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Old 08-08-2002, 11:54 AM   #1
DisneyKidds
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Join Date: Mar 2001
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DEBATE: Maintaining the Walt Standard

There is so much talk of the failure to maintain the Walt Disney 'standards' having led to the erosion of the Disney Magic and the ungluing of the Disney empire. Failure to put the Show above all else. Failure to 'do it right or not do it at all'. Failure to 'give the guest everything you can'. Failure to ask the question 'what would Walt do'? These can be easy things to say, but would they have been so easy to do?

But what exactly would Walt have done? While Walts 'ideals' may have been the basis for everything that WDW was, Walt never managed WDW a day in his life, which sadly ended long before the Orlando dream was realized. Walt built an empire that thrived under his 'standards'. But keep in mind, some of his other actions driven by those 'standards' had him near penniless at times. So, would Walt have changed his 'standards' throughout the years had he been alive to run WDW? Would that have represented a compromising of his 'standards'? Could WDW be all that it has been if all those 'standards' had been strictly adhered to?

Some consider excess to have been the downfall of the Roman empire. Adherence to a way of life that left them oblivious to those that would challenge them. As it goes in the American Adventure - excess and plenty as the greatest threat to a young America. All of that highlighting the risks of becoming successful and prosperous doing things a certain way, living a certian way, and only a certain way. Failure to change and evolve can easily lead to ruin - history tells us that.

Perhaps if Walt had been alive and refused to compromise his 'standards' we wouldn't have moderate and value resorts. Perhaps we would only have two theme parks. Perhaps a lot of things would be different in Orlando today. Would that have been such a good thing? Keep in mind that the theme parks represent half the operating profit for the entire company. Could strict adherence to Walts 'standards' have led to the same levels of success in the long term that The Disney Company has experienced? Or, could the refusal to adjust a way of living, a way of thinking, have led to the downfall of the Disney empire.

I know nobody really has the answer to the question 'What would Walt have done?' It is all speculation. Not that a lot of the decisions that represent departures from Walts 'standards' have not been mistkaes. Indeed, the Nepoleon that is Ei$ner may have met his Waterloo. But what if..........
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