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Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05


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  • Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

    MAYBE it was the rollaway bed that didn't materialize because it was suddenly deemed a fire hazard.

    Or maybe it was the air mattress that surfaced in its place with a pile of bedding that included 20 - yes, 20 - pillowcases and one sheet.

    Or maybe it was the manager who called and apologized for the mistakes - at nearly 1 a.m.

    But as tipping points go, it was hard to top the bill with a $750 error - in the resort's favor. Such a mistake was proof positive that something was terribly amiss, leaving my wife and me to ask, "What kind of a Mickey Mouse operation is this?"

    It was a question meant in the most literal sense. We weren't staying at some budget motel off the Interstate. We were spending more than $300 a night for a one-bedroom "turn-of-the-century style vacation villa" at Walt Disney World's one-year-old Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. But we were experiencing little of the celebrated Disney "magic," that bend-over-backward brand of service. Instead, our family vacation was turning into a part-nightmarish, part-comical adventure that I quickly took to describing as Disney meets "Fawlty Towers" meets the "Twilight Zone."

    And apparently, we weren't the only ones on this ride. To hear some other guests tell similar stories of inept service at Disney World theme parks and resorts is to realize the Mouse may no longer be as mighty.

    The issue seems to resonate with Disney guests. On such Web sites as and, they debate matters ranging from the company's attention to ride safety (in the wake of recent scares connected to such attractions as Mission: Space at the Epcot park and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios, including the death of a 4-year-old boy after riding Mission: Space) to the wait times for Disney buses. There appears to be a growing view that the Mouse no longer delivers at the same magical level.
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  • #2
    Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

    While I don't like his tasteless writing style, I do think he states a few points in that article. The Disney magic is slipping in many ways, ESPECIALLY in the bus service. However, I have very, and I mean VERY rarely seen a hotel case such as his. My only guess is that SS is new and he was dealing with an unexperienced staff. Disney hotels seem to get better with time.

    As to that article itself, I really do not like his "strength in numbers" or "I'm not the only one because look at all these people who think the same as me too" tactics. He's bending the truth on a lot of that and creating a more dramatic scenario contrary to what really exists. It's a little on the pessimistic side if you ask me.

    My overall opinion is that he went there looking for things to criticize. Pessimists do that. Notice he didn't mention much of what went "well." It's just sad that other honest people are going to read what he says and take it as true advice.


    • #3
      Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

      Tasteless? Your opinion ... Factual? That's what matters. And WDW resorts definitely do NOT improve with age.

      But it's very heartening to see that my pals at WDW press and publicity aren't the only ones who can 'place' a story ... too bad things like this even have to be written.

      Of course, Disney ain't what it once was. That was reinforced yesterday as I approached Paradise Pier at DCA to the sound of sirens blaring ... why is safety and Disney becoming like NASA and reliability?

      But back to the story at hand (and excuse any typos as I'm writing with a broken hand), the New York Times piece does a service to potential WDW guests because it show what us 'pessimists' (or realists as we should be known) have known since the early 90s: WDW is too big and quality simply is paid lip service and the stuff of press releases. Hmmm ... wonder how Craig and his staff will like seeing this story in the NYT?


      • #4
        Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

        I am very much a pessimist sometimes. If you're staying at the All-Star resorts, yeah I'll agree the magic is gone. But I stayed at Saratoga and I was treated well and they changed my room for me with no hassle.

        I agree that WDW is too big to an extent. I think it would work if there wasn't so much "gap" between everything. There is no 'magic' in driving from any of the resorts to Downtown Disney or any of the parks. It's not like the way it feels taking the monorail from the Deluxe Resorts to the MK. In reality, you drive down a normal road, pass signs of attempted capitalist ventures, a BP station or two, and then the destination. It really sucks. Nothing immersive, nothing.

        Some Disney folks would argue, "Well there just isn't the money for that!"

        To that I say, and this is the problem with much of Disney today as well, "If they don't have enough money to do it the very best, they shouldn't do it at all." Because, in fact, half-assed budgets create half-assed results.


        • #5
          Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

          Everyone makes mistakes, even Disney. We are human. In regards to the rollaways being taken away because of a fire hazard, that is the county governments decision, not Disney.

          So you got 20 pillowcases by accident. Perhaps they were stored in the area that the sheets were supposed to be in by mistake and the castmember thought they were pulling out folded up sheets, people make mistakes.

          You can complain about the bus service all you want, but take this into consideration the Disney property is 47 square miles and that is about the size of the city of San Francisco. No matter how you look at it the service at Disney is better than the public transportation in any major city and it's free. You're getting a free ride and you still complain. Disney could turn around and charge you to buy a transportation ticket, but they haven't. Anyone on Disney property can hop on a bus, boat or Monorail to get to someplace if they wanted to. Try doing that in Chicago or New York. Buses are supposed to be at 15-20 minute intervals, but delays come when extra time is needed to embark or disembark riders and then there is the traffic issue. Busses don't magically fly over all the other traffic. Also when people are on vacation a 10 minute bus wait turns into a 30 minute wait just because in their anticipation to get to the destination the time seems pass very slowly. WDW has one of the most efficient public transit systems in the country, and like transit systems in EVERY other major city it does and will have some glitches.

          On top of all that anytime any minor thing happens at a Disney park or resort it gets blown out of proportion by at least 10 times. We hear it everyday at the Disney resort I work at. Hell, I've heard it from a cutrtain hanging a half an inch lower than that of the one on the opposite side of the window to the monorails being too noisy and keeping them up all night (funny though since when the parks are closed the monorail isn't running in the middle of the night)

          There may be some problems at the resorts but a lot of times those are caused by the guests themselves too. Did you ever walk into a guest room after a check out and see the condition some of these rooms are left in. The three hurricanes last year could not have done as much damage in those rooms even if the windows and doors were left wide open. At the Grand we recently had a guest check out of the "club level (concierge) room and left human excrament all over the walls, how classy was that of them.

          A lot of the "unmagical" things that you may see at a Disney park or resort are not always the cast's fault, it's because many of the "guests" themselves are slobs and the cause of those unmagical things.

          As a Disney castmember I'm not saying we are perfect, yes mistakes are made and when we make a mistake we do our best to fix it. I have seen a lot of guests who will try to manipulate the system and cause accidents to try and get a settlement out of Disney, and I've seen guests deliberatly try and spoil the "magic" by dumping their garbage on the ground while wating for the parade when they are sitting right next to a trash can.

          Sorry about the rant, but I'm tired of people constantly bashing Disney for the simplest mistakes and blaming Disney for things that are out of their control. Accidents happen wherever you go, however when they are on a Disney prperty they get blown out of proportion. Had last weekends fender bender at California Adventure been at say Magic Mountain, you would never have heard about it. Had it been at a Six Flags park in Atlanta, St. Louis or Chicago, you never would have heard about, even locally. But it happens at a Disney park, and CNN has it blasting worldwide.

          When an animal dies of natural causes at Animal Kingdom, it's blasted worldwide on CNN and is front page news on every major newspaper around the country, and the animal activists come in saying Disney shouldn't be in the animal business. But the same type of animal dies the same death at San Diego Zoo, Brookfield Zoo in Chicago or any other zoo, you might see a blurb about it on the obituary page in the newspaper. Animal Kingdom is in fact a zoo, like any other zoo in the country, even if Disney says it's "Natazhu". In fact after seeing first hand how the animals at Animal Kingdom are treated, any animal would be lucky to be living there. Animal Kingdom is like the Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons when it comes to the care given to these animals.

          That's all for now, I could go on for days. Oh and by the way, when you come to the Magic Kingdom during the busy season, wait times for rides like Splash, or Space Mountain will be around the 60-90 minute time frame. So don't come back to the hotel expecting compensation from the hotel for the times that you had to wait in line for a ride in the theme park. The hotel can't control that. Try that at the Marriott or Hilton you stayed at across the street from Six Flags and see what the folks at Marriott or Hilton will say.
          Last edited by ti2gr; 08-03-2005, 08:27 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

            Disney "Magic" in the bus service? Does everything in Disney have to be "magical". Sure the Parks are and all, but you cant expect everything to be perfect.
            Go Bengals.



            • #7
              Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

              Originally posted by ti2gr
              I agree with all of this. Thank you (the plural form, for all WDW CMs) for all the great service you have ever brought me. Always a magical experience every trip I've made there.


              • #8
                Re: Discussion: Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

                Thank You Sediment


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