Why Shouldn't WDW close each Park One Day a Week?

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by Peter Pirate, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. Peter Pirate

    Peter Pirate Its not the end of civilization...But you can see

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,656
    During Walt's time DLwas closed two days a week as I recall, yet today everyone bristles at the thought of this so I just thought I'd take a step back and look at the possibilities.

    What if each Park could be closed one day per week during well stated slow periods (consistantly)? Say Epcot on Monday, MK on Tuesday, MGM on Wednesday and AK on Thursday. In return for this we could get "regular hours" restored at all Parks during open times with full staffing and operations of stores, concessions, entertainment, etc. The off day would certainly allow all essential cleanup, upkeep and minor rehabs from being done in front of the guest and the cutback in costs would probably result in a big net savings to the bottom line.

    Now, I know you guys hate this idea, and mind you I'm not necessarily endorsing it, but IF (and that's a big if) we could get back some of the lost magic (speaking of hours, ambiance and better maintenance) might it not be a logical if not a good idea? If not why not?

    Perhaps the Parks really do need a days rest in order to keep them vital and stop any downward maintenance trend as happened aat DL.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. Captain Hook

    Captain Hook Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2000
    Messages:
    144
    I really dont believe they would restore the hours, and if they did I believe in a few months they would reduce them again.
     
  4. KNWVIKING

    KNWVIKING DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2001
    Messages:
    4,157
    I would be in favor of it happening only if all the cut-backs were fully restored,no compromising, 100% restored.

    I can only be in one place at a time anyway and rarely have I hit all the parks on the same day.
     
  5. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,191
    As just some more background - Disneyland was closed Mondays and Tuesday four or five months out of the year during the "slow season": parts of November & December, January and February. At the time over 70% of Disneyland's attendance lived within a two hour drive and L.A. area schools were mostly on the "traditional" Sept-June schedule. Tourist season was more pronounced with approximately 80% of out-of-town visitors showing up for Christmas and Easter weeks, and from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There was an "un-written" agreement between Disney and Knott's Berry Farm to make sure that at one of the two parks would be open every day (Knotts' taking Wed/Thu).

    WDW, opened in 1971 when Disneyland would still have some 5-day weeks, was constructed as a resort and so from the beginning it was assumed that the Magic Kingdom (and later EPCOT Center) would be open every day.
     
  6. JDH

    JDH <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 1999
    Messages:
    251
    that if I'm paying for and Ultimate Park Hopper ticket, which lets me visit all parks on any given day, that I'm looking for the ticket to be priced accordingly if I'm not going to be able to do that based on the park closings. What do you think the chance of that happening?

    As far as catching up on the maintenance during the day off I seem to remember that the parks were maintained during after hours quite well before all the cost cutting.

    This seems to me a plan that would receive enthusiastic support from Ei$ner as, once again, the guest would get less and contribute the same or I bet more. I can't see trading what we as guests should get as the norm and have it become an enhancement.

    Doing your job should not be an unexpected event.

    The "corporate weasels", there's that phrase again, are not only impacting the Walt Disney Company but just about all of the others too! So I vote no.
     
  7. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2000
    Messages:
    6,464
    If everything was done as you lay it out in your hypothetical, then maybe I could roll with it. I would feel better about 3 parks being opened with great attention to the Show than 4 making a less than 100% effort.

    Even so, I think it would just be a case of the lesser of two evils, instead of really making the best choices.

    But in the real world, here's my issues with it, off the top of my head:
    1- Not all hours and other cuts would be restored.
    2- The other three parks would be more crowded.
    3- The decision would still be a cost-based one instead of a product-based one.
    4- Guests would have fewer options, making planning more difficult, especially for those on shorter trips.
    5- Like the hours, I'm sure the closing days would not be published far in advance, again, making planning more difficult.
    6- The savings realized would probably not be as great as we think, since there are still costs associated with the parks sitting idle. (All the more reason why I think the other hours and cuts would not all be restored... they would eat into the savings brought on by the closures)
    7- A closed park is bad show. Besides just the idea of telling resort guests a park is closed, specifically AK being closed is bad Show for AKL guests, MGM being closed is bad Show for Epcot-area guests, Epcot being closed is bad Show for Epcot-area guests and monorail users, and MK being closed is bad Show for just about everyone.
    8- Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, etc, etc, etc,...
     
  8. Peter Pirate

    Peter Pirate Its not the end of civilization...But you can see

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,656
    Certainly, as Matt pointed out this purly hypothetical, but it's different from a lot of what we talk about because it is doable.

    It also appears that the biggest doubt in such a situation is whether Disney would actually 'pony up' (which would offset some of the savings) to return to the "days of yesteryear," in a manner of speaking. But if they did. If they actually went all out quality, guest service wise. If they truly put on the best show possible in all venues, I think the public would quickly forget that one Park per day would be closed. First of all, it wouldn't happen during the busy times, that would be lunacy and secondly, FP has really helped the wait time situation for those savvy enough to properly advantage themselves of it and thirdly, if it were well publicized there would be no surprises.

    There would always be dillusionment, like was stated by JDH, but I think the cries of a few would be offset by a better Park experience...i.e. all rides open, longer hours, all entertainment functioning, etc. Plus the ability to maintain attractions better seems like a real positive especially in light of BTMRR.

    I don't know. The loss of a Park, to me, would make planning harder, but if Disney were desiring to 'up the ante' on the competetion by reverting to the old ways, I think this possibly would be a way.
     
  9. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    43,700
    I can almost see this happening at the Studios and AK. I can't see it happening at MK or Epcot.

    MK is generally what most people think of when they think of WDW. I can't begin to count the number of times I've seen someone write that they check in and head over to MK right away. People expect MK to be there and to be available. Besides if MK is closed, where will all of those people that go there each day end up? Inundating the other three parks I guess!

    I can't see it happening at Epcot either because of World Showcase. Disney clearly wants people to eat in the restaurants and shop in the stores in World Showcase. Besides during quieter times, only Epcot stays open late so you could end up with a lot of idle people if no parks were open later. I don't believe that Disney would see to it that another park remained open while Epcot was closed. I'm TRYING to but I can only imagine being urged to visit Downtown Disney.
     
  10. crusader

    crusader calls the faithful to their knees

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,355
    It's not going to work.

    With the DVC in particular and the economic climate, vacations aren't as lengthy. You cannot limit your guest here.

    I still have difficulty believing tomorrow's visitor is disillusioned by the changes we feel. Our children respond to our reactions more than anything else. Their needs are basic. They have a cavalier attitude with no financial woes and hopefully they have grown accustomed to certain restrictions by their parents. A child has a very simple perception of "show" and fun, which is why their experience at Disney is heavily dependent upon how the adult behaves.
     
  11. Peter Pirate

    Peter Pirate Its not the end of civilization...But you can see

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,656
    Planogirl, I agree that MK is the Park that would most likely shock folks if this were done, but I think they still could get away with it by making sure everything is right at MGM, Epcot & AK...On which days it would seem a 9:00 closing at Epcot & MGM would fit with MK being closed and AK closing at 5:00...Maybe it's just that logical part of me that says "hey, there are still three Parks to choose from," not to mention Water Parks. Plus we keep in mind that this would be only slow seasons (maybe 4 months per year, en totale?) and all Parks would be going down midweek.

    Your Epcot point is a real fly in the ointment though. I agree that it may be tough to reconcile the closing of World Showcase due to the food & shopping aspects...Perhaps this is how the second/seperate gate could be introduced?

    Crusader, I understand exactly what you're saying, but remember I'm talking about restablishing all Parks to full operating status while open...Meaning, nothing less than 8 or 9:00 closing at MK or MGM. Meaning fireworks and parades at MK everynight. Fantasmic everynight, twice if the crowd warrants. I think FW at Epcot would have to be restablished as open until 9:00 as well, with continued performances by the many entertainers...

    I think if Disney could "wow" the guests again (in all of those little areas) and still reduce costs by the closures...I mean, I think folks would understand that certain times of the year the Parks will be on rotating schedules...I'm not saying there wouldn't be disappointment, maybe lots of disappointment, particularily in a MK closing, but I think a return to the core concepts lost just may make up for it...Plus isn't it the lack of uncertainty that bothers many? In this case I think the schedule would need to be an iron clad certainty...

    Perhaps, I'm just being naieve, wouldn't be the first time and of course I'm talking about spending a good portion of the savings from the closure on "Show," which probably would never happen...But this is still a "what if" scenerio...

    I think, aside from PG's point about Epcot, my biggest concern from an operational standpoint, is the one Matt brought up. Would enough money even be saved from the closures to fund the improvements and still cut some overhead?
     
  12. airlarry!

    airlarry! Did you know some ferns date back to Prehistoric t

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    958
    I have no problem with closing one park a day if hours from 9-7 were extended at all of the remaining parks. In fact, I can see a situation where Epcot Future World, MGM, and AK all go dark on a rotating basis (leaving the World Showcase open at night for dining only--a version of the twin park concept we talked about last summer).

    Of course, saying that is the same thing as saying I have no problem with the thought of me winning the lottery Saturday night.

    Current Disney management does not have the creative foresight to implement a three park closing two days a week, and the MK closing one day a week, and then boosting hours to insane levels (especially considering the fact that vacationers in Florida are just about year round now--we go during Mardi Gras every year to packed crowds, and our trip in the first week in December apparently will be crowded also). Then using this boost in a major marketing campaign that trumpets a return to the LandBaronesque days of strolling around the MK after midnight, of fireworks at 1:00 am, of Fantasmic showings twice nightly, of Illumniations 2004 blasting the lagoon at before midnight.
     
  13. crusader

    crusader calls the faithful to their knees

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,355
    Yes, with the exception of one per day. Think carefully about how this would realistically play out. Guests are being deprived of a whole park which conceptually causes them to feel they are losing more than they are gaining. It's like being denied entry to something you've always been given complete access to.

    What really happens when people are told they can no longer get into a place they are being charged for? Massive demands - overwhelming complaints - slew of backlash - outrage resonating within the vicinity of an innocent child's ear.

    Do you honestly believe restoring hours and parades at the other parks will curb this level of emotional disarray?
     
  14. Peter Pirate

    Peter Pirate Its not the end of civilization...But you can see

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,656
    No, I don't. I only put this out here to hear informed opinions, like yours. There is a side of me that thinks yes, given time, PR, and great offerings elsewhere the negative could be overcome...But still the nagging "entitlement theory" that you bring up is always there, isn't it?
     
  15. KNWVIKING

    KNWVIKING DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2001
    Messages:
    4,157
    I understand your point about paying full price for an UPH pass and not getting all four parks. But, if you're getting more hours at the other three parks with one park closed,that could be a worthwhile trade off valuewise. When you factor in all the restored perks- parades,shows,fireworks,SHOW, etc, IMO that makes my UPH pass more valueable with only three parks.

    ***"5- Like the hours, I'm sure the closing days would not be published far in advance, again, making planning more difficult." ***
    Matt, why wouldn't the days be published well in advance ? Just say Oct-Nov, MK closed X day, MGM Y day, etc. That has to be a lot simplier then what they are doing now where the hours seem to flex with the crowds.

    ***"1- Not all hours and other cuts would be restored."***

    Well, now you're changing the rules of the OP. The only way this could work would be full restoration. I understand your lack of trust that they would, but for the sake of this thread we have to assume they would.
     
  16. morphi

    morphi DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2001
    Messages:
    517
    I don't think I like this plan either. One of the things that has frustrated me during my many WDW vacation over the past several years has been the nagging feeling like I am being herded where the corporate weasels want me to go. They herd me by limiting my choices, closing things, and offering things in strategic ways. Here are the various ways they already herd me where they want me to go:

    WS opens late
    FW closes early
    Attractions shuttered
    Attractions open late
    Attraction close early
    Entire lands open late
    Entire lands close early
    Spectromagic only showing 1 time per week
    Fireworks only showing 1 time per week
    All parks close early so everyone goes to DTD to spend $$$
    Pools close early

    Vacationing should not be so complicated. I'm an independent kind of person and I start to resent it when I feel like I am being herded like a sheep. This feeling was very pronounced a few weeks back during my last vacation when all the parks were closed early so I went to DTD. The stores were absolutely MOBBED. You could barely wedge yourself into the aisles. I felt like the corporate weasels got just what they wanted out of their sheep by closing the parks and having everyone go spend money at DTD. I HATE feeling like a sheep. But with stratgeic closures, limited hours, etc. you pretty much don't have a choice anymore.

    By having a rotating schedule for entire parks being open, you just give them one more tool to use to hard you even more effectively.
     
  17. Lewisc

    Lewisc <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

    Joined:
    May 23, 2000
    Messages:
    18,382
    I read that Disney was considering closing AK 1 or 2 days a week. They found they wouldn't save much $. The staffing required for the animals negated a lot of the savings. They decided to try to improve the park instead.
     
  18. KNWVIKING

    KNWVIKING DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2001
    Messages:
    4,157
    ***"By having a rotating schedule for entire parks being open, you just give them one more tool to use to hard you even more effectively"***

    But the point is that with one park closed the remainder would all be fully restored to their past glory.You wouldn't be herded to one Spectro because there wouldn't be just one. No closed land-all would be open when the park opens. Ride refurb would remain the same, but this is to be expected regardless.
     
  19. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2000
    Messages:
    6,464
    Because I don't see the reasons hours are not posted in advance changing, and the same reasoning applies to closing the parks. I'm not saying they COULDN'T post them well in advance, just that they consider it necessary to not set hours more than a month or so in advance. I don't see them giving up that flexibility, as clearly they feel it has value to them.

    I know, but that's why I mention why it wouldn't work in the real world.

    Some of my other reasons, like the bad Show aspects, still apply even in the hypothetical.

    Closing MK would just be ludicrous. The monorail would run by a closed park all day... All those MK area guests would have views of a closed park...

    See, here's the problem I have with getting completely into the entire hypothetical here: If those making these decisions REALLY had maintaining the Show as their primary directive, and weren't being forced into diminishing the guest experience, then they wouldn't need to close parks in order to provide the best experience at the other parks in the first place.

    Its not that I have a problem discussing it, its just that I can't help but qualify my answers...
     
  20. Peter Pirate

    Peter Pirate Its not the end of civilization...But you can see

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,656
    But things have changed...In order to "get back" to where Disney was once is nearly impossible. I started thinking of this after the BTMRR accident and then noting how much DL was allowed to deteriorate and why and a lot of the maintenance issues are the same I suppose EXCEPT the Parks are now open all of the time. When is maintenance to be done? Oh, I know Landbaron would have us go back to nightime work but the feasibility based on cost alone pretty much rules this out in todays world...Besides how many qualified laborers would be willing to work nights to do these things for 4 Parks and 2 Water Parks? If you could find the staff, again, at what cost?

    Therefore, in order to do many of the unmagical duties, repairs and upgrades that need to be done to keep the Show Magical it appears a day off is one of the only answers.

    Matt, I noticed you said closing MK is unthinkable, but why really? Do you think the obsticles couldn't be overcome?

    Lastly, with your comment regarding the Companies quest for quality, my point here was perhaps those within the Company who really insist on the "old way" could possible be heard if they could find a way to do it and actually reduce costs at the same time. The question is could they do it AND cust costs at the same time?
     
  21. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,191
    "The question is could they do it AND cust costs at the same time?"

    Through the end of Disney's 3rd quarter (June 2003), the Parks unit has made more around a billion dollars. And that's not even counting the extremely profitable summer months of Q4.

    So why should I - the ticket buying, hamburger purchasing, plush spending guest - give up yet even more of my vacation dollars' value so Mikey can add a few money pennies to his aleady overflowing parachute?

    How much are the guests supposed to loose so that Disney executives need not feel any pain?

    I think Dsiney would be far better off trying to figure out ways to make people WANT to go to WDW rather than figuring our more ways of squeezing more bucks from the decling number who go in spite of everything.
     

Share This Page