View Full Version : JR - Thumbs Up? or Down? What do you hear?

03-12-2003, 09:32 AM
I just finished reading the 3/5 'issue' of Al Lutz's column at Miceage (http://www.miceage.com/index.htm) and was quite pleased to read that the Subs might be making a comeback at DL.

If the description of the decision process was accurate it appears that JR (Mr. Rasulo) was solely responsible for it - and - If the Subs do make a comeback I would personally have to give a tip of the hat to JR.

So - any other stories coming out about JR, up or down?

03-12-2003, 12:34 PM
That wasn't my take on the story... What I read said that they use a formula to determine guest "happiness/satisfaction" based on rides taken in during the day. That number has been dropping as they take out attractions and their attendance remains somewhat steady at DL. The number is what JR objected to (being so low and all) and in so many words said bring it up. What's Cynthia left to do but bring back on-line a ride that can be done so quickly without a gigantic investment.

Al, in his article, just eluded to the subs being brought back on-line. I'm not so sure it was a JR move vs. the best available option given the mandate....

On JR - honestly, I think the average disney fan probably won't have an opinion of the guy because there's been an abundance of silence surrounding him. We hardly hear from him or about him via the usual sources (internet, press, etc.). My guess is the only people who will venture any opinion on him are those internal to the WDC a la our friendly poster AV...

Another Voice
03-12-2003, 12:45 PM
You know, one has to wonder has much corporate politics is involved in this.

Evil Cythnia made the stupid call to shut the subs, Heroic Rassulo comes in to open them. Isn't he great? Isn't he kind? Isn't Cythina just evil!!!?

Al's article wasn't the first one I've seen with that kind of spin.

Beware the buzz of the grapevine…

03-12-2003, 12:46 PM
True, until we see more evidence of what he wants to do, and further, what he can actually get done, its hard to make a fair judgement.

If its true that he wanted the attraction capacity number brought up at DL, it by no means makes him the savior, but it does put him ahead of Pressler, who apparently had no problem with the shrinking attraction capacity (maybe because he didn't understand the importance, being a "retail guy"?). But its not too difficult to be seen as "not as bad" as Pressler.

Regardless, the key is still the man who gave Rasulo the position. He certainly wouldn't give the job to anyone who had ideas that were much different from his own. So for that reason, I can't see the overall park philosophy changing, though its possible it will be executed in somewhat of a more "customer-friendly" manner.

Again, we'll just have to see.

03-12-2003, 12:52 PM
I've been out of the loop so long that I didn't know till monday morning that presslar got replaced.

A few interesting tidbits. The Submarine ride area of Disneyland is significantly smaller then the same space at the world (to my eyes at least) What with a monorail station right in the way and a new Autopia. Disneyland's Tomorrowland is also very pathetic compared to the world's. (at least, it was, the World had Timekeeper, AE, TTA, SM, Race track, astro orbiter and sometimes CoP.
DL has SM, Astro Orbiter, Star Tours, Autopia, Innoventions and the Monorail.)
And Innoventions is hardly an attraction.

The submarines would be a nice addition. it also makes you wonder, given the fact that DL has MORE attractions then the MK in Florida, what will happen when he sees the Florida numbers?

03-12-2003, 12:56 PM
Mr. Voice Sir, You make me sad. I always wanted to respect Cynthia. If she were as bad as Presslar, then Disneyland would already be that Magic Tollboth On I-5.

I hope she isn't made the Sacrafice here. I have to respect ANYONE that would make their Offices on Mainstreet USA.
Very Waltish if you ask me.

Originally posted by Another Voice
You know, one has to wonder has much corporate politics is involved in this.

Evil Cythnia made the stupid call to shut the subs, Heroic Rassulo comes in to open them. Isn't he great? Isn't he kind? Isn't Cythina just evil!!!?

Al's article wasn't the first one I've seen with that kind of spin.

Beware the buzz of the grapevine…

03-12-2003, 01:38 PM
Paul Pressler made the call to close the Subs, not Cynthia. The last day was Sept 8, 1998, Cynthia wasn't promoted to president of DL until December 1999, over a year later. So if anyone is trying to use this to make Cynthia look evil, they may want to try a different angle.

I'm not sure what to think of Mr. Rasulo yet. Lots of people think that Cynthia is great, but following Pressler who was incredibly inept at handling the megafan/AP population , it's no wonder Cynthia looks so good. She's very disarming in public, it's not until after she's left the stage that you realize she didn't really tell you anything but pleasantries.

I'd like to think that the report on DL's capacity is accurate and Mr. Rasulo really cares about DL's ability to adequately handle the crowds, I wonder how much is politics, how much is carefully controlled leakage to make JR look like a guy that "gets it," etc.

The thing that makes me hesitant to believe the story is, "Why the subs?" If the goal is to an re-open a closed attraction quickly and cheaply, why not the circle-vision theater? $10 million isn't going to make the problems which closed the subs in the first place to go away (low capacity and an extremely high operating cost).

03-12-2003, 01:48 PM
Where was the Circlevision Theater? I thought it was turned into the Rocket Rods queue.

Another Voice
03-12-2003, 01:49 PM
"The parks are underpriced."

I'm sorry Mr. Scoop, but I know of no stone tablet on any mountain that has "Thou shalt pay Twenty Dollars per Hour for thyne entertainment" chisled into its face

Something is worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. You can fling all the spreadsheets you want and scream about Gatorland until you're blue in the face, but it's the number of people who are willing to cough up $50+ for a shortened day at WDW that decides what's over- and under-priced.

It's been very clear for a long time that many people did not consider a WDW trip to be a good value. Shortening hours and closing attractions can not help that situation.

Welcome to the free market.

03-12-2003, 01:55 PM
Where was the Circlevision Theater? I thought it was turned into the Rocket Rods queue.

It was, but the queue utilized the screens and the projectors. They made a new film that played while you waited in the queue.

03-12-2003, 02:05 PM
Ah, but the submarine ride is literally unchanged except for the queue, thus, cheaper.

03-12-2003, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by thedscoop
The parks are underpriced.You can break it down whichever way you want, chart it, graph it, compare it to the movies, football, baseball, etc. but it still doesn't change the fact that the lump-sum cost can be overwhelming at times. For example, a 6nt/7day Ultimate Park Hopper Pass is $346.13 for an adult and $276.90 for kids 3-9. Take your basic family: two adults, a 10 year old and an 8 year old. They would spend $1,315.29 for their park tickets for a week long stay at WDW. That's A LOT of money, no matter how you slice it. When people go to do the analysis for their vacation option, those are the kind of numbers that steer people towards the more cost-conscious vacation options.

Even for those that have DVC points (i.e. have cut out the lodging costs and receive a 10% discount on UPH passes), the costs can add up for a week stay. Plane tix: ~$250pp; park tix: ~$1200; food: ~$800; misc.: ~$500. A week for a family of four is in the neighborhood of $3500. That ain't cheap. My point - yeah, an analysis may prove the parks to be underpriced depending on the comparison, but that lump-sum cost is what Disney needs to worry about - the perception of how much that kind of money actually is...

03-12-2003, 02:35 PM
It always seemed to me that Cynthia Harris was doing the best she could given the limited options allowed her by Pressler and Eisner. Sure, not much worthwhile has been done in Disneyland in the last 3 years, but then again, she wasn't granted much money to do much of anything new and creative.

As for Mr. Rusulo, the jury is still out for me concerning him. We have seen many encouraging signs over the last few months (repainting and rehaps, the subs possibly reopening), but it will take time to determine if these are due his efforts. For now, I am hopeful that things are starting to improve, but I have been watching park politics long enough to know not to get my hopes up just yet.


03-12-2003, 03:27 PM
Wait a second. "Welcome to the free market" is your line on this one, yet under that approach JB2 is perfectly acceptable IF the market is willing to pay for it. Forget what Disney gives the market, it's quality only matters to the extent the market accepts it. Scoop, you know darn well the business issue with JB2 is the damage done to the brand name when lower-quality animated stuff is released into theaters with the "Walt Disney Pictures" name on it.

Now, my larger point was that if you really consider the per capita value (recognizing that Mr. UofM makes a good point on price aggregation), you'll see that one gets much more value per capita mathmatically(per hour if you'd like) at WDW or SeaWorld or IOA than they do going to a movie, seeing a play, attending a concert, going flyfishing, taking guitar lessons, etc. You also know this is not how people make their vacation decisions. They don't calculate the cost of seeing movies 24 hrs a day for a week and compare that to WDW.

Since customers do not make their vacation decisions this way, it does not show that the parks are underpriced.

That's a perfect logical position when one combines that with the free market. You can pay 10 bucks for 90 minutes of Men in Black II or you can spend 40 some bucks for 540 minutes of Universal's MIB attraction and whatever else is in the park No, because that position has nothing to do with how the free market works.

So, yes Moses, you make a valid point. I'm just not certain you're willing to abide by that commandment when its applied in other circumstances. The basis behind using free market principles to say JB2 is a problem is very simple. By releasing lower quality animated features under the traditional Disney name, the value of the brand is diminished. How consumers view the brand IS a factor in their purchasing decisions. The damage done by the diminished brand name far outweights the profits made at the box office.

03-12-2003, 04:40 PM
Maybe you should spend less time quoting and more time laying out your position similar to Mr. Voice's or Mr. Head's approach. While I often disagree with them, I at least, get substance from them. Perhaps you should read the rest of the post, where I explained how free market fundamentals do apply to JB2 and how they point to JB2 being a poor decision. This of course, directly refutes your argument that a double standard was being applied with respect to the free market.

If you have no response, it would probably be better to not post instead of attempting to divert the subject to your disdain of "quote style" posting.

03-12-2003, 06:01 PM
If you have no response, it would probably be better to not post instead of attempting to divert the subject to your disdain of "quote style" posting.
I have no response. But I also don't want to divert the subject, but rather offer congratulations!! Well done, Sir Matt!!!!

Gee, thanks for the detailed explanation. ;) I think you've now completely stolen the "my word is final" trophy for Mr. Baron. Congrats.


"for" Mr. Baron???


Ahhhh! "From", Scoop! "From"!

And that's MY final word!!

Now do I get my trophy back? ;)

03-12-2003, 06:20 PM
You know, Ronco, made a fortune making stuff and selling it to a whole lot of people. Does it mean that his product wasn't cheap crap merely because a bunch of people bought it? No!

That's the problem with going down the "JB2 is a great move for Disney because it's going to make money and therefore is good" line of thinking. Cheap crap is cheap crap. Disney's name was made on quality, the opposite of the Ronco model.

I think the Disney apologists really want to believe that everything that comes out of the MouseHouse is great. I'm sorry, but the Disney label just doesn't make me turn off my junkdar. If Disney makes Cinderella 99999, then, to the apologists, it's going to be great because it's got that big Disney logo plastered on the box. If it doesn't perform in the market, then they pull out how cheap it was to create so it turned a profit and, therefore, it must be great.

I'm sorry people, Disney is inching up my level of Sacrifice. Remember my Sacrifice function (actually taken from the book "Experience Economy") - it's the difference between what completely fills my expectations less what I have to give up to get something. So, I have to give up a whole lot to get on board with JB2 when I expect more from Disney.

Same with the parks, they increase prices, decrease services, tell me I should appreciate it and still can't figure out why I'm taking my vacation dollars elsewhere.

Casual Observer

03-12-2003, 06:33 PM
The only thing I heard about JR was that he was responsible for bringing the characters back wandering in the parks (like the ads show) I was speaking to a couple of "Handlers", and they were happy about it. They like the looks from people seeing them not just in "Photo -Op" positions.


03-12-2003, 09:38 PM
That's a perfect logical position when one combines that with the free market. You can pay 10 bucks for 90 minutes of Men in Black II or you can spend 40 some bucks for 540 minutes of Universal's MIB attraction and whatever else is in the park.

First of all in the free market you are deciding where and how to spend your money.

Maybe you do get more time at a park venue for your money but that does not mean you get more entertainment value. The trip to a theme park in Florida is far more costly than the $50 admission price - especially for the family travelling in from out of state. Take 540 minutes with an average 45-50 minute wait time during peak visits and that translates into approx. 10 things you did that day. How much fun did your kids really have on that money especially if it was hot; crowded; time-consuming and physically draining! Now try to compare that to a quiet air-conditioned theatre close to home with a 2 hour presentation. Everybody's happy and content - all for $10/person.

Few people really see WDW as reasonable. The hyped up anticipation of a trip like this gets diluted with each generation who have ultimately been there - done that.

03-14-2003, 12:43 PM
You also know this is not how people make their vacation decisions. They don't calculate the cost of seeing movies 24 hrs a day for a week and compare that to WDW.
Thank you. I am so tired of reading replies that compare an expensive vacation to an expensive trip to the local movies.
Agree. A family is going to figure in ALL costs for any vacation.
One gal who works near me would like to go to WDW. She is figuring with her family of five, she would need $5k. Not exactly cheap entertainment for a week's time.
I have a friend who offered to let us stay with them at WDW. We even have AP's. And as much as I would like to, there is still food, air fare, Pin money :rolleyes: , kennel bill, etc. And I have to think -- which would I rather have -- less than a week in WDW or a large shed in my backyard. ;) Guess which is winning, and it ain't FL. And I am even a die hard Disney fan. ;)

03-14-2003, 09:00 PM
Scoopy, Scoopy, Scoopy...

I thought the smilie would make it clear that I was just messing with you. Guess not. Well, there was not a smilie in the paragraph I quoted, but if you say its a joke, its a joke. I'll take that to mean you have no problem with quotes, and that my response was deemed by His Scoopness to have so much substance he didn't know how to respond.

Anyways, I don't think your JB2 post did anything to refute anything, Hmmm, well, care to explain? (Or are you looking to snag Baron's trophy, which he took back from me). You said AV was using a double standard, and not applying free market theories to JB2. I explained how free market theories do point to JB2 being a bad decision, therefore not a double-standard. Where am I off? Or did I mis-read your initial position?

Most of the time DK, myself, or the other posters who you get mad at are just playing around. Really, nobody here has ever made me mad. I prefer direct speech to begin with, and sometimes speak more directly to you (and use your quotes) because you have a tendency to stray from the line of discussion when your logic is challenged, but I'm sorry if that was mistaken for anger.

No anger towards DK either. Again, just a preference for more direct speech in this medium. I prefer this, particularly when debating a topic, because other aspects of interpersonal communication are not present in this medium, such as facial expression, voice inflexion and body language.

Again, sorry if that's coming across as anger to others...not the intention.

03-16-2003, 02:02 PM
I was there at the last annual passholder party in Disneyland when Mr. Pressler unveiled the ill-fated "Light Tragic" parade. He never forgave the annual passholders for their resounding rejection of that parade, (a very public humiliation) and the near riot that ensued. I remember at the time observing Pressler's red faced huffing around in rage, then storming away backstage with his entourage; and I thought "this guy is way over his head and has no clue how to do his job." I _almost_ started to feel sorry for him. But it seemed from that moment on, Pressler wanted to punish the annual passholders and the park they loved. It seemed Disneyland became the poor stepchild of the Disney theme parks.

As WDWHound said, Cynthia did what she could given the restrictions imposed upon her by Eisner and Pressler, to turn around the park. Granted, she couldn't do much, but what she has accomplished is much appreciated. Does anyone know if she was responsible for the holiday versions of IASM and HM? I'm fairly sure she is responsible for the increased holiday decorations and seasonal foods sold around the park. So, I don't think she's "evil" in the Pressler way of things - "The Man Who Hated the Magic."

I think JR sees the writing on the wall and has noticed the "rot" that is lowering the value of Disneyland park and guest experiences there. Maybe he "gets it" maybe he doesn't. I for one am not ready to hail him as the Disneyland Savior.

Has everyone forgotten that before there was talk of closing the subs, that the submarine ride was not very popular? It was considered by many to be a tired attraction that needed to be updated or replaced. And now everyone is saying "oh goodie, we get that old ride back that nobody wanted to ride!! Oh we are sooo lucky!!!" Talk about lowered expectations.

I do apologize in advance because this sounds so ungrateful, but what about an updated attraction, something new and exciting at Disneyland? Even our new Winnie the Pooh ride is a dumbed down, ultra cheap version of the same attraction in Florida and Tokyo.


PS Even if Circle Vison comes back as an attraction (which it looks like it will) without a serious update, is that even a good thing?

03-16-2003, 05:42 PM
I doubt that the subs will ever return.

03-16-2003, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by Testtrack321
I doubt that the subs will ever return.

I have my doubts as well.... But... considering all the money that is being spent as we "speak" on rehabbing the Disneyland Subs:

- nice new maintenance light system
- new show lighting
- new video surveilance system to watch the sub tunnels
- new ventilation and dehumidifier system
- new animatronic control system
- diesel engines being adapted to run CNG
- sub dock rehab

These are just a few of the improvements either already installed or nearing completion. It would seem a terrible waste of money to do all these repairs only to let the ride rot in storage. You are probably right though, Cynthia will spend all that money and then never re-open the ride. Wouldn't that just be typical?

I should have photos of this work ready for posting in a couple days. Once the video system is up and running there won't be anymore interior shots....


Another Voice
03-16-2003, 07:53 PM
Very little of what you're hearing now is has anything to do with the operation of Disneyland and/or WDW – it's all just corporate politics. Whenever a new régime takes power their first priority is always to discredit the past and to shift all blame for all things backwards. Nothing does that better then by setting up a straw dog from the past and knocking it down with great flair and showmanship.

Cynthia is a "Paul Person" and is an easy focal point for the campaign. The "look at all the closed attractions" is just a straw dog. The fact that Disneyland has been many times more successful in dealing with Burbank's greed than WDW is a fact, but it won't make a difference in the corporate politics. The cry of "reopen the subs!!!!" (when they have no intention of really doing it) is a cheap way of making the past decision look bad and the new people look magnanimous.