Vote of the Week: Are you a Disney fan?
Walt Disney World is, by far, the world's most popular theme park vacation destination, attracting tens of millions of visitors each year. But recent promotions have shown that the Walt Disney Company's not satisfied with offering leading vacation destinations. The company wants consumers to see Disney as a lifestyle brand, with which they connect every day of the year, not just at vacation time.
Photo courtesy Disney
That's the motivation behind promotions such as "Show Your Disney Side," which encourage consumers to see Disney as a ubiquitous part of their lives. More than any other entertainment company, Disney offers a wide selection of engagement opportunities for consumers. You can go to the movies to watch Disney films and watch Disney-branded channels on cable and a Disney-owned broadcast network on your TV. You can see Disney musicals on Broadway, read Disney-published books and listen to Disney's musical acts on Radio Disney. You can decorate every room of your home with Disney decor and get "Disney Bound" with Disney-inspired or Disney-licensed clothing. You can use Disney-themed servingware in your kitchen to eat food from recipes created by Disney chefs, published in Disney cookbooks. On vacation, you can visit a Disney theme park, stay in a Disney hotel, take a Disney Cruise, buy a Disney time share via the Disney Vacation Club, or if any of those destinations don't appeal to you, you can take an "Adventures by Disney"-led tour to other popular destinations around the world.
Of course, Disney's hoping that if you adopt its brand as part of your lifestyle, you'll be less likely to watch other companies' movies, TV shows, and musicals, or visit other company's hotels, theme parks, and vacation destinations. That provides Disney with a built-in marketing edge over its competition.
Here at Theme Park Insider, we suspect that many of our readers are looking for information about Disney theme parks because they're Disney fans and going to Disney World or Disneyland is part of their experience in being a fan. Others, however, are primarily theme park fans and if they're interested in Disney, they're also interested in other companies' parks, too. But we'd like to know the breakdown.
Are you a Disney fan? That's our Vote of the Week. We're not asking this as a simple yes/no question — we've provided four options so you can provide a more precise answer about your relationship with Disney.
Have your feelings about Disney changed over the years, for better or for worse? Please tell us in the comments. And, as always, thank you for being a Theme Park Insider fan!
My feelings about Disney changed for worse mostly because the customer service has gone downhill in the past 10 years, and they were known for excellence in customer service. If you see the ratings nowadays, Holiday World has the best theme park customer service.
Growing up in Tampa and visiting Disney parks in the early '90's often, I loved the parks. LOVED them. We were real pros, bringing our own lunch in and beating the crowds. I always loved how much Disney cared about the holistic experience of their parks, not just the attractions but the bus systems, cleanliness, upkeep, everything. I also always loved the effort put into theming of attractions, not just the rides but the lines and overall look. Growing up right next to Busch Gardens which offered little to no theming, Disney always seemed so much more invested in their parks.
I completely understand the Disney "lifestyle", for lack of a better word. It is usually passed down from one generation to the next. Our daughters grew up watching the new classics and Pixar movies. They had plush toys and Disney borders in their rooms, pink Mickey ears and just about anything they could slap a sticker on and brand as "Disney".
To the person who said customer service at Disney had gone downhill...LOL My friend just was doing the internship. She got in quick service food at one of the hotels. Her and 5 other girls got to live in a Disney apartment. They got paid $8.00 per hour and got $100.00 per week payroll deducted for their "DISNEY" housing. She said some of the delusional kids are so brainwashed they love Disney no matter what. (even if they could not afford food to eat)Then there were the other one's that quickly felt like they were being taken advantage of. The exteremly low pay and no benefits was a rude awaking after the pixie dust wore off. For a company that makes BILLIONS of dollars there is no reason why they cannot have a starting pay of $10.00 per hour. A huge portion of their employees (along with Walmart and other big companies) are on Medicaid, SSI, and Food stamps, all of which the tax payers are footing the bill....So how is that for a Disney lifestyle? You get what you pay for and $7.50 to $8.00 an hour is not going to get you much for being fake happy to everyone. Oh, and "have a magical day!"
I predict a predictable tsunami of aggrieved USF fans explaining why they have the right of it and USF is better than Disney in every possible respect. And yet here Disney is comfortably ahead in the poll....
I am a big fan of the Disney parks and movies. I plan to live near WDW when I retire and I will spend my evenings strolling around the beautiful grounds with my grand kids.
Disney changed many times. When I lived in Orlando and Michael Eisner started it's reign it was a wonderful and exciting times. Money was spend on the parks, rides and even Animal Kingdom got build.
I pretty much feel the same way as N B.
I'm on TPI like everyday so yeah I'm a fan.
(Not so) Amazing that a thread asking "How much of a role does Disney play in your life?" could turn into another Disney/Universal debate. Seems like these days people are just itching to have at it.
We stayed at Port Orleans, and we liked it for the most part. Even with its proximity to the parks, we felt like getting ready to head out is an all day affair. You know that no matter which park you are going to, it will be a half hour before you are at the gate. A bus ride, monorail, driving your rental car and parking in the lots, trams etc...
Melanie... you summed that up so nicely. We haven't had a great USF / Disney debate for quite a while. I do like the fact that Robert is always around to keep things civilized and this is a clean site.
I am in my late 50's and have been a lifelong fan of DISNEY'S theme parks around the world. For most of my life I felt like DISNEY'S parks were the best. They were the best because their attractions were the most unique, detailed and innovative. But sadly over the last 10 years I have become very disappointed with DISNEY'S parks. I feel like now it's more about making money and turning a profit for their shareholders instead of being creative and innovative as they once were. In recent years they have continued to add to their astronomical ticket prices while offering less and less innovative attractions to their cash paying customers or guests as they like to call them. Now days we mostly get more over-priced restaurants, more over-priced merchandise shops and more meet-and-greets than cutting-edge rides/attractions. I now truly believe they care more about being the biggest instead of being the LEADER or the BEST as they once did. However; in recent years UNIVERSAL has made great strides and taken giant steps toward becoming the leader in the theme park industry. They began with SPIDERMAN and continued on that success by adding the MUMMY, TRANSFORMERS and the HARRY POTTER attractions. Plain and simple: these attractions raised the standard and are more cutting-edge and innovative than anything that DISNEY is offering these days. As a longtime fan of DISNEY'S theme parks it's hard for me to say or admit these things but it is just a fact. I will continue to be a fan of DISNEY'S parks. But very soon many more will be joining me in recognizing that the true leader in the theme park industry is now Universal.
You need more options. For instance I'd consider myself a partial Disney fan. I love the animation, theme parks (at least CA and Tokyo) and nostalgia of Walt the genius himself. However I could care less and sometimes loathe other things about Disney like the tv, home decor, broadway, live films (can't stand potc 2+) magic bands etc. So I'm somewhere in between the first 2 options. I think Disney is the best in some aspects but not all.
I am in my late 50's and have been a lifelong fan of DISNEY'S parks worldwide. For most of my life I felt like they were the very best in the industry. They were the best because they offered attractions that set the standard and were the most unique, detailed and innovative. Sadly; in the last 10 years I have become very disappointed in the DISNEY theme parks. It now seems like it's all about making money and turning a profit for their stockholders instead of being creative and innovative as they were for so many years. I just feel like they care more about being the biggest instead of being the LEADER and being the BEST. Recently they have continued to add to their already astronomical ticket prices while offering less and less innovative attractions to their customers...or guests as they like to call them. These days they mostly offer more over-priced restaurants, more over-priced merchandise shops and more simple meet-and-greets instead of cutting-edge rides/attractions. And to make matters worse they have spent over 1.2 billion at last count to start up the MYMAGIC+ program which very, very few wanted but offered very few new attractions in return to entice their customers to even want to use this program. However; UNIVERSAL has made great strides and taken giant steps toward becoming the LEADER in the industry. It started with SPIDERMAN and they followed that success with the additions of THE MUMMY, TRANSFORMERS and the HARRY POTTER attractions. Plain and simple: these attractions have raised the standards in the theme park industry and are BETTER than anything DISNEY is offering to the public these days. As a lifelong fan of DISNEY it is hard for me to say and admit these things but it is a FACT...sorry DISNEY. The bottom line is that UNIVERSAL has taken the reigns in offering their customers the most detailed, innovative and technologically advanced attractions in the industry. Congratulations to UNIVERSAL...in my humble opinion you are now the new LEADER in the theme park industry!!!
Well, if you go by attendance and park generating revenue, USF is not the leader. If innovation, expansion and creating a better guest experience is your thing, USF is definitely the forerunner.
Love Disney and the parks, but the only thing which I've found disappointing is that over years their 'souvenirs' have become very 'tacky'. When we first started visiting their were numerous limited additions now they seem quite sparse. It's a shame. Actually there is also one other thing, some of the rides at Disneyland Paris need a good restoration. Pirates of the Caribbean and Small World are examples of this.
I think the problem is that Disney is catering too much to the unconditional Disney fan and that it is neglecting its innovation. I am sorry, but Harry Potter really is the paradigm shift. It is completely amazing, but other parts of the parks at Universal do need work. Right now Disney could really use a change in how they are doing things. Do away with the cheap, Photoshop early 80's artwork on everything and make attractions that will amaze. Case in point: Alien Encounter (while maybe too scary) was awesome. Stitch sucks. The entire family hated the Little Mermaid ride, but everyone is itching to get back to Harry Potter. Now, this is only in Orlando. Theme parks elsewhere are not on the same level, but they can turn it around.
I'm much more into the theme parks, although I do see most Disney and Pixar movies on DVD. This whole "Disney lifestyle" thing is a bit of a stretch, but they're always trying to increase their outrageous profits.
I'd say I'm a casual Disney fan. I like their films (Disney animation / Pixar), Broadway shows, & some of their other products etc. They have quality stuff..
After reading the comments it has definitely turned into a Disney vs. Universal (Florida Parks) discussion! Which was not exactly the question asked, although they are always fun and interesting to read!!! I'll do my best to try to stay on the main topic though.
So far, 90% of the voters are Disney fans. No wonder the company is raking in the dough to the tune of $1-$3 billion profit a quarter. Wow!
Overpriced for theme park entry. But hey, people will pay it.
^What theme park admission isn't overpriced these days?
Q. Are you a Disney fan?
I'm a Disney fan because the company does not charge resort guests to park at their hotels.
TH, I knew you wouldn't disappoint....
Thirty years ago -- as a member of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom College Program -- I worked Main Street/Adventureland ops doing crowd control for a parade. My son Evan is a Walt Disney World cast member. Today (as in right now -- 30 years after me) he is doing crowd control for a parade.
Oh, I had started to write a long-winded comment, but thought better of it.
We know TH, you posted it twice... it's the only weapon in your arsenal....
I've been a lifelong Disney fan, but for the past decade I've become a bigger Universal fan. Disney does a great job, but for me, Universal does a better job.
The Polynesian is a far nicer (and far more popular) resort than the Portofino.
"Far nicer"... a little subjective there, no?
Did I write "far nicer?" I meant to write "far, far nicer."
I'm curious, THC. As an Orlando resident have you ever had the opportunity to stay at the Polynesian Village or the Portofino Bay Resort?
I have stayed at the Portofino Bay, but not at the Polynesian, so I am unqualified to objectively comment on both.
We are in violent agreement, Ryan! ;)
NB writes: "I'm sure a lot of people ... stay at hotel with no real incentive to do so ..."
Very ambiguous, TH. Not a confirmation nor a denial of you extensive experience at both hotels.
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