Passionate about knowledge management and organizational development, expert in loan servicing, virtual world denizen and community facilitator, and a DISNEY fan
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Be warned:in this very rich environment where you can immerse yourself so completely, your emotions will become engaged -- and not everyone is cognizant of that. Among the many excellent features of SL, there is no auto-return on hearts, so be wary of where your's wanders...
Today is the 6th day of the 37th week, the 11th day of the 9th month, and the 255th day of 2020.
I grew up on Disney movies and The Wonderful World of Color, but by the time I hit my teens, saying something was “mickey mouse” was definitely an insult. No one I knew personally had ever taken the time and money to go to WDW, and Disneyland was on the other side of the continent. I had been to Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens, been to and then taken my kids to the Enchanted Forest, and I saw no reason to go to Florida to go to a theme park.
Then Frank came into my life, and he was insistent that we had to go to WDW. He had been with his family when his kids were younger and really liked it, and so off we went in the summer 1986. Why summer in Florida? Because school was out and I firmly believe you do NOT take kids out of school to go on vacation. My daughter was not allowed to go with us, but my son and I were looking forward to the trip, although neither of us were all that enthralled with Disney. The drive down was easy as we did it in two stages, breaking for the night in Santee. We stopped at Stucky’s along the way, went to see Pedro at South of the Border and spent a lot of time there meandering through the shops. Of course we stopped at the Florida Welcome Center and had orange juice, then headed for ST Augustine and for the first time I saw the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche and lit candles. Then we settled into a hotel on International Drive. We had quite an itinerary worked out – Disney for , the Gatorland Zoo, Crystal Springs, Cape Kennedy. Frank insisted we start our day early and go to Epcot first. I remember walking around, listening to the music, sniffing the smells. We visited the Seas and the Land, and then headed for Journey into Imagination. I was impressed by the cleanliness of the place and told Frank it was a very nice theme park. We got into the car for the ride, it happened to be the first one, and headed into the dark ride. The car rotated and the painted clouds parted and there was Dreamfinder and Figment….
And I fell in love with Disney because suddenly I knew it was theater and I was totally immersed. At that moment I realized it was not a theme park, but a stage, and I had been invited to play along with the cast and perform.
I’ve lost count of how many times we went back to WDW. Sometimes it was with one or both of my kids, once it was with Frank’s daughter and family, my mother came along a couple of times, it was just Frank and I, or I was there alone when business training took me to Orlando. We bought Disney stock, but was not interested in getting into the time share of the Vacation Club, although we considered it. After his strokes, Frank was comfortable in WDW despite the disorientation of dementia, and we went every year, staying on site in different moderate resorts – once getting upgraded to the Animal Kingdom Lodge when it first opened. We paid for special tours and after hour parties. We were there, in the Festival of the Lion KIng on 9.11 when the park was evacuated. Frank's last hair cut was from the Main Street barber, who talked him into getting glitter in his hair just three weeks before he died. After that, I went with co-workers, with my daughter and her family, with Cheryl, with Cheryl and Ricky, and many times alone. Sometimes we made a long stay, sometimes it was just a long weekend, and once a cruise. I even made it to Disneyland! I bought t-shirts, clothing, jewelry, memorabilia, books, bed clothing – for myself, for the family – belong to D23, cosplay Merriweather, and subscribed to Disney+
And this morning, reading the speculation that the Magical Express changes were permanent after months of Disney scaling back perks for the hoi polloi, adding more fees, and making more events special additional tickets, then noting that only deluxe resorts are open as they get back to business, I realized that Disney is not interested in my history with them and doesn’t care if I or my family ever gets back to the parks.
OTOH: It is a business, and the purpose of a business is to make money. The same resources and services the hoi polloi utilize cost as much as if they were provided to someone wealthier, who potentially will spend more money, so they want to maximize their profit at the point of sale
OTOH: Without fans like me, Disney is nothing unique, just another entertainment merchant with theme parks. I hope senior management wakes up sooner rather than later, and realizes it is not just about shareholders, but STAKEholders like me. I could use a bit of pixie dust right now.