Disneyland Resort - Starting to Lose The Magic
Disneyland - Anaheim
The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is known as the "happiest place on Earth." Built by Walt Disney in the 1950's, Disneyland is one of the most visited theme parks in the world. Part of the appeal of Disneyland is that it is an escape from the reality of today and visiting a world of make believe. Part of that experience is being surrounded by "cast members" who are playing a role. Mostly that role is to provide smiling faces to Disneyland's "guests."
Recent trips to Disneyland, however, reveal that it may be losing its magic. From the cast members to the cleanliness of the park, Disneyland is starting to become just another theme park. And this is a sad occurrence.
Part of the appeal of the Disneyland Resort is the cast members. These generally are local young people who are friendly and filled with life. Many times in the past cast members have gone out of their way to be helpful or just make sure that you are in as good as a mood as they are.
However, recent trips show something different. Cast members no longer seem to be in good moods. In fact, most cast members at Disneyland these days seem to have the same attitudes as someone working in a fast food restaurant. Never before have I witnessed so many cast members ignoring customers, standing in groups of themselves chatting, or simply not doing their jobs. It appears that being a cast member at Disneyland no longer is a magical thing. And this has a direct effect on how they treat their "guests." This takes away from the magic at the park.
To be fair, during my most recent trip there was one cast member who stood out. She worked in the General Store on Main Street that serves coffee and has free refills. She was the person refilling the creamers. She was friendly and eager to share her knowledge and love of the park. However, she was the exception and not the norm. The people working the counter were rude, slow and had no desire to interact with the guests.
The Park Itself
Disneyland and California Adventure historically have been some of the best run Amusement parks in the world. Historically, Disney went out of their way to make the sure the parks were clean and beautiful. However, recently this has not been the case.
To be fair, given the over a million of annual passes sold, crowds at Disneyland no longer follow historical trends. However, this does not excuse the mess that has become much of the Disneyland Resort. Never before have the bathrooms been so dirty. Never before have trash cans been filled. Never before have the lines been so poorly run. And worse yet, there doesn't appear to be anyone who cares.
But more disturbing is the fact that Disneyland no longer cares about its guests time. Yes, when you go to Disneyland you are going to have to wait in line. That is simply a fact of life. You want to go on Space Mountain, you will wait in line. However, the lines are no longer limited to E ticket rides. The lines are now everywhere. There is a long line to get into the park. There is a line to use the bathroom. There is a line to get food. There is a line to get a fast pass, let alone get on a ride. There is even a line to leave the park. There are lines to get back to your car.
And nobody at Disneyland cares how long you wait in line. Never mind the fact that there are empty counters, empty registers, etc, Disneyland has made a determination that it is acceptable for "guests" to wait at least 1/2 hour to do anything. Much like Walmart, Disneyland would rather waste your time than have 1 more employee helping customers.
Why Has the Magic Gone Away?
So what changed? Perhaps the changes at Disneyland are caused by the changes in society as a whole. Customer Service across the board is in decline and it was only a matter of time before the happiest place on earth got infected.
Perhaps it is the consumer bringing in too high of expectations. Perhaps I am asking too much. But considering how much I am paying to get in, I don't think so.
Perhaps it is the fact that while Disneyland was the outcome of one man's dream of a magical place where adult and child could have fun together, it is no longer run by similar minded people. Today, Disneyland and the Disney brand is a corporate entity. It has shareholders to answer to. Disneyland's purpose today is purely profit driven. This is why they spend money to determine how many custodians they have to pay for on a given day. Perhaps this is why their employees are no longer happy. Perhaps this is just another example of the "corporate" mindset destroying something pure. Whatever it is, Disneyland must take notice or else it will just become another overpriced amusement park.
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