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A Spirited Valentine ...

Discussion in 'WDW Parks News, Rumors and Current Events' started by WDW1974, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. WDW1974

    WDW1974 Well-Known Member

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    And a Happy and Healthy and Love-filled Valentine's Week to all here.

    I was hesitant to start a new thread as my time really is severely limited these days, but being away for a while has also allowed many topics to pop up. I also have made travel plans that include most of Disney's international outposts for 2017 (before the end of days, hopefully!) most especially Shanghai, so I imagine I'll have far more to say down the road anyway. With that in mind, let's talk about what's been going on and what will be and why.

    I'd love to use little cupid emojis for each of the following, so if anyone can send me one, you can be my Valentine (we don't have to tell Angie if we play hide the Vinylmation!)


    --- Ticket prices: as good as any place to start. I had heard DLR was raising them tomorrow, so not surprised to see WDW do likewise. This is how they make their P&R numbers look so shiny on a regular basis. They simply keep getting more income from roughly the same amount of visitors. You have to believe, even if The Weatherman and Chappie don't, that you can't do this endlessly. Even some bloggers/Lifestylers have either cut back on AP media or have stated the desire/plans to. All I know is the Charter/FL/AP that cost me $298 plus tax maybe a half dozen years ago is now costing $584 not counting whatever it goes up to tomorrow. If my significant other wasn't so enamored with WDW, I wouldn't have bought a pass this year to start with. Not even going to get into the one day argument as even the MK and DAK are not close to worth the price and the other two gates should be less than half what they charge based upon not having ... you know ... those pesky things ... what are they? Oh yeah, attractions.

    --- Financials:Disney is still a darling on Wall Street, but Iger is starting to get that "dusty" feeling that Eisner got. He still hasn't solved the ESPN problem, which isn't huge, but is significant. The Studios are firing on all cylinders, but again, that doesn't last forever. And with every film costing over $200 million to produce it doesn't take a genius to realize an extra bomb or two a year (or simply a film that makes only $750 million when the studio was counting on over a billion) and the view changes. That film coming soon might be the new Pirates film, although to be fair running it during the Super Bowl with country music in the background should have gotten many people fired. The Cars franchise also has a lot of wear on its tires despite this being only the third installment (those Planes films were 'inspired' by that world!) And what is it with Iger still refusing to answer a question from Richie Greenfield? What incredibly thin skin for the head of the largest media company in the world. He's just like a petulant brat.

    --- New CM food discounts: Let's be blunt, the only people that Disney has less use for than its Guests are its CMs who make the MAGIC. Yet what did the new year bring? Real 40% discounts at many new and, formerly quite popular, dining locations. In addition to locations like Captain's Grill and Olivia's and ESPN Club that have offered 40% off for years now, CMs and their Guests get that at Garden Grill, Coral Reef (lunch only), Biergarten (lunch only), Kona Cafe (lunch only), Boma, Citricos, Jiko, Tiffins, and Skipper Canteen. They have never offered that type of discount at a character dining location.And to see it offered at locations like Boma and Jiko at DAK Lodge and Citricos at the Grand Flo is incredibly telling about their price points and that they have reached a point where they are not sustainable.When 40% off makes a meal realistic in the real world, something is very off with your business model. Oh, and this also tells you that the two newest dining locations are simply not doing well. You can't survive mostly on Bloggers and their government aid checks forever. Any CMs who want to take me to lunch or dinner with their discounts are free to PM!

    --- Possible parking and resort fees: This is something WDW has been thinking of doing for years. At least since Meg Crofton was in charge. They have gotten very negative feedback, which has slowed things down. But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see this happen (THIS IS OPINION) soon. This is what they want to do. No, that 3.5-star $650 room at the Contemporary isn't enough, let's add a $25 parking fee and a $50 resort fee to that. It is utter greed. People should be calling TDO and emailing anyone and everyone from Georgie K on down. Again, you can stop some things if you push enough and push the right people. I haven't followed the ongoing discussion here, but as a DVCer, I'm immune. But they'll lose any dining revenue from me if I have to pay a fee to visit their resorts when I am not using my points. Point blank.


    --- DLP Takeover: Ah, so Disney's evil plot of letting the resort rot and then buying everyone out and making debt disappear that I first mentioned was the plan as long ago as 2011 has happened. Don't know what to add really. I am glad the resort is seeing some love, but tourism to Paris has been hit like O-Town was back in the 2001-2004 era. The 25th Anniversary, which has more sparkle than substance will certainly draw an uptick in visitation, but how much? Hopefully, DLP will realize there are Disney fans in countries other than the UK, Spain and France (oh and our good friends in Russia too!) and start marketing to individual nations a bit more (yes, like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands for starters). But at some point, you have to add attractions. A friend asked the other day if I thought DLP's neglect had actually helped save it from the dumb decisions of other castle parks (only Buzz Lightyear has really been added in a way that harms the consistency of story in the park) and the more I thought about it, the more it actually made some sense. I just hope when the new attractions finally start coming down the pipeline they are not the long-rumored TSMM or Soarin clones. You won't see Pandora even though this was the second location designed to get it. I know some people look at the attendance and think the park should pull in USA or Tokyo numbers, but that just isn't realistic. The price to visit DLP, which is currently a good value on APs, is so much more on a one day or two day basis than other operators. And parks like Germany's Europa, have far more attractions, offering more bang for the buck (yes, plenty are basic and unthemed).

    MORE ....
     
  2. WDW1974

    WDW1974 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I just realized I took a DCL voyage again and had a pair of WDW visits since we all last chatted ... time really is flying!
     
  3. WDW1974

    WDW1974 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    --- Rivers of Light: So we have a debut. What is the consensus among every blogger who has seen it? Greatest thing ever? Or they liked the area better when it was scrub and swamp? I find it astounding that I first heard about the project roughly 10 years ago this spring and it is just starting to run and in a truncated format. The amount of missteps and issues are a bit mind-boggling for a company the size of Disney. Think about that. It took a decade to open this show and it still isn't 'right.' But wonderful they got to trot it out with all those Mommy Bloggers in town. Have you read George's note to CMs about them and the date announcements made this week?

    Hold on ... got it here somewhere ...


    This week, on the corporate earnings call and through social media,
    we shared some red-letter dates that are certain to be of interest to our
    Guests ... as well as to you!

    For instance, yesterday at the 8th annual Disney Social Media Moms
    Celebration, we shared with some of our most influential social media
    contacts that our first entirely new land in nearly two decades—Pandora:
    The World of Avatar—will open to our Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    on May 27. For that same park, we also announced that our awe-inspiring
    on-water spectacular celebrating the wonders of nature, Rivers of Light, will have its official opening
    just one week from today, on February 17.

    Together with other Disney’s Animal Kingdom elements already announced, such as the sunset edition
    of Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids after dark, The Tree of Life
    awakenings and Discovery Island Carnivale, these announcements underscore this park’s standing as
    a true day-to-nighttime experience, and will give many of our Guests ample reason to extend their Walt
    Disney World vacation by a day ... or two ... or more.

    We also shared with our social-media contacts another very significant piece of after-sunset news.
    This one centers on Magic Kingdom where, for the first time since 2003, an entirely new nighttime
    spectacular, featuring fireworks and projection as only Disney can do, will premiere on May 12.
    “Happily Ever After” will bring to life characters from films such as “Moana,” “Brave,” “Zootopia,”
    “Big Hero 6,” and “The Princess and the Frog,” accompanied by a soundtrack recorded this winter in
    London with a 75-piece orchestra. Joyful, majestic and soul-stirring, “Happily Ever After” will be a major
    reason to visit Magic Kingdom—and for those who wish to experience “Wishes” one more time before it
    closes at Magic Kingdom, that’s another reason to schedule a visit soon.

    And in an announcement that is certain to excite literally millions of our Guests worldwide, we now have
    a definite window for the opening of the upcoming Star Wars themed land here at Disney’s Hollywood
    Studios: It will be available for Guests to enjoy in 2019.

    I realize that all of these are dates that our Guests, and your friends and family members—and
    you—have been wondering about, and these have all now been announced, so feel free to share them
    as you wish. They can help our Guests plan their next trips to Walt Disney World, and that’s a way you
    can help us to ... keep making magic!

    A message from George: Mark your calendars!
    February 10, 2017
    George A. Kalogridis
    President, Walt Disney World Resort
     
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  4. Howdy

    Howdy Premium Member

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    I will be interested to see what happens should they start charging parking and resort fees. My family carries APs and we always stay on site just to be immersed in the experience of it, but if the prices of the hotels go much higher I absolutely will not be staying in Disney resorts any longer.
     
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  5. HMF

    HMF Well-Known Member

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    That's why I am so skeptical of everyone clamoring for new attractions, shows, etc. Not because new stuff is not needed but because I don't trust today's Disney to do anything that won't damage the parks artistically. (See: Avatar, Epcot, Tomorrowland, etc.
     
  6. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back,. Now that TWDC is going to be the full owner of DLP maybe they will right what they sowed over the many years they let it dangle.
     
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  7. WDW1974

    WDW1974 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Where were we? Oh yeah. Getting to my favorite part -- the 'personalities' that make this business so MAGICal. Let's start with the monster under the bed for members of TWDC's BoD.

    --- Iger remaining: Well, he thought about politics, but didn't fare well with Bernie Sanders or his decision to meet (and then not meet and then not release any statement on the travel ban) with the new White House resident. His attempts to be a player in the NFL failed miserably. And he conveniently removed the two men he was said to be grooming to take over (my strong suspicion is he never intended for either of them to come close). So now he is sitting pretty as he looks at joining the Billionaire Bois Club pretty soon. Then he plants a story with the WSJ (yes, he did) saying he'd think about staying longer than 2018 if he was asked. I am not really sure where this one is going to wind up. There are Board members who have been vocal about no more extensions and no more unneeded succession drama, yet they seem intent on going there. They make this almost like replacing a Pope, like there aren't many different options and directions out there and it really is ridiculous.

    --- Burke rumor: The UNI fanbois (still fighting some nonexistent war) have apparently been telling the world that Disney approached Steve Burke about replacing Iger and he laughed maniacally because he has a better job with a better company (Really? Ya sure about that?) While feelers went out to Burke, much like Viacom had feelers out to Jeff Katzenberg a while back, that is as far as things went. Burke is happy in his job and, frankly, (here's where the UNI fanbois start peeing in their Spidey pull-ups and getting all nasty) Disney would be a step up for him as they have a much more varied portfolio of business units than Comcast does. And most are firing on all cylinders now. But while a fanboi can list five reasons why Disney would want him, Disney can list more reasons why they wouldn't. Beyond that, even if this were true, Burke has an ego (a deserved one). He isn't going to be sitting around waiting for Iger to do his victory lap to take over a year from June. If Disney offered him the job and he accepted, he'd start next week and Iger would be paid a little extra to go away. Neither is happening. But this idea that Burke was offered the job and turned it down just isn't reality. But maybe we should go ask a blogger ...

    --- Mark Woodbury: while we are on the subject of UNI, Woodbury was recently elevated to the No. 2 role in their parks business. I've heard UNI fanbois crowing and all I can think is ''they really don't get THEIR company or Woodbury's role." Talk to anyone at UNI-Creative and you would think the man is Satan (that role is being occupied by Steve Bannon these days!) He is widely disliked to a Bruce Vaughn level or higher. And his decisions on too many screen-based attractions and too much repetition have kept Creative from upping Disney overall. Sure, anything Potter is among the best creative product out there ... but after that the level drops quite a bit. WDI may spend like our defense department, but overall their product is still better. Any anyone looking at the plans for UNI-Beijing and seeing what is actually happening would realize this is almost as cut and paste as TDL was in 1983.
     
  8. WDW1974

    WDW1974 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    And let's pick up the conversation with UNI-Beijing and the Disney Chinese resorts tomorrow.
     
  9. HMF

    HMF Well-Known Member

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    He seems to have learned well from Michael E.
     
  10. TiggerDad

    TiggerDad Well-Known Member

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    Yes, welcome back.
     
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  11. brb1006

    brb1006 Well-Known Member

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    You forgot to mention Move It Shake It will soon be showing at night at MK.
     
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  12. LAKid53

    LAKid53 Well-Known Member

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    Good to have you back.

    So Iger was thinking about politics? :eek:

    You know, now that the Raiders are moving to LA, again, maybe there's hope for him in the NFL.... :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  13. Mike S

    Mike S Well-Known Member

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    Never seen that Burke rumor until now. I thought Coup was the "screenz" guy?

    Glad to have you back btw :)
    Can we include Nintendo at USF in that?

    Yes, I'm a hopeless Nintendo "fanboy." Stop judging :p
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  14. BrianLo

    BrianLo Well-Known Member

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    Such a tease, missed you!
     
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  15. tissandtully

    tissandtully Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back Spirit,
     
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  16. Nemo14

    Nemo14 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back!
     
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  17. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member

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    ... That's just sad. I don't think I'd realized how long it had been since there had been a new land (NFL doesn't really count)
     
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  18. DDLand

    DDLand Well-Known Member

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    I'm excited!

    If I'm being brutally honest, I'm almost completely sure Universal Beijing is misplaced. Besides Shanghai being the cultural center, it's going to have awful weather.

    With that said, at least the roster looks pretty great.
     
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  19. LAKid53

    LAKid53 Well-Known Member

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    If I were Comcast, I'd wait to see how it goes for Disney. I'm sure the Party will insist on the same deal they have with Disney. And then there's that other little thing that can complicate the deal. One China! It's Good! :wink: :wink:
     
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  20. ford91exploder

    ford91exploder Resident Curmudgeon

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    Welcome back Mr Spirit we've missed you
     
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