Today's LA Times front page has an article on the City of Anaheim and how, in the wake of the terrorist attacks, no one is going there. After their massive expenditures, heavily dependant on the tourist tax base, Anaheim is in danger of being downgraded by Standard and Poor's.
After blaming rain, the economy, the terrorists, and a host of other scapegoats over the course of a year (some legitimate), the great unspoken here is that Disney has let down its partners by building a puposefully downgraded product that the general public has rejected. In doing so, their business partners such as Puck, Mondavi and Anaheim (not to mention the county and state) are hemmorhaging as much as Disney itself. The attacks may have exaggerated the effect, but that handwriting was already on the wall.
I can only hope the following messages are being brought home to roost:
1) Quality sells.
2) Respect for the consumer goes a long way. Give them only your best.
3) Customers know the difference even if they can't articulate it.
4) Disney stands for escapism not reality.
5) Disney stands for exceeding expectations not just meeting them.
6) Disney is a populist product. Disney hating elitists, rebellious teens and childless couples will not go to a Disney park in record numbers just for the food and shopping.
7) The general public LIKES Disney characters, cartoons, humor and fantasy.
8) Walt factor: The theories deveoped by traditional Imagineers over the last fifty years have validity.
9) You get what you give.
10) The customer is king.
11) Marketing is not the product.
12) Word of mouth is everything. Keep it real.
13) Businessmen are not storytellers or entertainers with vision (at least a vision that can be shared with the general public).
14) The bottom line smells like bottom.
If they deserved their massive bonuses, the executive geniuses of the Walt Disney Company should have known all of this from experience. Instead it appears they let greed and ego lead them (and their partners) on a downward path. Shame...