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Old 01-22-2013, 12:42 AM   #91
Walt's Frozen Head
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"How could you overlook the fact that Disney was in serious jeopardy of being seized and sold off for parts by corporate vultures? My feeling is that Eisner did what was necessary to save Disney, maybe he became complacent after success, but I believe his intentions were noble. I think we agree for the most part, but the efforts to transform Disney into a profitable machine was indeed -- a necessary evil, to survive and weather the hostile corporate climate."

I shall now fail to address anything you said specifically. I hope it comes together, anyway.

I simply disagree with the notion the Eisner "saved Disney." He saved the name, sure, but I believe the product was diluted and corrupted. He destroyed the story-telling machine and built the trans-continental ATM, and just used the same name for it.

Are you old enough to remember the Commodore/Atari holy wars in the early eighties? The Commodore 64 was the most successful computer of its day, but there were a number of people (yes, of course I was one of them, why wouldn't I be?) who thought the Atari computers were better designed and built, easier to program for, more capable. There was a point where Atari collapsed financially, and a man named Jack Tramiel bought the company. Some would say Tramiel "saved" Atari, because he kept them in the black for a few-to-several more years, but the ST line of computers he introduced were not designed and built with the same care and sophistication as the earlier machines, they were designed and built to be sold cheaply. The man who developed much of the custom internals of the Atari 800 went on to design another computer, a computer that was much more of a real "big brother" to the early Ataris than the STs ever were.

Now, there's so much irony in this story you'll think I made it all up, because Jack Tramiel had previously been the founder of Commodore, and the computer Jay Miner developed after his Atari days was the Commodore Amiga. Both Atari and Commodore survived (at least for a while), but in a very real way, to people who cared more about the product itself than the name stamped on the side, Atari had turned into Commodore and Commodore had turned into Atari.

In the same way, I suggest that Eisner did not save the Disney that made those wonderful things that brought them early success, indeed, he destroyed that Disney so he could put the name on other products, products designed to be created cheaply, marketed heavily, and sold profitably.

Would Disney have been broken up and sold piecemeal, if not for Eisner? I don't know. Maybe. But what if someone like Pixar had been the ones to get hold of the animation division? What if someone like Oriental Land Company ended up with the parks?

(What if Frank Wells had lived, is a fascinating, if unanswerable question, viewed in the light of this discussion. Would the marriage of creativity and commerce have worked on a wider scale as it had in ToT? Would I be agreeing that the Disney Decade was a time filled with Magic?)

History is written by the winners, and the imagined terrors are always worse than those of reality. The way things played out, Eisner and his supporters get to say "he saved Disney," and I fully realize how Quixotic I look trying to tell a different story. But the Disney Eisner "saved" is not the Disney I grew up with, and I'm not as willing as some to say that this Disney, simply by still existing as a single business entity, is clearly better than that which "could have been."

I would be a bad American if I said Eisner was wrong for creating a profit center, so I hope that's not what this appears to boil down to. But I still think the creation he destroyed in the process was much rarer and more valuable to, literally, the culture of the entire world, than even his bloated bottom line was to a relative handful of executives and shareholders.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:04 AM   #92
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So where does that leave us in this discussion. Well, all I can think is that Walt, and the What Would Walt Do crowd, thought that this experience (the Poly and the Contemporary) should be priced to hold the most amount of value as possible. Evidently Ei$ner disagreed. Within two years (it could have been three, my memory fails me at times, suffice to say a relatively short time period) the cost of the Poly DOUBLED!! Several years after that (again, hazy memory) it tripled!!! For me that didnt diminish the magic at all! It absolutely KILLED it!

But wait!! Just in the nick of time what do you think happened? Yep! The Caribbean Beach opened and slipped right into the same price point that the Poly used to own. How convenient!! How nice of Disney not to let me stay outside the Magic!

But wait!! While the Caribbean is nice, is it like the two originals? No. Not quite. Hmmmmm. How disappointing. But I guess by paying less than people staying in those two, I deserve, less magic. A lesser Disney experience. Its only fair. Pay more. Get more Magic. Pay less. Get less Magic. I guess the Disney experience is more like a commodity than a true experience. I used to think that a Disney experience had only one definition. I didnt realize that it could be portioned out depending on how much you are willing to pay.

And a few years later, what do you think happened. Thats right; prices kept going up WAY faster than inflation for both levels of accommodations. Ah! But benevolent Disney comes to the rescue!! What do they do for those poor unfortunate people that they just priced out of their rooms? They gave them the Value resorts!! Thanks the Disney gods that wonderful Mr. Ei$ner was looking out for them!!
Oh gosh joining in, this is gonna get rambly my apologies in advance. This is all 100% true, but it's also just simple economics. Why did they charge double and then triple? Because they could. Because people pay it. Because no matter how many threads we post on the topic, they don't care because they are selling the rooms. Are CEO's of companies sometimes greedy *******s? Yep. They had a plan and they implemented it. They needed rooms, hotel dollars were going off property, just like happened in Disneyland, and Walt would not have wanted that either. That's why he bought all that land in the first place. Yes they should have built more resorts much, much sooner. The annual number of visitors was about 3 million in the early 70's. By the early 90's it was up to 35 million, and I think it's hovering near 50 million now. But there can't be 20 high end pure Disney themed hotels within a boat/monorail ride of the park. They knew there would only be a handful of hotels that could be that close to the park and they knew they would fetch the most money, and they were right.

I don't know how much the Poly was in the 70's and 80's, but I know when I was a kid we went every other year starting in 1979 and always stayed off property, at a Hyatt and a Ho Jo's I believe? Hard to remember. I remember my parents lamenting because they really wanted to stay at the Contemporary or Poly and couldn't afford it. I remember them complaining about how expensive the Disney hotels were compared to the off property ones even back then. We were there target audience, family of 4 middle class with baby boomer parents. My mom loved Disney and got my dad to love it too. Her family went to Disneyland the first year it was open. I know we would have stayed there if it had been a value, we even had to pay to rent a car since we weren't on property. We did end up pulling our RV there in 1989 and camped at FW. My mom was so excited that we actually got to stay on property.

But at any rate, setting up the tiered class hotel system made good business sense, and raising the prices gave them the cash flow to expand. And people paid it, pure supply and demand. If there were 20 "Poly's" circling the park that you could book for $150 a night, the reservations would fill up so fast you probably couldn't get in unless you booked a year or 2 in advance. And I honestly think if it had been financially feasible for them to build more resorts like that they would have, but this plan was set in motion "pre-little mermaid." The movies and the parks were still "finding themselves" if you will, they went conservative. They were at risk. And when you set up a price tiered system there has to be differences. Distance from the park, amenities, service, etc. Most big hotel chains have tiered brands as well, they were smart to follow. We could go round and round debating decor and themes, can we at least agree that they are all unique? At least they tried to make family friendly resorts that were different from the norm, whether they are your taste or not. And they are different from each other in theming too. They could have knocked out 20 all-star type resorts and called it good, it would have been cheaper and quicker. But they tried, they could have done better, but they are also appealing to a mass audience of all different cultures and I'm sure they made compromises.

If people were mad or upset by the moves they should have showed it with their pocket books and stayed off site. But if they keep making money hand over fist there is no reason for them to change. "Disney I really hate what you are doing here, here take my money again!" From a business stand point they did a lot of the right things. What would Walt have done? Who knows. The man behind the magic is gone, he was the magic. It's like Apple without Jobs. Maybe Walt would have been ok with everything not being perfect if it meant more people could stay on property. Maybe he would have had to compromise his dreams when faced with the realities his successors were faced with. Or maybe we would have packed it up and said screw it if he couldn't get it just the way he wanted, he had done that before. Everything evolves over time. Everything changes. Things still would have changed and we'd be left complaining about a different set of misteps, or reminiscing about the company that is no more.

Would I rather stay at Poly than Pop? You bet. Do I like Pop? I do! It's fun, I love the big icons. We feel like we are a toy or something. It's not a destination theme like Poly or most of the moderates, but pop culture icons from different decades is definitely a theme. Nostalgia is a theme. It's fun explain the building themes to my daughter, we went with my parents last time and got to explain how this movie came out when Nana was a kid, stuff like that. And hey it's a lot more "Disney" than the Holiday Inn. But I can understand it's not everyone's thing, and I have little to compare it to. We can debate these things till we're blue in the face and it won't. change. anything. So I try to focus on the positive. I can take my child to Disney on a semi-regular basis and stay on property, there are 4 parks now, a lot more rides, a lot more current attractions based on movies my child loves, there is still magic, it's still fresh every time I go, and I would still rather be at Disney than anywhere else.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:38 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by YoHo View Post
Well, sure in isolation it's perfectly reasonable to call them noteworthy or worthy of praise, but how do they compare when you remove them from isolation? And how do they compare when you think about what we should accept from Disney?

I mean, Disney has not met the standard set by Haunted and Pirates in at least 28(ish) years. (Assuming we consider Horizons to have met that standard. I do.)
Maybe we put Indy in there, but if you do, that's still around 17 years ago and not in Florida.
Sorry...been sick so away from the keyboard for a bit.

But there is a difference between "in isolation" and "in context".

I don't think that just because something isn't "the best" means it isn't good. Again, I go back to the meal analogy.

I'm perfectly OK with saying something is good even if it doesn't match or exceed the pinnacle of it's given category. And, while it might be worth mentioning that it's not the best...it's not worth basing my entire "review" or feeling on that one particular point. I don't get stuck on it.

Quote:
28 years and they couldn't once reach the peak they previously set. Sure we can muddle around down in the weeds and talk about how nice Soarin is(Only at DCA, at Epcot its crap, because no new movie), but why frackin bother? I mean heck, even Pirates itself has been undermined.
No, and, again, that's a valid point.

But allowing that to "poison" every experience they HAVE created since then, IMHO, isn't.

Quote:
As for Spiderman, I've never ridden it, so I can't say from experience, but I don't think an attraction about a popular comicbook character can meet the standard set by pirates and Haunted. The use of a "property" as the back story undermines it.
I think the "Story" and we can get into what that means needs to be original.
You should ride it. It's lost a bit of it's wow factor as it's aged...not through any fault of it's own but because the beat of technology has moved on...but it really is Spectacular (no pun, for the spiderman fans, intended).

It won't measure up, for you, in terms of originality...but then, much of Disney is based on their own IP's after the fact, too. And I'm perfectly OK with that (and, actually, would expect it all things considered).
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:07 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
I didn’t want this thread to turn into an Ei$ner bashing moment, although I have to say – It’s a lot of FUN!!!

What I wanted was a critical look at how they utilized the massive land holdings they had in Central Florida. Were the resorts/hotels/motels/cheap rip off motels, the best they could do? Was MGM/Studios/Whatever it is now, really a great theme for a third gate or would it have been the ultimate Disney experience within a massive E.P.C.O.T. pavilion (the original plan)? Was AK really needed or could they have done better with a different concept altogether, instead of “keeping up with the Joneses” (i.e. Tampa)? Those are the questions that need answering. The overall plan. The BIG PICTURE!! Not weather Soarin’ has a new film or not!
To that question:

I'm torn on the MGM/Studios/DHS gate. I think, had Disney come to the idea, itself, and not been looking to squash Uni's thunder, and had it been implemented well and not rushed...it could have been spectacular. But...as we all know..that's not what happened (and it's tough not to bash Eisner when we're talking about this...people lauding the Disney Decade should remember that DHS was/is not exactly a home run).

All that being said: I think what we have right now would take relatively little (with the "relative" part firmly keeping the DCA fix in mind) to "fix" DHS. Especially if we keep in mind that studios deal in NOT just movies (but film production of all kinds). I think they COULD very easily remake the park. So, keeping that in mind, I'm generally OK with the direction they went.

AK is hard for me to objectively gauge. It, like DHS, is/was largely unfinished. And I do really like what Disney did there...but I don't think it appeals much to the masses. I've said this before but I don't think the masses really appreciate AK for what it is (but what Disney tries hard NOT to portray it as: an animal habitat/zoo). And, unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion Disney is not so slowly changing the park to match it's message (Nah ta zu) and the masses preferences.

AK is at it's best when you're willing to actually explore it, and spend some time wandering...and not going commando style from attraction to attraction. But Disney has so conditioned it's patrons to "experience" their parks in a specific way....most of AK's patrons see a half day park (for good reason) that's short on stuff to do.

But ask those same folks about the trails along the tree of life, or the more "hidden" animal exhibits (outside them sprinting through the trails to see tigers and gorillas), and you'll get blank stares.

And Disney has never been able to effectively figure out how to get around those two things.

Personally, I like it. I liked Cyprus Gardens, too...where the attraction was the wandering. Where you were essentially creating your own "adventure". To me, that's VERY much akin to Walt's sentiment in relation to his own live action nature series (with, probably, just as much scene staging).

But, to the same point, I understand the objections and complaints that surround the park, too. Disney has tried to have it both ways, and has obliterated both of them. It either has to be attraction heavy (and likely much more exploration light) or they have to completely recondition their guests and hope that it appeals (something I question, given what we've seen of our cultural attention span). I suspect they've made that decision and there will be a time in the very near future where it becomes obvious where they're going (and it ain't reconditioning their guest).

If pushed, I think I'd say Disney DIDN'T effectively use the land. That, while I really like what they did, they effectively created a niche experience that only a limited number of their guests are going to want or will take the time to understand. And that's NOT the guests fault, really. It's just that, by their very nature, they act in a very homogenized, predictable way....which is completely counter to the way AK was built. They've certainly tried, in recent years (with more coming, I think) to end around that fact....but with AK, I'm not sure you can "fix" it without just completely changing what it was originally built to be. In other words: It's almost a DCA sized fix. Maybe not in terms of complete theme rethink (which means you're not having to rebuild entrances and "streets"), but certainly in terms of complete park rethink.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:25 AM   #95
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pilferk!! Well met!! And...

DITTO!!

You have summed it up nicely! And you use a lot of words!! I like that too!

I guess it boils down to this. In 1955 (and for me personally 1968) they WOWed the heck out of me. In 1971 (and July of 1972 for me) they WOWed me again! And in 1981 (Summer of '82 for me) they WOWed me yet again!!!

And they haven't WOWed me since. Oh sure! Some things are very nice. Some are even wonderful. But have they exceeded my expectations like they did in '68, '72 and '82? NO!! THEY HAVE NOT!

pilferk, your take on the parks is wonderful (if a little overly optimistic!! I don't think they're going to fix it! Or at least fix it to WOW-ability levels.) But what about the resorts/hotels/motels/cheap horrid giant icons, etc. etc. etc.? Any thoughts on that?
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:16 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
pilferk!! Well met!! And...

DITTO!!

You have summed it up nicely! And you use a lot of words!! I like that too!

I guess it boils down to this. In 1955 (and for me personally 1968) they WOWed the heck out of me. In 1971 (and July of 1972 for me) they WOWed me again! And in 1981 (Summer of '82 for me) they WOWed me yet again!!!

And they haven't WOWed me since. Oh sure! Some things are very nice. Some are even wonderful. But have they exceeded my expectations like they did in '68, '72 and '82? NO!! THEY HAVE NOT!

pilferk, your take on the parks is wonderful (if a little overly optimistic!! I don't think they're going to fix it! Or at least fix it to WOW-ability levels.) But what about the resorts/hotels/motels/cheap horrid giant icons, etc. etc. etc.? Any thoughts on that?
I think your view of my optimism is about to radically change.

I should be clearer on "fix it". By "fix it", I mean 2 different things for the different parks.

For DHS, I mean they'll likely make it "bigger", with more attractions....and with the Star Wars purchase, I think that means a larger incorporation of that IP...and probably a larger infusion of Pixar (though I'm not 100% convinced we're going to get a paver for paver recreation of Carsland...we'll see). It will likely be addition by some subtraction (Backlot tour, the Sounds Dangerous area, car stunt show and, likely, the Indy stunt show). I do agree: Not to "WOW" levels of the original MK or EPCOT levels. But certainly closer to complete and compelling than what we have now....which is a disjointed, somewhat "broken" concept park.

For AK, their "fix" is very different. I think they'll jettison the stuff that I really find compelling and make it a much more "theme-parkish" entity. I think we've seen some of that over the past couple years, but I think Avatarland (and some other potential expansions) cements that. It'll create something the Disney suits are far more comfortable selling to the masses...and completely eradicate the bit of "WWWD" that I feel in that park (specifically related to the Nature series). I don't think that "fix" makes it better. It might make it more profitable, because it will fit more in line with what the average guest has been conditioned to expect. I'd be shocked if they managed a level of "Wow".

Neither of those "fixes" are likely to actually fix them in terms of making the parks more what you or I would think of as Disney quality or "Wow" factor. Thus, the reason for the quotes around the words. I mean "fix", in terms of better meeting the guests perceived needs/expectations, not necessarily what the guests SHOULD expect (were this Disney circa 1960-ish). But that's probably another tangent discussion: How Disney has actually changed guest expectation levels (lowered them, actually) over the years.

And, to be clear, I don't think those "fixes" happen overnight. Just that I think they're coming, eventually. DHS probably sooner rather than later.

I will also say that FLE gives me some slight hope that the worm might be turning in Florida. But it's very, very slight.

With the resorts, I largely agree with your take posted in other places, above. I think there have been some home runs...like AKL (I can look past it's WL similarities because there is NOTHING like it, anywhere, outside of Africa, in terms of overall experience/theme) and The Boardwalk Inn (as it was opened..the complex needs a bit of a refresh) but far more strike outs like Saratoga Springs, Art of Animation, Yacht and Beach (other than it's waterpark), etc. I'm NOT impressed with BLT, either....but I'll give that one an intentional walk for now.

To continue the baseball analogy, I think we've got a .200 hitter with potential for power to right field, right now. I'd prefer a .330 hitter, hitting 50 HR's a year. I'm just not sure the company is built to be that guy, right now (or, potentially, anymore).

Keep in mind, in the above, I'm strictly talking about theme...NOT value or service. What Disney gets away with, in terms of service levels vs pricing/value at ALL their WDW hotels (but especially deluxe) is quite nuts. Even their flagship (the Grand) hardly offers what I would consider deluxe level service. And what's "interesting" is that Disney apparently realizes this, and realizes it's a turn off to the high end, big spender clientele...because they basically gave away a tract of primer real estate to 4 seasons in hopes that Disney could lure SOME of those clients closer to property.

As an aside: I think the single most interesting "resort" concept in recent memory (though it wasn't unique), actually, was the Disney Institute. I think the Treehouse Villas and the whole art colony/communal living thing COULD have been done really well...had it been managed and done correctly. I think you could have run that very similar to the way they run Food and Wine/Flower and Garden (with seasonal changes to the programs) and Disney could have not only have a truly unique offering, but they'd have made a mint. As it was, the programs were pretty lousy and overpriced....and the whole unit was pretty badly mismanaged.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:56 AM   #97
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meowmarie:

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Oh gosh joining in, this is gonna get rambly my apologies in advance.
No need to apologize for rambling! People tell me I have a habit of rambling too!
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Why did they charge double and then triple? Because they could. Because people pay it.
Which is the heart of the matter. Back in the day Disney was expensive. It was always expensive. But they always seemed to give you much more than you’d expect for the dollars you spent. I’d always tell people who were going to Disney for the first time, “Disney ain’t cheap by any means. BUT!! It is worth every penny you spend!!” Today I tell them, “Disney ain’t cheap by any means. PERIOD!”

Quote:
Because no matter how many threads we post on the topic, they don't care because they are selling the rooms.
I’m not trying to change anyone at Disney. They simply don’t care and most (if not all) just don’t “GET IT”. What I AM trying to do is give people a different business philosophy. Everyone knows that when you maximize profits, you make more money. And if you are making/selling widgets that’s wonderful!! Make that cash as quickly as you can!! Have at it!! Reduce costs wherever possible and charge people just to the breaking point!! Nice business plan.

But Disney isn’t selling widgets. They are selling an “experience”. And that takes a different business strategy that Walt understood inherently, but the current regime does not! It is totally alien to their way of thinking. It doesn’t fit in the business model that they learned in their Ivy League schools. And they simply can’t wrap their heads around it. BUT!! It is just as profitable, if not more, as the ‘widget’ philosophy. It was an extremely profitable business model for 30 some years!! Until Ei$ner & crew changed it.

Your post tends to agree with that business philosophy. But I want you to try to understand is Walt’s philosophy. The philosophy that grew the company (and especially the theme parks) into an American institution!! A philosophy that WOWed the crowd at every turn! A philosophy that INSISTED that they not meet expectations but exceed them every time!!

And part (not all by any means) but part of that philosophy is price point. It is something that the “sharp pencil guys” will never understand. I will admit it is unique. VERY UNIQUE!! It is so unique that I cannot think of another company (save Pixar or maybe Apple) that uses this philosophy. And to be honest, most companies shouldn’t! They are selling commodities, widgets of every shape and size. Disney is not. They are selling an experience. And that calls for a different outlook.

OK. Next – two things tied together:
Quote:
But there can't be 20 high-end pure Disney themed hotels within a boat/monorail ride of the park.
And…
Quote:
But at any rate, setting up the tiered class hotel system made good business sense, and raising the prices gave them the cash flow to expand.
First you have to decide what you’re selling. Are you selling a hotel room? Or are you selling a Disney experience?

If it is a hotel room then we are so far apart on this issue that I really don’t know if we could ever reach common ground. BUT!! If it is a Disney experience we’re selling then we have to buy into Walt’s business philosophy. And simply put that philosophy says that it is unique. It is different. It is something that you CANNOT get anywhere else in the world!

The next question you have to answer is can this ‘experience’ be weighed. By that I mean can it be less if you charge less and more if you pay more? Or is a “Disney Experience” simply that. One definition. One standard. And to make it less, even though you charge less, diminishes the experience and it becomes something other than “Disney”?

Here’s an example. Way back in 1972 theme parks charged ‘by the ride’. It was the standard model. You paid a pittance to get into the park and then every ride was a la carte. So you have Pirates charging .90 cents for a ride. Well, could you conceive of a lesser version, way in the back of the park, without AA figures, maybe cardboard cutouts instead, and maybe two less rooms? But it would be OK because you’d only charge .40 cents for that version of Disney Magic. Crazy, isn’t it?

By using Walt’s “Disney” philosophy the current resorts fall into that same craziness! You simply CANNOT have a tiered system of resorts!! The lower end will cease to be “Disney”. And there’s a good chance that the upper end also ceases to be “Disney”! Remember, the resorts were to be an extension of the theme park. A unique experience. THAT is the Disney Experience! Anything less than that is NOT Disney! It is simply a decorated hotel room.

One last thing.
Quote:
And I honestly think if it had been financially feasible for them to build more resorts like that they would have, but this plan was set in motion "pre-little mermaid." The movies and the parks were still "finding themselves" if you will, they went conservative.
I need a little further explanation regarding this. I don’t know what you mean. WDW was more than a decade old when Ei$ner came in and a couple more years older when he started fiddling with a tiered system of resorts. And their theme park experience (knowing what worked and what price to set) was begun in 1955!! That’s 30 years of home runs before Ei$ner got his hands on it!! So if you could explain this bit, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:01 AM   #98
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:40 AM   #99
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I haven't been able to read every post on here, just the few recent ones.

MEOWMARIE, PILFERK, and DVC-Landbaron.

I have enjoy you three and your points. I agree with some of theme, how WDW was, is, and could be. How maybe what we call "mistakes" have happened, whether at the parks or resorts. There are some things throughout the years that I didn't necessarily like what they have done. And maybe I am just dum here, and being too picky. Like the resorts, I never have understood the SWAN and DOLPHIN. What's the deal with Bonnet Creek? Again, I probably need to do more research on how those came about it, then I may understand. Is that really what I would call a "Disney" resort? I want to be immersed in "theme" and away from reality when I get to WDW. I still don't understand a McD's on property. Or is that just me?

With that, I still enjoy myself at WDW, I am still overall satisfied with my adventure there. People complain about the prices sometimes, whether the deluxe resorts or the tickets. Well, people keep coming, and until that slows down considerable, they are going to keep with it. (Like MEOWMARIE said I think)

When I go, sometimes I try not to wrap myself up in "Why did they do that?" or "Why hasn't this been changed?" I try to appreciate what they have done, knowing usually that someone was behind that attraction and did their best to provide an "experience".

Well, that's all I have time for right now.....

and that's one Disney fan's 2 cents.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:58 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
pilferk!! MY NEW BEST FRIEND!!!


Just keep in mind there is something of a bipolar nature to my ramblings at times.

Because I am a firm believer in Magic, and the way Disney "should" be (as in, the way I would like it to be run, and not just in a WWWD kinda way)

AND

I'm something of a sharp pencil/data guy in real life.

So when we have these types of discussions, you and I are largely going to agree.

And then we're going to get on the "but there's reasons why, in this corporate culture, that a publicly held entity won't do things that way anymore and that's a reflection of the corporitization and homoginization of our entire socio-economic paradigm" where we're probably going to part company. And while I agree that there ARE other ways to do business that could, possibly, be just as effective as the "sharp pencil" method (look at Apple), I also know what an incredibly tough buy in that is when you're catering to a large pool of institutional investors (which, lets face it, is who Disney is trying to please).

Basically, the best thing that could happen to Disney (in terms of maintaining the Magic) is for some private investor to buy them and run it with the care and stewardship it deserves. And...entirely because of Disney's massive size, success, and branding value...that will never, ever, ever happen.

I guess Apple could buy them...which isn't a private investor, but maybe the next best thing. But they'd be the only realistic (though very unlikely) alternative.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:07 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by disneyworld1977 View Post
I haven't been able to read every post on here, just the few recent ones.

MEOWMARIE, PILFERK, and DVC-Landbaron.

I have enjoy you three and your points. I agree with some of theme, how WDW was, is, and could be. How maybe what we call "mistakes" have happened, whether at the parks or resorts. There are some things throughout the years that I didn't necessarily like what they have done. And maybe I am just dum here, and being too picky. Like the resorts, I never have understood the SWAN and DOLPHIN. What's the deal with Bonnet Creek? Again, I probably need to do more research on how those came about it, then I may understand. Is that really what I would call a "Disney" resort? I want to be immersed in "theme" and away from reality when I get to WDW. I still don't understand a McD's on property. Or is that just me?
Swan and Dolphin I think you'll find an explanation of a bit further back. Essentially, they were not supposed to be there til Eisner's ego caused some "renegotiation" (ie: out of court settlement) that resulted in those two hoteliers and their conference center being smack dab in Epcot area prime real estate instead of a bit further away. Also blame Eisner for picking the architect (the one thing he really got in the settlement). You almost wonder if Eisner owed the Grave money from a poker game or insulted his wife or something. Yeesh.

Bonnet Creek is different. It was/is the ONE parcel in the area that Disney couldn't buy way back when. In fact, Disney tried to effectively block the Bonnet Creek development by denying them road access...but the courts/mediators quickly shut that down and pretty much forced Disney to provide Bonnet right of way. Reedy Creek Improvement District then entered into negotiations with World Union (the owners) and they finalized details that would let the property be developed.

Essentially, Disney had no say in that one.

A some what dated (circa 2009) description:
http://www.yesterland.com/bonnet.html

Quote:
With that, I still enjoy myself at WDW, I am still overall satisfied with my adventure there. People complain about the prices sometimes, whether the deluxe resorts or the tickets. Well, people keep coming, and until that slows down considerable, they are going to keep with it. (Like MEOWMARIE said I think)

When I go, sometimes I try not to wrap myself up in "Why did they do that?" or "Why hasn't this been changed?" I try to appreciate what they have done, knowing usually that someone was behind that attraction and did their best to provide an "experience".

Well, that's all I have time for right now.....

and that's one Disney fan's 2 cents.
To be frank, I'm the same way when I'm THERE. When I'm on site, I'm on vacation with my family, and experience the parks that way.

But when I'm not on site, it's fun to postulate, speculate, debate, and all those other -ates we do around here.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:31 PM   #102
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pilferk...

Thanks for the info. I think a long time ago, I did some research on some of that stuff but haven't in several and forget the info about it.

Disney needs to make like a "Disney Parks" board, with like 100, or maybe 1000 (LOL) of like old school and crazy new Disney fans, to consult and help in the efforts moving forward. Then, along with the Imagineers, continue to develop Disney World even better.

I vote me on that board. I have a little bit of Disney knowledge to lend.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:16 PM   #103
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To that question:That, while I really like what they did, they effectively created a niche experience that only a limited number of their guests are going to want or will take the time to understand.
I totally agree with this thought. And, it is not only the Parks, but, it holds true for the Resorts and surrounding areas as well!

I have been to Epcot 20 times! Went this year with my son who was a College Program member working there. He taught / showed me a few dozen things I had no idea existed, or, what the story really was.

Part of the problem is that visiting these parks are expensive! You make a mental check-list of the big-ticket experiences, and, you really never take that time to stop and smell the roses - the prices are too expensive for that! Why not just ditch 'Soarin for the 10th time - and use that time to explore?

They teach the CM's / CP's that stuff for free. We too can learn about some of these hidden gems, but, will cost you $75 or more for the tour along with the Park entrance. Perhaps they are missing the mark here?

Case in point: It took me 25 years after my first visit to explore Tom Sawyers Island. Loved it, never have been back and I know there is a ton to see!
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:23 PM   #104
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meowmarie:

They simply don’t care and most (if not all) just don’t “GET IT”.
Ok Land - here is where I draw the line and disagree (semantics mostly!). I don't want to go in to it - have many times before: I worked as a Contractor on a major software project down there - all behind the scenes.

These folks care, and, care passionately! They care about title, they care about responsibility, they care about the number of direct reports under them, they care about power, they care about advancement and they are absolutely ruthless to get what they care about.

I just deleted 5 paragraphs I had written regarding the circumstances - I feel better just saying: They play for keeps. If they are in the right - they are right and demand action within a week. If they are in the wrong - they are righter, fight you 10 times harder and demand action within 24 hours.

I have worked with over 200 companies in my career - this was the worst client I ever worked with and their is no 2nd worse. It took me 5 years to get over the experience - luckily my kids begged me to go!

For me, going back was finally separating the Business from the Magic. And, sometimes threads like this are not healthy for me as they bring back the wrong memories. They are a business - they are a Publicly traded company and they are there to increase shareholder value. If they do a bad job - the throngs won't show up. On the other hand, as I said yesterday: We all have an emotional / financial stake in the place - and - are due our frank thoughts.

How did they get that way? Was it Eisner? Was it Frank "Bean Counter" Wells? My personal thought it was not a Eisner / Wells directive. I think it evolved over years of being lauded as a great company! They grew exponentially during the Disney Decade. Very talented young executives were hired on - they all want to get to the top - and they want to get their tomorrow!

I am not naive. The first 14 years of my career were with a Bank that went from the Fortune 5000 to the Fortune 100 during my tenure - we were the same way as I described WDW! I understand turf-wars! But we never came CLOSE in terms of ruthlessness and ferocity. We were 100% customer focused and would spend 50K to fix a 10K problem!

Long story short: My opinion is the internal focus is based off the wrong premise.

You don't get to the top of WDW Management by proposing a new Monorail line. You get there by blowing up the existing one and implementing Rickshaws and charge a Luxury fee for the service!

You don't get to the top by building 5 new cutting edge rides in the new Fantasy Land! You get there by building one, re-purposing a few others and building a new Restaurant and 4 more shops. Then you tell everyone you invested $250 Million "to enhance the Guest Experience"! You finish it off by raising Ticket prices and by having a big Hoo pe Doo at Celebration for the Cash Members!

And, I read the new WDW Leader got to the top by raising revenue / profits. So, there you go!

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #105
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Spiderman and HP both are both examples of cutting edge technology being used to spectacular results, regardless of the inspiration. In other words, had Walt had this type of inspiration for his attractions initially he certainly would have taken advantage of them. For anyone to deny Walt's intelligence otherwise is utterly ridiculous.

Further, what grand story does HM an Pirates tell? Oh, I know some see granduer and I certainly do agree that quality 'storytelling', if that's what you wish to call it (although to me it's a misnomer) is paramount in the Disney and 'new world' theme park experience ... but I do not agree that this was Walt's singlular motivation. Pishaw.

This post is completely wrong.

Or rather, completely misses my point. Sorry to go back 3 pages, but life must at times intrude.

Are you suggesting that Walt would have purchased other's IP to use in his parks? I'm not positive that isn't true. He might have, but at the same time, he was filled with his own inborn ability to think up and develope such IP within his own company. His talents are such that he never would have needed to do such a thing. Which is not to say he wouldn't have if he thought it the right fit. Only that purely based on his creative output, he likely wouldn't have needed to and so it's a silly consideration.

Also, I don't believe I used the term "Grand Story" I talked about Storytelling. Pirates and the Haunted Mansion are the best at Storytelling. HANDS DOWN. None better. Some equal.

And interestingly, they both do it with different methods and types of story.

If you don't think "Storytelling" was Walt's motivation, then pray tell what other motivation do you think their was?

My guess is you've miss-identified what I'm calling Storytelling.

Storytelling is the fundamental Gist of Walt's entire career.
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