An absolutely fantastic read that should be mandatory for all of us

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
Original Poster

mlee10

Well-Known Member
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"And with that, the Walt Disney World I fell in love with as a child was finally gone. That same Walt Disney World that was still almost kinda hanging on when I worked there, the one I began writing this blog about, has finally sailed its last phantom sidewheeler steamboat across Bay Lake and vanished.

It almost, nearly, made it to 50.

If you're reading these words there's a good chance that it was your version too. But the thing is, there is out there right now somebody who never rode the Backlot Tour or Alien Encounter or Horizons who will love it, and perhaps they'll be the next ones to pick up this thing we were part of and carry it forward.

It's not our Walt Disney World anymore... but it might just be somebody's."



Ever changing and evolving...while I don't like change there are many new visitors to the parks that do. I will continue to go and fall in love with new things!

Fantastic Read! Thanks for sharing.
 

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Kind of lost me at the end with the doom and gloom questioning the strategy. Disney Parks have done ridiculously well, better nearly every quarter since the 2008 financial meltdown (which was still a hugely profitable year). Yeah, I hate some of the stuff that happened as a long time Disney World veteran, but let's be serious...the parks have and will continue to do exceptionally well.

With hotel occupancy down overall, its hard not to feel that Disney has finally crossed that event horizon from popular destination to once in a lifetime spree. The trouble is, the tighter they squeeze, the more money's gonna run thru their fingers. Disney travelers have long relied on outside grocery stores and stroller rental companies to take the sting off the tail of Disney prices, and with recent moves to curtail these competitors one wonders at which point vacationers are going to stop buying those high profit resort drinks or simply decide to go elsewhere next year.

Myself, I'm wondering what Disney is going to do when the market declines again. Tourism has always been a boom and bust industry, and attendance has dropped precipitously at the start of the 1980s, the 1990s, and the 2000s. We're very much waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when that happens Disney has always had a robust local market to appeal to in the past. Given the discounts I've seen being marketed locally and the sudden lifting of summer blackouts last year when Toy Story Land was not enough the entice visitors to Orlando, I'm starting to wonder if that market is still going to be there for them when they need it. I can't speak for everyone, but when it came time to renew my pass several years ago, I decided a Nintendo Switch was more appealing. And I have Disney posters on my wall. Disney's core product is nostalgia, and you can't have nostalgia when you've torn out a lot of what makes people nostalgic.
 

CaptainAmerica

Well-Known Member
Kind of lost me at the end with the doom and gloom questioning the strategy. Disney Parks have done ridiculously well, better nearly every quarter since the 2008 financial meltdown (which was still a hugely profitable year). Yeah, I hate some of the stuff that happened as a long time Disney World veteran, but let's be serious...the parks have and will continue to do exceptionally well.
Yeah how old is this guy? "I can't speak for everyone, but when it came time to renew my pass several years ago, I decided a Nintendo Switch was more appealing."

I mean... okay? But Disney doesn't really care what you think if your annual vacation budget is $300.
 

MrHappy

Well-Known Member
I wish I didn't give this site traffic. A quick skim and I just hear 'get off my lawn'! He's complaining about updates due to fire codes???
Polynesian Resort was perhaps the first Disney hotel to be fundamentally downgraded as a result of its remodel. Meandering pathways through tropical gardens were widened into freeways to accommodate a new revision of the RCID building code which required firetrucks to have clear access into the interior of the resort.
 

The_Jobu

Well-Known Member

TrainChasers

Well-Known Member

Watch the monorails gliding in and out, the doors popping open, the people constantly flowing in and out, each one and individual from cultures around the world but each being helpfully guided by design through an area. Watch how gracefully they navigate each other and a space and moreover watch how it happens again and again and again. Compare that to the mess of humans milling around waiting for a Fastpass to become valid.


And compare it to the mess at security where you are constantly being told which line you can and can’t stand in, to by-pass the metal detectors, not to bypass the metal detectors, etc. (in only English of course, despite the large amount of international and hard of hearing guests who visit the parks daily).
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
"And with that, the Walt Disney World I fell in love with as a child was finally gone. That same Walt Disney World that was still almost kinda hanging on when I worked there, the one I began writing this blog about, has finally sailed its last phantom sidewheeler steamboat across Bay Lake and vanished.

It almost, nearly, made it to 50.

If you're reading these words there's a good chance that it was your version too. But the thing is, there is out there right now somebody who never rode the Backlot Tour or Alien Encounter or Horizons who will love it, and perhaps they'll be the next ones to pick up this thing we were part of and carry it forward.


It's not our Walt Disney World anymore... but it might just be somebody's."



Ever changing and evolving...while I don't like change there are many new visitors to the parks that do. I will continue to go and fall in love with new things!

Fantastic Read! Thanks for sharing.

This wraps it up in a nutshell. Every thing changes, some will like the change others will not. Nostalgia changes as the demographics gets old and dies off. those 6 year old girls who are playing princess, that the writer dismisses will grow up and have families and their nostalgia will be "Elsa" not maelstrom.
 

FullSailDan

Well-Known Member
They aren't wrong, but their core premise that Disney's product being nostalgia is flawed. At some point nostalgia becomes increasingly trifle, archaic, and irrelevant to society. Disney's parks can't become a museum of fun in the 70's and 80's and continue to be profitable. The way we interact with, and experience, entertainment has changed and will continue to in perpetuity.

I don't fault Disney for change, it has to if it wants to stay relevant to society and entice visitors to keep coming. I fault Disney for the execution of said changes. The commitment to quality is suffering tremendously, the placement of attractions and IP is incoherent, the attention to detail has diminished, and minimum viable product is routinely considered the greatest achievement. Change doesn't need to mean loss of nostalgic elements, and subtle nods to past design and function can sometimes be enough. Other times something new entirely is needed, and a company as capable as TWDC should know the difference. It doesn't.

I should also state that much of this is unique to Orlando. While I live miles from the gates in Orlando, I spent a week at Disneyland in December and was utterly floored at how much more we enjoyed ourselves and it felt like the Disney I remembered as a child. The food, the service, the show quality, all exceptional. There are some highlights at WDW still, Disneyland's fireworks don't hold a candle to MK's. The management decisions in Orlando seem to be mostly staying here on the east coast thankfully. If anything, Disneyworld continues to be the black sheep of the family. Although it's too successful for its own good. If the crowds had waned the company would have stepped in years ago to fix things.
 

el_super

Well-Known Member
Skipped out halfway (maybe just a quarter?) through. This isn't a rational business analysis as much as it's therapy.

The argument (from what I read) all falls apart right at the beginning:
This is something Disney had really lost sight of in the 90s and 00s: delivering the kind of experience people want in a way they are prepared to pay for.

Maybe you could argue that this happened within the last six months, and really only due to price increases. The parks have been exceptionally crowded for decades now. Its a shame that someone cant dedicate so much time to an analysis of why their current offerings are so popular compared to previous generations, instead of still lamenting this failed premise that they have lost their way and are struggling for business.
 

Lands of Wonder

Well-Known Member
Right on, Epcot should have continued off of and improved what it started off with, left Imagination alone until the right budget was in place and made Test Track an extension of World of Motion making motion it’s own section of the park which would benefit to this day. Epcot 94 was awesome and appealing looking for maybe a good 6 years replacing the less exiting but elegant look of communicore but became even less exiting than communicore Shortly after the Millenium leaving a tacky stale unimpressive eyesore shell of Innoventions. That saying they should have left Communicores image alone and only added the exhibits and the fountain shows.

With that that the World Showcase sticking with its Millenium era switching out of celebration mode but keeping many of its features which have stuck around for a long time. As for now these changes for me are starting to look more like a political statement rather than a family environment but I can be wrong. I have nothing against unity and solving the worlds issues but with that I feel that negative thoughts and concerns of the current times can interfere with ones day at Epcot. They should focus more on adventure, exploration and how the world works and operates. This is just me, i respect a ideas and opinions.
 
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jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
I only thing that I don't like about WDW now(besides the price of course) is that they let too many people in. If they cut it in 1/2, everyone would be loving their experience.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Although she certainly articulates her thoughts better than I ever could, I'm not really sure what the overall message was, as this was kind of all over the place. "Some stuff is better than in 2010, some stuff is worse", I guess? I don't agree with the assessment that nostalgia is Disney's core product. It certainly is a huge factor, but that doesn't mean that everyone should forever feel nostalgia for 1970's and 1980's attractions. I certainly do feel nostalgia for those experiences (though I first experienced them in the mid 90's), but I also recognize that as time continues to move on, as does what people are nostalgic for. If anything, I believe the core product of the parks is to make you feel like a child again, a feeling that is so hard to capture as an adult yet something most people yearn to feel, which is why its so odd that current Disney Parks leadership seems to be butting heads with this concept by both catering to "childless millennials" and simultaneously building experiences that are geared more specifically toward children as opposed to all ages.

I do feel that my biggest concern for the resort going forward is the IP-ification. She articulated this very well in her description of Disney Springs, and this is exactly why I love Disney Springs and hope they never give in and overly shoehorn IP to it. It seems so at odds with the trajectory for the parks for the foreseeable future that I'm kind of amazed it exists in the form it does:

Not everything that happened in the 2010s was a full on dunk in brand synergy. Finally completing their promise to rebuild the troubled Downtown Disney area into something operationally manageable and modern, Disney went full on weird with Disney Springs. Designed at a honeypot to trap locals and Instragram influencers, there's not much Disney at Disney Springs, and it's kind of amazing.

Themed after Florida, a place Disney otherwise goes to amazing lengths to ensure you never see, Disney Springs is a bees nest of semi-haute restaurants, high end shops, weird bossa nova music, and theming intentionally reminiscent of Rollins College in Winter Park. With its restaurants with hanging Edison bulbs, reclaimed wood, exposed brick and menus awash in buzzwords like "crafted" and "local", Disney Springs drops a bell jar over the early 2010s in a way that perhaps no Disney product since EPCOT Center has perfectly encapsulated its era. There may be no Disney characters, sure, but there is a beautiful artificial spring, hand painted murals, a totally bonkers invented "history", garlands with tiny chandeliers at Christmas, a speakeasy buried under a pizza restaurant, and a place where you can wander on a dock and check out a millionaire's collection of rare boats. It's totally bizarre, and I suggest everyone enjoy it for what it is now before Disney paints Mickey Mouse and Elsa over every available surface in the next decade.
Also, let me just say that I was happy with her assessment of Universal's offerings of the 2010's - while they raised the bar for the industry in 2010 and again in 2014, they have not done it since and have squandered in mediocre efforts everywhere other than Potter. Too often I see cynical Disney fans trying to paint Universal as the shining example of doing everything right and this is a huge overstatement.
 
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