Published: September 26, 2013 at 10:26 AMHow very cool! Joe Schott and I worked together at Walt Disney World's Jungle Cruise. In fact, Joe was my lead one of the night's I worked crowd control for the Candlelight Processional when it was still taking place on Main Street USA. That was in 1982 (Yikes!) 31 years ago!
Published: September 26, 2013 at 10:47 AMI wonder if I could submit this as an idea for a future article by Robert Niles himself: "Would a Disney park ever close or be unbranded?".
This happens to hotels a lot...where something like a Ritz-Carlton either closes down or the Ritz stops operating it and the owner rebrands it to another kind of hotel. That's what's happening to the Peabody in Orlando as it's becoming a Hyatt hotel soon. Other times, hotels close down and are either torn down or become condos or apartments after a while of being closed.
I don't know a lot about Disneyland Paris but I keep seeing articles calling it a money pit. I believe that it only recently had its first profitable year, and it was not much profit. If it was not being propped up by Disney at large, I wonder if it would have been closed.
Would Disney ever allow that though? Would that be seen as a huge embarrassment to the company? That would be a terrible visual...seeing a Disney park torn down. Or, worse, having it be deflagged and turned into a generic local park.
I'd love to see an article from Robert about if he thinks DIsneyland Paris will ever close or be deflagged and turned into another park.
I also would like to know from Robert and others why they think Disneyland Paris isn't profitable...and what it would take to make it a big success. The Studios Park is just junky so I know what that is a failure, just as junky DCA was a failure before the remodel last year. But Disneyland Paris looks GORGEOUS...and it's still pretty much a failure.
Why is that when other theme parks in Europe seem to thrive?
Published: September 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM@ Annette I think that already happened to some extend. Remember Walt Disney and what he was good at? Right, making hand drawn animated features that delighted kids and adults. Most of them where retellings of popular fairytale and some of them where original experimental efforts that delighted many. That core business is gone. Instead of repairing what is broken they buy companies who do a better job then they do. Blaming customer in that they don't want to see hand drawn animation anymore (BS right?).
Published: September 26, 2013 at 12:21 PMI'm SO thrilled to see that Disney is planning to do something about Disneyland Paris..We visited this past summer and were beyond disspointed. See my review here: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g226865-d189258-r173046497-Disneyland_Park-Marne_la_Vallee_Seine_et_Marne_Ile_de_France.html
It needs a LOT of work to be up to Disney standards...let's hope they can deliver.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 12:55 PMWonderful news, at last! I was especially happy about this:
At the moment I would rather spend money on a 10 hour flight to Tokyo Disney Resort to experience true Disney hospitality, than fly 2 hours to our "local" resort, DLP, to receive mediocre service.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 2:32 PMTo Anon Mouse,
I'm not worried about anything. In fact, I only very rarely think about Disneyland Paris. Except when I see articles like this one talking about it.
I just wonder if people who are experts in the theme park industry even think it's possible that Disney could shutter this park or sell it and remove the Disney branding from everything. I think that's a valid question: if there ever will be a point where Disney sees this as a money pit and shuts it down.
For instance, I think there's about zero chance that Disneyland or WDW would ever close down...short of some catastrophic natural disaster. I think they will be there 100 years and more from now, long after I am dead.
I don't know much about Disneyland Paris and have never been there, but I wonder what percent chance experts would give that Disneyland Paris would ever close down.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 3:57 PMWell, guess we know why there's no money for DHS getting CarsLand or other upgrades. Maybe they could simply turn DHS into the location for all of the afterhours hard ticket parties...
As to unbranding the parks, I recall more than a couple of articles over the past 10 years suggesting that maybe Disney would sell off the parks and just be in the hotel and time share business. In the minds of at least some of the suits, this probably seems like a much better deal.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 4:03 PMMy daughter was at DLP in the spring. We live 20 minutes from DLR, and she is a previous CM there, so we're VERY familiar with DLR. She was appalled at the lack of cleanliness. She wondered if she was really in a Disney park. There were cigarette butts all over the ground, the bathrooms were filthy, and the whole time she was there she didn't see one custodial CM. AT DLR we see them everywhere. She was incredibly disappointed. They not only need to spend money on refurbishment but on custodial and maintenance.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM@Anon Mouse,
I don't think the ESPN Zone restaurants, the Disney Stores, and the other things you mentioned are in the same league as the Disney theme parks.
A restaurant chain closing that the public does not identify with Disney doesn't tell us anything about whether or not one of the parks would ever close. Chains of restaurants go out of business all the time.
We've never seen a Disney park closed down. As for the Disney stores, those are just retail locations to people. They are not high profile vacation destinations. I remember being sad when a Disney store I liked closed but I just buy things online. A whole lot of stores, like Borders and Barnes & Nobel, are going out of business and retail is moving more and more online.
So retail locations closing aren't similar to the closing of a park. Disney's closed plenty of attractions, resort hotels, restaurants, and other things in both Florida and California through the years...and it owned and then sold the Queen Mary tourist attraction in Long Beach. So I know that Disney divests itself of properties and other ventures from time to time.
But it's never closed down a castled park and I wonder if it ever would or if that is just totally off the table.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 5:48 PMWhat Annette bringing to light here (and maybe why some of the responses are so intense?) is that if Disney wants to be associated with top quality theme parks, and wants to protect their brands, they have two choices: upgrade DLP dramatically, or shutter it. For the moment, it seems that they are trying to step up the service a bit. None of the announced measures seem big enough to address all of the problems with the park (the weakness of the studios park, the costumer service problems, the cultural aversion to destination theme parks, the weak financial footing). But, Disney is a big company and has time and money to help fix the problem. My guess is that they will make some improvements--see if they can turn the ship around, and reassess in 5 years. If it is still a failing business, then I don't think Annette's line of thinking is too far off at all.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 6:35 PMAnnette: Based on your question ""Would a Disney park ever close or be unbranded?" I would say look at what they done before. It might be farfetched, but not impossible.
Certainly, a theme park closing like Disneyland Paris would be the ultimate in failure, but Disney as a business isn't into propping up a failed enterprise. Besides, it is a minority owner, which means it is limited to what it can do.
"I wonder if it ever would or if that is just totally off the table."
You just talked yourself out of considering such an option. I am afraid to bother you.
Published: September 26, 2013 at 9:22 PMThis isn't much to be excited about. It sounds to me that these parks need investment in the form of expansion and better attractions than putting the money into making existing things just a little bit better.
Published: September 27, 2013 at 9:41 AMA couple of things here.