IS DISNEY BEGINNING TO LOSE IT?
In the 1980's we saw the demise of one the largest corporations in world occur. In the 60's, General Motors was at the top of its game. Powerful, creative cars were hitting show room floors & moving out quickly. Then the 1970's came & a huge oil embargo, that left the V8 gas guzzlers obsolete. In their quest to make smaller or fuel efficient cars, GM suffered through bad quality & uninspired cars. In the beginning of the 1980's, 66% of all cars sold in the U.S. were from the General, by the end, GM was suffering from bad press, bad products, & decreased car sales. Ford Motors, Toyota, Honda, were beginning to think outside the box & making more imaginative cars. They got aggressive, in marketing & technology, & listening to what consumers were saying, while GM took them for granted. Now GM is making great cars, but they are not the mega car giant they once were. Now let's take that to Disney Parks, in particular Disneyworld.
Disneyworld is the most visited theme park in the world. But in March of 2020, it all came to a stop due to the Coronavirus. Before COVID, Disney could do no wrong. Disney Springs opened, the Skyliner opened, Galaxy Edge opened. It was all good news. Then COVID came. Since reopening, Disneyworld has made gaffs, bad predictions, bad press & not really being in touch with Disney fans. If not for Marvel movies, & Encanto, it could have been a disastrous couple of years. Now first of all, the turnstiles at the parks are not hurting and Disney is posting record profits from them, but there is more than what we see. Bad decisions that are costing visitors more while giving less could make WDW experience a GM like fall. Things that used to be free, like Fastpass, now costs as Lightening Lane +. Magic bands are no longer free for resort guests. Some of Disney's most sought after rides are breaking down regularly. Not to mention, they can't get that darn yeti to work. They are limiting the amount of visitors that can visit each park & with the rise of tickets prices, food prices, and merchandise prices, Disney is quickly pricing themselves out middle class & into the super rich. They are actually giving up quantity but trying to get more money from the people who visit. They have even limited annual passes. Now, shows are beginning to slowly come back, which I'm sure has to do with getting performers, the nighttime fireworks are back. Now if we could get Spectromagic or Main Street Electrical Parade back, we really be in business. There is no more Magical Express, a shuttle service that took resorts guests from Orlando International Airport, to WDW, and anyone staying at a resort, now has to pay a fee to have their car parked there. Disney just backed out of the new railway from Miami, through Orlando, & to Tampa. Supposedly because Universal was getting heavily involved. Speaking of Universal Orlando, they are making all the right moves. Since reopening because of the pandemic, Universal has given visitors what they want, & not gouging them for everything. Even the food quality at its quick service restaurants is better. Universal seemed to bounce back with a healthier attitude of lets please our guests rather rake them over the coals. Now I will say some of Disney's problems are financial, & some things are affected by that. For instance, buying Fox cost Disney a lot of money, then on top of that they had to pay off Fox's debt. Disney+ subscriptions are leveling off, which is not good news with all the high priced shows they are producing. Losing Reedy Creek, could hurt Disney in that they lost their ability to act more freely. But I will say if Disney doesn't want to fall into the GM trap, they should think of their customers. Give them more, so they don't think they are being gouged. To me it's simple mathematics to try and get $200 from 10,000 more people that $1000 from 1. Give people some kind of value again, then give them that Disney magic. If not, Disney is going to fall prey to the new aggressive kid in town. Universal is poised to take some serious market share from Disney, & go from being a place you go to on your Disney trip to a destination place where you may go to a Disney park while your are in Orlando.. That storm is coming, will Disney have the brains to weather it remains to be seen. Right now, I'm seriously worried about Disney though. It seems like everything is going to make shareholders happy, (BTW, Disney Shares are drastically down), & not giving special Disney magic. I think they will get it turned around. Hopefully sooner than later.