Time Travel Question: Should Disney have Stuck to CA and FL?

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
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Maybe they should’ve stopped after Paris. Or steered clear of China. The writing was on the wall years ago about what could happen.
Many businesses including NBA, TWDC etc see China is a tremendous growth opportunity to capture a customer base in a country with billions of people or to outsource US operations where the labor rate in China is lower. For companies that want to expand and improve their profit margins, that's a no brainer. With the Communist party in control of China, they will of course get their piece of the pie.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Many businesses including NBA, TWDC etc see China is a tremendous growth opportunity to capture a customer base in a country with billions of people or to outsource US operations where the labor rate in China is lower. For companies that want to expand and improve their profit margins, that's a no brainer. With the Communist party in control of China, they will of course get their piece of the pie.

Sure... and they all look at the monies flowing in with no thoughts of who they are dealing with. Building up the economy, military and infrastructure of a country... thats considered to being our infinite foe. Lets do a Moscow Disney next. Very smart business ???
c85284abebd2027e1d6a257861c0631a.jpg
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Didn't Hong Kong Disney list City Hall as an attraction early on? Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel!
Yes.

But while HK is guilty of listing many dubious things as attractions, it's also not the only park to list City Hall.

WDW has listed City Hall as an attraction on park maps, to my recollection, dating back to my first ever visit in 1998.

Here it is on the map from my most recent MK visit (2018):
View attachment 484715
Not being listed as such as an attraction , but being listed so guests know where its situated so they can find it if needed.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
Not being listed as such as an attraction , but being listed so guests know where its situated so they can find it if needed.

Well, that's how it's listed for Hong Kong too. So if it's ok at WDW, clearly it must be ok for Hong Kong too unless we're just playing favorites.
Behold the 2019 Hong Kong Map, listing things in exactly the sort of style that MK does. There it is at # 7:
20200719_094120.jpg


I do find it interesting that none of the other WDW parks give Guest Relations a number on the map.

I did go back to the WDW maps I had dating back to 98, and City Hall is listed on every single one. Not always as an attraction, mind you, but always included well before they were including literally everything. But, alas, I found on this on a November 2001 map:
20200719_094423.jpg


So Magic Kingdom, too, has ALSO included City Hall as an attraction at least once! (Also, according to Main Street #5, kiosks were considered attractions too??? I know they've got their sponsors to please, but yeesh! Not to mention those Six Flags-esque Shrunken Ned boats that my local Six Flags never tried to call an attraction. WDW: making dubious attractions cool long before China!)

Not denying that HK does list things as attractions they shouldn't, but it's a little hypocritical to slight them for City Hall specifically when MK has been doing variations on the same thing for literally as long as I've been going.

Anyway, HKDL is a wonderful park that deserves more love even with their inflated attraction numbers.

Carry on!
 
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thomas998

Well-Known Member
Before I ask my question, this post is not a critical slam on any country outside of the U.S, but is simply meant as an honest question:

In hindsight, would the Disney corporation have been smarter to stick to Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California and not venture outside of the United States? This means they never would have built Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney, Hong Kong Disneyland, or Shanghai Disney Resort. Everyone knows of the companies troubled past with Disneyland Paris/EuroDisney and now it seems like Disney is facing trouble with its parks in China. I know that without these parks we would not have some of the AMAZING rides and shows that have come into fruition in these parks, and I know money was certainly earned, but how much money was lost in the construction of these parks? Could rides/ideas from these parks made their way to the US if there was nowhere else for them to go? Would the stateside parks be that much more impressive? Or have these parks spurred WDW and DL to greatness and are therefore integral to the company? What are your thoughts?
Frankly I think they weren't aggressive enough, they should have opened more than one in Europe by now and at least one in South America. The more they open outside of the US the fewer international visitors you would have in the WDW or DL. And there is no reason to think that opening them up in other countries would have much impact at all on the US parks, remember these parks overseas aren't under full ownership of Disney, they have partners.
 

Robbiem

Well-Known Member
international expansion wasn’t the issue it was how expansion was managed over time full stop. My take:

Walt Disney World Created as a resort and made much more money than Disneyland which was a basic park. The backwater location (in 1971) set up the idea of the ‘bubble’ but also created a resort dependent on visitors travelling from a wide area to the resort meaning it was much more affected by fluctuations in the economy compared to California with its much stronger local base.

Tokyo Disneyland. The resort done right. Initially designed as Disneyland style day visit the Park opened with a pretty full roster and was a hit. Over time the park built out into a resort maintaining quality, in part because the licensing deal means it has to meet old Disney standards that no apply to their own parks.

Euro Disneyland. The wrong resort. Eisner era Disney looked at the other parks in the 80s and wanted to replicate Walt Disney World in Europe. Rather than apply the Tokyo model - build a great park and expand into a resort the mistake was building a full scale resort just outside a major tourist city. As others have said the initial Park was fantastic but the rest of the resort was overbuilt opening with more hotel rooms than WDW had in 1992. Try to transpose that to Florida - if Magic Kingdom had opened less than an hours travel time from a major city with four or five times as many hotel rooms for a single park would it have been as successful or profitable as it was? Add in weather and cost - at opening a short stay at Euro Disney was more expensive than a much longer stay in Florida for a lot of Europeans with better weather generally, the French snottyness to Disney (they didn’t particularly want Disneyland but they didn’t want it elsewhere in Europe ) and the excitement of more exotic travel and the resort was off to a bad start. The reaction was to slash costs by lowering standards to keep the resort afloat and this was then imported to the stateside parks to save money.
IMO this was Disney’s biggest mistake trying to replicate WDW next to a major city. If Euro Disney had been built as a park, shopping area and one or two hotels it would not have lost money and would have been able to grow like Tokyo did.

Hong Kong Disneyland the reactionary resort. Trying to play safe after Europe Disney under built all aspects of Hong Kong Disneyland especially the park. If the original plans for a Euro Disney or Tokyo opening level park had been built the resort would probably have been successful. The location near a major city and airport where east meets west a big international catchment area from both local countries and people stopping in HK between Europe and asia/oceania with a mountain backdrop was a perfect location for a resort. Hong Kong didn't have the politics it had now and looked a safe long term bet. The problem was opening a park with not a lot to do in an area where a lot of people could go to Tokyo just as easily. Think if WDW had opened with only opening day MGM/DHS. The park got a reputation as being weak and has never really taken off. Personally I think it is a fantastic resort but needs more to do.

Shanghai Disneyland the political park. This is the only resort I’ve not been to. Building a resort is mainland China was always going to be a political move. The potential of big profits but at the expense of control. The resort appears to have local appeal. From what I’ve seen it looks under built with some amazing & costly attractions but looks like it lacks charm almost like a Disneyland rip off and it doesn’t appeal to me but then its not designed to. Long term this will be the park affected by politics and is the biggest gamble. Personally I think Disney should have gone all in in Hong Kong or built a park somewhere like Thailand where you have a lot of chinese tourism but in a more western setting. It will be interesting to see how the big gamble plays out
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
Frankly I think they weren't aggressive enough, they should have opened more than one in Europe by now and at least one in South America. The more they open outside of the US the fewer international visitors you would have in the WDW or DL. And there is no reason to think that opening them up in other countries would have much impact at all on the US parks, remember these parks overseas aren't under full ownership of Disney, they have partners.

I don't know that Europe could support another Disney resort. DLP's numbers are well behind the US and Tokyo parks, and after DLP there's a pretty huge dropoff in numbers before subsequent European parks in terms of attendance. I have to imagine that by choosing to call it Euro Disneyland resort at the beginning (and building all of those hotel rooms) was a clear indication that they were never entertaining the idea of a second European resort. It was projected from the beginning that a resort in Tokyo would have a higher financial return than one built in Europe, and if that's the case, it wouldn't make any sense to start planning another.

South America isn't ready for a Disney Resort based simply by looking at their TEA attendance from last year. Sure, the numbers probably aren't fully accurate, but they're probably not many millions of people off either. The highest attended park in South America allegedly only had 2.24 million numbers. Those aren't Disney acceptable numbers (my local Six Flags park in Chicago does better than that, as does even WDSP), nor do I believe that crowds would simply materialize because it's Disney.

I do agree that building more international parks wouldn't hurt the US parks attendance-wise much at all.

I think the main issue with the internationals is that Eisner got cocky and expected to will a WDW or a Tokyo Disneyland into existence in Paris and that's simply not what happened, and had they paid more attention to data, they would have known that. He then went to the opposite extreme for Hong Kong and got burned there too. Shanghai has been more successful since, so perhaps the problem wasn't the international resorts, but with Eisner. Who knows what will happen with the Chinese parks in the future, but Shanghai at least has been successful. But the two international resorts that have caused the most problems have one massive common denominator at the center of them.
 

Robbiem

Well-Known Member
You probably don’t get EPCOT Center without Tokyo Disneyland.

really good point. These parks really are intertwined. I suspect Disney agreed to the Tokyo deal to finance EPCOT. Left to Disney I suspect Tokyo would have been built but after a European resort
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
really good point. These parks really are intertwined. I suspect Disney agreed to the Tokyo deal to finance EPCOT. Left to Disney I suspect Tokyo would have been built but after a European resort

In Marty Sklar's book "Dream it! Do it!", he mentions that they carried out studies in the early seventies to determine whether Europe or Japan would be more viable as the location of the first international Disney park, so both were in contention from the moment WDW opened. Frank Stanek (at that time, the head of Wed's research and planning, stated in a 1973 report: "While both Europe and Japan can support a Disneyland project, Japan offers the highest potential for success, even though it may be more difficult to execute."

There were probably people in the company who would have preferred to do Europe first if those studies weren't conducted, up to and including Card Walker, but the studies certainly didn't lie, and OLC made its desire for a Disney park known early and often.
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
Sure... and they all look at the monies flowing in with no thoughts of who they are dealing with. Building up the economy, military and infrastructure of a country... thats considered to being our infinite foe. Lets do a Moscow Disney next. Very smart business ???View attachment 484755
USA has lots of business deals with Saudi Arabia. Saudi way of governing and human rights issues make China look tame. The list could go on and on about countries we have partnerships with.
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
I don't know that Europe could support another Disney resort. DLP's numbers are well behind the US and Tokyo parks, and after DLP there's a pretty huge dropoff in numbers before subsequent European parks in terms of attendance. I have to imagine that by choosing to call it Euro Disneyland resort at the beginning (and building all of those hotel rooms) was a clear indication that they were never entertaining the idea of a second European resort. It was projected from the beginning that a resort in Tokyo would have a higher financial return than one built in Europe, and if that's the case, it wouldn't make any sense to start planning another.

South America isn't ready for a Disney Resort based simply by looking at their TEA attendance from last year. Sure, the numbers probably aren't fully accurate, but they're probably not many millions of people off either. The highest attended park in South America allegedly only had 2.24 million numbers. Those aren't Disney acceptable numbers (my local Six Flags park in Chicago does better than that, as does even WDSP), nor do I believe that crowds would simply materialize because it's Disney.

I do agree that building more international parks wouldn't hurt the US parks attendance-wise much at all.

I think the main issue with the internationals is that Eisner got cocky and expected to will a WDW or a Tokyo Disneyland into existence in Paris and that's simply not what happened, and had they paid more attention to data, they would have known that. He then went to the opposite extreme for Hong Kong and got burned there too. Shanghai has been more successful since, so perhaps the problem wasn't the international resorts, but with Eisner. Who knows what will happen with the Chinese parks in the future, but Shanghai at least has been successful. But the two international resorts that have caused the most problems have one massive common denominator at the center of them.
Not sure you can use the park numbers of existing parks in South America as a good proxy for what Disney could achieve. I've visited some of the parks in Brasil and their is a reason they don't have great attendance. It isn't because people in South America don't enjoy amusement parks, but when probably their best park Beto Carrero is about an 8 hour drive from Sao Paulo and located in a small town, what do you really expect? That isn't even getting into the fact that it lacks a lot in the theme department. Sometimes the demand doesn't appear high in an area because there isn't enough supply to support the demand. I suspect that is the problem in South America. The better part of building a park down there would be the much cheaper land and labor, mix that in with lots of locations where you can avoid ever having to deal with snow and you would have a pretty good place to create a good theme park.

As for Europe I think they failed miserably because they tried to create a resort instead of a day park like DL. Combine that with putting it in France and I think they pretty much shot themselves in the foot. Why the picked France is still a mystery to me... So many other places it would have made more sense even from simply a weather standpoint. I think someone just liked the idea of Disney Paris sounding cool and didn't think it through properly.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
Not sure you can use the park numbers of existing parks in South America as a good proxy for what Disney could achieve. I've visited some of the parks in Brasil and their is a reason they don't have great attendance. It isn't because people in South America don't enjoy amusement parks, but when probably their best park Beto Carrero is about an 8 hour drive from Sao Paulo and located in a small town, what do you really expect? That isn't even getting into the fact that it lacks a lot in the theme department. Sometimes the demand doesn't appear high in an area because there isn't enough supply to support the demand. I suspect that is the problem in South America. The better part of building a park down there would be the much cheaper land and labor, mix that in with lots of locations where you can avoid ever having to deal with snow and you would have a pretty good place to create a good theme park.

As for Europe I think they failed miserably because they tried to create a resort instead of a day park like DL. Combine that with putting it in France and I think they pretty much shot themselves in the foot. Why the picked France is still a mystery to me... So many other places it would have made more sense even from simply a weather standpoint. I think someone just liked the idea of Disney Paris sounding cool and didn't think it through properly.

While they considered Spain, they ultimately chose Paris because it was centrally located and easily accessible from virtually anywhere in Europe. That won out over Spain's better weather. In addition, they seemed to assume that since weather hadn't affected Tokyo's attendance much, they figured it wouldn't be different in Paris. Ultimately, their choice in Paris has worked out for the most part. What doomed it were the hotels.

South America is a more complicated situation, but it would take a particular combination of different factors for it to work and be successful. I do not believe that even if Disney's were to build its best, most mind-blowing park that it would necessarily be successful to the level Disney requires simply because it would be so far ahead of anything that currently exists. Every park Disney has built has been because all of their studies and research indicated that such a project would be successful. I imagine that if Disney had research indicating SA could successfully hold a Disney resort (assuming a normal economic situation), and the necessary agreements, etc were finalized and settled upon, it would be underway. But I do believe that Iger has said, around the time of Shanghai's completion, that he does not believe that there's any existing market that would be an obvious pick for the next Disney destination. Honestly, the most obvious location probably would have been another place in China until very recently.
 

HongKongFooy

Well-Known Member
they should have opened more than one in Europe by now and at least one in South America.

2 destinations in Europe when it can't even max out with 1???? Sheer Suicide through business cannibalism.


At least one in South America? So you leave open the possibility of 2 or 3? Your wording sure does suggest it. Is that for real?
Disney can not even support 1 on that continent. Wealthy(compared to much of the world) + densely populated and very much visited Hong Kong can barely justify a Disneyland lite or starter kit.
 

Robbiem

Well-Known Member
Eisner and Iger did travel to India. What about Iger's talk years ago of a Mumbai Disneyland?

I strongly suspect India will have a Disneyland at some point. Growing ecconomy in the worlds biggest democracy no other parks close by and Disney has a large presence in the market already with its purchase of the star network as part of the fox purchase. I suspect in a few years if things recover we may see Disney begin plans in the sub continent for growth including an eventual park.
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
2 destinations in Europe when it can't even max out with 1???? Sheer Suicide through business cannibalism.


At least one in South America? So you leave open the possibility of 2 or 3? Your wording sure does suggest it. Is that for real?
Disney can not even support 1 on that continent. Wealthy(compared to much of the world) + densely populated and very much visited Hong Kong can barely justify a Disneyland lite or starter kit.

When I worked in Brasil our company did extensive market research on the people and their finances. Are there tons of poor people there? Absolutely. But there are enough middle class people that you could do much more in that country than you would imagine if your vision of the place is based on a favela you saw in a movie. Would you be charging the same rates as you would in the US? Of course not because some of your costs would be substantially lower which means you don't need to charge as high a price to make the same return on your investment.

As for Hong Kong, what's your point? The population of Honk Kong is a fraction of about 7 million compared to over 200 million in Brasil or 400 million in all of South America... So why would you think a location like Hong Kong which has travel restrictions on people from mainland China going there is a valid comparison for a location with 200 million locals and free travel in mercosur countries that bump it up to 300 million is meaningful? It would never surprise me that Hong Kong isn't a highly attended park based on the size of the city/state and the restrictions on the largest country's people going there.
 

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
I guess if you want to be the Devil's advocate you can say that in 1971 there was a wide ranging idea that WDW wouldn't work in the Florida heat, and how could they ever do another Disneyland? Obviously this one worked though. Tokyo was in 1983, people forget just how long ago this was. A year after Epcot was open, Tokyo opened. I have only been to the two in America, so I can't comment.

I do have an opinion from someone I worked with who is from Belgium. He wasn't too thrilled when Disneyland Paris opened in 1992. His thought was that Disneyland had this sort of mystique that you wanted to go and visit it back in the day as the original and all of the sudden there was a copycat version closer to home and it didn't feel the same. I don't know how others feel about it though, but this is what he said.

I do think sometimes you can get too big for your own good. There is so much land in WDW that you can do more there all of the time. Maybe they should have focused on that more.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
USA has lots of business deals with Saudi Arabia. Saudi way of governing and human rights issues make China look tame. The list could go on and on about countries we have partnerships with.
Yes and we should have been smarter about dealing with them as well. If we stand as being a moral upright country and make deals with them we should use our clout to enable changes. But unfortunately we strike deals that only enrich certain groups of individuals and turn our backs on those who need our help. We do have more ability to have affect in the deals we make than what we use. Its all in who gets the money bags.
 

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