Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are You A Disney Hater?

I'm asking the question because I was reading this article about something asking parents if they are a Disney hater, and why.

Now, I'm not asking for a rant and unjustified psychological ramblings here. I truly want to know, especially if you are a Disney hater but you are reading a Disney blog by someone who likes Disney theme parks. I know many people do not like Disney because it is mega corporation. But that isn't a Disney hater, it is a "mega corporation hater".

I'm reading some of the comments to the article, and most of them really have nothing to do with Disney at all! For example, this by by "anne":

Disney-hater seems a little strong too me. I have nevern been to Disney. Never had the desired. My daughter hasnever been to Disney. It just seems to me that there are better things to spend my money on and more interesting places to go.

I also see Disney – and any other amusement park located in the South – as a public health hazard. All that standing around in lines on hot blacktop. No thank you!

Not a Disney hater, not just our cup of tea. Perhaps you are over-reacting?

Er... two things:

1. This person just doesn't like amusement park.

2. Standing in line on hot blacktop? Where exactly does one do this in a Disney theme park?

The criticism here has nothing to do specifically with Disney theme park.

This one is from "CPT":

I’m a ‘crowd hater’ and it’s hard to visit Disney without encountering massive crowds. Even a light-crowd day is too much for me.

Again, this is not specific to Disney. This person would also hate 4th of July parade, Tastes of Chicago, going to museums during peak hours, etc.. etc.

And this one is from "Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp", and it's a long one:

I’m a TOTAL disney theme park hater! Can’t stand it. And it comes down to one concept..and that’s value. Most know I live in the great state of Colorado….so let me give you a run down. When my son was three, we took a family trip to Maui, stayed in a condo on the beach, grilled burgers and dogs as the sun set on the horizon. I got to hang with my son during all this and the only distraction was the sound of the waves crashing on the beach so loud we had to speak up. We could see whales breaching the ocean every single day. Sand castles, boogie boarding, snorkling, chasing sea turtles all included.

Fast forward to the following year, I took my son to Orlando to visit my best friend. The flight was a little bit longer because we had a layover in Dallas/Ft Worth and cost was the same. Fortunately, I have a very good friend who lives there and we crashed at his house. I looked into staying at Disney, and it was 30% more than the beachside condo in Maui….and it was just a hotel room. All for the privilege of staying in the magic kingdom. Exit the first ride of the day, Pirates of the Carribean, directly into the gift shop where the kid found exactly the one prize we told him he could get from Disney and for the rest of the day kept asking to make sure we could go get the prize. Spent most of the day in lines in oppressive humid and hot weather. And my god, the food there….to describe it as edible would be giving it way too much credit.

Make no mistake, Disney is a casino for kids. A grand marketing dynasty designed to dull the senses and make it that much easier to separate parents from their money in the name of their kids. Comparatively speaking, there is no value in it for me and my family. And that’s the rub…there is so little value in it, to me it feels like a giant sham. Do you think those fast passes are for visitors convenience? Guess what you’re not doing when you’re stuck in line? Spending money elsewhere, that’s what.

Apparently my kid isn’t too impressed with it either. After we left, we asked what his favorite part of our Florida trip was and he said going out on my buddies boat on the lake and getting towed in an innertube. We asked what he liked about Disney, and he said the rides were lots of fun but he really didn’t like waiting in line so much and would have rather been swimming in my buddies pool. then we asked him where we should go on our next vacation and he said Hawaii. he wants to go boogie boarding again. Don’t have much of a wait to catch the next wave.

I understand why kids gets suckered into it……for the life of me, I can’t understand why adults do though. I went to Disneyland a lot as a kid and loved it. But I also lived in Europe as a kid too…and even at a young age, I recognized that gazing upon the Matterhorn in Anaheim was a very, very cheap substitute for standing at the foothills of the actual Matterhorn in Switzerland. I’m sure my kid will ask to go back to Disney, but from experience, I know I’m robbing him of really valuable experiences by taking him there when I can use the resources to take him somewhere like Yellowstone. And it doesn’t have to be an outdoorsy thing either. NYC is in the future.

What I’m saying is that Disney is devoid of culture and opportunities to learn something that will stick. TWG…for someone so concerned about summer brain drain, and the value of education and experience….I’m surprised you’re so pro-Disney.

The world is an epic novel, and to take your kids to Disney is like handing them a comic book.

But the complaints here isn't really specific to Disney. Substitute "Universal Studios" or "Sea World", and the complaints are still valid. In fact, I'll even go further and claim that there's more "learning" and "educational" experience at WDW than at most other theme parks (have you walked into Innoventions lately?).

The complaints about "long lines" and "hot weather" isn't unique to Disney theme parks. Go in the first week of December, or early February. That negates both the long lines and hot weather arguments. The argument that it is expensive is rather strange for someone who just went to Maui. Trying buying food and basic necessity in Maui! And I don't know what accommodations they were looking at for it to be ".. 30% more than the beachside condo in Maui.. " The presidential suite at Grand Floridian?

And oh, you can say to me "but ZapperZ, if you go off the tourist traps in Maui, you can get stuff cheaper!" BINGO! You can do the same at WDW as well! The key here is that, like any other vacations, you have to do a bit of planning, especially if you are not familiar with WDW and with the area! This isn't unique to Disney! It is what we all should do when we go to some place unfamiliar! If you want cheap accommodation, you have to look for it. The newly-opened Holiday Inn on Hotel Plaza Blvd. has gotten rave reviews, and you can stay there for less than $100/night! Don't tell me you can get something that cheap in a beach side condo in Maui! If you don't know where to eat and go with the masses, you'll get the same poor-quality food as they do!

But Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp was done:

Don’t even get me started on Pooh. Am I the only one who thinks that is just a metaphor of the most dysfunctional family ever? Don’t we all have an Eeeyore in the family. That one annoying, whiny, negative cousin, sibling, aunt or uncle who never finds the good in anything and just complains about the state of their world, but won’t actually do anything to change it? And that freaking owl who is SOOOO much smarter than everyone else, but would never dare to actually teach Pooh and the others how to read because then he’d lose his status as “the smart one”. And rabbit is just the ODC relative who obsesses over his garden and has to wash his hands 100 times a day and lock the front door deadbolt six times repeatedly before he can go to bed. And Pooh….where do I start with Pooh. The well intentioned….utterly STUPID kid of the family who everyone hopes will learn how to fix lawn mowers some day so that the rest of the family won’t have to support him into adulthood.

While Disney certainly perpetuates the Pooh franchise, this isn't a Disney invention! So the complaint on the nature of the character should not be a Disney issue. The person hates something that is a Disney franchise, but not an invention of Disney. That's like hating Florida but blaming it on Disney.

But here, this person got more specific:

@HB….I think Disney particulary rankles me because most of the amusement parks I have experience with don’t promote the “more, more, more” frame of mind like Disney. Disney is about making it a vacation, not a day at the park. Stay longer, let us make sure that you don’t have to go anywhere or do anything that we don’t have our pockets line with seems to be their business plan. They really remind me of the mob. And more power to them…it’s a great business model. I’m not anti capitalism. I just take offense to overpriced under perfomance.

OK, NOW we're getting somewhere, and getting Disney-specific.

Sure, if you don't like the idea of a "resort" rather than just a single location, that's fine! But you have to first admit that this is more of a personal preference rather than based on something rational. I mean, I like the color purple, and you like the color orange. What's wrong with that? There are many who prefer an all-in-one resort where they don't have to go anywhere else. It the complete vacation.

And note that Disney isn't unique in this. Go to the Atlantis in the Bahamas, or any of the large Caribbean resorts. They try to do this as well, i.e. turning it into a "vacation". Universal Studios in Orlando is also following Disney's model by creating two theme parks and resort to keep guests on property longer.

There are many websites and many blog entries that teach you how to do Disney on the cheap. There are no more excuses for complaining that Disney is expensive. If you find it expensive, chances are you didn't do your homework. ANY vacation and ANY purchases can be expensive if you didn't at least invest some effort into getting a good deal.

I can fully understand giving kids a wide variety of experiences. I definitely do not tell people they should go to Disney theme parks exclusively and not do anything else. That's silly. But again, this isn't Disney specific. I also don't tell people to go to a Six Flags theme parks repeatedly and do nothing else. In other words, don't go to one specific locations all the time and nothing else. This isn't just confined to Disney. One can say the same thing about Las Vegas, Colonial Williamsburg, etc.

In other words, I still don't see any rational Disney-specific reason to hate Disney theme parks.


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