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Old 04-10-2013, 02:04 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by mvk View Post
Universal has so far to go to catch up to Disney both in terms of park content and branding/loyalty that the two really aren't that comparable in terms of ramping up construction. Universal has to do stuff like that in hopes of getting a day or two from Disney vacationers.

The Disney Parks haven't fallen off either, for Disney, they are a huge part of the success of the overall company, and, along with ESPN, are what is basically carrying them to this exponential growth. There is value in growing slowly, as Walt Disney World has tended to do over the years, and not just jam a ton of things in at once.

Just for some perspective -

Magic Kingdom opened in 1971.
Pirates of the Carribean opened in 1973.
Space Mountain opened in 1975.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened in 1980.
Splash Mountain opened in 1993.
Park Content... That's a tough one. Spiderman opened in 1999 with the IOA park and immediately was recognized as one of the best dark rides in the world by the industry. Disney has yet to bring anything that matches it to the US parks, even as Universal upped the game yet again by "plusing" the Spiderman tech/concepts in their Forbidden journey attraction.

Branding/Loyalty... I won't argue that one. But i will say that's not really saying anything. Disney has over 50yrs in the park business and established itself a leader at the start thanks to Walt and his coming into the American public's home and showcasing the park since Disneyland's Grand opening. It's a cultural thing at this point. Disney also has never really let up on the advertising, so it's always in front of you and the park to go to. Universal on the other hand got off to a not-so-great start with their first park having so many technical troubles when it first opened.... and with the ownership issues over the years has had various levels of parent support and investment.... and virtually no national advertising in recent history... prior to the WWoHP opening.


What can be argued however is that as People actually give Universal a chance, is they are finding themselves falling in love with the parks and all it has to offer. [assuming they can remove their disney rose colored glasses]. Prior to WWoHP a lot of people didn't have a reason to both going and seeing the Universal parks.

On the flip side.... We are starting to see Disney's loyalty starting to take a hit (even if it's currently just a small one.... and is masked by all the new visitors). Between ever increasing pricing and the constant removal of experiences, services, and offerings.... more die-hard Disneyphiles are starting to actually question the value of a Disney trip, or an exclusively disney trip.

But, when it comes to Branding and Loyalty, Disney does have a HUGE head start and lead over Universal currently..... so it's going to be awhile before Universal comes anywhere close to the same level of goodwill as Disney in the park business. But from what I'm seeing from looking at the direction the two right now, Universal is investing heavily in attempts to improve it's branding, loyalty, and perception by the public. On the flip side, Disney has become comfortable in it's lead and is primarily leaning upon it's existing branding, loyalty, and perception to maintain and grow it's profits, while cutting back on items that helped them gain that loyalty and perception in the first place. (Staffing, Items like EMH or Food Quality and variety, maintenance, etc). This is something that is one of the driving reasons behind those of us who are hard on Disney appearing so "anti-Disney' in some of our comments or opinions. We see the trends. We see the lack of effort on Disney's part lately. And we know what Disney is capable of. We also realize that if the company doesn't do something to reverse it's current direction in the not too distant future, it may end up losing more of what made it so great and do some real damage before they can get things turned around.


Let me put it in Disney Terms for you. Look at the WDW Monorail. Disney started cutting back on some things like maintenance and staffing, while continuing to rely on it's past history and performance to continue to push the monorail longer and harder every day... and didn't see any reason to invest in upgrading the system or trainsets. It wasn't until the trains literally started to fall apart (parts falling off the trains, Bus-bars falling off the rails) that management realize they couldn't continue doing things as they'd been doing it.... At that point, They had no choice but to do something drastic and start cutting back services such as running the monorails thru EMH or partys. Running them thru afternoons. and the trains themselves are nasty looking and some even smell beyond what a good cleaning would be able to fix. We are also now dealing with trains exceeding their expected operational life (it's been over 20yrs since these trains came online.... they are the longest running trainsets in Disney Monorail history... DL or WDW) which continue to result in annoying breakdowns on a much more regular basis, and there are no plans or designs in place for a new generation of monorail, or even just replacement MKVI's.....
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:24 PM   #77
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Seriously, does anyone around here need to be reminded that Disney is publicly traded?But, if you can prove to me that long term quality thinking couldn't be just as profitable as the current short term dollar at every turn philosophy does, then it'll be a discussion.

Further, No one thinks Universl can "catch" Disney. Size alone precludes that. It doesn't mean they can't do "it" better though. Regardless, the Disney vs. Universal thought process is flawed because anything either does positively, for whatever reason, is good for us, the guests.

It is the people with the us vs them philosophy who are the real letdown as they have been duped to believe they are part of the "Disney them" somehow. Disney does PR best of all it seems.

The biggest problem for Universl and for those of us who prefer quality money grubbing over Walmart is the fanboy attitude you alluded to. There are still so many gullible people who give current Disney credit for what old Disney put in motion. They will buy any garbage, attend any lame celebration, watch terrible sequels, defend the dining fiasco, whatever, in short, cheerlead for this huge multinational conglomerate that just like every other big company, has no soul.

The sad thing is that as a privately held company it actually did seem they had a soul.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:46 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Peter Pirate 2 View Post
The sad thing is that as a privately held company it actually did seem they had a soul.

I'd even be willing to say that in it's earlier days of being a publicly traded company it still seemed to have a soul.

Even Early Eisner era after the takeover attempt.


Honestly.... it could be argued that Roy E Disney was the company's Jimminy Cricket, and when he was booted from the board was when the company disavowed any knowledge of having a soul.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:47 PM   #79
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Actually, the first time we went to AK in 2000, they didn't have Chester and Hester's at all. There was a large building with some Dinosaur skeletons in it and I can't remember what else. I remember it feeling very unfinished.
Yep, long building with skeletons of maybe half a dozen major specimens. A couple of other small attractions like a small hut where you can watch them clean fossils.

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This is a really good point I didn't think about. The one side of the coin is it's frustrating as a consumer to go and only see one new attraction. The flip side is by taking three years, they are making it so there is something new each trip.

The real truth is probably in between -
I think a lot of people are doing what I'm planning, put off visits till the mine train is done. Think the attendance numbers probably back this as they have been pretty flat even with the other attractions openings.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:57 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Peter Pirate 2 View Post

The sad thing is that as a privately held company it actually did seem they had a soul.
Well, they didn't have to answer to millions of people that are looking to make money.

I don't think half of the people that go to WDW would be able to afford to go there if they did some of the things that people want, and don't worry about budgets and monetary constraints.

Finally, WDW can go out and put any sort of thrill ride out there, things that would put what Universal does to shame, but at what gain? Their core audience isn't thrill seeking teen boys and men, it is families. The content/theming is what Disneyland/WDW has always been about, not thrill rides.

And let's not act like WWOHP is all new. They repurposed two rides already there, added 1 ride, and some shops/restaurants.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #81
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Well, with Potter Land 2.0 I thought US could seriously eat into Disney's bottom line. However, now that Disney owns Star Wars, I think they can hold their own. Not to mention the excellent work they did with Cars Land at DCA.
US's biggest limitation is space really. I figured they had enough room for a third gate in Florida but they decided to build a hotel instead. Well I guess they have one more parking lot so maybe they could squeeze in another.
With three gates all the sudden you go from a 2-3 day park to a might as well stay a week park.
I guess it depends if Disney ever does anything good with SW. I can see them blowing that big time though so who knows? Their old plan to add the cantina and move the Jedi Academy to make a miniature land at DS would not be enough.
LOL, I forget how far off topic we’ve gotten in this thread?
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:20 PM   #82
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Well, they didn't have to answer to millions of people that are looking to make money.

I don't think half of the people that go to WDW would be able to afford to go there if they did some of the things that people want, and don't worry about budgets and monetary constraints.

Finally, WDW can go out and put any sort of thrill ride out there, things that would put what Universal does to shame, but at what gain? Their core audience isn't thrill seeking teen boys and men, it is families. The content/theming is what Disneyland/WDW has always been about, not thrill rides.

And let's not act like WWOHP is all new. They repurposed two rides already there, added 1 ride, and some shops/restaurants.
See, you're just cheerleading. What discussion can be had when you just badmouth universal while lumping all negative Disney discussion as being made by people who don't understand budgets and monetary constraints?

Stating that Universal's demographic is thrill seeking teen boys and men is simply wrong and does stating that Disney could "put universal to shame" really make sense? Why? Because all of those imagineers who moved to universal suddenly forgot how to be imaginative?
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:28 PM   #83
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See, you're just cheerleading. What discussion can be had when you just badmouth universal while lumping all negative Disney discussion as being made by people who don't understand budgets and monetary constraints?

Stating that Universal's demographic is thrill seeking teen boys and men is simply wrong and does stating that Disney could "put universal to shame" really make sense? Why? Because all of those imagineers who moved to universal suddenly forgot how to be imaginative?
You confuse the issue with facts then. Disney did all the things that were bad on that list in DCA and it's a huge success.
WDW has been shrinking the last 12 years, not growing. It needs major overhauls and expansion or it will just shrivel and die.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:31 PM   #84
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Well, they didn't have to answer to millions of people that are looking to make money.

I don't think half of the people that go to WDW would be able to afford to go there if they did some of the things that people want, and don't worry about budgets and monetary constraints.

Finally, WDW can go out and put any sort of thrill ride out there, things that would put what Universal does to shame, but at what gain? Their core audience isn't thrill seeking teen boys and men, it is families. The content/theming is what Disneyland/WDW has always been about, not thrill rides.

And let's not act like WWOHP is all new. They repurposed two rides already there, added 1 ride, and some shops/restaurants.
I never said WWoHP was all new. What I have done however is state that since it opened it has helped give people who never gave Universal a second thought before a reason to give it a shot. WWoHP has a draw for the masses that the Lost Continent never did.

And while 2 rides were repurposed (similar to barnstormer in toontown/Fantasyland), Everything around the rides are new. The Themeing/content of those shops and walkways have done a lot to show everyone that Disney doesn't have an exclusive on actual theming or those small details. (WWoHP had the first "OMG!! THE DETAIL!!" Bathrooms with the Moaning Myrtle audio in the bathrooms).

While the Demographics the parks attract are different (Universal skews a bit older with Disney having more for the little ones and older people who prefer really tame attractions and shows), the universal parks do have a good job at having great theming and content beyond their 4 big coasters. (Hulk, Dualing Dragons, Rip/Ride/Rockit, Mummy).




that all being said.... I don't want to hijack this hijacked thread into a Universal discussion. I was simply using some aspects of Universal's recent actions in direct comparison to Disney's recent actions to show that Disney can't always take the high ground.

And as for saying that "People wouldn't be able to afford Disney if they did what everyone wants them to".... It's quickly getting to the point that People can't afford Disney even without Disney doing anything to really show for the money they are charging. Even their glorified motel 6 values are now over $100/night during the slowest times of year. A burger during non-peak times costs $10. It's $90 for a 1 day ticket.... and even a child's AP is now over $500. Disney's pricing has continued to outpace inflation for YEARS now, without a lot of major new additions to the parks to justify those cost increases and the number of perks/services/quality you got for your money have continued to decline. While there are some things people would like Disney to do that are completely outside the realm of financially sound decisions (Monorail to DTD), it's not fair to say that Disney shouldn't be investing more than they are back into the parks.


Again... The problem is that Disney is so driven for instant gratification for those stockholders, that they are going the cheap way to increase the stock price for those stockholders. Their plan has gone from one where they maybe took $200 per day from a guest (food, ticket, hotel, merchandise), and spent $150 on the overhead to do so (Labor, supplies, etc), so were today they have raised the prices to pull $300 per day from a guest, and still spend only $150 on overhead despite inflation by cutting services and quality.


While that extra $100 in profit may be great for the shareholders who are looking at their share price, It's not so great long-term because it's not sustainable. Disney can't keep driving profit growth by just increasing the cost when they aren't reinvesting back into the park to give people a reason to keep spending the money with them. Already we are seeing more and more people cutting back on merchandise (generic Disney Parks and cheap quality making it harder to justify the purchase. Tightened budgets by increased costs in other parts of the vacation). We are also seeing more people considering staying offsite because of the increasing costs and the lack of extra perks to justify the expense. ($150 a night for glorified motel 6 with 'Disney theming'.... or $150/night for a night in the Waldorph Astoria?)
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:41 PM   #85
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You confuse the issue with facts then. Disney did all the things that were bad on that list in DCA and it's a huge success.
WDW has been shrinking the last 12 years, not growing. It needs major overhauls and expansion or it will just shrivel and die.
Closer to the original topic....

The funny thing? DCA and AK both come from the same era and have/had some of the same major issues.

The Difference is that DCA due to it's location was in the head honcho's back yard where they could actually see it on a regular basis....


and because the WDW resort has a much different guest type than the DLR..... IE... larger numbers in a captive audience that is comprised of a much larger first timer percentage.... AK's guest attendance numbers have done a much better job at masking the issues with the park.


Once they actually invested the money and effort (and had the balls to actually pull the trigger to fix the embarrassment), DCA gets Carsland and almost a complete overhaul to make it a decent and complete park. AK? Still waiting.....
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:43 PM   #86
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Whatever, agree to disagree. There have been tons of upgrades/expansion lately complete and in process all over WDW, including parks, resorts, and DtD. Not to mention what Disney has done elsewhere with Aulani and CarsLand, amongst other things like acquisitions that will continue to help them upgrade/expand in the future.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:50 PM   #87
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Closer to the original topic....

Once they actually invested the money and effort (and had the balls to actually pull the trigger to fix the embarrassment), DCA gets Carsland and almost a complete overhaul to make it a decent and complete park. AK? Still waiting.....
AvatarLand is still on track, and the plan was always for it to start construction in 2013 to be open 2016/2017. They re-iterated that in December, and that they are still working under the same budget (~$500M).

That seems to fit with how they have always slow-built the parks up. Open, add, add, add, never rush. AK is a great park as is, that will be even better in time.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #88
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We saw the zebras on the KS on Tuesday. They were still there.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:59 PM   #89
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You better take your time with this one
~I know you're being snarky, but I do feel a little better, now.

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You do realize you can't win that argument with LoL, right? Stating that you (and many people) love the park is an invalid argument. Stating that attendance figures exceed DHS and are within about 15 % of Epcot doesn't matter. The park is a "failure".

I think Joe Rhode might have once in a drunken state came to his house and peed on his rose bushes. And he'll never forgive him!
~Yes, I realize that -- give me some credit. I was never going to rip LOL's post to shreds, I just wanted to psych him out a little bit. He was getting on my nerves with "Avatar is this" and "AK is that," lol. LOL knows I love his posts and enjoy reading his perspective on all the issues -- even if I don't agree, I have nothing but respect for him.

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I was just joking around with that comment. Just relax, brother.

And you must admit the image of Joe Rhode and his silly feather earring drunk on your lawn brought a little smile to your face, right?

"C'mon out here and say that to my face buddy! Failure my sweet patootie!"
~Awww, skier_pete! You are my hero! Thanks for taking the "friendly fire," that was meant for me!

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friendly fire...it happens.

and joe rhode hiding in my bushes is a funny visual...

just hope the "dances with wolves" feather earings don't get caught on the rose bushes.
~Friendly fire??? I don't know, but next time try aiming for the intended target instead of the first innocent person that comes along -- don't take it out on skier_pete. I accept some of the blame because I said he was a comedic genius & I regret it, I just shouldn't have...... But, come on LOL, I was just joking. I would have ripped your incoherent posts apart a long long time ago, if I really felt that way. You FAIL when it comes to AK & Avatar, and that's okay. Your strengths shine in other areas, like business & stuff. So, lets just kiss & make up. ~Until our next critical breakdown in communication -- which will happen soon enough.

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Come on People.... Calling AK a "Failure" is just mean and we'll never get some people to see behind the attendence numbers and "pretty details" to admit to it. What you need to realize is that like so many things, This isn't something that a binary Pass/Fail decision will really fit.

So what would fit better? Your standard school-based ABCDF grade curve. D and F are failing grades. A and B are your stronger passing grades.... and a C? That's that grade the jock gets so he can just barely get a passing grade to maintain his eligability. It's also what AK probably deserves.


The Park did some things right. It's got some areas with wonderful details and for those who are fans and like to put in the effort, has plenty that makes it a favorite for many.

BUT..... they also half-assed the park in the beginning with cutting out Beastly Kingdomme and the whole Chester/Hester area, and have continued their half-assed ways since the park opened without putting any real effort into correcting the park's deficiencies. It really says something when one of the biggest draws to the park (beyond the animals) since the start is a show built around recycled parade floats.

Even the one real addition to the park since it opened has a major lack of real effort feel to it thanks to the Disco Yeti since not long after it opened.


So... It's not a complete failure. It helps dilute the crowds from the other parks. It has a couple decent draws to make it interesting for people. It gives Disney some great PR on it's conservation and environmental contributions from the park. And there is the whole AK merchandising side that wouldn't be as large if they didn't have the park. (dino's, and all the safari themed toys/plushes, shirts, etc).

But it also didn't meet all the hopes they had for the park. For a large number of returning 'casual' guests, they may feel they can skip this park. Those who are on a limited budget or time crunch also feel that this park could be skipped. (and with the improvements at the other park north of them drawing people's attention and potential vacation time away, it's more likely to be felt here). Even all the other parks have SOMETHING that attract people to come visit the resort as their primary reason (MK... because it's the MK. EPCOT with F&W and Flower&Garden. MGM with ESPN Weekends, Star Wars Weekends, SOAP Opera Events etc etc).... so even in that regard, AK truly feels like an also ran.

So AK serves a purpose and can't really be deemed a complete failure.... but you can't argue that compared to the hopes and ideas for the park, it's a huge disappointment.


Um... Kali is more than just a little boring. It's a short ride, and it almost feels like 2/3rd of it is spent just setting up and getting you to the actual point of the ride.

As for the Ellen Ride putting Dinoland to shame.... I'd even be willing to say that the entire Universe of Energy (pre-ellen) did a better job at entertaining, educating, and showcasing dino's than that land at the AK does. Kinda sad when an attraction opened in 1982 does a better job than one opened 17yrs later.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hYoGfacCRM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyhAwEFBVkU
~OMG, DCTootall, this post is just fabulous!!! I'm going to have to read this one again! I have never ever -- seen anyone silence LOL. Thanks for answering the call & putting out that fire!

~Wow, I just finished page four, I'll have to get caught up on the rest of this thread later! Great discussion, everyone!
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:13 PM   #90
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We saw the zebras on the KS on Tuesday. They were still there.
There's the original subject! I was shocked to hear the Zebras were causing trouble. I mean WTH, they built a segregated area just for them! Maybe this whole thread is bupkis.
Everyone owes everyone an apology except to the OP (it’s all their fault for spreading such vicious rumors).
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