Now that normalcy is here to stay, the world of travel can look nowhere else but forward. Well, unless you’re visiting any Disney theme parks, then normalcy must come with a different definition. The sad news is out. Universal theme park attendance has surpassed Disney park attendance. When has that happened? It is very much like MySpace losing ground to Facebook and Twitter. Disney, losing ground to Universal? No one said it couldn’t happen. Now, time is critical and above all crucial, for Disney to consider making some perilously needed changes to make the park guest experience acceptable once again. The can has been kicked down the street enough times. What must Disney do to put a desirable end to the guests’ everlasting hardship? There are three matters that require immediate action. They are not up for discussion. Discussion time is over. Now is the time for action. Now, means NOW!
Change begins with the simplest of things. At Walt Disney World, the simplest change to be made is the reinstatement of a complimentary wait time service. Lightning Lane was introduced to replace the famous Fast Pass. Fast Pass was awesome, and guests took advantage of the opportunity to minimize their waiting time in line for major attractions. Fast Pass is gone. Lightning Lane, like Fast Pass, should be complimentary as before. Lightning Lane should be complimentary, no matter what the dollars and cents figures say. Lightning Lane costs guests $15.00 per day. Yes, Disney lost a ton of revenue from all angles resulting from the COVID shutdown. COVID can no longer be used an excuse for why things have to be the way they are. An upcharge for this service, an upcharge for that service, an upcharge for airport transportation, when is the nonsense ever going to end? NOW! This is why big businesses falter. In the case of Disney, they are not hearing guests out on their frustration. If they are hearing them, what action have they taken? It clearly explains why Disney guests are taking the Lightning Lane eastward to Universal. The Lightning Lane has lost its way. It’s time for Disney to give the Lightning Lane some proper direction.
Whatever happened to the Disney Dining Plan? Due to the lack of travel, the Disney Dining Plan was suspended. Now, it’s late 2022! There is still no Disney Dining Plan! There’s talk of the Disney Dining Plan returning in 2023. There is no confirmation on when it will be coming back, further increasing the frustration amongst guests. The point of the Disney Dining Plan was to allow guests the opportunity to have an affordable dining experience. Whether they are purchasing snack items, counter service meals, or eating at full-service restaurants, the Disney Dining Plan makes that experience happen. The Walt Disney World Resort is no Six Flags park. It’s massive. Guests deserve to have an affordable dining service no matter where on property they are. Guests still have to put their put their dining charges on their resort room bills. These charges add up! The Disney Dining Plan is a money maker. It is also a money saver. When is the Disney Dining Plan going to be reinstated? With the holiday season approaching, the Disney Dining Plan serves as the perfect opportunity for Disney to generate much desired revenue; not just effectively, but properly. That’s the right way to make guests happy. With what Disney is doing, Walt and Roy must be flipping in their graves. They have every right to be! The only people at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World who should be flipping in their graves are the spirits in the Haunted Mansion. Guests are starving for the return of the Disney Dining Plan. Disney guests always work up an appetite from a few hours in any park. The time to reinstate the Disney Dining Plan and once again ring the “Come and get it!” bell is NOW.
The one feature which Disney and Bob Chapek need to immediately act upon is discontinuing the park pass reservation system. Requiring guests to make reservations ahead of time for every single park is heinous. It has undermined the meaning of Walt Disney World being the “happiest place on earth”. The park pass reservation system is turning Walt Disney World into “the most shameful place on earth”. This is not an overreaction. Guests are beyond frustrated over this requirement. They are immeasurably upset, enormously angry, and remarkably turned off. If guests have dinner reservations at a sit-down restaurant in one of the parks, why should they need to make a reservation on top of that? Guests have struggled to make reservations at any park for any day. Why must guests have to make any park reservations at all? What’s next, making reservations for the restrooms? CEO Bob Chapek recently commented saying that “the park pass reservation system allows for a positive guest experience”. Is Bob Chapek out of touch? Without a doubt, HE IS! If he thinks that a park pass reservation system allows for a positive guest experience, he needs to find another family entertainment job. He himself should walk through a Disney park and hear guests share their displeasures. Disney is no place for out of touch executives. Disney is the place for visionaries; those who desire to be true leaders in the field of family entertainment. Further, Disney is the place for those who enjoy making people smile and make long-lasting memories. What kind of memories does a park pass reservation system promote? It has only promoted disgust and frowning faces. It’s time for Disney to drop the pass reservation system and time to allow guests to forge the happy memories they deserve to make.
Disney theme parks, no matter what popular attractions guests enjoy, should be the utmost inviting experience. Parents, children, elders, etc…all enjoy walking through the gates and looking forward to riding their favorite attractions. They also look forward to meeting characters and asking them for autographs. Character meet-and-greets have fully returned. Buffets have made their full return, except for the Trails End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Campground Resort. Some restaurants are family style. No argument there! There are some changes that have made things better. Change is good. However, there are some changes that are doing Disney more harm than good. Guests are upset! They have every right to be so! Cast members are leaving Walt Disney World, because the “magic is disappearing”. They deserve to do so. It starts with the simplest of things. The Lightning Lane should be as complimentary as its predecessor. The Disney Dining Plan is still unavailable. Guests are hungry for its return. Ultimately, the park pass reservation system has been an unadulterated heartache for all guests. Can’t Bob Chapek realize the frustration and the disgust on their faces? Someone as out of touch as Bob Chapek has a lot to learn from the horrors of misleading and mismanaging a family entertainment enterprise. For the first time in forever, isn’t it time for Disney to be a place of happiness again? Every good story has a happy ending. Disney guests are desirous for not just a happy ending to the heartache. They want a happy ending with great sequels to come.