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  • #21
    Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

    Its further intrusion on the WDW "bubble". If Disney wanted to make the effort and investment, they could build their own "luxury brand". They sure didn't have a problem going down to a value brand.

    This is not something started by Eisner that they can't get out of. Yes, Eisner was a proponent of bringing in other brands. This is just the natural progression of that line of thinking. While Iger is better at dealing with people than Eisner was, he still subscribes to many of the same strategic lines of thinking.

    There are most likely other deals in the works that relate to Disney's recently announced efforts to get into off-property resorts/hotels. The Four Seasons deal could be a pre-cursor to one of those.

    Basically, Disney has land availabe for sale/lease in WDW and all you have to do is make the right deal.

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    • #22
      Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

      Originally posted by Raidermatt View Post
      If Disney wanted to make the effort and investment, they could build their own "luxury brand". They sure didn't have a problem going down to a value brand.
      Disney is way over their heads when it comes to upper-end clientele. It doesn't help that culturally they have negative brand equity when it comes to sophistication. Have you ever heard about "Disneyfication" or heard something called "a Mickey Mouse (whatever)"? Four Seasons brings legitimacy that a homegrown luxury offering wouldn't.

      The Grand Floridian wasn't a bad idea all those years ago, but complacency and their changed market focus has allowed everything else to get ahead. GF sure ain't the Ritz.

      Comment


      • #23
        Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

        True, they would have a lot of work to do if they wanted to have a Four Seasons level resort. Also true that their own mismanagement of their brand is what makes it such a difficult task.

        So yes, its easier for them to simply bring in the Four Seasons, a brand that has made the effort and investment in quality.

        But that still doesn't make it the best thing to do. In exchange for taking this shortcut into the luxury market, Disney is further allowing the outside brands of the world to intrude into the "magical" world of WDW.

        If Yoda was here, he'd be telling us about the quick and easy path to the dark side.

        Bringing in an outside brand to occupy 900 acres in WDW shouldn't even be an option on the table.

        Comment


        • #24
          Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

          I'm going to reserve judgment until I see some more detailed plans and when it opens. I actually kind of like the idea of the Four Seasons, I hope it can be like the Swan & Dolphin where they give it a theme. Except hopefully it will be themed a little better than those two.

          Comment


          • #25
            Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

            Originally posted by MickeyMania View Post
            Disney is way over their heads when it comes to upper-end clientele. It doesn't help that culturally they have negative brand equity when it comes to sophistication. Have you ever heard about "Disneyfication" or heard something called "a Mickey Mouse (whatever)"? Four Seasons brings legitimacy that a homegrown luxury offering wouldn't.

            The Grand Floridian wasn't a bad idea all those years ago, but complacency and their changed market focus has allowed everything else to get ahead. GF sure ain't the Ritz.
            Excellent observations. Especially the bit about the Grand Floridian. If I recall correctly, when it first opened, Disney had recruited some of the best talent from European high-end hotels (including the GM) and told them they could throw away the Disney handbook, and basically had Carte Blanche to make the Grand Floridian a world-class hotel.

            That lasted about 5 months and soon Disney's existing way of doing things was forced upon them more and more, and most of them were gone in frustration within a year or two...and the Grand Floridian became just another Disney SOP managed hotel. A very nice one, grant you. But not what it started out as, and was originally intended to be.

            I seem to recall one contributing factor (there were more) for Disney's about-face...was a statement by AAA to Disney back then (1988) along the lines of, "We'll never give a Five Diamond rating to a hotel with a Monorail running right to the front door." I was told that was one of the things that took the air out of Disney's attempt to create their own 5 Star/5 Diamond world class resort hotel.

            Don't know if AAA still holds that philosophy or not.

            Comment


            • #26
              Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

              does WDW really need more rooms??

              the parks are crowded when they are full... and by adding more rooms you are going to make it crowded always...

              and make people disappointed by adding more rooms, and no new attractions that eat people...

              I can understand the luxury resort, and it's not a bad location.. but would it's guests really go to the parks?? The problem will come from the other hotels being created...

              Comment


              • #27
                Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                I think that Disney developed this project to attract the business section of travelers. The OCCC is nearby and maybe people in the business world would like to take a vacation at times. This is a good way of giving this audience a chance to be at WDW but also stay with their colleagues in this type of hotel.
                I would not be surprised if the rooms will be at a lower price than off-property luxury hotels such as the Peabody.
                sigpic


                Originally posted by Phonedave
                Well, if your parents can't teach you, maybe you can learn from a taser.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                  So AAA is to blame for Disney failing to achieve its goal?

                  Its funny how stories like that get leaked out when Disney fails at something.

                  The idea that a luxury development within WDW is a good use of capital is far from proven. One possible reason for the GF's failure in that regard is that's just not a market clamouring to go do WDW.

                  Further, all of that continues to ignore the fact that one of the things that draws people to WDW is its ability to take you away from the outside world. Similar to the parks, but on a larger scale. Every intrusion into that bubble further threatens that idea.

                  And even beyond all that, we have to remember this is an investment choice, made at the expense of park expansion/additions, transportation system enhancements, new Disney branded resorts, additional gates, or any other potential entertainment option.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                    Originally posted by WDW Monorail View Post
                    I would not be surprised if the rooms will be at a lower price than off-property luxury hotels such as the Peabody.
                    Oh, that's a bet I'd be willing to take.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                      Originally posted by Raidermatt View Post
                      So AAA is to blame for Disney failing to achieve its goal?

                      Its funny how stories like that get leaked out when Disney fails at something.
                      Well first, I very carefully and deliberately wrote and even re-emphasized:

                      Originally posted by Opus1guy
                      I seem to recall one contributing factor (there were more)...[snip]...I was told that was one of the things...
                      So in no way did I mean to imply AAA was the only reason. Just one of many.

                      And that was no after-the-fact spin, I can tell you. I recall when AAA delivered the monorail proclamation, that Resort Marketing and Operations were very angry and all a titter, well before the subsequent reduction in service levels. I seem to recall that Bob Small, Vince Sikura (sp), and Dick Nunis were livid. I also recall that there were later repercussions as a result, and that for several years after Disney did not participate in the AAA ratings program (although AAA kept the hotels in the Tour Books, but without the AAA Approved logo). I kept one of those Florida Tour Books where the Disney hotels are not AAA'd and bolded in the listings, and have it around somewhere.

                      Eventually several years later, they all kissed and made up.

                      I'm positive it was a combination of several factors (AAA included) that led to the failure of the original goal.

                      Just as an additional bit of background regarding the Grand Floridian...in the early days of concept and development of the project...Disney was actively courting Bill Marriott to finance and operate the Grand Floridian as one of his flagship properties with an agreement very similar to what transpired with the Swan and Dolphin and their investors and Starwood. But Mariott passed on the deal and Disney ended up doing it all themselves.

                      Originally posted by Raidermatt
                      Oh, that's a bet I'd be willing to take.
                      Me too!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                        I stayed at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, CA. I think they're head and shoulders above Disney's Grand Floridian, which makes it a weird fit. Aren't they canibalizing their luxury resorts?

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                          Originally posted by WDW Monorail View Post
                          I think that Disney developed this project to attract the business section of travelers. The OCCC is nearby and maybe people in the business world would like to take a vacation at times. This is a good way of giving this audience a chance to be at WDW but also stay with their colleagues in this type of hotel.
                          I would not be surprised if the rooms will be at a lower price than off-property luxury hotels such as the Peabody.

                          I can see this. The name Disney connotates vacation. I will be in Orlando next week for a business conference/sminar/road show located about 2 miles from EPCOT. I am staying in a hotel off Disney property, even though with my AP I could get a better rate at Pop or one of the All-Stars. It would be very difficult to put a bill in for a Disney resort through corporate accounting. "Normal" hotels are a lot more attractive to the business mindset.

                          Disney runs a seminar on "Managing the Disney way". They are holding one in the College by where I live. If I can get my boss to approve the $300 I may go. Don't know if I would follow their advice, or NOT do everything they say

                          -dave
                          "I'm gonna build my own amusement park. But with gambling and hookers!" - Bender
                          "You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity." - Bullet Tooth Tony

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                            I hate the way they use their own creepy language. Guests aren't charged to visit, except at Disney. On Broadway, the talent thanks the crew, but there is no crew at Disney. Everybody's a cast member. There are no rides, only "attractions" which can include anything under the sun, including that giant marble in DL's Tomorrowland.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                              Originally posted by Raidermatt View Post
                              True, they would have a lot of work to do if they wanted to have a Four Seasons level resort. Also true that their own mismanagement of their brand is what makes it such a difficult task.

                              So yes, its easier for them to simply bring in the Four Seasons, a brand that has made the effort and investment in quality.

                              But that still doesn't make it the best thing to do. In exchange for taking this shortcut into the luxury market, Disney is further allowing the outside brands of the world to intrude into the "magical" world of WDW.
                              They're not going to let the Four Seasons run rampant over the property, and Four Seasons for their part probably wants to keep a low profile and may have a name like "The Four Seasons at Bay Lake" or something just because putting WDW in their name, if they were allowed to, is something that wouldn't be appealing to their audience.


                              Everyone keeps thinking that Disney should do everything as an in-house effort because that's how Walt would have wanted to do it, but the fact is that the company has slipped behind the times in so many areas, it has no brand prestige to the upper class (in fact it may have negative prestige.) Disney has a place, but it's not in five-star luxury appointments. This would be like trying to compare Disney Cruise Line to the Queen Mary II. They're operating on very different platforms, sort of doing their own thing.

                              Disney was wise to bring the Four Seasons people in, IMO. They've operated discreetly in other resorts before like Mandalay Bay here in town and it's always worked out well.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                                Originally posted by Opus1guy View Post
                                I seem to recall one contributing factor (there were more) for Disney's about-face...was a statement by AAA to Disney back then (1988) along the lines of, "We'll never give a Five Diamond rating to a hotel with a Monorail running right to the front door." I was told that was one of the things that took the air out of Disney's attempt to create their own 5 Star/5 Diamond world class resort hotel.

                                Don't know if AAA still holds that philosophy or not.
                                Getting AAA Five Diamonds isn't hard, there's five hotels here in town that have that rating, including Bellagio which is a monster at 4,000+ rooms (and at various times has had a monorail-esque shuttle shared with another property.)

                                The real deal is Mobil's ratings. They only give five stars very, VERY rarely. Only one hotel in Las Vegas has gotten a Mobil five star rating, and it's not even a whole hotel. It's the Tower Suites section of Wynn LV, which is a hoity-toity 'hotel within a hotel' with it's own lobby and it's own guarded entrance and other exclusive amenities. Nothing else here has gotten that, including Bellagio and regular Wynn and Four Seasons at Mandalay and the Ritz at Lake LV and so on. It was only just awarded for the first time this year.

                                Hey, my 4000th post!

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                                  Originally posted by VBdad55 View Post
                                  I for one am thrilled - even as a DVC holder, it gives me another option to use my points on the cruise line and stay at the Four Seasons. I guess this does mean that the DVC project for that property is kaput - which will make some happy - and yet provide a truly - 'world class' resort which some have been clamoring for for years.

                                  Now this indeed calls into question how it will affect pricing at say the GF. In Chicago the 4-S ranges from about $395 - $525 non holiday room rates per nite. Standard room. I am not sure what they will charge at WDW ( likely has a lot to do with what they are going to pay for the land - will they own the land or lease it from Disney ? - etc ). If Disney sold them the land then there is the equivalency of the cash cow initial payments if they had built a DVC unit there. AS much as I LUV Disney, the service comparisons will not be kind to GF-Poly - Contemporary based on my experiences.
                                  Well, my DVC-loving pal, with Saratoga Springs still under construction and DVC resorts planned for DAK Lodge, the Contemporary, Grand Californian and sites being scouted in Hawaii, Mexico and Europe, you'll have plenty of options ... not to mention the eventuality of DVC at the Poly and GF too.

                                  Why be a hotel operator when the real $$$ is in the timeshare business?
                                  (again, though, I wonder how many people who bought when DVC first started sold already).

                                  I absolutely don't believe Disney will sell the land but lease it as done with the Swan and Dolphin and Hotel Plaza properties.

                                  And, no, comparisons likely won't be kind to many of WDW's deluxe resorts. When I last checked, the Four Seasons didn't have thin white towels, Ivory Soap and unusable shampoo, rooms that weren't vacumed daily and weren't triple sheeted, basic Phillips TVs (except the recently renovated MK resorts, although as far as I know the GF still has TINY TVs), pools that are closed daily because of children (and adults) usng them as toilets, surly CMs who often don't have basic knowledge etc ...

                                  The price points will be whatever Four Seasons deems worthy, but I can't imagine why anyone would ever choose to stay at a WDW deluxe over a truly deluxe resort at WDW.

                                  No, this is Disney's 'answer' to Hilton placing a Waldorf Astoria at Bonnet Creek.

                                  The sad thing is Disney apparently has fallen so far that it doesn't believe, at least in Florida, that it can create a top-level resort.

                                  Originally posted by VBdad55 View Post
                                  As far as the Western Beltway area- my guess is it might mean the end of the building of lower end resorts for Disney. All in all - 5000 more rooms tells me also maybe Disney will consider ' retiring' one or more of it's older hotel offerings - and maybe put even more DVC units ( someone please revive Spirit after he reads this ) - in those spaces.
                                  I don't know ... not when load levels are so high, albeit with almost constant discounting.

                                  It does make one wonder about the Legendary Years section of Pop Century being built, though.

                                  And this week's Wall Street bumps should at least give pause to Jay Rasulo, Al Weiss and company that it could all come crashing down again. How quickly they forget 1991-92 or 2001-04.

                                  Originally posted by VBdad55 View Post
                                  Interesting how this will all play out, but if Disney was not going to build a truly world class resort - then why not give it to the best around and partner ( co-brand ? ) with them. Makes sense.

                                  Also this allows more space for the 'entitled' to stay at when they put those other 2 cruise ships in play in 2010.
                                  It does make sense to a degree. It just feels wrong on a few levels, from the way it will transform the last section of wilderness into a crowded 'resort area' ... to the attitude of going full speed ahead and developing every last acre ... to the desire to be everything to everyone, which is exactly the kind of thinking that made most of Michael Eisner's last decade with Disney an unmitigated disaster.

                                  We'll just have to see ...

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                                    Originally posted by Opus1guy View Post
                                    Excellent observations. Especially the bit about the Grand Floridian. If I recall correctly, when it first opened, Disney had recruited some of the best talent from European high-end hotels (including the GM) and told them they could throw away the Disney handbook, and basically had Carte Blanche to make the Grand Floridian a world-class hotel.

                                    That lasted about 5 months and soon Disney's existing way of doing things was forced upon them more and more, and most of them were gone in frustration within a year or two...and the Grand Floridian became just another Disney SOP managed hotel. A very nice one, grant you. But not what it started out as, and was originally intended to be.

                                    I seem to recall one contributing factor (there were more) for Disney's about-face...was a statement by AAA to Disney back then (1988) along the lines of, "We'll never give a Five Diamond rating to a hotel with a Monorail running right to the front door." I was told that was one of the things that took the air out of Disney's attempt to create their own 5 Star/5 Diamond world class resort hotel.

                                    Don't know if AAA still holds that philosophy or not.
                                    The Grand Floridian of the late 1980s could easily compete with any 5-star/5-diamond resort at that time whether it had the designation or not.

                                    But, yeah, as the years went by it was dumbed down along with everything else at WDW as the place just grew at an absurd pace.

                                    At one point, in the late 90s/early 00s, the Grand had really fallen on hard times in large part because Paul Pressler felt that there really shouldn't be that much of a difference between the All Star Music, Coronado Springs, the Boardwalk Inn, the Poly and the GF. In other words, he wanted homogenization (much like Jay Rasulo with his idiotic branding notions) in terms of level of service etc ... that's when I stayed there and it took two days to get someone to service the jacuzzi ... that's when I saw a manager cleaning up glassware that had been sitting on a planter for four days etc ...

                                    And while I have heard the monorail story myself, I'm not sure how accurate it truly is.

                                    And AAA has been overly kind in its ratings on Disney resorts over the past decade basing its ratings on amenities and such instead of cleanliness, upkeep and service. Otherwise some of Disney's 'deluxe' resorts would have only received two stars, which never was gonna happen.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                                      Originally posted by WDW Monorail View Post
                                      I think that Disney developed this project to attract the business section of travelers. The OCCC is nearby and maybe people in the business world would like to take a vacation at times. This is a good way of giving this audience a chance to be at WDW but also stay with their colleagues in this type of hotel.
                                      I would not be surprised if the rooms will be at a lower price than off-property luxury hotels such as the Peabody.
                                      Uhm ... ah ... no.

                                      Disney already goes for the convention/business crowd with huge facilities at Coronado Springs, GF, Contemp, Boardwalk, and Yacht Club ... and that doesn't include the Swan and Dolphin or the Hilton and Buena Vista Palace, all on property ... and huge facilities at the Marriott World Center and Gaylord Palms, which are spitting distance.

                                      This type of resort will cater to upscale travelers. That's what Four Seasons does and does very well.

                                      And the Peabody isn't all that expensive at all ... heck, you can snag a room there on Priceline.com for less than a room at the Pop Century.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                                        Originally posted by MickeyMania View Post
                                        Everyone keeps thinking that Disney should do everything as an in-house effort because that's how Walt would have wanted to do it, but the fact is that the company has slipped behind the times in so many areas, it has no brand prestige to the upper class (in fact it may have negative prestige.) Disney has a place, but it's not in five-star luxury appointments. This would be like trying to compare Disney Cruise Line to the Queen Mary II. They're operating on very different platforms, sort of doing their own thing.
                                        Great point, MM.

                                        And one that I've stated in many 'class battle' threads over the years.

                                        It's very easy to see when you look at the average WDW deluxe guest of 2007 vs. one in 1992.

                                        The makeup has largely changed as much of the upper clientele have departed as Disney has lowered quality. The average tourist from Alabama, New Hampshire or Kentucky may think they're getting a very upscale experience at the Beach Club of 2007, but the savvy, luxury traveler stopped visiting years ago or, if they still come, they're likely staying at the Ritz or any number of true luxury resorts that have opened in the past five years.

                                        That's what happens when you WalMart 'the brand.'

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Re: Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort

                                          Originally posted by WDW1974 View Post
                                          Uhm ... ah ... no.

                                          Disney already goes for the convention/business crowd with huge facilities at Coronado Springs, GF, Contemp, Boardwalk, and Yacht Club ... and that doesn't include the Swan and Dolphin or the Hilton and Buena Vista Palace, all on property ... and huge facilities at the Marriott World Center and Gaylord Palms, which are spitting distance.

                                          This type of resort will cater to upscale travelers. That's what Four Seasons does and does very well.
                                          I think what Monorail was getting at was that there's conventions that aren't held on WDW property because some businesses feel it would seem improper to hold a business meeting at Disney World. Likewise, people attending those meetings would have a hard time charging "Disney's Whatever Resort" to the company account. Therefore, they charge the Four Seasons at Bay Lake or whatever instead and it gives them access to WDW without making it blatantly obvious they stay at WDW.

                                          Is that kind of market there or not? I don't know. I will tell you though, that when the CEOs and other major hob-nobs of the gaming manufacturing industry (everything from slot machine companies to the card shuffler manufacturers to dice makers to so on) come into town here, they prefer the Four Seasons on the top of Mandalay Bay specifically because Four Seasons does not operate a casino, and it allows them to remain "non-partisan" while staying on the strip.

                                          Could such an equivalent be made for WDW's case? I doubt it, but maybe.


                                          Also, while we're talking about fancy resorts, I'd point out that the Mobil ratings that are the really discriminating ones give the GF three stars, the same as the other deluxes. And while AAA gives the full monty for Victoria & Albert's, Mobil only gave them four stars. Most the fancy restaurants here get the same rating, although they recently gave the full five-stars to Alex at Wynn and Joel Robuchon at the MGM Mansion. Like I said, the Mobil guide is far more discriminating and perhaps more accurate regarding the upper-crust of the pie.

                                          EDIT: Also, Mobil gives the Peabody and Ritz four stars, they consider Orlando to have no true five-star hotel.

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