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NYT: "Universal....Takes Aim at Disney"

flynnibus

Premium Member
Just think how screwed Disney would be right now if they didn't have DME so fully entrenched?

The trouble of how hard it is to get from Disney to other locations and the ability to condition their userbase into using it.. during a period of lull in the competition is WDW's biggest business move of the decade.

If things were on a level playing field... places like Aquatica, USO, etc would be doing so much better. They are definately having to swim upstream.. but their increased offerings, and their bundling are slowly chipping away at the wall Disney was successfully able to put around their guests with DME.
 
I'm a few time poster but a long time reader of these forums. for years the only theme park resort i have ever wanted to visit was WDW. But now with all the new offerings I find myself (and my wallet) wanting so much more to visit Uni and DL because to me it is clear where the money is being spent and its not WDW. A bunch of blue aliens walking around AK isnt going to be what brings me back either. Maybe i'm the only one but I really wish disney would build something EVEREST level in WDW. Something that doesnt have to be franchise themed to bring in the people. Something that has an immersive story and you are learning it as you go, not something that you watched happen and now you live it. I went and saw WWoHP the month after it opened and was thoroughly impressed with the immersion and theming and I told my friend "this is what disney used to be like". Although the crowd management is awful in that area of the park, Its a people trap. Everest saved AK, and I believe RSR will do the same for Cali Adventure. Fantasyland isn't enough, it may be the most disappointing thing I have ever watched be built before my eyes. Well actually downtown disney is the most disappointing thing I have ever seen but thats another story for another day. Alright I am off my soap box I'm sorry for dragging on so long.
 

whylightbulb

Well-Known Member
See the true genuis of what the people marketing the parks just pulled off? Can you?

Disney's reputation is safe, sound, and not changing at all, there is no fire here, noting to look at, keep moving. because when all is said and done, and thought out completely rationally, while people might see how bad the parks have become, how poor management is, how expensive the tickets are, whatever, people will keep coming back, no matter what. Disney don't have to fix anything, because there is nothing to fix. Why?


You're gonna keep coming back.



Jimmy Thick-Yes, you will.
Well good for Disney! That is an enviable position to be in and certainly says a lot about what's important in the evolution of human achievement - as long as we can continue to lower the quality of our product and make people believe it's magical than we have reached the pinnacle of success! After all that is what's important...produce the worst quality we can and charge the most we can get out of the suckers.
 

Cornballman

Member
I think it's time everyone goes to their respective corners for a few minutes, and then come back out swinging! Great responses on both sides!~
 

Buried20KLeague

Well-Known Member
Well good for Disney! That is an enviable position to be in and certainly says a lot about what's important in the evolution of human achievement - as long as we can continue to lower the quality of our product and make people believe it's magical than we have reached the pinnacle of success! After all that is what's important...produce the worst quality we can and charge the most we can get out of the suckers.

Hey, bulb...

Judging by your picture, I'd say you're in a position to respond on this fairly off-topic question...

What's the deal with the tree of life? Have you heard anything? I'm assuming there must be concern with how it was engineered and that they're worried there are more issues, or they wouldn't have built all the netted walkways they did. I'm wondering if they're permanent. ??
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
And anyone with at least one brain cell and first grade math can tell. Universal has seen a MASSIVE increase in attendance and revenue. However, Disney hasn't benefitted much from it (at least not noticeably).
Those people have to be coming from somewhere.
Yep, exactly.

I can't remember if I made the observation here, or in a different board, but...

Disney's public statements about Potter have been pretty consistent: "A rising tide lifts all boats." The theory was that Potter drives more guests to *Orlando*, and Disney would get their share.

But, they are not getting their share.

According to the TEA/ERA annual "best guess" attendance report, Orlando tourism was up about 3.6% in 2011 vs. 2010. Across both of its parks, Universal's attendance went up 15.5%. Across its four parks, WDW's attendance went up 1%. I will bet you that *someone* in TWDC has noticed that, and is not happy. It may take a while for us to see the fruits of that unhappiness, but eventually we will see them. And, one might argue that adding the Mine Train to what was previously a solid D-ticket and a meet-and-greet fiesta was the first step.

I'm guessing we'll see more.

Full disclosure: my family has never been "Only Disney Will Do" sorts of people. We go to (gasp!) regular ol' Amusement parks. We've been known to fly to Orlando and visit the "other" theme/water parks without ever setting foot on Disney property---and we're doing Uni/SW/AQ/WnW later this month. We think all of the attractions in Orlando have something to offer, and are worth a visit. Even WDW's. ;)
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
But still, my point was that the HP ride is a much more intense (and fun!) offering than anything that Disney offers. As someone pointed out, they've removed their two rides that were even remotely scary. The ride definitely isn't for toddlers and some little kids definitely wouldn't like it at all. Which is why I doubt if it had been proposed to Disney, it would have made it off the ground. Right now Disney's philosophy seems to be that everything new must be geared so that toddlers will not be upset...

I'm not sure that's such a terrible approach, assuming they want return on their investments. Take, for example, Mission:Space. (I know, I know...it writes its own joke. But for now let's leave Horizons out of it.) It seems to me that M:S as originally developed over-shot Disney's core demographic. Interest in it fell off more quickly than most any other "major" Disney installation in recent years---to the point where they had to neuter half of it just to lift ridership to "dismal" up from "embarrassing". That's got to be disappointing considering it was a $100M investment. And, you can argue about whether or not it is a "good" attraction, but...my thrill loving daughter and I really enjoy it, and I bet it would be doing much better numbers if it were at a park that more seriously catered to the thrill crowd.

So, does Disney create that park, or cede it to Universal? I think ceding it may well be the right strategy. After all, who is the thrill crowd? Young adults, and families with teens/tweens but no younger kids. Bluntly, young adults are generally broke, so let's not chase after them. And, families with only tweens/teens are outnumbered by families with either younger kids only, or a mix. And, finally, families with tweens/teens have even *less* time to go on vacation than families without them, because each year school/extracurriculars demand more and more of their time. So, the size of the missing market might be small, but the cost of capturing it might be large. One attraction, or even a handful, is probably not enough to make it happen. So, if I'm right about this, we won't see Disney stretch to a more "thrilling" attraction lineup anytime soon.

It's too bad, really, because as I've said, we enjoy regular ol' Amusemnet parks just as much as anything, and having a few *serious* thrills at Disney would make me happy. But, making me happy in this way might be dumb, from a business standpoint.
 

Pumbas Nakasak

Heading for the great escape.
I'm not sure that's such a terrible approach, assuming they want return on their investments. Take, for example, Mission:Space. (I know, I know...it writes its own joke. But for now let's leave Horizons out of it.) It seems to me that M:S as originally developed over-shot Disney's core demographic. Interest in it fell off more quickly than most any other "major" Disney installation in recent years---to the point where they had to neuter half of it just to lift ridership to "dismal" up from "embarrassing". That's got to be disappointing considering it was a $100M investment. And, you can argue about whether or not it is a "good" attraction, but...my thrill loving daughter and I really enjoy it, and I bet it would be doing much better numbers if it were at a park that more seriously catered to the thrill crowd.

So, does Disney create that park, or cede it to Universal? I think ceding it may well be the right strategy. After all, who is the thrill crowd? Young adults, and families with teens/tweens but no younger kids. Bluntly, young adults are generally broke, so let's not chase after them. And, families with only tweens/teens are outnumbered by families with either younger kids only, or a mix. And, finally, families with tweens/teens have even *less* time to go on vacation than families without them, because each year school/extracurriculars demand more and more of their time. So, the size of the missing market might be small, but the cost of capturing it might be large. One attraction, or even a handful, is probably not enough to make it happen. So, if I'm right about this, we won't see Disney stretch to a more "thrilling" attraction lineup anytime soon.

It's too bad, really, because as I've said, we enjoy regular ol' Amusemnet parks just as much as anything, and having a few *serious* thrills at Disney would make me happy. But, making me happy in this way might be dumb, from a business standpoint.

The fact that building kiddy rides and filling the parks with punters in furry suits a cheap option is another plus too. But as this thread shows Im not alone in drastically cutting my disney spending, and as a DVC member Im sure Im meant to be in one of their target demographics somewhere
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
as a DVC member Im sure Im meant to be in one of their target demographics somewhere
Old Guy Who Comes For Flower & Garden/Food & Wine.

(I kid because I care---and because the Mrs. and I have a week at BCV for this upcoming F&W without the kiddos, so I'm right there with you.)
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
Oh, and speaking of this guy...

image.php


It looks like the Team Member previews of Minion Mayhem may have started today. Hopefully all will be well for our No-Rodent Extravaganza later this month: a week at HGVC Sea World to hit up Sea World, Aquatica, Wet-n-Wild, and the two Universal parks.
 

bubbles1812

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure that's such a terrible approach, assuming they want return on their investments. Take, for example, Mission:Space. (I know, I know...it writes its own joke. But for now let's leave Horizons out of it.) It seems to me that M:S as originally developed over-shot Disney's core demographic. Interest in it fell off more quickly than most any other "major" Disney installation in recent years---to the point where they had to neuter half of it just to lift ridership to "dismal" up from "embarrassing". That's got to be disappointing considering it was a $100M investment. And, you can argue about whether or not it is a "good" attraction, but...my thrill loving daughter and I really enjoy it, and I bet it would be doing much better numbers if it were at a park that more seriously catered to the thrill crowd.

So, does Disney create that park, or cede it to Universal? I think ceding it may well be the right strategy. After all, who is the thrill crowd? Young adults, and families with teens/tweens but no younger kids. Bluntly, young adults are generally broke, so let's not chase after them. And, families with only tweens/teens are outnumbered by families with either younger kids only, or a mix. And, finally, families with tweens/teens have even *less* time to go on vacation than families without them, because each year school/extracurriculars demand more and more of their time. So, the size of the missing market might be small, but the cost of capturing it might be large. One attraction, or even a handful, is probably not enough to make it happen. So, if I'm right about this, we won't see Disney stretch to a more "thrilling" attraction lineup anytime soon.

It's too bad, really, because as I've said, we enjoy regular ol' Amusemnet parks just as much as anything, and having a few *serious* thrills at Disney would make me happy. But, making me happy in this way might be dumb, from a business standpoint.

You see, I guess that's where you and I disagree. I think the market is a lot larger than you may think for the families with older children crowd. Yes, each year school/extracurriculars do take up more time each year but as at least I've seen, people will still make time for vacations. There is the summer, there is winter break, spring break, heck, even for example, some colleges even have fall breaks. There is a reason one of the most packed times of the year is March... And even the young adult crowd (of which I am one) will still make Disney a destination they want to go to if they really want too. I chose Disney for my senior high school summer trip and though I'm 23 and in med school and up to my ears in student loans I have still saved for another trip to Disney, hopefully in the very near future.

I said in another thread that if they ever add a new park, they need at least to make at least some of it have thrill rides. I'm not saying all, but at least some. One more spinner is not something any of the parks need. And you look at what is really keeping DHS and AK alive...it's the thrill rides. Yes, each park has other things to offer obviously but the E ticket rides are the things that keep those two parks going, especially in the case of Everest. I'd even say that could be said of Epcot to some degree...there was a reason they attempted M:S and put in Test Track, Soarin as well. World Showcase is a huge pull obviously, but still, there's a reason the park has rides as well. The only park where I'd say it doesn't hold necessarily true that the thrill rides are what help keep the park going is MK.

If Disney's strategy is really to play to the only 8 and under crowd...that is their right and also their folly. Even from the perspective of revenue if you think about it. Older kids eat more...and the revenue that Disney makes from its food and drinks is a cash cow. I could see older kids/families spending less on merchandise but I spend way more money per trip on food than merchandising. I also feel this is reflected in the fact that Disney just raised the prices for 3-9 up to the adult level...granted, I'm guessing mostly that came out of greed but they are trying to squeeze the last buck out of the kids by treating them like adults. If they had captured a greater wedge of the older demo (and just to be clear, I'm not saying the older demo doesn't come to the parks, I'm just saying Disney doesn't attract as much of it) maybe that wouldn't have had to have happened.

I think when businesses (of any kind) "cede" a demographic to their rival, it's just bad business. You want as much of a chunk of the populous as you can...you make more money, the more interested people are in your parks. I'm sure Universal would love to get more 8 and under kids to come to their parks...hence the presence of Dr. Seuss land as well even things in HP world...most of those things in the shops as well as the mini roller coaster can be ridden by all, along with the new Minion place Pumbas just reminded me of. I also can't see Disney really wanting to be known as the little kid place even more than it already is now

EDIT: Cornballman...I hope my post sufficed in the "taking a few minutes and then come back swinging" category ;) :)
 

misterID

Well-Known Member
No, but I'll keep it simple for you.

Premium is not a definition based on affordability. It is a relative measure between products/offerings.

Disney has always positioned WDW as a product above the average... has never been in a race to the bottom for pricing.. and has priced themselves above the competition all along.. hence charging a PREMIUM for it.

Show me a period where Disney was charging under what it's competition was?

There is DISCOUNT and PREMIUM... Disney has always charged the latter.

Once upon a time GA for WDW was $3.00. You could get a packet of a dozen ride tickets for 5-6 bucks, or get a bunch of E's for .90 cents each. The parents would hand the kids the tickets and let you go crazy. Those were the days...
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
if they ever add a new park, they need at least to make at least some of it have thrill rides.

Well, for starters I suspect that a fifth gate is so unlikely as to be nothing more than a pipe dream. The purpose of "more gates" is to extend the average vacationer's engagement with Disney. But, WDW already has enough to keep you busy for a full week, while the average US vacation is about 4-5 days, and getting shorter not longer. (Note that the foreign market, especially the UK, usually generates much longer stays, but that's another story.)

But, I'm just not sure you can be all things to all people. Even TWDC has limited resources to spend. Given the cap-ex budgets they have, where do they spend it? Building something more like FJ, or more like Radiator Racers? And, it's not as if they have *no* thrilling attractions. Tower is okay. Everest isn't half bad. Neither of them are Bizzaro/S:ROS, but not much is.

Edited to add: again, I'm not saying I wish they would ignore the "pure thrill" crowd. I'm in it! I'm just suggesting that *maybe* it is a smart business decision. After all, they could chase people in their early 20s with mountains of educational debt, or try to capture more of the families with adults in their 30s-40s, financially stable, with a mix of kids from grade school up through the tweens, with error bars on either side.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Once upon a time GA for WDW was $3.00. You could get a packet of a dozen ride tickets for 5-6 bucks, or get a bunch of E's for .90 cents each. The parents would hand the kids the tickets and let you go crazy. Those were the days...

Once upon a time... 'penny candy' actually cost pennies.

Neither point changes that Disney has always been a product sold on being superior to the alternative.. not by being cheaper than it.
 

bubbles1812

Well-Known Member
Well, for starters I suspect that a fifth gate is so unlikely as to be nothing more than a pipe dream. The purpose of "more gates" is to extend the average vacationer's engagement with Disney. But, WDW already has enough to keep you busy for a full week, while the average US vacation is about 4-5 days, and getting shorter not longer. (Note that the foreign market, especially the UK, usually generates much longer stays, but that's another story.)

But, I'm just not sure you can be all things to all people. Even TWDC has limited resources to spend. Given the cap-ex budgets they have, where do they spend it? Building something more like FJ, or more like Radiator Racers?

I do know that was just a theoretical and I agree, a 5th park, if ever, is a very long way off. But they can add to/improve the parks they do have and use some of the existing infrastructure to help that along...for example, Tomorrow Land Speedway...they could convert that to Radiator Racers I think if they wanted. Or heck, there are enough dead zones in the MK, some more type thrill rides could take over those spaces. I also do recognize the have a limited budget but I think Disney, of all the theme parks that do exist out there, could be the only one to do it.

But whether it's more focused on kiddie rides (which I don't really think they need right this second given what they are doing in FLE) or more thrill type rides, they are still going to need to do something. Disney's competitors are for lack of a better word, fighting back with a vengeance...look even at Legoland, not even Universal. They are trying for the same chunk of demo that Disney has. And there is a ton of money being poured into it. SeaWorld too continues to add things.
 

misterID

Well-Known Member
Oh, and speaking of this guy...

image.php


It looks like the Team Member previews of Minion Mayhem may have started today. Hopefully all will be well for our No-Rodent Extravaganza later this month: a week at HGVC Sea World to hit up Sea World, Aquatica, Wet-n-Wild, and the two Universal parks.

Have there been any reviews about MM yet?
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
they could convert that to Radiator Racers
But unless I'm very much mistaken, (and it is possible---I won't ride it until next February) RR is *not* what you are asking for when you say you want "thrill rides."

And, I completely agree with this point:
they are still going to need to do something. Disney's competitors are for lack of a better word, fighting back with a vengeance...look even at Legoland, not even Universal. They are trying for the same chunk of demo that Disney has. And there is a ton of money being poured into it. SeaWorld too continues to add things.
We are seeing what I think is likely to be an unusual period of investment in Central Florida attractions---and it was spurred on by Universal's big Potter bet. That's precisely the point of the Times article: under new ownership, Universal is no longer asleep at the switch, and is willing to invest big bucks. That's causing everyone else to step up their game. For example, the new Turtle Trek at Sea World is apparently very well done. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself in a couple weeks.
 

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