Visiting the Queen Mary, a Former Disney Operation

Yesterday, my beautiful wife and I went to see the Titanic artifacts exhibit at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. I can’t recall having ever boarded the ship before.

From newspaper reports over the last few years, it sounds like the operation is in trouble, and I can understand after having been there first-hand. For a Friday afternoon heading into a holiday weekend, it wasn’t busy at all. The exhibit was fascinating, but the operation knowledge and demeanor of the employees left a lot to be desired. Exactly where visitors were supposed to get from one place to the other was not clear, and there was what Disney people would call a lot of "bad show."

I can’t help but think about the period of time during which the operation was under the control of The Walt Disney Company, through the same deal in which the Disneyland Hotel officially came into the corporation. There was a time when Disney announced a project initially called "Port Disney". A version of the project was eventually built as DisneySea in Japan.

Some people assert that Disney never really planned to do anything in Long Beach, and that the whole Port Disney concept was just a bargaining chip to get Anaheim where Disney wanted them as far as buidling a second theme park in Anaheim. I, however, believe that if financial conditions were better, if things had gone better in France, and if there hadn’t been as much opposition and regulation along the coast in Long Beach, Disney would have gone ahead with both the Disneyland Resort expansion and the Long Beach project.

Instead, Disney got out of Long Beach.

It’s all water under the bridge (and out into the ocean) now, but I can’t help but think what could have been for both Disney and Long Beach.