Hmm....last year I saw a steady stream of valet parking for the 4th. Wonder what happened this year...
But valet parking costs about as much as parking at the park anyways. I had to park WAY the heck out as a guest. :( And that was with them restricting who could park.
Hmm...I wonder if you pull up to the gate and say you're getting valet parking, do they care if you have a reservation, or that you actually go to the valet?!?
All I know is that it ****ed carrying all those groceries...
To your original point, true fact, but faulty logic. Disney had a massive head start in the park arena. But let's look at how they lure visitors:
*With their head start in theme parks, they've positioned themselves as THE destination in central Florida. People don't book at Universal or Sea World or Wet n' Wild and say, hey while we're here, let's go check out Disney?
*Disney is an established 'brand'. People don't visit WDW because they're a fan of amusement parks. They attend because they're Disney fans. Or, to check out what all the hype is about. Someone comes back from a trip and convinces someone else to go. Or they have fond memories of going when they were a child. Whatever the reason, they're going because of Disney. Otherwise, people would fly to Newark from all parts of the globe to go to Six Flags Great Adventure. Not going to happen.
Universal has not established itself as a 'brand'. Sea World has, to some extent, but they don't have non-stop commercials running in the form of their own television networks. So if you want to see fish and penguins, go to your local aquarium or zoo. But back to Universal, people go there if they're a fan of amusement parks. Maybe if they start building dedicated lands, then they will draw more groups. If they do the right thing, they might have people visiting for the Simpsons. But would someone fly from Europe to see a small Springfield town? Of course not. No one goes to Universal just because they're a fan of Shrek or Men in Black. They closest thing they have to that is Harry Potter, and that as definitely worked out for them. But overall, the Disney brand has more world-wide appeal.
*And to draw on a point from above, Disney has non-stop commercials running in the form of two dedicated cable networks, plus ABC/ABC Family. They run cleverly placed non-commercial commercials throughout their kids programming, with updates on parks, and the kids in turn bug their parents to book a trip. It's genius and it works. But again, Walt himself was pulling these shenanigans for decades himself.
*Disney vacations are traditionally viewed as being fairly expensive. Check these boards... people 'save up' to take their families there every few years. So the more they have to sink into their original trip, the less likely they are to have disposable income to take to Sea World, Busch Gardens, or Universal. I've priced cruises lately, and Disney can be nearly triple (or even more) a cruise on any other line. You're paying for the Disney name, and for local high school kids in costumes cruising the seas with you.
*Disney ropes you in with Magic Your Way length-of-stay passes. So if I have tickets to spend every day at Disney while I'm on vacation, why would I as a family waste a few of those expiring passes by venturing off property? Visit Sea World? And lose out on one of my days that I already paid for at WDW? No sir, I'm staying here.
*They offer 'free dining', which we all know is an overpriced joke. I have never paid $100 a day, per person, on food. Plus, the dining plan is only valid on non-discounted rooms. So there's more money sunk into a package, and less incentive or need to leave property to go get food. So as long as I'm already here, they're providing free bus shuttle service around property, AND they're feeding me, I do not need a rental car.
*And they offer my favorite, the Magic Express Handcuffs service. Non-locals don't have to worry about getting lost, international visitors don't have to adjust themselves to driving on our side of the road with a steering wheel on the left side of the car, and it's one less expense they have to worry about with their precious money by not needing to rent a car. Yes, at some point they could very well charge for ME. And they could sell all-day passes for the bus. Same way they could charge for FastPass. But for now, whatever keeps people around, a free trip on a bus is worth far more than the meal they're going to be buying on property.
*And speaking of FastPass, now Disney is setting it up where people can reserve rides months before they even get there. So if Disney allows you to set up and plan out your entire week's vacation, there's no room to impulse visit once you're heading down I4 and see all of the billboards advertising other parks attractions. "Daddy, I want to go ride Aquatica." "Me too, son. but unfortunately daddy already booked our rides and parades. It would really be a shame to miss them. Maybe next time."
*Another point to consider is location. DHS, good or bad, is on property. So whether the park is awful or not, people are going to go. There's no reason NOT to. They're already there. Now, if DHS was located outside Sea World and the other three were all in their current locations on property and along Disney bus routes, then your argument might hold water. But it doesn't. Because they're not. You're not 'drawing' people anywhere, except along a different bus route.
*And finally, there are dummies on these (and other) boards who legitimately refer to Universal as "the other park". And mean it. As if it would be a sacrilege to visit elsewhere that isn't a Disney property. Like they owe Disney something. They wouldn't DARE cheat on Disney. Brilliant. Why go to Miami Beach when I could just go to Blizzard Beach? Uh huh. Riiiight.
So yes, Scott, Disney is way ahead in attendance. We get it. Of course they're bound to outdraw. No one's surprised that Disney is outperforming. The surprise comes that, with everything stacked against the other parks, that they're performing as well as they are. But then, I don't think other parks are trying to or ever expect to beat Disney. Just steal some of their money. Which is working. Disney could give us a park filled with nothing but cr@p and it would still perform well. Oh wait. They did. And it does.
Until Disney gives me a reason NOT to venture outside their parks (and no, the free ME bus service doesn't count), then I won't NOT explore other options. I'm not quite that closed-minded.
Mike, that was a fine post.
Now, try to keep those things in mind when you say:
"So how can a park with so much to offer leave so little to do? The answer there is that what they have to offer isn't a big enough draw and the park has grown stale."
It IS still a far bigger draw than either Universal park. Period. Several million more visitors pass through their gates every year. If there is no draw there for you, don't go.
As for the "small-minded" comment, people like what they like and it isn't subject to your approval. Outside of City Walk, Universal doesn't really appeal to me that much. I don't hate it or anything like that, I just don't choose to attend either of their parks. I've seen them and enjoyed them, but I'm not a big fan. I'm more of a theme park fan than an amusement park fan. And while I understand Universal has made some strides in theming, one themed land surrounded by a somewhat hopped up Six Flags. Yes, Spiderman is incredible, and Transformers looks and sounds like it's really cool, and I'm sure Pooterville is just as awesome as everyone says. And I'd be willing to bet I'll see it all some day in the future and give a glowing report.
But, WDW is still number one in my heart for a variety of reasons. None of which are awaiting your rubber stamp.
The problem that I have is that you and HG seemingly go out of your way to run down WDW. I'm not a miserable person and I don't sit around dreaming up things to complain about or, as is the case with HG, use misinformation to hammer home the point. I'll never forget when she posted a picture of guests lining up outside MK and told everyone those were people standing in line at the TTC.
So yeah, when I see things of that nature I'm going to seem like that uber fan because I will defend WDW. Now, if it's something like the whole umbrella/BOG thing, yes I will join right in on noting the absurdity of it.
And I will not,run down Universal in an attempt to make WDW look superior. I don't understand the need.
WDW does things so well and other areas they need a lot of improvement. Because WDW has a guest mentality of build it and they will come Disney has been allowed to slide in many areas. California guests are far more discriminating and forced Disney to rebuild Cali because they were outspoken with their displeasure. I can find far more to praise about WDW than I dislike but that doesn't mean Disney gets a pass on the things they do wrong. Nor does it give Disney a pass on the attractions that have deteriorated and not properly maintained. I pay little attention to those who melt down when Disney faults are discussed. Likely the same people who don't believe in keeping score at little league games or every child is a winner and everyone gets a trophy. Bluck.
Universal does many things right and others not so much. I am open minded enough to see the beauty and pot holes of both corporations in Orlando. Most can see that, heck, most have actually witnessed all by themselves, WoL, Imagination, Norway, Odyssey are not up to Disney old standards and don't favor WDW maintenance schedule over the last decade or so.
But attendance is a singular indicator in the overall profit of a park as one learns in any given General Business 100 class. Epcot is a huge park that requires an inordinate amount of CMs and maintenance. It has fallen far, to the middle of the pack of the top ten over the years. That isn't something for Epcot to brag about or fans, a couple of E attractions and drunk fests. Even the MK brought in alcohol to the MK, doubt one restaurant will be the end. Do I care, nope, but it doesn't change the fact that WDW has a large focus on Grub & Suds, more so than attractions as of late. The real hurdle for Disney is 3 of their 4 parks are not full day parks any longer and I think that will hurt their profit margins in the Parks over the years, they still have to staff them so maintaining them is where they cut corners.
The real kudos goes to Tokyo parks. In short order those parks have demonstrated what proper maintenance and 21st century attractions can do to climb to the top of the list verses sliding down. Even Paris with all of its problems is holding it's own. The MK is still the major draw but none of the other 3 parks can even compete with Tokyo even with a major earthquake. Universal is drawing guests for a day or two chiseling away at some of WDW profit margin. Because their property is set up more efficiently their overhead is substantially less than Disney's.
So while Uni's attendance is lower they don't waste their money on buses and monorails moving guests all around property. One central hub for parking, City Walk and parks. Disneyland used that same model with their DTD and Cali. Nobody wants to model what Disney did with the MK, 2 modes of transportation from parking your car to the entrance of the MK.
And while the gift of land is wonderful, having the MK and AK so far from Epcot and MGM certainly doesn't help the profit margin. Knowing they are eventually going to have to address the monorails isn't going to help the bottom line no matter what the attendance levels are. As Disney said this week, it about guests spending more money while on property. The band is more profitable to Disney than 21st century attractions or keeping them maintained. There are enough guests to enjoy Epcot drunk fests, even more than the Epcot of yesteryear in all her glory. Liquor is over the top profitable. So it isn't about attendance, attendance isn't the yardstick. It is about what you can get the guests to purchase once they are in the park. Crown Jewel of Epcot, Food & Wine. Crown Jewel of FLE, BoG. At least Disney has a benchmark for the magic band, it isn't the guest experience, it is the additional profit. Get guests to part with more money by making it fun to spend with Magic Band.:wow:
At least Staggs admitted it. Kudos for that. :thumbs:
And it is looking more like the projects will be all about Stars & Cars. Project being able to be somewhat quicker being able to clone some of the Cali projects to keep costs lower.
The idea of Osborne leaving has been swirling for quite a while... the truth of the matter is this... the money and amount of time that area of the park is "under construction" is crazy... unless we consider and agree that people rarely visit that are of the park except for the light show... the other issue becomes the idea of Star Wars land going over there... Im not sure that it could feasibly sit in such a small footprint... considering it is very possible to expand outward and not use the preexisting park footprint... for Star Wars land I can see the Backlot Express going away and Star Tours becoming the start of the rumored land...
http://screamscape.com/assets/images/icon_STOP.gifGeneral Park News - (7/18/13) The rumored removal of the Osbourne [sic] Family Christmas Lights from the Studios may end up being Epcotís gain. The latest rumors around the resort claim that there may be a plan to salvage them for a new Christmas light display program for Epcot. Where exactly they may go is still a subject for discussion as some rumors talk about putting them in Future World while others talk about creating fun theme displays at the various country pavilions around World Showcase instead. I vote for the later option myself, along with finding a way to plus the long pathway between the two halves of the park which lost itís own Christmas light display pieces a few years ago.