Sunday, April 12, 2015

If I were in Charge of Disney World - Overview

Well, I'm at it again.  If you haven't been paying attention (which would be everyone in my world, including my mother, who I can't convince to read my blogs), I enjoy blogging random thoughts about the House of Mouse.  Check out my seminal Top 60 Most Nostalgic Things at Disney World blog if you want to see some of my better work.

Still here, eh?  Okay.  Don't blame you, really.

As a standard disclaimer, if you are here searching for vacation tips because Google sent you, I apologize.  Google search has let you down.  This blog is not going to provide much for how to plan a vacation or some of the insider tips for the parks.  I'm a WDW enthusiast, but I have a long way to go before I'd be considered an expert.

So with that said, let me tell you how I'd change everything if I were in charge of Disney.

Okay, it is a bit presumptuous of me to be writing this blog.  Fact is, Disney knows what they are doing.  They have kept WDW magical for years, and despite the hot and trendy Harry Potter-like exhibits that come out at competitors, they continue to be the class of theme parks.  Plus, they make money by the bucketloads.  I honestly don't think I'm going to be able to provide anything here that would truly change WDW, that the powers-that-be would listen to.

But that doesn't mean I won't try.  'Cause you only live once, and you might as well blog.

So, here's the deal.  Through the power of my imagination (I know, pretty 'mazing stuff!), I am now in charge of WDW.  I'd say Disney Parks, but I have only been to Disneyland once when I was young, and I really don't care that much about the cruises to blog.  So, we are focused solely on WDW, which is my forte.

I'm going to put together my thoughts on how to improve WDW.  This won't be ranked or structured.  I'll just post when I feel like it.

Ground Rules

Now for the ground rules, and you can't do a proper list without the ground rules.

1. We are working in a real world, here.  No attractions where you fly on winged horses or get to go swimming in the Fantasmic pool during the show.  These would be things I would realistically propose in order to improve the park experience.

2. Money IS an object (as opposed to when we say money is no object).  Yes, Disney is filthy rich and has the resources to do everything.  But, I am considering what I consider to be the financial impact on my items.  So, there is no "create 10 new parks!!!"  I would want my options to be appealing to stockholders.

3. Fun for many age groups.  Part of the Disney experience should be that it is unbelievably enjoyable for all ages.  Some of my proposals will be marketed for a specific age group in order to provide what I see as a hole within the park's offerings.  Some will be made to make an attraction more appealing to other age groups as well.

4. Not about me.  Well, of course it is about me, since these are my thoughts.  But, it isn't like I'm going to institute a policy that allows me to get into the park for free.

5. More magic.  The bottom line is to create more magic for park goers.  The more magic, the more memorable experience, the more likely participants are to coming back.  Because of this, one consideration is what to do to make lines shorter.  There need to be "people-eater" rides and shows that accommodate large numbers of people as well.

The Categories of Park Goers

So, part of my thinking is that there are different categories of park goers.  Much of the world fits into that "once-in-a-lifetime" category, given that Disney has created a nostalgic buzz about its park.  Making WDW available so all can come once in their lives is a priority.

Once they have come, we want it to be so magical that they will bring their kids, and then their grandkids.  We can call those "once-a-generation" visitors.

But, that's not where the real money is for Disney.  They want to make a large portion of the generation-ers into once-every-5-years visitors.  Yes, the expense might be prohibitive to come more than once a generation, but typically a family will enjoy their time so much, they wish they could come back more often.  If the parks can provide a significant update in the experience every five years, that makes it more likely for them to save up for a trip.  That means for every 5 years, every park should have a major update to it.

The next group are the annual attenders.  This group is committing to quite a bit of resources to be able to attend annually, so each park should have something new in it, and there should be one significant new experience overall.

And finally, there is the insane.  These are the ones that go 5 times a year to the park, basically making WDW an obsession.  These individuals need more than new things in the park; they need innovative ways to get behind the scenes and partake in parts that the typical park goer does not.

Note, I'm not going to focus on locals here.  WDW has been marketed as a magical experience in its own bubble, unlike Disneyland, where you still can see Anaheim around the perimeter.  This has had a huge effect on local traffic (and most of the locals work at WDW anyways).

All right, enough chatting for now.  Let's get started with our list.

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