Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

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cy1229
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Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by cy1229 » Aug Fri 29, 2014 8:25 am

Many of you are going to be very :shock: about this thought because it's hard to comprehend such a travesty.

My first trip to WDW in what I call the "modern era" with 4 parks and all we see now was in 2001. The girls were 3 and 7, we stayed at All-start Movies, and had a truly magical time. That trip was something like 7 nights and cost us around $3k, including the dining plan and park hopper tickets.

My trip in 2008 was just me and the girls, and we had a wonderful time. I'd have to say that trip was just as awesome as the previous one.

2010 was our first family vacation with my mom and stepdad, my sister, and her family. Jeff and I felt less magic on that trip. We just felt there wasn't the attention to detail that we had enjoyed in years past. It was subtle. We wouldn't have been able to tell you such-and-such is worse this time because x, y, and z. But we could tell, something was off.

In 2012 we returned with my extended family, and at this point, we definitely noticed less magic and more crowd herding. Things weren't being repaired like they should (missing dolls on Small World, critters on Splash, etc.) and every available square inch that could be was being used to sell us something.

We haven't been back yet. We've talked about it, but with less and less enthusiasm each time. There has been a continuous whittling away at the visitor experience. Fast pass changes, price increases, restrictions on resort strolling, key attractions being down for extended periods of time, food not being as amazingly delicious as it once was while getting more and more expensive... Etc.

If the four of us wanted to spend a week at WDW, it would be about $5k. That's an entire semester of tuition for Meghan. We are finding it more and more difficult to justify that expense, especially considering how Disney keeps whittling away at things. This latest news about Off Kilter, Mo Rockin, and the fife and drum corps is just the most recent in a string of things that show the consideration and value of the customer at WDW that have always historically been there are waning.

I'm thinking yeah, maybe we'll go back sometime, maybe when we have grand kids, but I don't get all excited nor do I have that yearning to escape to WDW like I once did. I don't want to feel exploited and all these subtle changes are bringing about that feeling of being exploited.

Anyone feeling the same way?
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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Amy » Aug Fri 29, 2014 9:17 am

I feel like some of the magic has been lost, and it is definitely more expensive to go and experience the parks, but I still have a strong desire to go. I am able to search out the good experiences and (mostly) tune out the non-magical parts of the vacation. But if you sit and actually compare prices with what you used to be able to see and do, for what you get to see and do now, it really makes you pause and consider whether it is worth it or not.
The main change I have seen that I don't particularly enjoy is the need to plan so far ahead for everything. I understand the fast pass plus and making reservations and trying to maximize your experience for the time you are there, but I miss the spontaneity of it all. I don't actually remember much, if anything, about my first trip when I was 6, but I remember a little from my trip when I was 13 or 14, and of course subsequent trips after that, and while I don't care all that much if I take a photo with a particular character, I know there are several guests who do. The orderly queue is great, and it ensures fairness for everyone that would like to take the time to meet a character, but I miss the days when a little one would see Mickey or Minnie, or whoever, and have their eyes light up and then be able to run up to them and give them a big hug.

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by bcgm3 » Aug Fri 29, 2014 2:44 pm

cy1229 wrote:Anyone feeling the same way?
The exact same way! I've been a Florida resident my whole life, so I've been going to Disney regularly since I was a toddler (I'm 28 now). A CM friend and I often discuss this idea: There's no denying that "the magic" has declined with the years. Less and less real Disney blood pumps through the company's veins, and corporate infrastructure fills those voids. Corner-cutting, profit maximizing, et cetera; business interests become more apparent, and One Man's Dream fades a little more. Unfortunate, but what are you gonna do? What I'm going to do, as I have always done, is weigh out whether the price admission is worth it. I keep going back, but the lapse in between my annual pass renewals gets greater every year. Eventually, I won't be renewing at all. For now, it's still good enough.

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by horizons1 » Aug Sun 31, 2014 3:48 pm

I was contemplating something similar during a recent visit to Kings Island in Cincinnati. Granted, Kings Island is an amusement park, not an all-encompassing experience like WDW resort. Still, I began thinking about the quality of my experience vs recent visits to WDW.

As you may know, Cedar Point owns Kings Island. You may also know that Cedar's CEO is Matt Ouimett. And if that name sounds familiar, that is because he is the guy who ran Disneyland in the years immediately leading up to the 50th birthday. Generally respected by cast members as someone who cared about the guest experience, Matt has shown that he "gets it." During a speech at the recent re-dedication of Camp Snoopy at Knott's, Matt talked about the Knott's history, the fact that it cannot, and should not, try to compete head-to-head with Disneyland down the road, and that the most important thing to try to do is make sure each guest leaves having had a good time.

Contrast that attitude against what you hear come out of Disney, and it seems like night and day. One is squeezing you every time you turn around. The other is making sure the park is clean, maintained, respectful of its heritage, and is staffed with friendly people who seem to like their jobs. I really had a great time at Kings Island. Last year I visited Cedar Point and got the same vibe. Granted, that is more of a "thrill park" but you can contrast Cedar Point against any Six Flags park and see the difference that Matt's attitude promotes.

Maybe I am giving too much credit to one guy. I don't mean to. But my point is that when you shift your focus back to the basics, it really doesn't take much to delight your guests and maybe even exceed their expectations.
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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Amy » Sep Mon 01, 2014 10:50 am

bdinger wrote:
Amy wrote:The orderly queue is great, and it ensures fairness for everyone that would like to take the time to meet a character, but I miss the days when a little one would see Mickey or Minnie, or whoever, and have their eyes light up and then be able to run up to them and give them a big hug.
I think that's more of a reflection on society than Disney. My parents have home videos from our trips when we were kids in the 80s and the difference between now and then is like night and day. Back then, a character would come out and people would gather around it. Then, everyone would each take a turn walking up and taking pictures, getting autographs, etc. It was very orderly without the need for lines or a people herder. There's no way that would work today. I can only imagine how much pushing, shoving, and arguing there would be.
Sad but true. There is jostling and a bit of shoving even in the queue :(

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Mon 01, 2014 3:01 pm

Isn't the entire reason for the line system that the plush stuffers no longer free-roam? Partially for guest safety (poor visibility in the costumes) but also for their own safety and worker's rights? If they can't get to their breaks because they get swarmed by people wanting photos, autographs, etc. then that is a problem.

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Amy » Sep Mon 01, 2014 4:30 pm

Wizzard419 wrote:Isn't the entire reason for the line system that the plush stuffers no longer free-roam? Partially for guest safety (poor visibility in the costumes) but also for their own safety and worker's rights? If they can't get to their breaks because they get swarmed by people wanting photos, autographs, etc. then that is a problem.
I've never really delved into why the system changed. I always thought it was to make more orderly queues, have the photopass photographers conveniently located to capture the memories, but your explanation sounds like a very good reason as well. I might need to do some investigative digging when I have some time to see if there is any concrete reasons...

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by MadEye » Sep Tue 02, 2014 9:40 am

TDO...
We are all a little weird
And life's a little weird,
And when we find someone whose
Weirdness is compatible with ours,
We join up with them and fall in
Mutual weirdness and call it Love.”
― Dr. Seuss

Eames: Listen, if you're gonna perform INCEPTION, you need IMAGINATION.

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Amy » Sep Tue 02, 2014 9:54 am

MadEye wrote:TDO...
But the other parks have the queues for the characters as well. Did WDW start that?

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by cy1229 » Sep Tue 02, 2014 10:38 am

In today's culture of immediate gratification, lack of patience, and lawsuit mentality, there isn't any way that people could have interaction with characters without a queue and schedule. I was EXTREMELY disappointed when I had tried to see Sulley at DHS, was told he'd be available at a certain time, then upon returning at that time was turned away. However, I wouldn't want the person inside the suit to be physically uncomfortable, stressed, dealing with low blood sugar, or a host of other things that would come about from missing a break or being overheated.

It's almost like all the up-charging is a backlashed reaction to guests being more rude and less "deserving" of a generous experience. I'm not sure I'm phrasing that right. If you want to be treated extra-special, you're going to have to pay for it, because the "minimum price-ers" aren't worthy of it. That kind of thinking.

I didn't know Cedar Point had bought Kings Island... the one in Cincinnati, right? Cedar Point is the quintessential thrill ride park, and its central location makes it accessible by most everybody. I'd hoped to take the family there this summer but it just didn't work out.
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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by horizons1 » Sep Tue 02, 2014 10:41 am

cy1229 wrote:I didn't know Cedar Point had bought Kings Island... the one in Cincinnati, right? Cedar Point is the quintessential thrill ride park, and its central location makes it accessible by most everybody. I'd hoped to take the family there this summer but it just didn't work out.
Right, it is about 20 minutes outside of Cincinnati and a very nice little park. They own Kings Dominion in VA too, which I suspect were sister parks at one time. Cedar is really a lot like Six Flags in terms of regional coverage. But the guest experience is far superior.
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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by kelpseaweedkelp » Sep Tue 02, 2014 1:04 pm

horizons1 wrote:I was contemplating something similar during a recent visit to Kings Island in Cincinnati. Granted, Kings Island is an amusement park, not an all-encompassing experience like WDW resort. Still, I began thinking about the quality of my experience vs recent visits to WDW.

As you may know, Cedar Point owns Kings Island. You may also know that Cedar's CEO is Matt Ouimett. And if that name sounds familiar, that is because he is the guy who ran Disneyland in the years immediately leading up to the 50th birthday. Generally respected by cast members as someone who cared about the guest experience, Matt has shown that he "gets it." During a speech at the recent re-dedication of Camp Snoopy at Knott's, Matt talked about the Knott's history, the fact that it cannot, and should not, try to compete head-to-head with Disneyland down the road, and that the most important thing to try to do is make sure each guest leaves having had a good time.

Contrast that attitude against what you hear come out of Disney, and it seems like night and day. One is squeezing you every time you turn around. The other is making sure the park is clean, maintained, respectful of its heritage, and is staffed with friendly people who seem to like their jobs. I really had a great time at Kings Island. Last year I visited Cedar Point and got the same vibe. Granted, that is more of a "thrill park" but you can contrast Cedar Point against any Six Flags park and see the difference that Matt's attitude promotes.

Maybe I am giving too much credit to one guy. I don't mean to. But my point is that when you shift your focus back to the basics, it really doesn't take much to delight your guests and maybe even exceed their expectations.
This is really interesting about Cedar Point and Matt. My family went there for the first time last summer, had a great time, and when we left we were all like, that felt a lot like Disney World. It was noticeable - didn't feel as trashy as a Six Flags too. The food sucked though. Like really sucked.

I'm curious as to why WDW is hurting financially so much. Is it? I agree you notice little things if you have been there a lot that maybe you don't if you haven't.

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Amy » Sep Tue 02, 2014 5:23 pm

I've heard some rumblings about the recent upgrades to the Magic Bands being a little more expensive than they expected and that is leading to some of the cutbacks. Not sure if that is true, but it is certainly a possibility given the costs upfront which will take a while to recoup ~ such as adding all the scanners, educating the CMs and guests...

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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by Chuckus95 » Sep Fri 05, 2014 12:20 pm

cy1229 wrote:Many of you are going to be very :shock: about this thought because it's hard to comprehend such a travesty.

My first trip to WDW in what I call the "modern era" with 4 parks and all we see now was in 2001. The girls were 3 and 7, we stayed at All-start Movies, and had a truly magical time. That trip was something like 7 nights and cost us around $3k, including the dining plan and park hopper tickets.

My trip in 2008 was just me and the girls, and we had a wonderful time. I'd have to say that trip was just as awesome as the previous one.

2010 was our first family vacation with my mom and stepdad, my sister, and her family. Jeff and I felt less magic on that trip. We just felt there wasn't the attention to detail that we had enjoyed in years past. It was subtle. We wouldn't have been able to tell you such-and-such is worse this time because x, y, and z. But we could tell, something was off.

In 2012 we returned with my extended family, and at this point, we definitely noticed less magic and more crowd herding. Things weren't being repaired like they should (missing dolls on Small World, critters on Splash, etc.) and every available square inch that could be was being used to sell us something.

We haven't been back yet. We've talked about it, but with less and less enthusiasm each time. There has been a continuous whittling away at the visitor experience. Fast pass changes, price increases, restrictions on resort strolling, key attractions being down for extended periods of time, food not being as amazingly delicious as it once was while getting more and more expensive... Etc.

If the four of us wanted to spend a week at WDW, it would be about $5k. That's an entire semester of tuition for Meghan. We are finding it more and more difficult to justify that expense, especially considering how Disney keeps whittling away at things. This latest news about Off Kilter, Mo Rockin, and the fife and drum corps is just the most recent in a string of things that show the consideration and value of the customer at WDW that have always historically been there are waning.

I'm thinking yeah, maybe we'll go back sometime, maybe when we have grand kids, but I don't get all excited nor do I have that yearning to escape to WDW like I once did. I don't want to feel exploited and all these subtle changes are bringing about that feeling of being exploited.

Anyone feeling the same way?
This is hard for me to say but, yes, I am starting to feel the same way. My family went for the very first time in the 70s, and I was hooked. I ended up meeting (and later marrying) a young lady who shared my Disney fanaticism. We started going to WDW (and sometimes DLR) in 1999. We were married in 2001 (exactly 13 years ago today) at Sunset Point at the Poly, which, as I understand, will not come back as a result of the DVC expansion.

The removal of Sunset Point is a sore spot for me, but the rising costs and lessening of the magic is really bothering me as well. We have probably been to WDW/DLR 25 times in the last 15 years. Our 2-year old son has been to WDW 3 times (he spent his first two birthdays there) and has been on DCL 3 times. But, we are getting to our breaking point, so much so that after this year's Wine & Dine Half Marathon and a January 2014, we may take a Disney break for a while to see if the company comes to its senses.
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Re: Losing My Pixie Dust Desire

Post by horizons1 » Sep Fri 05, 2014 1:12 pm

Chuckus95 wrote:We were married in 2001 (exactly 13 years ago today)
Happy anniversary, Chuckus!
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