Thursday, November 12, 2009

Special Report: Has Disney Gone Too Far?

First off, as many of you know, I am a Disney fan.

For many, many years, I have been a Disney apologizist. When people in the Disney community couldn't understand and didn't like what Disney was doing, for example putting something like the concept of Stitch in Tomorrowland, I could understand why and tried to explain it all away. Stitch is an alien and well, Tomorrowland is about outer space, so it fits. I wore those rose colored glasses proudly.

However, in the past year or so, those rose colored glasses have started slipping down my nose. I can still see in rose colored form (which is why I love the place SO much) but alas, I have been seeing in normal color as well. And once you see in normal color, things start looking not quite as rosy as they had before.

Yes, Disney is a business and I understand how tough it can be to run a successful company as big as Disney. You have all these moving parts that have to keep working together in order to stay afloat.

But as of late, Disney seems to be playing a giant Jenga Game with the Walt Disney World Resort.

What do I mean?

Well, they had a relatively solid foundation just like in the beginning of a game of Jenga...but then because of certain aspects (most undoubtably money related) they started taking away blocks. Slowly pushing them out of their slots...hoping all would go unnoticed.

This has been happening for years with things like the Country Bear Christmas show, Fantasmic being cut, Pleasure Island being closed, removal of certain more expensive food choices at restaurants, taking away performing acts from the parks, making DVC guests now pay for valet parking, taking away perks at the Special Parties, like the free photos, cutting park hours, and of course, most recently, the retiring of the Lights of Winter this year.

Disney has of course, been coming up with all sorts of excuses and reasons for why some of these are no longer taking place. They're coming up with a "BOLD NEW VISION" or the technology is obsolete, or they wanted to make sure their food appealed to a broader general public, or worse yet...they are keeping mum about the reasons behind making such cuts, just hoping that we wouldn't notice.

But I think Disney may have pulled the final Jenga tile from the stack, because now, people are starting to notice all these cuts that have recently been made. And let me tell you...they are VERY unhappy.

All you have to do is look at most Disney message forums and even more recently, Disney's official blog to notice the dissention.

And of course, Disney is not lowering prices while taking these unique opportunities away. No, no. Prices are now higher than ever for experiences that have been dwindling. Experiences that helped make Walt Disney World the unique place it is and, even more so, was. Disney's raised the cost of things like park tickets, parking, the dining plan, the special holiday parties, I could continue. But it seems as if they haven't been adding much for us, as of late. Only taking away.

So, Disney, if you really want to listen to your fans...take notice. We're starting to get a tad (or in some cases, a lot) unhappy with your decisions regarding Walt Disney World and many are getting to the point where drastic action is starting to consider being taken place. People are now deciding to plan less trips, stay offsite, cancel their APs, and even, sell their DVC because of the cost cutting decisions you've been making.

And remember, your loyal fans are what drive your company. We're the ones who constantly make sure we go to your movies, we're the ones who are always at your parks, we're the ones who loyally watch your television shows...and we're also the ones who talk up your product to those around us. Because once you start loosing us, we can really hurt your pocketbooks. Something that you seem to be keen on keeping quite full, or so it would at least appear with the decisions you've been making recently.

So for those of you who are starting to become unhappy with the cuts, I urge you to let Disney know. Send them a letter, write a blog post, tweet when things they do upset us, complain to guest relations. Because keeping quiet is what Disney wants. They don't want us to become vocal. So I say, be loud!


Luman Imagery said...

wow, extremely well said! i grew up going to disney world 2-3 times a year, and i truly call it my second home. it's safe to say that i live and die for disney world. my last trip there, i began noticing the tidbits you hinted at. no more strawberry swirls because you're wanted us to be more "health conscious?" i call BS.
thank you for making this excellent blog posts. LET'S WAKE THEM UP!!!!!!

Elisabeth said...

Excellent post! I too have consistently defended Disney in the past. I understand that the econony is affecting them negatively. However, I agree that some of the "magic" of Disney is starting to slip. They need to understand that cutting all of these things has really added up to an overall diminishing of the guest experience. For a company that prides itself on the "Disney Difference," they need to take a good hard look at what they are doing. In my opinion they are alienating their best customers.

Michael said...

Excellent post.

Cozyflier said...

I totally AGREE 100%!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd like to blog-lift your post!

I can't tell you how many people I have encouraged over the last 12 years to join DVC.

Newer management needs to go back to Walt's dream.


Unknown said...

Carrie, go right ahead and blog-lift. I posted it so others could use it in their own form...whether it's for their blog or to send Disney a letter or whatnot.

Paul Barrie said...

If you don't like what DisneyWorld is doing, let them know (with a letter... Blog post comments don't count) and then show them u mean business by NOT going back. The big issue with blog posts like this is that we complain and then buy a ticket to Orlando anyway.

I got mad at WDW (for it's cutbacks and closures) in 2008 and haven't been there in almost TWO YEARS. And I have no plans to go back for quite a long time. If ever.

If you think DVC is losing value (which it is...) then sell.

The trouble is... There are plenty of folks who ate more than willing to take our place. Do you think that Disney has said "wow...Paul hasn't visited WDW in quite a while. We had better shape up."


Unfotunately, raising prices and lowering quality is the American way lately... and it's sad.