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Is the “Magic” Disappearing at Walt Disney world

Dead2009

Horror Movie Guru
Premium Member
Free parking is part of the magic?

It feels like a lot of complaints about Disney no longer being a magical experience are about value-adds, and have very little to do with the actual theme park experience. When deciding to spend thousands to go to WDW was free parking or a free $10 wrist band really the deciding factor? When looking back do people look at photos of their parking spots over the years and reminisce?

I've seen members on here say they wouldn't go back to Disney because someone took away their one free dinner in the parks.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
I think because you're not "stuck" in a bubble, which I admit I like the immersion when I'm at WDW, you can definitely get some less expensive eats, lodging, etc. and still not feel like you need a rental car.
I love Disneyland, but being in the bubble adds a lot of magic to WDW for me. I can spend a whole week or more there if I want to, cut off from the world (more or less). Disneyland is awesome, but if I'm staying at a Holiday Inn and eating at IHOP, meh. It's just not the same.

I think the items in OP's post might be a trend toward what many feel is nickel-and-diming, but they're all things that haven't been around forever and are probably going to be replaced with some other option. I might not like them, but they don't make my vacation no longer magical.

I think Disney is well aware of what a special situation they have in Orlando, and I don't think the majority of WDW guests are as savvy as the ones on this site who can compare with various eras of good old days, compare with Universal or other parks around the world, etc.
If they don't bring back the 60 day fp option for resort guests, I'll definitely not bother staying on site. I'll use the money saved on special ticketed events, assuming they bring them back.
You could already get the same 60-day FP option staying offsite at a Good Neighbor hotel.
 

plawren2

Active Member
Free parking is part of the magic?

It feels like a lot of complaints about Disney no longer being a magical experience are about value-adds, and have very little to do with the actual theme park experience. When deciding to spend thousands to go to WDW was free parking or a free $10 wrist band really the deciding factor? When looking back do people look at photos of their parking spots over the years and reminisce?
I tend to agree that although none of us like to pay for services that had been included in our room/ticket costs, I never viewed free parking or MagicBands as part of the Disney magical experience. I am booked for November trip and glad Magic Express is still available as the costs and challenges of renting a car and stress of driving is one I enjoy avoiding. I do find it relaxing and the start of my WDW vacation to get on the bus at the airport and get taken to the resort. I must admit I am not a big fan of the internal WDW bus system for trips between resorts and parks but for me paying to have rental car every day just to drive from resort to park is an expense I would rather avoid. Personally the features I hope that are returned and not as extra costs are FP+ and extended hours as we typically use both to avoid lines and crowds, plus would consider rebooking our November trip if parades, fireworks and live shows are not offered as we enjoy all of those as part of the WDW experience.
 

NelleBelle

Well-Known Member
I love Disneyland, but being in the bubble adds a lot of magic to WDW for me. I can spend a whole week or more there if I want to, cut off from the world (more or less). Disneyland is awesome, but if I'm staying at a Holiday Inn and eating at IHOP, meh. It's just not the same.

I think the items in OP's post might be a trend toward what many feel is nickel-and-diming, but they're all things that haven't been around forever and are probably going to be replaced with some other option. I might not like them, but they don't make my vacation no longer magical.

I think Disney is well aware of what a special situation they have in Orlando, and I don't think the majority of WDW guests are as savvy as the ones on this site who can compare with various eras of good old days, compare with Universal or other parks around the world, etc.

You could already get the same 60-day FP option staying offsite at a Good Neighbor hotel.
Agree about DLR not being quite the same thing as WDW’s “bubble”; but given that DH is less open to WDW and more willing to do DLR a couple trips a year and airfare cheaper (and family in San Diego), I’ll take my Disney fix however I can get it 😁 But given my choice... I’d choose WDW every time, hence the “girls-only” trip in April.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Sure theres been a lot of changes that I disagree with and things I will miss having. But I still look forward to my time at WDW and find enough to enjoy that still I figure has enough value for what I'm paying. Certainly I would love a cheaper trip with more perks given to me at minimal or no cost, but I understand the circumstance Disney is in and Disney isnt in business to give away the store. I can do my 2 week trip and return home satisfied that they still delivered 14 days of fun, relaxation and entertainment that me, DW and DS will be pleased with. Everyone has a breaking point at which they can pay or are willing to pay for... Disney hasnt got me looking someplace else to vacation.
 

LittleMerman

Active Member
I've felt like the "magic" has been gone for a while now. It's still a really fun place (just got back a few days ago from a trip) and Disney is light years better than any other theme park I've ever been to, but it has changed from what it used to be and not for the better.

The biggest component to this is that they let way too many people in. It never used to be as crowded as it has been for a while now. It takes some of the magic away when it's just oceans of people everywhere you go and you can't even walk without bumping into a million people. The lines used to get bad naturally but they've been horrible in the last few years. It also takes some fun out of it when you potentially have to wait for hours for a single attraction. Even the ticketed events are insane. I went to MNSSHP in 2018 and 2019 and we were expecting rides with very short wait times - the opposite. MK seemed even busier than regular park days. Before covid, Disney parks have been chaos for a while now.

Something else that contributes to the "magic" problem is the cast members. Not the people themselves but their training. They used to really go above and beyond to help you with anything you needed and really made your vacation magical. But for the last few years they just basically tell you "that's how it is, too bad" but in a really polite way. There have been soo many issues with their tech - their systems are so flawed - yet they don't actually try to help you solve any problems. I've been told "there's nothing we can do about that" so many times for issues that should be easily solved. Disney keeps getting more and more expensive and the CMs basically just tell you to pay or not. It's been disappointing. They're still better than other theme park employees but I used to feel like a "guest" at Disney and in the last few years have definitely felt more like a number with a credit card.

Which leads me to my final point - like I said, Disney keeps getting more and more expensive. And I get that it's a for-profit company but the product quality seems to go down while the price tag goes up. They way overcharge for almost everything and it does feel like taking advantage of the customer because they know we'll pay it. It just feels more greedy than it used to.
 

CLBMN

New Member
The Magic is gone folks.............I was there in September 2020 all gone really too bad
Hahaha....they must have brought it back in October 2020!

Members of my family went in October and loved it, felt it was just as magical.
They are annual visitors and Disney nerds so they would be aware of any changes.
Magic means diferent things to different people...IMHO.
 

GimpYancIent

Well-Known Member
I've felt like the "magic" has been gone for a while now. It's still a really fun place (just got back a few days ago from a trip) and Disney is light years better than any other theme park I've ever been to, but it has changed from what it used to be and not for the better.

The biggest component to this is that they let way too many people in. It never used to be as crowded as it has been for a while now. It takes some of the magic away when it's just oceans of people everywhere you go and you can't even walk without bumping into a million people. The lines used to get bad naturally but they've been horrible in the last few years. It also takes some fun out of it when you potentially have to wait for hours for a single attraction. Even the ticketed events are insane. I went to MNSSHP in 2018 and 2019 and we were expecting rides with very short wait times - the opposite. MK seemed even busier than regular park days. Before covid, Disney parks have been chaos for a while now.

Something else that contributes to the "magic" problem is the cast members. Not the people themselves but their training. They used to really go above and beyond to help you with anything you needed and really made your vacation magical. But for the last few years they just basically tell you "that's how it is, too bad" but in a really polite way. There have been soo many issues with their tech - their systems are so flawed - yet they don't actually try to help you solve any problems. I've been told "there's nothing we can do about that" so many times for issues that should be easily solved. Disney keeps getting more and more expensive and the CMs basically just tell you to pay or not. It's been disappointing. They're still better than other theme park employees but I used to feel like a "guest" at Disney and in the last few years have definitely felt more like a number with a credit card.

Which leads me to my final point - like I said, Disney keeps getting more and more expensive. And I get that it's a for-profit company but the product quality seems to go down while the price tag goes up. They way overcharge for almost everything and it does feel like taking advantage of the customer because they know we'll pay it. It just feels more greedy than it used to.
Yes, Disney properties have been the gold standard for decades not because of the packed crowds or size of the venues, but, because of the quality of the experience. Guests experiences varied with the persons but the vast majority would go home with a wish to return. That is the best indicator of quality. The corporate attitude of $$$$$ needs to change and focus on quality of experience. Think of it! the higher quality facilities, entertainment and food/drink = excellent guest experiences = excellent PR = returning guests, family and friends = more $$$$$$$$ = more happy investors. What's hard about that formula?
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Yes, Disney properties have been the gold standard for decades not because of the packed crowds or size of the venues, but, because of the quality of the experience. Guests experiences varied with the persons but the vast majority would go home with a wish to return. That is the best indicator of quality. The corporate attitude of $$$$$ needs to change and focus on quality of experience. Think of it! the higher quality facilities, entertainment and food/drink = excellent guest experiences = excellent PR = returning guests, family and friends = more $$$$$$$$ = more happy investors. What's hard about that formula?
I don't disagree with you, but people still keep going and keep paying the extras and keep buying the merch (myself included), so either the experience is still worth the price to enough people or Disney has an unending amount of new people (new generations, new families, international audiences) willing to spend. Part of me wonders if they are trying to raise the price so high that demand goes down a little. I know they got some bad press for "pricing out the average family" last year. To me, the parks and the experience still feels magical, but my previous two trips were May 2019 and January 2017, so I'm not exactly the person who goes several times a year. Comparing Disney to other vacations vs. comparing Disney to previous Disney trips is probably a factor.
 

"El Magnifico"

Premium Member
The bigger picture here is that the resort themselves are also experiencing a similar decline. Many resorts have gone to a neutral type theme. The "Disney" isn't what it once was. Look at CSR. I think the buildout was fantastic, and I enjoy the additional options - but sans the Disney Gift Shop, there is no longer an overall Disney feel to the place. Same with Riviera, and it's creeping into most of the moderates and now starting on the Deluxes.

Disney moderates and values are glorified motor lodges from a room perspective. The saving grace being the Disney touches and sprawling grounds. The Deluxes are no better or worse than a Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, or Gaylord - with the exception of proximity.

This all has me a bit worried about where this will all head.

If I can stay Hilton Bonnet Creek, or the new JW Marriott, or the Gaylord - for a fraction of the price (we're talking $200/$300 a night vs $450/$550 a night for deluxe). Why would I stay on-property especially if the "perks" are gone. The cost saving on the room night would more than pay for Uber which is more reliable and convenient than Disney transportation.

I'm starting to think that Disney may be angling for other things that would come with an on-property stay. Things that wouldn't necessarily be seen as a perk - but maybe more of a necessity.

Say for instance, priority was given to on-property guests via the Park Reservation system. Creating an environment whereby the only way you would be guaranteed admission into the parks would be by staying on-property. Similarly ADR's could fall into the same type of category. Maybe FP as well. Not to say you wouldn't be able to get in / or secure an ADR or FP if you stayed off property. But they could easily create and environment where you'd be taking a bit of a chance. Thereby justifying the higher rate for the on-property hotels.
 

johnykbr

New Member
Man I love that FP+ is gone. In my trip in Oct, I definitely noticed that the lines seemed more even. Now I do agree a lot of the other perks have disappeared. People keep forgetting that in just 10 years, parking went up over 100 percent. That's insane.
 

Disstevefan1

Well-Known Member
I know we are in the middle of a pandemic but it seems that Disney is slowly taking away some of the “Magic” while staying at Disney. I know some items will return but some things seem to be gone for good.
  • Free Parking
  • Magic Bands (At least the free ones when arriving at Disney Hotel)
  • Magical Express
  • Evening Magic Hours
  • Fasspass (May Return, but will it be the same as before)
I just don’t know about the advantage of staying at Disney anymore.
Not sure Magic is the right word, but the value in staying onsite is declining for sure.

Let’s say you are staying off site and did not rent a car. If the off site has a reliable shuttle to get to the parks and get back at the end of the day, that would work; you could use on site transportation while you are there and now with Uber and Lyft even if you miss the shuttle back, you can get back to your offsite. Even if you Uber back and forth everyday, depending on the distance and the cost of the offsite, it could still cost less for much better accommodations.

There are beautiful high quality off site hotels for much less.
 

johnykbr

New Member
I love that FP+ is gone. My trip in Oct was great because of that. As someone that always drives to the parks, I do fully agree the parking situation is insane. It's gone up over 100 percent in 10 years. That's insane.
 

LittleMerman

Active Member
I don't disagree with you, but people still keep going and keep paying the extras and keep buying the merch (myself included), so either the experience is still worth the price to enough people or Disney has an unending amount of new people (new generations, new families, international audiences) willing to spend. Part of me wonders if they are trying to raise the price so high that demand goes down a little. I know they got some bad press for "pricing out the average family" last year. To me, the parks and the experience still feels magical, but my previous two trips were May 2019 and January 2017, so I'm not exactly the person who goes several times a year. Comparing Disney to other vacations vs. comparing Disney to previous Disney trips is probably a factor.
It's definitely supply-and-demand: the parks and resorts are already there and yes, people still love them and will go time and time again no matter what. So many people fell in love with the product long ago when it was truly amazing. It's still a really fun experience and better than any other theme park I've been to but the quality is definitely going down, which is sad.

Like I said in my post, it feels like the company is getting greedier and greedier by raising prices and taking away perks and what not. It feels like they care more about dollars (which of course they care about) than the actual guest experience which used to be the Disney difference (and still is but to a smaller extent). With that said, they're going to continue to milk their customers as much as they can even if it means higher crowds aka a worse park experience for their guests. Sad but I'm going to continue going back, which is exactly why they do it.
 

Robbiem

Well-Known Member
Parking was free at the hotels, dining cost much less, shorter lines so no fastpass+ needed . Also there was a Disney Magic perk called e ride night. You paid about $13 each for 3+ hours in Magic Kingdom ..only for onsite hotel guests. Cast members were a delight and the park was spotless.
Rick52 is right. Not everyone will see that. We all have different reasons for going. Personally I'd hate to see Disneyworld become just another amusement park.
I have happy memories of e ride night. It was the first time my late brother and I were allowed to stay out on our own. We rode splash mountain twice in a row and managed to be the last people on small world.

happy times
 

Aardvark747

New Member
Say for instance, priority was given to on-property guests via the Park Reservation system. Creating an environment whereby the only way you would be guaranteed admission into the parks would be by staying on-property. Similarly ADR's could fall into the same type of category. Maybe FP as well. Not to say you wouldn't be able to get in / or secure an ADR or FP if you stayed off property. But they could easily create and environment where you'd be taking a bit of a chance. Thereby justifying the higher rate for the on-property hotels.
When we had the benefits such as 60 FP, many other hotels did too. The big thing to me is that most Hilton’s and Marriotts get the Extra Magic 30 minutes and FP and offer some type of transportation (especially Disney Spring hotels which are really not that bad).

For me, unless I really want the crescent lake location, I think I would stay at the Hilton Disney Springs - there is nothing keeping me going to a Disney Moderate or Value
 

spock8113

Well-Known Member

Is the “Magic” Disappearing at Walt Disney world?​

Yes;
"Welcome to Disney's...............Kingdom. Have a Disnical Day!"
 

ELG13

Well-Known Member
I think the pandemic has forced moves that were not ever on the plans. I hope that those things, like the live entertainment, will be brought back once everything returns to normal. I also think the pandemic sped up certain changes that were on the horizon, like mobile ordering and I can only assume that fast pass will never return, but be replace by a paid system like max pass. Change is hard and sucks and I'm hoping that it's going to bring bigger and better things. Unfortunately, I think the days of "complimentary" are gone.
 

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