The Crowds at Disneyland – What happened to the Low Season?

November 12, 2009

The marketing department at Disneyland is out of control and is eventually going to cause the demise of the park.  Dire and drastic words, but I think that they could come true.

Disneyland park is unique in many ways, it was Walt’s park, it is small and intimate, and it has some of the best attractions and shows.  But the key word here is small.  It is also landlocked.  Unlike Walt Disney World (WDW), there is no where to go.

The marketing department, I am sure under orders to increase the bottom line by the bean counters that have taken over the company, have devised way after way to entice guest into the park.  What they don’t realize is that there is a maximum number.  The park can only handle so many people.  As indicated by the recent park closures during HalloweenTimes have shown, the park gets to capacity quickly.  And what is going to happen when DCA gets its rehab and the World of Color opens.  Now you have two SMALL parks that are drawing attendance instead of one.

First the parking situation is intolerable.  If the guest is already ticked off because it took forever to find a parking spot and then they had to pay an exorbitant fee for it. (Okay so it may not be high in California, but here in Texas that is extortion what they charge to park.) So now the guest is a bit irritated.  Then they get to to the gate and find out that the park is “closed” due to capacity.  How long is the wait?  Could be several hours.  Now the guest is really ticked off.

Meanwhile, back in the cast member parking lot, the number of spaces has been reduced.  Cast members are struggling to find a parking spot and then get on the overcrowded shuttles to get to their shift on time so they do not get written up.  The cast members are now stressed and irritated – yes that invites good guest service.

So now the really irritated guest finally gets into the park, finds out that the ride times are astronomical, the FastPasses are all gone, and you can barely move.  Now that guest meets up with cast members who are equally frazzled.  This is not a good combination.  I doubt there will be much Disney “magic” going on.  So is this guest going to return to the nightmare that is Disneyland?  Disneyland is not the only game in town, and at some point the guests are going to get fed up with it and either decide to spend their tourist dollars elsewhere (if Disney is lucky, they will go to WDW) or decide to skip Disney all together.  Either way, the critical mass point is coming – it is a matter of “when” not “if.”

And yet, the marketing department continues to create new and exciting events to draw more and more guest to their doors.  I for one am not “buying” it.  After reading and researching this, it will be a long time before I visit Disneyland again.  I don’t want the headaches when I am on vacation.  I have so many other vacationing options, why put myself in a stressful and crowded situation that makes it impossible to have a good time?

I hope the someone wakes up soon at the Disneyland and realizes that parking, traffic, crowding, and other issues need to be addressed before they try to attract yet more guests.  I’m not holding my breath.

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