Disney recently launched a new overall corporate blog and one of the first posts is from, you guessed it, the parks and resorts division. Most interestingly, it’s about the Art of Animation (no that’s not interesting) with a focus on their consumer insight group and how it plays a role in determining what experiences they offer.
Well, the problem as we see it is that often this group is horribly out of touch with what guests actually want. In fact, right now Disney is actively recruiting for a new head of this division because apparently the old one is gone.. for reasons unspecified. We assume piss poor performance from what we’ve seen. This is the group behind every single “due to overwhelming guest demand” statement that lead press releases that told us about awful things like the closure of Pleasure Island and the building of yet another DVC or Princess Coloring Experience. If over half the guests are coming without children (source), there’s no reason over half of them want to color with princesses.
We posted our response explaining how we feel this group is out of touch to the corporate blog and urge everyone else to do so as well. We’ll post the text of our response below since Disney “moderates” their responses and ours may never post publicly.
Our Comment to Disney:
“You mention your consumer insight team – an area many are very concerned is very out of touch with what consumers actually want. In fact, your Disney Careers website is looking for a new manager for that team right now it teams for the Parks/Resorts division.
As an example, many people online complain that the park offerings lately have been too focused on young children and even go against the basic Walt Disney ideal – “Your dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up.” At the same time, there’s highly focuses princess meet and greets with coloring that dominate new Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom and a new interactive queue at the renovated Dumbo attraction that adults can’t participate in and has benches for them to sit on at the sidelines.
You say this is based on what guests want – but about half of all amusement-park visitors, ages 25 to 49, come without children, according to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by International Theme Park Services Inc., a theme park consulting agency.
What are you doing to appeal to older guests? Areas like Pleasure Islands have been abandoned and plans to even finish its replacement with things like Hyperion Wharf have been stalled multiple times – yet we get another meet/greet and area for small children to color or climb through netting. Sadly, that’s only when they open – the ones at Art of Animation aren’t completed per the concept art and the “play areas” in the Lion King section have no play equipment and instead signs telling children to stay off the large elephant bone sculptures – so it actually appeals to no one. It’s just cheap.”