Disney Death Watch – July 2021The Dark Herald
Well, I haven’t done one these for a while but today seems dismal enough for some Dismalney news.
There was a time many ages ago that Disney parks were getting pretty trashy and by that, I mean the quality of the people showing up was ruining the experience for people who don’t have fifteen rusting appliances in their front yard and drink cheap liquor out of Mason jars. Walt Disney had wanted his parks to be affordable to all. Sadly, the quality of Americans that was available when he gave his dream to the world was a lot higher than it is today.
Way, way back, Disney Parks decided they wanted to attract more people to the parks. So, they offered free admission to kids. Suddenly you had people changing babies on the park benches and leaving the used diaper behind (and not in a neat, enclosed bundle either) the street performers got catcalls, there were a lot of things getting broken. Basically, the poverty-stricken are poverty-stricken for a reason, they really can’t help themselves and they acted like it.
Michael Eisner raised prices and raised them not just to keep the toilet-wine set out, but with the specific intent of giving Disney Park goers a sense of ownership. The idea (and it was a damn clever one) was to have the regulars think of Disney World as Your Secret Home.
And for a long time, it worked.
You would pay once (and pay big) upfront but then you would be taken care of completely for the rest of your stay. With a Dining Plan and a Parkhopper Pass, you could stay at Disney World for a week, live like a king while not spending another dime unless you wanted a $4 Coke (no Pepsi). If you were fool enough to buy a DVC (tugs collar guiltily) you even got the special privilege of being told “welcome home,” by the desk clerk.
The Disney Vacation Club owners were the canary in the coal mine (at least those of us with the sense to see the canary was dead and get out while we could get a good price for our memberships). DVC members saw the rot set in before anyone else.
Here is the deal with the vacation club from a business perspective. * When Disney would build a new resort, it would have two sides, the hotel side, and the Disney Vacation Club side. Disney would have to go into debt during construction but could retire the debt within a year by selling off DVC memberships. Upside for Disney; the construction loan is instantly gone, and the hotel is a moneymaking machine free and clear, downside; you have a shit ton of unpaying guests on a fifty-year contract.
During the Eisner years, the attitude was, who cares if the DVC members aren’t paying rack rates? They have more money available to spend in the parks and they are now guaranteed to do that every year. They were the geese that laid golden eggs. Take good care of the flock and you would have a regular supply of gold for fifty years.
DVC members got a bunch of small loss leader privileges, free valet parking, exclusive lounges, and such. They also got that very prized flex on the rack rate guests of being told, “welcome home,” when they arrived.
But when Bob Iger took over someone appears to have told him, “you know Bob, there are always a few eggs inside a goose that it hasn’t laid yet, if you kill the golden goose, you get those eggs all at once!” Bobby clapped his hands in childish delight and laughingly shouted, “Kill them all! Kill them now! I command it!”
All the little privileges the DVC member used to get were discontinued or made available to the now clearly favored “money paying customers.” And every guest at the resort was now being told, “welcome home.”
And Bob Chapek is looking to be so much worse than Bob Iger. He’s coming up with all kinds of ways to gyp the Disney Parks guest experience.
I already mentioned how stupid it was to get rid of the Magical Express but he’s come up with a couple of better horrible ideas this week.
One is the virtual line. Once you reach a certain number of people in the line, you won’t be able to enter the line. Physically. You can however enter the Virtual Que on your Disney Genie App that will hold your place in the Virtual Line until a spot opens up in the real one. That way you can wander around and buy stuff. Two things about this. One there appears to be no upward limit to the virtual line at freaking all. You used to be able to enter the physical line near the close of the park before they shut the line and they would still be running that ride an hour after the rest of the park closed to cycle those guests through. Now when it’s closing time you lose your place in the virtual line. Sucks to be you, Pixie-duster!
The other is the Fast Pass system. That appears to be gone forever. How that worked ten years ago was, when the park opened you rushed like hell to the ride you most wanted to go on and would grab a Fast Pass which back then was a physical ticket with a return time printed on it. You showed up at the time on the ticket and then waited in a separate line, usually no more than five minutes. It then switched to a virtual fast pass. But that all ended with the shutdown. It’s gone now. But don’t despair, it’s being replaced by something even better…for Disney. Pay Pass (or whatever bullshit Magical name they give it), if you don’t want to wait in line for your ride then pay bitch PAY. They are already doing it at Disneyland Paris, a family of four shells out about $76 for Pay Pass. For. One. Ride. Only. You want to skip the line on another ride? You buy another Pay Pass for that ride.
No one cries more about White Privilege than the SJWs that have converged on Disney but the only customer Disney is interested in is the Great White Priveldged Whale. The $400K a year family. Everyone else is a rather despised afterthought.
Chapek is continuing Bob Iger’s fruitless quest of turning Disney into a genuine luxury brand and it just isn’t. It never can be. The company was started by a Midwesterner whose favorite food on Earth was grilled cheese sandwiches and chili. It shows.
Every product has a life cycle, introduction, growth, maturity, then decline followed by failure. Those of us who used to love going to Disney Parks have been watching a steady and tragically unnecessary decline for several years now. There still plenty of devout Pixie-Dusters out there who are desperately trying to convince one another that Disney Parks will turn themselves around and make a comeback. They won’t. The corporate rot at Fort Mickey is cancerously deep and it has metastasized to the parks.
It drops on the general public tomorrow. So we will know how bad it is then but it has every sign of being Marvel’s first-ever bomb. It’s tracking badly and the reviews are, well, not bad really but the tongue bath isn’t what it should be. It’s at 81% fresh on RT when it should be ten points higher. IGN which these days is the very definition of Bought and Paid for shilling has basically said, “it’s really, really okay, I guess, in its way. It’s got lots of women in it and that’s good.”
Here’s a chart that shows interest based on social media. It compares Black Widow, a $200 million dollar triple-A summer tent pole against Loki, a cheap Disney Plus straight to streaming mini-series.
Loki shouldn’t be in the same area code let alone on the same street as Black Widow and as you can see its interest level for the big-time movie has never once exceeded the anemic TV show.
Desperation is in the air. They have resorted to Woke marketing. If you don’t see this movie about a character that used to be defined by being sexy and now is trying to actively repel the male gaze and by the way has been dead for three years, then the Patriarchy wins.
Can’t have that, can we? I’ll try to have my review up by the end of the weekend.
And speaking of the anemic TV series. There was finally a good episode of Loki. At least from my perspective. The people who loved the first two episodes (god alone knows why) hated this one. I didn’t because something finally happened besides, sitting and talking. Although they couldn’t resist doing that for one scene. It was silly fast-paced and reasonably enjoyable. It didn’t reverse any of the show’s major problems but at least it was a distraction from them, and you know what? That was enough. If you are going to bother with the torrents for this show at all, then get this one.
Richard E. Grant is the One True Loki. I recognize no other.
Okay, I’m done here.
*If you want to know more about that then consult your local Google. It would take up half this article.