View Full Version : We visited the Disney Museum today...

10-13-2003, 06:51 PM
and it's called Disneyland. My wife made that comment while we were walking through Disneyland, that it felt like we were walking through a "museum" and not a working theme park. As we walked past Space Mountain, People Mover (Rocket Rods), Circlevision, Submarine Lagoon, Motorboat Cruise River, Tommorowland Skyway and Fantasyland Skyway stations, Big Thunder Railroad, Big Thunder Ranch, Innoventions, Splash Mountain, Cinderella Castle walkthrough, Mission to Mars, Mike Fink Keel Boats, the restaurant on Main Street that is now an AP processing spot, etc. we realized that you don't get ANYWHERE NEAR as much for your money now, as you did just a few short years ago. This is not to mention the rides and restaurants that don't open with the rest of the park and the ones that close early.

Also, the quality of the food, CM's uniforms, area theming and new attractions are really not as good as they used to be. The pot roast at the Plaza Inn is dogfood. (and expensive dogfood for $12.95) The castmembers once elaborate costumes are now mostly cheap shirts and pants.
The exquisite detail that used to go into area theming is no longer there, replaced by generic items that can be used in more than one land at a time. The new attractions that are being built are just not as good as the old ones. (Pooh Ride and most of DCA as examples.)

It was funny today, the streets of Disney seemed very crowded but the parking garage was not. We figured it out, there just wasn't a whole lot for the people that were there today to do, so they were mostly walking around looking at all the closed rides and empty areas.

Kind of like they were at a Disneyland museum.......it was very sad.


10-13-2003, 07:23 PM
This is very, very sad. I was there in June and the state of the park made me angry. Nevermind that the park closed at 8p, in the middle of JUNE!!! I was so excited to hear that Scoop finally went to see DL. I get very excited for first-timers, then only knew too well what his posts were going to say. Then to hear you call it a museum, it is very accurate. I then get even more sad. It's like you want to show off your kid because you are so proud of her, only to have someone tell you she is not as beautiful or talented as you thought she was. What a blow! Can anybody tell me why they are letting this happen to this wonderful piece of history? I think maybe we could have gone without M:S, so that this park could get some care it needs.


Another Voice
10-13-2003, 09:22 PM
1) California Adventure

2) ABC

3) Eisner's promised 20% growth.

All the money needed to keep Eisner's stock options afloat has to come from somewhere.

10-13-2003, 09:32 PM

Yes, there are too many failed projects out there that they have to pay for. But my question is why are they taking it from DL and not WDW? I know WDW makes more money than DL, but DL would not take as much money to keep the park up like WDW either. And if they are spreading the money around from different departments, why would they not bounce the money back and forth between the parks? BTW, I have had this conversation with my husband, who will not accept that Disney would take money from the parks budget to pay for failed projects, like ABC. He says it just doesn't work that way. That ABC has nothing to do with the parks, they are their own entity. Sounds right to me, so why are they doing it this way? Doesn't make sense financially to drain the divisions of your company that are actually doing good to save failing divisions. Someone posted that WDW made somewhere close to a billion dollars last year. Does anyone out there know how much their expences are?


Another Voice
10-14-2003, 01:10 AM
Another long boring financial post…

You're right, it's not like someone is writing a check at Disneyland that gets cashed by someone at ABC to pay Drew Carey for another episode of 'Whose Line'. Nor is it that someone in WDW loads up an armored car with cash and drives out west so Disneyland can pay off the BMX kids for the failed summer 'X-Games' show.

It's all about budgets. At the very top at Corporate a bunch of gnomes decide how much The Walt Disney Company has to make to keep the stock at a certain level. At the same time all of the business units tell Burbank how much they think they can make for the year. Naturally, everyone comes short of what corporate wants, so there's a bit of power politics about setting profit targets. Since Media (the broadcast & cable people) are the favorite children and Attractions (the theme parks, resorts, DVC and cruise ships) are the ugly step kids (according to the big guys) – guess who comes out on top.

Within Parks each group (WDW, DLR, International, Cruise, etc.) gets to play the same game as well. So the overly ambitious demands from corporate gets divided up between all the parks. Disneyland has gotten caught each and every year by wildly overestimating their ability to turn DCA around (with a gimmick a season – Electrical Parade, Fliks, 'Aladdin', 'Tower of Terror'), the cost of the ongoing safety mandates, and the ever increasing corporate requirements. In short, they always over promise.

Once the fiscal year begins, all of the operating units are held to their budgets. Things follow plans for about thirty-eight minutes as with any budget, the real results turn out different. As things change, each of the Attractions units tries to turn out their quota of cash going into the overall Attractions business unit. In part because it's their budget and they have to live with it, and in part because that's what management bonuses are based on. At Disneyland that means once DCA's latest gimmick craters, they have to make up the difference somewhere – Disneyland maintenance, operations, ticket prices, whatever.

Disneyland also has the unfortunate history of being part of Paul Pressler's Rise to Fame and Glory®. The former head of Disneyland earned himself attention by constantly turning in better than expected numbers. He did this by slashing costs in the good times and lowering the bar for "the Disneyland experience". Delayed openings, maintenance reductions, limited investment and all the other goodies have been going out here for a decade. When the bad times hit (the opening of DCA), there wasn't anything left to cut.

Moving up the ladder, Attractions must keep their overall number to Corporate. So when Disneyland Resort comes up short overall – Attractions must make up the budget difference from somewhere else. That 'else' is WDW. The cuts don't seem so deep in Florida because of the scale of things. Cutting 'Timekeeper' and 'Carousel of Progress' at the Magic Kingdom is minor because they are only two attractions out of four parks with umpteen attractions. But two attractions at Disneyland are much more noticeable. And since WDW has troubles of their own, people naturally assume that hacking five hours off the Disney/MGM Studios operating hours is all to do with attendance at that park. Reality is a little more complex.

Lastly, back at Corporate, they are balancing all the profits from all the different areas in an effort to hit the Magic Wall Street Number of Wonder®. When 'Dinotopia' fails to become the billion dollar franchise mega hit and topples 'Friends' in the ratings and ABC's ad rates fall again – you know they have to make up that money somewhere. So the call goes out to Attractions that they're going have "to step it up a bit to hit the quarterly numbers".

Media Networks (ABC, ESPN, Cable, etc.) is Disney's largest business group. When they're off a little bit percentage wise, that translates into a lot of real dollars. The only group left that anywhere near their size is Attractions. Consumer Products is a shadow now and Film hasn't made real money since the days of The Lion King. So if ABC is down $200 million, only WDW & D/L can possible make up the difference. You can't count on help from Hollywood Records to sell more 'SheDaisy' albums when ABC has to pay off millions in make-good ads because the Oscars had such poor ratings – but cutting food costs at WDW by 2% is a bundle of money.

In a fair world the opposite would work as well. If DCA continues to have problems (as if…) then ABC would be required to contribute a little more to the corporate pot. But that's not how Disney politics work.

The last published results were from the 3rd quarter. For the nine months that ended on June 30, Attractions made $732 million dollars. That was down 22% from the previous year's earnings, but that change also is because Disney gave up all their revenue from Euro Disney for the year to keep them from bankruptcy (which is a whole 'nother issue). And it's not so bad when you consider that the revenues were down 25%...in other words Disney cut costs faster than the guests stopped spending.

By contrast, Media made $841 million in the same time. That was almost exactly the same as the $839 they made in the previous year – but Media's revenues went up by 13%. So, they spent money faster than they were making it.

On last little tidbit – while Disney made $732 million from the parks, its interest expense on all the borrowing it took out for ABC, Fox Family, GO.com and all the other fun stuff from the last few years totals $642 million. In other word, an awful lot of what you spend at WDW still goes to pay off the Power Rangers.

10-14-2003, 02:34 AM
I'm so glad that we visited DL last year. It sounds like we got there just in time.

The question I have is whether or not WDW is heading down the same slippery slope. They are building a few attractions but I see little cuts here and there and wonder if these don't tend to snowball if ABC and some of the other problem children don't turn around.

10-14-2003, 02:30 PM

Thank you for that explanation. I think I knew for the most part, that that was what was happening. What I don't understand is, how is he allowing that to happen to the company? I know that people around here like to call him a moron, but is he really that stupid? It seems to me that if a division is losing money that badly, you get rid of it. If your arm is bleeding so bad, you might die, you cut it off, right? Does he really hate this company so much, that he is willing to see it crumble before he lets go off the media division? It doesn't take a genius to see that the parks are doing the best financially and that the company as a whole would do better if he invested properly in those instead of other ventures. And then his stocks would go up more, so what exactly is he not getting? How come he does not see this? Or is it way past trying to fix what he did wrong, so he has to deal with it?


10-14-2003, 09:07 PM
We're still planning an East Coast to DisneyLand roadtrip in 2005 to celebrate DisneyLand's 50th and to take our son there for his first time. Reading all this makes it harder and harder to justify

We want to see our new brick also!


10-15-2003, 12:46 PM
Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to see DL. I'm 38 now, and have considered saving up for a road trip there in a couple years. I think, after hearing so much negativity on these boards concerning DL, I'll save my money and go back to WDW again.:(

Do you think this is the way Walt intended it to be?

10-15-2003, 01:30 PM
Well with yesterdays announcement that Cynthia is leaving and DLR is getting Ouimet from DCL, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.