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Disney's Kingdom Giving Off Alot Less Magic - Seeing Alpha, 8/3/06

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  • Disney's Kingdom Giving Off Alot Less Magic - Seeing Alpha, 8/3/06

    http://media.seekingalpha.com/article/14962


    Shocked at Disney's teething pains in Hong Kong, I decided to take advantage of a planned family vacation to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando to conduct a bit of research to see if the home country was still running well. I figured, if Orlando is still good, then Disney still has a chance to right itself in Hong Kong and its low stock price could be a tempting purchase.

    I have very fond memories of Disney World from my 2 trips there -- once with my parents when I was a kid and once 6 years ago when my wife and

    I had just started dating. (In fact, our trip to Disney was our first trip away together and confirmed for both of us that we were in a serious relationship.)

    Although we would be going to Disney in sweltering July, I was excited to go and figured that Florida in July would not be as intolerable as Shanghai in August.

    Service

    This is where I was most upset. The service at the parks, in the resorts, and in the transportation most notably were awful. I cannot believe the number of rude and downright truculent Disney cast members I ran into.

    I will give an example that gets my neck red to this day. Several members of my party from China do not speak any English as I imagine many of Disney's guests don't. We were taking a boat ride from downtown Disney back to our resort when one member of our party stood up on the shuttle boat to take pictures.

    The captain of the boat had earlier announced that passengers had to remain seated at all times for safety purposes. Unfortunately, the person in my party did not understand. As soon as I saw him stand up, I told him he had to sit, which he did immediately.

    But the Captain literally went bonkers like the demon in Fantasia. He started screaming and glaring at him and waving his arms as if the person in my party was an idiot. It certainly was not good-natured fun.

    I said, "The guy does not speak English. He is from China. As soon as we told him he had to sit, he sat. You don't need to keep going on."

    The Captain kept yelling and flapping his arms, so I said "There really is no need to be rude and make a scene. He did not understand your announcement."

    The Captain then started screaming at me. He stopped the boat for and yelled, "You wanna get off my boat. I am the only captain here. You want to get off my boat!"

    I was really shocked at the Captain's behavior.

    When I called twice to complain to the guest relations number, no real apology was given to me, and I did not see a resolution to the problem. More disconcerting was that I found that the Captain's behavior was similar to the boorish behavior I ran into several times from cast members.

    Grade: F-

    Until Disney revamps its customer service again, I will not go back to Disney. We ran into really bad service several times. There also seemed to be a big difference with older cast members and young ones -- the older ones seemed to have been at Disney longer and did a fabulous job while the young ones seemed uninterested int heir jobs and were just going through the motions.


    After CMR's surveys on Hong Disney and my own experience in Orlando, it pains me to say this, as I have always been a big lover of Disney, but Disney is not a place retail investors should place their money nor should lovers of Disney visit the parks until there is a major overhaul.

    Bad service, poorly laid out parks and old attractions indicate bad management to me which is my first point of analyzing companies. I do not see Disney coming out with good numbers anytime soon. Quite a few people in Orlando told me that they were unhappy with their experience this year -- this does not bode well for repeat business.

    On the good side, Disney still has a magical brand name. If it can implement better management and training, then it would be a great stock to buy. I am keeping my eyes closely on Disney's team which has had turnover in Hong Kong. If it improves a bit, then Disney stock would be great.
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

  • #2
    Re: Disney's Kingdom Giving Off Alot Less Magic - Seeing Alpha, 8/3/06

    Is Disney World gotten that bad?

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    • #3
      Re: Disney's Kingdom Giving Off Alot Less Magic - Seeing Alpha, 8/3/06

      Not all of it, but MK is pretty bad. Truthfully, they don't pay their front line CMs enough to care. Pair that with high turnover and you have the recipe for bad service: Some CMs are hired b/c nobody else wants the job. These people wouldn't get the job 10 or 15 years ago when Disney had a big enough pool to pick good people.

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      • #4
        Re: Disney's Kingdom Giving Off Alot Less Magic - Seeing Alpha, 8/3/06

        Originally posted by bluntman
        Not all of it, but MK is pretty bad. Truthfully, they don't pay their front line CMs enough to care. Pair that with high turnover and you have the recipe for bad service: Some CMs are hired b/c nobody else wants the job. These people wouldn't get the job 10 or 15 years ago when Disney had a big enough pool to pick good people.
        Also too back in the day (70's/early 80's) cast members didn't make bad money. It was a completely different set of people. You could actually make some good money and had good benefits, but that all slid downhill after the Eisner/Wells takeover. Not to point the finger and isolate Disney (because I'm a Disney dweeb) but that seems to be the "corporate way" now. It's evil in my opinion.

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