Granted I still follow Disney related news and still listen to the podcasts but I have a hard time calling myself a Deek anymore.
You may wonder what could Disney have done to get me to the point where I have little to no desire to step foot in a Disney park. Well I’ll admit, it wasn’t just one thing. It fact it was a number of things that slowly weaned me off of Disney like you wean a drug addict. Here is the short list.
March 10th, 2009 – D23 Announced
The announcement didn’t bother me it was what came after. A product that was little more than a money grab. A vast minority of those who signed up for D23 got their money’s worth. For most people they got a piece of paper that told them they were a member, four magazines, and a amazingly cheap watch (which in my case was broken).
D23 also left a lot of people in the dark. It hit during one of the worst financial crisis’s in US history. A lot of Disney fans found out they couldn’t afford to join the “Official Fan Club.” Did that make them non-official Disney fans?
2009 to Current – Maintenance Woes
As far back as I can remember Disney World was the epitome of a clean, well run theme park. I never remember seeing anything out of order or overly dirty.
In 2008 I went to the parks and it was how I remembered it. Ever since then there has been a noticeable decline in both cleanliness and maintenance at the parks. It’s common place now to see something broken. Splash Mountain might be the best example. At one point it was less a question of what is broken and more a question of what was working. I am also willing to wager that I don’t have to mention Everest. I’ve never seen the Yeti in its original mode.
June 23rd, 2010 – Golden Oaks
Disney World was built for the family vacation. That goal stayed fully intact until June 23rd, 2010 when Golden Oaks was announced. Forget the families we want the 1%! Actually a lot of the 1% can’t even afford Golden Oaks. The idea of a development for the uber rich on the land that Walt secured for his dream actually offends me on some levels. It’s so far detached from what Disney World once was that I have a hard time comprehending it.
September 14th, 2011 – The Four Seasons
After a year and a half this still upsets me. Disney sold part of Walt’s dream. Part of Disney World was sold to a third party so they could build a resort for the rich. If the land was sold into a nature trust or something like that it wouldn’t bother me.
It bothers me more when I think of the history of how the land for Disney World was obtained. Which of the quirky fake companies bought that land? How much effort was put into obtaining the land for Disney World? In the end it doesn’t matter because it was sold for profit.
11/9/2012 – Starbucks to Replace Main Street Bakery
When I heard Starbucks was going to replace the coffee at Disney World I was happy. I thought that was an awesome idea.
When I heard that a Starbucks was going to replace the Main Street Bakery I was left speechless. Out of all the locations they could have picked why did it have to be the Main Street Bakery? Why did it have to be the best counter service location in Disney World? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to overhaul a crappy location? Yes but the mighty dollar often overrides common sense. In the end that’s how I see this event. A simple money grab. It’s just another way to maximize profits.
More for Less
This has been going on for a long time. I understand that prices need to rise because costs rise. However, Disney raises their prices far beyond the rate of inflation. Even then I might be able to live with it except for one thing. It seems like every year Disney takes something away. Some little perk disappears. Look no further than the Dining Plan. Once it was a great value but then Disney started to cut, and cut, and cut until it’s not even a shadow of what it once was.
The Dining Plan is just one area. You can find one area after another where the price has risen and you don’t even break even, you get less.
When I was a kid Disney World was Disney World. Now you really don’t know who you are dealing with. How many services have been outsourced? How many restaurants are not Disney? How many things in the background are not Disney? How many of the people you see at the golf courses are not Disney? The answer is simple – too many.
The biggest problem with outsourcing is the lack of accountability. It allows for the classic “We’re sorry, that’s not us it’s a third party” fake apology. Do those outsourced employees get the same benefits?
In the end outsourcing creates customer service nightmares but it bumps the bottom line. In the end isn’t that what Disney really cares about now? Isn’t that what each of the above things has in common? They all boost the bottom line. After all why not? If the people keep coming then so be it!
Guess what Disney…I’m not the only person who has taken their mouse ears off.