or failing ventures and/or divisions within the Walt Disney Corporation (or subsidiaries therein)!
My goodness!! A fairly straightforward sentence (with a little flare) is suddenly turned into legalspeak!! But I think I've got enough CYA in that sentence to release it. Are we on the same page now?;)

YoHo
05-16-2001, 11:09 AM
and I don't want that 'something' to be traded in for short term profits, or utilized as financing for under performing and/or failing ventures and/or divisions within the Walt Disney Corp. (or subsidiaries therein)!


Uh, I realize the Walt Disney Company is a heck of a lot bigger now then in 1955, but as I love to point out to you, DIsneyland's financial goal was exactly what you don't want. to shore up failing or more specifically, the underperforming motion picture division. to allow the company to stabalize profits. In that sense, what you so wish to avoid was the founding fiscal tenent of the parks.

Now I suppose we could pick nits about whether or not the disney company shouldn't just cut back on some of the less profitable ventures. That's a seperate, but related debate.



Aside, I haven't quite formed a full opinion on the the numbers for the resorts, but based on gate prices, company history and the discussion on the subject that took place while you were at DisneyWorld, I am satisfied. Those conclusions are quite different from your own. I will try my best to make that the last thing I say about the matter in this thread. Yeah right:bounce:


FIanlly, Neville, sounds like you need to side with that Cap'n on that topic, I won't debate it anymore same as I won't talk about the suggested Caste system anymore. Its just not worth it to offend people I consider respected friends.

HorizonsFan
05-16-2001, 05:55 PM
I think that is way too fine a hair to split. So, for clarification's sake, and maybe even to agree on a rather "fine" point, let me modify my original statement a bit. The one that this particular piece of minutia, mired in semantics, centers on.

My point is neither minutae or mired in semantics. It goes to the very heart of all your arguments. You look at WDW and see a magical place that is being dragged down by other failing enterprises. I look at WDW and see a magical place that is a group of subsidiaries which produces a large amount of the revenue of the WDC.

As evidenced by your modified statement:

And I don't want that 'something' to be traded in for short term profits, or utilized as financing for under performing and/or failing ventures and/or divisions within the Walt Disney Corporation (or subsidiaries therein)!

We have a fundamental difference of opinion as to how Disney should proceed. I believe that Disney needs to explore ventures other than theme parks to diversify their sources of revenue so that they are not as vulnerable to economic ups and downs and to stay large enough to make a takeover difficult.

You asked me why I think that Disney will reinvest in the theme parks. I think that when the cash cow gets hungry you feed her. And I think competition will make the cow hungry. USF/IOA is not there yet, but they're attempting to build the same type of sheltered atomosphere of fun as Disney. I think that everyone expected IOA to force Disney to build alot of new rides over the last two years. That didn't happen, but as they build more hotel rooms and shops and restraunts and are able to keep people in thier parks longer and to return, Disney will notice the loss. I think USF/IOA has the potential to become a four day destination. If too many of Disney's anticipated 10 day reservations turn into 6 day reservations, you'll see reinvestment and E ticket attractions. They don't need them yet, but I bet they will over the next 5 years.

I guess all of this is going to my point that one can't seperate WDW revenue from WDC revenue unless seriously advocating the total divestiture of all WDC properties except the theme parks.
I don't think that's minutae...
:bounce:

JeffJewell
05-17-2001, 09:50 AM
I believe that Disney needs to explore ventures other than theme parks to diversify their sources of revenue so that they are not as vulnerable to economic ups and downs and to stay large enough to make a takeover difficult.

...the sad part of all of this is that the heart of the Disney Company, the animated features and the theme parks, have been suffering a lack of funds and re-investment in quality for the sake of "covering" these alledged diversified sources of income.

"Disney" being a unit or a company or whatever doesn't mean much to me if the company isn't producing animated features and theme parks of the highest quality. And for several years now, Disney is simply not producing high quality products on those fronts. To a large extent, Disney isn't producing anything at all, they are renting the services of outside vendors and shops instead of using their own Imagineering department.

This is the crux of the disagreement for some of us. To me, "Disney" means high quality animation and theme parks. To you, "Disney" apparently means a particular batch of income sources. I think the distinction is important because I feel it was the unparalleled quality Disney used to create that led to the enormous popularity.

From a business standpoint, with that quality no longer being produced, why should we assume the popularity among customers will continue? The attendance numbers on AK and DCA suggest that the general population is, in fact, not nearly as excited about seeing the creations of this new Disney than they were about seeing the old stuff (The facts that DCA's next door neighbor Disneyland _is_ hitting its expected numbers, and AK was the _only_ WDW park to see its numbers fall last year, kinda puts the "slow economy" argument in perspective).

What if Disney sold the animation and theme park businesses? If I understand your stated position, it follows that as long as Eisner was able to keep renting and repackaging the creations of third parties well enough to show the shareholders a profit, this would be fine with you and good for the Disney Company, no?

That's just not Disney to me.

The real Disney created high-quality products, which in turn created revenue and customer satisfaction and loyalty. Eisner eliminated the (to him) unnecessary step of creating "quality products," and at the moment is still able to cut budgets enough to appear to "profit," but I see no reason to believe that wide-spread customer satisfaction and loyalty is being generated by the new Disney.

To bring it back to something you said, I would dance with glee if Eisner went off with his completely-unrelated-to-Disney's-core-business empire and left the animation and theme parks divisions with someone who cared about creating quality productions. Unfortunately, the parks are about the only remaining consistent money-maker in the company, and even Eisner can do that math. I expect Eisner to use WDW like a corporate ATM until he retires.

Jeff

DisDuck
05-17-2001, 11:07 AM
JJ, we have been done this road before. I think it needs to be repaved from so much travel. If Disney spun off animation and theme parks into a separate entity (so as to not drain it for other 'failing' ventures) who will run it and protect it from an AOL/Turner type takeover.

I believe it would be very vunerable to a takeover and that takeover could be just for profit/bottom-line sake only. Which to me translates no differently then your take on Eisner. Profit before quality.

As long as WDC is too big then there is hope that the future will be bright. That's where I ride with Horizons Fan.

larworth
05-17-2001, 12:21 PM
To bring it back to something you said, I would dance with glee if Eisner went off with his completely-unrelated-to-Disney's-core-business empire and left the animation and theme parks divisions with someone who cared about creating quality productions.

That is about the only silver lining I can see for the parks as the company grows bigger. At some point Eisner will come to the realization that he doesn't have the time, or his attention is better spent trying to fix the broken parts, to be creative oversight for the parks anymore. He will turn it over to someone who can at least counter, if not totally return us from, the Presslerite era.

I think the corporate raider fear is way overblown. Maybe, if we were back in the 80's when the Ichan's were running amok and grabbing headlines, but I don't see this happening much today. Most companies are out looking for ways to build value.

I think there is a very high probability that if someone could get the park/animation and the Disney name it would be because of the great brand recognition it brings. Something almost impossible to recreate. I think their first inclination would be how can we protect and preserve the brand, rather than to rape and plunder.

I think there are plenty of companies who understand the formula that made the company great and would want to continue it. Why, one of the reasons they may even buy it is to bring Disney's old-time customer and quality focus to the rest of their organization (see below).

The bigger WDC gets the less voice/importance the unique philosophy the parks was built on has. Whether Disney buys someone or vice versa, I thing either is unlikely to have a positive impact on the old core business. I would not fear it being spun off.

In a recent statement Eisner commented that one of the benefits of the ABC acquisition was their discipline around costs. A discipline that they have exported to other areas of the company. I'd rather have heard him say how excited he it to be able to import the Disney philosophy into ABC to make it a better run company.

DVC-Landbaron
05-17-2001, 02:53 PM
Larworth:

I totally agree with almost everything you say, with one major exception. And I suppose this exception really counters my first sentence and causes me to disagree somewhat. Confused? Me too!!

First let's cover the agreeing bit:
I think the corporate raider fear is way overblown.
Not only is it overblown today, it was overblown when it was happening. And the really sad fact is that we were taken over. From the inside. And it was a slow process that no one saw coming. Some are even still in DE NILE (denial, for Safari Steve. lol). But it happened all the same. We are no better off today than we would have been if raider from the outside had snatched Disney up. We merely traded outside raiders for inside raiders.
I think their first inclination would be how can we protect and preserve the brand, rather than to rape and plunder.
Absolutely!! Same then as today. Do you really think the would have turned the castle into condos? Not on your life!! They would have raised prices, cut costs, built up the property and kept as much brand name magic as bottom line, short term profit would allow. Hmmm. Sounds like Ei$ner to me!!
Why, one of the reasons they may even buy it is to bring Disney's old-time customer and quality focus to the rest of their organization
Yeah! It could have been the greatest thing that ever happened. Or not. But certainly no worse!!

And lastly the whole ABC thing I totally agree with (too long for even me to quote). You sized it up perfectly.

Now for the major disagreement.
At some point Eisner will come to the realization that he doesn't have the time, or his attention is better spent trying to fix the broken parts, to be creative oversight for the parks anymore. He will turn it over to someone who can at least counter, if not totally return us from, the Presslerite era.
Two thoughts. First, what makes you think it wouldn't be Pre$$ler himself?! Hmmm. Come to think of it, it could be worse!! lol

And second, the culture Ei$ner has set up within the company. In any corporation, or group structure, a certain culture takes shape, FROM THE TOP DOWN. Either through tacit approval or overt action, the head (boss, leader, CEO) sets up the culture. And his subordinates either go along with this culture or they don't stay around very long. In other words, do you really think that an employee of Ei$ner's would, even if given sole administrative responsibility of WDW, actually do anything that he didn't think his boss would approve of? Do you suppose that this person would be oblivious of Ei$ner's business philosophy? I think he would totally understand his job and his position within the company. Simply put, maintain as much as possible, but SHOW A PROFIT!!!!

OK. I haven't told a Walt story in a long time (Alright. No eyeball rolls. It's not very long). I think it may clarify things:

Seems there was a particular time in the building of Disneyland when money was especially tight. Roy was trying his absolute best to keep things under control. The banks were breathing down his neck, business investment were drying up and his personal bank account didn't look much better. While musing about his lot in life on this particular dreary day, he was handed an invoice. The invoice was for a chandelier for one of the fast food restaurants. It cost thousands of dollars. In 1954 it was a small fortune. Roy was fed up. Time to have it out with Brother Walt. He found Walt and went off on him. He told Walt that he'd never sell enough burgers to ever get a pay back. He said that it was frivolous and a waste. Walt, so the story goes, listened and tried to explain that it was his goal to give the guest something that he wouldn't get anywhere else in the world. And if someone, sitting eating his fast food, admired this chandelier and it added to their experience just a little bit, the company would get a bigger payback than could ever be noted on a balance sheet. Roy and Walt didn't talk for weeks after that. But Roy paid for the chandelier.

Now tell me. If Ei$ner's hand picked man did run the parks and when doing some renovations had the audacity to think in Walt's terms, do you really think that Ei$ner would do what Roy did? And do you think that his hand pick "park manager" would be there two months from then?

OK, I'm through for a while. I suddenly have a desire to go to Crown Book Store. The title Quotable Walt Disney keeps going through my head!!! ;)

HorizonsFan
05-17-2001, 04:02 PM
JeffJ,

Just checked the boards in a free moment and although pressed for time felt like I needed to correct a few things. Here are a couple of quotes from your post that bear no resemblance to anything I said:

To you, "Disney" apparently means a particular batch of income sources.
If I understand your stated position, it follows that as long as Eisner was able to keep renting and repackaging the creations of third parties well enough to show the shareholders a profit, this would be fine with you and good for the Disney Company, no?

I'll be back to explain myself when I have more time. In the mean time, please don't put words in my mouth. Disagree with what I actually wrote, not with what you assume I really mean.

Just because I don't hate Eisner doesn't mean I want to see the parks fail. We're all here because we love WDW, right?

JeffJewell
05-17-2001, 04:08 PM
I believe it would be very vunerable to a takeover and that takeover could be just for profit/bottom-line sake only. Which to me translates no differently then your take on Eisner. Profit before quality.

You understand my position precisely.

What I don't understand is why you think Eisner and his definite, demonstrated lust for profit at the expense of the customer is just plain better than who-knows-who and the possibility that the same thing _might_ happen with them.

It's like we're on a plane flying directly into the ground, and I'm yelling that we need to try a different pilot. Your argument is that a new pilot might fly us into the ground. So what? The _possibility_ that someone else might fly us into the ground is far more desirable than following the _demonstrated_ into-dirt flight plan our current pilot filed and has faithfully followed thus far.

As long as WDC is too big then there is hope that the future will be bright.

Why? What is it that suggests to you that Eisner will about-face his management style? On the contrary, with his stock options, he's probably the single person who _most_ profits from the current system. Further, what actions could these "corporate raiders" possibly take that could damage the foundation of the Disney Company the way Eisner's leadership has?

If you want to have hope for Disney quality with Eisner at the wheel, be my guest. I hope you own a lot of Disney stock and will at least make some pocket change while Eisner finishes the dismantling of both the Imagineering group and the quality and creativity that used to be synonymous with "Disney."

Jeff

JeffJewell
05-17-2001, 04:14 PM
...check the dictionary for the meanings of "apparently" and the words in the phrase "If I understand your stated position."

I put no words in your mouth, I read what you wrote and replied to it.

Jeff

HorizonsFan
05-17-2001, 04:18 PM
You "apparently" intentionaly misrepresented what I said to bolster your own position. "If I understand your stated position" it's alright to demonize someone for your own purposes.
Very nice...

JeffJewell
05-17-2001, 04:47 PM
...You "apparently" intentionaly misrepresented what I said to bolster your own position.

Untrue. I took your stated position to its farthest possible logical extent to prove a point and request clarification. Many of these conversations have to do with where individuals draw lines. The question "if a line drawn HERE is okay, what's to keep someone from saying the line drawn THERE is okay," is valid if you are trying to determine where, precisely, another stands.

That post was directed at you. How could I possibly misrepresent your own words to you? Wouldn't it be more sensible to assume the wording was chosen to compel you to reply and clarify your position?

"If I understand your stated position" it's alright to demonize someone for your own purposes.

Again untrue. I demonstrated why I felt a particular point of view was a short-sighted one in terms of Disney's financial health. This is a far cry from "demonizing" a particular person.

When you use the word "apparently" and the phrase "If I understand your position," I take it as an opportunity to clarify that which I want to be apparent, and to help you more explicitly understand my position. I look forward to your doing the same with regard to my post you originally referenced.

Jeff

HorizonsFan
05-17-2001, 05:07 PM
Jeff,

I took your stated position to its farthest possible logical extent to prove a point and request clarification.

My statement was pretty clear. I believe Disney has to stay large. You blew that completely out of proportion. I want quality too. But I want quality from all parts of WDC, not just theme parks and animation. If you wanted clarification, why didn't you just ask for it?


The question "if a line drawn HERE is okay, what's to keep someone from saying the line drawn THERE is okay," is valid if you are trying to determine where, precisely, another stands.

The question is perfectly valid. You never asked me that question.

That post was directed at you. How could I possibly misrepresent your own words to you?

Because this is a public message board. My words were misrepresented to everyone reading this thread (not that there are that many any more :D )

Wouldn't it be more sensible to assume the wording was chosen to compel you to reply and clarify your position?

Wouldn't it be more sensible to just ask me to reply and clarify my position?

I demonstrated why I felt a particular point of view was a short-sighted one in terms of Disney's financial health.

Unfortunately, the point of view you demonstrated was so short sighted is not mine. It's the one you created out of what I said.
I will clarify my position on WDC later...

JeffJewell
05-17-2001, 05:20 PM
...whatever you say. I apologize for turning you into a demon. I hope you get well soon.

Let me know if you want to talk about Robbing Peter and Paying Paul again.

Jeff

HorizonsFan
05-17-2001, 06:34 PM
Jeff,
I'm feeling much better, thank you.

Maybe both of us will be less tense after our upcoming trips. I spent my honeymoon at WDW too and it was the best trip ever.
Congratulations and have a good trip.

BTW, I don't think there are a "Peter" and a "Paul". I think there's just "Peter". And you can't really rob "Peter" to pay "Peter" can you?

I think I kind of "Petered" out there at the end...

JeffJewell
05-17-2001, 08:14 PM
...actually, I do see a "Peter" and a "Paul." That analogy is just another way of describing the schism between the two "typical" factions here.

"Peter" is the old-time core business; the animation and the theme parks. More importantly (to some of us, anyway), "Peter" is representative of the care and quality Walt used when creating his animations and theme parks.

"Paul" is the new, media empire Disney. More importantly (to some of us, anyway), "Paul" is representative of the "buy it, don't build it" and "cheaper is better" business practices Michael uses when establishing market dominance.

Rumor has it (this is a rumors board, I seem to recall) that Disney might be ready to spend $3 to $5 billion for some television networks. Not higher quality networks than they have, just more networks than they have.

Just this month, WDW was so short on cash that they had to cancel a character breakfast sooner than the sixty day window for which they had already issued PS numbers.

I think I understand your point, that in LandBaron's scenario Peter grew into Paul and is therefore the same entity.

I look at it differently. Why was Paul ever necessary? Why not continue to do a mighty fine business and continue to create life-long customers by putting as much as possible back into the quality of the guest's experience?

The answer I most often get is that Paul protected Peter from "corporate raiders." The implication is that these "corporate raiders" would leech money out of the core theme parks and animations and not put any back in the form of quality.

Unfortunately, Eisner's introduction of Peter to Paul, for Peter's own protection, mind you, resulted in exactly the fate it was supposed to prevent.

As I've seen suggested, perhaps Eisner is a business genius after all, and pulled off the corporate raid from the inside. It's kind of ironic that the best chance for more investment in Peter's needs, in Imagineering for the parks and animation, now lies in some "corporate raider" wresting control from Eisner (preferably, some raider who actually appreciated the quality of the old style Disney).

Jeff

PS - Dave, I'm glad you're feeling better, I honestly meant no offense with my tactics. My post was written in the spirit of lively conversation, not personal attack.

DVC-Landbaron
05-18-2001, 03:03 PM
… I wanted to jump in right away, but somehow it didn't feel appropriate, however, I think the conversation between HorizonsFan and JeffJewel has slowed somewhat so...

I know this thread is overly long as it is, and this a rather fine point of clarification, but I really do need to clarify my position a bit. As in:
I look at it differently. Why was Paul ever necessary? Why not continue to do a mighty fine business and continue to create life-long customers by putting as much as possible back into the quality of the guest's experience?
Just for the record THIS is exactly my position!! Furthermore:
Unfortunately, Eisner's introduction of Peter to Paul, for Peter's own protection, mind you, resulted in exactly the fate it was supposed to prevent.
Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!! Perfectly put!! As I recall I first broached the subject around October in a thread called EPCOT's Mission: Space article (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/0/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=16009194&m=589096462&p=1) and was politely (and not so politely) called an IDIOT!!! I'm glad to see that some minds have changed on the subject. Or it could be that since this is page 8 no one else has read it!!! lol

Anyway, thanks for listening.

DisDuck
05-21-2001, 12:11 PM
Now that I am all caught up. Let me see. Peter robbed Peter to pay Paul but Paul is Peter just grown up or is Paul still Peter and never grow up. All very confusing.

What I do remember is that Peter was more than animation and theme PARK (not parks). It was also live action movies (think Old Yeller); wild-life adventure movies (I have one pictured in my mind but can't think of title) and TV (Wonderful World, Mickey Mouse Club, Zorro, Scarecrow, etc). So I think Peter was on its way to becoming Paul long before we got involved.

Also, wasn't DL built to generate a continuous source of funding for animation and movies (seems like little peter robbing from Big Peter). Now fast-forward to 2001 and Disney is this big media giant with several different divisions (movies, records, books, TV and theme parks). Not much different then when just Peter but Paul has a bigger appetite than Peter so must be fed more often. Where else to get the food but from the best food (revenue) sources. (Now the shock for Landbaron), at some point Peter is going to get to thin to feed Paul so something must now be done to fatten up Peter also. When will this happen, my food (crystal) ball is clouding right now (probably needs to be washed). Is Eisner the right cook, maybe yes, maybe no longer? Is Pressler the right cook (would probably burn the water)? Is Iger the right cook (never saw him at the stove so don't know)?

Unfortunately (or forttunately, depending on for Peter or for Paul) we are not in a position to know. We will have to just wait it out and converse back and forth with each other until it plays out. I think that in 1 or 2 (at most) years something will happen, if Peter becomes too thin.

JeffJewell
05-21-2001, 02:07 PM
I think that in 1 or 2 (at most) years something will happen, if Peter becomes too thin.

The main reason I'm so vocal about this topic is my concern that, by the time it becomes obvious to everyone that Peter is too thin, it will be too late.

I didn't decide to go to WDW for my honeymoon next month based on what's happened down there over the past year or two. A big part of my decision was made in the early seventies, when I was a kid who was overwhelmed by the way Disney did everything right. My guess is that's true for a lot of the thirty-somethings who are taking their kids there now. It was the overwhelming, uncompromising quality and attention to detail that made the guest loyalty... that same quality and attention to detail that is steadily thinning.

So how thin is too thin? One group thinks the measure should be hard business numbers, like p/e ratio. Part of that group's rationale is that Disney is a big business competing against big businesses and those are the measures used. Tough to argue against that directly.

The group I'm in thinks the real measure is inextricable from the customer experience; that the important thing in some businesses is not a momentary snapshot of cash flow, but the probability of creating a lifetime customer with the product you've put out there.

We've all gone over the details before, to sum it up, I don't feel Disney has put forth its best effort at WDW recently, and has not done so since Tower of Terror (I'm educable on this, so if I'm wrong, let me know... but the reason I say this is because to my knowledge, ToT was the last ride that was completely Disney (WDI developed the ride mech and the theming), and the last one themed so immersively (to the guest, any way, it appears no expense was spared creating ToT)).

It's the attractions going in today that will (or will not) generate the brand loyalty that might make customers three decades from now. But the attractions going in today are off-the-shelf or recycled rides with low budgets for theming (Space, Dino-Rama, Aladdin, Dinosaur, Journey Into Your Imagination, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and Pooh all fit this description). This doesn't mean that every one of those rides is going to stink, but it _does_ mean that WDI (the creative, innovative arm of Disney that most contributes to the Magic, the sense of doing everything right, the group that attends to all the details) withers from budget cuts and general disuse.

Without WDI, Disney doesn't create anything, they acquire it. If Disney is in the business of acquiring attractions rather than creating them, _they_ have placed _themselves_ on the creative level of Six Flags. There is no reason to think that Six Flags or Universal could not have bought Space, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, or Dino-Rama... there's not even a meaningful Disney licensing tie-in to any of those.

So what is it about Disney today that makes them different enough from every other company out there that thirty years from now, today's 7 year olds will be introducing _their_ kids to WDW? What is Disney doing that other companies can't do?

These days, the answer is "nothing." I'm so down on Eisner because I feel irreparable damage has already (and demonstrably) been done, and that each new decision takes us farther away from creating quality and closer to buying and re-labelling the same crap everyone else is buying and re-labelling. I feel he's already mortgaged the future, and he keeps re-financing with every budget.

I'm not cranky that Eisner has made today's WDW no fun. I'm disheartened that the essence of the Disney Magic that created life-long fans is dissolving before our eyes, and that today's 7 year olds, once they reach my creaky age, will see Disney as but one of many equivalent choices.

Jeff

DVC-Landbaron
05-21-2001, 02:23 PM
WOW!!! The LandBaron stands a wildly cheers!!! The applause is deafening!!!

VERY, VERY well said!!

Thank you!!


Let me just add:
My guess is that's true for a lot of the thirty-somethings who are taking their kids there now.
And "OLD" ;) forty-somethings!!!

Thanks again!!

BRERALEX
05-29-2001, 03:28 PM
land-you are my hero

i am a follower in landbarons army

ww52
05-31-2001, 01:10 PM
Jeff - you make a great point about what today's kids will think of Disney when they grow up. I think they should be very concerned about that, judging from my own kids' evolving opinion. They'd still go back to WDW at the drop of a hat, but when they have to spend their own money on a vacation (and that day is coming for them in not too many years) I suspect they'll look at it and say "you know, we've been there enough - time to see other places". I know the direct to video sequels turn them off - and they don't have the sense of perspective about just how old and classic Snow White, Dumbo, Peter Pan etc. are (with upcoming sequels that make me cringe).

Several threads are touching on this same subject - the brand is slowly eroding. Many people argue that it isn't - based just on their own feelings and their kids' feelings. But if many people feel it is - and I doubt my kids are the only ones (early to late teens) who feel this way - then I believe it is.

Disney is drawing down their "bank" of goodwill. It's time to start building it back up. Announce BK as part of the 100th celebration (Walt would be proud, I think). Knock our socks off with the 3rd gate at DL. Do something to get us excited again. (Well, I can dream, can't I?)