Wednesday, August 24, 2011

If I were in charge of Disney...

I'm sure I could find tons of stuff to do. As long as I didn't have to pay attention to the bottom line too much.

But one thing I think I would do if I had any say in the doings of Disney would be to open a DVC resort in the Wisconsin Dells.

The Dells, if you don't know, is billed as the "Waterpark Capital of the World". There is a lot to do there, even if some of it is fairly "cheesy" type stuff. You can take a boat ride on the Wisconsin River and explore the natural dells, which the town takes its name from. You can take a "duck" ride, which is an amphibious craft from WWII that drives on roads and takes a trip down the river, and through Lake Delton also. You can go to see Rick Wilcox's magic show, or Tommy Bartlett's Water Show. You can go to Mt Olympus Water- and Theme Park, or a couple of other water/theme parks. You can visit haunted houses, an upside down White House ('Top Secret'), drive go-karts, play mini-golf, or just hang out at your hotel and play at its water parks. Plus there are some cheesier attractions like Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not, a 4D motion theater, laser tag and Wizard Quest (might not be as cheesy as some of the others).

We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge. Our room had a simulated 'cabin' in it with bunk beds and a single bed. We also had a queen sized bed with a pull out sleeper. The Lodge has a couple of restaurants, a big arcade, a very nice animatronic display in the lobby where they do "story time" every night, and of course, the water parks, both incoor and outdoor. Then there is the attached three story Magiquest building, where kids can play for their entire visit, for one admission at the beginning of the stay.

As I was sitting there watching my kids enjoy the water parks at our hotel, I couldn't help but think that it would be a great place for DVC to expand to. Right now, we have a slew of DVC resorts in Florida, one in South Carolina, one in California, and one opening very soon (maybe it's open!) in Hawaii. For a midwestern Disney fan, they all have something in common: a plane trip. Oh, I know that lots of Chicagoans drive to Florida routinely, but for many of us, when you have a week off, you want to get there quickly. With Disney, the journey is not part of the attraction. The destination is.

If Disney were to open a DVC resort in that area, I believe we would patronize it quite a bit. We might even buy some points there. It's the type of place we could spend a long weekend at, or even on occasion stay for longer. (Though that might be the limiting factor - I don't think the Dells get a lot of full-week visitors.) The Great Wolf Lodge sells its own time-shares, as do a couple other big resorts (like the Wilderness Lodge). Why couldn't Disney get into the act in this family friendly tourist destination?

If I were Disney, I'd buy one of the existing resorts (there's a Polynesian Village and Water Park, for example), close it for a year, remodel the heck out of it, and turn it into a Disney resort! The Polynesian, for example, could maybe be modeled on Disney's Polynesian Resort at WDW, but with a huge water park, part of which is alreayd there. Then I'd start selling DVC memberships. A lot of midwesterners who don't see a point to buying DVC might change their minds if there was something considerably closer to home besides the WDW, DL and three other DVC resort destinations.


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