Too Much is Never Enough

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.

4 thoughts on “Too Much is Never Enough”

  1. It’s true – it’s an addicting vacation because it’s so unrealistically huge. But I simply think it’s too much for the bulk of the people who are visiting… first time or only time visitors. Although the situation has been slightly remedied by the sliding scale prices on Magic Your Way, MGM and Animal Kingdom just aren’t a good value for the price of single day admission. Of course they’re still better value than Universal or Sea World, which people seem totally content to shrill out $70 for, so that’s probably my elitism talking.

    I put a question mark at the end of the title for a reason…. I’m not sure if it’s too much or not. My opinion that Animal Kingdom is a redundant sham notwithstanding, I do think that four theme parks is way too much. I want to see an expanded Magic Kingdom, three more countries in World Showcase, and three more E-Tickets in MGM before I see a fifth park.

  2. It’s true, the secret to making an entertainment venue a success is not getting guests to pay out their every penny. The trick is to find a way to encourage repeat business and word of mouth. That way rather than lots of upfront profit, followed by a reputation as poor value and therefore dwindling visitor numbers, you get people returning over and over again and telling their friends to go too. It’s a lot like the theory behind a loss-leader product, except it’s a “long game” plan, rather than a quick sales plan.

  3. I think this is kind of a strange article. You don’t often come across a complaint of “too much” for the parks. The “more is better” mantra seems to reign supreme when it comes to the parks. The quality of that “more” may be debatable but most seem to welcome the “more” nonetheless. This definitely seems to be a business call. How to expand the average stay and add value is always a goal, I’m sure. It seems to be the case with everything. We tend to be impressed by options even if we may never partake in those options – there seems to be something comforting about knowing they’re available. Plus, one can’t assume everyone like the same thing. Some may never go to, say, the waterparks. So that’s one option gone for that particular guest. And so on. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the water parks. I think I would prefer Disney to err on the side of too much than too little.

  4. In ’06 our family took our first trip to Disney World and we were overwhelmed with how much there was to do. In fact, even though we were there for 7 days (less one at Sea World) we didn’t do nearly as much as we wanted.

    We returned in ’08 for 10 days, and while our trip was a lot more efficient because of lessons learned on our first trip, there is still more we’d like to do. Some missed attractions, some restaurants we’d like to try …

    So in December ’09 we’re headed back to experience something new at Disney – Christmas, along with a few other things.

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