State Of The Walt Disney Company 2018: Parks and Resorts

Besides the animation studio that started it all, Parks and Resorts is one of the Crown Jewels of the company. The history of Disneyland and Walt informs the attention to detail of the works of Walt Disney Imagineering. As of right now, the focus is on the completion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Besides that, Shanghai Disneyland is receiving its first major expansion (Toy Story Land), Disney’s California Adventure is in the midst of a Marvel/Pixar transition, Tokyo Disneyland is getting ready for the Olympics, and Disneyland Paris might get its well-deserved care and maintenance now that it is fully owned by Disney.

Other than the project that calls attention to the parks, some details regarding events, guest service, and maintenance have gone to certain problems along. As I’ve stated, Disney needs to keep consistency. The parks are a first-person experience with the Disney brand and maybe there are certain details that should be improved to keep the magic within the parks.

Cast Members Deserve A Raise

Let’s get rid of the big elephant in the room: Disney needs to open up to a $10/hour wage. These employees work their best to bring the quality experience people enjoy at the parks. Giving them the assurance that they can still make a good living doing a rewarding job will ensure that experience stays as good and keeps improving in the long run.

Cast Members From The College Program Need More Traditions

Since Bob Chapek took over the Parks and Resorts division, its been noticeable the use of the college program as a way to fill up the parks with temporary cast members during peak season at the parks. This is a good strategy because you need to handle a significant amount of crowds, but few of these cast members have the rigorous training that full-time cast members have to learn about the culture of the company and how it handles certain situations. What this means is that temporary cast members might not be as efficient and adept at giving the nice, appealing and accommodating that cast members are known of.

If you want to use the college program to fill up space during peak season, use it but they should go through a more extender training program. These students should have the whole Disney experience were they can learn and also do good service during their short-term job.

Fully Done Refurbishments

It has been a common thing in recent memory that 6-month refurbishments end up as 3 month clean ups. There is a balance between keeping the rides and having enough capacity for the guests to hold up. One shouldn’t dictate the other every single time. If not, well never get a deserved improvement for some rides.

Take Pirates Of The Caribbean for example. Some years ago a 6-month refurb was announced. Just during the refurb itself, Disney shortened it to 3 months. What we got was a simple improvement, with a new Auctioneer, better lighting, and smelly smoke effects. In the end, it felt rushed instead of a deserved lift up.

There are many attractions that need better Audio-Animatronics to keep up and it seems like replacing them is at the bottom of the list for management of the parks. As a result, many times there are broken AA’s in some E-Ticket rides like Splash Mountain, Pirates Of The Caribbean, and Spaceship Earth. In other cases, vehicles need replacements or repainting, like in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I always envy when videos of the Tokyo Disneyland rides are always with the latest Audio-Animatronics (with improved fluid movements) and everything looks shiny new. Considering the price tag that someone pays to a Disney park, this shouldn’t be exclusive to Tokyo. All the parks deserve refurbishments that keeps the attractions to a high-quality standard.

Get Risky WIth Food

I’m tired of listening that a menu has changed because of people only like hamburgers and French fries at the parks. As a foreign visitor, I enjoy when there’s something new and interesting to try at the Disney parks. So far, Disney hasn’t given the time for the guests to respond to newer food offerings. This is a clear problem in the Skipper Canteen when they constantly change the menu instead of letting it be a different, more exotic food offering.

Good food shouldn’t be only for sit-down restaurants. People that maybe are off-site and only eat in quick service should get varied offerings. Please keep up with the burgers and burritos in Pecos Bill Tall Tale In & Cafe, but also keep serving cachapas at the Skipper Canteen.

Don’t Get Crazy With Events

Bob Chapek discovered the gold mine of exclusive events and the parks have offered newer variations ever since. I’m glad that the parks find ways to offer exclusive offerings to guests interested maybe in a shorter event that offers some of the highlights of a full-day park experience. But I feel this doesn’t hold up in the long run in terms of maintenance.

It is no secret that the parks aren’t as squeaky clean as they once were, but we can go back to those days. As the parks open during more hours, there’s less time to clean and repair the place. Keep doing the events you already offer, but now let’s find a way to keep up with the quality standard the parks are known of.

Different Cases For Different Parks

Even if these items to take care of are for the parks in general, there are some specific details for each of them. Out of all the parks, I believe that Disneyland Paris is the one that needs the most care. With the parks now fully owned by Disney, several changes and announcements should be in place to improve it. Other parks like Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Shanghai Disneyland appear to be in perfect conditions as they are. Hong Kong Disneyland is getting rid of the remnants of the Eisner era, deciding to lift up their own castle instead of having a carbon copy of Anaheim’s castle. Walt Disney World as a whole is on its way to be ready for the 50th anniversary with new offerings for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

So far, the parks have evolved consistently for the past few years. Now it is time for that theme of consistency to be in the maintenance of the parks to give the guests some magical experiences.

Author: Rafael Gorrochotegui

Creo en la creatividad como un estilo de vida.