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  • Costs and Excuses of Lower Crowds

    With limited crowds, the overall experience is mostly great (and I think of anyone waiting might want to reconsider a sooner visit to take advantage before it inevitably gets crowded again). However, I noticed some things when I visited Sunday that are less than ideal and sadly Disney is taking advantage of COVID “excuses” to present a lower experience beyond parades and fireworks.

    The lower crowds are pleasing to all of course. This is especially great for HM. You are no longer packed into elevators and you can hear the stretching of the room. I didn’t know these sounds existed. For HM fans, an enjoyable elevator might be worth the ticket alone.

    One downside of lower crowds however is the food offerings or lack thereof: less guests understandably means less demand for open restaurants. Unfortunately, it also meant Disney really didn’t have to try to earn your money. Gone are so many unique options. Red Rose tavern used to have slow cooked beef and garlic pomme frites (similar to Cafe Orleans). Now they have returned to the standard burgers, fries and pepperoni pizza. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can always visit Galactic Grill where you can also get generic burgers and fries. Plaza Inn and Bengal BBQ are open too and help breakup the monotony of quick service. However, even Plaza’s menu is just chicken. Some of this is simply sticking to what works and some feels like Disney doesn’t want to bother trying.

    While not being sandwiched on the train is nice, Disney negates the perk by stopping the trains at 3pm. When I got in line midday, they were putting one to bed at around 1pm. Thus, the CM said waiting in line was “trying your luck” since due to COVID spacing and early closure, they might not be able to get you on. It’s not the most magical experience to find out midday might be too late for a ride. I’m curious as to why the trains need to close so early.

    I wonder what other costs to the guest experience Disney has done or will do. I don’t think any of these are dealbreakers for visiting, but it makes you wonder what won’t be back or what will be limited even when crowds increase.
    Last edited by Jesser-pie; 05-03-2021, 08:55 AM. Reason: When I say non-financial cost, I mean to the guest experience.

  • #2
    its a balancing act... I don't necessarily see these items as non financial decisions since you are talking about staff needed to run those trains and cook that food. On the food front the simple menus could be explained as simply as getting the staff and food in place to get the park open and functioning NOW. No doubt all those unique foods will return once the attendance (aka revenue) starts to increase. Also you can in a way consider the AP system as a driver of those unique food items since in order to get AP's to spend more, they needed different options to keep the AP's spending. Tourists and single day visitors are a bit of a captive audience in that sense. (not that they don't want those nice unique food options though).

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by zugzug15 View Post
      its a balancing act... I don't necessarily see these items as non financial decisions since you are talking about staff needed to run those trains and cook that food. On the food front the simple menus could be explained as simply as getting the staff and food in place to get the park open and functioning NOW. No doubt all those unique foods will return once the attendance (aka revenue) starts to increase. Also you can in a way consider the AP system as a driver of those unique food items since in order to get AP's to spend more, they needed different options to keep the AP's spending. Tourists and single day visitors are a bit of a captive audience in that sense. (not that they don't want those nice unique food options though).
      I agree and hope they return. However, when I said financial, I should have said out of pocket for the guest. These are certainly financial decisions for Disney, but they are decisions that ultimately the guests pay for, just not literally.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jesser-pie View Post
        While not being sandwiched on the train is nice, Disney negates the perk by stopping the trains at 3pm. When I got in line midday, they were putting one to bed at around 1pm. Thus, the CM said waiting in line was “trying your luck” since due to COVID spacing and early closure, they might not be able to get you on. It’s not the most magical experience to find out midday might be too late for a ride. I’m curious as to why the trains need to close so early.

        I wonder what other costs to the guest experience Disney has done or will do. I don’t think any of these are dealbreakers for visiting, but it makes you wonder what won’t be back or what will be limited even when crowds increase.
        The train is down to staffing, they are only staffing it with 1 set of 8 hour shifts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CM.X777 View Post

          The train is down to staffing, they are only staffing it with 1 set of 8 hour shifts.
          Thanks!

          I suppose we can add lower staffing in general to “costs”. Though, other than the trains, I didn’t feel like the park was understaffed with what was open. From parking to entry to the attractions, I felt everything was well staffed and was proud of Disney (I have experienced busier days with less staff in these areas). Now that is as a guest. I don’t know how the actual CMs feel (if they needed an extra hand in various places).
          Last edited by Jesser-pie; 05-03-2021, 10:29 AM.

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          • #6
            This is a bummer, I for one was actually considering going via park hopper on a certain date that is booked already for DL starting park but if by the time I get over to DL the DLRR is booked up it's a deal breaker for me. A Grand Circle Tour is often one of the things I miss most about the park.
            Disneyland Fan since the 70's

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jesser-pie View Post

              Thanks!

              I suppose we can add lower staffing in general to “costs”. Though, other than the trains, I didn’t feel like the park was understaffed with what was open. From parking to entry to the attractions, I felt everything was well staffed and was proud of Disney (I have experienced busier days with less staff in these areas). Now that is as a guest. I don’t know how the actual CMs feel (if they needed an extra hand in various places).
              The staffing problem is real - seems that Disney is already ramping up hiring of new Cast Members despite the fact that less than 50% of the DLR cast has returned to work. That is an indication that either those Cast Members have moved on and won't be returning, or they are not happy with the current status and are going to continue to sit at home collecting unemployment until circumstances change. With the high Union dues and the fact that the minimum wage has increased I know some Cast Members who have realized that working elsewhere pays more now and as much as they loved the parks they can't afford to go back now that they have taken a pay increase elsewhere. And Disney jobs require extensive training, especially in attractions where they are CAL OSHA regulated. I believe that Disney may need to hire over 15,000 new Cast Members due to the turnover the park closure has caused. That is the staffing equivalent of opening a 3rd theme park and it is going to take many months.

              The other problem unique to Anaheim is the tiny size of Disneyland Park. Most of those facilities are antiquated and built much smaller than Disney would build today. Kitchens for example must maintain social distancing and that could mean that instead of the 5 or 6 cooks you previously saw on the line they now can only have 2. Thus they have to slash the menu down to just a few items.

              ​The social distancing requirement is going to be harder on Disneyland Park than any other Disney park worldwide. Even when the state removes attendance caps in June there most likely will still be basic social distancing requirements required. Until the 6 feet goes away along with the outside queue requirements Disneyland cannot handle the additional guests.

              I believe that the capacity of the park due to social distancing is not going to exceed 40% of usual and customary capacity (which is a lower number than fire code). And just due to the nature of the guests who are genuinely concerned about their health - there are areas like older line queues in rides that required guests to "FILL IN ALL OF THE AVAILABLE SPACE!" so that the ride could maintain capacity and reasonable wait time. Guests are not going to want to do that any longer! Think Space Mountain which is a well oiled machine that depends on the guests being right on top of each other, standing physically against the ride gates for boarding in 10 seconds or less. Now they have to be 6 feet from each party - each foot away is another second of time for the guest to get there. That simple social distancing requirement will literally require them to take trains off the ride because if the train doesn't dispatch exactly on time then the entire ride has to stop and be evacuated. Social distancing is a BIG DEAL that has a MASSIVE effect on the operation of the parks and slashes capacity by 60% or more.

              ​​​​​​I do not believe that Disney has really planned to "profit" off this reopening, but rather for now just stop the bleeding. If they make just enough money to break even that will be a win that will take them to the end of their fiscal year while they retool and restaff the parks, praying the entire time for a return to no social distancing.
              Last edited by ClownLoach; 05-03-2021, 10:47 AM. Reason: Typo

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ClownLoach View Post

                The staffing problem is real - seems that Disney is already ramping up hiring of new Cast Members despite the fact that less than 50% of the DLR cast has returned to work. That is an indication that either those Cast Members have moved on and won't be returning, or they are not happy with the current status and are going to continue to sit at home collecting unemployment until circumstances change. With the high Union dues and the fact that the minimum wage has increased I know some Cast Members who have realized that working elsewhere pays more now and as much as they loved the parks they can't afford to go back now that they have taken a pay increase elsewhere. And Disney jobs require extensive training, especially in attractions where they are CAL OSHA regulated. I believe that Disney may need to hire over 15,000 new Cast Members due to the turnover the park closure has caused. That is the staffing equivalent of opening a 3rd theme park and it is going to take many months.

                The other problem unique to Anaheim is the tiny size of Disneyland Park. Most of those facilities are antiquated and built much smaller than Disney would build today. Kitchens for example must maintain social distancing and that could mean that instead of the 5 or 6 cooks you previously saw on the line they now can only have 2. Thus they have to slash the menu down to just a few items.

                ​The social distancing requirement is going to be harder on Disneyland Park than any other Disney park worldwide. Even when the state removes attendance caps in June there most likely will still be basic social distancing requirements required. Until the 6 feet goes away along with the outside queue requirements Disneyland cannot handle the additional guests.

                I believe that the capacity of the park due to social distancing is not going to exceed 40% of usual and customary capacity (which is a lower number than fire code). And just due to the nature of the guests who are genuinely concerned about their health - there are areas like older line queues in rides that required guests to "FILL IN ALL OF THE AVAILABLE SPACE!" so that the ride could maintain capacity and reasonable wait time. Think Space Mountain which is a well oiled machine that depends on the guests being right on top of each other, standing physically against the ride gates for boarding in 10 seconds or less. Now they have to be 6 feet from each party - each foot away is another second of time for the guest to get there. That simple social distancing requirement will literally require them to take trains off the ride because if the train doesn't dispatch exactly on time then the entire ride has to stop and be evacuated. Social distancing is a BIG DEAL that has a MASSIVE effect on the operation of the parks and slashes capacity by 60% or more.

                ​​​​​​I do not believe that Disney has really planned to "profit" off this reopening, but rather for now just stop the bleeding. If they make just enough money to break even that will be a win that will take them to the end of their fiscal year while they retool and restaff the parks, praying the entire time for a return to no social distancing.
                Thank you! It feels weird, but I guess I should give Disney a bit of a break in this case.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jesser-pie View Post
                  One downside of lower crowds however is the food offerings or lack thereof: less guests understandably means less demand for open restaurants. Unfortunately, it also meant Disney really didn’t have to try to earn your money. Gone are so many unique options. Red Rose tavern used to have slow cooked beef and garlic pomme frites (similar to Cafe Orleans). Now they have returned to the standard burgers, fries and pepperoni pizza. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can always visit Galactic Grill where you can also get generic burgers and fries. Plaza Inn and Bengal BBQ are open too and help breakup the monotony of quick service. However, even Plaza’s menu is just chicken. Some of this is simply sticking to what works and some feels like Disney doesn’t want to bother trying.
                  I had the same feeling about the lack of food options, but I didn't take it as Disney trying to have less options for the sake of having less options. Even restaurants outside of Disney had to remove items during the pandemic to adjust for the lack of people coming inside. It wouldn't make sense to offer the full variety to only 15-25% of guests, that's a lot of wasted food. And people are still training to get back on their feet, so the limited options helps with training. I'm sure as time goes on and capacity increases, so will the variety. Every time new food is introduced, it's all over TikTok, the Instagrammers and the vloggers. It's free publicity for something not as expensive as building a whole new show or attraction.

                  I was actually surprised Rontos Roasters was open, as that was probably one of the more unique options available. As well as the new "Magic is Back" cupcake.

                  I came into Disneyland on Sunday knowing full well it was more like a 'dress rehearsal' that I felt lucky to be part of. It's a part of history that hopefully won't have to happen again. Disneyland is a monster to operate so it's going to take a while before it feels and runs normally. I know sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but to me it felt like they were trying their best.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If burgers and fries are being sold as main food...makes more than gladly to get out and spend elsewhere for fantastic food service outside!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bottom line: be it restaurants, rides or entertainment, so long as DLR customers continue to vote Yes to paying the same high prices for a reduced product that costs Disney less to deliver, Disney will have no incentive to return to their pre-Covid levels of staffing. Pandemic or not.
                      "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                      it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                      together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                      designed to appeal to everyone."

                      - Walt Disney

                      "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                      - Michael Eisner

                      "It's very symbiotic."
                      - Bob Chapek

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        vroomichael
                        I don’t take it as Disney having less for the sake of it either? I know there is a reason behind what Disney does and am not sure where I implied that. The real point of thread is that ironically a good thing can lead to bad thing. The good thing being lower crowds; the bad thing being limited options.

                        I already knew they were limited based on what was listed as closed. However, I was taken aback on how limited and changed some of the menus were. Disney could be less draconian in this department, IMO. Reopening isn’t easy but not an excuse to brush off any legit criticism. This is not a mom and pop business that is struggling to stay afloat. This a business trying get their money back.

                        And I already gave them credit in terms of staffing (at least from a experience that doesn’t impact the guest minus the trains). I think they are doing great overall too.

                        I had Ronto wrap on Sunday too; I’m grateful Disney kept it open, but since I am negative (I’m sorry!), I felt it was because they needed some food in SWGE and it was the cheaper option to operate.

                        I’m sure I’m in the minority on this food “issue”. I’ll be frank; I am one of those people that considers the meal a big part of my Disney experience.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                          Bottom line: be it restaurants, rides or entertainment, so long as DLR customers continue to vote Yes to paying the same high prices for a reduced product that costs Disney less to deliver, Disney will have no incentive to return to their pre-Covid levels of staffing. Pandemic or not.
                          I could see Red Rose Tavern’s menu being boring again even years after all this. It’s a prime spot to serve families, who I don’t blame, may just need a quick meal. It doesn’t need to be good to make money and while before it changed to BATB theming, Village Haus was just starting to have a more fun menu after years of burgers, fries and pizza. Now we are back to that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jesser-pie View Post
                            I could see Red Rose Tavern’s menu being boring again even years after all this. It’s a prime spot to serve families, who I don’t blame, may just need a quick meal. It doesn’t need to be good to make money and while before it changed to BATB theming, Village Haus was just starting to have a more fun menu after years of burgers, fries and pizza. Now we are back to that.
                            Exactly. The more Disney limits menu options, the greater the profits. The more Disney limits sit-down restaurants in favor of snack stands and mall-style food courts, the greater the profits. The more Disney limits ride hours, the greater the profits. Every employee that Disney doesn't have to hire means greater profits and happier investors.

                            Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 05-03-2021, 04:10 PM.
                            "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                            it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                            together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                            designed to appeal to everyone."

                            - Walt Disney

                            "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                            - Michael Eisner

                            "It's very symbiotic."
                            - Bob Chapek

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Are the Ronto-Less Garden Wrap, spiced vegetable bao still being served!? Those I’m open to try for a amusement park food option.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                Bottom line: be it restaurants, rides or entertainment, so long as DLR customers continue to vote Yes to paying the same high prices for a reduced product that costs Disney less to deliver, Disney will have no incentive to return to their pre-Covid levels of staffing. Pandemic or not.
                                Same Issue have also hit many other place's...Look at the Fast Food Business for example.
                                limits menu options-greater the profits
                                Soaring like an EAGLE !

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Honestly, the food issue is one of the main reasons I decided to put a visit off until later. (I guess I should have put that on the other thread.) I don't go on that many attractions because of motion sickness, so the snacks and dining are a big draw. But in fairness, DL was information forward on this. There was a clear list of what would be open, along with posted menus. To me, it was bleak, but forewarned is forearmed. And I can understand why it was a soft opening with regard to dining. Caution and baby steps are probably suitable during a pandemic.

                                  Hopefully things will get back to normal, and if not, people certainly should vote with their wallets. Not gonna naysay yet, though.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Jesser-pie View Post
                                    With limited crowds, the overall experience is mostly great (and I think of anyone waiting might want to reconsider a sooner visit to take advantage before it inevitably gets crowded again). However, I noticed some things when I visited Sunday that are less than ideal and sadly Disney is taking advantage of COVID “excuses” to present a lower experience beyond parades and fireworks.
                                    I've never viewed "Disney" as an thinking entity with such a diabolical purpose. Do you really think that Disney is using a global catastrophe to present a lower experience to its guests? If anything, they are complying with local and state guidelines to maximize their guest's enjoyment while still operating at a capacity to employ as many cast members as possible. So sorry about your parades and fireworks.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by zugzug15 View Post
                                      its a balancing act... I don't necessarily see these items as non financial decisions since you are talking about staff needed to run those trains and cook that food. On the food front the simple menus could be explained as simply as getting the staff and food in place to get the park open and functioning NOW. No doubt all those unique foods will return once the attendance (aka revenue) starts to increase. Also you can in a way consider the AP system as a driver of those unique food items since in order to get AP's to spend more, they needed different options to keep the AP's spending. Tourists and single day visitors are a bit of a captive audience in that sense. (not that they don't want those nice unique food options though).
                                      I agree with this too. They made plans and decisions that could benefit two-way. Otherwise, one party will suffer the loss.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                        Bottom line: be it restaurants, rides or entertainment, so long as DLR customers continue to vote Yes to paying the same high prices for a reduced product that costs Disney less to deliver, Disney will have no incentive to return to their pre-Covid levels of staffing. Pandemic or not.
                                        Exactly. It's a win-win for them. We all know what Thomas Tusser said, "A Disney fan and his money are soon parted." (or words to that effect)
                                        “Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.”

                                        DL Trips: '58, '59, '61, '65, '66, '67, '68x2, '69x2, '70x2, '71x2, '73x2, '74x2, '75x2, '76x2, '77, '78,x2, '79x2, '80x2, '81, '82, '83, '88, '89x3, '90x2, '91, '93, '94, '95x2, '96, '97, '98x4, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07x2, '08, '09x2, '10, '11, '13
                                        WDW Trips: '81
                                        EPCOT Trips: '93
                                        Tokyo DL Trips: '86

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