Chipping the magic away: an interesting dinner conversation

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by eliza61, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    My son returned Sunday from his senior trip at wdw & Universal but like a lot of teenage boys, getting details beyond the normal "it was great" is a bit like pulling teeth. fortunately one of my good friends is a H.S. teacher and was a chaperone for the trip, so I was really looking forward to hearing a trip report from her.

    During the course of the conversation I noticed that while she had a good time it wasn't the normal "gushing" over the world that I'm used to, so I remarked on it.

    She said that while the vacation was good, it seemed like the "little" cuts disney has been making are starting to add up to noticeable differences. She chalked it up to DVC-Disney burnout. Little things that were not enough to complain about but were a step down from "older" disney standards.

    examples:
    Restaurants: Buffet offerings seemed less and she said the food never seemed hot, like they weren't replacing the trays as often. It wasn't cold more lukewarm.
    Counter service places were a bit more unkempt. things like at Pecos bill contadiment area not fully stocked and keep clean. Once again not enough to complain but just enough to notice.

    Parks: less "street" CM's She didn't see any ballon man down main street, some carts at the entrance way by TTS empty but the cart was still there. No characters in Hollywood studios.

    Resorts: While the staff at all stars were pleasant she said they always felt "rushed" like the poor cm had 20 jobs to do.
    Things like that.

    I'm hoping that once the economy picks up maybe management will return all those little perks that make Disney "extra" special
     
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  3. dianeschlicht

    dianeschlicht <font color=blue>DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Hon

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    I would hope that too, but the truth is that most often when a company makes those kinds of cuts, they become permanent because no one in the company knows how to go back to the "old ways".

    I totally agree with her observations too. It saddens me.
     
  4. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    That's my fear also Diane. I had heard a rumor that Fantasmic was being retooled or possible totally scraped because it's so expensive to put on. They have already cut the number of days it is showing and I doubt if they will ever go back to showing it once a day. The Broadwalk used to be teaming with activity at night, now not so much

    I think it's harder when you are a dvc'er because those "little" things tend to make Disney unique and different. Stuff like signature dishes at various restaurants that have gone by the way side.
     
  5. dianeschlicht

    dianeschlicht <font color=blue>DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Hon

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    So, has anyone else noticed the "new" reduced Illuminations during the week? We found that the original "long" version was only shown on weekends and EMH days. It's a shame, because I certainly noticed where the cuts were made. The first time I noticed it, I was disappointed in the cuts, and then I went on a Friday night, and the show was back to "normal". After a couple of tries, I realized they were paring it down on weeknights and only playing the "real" one on weekends and EMH days.
     
  6. DiznyDi

    DiznyDi If you remember, we are the rural folks

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    We certainly noticed the paring down of the cast at the performance of The Lion King in early May. Not near as many animal performers as in previous visits. But then again, maybe they were just sick that day...
     
  7. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

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    I definitely noticed the Illuminations reduction but didn't discover the secret of the weekend show - wish I had known! That was always DH's favorite but he has not been gushing about it anymore.

    There was a balloon vendor at MK when we were there and I've always found Peco's Bills condiment area a huge mess so that didn't seem different to us at all! ;) But we too are noticing the little things - the things that really set Disney apart from other amusement parks.
     
  8. crisi

    crisi DIS Veteran

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    To be fair, a lot of the "post 9/11" cuts Disney made were indeed temporary. They brought back EMHs. Staffing did increase. A few character meals were added. Park hours increased. Resorts reopened.
     
  9. Dizny Dad

    Dizny Dad DiznyDi Fan

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    It will be up to DVCrs and other frequent visitors to keep up the chatter about the slow and infitesmal reductions or dianeschlicht will be correct! It is that old frog story: raise the temperature slowely, and the frog will not jump out of a pot set to boil! Small changes are always easy to swallow!

    So we need to keep up the chatter or years from now the magic will be gone.
     
  10. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    That's the hard part Dad,
    I think I'm partly to blame, I love the world so much that I think I let things slide. The changes in the restaurants have been really sad to me but I never complain because I always think "Well, it wasn't that bad" or I say "well it is a recession, every place has cut backs" . If my food comes out lukewarm I tend to tolerate it but if it came back totally inediable I would send it back....
    That sound you hear is the water slowly beginning to boil :rolleyes1
     
  11. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    I think the difference here Crisi is that after 9/11 the economy bounced back and Disney could once again use "the superior magic" campaign to get folks to come to the parks. Not only did we come, we spent money once here because food was great, shops were great, entertainment was great.

    Now Disney sort of faces the dilemma that the department stores are in, now that folks are so accustome to deep discounts when the economy picks up will they come without them. Would I keep coming back (if I didn't own) without 40% off with watered down illuminations & fantasmic and quasi restaurants. economy is stable, JohnP. Public is back to work & has vacation dollars does he return to disney with so-so food, so-so entertainment and so-so shops?

    Just my crystal ball gazing questions, who knows?
     
  12. crisi

    crisi DIS Veteran

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    Who knows is true, but they rebounded in the 70s after a recession.

    Disney parks tend to be a cyclical business. When they need volume and there isn't a lot of money floating around, the parks cut.

    Then the money starts to flow, and Disney wants their share. And to get the "good dollars" - the high margin dollars - they need to be able to compete with luxury cruise lines and all-inclusives and frou frou resorts, they need to make sure that their guests aren't leaving property to get to "good" restaurants - as well as continuing to get that low margin high volume "value" business.

    I sort of suspect coming out of this you might see more delineation between Disney guest categories. More of the "magic" happening for a price (BBB is a good example of this - a very magical experience for a little girl, but wallet draining) - while your standard Disney guest gets a "serviceable" vacation. I think they'll NEED to - in order to keep selling rooms at the Y&BC and GF.
     
  13. monkeyknuckler

    monkeyknuckler Mouseketeer

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    Now that would be a good way to get more guys interested...;)
     
  14. Dreamfinder2

    Dreamfinder2 DIS Veteran

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    These are interesting discussions - the "past vs. the present" ones, I mean.

    We visited WDW a couple of weeks ago. There were some interesting contrasts, in that I experienced both the best service at a WDW entity I've ever received, and the worst, within a span of five days. But even the worst wasn't "awful" - just sort of slipshod.

    What put all this in perspective for me was the fact that a guest we took with us (DD's boyfriend) had never visited Disney before. He was totally enraptured by the whole event, and note that this was under wretched weather conditions - nonstop deluges.

    I still contend that so much of what we judge Disney on is subjective. Some things aren't - the price of passes and meals, for instance - but I remind myself that for millions of folks, these are the good ol' [Disney] days.

    WDW changes all the time. I'm guessing plenty of folks will be yearning for those incredible days of 2009 in five years or so.

    So far, I haven't seen or experienced anything that makes me want to take my business elsewhere. :thumbsup2 The one complaint, such as it was, that I had was taken care of in a professional, friendly, and speedy manner. It's hard for me to complain when something is made right in such a gracious and satisfactory way.

    Just piggybacking on what Crisi said: On my first WDW visit, there were two hotel choices - Contemporay and the Poly. Both of them were, to me, super deluxe properties. I was still in high school, and I remembered being just awed by that vast space in the CR.

    Now, many years later, those two properties still exist, right alongside Pop Century and the All-Stars. All those properties provide beds and somewhere to brush your teeth, but beyond that, there are significant differences based on what one's pocketbook can tolerate.

    So, perhaps there are still excellent opportunities available at WDW that are as good, if not better, than they ever were. Stay in a suite at the GF, or on some concierge level at another resort, eat each evening at V & A's, and I'm guessing you could have a pretty decent time.

    I don't know if Walt ever intended a class structure for his dream, but it looks like it's with us now. That's a whole 'nuther discussion, I guess.
     
  15. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    Wow, I suppose that seeing the whole experience through the eyes of our DGC 4, 5 and 6 makes me just so happy that there is a WDW to take them to and enjoy. We had all of 1/2 of a day at the park without rain before our cruise. The DGDs loved the castle play, Mickey's Dream(?). Our DS's weren't interested in a show, so when we were there with them, we never got to see shows. I took the trolly ride down Main Street with my DGD and the horse, Lucky was pulling us. DGD was thrilled, Lucky was huge and so pretty. We went on Dumbo, did some other rides and then ate at the CP. With the characters and the meal, whole experience was awesome, in all of our eyes. We were 4 adults, 3 children. The same mealtime happines was experienced the next day at the Cape May Cafe's Breakfast and there we had 6 adults, 3 children. Food, character interaction, service everything excellent!

    Our 3 DGC will gladly spend 15+ minutes picking the Mickey head "pixie dust" off the ground. This tends to get old, but a CM at the CP noticed this and came back with little baggies of "pixie dust" and each child got one. Now this didn't quite stop the scavenging, but it made it easier to distract them from their efforts.:rotfl:

    I notice the changes, but Disney has been changing since it's inception. There used to be a small RR around the FW area, probably in the '70's. We went back on a subsequent trip and it wasn't there, and no one could tell us why. Now the story is that the ground wasn't strong enough to support the tracks. Our DSs were disappointed. We went to dinner in the '70s - '80s and I wouldn't have raved about the food at the character meals. I like fish, and the little fish patty that they served was the same everywhere, Empress Lilly, or the Shades of Green. I think it was horrid and said to Tom that there must be a central kitchen where they make this stuff and just deliver it to all of the places. However, we found things we like and we changed. I love the meals at Fultons...I also love the mussels at H&V and some of the desserts there, and well, that place mostly gets dumped on on the restaurant board.

    There's plenty about WDW that I really like. If something bothers me, I send mail, e-mails to WDW and I get the response, most of which has the main effect of my knowing that they've read it. Many of the things that I have complained about are still there, but I'm not as upset about them as I once was. I miss the petting zoo at FW a lot. We would take our DSs there. We also enjoyed Discovery Island in the FW area, but I do understand why it's not there any more. They still do the campfire at FW with a movie, and they've expanded that to the resorts. It's not all downhill at WDW.

    This F&G show was to many a disppointment. I've heard the comments, but I also went on the Gardens of the World tour and the CM who gave the tour was truly excited. I like more colors in the topiaries, but she went on and on about the natural mosses etc. that they were using. So, I realized that it was my taste that wasn't satisfied, the work/effort put into staging the show was amazing. I loved seeing the movie about the set up of the F&G that they showed at the former Wonders of Life Pavillion. The lack of Flower Power Concerts during the week was a disappointment. It so happened that this year, I was able to be there for 3 weekends, great shows all three, Davy Jones, Paul Revere, and the 5th Dimensions.

    I was surprised that Illuminations has been cut. The last I saw it was the Sunday of Memorial weekend, and Earth was not working properly. THAT's something that has happened a lot recently, and that's a lack of quality that disappoints...no excuse.

    I have been to Fantasmic performances that have been less than sold out. Sometimes there have been few people around the lagoon at Epcot for Illuminations and I've been at the MK during very slow periods when Wishes had a much smaller audience. I always marvelled that they kept the shows going all of the time and well, it's caught up to them.

    I've told everyone that my DFamily got some Pixie Dust, 5 day passes to Epcot, when they checked in without DH and myself to help them with the kids. We've never experienced a windfall like that before!

    I took 3 DGF's on Spring Break with me and we all had fun. Someday I may become disillusioned with WDW, but it hasn't happened yet. However, remember, my genes, I come from a DM who wanted to spend her 85th birthday at WDW! I have a card from her that she wrote me after her first visit, which was probably in the '80s'. She wrote that she was having a great time, and she understands why we keep going back!

    Bobbi:goodvibes
     
  16. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was Moderator

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    once they closed the Adventurers Club I barely noticed anything else - but did notice the cutbacks in the Food & Wine festival - can't wait to see what they do this year.

    Didn't know they were now running an abbreviated Illuminations on weekdays.

    Star Wars Weekend was fine - enjoyed it just as much as last year's and will probably do another one next year.

    I have no trips to WDW booked past December and am seriously considering using the next two years' DVC points for an Adventures by Disney trip. It's Disney, but it's not WDW.
     
  17. DVC&CM

    DVC&CM Always at Disneyland

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    From the perspective of somebody who lived thru the cuts, those cuts never made it to and hourly CM level. All cuts were made at the salaried level and above. Now that's not to say watching your labor hours aren't important, but that's more of a balancing act between your business and your budget. I also haven't heard of any cuts to entertainment products, although I have heard of rehabs and enhancement projects. Not sure what to make of Illuminations, but it could be as simple as a rehab to a part of the show, so you cut it rather then closing the show.

    It's important to be fiscally smart in bad times. But on a whole, the company is sinking money in to some really great products left and right. Great things on the horizon.
     
  18. mrsswat

    mrsswat Irishtinksmama

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    little at a time - all around. From mousekeeping, to parks, food, it's all around. Last year we spent part of our time at Universal's Portofino Bay, and were able to see the decline at the Disney hotels more clearly, sad to say. Example, the pool towels were huge and thick!! Where do you find those at any Disney pool? We've been going to DW several times a year for at least 20 years, and we say yes, yes, yes, the magic "quality" is slowing chipping away - all around.:sad2:
     
  19. SuzanneSLO

    SuzanneSLO DIS Veteran

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    It is funny how the expereince can be different for each person as well.

    When we there last month, we noticed many more streetmosphere characters at HS than ever before while the friend of the OP said she saw NONE.

    The only difference in the H&V buffett I noticed was that there was no longer any candy toppings for the soft serve ice cream, but since my DN got just a bowl of candy as her dessert on a prior visit, I am not sure that not having that option is a bad thing. We noticed no difference at the topping bar at Pecos Bills and we did notice that tables were being bussed there much more frequently than we had experienced in the past.

    We saw Illuminations 4 times during our visit and heard it from our room at BWV several more. We did not notice that it was shorter than usual.

    -- Suzanne
     
  20. LSchrow

    LSchrow <font color=green>We're eating brussel sprouts & a

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    nicely said, bobbi :thumbsup2
    DD & i went in may, & had a GREAT time! yes, little things are changing there, but many more changes have occurred over the years ~ some evolved for the better, one we'll always miss. the change that really saddens me is that literally everything is bolted down now (on the attractions, in the resorts, etc). while i realize their guest base expanded to include many more less than honest people, it's a little sad to see our innocent fantasy world hit the real world so hard :sad1:
    i guess the changes will help keep every vaca there a bit different (tho they better not mess with illuminations TOO much!!)
     
  21. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was Moderator

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    They aren't out all the time - only every hour and they do a 20 minute set. When they're out there are usually 8-10 of them out at a time. They alternate times with High School Musical. They can't perform while that thing is going on - it's too loud. Check the High School Musical schedule - whenever that is scheduled the Citizens of Hollywood will be out at the next half hour (if HSM is at 10, they will be out at 10:30)

    I think the OP's friend might have been referring to the Disney costumed characters - I don't remember seeing that many of those last weekend either. Of course it was Star Wars weekend and there were lots of Star Wars characters around. I love the stormtroopers.

    Closing the AC wasn't like chipping away at the magic in my opinion - more like chopping it off with a machete - but I am sure most visitors didn't go just for that. I see problems with the food but there ARE places to go that supersede the problems - Bluezoo, Sanaa, Jiko, etc.
     

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