OK!! I think it may be time to regroup. Something I've been trying to do for a while now with Mr. Kidds in particular. So, no quotes, no conversation and no 'snappy' comebacks. Just a simple position essay, which I really don't want to debate as almost all of it is very subjective, and one single solitary question (asked many different ways, of course. I'm regrouping, I'm not changing personalities!! )!! A question that I hope is answered in the spirit in which it was given. Quality and Experience of a Disney Resort It is my subjective belief that the "guest experience" of either the Poly or the Contemporary defines what Walt & company was after when they first had a notion to build and operate resorts. And it is also my firm belief that this 'concept' or 'standard' (if you prefer) was not an accident or random occurrence, but was given deliberate consideration and very careful planning in each and every aspect of the design, operation and implementation. I don't know how they did it. I was not there for the process. But I can imagine. I can imagine studies being performed, disseminated and analyzed. I can imagine task groups charged with certain questions gathering information. I can imagine reports being typed, spreadsheets being used and data collected from any source available. I can also imagine smoke filled rooms where "resort" discussions took place. Groups of people sitting around an office and comparing traveling notes. What they liked about certain hotels, what they didn't like, what they thought was superfluous and what they thought they'd include in their own resort. And I further imagine that this conversation would cover a wide range of concepts, ideas, feelings and personal preferences. Things as small as the type of matches left in the ashtrays (yes ALL rooms were smoking back then), pillow size, desk lamps, bed size, newspaper delivery, cost to the guest, you name it, it was brought up. And lastly I imagine Walt passively at times and very actively at other times giving his final word on the subject! I guess if you disagree with the above paragraph then we really don't have much to talk about. Skip the rest because it will make little sense to you, cause gales of laughter and you will find yourself talking to no one in particular, asking aloud if this guy has got a brain. And I really don't need that kind of abuse!! However, if we believe that the design of the theme, structure, operation, amenities and implementation were not random or capricious acts, then it seems to me that we MUST concede that deliberate thought and careful examination took place. We MUST believe that they talked about these things and for one reason or another they decided that what they included was officially approved and stamped - "Disney". I subjectively accept this as a given. And I would think that anyone who agreed with what has been written so far would also agree. So, where does this leave us? Does this mean that we can NEVER change anything? Does this mean that these are the Standards we are stuck with FOREVER? No! Again, it is my subjective opinion that we do not have to maintain the status quo. If fact, again subjectively the way I interpret Walt's philosophy, we MUST strive to improve the SHOW (experience) at all times! Disney, the way I read it, is COMPELLED to change those standards in an effort to enhance the guest experience. And here's where it gets sticky. I firmly believe, subjectively, that every time a change is considered, no matter how minute or inconsequential that change may appear, it MUST be for the improvement of the SHOW and for no other reason. It CANNOT be price driven, profit motivated or a in consideration of efficiency!! If they decide to change the brand of pillowcases, they really have to consider HOW this affects the experience. Their motivation might be to cut costs, but that doesn't matter. Does this change live up to OR EXCEED the standard that was set? If it does not, THEN DON'T DO IT!! If it does, then by all means, have a ball!! Change what you like!! This goes for ANYTHING, any change, any modification, including (and maybe the most important) price! Now, since price has reared it's ugly head, let's tackle what most people believe is my most convoluted premise. I believe subjectively that value plays an vital role in the experience. I point to the original concept for Disneyland. Here was a place that was sooooo far ahead of the competition that a comparison is really pointless. EVERYTHING was theme, even the ashtrays and trash cans!! Grounds immaculately manicured. Street and sidewalks so clean you probably could have eaten off them. Restrooms sparkled!! Innovation everywhere you looked and ride experiences that were never even considered before. All this for only slightly more that the local, dingy, dirty, rat infested amusement park was charging. That was the magic. That was the experience! Disneyland was at least 100 times better than the local offering. If they charged 100 times the going rate would it have been as magical? And at what point, monetarily, does it completely cease being magic and is nothing more that a rip-off? Therefore, it is my strong subjective belief, based on that thought process, that if prices are raised, beyond inflation, the 'experience' is diminished. Again, I hearken back to the original resort concept. The finalized list of "things Disney" is presented for the group and they all agree, even Walt, that THIS is the definitive "Disney experience"!! So now they must put a price tag to it. The ledger is a blank page. They could write in it anything they want. They decide, after much (or no) debate, that the price would be comparable to a Holiday Inn. Now THAT'S magic!!! If they had decided to charge more, the magic of that 'value' declines. If they decided to double the amount I believe that hardly anyone in the world would have considered it a Magical experience! Now, I understand that technically the "experience" hasn't diminished one little iota. The same table and chairs still are in use. The soap is the same and the palm trees haven't been relocated. But the OVERALL experience, the one which includes price, has been substantially lowered!! Now, it is an objective fact that things changed when Ei$ner took over. Two things happened. The first, which doesn't get much press around here, but is undeniable nonetheless, is that prices were raised EXCEEDING what the normal rate of inflation would have been. The second was that he had resorts built with standards that varied from the originals. Those are facts! OBJECTIVE facts. I don't think anyone can refute them. The Floridian and the Caribbean were both built within this time frame and they both carry DIFFERENT standards, from each other and the two originals. Ok! So, it is my considered subjective opinion that this very concept SUCKED!! First off they took the "value" away from the original Disney experience. By raising the prices so outrageously they damaged the experience. And second, they muddied the waters soooo badly that even after 15 pages, ardent Disney fans cannot agree on what those standards were, much less are, or even more important, what they should be!! He reduced the entire experience to theme and theme alone. Ambiance, comfort, amenities, little Disney" touches", quality, feel, price, value and even decorations (All-Stars) have become so mixed up that the true Disney experience has become lost. And of course a third thing happened when these two concepts were employed. And it is my subjective opinion that this is the very moment when the Disney Magical Experience went from being an all-inclusive concept to a commodity. The more you pay, the more "magic" you get. Yep! Magic, for the first time, went ala carte!! Now, one could argue that this isn't a bad thing. That by raising prices, profits rise. As a stockholder this pleases me. And that by lowering the standards more people could afford it. And as a people kind of guy this pleases me as well. All very well and good. And it's awfully hard to refute. But I can't help thinking that this is NOT what Disney is all about. This is NOT what was envisioned when Walt paced off the property in Anaheim. Quality was the watchword. Value was the key. And those two concepts, in my humble and very subjective opinion have become lost in the shuffle of corporate greed! The end!! Now for the ONE question!! (restated many times - LandBaron style!!) Ladies and Gentlemen of the DIS: At what point does a Disney Resort stop being Disney? How far from the Standards (not only the original or my standards but any standards) do we have to go before it is no longer a "Disney Experience"? Is there a cut off? Is there a point that a far worse CEO could go when the "experience" ceases to be Disney? Or does having the same zip code suffice? And how would you objectively or even subjectively draw that line? Thanks, Your friendly neighborhood LandBaron!!