Has Disney World lost it's magic?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by dstevens, Jul 1, 2009.

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  1. dstevens

    dstevens Mouseketeer

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    Recently i acquired from my local library the book on cd titled "Creating Magic" by Lee Cockerell the former Executive Vice President of Operations for WDW. I am only into disc 2 of 6 but have already noticed were WDW is failing in recent years in creating magic. In the past 2 years my wife and i have stayed at several Disney resorts. I have noticed a lack of upkeep in the area of grounds and maintenance. Bushes desperately needing trimmed, trash around in the morning along with trays and trash outside rooms. I have also felt that the Magic Kingdom was dirtier then previous visits while cast members are not always pleasent. By reading posts concerning the quality of food served around the parks and resorts it's apparent that WDW is sliding quickly down hill in that area also. I understand that certain WDW employees read the dis-boards, so i thought this could be a good way to bring to light areas that we feel are lacking in magic and also offer suggestions to bring back the magic. So please offer up a solution if you expose a problem. Thank you and hopefully we together can restore the magic, if you feel some magic has been lost.
     
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  3. SnowWtch

    SnowWtch DIS Veteran

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    I haven't noticed a change in anything but dining. I've noticed the counter service dining options on the menus becoming more of a standard thing whereas they used to be different for each place.
     
  4. ols386

    ols386 I want to live at Disney World!!

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    For me, WDW hasn't lost it's magic. Just the fact that I'm there is magical, at least for me.

    You can run across a cranky cm now and then, but for the most part, they are usually friendly and helpful.

    I've not noticed MK being dirty or not being kept tidy. It still looks the same to me.

    I've always thought WDW grounds were manicured and taken care of nicely.

    I do think their food is way over-priced, but I still eat it.

    Maybe I just haven't been as observant as the op.
     
  5. aidtrismommy

    aidtrismommy DIS Veteran

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    I think Disney does a great job of landscaping and keeping things clean. I have not really noticed dirty parks. I think they do a great job of cleaning the restrooms often, etc. I have also not noticed that Disney is sliding downward. There is still much magic to be had at Disney.
     
  6. Mouseaholic!!!

    Mouseaholic!!! DIS Veteran

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    The changes have been obvious for years......subtle changes...but they multiply.

    I agree, there are changes overall in the experience.

    * lack of Customer Service training = less prompt customer service
    * Challeneged mousekeepers still cleaning rooms after 5 pm
    * Dirty bathrooms
    * Parks looking shabby in places
    * Decline in food quallity - OMG yes!

    One trip to BC 3 years ago included (as an example):

    * Broken furniture in room not replaced during 8 night stay
    * Debris (empty coffee cups, leaves, very messy in the corner) in stairway never cleaned even after bringing it to the Manager's attention
    * Deathly horrible odor in the lobby bathroom - always a problem at BC but especially bad this time
    * Mousekeepers working after 5 (this was the first time we noticed this - now common place)
    * Cover of all the sidewalk lights not fastened and askew along BCV sidewalk to International gateway....not one or two...all of them.
    * Multiple castmember totally unfamiliar with BC - beginning at checkin. (example of little training).

    Want to know what Management said to us - castmember to castmember....."do you know how hard it is to get good employees?" AND...nothing was corrected after we spoke with him....bathroom still had it's horrible odor (sad to watch a young girl screaming NO IT STINKS) as her mother dragged her into the bathroom, lights not fixed, room funture not repaired or replaced, stairway not touched.

    There is a reason many Delux Disney Resorts have only 3 star ratings.

    You know, Holiday Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and Marriott Courtyards keep their hotels crisp and fresh for far less than the $300+ p/night the Beach Club charges.

    I'm sorry......Disney is shabby in places.

    It is very sad to watch - and more sad when people this the current level of service and product is "Disney Quality".

    There seems to be more and more of us willing to admit the truth....no matter how hard it hurts.....because Disney has been our magic place. The theme of this thread is even showing up in the DVC section....and they have paid $$$$$ for this.

    Our last DVC stay at the Boardwalk Villas was very disappointing. We pay castmember rates but to charge upto $600 p/night for that tired 1 Bedroom Villa is simply robbery. You can see it it's day -- it was just run down and had too many things broken.

    There was a time if you whispered that there was somthing not perfect with Disney you were flamed until you were a cinder. Now there people who are agreeing with us.

    DH and I do not LOOK for problems, but when we are in a room that costs up to $600 a night....we don't expect the shower and sink to run all night, 2 burners of the stove to not work, broken furniture, years of scuff marks in the walls, threadbare bedding and I expect for $600 that the lightbulbs be replaced when burned out. No one ever made an attempt to fix things....our poor mousekeeper did not speak any english so we could not communicate to her.

    That is Disney quality?


    Thank you for listeneing to the rant. I WILL say we have found far less problems at DL in the last two years. Last September there were actually attendants in the busy bathroom, the Grand Cali was superb, as always....puts the Grand Flo to shame.....castmembers were happy....just about everything that was supposed to work...did. Perhaps we do not know every inch of this park because at best...we are there only once a year. DH and I go to WDW enough where we know just about every inch so much better....and sadly, can see the changes.

    Thank you for listening.

    I am sure there are many who will disagree....and I DID take out more flameworthly language out of respect for those who disagree....you can imageine how strong the post WOULD have been!!

    I would be hard to imagine anyone loving what Disney stands for more than DH and I....we just have serious trouble watching it decline.
     
  7. michelleiada

    michelleiada DIS Veteran

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    I do not think that it has lost it's magic at all. However, I do think that there are areas that need improvement. One being the bus/transport system. It is not working efficiently at all. Our recent (May) stay at the Beach Club was a transportation nightmare! The buses at the Epcot resorts are not sufficient with more than an hour wait for a bus at times. They either need to add more buses or have them stop at less resorts. We sometimes had to wait forever for a bus and then when it finally arrived....it was FULL and standing room only was available. Not acceptable at a "Deluxe" resort. You absolutely save more time by using your own car, if you have one, and then some people may argue... why stay at a Disney resort if you are not going to use their transportation?

    I also agree with other posters that some of the food at WDW is less than desirable. Now....some of the food is very good, but still IMHO, over priced if you are paying out of pocket for it. If you are on the DDP, you get a lot of food for the money.

    I also think that it is time for Disney to do something new. Perhaps another park or some new/added attractions at some of the existing parks. I don't want to see something go away and have something else take it's place! I think they need to add more to what is already there (like the competitors are doing)! I would love to see them expand the monrail to all of the parks too! I know this has been extensively discussed in other posts. This is something that the competitors don't have! Disney should just bite the bullet, spend the money and do it. The monorail is part of what makes Disney magical!

    All in all, I still think Disney is "magical" but becoming "steal" so to speak. It is time for them to do something BIG!
     
  8. jimmymac

    jimmymac Mouseketeer

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    I've been going to Disney forever, and I'd like to add 2 events that kind of sum up what's going on. Last trip at WDW, someone spilled a soda on one of the outside restaurants. The spill was still there when we passed 4 hours later. At DLR last trip, I was scooting to get Fastpasses for Soarin while my ompanions were being seated at the Trattoria. I saw a young girl drop her ice cream cone on the ground, By the time I returned from Soarin' FP, there was a CM already cleaning it up. (Do the time / map thing in your head). Scientific? No, but indicative I think of the situation I see more and more at WDW. To those who say that I'm holding Disney to too high a standard, my answer is yes I am, because they established that very standard for themselves that for a long time has been the envy of all other businesses
     
  9. michelleiada

    michelleiada DIS Veteran

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    I agree with the condition of the villas. We stayed at BCV (two bedroom) which wasn't all that clean and furniture was tired and worn looking. I have considered buying into DVC because of my love for Disney but can't bring myself to take the leap due to what I witnessed during our most recent stay. They really should try to keep the villas in tip top condition for DVC owners with the money they spend, especially with the annual dues. I do not look for these things either while on vacation, but somethings you can't help but notice. It was obvious to me that DVC Villas are not refurbed enough!
     
  10. Pongo23

    Pongo23 Earning My Ears

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    Still magical for me!!:lovestruc

    I do, however, think the guests have changed over the years. Of course, people have changed everywhere over the years, too. We're less patient and often rude. My "less magical" moments over the past few years have had nothing to do with Disney but with the guests.

    That being said, Disney is not perfect and I don't think they ever have been. The food has always been overpriced, and yes, they try to pawn off 3 star hotels as luxury 5 star hotels. And, I am personally not a fan of the current park ticket structure. But, none of this makes my experience less magical when I'm there!
     
  11. Checkers

    Checkers DIS Veteran

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    My sentiments exactly. We have been going to WDW for many, many years and have seen the cost of everything increase beyond the normal inflation. It saddens us and maybe those who haven't been going as long as we have wouldn't be able to notice the difference. We still love going but still it is hard to accept the decline.
     
  12. Amy&Dan

    Amy&Dan DIS Veteran

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    For me its still magical. Very much so. I have had very good to exceptional mousekeeping in all my 12 stays but one and that was at the Poly. Our room just flat out didn't get clenaed one day and when the person finally came after numerous phone calls and my husband talking to a housekeepr, it was a wham bam job at best. But again, that was one time. We were at WDW from June 12 to June 28 and have 9 nights at ASMU and 7 nights at OKW. Both resorts looked great, our rooms were in excellent shape and we had some of the best, if not the best mouskeeping we had ever had. The pool area at ASMU was always pristine in the mornings which was amazing given the amount of people using it at night with the games and movies. OKW's grounds also looked better than when we stayed there last June. They didn't look bad last June, but that resort is densely landscaped with the kind of trees that drop a lot of leaves etc., and last June they were not on that at all. This June it was way better. I also noticed both ASMU and OKW seemed to have more in the way of staff around. OKW always had plenty of bell staff on hand. Again, last June they seemed shorthanded. Olivia's also seemed better staffed this year.

    Last October I did find the parks to be less than clean, MK in particular. Made me sad. I saw nothing like that this trip.

    I will also say that DL had a real problem with this a few years ago. I can remember back in 2003 and 2004, DL looking downright shabby in places. Peeling paint, cm's that were a far cry from the cm's at WDW and a lot of us feared it was turning into Knotts or Magic Mountain. But then the 50th came along and that park got an overhaul that was amazing. Rides refurbed, exteriors spruced up and repainted, there is just no comparision. So maybe WDW will get some of that too as its 40th approaches. DL is still getting a ton of money poured into it. DCA alone is in the midst of a 1 Billion dollar overhaul. A new nighttime show is in the works and the Fantasmic at DL is getting major improvements. They need to pour some money into WDW too as far as rides and attractions. Maybe after DL is done, they will. And speaking of that overhaul DL got, I wish Matt Ouimet who oversaw that would come and do the same thing at WDW! He left Disney to work for Starwood but then got the boot over there. Wherever he is, Disney should try to get him back. He did an amazing job with DL.

    So for me the magic is still alive and well. Its not perfect but my two days spent at Sea World and Universal not to mention other places I have visited around the U.S. recently have me thinking that Disney may not be exactly what it once was, but its still got a leg up on most other tourist venues.

    I really did feel like this last trip was seeing some improvements with cm's in general. We had such nice bus drivers (and we used busses for sixteen solid days and nights), cms who helped us when my aunt threw her knee out and needed a wheelchair. One morning my dd and I were waiting for a Mears Shuttle to Sea World. I had put too much sunscreen on her and of course she began to sweat in the heat and it ran in her eyes. I quickly doused her face with water. A bellman came over and mopped up the water that had gone all over, asked if I would like a wash cloth or towel and gave dd some stickers. Our one mousekeepr waved to us each time she saw us leaving, did all sorts of nice things in our room. Another left us a funny note and drawing and although she was just there for trash and towel, tidied up my son's airbed and left us extra soaps. So we got a lot of nice little touches and given the fact we had some weird stuff crop up here and there due to my mil's knee injury, didn't have one cm who couldn't help us. We were either really lucky or maybe things are starting to swing back around again. I hope so!

    I do think some of the things at Disney need to be redone. Like some new nighttime shows, some sort of parade at Epcot again, get Fantasmic the same spruce up DL's is and replace that plywood boat with a real boat. Stuff like that. The economy is hurting, but believe me not at WDW right now. The place is packed, so money is coming in. I'd like to see them use that money to improve on things and make sure they still lead the industry for the next 50 years like they have the last 50.

    I'll also add that when these new true deluxe level hotels go in near WDW, that could see them putting a little more TLC into their deluxe's in particular. Strangely enough the only bad mousekeeping I have had was at the Poly and the only shabby room I had was at BWV (although I loved that resort but our room was very tired). So when I see people saying they are deluxe snobs I have to laugh and say thus far I have been deluxe cursed!

    I definitely am a Disney Lover but not to the point I don't see some problems. But yeah, for the magic is still alive, I don't regret the vacations I have spent, have upcoming or my DVC purchase. I hope I never do!
     
  13. beauty1125

    beauty1125 Earning My Ears

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    I will be heading to WDW in 9 short days. I have read all the posts recently on the condition of WDW and it makes me very sad. I am sure that all the cutbacks have affected the many things mentioned here from mousekeeping to untrained CMs. I visit WDW at least once a year. I find that the one major change I see is the " condition" of the visitors. Just becasue it is Disney,that is no excuse for people to take advantage of the grounds by throwing trash around the parks. I see too many people just dumping their waste on the ground at the parks instead of walking over to a trash can. I have seen children being allowed to destroy property as their parents stand by and watch. ( At Christmas, I saw two children take off part of the gingerbread house at GF. Their parents thought it was cute and laughed) I have seen people ignore the CM's directions and at times just yell right in their faces for no good reason except lack of patience. I know it is Disney and we expect what we've always had but the visitors of WDW have changed over the years. I think it is just society in general. We expect everyone to take care of us just because we are "special." I am not trying to make excuses for Disney by any means but the type of behavior I've mentioned above infuriates me when it comes to Disney. There is no reason why visitors to WDW can't show some respect. Disney is a magical place and magical things can happen there but we as visitors have to be part of that as well by respecting what we have.

    Thanks for hearing me out. This has been bothered me for a long time. When I go in a few weeks. I'll let everyone know what I experience.
     
  14. polineedyan

    polineedyan DIS Veteran

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    well, i guess we would have to define what 'magic' is..is magic having spills cleaned up timely? Or is magic having a cm treat you with genuine caring? I will agree with the prior posters that there are lots of things that could be tightened up. I am a former landscape foreman, a few times over, and I could tell you that the crews COULD use some coaching..We, too, had a busted chair in our room..the 57 chevy was not at music..does this detract from the magic? maybe..but i have to tell you that i had quite a few magical moments on our last trip. Some were thanks to cm's and some were not. Our most UN magical moments were at the hands of other guests..I, thankfully, did not find a single cm being unmagical.
    i would venture to say, that the more you look for, the more you'll find. that goes both ways. If it gets to a point where youre feeling ripped off, then make the call, the email, whatever..you may even need to stop going for awhile..to make it new again. I dont know. I know we're in tough financial times right now. Some companies use that as motivation, and some use it as an excuse..:surfweb:
     
  15. Minnie&Nana

    Minnie&Nana Dreams do come true!

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    I so agree with this and dstevens and Mouseaholic. Although we still enjoy WDW, it has changed so much. I often think it simply got too big - too many parks, too many resorts. Attitudes have changed and more often a guest is made to feel they have expectations to high. Maybe some do - after all, it has become the place where Magic is the word and some expect the CM's to make it happen.

    It's not about any CM making it happen, for that is within each of us, but the environment, cleanliness, attitudes of CM's as well as other guests, do add to the overall enchantment.

    I miss the place I took my children back in 1981 - twice a yr until they said they were "Mickey-ed out". Then I took my godson and friends' munchkins for years until they grew up - then had to find willing friends. I am not as excited about taking my baby grand-daughter...but we have time and I hope to see some positive changes in the next few years. Maybe DL will be her first Disney park - just like her Nana, over 50 yrs ago. :thumbsup2
     
  16. Disney Dork in DFW

    Disney Dork in DFW Mouseketeer

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    My wife and I stayed at POFQ for our honeymoon last August, and the entire experience was simply outstanding! Disney magic abounded!

    In fact, we spent three nights at POFQ and then transferred over to a Downtown Disney area, non-Disney owned hotel for our final night. Our final hotel stay was pretty abysmal, but the details of that I don't think would be appropriate for this forum.

    That being said, with the current economic climate and Disney laying off thousands of cast members, one would think that individual cm's would be giving their utmost effort to deliver the magic to all guests. Logic would dictate to me that with more and more people looking for work, those who are employed would recognize that if they can't do their jobs well, Disney will be able to easily find someone else who can. However, all I have heard in the intervening 11 months since our trip last year is horror stories about terrible cm's. We certainly hope that these are merely blips on an otherwise clear radar screen. I suppose we will see for ourselves shortly.

    Oh, and one more thing...Besides the increasing lack of emphasis on training for cast members, one thing my wife and I were surprised to discover was just how poorly compensated Disney cm's are. Just for fun, we decided to look at Disney's job site (we have discussed becoming cm's ourselves when we retire) to see what positions were available. Try this one on for size, directly from the Disney job site:

    "Monorail and Watercraft Hosts and Hostesses receive a starting rate of $7.35/hour to $8.25/hour."

    That's pretty weak. There had better be some rockin' benefits to go with that salary, or some amazing opportunities for advancement. I know that if I were sweating my hindquarters off on a monorail platform all day, I would be rather disappointed when my paycheck arrived. I certainly wouldn't be feeling "magical" about it.

    Frankly, it makes those cm's who do keep smiling and preserving the magic worthy of praise and commendation.
     
  17. Mouseaholic!!!

    Mouseaholic!!! DIS Veteran

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    You said this very well.

    The magic is inside us. DH is a castmember and I grew up sitting in my rocking chair with my Dale Evans cowgirl outfit and Minnie Ears (now isn't THAT a frightening thought!)....watching Annette, Cubby and all my friends each week.

    The true magic is what YOU make.

    DH has watched the painful cutbacks the last 3 years and even more agressive ones the first quarter of this year. We have watched Traditions (new castmember training) drop from 2 weeks to 1/2 day, we have watched budgets slashed for the resorts and parks and we have also watched prices go sky high ($300 p/night for the Beach Club - are you kidding?) Now add that our beloved WDW is beginning to look a little like Cinderella BEFORE the fairy godmother's visit.

    It's sad. We don't visit WDW 3 or 4 times a year as in the past (maybe once a year now).....we give our travel dollars to places who really WANT us to visit by offering more than the past (more perks, improved rooms/bedding, better discounts).....we visit DL because we see less decline and we wait until the grownups on the West Coast wake up and take responsibility for the future of their investment. Until then....we will make our own magic wherever our travel dollars send us.
     
  18. NeverlandClub23

    NeverlandClub23 DIS Veteran

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    We noticed during our July and November trip last year tons of trash being left behind on the monorail. Once it was so bad we had to push the trash to the side just to sit down.

    I think the Disney magic has decreased for me mainly because I'm going too often now and I never realized how much it cost as a child! ;)

    I agree with a PP poster who said the problem may be the "visitors". It seems that 10 years ago people were more considerate (might be my imagination :confused3) and less "trashy" (I mean that in a littering sense).

    It seems with all of the current promotions and what not some people are more interested in "Celebrating ME" or what Disney can do for them (like spending money at WDW entitles them to much more than a nice, fun, relaxing vacation).
     
  19. kid-at-heart

    kid-at-heart DIS Veteran

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    I am sad to say I have noticed a decline in cleanliness, service, upkeep of products (i.e. carpets, toilets, etc), and quality of merchandise and food (esp food) during the past decade. We normally travel to WDW every two years but the last two visits have been a disappointment. “I” cleaned our room during our last stay because there was so much dust, dirt and grime in the room and bathroom. I kept leaving notes (and tips) for housekeeping. After the fourth day I gave up. I did call the main housekeeping number a few times for items neglected but the response was not consistence in solving the problems.

    I sincerely hope the managers of Disney are reading these boards and listening to their customers. Rather than offering one promotion after another why do they not improve the quality of what is already there as a way to attract more business. During our last visit we spent less than $35 on souvenirs. We were visiting in early December and had planned to do all our Christmas shopping at Disney. The selection and quality of the merchandise limited our shopping severely. Hopefully, soon, I will start reading that Disney is improving and not declining.
     
  20. Scott MC

    Scott MC DIS Veteran

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    As someone earlier said, I also think that we need to look at the population that is visiting WDW lately. The children of the baby boomers are the young parents of today, and frequently, I see a complete lack of control on their part when it comes to their children. Some of the parenting skills I've seen put into practice at WDW make my skin crawl. They don't know how to control their kids, so they don't. It's as simple as that. Kids run amok in hotel lobbies, and Lord help you if they run into you. It will be considered your fault. And don't dare try to tell them to watch where they're going, unless you are ready to get a tongue-lashing from an incompetent parent who's ready to blame everyone before looking at their own children as potentially being the problem. I've seen children drop trash in their parents' line of vision and nothing is said. A previous poster mentioned a child being laughed at for breaking the gingerbread house at the GF. Parents will lie, cheat, beg, steal and run over anyone in their way to get their child onto the rides they want and into a picture with Cinderella. A running joke amongst my friends involves overhearing a mom on the monorail last year reassuring her wailing child, "You'll be FIRST into the Magic Kingdom today." Whatever happened to, "We're paying good money, but so are the rest of these people, and we're going to have to wait our turn like everyone else." As an educator (and a young one at that), I can tell you with absolute certainty that when not given parameters, children WILL do what they want and will come to believe that their negative behavior is what is necessary to get what they want in this world.
    Now, imagine these children coming to WDW a few years later on their own for Spring Break, or better yet, behind the check-in desk at your resort, or running Splash Mountain.
    I'm not saying that Disney is faultless, and surely the tough times have likely forced Disney to make some cutbacks in some places, but before the blame is completely put on the Mouse, think about what the Mouse is forced to deal with in terms of its guests.

    ::I'll get off of my soapbox now::
     
  21. Minnie&Nana

    Minnie&Nana Dreams do come true!

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    I was one of those 2 week Traditions classes...down to a 1/2 day? So sad, so sad.

    I agree with everything you wrote. The magic is inside of US - we make it happen... the enchantment of Disney allows the child in each of us to celebrate!
     
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