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What should WDW do NOW, to help the transition back to park opening(s)? Some ideas...

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  • What should WDW do NOW, to help the transition back to park opening(s)? Some ideas...

    Disney is in a dilemma right now. As Dusty so elegantly wrote, the company as a whole has no significant revenue stream at the moment. Shops are closed. theaters are closed, the parks are closed. They are taking a big loss while our nation battles this Covid-19 virus. There are so many other moving parts in Disney that many of us are not aware of, or don't consider in our day-to-day lives (labor and union issues, leases/loans/debt transfers/ tax write-offs / future projects interminably on hold, maintenance issues, etc)…. let's just say I don't envy Bob Chapek right now. I myself have a summer WDW vacation in place, but I had to tell the kids last night that it could well be a no-go.

    I think a lot of us were thinking: OK, so WDW will be closed for a few weeks... but this gives them time to catch-up on maintenance and cleaning, to get some extra work done and major construction projects. But with state and federal ordinances to reduce congregations of X amount of people, this has not happened and could not happen.

    We are hearing today that WDW is re-opening resort reservations starting June 1. Of course, this could change pending our nation's virus progress. So I have some thoughts:

    1) As a show of good will, I would like the WDW management to extend annual passholders' tickets for 6 months from the expiration date. Heck, even 12 months more. This costs Disney little, but gives people some peace of mind that, whenever WDW re-opens this year, and whenever the guests can reschedule their visits, they have plenty of extra time to do so. This would be virtually no direct cost to the company, but would encourage guests to come in and spend their $$$ on food and merch, two of the biggest money makers for the parks.

    2) WDW management should regularly post online attraction / ride footage. How about some classic clips of Horizons, Mr Toad's Wild Ride, Catastrophe Canyon. or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Not some shaky cam guest Youtube video, but quality archival footage from WDW themselves. They could make a "virtual tour" of the WDW resort this way. Even BETTER would be 3D video recreations of classic attractions (although this takes time to do).

    3) Hopefully, WDW will officially post that all employees salaries are now guaranteed through June 1, 2020, and their jobs are secure.

    4) WDW sent home all of the College Program cast members this month, so I expect there to be BIG gaps in staffing around the parks. Why not bring back some former CM/retirees to help out?

    5) Freeze all price hikes through the end of the year. Yes, WDW needs influx of $$$$, and fast. Just stop with the bi-annual ticket price gouges already. Keep food and beverage fixed as well. Give people some stability in pricing offer the next 6 to 12 months.

    6) Extend the basic Free Dining Package to ALL WDW and Disney Springs reservations from June 1 through the end of the year.


    in short, WDW can be INCREDIBLE at good will, guest recovery and retainment, if they so desire. My biggest concern is there is going to be a stampede in management to get $$$s in fast, by milking it out of the returning guests.


    Your thoughts?












  • #2
    I posted this on the WDW Magic site, and wonder about Micechat thoughts and opinions for re-opening the WDW resort.

    First of all, I am a physician and work at hospitals where we have had COVID-19 patients. However, I do not provide their direct care. There are guidelines that we have to follow just being in the hospital, when we KNOW there are positive patients.

    The WDW resort has been a home-away-from-home for me since the early 1970s. Having said that... looks like I am going to have to tell the kids that our June WDW vacation is canceled. Although Disney hasn't officially announced it, I see no way that they can responsibly open the parks to the general public this Summer. Now, what WDW MAY do is offer "the elite" population guided tours of the park(s), in limited numbers. They already do this NOW for guests at a very high $$$, but just think if there were nothing but Disney led "tour groups" during the day, where small groups of families/friends are taken to the attractions by a Disney guide. You could keep the social distance in place. It would help WDW get back up and running SLOWLY, to work the kinks out, in a very controlled manner, so that if there were any occurrences of COVID-19 in the park(s), the exposure to other guests would be minimized.

    As for the general public: We are(were?) staying on property (DVC members), and my spouse and I have tried to figure out: How is WDW going to control this? They would simply have to turn away guests at the entrance plaza(s) / toll booths, to to prevent them from getting on property. There would be HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of cars in lines, for hours, just waiting to get in. Can you imagine all of the Orlando/locals Annual Passholders who are CHOMPING at the bit to get back to the parks ASAP? They're not going to turn away or stay home.

    The first (somewhat selfish, I admit) thought that came to my mind: only open the parks (initially) for WDW resort hotel guests. You'd have to be staying at one of the official WDW resorts or Swan/Dolphin, or Disney Springs hotels. Disney would need to BLANKET these tight restrictions on social media, television, radio, etc. And there would be community backlash for sure; WDW would immediately be called discriminatory, and some lawyers may to jump in with lawsuits. To cover this, WDW management would need some type of plan or approval from the State Government to proceed, so that WDW could say "we are just following state guidelines to re-open our parks in phases, with the hope of eventually having everything available for all guests" All of us WDW veterans know the Disney PR spin...

    WDW resort guests could be screened at the hotels FIRST, and then given a special wrist band or Magic Band code that "clears" them daily to enter the parks. First Aid style tents could be stationed in the parking lots of the resort hotels to help with the screenings and medical professionals (in the Florida heat, no less!) before guests get to walk into the hotel. You would have to have an "honor system" where guests did NOT LEAVE WDW PROPERTY during their vacation (and thus expose themselves to outside risks).

    This would provide:
    1) A fairly controlled, limited number of guests on property, who are able to enter the 4 parks. You know who and where they are, and where they are staying.
    2) A way to screen people at multiple sites simultaneously, and then "mark" them on a daily basis for entrance or not. Screenings would HAVE to be daily, for every member of your party, before you were given the "golden ticket" to enter the park.
    3) A portal where Disney could offer masks/gloves at these check points.
    4) Also, WDW should temporarily limit ALL CARRY IN BAGGAGE during this time. Sorry parents; no backpacking your 3 meals for the day, your kid's special treats, or loaded down stroller. Maybe one bottled water per person in your family can be taken in?

    Yes, I realize this would not be "fair" and certainly plays into the "you have to be rich enough to stay on WDW property and those less fortunate can't get in" trope. But you HAVE TO CONTROL access and have FIRM SCREENING METHODS before you throw a few thousand people on Space Mountain for the day.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, Chris2fett, for sharing your thoughts into this that are guided by your medical training.

      Always great to make a new friend who can write prescriptions!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        1) As a show of good will, I would like the WDW management to extend annual passholders' tickets for 6 months from the expiration date. Heck, even 12 months more. This costs Disney little, but gives people some peace of mind that, whenever WDW re-opens this year, and whenever the guests can reschedule their visits, they have plenty of extra time to do so. This would be virtually no direct cost to the company, but would encourage guests to come in and spend their $$$ on food and merch, two of the biggest money makers for the parks.
        I am not an annual passholder, but I think extending the pass by the same number of days as the park was closed is fair. Additionally, stating that any potential future long-term closures will have the same benefit will give people peace of mind. This is a fair way to balance revenue and guest satisfaction.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        2) WDW management should regularly post online attraction / ride footage. How about some classic clips of Horizons, Mr Toad's Wild Ride, Catastrophe Canyon. or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Not some shaky cam guest Youtube video, but quality archival footage from WDW themselves. They could make a "virtual tour" of the WDW resort this way. Even BETTER would be 3D video recreations of classic attractions (although this takes time to do).
        This is an excellent idea, especially for attractions that have since been removed. It would definitely holdover guests waiting to revisit the parks. I see the argument against posting on-ride POVs for current rides, although Six Flags and other amusement parks have published on-ride POVs and Universal posted a few on-ride 360 VR videos for their attractions.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        3) Hopefully, WDW will officially post that all employees salaries are now guaranteed through June 1, 2020, and their jobs are secure.
        If the shutdown was only a couple of weeks, this would be fine. Given it is unknown how long this will go, it is not financially feasible. Only conducting furloughs with retained healthcare benefits and no layoffs is a decent act of goodwill and a fair compromise.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        4) WDW sent home all of the College Program cast members this month, so I expect there to be BIG gaps in staffing around the parks. Why not bring back some former CM/retirees to help out?
        Crowds will likely be lower once the parks reopen, so fewer cast members will be needed. Additionally, while some former cast members would like to come back, there is usually a reason on either Disney or the individual's end on why they are no longer a cast member that will continue to remain true.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        5) Freeze all price hikes through the end of the year. Yes, WDW needs influx of $$$$, and fast. Just stop with the bi-annual ticket price gouges already. Keep food and beverage fixed as well. Give people some stability in pricing offer the next 6 to 12 months.
        Ticket price hikes are likely paused until demand recovers. Disney likes to use prices as a way to balance crowds, but with lower demand, price hikes would likely do more harm than good. The only way I see otherwise is if park's have a significantly lower capacity once they reopen, as then supply will drop either demand or below demand levels. I would be surprised if they raise food and beverage prices in the immediate future.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        6) Extend the basic Free Dining Package to ALL WDW and Disney Springs reservations from June 1 through the end of the year.
        It is not a bad idea to extend the dates where this is available, slightly lower the required number of nights to 3 or 4, or to make sure all Disney hotels are covered by the offer, but it does not make financial sense to upgrade Moderate/Value resorts from quick-service, as incentives are needed to stay at a Deluxe resort. I am also not sure which resorts you are referring to with Disney Springs resorts. If those are simply the Disney owned resorts in the Disney Springs area, then they are included as Disney resorts. If you are referring to the partner hotels near Disney Springs, I do not think they should have the offer as well because they offer favorable rates and directly compete with Disney's own resorts.


        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        The WDW resort has been a home-away-from-home for me since the early 1970s. Having said that... looks like I am going to have to tell the kids that our June WDW vacation is canceled. Although Disney hasn't officially announced it, I see no way that they can responsibly open the parks to the general public this Summer. Now, what WDW MAY do is offer "the elite" population guided tours of the park(s), in limited numbers. They already do this NOW for guests at a very high $$$, but just think if there were nothing but Disney led "tour groups" during the day, where small groups of families/friends are taken to the attractions by a Disney guide. You could keep the social distance in place. It would help WDW get back up and running SLOWLY, to work the kinks out, in a very controlled manner, so that if there were any occurrences of COVID-19 in the park(s), the exposure to other guests would be minimized.
        This is not a bad idea at all to do when the parks first reopen, especially in California where social distancing rules are looking to be more rigid and long-lasting. The PR blow would definitely have to be considered, but I am sure Disney could get away with it if they say the government forced their hand or that this was only being done to test a reopening.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        As for the general public: We are(were?) staying on property (DVC members), and my spouse and I have tried to figure out: How is WDW going to control this? They would simply have to turn away guests at the entrance plaza(s) / toll booths, to to prevent them from getting on property. There would be HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of cars in lines, for hours, just waiting to get in. Can you imagine all of the Orlando/locals Annual Passholders who are CHOMPING at the bit to get back to the parks ASAP? They're not going to turn away or stay home.
        If your proposed limited tour admission plan were to go through, Disney would clearly announce the guidelines ahead of time and let guests know that advanced tickets would need to be purchased online. Again, Disney could say this is temporary and that the days where all annual passholders are not admitted will be added to extend the validity of individual passes. Clear guidelines should deal with this.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        The first (somewhat selfish, I admit) thought that came to my mind: only open the parks (initially) for WDW resort hotel guests. You'd have to be staying at one of the official WDW resorts or Swan/Dolphin, or Disney Springs hotels. Disney would need to BLANKET these tight restrictions on social media, television, radio, etc. And there would be community backlash for sure; WDW would immediately be called discriminatory, and some lawyers may to jump in with lawsuits. To cover this, WDW management would need some type of plan or approval from the State Government to proceed, so that WDW could say "we are just following state guidelines to re-open our parks in phases, with the hope of eventually having everything available for all guests" All of us WDW veterans know the Disney PR spin...
        Limiting park admission to guests staying at Disney resorts, not including Swan/Dolphin, Bonnet Creek, and the Disney Springs partner hotels, plus annual passholders is a great solution if park capacity is significantly reduced upon reopening. Day ticket sales to the general population could be slowly introduced in limited quantities with advanced online purchasing required. The reason to not include non-Disney resorts is because Disney has complete control at their own resorts and can ensure guests are the only ones receiving tickets. Additionally, this would boost occupancy at a time where that will be needed.

        Originally posted by chris2fett View Post
        WDW resort guests could be screened at the hotels FIRST, and then given a special wrist band or Magic Band code that "clears" them daily to enter the parks. First Aid style tents could be stationed in the parking lots of the resort hotels to help with the screenings and medical professionals (in the Florida heat, no less!) before guests get to walk into the hotel. You would have to have an "honor system" where guests did NOT LEAVE WDW PROPERTY during their vacation (and thus expose themselves to outside risks).
        There will likely be temperature scanners and other screening procedures at the entrances to the hotels and parks when they reopen. Guests will not be permitted to enter if they do pass. If Disney does go ahead and limit visitors to only those staying in hotels, they could very well ban visitors from leaving Disney World with rideshare and personal vehicles. Making those who choose to bring a vehicle sign a waiver prohibiting travel in exchange for overnight parking fees being waved would likely work, and stopping ridesharing is easy enough. Disney would simply need to ensure that the busses, monorails, gondolas, and boats are running to take guests around the property.

        Comment


        • #5
          Shanghai Disneyland has re-opened parts of its resort:

          https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/new...ge/ar-BB134WbV

          Comment


          • #6
            Update: you've probably seen that Shanghai Disneyland will (fully?) re-open on May 11. This was international news.

            Disney's American parks should already have ordered hundreds of thousands of disposable masks for cast members themed for their lands.

            Regarding the following headline, it's because they're idiots.


            https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/06/healt...rnd/index.html

            Comment


            • #7
              I read that the Disney Company has already lost $1B. I doubt they're in the mood to give anything for free for a while. But we can always dream.
              My wife is the rebel spy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Based on Disney news from the 2 Bob's shareholder call this week, it sounds as if construction projects are being placed on hold or canceled. The question would be, what about projects halfway through construction? Certainly WDW would want to finish / open the space restaurant at Mission: Space when social distancing guidelines allow, and complete Guardians of the Galaxy at EPCOT and TRON: Light-cycle Run at Magic Kingdom. Ratatouille is basically ready to go.

                But all other expenditures are going to be curtailed QUICKLY, because Disney is bleeding $$$ at present. Chapek is looking to save $900 million, and that money has got to come from somewhere. There only saving grace is the 50+ million Disney+ worldwide subscribers .


                My educated guesses as to what we are going to NOT see:

                Introduce a new monorail design for WDW 50th birthday? Nope.

                The new EPCOT raised convention center? Probably has been axed.

                Disney PLAY! Pavillion at the former Wonders of Life... probably now WITHOUT many of the interactive games / experiences, and a more limited Character meeting place with restrictions.

                Moana: Journey of Water ([email protected]#$ your guess is as good as mine whether they will nix this altogether and repave the area)

                Redesign for Journey into Your Imagination? Definitely a No Go.

                Spaceship Earth with a 2 year re-theme? No.

                Construction on Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge? Well, ground has been broken but not a lot of vertical construction yet, and since they are desperately trying to sell the Riviera DVC now, we may see the former River Country go back to a holding pattern (seriously, who at DVC came up with this crazy name? Just call it "Disney's Lakeside Lodge" for Pete's sake)

                The rumored possible conversion of Contemporary Resort South Garden Wing to another DVC building? Nay nay.

                Star Wars themed mega $$$ cruise-ship style hotel? Looks like another Legendary Years, where it will site idle interminably


                If they follow Shanghai's model, WDW will drastically reduce the number of guests at the open parks. You may go into a lottery (if you already have tickets) to get into a park in the first place, and then virtual queues everywhere. BUT... WDW has to update its notoriously finicky computer/FP system to accommodate this.

                We all want WDW to re-open, and many of us are willing to deal with the drastic changes to guest flow and entrance / level of experience within the park(s).



                Last edited by chris2fett; 05-06-2020, 05:28 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pardon me for sharing this on two threads, but it's big news. Parts of Disney Springs, shops & eating establishments owned by third parties,
                  will re-open on May 20:


                  https://people.com/travel/disney-exp...remain-closed/

                  Comment

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