FoxFurr has begun posting regularly over at 2719 Hyperion. It’s a great match and I’m happy to see her writing get wider recognition. In “Too Much Stuff?” FoxFurr looks at the offerings at the Walt Disney World resort and wonders if it’s the right balance for the median vacation traveler family who may visit once every three years or less frequently.
The original idea of Walt Disney World was just that: balance. The Magic Kingdom was the biggest draw and as such had the largest capacity, but even in the early days there were a variety of activities meant to encourage a vacation spent outside of that theme park. Golf was a heavy emphasis, and a whole resort catering to golfers coexisted with four golf courses around property. The Polynesian Luau and Top of the World were effectively onsite nightclubs, and a variety of rental craft plowed the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon. There was the World Cruise, a narrated tour of the lagoon, and the Electrical Water Pageant, and even a ski show. In fact, once that Disney-made lagoon was the real heart of Walt Disney World. Now it’s more like an epic inconvenience between your car and that theme park. The point that you weren’t parking for the Magic Kingdom, but for the entire resort, has been lost in the shuffle. It’s a subtle point but it is the difference between a more varied experience and that crazed run towards “fun”.
That is a great point and it’s something I think Disney should address in full when they build their fifth theme park. But in the meantime, there is a lot Disney could do to bring back the feel of energy and life to the lagoon. I believe this is part of Disney’s strategy to spread night time entertainment back out to the resorts that started with the closure of Pleasure Island.
It is a great article, however, I’m not sure I agree with it’s conclusion. A family’s Disney vacation is what they make of it. The marvel of Walt Disney World is that nearly every one can find multiple days worth of entertainment at a decent value (compared to other entertainment values on an hourly basis, but maybe not compared to certain forms of entertainment that might be more popular during a recession, but that’s a different post). If any thing I think this feeling of having not seen it all, but still having received a value is what makes guests return more frequently. That feeling is behind the Disney Vacation Club, lower prices and greater deals for locals, and should also be kept in the forefront of all Disney marketing and promotions.
Walt Disney thought it was important not to fleece the Guest of every dollar while visiting Disneyland. Every guest should leave with money in their wallet. That way the guest would feel like they had a real bargain and be even more excited about telling their friends and returning. And that’s true today, depite the millions of dollars spent on advertising, the best marketing is the Guest experience in the parks and at the resorts.