Every morning I wake up, I sit down and read about something new being closed down or groups of people being fired in mass at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Yesterday it was the closure of the NBA Experience at Disney Springs and the other day it was 28,000 employees getting fired. Even their new Mini Van Service has been laid to rest. I think one of the firings that struck me the most was the cast members who were performers like the Grand Floridian Orchestra getting their marching orders in the dead of night without even a chance to have one last performance so that they could say goodbye to their fans that they had been performing for for over 32 years.
So where does this leave everyone else and by everyone, I mean their trusted partners who bring the travelers to their parks. It’s no secret that over the past 10 years, Disney has been cutting their ties or just putting their once trusted partners out of business. There were always the old guard who had this mentality and thought that if they could just get in and learn what these companies were doing, Disney could step in and do it one better. Well looking at the numbers over the last 10 years this turned out to be a BIG mistake. It would seem now more than ever that Disney could use these once proven partners help in putting people back into their parks.
After visiting the Walt Disney World Resort the other day and talking with a few travelers, Disney’s biggest winner would be their own DVC Timeshare customers. I personally believe that if it were not for them, their parks would be empty at this moment. These people are vested in their time and would not miss it for anything even if it means just sitting in their Disney resort rooms without going into the parks. But with no staff to take care of these people, or services being cut on a daily basis, what does this mean for even the vested Disney Vacation Club members? Currently there are a handful of DVC companies other than Disney who are currently able to rent out unused time/points but how long before Disney cuts them off only leaving Disney Vacation Club to do it themselves?
The Big Elephant in the room is what if there is a second outbreak of Covid-19 and everything gets shut back down again. Does the Disney Company have the cash to keep it all going. The theme parks were Disney’s ATM machine when all else in their vast portfolio was not doing so well. What will they do if people just don’t want to take that chance to visit their parks due to the possibility of contracting the virus? It’s true that their park numbers were on the down slope before the virus and I personally blame the restructuring of their tickets to a Date Based System compounded by FastPass+ issues plaguing their overloaded software and to add insult to injury, hiking their prices to unobtainable levels to their once loyal base of travelers.
I have been going to Walt Disney World since they opened and I am sure that I will continue to visit, but will they still be there and how I remembered it? Only time will tell but maybe this can turn out to be a good and much needed thing. Change is good right? A cleaning out of the old guard who ran things poorly and replaced with individuals who truly care about partnership and loyalty. Covid has done a real number on our beloved destination where we could all go and forget about life for awhile and share in the Magic that Walt created for us all. I hope and pray that it is still around for my kids and generations to come.