Why Walt Disney World Must Change

Fantasyland / Rapunzel's TowerWhy Walt Disney World must change (and why I try to be understanding).

I’ve been reading the official announcements from Disney, listening to speculation, rumor, and predictions about the future of Disney parks, and watching the results of those announcements and prognostications explode on various social media platforms.  If it’s not anger and outrage over the replacement of Maelstrom with a Frozen attraction, it’s disappointment and heartbreak about the change in World Showcase entertainment, most notably the loss of Off Kilter (to be replaced by a lumberjack show of some sort).  It’s made me take a step back and wonder WHY are people so outraged by change? – Specifically, what would happen to our beloved Disney Parks if no changes ever occurred?  Let’s talk about that in a minute.

First, I want you to ask yourself this question:  Is there one specific ride or attraction in eachDisney's Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror park that, if it were closed forever, would keep you from returning to Walt Disney World?  As much as I love my top 5 or 6 favorites, the answer for me is no.  That wouldn’t keep me away.

So what has to stay constant?  What will keep me returning once or twice a year long into the future?  For me it’s these five things:

1. World Class Service – The Disney way of treating guests is still among the best on Earth.

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life2. Choices – There’s a resort, recreation, restaurant, ride and attraction for every taste and style.  Where else in the world can you find so many options in one place?

3. Convenience – I get off the plane and onto the Magical Express.  Head straight to my resort then on to the park of my choice courtesy of Disney transportation.  There are dining, shopping, and entertainment choices virtually everywhere.  My Disney Experience, Magic Bands, Memory Maker, FastPass+, online check-in are, when working properly, all about added convenience.

4. Innovation – Disney’s Imagineers have brought us cutting edge theme park effects and technology since Disneyland opened in 1955.  Through the addition of interactive queues, the integration of modern updates to classic rides like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, and the continued introduction of new ride technology means that our children and grandchildren will be as captivated by Disney theme parks as we are.Sitting Area, Studio at Disney's Old Key West

5. Relative Value – I still feel like I get my money’s worth.  I do take advantage of money saving options when and where I can and overall, I feel like there’s no better place for a family vacation.  I can tell you this – no place else compares to the fun we’ve had at Walt Disney World.  We’re paying to be in the Disney Bubble and it’s worth it.

“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” – Walt Disney

Back to the outrage.  Let’s imagine that everything stays as is.  Same technology, same resorts, Malestrom / Norway Pavilion / World Showcasesame entertainment, same rides and attractions.  Off Kilter gets to stay at Epcot indefinitely, Mr. Toad is still alive and well, interactive queues never get installed, Snow White still goes on her Scary Adventure, Spectro Magic rolls on night after night, and the Polynesian lobby maintains it’s original form.  I know, right?  Wouldn’t it be awesome to have some of our most-missed rides and attractions back where they belong?  For a minute, maybe, BUT – what keeps Walt Disney World the most beloved family vacation destination in the world is NOT through efforts by the Disney Company to try to maintain things as they are.  Guests return for the familiar magic, but also for the new, different, and innovative entertainment Disney is known for.  To remain unchanged is to become vulnerable.  The competition among theme parks for our vacation dollars is fierce.  The “been there, done that” mentality is alive and well – maybe not among us, the Disney diehards, but the generalMagic Bands at Walt Disney World population is susceptible to the draw of the newest, greatest vacation entertainment.  If they can’t find it in a Disney park, they can and will look (and spend) elsewhere.

Change is difficult – never more so than when we have no say about what is being changed.  We’re not involved in the decision making process, we don’t know the motivation behind every change, we didn’t get a vote.  We know what changes we’d like to see, but when changes are announced, they’re not what we would have chosen.  I like to believe that it is not always 100% about stock prices and corporate profits.  I’m also keeping an open mind about things like Frozen in the Norway Pavilion and Pandora in Animal Kingdom.  Until I see what they’re actually like, I can’t make a decision on whether they’re good or bad for their particular locations.  I’m excited about new and different experiences for our future vacations at Disney World.  I’ll always be sad and a little broken hearted when a familiar attraction makes way for something different, but most of the time, especially with Disney, different actually turns out to be better.

Now, if they’d just do something for poor Future World!

Your turn – share your thoughts on the upcoming changes at Walt Disney World.

 

 

 

 

What is The Disney Bubble?

IMG_3280The Disney Bubble – it’s a very real phenomenon (doo-doo-do-doo-doo).  In fact, I’d ague that for most “Disney people”, The Disney Bubble is an integral, vital part of the Disney vacation experience and one of the primary reasons we feel compelled to return to Walt Disney World time and time again.

For those of you who haven’t yet experienced it, didn’t notice it, or haven’t known what to call it, the Disney Bubble is the total immersion in the magic of Disney upon arrival at Walt Disney World.  You enter the Bubble and everything changes – the worries, stresses, and cares of everything outside the Bubble disappear.  The weight of adult responsibilities – mortgage, bills, car repairs, office politics, home maintenance, kids’ homework, activity schedules, and so on just lifts away.  Once that weight is gone, you feel better, younger, lighter, happier.

For Disney Bubble addicts, once we leave the Bubble, one of our primary concerns is always IMG_2025when and how we will get back in.  This is why count-down calendars/calculators are so popular with us.  There have been particularly stressful times in our life when knowing that if we could just make it through the next XX # of days, we could get back to Disney and the Bubble would make everything seem better.  People that, sadly, have never experienced this most amazing aspect of Disney travel are the ones we can count on to be perplexed at our propensity to vacation at Walt Disney World over and over.  They ask, “Where are you going on vacation?” We answer, “Walt Disney World” and they look at us in confused pity and say, “AGAIN?”  If you haven’t felt the Bubble’s power, you cannot understand its draw.

My personal Bubble Testimony:  There were a few years there along the way when Megan was literally dancing 7-days-a-week and Joseph was involved in martial arts as a teacher, student, and national competitor.  We joked that people thought Raymond and I had gotten a divorce because we were never seen in the same place at the same IMG_1194time.  Every day’s schedule was based on a “divide and conquer” strategy.  Walt Disney World and the Disney Bubble helped our family reconnect, relax together, eat together and enjoy each other’s company while having fun – simple, old-fashioned good times.  Even looking forward to a Disney vacation gave us a common focus when our day-to-day lives were going in many different directions.

If you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation and haven’t yet embraced the Disney Bubble phenomenon, here are my tips for making the most of the experience:

  1. Stay on Property.  Whether you’re a value, moderate, or deluxe resort fan.  This is an integral part of the Bubble Effect.
  2. Use Disney Transportation.  If you fly to Orlando, use Disney’s Magical Express to get to the IMG_2614resort from the airport.  It’s included in your resort stay and Disney will get your bags from the airport for you.  Just walk off the plane and onto the motor coach.  It’s literally that easy to get right into the Bubble!  If you drive to Orlando, park your car at the resort and leave it there until it’s time to go home.  Bus, boat, and monorail are important parts of the Disney Bubble – let Disney transportation take care of you and eliminate the worry of driving directions, navigation, and parking.
  3. If you must visit other, non-Disney theme parks which shall remain unnamed in this (and every) post, do not leave the Bubble to do it.  Try to stay at Walt Disney World just for Disney.  Go stay somewhere else if visiting other Orlando attractions.  Think of it like this – coming and going from the Bubble diminishes its power.  If you can, stay on Walt Disney World property either before or after visiting those other places.  If I were you, I’d save the best for last, of course.

IMG_1170Do you believe in the Disney Bubble?  I have a theory that some people are, tragically, immune to the power of the Bubble.  We refer to these unlucky souls as “non-Disney people”.  I don’t know where their happy place is, but it is not at Walt Disney World.  Probably we shouldn’t try to convert them – it wouldn’t work anyway…plus, it leaves more room in the Disney Bubble for the rest of us.

 

What are your thoughts about the Disney Bubble?