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Old 05-16-2013, 11:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 182

Thinking about Disney strategy...

I had an epiphany about Disney today and thought I'd run it by you all and see what you think.

US and Disney are clearly locked in competition with each other (good for all of us).

And I've sensed something like fear from the Disney lovers out there (of which I am one.) Lately, US's attractions seem bigger, faster, louder, more impressive.

All of us Disneyphiles keep wondering "why isn't Disney responding?" Is Disney losing its touch?

Then they do Fantasyland and I keep hearing, "yes, it's beautiful but where is the awesome ride? Where's something spectacular?...."

Then today I was listening to a podcast about what FP+ and RFID will permit (e.g. personalized experiences *during* rides, etc.) and the immense amount of $$ Disney put into the FP+ system.

Then it occurred to me - maybe Disney is pursuing an entirely different strategy.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm 100% a Disney guy. I haven't been to US in probably 4 years and haven't seen HP, so my view might be dated, but IMHO Disney is just better (of course your mileage may vary, that's just my opinion).

But when I think about *why* I like Disney more, frankly it has little to do with the spectacularness of the rides. I *love* a great ride, don't get me wrong, but for instance POC is a big favorite for me mostly because of its ambiance. I sort of don't care about the animatronics. I just like the atmosphere of the place. As I've returned to Disney more often, I find that I enjoy being in line as much as being on the ride!

And most of Disney is kind of like that, for me at least. It's just being there.

And then I thought - maybe *that* is precisely what they are focusing on. Fantasyland, personalized attractions with RFID, Avatarland (potentially very atmosphere oriented), etc. Disney focusing on the *experience of being at Disney* which might be another way of saying "create a place that feels special and unique" which might be another way of saying "magical" (as corny as that may sound).

US, on the other hand, seems more focused on the latest and greatest ride technology. Nothing at all wrong with that (I thought Spiderman was awesome), but maybe a different strategy.

Of course, I want both, but in a real world of limited resources, I think it's interesting to think about Disney putting something like $2 billion into Fantasyland and FP+ with no e-ticket ride to show for it as compared to HP at US with (what I'm told) is the best single ride in all of themeparkland.

Disney, presumably, could make a ride rivaling or exceeding HP with $2b. But maybe that's not what they're trying to do. "The feeling of being in a unique place" is what makes Disney great to me and keeping and enhancing that feel must be crazy expensive, even when it doesn't produce a big ride.

In short, does it make sense to view Disney's strategy as focusing on *experience* vs. US focusing on *entertainment*?

This, of course, is vastly oversimplifying, but I was trying to figure out what seems to be the driving philosophical concept behind how and why certain things get done at US vs. Disney.

Just some meandering thoughts....
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