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View Full Version : car pools..........I don't get it


crusader
04-01-2003, 10:28 AM
After reading and re-reading the carpools defined categories I have to admit I don't get it.

The veterans on this board continually refer to themselves in this regard yet after reading the definitions compared to the varying views expressed, I question the relativity.

Does anyone have the original link which better interprets this categorization?

If I've opened pandora's box I apologize.

DisneyKidds
04-01-2003, 10:50 AM
Crusader - try this link. This was probably one of the earliest versions of the carpool concept. It was more directly tied to the Magic of WDW. The definitions that Mr. Curling established led to discussions getting tied up in many tangents (and disagreements and misunderstandings) since most people, even the most ardent car 3 person, believes that there is still Magic, but were more concerned with the direction that Disney was heading in. As such, the mighty froze Head proposed the definitions that exist today. These new definitions make it easier ( :crazy: ) as we can all agree that there is Magic, usually plenty of old Magic and some new, and discuss the direction of Disney and whether or not new Magic is being created or will continue to be created.

Kind of complicated, huh :confused: ;).

Anyway, look at this thread and see what you think.

http://disboards.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=58576&highlight=carpool

Under the old definitions I would still be in car #1. Under the new definitions I currently sit in car #2.

d-r
04-01-2003, 11:09 AM
Honestly, I don't want to sound like a contrarian, but I've been tired of those car pools for some time now. It just seems artificial to me to categorize like that - for me personally, there are things that I love and feel positive about, things that I am disappointed about, things that I am an angry about, etc. But I don't think I really fit into a disrete orthogonal sort of category - but that's just me. The benefit is that you get a sort of short hand for saying points of view, I guess.

DR

DisneyKidds
04-01-2003, 11:29 AM
The benefit is that you get a sort of short hand for saying points of view, I guess.
Bingo! I believe that was the intent. I also think it was supposed to be a fun way of discussing things. Seems as though it accomplished that, but not without a few bumps in the proverbial road ;). Of course, the carpools originated before I began my tenure iin ernest on the rumors board so others may be able to provide more history.

BRERALEX
04-01-2003, 11:33 AM
whats great was when Gcurliong had a calling all cars thread to dismantle the use of the carslololoolololol hahahahahahahahahaha its your baby watch it grow.lololo :D

All Aboard
04-01-2003, 11:48 AM
That thread hadn't dropped into DIS oblivion yet? So goes any hope of abandoning Carisms. Stop laughing Alex.

crusader
04-01-2003, 12:03 PM
Thanks Mr. Kidds -

Since Magic is a premise, I now understand the literal text.

It just seems artificial to me to categorize like that - for me personally, there are things that I love and feel positive about, things that I am disappointed about, things that I am an angry about, etc. But I don't think I really fit into a disrete orthogonal sort of category

This is exactly where I was leaning! There is one underlying principle which applies to just about everyone on these boards - they are attracted to Disney. Some really torment themselves with the idea of loving something they cannot understand. If you ask me, they're all in the same car sitting next to one another heading to the same party. Some will have a blast others will be miserable.

DisneyKidds
04-01-2003, 12:40 PM
Some will have a blast others will be miserable.
Nah, I'd say they all have a blast at he party. It is just that some people have a 'hangover' the next day.

It's like (insert car #3 occupant) and I go to the party. We have a great time. We both get loaded and have a lot of fun. The next day I recount stories of the fun things that happened at the party while the (insert car #3 occupant) has a headache and tells everyone how bad the beer was, or how there wasn't enough food, or how they didn't have this or that thing that was at the party last year, or how the host let his house get run down, or..................., or................... or.................... ;).

crusader
04-01-2003, 12:46 PM
.......and they can't find their wallet!

raidermatt
04-01-2003, 12:55 PM
The next day I recount stories of the fun things that happened at the party while the (insert car #3 occupant) has a headache and tells everyone how bad the beer was, or how there wasn't enough food, or how they didn't have this or that thing that was at the party last year, or how the host let his house get run down, or..................., or................... or.................... .
Of course you should continue to the logical conclusion, which is that eventually, after 5 or 10 more Mike parties, the beer IS skunky, the only food served is a bag of Funyons, last years music is replaced by the best of New Kids on the Block, the house reaks of an unidentifiable odor, and............................., and......................,;)

Mike complains that nobody shows up anymore, so he just stops having parties, and used the dough for a new self-portrait.

If we like Mike, or worse yet, own stock in him, we want to see his parties continue to be "the bomb", so we try to get him to change things, or to let somebody else take over the parties.

You don't have to actually slam into a brick wall to know you are going in the wrong direction.

;)

crusader
04-01-2003, 12:59 PM
Matt - you must be the guy with the hangover. I thought you were in car 1?

You forgot that everyone keeps going year after year because Mike's the biggest party in town! Who cares about the beer we're there to have a blast!

DVC-Landbaron
04-01-2003, 05:46 PM
You forgot that everyone keeps going year after year because Mike's the biggest party in town! Who cares about the beer we're there to have a blast!You care about the beer because several years ago he was serving imports and exclusive labels for domestic beer prices. Today he is serving it watered down for imported prices. And soooo, you find that you worry a lot about next year's party.

Matt - you must be the guy with the hangover. I thought you were in car 1? Sir Matt is the official 'shotgun' rider of car #3!! And unless I miss my guess I think I caught Mr. Kidds skitching on the rear bumper last winter!!!;)

airlarry!
04-01-2003, 10:16 PM
Has someone kidnapped M. DisneyKidds account? ;) ;)

That is about the third or fourth post in a row that I agree with you on. Either you are getting closer to my navigator spot in Car 3, or I'm getting positive vibes from Ei$ner that he has had a complete Walt transfusion of his blood. ;)

Or maybe, just maybe after all this talk and debate and whatnot, we are all understanding each other's POV a little better.Nah, I'd say they all have a blast at he party. It is just that some people have a 'hangover' the next day.

Are you sure it is the car 3'ers that have the hangover? Maybe it is a pixie-dust-induced hangover from the Car 1 POV? :) We're the ones clear-headed remembering how much fun it used to be...and the Car 1'ers are swallowing Mike's aspirin trying to forget the bad stuff they saw...

Walt's Frozen Head
04-01-2003, 10:59 PM
Okay, the deal with the cars.

The carpool analogy grew from an unprovoked smart@$$ crack I made concerning the distinguished DisDuck, many moons ago (it remains the only post for which I've felt it necessary to post an apology). The basis of the analogy was that we were all going to WDW, but we divided into cars based on our feelings about the company's direction and recent performance. Greg posted a poll with three generalizations (it was assumed at the time that Car #4 would not have any occupants who would bother to post, although I embarassingly fit that description, myself, at this point) about our "feelings" concerning Disney's recent creation of Magic; it was supposed to be a shorthand to convey one's Disney ideology.

Over time, the Cars took on less "hard" meanings, ultimately degenerating into little more than cheers or slurs. The defintions pinned near the top of the Rumors board were my ad hoc attempt to let some newer folks know what "the board" was thinking about, back when some of us had originally picked our cars... if the labels were going to be of any use we really all needed to be on the same page about what they meant.

I really don't think it had any effect on how the terms were used... and at this point, some people picked cars quite a while ago... it can be fun to join in on the "my Car's dad can beat up your Car's dad" shenanigans, but no, the Car definitions as posted above are actually only valid for a few creaky old-timers, and the designations as they are actually used on this board have no broadly agreed-upon meaning.

-WFH

DVC-Landbaron
04-02-2003, 12:51 AM
The carpool analogy grew from an unprovoked smart@$$ crack I made concerning the distinguished DisDuck, many moons ago (it remains the only post for which I've felt it necessary to post an apology). I don't remember the apology, but I do clearly recall that you posted it in my defense. And I also remember that it was one of the first times that I felt comforted that someone else felt the same way I that I did!!

If I didn't mention it at the time, thanks!! And if I did, well - Thank you again!!



PS: I do miss the Duck, though. It was certainly touch and go in the beginning, but afterwards we had a good friendship going. Has anyone heard from him?

crusader
04-02-2003, 07:26 AM
but no, the Car definitions as posted above are actually only valid for a few creaky old-timers, and the designations as they are actually used on this board have no broadly agreed-upon meaning.

Thank you. This is pretty much what I had suspected. "Creaky old-timers" huh? Man - I hope not!

Not sure what happened with the DisDuck but I hope the wounds weren't permanent.

We're the ones clear-headed remembering how much fun it used to be...and the Car 1'ers are swallowing Mike's aspirin trying to forget the bad stuff they saw...

No way. I think you have this backwards. The true disney lover in "car 1" as you put it hardly reflects on the bad at all. It's a trip with nothing but positives no matter what is thrown out there. Could be due to low expectations or placing far less importance on all the "stuff". There is no hangover. The party was great.

The people I do not place in this category are the "smilers" overdressed, overpriced, overindulgent and insincere about their experience. Similar to a want-a-be. They didn't really have a great time but they'll sensationalize everything in justification. Problem is no matter how you dress yourself up you cannot become something you aren't. There are no roots to speak of for whatever reason.

"Car 3" is quite unique. They claim they used to love this party. So why can't they turn down that invite every year? I think despite all the changes deep down they still do. To me they really aren't in a different car they just inserted a level of expectation which makes everything more complicated as they got older. Trips are more reflective oriented now (similar to a reunion) vs. uninhibited. This approach is a guarantee for disappointment.

DisneyKidds
04-02-2003, 09:08 AM
Has someone kidnapped M. DisneyKidds account?
Nope, I'm still the master of my e-domain :crazy:.
Or maybe, just maybe after all this talk and debate and whatnot, we are all understanding each other's POV a little better.
Most likely. I have always maintained that the degrees of separation between us all are a lot narrower than most would think after reading most of our 'discussions' ;).
Are you sure it is the car 3'ers that have the hangover?
I don't know about you, but when I have a hangover I am usually a little unhappy, perhaps a bit crancky, and I regret some of the things I might have done/seen at the party. Sure, if someone pushes me I can recall the fun I had and laugh a bit, but my head hurts so much that I try not to do it. That's not where I'm at after my Disney vacations ;).
Maybe it is a pixie-dust-induced hangover from the Car 1 POV?
I wouldn't call that a hangover. Maybe it is just that we drank so much at the party that we are still loaded the next day, week, month...............If the party can accomplish that it must have been pretty amazing, even if they didn't serve the same beer they did last year. Maybe the Magic for some is not unlike certain "illegal substances", but this one puts you on a good 'trip' that never ends?
Car 1'ers are swallowing Mike's aspirin trying to forget the bad stuff they saw.
Or maybe those things weren't as 'bad' as those who have the real hangovers saw them :).

Walt's Frozen Head
04-02-2003, 03:33 PM
"Car 3" is quite unique. They claim they used to love this party. So why can't they turn down that invite every year?

That's one reason the Car Analogy fails to work widely. To a certain extent, the Cars represent personality types as much as feelings towards WDW. I suspect that the Car #3 mindset is difficult to "step into," for other mindsets... that's why I so often interject that Cars 1 through 3 are all still going to WDW: there seems to be the feeling among some others that if you are going to WDW, you should damn well keep your mouth shut and smile, like everybody else. Some people can't comprehend that one can list all the ways a company has declined, all the special factors their products have lost, and still come to the conclusion that that company and those products are one's best options, so far.

If the carpools were about the War in Iraq, all the Cars would be praying for a swift satisfying end to the War with minimal casualities on all fronts... but Car #1 would be saying "this was a good idea for the US the smooths the road," Car #2 would be saying "this was a good idea for the US, but could cause us more problems down the road," and Car #3 would be saying "this was a bad idea for the US because it will very likely lead to worse problem down the road."

Ultimately, Car #1 would be telling Car #3 to "love it or leave it," and Car #3 would be calling Car #1 a bunch of political "puppets."

Pretty much the same dynamic we've got, here.

The topic itself isn't really devisive (because the topic is not "should we go to war," anymore, we're at war. Every sane human being wants this over soon and safe... we're all in the same carpool, on that scope: just like the cars are all headed to Disney), it's our way of parsing the relevant data through our individual cognitive interpreters that gives us our ordinaled convoy.

Beyond that, it's not so clear as you imply that Car #3 is a final destination, rather than the place you wait for a couple years until something finally decimates the discs on your particular camel. I'm pretty sure HB2K joins me in being a former Car #3 inhabitant, who, at this point, truly does find themselves in Car #4: for the first time since I've been paying for my own vacations, I do not have a trip to WDW planned.

"Creaky old-timers" huh? Man - I hope not!

Sometimes when I make a joke like that, I forget that this ID hasn't been on the boards as long as I have. The "creaky old-timer" crack was aimed squarely back at myself and those who have been on the boards since the 90's sometime, and have had the "What's this Carpool thing all about?" discussion more than a few times already. Those are the only folks who are going to really identify with the definitions as they're posted on the front page.

To me they really aren't in a different car they just inserted a level of expectation which makes everything more complicated as they got older.

I agree with you for a while, then I don't.

Personally, I think substituting a more concrete expectation from Disney makes everything simpler than if I rely only on "how much fun I had," which depends only partially (and likely, secondarily) on Disney's contribution to the equation. By examining how the project was executed, you can get an idea for how the company is doing without adding your own prejudices about what is fun or entertaining... or how cute the li'l crusaders look spitting up on the Tea Cups.

If you look the project execution, it's clear to see that Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror were the last things in WDW built "right," even though I happen to enjoy riding Rock 'n' Roller Coaster a helluva lot more than either of the others.

Some people didn't pick Cars based on the question "Can you have fun at WDW," and that's what some Car #1 folks appear to believe was always the intention. So the Cars aren't useful for meaningful discussion.

So why can't they turn down that invite every year

See, that's both an unfair generalization (some Car 3ers have begun to turn it down... it's just that officially makes them Car #4, now...) and it treads dangerously close to making judgements and editorials on the personal decisions of others about their own lives. It is not for you to deem all Car #3 members pitiful junkies who would go cold turkey if they just had the will power or the clarity of thought.

a level of expectation... This approach is a guarantee for disappointment.

Oh, I agree. If you go to WDW with no expectations at all, you won't be disappointed. That's a valid way to live life, but it is not the only valid way. Some prefer a more structured framework for their lives.

Or perhaps you knew all that... and the quote was just your velvet-gloved way of saying "love it or leave it," in the end?

The people I do not place in this category are the "smilers" overdressed, overpriced, overindulgent and insincere about their experience

Are you suggesting a division of Car #1... sincere and insincere? I think I can save you the trouble of posting a poll...

-WFH

All Aboard
04-02-2003, 04:21 PM
So why can't they turn down that invite every yearThe answer to that question is likely why I put myself in Car #2. While I am deeply concerned about direction and philosophy and am sure that the wrong leadership is in place, I continue to go and go and go. I continue to be entertained and I continue to love the place. There's more than enough critical mass of things produced up to 1994 to keep me happy. And, every now and again, an entertainment nugget or two, a great fireworks display or a very entertaining parade comes my way that I find to be chock full of "Disney" And, in the case of Early Entry, they realized what a boneheaded decision it was to cut it.

That's what keeps me out of Car #3. When you find me there, it's because my enjoyment is really beginning to wane. Then I will likely start to scale back on my time at WDW.

But, what keeps me out of Car #1. Well, for starters, I haven't been "wowwed" by a new major attraction in 8+ years. WDW's biggest attempts (Dinosaur, Kali, Test Track) have fallen short of what I have been conditioned by THEM to expect. Micromanagement of operating hours, constantly tinkering and adjusting (almost always downward - Future World closing at 6pm in April, how absurd!) are a big thorn in my side and directly impact my enjoyment. And, lastly, the recent trend of shuttering attractions with no plans for replacement really stinks. 20,000 leagues basically started the trend. I'm thinking very hard, but cannot remember this happening much in the past, if ever. Now we've lost 20k and the skyway, two tomorrowland attractions only open when MK is wall to wall packed, two show venues rest empty at the Studios, Diamond Horseshoe is gone with only rumors of something coming... No where near enough to keep me from returning, but most assuredly enough to keep me out of Car #1.

raidermatt
04-02-2003, 05:18 PM
My 2 cents...

Based on the definitions as they currently stand, the classifications are all about WDW's direction, not where it currently stands.

The relative "vacation values" are different for each person, but the decision about whether or not to go to WDW is based on how WDW ranks versus whatever other destination is competing for that persons business. The decision is NOT based on a comparison to the WDW (or DL, whatever) of the past.

However, when it comes to a decision on which "car" to choose, whether WDW is better than the competition becomes of much less importance. Possibly even irrelevant. Instead, the focus is on the direction of the company. The comparison IS to the WDW of the past.

A car 1'er sees no problem with this direction. Just as wonderful as ever. No reason to even question going to WDW.

A car 2'er sees some problem with the direction, but views it as a normal down-cycle, or sees something that makes them think improvement is on the horizon. Generally, these folks think a change at the top is needed, and are reasonably confident that the new regime will be significantly better than the current regime. Recognizes WDW may not be as great as it once was, but still sees it as better than alternative destinations.

A car 3'er definitely sees problems with the direction, and finds very little to indicate improvement is imminent. Definitely thinks a change at the top is needed, but is not confident it is forthcoming and/or does not see evidence that convinces them the change will definitely be for the good. Definitely thinks WDW has declined, but still sees it as better than alternative destinations.

A car 4'er doesn't like the direction, and has crossed the line. Alternative destinations are now more appealling. Has either stopped going to WDW, or greatly reduced their frequency.

Of course, these are all subsets of the group made up of one-time and/or current WDW fans. In the general population, you have car 5'ers (never went, never will), but they probably aren't reading this stuff.

Hopefully that helps with understanding...

DVC-Landbaron
04-02-2003, 05:31 PM
That's not fair, Scoop!!!! You know I like to use quotes!! But on your last post I can't!!! Why? Cause I'd have to quote the whole frigging thing!!!!!

Well put, my man!! Bravo, and Ditto!!

hopemax
04-02-2003, 07:42 PM
If it really involved the latter then most everyone besides WFH and HBK and I think maybe Planogirl would be in Car #1 because we keep going back over and over

You can probably put me there too, because the only reason I keep going back is how cheaply it has cost me recently. We're probably paying 1/3 the price that we used to, and I doubt if WDW were to slash all its prices by 2/3rds we'd be having any of these car conversations anyway.

crusader
04-02-2003, 08:41 PM
Personally, I think substituting a more concrete expectation from Disney makes everything simpler than if I rely only on "how much fun I had," which depends only partially (and likely, secondarily) on Disney's contribution to the equation.

There isn't a forerunner and second here. Our commitment to how well we are entertained should not take a back seat to the Disney contribution - they go hand in hand.

Tell me where the realist belongs in these categories? This is the person who enjoys just about anyplace they travel. They approach a Disney vacation knowing full well what it is and don't measure their experience on a circumstantial level.

Rather, that conversation has more to do with the most effective way to express your protest of what you perceive to be a bad direction.

This is where I probably disconnect the most. I understand the direction issue but fail to see how it will substantially impact the big picture. We've been experiencing cutbacks in every commodity on the market. Take a good look around, nothing is made as well or as durable anymore - right down to the quality of what you eat and drink. Why would a themepark be immune to this phenomenon?

Some people can't comprehend that one can list all the ways a company has declined, all the special factors their products have lost, and still come to the conclusion that that company and those products are one's best options, so far.

No, I get it. I just don't hear it used in conjunction with Disney enough on these boards. Yet it would appear that to most of the people here, despite everything (including what once was) - WDW remains that viable option.

Walt's Frozen Head
04-02-2003, 09:20 PM
This is the person who enjoys just about anyplace they travel. They approach a Disney vacation knowing full well what it is and don't measure their experience on a circumstantial level.
The point is, I'm not talking about me, me, me, how fun much I had on my vacation.

I'm talking about business processes and methods that Disney once stood for, establishing their brand loyalty. Processes and methods that contributed to having a high quality product.

Your "realist" would have to consider Six Flags a legitimate option to Disney, as long as we can find one person who will post that they prefer Six Flags to WDW. What you appear to value in a ride is fleeting and mostly in individual's imaginations.

Disney used to represent quality in production of that which pleases a lot of people, not merely the ability to please a lot of people. "Girls Gone Wild" pleases a lot of people, but that's not a good enough reason to declare it full of "Disney Magic."

We've been experiencing cutbacks in every commodity on the market.

You trip over the very reason for Disney's failure. Treating entertainment as a commodity instead of an art. The Pop Century doesn't sit empty because no one can afford its rich opulence or appreciate its delicate subtleties, it sits empty because money is no longer cheap enough that this TraveLodge-with-company-sponsored-graffiti is worth any of it.

Disney's business plan of "make cheaper crap so more people can afford it... they'll still buy it because it says 'Disney'" has simply failed... failed before 9/11, failed now. Producing and marketing entertainment the same way that you produce and market toilet paper, as a commodity, has failed; at least as far as maintaining Disney's image and market performance is concerned.

Yet it would appear that to most of the people here, despite everything (including what once was) - WDW remains that viable option

Again, I never said WDW was not a viable option for some. The deal is, "most of the people here" don't amount to a hill of beans in Disney's attendance; we're a relatively minor little collection of zealots around these parts. The real truth is, Disney has been losing guests and sales pretty consistently for years (although for a long time they were able to cut costs and play PowerPoint games to keep claiming improvements in what matters to Wall Street... anyone remember the GO.COM write-off? The one year, say "we beat last year, if you ignore the one-time deduction;" then the next year, compare your results to last year's numbers including the deduction. Losing money all the way, but spin it like progress, every year).

-WFH

HB2K
04-03-2003, 12:27 AM
I'm pretty sure HB2K joins me in being a former Car #3 inhabitant, who, at this point, truly does find themselves in Car #4: for the first time since I've been paying for my own vacations, I do not have a trip to WDW planned
That is correct sir popsicle.

I'm done. Stick a fork in me. And let me tell you this...


IT SUCKS.

I want SOOOO badly to be able to get excited about the new DAK attraction and to run out an plan a trip to WDW.

But then reality sets in.

At this point, I'm looking at alternatives. I may hit a Six Flags or two since my Annual pass to the local park is good ANYWHERE. I will go to the other local park. I'm considering a trip to Virginia to see (among other things) Kings Dominion. I'm still thinking about a Universal trip.

The one thing missing is a Disney trip. In most cases, the cost of the vacation is VASTLY lower for me compared to WDW. In some (Universal) it's probably about the same or a little lower, but I really feel that Universal is trying to get my business. I feel like Six Flags is trying to get my business.

I don't feel the Disney company is trying to get my business. So I won't give it to them.

That's how I define my car.

YoHo
04-03-2003, 01:56 AM
Hr. Head my he melt in peace alreay commented on this, but I'll bold and oversize it for you.

We've been experiencing cutbacks in every commodity on the market.


WDW and that form of entertainment are not a commdity


And in fact most successful buisness not catering in commodities markets have found significantly more success in making better products not worse.

THAT is the essense of what is going on.

crusader
04-03-2003, 06:38 AM
You trip over the very reason for Disney's failure. Treating entertainment as a commodity instead of an art.

No way. A commodity is an article of commerce. That is what the theme parks are. Art is the use of skill and imagination in the production of something aesthetic. That is what the theme parks have. Entertainment became a commodity the minute it sold one entrance ticket.

If what you are saying is that Disney today is a failure because it no longer incorporates art in entertainment you may be correct. By diversifying and trying to generate quick returns in the 90's, funds were outsourced and the parks lacked investment.

Disney used to represent quality in production of that which pleases a lot of people, not merely the ability to please a lot of people.
True - and the Tower of terror proved that. But before this attraction, honestly how long ago was the last one installed which met this standard? I disagree with blaming solely the current regime here. I think we live today wanting everything yesterday and it is easier to point the finger rather than accept and possibly even enjoy less than expected.

I want SOOOO badly to be able to get excited about the new DAK attraction and to run out an plan a trip to WDW. Why not consider it. What happens here is that everyone wants the new attraction to fit their particular preference and rely on rumors to influence judgement. Have any mountain rides failed to deliver? Preliminary guesswork is a hazard. Information and leaks weren't as prominent in Walt's day and couldn't be more dangerous now. Based on what you are implying, it may only take one good attraction to get your money back.

HB2K
04-03-2003, 06:56 AM
Why not consider it. What happens here is that everyone wants the new attraction to fit their particular preference and rely on rumors to influence judgement. Have any mountain rides failed to deliver? Preliminary guesswork is a hazard. Information and leaks weren't as prominent in Walt's day and couldn't be more dangerous now. Based on what you are implying, it may only take one good attraction to get your money back.
I will not consider a trip back to WDW on the scale of my previous trips based on one addition. There have been too many straws dropped and my back is far from healing. Maybe I'll take a Universal vacation and I'll spend a day in Disney. Total reversal.

I was using the DAK E(hehe) Ticket as an example for my statement because it's the savior du jour.

Information & leaks were not as prominent in Walt's day as they are now, but he didn't need the positve press that is needed today. He valued his name & company's image, and strove to protect it by only putting it on products which he was proud of.

The current regime feels the name will sell whatever product the put out there. For a while it worked, but eventually people caught on. Now Disney has two options:

1) Settle for it's current customer base who will purchase anything with the Disney logo.

2) Change course, invest in new attractions, publicize this change in philosophy...giving the Jim Hill's of the world NOTHING but positive things to write about, and hope this positive press changes customer's minds.

I don't think the company is going to accept 1 (Ei$ner's bonus would shrink) so in the mean time, they've become RELIANT on the Jim Hills of the world to remain in contact with whatever is left of the old customer base who is lurking, waiting for this storm to subside.

It's Disney's own fault that they need Jim Hill and others.

airlarry!
04-03-2003, 08:07 AM
M. Head:

Your recent explanation is the best I've seen. The difference between the views on the car analogies are that one side sees the direction the company is heading in especially vis-a-vis the theme parks, while the other side sees the question as whether one would return to the parks considering the level of 'fun' or 'magic.'

One is future worries or optimism about the company, the other is present expectation of enjoyment or disappointment.

For us 'old-timers', who I would bet many are neither old nor timely, the car analogy was intended as a barometer of the future of the parks...not whether or not we enjoy the parks now.

Just because someone doesn't quite understand the subtlety of the analogy doesn't mean it is not useful. ;)

crusader
04-03-2003, 08:25 AM
One is future worries or optimism about the company, the other is present expectation of enjoyment or disappointment.

You lost me again. I don't get how you are worrying about the future without measuring it based on your present expectations - your enjoyment - your disappointment.

For us 'old-timers', who I would bet many are neither old nor timely, the car analogy was intended as a barometer of the future of the parks...not whether or not we enjoy the parks now

Again - how do you reflect on the future and worry about direction without utilization of present conditions.

Just because someone doesn't quite understand the subtlety of the analogy doesn't mean it is not useful.

Ouch! It isn't the subtlety. It is the dilution and misapplication which leads somewhat to a current misrepresentation in my opinion. But I get it now.

All Aboard
04-03-2003, 08:57 AM
A commodity is an article of commerceThat's the simplified Webster's definition, but you left off the other half. The part about it being processed and resold like agricultural or mining products.

Generally, a commodity is a product with homogeneous qualities. It's virtually impossible for one producer to differentiate its commodity from that of another producer. Hay is hay, shale is shale, no matter who is selling it - it's the the same stuff, nobody can tell the difference.

Is that really the philosophy you believe Disney should take when considering the product it is selling?

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 09:55 AM
Just because someone doesn't quite understand the subtlety of the analogy doesn't mean it is not useful.
You give those on the other side of the aisle way too little credit my friend. It isn't about not understanding the 'subtleties'. Heck, the car 3 focus is not very subtle at all. It is plain as day and we all (ok - most of us) see it. It takes some set of cajones to assume that if someone doesn't agree with the car 3 position that they don't 'understand the subtleties' :tongue: ;). And here I thought we were understanding each others' POV better :crazy: :(.

It isn't that those in car 1 or 2 don't understand the issue of direction, or even see the 'direction' that you refer to. It is more about what that 'direction' means in the big picture. Simply put, to evaluate that you must consider the experience of today. Experience is what it is all about. Crusader is right........................
Again - how do you reflect on the future and worry about direction without utilization of present conditions.
The answer is that you can't. Perhaps it is those travelling in Baron's car that don't understand that subtlety.

By most car 3 accounts WDW has been in steady decline, headed in the wrong direction, for 19 years now. Despite that 19 years of 'decline' the vast majority of those who might align with car 3 still find WDW a unique and Magical place. I realize that that is today and you are worried about tomorrow. However, while Disney may make some questionable decisions, I don't necessarily see that WDW will be any less Magical in the future. Heck, it has survived 19 years of so-called decline, but that decline hasn't really amounted to all that much. Yes, attendance as of late is down, but there are multiple reasons for that. Sure, you have crancky old timers, but most of them still go. Sure, maybe that fatal straw will fall tomorrow, but it hasn't for most in 19 years.

We can focus on the direction of the business all we want. We can say that the abandonment of old philosophy, the questionable decisions, the improper focus, etc., etc. are all bad. However, if you want to focus on the business aspect, and not the experience aspect, you have to accept the realities of business. That reality is that businesses change over time. They change for many reasons. Sometimes they change for the worse. I'm not saying that that is good, or that we should blindly accept it. However, I believe the business reality is that most people will so long as they find value for their dollar. It is wrong for Disney to rely on that fact, but they are to a certain extent. I do hope that changes. That doesn't change the fact that many, many, many people (car 3ers included) have accepted that for 19 years and I believe they will accept it for another 19 if that is what it comes to. Again, I don't agree that that is good but, if you want to focus on business and direction, I believe it is reality.

Focus on direction all you want. However, you have to consider that in 19 years that direction hasn't degraded the experience of today to the point that some of Disney's biggest critics (and fans) find the place unworthy of their vacation dollars. Tell me why that will be different over the next 19 years. Yes, Disney may lose some customers, but in the big picture it won't signal the fall of Disney, or even the reduction of Disney parks to no more than a Six Flags.

As I've said many a time, I see what car 3 is saying, I see the direction, I see the issues, I just don't agree on what it means and where it will lead. Combine that with a belief that things will change for the better in some ways (there are always ups and downs in business) and I just can't ride with the Baron, or even skitch on the bumper.

Combine this belief with Mr. Curlings earlier eloquent explanation of his car 2 stance (which fits me to a T) and you have my Disney dogma*.

* Yes, I realize that the definition of dogma (in my use) is a view put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds. However, I firmly (authoritatively) believe what I say even though I have no proof, no crystal ball, no grounds to support it. However, none of us have that for any of our beliefs on what the future holds.

HB2K
04-03-2003, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by thedscoop
Don't fool yourself my friend. I'm sure you aren't posting here simply to hone your typing skills.

Scoop.

p.s. Nobody could ever give enough so that Jim or Al or whomever would write only positive articles. If that indeed is your barometer then that pressure ain't going to be rising...

Sorry scoop. I'm still planning on posting and waiting for some type of sign that things are turning around at WDW....but as I said, I am not planning on going anytime in the forseeable future.

As for the positive press issue...there are other outlets which write about Disney. I can't recall any of them producing anything overly glowing about the company. It's not just Hill or Lutz who are writing about negatives in Disney.

It's funny....they seem to find nice things to say about Pixar (at least Hill does. I don't usually read Lutz).

YoHo
04-03-2003, 12:34 PM
I don't necessarily see that WDW will be any less Magical in the future. Heck, it has survived 19 years of so-called decline, but that decline hasn't really amounted to all that much.


Mr. Kidds sir, I think the point we have all been trying to make is that in fact WDW IS less magical then it was. For some it is so much less magical that they won't go anymore for others, it hasn't gotten that bad yet, but Disney World has a very long way to fall and just because they haven't hit rock bottom yet doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to what's happening. It's foolish to sit and pretend like all these reductions in magic are meaningless in the long term, especially when we can see what's happeneing in front of us now. WDW is actually struggling to maintain attendence, a concept unprecidented in its history regardless of economic times.




Oh and thanks Gcurling for the full and correct definition of commodity. Not everything bought and sold is a commodity and WDW vacation certainly aren't one.

hopemax
04-03-2003, 12:57 PM
However, you have to consider that in 19 years that direction hasn't degraded the experience of today to the point that some of Disney's biggest critics (and fans) find the place unworthy of their vacation dollars. Tell me why that will be different over the next 19 years.

We're only going to know how seriously Disney has damaged it's position when the children of today either bring or don't bring THEIR children. The 5-10 year olds of 1984 are just now starting to reach the point where they have the option to bring their 5 year olds to Disney.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 01:06 PM
Mr. Kidds sir, I think the point we have all been trying to make is that in fact WDW IS less magical then it was.
I know the point you have been trying to make - you just don't sell it very well if you ask me. 'Less' is a relative term. Yes, in ways it may be less Magical. However, in the big picture..........................as I said, I don't think it amounts to as much as some would make it.
For some it is so much less magical that they won't go anymore
Sure, but how big do you really think that number is? Sure, if it is one it is to many, but in the big picture.............................
for others it hasn't gotten that bad yet
Right, and after 19 years of decline.
It's foolish to sit and pretend like all these reductions in magic are meaningless in the long term
I don't maintain that they are meaningless. However, in the big picture I don't think they mean as much as you do. I agree that the Disney of today is not the same as the Disney of even 10 years ago, much less the Disney of 1972 or the 1950's. That is sad. The Disney of old was capable of more than what Disney provides today. The Disney of today is capable of providing more. At some point I hope, and think, they will.
Disney World has a very long way to fall and just because they haven't hit rock bottom yet doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to what's happening.
I agree. We should talk about it. We should protest in whatever way we see fit. We should communicate our feelings to Disney management. We should alter our WDW vacation spending to reflect the level of value we find in what WDW offers. Nobody is blind to what's happening. However, in the big picture, I don't feel that what's happening hasn't been as significant as you do.
WDW is actually struggling to maintain attendence, a concept unprecidented in its history regardless of economic times.
True, and for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the decision making that Disney has made in the recent past. Disney has some work to do. However, it's not like were in the bottom of the ninth, or even anywhere near the seventh inning stretch.

raidermatt
04-03-2003, 01:06 PM
It isn't that those in car 1 or 2 don't understand the issue of direction, or even see the 'direction' that you refer to. It is more about what that 'direction' means in the big picture. While I don't think that every car 1 or 2 person is lacking an understanding of the issue of direction, to say they are in 1 or 2 because they see the big picture, which therefore implies those in 3 or 4 do not see the big picture, is questionable at best.

By most car 3 accounts WDW has been in steady decline, headed in the wrong direction, for 19 years now. Despite that 19 years of 'decline' the vast majority of those who might align with car 3 still find WDW a unique and Magical place. Yet a true "big picture" view tells us that 19 years in the life of a company is much more than a fleeting moment. Even for those who point to the death of Frank Wells as the turning point, its been 9 years.

If we wait for WDW to not be a unique and Magical place before we proclaim a serious problem, it will be too late.

The present serves as a point-in-time measurement, a way to judge what has been happening. Its not that the present does not factor into the equation...its just that the present alone does not provide the answer to whether or not there is a problem.

At no matter what height you begin, a downward path only leads one place. You gain momentum and the longer it goes on the more difficult it is to make the change.

Companies, especially those the size of Disney, do not stop on a dime. If one waits until the present day WDW experience for zealots like us is less than viable alternatives, it very may well be too late for ANYBODY to lead a recovery.

raidermatt
04-03-2003, 01:12 PM
Sure, but how big do you really think that number is? Sure, if it is one it is to many, but in the big picture............................. Its tough to reconcile your logic on this. On many occasions you point to the fact that the "complainers" on this board still go, so whatever WDW is doing wrong can't be that bad.

Yet when its pointed out that some are NOT going, or going less, you dismiss it as too small a sample.

If those who don't go are too small a sample to matter, aren't those who do also too small a sample?

However, in the big picture, I don't feel that what's happening hasn't been as significant as you do. That's fine. The extreme viewpoints help keep those of us in the "middle" balanced.
;)

crusader
04-03-2003, 01:15 PM
That's the simplified Webster's definition, but you left off the other half. The part about it being processed and resold like agricultural or mining products.

Enter the spin cycle -

Commodity is an economic good as:
a) a product of agriculture or mining
b) an article of commerce.

I stand by the context of my reference.

Generally, a commodity is a product with homogeneous qualities. It's virtually impossible for one producer to differentiate its commodity from that of another producer.

In the theme park industry there are very few producers and the Disney differential is not "impossible" to see at all.

Is that really the philosophy you believe Disney should take when considering the product it is selling?

Disney knows it is brokering an article of commerce to the general public. It may market and package it in a "magical" way but everytime you paid them you bought what they were selling.

Not everything bought and sold is a commodity and WDW vacation certainly aren't one.

Confused again - what is it that you paid WDW for?

YoHo
04-03-2003, 01:17 PM
Ditto to RaiderMatt.

I would add, that we have too many people with inside sources pointing to how bad upper managment is, in fact how bad DIsney is run in general. Some of that is obvious to outsiders, or is re enforced via what everyone can see at Stockholder meetings, press releases and Board actions.

Disney the Company is clearly in a decline. Under those circumstances, how can we ignore the signs coming from withing the park and more importantly, as RaiderMatt said,
At no matter what height you begin, a downward path only leads one place. You gain momentum and the longer it goes on the more difficult it is to make the change.

Companies, especially those the size of Disney, do not stop on a dime. If one waits until the present day WDW experience for zealots like us is less than viable alternatives, it very may well be too late for ANYBODY to lead a recovery.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 01:19 PM
Its not that the present does not factor into the equation...its just that the present alone does not provide the answer to whether or not there is a problem.
I very much agree. I agree that Disney has problems. It is how one views the severity of the problems that seems to differentiate our positions. You see Disney as having terminal cancer where I see it as having a bad case of warts.

YoHo
04-03-2003, 01:24 PM
In the theme park industry there are very few producers and the Disney differential is not "impossible" to see at all.

That is the problem. It used to be that Disneywas unique even 10 years ago when you had Universal Orlando, Disney was completely Unique.

The fact that it is moving toward a commodity scenario only proves that Disney is failing.

It isn't inevitable that a DIsney Theme park become a commodity. It is a failure.


I know quite a bit about how something becomes a commodity. I used to work in the Cable modem Buisness. When we started out, Cable modems were unique and individul and garnered fairly reasonable profit margins, because there were maybe 4 reputable companies making them. Then within a year, it jumped to 20 or 30 companies making them. The buyers didn't care about attention to detail or high quality, they wanted cheap and reasonably reliable. It became impossible to make a profit in that market. THe company I worked for dropped out of the field. Other companies use cable modems as a loss leader. They became a commodity.


To suggest that anything bought or sold is a commodity shows a fundimental lack of understanding of the concept. (as it relates to themeparks)

All Aboard
04-03-2003, 01:38 PM
In the theme park industry there are very few producers and the Disney differential is not "impossible" to see at all. Therefore it's not a commodity. It's a product with unique and differentiable qualities. One that can be set apart by more than just marketing. Rather by creativity and thought that comes through in the manufacturing and delivery process and thus in the final execution.

I know what websters.com says, but "commodity" is used in the finance world to refer to products that are not differentiable (or barely so.) "Product" and "Commodity" are not interchangable synonyms. A commodity is a product, but not all products are commodities. A dog is an animal but not all animals are dogs.

Follow this link (http://money.cnn.com/markets/commodities.html)I can't find "theme park experience" being sold anywhere in this market.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 01:40 PM
Its tough to reconcile your logic on this. On many occasions you point to the fact that the "complainers" on this board still go, so whatever WDW is doing wrong can't be that bad.
Let it be known that I complain too ;), but yeah, I do believe this.
Yet when its pointed out that some are NOT going, or going less, you dismiss it as too small a sample.
Hey, I have no proof, but I don't believe there are theat many car 4 people out there who have been Disney regulars in the past and find the level of decline a reason to not go back.
If those who don't go are too small a sample to matter, aren't those who do also too small a sample?
Not really. While attendance may be down as of late, we know there are tens of millions of people who go to Disney every year. Again, I have no proof, but my opinion is that the number of people who are aware of Disney's decline, or don't know a lick about Disney's past but have been recently, and find that the current offerings don't provide substantial value for the buck are a drop in the bucket.

I suppose we can break the state of Disney into two categories. The first would be the state of Disney compared to what it used to be. If you look at the business of Disney compared to the past and discuss the direction of Disney relative to it being what it was in the past and whether it will ever be the same again, I would agree that Disney has a much more serious problem than warts. That is sad because Disney can be so much more than it is today. The second category would be the state of Disney today as a unique, Magical vacation destination that provides it's guests with quality entertainment that their family enjoys, regardless of Disney's past. No matter how you look at Disney compared to its' past, Disney provides this now and will continue to do so in the future. Maybe in the future it won't do it as well as it did in the past, but in the big picture, the realistic business picture, it will, whether we like it or not.

crusader
04-03-2003, 01:45 PM
The present serves as a point-in-time measurement, a way to judge what has been happening. Its not that the present does not factor into the equation...its just that the present alone does not provide the answer to whether or not there is a problem.

Past and present are the main predicators used subjectively time and time again to prophesize direction and future. Your viewpoint is segmented to differentiate a position based on speculatives - but you share a common ground with just about everyone here - your attraction to this place.


It isn't inevitable that a DIsney Theme park become a commodity. It is a failure

not at all - it is where the realist and idealist collide.

I would add, that we have too many people with inside sources pointing to how bad upper managment is, in fact how bad DIsney is run in general.

And again I say this is one of the main contributors to the cynicism thwarting every project in the works. If this information was exposed when the parks first emerged what would be the result of your initial experience? If you were privy to what was initially slated vs what you wound up with how magical would your past recollections really be?

YoHo
04-03-2003, 01:51 PM
Maybe in the future it won't do it as well as it did in the past, but in the big picture, the realistic business picture, it will, whether we like it or not.

How can you know that it won't simply get worse and worse to the point where it can't even support itself?

for that matter your statement doesn't make any sense.

If in the future it doesn't do as well as it did in the past, then in the big realistic business picture, it is also doing worse. It can't both be doing worse, and doing fine. It is either moving up, moving down or staying the same.


Here, let me try some ascii art.

Magical Not Magical
_____________|____________
|-----------|
1984 2003


This is a description of what we are talking about. in 1984, we were firmly in the magical camp. no doubts. in 2003, its still magical, but we're a lot closer to Not Magical. Dangerously close in fact. BUT, ir is still magical, there is no doubt that in general, people vacationing to WDW are having a magical time. But it becomes more precarious. Now, lets say in 2008 we have nudged over to the not magical side. There will be people that still find it magical then too, that doesn't mean that things haven't gotten worse.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 02:10 PM
How can you know that it won't simply get worse and worse to the point where it can't even support itself?
I don't, any more than you know that it will.
If in the future it doesn't do as well as it did in the past, then in the big realistic business picture, it is also doing worse. It can't both be doing worse, and doing fine. It is either moving up, moving down or staying the same.
Again, 'worse' is a relative term. Case in point your ascii art. I don't find WDW nearly as far down the Magical continuum as you do. In all honesty, there will be periods in the future when Disney is up, down, and flat. Furthermore, one can be doing 'worse' and still be fine. For instance, due to a recent MTA fare hike my commuting costs will be going up. Financially I will be doing 'worse', but I will still be fine.

On the whole Disney may be worse in the future than it was in 1972 or 2002. Who knows, maybe it won't. However, that 'worse' will still be Magical and Disney will continue to be a going concern, and a unique one at that. You and I may not like what it looks like compared to 1972 or even 2002, but I bet we'll still be going. Where's the proof? Neither of us has any either way. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what our discussions look like in 10 or 20 years, assuming we still have the time and inclination to chat the way we do today ;).

YoHo
04-03-2003, 02:16 PM
The proof available is in the trends. The Walt DIsney studios in France, DCA in California, Dinorama in AK. These are all leading to a conclusion. Name one thing, one positive magical thing that the company has provided that is in scale with these failures and I might grant your supposition that things aren't trending down. There is plenty of evidence that things are going south, what we lack is evedince that anyone intends to do anything about it.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 02:29 PM
The proof available is in the trends. The Walt DIsney studios in France, DCA in California, Dinorama in AK. These are all leading to a conclusion.
I'll give you that we are currently on a downward trend. I've agreed to that many times. However, I'd hardly say we can use this current trend to draw any definitive conclusions about the future. All the things you mentioned are from the last two years. I'm not going to bet the farm on that trend. I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree, and one of us will have the opportunity to say 'I told you so' at some point in the future ;).

Here's where I default back to the present. Your perception based on the trend you see, and the conclusion you think it has led to, has you viewing the Magic of WDW as having almost completely disappeared. I don't agree with that assessment. Of course that puts us squarely in 'SubjectiveLand' ;). In the end, I recognize the problems, keep an eye to the future, evaluate whether Disney is worthy of my vacation dollars, and I go. I go twice a year. My last trip was not one iota less Magical than one I took 12 years ago. Was it different in some respects? Sure. But less Magical? No way. I'm sorry that you can no longer see that Magic.

raidermatt
04-03-2003, 02:40 PM
DK, when you are talking about us zealots, and pointing out WE still go, that does not include the 43 million...wait...40 million....wait...37 million other folks who go. Again, you have referred to us as a minor subset....a grain of sand on the beach if you will. If so, then the fact that WE still go as just as inconsequential as the fact that some of us do not go.

Maybe in the future it won't do it as well as it did in the past, but in the big picture, the realistic business picture, it will, whether we like it or not. The realisitc business picture requires growth. Not stagnation, and certainly not retraction. If the parks do not do as well as they once did, Disney the company has a huge problem because they must find other businesses that not only grow, but whose growth more than makes up for the parks decline.

If the parks really do become a zero or negative growth business, especially if its due to mismanagement, its hard to fathom seeing the problems as anything other than significant.

Your viewpoint is segmented to differentiate a position based on speculatives - but you share a common ground with just about everyone here - your attraction to this place.Anything associated with the future is based on speculation. The variables are the judgements/opinions we make based on our speculation, and our level of confidence in those judgements.

In the case of the cars, you're right, the common ground is the attraction to WDW (current and/or past) and this board. But the differentiating factor is our speculation with regard to the future. Most of us arrive at that judgement based on comparisons of trips to past trips, and following news/rumors with regard to the company.


not at all - it is where the realist and idealist collide. Define commodity however you wish. You were looking for an understanding, and to gain that understanding, you must look at the way commodity is being defined in this discussion. Assign a different word to it if you wish, but the key is that entertainment is a product that relies on differentiation. Unlike the orange market, or even something like the pencil industry, where there just isn't going to be much differentiation on product.

Its a fundamental difference in industries that must be recognized in order to successfully run a company such as Disney.

YoHo
04-03-2003, 02:43 PM
I'll admit, I haven't been able to be in the world since 2000. (that big stupid Wand in Epcot certainly affected my magic.) However, as an Annual Passholder to DCA, I get to see Disney's failures up close and personal a couple times a year. DIsney has made it very clear that DCA is the way they intend to build things now, bragged about it. There is no magic in DCA. The only small hints of magic are from rides cloned from WDW like its Tough to Be a Bug and Muppetvision 4D.

I could actually sense the change in my gut when I entered the park. NO MAGIC. I'm not in car 4 yet, but I'll tell you If they keep on the DCA path, I will be far too soon.

YoHo
04-03-2003, 02:47 PM
not at all - it is where the realist and idealist collide.

So your suggesting all products and services MUST become commodities?


Never mind that fact that services generally are never commodities and that Themeparks are service oriented?


We need to agree on a definition before we can have a discussion.

raidermatt
04-03-2003, 02:47 PM
I'll give you that we are currently on a downward trend. I've agreed to that many times. However, I'd hardly say we can use this current trend to draw any definitive conclusions about the future. Of course we cannot draw any real definitive conclusions about the future, particulaly more than a few months down the road. If any of us could, we likely wouldn't be taking the time to waste time here.

But let me ask you this...

If Disney were on an upward trend right now, would you likely find more reason to be optimisic about the future, or pessimistic?

In other words, when the majority of the evidence points in one direction, what logical reason is there to believe the future will be contrary to that direction.

To make the application more practical... Is Eisner going to change his ways? Why? Why hasn't he yet?

Who is the replacement you see coming in and changing things for the better, keeping in mind it is Eisner himself being asked to name a replacement?

Its not about a definitive answer, but rather about where the indicators are pointing.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 03:03 PM
DK, when you are talking about us zealots, and pointing out WE still go
Come on Matt, stop being devisive. I don't see you any more as a zealot than you see me as an apologist ;). Really, it isn't about ME vs. YOU, US vs. THEM, WE vs. THEY. Don't turn it into that.
the 43 million...wait...40 million....wait...37 million other folks who go.
Sorry Matt, I'm not going to play the attendance game as I don't think any of us know what it really means and where it will be longer term.
The realisitc business picture requires growth. Not stagnation, and certainly not retraction.
Agreed. Last I checked I did get a dividend check this year and I'll check the annual report again but I think Disney was in the black, despite all the non theme park and theme park failures. Disney has been thru down times before. Disney is in one now. However, I hardly feel that Disney's long term viability, and that of the theme parks, is in danger. Have you sold your stock yet? After all, $17 a share is better than nothing if things are that bad.
If Disney were on an upward trend right now, would you likely find more reason to be optimisic about the future, or pessimistic?
Of course I'd be a bit more optimistic. However, I wouldn't fool myself and discount the possibility that there would be rough times ahead. Just as rough times now don't make me believe that there are not brighter times ahead. The current Disney management boneheads may not be making things any easier, but history shows us that business is cyclical.
In other words, when the majority of the evidence points in one direction, what logical reason is there to believe the future will be contrary to that direction.
Boy, you'd have condemned an awful lot of successful companies during many times in their history using this logic.

Let me ask you this.......................

If Disney stock were to drop to $10 and you had some extra cash to invest, would you be more inclined to sell what you currently own before the bottm drops out, or increase your holdings?

crusader
04-03-2003, 03:22 PM
I know what websters.com says, but "commodity" is used in the finance world to refer to products that are not differentiable (or barely so.)

Which "world" are we in? (sorry - couldn't resist!) I respect your point but I stand by my context - again!

Anything associated with the future is based on speculation. The variables are the judgements/opinions we make based on our speculation, and our level of confidence in those judgements

How can we be so confident about the future when we have no idea what it holds?

but the key is that entertainment is a product that relies on differentiation.

And the success of that product is preference oriented and subjective.

The zealots on these boards as WFH defined are well informed consumers. They approach this market with unsurpassed clarity and a wealth of opinions. That level of knowledge provides sound reasoning when making an informed decision about the worthiness of your time and money.

As Mr. Kidds clearly points out - In the end, I recognize the problems, keep an eye to the future, evaluate whether Disney is worthy of my vacation dollars, and I go.

Which I suspect is the uniform approach being applied by many on these boards.

All Aboard
04-03-2003, 03:42 PM
I respect your pointIt's not really my point, rather just a basic business term that you are improperly using.

but I stand by my context - againThen I guess I'm done with this discussion. You think Disney is peddling a commodity, I don't.

raidermatt
04-03-2003, 04:26 PM
Come on Matt, stop being devisive. I don't see you any more as a zealot than you see me as an apologist . Really, it isn't about ME vs. YOU, US vs. THEM, WE vs. THEY. Don't turn it into that. I'm not. I only used zealot because one of my car poolers used it. Its not about me vs. you. The point was, and continues to be, that you have used the fact that many of us car 3'ers still go to WDW as evidence that things can't be that bad. After all, if we still go, even with all of our criticsim...

In this case, you discounted the fact that some don't go, or don't go as much.

Its not about anyone vs. anyone. I happen to agree that we are far too small a group be a representative sample with regard to our vacationing habits. That goes for those of us who go as well as those of us who don't go.

Sorry Matt, I'm not going to play the attendance game as I don't think any of us know what it really means and where it will be longer term. Of course we don't "know". Doesn't mean they have no relevance.

. Last I checked I did get a dividend check this year and I'll check the annual report again but I think Disney was in the black, despite all the non theme park and theme park failures. Being in the black is not growth. Earnings, and more importantly, revenues, must grow.

However, I hardly feel that Disney's long term viability, and that of the theme parks, is in danger. Fair enough, but remaining viable isn't the goal Disney should have in mind.

Of course I'd be a bit more optimistic. However, I wouldn't fool myself and discount the possibility that there would be rough times ahead. Just as rough times now don't make me believe that there are not brighter times ahead. So downward trend = optimisitc, upward trend = more optimistic.

The current Disney management boneheads may not be making things any easier, but history shows us that business is cyclical. History shows us that economies are cyclical. Industries are also to a certain extent, though they do come and go. However, history does not prove that the performance of any individual company is cyclical. An individual company's performance CAN rise and fall with the cycles, but its performance is much more subject to its own actions.

Further, as a public company, you are rated as an investment compared to other companies. A company cannot rely on an improved economy to make them a preferred investment, because an improved economy makes their competition stronger as well. Disney is using the economy as a cop-out for its own poor decision-making.

Boy, you'd have condemned an awful lot of successful companies during many times in their history using this logic I haven't condemned anything. I'm talking about probabilities. When negative evidence outweighs the positive, the result will be negative more often than not. That doesn't mean a company CAN'T overcome a negative situation, but it does mean there must be a reason to believe they will buck the downward trend they have created.

Where is the evidence that is strong enough to make one believe that Disney's trend is more likely to be reversed than not, at least anytime in the near future? Not CAN it be reversed, but what makes it LIKELY to be reversed?

raidermatt
04-03-2003, 04:53 PM
How can we be so confident about the future when we have no idea what it holds? The fact that we do not have absolute confidence about the future does not preclude us from forming opinions about what we think the future is likely to hold, or how a certain course of action will impact the future.

To use a timely analogy, many people believe invading Iraq was the right thing to do for the future, others do not. Nobody KNOWS for sure whether the impact of the war will have a net positive or net negative affect on the future. However, in order to decide which course of action should be taken, one must use the information available to them and form and opinion.

Of course if one is not in a decision making position, one has the option to simply not form an opinion.

Same thing here. Everyone is free to simply not try to make a judgement about where Disney's course of action is taking them, and what is likely to change or not change. However, some of us have made such judgements, and most of them vary to certain degrees. Such is the case with any topic. We just happen to be discussing Disney.

crusader
04-03-2003, 04:59 PM
It's not really my point, rather just a basic business term that you are improperly using.

Wasn't used as a "business term" - was used in its literary form. If that is difficult to reconcile than leave it.

Let's rephrase - Do I think Disney is peddling something? Yes I do. What seller isn't.

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 05:08 PM
Doesn't mean they have no relevance.
No, it's just that I don't know what the relevance is ;).
So downward trend = optimisitc, upward trend = more optimistic.
Depending on the company, sure. Actually, depending on what your motivation is you might be more optimistic about a company's potential when they are on the downward trend. I only wish I had the financial means to act on my optimism for IBM when the stock was wallowing around $40 back in 1993. Today it stands at over $80 after splitting numerous times. Now I'm not as optimistic about Disney now as I was about IBM back then, but I believe that Disney is one of those bellwether companies that will make a comeback. No, I have no proof. However, Disney has the assets and balance sheet that will allow it to rebound. Girstner did wonders for IBM once. Eisner did it for Disney. Someone will do it for Disney again.
History shows us that economies are cyclical. Industries are also to a certain extent, though they do come and go. However, history does not prove that the performance of any individual company is cyclical. An individual company's performance CAN rise and fall with the cycles, but its performance is much more subject to its own actions.
I attribute much of Disney's recent poor performance to bad management. I also believe that economic and industry factors are in play. As you say, economy and industry will change, that is their cyclical nature. So, too, will Disney management. Eisner can't live forever. No, I don't know who we will get, but it is hard to imagine it getting worse. Combine all that with good fundementals on the financial side and I think there is reason to have optimism for Disney in the long term. Short term is another story. However, I'm a big picture, long term kind of guy. Combine that with my personal, subjective enjoyment of Disney's current offerings and what's not to be optimistic about?

Let me ask you this, Matt...................

Back in 1997 when the Silver and Black went 4 and 12, did you throw in the towel on them or was there some optimism there that eventually they'd have another AFC championship in them ;).

YoHo
04-03-2003, 05:48 PM
Eisner did it for Disney.

Lets look at this accuratly, Eisner has never done anything positive for Disney. He was a figurehead for Frank Wells who knew how to make the company a profit and knew how to delegate. Micheal Eisner has always been a talking head and nothing good has come from HIS managment skills.

crusader
04-03-2003, 10:10 PM
The fact that we do not have absolute confidence about the future does not preclude us from forming opinions about what we think the future is likely to hold, or how a certain course of action will impact the future.

You're right. I just don't share your pessimism when it comes to the future of this co. Conversely, I am not overly optimistic either. Why look for a guarantee here? It would be much simpler to enjoy it for what it is rather than what you need it to be.

Personally, I've always had a great time - but I don't go every year. And when I do it is carefully planned to avoid feeling taken. Would I have noticed the cutbacks - not nearly as well as some of the diehards. The question is: would I have cared so deeply that it adversely affected my outlook on this company? No way.

Say nothing improves and what you see is what you get. Are the car 3'ers really leaving? Why don't I think so.

Peter Pirate
04-03-2003, 10:58 PM
Man, the longer Wells stays dead, the greater he becomes. A few more years and he'll rival Walt! ...

Eisner was never a figurehead & while it seems apparant that Eisner definatly needed Wells (and he was lost when he died) it takes no more than reading accounts of Wells personal comments on Eisner to prove that Eisner was NEVER just a figurehead. Wells alone would have fared no better and HE knew it...

As for Disney's bad performance, I don't think it's specifically bad management decisions, but rather one part this two parts that with a dash of this that and the other.

For example, Disney grows with tremendous success in the 90's. Wells dies. Eisner makes some very bad hires. The economy flies leaving a pretty much grown out Disney vulnerable to takeover. Disney grows where it has to - away from its core to remain independent. Pressures mount on the core. The economy sours. Upstarts without the overhead or periferal problems compete in the core. The economy sours further. 9/11. We go to war...What is bothering Disney is far to complex to be catagorized by a vocabulary of big words or of simplistic business accumen. But one thing is for sure, we will never all agree.:p

DisneyKidds
04-03-2003, 11:02 PM
I'll go back and read the post in a second and I'm sure it will be good, but.........................

OH! MY! GOODNESS!! The Pirate lives!!!!!!!!! We've missed you Peter :). Good to see your ship has come into port.

DVC-Landbaron
04-04-2003, 12:00 AM
WELCOME BACK, PETER!!!


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







PS: Strong, sarcastic post to follow, due to the utter nonsense the Pirate still spews!!! ;)

HB2K
04-04-2003, 06:56 AM
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It isn't inevitable that a DIsney Theme park become a commodity. It is a failure
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



not at all - it is where the realist and idealist collide.

That's one heck of a mis statement. If the theme parks become a commodity, it is indeed a failure.

Why?

Because Disney controls their own destiny in this regard.

Had Disney kept pumping out products with such flair as their previous ones, they would have remained unique. You couldn't compare a Universal, six flags or anything else to it. It's a one of a kind experince. Thus the commodity tag doesn't fit because you could NEVER make an apples to apples comparison.

Fast forward to a time where Disney's expansions are more off the shelf, anyone can buy them, thrill rides.

Now you can start to make those apples to apples comparisons.

Add to that the fact that Disney let a HUGE chunk of the R&D folk go to the competition, and now even the custom stuff they do isn't so unique anymore.

Disney controlled their own destiny with the theme parks. It was never pre-determined that a WDW vacation would become a commodity, but it's inching closer to the point that in my eyes, it has (although I'll grant that that is only my opinion).

If Disney stock were to drop to $10 and you had some extra cash to invest, would you be more inclined to sell what you currently own before the bottm drops out, or increase your holdings?
Interesting point Kidds. I'd say it depends.

If the stock price keeps inching downwards due to the lack of any viable, successful products being produced by the company, I would not invest. To be honest I would probably just cut my loses.

You would invest in a company who's share value droped 2/3 over a period of a couple of years and who hasn't produced very many successful products during that time....and then in turn let ANYONE who worked on said products leave the company.

You would invest in a company who's main successful deal was purchasing & marketing animated films from an outside source, and then let the relationship sour to the point that this outside source no longer wants to do business with the company? Not to mention that the fact that the company who made it's name in animation now feels compelled to become a distributor?

What kind of business model is this?

No I wouldn't invest in that company. Seems like they don't know what they are, or what they're doing.

crusader
04-04-2003, 08:17 AM
YoHo is right..........

We need to agree on a definition before we can have a discussion.

I'll admit I had to reread a few comments to address this. When I introduced the word commodity on this thread I used it to describe the theme park as an object. (artisitic yes!) However, uniqueness was irrelevant to the basic fact that the parks are objects. I was not engaging in a debate on the implications of this term as viewed by the business community.


quote:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It isn't inevitable that a DIsney Theme park become a commodity. It is a failure
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



not at all - it is where the realist and idealist collide.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




In this example my inference is that in reality a theme park is a "thing" you pay to see or "experience" as many put it. To the idealist who wants desperately to hold onto the sales pitch that it is a "unique and special place where magic lives" it couldn't possibly be "just a thing" - which sounds so disillusional and impersonal and cold. Hence the realist and idealist collide!

All Aboard
04-04-2003, 09:05 AM
To the idealist who wants desperately to hold onto the sales pitch that it is a "unique and special place where magic lives" it couldn't possibly be "just a thing" - which sounds so disillusional and impersonal and cold. Hence the realist and idealist collide!It's not idealism to me. That's certainly not how Walt went into it. Trying to see if he could bilk money out of the public by huckstering them on the notion that what he was creating was special or possessed any qualities that could build feelings where guests truly felt they were in a Magical place.

crusader
04-04-2003, 09:17 AM
First of all - to imply that Walt wasn't trying to make money on this enterprise is really stretching the imagination. No one is saying Walt bilked the public but he was an entreprenuer. Otherwise the parks would have been free. No way was he looking to just break even on this venture.

the notion that what he was creating was special or possessed any qualities that could build feelings where guests truly felt they were in a Magical place.

How isn't this idealism?

All Aboard
04-04-2003, 10:01 AM
How isn't this idealism?Are we going to get into another "definition discussion?"

Hey, maybe you are right. Perhaps WDW never generated anything "Magical". Perhaps it was all one big hoax and we were all fooled by the cleverly marketed commodity. I'm not sure that's what you are saying, but in other threads you've alluded to how the "illusion wears off over time."

I just don't happen to believe it's an illusion. To me, it's the outcome of extremely hard work by extremely creative people who are tuned into what makes people happy. Just like an excellent novel, film or stage production. I've seen performances that struck me in the soul.

When it comes to WDW, it's what sets it apart from every other theme park experience. I believe that if someone enters into a project with the notion that they are going to try to fool the public into believing what they are experiencing is Magic, they'll fail. They absolutely have to deliver. They have to generate indescribable feelings in the guests.

No, I don't think it's an illusion at all. No more than I think it's an illusion when I taste a great meal or drive a superbly engineered automobile. The quality comes through, it's very real.

crusader
04-04-2003, 10:34 AM
To me, it's the outcome of extremely hard work by extremely creative people who are tuned into what makes people happy.

I agree. The talent and imagineering provide a brilliant level of artistic creativity. But this was only for some of the attractions never for all of them.

What I constantly hear over and over again is that there is not enough change relative to todays standards. I disagree, given that the bar is superficially raised by high tech in todays market and the consequence of failure could prove fatal for someone trying to make inroads in this industry. How is creativity supposed to thrive under these constraints?

I believe that if someone enters into a project with the notion that they are going to try to fool the public into believing what they are experiencing is Magic, they'll fail. They absolutely have to deliver.

It's not that they are trying to fool the public. Magic is the catch phrase used to describe an illusion. Usually when I refer to the guest as being disillusioned it is in response to a "not so magical experience" comment. They expected a surreal environment to escape to and had to deal with real life experiences during their stay.

They have to generate indescribable feelings in the guests.

They couldn't possibly do this in every capacity given the amount of visitors they have to deal with. Honestly - that feeling comes from both the person and the place. Too much emphasis is placed on the WDW delivery and not enough on the guest personality.

raidermatt
04-04-2003, 02:02 PM
I just don't share your pessimism when it comes to the future of this co. Conversely, I am not overly optimistic either. That's fine. We all have opinions.

Why look for a guarantee here? It would be much simpler to enjoy it for what it is rather than what you need it to be. Who's looking for a guarantee? Not me. I'm merely posting my opinion about what I believe some of the problems are with Disney's current business model, and that if they want to succeed financially, there should be some changes.

As for enjoying it for what it is...that's EXACTLY what I do when I visit the theme parks, or watch a movie, or listen to the Millineum CD. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't go, and I'd be in car 4...

The question is: would I have cared so deeply that it adversely affected my outlook on this company? No way. Its not that the cutbacks affect ME so deeply that its affecting my outlook on the company. Geez, a lot of 'em don't affect me at all. It's how I believe they are affecting Disney's overall customer base, and how they are contrary to what separated Disney from the competion, that is affecting my outlook on the company.
First of all - to imply that Walt wasn't trying to make money on this enterprise is really stretching the imagination. No one is implying this.

No one is saying Walt bilked the public but he was an entreprenuer. Otherwise the parks would have been free. No way was he looking to just break even on this venture. Of course he wanted his business to be a success. But Walt had as his primary goal providing a product the he could be proud of, and that would be what the public wanted. He believed that if you did that, the public would respond, and you would make money.

Today's Disney is much more focused on the money first, and the product second. They look for ways to profit from the name, rather than ways to create in the best tradition of the name. Consequently, they are not creating much that the public wants, let alone things that the public truly finds amazing.

Its my opinion that this is hurting them financially.

raidermatt
04-04-2003, 02:36 PM
Girstner did wonders for IBM once. Eisner did it for Disney. Someone will do it for Disney again. What differentiates Disney from the companies who also had strong assets but are still looking for, or never found, their "wonderman or wonderwoman"?

While Disney's balance sheet is not horrid, their debt load has become a concern for many investors and analysts, and has resulted in the downgrade of their bond ratings, making borrowing more expensive.

So, too, will Disney management. Eisner can't live forever. No, I don't know who we will get, but it is hard to imagine it getting worse. The next team does not have to be worse than Eisner and his orcs.

You claim to be a big picture person, and if so, you have to acknowledge that finding somebody capable of reversing a downward trend in a company as large as Disney is far from easy, even for good, smart CEOs. Also, Eisner is being asked to pick a successor, and his current leaning appears to be towards Iger. Even if he picks someone else, what in the world makes you think he'll pick somebody much better than himself.

If Eisner doesn't do it, eventually the Board will do it. The Board that Eisner largely has in his pocket.

Again, this doesn't all mean that Disney IS in for much tougher times, but a logical, non-pixie dust influenced analysis does not point to anything better than a 50/50 chance things will improve significantly in the next 5 years....beyond that, its far too murky.


Back in 1997 when the Silver and Black went 4 and 12, did you throw in the towel on them or was there some optimism there that eventually they'd have another AFC championship in them . Ah yes...my Raiders. Lets take a look, shall we?

At one point, the Raiders HAD a very large and loyal following. The customers loved the team, and they loved the owner. The owner ran the team well, and knew his product.

Ah, but then the owner let his greed take over. He wanted bigger markets, and in the process, alienated his loyal customers.

But his plan failed. He stopped putting the same quality product out that he used to. These new markets had no real loyalty to him or his team...being the fickle market that they were, they merely wanted whatever was hot at the time.

So, still struggling with his product, he returned to the market that used to love and adore him and his product. But many of those loyal customers had been lost. They either lost interest in the mediocre product that didn't cater to them any longer, or they found a new product. A new product from a company that was just across the Bay, and used to be the "weak sister" of the area. Times remained tough for the Raiders. The product was still not up to snuff, and, as a wise man once told us, once you lose a customer, you've got to work 10x as hard to get him back.

The owner finally brought his product back to where is should be, winning the division three years in a row, advancing to the AFC title game twice, and to the Super Bowl once.

But guess what? They still can't sellout their stadium. There are still rumors that the owner will once again seek greener pastures. In they eyes of the majority of the Bay Area, THEY are now the weak sisters of the region.

Its hard to fathom exactly how hard "10x as hard" really is until you actually have to do it.

Now, as a Raider fan, it pains me to write stuff like this. But the simple fact is, the team was mismanaged for years, and strayed from what once made it great. Now, even though the product has improved, its not enough. Further, there are questions about how the man who led the recent revival was run out of town because the owner wouldn't give him more responsibility, and the owner also didn't like the way the upstart was stealing his thunder. (Sound familiar?)

Yeah, as a fan, I never lost hope or lost interest. But as an impartial observer, I also can't ignore the impact of the errors that have been made. Clearly not every Raider fans was as passionate as I.

There's quite a few things that can be learned from the Raiders' example...thanks for bringing it up!;)

DisneyKidds
04-04-2003, 03:00 PM
There's quite a few things that can be learned from the Raiders' example...thanks for bringing it up!
No problem. The single most important thing that can be learned from the Raiders is that DESPITE all the negatives, DESPITE where they were a few short years ago, the Raiders are one of the premier teams in the NFL. Agreed, they may not sell out their stadium because they drove away some not so loyal fans. However, that doesn't change the fact that they play high quality football and the team is healthy and making money. Could they make more? Sure. Is it a fatal flaw that they don't? No. Is attendance likely to improve now that they have righted the ship? Likely. All the same will be true for Disney if you ask me.
Again, this doesn't all mean that Disney IS in for much tougher times, but a logical, non-pixie dust influenced analysis does not point to anything better than a 50/50 chance things will improve significantly in the next 5 years....beyond that, its far too murky.
You may be right. In the end, even if Disney doesn't improve from where they are today I still believe that it will be more than enough for Disney to remain a premier, unique entertainment company. That will be more than enough to keep the ship not only afloat, but steady. Granated, not as good as it ever was or should be, not enough to make people like us stand up and cheer Disney's efforts, but Disney isn't going anywhere. Not that I think that is how it shoud be.

Again it gets back to looking at direction and what it means to you. Disney may be running in a direction that will prevent it from ever getting back to what it once was. If that is the direction you are concerned with you have cause to be alarmed. However, I don't believe that Disney is headed in a direction that will run the company into the ground and reduce it to the level of a Six Flags. If that is the focus on direction there is reason to be concerned, but not enough to write the company off.

raidermatt
04-04-2003, 06:18 PM
However, that doesn't change the fact that they play high quality football and the team is healthy and making money. Could they make more? Sure. Is it a fatal flaw that they don't? No. Is attendance likely to improve now that they have righted the ship? Likely. All the same will be true for Disney if you ask me. This is where the analogy breaks down... Every NFL team makes money. They have the most management-friendly labor agreement of any of the major pro sports, and the NFL is the king of pro sports in America right now.

Is attendance likely to improve? Sure, but after back-to-back division titles, last year's attendance was only marginally improved. Season ticket sales remain slow.

From a fan perspective, its great that the team is performing well, and with respect to the Raiders, all I really care about is where they play and how good they are.

But again, they are being out-performed financially by many other teams in the NFL who have far inferior product. Why? Because the Raiders (with help from the local politicians, to be fair) have exhibited indifference when it comes to anything that is important to its customers, with the exception of the on-field performance. And even that has only come around in the last three years.

Disney isn't in an industry where you can perform in the middle of the pack financially and expect to thrive.

We need to remember why we are all here posting on a Disney discussion board, while other companies don't even have fan discussion boards. There's a different level of expectation that has come with Disney's creative and financial success. I guess its ok to just accept that they will no longer be exceptional and instead go with mediocrity, but medicrity doesn't exactly justify all of the attention they get from us loonies on Internet message boards.

DVC-Landbaron
04-04-2003, 09:07 PM
The single most important thing that can be learned from the Raiders is that DESPITE all the negatives, DESPITE where they were a few short years ago, the Raiders are one of the premier teams in the NFL. And why is that? Could it be that the owners WANT a winning team? Is it just happenstance that they are “one of the premier teams in the NFL”? I think not. There is a commitment to winning that is not as apparent on other teams. Case in point:

Da Bears!

Yes!! My home team. Way, way back in 1985 they had a winning team. An awesome team. Arguably one of the best teams to ever take an NFL field. And that year, right after their Superbowl victory, both Jim McMahon and Mike (da coach) Ditka said in various interviews (and McMahon in his book) that the Bears were going to become losers again as soon as the next season. Plain and simple the ‘glory’ was over already. Why? Well, it seems that the answer was pretty simple. They said that it was management’s "lack of commitment to win" that would do them in. That along with personal and corporate greed.

And sure enough the salary demands went in. And management refused to pay. And players left. Now, the Bears management could have easily spent a few bucks more and kept that winning team for years! But they CHOSE not to. They were content to make money. And the NFL structure fed into that plan very well for them. Money was their primary goal. Winning took a far, far second place.

THAT -- is what I see in Disney today. When I first discovered Disney I was enthralled with their dedication to excellence. Their “commitment” to win! I saw in them the same things I saw in the 1985 Bears!! But today I look at Disney and lament. Instead I see a 1986 (and everafter) Bears team. In other words I am struck with their ‘lack of commitment to win’.

And until that very basic philosophy changes, things will not improve. They will only get worse. Slowly if we’re lucky, but surely nonetheless. And it won’t matter if we decide it’s a commodity or not (BTW, Greg’s right in my opinion). And it won’t matter if the place is packed 365 day a year or not. And it won’t even matter if M:S is the sliced bread of the theme park world.

You see, ultimately it will just be an anomaly. Because the core is what’s rotten. it is the basic, fundamental, primary and very, very essential concept that has been corrupted. You know – “that lack of commitment ti win” that is soooooo very apparent in virtually (happy Mr. Kidds ;)) everything they do lately!!

YoHo
04-04-2003, 11:50 PM
that lack of commitment to win


Yes, yes a thousand times yes.

Walt's Frozen Head
04-05-2003, 12:30 AM
I like the Al Davis/Raiders example because it so vividly displays a point I've long tried to make.

Whatever else you say about him, Al Davis is a man that makes things happen. True, sometimes the things he has to make happen are just undoings of things he did in the first place, but he always had a vision for what the Raiders were.

While the emphasis was on football and the team was in Oakland, you had football guy's football guy John Madden at coach and a drive and determination to play excellent football. The team succeeded from a football standpoint and (coincidentally?) from a financial standpoint.

While the emphasis was off of football and on maximazing market potential and making litigation into an Account Receivable, the Raiders went to LA and largely floundered.

Chewed up and spat out of LA for reasons that I will stamp my feet and shout until I'm in my grave are based in Davis' lack of focus on his core business, he slinks back to Oakland and buries himself in the football, again. Steady improvement, on the field and off.

The point is not to shake a finger at Davis (or Eisner) for past mistakes. The point is to hope, like Davis, that Eisner remembers what Disney considered its core business, back when it was successful, and decides that it's worth the Company's attention, again.

Focus matters. Intent counts. Commitment shows. Profits follow.

Keep "maximizing the flow" of that progression by cutting corners, and you end up with a nice round zero.

-WFH

DVC-Landbaron
04-05-2003, 12:49 AM
The point is to hope, like Davis, that Eisner remembers what Disney considered its core business, back when it was successful, and decides that it's worth the Company's attention, again.
Mr. Head!!!

I usually save this for the Pirate (it is my patented Pirate response #1)

Do you really believe this nonsense you’re spewing!?!?!

I mean do you think that Ei$ner ever had an inkling of what is really the "core business' of Disney? I don't!

And so it follows that he could NEVER get back to what he never understood in the first place!!

Don't you agree?






Ah! The petty squabbles of Car #3!! The fine points of "magic"!!!

crusader
04-05-2003, 08:29 AM
Hate to break it to you but in the NFL success is measured in championship rings. And the last time I checked the "post Madden" Raiders have alot of empty fingers - including this past year having lost to a team that for decades was considered one of the the worst teams in football.

Who is the key to success? The coach or the owner?

Not sure if that commitment to excellence and winning is the best analogy to apply here given the end result. Now what?

Walt's Frozen Head
04-05-2003, 01:58 PM
I mean do you think that Ei$ner ever had an inkling of what is really the "core business' of Disney? I don't!

And so it follows that he could NEVER get back to what he never understood in the first place!!

Don't you agree

Actually, yes, I do agree. My personal opinion is that Michael Eisner does not understand what "Disney" is about, and never has.

But making that the focus of the post usually only rewards me with responses of "you're just an Eisner basher."

If I can steer the discussion away from any of the known causes of "Is So" "Is Not" syndrome, I'm going to do it... so I try to avoid casting aspersions or making judgements on Mr. Eisner personally. If anyone wants to disagree with and counter my points, they can do so, but I'm removing every provocation I can for simply dismissing and ignoring the points.

Regardless of my personal opinion of Eisner, the attention of the Disney Company must turn back to its creative core if the company is to succeed on the scale they have, historically...if someone wants to argue with me, let them argue with something that has some substance to it.

-WFH

Walt's Frozen Head
04-05-2003, 02:16 PM
Hate to break it to you but in the NFL success is measured in championship rings.

Hate to break it to you but in the NFL success is measured by more than your single, myopic standard.

There are more things in heaven and earth, crusader, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Why does that sound so familiar?

Who is the key to success? The coach or the owner?

The key to success is instilling that drive and commitment into every member of the organization... it is not the work of any one person.

Again you appear to want to elevate one aspect of a measure into a reasonable substitute for the entire quantity.

Not sure if that commitment to excellence and winning is the best analogy to apply here given the end result. Now what?

Well, now I get to stop responding. I am not arguing with you about this, I am telling you about this. If you're still "not sure" that commitment, dedication, and focus pave the path to success, that's tragic, in its way, but I've done all I can do.

-WFH

DVC-Landbaron
04-05-2003, 02:34 PM
Hate to break it to you but in the NFL success is measured in championship rings.Well, yes and no, Mr. Crusader. The NFL is rather poor analogy for the theme park realm. More to the point is not the ring itself (although that would surely quell any counter arguments) it is instead the season’s total wins and losses. Let’s face it, some mighty strange things happen in the playoffs sometimes!! And really, I think you are fully aware that the analogy was not about the Raiders specifically, but instead was to point out commitment and realizing one’s ‘core business’. In this case ‘football, and not ‘profit’. Surely you can see that?

Who is the key to success? The coach or the owner?Something I have been debating with the good Scoop for some time now. And as example I’ll refer again to my 1985 Bears. This team was a true ‘winner’ in every sense of the word. And it was built and honed by the ‘coach’, sometimes in spite of the owner and sometimes with the owner’s tacit approval. But NEVER with the owner’s active participation.

And the very next year, when the owner became more actively involved? They lost. And lost. And lost. And lost…. And they have continued to lose through the present day. Why? Because a coach alone can be only as good as the owner lets him. A coach may be able to fight the owner and actually win the individual battle. But he simply cannot win the war. The owner is the only one that can do that!!

So, as I’ve said to Mr. Scoop, over and over again, it doesn’t matter what the dedicated people at WDW do. At most it is only temporary or a true anomaly within the big picture. They simply cannot succeed unless Burbank has a radical change in philosophy. It really is that simple.

The people in car #1 think Burbank is just fine!

The people in car #2 think Burbank is only temporarily screwy.

The people in car #3 think Burbank needs a brain transplant.


Now, as to Mr. Head, my frozen friend.

I think you realize that there is hardly anyone else on these boards that I respect more than you. Your remarkably insightful “Disney” opinions, coupled with your concise and poignant writing style can only be admired; never emulated. And as usual you hit the nail on the head with: Regardless of my personal opinion of Eisner, the attention of the Disney Company must turn back to its creative core if the company is to succeed on the scale they have, historically...if someone wants to argue with me, let them argue with something that has some substance to it.PERFECT!!!

Thank you!!

crusader
04-05-2003, 03:44 PM
Hate to break it to you but in the NFL success is measured by more than your single, myopic standard.

Ouch! I guess I should have posted a "smiley" after my remark. Of course it is measured by other factors such as money, talent and a winning record but the "ring" is what is coveted the most and attributed to success and achievement.

The NFL is rather poor analogy for the theme park realm. More to the point is not the ring itself

I agree it is a rather poor analogy and the point is not the ring itself. You simply cannot ignore such a significant part of football when debating success which was the main reason for my comment.

The key to success is instilling that drive and commitment into every member of the organization... it is not the work of any one person.

Again you appear to want to elevate one aspect of a measure into a reasonable substitute for the entire quantity.

Not at all. I raised the question to show that one person is never the only key player involved in a company of this magnitude, which is why I try to avoid the blame game.
I happen to agree with you on this. It takes commitment from every level beginning with the top. It's too easy to simply appoint one person as the fall guy and far more difficult to look carefully within an organization to find the true source of a problem. It has to be more than just Walt vs Ei$ner here.

a coach alone can be only as good as the owner lets him. A coach may be able to fight the owner and actually win the individual battle. But he simply cannot win the war. The owner is the only one that can do that!!

Point well taken Mr. Baron. However, if an owner is relying upon your expertise why wouldn't you be able to accomplish anything? Are we saying that there is not another soul within the company being called upon to aid in the decision making?

If you're still "not sure" that commitment, dedication, and focus pave the path to success, that's tragic, in its way, but I've done all I can do.

You misinterpret my point. Success is the result of hard work, dedication, talent, drive, commitment and sometimes a bit of luck.
However, success is often being measured in terms of the end result.

DVC-Landbaron
04-05-2003, 07:49 PM
I raised the question to show that one person is never the only key player involved in a company of this magnitude, which is why I try to avoid the blame game. I know what you’re trying to say. And given Mr. Head’s last post to me, he wants to avoid the blame game too. But I don’t share that outlook. I LOVE the blame game, especially when there is so easy a target as the current CEO of Disney.

You see, I patently disagree with your statement above. I will agree for each and every position within an organization EXCEPT for the head honcho! This guy sets the tone and culture for the entire company. Especially after eighteen or so years.
It's too easy to simply appoint one person as the fall guy and far more difficult to look carefully within an organization to find the true source of a problem.Where else do you suggest we look? I’m game, but I’ve already gone through the exercise. He’s the guy. Plain and simple. Unless you can come up with an alternative.
It has to be more than just Walt vs Ei$ner here.If you respond to nothing else in this post please respond to this single question:

WHY?

Point well taken Mr. Baron. However, if an owner is relying upon your expertise why wouldn't you be able to accomplish anything? Are we saying that there is not another soul within the company being called upon to aid in the decision making?I think I’m beginning to understand the nature of our disconnect. You are assuming that ‘winning’ is the ultimate and the same goal for all parties concerned. I hate to get Clinton-ish on you, but we have to do some defining.

In my example of the Bears both the coach and the owner wanted to ‘win’. However, the coach’s idea of ‘winning’ was wins vs. losses on the football field. Or turning the game of football into a fine art. The owner’s idea of ‘winning’ was profit vs. losses on a spreadsheet. Or put more bluntly, to make as much money as possible. Quite different things.

Now do understand how the analogy fits?

crusader
04-05-2003, 09:20 PM
Where else do you suggest we look?

To begin with, you can look at who he answers to and who he relies upon. Factor in what the goals of the organization were when he was hired and who put forth that agenda. In other words take a good look at the business plan. He wasn't the only participant.

This guy sets the tone and culture for the entire company. Especially after eighteen or so years.
Absolutely, and he becomes everyones excuse for why they can't do something or why something fails. It's easier for middle management to blame the guy at the top rather than take responsibility for something and risk being held accountable. A negative tone is fueled and can spread like cancer within a company the minute someone's position is vulnerable. It's the old adage "if I'm going down, I'm taking you with me".

If you respond to nothing else in this post please respond to this single question:
WHY?


Because Walt was the inventor. The visionary who had a dream. Like Ford when he first built the Model T. But we no longer have Disney the man we have Disney the Company complete with a full set of initiatives and directives well beyond what Walt was working with. Also complete with its own inhouse divisions: finance; human resources; research and development; legal; quality control; animation; theme-park divisions; motion picture divisions; sales and marketing; purchasing; etc...
All to be run by one key man.

Walt Disney was able to manage his operation like a start-up venture. The inhouse talent was predominantly filled with animators, inventors and imagineers and he focused most of his efforts in promoting creative ingeniuty. Everything else was probably outsourced.

DVC-Landbaron
04-06-2003, 12:12 AM
I’m sorry but I need to be crystal clear! Ergo – Quotes galore!!!
To begin with, you can look at who he answers to and who he relies upon.You’ve got to be kidding, right? Or perhaps you didn’t realize that the Board of Directors (the “who he reports to” of the question) is controlled absolutely by him!! He’s stacked the deck, my friend! Surely you knew that!
Factor in what the goals of the organization were when he was hired Did the goals of the company change since the days of Walt or even Walker/Miller, especially regarding the theme parks? If the goal did indeed change, I’m not aware of it. Are you?

No. I thought not. So, same goal as the earlier administrations, yet he has miserably underperformed.
and who put forth that agenda.Why, since he stacked the board with his own people, it must be his agenda!! Yes!! I do believe it is!! His agenda through and through!!

In other words take a good look at the business plan. He wasn't the only participantWell, it’s kind of redundant, but I thought we needed to say it again. The business plan was the same as it had always been. No change.

And as for being the only participant, well, look at the Board. Look at who he hires! Looks and sounds like a one man band to me!!

Absolutely, and he becomes everyone’s excuse for why they can't do something or why something fails. I absolutely disagree!! He is NOT the excuse!! He is THEE reason!!!

It's easier for middle management to blame the guy at the top rather than take responsibility for something and risk being held accountable. The middle managers are not the ones who are complaining. Members of an internet board are!!! The middle managers are not blaming anyone!!! An icy head by the name of Walt and a timeshare owning Baron are!! (how ridiculous is that!!) The middle managers are happily falling into line with this guy. You see, the good ones left and the toadies are the only ones remaining.

And more to the point, you said they would rather blame the top guy rather than, “take responsibility for something and risk being held accountable”!! How ridiculous!!!! Just what in the world are they being held accountable for? And for what are they taking responsibility? They are doing his bidding!! He’s as happy as a clam!! And they are doing just fine in the “accountable/responsibility” area!

A negative tone is fueled and can spread like cancer within a company the minute someone's position is vulnerable.There may be a negative tone or they may not be. I don’t know. What I do know for certain is that the guy at the top radically changed the philosophy, direction and ultimate goal of the company. It has nothing whatsoever to do with negativity. It has to do with goals, vision and purpose.

Because Walt was the inventor. The visionary who had a dream.First thing you’ve said that I can wholeheartedly agree with!

But we no longer have Disney the man we have Disney the Company complete with a full set of initiatives and directives well beyond what Walt was working with.Again I come up with that all important – Ignore the rest if you must answer this one:

How so?

Also complete with its own inhouse divisions: finance; human resources; research and development; legal; quality control; animation; theme-park divisions; motion picture divisions; sales and marketing; purchasing; etc.And this is different from Walt’s company - - - How?

Everything else was probably outsourced.HA!! You need to do a bit of research, my friend!! I can recommend some excellent books if you want. Just ask!

raidermatt
04-06-2003, 06:20 AM
Short term failure/success can sometimes be acheived in spite of a good/bad leader.

Rarely is long term failure/success acheived in spite of a good/bad leader.

Very simplified, but still a sound concept.

As Eisner has solidified his position and increased his influence, the company's creative and financial performance has fallen.

Short term the company succeeded under Eisner because there was still tremendous creative talent and drive in the company, and Eisner did ONE thing well (from a short-mid term financial viewpoint): Take advantage of under-utilized assets.

Once the under-utilization issue was largely gone, and Eisner consolidated power, the curtain fell on his "one-trick-pony" act. But the other thing he's been good at is protecting himself, and now he's too entrenched for anyone to get him out, unless things get far worse than they already are.

crusader
04-06-2003, 10:46 AM
Or perhaps you didn’t realize that the Board of Directors (the “who he reports to” of the question) is controlled absolutely by him!!

That may be true today but not when he first arrived. There was a plan in play and his job was to fulfill a set of objectives for the existing board members. Matt may be correct in that he did that for a time but eventually took control. This is a problem for any organization when the CEO takes over the board. I am not dismissing that but I am saying to you that it is not just him. There are others who stood to benefit by this and probably have.

What you did not tell me was whom it is he relies upon? Rest assured there are others involved.

Did the goals of the company change since the days of Walt or even Walker/Miller, especially regarding the theme parks? If the goal did indeed change, I’m not aware of it. Are you?

This is one of the main reasons it cannot simply be Walt vs Ei$ner.
You are correct the goals regarding the theme parks probably have not changed. What used to be Walt's job is now run by some division executive. What I'm saying is the CEO runs everybody and gets reported to. The division leaders are the liasons reporting to him and back to the departments. They have an agenda as well. They want to look good both ways so they serve up each side to one another whenever it gets heated. How do we really know what was done and who capitalized on it outside of Ei$ner without having an indepth knowledge of the organization as a whole.

Again I come up with that all important – Ignore the rest if you must answer this one:
How so?

I know this is a trap so I am approaching this response with grave caution. The full set of initiatives and directives have to do with running every facet of the Company today vs the Disney of thirty years ago. The primary focus of every publicly traded organization today is market share, share price, earnings per share, and profit margins.

The primary focus in Walt's day was to launch something so brilliant it became a permanent stronghold. His main inspiration was his own passion which became the driving force in sharing his dream with the world. If the project takes off it generates a large investment return for those who took the greatest risk in financing the venture. If the project tanked someone stood to lose big.

Once the company matures, the risks and large payoffs are weighed very heavily against the potential loss. There are too many investors affected and too many jobs to protect.