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This is my inaugural entry to The Stump, so I thought about writing first about how I have seen the Walt Disney World's condition deteriorate over the years.  When I picked up this morning's Orlando Sentinel from my driveway, there was a front page story (free registration required) on how maintenance and upkeep has suffered.  How timely.

I agree with the sentiment of the article and I feel for the employees who have to defend the company on this issue.  They are trying to do a job with inadequate resources.  The article only addressed Magic Kingdom maintenance, but it is easy to see everywhere: Downtown Disney, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, and even at the much newer Animal Kingdom.  Interior maintenance has fallen as well.  Any park visitor will end up visiting the toilets frequently as they drink and snack their way through their visit.  While the article showed a temporarily dirty toilet stall, the everyday repair work being done is slipshod.  There are way too many examples of poor or missing caulking and grout, broken tiles, worn carpet, etc.

This reflects poorly on those who are doing the maintenance.  It is not hard to lay down a smooth bead of caulk, but it is much easier to lay down a bad one if you really do not care or are incompetent.  Accepting this type of performance indicates that it is acceptable to those who are responsible for its performance or that they are not checking to see it was done correctly.

The end result is an indication that there has been a change in the maintenance philosophy over the years.  In cutting costs, Disney saved in the short term.  They probably plumped up their profits by a couple of million dollars for a couple of years to support a rising stock price and more investment.  Recovering to the earlier standards will likely cost more than routine maintenance would have, assuming there is any interest is resuming those standards.  I do not think that interest is present any longer in Disney management.  They will profess otherwise, but talk is cheap.  Their actions (or lack thereof) say everything that is needed to hear.

Disney's glitter is gone and the aura is faded.  The cause is driven from the top down.  Unless there are some dynamic changes, the loss of confidence in their product will continue.  I and my family will likely remain annual passholders, but each trip to a Disney park will be a little sadder and with fewer and fewer perks for our faithfulness.

If you are thinking of coming to Orlando to visit Disney, be aware of another article in today's Sentinel.  He are the opening sentences.  “Walt Disney World announced its biggest ticket-price increase in at least 15 years on Friday, another signal that the region's flagging tourism-based economy is on the mend.  On Sunday, the price of a one-day, one-park adult admission will increase $2.75 to $54.75, before tax, restoring Disney's title as owner of Central Florida's most expensive collection of theme parks.”

Go figure.

Disney Trivia:  Did you know that if you are coming to Disney for seven or more days within a calendar year it can be cheaper to get an annual pass?  Here's the math, not including tax:

  • Adult annual pass = $369
  • Adult one-day pass = $54.75
  • $369 / $54.75 = 6.7

The cost per day starts dropping after seven days, assuming these prices stay the same.  You also need to compare the per day cost of the Park Hopper passes, but you get the idea.  You also get free parking (saving another $7$8 per day (price increase!)) with the annual pass and lunchtime food discounts in the parks as well as other perks.  Check it out.

Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2004 11:53 AM The Stump | Back to top

Comments on this post: Disney's Wear and Tear

# re: Disney's Wear and Tear
Requesting Gravatar...
i hat you damb peole.
Left by mekkid on Apr 08, 2006 10:43 PM

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