According to a filing with the SEC, Michael Eisner received compensation in 2004 that increased 13% over what he received in 2003. In addition, the Disney board concluded that Eisner’s performance was “greatly improved.” The company’s profit rose 85% attributed mostly to ESPN and theme parks. However, Eisner was not the only one cashing in, COO Robert Iger’s annual compensation rose 73% to $12 million. Iger is currently considered the front runner to become Disney’s new CEO and may not meet much competition for Disney’s top job. Disney also announced that it would continue to keep the chairman of the board and CEO jobs separate. It’s great to see the rich get richer, but at least they could do so by producing something original. I guess when ESPN and theme parks are driving your profit, “originality” doesn’t need to be in your vocabulary.
From David Klawe
I think the first self-serve kiosks I saw were at Magic Mountain about 10 years ago... they still remain, but are out of service and have been for years.....
Posted via 184.108.40.206 on January 9, 2005 at 10:23 PM (MST)
Universal Studios Hollywood has had them for years, and still actively promote them. When the lines get long, an employee gets on a mike and brings up the fact that machines are located on each end of the human staffed ticket booths. All of the main ticket choices are available including different types of Annual Passes, and VIP and Front of the Line passes.
So Busch is not the first park to offer them, but I wouldn't be surprised to see more of them at other parks, as a machine is a big labor savings..
Heck, at DCA, you now order and pay on a self service kiosk at Taste Pilots Grill.
Also, the article mentioned this device...
>>Indeed, Busch pass or ticket holders will have a side express entrance of their own. They swipe their pass. A scanner records a topographic map (not fingerprints) of their hand in two seconds and compares it in a Busch database to ensure the dimensions match the passholder.<<
SeaWorld San Diego has had this system for about a year, and has closed down their Passport Processign center. Each Ticket Window can sell the actual AP or Fun Card instead of a Voucher, and no photo is needed (which allowed the closing of the processing center). In fact some gift shops have been equipped with machines to print AP's for those who want to upgrade after entering the park....
SeaWorld San Diego also has a special Passport Member entrance, though it is only open during busy times.
Another interesting thing SeaWorld San Diego offers Passport Members is a daily sheet of coupons, and an occasional Surprise Gift. All you need to do is go to a set of machines and scan your AP next to Guest Services.
I have gotten free soda, popcorn, a key chain, and gallon of free paint (from a park sponsor), plus free plays in the arcade, and discounts on food, merchandise and park tours. The San Diego Padres Baseball team has the same type of machines in which they offer coupons and perks to returning fans. (There is a posted schedule, the more games you go in the season, the more prizes you get.)
From Pete Brecht
Russell, in all the trips I took to BGW this year with my kids, not once were they required to do the hand-scan thing (we're Passport members).
Posted via 220.127.116.11 on January 10, 2005 at 8:34 AM (MST)
From Russell Meyer
I'm not exactly sure which people are being chosen to use the system, but I think they are using it for Gold and Silver passports only, as most of the new ones do not have pictures on them. I have a Platinum Passport, and have not had to use the system either, but have frequently been behind people who have, and all of whom are carrying passports without pictures on them. Also, I think if you renewed your passports online, and still have a picture passport, the "handi-scan" system is not used. It's the old grandfather clause.
Posted via 18.104.22.168 on January 10, 2005 at 8:45 AM (MST)
So the new system would only apply to people purchasing passes for the first time. If they made everyone switch over to the new system at the same time, no one would ever get into the park. This gradual application of the system is probably deliberate. My guess is that they will eventually switch everyone over to the new system soon.
From Russell Meyer
I figured other parks had either tried them or were using them in a limited basis, but could not find any promotion of them. I thought the Sea World frequent visitor kiosks in the Passport Member center were really cool when we visited in 2003. The system encourages passholders to come as frequently as possible, and hopefully spend some more money in the park, and yes the system is very similar to those used by minor league baseball teams. The single A teams near us utilize a similar system that allows guests to earn rewards from free popcorn all the way up to a tour of the stadium and skyboxes and autographed team memorabilia. I'm still not sold on this "handi-scan" concept that Busch has been pushing. Every time I've gotten behind someone with a gold passport (at BGW) it's taken them longer to get through the turnstyle than someone with just a scanned card, because their hand has to be placed in a very specific spot to get a match. From my experience, small children almost always seem to have problems with these new machines.
Posted via 22.214.171.124 on January 10, 2005 at 8:47 AM (MST)
From Robert Niles
Russell, I believe that the warnings on Mission: Space could have had that effect, simply because I've never seen an attraction that so aggressively incorporates warnings in its preshows. You won't simply find warning signs here. The spiel, video and PA warnings are non-stop. It's so bad as to risk making the attraction itself anti-climatic, IMHO. I don't think the warnings cross that line, but I was fully prepared to hurl the first time I rode. (I didn't -- in fact, I had a great time and consider this Disney's best new attraction in years.)
Posted via 126.96.36.199 on January 10, 2005 at 11:51 AM (MST)
FWIW, Disney tones down attractions in every soft opening where it can tone them down. The company's attitude seems to be (as it should be) -- crank it up in the beginning, see how much folks can take, and dial it down until people are no longer ill. I rode Body Wars at Epcot on its first day of cast member testing -- back row, far left side. My seatbelt broke on the first jolt and I have never, *ever* had a more turbulent ride on any theme park attraction, including extreme roller coasters. No, Disney could not and should not let the public experience something so intense. But, Lord, I loved it!
From SpaceMt Fan
One possibility for the parks hesitating to put in ticket kiosks (besides money) might be the fear of reducing the initial human contact in the purchasing process, and thus turning it into a sterile and anonymous action. Customer service and human interaction can always be translated into a goodwill entry in the G/L.
Posted via 188.8.131.52 on January 10, 2005 at 12:37 PM (MST)
RE: Baggage Checks
It's a shame that the baggage check process is the bottle-neck of park entry. This is especially true as the checks are rarely thorough and are mostly placating an over-sensitive public.
From J. Dana
Kiosks are for one purpose, and one purpose only: to cut out the cost of having to pay people to do those jobs. Simple as that. Think grocery stores, movie theatres...think online airline ticketing. Airlines offer cheaper online tickets. Why? To encourage people to bypass the costly "people-centered" method of purchase. It also cuts the commissions they have to pay to travel agents.
Posted via 184.108.40.206 on January 10, 2005 at 2:00 PM (MST)
And speaking of cutting costs, I heard a rumor about some bit cost-cutting (involving people) at DISNEY-MGM studios. Aw, I'll post that elsewhere so as not to muddy this discussion.
From Matt E
I had rode Mission:Space for the first time during the previews that started 3 months even before its "announced" preview phase (that would be June 2003) when only one centrifuge was operating. I've ridden it numerous times since then, including just last week or so and in my personal opinion, the intensity of the ride has NOT changed at all.
Posted via 220.127.116.11 on January 10, 2005 at 3:06 PM (MST)
The only change I've seen is from a few warnings here and there in the beginning to an all-out onset of warnings that bridge on the edge of over-excessive today. You would have to be completely ignorant to your surroundings not to hear or see or read one of these warnings now and make an educated decision if this is something you should try. They are everywhere from bright yellow signs that lead up to the building to several flat-panel video screens throughout the entire queue area that do nothing than repeat warnings of motion sickness and spinning in big letters. Not to mention you are now bombarded with warnings in both a visual and audio format during the first pre-show, BETWEEN the two pre-shows and again during the second pre-show and then given one final chance to exit from a CM before they close the pod doors. During the previews, there were just a few warnings in each pre-show that differ a bit from the new warnings.
In the case of MS, what makes folks sick is actually the sensation experienced as the centrifuge starts its spinning and as it stops, not necessarily the speed it attains in the end. Changing the spinning speed would do little to decrease the probability of experiencing motion sickness on MS, which is why I don't necessarily believe any of the "toning down" stories.
Again, from personal experience, I haven't seen ANY change in intensity of the G-Forces on MS at all since it opened. What happened before they opened it to the public is something I don't know.
From James Adams
The kiosks at Universal Orlando are rarely used as well. It may be tough to tell as people buzz through them quick but I haven't noticed a wealth of people using them. Mostly because thet are limited in their depth (no discounts, very few ticket types, etc.).
Posted via 18.104.22.168 on January 10, 2005 at 3:37 PM (MST)
I completely agree about the bag check. I fail to see how "peaking" through someone's bag with a small stick really uncovers lethal weapons. Of course, this doesn't stop the zeal of the bag check. I was witnessed some poor guy being hasseled about a gold chain he was wearing around his neck.
From David Klawe
The problems with the kiosks can be fixed, I know that every USH coupon has a "Speed code" on it, basically a 3 digit number that the employee types in to have the computer figure out the right price, I think that could easily be added to the kiosk machines.
Posted via 22.214.171.124 on January 10, 2005 at 4:17 PM (MST)
Heck, with the DCA Taste Pilots grill, to get your discount, all you do is swipe your AP or CM card after ordering, but before paying...
It can be done, heck the grocery store machines allow you to use coupons, all you do is swipe the barcode, then insert it in a slot (honor system).
From Joe Lane
Reading Robert's comments about Disney and how it tests the limits of its attractions reminds me the recent reports that Imagineers have been retooling the periods of darkness on Stitch's Great Escape so as to be less terrifying for the kids. Already I've seen strobes used more often to simulate electrical shorts so as to add some light to the chamber during the dark periods. Not sure how else the creative team plans on lessening the darkness factor without spoiling the overall effect.
Posted via 126.96.36.199 on January 10, 2005 at 6:03 PM (MST)
From Pete Brecht
Russell, I was little unclear in my last message. What I meant was that *I* always had to do the hand scan at BGW, but my kids never did. I guess management either figured out that it was taking too long for kids or that their small hands don't work well in the scanners.
Posted via 188.8.131.52 on January 11, 2005 at 7:48 AM (MST)
BTW, we were just Bronze passholders early in the summer, later upgrading to Silver, and this was our first year of ever being BGW passholders.
Also, I never had a very long wait for either the bag check or the entry gate at BGW, regardless of how crowded the park was. By contrast, I did have a couple of times at King's Dominion where the wait to get through the entry gates was at least 15 minutes (the metal detectors were the slowdown). Since BGW doesn't have metal detectors, the ticket line moves a lot faster.
From Michael Dougherty
As I remember it, last Spring when BGW was touting the hand scan sytem in the local press, they stated that "young" children would not be scanned. Reason given being the rate at which their hands grow and change.
Posted via 184.108.40.206 on January 13, 2005 at 7:22 PM (MST)
BTW, I'm probably one of those "photoless" pass holders (used to have a photo till I upgraded to Platinum from Silver) delaying the entry line. However, as the season went on, I did seem to get the knack of it, almost always getting it right the first try.
Incidently, when I visited Orlando last Autumn, I had to do the hand scan thing at Sea World. But at Busch Gardens Tampa, on each of my two visits they simply scanned my pass and waved me through.