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  • 12/5: Declining by Degrees

    Have visitors been subjected to a steadily decreasing emphasis on excellence at Walt Disney World? Discuss it here!
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  • #2
    Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

    I'm pretty sure I read somewhere (probably in the "Marking the Millennium" booklet) that the original voice intro for Illuminations: ROE was provided by Jim Cummings, not Don LaFontaine. Perhaps the new version is a different talent, but I'm pretty sure about Cummings doing the original "Good evening, and welcome..." speech.

    -Eric

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    • #3
      Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

      I think this was a great article today that really hit the nail on the head. While there is a lot of good news coming from Orlando these days, there are still lots of gradual changes that are still being made that take away the "magic" little by litte. I can only hope we start to see some of it return.

      Disney was always successful because it always went above and beyond expecations. Now it seems they are giving customers what's just "good enough" to keep them happy. They can "wow!" us with some great things like Everest or even the Nemo ride/show, but it all doesn't mean much if the park isn't as clean, if the details are lost, etc.

      CoP

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      • #4
        Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

        A comment about the do-it-yourself ordering at Captain Cook's. About five years ago, I encountered the same thing at Port Orleans French Quarter (I think it was just Port Orleans then). The screens were gone the next time I visited a year or so later--apparently they didn't work that well. Looks like the new and improved version is now in Captain Cook's.

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        • #5
          Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

          Something I noticed on our trip in September of this year was the wait-times on major attractions at EMH. While these are supposed to be great times for guests staying at Disney Resorts to experience "more of the magic", I didn't really find it all that magical. Most of the lines had wait times that were twice longer than the daytime hours. I assume this is due to reduced staff for EMH, because it didn't seem like there THAT many extra people in the parks. At best, we were able to ride maybe 3 or 4 rides in the extra 3 hours we had in the parks.
          Imagineering by Grumpyfan

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          • #6
            Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

            Regarding the churro stand, the article shows a picture of the stand near the Great Movie Ride, and it does look terrible. However, it is no worse than anything you would see along the real Hollywood Blvd. Maybe that is the theming they were aiming for...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

              Originally posted by embreault View Post
              I'm pretty sure I read somewhere (probably in the "Marking the Millennium" booklet) that the original voice intro for Illuminations: ROE was provided by Jim Cummings, not Don LaFontaine.
              I would agree that the version that I'm familiar with since the show started is probably not Don, unless he has a very good native American accent in his repertoire.

              Kevin, I'm really enjoying your lists of good and bad at WDW, and so far agree with pretty much all of them. I especially appreciate your pointing out the shortening usage of the torches before IllumiNations. It should also be noted that they've shortened the torch time after the show as well. They used to play out through the end of the chaser music, the track from the defunct Tapestry of Dreams parade, or approximately 30 minutes. Now they only go through The Promise, the song that plays right after the show, which lasts about 3 minutes. Like you, I can understand Disney's need to put their money to its best use. But it can't possibly cost that much to keep these torches burning longer. And their value to the vibe of a late night World Showcase is huge.

              Keep up the good work, Kev!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                Originally posted by danyoung View Post
                I would agree that the version that I'm familiar with since the show started is probably not Don, unless he has a very good native American accent in his repertoire.
                Actually I think it *is* Cummings in the old intro (I'd forgotten that). And I can't swear that's it's LaFontaine in the new version. I just know it really really really sounds like him. But it also sounds like the old version too - the inflections are similar. So maybe it's Cummings after all still, and he is channeling LaFontaine?
                Kevin Yee
                MiceAge Columnist

                I am the author of several Disney books:
                Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
                Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
                Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
                Mouse Trap
                Tokyo Disney Made Easy
                101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
                Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

                “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                  Laides and Gentlemen, I introduce to you......Kevin Lutz!!!!

                  (You can take that either as a compliment or an insult. So can Al.)

                  As we like to credit Al for pointing out the problems of DL so that they could be fixed/cleaned/replaced, we will not be lowering our expectations of you to do the same to WDW.

                  Please keep this list of issues handy, so when the Magic Truck pulls up and fixes an issue, you can cross it off the list. (Or do I need to save every column and do it myself?)

                  Good luck!! I know I'm behind you on this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                    Kevin,

                    Do you feel the least bit guilty compiling your "declining by degrees" lists criticizing WDW while in the same blog pushing the sale of your very positive, happy and pro-Disney travel and dining guides? Seems just a tad disingenuous, doesn't it? C'mon now, when your lists of "criticisms" include how long torches are burning and the absence of free cheese sauce, it does seem like you're stretching just a bit, doesn't it?!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                      Comments I overheard last week from guests:

                      "We've been here every year for 12 years, but I don't think I want to come back next year"

                      "We waited for 2 hours for a bus to the MK from Saratoga Springs" anybody remember the days when they had actual cm's at the bus stops?

                      "The old Osbourne lights in the backlot were a lot better"

                      "This is the worst Coke i've ever had" heard more than once

                      I think WDW has reached the cost cutting equivalent of jumping the shark.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                        Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                        So maybe it's Cummings after all still, and he is channeling LaFontaine?
                        My question would be why did they need to change it? Are the words any different?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                          Originally posted by Empress Room View Post
                          C'mon now, when your lists of "criticisms" include how long torches are burning and the absence of free cheese sauce, it does seem like you're stretching just a bit, doesn't it?!
                          I'm sure Kevin will chime in for himself, but I'd like to say that for me both of these things are indeed significant. As I mentioned earlier, the torches really do add to the vibe of the World Showcase. It's really cool to leave the Rose & Crown Pub around 8:40 or so and see the torches and hear the pre-show music and just drown myself in the coolness of being in one of my favorite places at my favorite time. The fact that they've cut down on the burn time really does influence the buildup to the show, as well as the mellowness of the place post-show.

                          And one of the things that makes buying a burger in WDW better than most places is their incredible toppings bars. They go way above and beyond what you can get most other places, with sauted onions and mushrooms, and yes, the cheese sauce. If they have indeed eliminated this ingredient it lowers the value of the fast food. It's not a huge thing, but the little things do add up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                            Originally posted by Empress Room View Post
                            Kevin,

                            Do you feel the least bit guilty compiling your "declining by degrees" lists criticizing WDW while in the same blog pushing the sale of your very positive, happy and pro-Disney travel and dining guides? Seems just a tad disingenuous, doesn't it? C'mon now, when your lists of "criticisms" include how long torches are burning and the absence of free cheese sauce, it does seem like you're stretching just a bit, doesn't it?!
                            Your first question is eminently fair. In truth, I don't see it as disingenuous. I *want* to see a positive, happy, perfect Disney resort. I write books on the ways Disney pays tribute to its history (the 101 Things series) because there's an audience for that, and no one else was cataloging such things. The new book, the dining book, is neither pro-Disney nor anti-Disney: it's a travel tool. I see no contradiction in providing help for travelers but still holding Disney's "feet to the fire," as it were, to ensure quality for those folks who ARE traveling.

                            I'd like to think I'm not anti-Disney. I'm just anti-dumbing-down-of-Disney.

                            I do agree the cheese sauce is a small thing. But as Dan points out, the small things add up (indeed, that's the entire POINT of the "declining by degrees" thesis).

                            And the torches are a noticeable touch that is now noticeably missing.
                            Kevin Yee
                            MiceAge Columnist

                            I am the author of several Disney books:
                            Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
                            Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
                            Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
                            Mouse Trap
                            Tokyo Disney Made Easy
                            101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
                            Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

                            “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 12/5: Declining by Degrees

                              I agree it's not disingenuous. Seems more genius to me: Kevin wants to sell more travel tool books, so he needs people to keep traveling to WDW, so he needs to make sure it's a place worth traveling to, so he's trying to effect change by pointing out this otherwise unnoticeable slide toward mediocrity.
                              [Kevin rubbing hands together]Yes, yes, it is all falling into place!![/Kevin rubbing hands together]

                              Now, all he needs is an East Coast Darkbeer...

                              Comment

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