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Ken Potrock - "The days of us packing so many people into this park are over"

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  • Ken Potrock - "The days of us packing so many people into this park are over"

    I was listening to the Dis Unplugged podcast this morning and Pete Werner did a fantastic job describing the current situation at Disneyland and World (the decreased quality for an increased price). He just got back from a DL vacation. I'd encourage you to listen if you have the time.

    While in Disneyland, Pete was able to meet with Ken Potrock and chat about things. The quote in the title of the thread is something Ken mentioned to Pete in their discussions. It's a second-hand quote, but Pete Werner is a trustworthy source. Here's a link to the part of the youtube video where he mentions it: https://youtu.be/MjyNZRMTuYg&t=35m37s

    This theme fits with a lot of the discussions here about crowds, so I'm passing it along

  • #2
    If the crowds return to reasonable (pre monthly payment APs, or a bit earlier), I'll very likely visit a couple of times a year, especially if there's an off-season again.

    There's no possible way I'll go if I spend most of the day waiting in lines or if I need to use some sort of fancy technology to plan my day. To me, DL is supposed to be about spontaneity, spur-of-the-moment, not to be controlled by a schedule although restaurant reservations might.......might be ab exception.

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    • #3




      "The days of us packing so many people into this park are over"
      - Ken Potrock









      Sorry, Ken. The days of us believing Disney's corporate PR are over. (Hint: They've been over since Michael's time.)


      "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


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
        [CENTER]

        Sorry, Ken. The days of us believing Disney's corporate PR are over. (Hint: They've been over since Michael's time.)
        "I AGREE"
        Disney "PR turn into BS" imo

        Soaring like an EAGLE !

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        • #5
          Ken must be living in Neverland. Chapek wants those parks packed to the gills every day of the year. Anything less is leaving money on the table.

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          • #6
            I’ll believe it when I see what their next iteration of the AP program is. The proof will be in the pudding.

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            • #7
              Wow. They clearly don't walk around the parks these days, do they?

              Comparing my recent trip to my AP trips, the crowds were a little close to unbearable at times whereas my AP visits were manageable and I could dunk out when they became too much. Now they just sound ignorant.

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              • #8
                My thoughts:
                 

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tarheelalum View Post
                  Ken must be living in Neverland. Chapek wants those parks packed to the gills every day of the year. Anything less is leaving money on the table.
                  Right...........Chapek wants those parks packed to the gills every day
                  Having the guest to pay lots MONEY for Admission......

                  Going be Interesting , to see how the So CA Deal next month pack the local in..........imo
                  Soaring like an EAGLE !

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                  • #10
                    Yeah right
                    They want crowds back and will get them once AP return
                    Happy Halloween!!!

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                    • #11
                      Packed is an interesting word choice. The park can be very crowded but not “packed”. From a purely guest perspective, it could easily mean little to no difference.

                      An example of this is already occurring as we chat (per the MC Disneyland update). Right now the parks are not packed, but you will see they are quite crowded.

                      Off season would theoretically see lighter crowds than today, but Disney isn’t decorating for Halloween to attract less people.

                      And if anyone cries “Disney, you said you wouldn’t crowd the resort anymore!”, then Disney could easily reply, “We never said that” and they didn’t.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Captain Andy View Post
                        Wow. They clearly don't walk around the parks these days, do they?

                        Comparing my recent trip to my AP trips, the crowds were a little close to unbearable at times whereas my AP visits were manageable and I could dunk out when they became too much. Now they just sound ignorant.
                        Do you think this is because of the socially distanced queues or something else?

                        Conventional wisdom around here has been that key contributors to crowding have been APs and FastPass, neither of which are present right now.

                        What else do we attribute crowding to? Isn't there another thread about paltry attendance?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JerrodDRagon View Post
                          Yeah right
                          They want crowds back and will get them once AP return
                          From many reports they have them now. But this current surge will begin to subside as the 3 day CA residence passes get closer to expiring. We will likely then see the Affinity Program (AP) come in to bring the crowds backup and keep them there for good.

                          I have zero respect for ken as during all of chapek's destruction he has seemed more than willing to do chapek's bidding and even celebrate it at times.
                          Disneyland Fan since the 70's

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Co Foo View Post

                            Do you think this is because of the socially distanced queues or something else?

                            Conventional wisdom around here has been that key contributors to crowding have been APs and FastPass, neither of which are present right now.

                            What else do we attribute crowding to? Isn't there another thread about paltry attendance?
                            The day I went (July 6th) there was no social distancing in the queues, and they were all indoors. It was all people. It was the same day they announced the discounted California tickets, so... add that to the already crowded experience.

                            My theory: it's paltry attendance in Disney's eyes because they are used to a certain amount of profit on a daily, which requires those shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. They want to return to the norm, but by returning to the norm, you're going to have the pack the park. It's clear that full-priced tickets aren't bringing "enough" people in, or else they wouldn't be discounting tickets.

                            Also, I will say this... another pro to the AP ticket is not feeling forced to get your money's worth and stick around the park for a whole day. Usually I would leave around 4PM once crowds were starting to get on my nerves. This time around, it felt like I had to suffer through them.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Co Foo View Post

                              Do you think this is because of the socially distanced queues or something else?

                              Conventional wisdom around here has been that key contributors to crowding have been APs and FastPass, neither of which are present right now.

                              What else do we attribute crowding to? Isn't there another thread about paltry attendance?
                              I think in some of the common areas they may feel not as crowded as before because:

                              1. FP/MP are gone so people find themselves queuing up a lot more then say having a snack while they wait for their FP window to open.

                              2. They removed so many benches throughout the park in hopes people would hang in stores (under the guise of covid restrictions which are currently zero) but they aren't they are hangin out in lines, long lines. If there isn't anywhere to sit in the Hub or MSUSA then you get less crowding there. It seems the old choke points in AdventureLand or NOS are still find themselves fairly crowded.

                              3. Because of all guests having to pay through the nose to get in the parks it's likely less guests feel the need to waste their time shopping except for maybe a small item to commemorate their visit. They are likely seeing an increase in fridge magnets and pin sales and decrease in t-shirts and hats.


                              Disneyland Fan since the 70's

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                              • #16
                                A couple of things:

                                You can ration demand through time and money. So if they want less crowds, raise the price, or limit the number of guests per day (assuming demand is high enough)

                                The other part is, what is the quality of product/service received for said money? Is it worth it?

                                Currently, I don't find any of Disney's offerings worth the price. The quality from hotels, to experience, to food is simply not there for the cost.

                                The best hotel in Disney's domestic portfolio is Aulani (IMO) We just returned from a long stay in Hawaii and visited some friends at the Aulani. Aulani is priced the similarly as park hotels but the experience is nicer and you are in Hawaii. (the pool area is fun)

                                and yet, I think its overpriced for quality and service. I could go to the Four Seasons and get the same price and there is no comparison between a Four Seasons and any domestic Disney property.

                                I am wondering who Disney is marketing to? I do not think it is the upper end, but more to lower-mid market aspirational who might not know what a Four Seasons level of service or quality is because they've never experienced it themselves.

                                So they assume Disney is the "gold standard" for service and quality

                                I've heard the term "legendary Disney service" but honestly, compared to real 4 and 5 star quality, Disney has never matched in quality, service, or even price.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Golden Zephyr View Post
                                  A couple of things:

                                  You can ration demand through time and money. So if they want less crowds, raise the price, or limit the number of guests per day (assuming demand is high enough)

                                  The other part is, what is the quality of product/service received for said money? Is it worth it?

                                  Currently, I don't find any of Disney's offerings worth the price. The quality from hotels, to experience, to food is simply not there for the cost.

                                  The best hotel in Disney's domestic portfolio is Aulani (IMO) We just returned from a long stay in Hawaii and visited some friends at the Aulani. Aulani is priced the similarly as park hotels but the experience is nicer and you are in Hawaii. (the pool area is fun)

                                  and yet, I think its overpriced for quality and service. I could go to the Four Seasons and get the same price and there is no comparison between a Four Seasons and any domestic Disney property.

                                  I am wondering who Disney is marketing to? I do not think it is the upper end, but more to lower-mid market aspirational who might not know what a Four Seasons level of service or quality is because they've never experienced it themselves.

                                  So they assume Disney is the "gold standard" for service and quality

                                  I've heard the term "legendary Disney service" but honestly, compared to real 4 and 5 star quality, Disney has never matched in quality, service, or even price.
                                  A couple of clarifying things from someone who's spent a while in the travel industry (buy side) because I don't want others here to perceive what you wrote as being remotely true of the overall hospitality industry:

                                  4 + 5 star hotels are geared toward business and luxury travelers, not families with kids or people looking for experiences. Disney's service level for a family-level hotel, along with amenities offered, is top notch. I cannot name another hotel portfolio that provides top-to-bottom equal experience and amenities to both adult and child travelers. You either get fine dining and upscale amenities for adults (and the kids are bored out of their minds) or you get everything geared toward kids (and the adults get stuck with junk food and an overall gross/unkempt property).

                                  Since you mentioned the Four Seasons as your comp, I want to be clear, I've stayed in numerous Four Seasons Resorts and can honestly tell you that the service is very good, but not the level of amazing you're touting. The experience is actually quite uneven across the brand, which is unfortunate. The offered amenities are the mostly good quality, but very also very dependent on location. Food quality is very good, but not generally memorable or something you look forward to. If you want true 5-star service, that's not where you're staying. You're likely going to a boutique luxury market-level hotel, especially in the US.

                                  You called Disney resorts lower-mid market aspirational. Do you actually know what what constitutes lower-mid market? Best Western and La Quinta. If you truly believe Disney is providing a Best Western-level product, there's not much I can say. If I had to estimate, I would say they are currently providing a more upscale market value (comped out to Hyatt or Marriott) for luxury price. That is to say, yes there is a price-to-service mismatch, but not nearly what you've insinuated.

                                  Lastly, on the note of theme parks in general, Disney's comp is Universal Studios. The food, accommodations, and value at Disney is absolutely superior across the board to what Universal offers. Is Universal catching up a little? Probably, once their new parks open. Do I think Disney prices are getting a little unreasonable? Absolutely, but to say that it's not worth the price, you have to compare apples and apples. Universal is their competition. Now, if you would rather go to Magic Mountain or spend the weekend camping in Appalachia and find those to be better uses of your money, I absolutely can't argue with you. You would be right because that's your personal choice and you certainly would be getting a lot of bang for your buck. It's still not the same bang though.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Responses below:

                                    Originally posted by savarese04 View Post

                                    4 + 5 star hotels are geared toward business and luxury travelers, not families with kids or people looking for experiences. Disney's service level for a family-level hotel, along with amenities offered, is top notch. I cannot name another hotel portfolio that provides top-to-bottom equal experience and amenities to both adult and child travelers. You either get fine dining and upscale amenities for adults (and the kids are bored out of their minds) or you get everything geared toward kids (and the adults get stuck with junk food and an overall gross/unkempt property).

                                    We have stayed at numerous 4 and 5 star properties that are quite welcoming to families, with exceptional programs for kids. Disney does have excellent programs for kids, that I would agree... but there is quite a premium for the brand halo effect compared to what is out there for the same price.

                                    Since you mentioned the Four Seasons as your comp...

                                    Four Seasons in general was not my comp.

                                    I mentioned the Four Seasons because it is literally next door to Aulani, Next Door. Not to imply something about the brand universally, other than the price and location for a specific property which is comparable. They are both in Ko'Olina. that's all, nothing more.

                                    You called Disney resorts lower-mid market aspirational. No I did not, I spoke of customer segment, to me they are different

                                    Do you actually know what what constitutes lower-mid market?

                                    Yes, I do, to be clear, I wasn't rating hotels, I was talking about market, i.e. customers. But to that point La Quinta is hardly aspirational, it is a budget motel stay. Aspirational refers to the customer segment. Here in Newport Coast and South OC by and large, few would call Disney "luxurious" or "the gold standard of service." However, there is a large segment of customers in the US to whom that would be luxurious, or "the gold standard". Because for them, it is the best service they've experienced. That's not anything negative, its all they know. You can only rate against what you've experienced. Service at Disney was "decent" but hardly a "gold standard". If we are talking boutique hotels, sure, the sky's the limit, but as I said, we are talking about customer segment and what that segment is familiar with.

                                    Lastly, on the note of theme parks in general, Disney's comp is Universal Studios. The food, accommodations, and value at Disney is absolutely superior across the board to what Universal offers. - Who mentioned Universal?? I never mentioned Universal, nor did I mention "theme park food", I mentioned quality of food. The quality is simply not there even accounting for the "theme park premium". Again, when I can dine at Marche Moderne for less a Disneyland sit down meal, I think the price is... shall we say... a bit absurd.

                                    Last edited by Golden Zephyr; 07-22-2021, 02:11 PM.

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                                    • #19

                                      Comparisons between DLR's theme park and hotel product and that of its competition notwithstanding, one fact is clear: The value of the Disney "experience" is no longer declining by degrees, it is dropping off a cliff.

                                      It's yet to be seen if the plunge turns out to be a daring BASE jump or a splat.

                                      "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


                                      • #20
                                        "Iceberg ahead!!!" - DLR Fans

                                        "Full Steam ahead let's ram it!" - chapek

                                        "Yes Sir, let me say how happy I am to increase the knots sir!" - potrock

                                        "Head to the life boats, abandon ship!!" - Imagineering and studio talent

                                        Disneyland Fan since the 70's

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