My Disney World Presidential Platform

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In the spirit of political season (anyone else as sick of those ads as I am?), I thought long and hard about what topic I would discuss in this post.  Ultimately, I decided that it is time to lay out an important decision for all of you.  I’ve decided to run for President…of Walt Disney World.  As such, I have a simple five point plan for how to make Walt Disney World the best it can be, now and forever! 

 Step 1 – Change the 180 day window – Disney requires you now to think about where you want to eat 6 months before your visit.  That’s un-American.  We are a fly by the seat of our pants sort of culture.  I actually enjoyed the 90 day window, because then, I had much more concrete plans and could schedule my dining more appropriately.  How many of you have called 120 days out from your trip, and were unable to get half the restaurants you wanted?  Change it, I say!

Step 2 – Make the special events more special – We’ve all seen it.  The Food and Wine Festival at Epcot has changed significantly over the last three years.  Culinary and wine demonstrations got an upcharge, and the other events have declined.  During Christmas time, decorations seem to have shrunk, and special touches like the Lights of Winter at Epcot have gone away.  When I’m President, we’ll expand these festivals and add more.  How about a special Valentine’s week event?  Or more things like Summer Nightastic?  

Step 3 – Re-open Pleasure Island – Ladies and gentlemen, over two full years ago, Walt Disney World shut down one of my favorite things on property.  Pleasure Island was a revelation for adult visitors to the World.  The Adventurer’s Club was one of my favorites, but the Comedy Warehouse and the dance clubs were loads of fun, too.  That decision was a mistake.  Under my administration, Pleasure Island would re-open, with dance clubs, great restaurants and fun entertainment venues.

 Step 4 – Reveal the classified information – We all know that there are two big things that Disney has planned for Walt Disney World – the expansion of Fantasyland and the mysterious NextGen project.  If you’re a regular Betamouse listener (a fabulous podcast, by the way) you know that NextGen is about enhancing the use of technology in the parks to update the ways guests tour or use the parks.  And we all know that the Fantasyland expansion will feature some things like a Little Mermaid ride and the new Gaston’s restaurant, but what else?  As President, I will let the public know what is coming, and give you the ability to make plans.

 Step 5 – Continue spreading the magic – It’s not all negative in this campaign.  Walt Disney World does an incredible job of creating magical memories and vacations for millions of guests each year.  This is the reason why so many people flock there each and ever year.  There is no need to change that.  Keep the magic coming, whether through little things like characters riding rides with kids or big things like the new Magical Memories campaign. 

 So that’s my platform, ladies and gentlemen.  I say that a vote for me is a vote for a better, stronger Walt Disney World.  But I am open to suggestions.  What would you like to see in my platform?  What things do you want expanded or improved at Walt Disney World?

Thanks to Tom Bricker for the Lights of Winter photo!  Click on the photo to see more of his awesome pictures.

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Posted on November 1, 2010

16 Responses to “My Disney World Presidential Platform”

  • You’ve got my vote! Except for point number 1. Those of us who have the passion and determination (but not the cash!) deserve some kind of edge. You turn up at rope drop and the world is there. You stake out your firework spot hours in advance and a family of back-kickers bully you out of it.

    All we really have left is the ability to get the ADRs we want, because we’re the ones who scheme and plan and look forward to our trips for months and months (rather than just winging it at the last minute); getting up at the crack of dawn to get just what we want.

    Also, let’s face it – we know where we want to eat 6 months in advance.

    • by Debbie from Chicago on November 1, 2010, at 3:46 pm EDT

      I’m with you on the ADRs why should everyone have to scramble at 90 days when there are planners like us who would like the opportunity not to have to worry for an extra 90 days.:)

      • Yeah, I totally understand obsessive planning, after all, I write for this site! But my problem is that even obsessively planning like I do, it’s hard for me to eat at places like Ohana, Le Cellier or others that I really enjoy. It doesn’t ruin my vacation, but Disney has two options to relieve that problem – raise the quality of other dining establishments so that they are the equal of the high volume ones, or make it easier to get an ADR. You see which path I chose.

        • Raise the quality, add more “different” character dining and keep the 180 day window.

        • I don’t see where having a 90 day window would make it any easier to get an ADR at Le Cellier or ‘Ohana. It seems to me it would be just as much of a pain either way. I didn’t have any problems getting my ADR for ‘Ohana for December 4. It was a real zoo getting a Candelight Dining Package for Le Cellier, but we did manage it. And those weren’t opened up until waaaaay after the 180 day mark…closer to 90 I think. I really only think I was able to secure the CP is that the ADR’s for those opened up for all of the dates and not just one at a time. My husband and I did the atomic clock UG plan x’s 2 to secure that one, getting up VERY early and using two phone lines to dial in that morning.

          I guess my point is that supply remains the same no matter what the reservation window is, and demand would remain high too. Therefore, I just don’t see how it would be easier to get an ADR on any given date. I do realize that advance planners have a marginal advantage, but ressies do open up as time goes by. If I made plans for a last minute trip, then I would just accept the need to be diligent in checking for ADR’s, and flexible in trying new things. There are pros and cons to both types of trips, but any trip to WDW is better thatn no trip. I have never done this, but I would be reasonably happy with all counter service meals on a trip. :)

          • I also wanted to add that last year I had a 90 day window, and this year 180 days, and my reservations experience has been very similar. I think that no matter when you set the ADR window, after a few days have gone by the popular restaurants will still be gone. There are just more people who want to eat in those restauarants than they can accommodate.

            And an aside…whoa, that is a LOT of bacon on your plate my friend! ;)

          • I don’t necessarily disagree, but I think what happens is that there becomes less incentive for Disney to improve restaurants outside of those top tier restaurants, and non-hardcore fans have less chance to try them with an 180 day window.

            Since park hours change often, as we’ve seen, the closer in the window is, the better off guests will be. I guess that’s my point.

  • Ryan,

    You are very generous on your #1. I have stumped for no greater than a 14 day window for popular establishments and 48 hours for not-so-popular.

    Not only are fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants vacationers negatively impacted by the 180 day window (our October trip was booked in late August/early Sept and that was the most time I’ve ever had between booking and travel day) but it also really negatively impacts the locals.

    Disneyland does not have these problems. With the exception of the Blue Bayou you don’t need to make advanced plans with most of their establishments and many time get seats the day of unless there is some special event going on.

    I think it’s that way because they embrace their locals as the lifeblood that keeps them alive during the slow times.

    While WDW never seems to put as much concern in embracing their locals they really should.

    • Here’s where I would disagree with you. WDW makes the vast majority of its revenue from non-locals. It should not necessarily cater to locals, but I could definitely see the idea of releasing reservations on a local based web system, though.

      Disneyland does do most of its business from locals, so it’s always easy to get in a restaurant. Most of the people coming are only there for a few hours and choose to save money by not eating a sit down meal.

      • Ryan,

        My point is that I believe that Walt Disney World is short-sighted in not embracing their locals to the extent Disneyland has. I believe John Frost (The Disney Blog) has mentioned this on multiple occasions.

        But, I have been an opponent of the Disney Dining Plan since it’s widespread inception. It used to be a product that few people knew about and was reserved for special Magic Your Way packages (Ultimate, Platinum, etc).

        The first year that Free Dining was offered, I told my wife, “There went the neighborhood” and I was right.

        Walt Disney World dining of today cannot hold a candle to that of 5 years ago. Multipage menus have been reduced, in some cases, to a simple front/back menu. It has single-handedly struct down one of the biggest reasons we chose Walt Disney World over Disneyland

  • I would be a supporter of most of your platform. I am all for shrinking the window, keeping things special, reopening Adventurers Club, and spreading magic. I am not one that wants to know exactly what I am going to get before I get it though. I don’t let my kids know what they are getting for Christmas so they can plan in advance what toys they are going to play with first.

    • I can totally respect that. I’m not advocating telling us everything, but giving us some kind of info would be a good idea. The more you share with the public, the easier it is to raise/lower expectations. The less info we have, the higher the expectations go, and the worse the publicity. I’ll refer you to the Magical Memories announcement, which was widely panned, because Disney fans had such huge expectations for what would be announced.

      • I agree with what you are saying. The “Magical Memories” announcement was a big of FAIL because of the fact they kept teasing it as a major announcement, something big, etc. If they had just told everyone to tune in to find out about the next year’s exciting campaign, I think things would’ve gone down better in the community.

        But, as far as, technology advancements and stuff. I doubt you’ll ever get them to tip their cards too much because if they do, they are locked in. The fanboys will not let them back out of an announced change if for some reason (logistics, cost, etc) they cannot do it

  • Totally agree on Step 2. Bring back Lights of Winter, or something like it! And some kind of Valentine’s Day celebration? Love that idea!

  • Step 1: NOOOOOOOO. We hated 90 days. Even at the beginning of our 90 day window, it was hard to impossible to get most of the reservations we wanted. We celebrated when 180 came back, and things have been much better since.

    Step 2: Completely agree. Lights of Winter needs to return YESTERDAY.

    Step 3: I’m not really a fan of the types of establishement which were found in Pleasure Island, but I understand why many miss it. Bring it back!

    Step 4: I’m torn here. I like knowing as soon as I can, but I hate being disappointed by information which was revealed too early and changes.

    Step 5: Nothing to disagree with there! It’s the reason we all keep going back.

  • If I may make a point of order Mr. Kilpatrick…
    I will be glad to contribute to your campaign and would like to add a few improvements for your consideration.

    1. expand the monorail system. I was told that a mile of monorail track would cost a million dollars. To add 30 miles would cost 30 million dollars. How much are they spending on more new hotels to house more people? The cost would be effective considering the increased number of guests that will need to be transported. Adding stops to Downtown disney, Animal Kingdom, and, Hollywood Studio would help move guests more efficently.

    2. Since the skyway in the Magic Kingdom has been eliminated. I would suggest expanding the “WEDway people mover from Tommorrow land all the way around to Thunder Mountain, with stops in different stations connected to shops. This again would help move guests around the park and into shops at the same time.

    Good luck on your campaign!!