Thursday, August 4, 2011

WDW - A Unique Place

I was reading the recent blog entry over at The World According To Jack with the sure-to-draw-interest title Should The City Of EPCOT Have Been Built?. It's an interesting question that is sure to bring out opinions, and judging by the fact that there are something like 40 comments (too many for me to read in the limited time I had), it is succeeding.

Jack's position seems to be that he'd rather have what Walt Disney World has become over the years, a vacation mecca with four parks, two water parks, golf courses, other attractions, and tons of really well done resorts. He points out, correctly I think, that if it had been built, we would likely not have the other three parks and many of the other things that make it into a vacation destination. We might well have something more like Disneyland Resort in California, and while that's a really nice place, it isn't a destination by itself.

It made me think: How unique IS WDW? The answer seems to be, pretty darned unique. There really is nothing like it in the world, as far as I know. Universal's Orlando resort is more like DLR in California. No Six Flags or Cedar Fair park aspires to be what WDW has successfully become.

And what it is, is a self contained vacation destination in and of itself. You do not have to leave the grounds for days, if you choose not to. I know, I wrote in my last post that I thought a fifth gate would be a good idea to make the experience better, fresher, newer, and less crowded (perhaps). But we've gone to WDW multiple times in the last 6 or 7 years, and except for the first time when we also had a convention to attend, we've stayed on property for all 7 days of each visit. On our last visit we ventured off the property to go to Universal Studios for two days, and are likely to do so in the future. But we return for sleeping, eating, and relaxing. (Not that we do much relaxing when on our vacations.)

How come it is so unique? Why hasn't anyone else tried to copy the model? Somewhere, where land is relatively cheap, why doesn't a big company buy up a large amount of it and build something on a similar scale? Do they feel there wouldn't be a market for something of that nature? That they couldn't charge enough to cover costs? To be profitable?

The Disney Company is a mega-corporation, with fingers in a lot of pies. Revenue streams in from many sources. But by most accounts, it seems that the parks are always profitable for Disney.

In any case, I for one am glad it is there in the form it is today.



David Landon said...

I enjoyed that post, too. I'm not really upset that we got theme parks instead of Walt's EPCOT city, but I am upset that those parks and resorts aren't linked by a futuristic transportation system. We should have light rail and PeopleMovers instead of buses and traffic jams.

Scott said...

Thanks for commenting! I agree with you. I'd prefer some sort of ultra-modern transportation system. The buses are pretty inefficient and the only alternative from most of the resorts is a rented car. Ever try to get a family of four to an 8 am breakfast at Chef Mickeys when you're at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Can't be done if you have to depend on buses.