Walt Disney World theme parks face an onslaught of criticism. It’s the type of external evaluation that all monopolies face.
Sure, you may not think of Disney as a monopoly in the theme park industry, but the market share data tells the story.
So, people often hate on Disney since it’s a big target. Are these criticisms fair, though? Let’s evaluate some frequent Disney complaints.
Disney Isn’t for Adults
Let’s start with the one I hear the most. It usually comes from people who don’t pay much attention to Disney.
The argument is that adults shouldn’t go to Disney unless they’re parents with children under a certain age. And that age changes depending on the person.
In other words, some critics assert Disney is best for those 12 and under, while others say that as long as you have a minor, it’s okay.
No matter the specific criteria, the philosophy obsesses on a kind of gatekeeping. Some people dismiss Disney as just for kids.
I have no idea why. I mean I wrote this article a while back. And here’s our own Kristin Sabol listing several adult-friendly activities.
Despite the perception of folks who don’t keep up with Disney, the reality is that it’s an ideal destination for adults. Really, it’s like Vegas without the gambling.
Grown-ups can hole up here for a week or two and find something new to do every day.
So, this complaint is utter nonsense. Like, it’s not even close to accurate.
Must Use Phones Too Much
I’ve been on the fence about this argument for a while. For many years, I’d watch older Disney fans bemoan the evolving nature of park visits.
They’d vent, “Put down your phone! You’re at Disney!” Part of me reflexively thought, “Okay, Boomer.” However, the Disney historian in me saw the point.
Imagineers expend so many resources perfecting each attraction. When you enter a line queue, your adventure begins.
Seriously, some of the storytelling in Disney lines rivals the attractions themselves. For example, take a look at Frozen Ever After! You had no idea all that was happening, did you?
That’s just within the waiting areas. The architecture at Disney demonstrates dazzling forethought.
In one instance, a building at Disney’s Hollywood Studios appears different when you view it from EPCOT.
Yes, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s backside displays a stark contrast to its front so that it matches the Mexico pavilion’s backdrop.
You’ll miss such touches when you’re too busy using your phone at the parks. So, I get the criticism.
However, Disney has introduced so much functionality on the My Disney Experience app that you MUST use it.
I mean, Disney Genie, the Tips Board, and Mobile Ordering alone justify frequent usage of your phone.
Is that what Walt Disney intended? Of course not. Cellular phone technology wouldn’t even exist until years after his death. That first call happened in 1973.
Computers were still the size of offices back then. Nobody could have anticipated the emerging technologies to marry as such a helpful device.
For this reason, I don’t blame anyone for saying that people use their phones too much at Disney. But that’s the price of innovation.
This refrain seems to grow louder each year. People claim that Disney has priced out the everyday person with its frequent cost increases.
Nobody is wrong about the cost of business going up each year. So, Disney doesn’t help itself when it brags that customers are paying 40 percent more than in 2019.
Obviously, that statement doesn’t apply to everyone. Some whales jack up the average price with their VIP purchases, visits to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, and so forth.
Still, the resounding criticism of Disney involves pricing. Disney would counter this evaluation in three ways.
The first is that inflation has increased dramatically since 2016. A dollar then is the equivalent of $1.20 today. That’s 20 percent inflation in more than five years.
This trend has accelerated due to the pandemic and its associated supply chain issues.
Also, Disney’s associated costs of doing business have absorbed the brunt of this inflation. So, you’re feeling it as a customer, while the company suffers the same way.
You may believe that it’s impacting you more, but the likely pandemic didn’t hurt you financially like it did to Disney.
The company expected lost revenue from movie releases, theme park operations, and live sports advertising. So, it needs a cash influx.
Finally, Disney’s a business. The purpose of businesses is to make money.
So yes, Disney has grown more expensive recently. You’re right to be annoyed by that. As a frequent customer, I definitely am.
However, we should all understand why. And the attendance surge in 2022 demonstrates that price increases aren’t keeping people away from the parks.
Too Much Change
I’ve run a movie website for more than 20 years. So when Disney closed The Great Movie Ride, that felt like a personal attack on me.
Similarly, some of my fondest theme park memories involve Splash Mountain, and Spaceship Earth’s my favorite ride.
The thought of Disney changing these attractions wounds my soul. But I get it.
Disney must update frequently to provide guests with timely, satisfying experiences. Otherwise, people will balk at those aforementioned rising prices.
For this reason, I grudgingly accept how Disney does business. Yes, I desperately want the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights to return.
However, I know that Disney has used this space to add new functionality on the slow side of the park.
Streets of America had to die so that Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge could live.
We’re witnessing the same thing at Disneyland, where changes at Downtown Disney and Mickey’s Toontown will have far-reaching implications on future visits.
Something almost always must close for a new project to start at that park. This is because Disney simply doesn’t own enough land there.
So, this complaint hits everyone in the feels. Still, Disney doesn’t have much choice.
I think the last three topics we’ve discussed here play out the same way.
The critiques are primarily based in fact, but Disney is still doing the right thing, even when it’s painful.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! Want to go to Disney? For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below and one of the agents from MickeyTravels, a Platinum level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, will be in touch soon!
Feature Photo: Disney